September 2016

Science & Technology

  • Amazon, Google DeepMind, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft launched a partnership to explore issues surrounding artificial intelligence. More.
  • Scientists are developing earthquake predicting systems based on analysis of infrared radiation levels in the ionosphere. More.
  • Researchers at Washington University, working in collaboration with the not-for-profit Exchange Initiative, are developing an app (called TraffickCam) designed to tackle sex trafficking through crowdsourcing images of hotel rooms, thus helping law enforcement agencies identify the location of crimes. More.
  • For the first time, biologists at the University of Bath have produced healthy offspring in a process that did not involve fertilising an egg. The breakthrough could lead to new developments in infertility treatments and in theory enable two men to become biological parents of a baby. More.
  • Researchers at the University of Melbourne are developing techniques to grow cornea cells in the lab in order to tackle one of the leading causes of blindness. More.
  • Researchers at Penn State have developed a miniature propeller that can quickly and safely be inserted into the heart of a heart attach victim in order to help blood flow and provide more time for medical professionals to assess the best course of long-term treatment. More.
  • Researchers at the University of Louisiana are investigating the use of proteins harvested from sea anemones to restore functionality in cells central to the hearing process, something that has been long considered impossible. More.
  • A study conducted at the University of Aalborg suggests that smartphone functionality varies depending on whether devices are held in the left or right hand, reflecting the positioning of antennae. More.
  • Researchers at Brown University have demonstrated the ability to influence feelings induced by a human face using an MRI feedback technique. The technique could eventually be used to treat psychological conditions. More.

Business

New Sources of Funding

  • Brazil-based venture firm Easterly Ventures launched a $60m fund, backed by Chinese internet giant Baidu, that will back technology start-ups in the country.
  • Stockholm-based venture firm Northzone closed a €300m fund.
  • US-based cybersecurity-focused venture firm TenEleven raised $103m across two funds (one venture, one growth).
  • Australia-based AirTree Ventures closed a A$250m fund.
  • US/UK-based Sapphire Ventures closed a $1bn fund that it will invest into early-stage venture funds across the US, Europe and Israel, as well as expansion-stage technology companies globally.
  • France-based iBionext Growth Fund closed a €46m healthcare-focused fund.
  • US-based VC Foundry Group closed a $500m fund that will be deployed to support growth-stage companies operating within sectors including AdTech, Marketplaces and Human Computer Interaction.
  • US-based venture firm First Round Capital closed a $175m fund.
  • US-based VC firm Spectrum 28 closed a $170m fund that will focus on emerging technology companies.
  • US-based Signia Venture Partners closed a $85m early-stage venture fund to target sectors including virtual reality, big data and artificial intelligence.
  • US-based Elephant Partners closed a $156m maiden venture fund from which it will invest in startups operating in sectors including consumer internet, mobile and software.
  • Reliance Jio Infocomm launched a $750m venture fund that will back India-based digital startups operating within sectors including education, healthcare and communication.
  • China-based early-stage VC Linear Ventures closed a $70m fund
  • GE Healthcare launched a $50m healthcare accelerator (call five.eight) that is designed to support companies building healthcare solutions for developing countries.
  • US-based fintech-focused venture fund TTV Capital raised a $68m fund
  • Israel-based venture capital firm Aleph closed a $180m fund.
  • US-based FTV Capital closed a $850m growth equity fund that will back companies in sectors including enterprise technology.
  • The Netherlands-based Social Impact Ventures closed a €40m fund to back social enterprises.

New products

  • CitizenSpring is an app that is designed to crowdsource maps of safe drinking water.
  • HealthMakeSpace aims to connect healthcare professionals with start-ups developing medical innovations.
  • RanMarine Technology is developing a solar-powered autonomous drone designed to collect rubbish in waterways.
  • Alcosynth is developing products designed to mimic the pleasurable effects of alcohol without any of the negative short- and long-term side effects. More.
  • Miroculus is developing 3D-printed devices designed to diagnose early stage cancer from a small blood sample. More.
  • Gametime is developing an app that allows people to buy last-minute event tickets from both primary sources and resellers.
  • The Ox is the world’s first flat-pack truck and can be assembled by non-experts in less than 12 hours and travel 1,000km on a single tank. More.
  • The Isobar is a mobile fridge designed to keep vaccines at appropriate temperatures for up to 30 days while being transported within developing countries. More.
  • Mindi is developing AI-powered solutions designed to reduce energy consumption within data centres.
  • UK-based Alert is developing a real-time airborne asbestos warning device.
  • France-based Cooltech Applications has developed a commercially-viable magnetic refrigeration systems that are more efficient than incumbent refrigeration technologies
  • AID:Tech is utilising blockchain technology to ensure transparency and efficiency in the distribution of aid.

