Top tech news for today, Thursday, January 16, 2020: Google, Tesla, PepsiCo, AI2 Incubator, Dottid, Epsagon, WorkBoard
Good morning! Below are the top tech startups news for today, Thursday, January 16, 2020.
Tesla plans to open China design and research center. Tesla continues to make waves in China. Tesla’s first factory outside the United States is in the eastern city of Shanghai, and it started delivering China-made Model 3 vehicles this month. Now the electric car maker said it plans to open a design and research center in China to make “Chinese-style” vehicles, the company said in a recruitment notice on its official WeChat account. “In order to achieve a shift of ‘Made in China’ to ‘Designed in China’, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has proposed a very cool thing – set up a design and research center in China,” the statement reads. The company does not provide any timeline on when the center will begin operations.
Google buys 2 tech startups, Pointy and AppSheet, within the same 24 hours. Google has been on buying spree lately. With billions of dollars in war chest, Google announced the acquisition of two tech startups: Dublin’s Pointy, which helps brick-and-mortar retailers list their products online, and Seattle-based AppSheet, a tech startup that helps anyone create no-code applications. The company made the announcement within the same 24 hours. The amounts of deals were not disclosed. With the acquisition of AppSheet, Google Cloud will now gets no-code app development features. Founded in 2012 by Brian Sabino and Praveen Seshadri, AppSheet is the intelligent no-code platform for business apps. It enables business users to leverage their business data and build powerful, code-free apps.
WorkBoard raises $30M in Series C funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. WorkBoard, a California–based tech startup and a provider of enterprise results management solutions, has raised $30m in Series C funding to increase its investment in marketing, go-to-market partnerships and in core technology areas like data visualizations and machine learning. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from previous investors GGV Capital, M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures) and Workday Ventures. In conjunction with the funding, Andreessen Horowitz General Partner David Ulevitch will join the WorkBoard board of directors. Founded by CEO Deidre Paknad, WorkBoard provides Enterprise Strategy and Results Management solutions to both large enterprises and later stage startups.
PepsiCo Plans to Achieve 100% Use of Renewable Energy In The U.S this year. Beverage giant PepsiCo announced that it plans to achieve 100% renewable energy use for all of its direct operations in the U.S. this year. The U.S. currently accounts for nearly half of PepsiCo’s total global electricity consumption. PepsiCo’s efforts in the U.S. build upon its global progress in switching to renewable electricity around the world. For example, nine countries in PepsiCo’s European direct operations already meet 100% of their electricity demand from renewable sources. Additionally, in 2018, 76% of the electricity needs of the PepsiCo Mexico Foods business were delivered via wind energy.
Dottid Raises $3.85 Million in Seed Funding Round to Disrupt Commercial Real Estate Industry. Dottid, a commercial real estate (CRE) SaaS technology platform which provides a single location for owners, brokers, and tenants to seamlessly transact throughout the leasing process, has raised $3.85 million in a seed round of funding. The emerging technology company brought together a collaboration of investors including, David Ridley, Founder and former CEO of Invesco Real Estate, Laurie Dotter, current investment board member for two public Texas pension funds, and David Farmer, former COO of Invesco Real Estate, marking the first time several leading local real estate industry insiders have made an investment of this kind in a PropTech company.
Epsagon secures $16 million in Series A to provide automate monitoring for cloud microservices. Born in the cloud and made for the cloud, Epsagon, a cloud analytics startups that specializes in automated tracing for cloud microservices, today announced it has raised $16 million Series A funding led by new investor U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), with participation from previous investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and StageOne Ventures. The round, which brings the company’s total amount raised to $20 million, will be used to fuel the next phase in Epsagon’s growth, including accelerating product innovation for the company’s automated, distributed tracing technology, and investing in sales and marketing to meet global demand from new and existing customers.
Paul Allen’s research lab AI2 Incubator raises $10 million pre-seed fund for AI startups. Yesterday, we reported about Apple acquisition of Xnor.ai, an edge AI startup spin-out from Paul Allen’s research lab, for $200 million. Today, the AI2 Incubator, created by the Allen Institute for AI (AI2), announced it has raised $10 million pre-seed fund for AI startups. Backers for AI2 Incubator include some of the nation’s top venture capital institutions, such as Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group, Silicon Valley’s Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins, and New York’s Two Sigma Ventures. The AI2 Incubator helps engineers and entrepreneurs build cutting edge AI-first products with access to over 100 of the world’s best scientific and engineering talent in the field of AI.
NextNav Raises $120 Million in Latest Round of Funding to Launch Phased 3D Geolocation Services Across U.S. NextNav, a provider of 3D geolocation services startup, has closed $120 million in debt and equity financing. Funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, LLC (“Fortress”) led the round, with NextNav’s existing investor base, including Columbia Capital, Telcom Ventures, funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P., NEA, Oak Investment Partners and Future Fund, all participating. Founded in 2008 by Arun Raghupathy, Ganesh Pattabiraman, and Subbu Meiyappan, NextNav offers urban and indoor positioning services for public safety and commercial applications.