Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report Reveals the "New Normal" of Starting a Business Post-Pandemic
Ripplewood about to invest 1 bn in AI
Floship Becomes Second Recipient of Investment from FedEx Innovation Lab
Bentley Systems Announces iTwin Activate: Infrastructure Internet of Things
Hong Kong Startup SleekFlow Successfully Integrates GPT-4 to Drive Customer Interactions
Tracxn releases its Geo Quarterly Report: US Tech - Q1 2023: US Startups raise $38.4 billion in Q1 2023, 44% lower than Q1 2022
City Transformer from Tel Aviv wins startup competition
EDP Renewables launches Energy Starter 2022, program to promote innovative initiatives in the energy sector
Entrepreneurs and StartUp founders call for change of direction for a livable mobility of the future
MIND Shifter seeks the best startups at the intersection of technology, mobility and sustainability
Research: African tech-start funding will double by 2025
African business leaders are forecasting a surge in spending on tech start-ups as foreign direct investment and improved internet connectivity helps establish the continent as a tech superpower, new research* for blockchain-based mobile network operator World Mobile shows. More than half (54%) of African senior executives expect spending on tech start-ups on the continent will more than double by 2025 to $10 billion or over compared with the $4.9 billion raised last year**. Around one in six (16%) believe more than $15 billion will be raised. The study with African business leaders from companies with total annual revenues of more than $6.75 billion identified foreign direct investment and improving internet connectivity as the key drivers for the expansion. Around three-quarters (75%) believe the investment will come from Western countries while 66% believe China will be a major source of investment. Nearly six out of 10 (57%) believe dramatic improvements in internet connectivity will be the main support for expansion as it drives education, healthcare, and business. The research among senior executives at companies with average annual revenues of $70 million based in Tanzania, Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa found nearly half (45%) believe Africa will be a tech superpower within 10 years. They point to the development of Africa’s tech ecosystem – nearly 90% of those interviewed expect it to grow by at least half its current size in the next three years with 15% expecting it to double in size during that period. That in turn will expand Africa’s role in supplying technology to the rest of the world – around 60% of executives expect that to grow in the next five years with one in 10 predicting dramatic expansion. Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile said: “Africa is seen as ripe for economic expansion by its own business leaders and technology will play a vital role in delivering the development. “The potential is huge as currently Africa only accounts for 0.2% of the global money invested in technology start-ups so there is capacity for growth and huge interest from Western and Chinese foreign direct investment. “Much of it hinges however on improving internet connectivity and particularly in areas which are hard to reach and ignored by traditional companies. We are committed to playing our part in supporting the development of technology businesses throughout the continent.” World Mobile is helping to revolutionise internet connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa and is already working with the government in Zanzibar where it is launching a unique hybrid mobile network delivering connectivity supported by low altitude platform balloons. Its blockchain-based network vastly reduces capital expenditure and cuts prices compared to traditional telecom operators and World Mobile is expanding in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other territories underserviced by traditional mobile operators. Its balloons will be the first to officially launch in Africa for commercial use, offering a more cost-effective way to provide digital connection to people and is the first step in its mission to help bring nearly four billion people online before 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank’s SDGs. The World Mobile approach is more sustainable, in environmental, social and governance terms. Environmental impacts are mitigated using solar-powered nodes, second-life batteries, and energy-efficient technology. World Mobile creates a positive societal impact through the application of its circular economy model – a “sharing economy” where locals share in the ownership and rewards of the network. Governance is maintained by the secure underlying blockchain technology, which means that user data privacy is guaranteed and not commercially applied as it is by other mobile operators.
WellSaid Labs Named to the 2022 CB Insights AI 100 List of Most Innovative Artificial Intelligence Startups
CB Insights today named WellSaid Labs to its annual AI100 ranking, showcasing the 100 most promising private artificial intelligence companies in the world. "This is the sixth year that CB Insights has recognized the most promising private artificial intelligence companies with the AI 100. This year's cohort spans 13 industries, working on everything from recycling plastic waste to improving hearing aids," said Brian Lee, SVP of CB Insights’ Intelligence Unit. "Last year's AI 100 companies had a remarkable run, raising more than $6 billion, including 20 mega-rounds worth more than $100 million each. We’re excited to watch the companies on this year’s list continue to grow and create products and services that meaningfully impact the world around them.” “WellSaid Labs is extremely proud that CB Insights has again recognized our team as top in AI Media. This honor reflects WellSaid’s mission commitment to delivering the world’s highest quality AI voice for all by enabling content creators to easily generate engaging voice content for education, training and instructional videos for internal communications, consumer media and other creative business uses,” said Matt Hocking, CEO of WellSaid Labs. Utilizing the CB Insights platform, the research team picked 100 private market vendors from a pool of over 7,000 companies, including applicants and nominees. They were chosen based on factors including R&D activity, proprietary Mosaic scores, market potential, business relationships, investor profile, news sentiment analysis, competitive landscape, team strength, and tech novelty. The research team also reviewed thousands of Analyst Briefings submitted by applicants. In June 2020, WellSaid Labs' text-to-speech became the first to achieve human parity for naturalness on short audio clips across multiple voices. WellSaid Labs has rearchitected TTS to resolve business’ toughest content development problems and deliver an easy way for content creators — big or small — to develop all their desired content in one consistent voice. WellSaid Labs’ Voice Avatar library provides access to multiple read styles and tones anyone can use for their productions. Brands of all sizes can create their own AI Voice Avatars to spec — capturing the likeliness, style, and uniqueness of the voice needed to tell their stories the right way. Quick facts on the 2022 AI 100: (1) Equity funding and deals: Since 2017, the 2022 AI 100 cohort has raised $12 billion+ from 650 investors, across 300+ equity deals. (2) Unicorns: There are 16 companies with $1 billion+ valuations on the list. (3) Geographic distributions: Seventy-three of the selected companies are headquartered in the US. Eight of the winners are based in the UK, followed by five in Canada. Other countries represented in this year’s list include India, Sweden, China, and Germany.
