Research: African tech-start funding will double by 2025
WellSaid Labs Named to the 2022 CB Insights AI 100 List of Most Innovative Artificial Intelligence Startups
London’s UCL Edtech Labs Chooses Toronto, Canada to Launch Inaugural Americas Accelerator with Knowledgehook
A new round for one of Europe’s biggest innovation challenges in energy and climate
Epishine is part of Europe's 37 leading deeptech companies selected by the EU to participate in their EIC Growth Club
New Comcast RISE eligibility allows for more Houston-area women business owners to apply for no-cost marketing services and technology makeovers
NOAH Conference Assembles Historic Line-Up of 300 Impact Entrepreneurs and Investors in Zurich
Pinpoint: UK startup Naurt unveils first-of-its-kind location hyper-precise tracking software that improves GPS
ShowStoppers to help journalists discover startups mentored, funded by Keiretsu Forum Southern California
Yoodli, A Startup Backed by Madrona Venture Group and the Allen Institute for AI (AI2), Applies AI to Life's Biggest Stress: Public Speaking
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.
Autonomous Transportation-As-A-Service Startup CODE42 Raises KRW 30 Billion in Pre-A Funding
(from left) On September 30, YoungSang Ryu, EVP(Head of MNO Biz. Division) of SK Telecom; Hanwoo Park, President & CEO of Kia Motors; Chang-hyun Song, CEO of CODE42; I.P. Park, President and CTO of LG Electronics; and KyungMook Lim, Chief Strategy Officer of CJ Corporation met at the SERVEONE Building in Gangnam-gu Seoul, South Korea to attend the CODE42 Investment Signing Ceremony. CODE42, an autonomous transportation-as-a-service startup established in March of this year, announced today that it has successfully raised KRW 30 billion (USD 25 million) in Pre-A funding, with investment by major Korean conglomerates including Kia Motors, SK, LG, and CJ. CODE42 previously raised a seed stage investment of KRW 2 billion (USD 1.7 million) from Hyundai Motor Company in March. As lead investor, Kia Motors contributes USD 12.5 million to the deal. The KRW 30 billion investment also marks one of the largest Pre-A rounds of funding for the Korean startup market, with past references typically ranging under USD 10 million. The newly raised funds will be utilized to complete development of CODE42’s core UMOS (Urban Mobility Operating System) platform, as well as establish the global autonomous transportation-as-a-service ecosystem UMOS Connect. Promising to serve as the enabler of autonomous transportation-as-a-service, the UMOS platform aims to integrate various kinds of future mobilities such as autonomous vehicles, drones, and delivery robots in order to encompass all phases and processes of mobility and logistics services from ride-hailing to robo-taxis to smart logistics and e-commerce. “The investment by major Korean industry demonstrates investor trust in our industry-best technology, and equally, enables us to leverage the strength of our partners infrastructure and service capabilities with aim to establish a next-generation mobility and logistics service platform,” said Chang-Hyeon Song, CEO of CODE42. “Based on their specialized expertise and capabilities, we will be working closely with investor companies in an array of areas including autonomous driving and mapping technology, dispatching, fleet management, next-generation in-vehicle infotainment and associated connectivity.” (clockwise from left) Hanwoo Park, President & CEO of Kia Motors; I.P. Park, President and CTO of LG Electronics; Chang-hyun Song, CEO of CODE42; YoungSang Ryu, EVP(Head of MNO Biz. Division) of SK Telecom; KyungMook Lim, Chief Strategy Officer of CJ Corporation met at the SERVEONE Building in Gangnam-gu Seoul, South Korea and held a discussion prior to attending the CODE42 Investment Signing Ceremony. CODE42, established in March 2019, is an autonomous transportation-as-a-service startup headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, and founded by former Naver CTO, Chang-Hyeon Song. Having built a track record of innovative software engineering with multinational IT companies including HP, Microsoft and Apple, Mr. Song, in his roles as CTO of Naver, and CEO of Naver Lab, successfully led a variety of innovative projects including the AI speaker Clova, in-vehicle-infotainment service AWAY, Papago, self-driving technology, HD mapping and robotics solutions, as demonstrated at CES 2019.
