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
Series A Funding Round with Xsolla as Lead Investor
British AI tech firm Kortical beats Google as it helps drive revenues for business
Replicated Expands to Israel, Brings Benefits of Multi-Prem Software Delivery to Startup Nation
Gumlet builds a new-age media delivery infrastructure for the internet
Ed-tech startup memoryOS already raised over $460,000 on Kickstarter to help people “Sherlock” their memory
Techfest Vietnam 2019 Welcomes Start-ups and Investors
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
KAFNU TAIPEI NOW ACCEPTING NEW MEMBERS. New ecosystem for entrepreneurs and creative minds to launch in December
Next Story Group will launch its second Kafnu, a new brand of blended lifestyle spaces, in December in Taipei following the opening of Kafnu Hong Kong in October. Interested parties now have the opportunity to book a private tour to familiarize themselves with the facilities and services on offer and to sign up for membership. Kafnu Taipei is now officially taking reservations for the Kafnu Taipei space tour ‘Meet & Greets’ , where guests will be given a guided tour of the facilities on each floor, together with an introduction of the services provided, by the community managers. In December, a virtual reality interactive guide of the spaces and services in the building will also be available. Kafnu stands apart from other shared work spaces, integrating the best aspects of living, working, playing, learning, resting, and provides a physical, intellectual and social launch pad for individuals and the larger community to create and construct. It bridges the gap between individual effort and community resources. At Kafnu Taipei, the team of 13 Kafnu community managers help create, shape and support the member community and handle all day-to-day aspects of members’ experiences within the space. Kafnu Taipei also has partnered with renowned brands from around the world, providing exclusive benefits for its members to achieve their creative vision. Confirmed partners include Airpopo, Boxful, Brand Karma, KPMG, Lalamove, Microsoft, Simpany, ShutterStock Premier, TaxiGo, Yourator, Uber & Uber EATS and SunYan CPA Firm. Kafnu Taipei will operate mainly on a membership system, providing access to a wide range of facilities and service options. Five-day passes for a personal hot desk start at NT$4,000 and monthly plans from NT$10,000. Long-term memberships come with preferential options. Facilities include shared work spaces; private offices; meeting rooms; communal and activity areas; Morsel restaurant; green room studio for filming; recording studio for vocals, podcasts, or small bands; sleeping rooms; Oxygen Lab fitness studio for yoga, Pilates, Zumba and TRX classes; K2 Bar; as well as laundry and outdoor facilities. Kafnu North Asia General Manager Lien Chu says, “Kafnu Taipei is committed to creating an urban shared space that perfectly blends work and lifestyle, placing social interaction and fostering innovation at the very core of what we do. We want to create a cutting-edge work environment to attract entrepreneurs, creatives and experienced professionals from diverse backgrounds to be part of the Kafnu shared network and drive innovation.” - On Kafnu’s coming experiential events To arrange for a tour and more information about the pricing options please contact Taipei@kafnu.com , visit: Kafnu Taipei Facebook Page or call: +886-2-2715-1155 Feel free to scan the QR codes below for a Kafnu Taipei VR simulation. The VR goggles show will officially start in December.
