Hugo Carvajal, the former intelligence chief, had been hiding in Madrid, the police said, trying to avoid extradition to the United States.
In a deeply polarized country, suffering an extreme health crisis, one of the few uniting beliefs is the admiration across the political spectrum for a doctor recently beatified by the Vatican.
Andrea Campos has struggled with depression since she was 8 years old. Over the years, she’s tried all sorts of therapies — from behavioral to pharmacotherapy.
In 2017, when Campos was in her early 20s, she learned to program and created a system to help manage her mental health. It started as a personal project but as she talked to more people, Campos realized that many others might benefit from the system as well.
So, she then built an application to provide access to mental health tools to Spanish-speaking people and began testing it with a small group of people. At first, Campos herself was her own chatbot, texting with users who were tired of dealing with depression.
“During the month, I was pretending I was an app, and would send these people a list of activities they had to complete during the day, such as writing in a gratitude journal, and then asking them how those activities made them feel,” Campos recalls.
Her thinking was that sometimes with depression and anxiety comes “a lot of avoidance,” where people resist potential treatment out of fear.
The results from her small experiment were encouraging. So, Campos set out to conduct a bigger sample of experiments, and raised about $10,000 via crowdfunding campaign. With that money, she hired a developer to build a chatbot for her app, which was mostly being used via Facebook Messenger.
Then an earthquake hit Mexico City and that developer lost everything — including his home and computer — and had to relocate.
“I was left with nothing,” Campos says. But that developer introduced her to another, who disappeared with his payment, and again, left Campos, “with nothing.”
“I realized at the beginning of 2019, I was going to have to do this by myself,” Campos said. So she used a site that she described as a “Wix for chatbots,” and created one herself.
After experimenting with the app with a sample of 700 people, Campos was even more encouraged and raised an angel round of funding for Yana, the startup behind her app. (Yana is an acronym for “You Are Not Alone.”) By early 2020, with just three months of runway left, she pivoted to create an app with chatbot integration that wasn’t just limited to use via Facebook Messenger.
Campos ended up launching the app more broadly during the same week that her city in Mexico went into quarantine.
At first, she said, she saw “normal, steady growth.” But then on Oct. 10, 2020, Apple’s App Store highlighted Yana for International Mental Health Day, and the response was overwhelming.
“It was also my birthday so I was at a spa in a nearby town, relaxing, when I started hearing my cell phone go crazy,” Campos recalls. “Everything went nuts. I had to go back to Mexico City because our servers were exploding since they were not used to having that kind of volume.”
As a result of that exposure, Yana went from having around 80,000 users to reaching 1 million users two weeks later. Soon after that, Google highlighted the app as one of best for personal growth in 2020, and that too led to another spike in users. Today, Yana is about to hit the 5 million-user mark and is also announcing it has raised $1.5 million in funding led by Mexico’s ALLVP, which has also invested in the likes of Cornershop, Flink and Nuvocargo.
When the pandemic hit last year, six of Yana’s 9-person team decided to quarantine together in a “startup house” in Cancun to focus on building the company. Earlier this year, the company had raised $315,000 from investors such as 500 Startups, Magma and Hustle Fund. The company had pitched ALLVP, who was intrigued but wanted to wait until it could write a bigger check.
That time is now, and Yana is now among the top three downloaded apps in Mexico and 12 countries including Spain, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela.
With its new capital, Yana is planning to “move away from the depression/anxiety narrative,” according to Campos.
“We want to compete in the wellness space,” she told TechCrunch. “A lot of people were looking for us to deal with crises such as a breakup or a loss but then they didn’t always see a necessity to keep using Yana for longer than the crisis lasted.”
Some of those people would download the app again months later when hit with another crisis.
“We don’t want to be that app anymore,” Campos said. “We want to focus on whole wellness and mental health and transmit something that needs to be built every single day, just like we do with exercise.”
Moving forward, Yana aims to help people with their mental health not just during a crisis but with activities they can do on a daily basis, including a gratitude journal, a mood tracker and meditation — “things that prevent depression and anxiety,” Campos said.
“We want to be a vitamin for our soul, and keeping people mentally healthy on an ongoing basis,” she said. “We also want to include a community inside our application.”
ALLVP’s Federico Antoni is enthusiastic about the startup’s potential. He first met Campos when she was participating in an accelerator program in 2017 and then again recently.
The firm led Yana’s latest round because it “wanted to be on her team.”