Lux Research Joins Greentown Labs as Gigawatt Partner
Greentown Labs and Lux Research announced today that Lux has joined Greentown Labs as its newest Gigawatt-level Partner. The partnership will establish strong ties between Lux and the Greentown Labs startup community while also deepening connections with many of Greentown Labs’ corporate partners. “We are excited to partner with Greentown Labs to help deepen our connection with the Boston startup community,” said Andrew Stockwell, Senior Vice President, Research, Product, and Operations at Lux Research. “At Lux, we focus on delivering insights on disruptive technologies and companies. Greentown is a great partner for us because their members are leading innovation in the cleantech space.” Core elements of the Lux Research and Greentown Labs Partnership include: Speaking Engagements: Lux’s team of analysts will serve as speakers at various Greentown Labs thought-leadership events, panel discussions, and roundtables, sharing market trend analysis and insights with key figures within the energy industry. Data and Insights: Greentown Labs will have access to Lux’s platform, including data visualizations, expert analysis, company profiles, and more across cleantech and climate-focused sectors. Immersion into the Greentown Labs Community: Lux’s experts will host lunch and learn sessions with the Greentown Labs community based on specific technologies or markets of mutual interest between Lux and Greentown’s resident startups. “Lux Research is an internationally-recognized leader in data analysis and market insights related to the energy transition and the future of mobility, and we’re excited to have them join our network of partners,” said Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. “The analysis and market trends they’ll be able to share with our team will be incredibly helpful as we all work toward supporting, deploying, and scaling new solutions to mitigate climate change. We’re eager to see the many connections that result from our engagement!” Lux Research is not your typical research and advisory firm. Headquartered in Boston, with a total of five offices around the globe, Lux combines deep analyses of technology with business insights to deliver independent data, insights, and opinions. Lux believes everyone is an innovator, that’s why they support executives and their teams at global organizations in their quest to discover and deliver their next big innovative ideas. The 100,000 sq. ft. Greentown Labs campus provides startups with a robust network of strategic partners, prototyping lab space, a wet lab, a machine shop, an electronics shop, office space for more than 500 entrepreneurs, a 600-person event space, and a variety of flexible membership options. Greentown Labs was founded in 2011 by four companies that simply wanted to split the cost of rent and quickly became the largest hardware-focused, cleantech incubator in North America. Less than eight years later, Greentown Labs’ member companies have collectively created more than 2,800 jobs and raised more than $700M in funding. Lux Research and Greentown Labs will share more information about their partnership at the Greentown Labs EnergyBar networking event on Thursday, September 12th at 5:30 pm at Greentown Labs’ headquarters in Somerville, MA. The event is an open networking event in partnership with Cyclotron Road to showcase three cleantech entrepreneurs at varying stages of the startup journey.
Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy & Innovation Provides Opportunity to Link KT Commercialization to 6 Companies
Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy & Innovation(CCEI) completed the selection of companies participating in 'K-Champ Collaboration Program', which provides opportunities for linking KT commercialization. 6 companies were selected based on the examination of corporate excellence and business competitiveness from April. The selected companies are △PETABI Korea (cybersecurity solution based on artificial intelligence and machine learning), △OASIS VR (interactive entertainment VR content development) △COARSOFT (AR-based indoor positioning guidance and digital signage service) △ATECH (big data-based process advanced solution) △GOODBRO (safety cap wear monitoring and safety management system) △AFTERAIN (smart air purification bench). They will receive a subsidy of up to 50 million won for commercialization and will focus on development with the ultimate goal of joint commercialization and service launch with the KT business department. In addition, Gyeonggi CCEI will closely support to strengthen business models and internal capabilities according to business stages for each company. Kyung-joon Lee, the head of Gyeonggi CCEI, said, "The 'K-Champ Collaboration Program', which has been underway since 2017, has become a representative mutual growth program that can be practiced jointly with KT. Gyeonggi CCEI will work together with KT to commercialize the innovative technologies of startups and actively support all necessary matters to bring synergy to each other."
