A weekly news roundup from the world of startups
Startup News and Ideas
A sorta-self-driving Mercedes TACKLES AMERICANS’ GREATEST FEAR: The roundabout – ROBOCARS ARE A bit like infants—we teach them in steps. First, humans gave them the ability to drive down the highway without smashing into things. Then humans taught them to change lanes without smashing into things. Now, self-driving vehicles finally mastering taking turns without smashing into things. The methodical German engineers behind the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class want their baby to move beyond simplistic freeway driving, and onto the roads that wind through towns, villages, and cities. You know, the complicated ones.
Trump’s Policies Are Sending Precious Startup Jobs to Canada – RAYA BIDSHAHRI’S HANDS shook as she sat in her dorm room in February, reading the email that had been sent to all Boston University students.“It was a warning letter,” she says, about a ban the Trump administration planned to institute against travelers and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran, where Bidshahri was born and where her family still lives.
Corporate – startup news and M&A
Report: Amazon secretly acquired a Santa Barbara search startup to bolster Alexa – Amazon reportedly acquired Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Graphiq back in May, according to the Los Angeles Times.The Times, citing “four sources familiar with the deal but unauthorized to discuss it,” says the acquisition was worth at least tens of millions of dollars and up to $50 million.
UK game startup Sensible Object chosen for Amazon Alexa Accelerator in Seattle – UK-based game studio Sensible Object has been selected as one of nine companies to participate in the Amazon Alexa Accelerator, after closing a $1.4 million funding round. Sensible Object, who are based in London, use connected technology to produce games that are “rooted in a practical understanding of home and family life.” Games produced by the company, including launch title Beasts of Balance, are unique in that they combine physical, digital and imaginative play like never before.
4 Bengaluru startups will work with Airbus to shape the future of aerospace – Airbus offers commercial contracts to Neewee, eFlight, Symbosim and Stelae Technologies, says Indian startups ready to forge global partnerships. Global aircraft manufacturer Airbus has pulled off what other corporate accelerators in the manufacturing industry have not been able to. Four startups from Bengaluru, chosen for the second season of Airbus BizLab accelerator, have been selected for long-term commercial engagements with the aircraft manufacturer. The startups that won the commercial deals are Neewee, eFlight, Symbosim and Stelae Technologies.
Target India Announces 5th Startup Cohort for Target Accelerator Program – Target India announced the fifth batch and the largest cohort yet for the Target Accelerator Program. Eight startups were selected to develop innovative technology solutions with the potential to enhance guest experiences at Target and in the wider retail industry. These startups will work in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, analytics and digital experiences.
Reliance Industries of India to invest $25M in Jerusalem Innovation Incubator – Reliance Industries is backing a tech incubator called Jerusalem Innovation Incubator (JII), licensed by the Israel Innovation Authority, Ministry of Economy, Israel, under competitive bidding process, according to their stock market disclosure. As per the disclosure, Reliance Industries proposes to invest $25 million in the incubator and tech startups in tranches over a period 0f 8 years.
Startup Shutdown: RIP
Vertu is dead – It’s been a long, downward slide for cellphone maker Vertu. The company, founded by Nokia in 1998, was supposed to be a luxury phone provider to the stars and, to a degree, it delivered. They sold the $11,000 phones like expensive watches in boutique stores in tony neighborhoods. Vertu, with its precious metals and fine, hand-cut leather was supposed to maintain its luxury lead for decades.