Top tech startup news stories you need to know this Wednesday, August 1
Good morning! Here are some of the top tech startup news stories for today, Wednesday, August 1.
Autonomous-aviation startup Xwing raises $4 million in funding led by Eniac. San Francisco-based Xwing, an autonomous aviation company, announced it has raised $4 million in seed-stage funding. Eniac Ventures led the round, which included Array Ventures and angels and aviation buffs, including John and Patrick Collison, founders of Stripe, as well as the tech executive Nat Friedman, currently with Xamarin. Founded in 2016 by Marc Piette, Xwing develops the suite of technologies necessary for pilotless flight of small passenger aircraft. Xwing is a VC-backed company assembling world-class engineering talent from the aerospace and software industries.
New York fintech startup Alice aims to modernize payroll benefits. Co-founded by Avi Karnani in 2015, Alice is aiming to modernize payroll benefits by using AI to automate pre-tax spending. Alice works by connecting with a company’s payroll system. Employees then connect their credit or debit cards to Alice and spend as they usually would. Using AI, Alice then identifies potentially pre-tax eligible expenses made by employees, such as commuting costs, medical or dental care. Alice will text the employee to confirm the transaction, then update payroll with the tax refund.
Harley Davidson announces plans for multiple electric motorcycles and even an electric bicycle. The world’s most popular motorbike company is is well on its way to debuting its first electric motorcycle which they are hoping will target a younger, more urban audience. Harley Davidson made the ambitious growth plan announcement Monday. The plan includes the launch of a variety of new products, including, possibly, e-bikes. Among other changes, the company announced it would launch a family of no-clutch electric two-wheelers next year. That line will start out with the company’s first electric motorcycle, called the LiveWire.
Edtech startup DreamBox raises $130 million from high-profile investors. DreamBox Learning, an edtech company that makes programs that help kids learn math, has agreed to take a $130 million investment from a fund managed by private equity firm TPG Growth. DreamBox plans to use the new money on product development, sales, marketing, other operations, and to draw in more users. The Rise Fund, which is deploying $2 billion in financing raised by TPG last year, is taking a majority position in The Bellevue, Washington startup was founded in 2006.
Payroll startup Gusto raises $140 million Series C to expand its platform and transform the future of work. Gusto, the leading payroll, benefits and HR technology platform for small businesses, has raised $140 million in a Series C funding round to drive significant additions to Gusto’s all-in-one payroll, benefits and HR technology platform including new capabilities to help employees manage when and how they get paid. Founded in 2011 as ZenPayRoll by Edward Kim, Joshua Reeves, and Tomer London, before it later changed its name to Gusto. The San Francisco, California-based startup provides a cloud-based payroll, benefits, and human resource management solution for businesses.
U.K.-based contact lens startup Waldo looks to penetrate US market after raising $5 million in new funding. UK-based contact lens startup Waldo is aiming to disrupt the contact lens market by helping by offering premium daily contact lenses made affordable through a direct-to-consumer subscription model. The one-year old startup has secured a $5 million investment. The investment, which brings the company’s total fundraising to $6.8 million, was co-led by Tectonic Capital and PROfounders Capital, alongside investments from Tinder co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen. Founder and Harvard graduate Ashleigh Hinde has brought her company across the pond to penetrate the US market.
Miami, Florida ranks ranks first in the United States for startup activity. Miami, Florida ranks ranks first in the United States for startup activity, according to 2017 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity reported by Kauffman Foundation, a group that studies entrepreneurial success. Miami has 81.09% opportunity share of new entrepreneurs, 107.8 startup density and 0.56% rate of new entrepreneurs. The report presents trends in startup activity for the 40 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.
Can Google be trusted? Google plans to launch censored search engine in China, according to a report by Intercept, citing leaked documents. The project – code-named Dragonfly – has been underway since spring of last year, and accelerated following a December 2017 meeting between Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai and a top Chinese government official, according to internal Google documents and people familiar with the plans.