Taiwan Tech Arena Invites 8 Influential Silicon Valley Investors to Judge the GEC+ Taipei 2018 Startup Pitch Program
Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology held the "GEC+ Taipei 2018 Startup Pitch Program" at the Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA), Taipei. The program exposed TTA and the Taiwan tech-startup teams to the globe. Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA) host interviews with 8 influential investors to discuss the future of Taiwan's startups from the perspective of Silicon Valley veterans. (From the left to right: Mr. Alfred Mandel, Mr. Allen May, Ms. Lucy Lu, Ms. Gloria Maceiko, Mr. Suresh Pai) - 8 Influential Silicon Valley Investors to Link Taiwan Startups to the Globe After spending more than 20 years in the valley, these mentors have achieved exceptional accomplishments in the fields of life sciences, internet of things (IoT), semiconductors, and green energy. In a series of interviews, they share their insights on how to nurture talent and enable Taiwanese startups to go global. Allan May has been involved as a founder or chairman of more than 80 MedTech, biotech, and diagnostic startups. His renowned early-stage investment group, Life Science Angels (LSA), was named the top U.S. angel investment group with more than 60 million USD invested. In his interview, he touched upon the importance of future innovation in business models and the lean startup methodology. When asked about the role of government, he said, "Every technology converges in healthcare. Data technology, AI, genomics...the global winners will be made in medical technology, and this is a good place for government involvement." Gloria Maceiko, a serial entrepreneur, has more than 25 years of experience in Silicon Valley's high-tech companies and has yielded an impressive track record in recognizing new trends, such as the predecessors of iPhone and Facebook. As a mentor, she believes that a big part of creating future opportunities for Taiwanese startups is the government's role in supporting an ecosystem. She said that, "Inviting people from other successful regions to expose [to] the Taiwanese startups and finding and supporting startups with grants, is always a great start because without money, few things happen. [That's why] initial funding from government is extremely important." Hatim Chraibi, cofounder, CEO and managing director in North America of SPIRE Bioventures, is another mentor with over 18 years of experience in the global medical device industry. He's adept at identifying the needs of key opinion leaders and development teams as evidenced by his major contributions in building global organizations. During his visit to Taiwan, he hopes to interact with Taiwanese entrepreneurs and assist talented teams to succeed on the international stage. Alfred J. Mandel has offered marketing and management related consulting services to 50 top global corporations. He founded Tenex Medical Investors which went on to become the largest health and life sciences angel capital firm in the United States. - Silicon Valley to Inject Capital into Taiwan Startups for New Opportunities With over 30 years of experience in the biotech industry, Lucy Lu has led the global company Roche Diagnostics as Vice President of Technology Management and Head of the U.S. CTO. She now serves as a board member of Life Science Angels (LSA)in San Francisco. She emphasized the importance of networking, brainstorming, and the role of incubators to facilitate this interaction as in LSA where, "when we have a question we don't understand, in a couple of phone calls we can find someone to talk to." Suresh Pai is an entrepreneur and angel investor in medical devices. He serves as principal at LamaMed Solutions and heads a Silicon Valley startup incubator by investing aggressively and promoting external cooperation in product development of medical technologies. In his first visit to Taiwan, he expressed eagerness to meet startup teams, understand their technology, forge partnerships, and find resources. The final two SV mentors include Dr. Kengatharan, currently CEO of Auxesia Orion and managing partner at Atheneos Ventures. The latter is an evergreen healthcare incubator fund focused on opportunities in orphan drugs and rare diseases. Mr. Xavier Sansó Mata is a founding partner at Metrix Partners, a boutique finance advisory; he also acts as advisor in biotech and drug companies. As SV mentors, they both look forward to participate in GEC+ Taipei and speak to many of Taiwan's best startups. - Teaming Up with Elite Silicon Valley Mentors tonvision a Startup Future for Taiwan The Global Startup ecosystem believes that nurturing early stage startups can significantly influence the startups' potential growth. Therefore, TTA attempts to act as a platform that brings together entrepreneurial resources from Taiwan and abroad, and aims to further engage acceleration resources, talent and funds from all over the world. TTA invited Taiwan's best startups to meet 1-on-1 with the eight Silicon Valley investors. As a technology startup resource and information exchange platform, TTA invited global partners to not only to participate in the startup pitch program, but also to have in-depth discussions with Taiwanese startup teams at the Taiwan Night hosted by TTA.