Avnet accelerates growth of tech startup community in Asia Pacific
Avnet Asia Pacific continued its ongoing investment in the region's startup community through its participation in the 2017 Elevator Pitch Competition (EPiC) as a diamond sponsor. Frederick Fu (right), president, Avnet Asia Pacific, presenting the cash prize to the EPiC Champion. (From left to right: Albert Wong, chief executive officer, HKSTP; Professor Cheah Kok-wai, Department of Physics, Hong Kong Baptist University; Alfred Tan, director, Cathay Photonics Limited; Fanny Law, chairperson, HKSTP; Frederick Fu, President, Avnet Asia Pacific) Frederick Fu, Avnet's Asia Pacific president, had the privilege to be one of the judges to evaluate innovative pitches by 100 startups in a 60-second elevator ride up the International Commerce Centre, hosted by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP). At the Angel x Angel Conference, Frederick was joined by a venture capitalist and financial investor to share insights and advice on the support needed, and the critical fundaments for early stage tech companies to overcome their challenges and grow these startups into successful businesses. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot topic in the technology industry and startups. Avnet presented its LPWAN capabilities at this event, including Sigfox, LoRa, and NB-IoT among others. Avnet's ecosystem provides solutions that connect technology from components to devices, services and platforms. Frederick Fu said, "The startup community is not afraid to reinvent the wheel to bring in a new wave of innovation and trends. But they are often challenged by the lack of resources and financial support in getting their products to market. At Avnet, we have invested resources for makers to develop the connected ecosystem to help startups become the next unicorn. Avnet has a large customer base of startups, which we have guided and supported at every stage of their product lifecycle to turn their designs to production." "The Hong Kong government and organizations such as HKSTP actively promote the development of startups. With Avnet's expertise and capabilities, together with partners like HKSTP, we nurture entrepreneurs and technopreneurs. Avnet is committed and will support Hong Kong in becoming one of the world's top startup cities," he added. "The challenges faced by technology startups have become more complex over time. Apart from technological innovation, they need to develop a viable business model to support their sustainable growth. As a leading institution that takes innovation and technology advancement to our heart, HKSTP will continue to collaborate with various stakeholders like Avnet to create a favorite and vibrant ecosystem for the startups to turn their ideas into reality. EPiC, supported by Avnet, is a great testimonial of our joint determination to help startups thrive and grow," said Albert Wong, CEO, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation. From providing a community platform to the know-how, Avnet's design and supply capabilities, coupled with its global line card presence, bring prototypes to volume production. The addition of Premier Farnell (including its element14 community) and Hackster.io last year expanded Avnet's reach to an active community of more than 750,000 entrepreneurs, makers and engineers worldwide, and broadened its portfolio of design tools and technical solutions as well as 24/7 e-commerce expertise. Through its Dragon Innovation business it is simplifying the manufacturing process -- helping customers understand manufacturing costs and schedules, find factories and manage production as they scale their businesses, particularly in projects advancing the Internet of Things (IoT). These initiatives are all underpinned by Avnet's electronic components and design and supply chain capabilities encompassing the entire cycle from idea to finished product. More recently, Avnet and Dragon Innovation partnered Kickstarter to launch Hardware Studio, which helps hardware creators plan ahead for manufacturing before they launch on Kickstarter.
Fast Five 2nd Anniversary Media Day
On the afternoon of the April 20th, Fast Five 2nd Anniversary Media Day was held at Fast Five Samsung store in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. The media day was prepared to present Fast Five's achievements and future plans, and was attended by officials, including Fast Five co-representatives Park Ji-ung and Kim Dae-il. Fast Five co-representatives Park Ji-ung said, "Fast Five has tried to become the same brand as Starbucks of sharing office services, and many companies are acknowledging and working with us." And, "Since we are preparing for presenting more advanced services and new ideas, we hope to get a lot of attention and support." ▲ Fast Five 2nd anniversary media day was held. ▲ Park Ji-ung said, "Fast Five will present more advanced services and new ideas." According to the announcement, Fast Five opened its first store near Nambu Terminal in Seocho-dong in April 2015, after the incorporation in February 2015. By the end of last year, it has been continued expansion by opening the second and third stores near Yeoksam Station in Yeoksam-dong, the fourth store