Top startup news for today, Monday, February 18, 2019
Good morning! Here are some of the top technology startup news stories for today, Monday, February 18.
SoftBank invests half of the $400 million in Abu Dhabi fund for European startups. Japan’s SoftBank has invested $200 million in a UAE fund for Europe’s leading tech startups. According to a report from Financial Times which first reported the news, which also cited people briefed on the deal, the fund will help Mubadala to invest between $5 million and $30 million in individual startups. SoftBank provided half of the cash for the $400 million fund. Founded in 2002, Mubadala is a government-owned global investment company with a mandate to create sustainable financial returns, furthering our shareholder’s strategic objective of a globally integrated and diversified economy. It was founded by UAE government as a strategic investment fund. It’s strategy is built on the management of long-term investments that deliver strong financial returns and tangible social benefits to the Emirate.
Asolvi acquires Vantage Computing to expand its software offering. Asolvi, a Trondheim, Norway-based provider of service management software for small and medium-sized enterprises in the field service industry, acquired Vantage Computing, a Hitchin, UK-based developer of service management solutions. The deal will enable a large number of Asolvi’s customers (typically small to mid-sized companies) to benefit from Vantage Online, Vantage Computing’s cloud-based product, currently providing streamlined and in-depth insights for 150 organizations. With this acquisition, Asolvi software solution will reach more small to mid-sized businesses and be further developed for this purpose.
China-based EV charging platform startup PowerShare raised new investment from Alliance Ventures to advance charging solutions and services for electric vehicles. Alliance Ventures, the strategic venture capital arm of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, announced it has made a new investment in PowerShare. PowerShare provides an online platform that connects EV drivers, charge point operators and power suppliers to streamline the charging experience. It offers a cloud-based system, enabling suppliers to monitor the demand from vehicles with the supply capacity of the grid and drivers to find available charging stations. The investment in PowerShare follows ten other Alliance Ventures investments, including start-ups based in North America, Europe and China, all with a focus on contributing to the future of mobility.
StaffCircle secures £250,000 in equity investment funding. StaffCircle, aUK-based company which has developed a novel HR software platform, has raised £250k in funding to create five new jobs, add further software features and launch a sales and marketing campaign. The funding was led by MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. Founded in March 2017 by Mark Seemann, an expert in communications and business workflow systems, who has previously built and sold three software businesses, StaffCircle provides a platform that allows clients to improve communication and feedback between employees in different location, providing them with access to training, tasks and contacts within the company.
Volvo Financial Services selected 7 tech startups for its 10-week iLabX program. Volvo Financial Services (VFS) announced it has selected seven of the 183 participating startups to enter the its 10-week program, which kicks off this week. Throughout the course of the 10-week program, the start-ups will partner with Volvo Financial Services to develop and test technologies and solutions that can potentially deliver added value to Volvo Group customers and dealers. Some of the technologies in the program, including data analytics, blockchain and artificial intelligence solutions being developed, are at the forefront of business innovation. At the end of the program, Volvo Financial Services will assess whether to make further investment to finalize and progress the ideas.
German Autolabs secures €7 million in funding to accelerate the adoption of its voice AI enabled digital assistant for in-car usage. German Autolabs, a Berlin, Germany-based startup behind Chris, a voice AI enabled digital assistant for in-car usage, raised €7m in funding to accelerate and expand the adoption of Chris. The round was led by new investors nbr Tech Ventures, VC Fonds Technologie Berlin managed by IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH, and coparion, with participation from existing investor Target Partners. Founded by Holger G. Weiss and Patrick Weissert, German Autolabs is building a voice AI platform for the Automotive vertical. Its signature hardware Chris is making access to apps and services while on the road safer and more convenient. Commercially available in Europe, the retrofit assistant bypasses traditional automotive development cycles to iterate key AI / NLP models. Key assets of this platform include the multimodal hybrid (offline/online) Dialogue Management System, deep domain knowledge of driver behaviour, and OS-agnostic access to APIs and other assistant services.
Apple “poached” ex-Microsoft exec Sam Jadallah to revamp its smart home business, and catch up to Google and Amazon. Apple just made a strategic hire as it looks to continue its expansion in the smart home business. The company announced it has Sam Jadallah, a former Microsoft corporate vice president who previously ran a smart lock company. The announcement follows Apple acquisition of voice-enabled toys startup called Pullstring. The hiring and the acquisition could help the tech giant become the center of a connected living room.
GoCardless nabs $75 million from Google Ventures and Salesforce, to expand its recurring payments platform to the U.S. U.K online payments startup GoCardless has scored a $75 million investment to expand its recurring payments platform to the United States. The investment was backed by U.S. tech giants Alphabet, the parent company of Google, and Salesforce. The funding round was co-led by Alphabet’s venture arm GV and private equity firm Adams Street Partners, with participation from existing investors. Founded in 2011 by Hiroki Takeuchi and Matt Robinson, GoCardless is a UK based next generation payments company that makes collecting payments by Direct Debit easy for everyone from individuals to multi-national corporations. GoCardless is changing that by creating a new global payments network based on the bank to bank payment systems. Using this network, the company deliver a direct debit solution fit for the digital age. They allow users to easily collect payment from your customers, automate processes and ensure and maintain a long term and cost effective relationship with them.