BUTTON Raises $20K in Pre-Seed Funding, Will Join a New Class with PlayLabs Accelerator
BUTTON BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGIES (BUTTON) today announced that it has successfully raised $20,000 USD in a pre-seed round and has joined the second class with Boston’s accelerator Play Labs. The company offers a financial technology platform for personal cryptocurrency fiscal management and develops corporate blockchain solutions for tokenized projects accessible through Telegram messenger. Play Labs accelerator is a private accelerator run by Bayview Labs (investor in Twitter, Facebook). BUTTON is developing a multi-cryptocurrency wallet and exchanger based on Telegram - a key communication platform for the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector. The wallet also provides access to a decentralized exchange and other services. The company's goal is to create a convenient and secure product for retail customers. In addition, BUTTON is developing a corporate platform for customers relationships and communication for tokenized projects and plans a full-fledged launch of the corporate solution in early 2019. At the initial testing stage, BUTTON attracted over 7,600 beta users, with 12% being active (conducting transactions, either transfers or cryptocurrency exchange transactions). Now it is in closed beta testing of the wallet’s full version, and users can apply via the official Telegram bot @buttonwalletbot or t.me/buttonwalletbot BUTTON plans to attract 200,000 customers by the end of 2018. "We are always interested in solutions that are aimed at developing new markets. The blockchain economy is already a few years old, and it has managed to generate a significant number of innovative technologies and projects,” said Rizwan (Riz) Virk, CEO of Play Labs. “We believe that with our strategic help, BUTTON will be one of those ground-breaking projects that will impact the development of the entire cryptocurrency sector and move it in a forward direction." "Today, the cryptocurrency market is not transparent and convenient enough for a retail user,” said Alexandr Safonov, CEO of BUTTON. “This fact does not only suspend the development of the sector, but also deprives the business of a significant part of potential customers. We are grateful to Play Labs for allowing us to develop our product aimed to give users the opportunity for seamless entry into the cryptocurrency space."
Play Labs, a Summer Accelerator at MIT, Announces 2018 Class of Playful Startups and Demo Day
Play Labs, a summer accelerator hosted at the MIT Game Lab, has announced its second batch of startups that have been admitted to the program. The current batch runs from June-August, and the Demo Day will be on August 14, 2018 at 6:00 pm EDT at MIT in classroom E51-115. The Demo Day will be open to investors, members of the MIT community, and the general public. In addition to the physical event, Play Labs Demo Day will be streamed live on the web for those not in the Boston area. Sign up to watch Demo Day in person at MIT or online at www.playlabs.tv The overall focus of the accelerator is on startups that employ “playful tech” in a variety of industries. This batch of startups was selected with a concentration on esports, gaming, blockchain and educational technology. The first batch consists of startups spanning a wide breadth of categories, including: eSports (2 startups) VR/AR (2 startups) Educational Technology (2 startups) Blockchain (2 startups) AI & Machine Vision (2 startups) Voice Applications (2 startups) “We are excited at the quality and depth of startups that we have in our summer, 2018 batch,” said Rizwan Virk, Executive Director of Play Labs @ MIT. “Being on campus at MIT gave us access to many innovative entrepreneurs and technologies, and while we had many applicants, the startups we selected in this class represent the best applications of playful technology. I’m personally inspired to help the next group of MIT startups go on to great success.” Scot Osterweil, Managing Director for Ludus, the MIT Center for Games, Learning, and Playful Media, said: “MIT students thrive on innovation and creative exploration. We are pleased that through Play Labs we will help them move their most imaginative ideas into the realm of the possible.” The following is a list of the startups in the 2018 batch (in alphabetical order): BitMovio is a blockchain enabled video entertainment marketplace, connecting forward-thinking content creators with passionate consumers. (http://www.bitmov.io) BlocksCAD 3D modeling software fills a critical need for teachers in elementary and middle schools seeking ways to leverage engaging 3D printers with teaching math and coding fundamentals. (https://www.blockscad3d.com) BUTTON WALLET is developing a multi-crypto-currency wallet called BUTTON and crypto exchange which works inside Telegram (the