May 2016

Science & Technology

  • A study conducted by researchers at the UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing has shown that small doses of lithium prolong the lives of fruit flies by 16%. More.
  • Researchers at the University of Washington are developing a method to print or draw small, cheap and battery-free RFID tags onto paper to create interactive digital interfaces. More.
  • The US Navy is developing drones that can be ‘shot’ into the air for rapid deployment. More.
  • Researchers at Penn State University are developing a new process that could make the manufacture of thin film semiconductors cheaper, easier and more resource-efficient. More.
  • Researchers from a consortium of universities including MIT have developed an ‘origami’ robot that can be swallowed and then manipulated (using magnetic fields) within the human stomach to perform tasks such as wound repair. More.
  • Researchers at Imperial College London have discovered a material that can be chemically altered to expand or contract in a precise manner in response to changing temperatures. The discovery could lead to the development of composite materials that do not expand in response to heat and thus improve the stability of electronic components. More.
  • Researchers at MIT are developing nanoparticles capable of delivering anti-obesity drugs directly to fat tissue. Early trials with mice resulted in a 10% weight loss within 25 days. The ability to deliver drugs directly also reduces unwanted side effects. More.
  • SpeechVive, which develops technologies to improve communication for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, raised $2.3m from investors.
  • Scientists at Cambridge University have developed the world’s smallest engine, which could be used to propel medical ‘nano-bots’ through the human body. The device, comprising gold nanoparticles and a polymer gel, reportedly generates a far greater propulsive force per unit weight than any known motor. More.
  • A study conducted by researchers at Oxford University has shown that virtual reality can help to treat severe paranoia (which affects 1-2% of the population) through enabling patients to face feared situations. More.
  • MIT / Harvard spin-out Astraeus Technologies has developed a smartphone-connected sensor capable of detecting gases associated with lung cancer from a single breath.
  • Halo Neuroscience is developing a wearable that employs transcranial direct current stimulation in an attempt to boost the skill development of users. More.

Business

New Sources of Funding

  • Moscow-based Runa Capital closed a $135m fund from which it will invest in European and Amaerican start-ups within sectors including EdTech and Healthcare.
  • Harmony Partners closed a $105m early stage venture capital fund.
  • US/Japan-based Geodesic Capital closed a $335m growth-stage fund that will back consumer and enterprise technology companies.
  • US / China-focused VC firm WI Harper closed a $175m fund.
  • e.ventures closed a $150m Europe-focused venture fund that will target companies in sectors including software, FinTech and e-commerce.
  • Invitalia Ventures held a new close of its Italy-focused co-investment fund at €65m.
  • US-based March Capital Partners closed its maiden venture capital fund at $240m.
  • Stockholm-based venture firm EQT closed a €566m fund that will be used to support tech-enabled companies in Europe.
  • Los Angeles-based B Capital Group raised a $143m technology-focused venture fund.
  • UK-based Frog Capital closed a €90m venture fund.
  • Denmark-based Seed Capital closed a €110m fund that will back technology and MedTech companies from seed stage to exit.
  • New York-based ff Venture Capital closed a $54m fund from which it will invest in technology start-ups in sectors including UAVs, enterprise software and machine learning.
  • HP launched HP Tech Ventures, a new corporate venture arm that will pursue strategic investments in areas including immersive computing, AI and Internet-of-Things.
  • Berlin-based VC Cherry Ventures closed a €150m early-stage fund that will focus on early-stage consumer-focused startups in Germany.
  • US-based Data Collective closed a $177m fund from which it will invest in big data startups.
  • US-based healthcare-focused Venture capital firm Heritage Group closed a $220m fund.
  • US-based PeakSpan raised a $150m growth equity fund focused on B2B software companies.
  • US-based venBio Partners closes a $315m life sciences venture fund.

New products

  • SIRIUM is a marketplace through which healthcare organisations can donate unused drugs to be redistributed to citizens of the US that cannot afford them.
  • iGrow connects landowners with farmers and investors in order to establish small but profitable organic farms on otherwise unused land.
  • Parachute is an app through which users can live-stream emergency incidents. More.
  • Earny is an app that is designed to provide refunds to consumers when a purchased item can be found at a lower cost elsewhere.

New company Fundraising

  • US-based eero, which develops wireless mesh networks that improve domestic internet access, raised $50m from investors including Menlo Ventures and Index Ventures.
  • US-based Sensifree, which develops low power electromagnetic sensors that are capable of collecting biometric data without touching the human body, raised $5m from investors including TransLink Capital.
  • US-based Planetary Resources raised $21.1m to develop a satellite-based resource monitoring system.
  • US/Germany-based Dedrone, which develops drone-monitoring systems, raised a $10m Series-A round from investors including Menlo Ventures.
  • US-based EquipmentShare, which is developing a P2P marketplace for construction equipment, raised $5.5m from investors including Romulus Capital.
  • US-based Affectiva, which develops emotion-recognition software, raised$14m from investors including Fenox Venture Capital.
  • AmpMe, a Canada based developer of an app that enables users to sync music playing across multiple devices, raised $8m from investors.
  • New York-based Brainly, which is developing a peer-to-peer question-and-answer mobile network for students, raised $15m Series-B led by Naspers.
  • US-based MakeTime, which provides a platform through which manufacturers can monetise idle machines, raised $8m from investors including the Foundry Group.
  • Vaccitech, an Oxford University spin-out developing a universal flu vaccine, raised £10m from investors. More.
  • US-based Somnoware Healthcare Systems, which develops a cloud-based sleep wellness and disorder management platform, raised $9m from investors including TransLink Capital and World Innovation Lab.
  • New York-based Teachable, which is developing a platform through which people can create and sell online courses, raised $2.5m from investors including Accomplice Ventures and Learn Capital.
  • US/Japan-based Whill, which is developing advanced wheelchairs and mobility devices, raised $17.5m from investors including Eight Road Ventures.
  • UK-based what3words, which is developing a global addressing platform that allocates a unique combination of three words to each of the 57 trillion 3m x 3m sections of the world’s surface, raised $8.5m Series B led by logistics major Aramex.
  • US-based Bolt Threads, a biotechnology company developing high performance fabrics including engineered silk made entirely from natural proteins, raised $50m from investors including Formation 8, Innovation Endeavours and Founders Fund.
  • OxStem, an Oxford University spin-out developing age-related regenerative medicines, raised £16.9m from investors. More.
  • US-based World View, which is developing high-tech balloons (‘Stratollites’) that are capable of carrying a wide range of commercial payloads (e.g. sensors or communications technologies) into the stratosphere, Raised a $15m Series-B round from investors including Canaan Partners and Norwest Venture Partners. The solution offers rapid, on-demand deployment and the ability to return payloads safely after use.
  • US-based Hyperloop One, which is developing next generation transportation systems, raised $80m Series-B from investors including Khosla Ventures, Sherpa Ventures and GE Ventures.
  • Apple announced that it will invest $1bn in Didi Chuxing, the ‘UBER of China’. The start-up is four years old and was last valued at $20bn.

Other

  • A study conducted by Pew Research suggests that 62% of US adults access news through social media platforms, up from 42% in 2012. More.
  • A study conducted by John Hopkins University estimates that medical errors are responsible for 250,000 deaths each year in the US alone. This makes the category the third leading cause of death, behind only heart disease and cancer, and responsible for 9.5% of all deaths in the country. More.