London’s UCL Edtech Labs Chooses Toronto, Canada to Launch Inaugural Americas Accelerator with Knowledgehook
University College London’s (UCL) edtech accelerator programme called Edtech Labs has launched into the Americas today with their first cohort of startups inducted, and all set to begin the 12-week experience. In partnership with Knowledgehook, a leading fast growth Canada-based edtech, the programme will shine a spotlight on ambitious founders who see the importance of applying UCL’s robust research methods in building their products to reach tangible educational impact in a world of gamified and technology first edtechs. Innovative edtechs companies will join from across the continent, representing Canada, The United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, and more in the first group. Programme Director and Founder of UCL Edtech Labs, Houtan Froushan remarked: “We’re excited to bring our programme to the Americas via Toronto which is abuzz with edtech fever. This expansion embraces the many opportunities that become available through international collaborations and cooperation with innovators and developers around the world. It is estimated over the next 30 years, we will see a further 2 billion learners, so developing businesses and designing products with the learner at the heart is fundamental if we are to fulfil our joint purpose of improving education for everybody, everywhere.” The workshops will be led by experts who have trained hundreds of founders, while the teams will experience first-hand what a successful startup culture looks like, being hosted at the Knowledgehook offices and with access to insights from their team members. Knowledgehook has become UCL Edtech Labs’ partner in the Americas, encompassing North, Central and South America. The partnership will combine the innovative approach and regional-sector knowledge of Knowledgehook to the London learning innovations programme that has grown out of University College London. Newly appointed President of the Americas of UCL EdTech Labs, Qamar Qureshi said “We are proud of the establishment, and excited with the prospects, of this prestigious partnership. Our joint aim is to make Toronto not only the hub of research-backed technology solutions, but also a growth catalyst in the Americas as well as a launch pad for international businesses. The buzz and positivity across the sector both in Toronto and across the continent is encouraging, and we’re thrilled for this inauguaral cohort of edtech entrepeneurs. This partnership is a natural progression as it is through international cooperation, bringing differing perspectives and ideas to the forefront, that we will see this exciting ecosystem grow to fulfil the potential impact education has on the world, while leaving no learner behind.” “This new joint initiative will also help build and develop the flow of edtech investments to alternative markets. Last year we saw a 3X rise in venture funding in our sector compared to pre-pandemic levels, adding 17 new edtech unicorns for a total of 38 globally. With Toronto’s ecosystem of talent in research and engineering and our access to financial markets, attracting several tech giants to the city already, it has become the ideal environment for early-stage companies. This combination of academia and Big Tech has fostered innovative global collaborations, further justifying the need for this partnership as we marry cutting-edge and equitable research-proven technology with patient capital.” The cohort of twelve startups from all over the Americas are convening in Toronto, Canada and will be hosted at the Knowledgehook offices. The 12-week programme will consist of applying the UCL Edtech Labs’ research-focused method to their products and ventures, expert and academic mentoring and a range of community events. The programme culminates in a Demo Day, where participants will pitch to investors, publishers and policy makers. CEO and Co-Founder of Knowledghook,Travis Ratnam acknowledged the importance of this new partnership: “From day one, Houtan and his team have strived to reach the same objective of enabling an evidence-led approach to product development to gain greater impact and visibility into a global scenario. “Both organisations strongly believe that only with alliances between Edtech ventures and grounded research-based academic support can we drive the global ecosystem to promote innovation in a way that meets the needs of the learner.”
A new round for one of Europe’s biggest innovation challenges in energy and climate
Startup 4 Climate, one of Europe’s biggest innovation challenges in energy and climate, is back for another round after last year’s record season. The 2021 edition saw a record number of submissions from young companies with novel ideas for realising the energy transition as well as creating a positive effect on the climate. 2 million SEK are once more up for grabs and the expert jury looks forward to digging into even more innovations for the energy transition. The winners of the 2021 edition, Stockholm-based Flower (fka Krafthem) and Ligna Energy from Norrköping, shared a total of 2 million SEK for their innovative ideas in power grid flexibility and bio-based batteries. Since then, things have taken off for both companies. Increased market recognition, turnover, and multi-million investments are clear signs of the massive interest in new solutions that can help us reduce emissions, electrify societies, and drive a sustainable energy development. – In a time, burdened by a grotesque war in our vicinity and an accelerating climate crisis, this optimistic competition that promotes innovation as a solution is more important than ever. Startup 4 Climate highlights people, companies, and ideas that promote a development we all want, says Maria Erdmann, CEO of GodEl and co-founder of Startup 4 Climate. - Seeking Swedish startups The challenge is open for Swedish startups and aims to find, promote, and support entrepreneurs that have developed innovations with the capacity to accelerate the energy transition. This can be through products or services that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, or create sustainable behaviour changes. –While benefits to the climate and energy systems are core elements, innovative thinking, creativity, and scalability are equally important to us. Last year’s finalists brought an amazing mix of down-to-earth innovations, engagement, and unique inventions, says Johan Lindehag, CEO of Ellevio and one of the founders of Startup 4 Climate. About the challenge and the jury: Startup 4 Climate 2022 opens for submissions on May 10th. Deadline for participation is August 21st, followed by the people’s vote, a pitch event, and lastly, the crowning of this year’s winners during the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 on November 17th. The expert jury consists of: Lina Bertling Tjernberg, Prof. & Dir. Energy Platform KTH Stefan Krook, Serial entrepreneur and founder of GodEl Johan Lindehag, CEO Ellevio Johanna Mossberg, VP Biorefinery & Energy RISE Jane Walerud, serial entrepreneur and angel investor. Startup 4 Climate is one of Europe’s biggest innovation challenges aimed at accelerating the energy transition. The best ideas with a high potential for creating a positive impact on the climate win. The challenge is founded by Ellevio and GodEl and supported by the innovation hub Things and the network We Don’t Have Time. https://startup4climate.com/
Epishine is part of Europe's 37 leading deeptech companies selected by the EU to participate in their EIC Growth Club
The Swedish company Epishine is one of 37 European deeptech startups that have been selected to participate in the EIC (European Innovation Council) Growth Club, an accelerator program dedicated to helping selected companies reach their growth potential. The program is funded by the European Union and aims to support the companies to raise capital of half a billion euros over the next 12 months. “Epishine was selected out of over 3000 EIC beneficiaries due to the high scalability potential of its solution, its existing track record, and the excellence of its management team” Bpifrance – EuroQuity. Epishine has previously received funding from the EIC through a grant of €2.3 million through the Horizon 2020 program. Among the 3000+ companies that have undergone one of the EIC financing programs, the 37 most successful projects have now been selected to participate in the EIC Growth club. The companies within EIC Growth Club will now receive extensive support to promote their growth plans and ambitions. “Deep technologies are already transforming businesses and society. EIC Growth Club is betting on the potential of 37 deeptech startups in digital, health and sustainability, to develop solutions that will positively shape our future economic, industrial and social activity.” says Antoine Gourevitch, Managing Director & Senior Partner at BCG, one of the implementing partners. “We are very pleased to have been selected as one of Europe's most interesting companies that are combining deeptech with sustainability. Having the support and being connected to EIC Growth Club's strategic network of investors and partners will be of great value in our journey to reduce the global environmental impact.” comments Mattias Josephson, co-founder and VP of business development at Epishine. The EIC is a unique project within the European Innovation Council that supports the upscaling of some of Europe's best deeptech companies by bringing them together with a large number of investors and is in addition offering a portfolio of services to support their global expansion. The goal of EIC Growth Club is to take Europe to the forefront of the global innovation and new technology ecosystem.
