One of the best parts about working in venture capital is all the amazing technology we see. Over the past the past few years, we’ve been fortunate to back a few companies at the cutting edge of robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer hardware. These portfolio companies and the products they’ve built have brought a lot of joy into our office, so we wanted to share some of our favorites with you for the holiday season.
We hope these social robots, STEM-inspired toys, and biometric wearables will bring as much happiness to you as they have brought to us. Without further ado, and with a little help from our portfolio companies, here’s the inaugural 2017 Two Sigma Ventures Holiday Gift Guide:
Anki: Combining three of our favorite things — robotics, artificial intelligence, and The Fast and the Furious movie franchise — the Anki Cozmo and Anki Overdrive are the perfect toys for the Hot Wheels lovers in your family. Just look to the Amazon FAQ. Question: “Is it REALLY awesome?” Answer: “Yes. It is REALLY awesome.”
Canary: Whether you want to watch your dog all day, keep an eye on your family, or need a new home-security system, Canary is your all-in-one camera. Plus, once you introduce that fire hazard of a Christmas tree to your cat, you’re going to love Canary’s HD camera.
Jibo: He may be small, but he packs a big personality. As one of Time’s Best Inventions of 2017, you can’t go wrong with everyone’s favorite pet robot. This “cuter than Alexa” social robot will steal your family’s heart. Just don’t forget to bring him home from the office when you tell your kids you will, or there will be tears (yes, we’re looking at you Colin Beirne). #JiboForPresident
LittleBits: For the budding electrical engineer or inventor in your family, there’s no better way to get them hooked on circuit boards and robotics than with a build-your-own Star Wars kit from LittleBits. It may be recommended for kids 8–12, but that hasn’t stopped our team from enjoying.
Play Impossible: For your nieces and nephews who should be playing less video games and spending more time outside, the Play Impossible Gameball is the perfect way to bridge their love of tech and the physical outdoors. Don’t tell Lindsey Gray’s nephews, but they’re all getting one this year.
Tinybop: For the fledgling 6 to 8-year-old scientist in your life, Tinybop offers mobile apps to explore the human body, space, machines, mammals, plants, and more. Get your kids hooked on science, not Angry Birds.
Whoop: For the elite athlete in your family, Whoop is a wearable wristband that helps you optimize your performance by quantifying the strain, sleep, and recovery your body needs. Now for the fun part, let’s see those Whoop stats after your company holiday parties.
X.ai: For the startup founder or VC in your life, a subscription to x.ai is a must. It’s guaranteed to be the surest way to their heart (or at least their calendar). Plus, no more ignored brunch texts or missed dinners once you have Amy or Andrew on your side. Pro tip: add yourself to their VIP contacts list, and you’ll be able to put invites directly in your loved one’s calendar.
Happy Holidays and have fun shopping! Let us know what your reviews are, and make sure to shoot us a note if you’re building something interesting.