Top startup news for today, Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Good morning! Here are some of the top technology startup news stories for today, Tuesday, January 15.
Amazon expands influencer marketing program to include micro-influencers. It turns out that Amazon has quietly expanded its influencer marketing program to include micro-influencers, according to a report from Business Insider. Amazon started the program back in 2017. Since then, the company has quietly run an influencer marketing program that allows creators and social-media stars to earn a cut of sales generated by Amazon links the influencer posts on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Influencers get custom Amazon landing pages, called stores, where they can promote products and create lists of recommended items. Big names such as Mark Cuban and Jillian Michaels have previously taken part, but now the company has opened the doors for multiple micro-influencers to jump on board.
Brillio receives investment from Bain Capital Private Equity. Brillio, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based global digital technology consulting and solutions company, received a majority investment from venture capital heavyweight, Bain Capital Private Equity to further scale its digital transformation offerings. The financial terms of the private transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, including requisite regulatory approvals, and expected to close during the first quarter of 2019, were not disclosed. Founded in 2014 by Raj Mamodia, Brillio is a global technology consulting and technology services company focused on implementation of digital technologies for the world’s leading companies. Brillio uses proprietary methodologies to help customers re-imagine their businesses and competitive advantages and then rapidly develops and deploys disruptive industrial-grade digital solutions.
Sonrai Security, raises more than $18 million and launches First Cloud Data Control Service. Sonrai Security, a cybersecurity startup founded by former IBM Security and Q1 Labs executives, officially launched today with $18.5 million in Series A funding to deliver unparalleled data and identity control across all cloud accounts and within any data store. The round was led by Polaris Partners and TenEleven Ventures, with participation from New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF). In conjunction with the funding, the company also announced that Polaris Partners Managing Partner Dave Barrett and TenEleven Ventures Founder and Managing General Partner Alex Doll will be joining its board. Founded in 2017, provides a Cloud Data Control service that delivers a complete risk model of all identity and data relationships, including activity and movement across cloud accounts, cloud providers and third-party party data stores. The Sonrai Cloud Data Control service helps security and DevOps leaders stop data security threats, ensure compliance and increase DevOps efficiency.
Facebook plans to invest $300M in local news. The embattled social media giant, Facebook, is investing $300 million over the next three years in local news programs, partnerships and other initiatives. According to the company, the money will go toward reporting grants for local newsrooms, expanding Facebook’s program to help local newsrooms with subscription business models and investing in nonprofits aimed at supporting local news. “The industry is going through a massive transition that has been underway for a long time,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of global news partnerships. “None of us have quite figured out ultimately what the future of journalism is going to look like, but we want to be part of helping find a solution.”
Enterprise data management startup Rubrik doubles its valuation to more than $3.3 billion with new $261 million funding. Rubrik, a SaaS startup company that offers live data access for recovery and application development by fusing enterprise data management with web-scale IT, has raised $261 million in funding at a $3.3 billion valuation from Bain Capital Ventures and previous investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Greylock Partners, Khosla Ventures and IVP. The company plans to use the new capital for general corporate purposes, continued future innovation, and to support the launch of major new products planned for 2019. It also plans to use the funding to accelerate deeper into security and compliance services alongside its existing data management products. Rubrik was founded in 2014 by Arvind Jain, Arvind Nithrakashyap, Bipul Sinha, and Soham Mazumdar.
Royal HaskoningDHV acquires predictive simulation startup Lanner. Royal HaskoningDHV, a global engineering and project management consultancy, acquired Lanner, a Henley-in-Arden, UK-based hybrid software & consultancy firm specializing in predictive simulation for industrial clients. The amount of the deal was not disclosed. The acquisition will enable Royal HaskoningDHV to strengthen its predictive simulation capabilities and its market position in the UK especially in consumer goods, manufacturing, automotive, energy & utilities, maritime and aviation. The technology provided by Lanner also strengthens Royal HaskoningDHV’s focus on further building its Digital Twin offering. WITNESS provides optimization capabilities together with scenario management functionality.
Lightspeed Venture Partners Invest in AI Leader AnyVision to Accelerate Global Expansion. As we reported earlier, AnyVision, the leading AI-based face, body and object recognition company, announced new funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Qualcomm Ventures, bringing its Series A round to a total of $43 million. The new funding from one of Silicon Valley’s most well-known investors arms AnyVision to accelerate its sales and marketing activity for 2019, an important step in securing its position as the world’s leading AI company.
Currency.com raises $8m in Series A funding. Currency.com, a Minsk, Belarus–based next-generation blockchain technology company, has raised $8m in Series A funding. Investors include Larnabel Ventures and VP Capital. Led by Ivan Gowan, CEO, the company has launched its fully-functional trading platform for tokenized securities, which allows investors to trade, invest in, and benefit from exposure to, real-world financial instruments by directly using cryptocurrencies. The company’s iOS and Android apps will be available for beta testing from February 2019.
Smartsheet acquires creative production platform Slope to help creatives collaborate. Smartsheet, a cloud-based work management platform, has acquired Seattle-based creative production platform Slope for an undisclosed amount. This makes Smartsheet second acquisition since founded in 2005. Founded in 2014, Slope helps companies manage the creative project production process. “We try to touch every department and customer use case we can, but one area where we felt we could do a better job is supporting content mark-up and approval flows,” said Gene Farrell, senior vice president of product at Smartsheet. The Bellevue, Washington-based Smartsheet, supports 76,000 brands and 90 percent of the Fortune 100. Slope helps more than 100 customers — including Microsoft, SendGrid, CBS Sports Network, among others.