New Comcast RISE eligibility allows for more Houston-area women business owners to apply for no-cost marketing services and technology makeovers
Comcast RISE, a small business support program that’s helped more than 500 Houston-area businesses with grants and no-cost marketing services and technology makeovers, is now expanding eligibility to all women business owners who have been impacted by the pandemic. All women business owners — regardless of race or ethnicity— can now apply through June 17, 2022 at www.ComcastRise.com Comcast RISE, which stands for Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment, is a multi-year commitment to support small businesses owned by people of color through advancing digital equity — a concept that recognizes everyone’s life circumstances are different and underrepresented small businesses should have access to the digital and marketing tools necessary to be successful in a digital world. The expansion of eligibility comes after Comcast RISE celebrated its one-year anniversary. Nationally, the program provided more than $60 million in grants, no-cost marketing and technology services to more than 6,700 small businesses owned by people of color, including Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and Asian Americans, among others. Of the 6,700 Comcast RISE recipients to date, nearly 70% are businesses owned by women of color, which spurred Comcast to take a deeper look into the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. According to a study by the National Association of Women Business Owners, 42% of businesses in the U.S. are owned by women, with more than 1,800 new businesses being started every day. That’s nearly five times the national average. However, according to the same study, women-owned businesses are growing at only half the rate of those run by men, namely because women struggle to access capital and other resources to help them succeed. In 2021, Houston-area woman-owned small businesses like All Real Radio, LAMIK Beauty, and Connect The Dots PR, were awarded either grants and/or digital tools needed to thrive and support their respective communities. The business owners serve as ambassadors to the program. Over the next 10 years, Comcast is committing $1 billion to programs, like Comcast RISE, and partnerships to reach an estimated 50 million people with the skills, opportunities, and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world. In addition to women-owned businesses, all businesses owned by people of color are encouraged to apply for the chance to receive no-cost consulting, media and creative production services from Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, or technology upgrades from Comcast Business.
NOAH Conference Assembles Historic Line-Up of 300 Impact Entrepreneurs and Investors in Zurich
After a 2-year break, NOAH Conference, the platform known as the European event to connect capital with startups of all sizes is back with a focus on sustainable tech companies. The 20th NOAH Conference will take place 6th – 7th of December at the Circle Airport in Zurich. The new conference venue operated by Hyatt Hotels features a 2,800 sqm event space with a spectacular main stage of the highest standard. Since 2009, NOAH has hosted the fastest-growing European digital companies. The top 100 NOAH speakers grew their valuation 35x from the first time on stage to a value of almost €700 billion today. The NOAH speakers are leaders in their markets and often push regulation and open markets through innovation. It is our objective to bring this expertise and the whole NOAH platform to the relatively poorly structured impact sector. Digital business models can make sustainable companies profitable and investable. NOAH is a collaboration platform that supports natural global ecosystems by identifying market-leading tech solutions that solve global challenges like the climate crisis, pressure on indigenous peoples and their culture, loss of forests, loss of endangered species, water and energy shortages The conference concept provides value to various different groups, enabling them to work together to achieve sustainability. Key stakeholders are conservation landowners, NGOs, investors, politicians, scientists, corporates, tech solution providers and indigenous people. The best tech solution and most needed regulatory or political change will be voted for through on-site opinion polling by speakers and attendees (“the NOAH List”). The conference objectives are to educate, help establish new relationships, as well as raise funds for startups and environmental projects. The NOAH List is published yearly as an urgently needed guide for policy makers and asset owners. Like the digital economy, the sustainability sector stands for a new beginning and a parallel economy which has a 15-25 year long-term attractive investment growth horizon. NOAH will continue what it does best: finding new attractive markets and its leading entrepreneurs. 80% of NOAH Zurich’s 300 speakers are sustainability tech companies addressing all concerns of the IPCC emission wheel, spanning from industry to industry. Current confirmed speaker line-up (see details in the attachment enclosed). Carbon Markets (17) Conservation (23) Big Data (18) ESG (7) AgriTech (12) Food and Water (12) Transportation (12) Fair Finance (14) Circular Economy (16) Construction (5) Energy (6) Education (8) Healthcare (10) SaaS (21) Content (8) Unicorns (21) Investors (32) NOAH Zurich will further feature close to 30 European digital unicorns and local Swiss digital and sustainable market leaders. Registration on https://noah.swoogo.com/noah21-zurich/begin Virtual attendance from €84 and physical attendance from €840 Use code WeDontHaveTime for 15% discount valid until 14th of November Selected confirmed speakers: Simonetta Sommaruga, Bundesrätin Environment Switzerland Sir Ronald Cohen, Global Steering Group for Impact Investment Steve Jurvetson, Future Ventures, investor Tesla and Space-X Marc Walder, Ringier Carsten Koerl, Sportradar Gilles Despas, Scout24.ch Johannes Reck, Getyourguide Maximilian Tayenthal, N26 Niklas Östberg, Delivery Hero Jochen Engert, Flixbus Klaus Hommels, Lakestar WeDonthaveTime (“WDHT”), the review platform for climate solutions with a member base of 50,000 climate professionals has partnered with NOAH to provide relevant content and experts to the December event. Nick Nuttall, former Director of Communications and Outreach, Spokesperson for the UN Environment Programme, and CEO and Founder of WDHT Ingmar Rentzhog will conduct live interviews and reports directly from the event.