near Seoul Nat'l Univ. of Education Station in Seocho-dong, the fifth store at Nonhyeon Station in Banpo-dong, and the sixth store at City Airport Tower in Samsung-dong. In particular, it has enjoyed high popularity such as achieving occupancy rate of 100% from the first to the sixth store, and the number of members using Fast Five now exceeded 1,200. As the office lease market has entered a low growth period, Fast Five has focused on the growth patterns of companies that have strengths in rental management, finance, and development companies. In keeping with the emergence of individual or small-scale creators as a result of software development, it tried to provide a suitable creation space to the creators. Especially, as well as organizing 'branding' the office space, it not only provides simply a hardware space, but also strengthened efficiency by adding convenience service and affiliate services. Looking at the current status of the companies that have moved into Fast Five, the industrial groups are relatively well distributed in tech, design, marketing, media, and online commerce, and 20s and 30s account for 71%. The companies with more than 10 people account for 40%, but the companies with 1 to 4 people run to 32%. Meanwhile, Fast Five received total 3 billion won in March 2016, and laid the groundwork for a new challenge by bringing in 12 billion won in April 2017. In the future, Fast Five will open up to 13th store centering on subway adjacent areas in the Gangnam area in 2017, and plan to introduce 6 new stores throughout Seoul in 2018. In addition, as a new business, it is also preparing housing services for single households in 20s and 30s based on the service know-how of Fast Five. This service provides a common space such as a lounge, bar, and athletic facility along with experience as a residential service space with a brand, and sets establishment of a community through small groups by various events and interests as a main concept. Besides, it will make a partnership with real estate property management companies and real estate developers, and try projects that can acquire asset value as well as profit. It also announced its plan to expand the business model to marketing platform business based on rapidly growing member size. Fast Five co-representatives Kim Dae-il said, "I am very pleased to be able to get a good response to Fast Five from many of the investment organizations I met during the recent investment." And, "I will strive to maintain the top position in the industry by raising Fast Five to five times its present size by the end of this year."
Facebook 'Digital Contents R&D Global Expansion Program MOU' Signing Ceremony
On the morning of the April 4th, Facebook held a signing ceremony for the 'Digital Contents R&D Global Expansion Program MOU' at its office in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. The event was prepared to sign the business cooperation of 'Digital Contents R&D Global Expansion Program', which is being prepared by Facebook and the government to help domestic virtual and augmented reality (VR·AR) companies advance overseas. The event was progressed with the participation of Byun Jae-il, a member of the Minjoo Party attached to Future Korea Communications Commission, Choi Jae-yu, a 2nd vice minister of Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), Lee Sang-hong, a head of Institute for Information & Communications Technology Promotion (IITP), Lee Heon-soo, a head of Korea Innovation Center (KIC) Silicon Valley, and Alex Stamos, a chief security officer of Facebook. Alex Stamos, a chief security officer of Facebook, said "Korea already has the best internet technology and it gives us a lot of insights on where to go." And, "Facebook is progressing a lot of programs to help Korean start-ups create an autonomous ecological environment, and I believe this program will also help Korean virtual and augmented reality companies (VR·AR) go abroad." ▲ Digital Contents R&D Global Expansion Program MOU Signing Ceremony was progressed. ▲ A tablet with contents of the partnership was delivered. ▲ Alex Stamos, introduced the significance of this program. According to the announcement, this cooperation is aimed at creating a global market for domestic VR and AR digital contents and supporting ecosystem preemption. It is also a pilot project of ‘TRT (Technology Revolution Together) Project with Global Companies’. Through the program, engineers from Oculus, a subsidiary of Facebook, will provide mentoring for commercialization and technology development for the best VR and AR companies with innovative services and technologies that will stand out in the global market. Especially, it is the first time Oculus promises business mentoring to abroad government agencies. The partnership between Facebook and MSIP, KIC, and IITP will be held for about 10 companies selected through the public contest. A joint panel consisting of domestic technology, marketing experts, and Facebook experts will select based on the core technology, localization, and business possibility. The selected companies will collaborate with local partners including Oculus in Silicon Valley, the U.S. for 10 weeks. With the companies that completed the collaboration, 