The research unit’s “focus on real atoms, not bits” is expanding to include the start-up’s work on tethered flying wings that are designed to generate 600 kilowatts of power. [Read more]
Tag Archives: Startup
The announcement comes after the relaunch of Find&Save last month. The service allows readers to browse deals aggregated from newspaper circulars, retailers, and other data sources. That was the first big redesign since Wanderful acquired Travidia (the print-to-digital conversion company that started Find&Save), and at the time, CEO Ben T. Smith IV told me that it was Wanderful’s first opportunity to put its own stamp on the product. That involved adding more personalization and social features, such as the ability to create shopping lists and to follow retailers and other users.
Finnish MeeGo Startup Jolla Reveals First Phone, With Customisable Shells, $513 Price-Tag, Coming At Year’s End
Jolla, the Finnish MeeGo startup comprised of ex-Nokians building their own mobile hardware and Sailfish OS, has finally taken the wraps off its first handset, revealing what the hardware will look like on its website. The design is a clean looking, elegant slab, with the most stand-out feature being the coloured shell on the back that wraps around half the sides of the phone. The shell colours, which appear to be user-customisable, can also influence the theme colours of the Sailfish UI. This is a feature Jolla is calling “the Other Half”. “Attach the Other Half and your Jolla becomes alive and unique,” the text notes. “Magically, the software changes to match your selected colour and design. Your Ambience. Your Jolla.” The removable, customisable shells bring to mind Nokia’s Lumia 820 — a device for which Nokia has released the 3D print files so owners of 3D printers can design and print their own custom shell. The Lumia 820 shells, however, do not have any link to the Windows Phone software. Jolla’s handset will cost €399 ($ 513) and is slated to ship at the end of the year. Jolla notes: Expected availability by end of 2013 subject to demand in your local market. Sales will start in European countries with more countries to follow. If you join the Movement and get the pre-order number to buy the phone when available, you’ll pay no more than 399€; including applicable VAT in Europe, but excluding shipping costs, duties and any local taxes. Specs wise, the device has a 4.5″ Estrade display, a dual-core chip, 4G, 16GB internal memory plus a microSD card slot, an 8MP auto focus camera, a user-replaceable battery. The device is powered by Jolla’s Sailfish OS but can also run Android apps, giving it something of a leg up. Jolla is also encouraging developers to build native Sailfish apps too. The hardware reveal is also the start of Jolla’s pre-order sales campaign, announced last month. Jolla is due to hold an event in Helsinki today — dubbed the Jolla LoveDay — to promote the handset and encourage fans to pre-oder the device, having kept the design tightly under wraps up to now.
An anonymous reader writes “Tom’s Hardware reports on the Connectify Switchboard software that “divides the user’s traffic between Wi-Fi, 3G/4G and Ethernet-based connections on a packet-by-packet basis. Even a single stream — such as a Netflix movie — can be split between two or three Internet connections for a higher resolution and faster buffering.” As part of its Kickstarter campaign, Connectify is geolocating their backers to optimize deployment of their servers. This is a clever way for supporters to influence the project beyond pledge levels and stretch goals, and it’s actually kind of fun to watch.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Called Zones, the company’s newest update to their indoor mapping platform — and indoor is the key word here — allows geo-fence style app push notifications to be scheduled, by drawing polygons on location maps.
Singapore’s largest telecoms provider, SingTel, plans to set aside $ 1.6 billion (S$ 2 billion) over the next three years for startup acquisitions. Like those it has made in recent years, these are expected to be in the digital media space. All of these can be tracked back to the major restructuring of SingTel’s business arms last year, where it divided itself into three pillars called Consumer, ICT and Digital Life. The first two focus on consumer and enterprise segments, respectively, but the Digital Life arm is most representative of the change. The division was set up as a reaction to over-the-top competition from third party content providers, and SingTel said Digital Life was going to compete head on, providing smart TV, digital magazines and local content. Some of acquisitions so far include restaurant review sites, Hungrygowhere and Eatability, and photo app Pixable. SingTel has also been bullish as a VC. In 2010, it set up a separate venture arm called Innov8 to specifically look at acquisitions that would boost its current play in the telecoms arena. Innov8 was set up with an initial fund size of $ 160 million (S$ 200 million), and has since acquired firms like mobile ad company Amobee. Innov8 has also raised rounds in startups like mobile ad exchange Nexage and Chinese game publisher Yodo. SingTel runs telecoms operations in other countries in the region, like Optus in Australia. It has significant stakes in other carriers like Globe in The Philippines (44 percent), Bharti in India (32 percent) and Telkomsel in Indonesia (35 percent). Altogether, its operations in the region cover about 400 million mobile subscribers.