key messaging platform in the crypto/blockchain industry). (https://buttonwallet.com ) InTheGame creates apps gamifying the viewing experience of esports and live broadcasts, powered by our computer vision & ai technology. (https://www.inthegame.io) LUI - LUI is a new Human-Computer Interface for interactive media on large screens and AR/VR platforms. It utilizes voice and gestures to naturally control UI elements such as Maps, Photos and Youtube using interfaces like those featured in Minority Report and Iron Man. ( https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/large-user-interface-with-gesture-and-voice-feedback/overview/) PlaySpark is creating the next generation of social gaming in Augmented Reality. (http://playsparkgames.com) Realism is a 3-d science simulation platform that teaches secondary school science concepts through real world labs and engages students through gamification. (https://realism.io) SitNPlay Games is an E-Sports platform that connects players all around the globe providing ad-hoc competitions for real prizes that can be cashed out by the users trough PayPal, Bitcoin, Rixty Credits or even Steam Gift Cards. (https://sitnplay.games) Toucan AI is the only platform that allows you to create conversational AI characters with their own memories and personalities. (https://www.toucanai.com) Whetstone Technologies is a software company building a platform to enable easy creation of voice applications for Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and other voice technologies with a specific focus on the healthcare vertical (https://whetstonetechnologies.io). To learn more about these startups, to attend Demo Day or view it online, visit www.playlabs.tv or contact the Play Labs contacts below.
Avnet Drives Innovation Forward for the Start-up Community in Singapore
Avnet Asia Pacific reinforced its commitment to the maker and startup communities with a series of workshops held recently and designed to propel next-generation innovations. A team of technical experts from Avnet shared the latest developments in enabling IoT to a group of makers and aspiring entrepreneurs at the heart of Singapore's startup base, JTC Launchpad. A joint workshop with A*STAR ETPL was also conducted for startups to understand the full spectrum of the IoT ecosystem to bring real-world applications to market. The maker movement heralds a new era of disruption with a vast potential to overcome obstacles across vertical industries including: smart cities, manufacturing, medical, retail, agriculture and automotive. In Singapore, the movement is an evolving continuum with a growing pool of talent often challenged by the lack of adequate support and resources from prototype to production. Andy Wong, senior vice president of global design solutions at Avnet Asia, commented, "Avnet serves as a conduit that connects ideas from startups with a network of technical experts to help shorten production time to market. The workshops provide a meaningful platform to equip start-ups with industry knowledge as well as guide them with our expertise and resources to convert their innovations into an enterprise-ready solution that meet the needs of the market. We want to empower a new generation of makers in Singapore and Asia to push the boundaries of innovation and carve out new disruptive opportunities to solve real-world problems in an era of digital disruption." With the help of Avnet's support in prototype development, a research group under NTUitive, the innovation and enterprise company of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, presented its integrated and "productizable" solution: low-complexity, real-time secure video encryption. Avnet, including its acquisitions of Hackster.io, Premier Farnell (including its Element14 community) and Dragon Innovation, form a robust channel of resources for pioneering start-ups to capitalize and expand their product ideas. "With our connected ecosystem of partners that is unrivaled in the industry, we provide end-to-end support at every stage of the product lifecycle from design through production, to transform ideas into reality. Combined with a global network of key partners and in-house technical expertise, Avnet brings together the communities and resources to help makers get off the ground," Andy Wong added. Avnet has a long-standing presence as a leading technology partner in the region and is committed to expanding its outreach to the community through various workshops and seminars. Last year, Avnet participated as one of the judges evaluating innovative pitches by 100 startups in the Elevator Pitch Competition held by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation. The company is also active in promoting knowledge sharing and has recently participated in the Vietnam IoT Day, providing insights of a connected ecosystem to advance product deployment.
