Digital Startup News roundup 19 Feb 2017


A weekly roundup of startup news

  • Baidu furthers AI push with acquisition of digital assistant startup Raven Tech – Baidu is furthering its push into artificial intelligence after it announced the acquisition of Raven Tech, a Chinese startup that developed an AI voice assistant platform. Baidu confirmed it has bought the startup’s tech, product and staff of 60.
  • Tinder Buys Video-App Startup Wheel, Looking to Add Snapchat-Like Messaging – Tinder announced an agreement to acquire Wheel, an L.A.-based startup whose app lets users share collaborative, video-based “stories.” With the deal, Tinder plans to weave in video features, promising a new way for lonely-hearts to make love connections.Terms are not being disclosed. Wheel, founded as Ferris in 2015 (get it?), had raised $2 million led by Upfront Ventures’ Mark Suster with participation from Machinima founder Allen DeBevoise and other investors.
  • The 5 Hottest Events at Phoenix Startup Week – Having a supportive ecosystem can make a world of difference for budding startups. While a good idea can go a long way in the business world, startups need funding, mentoring, and support throughout the growth of the company. And if you think they’re coming up with all that on their own, you haven’t seen a Startup Week in action.
  • Swiss startup seeks to build a medically accurate blood pressure sensor into every smartphone – A Swiss medical device company is working on a medically accurate sensor, built into a smartphone, that could return results about heart rate, respiration rate, blood oxygenation, temperature, and — the use case the company is initially focusing on — blood pressure. Leman Micro Devices (or LMD or Elemdy) is beginning trials now to simultaneously submit the device for regulatory clearance with the FDA, the CE Mark, and a number of other regional regulators, with the goal of licensing the technology to major smartphone makers to build into their devices within a few years.
  • Can India produce global start-ups? Indian start-ups have much to learn from the German mid-sized firms and how they leverage the institutional support provided to them. In October 2015, the IT industry body Nasscom proclaimed that India had overtaken Israel to become the third largest ecosystem with 4,200 start-ups, next only to the US and the UK. Some of these start-ups operate globally and are valued at several billion dollars. But we are yet to see a truly global start-up, such as Google and Facebook, that would capture the imagination of users and markets across the world.
  • Southeast Asia’s Playlab invests $1M in Brazilian gaming startup Cupcake Entertainment – Thailand-based casual game studio Playlab has turned investor after it invested $1 million into Cupcake Entertainment, a Brazil-based game maker.The deal is a little different in that it is not an equity investment; instead, Playlab and Cupcake have agreed to a profit-share deal. Cupcake started producing games in 2014, and its current titles include Letters of Gold and Words of Gold. Co-founder and CMO Gabriel Stürmer described its products — which are for iOS, Android and Facebook — as “casual brain games” that require users to “make boards, or do mathematic combinations.

Prototype of iNICU IoT product. Photo credit: Intel.

  • ‘Spotify for business’ startup Soundtrack Your Brand raises $22M, plans to grow Seattle-area office – A Spotify-backed company that gives businesses legal and data-driven background music is raising more cash to help expand its operations.Soundtrack Your Brand today announced a $22 million round led by Industrifonden and Balderton Capital. The Stockholm-based company will use the fresh cash to grow its platform across the globe — including in the Seattle region, where it opened a sales office this past May and employs eight people.
  • As Trump stokes fears, startup backed by tech heavyweights aims to help immigrants ‘take control of their journey’ – Xiao Wang is an immigrant success story. He came to the U.S. from Nanjing at three and went on to earn advanced degrees from Stanford and Harvard Business School before jumping into leadership roles in tech. For the past three years, he’s been a senior product manager on Amazon Go, the Seattle retailer’s ambitious new convenience store operation. Now Wang is working to ensure immigrants, like himself, have access to the same opportunities. This month, Wang left his role at Amazon to co-found and run Boundless, a spinout of Seattle-based startup studio Pioneer Square Labs. The startup is in stealth mode and Wang and Pioneer Square Labs aren’t saying much, but its website pledges to “provide the tools, community, and personalized support applicants need to take charge of their immigration journey.”
  • Meet the 6 orgs that snagged grants from StartUp PHL’s Call for Ideas fund – The winners from the fifth round of StartUp PHL’s Call for Ideas grant program are in (kinda).See, the winners will be officially announced in a press conference today at 1:30 p.m. — starring Mayor Jim Kenney and the Department of Commerce’s Archna Sahay — but we were able to snag a sneak peek at the list of winners. A couple of them even shared a brief description of the projects they’ll tackle with the funds.
  • GE Digital Acquisition of Israeli Startup Nurego to Help Acceleration of IIoT Business Models – GE Digital has acquired Israeli monetization platform developer Nurego. The company, with offices in Herzliya and Seattle, will help GE Digital accelerate Industrial Internet of Things business models. No financial details about the deal were disclosed. Nurego, which was founded in 2013, has had GE Digital as a major customer for the past two years. GE has been using Nurego’s monetization and business operations tool both internally and as a Predix microservice. GE’s Predix helps industrial companies develop, deploy and operate Industrial Internet applications from the edge to the cloud. Nurego helps companies to monetize their Predix-based Industrial Internet applications alongside their legacy products and businesses.
  • Baby deaths, fatal falls, toxic waste. These 3 startups fight it with IoT and wearables – Infant mortality, lifestyle diseases, urban waste – these are just a few of the massive social problems that tech can mitigate in India. Three startups tackling these problems have emerged as winners of a Digital India challenge run up by Intel in collaboration with the Indian government’s department of science and technology (DST) and MyGov. Intel will announce the winners later today at the T-Hub incubator in Hyderabad.

 

 

 

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