Top tech startup news for today, Thursday, June 6, 2019
Good morning! Below are some of the top tech startup news for today, Thursday, June 6, 2019.
Apple is reportedly looking to buy robotaxi start-up Drive.ai. Apple is reportedly in talk to buy acquired a new and struggling autonomous vehicle startup, Drive.ai, according to a report from The Information. Drive.ai, a self-driving shuttle service, has raised $77 million and was valued at $200 million two years ago. The acquisition is expected boost Apple’s own development of a self-driving vehicle system, according to two people briefed about the situation. If the Drive.ai acquisition goes through, Apple stands to gain dozens of engineering talent from the Drive.Ai, according to The Information.
Voatz secures $7 million in Series A funding. Voatz, a Boston, MA-based startup on a mission to make voting safer and more accessible, has raised $7m in Series A funding to enhance the accessibility and usability of its technology and to grow its security presence. The round was led by Medici Ventures and Techstars with participation from Urban Innovation Fund and Oakhouse Partners. In conjunction with the funding, Techstars Partner Cody Simms, who is joining the company’s board as part of this round. Founded in 2016 by Nimit Sawhney, Voatz is a mobile election voting platform, secured via smart biometrics, real time ID verification and the blockchain for irrefutability.
Google buys big data analytics startup Looker for $2.6 billion. Alphabet Inc’s Google announced on Thursday it’s buying Looker, a business intelligence software and big data analytics platform startup, for $2.6-billion in cash, Google announced in a blog post. Looker is helps organizations explore, analyze and share real-time business analytics easily. The acquisition of Looker is expected to be complete later this year and is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals. Upon the close of the acquisition, Looker will join Google Cloud.
Facebook’s secret cryptocurrency project is reportedly coming this month. There are now more than 100 people working on Facebook’s blockchain project and job listings for more than 40 additional positions, according to a latest news from The Information citing sources familiar with the project. “In recent months, the social network has courted dozens of financial institutions and other tech companies to join an independent foundation that will contribute capital and help govern the digital currency, according to people briefed on the plan,” The Information said.
Uber to launch helicopter service in New York. Uber is planning to offer an on-demand service flight from Lower Manhattan to Kennedy International Airport. According to a report from New York Times, the 8-minute, one-way flight, will cost between and average of $200 and $225 per person and include private ground transportation on both ends of the trip. Just three years ago, Uber published a report on the future of urban, short-distance air travel. At the time, everyone was expecting a flying car. Instead, the ride hailing giants opted for a helicopter service for the super rich.
Third Rock Ventures closes $770 million Fund V fund. Third Rock Ventures, a life sciences venture capital firm, has closed a $770 million Third Rock Ventures V, LP fund. With Fund V, the firm will continue to execute on its strategy of discovering, launching and building innovative life sciences companies. Since its inception in 2007, the firm has raised $2.7 billion to create companies focused in many different areas of high unmet medical need including cancer, neurological disorders, rare genetic diseases, immune disorders, and cardiovascular diseases. To date, the firm has invested in more than 50 companies, which have launched ten products, including five therapeutics, three diagnostics and two devices.
Step raises $22.5 million Series A led by Stripe to disrupt banking for teens. Step, a fintech startup built for families and teens, today announced that it has closed $22.5 Million in Series A funding for its all-in-one banking solution that integrates certain key features and benefits of checking, savings, credit and debit cards into one easy-to-use no fee account. The funding round was led by Stripe, with participation from other backers as well as existing investors Crosslink Capital, Collaborative Fund and Sesame Ventures. The investment comes as Step’s waitlist demand exceeds 500,000 people since its offering was announced just a few months ago.