Top startup news for today, Monday, April 8, 2019
Good morning! Below are some of the top tech startup news stories for today, Monday, April 8.
Facebook is looking to build ambitious underwater cable ring around Africa. Facebook had a rough week with bad news about data breaches and many others. However, that did not deter the social giant from focusing on its goal and mission of providing cheap Internet access to people in Africa. Facebook continues to match forward with its goal aimed at lowering its bandwidth costs and strengthening link to African market. Dubbed as “Simba,” Facebook is in talks to develop an underwater data cable that would encircle the continent literally, according to a report from WSJ citing people familiar with the plans, an effort aimed at driving down its bandwidth costs and making it easier for the social media giant to sign up more users.
Upstart raises $50M in equity funding to grow its AI lending platform. Upstart, an artificial intelligence (AI) lending platform, has secured $50 million in equity funding to expand its AI platform to other types of credit. Backers include: Progressive Investment Company, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, and First National Bank of Omaha. Founded by Dave Girouard, co-founder and CEO, and Paul Gu, co-founder, Upstart is an AI lending platform designed to expand access to affordable credit. The company has demonstrated loss rates less than half those of peer platforms for borrowers with similar FICO scores after more than $3.3B in loans originated in the last five years.
Fleetsmith secures $30 million Series B to grow its cloud-based Apple device management platform and expand globally. Fleetsmith, a cloud-based Apple device management platform that helps to automate device setup, intelligence, patching, and security for your company’s Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs, announced today it has raised $30 million in Series B funding to further develop its device management platform, grow its presence internationally, and hire new team members across a variety of functions. The latest capital infusion brings the total funding to date to over $40 million.
Gizmodo Media Group to be acquired by Great Hill Partners. Popular gadget site, Gizmodo, along with Lifehacker, Deadspin, and The Onion, has been acquired by Great Hill Partners. Private-equity firm Great Hill Partners agreed to acquire Gizmodo Media Group from Univision Communications Inc., as the Spanish-language broadcaster’s diversifies into English-language digital media. With the acquisition, Great Hill Partners will add several other Gizmodo Media Group’s websites to its portfolio, including Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Deadspin and The Onion. The total amount of the deal was not disclosed. However, according to Variety, citing person familiar with the deal, “Great Hill is paying considerably less than the $135 million that Univision paid in August 2016 for the Gawker assets in a bankruptcy auction, (which didn’t include Gawker.com). Univision acquired a 40% stake in The Onion in January 2017.
Fitness startup Tonal secures $45 million Series C to disrupt the connected-fitness market. Tonal, a tech startup that uses intelligent technology, expert coaching, and personalized guidance to help members stay in shape, has raised $45 million Series C fundraising round to further invest in its supply chain, distribution, and AI talent as well as in recruiting and operational effort. The round was led by the Growth Fund of L Catterton, the largest and most global consumer-focused private equity firm, which has invested in Peloton, ThirdLove, ClassPass, The Honest Company.
Former Cisco CEO John Chambers singles out the United States as the “only country in the world without a startup strategy.” During the Forbes CIO Summit 2019 keynote address in Half Moon Bay, California, former Cisco CEO John Chambers singles our as the only country without a strategy for startups. “We’re the only country in the world without a digital strategy, without a startup strategy,” John Chambers said. Last year, John Chambers announced the launch of JC2 Ventures, a venture capital firm committed to developing startup companies, startup nations and a startup world and bettering society by driving innovation, jobs, economic prosperity, gender diversity, inclusion, and success.
TrashButler raises $5 million in series A funding to accelerate growth. TrashButler, a Tampa, Florida-based startup that provides doorstep valet trash and recycling service for apartments and multi-family communities, raised $5m in Series A funding for operational growth, national sales expansion, and technology enhancements and developments. Florida Funders, a firm providing early-stage capital to Florida companies, led the round with a $4.1 million investment. Founded by the leaders behind College Hunks Hauling Junk (CHHJ) and led by Nick Friedman, President, TrashButler is a doorstep valet trash and recycling service for apartments and multi-family communities with a reoccurring income stream for the property and a marketable amenity for residents.