'Performance Demo Day' will be held in July, and the best company will be selected as a Facebook’s cooperation partner to strengthen cooperation such as investment and purchase. Meanwhile, starting with the Facebook marketing boot camp in Seoul, Daegu and Ulsan in 2015, Facebook has been carrying out various projects to consistently help domestic SMEs advance overseas by utilizing Facebook and Instagram. Facebook has been supporting the education of women business entrepreneurs through ‘#SheMeansBusiness’ program in collaboration with the Seoul city since last September. In November, it launched 'Facebook Korea Business Hub', which is aimed at SMEs and start-up education. Since March, it has been progressing SME export related education program with KOTRA, ‘#MadeByKorea,’ and about 100 SMEs are receiving education every week. Vice-minister Choi Jae-yu, who attended the event, declared that "I hope this VR·AR company's global expansion support project will be a momentum for establishing a virtuous cycle ecosystem of overseas expansion of digital contents." And, "I will spare no effort for the government more effectively supporting global expansion of the star-ups leading the 4th industrial revolution." ▲ The main content of the program is introduced. ▲ Possible start-ups in AR and VR sectors are the targets of this program. ▲ The selected companies will have collaboration with local partners for 10 weeks in Silicon Valley, the U.S. ▲ Various companies and organizations as well as Facebook cooperate for this program.
Google Campus Seoul ‘Google Global Expert Week’ Press Conference
On the morning of June 13, Google Campus Seoul held ‘Google Global Expert Week’ press conference at Google Campus Seoul classroom, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. This event was prepared for introducing ‘Google Global Expert Week’ program which will be progressed until June 24. The program officials such as Cho Yun-min, Program Manager of Campus Seoul, Bridgette Beam, Senior Partnership and Program Manager of Google Entrepreneurs Support Team, Brett Goldstein, Analyst of Google Corporate Development Team, Eliana Murillo, Director of General Multicultural Marketing, Erin Mullen, Creative Specialist of gTech Ads, and Sunny Lo, Business Development Manager, attended the event. Bridgette Beam said, “This program was prepared for helping Korean start-ups get more global chances through detailed consulting.” And “Through this program, which will be progressed over the next two weeks, I expect Korean start-up officials to obtain market know-how and expert knowledge needed for global expansion.” ▲ ‘Google Global Expert Week’ press conference is opened. ▲ Bridgette Beam commented on the meaning of this event. ▲ Cho Yun-min introduced about detailed programs of ‘Google Global Expert Week.’ According to the announcement, ‘Google Global Expert Week’ is a program prepared for providing real helps to domestic start-ups’ overseas expansion and global networking by Campus Seoul, which is a second year operation. In this program, Google staffs from various fields and throughout the world provide consulting to domestic start-ups. Google’s global experts who visited Korea are composed of twelve Google staffs working in the US, Europe, Asia area and etc., and they are subject matter experts each in charge of marketing, partnership, management, UX/UI design, and etc. They stay in Seoul for two weeks and progress focused support program, mentoring, workshop, and lecture. The most pivotal session in this program is a focused-support program for startups, ‘Google Global Expert Program.’ Two to three Google experts are assigned to each startup among twelve domestic startups selected through advance registrations. They are directly gone into the work of assigned startup, and they do practical business work in various fields such as global marketing, management, getting the user, UX/UI design, and global partnership. At the same time, a campus mentoring program where startups can have 1:1 mentoring and consulting from Google experts will be progressed. Many other events are also prepared; ‘Campus Startup School’ where Google experts offer in-depth workshop for startups about business, Google products, UX/UI, and etc., ‘Campus School’ where Google experts offer lectures on user analysis, global expansion, investment attraction and exit. Anyone in startup community can participate these events by submitting an application through Onoffmix. Apart from the programs progressed in Campus Seoul, Google global experts also participate external events that help the growth of domestic startup community. On June 20, they offer lectures on user analysis, UX, strategy of transfer to Chinese market, American venture capital and market current states at DCamp. On June 21, they are going to have mentoring sessions for startups that moved into LotteAccelerator. ▲ Tweleve Google experts visited Korea to offer consulting to domestic startups. ▲ ‘Google Global Exper Week’ is composed of four detailed programs. ▲ In-depth mentoring activities are progressed over two weeks. ▲ Apart from Campus Seoul programs, the external sessions are also prepared. ▲ Google experts had time to talk about how the program will be progressed.