Pinpoint: UK startup Naurt unveils first-of-its-kind location hyper-precise tracking software that improves GPS
Geo-location startup, Naurt, has today announced full public access to a game-changing software set to unlock the future of hyper-precise location tracking. Following a year of beta testing with a pilot group of high-profile local and international businesses and governments, Naurt has now made their first-of-its-kind software accessible to any and all businesses around the globe. The startup’s plug-and-play toolkit currently has no direct competitors and promises to deliver 45 times more accurate location data when used indoors or outdoors and across borders. Current Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology – what most people think of as GPS or SatNav – simply cannot ensure accuracy in built-up areas where even a reasonably large tree can make pinpointing an exact location impossible. Even in open spaces, industries that rely on knowing where something is in relation to something else are still using outdated technology that is good enough at best. Naurt’s software does not replace the satellite location services businesses currently use. Instead, it simply integrates seamlessly with it and fixes the problems that cause the location data to be inaccurate. Where businesses might currently be able to pinpoint a location to within around 20 metres, integrating Naurt could improve accuracy to within centimetres. Jack Maddalena, Co-founder and CEO of Naurt commented: “Naurt is making geo-location ultra precise. Standard satellite location services are no longer fit for purpose and are costing businesses and people time, money and safety. We have created the world’s first platform that is able to improve on this without the need for extra hardware. The work we are doing will be transformational for people and businesses around the world”. In a recent pilot for a large micro-mobility company, Naurt corrected location fixes by an average of 14.6 metres with a maximum correction of as much as 78 metres. Enabling their fleet with Naurt software made it possible for the company to expand into extremely built-up cities that would have previously been out of the question. There will soon be a scooter on every street corner as the micro-mobility trend builds momentum globally. However, many cities will refuse to invite these companies onto their streets if they cannot guarantee the level of safety only Naurt enablement can ensure. In practical terms, Naurt has already improved one of the largest food delivery companies in the world by 40%. Despite unprecedented growth in the last mile delivery market recently, major players still rely on location data that is miles away from accurate. Innovation has halted in similar areas such as micro-mobility, autonomous construction, drone delivery and smart city design as a result of inadequate tracking capabilities. Naurt is making waves in the micro-mobility sector, helping companies win bids through passing safety legislation and enabling them to expand into previously untouchable places. A Naurt-enabled fleet can enforce parking zones (no more scooter litter), throttle speeds in no-go zones and offer smart lane detection. Naurt has helped micro-mobility companies improve their location fixes by an average of 40% during beta testing, eliminating what is known as GNSS drift, so customers and charge teams can track scooters down to the lamp post they are leaning against. “Put simply, your on-demand food delivery service cannot accurately estimate when your pizza will arrive or guarantee that it will be hot when it does. The restaurant cannot tell how far away your driver is or whether to wait before firing up the oven. That means your driver will wait longer when they arrive at the restaurant and fit in less deliveries that evening as a result. Once your pizza is en route, you can only track its progress through vague updates like “on it’s way”, “around the corner” or “nearby” leaving you hanging out the window or loitering by the door waiting for them to get your location wrong – just like last time. But all that is about to change” added Jack Maddalena. Naurt’s mission is to unlock innovation by providing an essential enabler without which rapid progress in sectors that rely on GNSS would simply not be possible. The startup will remove a significant barrier to breakthroughs in emerging technologies and industries such as self-driving cars, automated construction, drone deliveries, last mile logistics, micro-mobility and more. Jack Maddalena said: “Naurt’s innovation enables a diverse sphere of enterprises to improve their solutions, unlock opportunities and break into new markets. We have seen the impact of our work with our customers who, through intelligent location data, are identifying revenues in ways once thought impossible. Here at Naurt, we can imagine a future where there is a new technological revolution based on location hyper-precision and we believe strongly that Naurt is the company to make this happen.”
ShowStoppers to help journalists discover startups mentored, funded by Keiretsu Forum Southern California
ShowStoppers® today announced it is partnering with Keiretsu Forum Southern California (K4Socal.com) to help journalists discover startups mentored and funded by the community of accredited private-equity and angel investors, venture capitalists, corporate and institutional investors, incubators, business leaders, entrepreneurs and universities. K4Socal.com is a region within Keiretsu Forum, a worldwide network of 54 chapters on 3 continents with capital, technology, talent, resources and deal flow that to date has invested more than $1B USD into companies – including a record 314 fundings into seed, early-stage and late-stage companies during 2020, led by life science, healthcare and medical devices, consumer products, and environmental and emerging technologies. The Southern California region of Keiretsu Forum comprises four chapters in San Diego, Westlake Village, Los Angeles and Orange County. Startups working with K4Socal may elect to meet journalists and demo new products and services at press-only events that ShowStoppers produces during CES, MWC, IFA, CEATEC and other trade shows around the world – and during the press conferences that stream on ShowStoppers TV, the digital platform that launched in April 2020. ShowStoppers TV broadcasts live and on-demand events that enable marketers, brands, startups, industry leaders, innovators and PR teams to pitch new products and engage in conversation with journalists around the world. Startups working with K4Socal may apply to participate in ShowStoppers Launchit – the pitch events that connect startups to media, distributors, retailers and buyers. Startups working with ShowStoppers may apply to participate in K4Socal roadshow and investor forums, and may qualify for access to Keiretsu deal flow, talent, technologies and other resources needed to build and grow successful ventures. The investor community of K4Socal will be invited to participate at in-person and digital ShowStoppers events. “Entrepreneurs need more than funding,” said Connie Harrell, Regional President, Keiretsu Forum Southern California. “They also need exposure with the press, marketing and promotions, to create a generous return for the investors who mentor and fund those entrepreneurs. This partnership with ShowStoppers provides that.”
