Top tech startup news for today, Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Good morning! Below are some of the top tech startup news for today, Tuesday, September 17, 2019.
Video creation and advertising startup VidMob has hired an executive from Amazon’s controversial facial recognition team. Humphrey Chen, the former senior executive and product management leader for Amazon Rekognition, has joined VidMob. Before joining VidMob, Chen was working on technology that recognizes faces and images in videos. VidMob’s technology helps brands create digital video ads for social platforms like Facebook. VidMob has been using Amazon image recognition software to fine-tune its ad design for a couple of years now. Chen’s hiring comes less than three months after the video creation platform raised $25 million in a financing round to build out its suite of products that it calls the Agile Creative Studio. Amazon Rekognition is a cloud-based Software as a service computer vision platform launched in 2016. The software lets you easily add easily add intelligent image and video analysis to your applications.
French President Macron secures €5 billion investment to boost French tech startups. French President Macron has secured €5 billion investment from French insurers and asset managers as part of his effort to boost homegrown tech startups. The €5 billion pledge was made part of the commitment to support President Emmanuel Macron ’s push to nurture France’s fledgling startups into a cohort of highly valued heavyweights. French President made the funding announcement on Tuesday before hosting a dinner for executives from about 40 sovereign funds and venture-capital firms—including KKR & Co., Accel and Lightspeed Venture Partners—at the Élysée Palace on Tuesday evening. Investors include AXA SA, BNP Paribas ’s insurance unit, and Natixis SA according to French officials.
GitLab raises $268 million to expand its DevOps platform; now valued at $2.75 billion. GitLab, the popular open-source code collaboration platform that enables developers to create, review, and deploy code bases, has closed $268 million Series E round of funding. With plans to go public next year, GitLab plans to use the funding to further develop its platform, adding key features in areas like monitoring, planning and security. The latest funding round, which was led by ICONIQ Capital and Goldman Sachs with participation from existing investor Y Combinator Continuity Fund, now values GitLab at $2.75 billion. The round also included new investors Adage Capital Management, L.P, Alkeon Capital, Altimeter Capital, Coatue, D1 Capital Partners LP, Franklin Templeton, Light Street Capital, Tiger Global Management, Two Sigma Ventures. To date, GitLab has raised a total of $426 million in funding.
Insurtech startup Vouch Insurance launches to exclusively provide business insurance to early-stage startups. Vouch Insurance, a new type of insurance tech startup serving early stage startups, launched today its proprietary insurance products and risk assessment tools designed specifically for high growth companies. Built by founders for founders, Vouch is the only insurance company dedicated 100 percent to serving tech startups, Vouch has created a platform that is entirely digital, easy to use, and takes a matter of minutes rather than days or weeks to activate coverage. Starting at just $300 per year, Vounch provides custom coverage that scales as the startup company grows. Vouch also announced that it has raised $24.5 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Ribbit Capital and SVB Financial Group, the parent company of Silicon Valley Bank, with participation from Y Combinator, Index Ventures, and 500 Startups.
Self-driving startup AutoX lands $100m in funding led by Chinese state-owned Dongfeng Motor and Alibaba. AutoX, a self-driving car startup that offers AI drivers to enable universal access to transportation for the people, has closed a $100 million Series A round to build its fleet and expand the technical team. The round, which led by Chinese state-owned Dongfeng Motor and Alibaba, is the largest fundraising in the Chinese autonomous driving market so far this year. AutoX is planning to embark on a new round of fundraisingfollowing the completion of the current deal, according to the sources familiar with the matter. AutoX was founded in September 2016 in Silicon Valley by Xiao Jianxiong, a former Princeton University assistant professor, also known as “Professor X.”
Silicon Valley startup FarmWise raises $14.5M in Series A funding. FarmWise, a San Francisco, CA-based company that builds autonomous farming robots, raised $14.5m in Series A funding to grow its robotic engineering and operation teams, as well as boost R&D efforts on plant-level detection and actuation capabilities. The round was led by Calibrate Ventures, with participation from existing investors Wilbur Ellis, Xplorer Capital and Alumni Ventures Group. FarmWise has developed unique artificial intelligence algorithms, and use breakthrough robotics design technologies to build a new farming paradigm. Using machine learning models, computer vision and high-precision mechanical tools, FarmWise’s robots cleanly pick weeds from fields, leaving crops with the best opportunity to thrive while eliminating harmful chemical inputs. To date, FarmWise’s robots have efficiently removed weeds from more than 10 million plants. The startup currently has a team of 25 farming and AI experts from MIT, Stanford and Columbia.
Autonomous-truck startup TuSimple just bags $120 million in Series D funding at $1 billion valuation. TuSimple, an self-driving-truck startup that’s been quietly moving UPS loads, has just raised in $120 million in fresh funding at $1 billion valution. TuSimple, which is based in San Diego and Beijing, has more than 50 autonomous trucks, which operate with a safety driver and an engineer in the cabin, and more than 18 contracted customers. Founded in 2015 by Jianan Hao, Mo Chen, and Xiaodi Hou, the San Diego-based TuSimple is a global self-driving truck company. The startup is developing a commercial-ready Level 4 (SAE) fully autonomous driving solution for the logistics industry. TuSimple’s trucks are the first and only capable of self-driving from depot-to-depot and do so every day for its customers.
Big data startup Lenses.io raises $7.5 million to enable people to create and curate data experiences in real-time via its DataOps platform. Lenses.io is a London, England-based big data startup that delivers a DataOps platform for streaming data focusing on Apache Kafka (and embracing multiple data streaming technologies) and Kubernetes. Founded in 2016 by Antonios Chalkiopoulos and Christina Daskalaki, Lenses.io is the leader in DataOps software. Enterprises around the globe use Lenses.io to build flexible, scalable, high-speed data infrastructure using modern components such as Apache Kafka and cloud resident data. Lenses.io provides the monitoring, control, debugging, security and self-service required to activate data and leverage its value.
Real estate startup Biproxi just nabs $10 million to build ‘Zillow for commercial real estate.’ BiProxi, a new startup in San Diego has raised $10 million from technology venture capitalists to build a Zillow-like platform for commercial real estate. The company, called Biproxi, was founded by a group of former executives at Ten-X, a massive online marketplace for commercial real estate that was acquired for $1 billion in 2017. Founded last year by Carrington Guy, Gordon Smith, Thatcher Milholland, and Yan Khamish, Biproxi is an end to end platform for commercial real estate agents to manage their business from listing to close.