Top tech startup news for today, Monday, February 24, 2020: Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Softbank, Behavox, Intuit
Good morning! Below are the top tech startups news for today, Monday, February 24, 2020.
Former Facebook’s sustainability chief launches ClimateVoice to help employees push companies on climate. With hundreds of companies have committed to reducing emissions in their own operations to be in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, in which governments aim to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, Ex-Facebook executive, Bill Weihl, has launched ClimateVoice, an organization to help employees at big companies press their bosses for more aggressive policies to fight climate change. ClimateVoice is launching as a volunteer effort but aims to raise funds and hire staff soon after launch. Weihl said it will seek to organize and amplify climate activism among tech employees to push executives to lobby on behalf of legislative efforts around climate.
Softbank leads $100 million investment in Behavox, the world’s only end-to-end data operating platform. Behavox, a provider of an AI-driven platform that helps organizations to mitigate compliance, cyber and conduct risk, while identifying revenue opportunities in large volumes of communications data, announced it has raised a $100 million investment from SoftBank Vision Fund 2.1. Founded in 2014 Erkin Adylov, Alexander Glasman, Kiryl Trembovolski, Roman Zelov, and Slav Slavinski, the New York City-based Behavox is an enterprise platform that unifies all types of data into a single data lake, allowing users to query the data and apply machine learning to identify capital markets misconduct and insider threats. Powered by machine learning and advanced analytics, Behavox is an organization’s single entry point for all internal data.
Sony launches first 5G smartphone in a bid to prop up its struggling smartphone business. Sony has unveiled its first 5G smartphone as it hopes to turn around its struggling mobile business. With the Xperia 1 II flagship handset, Sony has leaned in to its heritage in camera and display technology. The device has a triple lens setup with the ability for users to adjust some of the settings found in professional cameras. The device has a 6.5-inch 4K high dynamic range (HDR) display. 4K refers to the resolution while HDR is a technology that helps make the contrast between black and white more distinct to make the image on the screen look more realistic.
Intuit is buying free credit score startup Credit Karma for $7 billion. Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, is reportedly buying unicorn startup CreditKarma in a deal valued at around $7 billion in cash and stock. The acquisition would push the tax preparation giant further into consumer finance. Under the agreement, Credit Karma would operate as a standalone business. CreditKarma is a profitable startup best known for providing consumers free access to credit scores. The unicorn startup has raised a total of $368 million in known equity financing. Just two years ago, Credit Karma was valued at roughly $4 billion in a private share sale. Founded in 2007 by Kenneth Lin, Nichole Mustard, and Ryan Graciano, the San Francisco, California-based Credit Karma is a personal finance company that’s focused on helping everyone make financial progress.
Karius Secures $165 Million In Series B Funding Led By SoftBank Vision Fund 2. Karius, a life sciences startup and a leader in liquid biopsy for infectious diseases, secured $165 million in a new funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 21, with additional participation from General Catalyst, HBM Healthcare Investments, and existing investors Khosla Ventures and LightSpeed Venture Partners. Karius pioneered the discovery and application of microbial cell-free DNA, enabling non-invasive detection of pathogens throughout the body with its Karius Test. Today, the Karius Test is used in over 100 hospitals and health systems nationwide.
Microsoft announces public availability of Azure Sphere, a solution designed to combat escalating threats to billions of IoT devices. About two years ago, Microsoft introduced Azure Sphere, a hardware and service designed to better secure 41.6 billion internet for things (IoT) devices. The program, which includes a Microsoft-developed Linux operating system for microcontrollers, evolved out of a Microsoft Research project, called Project Sopris. Today, Microsoft announced public availability of Microsoft’s Azure Sphere after several years of testing and previews.
Pet Plate raises $9M Series A funding to provide fresh pet food directly to the consumers. Pet Plate, a subscription service startup that provides direct-to-consumer fresh pet food, announced it has closed $9 million dollars in Series A funding to expand the company’s product offering, including new recipes, organic treats, and nutritional supplements to offer a holistic solution for online shoppers. The round was led by DFE Capital Management and 301 INC, the venture capital arm of General Mills. Additional investors include Marco Polo and Fernbrook Capital Management LLC, along with existing investors, The Yard Ventures and Castor Ventures. Pet Plate was founded in 2016 by Renaldo Webb, an MIT graduate, who made it his mission to provide better quality dog food in a more convenient fashion.