Yoodli, A Startup Backed by Madrona Venture Group and the Allen Institute for AI (AI2), Applies AI to Life's Biggest Stress: Public Speaking
Yoodli, a startup leveraging AI to help people develop the necessary soft skills to present and communicate confidently, opened early access to their beta product at www.yoodli.ai. The founding team of Varun Puri, Esha Joshi, and Dr. Ehsan Hoque, alumni from GoogleX, Apple and the MIT Media Lab, brings a passion to a challenge that most people experience every day. The Company is also announcing it has already raised $1M in pre-seed funding from the Allen Institute for AI and Madrona Venture Group. “Many of us have struggled with public speaking and have been on the receiving end of poorly delivered presentations,” said Varun Puri, co-founder of Yoodli. “During my time in Silicon Valley, I met countless colleagues, often fellow immigrants, who didn’t receive the recognition they deserved because they struggled to communicate effectively. Our platform will be an incredible leveler enabling people to practice and get real time feedback based on science as well as from friends and coaches.” According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the fear of public speaking affects 73% of people. However, we all need to speak in group settings — remember the awkward wedding toasts, dull classroom presentations, and never-ending team meetings? Numerous studies have suggested that oral communication is the number one skill that college students find useful post-graduation and yet is not taught in a direct way while in school. “As a female engineer in a male dominated industry, I felt like I had to try even harder for people to take me seriously,” said Esha Joshi, co-founder and CTO of Yoodli. “The nerves and doubts before a presentation can be crushing, and the feeling of successfully expressing yourself in front of an audience is a huge confidence booster. Our platform takes you from the nerves to the confident persona you need to achieve your goals.” Puri previously ran special projects for the President of Alphabet and then led Africa operations for a GoogleX initiative that is expanding internet connectivity using invisible lasers. Joshi brings her expertise as an Apple engineering lead as well as her experience speaking at large gatherings such as the Grace Hopper Conference to the mission of Yoodli. Dr. Hoque, the co-lead of the Rochester Human Computing Interaction group and MIT 35 Innovators Under 35 awardee, adds decades of research experience building AI interfaces to upskill the workforce. His work has helped people with autism practice communication skills, doctors prepare for end-of-life conversations with patients, and Parkinson’s patients detect their condition directly from their computer screens. “We see a tremendous opportunity to use AI as a way to improve human social and cognitive skills,” said Matt Mcllwain, Managing Director of Madrona. “We like to back exciting teams from Day One and this team has the passion, technical and industry experience that inspires us to come to work every day. And give presentations!” Yoodli is hiring for applied AI engineers, fullstack developers and a Head of Growth. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested and sign up at www.yoodli.ai to join the product waitlist.
Coding start-up Rocket Academy attracts marquee tech investors to address global talent shortage of developers
Rocket Academy, a start-up providing online coding courses, today announced it has raised $1.1 million in pre-seed funding. The investment comes from a consortium of 50 marquee tech investors and venture capitalists including entrepreneurs Darius Cheung from 99.co, Marcus Tan from Carousell and Stanley Tang from DoorDash, former Singapore Ambassador to the UN Kishore Mahbubani, SEA tech leaders’ investment network XA Network, and VC firms Taurus Ventures and Hustle Fund. Rocket Academy will use this funding to grow the company into the leading coding school in Southeast Asia helping to address the current industry-wide shortage in software engineers. Rocket Academy has developed two courses to date: Coding Basics, an introductory course for beginners to learn the basics of coding; and Software Engineering Bootcamp (SEB), which prepares students for a career in software engineering. All course material is pre-recorded for students to review and complete at their own pace. Rocket Academy holds regular live classes over Zoom for students to clarify concepts with instructors, apply learning in pair exercises and network with classmates. Classes are online allowing greater flexibility and efficiency, and the course platform allows high levels of engagement between students and teachers. Kai Yuan Neo, Founder and CEO at Rocket Academy commented: “There is a mounting global talent shortage of developers around the world. As of December 2020 this amounted to 40 million developers worldwide. By 2030, that is expected to reach 85.2 million. Not only this but companies worldwide risk losing $8.4 trillion in revenue because of the lack of skilled talent. Rocket Academy exists to solve this equation and we are on a mission to scale further and faster.” In addition to teaching, Rocket Academy helps its SEB graduates find their dream software engineering jobs through resume development, portfolio development and interview preparation. Rocket Academy leverages its network of companies sourcing for software engineers, makes referrals and helps set up job interviews for SEB graduates. To date, Rocket Academy has a 100% success rate in placing SEB graduates in software engineering jobs within companies and organisations such as 99.co, Xfers, Glints, GovTech, and GoTrade. “Getting our students good jobs is our top priority. The better jobs our students get, the stronger our alumni network becomes, which enables us to find better jobs for future students,” said Kai Yuan Neo. “Over the past months the demand for our SEB graduates from businesses has doubled. So far we have successfully placed all SEB graduates. We are so confident that our SEB graduates will find coding jobs that we will refund their fees if they still cannot find a job 6 months after graduation.” Although Rocket Academy is a small start-up, it has lofty ambitions – to train and supply the best software engineers in the region. Rocket Academy will invest its pre-seed funding in two key areas. First, further developing its flagship products, Coding Basics and Software Engineering Bootcamp courses. This involves strengthening course curriculum and improving the learning platform to boost the student experience. Second, expanding to new markets, specifically Hong Kong and Australia in the short term, other Southeast Asian markets in the medium term, and then globally in the long term. To succeed, Rocket Academy will need the best software engineering and education talents to craft its student experience. The company prides itself on a work environment with highest-calibre peers, transparent company progress, decentralised decision making, and flexible work arrangements. Rocket Academy is actively hiring and targets to double its headcount by end 2021. “Over the past 3 months we have seen a 10-fold increase in demand for our Coding Basics course and a 4-fold increase in demand for our SEB course. We are regularly in touch with businesses to understand technical skills that software engineers need. This allows us to refine our curriculum to make it relevant and appropriate for students looking for rewarding software engineering careers,” added Kai Yuan Neo. “Rocket Academy is exactly what Singapore needs now. To get good middle-class jobs, young Singaporeans need to be globally competitive in the digital space. Rocket Academy provides these critical skills. This initiative couldn’t be more timely!” said Kishore Mahbubani, Former Singapore Ambassador to the UN and angel investor in Rocket Academy’s pre-seed round.