Making it easier for people to rent their own cars could lead to growth in car sharing.
With peer-to-peer car sharing, it is getting easier and easier to get away without owning a car in a city. But one barrier to growth of these kinds of marketplaces is the need to transfer the key.
A year after launch, a startup program is helping U.S. companies reach China—and vice versa.
When Jon Bonanno, chief commercial officer of the clean-tech startup Empower Micro Systems, got up to face a small, packed room in Santa Clara, California, last week, it wasn’t like the polished “demo days” run by the highest-profile Silicon Valley startup accelerators. There was no stage, not even a screen for the projector. The sound system buzzed with painful feedback. The 100 or so guests stood or sat in folding chairs under bright fluorescent lights in a space adjoining a large startup workplace that contained a distinct no-no of Silicon Valley office culture: cubicles.
One of the most nervewracking and tedious parts of developing a Web site is making sure that it is safe from data theft and other security breaches. Taipei-based startup Lucent Sky‘s mission is to make cyber security easier for developers. The company says its software CLEAR is the first commercially available program for automatic application vulnerability mitigation.
Twitter is no stranger to buying up other companies, having officially announced back in April, for example, its acquisition of We Are Hunted. In October, the social network bought Vine, and earlier last year it bought Posterous, Summify, and Dansient. The service has gobbled up another company, this one Lucky Sort, a data analysis company,
It’s only been a few weeks since the folks behind music charting app We Are Hunted confirmed that it was acquired by Twitter, and it seems that Twitter isn’t done snapping up startups just yet. Ubalo CEO Jacob Mattingly and CTO Ian Downes announced earlier today via blog post that the folks at Twitter have agreed to acquire the scalable computing technology they’ve been working on for the past two years, and that the four person Ubalo team would officially join the Twitter flock.
GridCom Technologies says quantum cryptography can work to make the electricity grid control systems secure.
The notion of harnessing the physics of quantum mechanics for a massive leap in computing power is firmly in the realm of science. But many people believe that applying these techniques to secure commercial communications is far more feasible.
Startups still have a hard time finding the right applicants for their jobs. During our Disrupt NY 2013 hackathon, Codecademy engineer Bob Ren wrote a little web app that takes the Common Application for college admission as its inspiration. Just like high school students can use the Common Application to apply to multiple colleges simultaneously, Startup Common Application will take your application and then submit it to multiple startups. Large companies typically have a huge pipeline with job prospects, but startups “naturally suffer from not having the big pipelines that big companies have,” Ren told me – and for a small startup, it’s even harder to find the right applicants. Currently, startups either rely on email, Job Score or Resumator, but the system is still very inefficient, especially for the applicants. You often spend hours getting your applications ready and submitted, but a system like Startup Common Application could just automate all of this for you (and you don’t even have to pretend that you really personalized the system). Common Startup Application runs on top of Heroku and Ren is working on a number of scripts that will take his users’ data and then auto-submit it to more startups. In the spirit of the Hackathon, Ren coded until 6 a.m. and then slept an hour before getting ready for his demo this afternoon. Obviously, this is still a hack, so Ren will surely have to work on the design a bit more, but he’s definitely tackling an interesting problem. Given that he can automate much of it, what he really needs right now, of course, is support for as many startups as possible, but there are some pretty obvious ways he could monetize this service if he decides to continue working on it.
This week, NEA’s Pete Sonsini joined us in the studio for Ask A VC.
Sonsini joined NEA in 2005 and is the co-head of the firm’s enterprise software practice group, focusing on early-stage investments in the space. His investments include Xensource (acquired by Citrix Systems) and Teracent (acquired by Google). He is currently on the board of Engine Yard, Eucalyptus Systems and a number of others.