The Fabric Expands into Europe with EVO Venture Partners Investment and Strategic Partnership
The Fabric, a pioneer in co-creating US-based cloud and IoT infrastructure companies, and EVO Venture Partners together announced a joint collaboration to build venture-backed startups in Europe. Through this strategic partnership, EVO Venture Partners has invested capital into The Fabric, and through its European-based data centers, it will provide incubation and product trials for companies that they co-create together. Prabakar Sundarrajan, Chief Strategist of The Fabric, said: “We are expanding our footprint into Europe with this strategic investment and partnership. EVO Venture Partners brings tremendous expertise in developing IT companies as well as valuable data center resources on the ground in Europe that will enable us to work collaboratively with our portfolio of co-created companies in markets there. We look forward to exploring how our partnership will evolve over time as we expand our reach into the cloud market in Europe." Dennis Bruin, Managing Partner of EVO Venture Partners, said: "Over the past several years, we've gained significant traction in developing innovative IT companies that serve the European market. We're looking forward to expanding our reach through our strategic partnership with The Fabric to entrepreneurs and cloud companies in Silicon Valley and the US market as well as provide support for its co-created companies in Europe." Today’s news shortly follows the recent closing of $20 million in funding for Fabric 3, the third pool of capital raised through The Fabric for investing in early stage cloud infrastructure companies that it co-created with entrepreneurs. The Fabric fills a specific need in the startup and investment spectrum by offering deep technical and entrepreneurial expertise with a collaborative approach, which accelerates values and lowers risk in the co-created companies. The Fabric has delivered gross return of 7X in less than 5 years on Fabric 1 to its investors. With Fabric 3, the plan is to co-create several new cloud and infrastructure companies over the next few years, continuing to provide high value for both entrepreneurs and investors.
Play Labs Accelerator, hosted at MIT, Announces Second Annual Open Submissions, Adding Digital Currency and Blockchain to its List of “Playful Tech” E
Play Labs, LLC and the MIT Game Lab, announced that applications are now open for the second batch of startups within the playful technology accelerator, which will run from June through August 2018 on campus at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Startups that are accepted into Play Labs will each receive an initial investment of $20,000 in either cash or Bitcoin in return for common stock. Startups that graduate from the program and meet certain criteria will be eligible for up to $80,000 in additional funding from the Play Labs Fund and its investment partners. Deadlines for applications are due March 15, 2018, after which time, finalists will be selected, and a subset of those finalists will be given offers to participate in the program. Applications are open to both MIT-affiliated startups, and startups with no MIT affiliation that wish to come to MIT for the summer to participate. Play Labs provides mentoring, facilities, and funding for early stage startups that utilize “playful technology.” The areas of technology for this second batch of incubated startups include: Digital Currency/Blockchain: The explosion of digital currencies like Bitcoin and the underlying technology, blockchain, have created a new virtual economy and opportunities for decentralizing many industries. eSports/Video Game: Video games have moved into the competitive era, and esports is seen as one of the biggest opportunities for expansion. VR/AR: A big focus for the first batch of incubated startups in Play Labs, now VR and AR are categories that continue to evolve and will revolutionize any industry. Machine Learning/AI: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning software and hardware (i.e. robotics) have advanced to the point of many practical applications. Candidate startups may apply these technology areas into any industry, including video games, esports, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and more. As before, the program will be run by Bayview Labs (www.bayviewlabs.com) and its executive director, Rizwan Virk, an MIT alumnus (MIT ‘92 BS Computer Science & Engineering), and a prolific Silicon Valley angel investor, advisor and mentor. Virk and Bayview have been early investors in Bitcoin and blockchain startups, as well as a long list of successful gaming-related tech startups including Tapjoy, Discord, Funzio, Pocket Gems, Telltale Games, and Sliver.tv. Virk said: “MIT has been the starting point for many successful startups over the years. We had a successful first batch and we are excited to see what exciting technology projects MIT students, alumni and the greater community will come up for this second batch. We started the accelerator because a lot of focus for these areas has been on the West Coast, but I believe that the eco-system around MIT in Boston has great talent and startup ideas in these areas.” Virk added: “When I graduated from MIT and thought of doing my first startup, I wish I had this kind of accelerator program, with support from both MIT staff and industry entrepreneurs and mentors. That’s why I designed the program in this way.” Bayview will run Play Labs in conjunction with the Seraph Group (www.seraphgroup.net), a seed stage venture capital investment firm founded by Tuff Yen. The teams will be supported by a group a successful mentors and partners, including Rajeev Surati (MIT PhD ‘99 EECS), co-founder of Flash Communications (sold to Microsoft), Photo.net, and Scalable Display Technologies, based on his PhD research at MIT. Also participating is VR@MIT, a student organization on campus dedicated to fostering VR/AR/MR entrepreneurship at MIT (vratmit.com). The MIT Game Lab (gamelab.mit.edu), a research group in MIT’s Department of Comparative Media Studies/Writing and Ludus, the MIT Center for Games, Learning, and Playful Media, will host and conduct the educational program for Play Labs. Teams will be given workspace on the MIT campus for the duration of the program. Scot Osterweil, Managing Director for Ludus, the MIT Center for Games, Learning, and Playful Media, said: “MIT students thrive on innovation and creative exploration. We are pleased that through Play Labs we will help them move their most imaginative ideas into the realm of the possible.” Tuff Yen, the founder and President of Seraph Group, a seed stage technology investment firm, said: “We see tremendous opportunity to invest, support and partner with the MIT community of outstanding people, which is why we are supporting Play Labs second batch. Our network of successful investors will bring valuable experience, access and resources to startups.”
