Digital Startup news roundup – Week ending 21st Jan

Roundup of news and ideas from the world of startups – Week ending 21st Jan 2018

News you can use

5 Questions You Should Answer Before Investing in Your Friend’s Start-Up IdeaHere’s a list of 5 quick questions you must answer before taking the big plunge.
1. What is the USP and is it truly a USP?
2. What are the Potential Risks?
3. Scalability?
4. Who gets What?
5. Who Else is On Board?

Electric car startup backed by ex-McLaren execs plans pickup and SUV – It seems like an electric car startup surfaces every other day, but there’s reason to take Rivian a bit more seriously than most. Instead of making bold promises that end up being pushed back or completely fail, Rivian has been working diligently in the background on its electric car plans, which call for the introduction of a pickup and SUV around 2020. The company already has a production site in the form of the old Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, and it has a couple of big name execs on its board of directors. One is Tom Gale, the designer of the original Dodge Viper, and another is Antony Sheriff, who helped launched McLaren Automotive, the road car business of the McLaren Technology Group. Rivian also lists former McLaren engineer Mark Vinnels as its head engineer.

Corporate M&A

Ride Share company Grab acquires India-based payments Startup, iKaaz – Uber’s Southeast Asian ride-hailing competitor Grab said it has acquired an India-based payments startup, iKaaz, to help expand its digital payments platform GrabPay.

Veeam Buys AWS Enterprise Continuity Start-Up For £31m – Switzerland’s Veeam said it has acquired startup N2WS, which provides cloud-native enterprise backup and recovery services for Amazon Web Services (AWS), in a cash deal worth $42.6 million (£31m).  The deal is a fresh indication of the popularity of cloud-based platforms, in which AWS is the market leader, and the numerous services that support them. Veeam and N2WS already have close ties, with Veeam having invested in N2WS in May of last year, at which time Veeam co-founder and president Ratmir Timashev joined N2WS’ board of directors. Veeam launched an availability service for AWS at the time of last year’s investment that’s delivered in partnership with N2WS.

Google, Temasek to invest in ride-hailing startup Go-Jek – Alphabet Inc’s Google, Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd and Chinese online platform Meituan-Dianping are investing in a fundraising round of Indonesian ride-hailing start-up Go-Jek, sources familiar with the matter said.

Shell’s Trading Arm Bags Stake In London-Based Blockchain Start-Up – Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell’s trading arm Shell Trading International made a significant move into blockchain development on Thursday (18 January) by bagging a minority stake in London, U.K.-based start-up Applied Blockchain. In the simplest of terms, a blockchain is akin to a digitally distributed ledger that can be replicated and spread across many nodes in a peer-to-peer network, thereby minimising the need for oversight and governance of a single ledger.

U.S. property startup Roofstock raises more funding from SVB, others – SVB Capital, the venture capital arm of Silicon Valley Bank, and property investor Asia Pacific Land Ltd have backed Roofstock, a startup that allows investors to buy and sell single-family rental homes online. The startup said on Thursday that the two new strategic investors had joined a $35 million fundraising round announced in October, increasing the total raised to $42 million. Existing investors also contributed extra funding, it said.

Startup shut and failed last week

Gridco Shuts Down Its Digital Grid Controls Business – Utilities aren’t buying enough grid edge power electronics devices to keep Gridco in business. Now its IP and technology are up for sale.

The startup, Memo.AI announced that it is shutting down service, while Coinbase opted to acqui-hires its technical team management tool. The startup was trying to develop an innovative note-taking tool to help technical teams with their knowledge management activities. The idea was rather simple: technical teams, knowledge workers are technically literate and use lots of software to get their job done in a fast-paced ever-changing world. The software is designed to use machine intelligence to optimize user workflows.

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