French startup Shift Technology just raised a $10 million Series A round from Accel, with existing investors Elaia Partners and Iris Capital also participating.This way, insurance companies can save money.Shift Technology uses a Software-as-a-Service approach so that its tools get better over time.So Shift Technology s platform looks like an easy sell.The startup also suggests actions to investigate on a specific claim.It s not perfect, but it s pretty good.
Berlin-based eSports startup Dojo Madness is on a mission to help gamers level up.It does this via a mobile app, initially targeting League of Legends, that essentially turns your phone into an eSports coach, offering tips on strategy before and during gameplay, and analysis afterwards based on data culled from your in-game performance.To further develop its eSports coaching technology, which Dojo Madness co-founder and CEO Jens Hilgers tells me utilises machine learning coupled with huge amounts of in-play data, the company has raised a $4.5M in Series A funding.The round was led by March Capital Partners, with Investment Bank of Berlin IBB and existing investors, London Venture Partners and DN Capital, also participating.And although API limits means this doesn t quite happen in realtime, coupled with its own machine learning and algorithms, Dojo Madness is able to provide some in-play guidance — though not enough to cheat the game, Hilgers stresses — as well a more comprehensive coaching debrief afterwards.Meanwhile, eSports as a whole is estimated by market tracking firm NewZoo to be worth $463 million in 2016, up 43 percent from last year.
The Nima was the hit of CES 2016.As a tiny gluten tester, it won our Startup Battlefield and made an impression on the tech press.Foundry Group lead the round with participation from Upfront Ventures, SoftTech VC, SK Ventures, Lemnos Labs, Mitch Kapor and Matt Rogers, co-founder of Nest.Foundry Group s managing director Brad Feld will join Nima s board.This round of funding will fuel the R and production of sensors on the Nima platform that test for substances beyond gluten, such as peanut and milk.The company plans on using the influx of cash to accelrate the development and release of sensors that will detect peanuts and milk, allowing consumers to test food for hidden ingredients that the user could be allergic too.
Launched out of Y Combinator and Kickstarter in 2012, Boosted Boards makes electric longboards controlled with a handheld wireless remote.The Gen 2 boards also include some other cool new features:Accessory Port – so you can plug in onboard headlights and taillights, or charge your phoneImproved Water Resistance – so you can handle hitting the odd puddle or damp street, though you still shouldn t ride in the rain or through significant standing waterStronger, More Secure Connectivity – to prevent your handheld remote from disconnecting from the board if you hit a Bluetooth interference, and protect you from hackersBetter Deck, Wheels, And Drivetrain – for a smoother ride on a lighter board, plus better carving, torque, braking, acceleration, and hill climbingModular, User-Swappable Components – so you can customize, upgrade, and repair your boardInternational Sales Approval – so you can finally buy one no matter where you liveThe improved security is especially important after Wired reported last year that researchers discovered they could hack the Boosted Board over Bluetooth and take control of it.Me, riding a Boosted before my accidentAfter 13 years of longboarding and 2.5 on my Boosted without injury, a giant pothole swallowed me up.Boosted s are the best not just because of the specs, but because of the more subtle mapping of the controller to the board.Flooring it every chance you get might feel fun and look cool, but your body could pay the price.Sick of walking from the train to the office?
San Francisco-based Tally Technologies raised $15 million in Series A venture funding to launch an app that promises to help people maintain good credit while avoiding fees, charges and other credit card affiliated pains.According to Tally CEO and co-founder Jason Brown, the company has been operating in stealth for longer than a year and has been testing its service with beta customers for about three months.Here s how the Tally app works, Brown explained: Users can scan all of their personal credit cards into Tally, go through a brief credit score check, then authorize the startup to pay those bills from a Tally-issued line of credit.Tally Technologies Inc. co-founders L-R Jasper Platz and Jason Brown.Tally will also need to raise institutional capital from which it can offer lines of credit, so it needs to prove its customers are a good credit risk and develop partnerships in the finance industry.As a firm, Shasta shied away from investing in alternative, or peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club and Prosper, which are now under scrutiny and facing serious growth challenges.
