Top startup news for today, Thursday, March 7, 2019
Good morning! Here are some of the top technology startup news stories for today, Thursday, March 7.
Tesla unveils new Superchargers that let drivers fill up faster, 75 miles of charge in 5 minutes. Tesla has launched its new V3 Superchargers, which the company say it could enable drivers to add up to 75 miles of charge to a long-range Model 3 in just five minutes. Tesla plans to roll out the faster chargers to drivers in North America in the second quarter of this year. Tesla also says 90 percent of drivers in China now have access to Tesla charging infrastructure. In a blog post yesterday, Tesla said: “Tesla has more than 12,000 Superchargers across North America, Europe, and Asia and our network continues to grow daily: more than 99% of the U.S. population is covered by the network, and we anticipate similar coverage in Europe by the end of 2019. Recently, we passed 90% population coverage in China and are growing that number quickly.”
Google is expanding its human-sounding AI automated restaurant reservations, to 43 US states — and the iPhone. Yesterday, Google announced it’s expanding its Google Duplex, an AI automated restaurant reservation tool to 43 US states. The new Google Assistant feature built on Duplex technology allows anyone to quickly book restaurant reservations over the phone. Currently only available for Google Pixel phones, Google also said it plans to roll out Google Duplex to iOS devices over the next few weeks, according to a blog post from the company on Wednesday. “Over the next few weeks, we’ll start slowly bringing this feature to more Android and iOS devices, and will continue to incorporate feedback as we continue testing,” the company added.
NTT Security acquires WhiteHat Security to expand its security portfolio and bolster its pure-play cybersecurity services. Tokyo, Japan-based cybersecurity company NTT Security Corporation has acquired WhiteHat Security, a San Jose, CA-based application security provider committed to securing applications that run enterprises’ businesses. The amount of the deal was not disclosed. The acquisition positions NTT Security as one of the most comprehensive pure-play cybersecurity services companies. According to the release, WhiteHat Security will operate as an independent, wholly-owned subsidiary of NTT Security Corporation. The deal expands NTT Security’s portfolio, allowing its customers and partners to benefit from WhiteHat Security’s cloud-based Application Security Platform.
Amazon’s joint health-care venture finally has a name: Haven. Back in January, we wrote about Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, JPMorgan, when the trio announced they were teaming up to start a healthcare company. Today, they finally have a name for their nonprofit venture — Haven. They also named the renowned surgeon, author and speaker Dr. Atul Gawande as the CEO in June. In addition, the company also announced the launch of its website, HavenHealthcare.com. “Our mission is to transform health care to create better outcomes and overall experience, as well as lower costs for you and your family. We want you to get the right care, every time so that you can live your best life possible,” the company said on its newly launched website.
OurCrowd launches $50 million medtech fund. Global investment platform OurCrowd has launched a $50m medtech fund. The OurCrowd Medtech Fund will focus on medical devices, therapeutics, medical robotics and new developments in the medical industry, tapping into both Israeli and global innovation. Since inception in 2013, the OC Medtech team has identified, scaled and financed more than $78 million in over 20 medical technologies.
Insurtech startup Pie Insurance secures $45 million in Series B to provide workers’ compensation insurance for small businesses. Pie Insurance, a Washington, D.C.-based fintech startup, announced it has closed a $45M Series B funding round to expand geographically, add new distribution sources, and continue to make the entire experience easy as pie for its customers. Pie is now available in 19 states covering more than 60% of the U.S. workers’ compensation market and expects to expand nationally by the end of 2019. Backers include SVB Capital, Sirius Group, Greycroft, Moxley Holdings, Aspect Ventures, and Elefund. To date, Pie has raised $61 million to fund its innovative approach toward workers’ compensation insurance for small businesses.
Cognizant Acquires fintech software startup Meritsoft. Cognizant, one of the world’s leading professional services companies, has acquired Meritsoft, a Dublin, Ireland-based financial software company for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition expands Cognizant’s software-as-a-service platforms while Meritsoft will have access to Cognizant’s knowledge, resources and scale to accelerate growth. Founded in 1994 by Francisco D’Souza, Kumar Mahadeva, and Lakshmi Narayanan, the Teaneck, New Jersey-based Cognizant provides IT, consulting and BPO services. Meritsoft provides an intelligent automation solution for managing taxes, fees, commissions, and cash flow functions between financial institutions. It is led by Kerril Burke, co-founder and CEO. Meritsoft’s products are currently used by five of the world’s eight leading investment banks. It’s backers are Synova and an affiliate of 22C Capital.
Square co-founder Tristan O’Tierney dies at age 35 after battling with addiction. During his life, Square co-founder Tristan O’Tierney was open about his ongoing addiction struggles. O’Tierney had been struggling with addiction and was seeking treatment before he later died at the age of 35. O’Tierney created Square’s first iPhone app and left the company in 2013. According to San Francisco Chronicle, O’Tierney died Feb. 23 in Ocala, Fla., of causes related to addiction, his family said. He is survived by his 3-year-old daughter, Rumi Ari; his girlfriend, Anjela Ramos; parents, Mark and Pamela Tierney; and sister, Terri Lynn Cloud.
Digital-health startup Livongo plans 2019 IPO. Digital-health startup Livongo Health is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO)as soon as the third quarter of 2019, according to a report from Wall Street Journal. If successful, Livongo will be joining a horde of other technology companies racing to tap the public markets. Founded in 2014 by Glen Tullman, Livongo pioneered the use of Applied Health Signals to empower all people with chronic conditions to live better and healthier lives. Livongo is the first company at the intersection of data science, behavior enablement and clinical impact with the technologies and capabilities to silence Noisy Healthcare. The IPO is expected to value the company in excess of $1 billion, according to the WSJ report, citing people familiar with the matter. To date, Livongo has raised roughly $240 million privately, most recently at an $800 million valuation.
Landit, a black woman-founded startup closes $13 million in Series A funding. Landit, a a personalized career pathing platform that enables women and diverse groups to succeed in the workplace, has closed $13 million in an oversubscribed Series A funding round led by WeWork and backed by investors including NEA, Valo Ventures, Workday Ventures, Gingerbread Capital, and current venture and seed funders. Founded in 2014 by Lisa Skeete Tatum and Sheila Marcelo, Landit, also dubbed as “LinkedIn for women,” is a one-size-fits-one career pathing platform for those seeking to move their career forward. Landit provides each member with a personalized playbook that empowers them with the tools, resources, know-how, and human connections they need to advance and navigate their career path.
Blockchain firm SETL seeks buyer after filing for insolvency. SETL, a London-based blockchain infrastructure startup, has filed for insolvency and is looking for “a larger financial services firm” to take on some of its holdings. The insolvency notice was filed on March 7 with U.K. authorities. The startup is backed by Credit Agricole, the world’s largest cooperative financial institution, headquartered in France. SETL was co-founded by City of London trading veteran Peter Randall back in 2015 to bring the benefits of blockchain technology to the financial services industry.