European M-Payments Startup SumUp Partners With Revel Systems, An iPad POS Provider, For Its Push Into Europe
SumUp, one of the many European mobile card reader startups targeting small businesses — and taking advantage of Square’s continued absence to acquire users and build out a business — has taken another step designed to expand its reach by announcing a partnership with Revel Systems, a maker of iPad POS software.
Vidyo has raised yet another round of funding, this time $ 17 million. That brings total funding to $ 116 million, with the financing coming from inside and outside investors. Triangle Peak Partners was the lead new investor in the round, joining previous investors such as Juniper Networks, QuestMark Partners, Menlo Ventures, Rho Capital Partners, Star Ventures, and Four Rivers Group.
True Ventures Confirms Investment In Second Life Founder Philip Rosedale’s New Startup High Fidelity
Earlier this month, we wrote that High Fidelity, the virtual world startup led by Second Life founder Philip Rosedale, had raised $ 2.4 million of a $ 3.4 million round, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, we didn’t know who had actually made the investment — until today.
Tony Conrad of True Ventures just announced that his firm led High Fidelity’s Series A, and that Google Ventures and various angel investors also participated. The High Fidelity website now mentions Mitch Kapor and Linden Lab (the company behind Second Life) as investors too.
Cloud-based inventory and sales management developer TradeGecko has announced that it is now integrated with online accounting system Xero. The Singapore-based company says that the partnership will allow its clientele of small- and medium-sized businesses to monitor financial transactions in real time.
Breakout Labs, a Peter Thiel-backed effort that supports startups doing cutting-edge research that might be still too risky to get traditional venture backing, just put capital into another two companies. They’re funding a Siri-like natural language processing startup called SkyPhrase and another biotech company called Stealth Biosciences, which is creating “nanostraws” that make it easy to insert material into single cells without destroying them. Breakout Labs, which launched last year, gives up to $ 350,000 to early-stage companies. The motivation behind Breakout is to bridge that gap between the point when a startup is engaging in risky, more capital intensive research and when they’ve found something that is commercially viable or that can be made into a product. Breakout is meant to be the first external investor before a startup goes on to find more traditional venture backing. Lindy Fishburne, who is the senior vice president for investments of the Thiel Foundation, said that several of last year’s companies have gone on to raise angel financing in the $ 1 to $ 1.5 million range and two have received additional grants from prestigious institutions like the National Institutes of Health. She said that Breakout funded Stealth Biosciences because its technology could help researchers and doctors avoid using viruses or viral vectors to insert material into cells and treat patients. “This is actually a scalable way to insert material directly inside of cells using nanotechnology,” Fishburne said. “They’ve developed nano-material that allows them to pierce and get what they need into cells, avoiding the use of viruses or viral vectors, a technique which has other issues.” Stealth developed nanoscale devices called “Nanostraws” or “Stealth Probes” that can measure and control biological processes at the level of single cells. The two Stanford University professors behind Stealth, Nick Melosh and Craig Garner, say this could be used in personalized medicine, oncology and neuroscience. The second company Breakout is backing is called Skyphrase. There are two schools toward approaching natural language processing; one relies on a brute force statistical approach and the other relies on logical reasoning and language rules. SkyPhrase says it has a technology that marries the strengths of these two techniques. They briefly had a Gmail search app for the iPhone last year that could look for content with rich phrases like “emails that Jane sent me during the holidays containing pictures.” But it’s no longer available in the store.
Predictive Sports Game Startup PrePlay Raises $4.7M Series B To Build Out Its App Portfolio, Seize More Sports Fans’ Eyeballs
Predictive sports game startup PrePlay has closed a $ 4.7 million Series B round, led by Trilogy Equity Partners LLC. RSE Ventures, the VC fund founded by Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross and Matt Higgins, also participated in the round.
With Profitable Operations And 100K Stores On Its Platform, Retail Tech Startup Erply Shifts Into High Gear
Erply, the company that makes cloud-based and iPad-centric point of sale and inventory management software for retailers, is up against big competition: Microsoft, Oracle, and RetailPro are just some of the behemoths in the same space. But three years after its US debut, Erply tells us it is still in the game and seeing encouraging growth — and has hit some new milestones that show its progress.
