Digital Startup news roundup – Week ending 30 July

A weekly news roundup from the world of startups

Startup News and Ideas

Is the future VR … or AR? Google VR boss Clay Bavor explains why the two technologies aren’t so different on the latest Too Embarrassed to Ask.

As storefronts shut down, this startup helps landlords find better tenants – You know that one storefront in your neighborhood where new stores constantly move in, only to go out of business a few months later? Megalytics, a Chicago-based real estate analytics startup, wants to help landlords figure out what’s up with that. “We work with owners of commercial real estate to make better, faster business decisions with Big Data analytics,” said founder and CEO Donna Salvatore. “That covers everything from understanding whether a business would make a good tenant for the space to understanding everything about a property and the surrounding areas as well as what’s going on in the industry.”


Google in Africa

Corporate – startup news and M&A

​Amazon buys search engine startup Graphiq  – Inc. has reportedly bought Graphiq, a Santa Barbara-based data analysis and search engine startup.

Mayo Makes Third Investment in Digital Heart Health Firm – Latest stake in AliveCor comes with effort to predict sudden cardiac arrest in kids. For the third time in less than a year, the Mayo Clinic has made a financial investment in AliveCor, a Silicon Valley digital health startup that is commercializing Mayo-developed technology to detect heart health risks via a smartphone app.

Qualcomm leads $15M funding round for digital farming startup – San Diego’s Qualcomm Ventures was the lead investor in a $15 million funding round for ag-tech start-up Prospera, an Israeli company that taps data analytics, computer vision and artificial intelligence to help farmers. Prospera announced the new funding round on Monday, with Cisco Investments, ICV, and Bessemer Venture Partners, an existing investor, also participating in this latest round. The company will use the money to expand globally and broaden its services to different crops in both indoor and outdoor farming.

Enterprise IT Startup Intelligent Clearing Network Raises $450,000 – Intelligent Clearing Network announced it has closed $450,000 in financing from an undisclosed investor. Intelligent Clearing Network, Inc., operates as a software-as-a-service company that electronically validates and clears paper and digital coupons and other incentives in real-time at the point-of-sale (POS) in grocery, drug, and mass merchant retailers. Its single connection to a retailer POS allows its system to solve problems involved in misredemption, malredemption and fraud for the coupon industry. The company’s clearing network provides manufacturers, media companies, and retailers with real-time redemption information at the moment the incentive clears the retailer’s POS system.

Startup Shutdown: RIP

Google is betting big on Africa’s startup culture – Google has revealed how it will be investing in Africa as well has how it is adapting its services to meet the needs of citizens on the continent. The first big announcement the Silicon Valley giant made is that it will commit $20 million over the next five years to non-profit organisations working to improve the lives of Africans.Google also announced that it will launch a Impact Challenge in Africa next year. The challenge will invite non-profit organisations to share their ideas on how they plan to improve their communities. Google has set aside $5 million in grants for this challenge.

Matrix-backed fintech startup Finomena shuts shop due to fund crunch – The Bangalore-based startup, which was launched in 2015, terminated operations in May, this year after it failed to raise series-A funding, several sources confirmed. The Bangalore-based startup, which was launched in 2015, terminated operations in May, this year after it failed to raise series-A funding, several sources confirmed. The company’s website no more allows a new user to register, and its blog has also been suspended since March.

On-demand delivery startup Jinn pulls out of ‘other markets outside London’ – Jinn, the U.K. same-hour ‘shop on your behalf’ delivery app, has pulled out of all markets outside London, TechCrunch has learned. According to sources, the startup shut down operations in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds as of yesterday, whilst I understand the Spanish team may have been let go, too. The “pausing” of operations — startup speak for withdrawing from a market — offers an interesting counterpoint to what Navarro told TechCrunch in May when the company raised $10 million in further funding, capital it planned to use to continue to grow and “consolidate its presence in its main markets”. As of today, those main markets have shrunk considerably.

Shared capsule bed service suspended over safety issues –  Shared capsule beds for napping, the latest novelty in China’s sharing economy, have been temporarily shut down over safety concerns, just over one month after their launch. According to Beijing police, a total of 16 napping pods in the city’s office buildings have suspended operations after it surfaced that “the capsules may become a shelter for criminals because users don’t need to check in with their ID cards”. In addition, the confined space may pose a fire risk, they said.

News roundup from previous weeks

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