Top tech startup news for Wednesday, March 8, 2023: Apple, Barley, Gamma, Riskified, and Salesforce
Good evening! Below are some of the top tech startup news stories for today Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
Apple backs Gamma, a music startup launched by one of its former executives
A music startup created by a former Apple executive has received backing from Apple. The startup, known as Gamma, was founded by Larry Jackson, Apple Music’s former Global Creative Director, and music industry veteran Ike Youssef. Gamma aims to offer an alternative to conventional record labels.
“The artists shaping today’s culture not only create music, but also video, film, podcasts, fashion, and more,” Jackson said in a statement Wednesday. “They shouldn’t have to jump through multiple hoops to express themselves.
Gamma also announced it will assist in content creation, which encompasses music, video, and podcasts. The startup will also facilitate audio and video distribution through Vydia, a company it acquired in December 2022. We covered Vydia back in 2018 after the tech startup raised $7M in Series A Round to advance its leading digital rights management and monetization platform
Among the initial projects, Gamma will be collaborating with renowned artists such as Snoop Dogg and his Death Row catalog, Rick Ross, and Naomi Campbell. Additionally, Gamma intends to work in conjunction with Eldridge, headed by Todd Boehly, a significant investor in the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Israeli fintech firm Riskified is transferring $500 million out of Israel in support of private-sector opposition to the government’s judicial overhaul
For the ninth straight week, tens of thousands of people rallied against the government’s plan to overhaul the court system. But despite the rallies, the Israeli government advanced the plan to overhaul the country’s legal system, defying a mass uproar among Israelis and also calling for restraint from the United States.
Fast forward a few months since the protest started, Israel’s private companies, including tech firms, are now expressing their displeasure with the government’s planned overhaul of the judicial system. Riskified, an Israeli financial technology firm, is the latest company to join the opposition.
According to a report from Reuters, Riskified, a fraud management platform for online merchants with offices in Israel and New York, is transferring $500 million out of the country due to concerns about potential financial stability in the country.
In a letter to the staff about the company’s decision, CEO Eido Gal expressed concerns that the proposed changes to the court system, if ratified, could lead to a “prolonged economic downturn in Israel.”
Salesforce launches EinsteinGPT, an LLM product that uses the ChatGPT model to automatically write marketing emails
The popularity of OpenAI ChatGPT has now led to a boom in the adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI) and big tech companies and small startups alike are in a race to integrate it into their products. Since its launch in November, ChatGPT has impressed many experts with its writing ability, software coding, proficiency in handling complex tasks, and its ease of use.
But one promising area that could be commercialized in the near future is harnessing the power of ChatGPT to quickly write and automate emails with a little bit of personalization. So this week, Microsoft, in collaboration with Salesforce, announced new products with that exact feature.
Yesterday, Salesforce launched EinsteinGPT, an LLM product that uses an OpenAI ChatGPT model to integrate with Salesforce’s main web app product that keeps track of how often salespeople contact leads. Instead of manually writing emails, EinsteinGPT can automatically write marketing emails.
In a Twitter post on Tuesday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff demoed the new LLM product by using it to identify two contacts at a company. He then automatically generates a one-sentence email trying to arrange a meeting. During the demo, EinsteinGPT softened the tone of the cold outreach email after the user told the software to be less formal.
Alpha Sigma and Transform Ventures partner on new $100M crypto-focused funds to invest in blockchain and Web3 startups
Today, U.S.-based digital asset fund Alpha Sigma Capital and research firm Transform Ventures announced they’re partnering on two $100 million funds focused on the blockchain and so-called decentralized Web 3.0 ventures.
In a statement on Wednesday, Alpha Sigma founder and CEO Enzo Villani said Transform Ventures, a VC firm founded by crypto investor Michael Terpin, has merged some of its assets with Alpha Sigma’s parent to form a new holding company called Alpha Transform Holdings (ATH).
The joint investments will go into a new holding company and toward the two new funds with a total of $100 million in assets under management. The new funds include a new Alpha Liquid digital asset fund, which was launched early this month, with an initial investment by Terpin, who made a personal investment in cash, bitcoin, and Ethereum of $2.65 million, with an option to invest an additional $2.9 million.
The second fund, the Aegean Fund, is a closed-end venture capital firm that will focus on early-stage equity investments in blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and emerging technology startup companies.
The Alpha Transform products arm also includes Alpha Sigma Capital Research plus Transform’s Blockchain Wire news service and Content Syndicate distribution and market intelligence products while the final Alpha Transform Strategies strategy aims to provide end-to-end solutions for digital asset companies.
Cybersecurity startup SOCRadar lands $5M in Series A funding for its extended threat intelligence platform
SOCRadar announced today it has raised $5M in Series A funding to accelerate the growth of its new extended threat intelligence (XTI) cybersecurity platform. The investment for this round came from investor 212, the leading venture capital firm backing B2B tech startups.
SOCRadar will use the fresh capital infusion to scale its US business and expand global sales and marketing operations, ensuring data security is available and accessible for companies of all sizes. A significant part of the investment will also be used to fund research efforts to expand and enhance product offerings as the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve.
Founded in 2019 by CEO Huzeyfe Onal and CTO Ahmet Kurukose, SOCRadar enables organizations to maximize the efficiency of their SOC teams with false-positive, free, actionable, and contextualized threat intelligence. SOCRadar’s free edition for premium cyber threat intelligence is currently used by more than 6000 companies in 150 countries.
“Our mission at SOCRadar is to help organizations worldwide take proactive measures against cyber attackers,” said CEO and Co-founder Huzeyfe Onal. “We believe cyber threat intelligence, when provided in an actionable and contextualized manner, and combined with External Attack Surface Management (EASM) and Digital Risk Protection (DRPS), is essential to counter cyber-attacks. This investment will contribute to our efforts to have a more democratized cyber threat intelligence ecosystem.”
Founding Partner Numan Numan said, “At 212, we partner with people driven by a strong global vision and have the talent and skills to pursue that vision. We have been consistently impressed by the SOCRadar team’s ability to grow, as well as their determined mission. We look forward to being a part of their journey as they strive to make their mark in the global cybersecurity arena.”
Barley launches with $4M to bring more trust and equity to pay, and make compensation more structured
In ancient Mesopotamia, grains of barley were among the earliest forms of currency in the world. If you were employed during that time, receiving payment in barley would guarantee that you were compensated fairly for your efforts. It is this fundamental principle that led the founders of Barley to the creation of their startup, a compensation management platform that makes it easy for companies to structure, analyze and manage pay.
Barley was founded by Jafar Owainati and Billy Mainguy. The two co-founders were drawn to the complex challenge of compensation by a shared passion for solving problems that impact people and their livelihoods every single day. Prior to founding Barley, the two have experience founding and scaling successful tech companies: Loopio and Reelhouse.
Today, Barley announced its official launch with $4 million in seed funding its mission of bringing more trust and equity to pay. The round was led by Golden Ventures with participation from Union Capital, an investor collective that includes prominent technology leaders at Facebook, Google, Shopify, and Uber.
Barley is addressing one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today: enhancing compensation decision-making processes that both employers can trust and employees can comprehend.
A recent Gartner survey found that only 38% of employees understand how their pay is determined. Barley improves the clarity and transparency of the compensation process, helping HR teams and managers make data-driven decisions that result in more equitable pay for all employees.