Series A Funding Round with Xsolla as Lead Investor
Cubios Inc., the creator of the WOWCube ® entertainment system, raised $1.5 million from a lead investor Xsolla Inc. in Series A funding round. Xsolla is the video game commerce company powered by its Transaction Engine and Business Engine to help developers and publishers market, sell, connect and optimize their games globally. Other participants include Dobro Capital, Starta Capital, InvestFest Network VC, Quonota, and individual angel investors that put in an additional $3 million of investment to the current round. The WOWCube ® entertainment system is a new kind of digital device in the shape of a cube made of 8 connected modules. The entire surface of the cube is covered by 24 high-resolution screens that convert six sides of the device into a gameplay field. You control the 2x2 cube by twisting, tilting, tapping and shaking. It delivers a unique user experience of interacting with the digital world as if it is a real object. Dmitri Bourkovski, Chief Investment Officer at Xsolla, comments: "We don't see such unique inventions in the game industry every day. I believe that the WOWCube ® entertainment system will be in every household soon as Rubik's cube once was. This new digital gadget provides an absorbing gameplay experience that doesn't end thanks to an open platform for developers. Anyone can create a new game or entertaining app for the cube and engage a user to continue playing. This investment aligns with our strategy to harness every innovating trend in the gaming industry". At the moment, Cubios Inc. is working on more than 30 different games, including arcade games, puzzles, logic and strategy games, gamified educational apps, and many more games for casual and skillful players of all ages. This year, the company will launch a pre-order campaign and open the SDK to third party developers. Ilya Osipov, the President and Founder of Cubios Inc., comments: "Xsolla is not an ordinary investor, it’s much more for us. The company provides extremely smart money and synergistic partnership by opening to us an access to their ecosystem and a large community of game developers. We’re sure that The Game Investment Platform announced by Xsolla earlier this year, will help our developers to express their creativity in full by making many unique and absorbing games for our device. We're proud to have such a close relationship with the $3 billion company, which we are eager to learn from and follow." The WOWCube ® entertainment system is the result of five years of continuous research and development that is supported by 6 approved and 3 pending patents, and by multiple awards, including Last Gadget Standing, Edison Award, CES Innovation Award, Muse Design Award, and others. Cubios Inc. has already attracted interest from distributors in 18 countries with preliminary orders for 155,000 devices with the highest demand coming from Japan. The deadline for those who would like to join the company’s Series A funding round will end on September 30, 2021.
British AI tech firm Kortical beats Google as it helps drive revenues for business
A British AI tech start-up Kortical, which helps companies use machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, has improved 10x their success rate of generating positive outcomes across their organisations vs the industry average. Companies use ML and AI to help predict demand for their products and services, for pricing and an array of business decisions yet only 9% of these tech implementations are ROI positive. Kortical’s platform is able to quickly absorb the data sets of any company and creates algorithms that offer strategic and commercial insights for them. Saving them time and investment in large scale tech investment, the platform has delivered 92% ROI positive outcomes for business. Last month, Google released its latest offering Vertex AI and Kortical is already outperforming them and has been since they first went head to head in 2019 at the Schroder’s Datathon. Kortical tested both platforms using well known public datasets from Kaggle and another from a real life client. Data was funnelled through both and overall Kortical averaged 2.47% better across all datasets and 10.75% better on the real life customer data. This difference in performance would mean the project that resulted in a £500k saving on Kortical would have not been viable on Vertex due to subhuman performance and would be another failed project statistic. Furthermore, Kortical was also 7 times faster to create the results vs Google’s Vertex AI. Andy Gray, CEO and co-founder at Kortical commented: “At the moment businesses are still in the early days of the machine learning gold rush, where you can crest a hill and stumble upon a nugget. Better ML accelerators are like better metal detectors helping you find those nuggets faster.” Kortical is working with a wide range of customers across industries, from saving 54% on the blood supply chain waste for the NHS, to enabling faster and more impactful ML project delivery for Capita, to “significant operational efficiencies” through back office automation of tax processes at Deloitte and hyper-personalised marketing with Hyundai. As well as working with smaller start-ups. “Initially it was really only the big players that were the early adopters, where they had the luxury to experiment with new technology and those experiments have turned into significant business so increasingly we’re seeing smaller businesses that recognise the strategic advantage and huge potential of ML to really distance themselves from their competitors” added Andy Gray. Kortical came into existence because the original founders Andy and Alex were trying to create an AI product but as they engaged different customers, they found that the data was always a little different and they needed to keep building new models but that the process was slow, error prone and repetitive. Kortical is the culmination of 7 years of trying to take the pain out of creating enterprise ready AI and ML solutions, quickly and easily but with enough control that expert users can still create exactly what they want. Looking ahead Andy Gray said: “It’s great to see that the conversation has shifted from do I need a machine learning accelerator platform, to which platform should I use? I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished and excited to deliver on our plan to see what the future holds”. Kortical helps companies that have data sets and a business problem they want to solve. Kortical works with tabular, NLP and time series data and can take you right through to live ML web applications or self learning API based services. Some of the most popular use cases are back office automation, demand prediction and hyper-personalized marketing. All the major commentators are expecting the machine learning platform market to boom, with Gartner estimating that by 2022 75% of all new end-user solutions using AI and ML techniques will be built using commercial solutions rather than open source. Andy Gray concluded “Over the past 12 months businesses have focussed on continuity and their remote work set up but this year we’re seeing signs of growth getting back to 300% year on year and will be looking to raise an investment round by the end of the year as we scale our business”.
