July 2016

Science & Technology

  • CarbX (the Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator), a public/private initiative to address the issue of antibiotic resistance, launched.
  • Researchers at the university of Florida are developing software, called CryptoDrop, designed to identify and stop ransomware attacks.
  • Scientists at Rice University have developed a novel alloy, comprising titanium and gold, that is the hardest known biocompatible metallic substance. The innovation could lead to the development of longer-lasting medical implants.
  • Google announced that it is developing a method that enables internet adverts to load more quickly, thus reducing the processing performed by devices and extending battery life. More.
  • Scientists at TU Delft (the Netherlands) are developing a rewritable data storage technology that utilises the position of individual chlorine atoms to store information, offering a storage density of up to three orders of magnitude above that of current hard disk or flash technology. Theoretically, the technology could enable all books ever written to be stored on a device the size of a postage stamp. More.
  • Researchers at MIT are developing a portable biopharmaceutical manufacturing system. More.
  • Researchers at Berkeley have demonstrated that voice commands that are disguised to be unintelligible to humans can be used to control smartphones. More.

Business

New Sources of Funding

  • London-based Santander InnoVentures, the corporate VC arm of Santander Group, secured a further $100m to invest in fintech companies.
  • US-based Forerunner Ventures closed a $122m venture fund that will back next generation retail companies.
  • Switzerland-based Nextech Invest closed a $64m fund that will back companies developing therapeutics for cancer treatment.
  • US-based Industry Ventures raised $400m across two funds that will back companies across a wide range of technology-enabled themes.
  • India-/US-based Unitus Seed Fund closed a $50m early stage venture fund that will be deployed to back companies serving ‘base of pyramid’ consumers in India.
  • US-based Correlation Ventures closed a $190 fund.
  • US-based Finistere Ventures closed a $140m life sciences and agricultural technologies fund.
  • DCM Ventures raised $770m across three funds that will focus on backing companies in the US and Asia.
  • IDG Capital closed a $1bn fund that will invest in China-focused companies operating within the TMT, healthcare, energy and consumer sectors.
  • 500 startups launched a $10m venture fund focused on Latin America.
  • US-based Bain Capital Ventures closed a $600m fund that will invest in early and growth stage enterprise-focused software companies.
  • US-based Fontinalis Partners closed a $100m fund that will focus on backing companies developing next generation mobility solutions that enhance the efficient movement of goods, people and services.
  • Canada-based growth equity firm Georgian Partners closed a $165m fund that will be used to invest in software, internet and information companies.

New products

  • Airfordable is a service that provides payment plans that enable consumers to book a flight and then pay for it over three months. More.
  • Ava Winery is developing lab-produced replicas of high-end wines. More.
  • 911bot is a chat bot that is designed to guide people in reporting and handling emergency situations.
  • Applied VR is developing virtual reality techniques designed to alleviate physical pain and anxiety relating to medical procedures.
  • Wider Pool connects start-ups to corporate needs.
  • Too Long; Didn’t Read is a browser plugin that summarises online content to a length determined by reader preferences.
  • Zore is developing a smart fire arms lock designed to reduce the numerous accidents that occur each year as a result of domestic gun ownership.

New company Fundraising

  • UK-based Econic Technologies, which develops catalysts and processes designed to facilitate the manufacture of polymers from carbon dioxide (i.e. utilising a waste product rather than oil), raised £5m from investors including Woodford Investment Management and Imperial Innovations.
  • UK-based FiveAI, which develops AI-based autonomous driving technology, raised $2.7m from investors including Amadeus Capital Partners and Notion Capital.
  • Bioz, a US-based search engine for life science research that is intended to facilitate research practices and drug discovery, raised $3m from investors including 5AM Ventures and Stanford StartX Fund.
  • UK-based Cronycle, which develops a collaborative research platform for businesses that enables users to create curated news feeds that can be annotated, raised $2.6m from Andurance Ventures.
  • Pat, a US-based developer of Natural Language Understanding technologies, raised $2.5m from investors.
  • UK-based Edinburgh University spin-out PureLifi, which is developing high speed wireless data communication technologies that use modulating LED light to transfer data, raised a £7m Series-B round from investors including Temasek.
  • Stockholm-based Universal Avenue, which provides companies with an on-demand local salesforce, raised $10m from investors including Eight Roads and Northzone.
  • UK-based enterprise cybersecurity solutions developer Darktrace raised $65m from investors including KKR and Summit Partners.
  • Discors, which provides an ‘objective’ news app that provides only verified facts on any given story, raised $1.2m from investors including Matter Ventures.
  • US-based Butter, which is building a platform that utilises an AI-powered personal assistant to help users access information within corporate IT systems, raised $3m from General Catalyst.
  • US-based Data.world, a public benefit corporation that provides a platform through which people can access, manage and utilise data to solve complex academic, commercial and societal problems, raised a $14m Series-A round from investors including Shasta Ventures.

Other

  • A study conducted by researchers at Rice University suggests that ‘team training’ designed to develop team-based skills such as communication and cooperation could reduce medical errors and patient mortality by up to 19%.
  • A study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology found that the accuracy of online information relating to the control of Japanese knotweed is highly variable and could even result in the spread of the species in the UK. More.