Top tech startup news stories you need to know this Friday, April 6
Good morning! Here are some of the top tech startup news stories today Friday, April 6.
Unicorn startup Pinduoduo is a $1.5 billion startup challenging E-Commerce giant Alibaba in China’s towns and villages. While Alibaba and Tencent are dominating China’s major urban centers and China’s $370-billion online shopping market, Pinduoduo has quietly been capturing another less noticed market: low-income people from lower-tier in China’s towns and villages. Pinduoduo is an e-commerce platform founded in 2015 by Ex Googler Colin Huang. As of January 2018, Pinduoduo already had 114 million active users, surpassing that of New York-listed Chinese discount retailer Vipshop.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg admitted mistakes and the possibility that additional data breaches could be discovered. In her appearance on the popular TV show, Today, Sandberg admitted the possibility that additional breaches in personal information could be discovered by current company audits prompted by Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of user data. In a separate discussion, she also told The Financial Times that Facebook still didn’t know how much user data Cambridge Analytica still held.
Space technology startup Orion Span launched the first-ever luxury space hotel. Orin Span announced yesterday the launch of Aurora Station, the first Luxury Space Hotel. The Houston, Texas and Silicon Valley, California-based made the announcement during the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California The space hotel is slated to open in 2021. The company is now taking reservations. The Aurora Station exclusive hotel will host six people at a time – including two crew members. Space travelers will enjoy a completely authentic, once-in-a-lifetime astronaut experience with extraordinary adventure during their 12-day journey, starting at $9.5 million per person.
Studio71 is suing mobile app startup, Say Say K, for $5.5 million in licensing fight. Digital media company Studio71 is suing a San Francisco startup, Say Say K, that sought its content to power a mobile application to teach English to Chinese millennials, but never paid the $1 million deposit they agreed to. The suit (you can read it here), filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, maintains that Say Say K did not pay the seven-figure deposit it promised Studio71.
Cryptocurrency startup CoinList raises $9.2 million in funding to expand services for investors and vetted blockchain companies. CoinList announced it has closed $9.2 million in its initial fundraising round. Among its investors is a group of the industry’s most notable cryptocurrency funds: Polychain Capital, Digital Currency Group, FBG Capital, Libertus Capital, Blockchain Capital, CoinFund and Electric Capital. The $9.2 million total includes the funds CoinList previously raised from venture capital firm Accomplice and Protocol Labs, a research, development and deployment lab for network protocols.
Neurosurgeons successfully used robotic technology derived from International Space Station to perform brain tumor surgery. Neurosurgeons at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) have successfully used the technology to perform brain surgery on humans. The hospital announced in a release that the same technology has been integrated by NSUH neurosurgeons in a medical first in the tri-state area. Synaptive’s Modus V is a fully-automated, robotic digital microscope to perform brain surgery developed by Synaptive Medical Inc.’s Modus V. Modus V, with its robotic arm derived from Canadarm technology used on the International Space Station.
Legit raises $2.6M for AI Intellectual Property platform. The market-leading AI company in Intellectual Property startup, Legit, announced it has closed on a $2.6 million Seed round led by Eniac Ventures, with participation from Elementum Ventures and Max Ventures. Legit is the only software made for the creators of intellectual property – researchers, scientists and engineers at technology companies. Using patent-pending technology, Legit’s natural language processing (NLP) software provides an interface for inventors to determine the patentable aspects of what they are working on, allowing inventors to more efficiently turn their ideas into inventions using artificial intelligence.
London-based appScatter to acquire German app store intelligence startup Priori Data for more than €15 million. London-based app management platform, appScatter, has acquired Belin-based app store intelligence startup Priori Data for a little above €15 million. The acquisition was partly paid in cash and shares. Founded in 2013, Priori Data is a B2B SaaS platform provider of mobile app intelligence, with proprietary data intelligence software and 16 full-time employees with expertise in monetising app market data, including data scientists, engineers and sales.
IfOnly raises $20 million from Mastercard for activities booking. IfOnly, an online agency for booking activities and experiences startup, has raised $20 million in Series D funding. The funding was led by Mastercard with participation from Hyatt, NEA, Founder’s Fund, Khosla Ventures. This round brings the total the San Francisco-based company has raised more than $40 million.
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is launching venture fund to help early-stage startups. The $1.6 billion unicorn startup and cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, is launching a venture fund to create an ‘open financial system for the world.’ The goal of the venture fund is set to invest in companies that are changing the world of finance.