Replicated Expands to Israel, Brings Benefits of Multi-Prem Software Delivery to Startup Nation
Replicated has expanded into Israel, with local staff bringing their expertise to software vendors wanting to ship an on-prem, air gapped, or self-hosted version of their software with Day 2 enterprise operations management. The combination of demand from local software vendors and the significant market opportunity made it a natural fit for Replicated. “Expanding into this region is a big milestone for the company,” said Grant Miller, Replicated co-founder and CEO. “We’re excited to learn from the local tech community and grow alongside our customers.” The Israel team will include three key members focused primarily on in-country marketing, sales, and sales engineering: 1) Meir Carmel, Account Executive. Experienced sales executive formerly with Check Point Software, Meir brings enterprise account management and channel management to his role at Replicated. 2) Amit Schnitzer, Solution Engineer. Infrastructure and security expert with 25 years' experience across LivePerson, Pontis, TravelHoldings, and most recently Check Point Software. 3) Hilee Avrahami, Head of Global Field Marketing. A seasoned marketer with extensive experience in guiding technology enterprises to market leadership positions. “With the startup nation developing and deploying amazing software solutions for the world at large, Replicated offers the ideal solution for software vendors that require an on-prem delivery solution," shares Hilee Avrahami, Head of Global Field Marketing for Replicated in Israel. "We’re excited to see the traction from our initial launch and look forward to continuing interaction with the local cutting-edge startup community.” “Replicated lets us deploy our SaaS platform into the environments of our biggest and most security-conscious customers,” said Oren Rubin, CEO at Testim. “We are excited to work with Replicated as we grow our global business.” Replicated enables software vendors to use modern cloud native technologies and Kubernetes to deliver enterprise grade applications in on-prem or customer self-hosted environments. Replicated provides a platform to manage software deployments, licensing, and Day 2 operations that reduces the engineering workload and accelerates time to market for software vendors. Replicated customers include HashiCorp, Puppet, and UiPath. 60 of the Fortune 100 use Replicated to manage applications. Replicated was founded in 2015 by Miller and Marc Campbell, CTO, who previously founded Look IO, a mobile live-chat program that was acquired by LivePerson.
Gumlet builds a new-age media delivery infrastructure for the internet
Gumlet, a SaaS startup providing a new-age media delivery infrastructure to automate the media publishing pipeline, today announced US$1.6 million in funding by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge. While media files such as images, GIFs, videos and animations are integral to all digital interactions and everyday experience, the current solutions for managing and publishing such content remain limited. This is largely due to their reliance on APIs that require deep integration, domain knowledge and constant maintenance. Gumlet helps developers across the globe automatically resize and optimise their images and videos as per the end user's device or browser, delivering high quality media at the lowest possible bandwidth. Founded in 2019, Gumlet saw an opportunity to create an easily-integrated tool to handle media processing for a plethora of formats, device sizes and platforms. Once integrated, all previous, new and upcoming images are automatically optimized for any user. Gumlet takes over resizing, compression, format conversion, transcoding, streaming, delivery and analytics for all media files. By providing low- or no-code integration plug-ins that automate the entire media publishing pipeline, Gumlet helps developers experience 30-50% better optimization without affecting quality. Gumlet currently serves more than 6,000 customers including online stores, news sites, blogs, EdTech startups, travel sites and crowdfunding portals. Customers include The Body Shop, Vera Moda, Gas Jeans, Hamleys, Colearn, Bloomberg Quint and Bestseller Group among others. Over four billion media files are delivered every week via Gumlet, resulting in 25% month-on month growth since the start of 2020. “Gumlet is all about offering a plug-and-play solution for media management and publishing. This in turn helps online businesses provide better UX, load pages faster, save cloud costs and improve SEO - resulting in tangible business impact. More than just delivering a SaaS tool for online publishers and businesses, our mission is to build a media delivery infrastructure for the internet,” said Aditya Patadia, Founder of Gumlet. According to Data Bridge Market Research, the media processing solutions market will reach an estimated value of USD 36.63 billion and grow at a CAGR of 13.85% in the forecast period of 2021 to 2028. Rise in the advancements in technology and significant growth of streaming services and platforms is an essential factor driving the media processing solutions market. “As the internet becomes increasingly global and data-hungry, serving images and video in a high-performance, low-latency environment is fundamental for all websites to earn customer trust. With Gumlet, developers never have to worry about managing different versions and sizes of media files again,” said Divyesh Patel, Co-Founder and CMO of Gumlet. Gumlet was founded by Aditya Patadia and Divyesh Patel, who previously built, scaled and successfully exited from Turing Analytics, a pioneering AI startup in the image recognition and visual search space. Aditya is also the creator of a popular open-source image resize library in the PHP language, which he launched in 2012. Angel investors Aakrit Vaish, Miten Sampat, Swapan Rajdev and Yash Kothari also participated in this round. Gumlet is part of Surge’s fifth cohort of 23 companies that have developed new digital solutions to help companies and individuals live, work and learn better in a rapidly evolving Southeast Asian landscape.
