Digital Startup news roundup – Week ending 13 Aug

A weekly news roundup from the world of startups

Startup News and Ideas

Coinbase Raises $100m in Largest-Ever VC Funding Round for Bitcoin Startup – This round also makes Coinbase part of what is called a “unicorn” club in the venture capital industry.  In the single largest venture-capital fundraising by a bitcoin-related startup to date, digital currency exchange Coinbase has today closed a giant $100 million investment from several investors including a US-based VC firm that previously invested in Dropbox, Netflix, Twitter, Slack and Snap.

Corporate – startup news and M&A

After shutting chatbot system, Facebook now acquires AI startup – After shutting down one of its artificial intelligence (AI) systems as chatbots defied the human-generated algorithms and started communicating in their own language, Facebook has acquired an AI startup Ozlo to enhance its Messenger’s personal assistant. The four-year-old California-based startup that specialises in understanding text-based conversations claims that its virtual assistants can understand and provide answers to questions which do not have simple “yes” or “no”.

Kleiner Perkins Shuts Down Its Seed Venture Fund – Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers shut its seed investing program, a two year-old effort to get the venture capital firm back into the potentially lucrative field of early-stage startup investing. All three partners who ran the $4 million KPCB Edge program, Anjney Midha, Roneil Rumburg and Ruby Lee, departed in recent weeks, a spokeswoman for the firm said. There are no immediate plans to hire new early-stage experts to replace the trio. Instead, existing partners at Kleiner Perkins will evaluate and invest in seed deals as part of their daily duties, she said.

Santander’s VC fund invests in AI based digital identity startup – Santander InnoVenture, the bank’s VC fund that focusses specifically on fintech, has entered into the funding round of a US identity startup called Socure.Socure harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide a digital identity security offering to combat fraud. The company has so far accrued $13.9 billion in its Series B funding round.The recurrent support from the Santander fund is not the only show of high profile confidence that the startup has received so far, as it is already providing its services to a top US bank.

Startup Shutdown: RIP

Startup shutdown: Virtual Hangouts Startup AltspaceVR  faces Slow VR Growth – The technologies behind Virtual and Augmented reality are advancing at a fast pace and there is a lot of hype in the sector. However, the business models to leverage the emerging technologies are yet to mature.  Despite advances in virtual reality technology and plenty of hype, the medium has yet to take off in the way its advocates envision.

500 Canada to shut down fund investments following Dave McClure scandal – The letter, obtained by BetaKit, states that 500 Canada was in the process of securing $25 million in “imminent commitments” from Canadian institutional LPs. However, the recent allegations of 500 Startups founder Dave McClure’s sexual misconduct, and subsequent resignation, essentially torpedoed the fund’s investment goals. BetaKit has received confirmation of the decision by 500 Canada but no official comment.

Music sharing site Lisn shutdown In a recent medium blog post, Abhinav Chhikara, Designer and co-founder of @LisnApp announced that the venture was shutting down too.Lisn went from a hackathon ‘side-project’ to a full-time gig when friends – Abheyraj Singh, Vibhas Jain, Abhinav Chhikara, and Bhargav Sosale – realized its potential. The idea was rather simple: Music recommendation on mobile apps requires sending URL links and jumping between apps.

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