Heartbeat Raises $1 Million Seed Round to Transform and Scale Brand Influence Among Millennial Consumers
Heartbeat, the leading two-way brand endorsement platform, announced the close of a $1 million seed round of equity funding, led by Sinai Ventures, backers of Pinterest and Compass, along with Firebrand Ventures. With total funding of $2.9 million to date, the seed round was also participated by Heartbeat’s existing investors, including Right Side Capital Management. Brian Freeman, co-founder and CEO of Heartbeat, said: “We’re developing the most effective platform for brands to engage with millennial consumers through better targeting and segmentation, authentic connections with advocates, and scalable reach to an audience of more than 526 million consumers. We’re thrilled to welcome Sinai Ventures and Firebrand Ventures to the Heartbeat family, as this new funding will further accelerate our ability to grow with the demand in this billion-dollar market.” Jordan Fudge, Partner with Sinai Ventures (a new investment fund with $90 million under management), said: “As the advertising space continues to adapt to consumers’ media consumption habits, brands are increasingly experimenting with new channels for customer acquisition and retention. Influencer marketing has the potential to attract a considerable share of the average ad budget; however, there is no real programmatic technology or network to implement these strategies. With Heartbeat and its more than 145,000 Ambassadors, brands have been able to attract and retain customers at scale through user generated content, and have seen significant returns on investment across a number of leading brands and agencies.” Since launching last year, Heartbeat has enabled numerous influencer campaigns in partnership with premium brands including H&M, Amazon, Laura Mercier, Soylent, Bebe, Le Tote, Dashlane, Kaplan MD, Syfy, Warner Bros, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Additionally, the company has formed strategic partnerships with major generation Z and female-focused agencies including Clique Media Group, W Promote and AwesomenessTV. Heartbeat’s total audience reach has grown to more than 526 million consumers through its over 145,000 Ambassadors, currently generating over 100 million likes and over 9 million comments weekly. Vanessa, GM of Lilly Lashes, said: “The Heartbeat team has created a product that is aligned with the innovative direction that the paid media channel is headed. Their out of the box solution for driving organic content, coupled with expert knowledge of the social space, and a beyond professional team, makes this company the perfect partner for any brand looking to stay relevant with their consumers and outsmart their competition.” Brands today are spending $36 billion on social channels to engage and acquire new millennial consumers through traditional ads and “influencer campaigns.” However, there are few authentic two-way conversations between consumers and brands. Why? Millennial women are the hardest consumers to acquire and retain because they trust friends’ recommendations exclusively when choosing between one product or service and another. Heartbeat is making social campaign spend more effective by enabling brands to engage in a direct conversation with consumers through trusted friends, which are part of Heartbeat’s extensive network of more than 145,000 millennial and generation Z Ambassadors. They create and share content about these brands and why they love them with their friends, creating authentic connections between brands and consumers. Heartbeat offers in-depth targeting and segmentation capabilities to ensure brands reach the right audience, based on interests, location, shopping habits and more. Brands can then choose from seven types of marketing campaigns, such as a new product launch or driving increased sales on-site. Once a campaign launches, Ambassadors begin publishing user generated content immediately, enabling brands to review insights and optimize campaigns in real-time from a robust analytics dashboard. For more information on Heartbeat, visit http://business.getheartbeat.co