Posts Tagged ‘Venture Capital’

A Venture Capitalist’s Take on the Internet of Things

photo of Nest ProtectDavid Hirsch, co-founder of Metamorphic Ventures, recently wrote for Tech Crunch, “There has been a lot of talk in the venture capital industry about automating the home and leveraging Internet-enabled devices for various functions. The first wave of this was the use of the smartphone as a remote control to manage, for instance, a thermostat. The thermostat then begins to recognize user habits and adapt to them, helping consumers save money. A lot of people took notice of this first-generation automation capability when Google bought Nest for a whopping $3.2 billion. But this purchase was never about Nest; rather, it was Google’s foray into the next phase of the Internet of Things.” Read more

Robert Bosch Venture Capital Leads $3.75 million Series A Round for Flybits

fly-300x85TORONTO, Aug. 20, 2014 /CNW/ – Flybits Inc., a Toronto start-up that has created a context-aware experience development platform for mobile environments, has closed a $3.75 million Series A financing. Led by Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC) and Trellis Capital Corporation with participation from MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund and Ryerson Futures, Inc., the investment will advance the company’s product development and international growth in the United States and Europe.

Since spinning off from Ryerson University in 2012, Flybits has raised a total of $4.05 million to date, including a seed round from MaRS Innovation. Flybits technology has been used in developing smarter cities, connected stadiums, smart corporate campuses, shopping malls, conference venues and even fashion shows. The company also concurrently incubated its technology at the Ryerson Digital Media Zone in Toronto and Vodafone Xone in Redwood City, California. Read more

Additional Funding For Elasticsearch To Help Company Complement Its RealTime Search And Analytics Stack

elasticsearchlogoElasticsearch – whose Elasticsearch, Logstash and Kibana products for discovering and extracting insights from structured and unstructured data were discussed earlier this year here – has raised $70 million in Series C financing from New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Benchmark Capital and Index Ventures also participated in the round. That brings the total to $104 million over the past 18 months.

“Nearly all companies, start-ups and Fortune 500 enterprises alike, need to be able to slice and dice rapidly expanding data volumes in real time,” says Steven Schuurman, co-founder and CEO. The funding, Schuurman says, will be applied to enhancing sales, marketing and support personnel and efforts, as well as investing in development to build more complementary products that work with the ELK stack.

“Ultimately, this round of funding will help us get to our goal, faster, of making the ELK stack the de facto platform for businesses to gain actionable insights from their data,” he says.

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Hong Kong V.C. Firm Names an Artificial Intelligence Tool to Its Board of Directors

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Jordyn Taylor of Beta Beat reports, “In case you needed more proof that all our jobs will one day be occupied by robots, a Hong Kong V.C. firm has just named an artificial intelligence tool to its board of directors. The company’s also insisting the tool will be treated as an ‘equal’ to the other board members. Sure, it’s all probably a bid for press — but it’s still pretty funny.”

 

Taylor continues, “A press release from Aging Analytics UK, a company that conducts research on biotechnology and regenerative medicine, made two announcements this morning: first, that they’ve launched an new A.I. tool called VITAL (Validating Investment Tool for Advancing Life Sciences); and second, that they’ve licensed VITAL to Hong Kong V.C. firm Deep Knowledge Ventures, where the tool will become an ‘equal member of its Board of Directors.’ Read more

New Fund Ready to Back Big Data Startups

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Alexandra Stevenson of The New York Times reports, “You may not admit that you want to watch ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey,’ but Netflix knows you do. Using algorithms that use search data to predict what television shows people want to watch is one way in which companies are using Big Data to connect the dots. It’s captured the imagination of some of Silicon Valley’s most well-known venture capitalists, who have committed more than $10 million to a new early stage fund to help foster start-ups that analyze behavioral data to determine patterns and make predictions about social behavior.” Read more

New On The Speech Recognition Scene: Droids With NLP Processors And More

There are new Motorola Droid devices in town: The three Verizon Android 4.2 smartphones unveiled at a press event yesterday include the Motorola Droid Mini, Ultra and Maxx. The line includes what the company touts as the longest-lasting 4G LTE smartphone in the Maxx, with the vendor claiming 48 hours on a single charge, and what it says is the thinnest 4G LTE smartphone around in the Ultra. The smartphones reportedly all come with a unique Kevlar fiber 3D unibody design and a few months’ free Google Music All Access subscription, too. But what will catch the eyes of readers of this blog is the proprietary Motorola X8 Mobile Computing System that’s behind the sleek-looking handsets.