The New York City-based Erply now has 100,000 stores on its platform, with customers including names such as Elizabeth Arden Retail, The Athletes Foot, and UNICEF, co-founder and CEO Kristian Hiiemaa told me in an interview today. The company has grown its staff from four full-timers to 40, split between New York City and Estonia. While 70 percent of its customer base is in the US, Erply’s client reach is spread worldwide across 15 countries.
Fujitsu has acquired RunMyProcess, a French startup that helps companies integrate on-site and cloud-based services.
Everyone wants more transparency. It is part of a deep, fundamental trend. In government. In the workplace. Inside large systems like health care. And, more recently, around early-stage startup metrics and investment data. The crowd wants more transparency. They want to know more about metrics, revenues, and stats, and they want to know more about how investment dollars are allocated. Yet, the result of this shift raises concerns about privacy. In this world of imperfect, asymmetric information, combined with the desire among participants to build up, invest in, and report on the industry itself, frustrations can mount easily because, somewhere in the recess of our minds, the game feels slightly rigged in the other person’s favor, and the light of sunshine offers a promise of transparency to perhaps root out those bad apples and, just perhaps, inject an ounce of fairness, comfort, and peace of mind in an otherwise shady world.
Latam Local Services Marketplace Startup GetNinjas Raises $3M Series A To Get More Nimble By Getting More Developers
GetNinjas, a local services marketplace startup based in São Paulo, Brazil has closed a $ 3 million Series A round backed by new investor Otto Ventures, with existing investors Monashees and KaszeK Ventures also participating. The latter both invested in GetNinjas’ 2011 seed round, which raised a total of $ 700,000.
Editor’s note: David Teten is a partner with ff Venture Capital and founder and chairman of Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York..
Lots of venture capitalists claim to add value to the companies in which they invest. But how do they do it? And does it really produce better returns for their investors? We recently wrapped up a study on best practices of venture capitalists in creating portfolio company value through operational support, exploring exactly these questions.
When Sequoia Capital India landed in Singapore, the buzz around town was that a big-name US fund being in the country was going to really jolt the market and provide serious cred to the startups here. The Indian team running operations here, however, appears to have spent the last year of its time in the island state helping its Indian funds expand into Singapore, rather than directly investing in startups here. Singapore is a popular choice as a base for foreign companies looking to expand into Southeast Asia. Early last year, Sequoia Capital India MD, Shailendra Jit Singh, expressed interest in having the fund’s companies expand into the region. Sequoia Cap in the US also appeared to have been eyeing activity in Singapore for a while—it had its first offsite meeting in the country in 2011, and was in discussion with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong about its presence here. The Prime Minister’s Office oversees its R&D arm, the National Research Foundation (NRF), which has been busy backing local venture capital firms here over the past few years. Its Technology Incubation Scheme is a program that matches funds picked by 11 appointed VCs here, in the proportion of 85 percent to 15 percent—the larger portion dished out by the government. This allows the VCs here to provide bigger sums of seed capital to startups, with much of the risk absorbed by the NRF. Former NRF projects head, Yinglan Tan, was also pulled over to Sequoia Capital India’s team in July last year, where he is now a venture partner based in Singapore. When I ran into Tan in Manila a couple of months ago, he was evasive about the funds they’re looking at in Singapore, but was happy to try to set up meetings with their existing funds in Singapore—all Indian-based startups, except for Airbnb and Evernote. Some of these companies that are being incubated in Singapore by Sequoia Cap include Via, Druva, Mu Sigma, Idea Device and Practo. The meetings never happened, but word on the street is that Tan has been meeting with some Singapore-based startups that are approaching Series A or B in size, and are looking to expand beyond the island. One that I know of provides Wi-Fi infrastructure. As for its current startups here, Via is pretty sizable. It operates a flight booking portal similar to Expedia and Zuji, and has about 1,200 employees,
A common piece of advice given to entrepreneurs may lead them to overlook or dismiss good ideas.