“She [Campos] has turned into an amazing leader, and we realized her potential and strength,” he said. “Plus, Yana is an amazing product. When you download it, it’s almost like you can see a soul in there.”
The guerrilla leader, once a supporter of Colombia’s historic peace deal, then a strong opponent, had become a symbol of the country’s rocky path to peace.
The Phillies’ assistant general manager is the highest-ranked executive his country has produced. He doesn’t plan to stop at assistant.
With Venezuela in shambles, criminals and insurgents run large stretches of the nation’s territory. We traveled through one of the regions under their control.
Modern Love in miniature, featuring reader-submitted stories of no more than 100 words.
The assault of a 13-year-old girl in Venezuela and the arrest of her mother and a teacher who helped her end the pregnancy have forced a national debate about legalizing abortion.
The Venezuelan government has long tolerated armed groups trafficking drugs and contraband near its border with Colombia. Now it has lashed out at one of them, driving thousands of civilians into flight.
Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans can temporarily continue to live and work in the United States as the administration considers its next steps in the effort to force out Venezuela’s president.
President Iván Duque announced Monday that the Venezuelan migrants who fled an economic collapse at home can legally stay in Colombia for 10 years if they register with the authorities.
As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks to his political future, his turbulent tenure is characterized by investigations into his leadership and ethics.
The tale of the cruiser San Jacinto underscores the Trump administration’s animus toward Venezuela and how the postelection purge of top Pentagon leaders is roiling the military.
Venezuela’s economic meltdown had pummeled a proud fishing village. Then jewelry started mysteriously surfacing on its beach, easing the pain of an economic crisis.
Over several months, a team of Times journalists tracked the progress of a pregnant mother displaced by the pandemic.
A victory by the party of President Nicolás Maduro is likely to further weaken Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader who launched a bold but ultimately failed bid backed by the U.S. to take power.
Millions of people have been displaced by the pandemic. Jessika and her 6-year-old, Sebastián, are among the many who have yet to find a home.
The so-called Citgo 6, who had been lured to Venezuela three years ago for a business meeting, were immediately sentenced to prison.
Known for siding with leftist leaders and causes, the soccer legend’s life, and his politics, never strayed far from his impoverished roots, and his fans loved him for it.
The charity, Feed the Solidarity, often provides the only meals children receive each day. The government accuses it of subversion, with no evidence.
In an effort to complete his consolidation of power, Nicolás Maduro is cracking down on the leftist activists who once supported him, but have begun to speak up against his administration’s corruption and cronyism.
How a yearslong battle over U.S.-Venezuela relations aided President Trump’s campaign in Florida — and left the Maduro regime standing.
The Trump administration is trying to fortify its campaign of maximum pressure against Iran from being reversed by a potential Biden administration.
Leopoldo López had spent the past six years in jail, house arrest and diplomatic asylum. He fled on Saturday to an undisclosed location, his party said.
A close ally of President Trump quietly met with an associate of President Nicolás Maduro, whom the United States does not recognize as the leader of Venezuela.
A close ally of President Trump quietly met with an associate of President Nicolás Maduro, whom the United States does not recognize as the leader of Venezuela.
On family WhatsApp groups and in Spanish-language media, misinformation paints 2020 as a zero-sum game.
Grid AI, a startup founded by the inventor of the popular open-source PyTorch Lightning project, William Falcon, that aims to help machine learning engineers more efficiently, today announced that it has raised an $18.6 million Series A funding round, which closed earlier this summer. The round was led by Index Ventures, with participation from Bain Capital Ventures and firstminute.
Falcon co-founded the company with Luis Capelo, who was previously the head of machine learning at Glossier. Unsurprisingly, the idea here is to take PyTorch Lightning, which launched about a year ago, and turn that into the core of Grid’s service. The main idea behind Lightning is to decouple the data science from the engineering.
The time argues that a few years ago, when data scientists tried to get started with deep learning, they didn’t always have the right expertise and it was hard for them to get everything right.
“Now the industry has an unhealthy aversion to deep learning because of this,” Falcon noted. “Lightning and Grid embed all those tricks into the workflow so you no longer need to be a PhD in AI nor [have] the resources of the major AI companies to get these things to work. This makes the opportunity cost of putting a simple model against a sophisticated neural network a few hours’ worth of effort instead of the months it used to take. When you use Lightning and Grid it’s hard to make mistakes. It’s like if you take a bad photo with your phone but we are the phone and make that photo look super professional AND teach you how to get there on your own.”
