January 2017

Science & Technology

  • Ambulances in Sweden are trialling a system, developed at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, that enables interruption of in-car audio systems in order to warn drivers that there is an emergency and thus give them time to make way. More.
  • Researchers at Stanford University have developed a lithium ion battery containing a fire extinguishing liquid that this released in the event of overheating. More.
  • A study conducted by Public Health Ontario and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences has found that people living close to roads with high traffic volumes have a considerably higher chance of developing dementia. More.
  • Researchers at Stanford are developing a brain-computer interface that enables paralysed patients to type using direct brain control. More.
  • Researchers from Universities including Imperial College London have developed a urine test that can determine the quality of a person’s diet within five minutes. More.

Business

  • Japanese insurance company Fokoku Mutual Life Insurance announced that it will be replacing 34 staff (employed to calculate insurance payouts) with an artificial intelligence system. More.

New Sources of Funding

  • Early stage SE Asia-focused VC firm East Ventures closed a $27.5m fund.
  • US-based Correlation Ventures, which co-invests based on predictive analytics, closed a $200m fund.
  • Healthcare-focused Versant Ventures closed a $400m fund to support therapeutics companies in Europe and North America.
  • US-based technology and healthcare venture firm Venrock closed a $450m fund.
  • US-based accelerator / VC SOSV closed a $150m fund to back companies operating within areas including life sciences, robotics and food.
  • HTC pledged to invest $10m to develop virtual reality applications that support the UN Sustainable Development Goals. More.
  • US-based Mithril Capital closed a $850m fund that it will deploy to back disruptive technology-enabled companies.
  • Alven Capital closed a $261m venture fund from which it will invest in France-based start-ups.
  • The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, a $27m vehicle designed to fund projects relating to the governance and ethics of AI, launched. More.
  • US-based fintech venture firm Nyca Partners closed a $125m fund.
  • US-based Better Ventures closed a $21m fund that will be deployed to back triple bottom line companies.
  • Samsung launched a $150m venture capital fund, called Samsung NEXT, which will target early stage companies in sectors including IoT ad AI.

New products

  • Cognitive Systems has developed a wireless smart home monitoring system that can identify possible intruders. More.
  • SafariSeat is an all-terrain wheelchair designed for use in developing countries. It is built from recycled bike parts and designed to be quick and easy to build / repair. More.

New company Fundraising

  • US-based MIT spin-out LiquiGlide, which develops permanently wet slippery surface coatings with waste-saving applications in industrial processes and food manufacturing, raised $16m from investors.
  • US-based Path, which works alongside governments, NGOs and commercial entities to develop solutions to health problems faced in developing countries, raised $25m from investors including the Global Health Investment Fund.
  • UK-based Idea Drop, which provides a cloud-based solutions for organisations to crowdsource ideas, raised €1.4m from angel investors.
  • US-based electric bus developer Proterra raised $140m from investors including Kleiner Perkins and GM Ventures.
  • US-based Satsuma Pharmaceuticals, which is developing novel treatments for migraine sufferers, closed a $12m Series-A round led by TPG Biotech.
  • US-based POC Medical Systems, which is developing a portable breast cancer screening test, closed a $21m Series-A round led by BioVentures Investors.
  • US-based Element Analytics, which develops a software platform that provides predictive analytics relating to industrial machinery performance, raised $7m from investors including Kleiner Perkins.
  • Holland-based myTomorrows, which provides information on and access to investigational treatments for life threatening diseases, raised €10m from investors including EQT Ventures and Octopus Ventures.
  • UK-based Owlstone Medical, which is developing a breathaliser that is designed to diagnose a range of diseases at an early stage, raised £9.3m from investors.
  • UK-based Audio Analytic, which is developing a machine-learning powered smart home system designed to take actions based on analysis of sounds, closed a $5.5m Series-A round led by Cambridge Innovation Capital.
  • Estonia-/UK-based Starship Technologies, which is developing autonomous delivery robots, raised $17.2m from investors including Daimler, Matrix Partners and Shasta Ventures.
  • FLYR, which is developing technologies that help consumers predict fluctuations in the price of air travel, raised $8m from investors including Thiel Capital.