I read a headline on TechCrunch this week about how the startup, Proven, is helping people build resumes and apply for jobs from their smartphones. My immediate reaction was to think this is a ridiculous idea. Really, if a job opening is so great that I want to drop everything to apply, wouldn’t I at least take a few minutes to get to a PC?
It looks like Apple may be jumping back into the Maps business, and in order to do so, it has acquired the indoor-GPS startup, WifiSLAM. The company was a startup that came to fruition about two years ago with the help of one of its co-founders, ex-Google software engineer intern, Joseph Huang. Before it was
Sitting in Snobar, a cool bar shaded by fir trees in deepest Ramallah, George Khadder is practically thumping the table as he speaks. A Palestinian who has worked in Silicon Valley, he talks passionately about his desire for Palestinian entrepreneurs to control their own destiny. “I came back from Silicon Valley because I believed I could affect change,” he tells me. It’s a sentiment that has been echoed during President Obama’s visit to Israel and the West Bank. This week Obama specifically spoke about programs designed to stimulate the Palestinian technology ecosystem and build bridges with the large and well-developed Israeli tech community. “Over 100 high-tech companies have found a home on the West Bank, which speaks to the talent and entrepreneurial spirit of the Palestinian people,” he said.
Back in Snobar, you could easily mistake my conversation with a group of tech entrepreneurs to be happening in some hip part of Europe – perhaps a Berlin ‘beach’ bar by the river Spree. But this is no ordinary party of the world, and these are no run-of-the-mill entrepreneurs shooting the breeze about raising VC or launching a startup.
Watch out, Google Maps for Android, it looks like Apple’s iOS Maps may soon be entering the building — when it comes to indoor GPS tracking anyway. The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog is reporting that Apple has confirmed it purchased WiFiSlam, a startup that specializes in WiFi-assisted indoor-GPS functionality for phone apps. Interestingly, Digits notes that the company was founded by a few ex-Googlers a couple of years back and that one of its investors has included a Google employee. Further, a quick Google search confirms that any WiFiSlam-related apps that may have been on Google Play are all but dead links now. The word on the street is that Apple handed over $ 20 million to claim the company, although it wouldn’t confirm any numbers — or a specific reason for the purchase — with the blog. While there’s no actual telling whether this means we’ll see indoor mapping on iOS maps at any point, it’s hard not to imagine it now that Apple’s made the purchase. We’re seeking comment from Apple on our end, and will be sure to let you know what we hear back. For now, check out an old demo of WiFiSlam in action after the break.
From an economic perspective, the fall of 2008 brought dark days all over the world. But one of the hardest-hit places was Iceland, the Nordic European country whose entire financial system went into a deep freeze after a rapid and systemic collapse of its banking system.
But two young Icelandic entrepreneurs Vala Halldorsdottir and Sesselja Vilhjalmsdottir found a silver lining in the situation. With an absence of traditional job prospects, the two young women decided shortly after the 2008 economy crash to start their own boardgames company — and it turned out to be a big success. After that, they were motivated to spread the word about entrepreneurship to more people by making a documentary film about startup life.
EnerVault later this year will test its first grid-scale flow battery that uses low-cost materials and proprietary pumping system.
Flow batteries have emerged as one of most promising ways to store many hours of energy on the electricity grid. To make costs more competitive, startup EnerVault is pursuing a novel chemistry and unique mechanical design.
AngelHack has always been a little different from your average hackathon — rather than taking place in one place over one weekend, it has become a global event that takes place in multiple stages. As a result, the projects are usually pretty polished, though not yet at the level of full-fledged startups. Now it’s taking another step in that direction with the launch of its very own accelerator.
The program will admit 40 teams into a 14-week program – 12 weeks of local mentoring, then two weeks in San Francisco pitch training, investor meetings, and events. In that sense, it follows the broader AngelHack model, where there are local hackathons which feed into a big competition among the finalists in Silicon Valley. In exchange for the mentorship (and tickets to this fall’s TechCrunch Disrupt), AngelHack takes 2 percent equity.
Kentucky-Based Startup, Red e App, Raises A $750K Series A To Shout About Its Email-Busting, Real-Time Messaging Platform For Mobile Workers
Louisville-based startup Red e App, a real-time private mobile messaging platform for enterprises with a high proportion of mobile workers that lets them send secure, trackable internal communications, has closed a $ 750,000 Series A round led by early-stage Louisville-based VC fund Yearling Fund II.