As Falcon noted, Grid is meant to help data scientists and other ML professionals “scale to match the workloads required for enterprise use cases.” Lightning itself can get them partially there, but Grid is meant to provide all of the services its users need to scale up their models to solve real-world problems.
What exactly that looks like isn’t quite clear yet, though. “Imagine you can find any GitHub repository out there. You get a local copy on your laptop and without making any code changes you spin up 400 GPUs on AWS — all from your laptop using either a web app or command-line-interface. That’s the Lightning “magic” applied to training and building models at scale,” Falcon said. “It is what we are already known for and has proven to be such a successful paradigm shift that all the other frameworks like Keras or TensorFlow, and companies have taken notice and have started to modify what they do to try to match what we do.”
The service is now in private beta.
With this new funding, Grid, which currently has 25 employees, plans to expand its team and strengthen its corporate offering via both Grid AI and through the open-source project. Falcon tells me that he aims to build a diverse team, not in the least because he himself is an immigrant, born in Venezuela, and a U.S. military veteran.
“I have first-hand knowledge of the extent that unethical AI can have,” he said. “As a result, we have approached hiring our current 25 employees across many backgrounds and experiences. We might be the first AI company that is not all the same Silicon Valley prototype tech-bro.”
“Lightning’s open-source traction piqued my interest when I first learned about it a year ago,” Index Ventures’ Sarah Cannon told me. “So intrigued in fact I remember rushing into a closet in Helsinki while at a conference to have the privacy needed to hear exactly what Will and Luis had built. I promptly called my colleague Bryan Offutt who met Will and Luis in SF and was impressed by the ‘elegance’ of their code. We swiftly decided to participate in their seed round, days later. We feel very privileged to be part of Grid’s journey. After investing in seed, we spent a significant amount with the team, and the more time we spent with them the more conviction we developed. Less than a year later and pre-launch, we knew we wanted to lead their Series A.”
President Nicolás Maduro and other high-ranking officials were accused of being behind the detention of government critics and assaults by state security services.
Aggressive oversight of the aid agency by political appointees at the White House and the State Department has delayed humanitarian aid when the world needs it most.
Alberto Paniz-Mondolfi treated some of the world’s most horrendous infectious diseases before fleeing Venezuela. Now that experience is helping him untangle MIS-C.
Sanctions and boycotts have failed to bring down president Nicolás Maduro. Now some opposition leaders are ready to shift strategy and take him on at the ballot box, despite concerns about the vote’s fairness.
A ruined economy and a broken health care system have left President Nicolás Maduro unable to fight the pandemic as other world leaders have. Instead, he’s detained thousands to try to halt the spread.
The high-seas handover blocked two diplomatic adversaries from evading American economic sanctions. Iran denied it was its fuel.
Venezuelan prosecutors said the former Green Berets admitted to taking part in a failed attack aimed at overthrowing the country’s president.
It would be unlawful to allow Mr. Maduro access to the gold, the judge said, because the British government recognizes his rival, Juan Guaidó, as the country’s leader.
“Forced disappearances” are playing a critical role in the Venezuelan government’s efforts to muzzle opponents and instill fear, according to a new report.
Mauricio J. Claver-Carone would be the first president of the Inter-American Development Bank from outside Latin America.
Vaccinations worldwide have dropped as the fight against the coronavirus continues.
The shipment represents a deepening of ties between two pariah states that are both under U.S. sanctions.
Motorists queue for days to buy subsidized gasoline for next to nothing, but it is increasingly scarce — a reflection of the economic absurdities in the country.
Former Representative David Rivera, a strident anti-communist, was quietly consulting for President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist government. He produced just two reports, totaling 5 pages, the lawsuit said.
The operation to overthrow the president failed miserably, and eight rebels were killed. But a former Green Beret who was not on the mission has emerged as the central character.
President Nicolás Maduro said the Americans were among 13 “terrorists” involved in an armed incursion on Sunday.
The world has never faced a hunger emergency like this, experts say. It could double the number of people facing acute hunger to 265 million by the end of this year.
For nations reliant on oil sales, the combination of the price collapse and the coronavirus pandemic has created new threats of poverty and political instability from Iraq to Venezuela.
A pandemic and a seismic shift in global oil markets have shaken the country, posing a severe new test for the president just as he seemed to be tightening his hold on power.
We spent weeks following women inside the country’s health care system, which has been crippled by a broken economy overseen by an increasingly authoritarian government.
They felt on top of the world. Then the world turned upside down.