Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A proprietary machine-learning platform has driven more than $100 million in portfolio-company investments for the venture capital firm EQT Ventures, according to numbers first seen by Axios.

Why it matters: EQT Venture's home-brewed Motherbrain platform represents a notable effort to adapt machine learning to the failure-prone process of picking and choosing early-stage tech investments.

How it works: Motherbrain monitors over 10 million companies and takes data from dozens of structured and unstructured sources to identify patterns that may be useful as EQT Ventures searches for possible investments.

  • Part of Motherbrain's appeal is that it can locate companies for potential investments directly through data anywhere in the world, rather than relying on investor connections or geography.
  • "Motherbrain is part of our quest to do everything we do in a smarter way," says Henrik Landgren, an operating partner at EQT Ventures who leads the product work on Motherbrain.

Among the companies discovered with Motherbrain's help is Standard Cognition, which develops AI-powered autonomous checkout technology.

  • "[EQT Ventures] told us that 'Motherbrain informed us we had to talk to you,'" says Michael Suswal, co-founder and COO of Standard Cognition. "I felt flattered and it made me more interested in the firm. We probably wouldn't have connected with them if it wasn't for Motherbrain."

The bottom line: We often think of automation as outright replacing human jobs, but the Motherbrain platform is an example of another trend: augmenting how humans work.

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Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 11,288,094 — Total deaths: 531,244 — Total recoveries — 6,075,489Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 2,839,917 — Total deaths: 129,676 — Total recoveries: 894,325 — Total tested: 34,858,427Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Protester dies after car drives through closed highway in Seattle

Protesters gather on Interstate 5 on June 23, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

One person is dead and another is in serious condition after a car drove onto a closed freeway in Seattle early Saturday and into protesters against police brutality, AP reports.

  • "Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle died in the evening at Harborview Medical Center, spokesperson Susan Gregg said."

Where it stands: The suspect, Dawit Kelete of Seattle, fled the scene after hitting the protesters, and was later put in custody after another protester chased him for about a mile. He was charged with two counts of vehicular assault. Officials told the AP they did not know whether it was a targeted attack, but the driver was not impaired.

Trump's failing culture wars

Data: Google; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

President Trump built his political brand by stoking the nation's culture wars, but search data is showing us how much harder it's been for him to replicate that success while running against another white man in his 70s — and while there's a coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Google Trends data shows Trump's "Sleepy Joe" name-calling isn't generating nearly the buzz "Crooked Hillary" (or "Little Marco") did in 2016. Base voters who relished doubting President Obama's birth certificate aren't questioning Biden's.