August 2014

Science & Technology
  • Researchers from Harvard are developing a method to enable the manipulation of small,  delicate and non-magnetic objects using magnetic levitation. The technique could have applications in manufacturing of complex electronics. More.
  • Researchers at Edinburgh University have grown an entire organ from scratch inside a mouse, using a technique that could potentially offer an alternative to organ transplantation. More.
  • Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have developed a battery fuelled by lactate, a substance commonly found in sweat. More.
  • Bioengineers working at Stanford University have developed a eye implant capable of gathering data to improve the treatment of glaucoma. More.
  • Scientists at Berkeley have developed an algorithm that produces an ‘average’ image from a group of photographs, and could have applications in object-recognition software. More.
  • A team of researchers at the University of Chicago is developing novel treatments for allergies based on naturally occurring bacteria found within the digestive system. More.
  • Nanospheres comprising a gold core and layers of chemotherapy drugs appear to be able to boost the effectiveness of standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy when introduced to the centre of brain tumour cells. More.
  • Printable electronics under development at the UK’s Centre for Process Innovation could lead to smart packaging and ‘windowless planes’. More.
  • Scientists at MIT have reportedly used optogenetics to modify the emotional association of memories, from positive to negative, in a technique that could ultimately be used for treatment of trauma victims or sufferers of depression. More.
  • Buses in London are trialling anti-collision technologies in an attempt to reduce collisions with cyclists, pedestrians and other vehicles. More.
  • Researchers at Stanford University reported encouraging results from initial studies into the use of optogenetics to improve stroke recovery. More.
  • In the UK, Nesta and the Open Data Institute launched a challenge for ideas that will use open data to promote healthy eating and supply chain sustainability. Submissions are due by 27 September. More.
  • The UK government announced a £300 genome mapping project designed to uncover new treatments for diseases including cancer. More.
  • Dell is reportedly developing software designed to use data collected from headsets in order to assess emotion. More.
  • Researchers from Harvard and MIT demonstrated ‘origami robots’, foldable configurations of flat panels with embedded computing power. More.
  • Engineers at Harvard are developing RoboBees, which could be used to pollinate crops and address decreasing bee populations. More.
  • The Neurodata Without Borders initiative has launched a project designed to facilitate sharing of neuroscience data between researchers. More.
  • Researchers from Arizona State University have reportedly taken a significant step towards understanding the process of lizard tail regeneration. More.
  • Engineers from the University of Illinois have  developed a flexible camouflage material capable of changing colour in response to its surroundings. The design uses temperature-sensitive pigment and is based on the biological mechanisms employed by cephalopods. More.
  • Researchers at the University of Rochester, working alongside Xerox, have conducted successful trials of a system that utilises webcams to detect heart conditions among patients. More.
  • A collaboration between MIT, Microsoft and Adobe demonstrated a technique that can construct audio signals from observing the tiny vibrations (caused by sound waves) of objects captured in video. More.
  • Bioengineers at Stamford are reportedly close to successfully genetically engineering yeast to produce opioid-based medicines. This would enable production of medicines such as morphine without using poppies, which can also be used to produce heroin. More.
  • Researchers at MIT are developing a new technique to generate electricity using carbon nanomaterials. More.
Business
  • SAB announced the 18 finalists of its annual Social Innovation Awards in South Africa. The cohort includes companies developing netural treatments for fungal infections, wireless energy harvesting methods from telecommunications towers and clean cooking stoves. More.
  • Companies working in the UK’s ‘sharing economy’ could generate annual revenues of £9bn by 2025 if they are able to overcome regulatory barriers, according to a report by PwC.
  • A consortium including Google and China Telecom announced plans to lay a $300m high-density undersea fibre cable linking the US and Japan. More.
  • Lockheed Martin entered into a partnership with Australia-based Electro Optic Systems to develop solutions for tracking space debris. More.
  • Dropbox signalled that it intends to make a series of acquisitions as it undertakes further international expansion. More
  • The FT reports that investment banks are playing a declining role in large technology deals, where acquisitions are driven by hard-to-quantify factors rather than payback through earning per share increase. More.
  • At the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, Barack Obama announced that US companies will invest $14bn in energy and infrastructure projects throughout Africa.
New Sources of Funding
  • US-based Surgical Frontiers, an incubator for companies developing surgical technologies, closed a $7m fund.
  • Israel-based Moonscape Ventures launched a $120m fund for early-stage companies developing technologies related to the internet of things. Israel-based Magma Venture Partners also reportedly launch a new fund.
  • US-based VC firm Venrock closed a $450m fund to invest in early-stage media, education, software, finance and healthcare opportunities.
  • US-based ARCH Venture Partners closed a $400m fund to invest globally in early-stage companies in the healthcare, energy and materials sectors.
  • VC firm Nyca Partners launched a new fund to invest in fintech companies.
  • UK-based Mercia Fund Management launched an early-stage digital fund. More.
  • New Jersey based VC firm KEC Ventures raised a $60m fund while US-based Felicis Ventures closed a $96m fund.
