December 2016

Science & Technology

  • The $1bn Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, which is designed to provide clearer images of cloud waves and thus help pilots to avoid turbulence, was launched. More.
  • A study conducted by researchers at Cambridge University suggests that up to one third of scientific reports are published in languages other than English, meaning the findings contained within them are often overlooked. The group suggests that publishing summaries of key findings in multiple languages may be an effective solution. More.
  • Scientists at Rice University are developing a method that orders the internal arrangement of cement particles in order to make the material less porous (and so more protective of steel when reinforced) and more durable. The development could enable less concrete to be used within construction, with consequent environmental benefits.
  • A study conducted by researchers at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has called into question the ability of cleaner cook stoves to deliver health benefits to rural communities in emerging markets.
  • A study conducted by researchers at Boston University suggests that the propensity of people to believe in climate change is highly influenced by the patterns of weather that they directly experience, with those that had experienced heat waves reportedly more inclined to acknowledge the phenomenon. 
  • Trials of a new treatment for prostate cancer that utilises lasers and a drug made from deep sea bacteria without causing severe side effects, have shown promising results. More.

Business

New Sources of Funding

  • KKR closed a $711m growth fund that will back technology-enabled companies operating within North America, Europe and Israel.
  • US-based life sciences-focused investor Flagship Ventures closed a $285m special opportunities fund
  • US-based SJF Venture closed a $125m fund from which it will invest in high growth companies making positive impacts in areas including clean energy, climate change mitigation, asset recovery/recycling and sustainable agriculture.
  • France-based Alven Capital closed a €250m early-stage venture capital firm
  • US-based life sciences-focused venture firm Domain Associates closed a $164m fund.
  • Microsoft launched a new AI-focused venture fund, which will focus on supporting companies that are leveraging technology to develop solutions designed to enhance the capabilities of human workers, improve education and develop new treatments for diseases.
  • US-based Greenspring Associates closed a $325m venture-focused Fund of Funds.
  • Egypt-focused venture firm Algebra Ventures held the first close of its maiden, technology-focused fund, at $40m.
  • US-based SignalFire closed a $102m seed stage fund.
  • Big-data focused venture firm Data Collective raised a $212m fund.
  • New York-based Health Catalyst Capital Management, a venture capital firm focused on US-based healthcare IT businesses, closed a $64m maiden fund.
  • US-based early stage VC firm GoAhead Ventures closed its maiden $55m fund.

New products

  • For the first time, Apple acknowledged that it is developing technology for self-driving cars.

New company Fundraising

  • US-based Neurable, which is developing brain-computer interface technology designed to interpret intent from brain activity and therefore enable real time control of computers, raised $2m from investors.
  • Canada-based Hopper, which provides an air fare prediction app that claims to offer accuracy of 95% up to one year in advance, raised $61m from new and existing investors.
  • US-based Vida Health, which provides a subscription-based app that connects patients with health coaches to address chronic conditions such as diabetes, raised a $18m Series-B round led by Canvas Ventures.
  • Israel-based Knowmail, which is developing AI-based solutions designed to help people manage emails and messages more effectively, raised $3.5m from investors including CE Ventures.
  • US-based OneWeb, which is developing global satellite-enabled internet networks, raised $1.2bn from investors including Airbus, Qualcomm and Virgin.
  • Belgium-based Univercells, which is developing a vaccine manufacturing process designed to lower cost and hence increase availability, received a $12m grant from the Gates Foundation.
  • US-based Amino Apps, which provides a an app that enables the creation of mobile social networks with features including real-time chat and messaging, raised $19.2m from investors including GV.

Other