Digital Startups in #News : Week of Nov 20


Weekly roundup of top startup news:

  • We Got Funded: HolidayME.com Raises US$7 Million In Funding – According to the 2015 research findings of the firm Phocuswright, the Middle East travel industry is expected to rise to US$98 billion by 2017. This is the market that online travel portal HolidayME.com is targeting, and to its credit, it’s been gaining traction steadily, and catching the attention of investors. In a Series A funding round, HolidayME.com has raised $7 million from a variety of investors, which consisted of U.S. VC firm Accel Partners, Saudi Arabia-based F&C Overseas Investment and former investor Al Sanie Group, which had invested $4 million in the enterprise in 2015. – Entrepreneur Middle East
  • Ex-Amazonian’s stealth startup gets $2 mn seed funding to disrupt logistics – Leading VC firms Kalaari Capital and Norwest Venture Partners have quietly made a US$2 million seed investment in a startup in stealth mode, according to Termsheet, an online platform for angel investing. The deal was done in May, but not publicized so far.The startup named ElasticRun, founded in April 2015, appears to be building an Uber for logistics and delivery. Its website says “something awesome is coming soon… stay tuned.” – Tech in Asia

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Photo credit: Lord Enfield

  • UNICEF makes investment in a South African blockchain startup – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced its first portfolio of investments in open source technology solutions, including a South African startup that uses blockchain technology. UNICEF’s first portfolio of investments includes five startups including support for 9Needs from South Africa that uses blockchain and advances in identity technology to create better management systems for early childhood development services. The other startups include Nicaragua-based Saycel, mPower from Bangladesh, Pakistan-based Innovations for Poverty Alleviation Lab and Cambodia- based Chatterbox, the release stated. econotimes.com
  • Blockchain Real Estate Startup Bitmark Raises $1.7 Million – Taiwan blockchain startup Bitmark has raised $1.7m in a new seed funding round.Cherubic Ventures, a VC firm focused on early-stage companies, led the round. Bitmark, which is developing technology to register user generated content using blockchain tech, raised the funding from a group of investors that also included Digital Currency Group and WI Harper.Properties registered on its platform are tied to digital assets called “bitmarks” which can be sold and and exchanged with other users, creating an electronic record of their movements. Bitmark is among a growing body of startups seeking to leverage the technology in order to reinforce property rights in favor of their creators. – coindesk.com
  • GE acquires Wise.io to deepen its machine learning stack – GE Digital today announced that it has acquired Wise.io, a machine-learning powered service that helps businesses find patterns and trends in their vast data stores. At first glance, that may seem like an odd acquisition for a company like GE. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that with Predix, GE already offers its customers a service that focuses on helping them monitor their equipment, whether that’s an industrial tool or an aircraft engine, and predict issues based on the monitoring data. techcrunch.com
  • Intel announces $250 million for autonomous driving tech – When Intel decided to take a crack at its first keynote at an automotive event, it swung for the fences. The company’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, took the stage at the Los Angeles Auto Show‘s Automobility event this morning to announce that Intel Capital would be investing $250 million in autonomous driving over the next two years.Technologies that will benefit from the investment include connectivity, context awareness, deep learning and security. The goal of autonomous cars is to improve safety by removing as much human error as possible, which requires the vehicles and their data to be safe and reliable. (TechCrunch.com)

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