Top tech startup news of the week (startup weekend roundup for February 10, 2018)
Happy weekend, folks! Here is a weekend roundup of top tech startup news for the week. If you want this weekly update in your inbox every week, please subscribe to the TechStartups Newsletter using the form at the right corner of this page.
Lino, a decentralized autonomous video economy startup, announced today that it has secured $20 million in funding through a private token sale. The new funding is led by China-based ZhenFund. Lino plans to use the new funding to build its video distribution network, what the startup called “crypto YouTube”using blockchain technology. Founded by Wei and his co-founders Qifeng Chen, Yihe Li, and Ziyue Wu, Lino aims to create a decentralized autonomous content economy, where content value can be recognized efficiently and all contributors can be incentivized directly and effectively to promote long-term economic growth. According to Lino, “The reason companies like Youtube have enormous power over content creators is that they almost monopolize the means of distribution. Youtube, as a privately owned entity, has its fundamental interest in maximizing profit, which poses an underlying conflict of interest with content creators.
Walmart Inc’s technology incubator, Store No 8, has acquired a virtual reality startup Spatialand as part of its tech makeover to build virtual reality (VR) products for the retailer’s stores and websites. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company made the announcement in a blog post. Store No 8 now creates third portfolio company following its acquisition of VR platform and content studio, Spatialand. Founded in 2016 by Kimberly Cooper, Spatialand is a collaborative content authoring, workflow and engagement platform designed to amplify and accelerate the creation of VR destinations for your enterprise and brand.
Billionaire investor and National Basketball Association (NBA)’s Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, just invested in a student loan app of a Chicago-based startup ChangEd. The startup’s loan app helps students pay off their loans with spare change from routine purchases. ChangEd appeared on appeared on ABC’s popular Emmy-Award winning reality show Shark Tank January 28. The startup was founded by two brothers, Nick Skrzyniarzc and Dan Stelmach. The inspiration for the app came when Nick Skrzyniarzc was fresh out of college and found himself drowning in student debt. Instead of complaining about it, Nick decided to do something to get himself out of debt and help other students with the loan problems. Nick later came up with a simple but novel idea — an app that rounds up purchases to the next dollar, deposits them to an FDIC insured ChangEd account, and when it reaches $100, it automatically sends a payment toward their student loans.
Hyperscale storage startup Nyriad Limited announced it has closed a US$8.5 million in Series A funding round, bringing it to a total of over US$11 million raised to date. The funds will be used to support the continuing expansion of the business in Cambridge, New Zealand, including further investment in expanding its engineering resources and release of its first product to market in the first quarter of 2018. Founded in 2014 by Matthew Simmons and Alex St. John, both are former Microsoft alumni, the New Zealand-based Nyriad specializes in the use of GPUs for converging computing and IO to minimize data movement during processing of large data sets, significantly improving power consumption and accelerating performance for next-generation data centers and supercomputers.
The German startup, Partisan Motors, which created an SUV with a 100-year factory warranty, plans to send a space version of its SUV to Mars. The startup announced that it has built a special version of its Partisan One military SUV, called Partisan One Mars Edition, with four electric motors and a carbon fiber body. Partisan suggested Elon Musk should have launched their SUV into space instead of his Tesla Roadster. The version is a heavy duty electric SUV optimized for use on other planets. The body is covered in solar panels to help recharge the batteries which power 4 electric motors, one for each wheel. It is planned that Partisan One Mars Edition will be delivered to the “Red Planet” in parts, as a set for self-assembly.
‘Airbnb for boats’ and boat-sharing marketplace startup Boatsetter announced today the launch of its new online community following its largest successful acquisition of Boatbound acquisition back in August 2017. Boatsetter has now expanded its market presence to a staggering 600+ rental locations domestically and 66 locations internationally – and the startup is still growing. The fleet roster is now inclusive of 4,000+ high-quality boats and yachts which provide renters a surplus of options to relish in a memorable experience on the water. Founded in 2013 by Andrew Sturner, and co-founders, Jaclyn Baumgarten and Marc Billings, Boatsetter is the #1 boat rental community connecting boat owners, boat captains and anyone who seeks a waterful experience.
Alibaba Cloud is partnering with Israel-based big data GPU database startup, SQream Technologies, to bring rapid query capability and large scale data analysis to Alibaba Cloud customers. SQream is a provider of the GPU database that consistently provides fast access and analysis of extremely large and growing data stores at a fraction of the cost. On Wednesday, the company announced a collaboration agreement with Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group. Through the partnership agreement, the companies will work together to enable SQream’s GPU database as a cloud service offering to customers of Alibaba Cloud. “We are pleased to collaborate with Alibaba Cloud. The coupling of our leading GPU database together with Alibaba Cloud’s global infrastructure will enable enterprises around the globe to meet rising challenges in accessing and analyzing rapidly growing data stores,” said Ami Gal, CEO of SQream.
Blockchain startup Monaco Estate is launching the first cryptocurrency real estate investment fund. The startup that will be offering cryptocurrency-backed real estate rentals in Monaco, accepting rental payments in the form of Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Euros; making it the only rental service in Monaco accepting cryptocurrency. The startup focuses on high end apartment rentals in Monaco and utilizes blockchain smart contracts to allow token holders to receive a monthly profit share via Ethereum payments. The company is looking to raise up to 50,000 ETH with their Monaco Estate (MEST) tokens which will be backed by real-world assets and have the benefit of offering token holders a share of the company profits every month. The pre-sale is scheduled to begin on May 1, 2018.
The AI-powered music video platform startup, Triller, today announced it has raised a $5 million Series A funding round to democratize music video creation. The latest round is led by Carnegie Technologies. With over 23M downloads worldwide, Triller is making it easy for users to create and share celeb-quality music videos, instantly. The funds will be used to build out the platform’s AI-backed production technology, which automates the video editing process to drive better talent discovery on Triller and across social networks. Triller plans to deploy a machine learning algorithm that optimizes user engagement through music, social and watch behavior.