Top startup news for today, Friday, March 8, 2019
Good morning! Here are some of the top technology startup news stories for today, Friday, March 8.
Chinese startups are advertising for attractive women to ease coders’ stress. Even though it is against the Chinese law, startups in China are still advertising for attractive women to help ease stress for tech workers. “Programmer motivators,” as the title suggests, the women play a role of cheerleaders encourage and support coders during their time in front of the computer. The job first appeared among certain Chinese tech start-ups which hired attractive women to give relaxing massages to and chat with male programmers. Chinese tech giants were later criticized for posting jobs open only to men, with Tencent and Baidu apologizing.
HealthJoy raises $12.5M Series B to simplify healthcare experience and help companies control their skyrocketing healthcare costs. HealthJoy, an all-in-one app that uses artificial intelligence to transform the way employees use their benefits and navigate healthcare, has raised $12.5 million in Series B funding. The fresh round was led by U.S. Venture Partners. Other backers include Epic Ventures and returning investors Chicago Ventures, Sidekick Ventures and its co-founders. HealthJoy was founded in 2014 by Justin Holland and Doug Morse-Schindler. Its app helps its users manage claims, deductibles, their health savings accounts and prescriptions.
About 40% of European AI startups have almost nothing to do with AI, new research finds. Tech headlines are filled with AI buzzwords and new AI startups are launching everyday. However, do these AI startup really use AI? Maybe not, according to a new report from London-based venture capital firm MMC Ventures. The 151-page research, published Tuesday found no evidence that artificial intelligence was an important part of the products offered by 1000 (40 percent) of Europe’s 2,830 AI start-ups “Companies that people assume and think are AI companies are probably not,” MMC head of research David Kelnar told Forbes.
GFR Fund launches new $20 million investment fund for tech startups disrupting digital media and entertainment. GFR Fund, a San Francisco-based venture capital fund that invests in early-stage startups that are disrupting the consumer entertainment industry, has raised $20 million to launch its second fund, GFR Fund II, with a focus on technology startups disrupting the digital entertainment sector. Backed by multiple strategic investors from Asia and is an affiliate of leading mobile gaming company GREE, GFR Fund offers its portfolio global business opportunities in the Asian market combined with deep connections in Silicon Valley and decades of experience in digital media.
Earth Science Analytics Receives Investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures. Earth Science Analytics AS, a Stavanger, Norway-based Artificial Intelligence petroleum geoscience software provider, raised a series A funding from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) to speed up product development and sales. The amount of the deal was not disclosed. Founded in 2016 and by Eirik Larsen, CEO, Earth Science Analytics’s data-driven analytics for geoscience powered by AI and machine learning helps customers make more profitable decisions using data. The startup also provides cloud based petroleum geoscience software, database solutions and workflows based on artificial intelligence that enable accurate prediction of rock and fluid properties in the subsurface, and thus allow oil and gas exploration and production to be done with superior profitability rates.
BookingPal raises $12 million for its rental software platform. BookingPal, a seller of vacation rental software, has raised $12 million in funding to move into more markets. The latest round was led by Valor Capital Group, with participation from Altabix, the corporate venture capital fund of Hoteles City Express. BookingPal has raised $22 million since its inception in 2013 from investors that have included Amadeus Ventures, PAR Capital Management, Plug and Play Ventures, and Thayer Ventures. The Irvine, California-based startup offers tools to helps property management companies manage and distribute vacation rental inventory online. The startup also connects its popular property management software systems with consumer travel websites such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, Google, HomeAway/VRBO, and TripAdvisor.