November 2016

Science & Technology

  • A study conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol has shown that LED lights attract four times fewer insects than filament lamps. More.
  • The EcoHelmet, a recyclable paper-based cycling helmet costing less than $5 and ideally suited for use within cycle sharing schemes, won the International James Dyson Award. More.
  • A team of researchers from institutions included Ecole Polytechnique Federale Lausanne reported that they have successfully deployed a wireless brain/spine interface to bypass a spinal cord injury and restore movement to a paralysed leg of a macaque. 
  • A team of scientists from UC Berkeley, the Department of Energy and the University of Illinois have realised plant productivity improvements of as much as 20% by modifying genes to make more efficient use of sunlight in the photosynthesis process. The development could have significant implications in addressing global food shortages. More.
  • Researchers at Cambridge University have developed a technique that utilises AI image recognition and brain scanning technologies to ‘remove’ specific fears from the human brain. The technique could be used to treat phobias and PTSD. More.
  • Scientists at UK-based Rothamsted Research reported that they have achieved a 20% increase in crop yields by spraying a synthetic version of the sugar trehalose 6-phosphate onto growing wheat plants. The technique potentially represents an alternative to genetic modification in bolstering food supplies to meet the needs of a growing global population.
  • Scientists at Yale have developed a technique that enables accurate assessment of human intelligence through a brain scan. More.
  • Researchers at Imperial College London are investigating the use of predatory bacteria to combat superbugs. More.
  • Abobe unveiled Project Voco, a software tool that enables voice recordings to be altered. More.
  • Researchers at Ben Gurion University (Israel) have developed a technique to turn a pair of headphones into a microphone, with applications in security sector. More.
  • Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a system that utilises passive haptic learning (small vibrations applied near the ear) to teach people Morse code within four hours. More.
  • A study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania suggest that brain scans may be far more effective at identifying when someone is lying than polygraph tests. More.

Business

New Sources of Funding

  • US-based Osage Venture Partners closed a $90m enterprise software-focused fund.
  • New Zealand-based Movac closed a $75m venture capital fund.
  • UK-based SEP closed a £260m growth fund that will back tech-enabled companies in Europe.
  • UK-based Seraphim Capital launched a £80m Space Tech fund.
  • US-based Biomatics Capital Partners closed a $200m maiden life sciences fund.
  • London/Amsterdam-based Keen Venture Partners closed a €90m maiden fund, from which it will invest up to €10m in fast-growing European technology companies.
  • US-based Starbust Ventures closed a $200m venture fund that will back start-ups in the aerospace sector.
  • The Breakthrough Energy Coalition launched a $1bn fund to back companies developing technologies with significant potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • US-based Anzu Partners closed a $60m maiden venture capital fund.
  • Canada-based Information Venture Partners closed a $106m venture fund that will back early stage FinTech and enterprise software companies.
  • Italy-based Programma 101 closed a €67m venture fund.
  • US-based SV Angel closed a $53m early-stage venture capital fund.
  • US-based Spark Capital closed a $400m early-stage fund and $600m growth-stage fund.
  • US-/Japan-based Draper Nexus closed a $175m early stage venture fund.
  • France-based Idinvest Partners held the first close of its new growth fund, which will target companies operating in the digital, health and energy sectors, at €250m.
  • China-based Long Hill Capital Management closed a $125m maiden venture capital fund.
  • US-based Slow Ventures closed a $145m early-stage venture capital fund.
  • New York-based Boldstart Ventures closed a $47m early stage venture capital fund.
  • Abingworth closed a $116m life-sciences / healthcare venture capital fund.
  • Canada-based Relay Ventures closed a $150m early stage fund.
  • US-based seed-stage venture firm Chicago Ventures closed a $66m fund.
  • US-based Third Rock Ventures closed a $616m healthcare fund.
  • US-based Tola Capital closed a $295m venture capital fund that will target companies developing enterprise software.
  • Intel Capital announced pans to invest $250m in autonomous driving over the next two years.
  • US-based Four Rivers Group closed a $87m expansion-stage venture capital fund.
  • Amazon launched a new accelerator to support companies developing conversational AI.
  • Singapore-based Jungle Ventures closed a $100m fund from which it will invest in early stage technology companies.

New company Fundraising

  • Israel-based Voyager Labs, which is developing an AI platform that enables analysis of billions of unstructured data points in real time, raised $100m from investors including Horizons Ventures.
  • Prynt, a platform that connects physical and digital photos with augmented reality, raised $7m in Series A funding led by GGV Capital.
  • Berlin-based M-Sense, which develops a certified medical app designed to combat headaches and migraines, raised funding from investors including High-Tech Grunderfonds.
  • France-based Agricool, which converts shipping containers into fruit and vegetable growing facilities, raised $4.3m from venture capital firm Daphni.
  • US-based Zipline International, which develops and runs a drone delivery service for medical supplies in rural areas, closed a $25m Series-B funding round from investors including Visionnaire Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.
  • UK-based WeFarm, which develops a peer-to-peer network that enables farmers in emerging markets to access and share information and advice, raised £1.3m from LocalGlobe.
  • Israel-/US-based RapidAPI, which provides an open source marketplace through which developers can discover, connect to and manage APIs, raised $3.5m from investors including Andreessen Horowitz.
  • US-based PeerWell, which develops a mobile platform designed to help patients prepare for and recover from surgery, raised $2.1m from investors including XSeed Capital.
  • US-based Classy, which provides a fundraising platform for social enterprises and charities, closed a $30m Series-C funding round led by JMI Equity.
  • US-based TraceLink, which provides a track and trace solution for the life sciences supply chain that is designed to eliminate counterfeit pharmaceuticals, raised a $51.5m Series-C funding round led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity.
  • US-based Nightingale Security, which is developing an automated aerial robotic security service that enables users to monitor and protect their facilities, raised funding from Impact Venture Capital.
  • UK-based Echo, which provides an app that allows patients to manage long-term medication courses by, among other things, digitising the repeat prescription process, raised £1.8m from LocalGlobe and Global Founders Capital.
  • Germany-based SearchInk, which is developing technologies designed to unlock information within handwritten documents, raised €4.2m from investors including IBB Berlin.

Other