Ed-tech startup memoryOS already raised over $460,000 on Kickstarter to help people “Sherlock” their memory
memoryOS, US ed-tech startup developing a gamified memory improvement app, which is co-founded by the 2X World Memory Champion, has already raised over $460,000 on Kickstarter, exceeding their initial goal by 35 times within the first week. memoryOS combines interactive micro-lessons with an immersive 3D game that teaches users memorization skills by transferring them to virtual Memory Palaces. The effectiveness of the Mind Palace technique has been proven by memory masters since the days of Ancient Greece and is also demonstrated by the protagonist of the "Sherlock" BBC TV series. “We have combined proven memory techniques with the latest advances in e-learning and an immersive 3D game to create the most enjoyable and effective tool for learning memorization skills and keeping your brain alive” - stated in the Kickstarter description. memoryOS is an edtech startup developing an innovative gamified e-learning app to help people significantly improve their memory. The bite-sized lessons of the app's e-learning component are compiled and taught by The 2X World Memory Champion, Jonas von Essen. The patent-pending game component of the same app provides the user with pre-made virtual environments (i.e., Mind Palaces) for encoding and storing the necessary information in the long-term memory. Co-founder of memoryOS, Jonas von Essen, has recently memorized the first 100,000 digits of Pi and has proven how a person with ordinary memory can “rewire” their brain and turn it into a “memory machine”. At this point, Jonas is well-known for his accomplishments, including getting a rare golden buzzer at Sweden Got Talent, winning against the national Сhinese team at the Super Brain TV Show 2 years in a row, and winning the “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” along with “The Wall” Quiz TV Show earlier this year. Jonas was also featured in BBC, The New York Times, Independent, The Telegraph, and The Times. In all these contexts, however, Jonas tries to keep himself in the background. "What is terrific about these memorization skills is that anyone can learn them, at least to a substantial degree. Without the need of having any sort of mythical photographic memory." - Jonas von Essen. Memory Grandmaster and Co-founder of memoryOS. That is why, together with the memoryOS team, Jonas is putting a lot of effort into making the world remember by creating mind-changing memory software available to people all around the world. This ongoing mission brought memoryOS into a friendly relationship with The Stephen Hawking Foundation and recently let them begin the hugely exclusive process to implement OpenAI’s GTP-3 and Dall-E into their learning platform to help create high-value text and image content for lessons, exercises, and practical use. Becoming more than just an app. - Effectiveness and Results Prior to Kickstarter, memoryOS had 33,000 people in their Early Adopters community. For those that have tried the memoryOS demo, the average improvement in recall increased by 70%, with an average increase in recall speed by 60% just after one relatively short demo session. Detailed information on the test method of the study, results breakdown, and user testimonials can be found on the crowdfunding campaign’s page. - Memorable Mission To Improve Education The more memoryOS develops, the better comes the ability to offer the product at very little to no cost for young learners worldwide. This is an important goal - to make memoryOS available to all. This project began from one of the co-founder's personal pains when he realized how unnecessarily stressful his life was during the test and exam periods at school and university. Even though having a Mind Palace significantly boosted his grades and free time, Alex Ruzh saw that existing methods of obtaining memorization skills have significant limitations that stop almost everyone from acquiring it as a lifelong skill. Continuing to feel the unnecessary pain of scholars, students, and people in general, he decided to find a solution and build a team to implement it. The memoryOS team believes that memorization is as important as reading and writing and should be taught as our basic skills. Unfortunately, because the current educational system fails to do so – this leads to lots of student stress and normally progresses into various forms of what’s called “having a bad memory.” “Thanks so much for letting me know at an early stage about your App. The uptake on pledges is amazing and just proves what I have believed all along: that the marriage of memory techniques and software is the future of learning.” - Dominic O’Brien. Eight-time World Memory Champion and Best-Selling author of 13 books on memory. Memorization is a skill that has become lost in our ongoing reliance on computers due to our overly multiply focused world where there is too much info to integrate. The general "if you don't use it, you lose it" principle applies to our memory just as well. That is why the memoryOS team has made it their mission for the memorization skills to become a new norm, and they invite you to become a part of this memorable journey!
Techfest Vietnam 2019 Welcomes Start-ups and Investors
HA NOI, VIETNAM - 11 November 2019 - Innovative Vietnamese start-ups taking part in Techfest 2019 will have opportunities to connect with potential regional and global investors through a series of exciting events. The national innovative entrepreneurship day, expected to attract more than 5,500 people, 300 start-ups and 250 investors, will take place in Hạ Long City, the home to UNESCO World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay, from December 4 to 6. The highlight of Techfest 2019 held by Ministry of Science and Technology will be the participation of regional and global partners, including many from Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea, the US and European countries. This biggest annual event for the innovative start-up community in Viet Nam will present an overall picture of the Vietnamese start-up eco-system, bringing Vietnamese start-up to the next level. Interested start-ups and investors can register and get information of the event on the website http://www.techfest.vn. With a series of in-depth workshops, investment matching activities and seminars connecting resources in different economic sectors and the first ASEAN Angel Angel Alliance Summit held in Viet Nam, Techfest 2019 will open up opportunities for exchanges, connections, co-operation and the development of innovative start-ups. Start-ups will have a chance to pitch their ideas at the Innovative Technopreneur Contest. Like in previous years, there will be a high-level policy dialogue on eco-system start-up innovation to be attended by leaders of the Government and Ministry of Science and Technology. This year's dialogue is expected to attract international organisations and representatives from ASEAN countries. To promote links among different stakeholder groups in localities' start-up eco-systems with national eco-systems as well as create and spread the entrepreneurial spirit of young people, before the main event in Quảng Ninh, a series of local Techfest events have been held in many different localities across the country, including: in northern mountainous areas, the Red River Delta, the Central Highlands and the Mekong Delta. Within the series of Techfest International 2019, Techfest Vietnam in the US was held in September with the goal of connecting start-ups, overseas Vietnamese communities as well as to support and promote start-ups in Viet Nam and abroad. Spanning four years from 2015 until now, Techfest Vietnam has attracted 15,000 attendees, 2,000 start-ups and more than 1,000 investment deals. Last year, there were some 160 in-depth investment matches before and during the event with total investment of up to US$7.86 million.