- Axilor Ventures doubles size of its start-up incubator programme – Axilor says will double intake of its 100-day start-up incubator programme, indicating that it will invest in over two dozen start-ups at least this year. Early-stage venture investor Axilor Ventures, which was launched by technology industry veterans led by Infosys co-founders Kris Gopalakrishnan and SD Shibulal, plans to invest in more start-ups in 2017 and has doubled the size of its incubator programme. On Wednesday, Axilor said it would double the intake of start-ups for its 100-day accelerator programme—it has so far nurtured 30 start-ups since it started operating in late 2014 and has invested in about 20 early-stage ventures. That would indicate that Axilor will invest in over two dozen start-ups at least this year—last year it had said it would back about 12-15 start-ups.
- Microsoft’s Satya Nadella is mighty impressed with India’s “fantastic” entrepreneurs and startups – On Feb. 20, the India-born Nadella was on his maiden visit to the city as Microsoft CEO. Among other things, he participated in a 30-minute fireside chat with Infosys co-founder and former CEO Nandan Nilekani. The event was attended by nearly 1,000 techies and academicians, including some of the country’s most prominent entrepreneurs like Flipkart co-founder and group CEO Binny Bansal and InMobi co-founder and CEO Naveen Tewari.
- Google and Intel had the most active corporate VC firms last year – GV, formerly Google Ventures, tied with Intel Capital as the most active corporate venture capital firm globally in 2016, according to a report out today from research firm CB Insights. In total, the firm made 60 investments, according to CB Insights. The largest of those investments were: a $400 million investment in health-insurance startup Oscar . A $150 million in payments startup Stripe . And a $100 million for cancer blood-test startup Grail, which is led by former Google executive Jeff Huber.
- ‘Unicorn Startup Simulator’ Lets You Get Valued Or Die Trying Over And Over Again – In the large field of startup send-up and parody, a new entry, Unicorn Startup Simulator feels like a rare breed, in that it’s so bizarre and fun. The goal of the game, naturally, is to reach a $1 billion valuation in one year before going public — the unicorn threshold — achieved, as in life, by making simple, binary decisions that become increasingly weird.
- Apple acquires facial recognition start-up – With its recent acquisition of the Israeli start-up, RealFace, specializing in facial recognition, Apple gets hold of new, more advanced technology than currently available for sorting and searching photos on its devices. RealFace technology could also allow Apple to develop a new biometric tool to unlock devices by identifying users’ faces. RealFace specializes in developing artificial intelligence (AI) based facial recognition software. Its first consumer application, Pickeez, can find all the photos of a given person on a smartphone or in a Facebook folder and can even pick the best shots. On the firm’s website (not accessible at the time of writing), RealFace claims to offer the highest levels of authentication and security currently available. Apple paid an undisclosed amount for the start-up, created in 2014 and with around 10 employees.
- Meet Yuvraj Singh, The Star Cricketer Turned Startup Investor From India – Yuvraj Singh is a well-known ex-vice captain, who has been successful in wearing different hats on the cricket field. He is a brilliant batsman, a good slow left-arm bowler, a dazzling fielder and a frontrunner who is known to lead aggressively against any opposition. Taking this multifaceted role off the field, Singh is the only cricketer who has launched a structured fund for startups. He set up YouWeCan Ventures Technology with associate Nishant Singhal in 2015, becoming the flag bearer for celebrities who are prominent investors in the start-up ecosystem in India. According to Singh, he sees a lot of similarities that exist between pursuing a career in sports and taking the unbeaten path of becoming a startup founder. In both, the profession’s success depends on the manner in which one builds team, attains a “never give up” attitude, and reinvents and adapts to different challenges in professional and personal life. Singh says, “You need a good team… If you have a good team you can always move forward, one person alone cannot move forward.”
Also check out last week’s Digital Startup News roundup 19 Feb 2017