When we first heard about Daniel Epstein‘s plan to bring his Unreasonable Institute startup accelerator to the high seas with a 100 day, around-the-world sailing expedition called ‘Unreasonable At Sea,’ it frankly seemed like a pretty crazy idea. Let alone the risk of pirates (the real kind, not the entrepreneurial kind), there are so many possible things that could go wrong for the 11 startups aboard the ship — bad Internet connections, seasickness, homesickness, and the like.
By reviving lost species, a new company could put a warm and fuzzy face on advanced reproductive engineering.
Two of biotechnology’s most prolific and far-sighted researchers say they’re teaming up to start a company that intends to rewrite the rules of animal reproduction.
Legit, a startup working on a universal reputation system that could help sharing economy services verify whether users are trustworthy, has just announced its team will join Facebook. Legit’s exit blog post offered little details, but we’re awaiting a response from the founders.
DrawChat Creator Launches His Mobile Ad Startup Namo Media, Raises $1.9M Round Led By Google Ventures
Late last year, former Googler Gabor Cselle had a problem. He’d launched a fun app called DrawChat, and it was starting to see some real usage — which would be great, except Cselle told me that DrawChat was always meant to be “a palate cleanser” and that he wanted to pursue a “billion-dollar thing.” So he auctioned off DrawChat (it was purchased by OneLouder, a division of Handmark) and got to work on his big idea, which he’s announcing today.
Cselle said that the goal of his new startup Namo Media is to fix some of the big problems in mobile advertising. That’s a pretty common refrain among mobile ad startups, but Cselle has something specific in mind — creating native ads that are part of the stream of content in mobile apps. In other words, ads that are both less annoying and more lucrative. He isn’t ready to get specific about the product yet, only to talk about the general idea and the team (more on that in a second). He did compare his approach to Facebook’s, except for a wide range of “content heavy apps,” such as news apps or photo-sharing apps.
Some venture capitalists are avoiding consumer apps and putting their money behind the “picks and shovels” of mobile computing.
Viddy, a mobile video-sharing service that bathed in media attention and more than $ 36 million in investor funds last year (see “What’s the Next Instagram?”), is facing hard times. Users have abandoned its app by the millions, and last month it had to fire its cofounder and CEO and a third of its staff.
I last wrote about Lawdingo in November. You can browse lawyers on the site based on their expertise and location, and if you find one you like, you can schedule an appointment or in some cases hit the “talk now” button. The goal is to make finding a lawyer more convenient and more affordable. (On the affordability side, many of the lawyers on the site offer free consultations, and since you’re choosing from a broad geographic selection, you can probably find lower rates.)
Ray Ozzie’s Stealthy Startup Talko Is Building A Consumer-Facing Mobile Communications App, Not A Cloud-Based Mobile Backend
In December, news leaked that former Microsoft exec Ray Ozzie had raised $ 4 million for a stealthy startup known as Talko, previously known as Cocomo. Not much is known about the company’s plans, but originally the speculation was that Talko is building cloud-based backend services. We’re hearing now that a key component to the new service is actually a consumer-facing mobile communications app, however.
With 50,000 Users & Double-Digit Monthly Revenue Growth, French Real-Time Alerts Startup Mention Raises $800K Flash Seed
French real-time alerts startup mention, which describes its offering as ‘Google alerts on steroids’, has raised a “flash” seed round of $ 800,000 (€600,000) from Alven Capital and Point Nine Capital. Mention offers a real-time web alerts for brands, companies and individuals to track what’s being said about them on the web and social media sites.
Most folks are familiar with the International Space Station (ISS). However, what you may not know is that the national lab on board the ISS is available to anyone to conduct research, provided that research is deemed worthy enough to make the trip into orbit. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is a non-profit tasked by NASA to find and promote those worthy proposals, and it’s teamed up with the MassChallenge startup accelerator to find the next great entrepreneurial space research project — and they want YOU, dear readers to hit them with your ideas. Want to know more? Join us after the break to find out what it takes to get your research in orbit.