Science & Technology
- Researchers at Seoul National University have developed highly sensitive vibration sensors that are based on techniques employed by some spiders. The technology has applications in healthcare and communications. More.
- Researchers from Imperial College London and Glasgow University have developed a chemical that can be added to foods in order to make people feel full. More.
- Researchers at Cambridge University have created artificial enzymes for the first time. The development challenges established views on prerequisite conditions for the origin of life and may lead to development of new disease treatments. More.
- Google announced a major breakthrough with the development of AI software that can accurately describe the content of photographs. This will improve visual search and could also enable greater use of computers by the visually impaired.
- Researchers at MIT have developed an inexpensive and wireless sensor, based on modified near-field communication tags, that is capable of detecting pollutants and hazardous gases. More.
- Liverpool University is leading a £1.2m UK/India research project designed to develop new drought tolerant wheat varieties. More.
- Engineers at Stanford have developed a silicon prism capable of manipulating light beams in a way that could enable computers to transfer data more efficiently using optics rather than electricity. More.
- Researchers at Harvard University are developing biomaterial that can be injected and programmed to assemble into 3D structures that directly target cancer cells. More.
- Google announced a replacement for its ReCaptcha test, which has become less effective in the face of improving software. Users will now be asked to tick a checkbox, with analysis of the time and movement in doing so used to verify human user. More.
- Share prices of Lending Club, the world’s largest P2P lender, surged by 56% on the first day of trading following the company’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
New Sources of Funding
- Twitter co-founder Evan Williams launched Obvious Ventures, a venture capital firm that will seek to invest in companies that are making‘a positive impact on the world’.
- Seed/early-stage investor Mercury Fund closed a $105m fund to invest in software and science-based companies.
- US-based health services major McKesson launched McKesson Ventures, a venture capital fund that will invest in companies addressing ‘business challenges’ within the health care industry.
- Northzone, a growth investor with a presence in the US, UK and Scandinavia, closed a €250m fund.
- Khosla Ventures has reportedly started raising a $400m seed fund.
- India-focused base-of-pyramid seed investor Unitus Seed Fund raised $4m from investors including Bill Gates.
- Brazil-based venture capital firm Monashees Capital launched a new $140m fund.
- US-based seed-focused fund-of-funds Cendana Capital closed a $50m fund alongside a $17m direct co-investment fund. More.
- US-based Fenox Venture Capital announced the launch of a $200m fund that will focus on start-ups based in Bangladesh. More.
- New York state announced that it will be launched a $50m early-stage technology-focused venture capital fund. More.
- UK-based early-stage technology investor Mercia Technologies listed on AIM with a market capitalisaiton of £106m, raising £70m.
- Xfund, the Harvard-based early stage investor, closed a $100m fund. More.
- Formation 8 closed a $500m fund to invest across a range of sectors and company stages.
- Italy-focused investor Quadrivio Group announced the launch of a new €300m fund.
- Los Angeles-based Upfront Ventures closed a $280m venture capital fund.
- Australia-based Inkl launched a ‘Spotify-for-news’ service through which users can access content from multiple publishers by paying a single monthly subscription or small fee per article accessed.
- VETIGEL, a gel-based alternative to stiches that is currently under development, mimics the natural clotting mechanisms in blood to stop internal and external bleeding.
- US-based Touchdown Ventures launched to help corporations establish and manage venture capital platforms.
- African Clean Energy, a start-up based in Lesotho, is developing a flat-pack stove that reduces fuel usage and emissions relative to established stove designs. The device also includes solar-charging as well as DC and USB ports. More.
New company Fundraising
- Boston-based Neurala, which develops software that mimics the functions of the human brain to help robots observe and adapt to their environments, raised $750,000. More.
- Berlin-based Medigo, which develops a platform to connect patients with accredited healthcare solution providers around the world, raised €5m from investors including Accel Partners.
- Off Grid Electric, which installs pay-as-you-go solar lighting systems in developing countries, raised $16m from investors including SolarCity and Zouk Capital. More.
- Online petition service Change.org raised $25m from investors including Omidyar Network.
- London-based MarketInvoice, which offers crowdsourced invoice financing for small companies, raised $7.8m from investors including Northzone.
- US-based MetaMind, which develops deep learning text and image analysis technologies, raised $8m from investors including Khosla Ventures. More.
- Soldidia Technologies, which is developing carbon dioxide-sequestering cement, a technology originally developed at Rutgers University, raised funding from investors including KPCB. More.
- Anonymous therapy provider Talkspace raised £3.5m from investors including Spark Capital.
- Germany-based gestigon, which develops gesture control software solutions for the consumer electronic and automotive sectors, received funding from a consortium of investors including High-Tech Gruenderfunds.
- US-based Kinsa, which develops a smartphone-connected thermometer and accompanying health monitoring software, raised $9.6m from investors including KPCB.
- London-based enterprise collaboration software developer Huddle raised $51m from investors including Zouk Capital and Hermes GPE.
- US-based Phononic, which develops solid-state cooling and heating solutions with applications in electronics, raised $44.5m from investors including Wellcome Trust.
- Airborne wind-turbine developer and MIT spin-out Altaeros Energies raised $7m from Japanese media company SoftBank.
- India-based education company Curiositi, which works with schools to enhance the science curriculum with hands-on activities, received investment from Unitus Seed Fund.
- US-based Optimatics, which develops software designed to optimise water and wastewater management, raised funding from investors including Emerald Technology Ventures.
- UK-headquartered Sundrop Farms, an agritech company that develops greenhouses that run on solar power and seawater, raised $100m from PE house KKR. More.
- Echodyne, which is commercialising metamaterial-based radar technology originally developed at Duke University and the University of California, raised $15m from investors including Bill Gates and Madrona Venture Group.
- Research conducted by the OECD found that income inequality has a statistically significant impact on economic growth, and estimates that rising inequality in the UK cost the economy nine percentage points of GDP growth between 1990 and 2010.