Top startup news for today, Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Good morning! Below are some of the top tech startup news stories for the last day of April 2019.
Why is SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund investing on unprofitable tech companies? Unlike other venture capital firms, SoftBank has become known worldwide for betting on unprofitable technology startups that are struggling to make money. Most noticeable are Uber and WeWork. However, as the SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son explains, SoftBank Vision Fund cares less about profit than it does about whether a business makes sense. The company executive puts more value on long-term vision and profitability of the idea rather than a myopic view or short-term gain.
Masabi raises $20 million in funding to fuel global expansion. Masabi, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) ticketing and payments platform for public transport, has raised $20 million in growth funding to accelerate global expansion of its mobility platform, Justride, and continue to bring digital transformation to transit agencies and operators of all sizes. The round was led by Smedvig Capital with participation from MMC Ventures and other existing investors.
Alphabet just lost more than $70 billion in market cap caused by changes to the YouTube algorithm. Alphabet had more than $70 billion in market cap wiped out due to changes to the YouTube algorithm caused lower engagement and ad revenue growth on the site, according to Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat. Porat said on company’s earnings call yesterday that YouTube is willing to forego some short-term ad revenue for the long-term health of the company. Google started making changes to YouTube back in the first quarter of 2018 with algorithms designed to stop harmful content from appearing in the YouTube feed of recommended videos.
Jaguar Land Rover partners with German non-profit the IOTA Foundation to let drivers earn cryptocurrency by sharing data. Britain’s largest automaker just partnered with a cryptocurrency firm, German non-profit the IOTA Foundation, to provide the currency and help handle payments using its disrupted ledger technology. The trial version of the technology is currently ongoing at Jaguar Land Rover software engineering base in Shannon, in the Republic of Ireland. “IOTA Foundation is excited to announce our partnership with Jaguar Land Rover and unveil the advanced connected vehicle and integrated ‘Smart Wallet’ project that has been developed by Jaguar Land Rover at the Shannon R&D facility, Ireland,” IOTA Foundation said in an announcement on its website.
908 Devices secures $17.5 million in growth funding to fuel growth in existing market and accelerate new product development. 908devices, a technology startup that manufactures battery-operated, hand-held chemical detection tools used in mass spectrometry, has raised $17.5 million in a growth equity funding round. This Series E funding, which brings the company’s total to $70M, makes 908 Devices the most well-resourced upstart in the multibillion-dollar mass spectrometry market. The round was led by Northpond Ventures, a global venture capital firm dedicated to science and technology.
Fintech startup Divvy secures $200 million in Series C funding for growth acceleration. Divvy, a payment and expense management platform for business, raised $200m in Series C financing to accelerate product development and customer growth, while further refining its smart money payment and expense platform. The round, which brought total equity financing to $245.5 million, was led by NEA, with participation from existing investors Pelion Venture Partners and Insight Venture Partners. Divvy automates the entire expense report process, helps companies eliminate fraud and wasteful spending, and manages online subscriptions.
Connected Money, an expense and budget tracking app launched by 154-year old bank, has racked up 300,000 users in a year. HSBC, a 154-year old banking institution and the 7th largest bank in the world, just announced the success of Connected Money, an app designed to simplify expense tracking and budgeting for its U.K. customers. The bank said the app has garnered 300,000 users in just a year after the launch. A HSBC exec says the app has been met with positive reception and the bank has gained learnings on how to continue developing it, according to a report by CNBC.
China’s slowing economy claims unexpected victim: tech startups. As China economy cools down due to a trade war with the United States, the Chinese startup ecosystem is beginning to face an unexpected reality check. Despite healthy capitalization, investors are now finding that some of the startup companies’ underlying technologies may not be as innovative as hoped, according to a report from South China Morning Post. “And even after a banner year for venture capital funding in 2018, some investors predict that as many as 90 per cent of Chinese tech start-ups are doomed to fail,” the Post said.