Tag Archives: startup

Amazon’s AWS acquired meeting productivity startup Do to expand Chime

A business meeting in a conference room. Amazon has quietly made one more acquisition to build out the productivity services on its cloud platform AWS. The company has acquired Do.com, a startup that had built a platform to make meetings more productive by doing things like managing notes in preparation for them, and creating reports for those who were not there, as well as organising the meetings themselves. Amazon is… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Tech in Africa: Uber expands mapping project, Google launches a startup bootcamp, and more


Kenyan mobile money service M-Pesa has long been held up as a prime example of African innovation, and has made its owner Safaricom a leader in the Kenyan telecoms space. However, it now has serious competition. The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), the umbrella body of the banking industry, last month unveiled PesaLink, a digital payments platform it says will cut the cost of transactions and transform the way consumers interact with banks. PesaLink enables customers to make payments between banks in real-time, without having to go through intermediaries like M-Pesa. Mobile money has a challenger. Tech is being used in…

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The Next Web

My 1st Years, a startup that sells personalised gifts for babies and children, raises further £5M

my1styears My 1st Years, a U.K.-based e-commerce startup that offers personalised gifts for babies and children, has picked up £5 million in growth funding. Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Microsoft acquires Maluuba, a startup focused on general artificial intelligence

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-11-26-33-am Microsoft has acquired Canadian startup Maluuba, a company founded by University of Waterloo grads Kaheer Suleman and Sam Pasupalak that also participated in TechCrunch’s 2012 San Francisco Startup Battlefield competition. Maluuba focuses on natural language processing, in service of pursuing general artificial intelligence, or building computers that can think like people. The… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Meet Clean Capital – winner of the TNW NYC startup competition


TNW NYC was a blast (see the photos here, and watch the videos here). Not only did 12 world-class speakers share their personal make or break moments, but it was also the opportunity for 60 of the world’s hottest startups to show thousands of tech influencers the next game-changers. Out of these startups, 30 startups pitched to an audience of journalists and investors during TNW NYC, after which three were selected to go through to a final pitching round on the main stage. Ultimately,  one startup managed to convince the jury and take home the grand prize: Clean Capital. And…

This story continues at The Next Web


The Next Web

Banks reportedly seek to invest $59 million in blockchain startup R3

global blockchain


(Reuters) – Banks involved in the blockchain consortium R3 CEV have expressed interest in investing $ 59 million in the company’s first funding round, less than half its overall target, a person close to the deal said on Friday.

R3, a New York-based startup, is seeking to raise $ 150 million from its members and strategic investors to fund its activities focused on developing blockchain-based technology for the financial services sector.

It had originally sought to raise $ 200 million, offering prospective investors a 90 percent stake in a new entity it would have run but restructured the deal to $ 150 million in return for a 60 percent stake in itself.

It has invited its original 42 bank members to invest first and will subsequently reach out to the other roughly 30 banks it works with as well as external companies, the person said. It plans to raise the overall amount over the next nine to 12 months.

Of those original members, 36 have expressed indications of interest through stakes ranging from $ 3.5 million to $ 1 million each, the person said, declining to be named because the fundraising is private.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Banco Santander and National Bank of Australia have opted out of the fund-raising and are planning to leave the consortium, Reuters reported on Monday.

JP Morgan Chase has not yet made a commitment to invest but does not plan on leaving the consortium, according to a person close the bank.

Australia’s Macquarie bank has also not expressed interest in investing but is looking to remain a member of the group’s blockchain lab, a division that leads testing of new applications, according to a person familiar with the deal. Macquarie declined to comment.

Launched in September 2015, R3 has rapidly gained the backing of some of the world’s largest banks including UBS , Deutsche Bank  and HSBC. Its blockchain consortium and development lab count a total of 70 members, who have so far paid membership fees to participate.

The startup is part of a growing cohort of young companies looking to help large financial institutions adapt blockchain technology to carry out financial processes, such as making international payments or settling trades in securities.

Blockchain, which first emerged as the system underpinning the cryptocurrency bitcoin, is a distributed ledger of transactions maintained by a network of computers on the internet without the need of a central counterparty.

Banks are hoping that it can be deployed in finance to simplify some of their processes and slash back office costs.

(Reporting by Anna Irrera and Jemima Kelly; Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Cynthia Osterman)

Deals – VentureBeat

Cloud-based connected car startup Otonomo raises $12 million

Otonomo


Self-driving car startup Otonomo has closed a $ 12 million series A round, led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Stageone Ventures, with participation from Maniv Mobility and LocalGlobe.

Founded out of Tel Aviv in 2015, Otonomo’s cloud-based platform connects service providers and app developers with millions of connected cars. For example, car manufacturers may use Otonomo to share and monetize car data, while offering drivers access to additional in-car services. The company says that it has already begun trials with manufacturers and service providers, and with an extra $ 12 million in its coffers, it plans to expand and scale its service as it gears up for prime time.

“Gartner has predicted that by 2020, a quarter of a billion connected vehicles will be on the road — all of which will depend on in-car digital apps,” explained Ben Volkow, CEO and cofounder of Otonomo. “But in order for cars to provide the best connected service for drivers, car manufacturers need a platform they trust to share and negotiate data between them and application providers while meeting different data and privacy regulations that respect and accommodate drivers’ privacy. That’s where Otonomo comes in, as our integrated cloud-based platform is a trusted gateway between the services and apps drivers want and the security the automotive industry needs.”