Bill Gurley just wrote an excellent essay on the state of the unicorn market.Gurley covers the financial and emotional forces at play and offers great advice for founders of these highly valued billion-dollar-plus companies.As a result, many companies today operate with unsustainable burn rates that need to be reduced before all their money goes up in smoke.So I advise all of our startups to remain focused on growth while spending parsimoniously.We are all influenced in our investment decisions by psychological tendencies like recency bias and confirmation bias.If many of our portfolio companies are having a hard time raising follow-on rounds, we re more reluctant to fund a good idea that isn t quite an awesome idea.
Photo: ShutterstockAs the Chinese healthcare market continues to boom, Ping An Good Doctor, a medical service mobile app, backed by Ping An Insurance Group , announced on Thursday a Series A funding round of a total of US$500 million.Set up in April last year, the app has hit a reported valuation of US$3 billion, with 77 million registered users and more than 50,000 doctors, Xinhua reported.The app has recruited 1,000 full-time medical professionals and partnerships with 50,000 doctors from public and private hospitals as of last month.Domestic Internet giants and various investors are racing to raise funds to compete for the dominant position in China s digital healthcare market.Tencent-backed doctor appointment website Guahao.com, reportedly with links to 100,000 Chinese doctors and 37 million users, raised nearly US$400 million in September last year, led by Hillhouse Capital, Goldman Sachs and Tencent Holdings.Ali Health, Alibaba s healthcare subsidiary, launched a mobile application in Beijing late last year to connect doctors from grassroots medical institutions and nearby residents.
The round was led by Abcam founder Jonathan Milner, who noted he is excited about the company s superb leadership and a brilliant company culture.Of course, the company used its own platform to raise the money, but spectacularly overshot its target.The goal was to raise $3.35 million at a $36.5 million valuation, but the company smashed through that goal in less than 10 hours.To have such strong demand from both retail and institutional investors is the strongest vote of confidence we could have regarding our expansion plans within crowdfunding and equity capital markets.Earlier this year, SyndicateRoom became a member of the London Stock Exchange, which means that users of the platform are able to participate in IPOs and placings.The big news here is that there s a huge number of sophisticated angel investors who have a desire to participate in IPO activity, but were lacking a mechanism of doing so easily.
Founded by Australian brothers Travis and Shawn Pittman but relocated to Austria of all places, TourRadar, the travel tour booking site, seems to be on a roll.Austrian VCs, Aws Founders Fund the fund of the Austrian federal development bank and Speedinvest, also participated.Picture yourself wanting to go touring on a wildlife safari in Africa, a 12 day coach tour through Europe or a 5 day trek to Machu Picchu.He also says TourRadar differs from European online travel marketplace Evaneos, which recently snagged $21 million in further funding and also targets travellers seeking tour-type vacations, because the former offers tailor-made or bespoke experiences with a local travel agent, whereas TourRadar is focused on scheduled departures and itineraries with a tour guide run by either local or global tour operators .It currently partners with over 500 tour operators running trips to over 200 countries, and has signed partnerships with Amadeus and Rough Guides.We are amazed that from its office in Vienna, the team has been able to cover the world so effectively and become a recognized leader.
Amid the shift of commerce to online stores like Amazon, one huge segment of the industry has been overlooked: dollar stores.Recently, Hollar had its first million dollar month, and raised another $12 million in Series A funding.But while the value proposition between these sorts of shopping experiences is similar to Hollar s, there s little overlap in terms of merchandise.In total, Hollar today hosts over 20,000 SKUs across 18 major categories, including home, beauty products, pet items, toys, party supplies, accessories, groceries, and others – and nothing on its site costs more than $5.00.It will work with Chinese manufacturers to produce select items in categories like kitchen, gadgets, stationery, and electronic accessories, then expand from there in the future.Yeom believes Hollar has a shot, and its focus on merchandise quality will aid it in reaching that goal.
