August 2016

Science & Technology

  • The inaugural test run of China’s elevated electric ‘straddling’ bus took place. More.
  • Scientists at Duke University are developing a system, comprising a virtual reality headset and brain-controlled robotic exoskeleton, to help rehabilitate the nerves and muscles of patients that have been paralysed by spinal chord injuries. More.
  • Researchers at Iowa State University have developed a dissolvable lithium-ion battery. More.
  • Intel has developed a ‘merged reality’ headset that enables integration of real world objects into virtual reality. More.
  • Galvani Biosciences, a joint venture between GSK and Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) is developing techniques that use electricity to control human nerve cells in order to treat arthritis, asthma and diabetes. More.
  • UBER announced that it will soon deploy self-driving cars in a trial in Pittsburgh. More. Similarly, NuTonomy started a trial of self-driving taxis in Singapore.
  • Early trials of aducanumab, a drug designed to halt memory decline among Alzheimer’s patients, are reportedly showing promising results. More.
  • A study conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge suggests that human body clocks influence the ability of viruses to replicate, meaning that people are more susceptible to infection at certain times of the day. More.
  • Researchers at the University of Missouri are developing a system that predicts falls among senior citizens by using cameras to track and analyse gait speed and stride length. More.
  • Researchers at Purdue University have developed a method to increase shelf life by up to seven weeks. The process involves rapidly heating and cooling cold milk in order to remove 99% of bacteria remaining after pasteurisation. More.

Business

  • Google announced that it will be updating its ranking algorithms in order to penalise sites that deploy pop-up adverts.
  • For the first time, the US FAA granted permission (to drone company PrecisionHawk) to fly drones outside of the visual line of sight of operators.

New Sources of Funding

  • US-based PowerPlant Ventures closed a $42m fund that will target plant-centric companies capable of delivering sustainable and ethical nutrition.
  • US-based Technology Crossover Ventures, closed a $2.5bn fund that will back growth-stage technology companies in the US and Europe.
  • US-based venture capital firm Binary Capital closed a $175m fund.
  • New York-based Boldstart Ventures closed a $21m fund from which it will invest in seed-stage companies developing enterprise tech.
  • US-based Fintech-focused venture firm TTV Capital raised a $59m fund.
  • US-based Susa Ventures launched a $50m fund that will back early-stage technology companies.
  • US-based Ascent Venture Partners raised a $71m early-stage technology fund.
  • The Chinese government launched a $30bn venture fund designed to invest in technologies that will boost the country’s industrial sector.
  • Cambridge Innovation Capital closed a $75m fund that will be used to commercialise research from the University of Cambridge.
  • US-based Hyde Park Venture Partners closed a $65m early-stage venture fund.
  • US-based Drive Capital closed a £300m venture fund.
  • US-based S3 Ventures closed a $75m venture fund.
  • London-based DN Capital closed a €200m venture fund.
  • US-based Danhua Capital closed $200m venture fund that will invest in early and growth stage companies.
  • US-based True Ventures closed a $310m early-stage fund.
  • KawiSafi Ventures, a $100m impact fund that is managed by Acumen and designed to promote access to (clean) energy within East Africa, launched.
  • New York-based Brooklyn Bridge Ventures closed a $15m early stage venture fund.

New products

  • US-based CoVenture builds software for start-ups in return for equity.
  • Kernel is developing neuroprosthetics that address disease-related brain damage.
  • Apollo Shield is developing a drone defence system that can detect unauthorised drones and prevent them from entering a selected area.
  • Too Good to Go is an app that allows users to purchase discounted food that would otherwise be thrown out from local restaurants.
  • Evaptainers is developing low-power and cheap refrigeration solutions based on evaporative cooling. More.
  • US-based Aromyx is developing biosensors that reproduce and digitise human taste and smell.

New company Fundraising

  • US-based Espresa, which provides a platform designed to improve work/life balance through enabling employers to provide and manage employee services/perks, raised $2m from investors including Crosslink Capital.
  • US-based AirHelp, which helps consumers track disruption affecting air travel and easily claim compensation, raised a $12m Series-A round from investors including Khosla Ventures.
  • US-based Townsquared, which provides an online network through which SMEs can connect and share resources, raised a $11m Series-B from investors including Sierra Ventures.
  • New York-based Happify, which develops software-based tools that incorporate the principles of psychology, CBT and mindfulness to improve emotional wellbeing and mental health, raised $5m from investors including Marketplace Fund and Hills Capital.
  • Sensay, which provides an SMS-based AI platform that allows users to submit a question and then be connected to a relevant expert within its network, raised $4.5m in a round led by Norwest Venture Partners.
  • US-based Mode, which is developing a cloud-based platform that enables developers of connected hardware to build apps and services relating to their devices, raised $2m from investors including KPCB.
  • US-based Seegrid, which develops autonomous industrial vehicles, raised $25m from investors including Giant Eagle.
  • Cernostics, a US-based developer of oncology diagnostics software, raised $5m from investors including UPMC Enterprises.
  • Quanergy Systems, a US-based developer of solid state LiDAR and sensing solutions (e.g. 3D mapping and object detection) with applications including transportation and industrial automation, raised a $90m Series-B round (at a valuation of more than $1bn) from investors including Sensata Technologies and Samsung Ventures.
  • GenePOC, a Canada-based developer of rapid point of care microbial testing technologies designed to identify infectious diseases, raised funding from a number of strategic investors.
  • Inscopix, a US-based developer of real-time brain mapping technology designed to facilitate research activities, raised a $10m Series-A led by Playground Ventures.
  • US-based Veritone, which develops AI-based tools that make audio and video content highly searchable, raised $50m from Acacia Research Corporation
  • US-based C3 IoT, which provides a development platform for Internet of Things applications, raised a $70m Series-D round from investors including TPG Growth.
  • US-based Honor, which develops a technology-enabled platform designed to provide care to elderly people living in their own homes, raised a $42m Series-B round from investors including Thrive Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.
  • US-based Nepris, which is building a service through which educators can connect to industry experts in order to provide children with insight into careers, raised $1m from investors including the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund. 
  • Curology, a platform that provides customised acne and anti-ageing treatments based on facial analysis performed using a smart phone, raised $15m from investors including Sherpa Capital. More.

Other

  • A study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago suggests that slow motion replays of violent acts increase the perception of intent to harm among viewers, and may thus be distorting the outcome of trials. More.