This year has seen a myriad of investments across the connected car and autonomous vehicle realm. Automile, a startup that helps companies manage their vehicle fleets, recently secured a $ 6.2 million investment; Civil Maps, a mapping startup that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and local vehicle-based processing to convert data obtained from a car’s sensors into “meaningful map information” for use in autonomous vehicles, raised $ 6.6 million; FiveAI closed a $ 2.7 million funding round for its machine-learning smarts that could underpin the autonomous cars of the future; and Drive Time Metrics raised $ 2.1 million to monetize connected car data.

Elsewhere, a number of startups have been snapped up by bigger companies as the autonomous vehicle land-grab enters overdrive — for example, Cruise Automation was acquired by GM for over $ 1 billion, while Uber acquired self-driving truck startup Otto.

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Deals – VentureBeat

The House Fund unveils Berkeley startup incubator and $2 million philanthropic round

The House


Partners in the Berkeley-based House Fund announced Wednesday that they’re doubling down on their efforts to support startups emerging from U.C. Berkeley [Cal]. The group has launched a nonprofit venture that has built a 7,000 square-foot incubator and office space for Berkeley student, faculty, and alumni-founded startups. The facility will also have space to host private and community events.

To support this effort, a $ 2 million philanthropic fund has been created — dedicated to the incubator — called The House. The capital will also pay employee salaries and other expenses.

“We wanted to provide the missing home for Berkeley’s startup ecosystem,” explained Cameron Baradar, managing director for The House. For the past four years, he has been working with The House Fund’s managing partner, Jeremy Fiance, in reaching out to the area’s startup community. “There is so much activity on Berkeley’s campus, but because it is such a large university, by population, there is a lot of confusion in navigating the campus’ resources. This is directly related to our vision for a startup institute – we want to provide founders with what they need, when they need it, by building pathways of resources for Berkeley’s founders across all stages.”

The House is an extension of Fiance’s venture fund, which debuted in April to fund pre-seed and seed-stage companies with ties to the university. Previously a managing partner with the Dorm Room Fund, Fiance shared at the time why he created this investment vehicle: “I saw a huge investment opportunity after writing an 85-page senior thesis looking at Cal startups over the last decade. Cal is number two for venture-backed startups…the top four schools are Cal, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford…all have funds of more than $ 100 million; Cal has no fund.”

After securing the $ 6 million to invest, the next step is to provide more resources for Berkeley-affiliated startups. The House is designed to support UC Berkeley and founders. A portion of the money returned from The House Fund will be used to support The House nonprofit.

Baradar said while the space is free to use, access is through one of the organization’s three initiatives: The House Founders, which supports student entrepreneurs; The House Residency, which supports local startups; and The House Fund, which is the aforementioned $ 6 million fund Fiance raised.

Perhaps the best way to think about The House is as an office space adjacent to Berkeley’s campus. It follows patterns set by not only venture firms but also corporations that offer startups they support a place to congregate. Described as a “startup institute,” The House is not geared to those who are only staying several months, but rather toward startups that will be around over a 2-6 year timeline and want to have access to thousands of researchers and a large community of alumni.

It’s quite possible that Fiance and his team are looking to find the next big startup, especially after UC Berkeley played a role in the founding of companies like Caviar, Life360, InDinero, Apple, Intel, Niantic, Tesla, Oculus, FireEye, Shazam, Nextdoor, Lithium, Cloudera, Tanium, and DoorDash — all of which have at least one founder from the campus.

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Social – VentureBeat

European food delivery startup Deliveroo raises $275 million

Deliveroo


London-based Deliveroo today announced it’s raised a hefty $ 275 million in order to expand its European operations beyond the 84 cities (and one dozen countries) where it currently operates. Deliveroo currently serves the likes of France, Germany, Hong Kong, and the U.K. (of course) — but the startup has remained absent from the GrubHub-saturated U.S. market.

With fresh capital in hand, the food and booze delivery company says it will also use the new funds to invest in RooBox, which — Deliveroo says — “gives restaurants access to delivery-only kitchens in key locations, accelerating geographic expansion.”

London investor Bridgepoint Capital, Russia’s DST Global, and U.S. firms General Catalyst and Greenoaks Capital participated in the round. The company had previously raised at least $ 195 million, including a $ 100 million round in November 2015, a $ 70 million round that July, and another $ 25 million in January.

 

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Deals – VentureBeat

Twitter buys deep learning startup Magic Pony in live video push

Twitter logo


Today Twitter announced that it’s acquired Magic Pony, an 18-month-old machine learning startup with a funny name.

In a blog post, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the startup’s tech “will be used to enhance our strength in live and video and opens up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities for Twitter.”

A Twitter spokesperson declined to share how much the company paid for Magic Pony. TechCrunch, citing sources, says Twitter will pay $ 150 million for the company, including bonuses.

Twitter’s commitment to live video is clearly no joke, but the company faces stiff competition: Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube are also fiercely competing for live video views.

Dorsey said Magic Pony’s staff will join a team inside Twitter that’s “dedicated to building a product in which people can easily find new experiences to share and participate in.” That “product” is a reference to Twitter itself, not an entirely new service, a Twitter spokesperson said.

Magic Pony said in a separate announcement that Twitter will use its “technology to improve the visual experiences that are delivered across their apps.”

Updated 6:57 a.m. PT with details on the price.

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Deals – VentureBeat