What makes all of these companies so interested in Demisto is that it has created a way to communicate across a variety of security products in an automated fashion, while providing a way for security personnel with varying levels of experience to communicate with one another inside a built-in chat interface.Photo courtesy of Demisto.What customers don t have is a cross-product workflow, Demisto CEO and co-founder Slavik Markovich told TechCrunch.The company, which officially launched in July, 2015 currently has 18 employees.The engineering team is based in Tel Aviv with sales and marketing based in an office in Cupertino.The company plans to build out that sales marketing team and go-to market ability with this round of funding.
Niantic Labs, the game maker that was spun out of Google last year following Google s move to Alphabet, announced today that its new title Pokémon GO is launching into beta in the U.S. Those early adopters who signed up to become field testers earlier in May are now receiving their invites to the game, in order to offer the company feedback ahead of its broader launch.The expanded field tests follow those that are already underway in Japan, Australia and New Zealand, but the expansion to the U.S. hints that the game is nearing its public debut.News that Niantic was working on this project was unveiled in 2015, alongside its $20 million round of Series A funding from Pokémon Company Group, Google and Nintendo.Like Niantic s previous title Ingress, which connected gameplay to the real world, Pokémon GO will involve real-world locations.The idea that the mobile world and the real world are connected via the phone and its various sensors is one of Niantic s hallmarks, and using an iconic title like Pokémon should attract a larger audience to experiment with this crossover form of gaming, as compared with Ingress.There will be more than 100 Pokémon to capture in the wild — and you ll be alerted when one is near thanks to push notifications sent to your phone.
Sherpa, a personal assistant app based out of Spain, has raised $6.5 million in a Series A round.Xabi Uribe- Etxebarria, the founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that the funding will be used to continue building out more functionality in the app, as well as on more hires and to expand the reach of the app as it gears up for a much bigger Series B and expansion to other languages like English.Google Now, for instance, has Spanish but in a limited version, and I ve always said Siri is not competitive with what we are trying to do, he said.We are trying to provide services like news, movie and TV show listings, and sports results that users might like and based on their preferences.It s still ad-free and free to use while Sherpa looks for more inspiration — but someday don t be surprised to see among suggestions of places to eat, a possible ad for a specific restaurant.The plan is to expand in the very near future to Latin America, which Sherpa plans to do by way of a partnership with Samsung that will see the handset giant preload the personal assistant on to all of Samsung s smartphones in markets where Spanish is the main language.
If Slack is dominating the team communications space, Front wants to do the same, but externally.It ll follow a similar model laid out by Slack, which includes adding more integrations, along with a developer API and bringing in more talent.Other investors in Front s Series A round include Slack cofounder and CEO Stewart Butterfield, Intercom CEO Eoghan McCabe, and Index Ventures general partner Ilya Fushman.Started by Mathilde Collin and Laurent Perrin, this Y Combinator-backed startup makes your inbox collaborative.If you re dealing with multiple aliases, such as support, sales, or in the case of media, a tips inbox, it can be difficult to find a way for everyone in the team to access it and discuss issues, concerns, suggestions, and feedback in an efficient manner.But Front creates a shared inbox that facilitates internal discussions by enabling comments in each message.Collin believes that the email of the future will be multiplayer, no longer a 1:1 communication.Email will also become intelligent through the use of AI technology, learning from not only your actions, but those of millions of other users in your organization and beyond.Lastly, Collin emphasized that the system will become integrated with third-party apps, and Front is already getting started with 21 partnerships — all designed to unify external communications.Since 2014, Front has raised more than $13 million, including $120,000 from Y Combinator and $3 million for its seed round.
Astroid mining company Planetary Resources has big plans for the future, and those plans now include an Earth-observing satellite network.It also will serve a precursor to the company s planned asteroid mining operations.In a bit of bad news, the Asteroid mining company put the brakes on a highly publicized Kickstarter-funded project that would allow backers to snap a selfie from orbit using the company s proposed space telescope.Dubbed Ceres, the project was spurred by the corporation s interest in asteroid mining.The Ceres network will include up to 10 small satellites launched into the Earth s orbit that will provide weekly hyperspectral visible to near infrared and mid-infrared recordings of the planet.Additional money will be required to make the system operational in 2018.