In addition to the graphics and application processor cores found within the eight-core System are two new low-power cores, one to power contextual computing and one aimed at natural language processing. Read more

What Every Semantic Startup Should Know

Earlier this week The Semantic Web Blog gave you an in-depth look at the winner of the Semantic Web Startup Competition at the recent Semantic Technology and Business conference (see story here). Perhaps at next year’s SemTechBiz event, you’d like to be one of the startups in contention for the win – and some money might help you get there.

If so, then it might be helpful to troll through some of the advice that was offered in another session at the conference, which was attended by an audience who self-reported that they either were part of startups and potentially looking for funding, as well as others hoping to start their own venture in a year or so.

Here are some snippets to reflect on:

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Universities Put Cash Towards Helping HomeGrown Tech Startups Along

Image Photo Courtesy Flickr/401(K) 2012

Universities play an important role in advancing the technology ecosystem, semantic technology included. Look for starters at work done at The Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Wright State University’s Kno.e.sis Ohio Center of Excellence in Knowledge-enabled Computing, MIT, and the Digital Enterprise Research Institute located at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

In addition to driving technology ever forward, institutions like these and others also provide a home for incubating good ideas that could become good businesses. Music discovery service Seevl and the enterprise-focused SindiceTech are two examples of semantic spin-outs from DERI, for instance, while MIT Media Lab gave birth to commercial properties with semantic underpinnings including music intelligence platform The Echo Nest. The Kno.e.sis Center points work it’s doing in the commercial direction, too: Its LinkedIn profile description notes that its “work is predominantly multidisciplinary, and multi-institutional, often involving industry collaborations and significant systems developing, with an eye towards real-world impact, technology licensing, and commercialization.”

Given the projects with commercial prospects underway within their own houses, it would seem there’s opportunity for universities themselves to look for even more ways to contribute to that success. And that’s just what the University of Minnesota is doing: This week it said that it’s launching a $20 million seed fund over a ten-year timeframe to support the innovative ideas to which its campus plays host.

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Amid Mixed Picture For VC Investments, Silk Gets More Seed Funding

Just as reports are coming in that venture-backed companies based in Europe recently have raised more money but in a fewer number of deals, word comes from the team at Amsterdam-based Silk that its latest seed round has brought in an additional $1.6 million.

According to new analysis from Dow Jones VentureSource, VC-backed companies based in Europe raised EUR 1.3 billion through 273 venture capital deals during the second quarter of 2012. That marked a 14 percent increase in capital raised but a 20 percent decline in deals from the same period last year, it said. Additionally, second-round deals accounted for 19 percent of deal flow and 18 percent of capital invested, down from 25 percent and 28 percent, respectively, in the year-ago period, it said.

Silk in May 2011 completed a $475,000 funding round led by Atomico, the venture capital firm headed up by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström.

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Facebook’s Instagram Acquisition: Fueling More Startup Fever and Semantic Startups’ Dreams

The news of Facebook’s acquisition of mobile photo-sharing service Instagram for $1 billion this week may be fueling the dreams of tech start-ups of every stripe, including those in the semantic tech community. In fact, they may have even greater reason to be inspired: A recent  report has it that Instagram has been slowly rolling out an Open Graph integration for the app accomplished in collaboration with Facebook for seamlessly publishing photos to users’ Timelines in what may be the first of similar partner-deals down the road.

Other startups infused with semantic tech smarts may be on high lookout for funding opportunities as an important part of making those dreams come true. Thomson Reuters and The National Venture Capital Association this week released funding stats for the first quarter of 2012 that could put a bit of a damper on things: It found a 35 percent decrease by dollar commitments and a 9 percent decline by number of funds, compared to the first quarter of 2011. But, according to a statement by Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA, venture firms “appear to be more optimistic about the fundraising environment in 2012.”

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