  • European media companies are establishing venture capital arms and setting aside large amount of money to invest in early-stage companies as they look to diversify from traditional business lines, according to the FT. Some are gaining equity stakes in return for access to excess advertising slots. More.
  • Bauer Media launched a €100m fund to invest in digital businesses within Europe.
  • Orios Venture Partners launched a $50m fund to invest in early-stage technology companies based in India.
  • Acer announced that it is launching a VC fund.
Company Fundraising
  • London-based OpenSignal, which crowdsources data from mobile phones to produce maps showing weather and mobile network coverage, raised $4m from investors including Passion Capital. More.
  • Korea-based Ybrain, which is developing wearable devices for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, raised $3.5m from investors including Stonebridge Capital. More.
  • San Francisco-based Swift Navigation, which is developing highly accurate GPS technology with applications in agriculture, construction and drone navigation, raised $2.6m from investors including First Round and Qualcomm Ventures.
  • UK-based LivingLens, which helps companies uncover insights contained within consumer videos, raised £200k from private investors.
  • US-based Wearable Intelligence, which develops software that enables information presentation on wearables in the healthcare and energy industries, raised $8m from investors including Google, KPCB and Andreessen Horowitz. More.
  • EyeVerify, which enables people to use smart-phone scans of their eye to access online banking facilities, raised $6m from investors including Wells Fargo Bank. More.
  • UK-based Commonplace, which develops a platform that enables people to engage with the development of their local community, raised £250k for early-stage investors. More.
  • IFTTT, a platform that enables people to control interaction between online services and connected devices, raised £30m from Norwest Venture Partners and Andreeseen Horrowitz.
  • US-based IntelliWheels, which develops innovative wheelchair designs, received a $1.5m Small Business Innovation Research grant. More.
  • AirBNB raised $475m from Sequoia and Andreessen Horowitz.
  • Helion Energy, a US-based startup that is developing a nuclear fusion reactor for small-scale or distributed applications, raised $1.5m from Y Combinator and Mithril Capital. More.
  • News site Buzzfeed raised $50m from Andreessen Horowitz.
  • ZappyLab, which is developing a crowd-sourced library of guidance for experimental laboratory work, has raised $225k of a targeted $1.5m round. More.
  • US-based NBD Nanotechnologies, which develops coatings that can modify surfaces to become omniphobic or hydrophilic, raised $5.2m from investors including Phoenix Venture Partners and Supply Chain Ventures. Applications of the technology include electronic device protection and fog harvesting.
  • US-based Seventh Sense Biosystems, which is developing painless blood collection solutions, raised $16m from investors including Flagship Ventures.
  • WikiWand, which is developing a browser extension that improves the user interface of Wikipedia, raised $600,ooo from private investors. More.
  • Algorithmia raised $2.4m from investors including Rakuten Ventures to develop its platform connecting academics developing algorithms with app developers.
  • US-based Traklight, which develops software to help entrepreneurs and legal professionals track and protect their intellectual property, raised $350,000 from private investors. More.
  • Datanyze, which helps salespeople to identify companies that are using competing software prodcuts, as well as when they start and stop doing so, raised $2m from investors including IDG Ventures and Google Ventures. More
New Products/Services
  • Linkedin launched Sales Navigator, a tool designed to connect sales professionals with buyers. Similarly, Colabo launched a service to help companies identify the people in target companies that are interacting with competitors. More.
  • Cambridge University spin-out Reduse has developed a process that can remove print from laser-printed paper so that it can be reused several times before recycling. The company recently won the Climate-KIC UK Venture Competition. More.
  • Start-up Enlitic is developing software for automatic image-based diagnosis of injuries and diseases. More.
  • San Francisco International Airport is developing a smartphone app designed to help blind passengers navigate through the building. More.
  • US-based Qnovo is developing software solutions that enable faster charging and longer lifespans for lithium ion batteries by monitoring and controlling the flow of power. More.
  • Singapore-based Healint launched Migraine Buddy, an app designed to capture data that can be used to inform and improve migraine treatment. More.
  • UK-based PolyPhotonix is developing eye masks for the prevention of blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy. More.
  • Switch is a review site for programmes designed to help people break into the technology sector.
  • The Simpleye app, which enables blind people to use smart phones through a number of tapping and swiping gestures, launched. More.
Other
  • Research conducted by UK regulator OfCom suggests that the average UK citizen spends almost nine hours per day using a ‘media device’, more time than is spent sleeping. TV and smartphones are the two most frequently used devices. More.
  • Researchers from King’s College, London, published results from a study that appears to link drawing ability at an early age to later intelligence. More.
  • Researchers from Stavanger University, Norway, found that people absorb content less efficiently when using e-readers than paper books More.
  • Virtual reality could be used to recreate events and help people overcome traumatic experiences, according to researchers from University College London. More.
  • Researchers from the University of Texas published research that suggests a causal link between pre-teen computer game playing and depression. More.