But, with a cumulative population of over 600 million, the region is already seen as lucrative opportunity for many online retailers — among them, Alibaba recently invested $1 billion in Rocket Internet-backed Lazada.Founded by ex-Ticket Monster duo Frank Kang and Christopher Cynn alongside CFO Jae Yoon Kim, the Korean startup sells to consumers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines with plans to enter Southeast Asia s two other major markets — Thailand and Vietnam — before the end of this year.The most notable example is Memebox, which graduated Y Combinator and has raised close to $30 million from investors, but Membox is focused on Western markets while Althea is looking only at Southeast Asia for now.The past year of work seems to be going well, with Althea claiming 500,000 monthly unique visitors and an annualized run rate of over $10 million in revenue.The company said it is growing at 30 percent per month and is on track to reach profitability by the end of this year.Our business is scalable so we can consider any market and any country, but we want to focus on Southeast Asia because it is the second largest region for Korean exports behind only China.
Kids need to see it working with the real world, Tynker founder and CEO Krishna Vedati told TechCrunch.The breadth of the Tynker approach, which both gamifies the code-learning process and adds physicality, seems to be working.It was one of the most popular options in Code.org s Hour of Code, and new tools for sharing the games kids build are seeing serious use.Not only that, but the freemium model is paying off as parents and schools convert to subscribers — Vedati noted that the company was cash positive in 2015, though to get to that point it was working with just over $3M in angel funding it collected in 2013.And not having to think on how to raise money, and just focusing on growth — I think it gives them runway to go be ambitious.Imagine if you got graded for your performance in Kerbal Space Program as part of your astrophysics class, for instance.
Robin is a company that helps offices organize, track, and monitor their spaces.The company just raised $7 million in Series A led by FirstMark capital, with participation from existing investors such as Accomplice, Boldstart, Fundfire, Space Pirates, and Mike Germano.FirstMark s Amish Jani will join the board of directors.With Robin, all of that information becomes searchable and trackable.Plus, Robin uses beacon integration, so users don t necessarily have to sign in to meetings but rather just show up, and the system automatically knows they re there and when they leave.That means employers can see analytics about the way that their office space is being used in order to plan for the future or better organize their workflows in the present.
SeedPlus, as the newest fund is called, takes it back to its early-stage roots with a hands-on approach to working with its portfolio.SeedPlus is providing office space in Singapore to house its portfolio to enable its partners to work face-to-face with them.In the case of companies based outside of Singapore — which principally means elsewhere in Southeast Asia — it will move them to the city-state and incorporate their businesses there to make Singapore their headquarters.In all cases we ll be the lead investor or first institutional rounds.We ve spent a lot of time looking at deep product and technology, so it could blockchain, AI or machine learning, or Saas or security — that speaks to our background and things we understand.Jungle Ventures is arguably one of the stand-out investors in Southeast Asia, but SeedPlus is an interesting challenge since — to date, at least — there are few examples of companies with global reach emerging from Southeast Asia.
In a call, Lost My Name co-founder and CEO Asi Sharabi told me the decision to take further founding — which I understand actually closed a couple of months ago — is based on the operational support Project A offers.In fact, I m told that the German VC, which has several high profile Rocket Internet alumni as Managing Partners, has already seconded a number of its own 100-strong operational support team with the London startup, who have worked to put an in-house business intelligence unit in place.Originally founded as a side project, Lost My Name is the company behind the best-selling personalised picture book for kids, The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name , and also the follow up, The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home , which infuses data in even more interesting ways to make the resulting book and its story even more personal.It also has various printing partners around the world so that Lost My Name is able to operate on an on-demand and zero-inventory basis.To that end, Sharabi likens the startup to vertically integrated companies such as Warby Parker, in the sense that Lost My Name controls most aspects of its business processes in-house, from creating the stories, illustrations, to marketing and sales.Sharabi also revealed that the startup is working on a personalised alphabet poster, so is moving away from being purely a book publisher.