Roundup of news and ideas from the world of startups – Week ending 21st Jan 2018
News you can use
Play Labs Accelerator, hosted at MIT, Announces Second Annual Open Submissions, Adding Digital Currency and Blockchain to its List of “Playful Tech” Eligible Startups – Play Labs, LLC and the MIT Game Lab, announced that applications are now open for the second batch of startups within the playful technology accelerator, which will run from June through August 2018 on campus at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Startups that are accepted into Play Labs will each receive an initial investment of $20,000 in either cash or Bitcoin in return for common stock. Startups that graduate from the program and meet certain criteria will be eligible for up to $80,000 in additional funding from the Play Labs Fund and its investment partners.
Facebook buys ID verification startup Confirm.io – Facebook has acquired a startup that offers a system for verifying the authenticity of ID cards, biometrics and facial recognition. Confirm.io can verify who someone is using ID cards and biometrics. The Boston-based firm Confirm.io, confirmed on its website that an agreement with Facebook has been made. It will now be rolled into Mark Zuckerberg’s company, where it will presumably work on verification for the Facebook platform – perhaps with transactions made on the social network, or helping users that are locked out of their accounts.
SAP acquires recast.AI and invests in France – It will come as no surprise that SAP are looking to invest in companies focussing on Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, blockchain and SaaS software. It will specifically focus on companies that are complimentary to SAP Leonardo. SAP Leonardo is the platform through which SAP integrates the latest technology, including those named above, into its architecture. SAP has announced the acquisition of the French start up Recast.AI and is planning to incubate 50 more. Using the SAP.iO Fund, it will also invest in French start ups in their seed funding or Series A rounds. It will also spend €150 million each year in R&D over the next five years. Though that last figure does not appear to be directly tied to France.
Startup shut and failed last week
Primary Data : Startup that raised lot of funding and buzz shuts down – It was a four-year-old data virtualization startup based in Los Gatos, California. It had raised a whopping $100 million in equity and debt and attracting the likes of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to its management team. The company had brought aboard Lance Smith its new CEO in 2014.