Roundup of news and ideas from the world of startups – Week ending 10th December
News you can use
Alexa for Business service brings Voice services to your office – Thus far, voice based technologies like Alexa, Siri and Cortana were consumer novelties, and the response has been overwhelming. At the recent tech conference AWS re: INVENT 2017, Amazon announced “Alexa for Business service,” a move that tries to get Alexa into the corporate world. Companies like Amazon are hoping that the ‘cool’ factor and consumer adoption will convince corporate leaders to bring Alexa enabled virtual assistants to their employees.
Google’s First investment in an Indian startup – invests $12 million in data-rich Dunzo EditTech giant Google announced that it was taking a small stake in a Bengaluru-based daily task management app called Dunzo. This is the first direct investment in an Indian startup by Google. Dunzo is receiving the $12 investment as a part of Google’s Next Billion Users (NBU) commitment.
Amazon offers A.I focused consulting services – Amazon, at its big cloud conference AWS Re:invent announced two key developments in the area of artificial intelligence. AWS is opening a machine learning lab, ML Solutions Lab, to pair Amazon machine learning experts with customers looking to build solutions using the AI tech. It is also releasing new features within Amazon Rekognition, Amazon’s deep learning-based image recognition platform that includes real-time face recognition and the ability to recognize text in images.
Corporate M&A and deals
Dropbox acquires Verst team, publishing platform will shut down on Dec. 21 – The team behind Verst is joining Dropbox, in an acquisition that marks the end of the Verst publishing platform.The startup actually started life as DWNLD, a platform that transformed websites into mobile apps. It raised a $12 million Series A led by Grelock Partners before shifting focus to Verst, which launched earlier this year as a blogging platform that has traffic and revenue optimization tools built in.
GE Ventures unveils new blood collection startup Drawbridge Health – Drawbridge Health wants to make it easier for doctor’s offices and clinics to collect small samples of your blood for testing on site with a handheld device.The device uses proprietary technology to collect and stabilize just a few drops of blood for various tests like hormone levels, genetic testing, monitoring disease and other things patients normally have to get done at an outside lab like Quest Diagnostics or Lab Corp.Instead, the device can stay in the clinic and the proprietary Drawbridge cartridge holding your blood would be shipped out to the third-party lab for results.
Apple Acquires Digital Media Startup for Undisclosed Sum – Apple purchased Pop Up Archive, an app that helps media companies improve productivity and monetize content by adding a semantic SEO-ready layer to media. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Pop Up Archive makes sound searchable by automatically creating timestamped transcripts and keywords, which are indexed so users can “play back” search terms exactly where they are found in the audio. Its smart transcription tools are built on unique language models from audio collections across the U.S.
Startups that failed last week
Video hosting service, Vid.me shuts down – This week, the user-generated video hosting service, Vid.me announced it was shutting down. Vidme confirmed it was shutting down because it can’t see a way to make money in the face of internet giants Google and Facebook. The company said that new signups and uploads to the Vidme site and apps will be disabled from Friday, and the service will be shut down after Dec. 15