[COMPUTEX 2016] ‘KOTRA Pavilion’ Competes with the World by Korea’s Ideas
From May 31, ‘Computex Taipei 2016,’ which is now held in various parts of Taipei, Taiwan, is an exhibition with ICT related industry as well as computers With a theme of ‘Building Partnerships in Internet Computing Ecosystems,’ the exhibition spotlights IoT application, innovation, startup, business solution, and gaming. Among them, ‘InnoVEX’ exhibition in the 3 hall at TWTC(Taipei World Trade Center) is specialized to startup. At ‘KOTRA Pavilion’ in the exhibition, Korean companies armed with various ideas are presenting creative products and services. The officials participated in ‘KOTRA Pavilion’ spent busy time talking about the products with visitors and other officials. During visiting various booths in the exhibition hall of ‘InnoVEX,’ the important figures visited ‘KOTRA Pavilion,’ listened to explanation from KOTRA employees and officials, and showed interests by asking questions about the product to the officials. ▲ ‘KOTRA Pavilion’ is in ‘InnoVEX’ exhibition of ‘Computex 2016’ ▲ The important figures who visited the event hall are listening to an explanation from KOTRA employee at ‘KOTRA Pavilion’ ▲ APPLR presented a mobile video based commerce service ‘72CAST’ ▲ Gaonwood presented environment-friendly fireproof wood constructions. ▲ Core Movement presented ‘EMS Suit,’ which can be used at exercise and VR through electrostimulation. ▲ Again Twenty presented a user-centered medical tour O2O service. ▲ NSHC presented an anti-virus solution ‘Droid-X’ and anti-hacking solution ‘DxShield’ for smartphone. ▲ Mobidoo presented sound payment solution and sonic stamp. ▲ Helloship presented overseas e-commerce delivery agency service.
[COMPUTEX 2016] ‘InnoVEX,’ a Startup Exhibition Meeting Innovative Ideas
From May 31, ‘Computex Taipei 2016,’ which is now held in various parts of Taipei, Taiwan, is an exhibition with ICT related industry as well as computers With a theme of ‘Building Partnerships in Internet Computing Ecosystems,’ the exhibition spotlights IoT application, innovation, startup, business solution, and gaming. Among them, ‘InnoVEX’ exhibition in the 3 hall at TWTC(Taipei World Trade Center) until June 2 is specialized to startup. From all over the globe, the companies as well as Taiwan armed with innovative ideas participated with the products that they have been prepared. Moreover, as major events, keynote address, panel discussion, startup meeting, pitching tournament, product demo, etc. are progressed to present variety of information and pleasure to officials and visitors, and they are broadcasted live via online streaming service, ‘Twitch.’ ▲ ‘Startup@Taipei’ is a common exhibition with the startups in Taipei. ▲ Officials from all over the globe are looking around the event. ▲ At Ideas Show, the companies are gathering for implementing creative ideas. ▲ At htc Vive exhibition area, various genres of VR experience such as flight, shooting are provided. ▲ G2A challenges variety of fields like 3D printing and VR over the game platform. ▲ At Samsumg Elctronics exhibition area, it is possible to experience roller-coaster by using Gear VR. ▲ At Audi exhibition area, the assistance system supporting more convenient driving is presented. ▲ Korean company, KonoLabs presents the individual concierge service, ‘Kono.’ ▲ At the center stage, the pitching tournament is progressed. ▲ The main events of ‘InnoVEX’ exhibition are broadcasted via a streaming service, ‘Twitch’