New company Fundraising

  • UK-based Camstent, which is developing novel coatings designed to prevent the attachment of bacteria and organic material to medical devices, raised £1m from investors.
  • Airbnb closed a $555m funding round led by Technology Crossover Ventures and Google Capital. The eight year old company is reportedly valued at more than $30bn.
  • Southeast Asia taxi-hailing company Grab raised a $750m Series-F round led by SoftBank, at a reported $3bn post-money valuation. The Singapore-based company reports up to 1.5m bookings per day from 21m app downloads, and has a network of 400,000 drivers.
  • Canada-based ThalmicLabs, which develops wearable technologies that enable users to control devices with gestures and motion, raised $120m from investors including Intel Capital, Amazon Alexa Fund and Spark Capital.
  • New York-based Brightfarms, which finances, builds and operates greenhouse farms that supply local produce to supermarkets, raised $30m from investors including Catalyst Investors.
  • Denmark-based Reapplix, which is developing wound care technologies that encourage tissue regeneration, raised €2.7m from investors including SEED Capital Denmark.
  • US-based Carbon 3D, which develops advanced 3D printing technologies, closed a $81m Series-C funding round from investors including GE Ventures.
  • US-based Opera Solutions, which is developing a technology platform that employs machine learning to deliver insights from enterprise data, raised $70m debt financing.
  • Remitly, which provides financial service including money transfer for ‘unbanked’ people in emerging markets, raised $38.5m from the International Finance Corporation.
  • US-based Milo Biotechnology, which is developing therapies to strengthen the muscles of patients with neuromuscular diseases, raised an undisclosed funding round from investors including JumpStart.
  • US-based OpenSesame, which develops on-demand e-learning courses for enterprise clients, raised a $9m Series-B from investors including Altos Ventures and Partech Ventures.
  • US-based Sarcos Robotics, which is developing human-operated robots that are designed to enhance the safety of workers within industries such as construction, manufacturing and mining, raised funding from investors including GE Ventures and Microsoft.
  • US/Israel-based global crowdfunding platform OurCrowd closed a $72mSeries-C from a range of investors. To date, the company has invested more than $300m in 100 companies and has generated nine exits. Alongside funding, the company provides mentors and post-transaction support to portfolio companies.
  • Israel-based Beyond Verbal, which is developing software capable of assessing emotions, well-being and health by analysing the human voice, closed a $3m Series-A round from investors including Winnovation.
  • US-based Higher Logic, which provides a cloud based platform through which non profits can create online communities, raised $55m from JMI Equity.
  • Israel-based Reportly, which is developing a platform through which users can transmit real time video from the scene of emergencies in order to help first response workers, raised $5.2m from investors.
  • US-based Saildrone, which is developing wind/solar-powered autonomous surface drones designed to capture high-resolution and cost-effective data relating to the ocean and atmosphere, raised a $14m Series-A from investors including Social Capital.
  • France-based Klaxoon, which develops tools that facilitate the collection of ideas from groups via mobile devices, raised €5m from investors including Arkea Capital.
  • Red Points, a Spain-based developer of a SaaS solution that continuously crawls the internet to detect, monitor and address copyright infringements, raised €2m from Mangrove Capital Partners.
  • US-based Color Genomics, which is developing tests that identify hereditary cancer risks from a saliva sample, raised $45m from General Catalyst Partners.

Other

  • A study conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford suggests that participating in adult education classes can boost wellbeing, with benefits including increased self-confidence and greater motivation. More.
  • A study conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford suggests that watching tragic movies or dramatic works can trigger a release of endorphins that facilitates social bonding with people nearby. More.