April 2017


Funding Announcements

Rocket Lab, a space company that provides high frequency satellite launch opportunities, announced a $75 million Series D financing round. Promus Ventures invested in the round, which was led by Data Collective. Existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures and K1W1 also participated.

Funding of Rocket Lab’s Series D round was profiled in SpaceNews, Fortune, Forbes, Quartz, VentureBeat, ZDNetSpace.com, Los Angeles Times, ReutersSatellite Today, New Zeland HeraldSatNews, Space Flight Insider, The Tech PortalAviation Week, Stuff, Los Angeles Business JournalInvestment Observer, Gisborn Herald, FinSMEs, GeekWire, Deal Street AsiaTerm Sheet and others.

Other Rocket Lab news:
Cobalt Robotics announced that Promus Ventures and Bloomberg Beta have co-led their seed round. Cobalt develops robots for enterprise security that are designed to work alongside humans and keep offices safe by patrolling the premises. Here is a video that shows Cobalt robots in action.

Promus Ventures invested in CrossLend, a Berlin, Germany-based bank loan securitization platform along with the Luxembourg Future Fund (LFF). European and U.S. venture capital firms Northzone, Lakestar, CME Ventures, and Atlantic Labs are also investors in the company.

CrossLend enables banks and alternative lenders to partially offload loans via the CrossLend platform on a single loan basis. This enables banks to reduce their balance sheets and allows investors to invest in the bonds via the CrossLend platform and co-invest into the banks’ origination. CrossLend is currently active in Germany, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands.
Kensho raised $50 million in a Series B financing round led by S&P Global. Wall Street’s biggest six banks - Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Wells Fargo - also participated in the round. Goldman led Kensho’s $15 million Series A round in 2014. S&P Global Market Intelligence will feed new data sets into Kensho’s analytic platform and create new AI-fueled fundamental analysis capabilities for investors.

Promus Ventures is an early seed investor in Kensho.
Layer raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Greycroft Partners, with participation from Promus Ventures, Microsoft Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and others. Layer also announced it acquired another messaging startup, Cola.

Layer makes it easy for businesses to add messaging capabilities to their iOS, Android and web products. Customers include Trunk Club, Staples, Udacity and others. Layer recently partnered with Microsoft to provide messaging in the official app at the World Economic Forum in Davos, with capabilities for instant translation.



Marble and Yelp Eat24 Start Robot Food Delivery in San Francisco
Marble launched a partnership with Yelp Eat24 to deliver food through Marble's autonomous delivery robots in San Francisco. Users who opt-in to robotic delivery receive a pin code to unlock the robot’s cargo bay when their Marble delivery arrives. After retrieving their food, they close the door and the robot returns to Marble HQ or another restaurant. View the Marble product video here.

Marble’s robots perceive the environment around them using on-board lidar, cameras and ultrasonic sensors, and Nvidia’s Jetson TX1 AI supercomputers. They can operate day or night, and use high-resolution 3-D maps of the sidewalks and buildings in the neighborhoods where the company offers its services.

Marble is solving the “last mile problem” which has long been a challenge to logistics providers, transportation companies and retailers. Compared to the main legs of bulk shipping, train, truck, or aircraft transport, the final leg (or last mile) from logistics hubs to individual homes and offices has traditionally incurred the highest cost and complexity. Other Marble launch coverage includes Wall Street JournalBusiness Insider, Fortune, VentureBeatBBC, CNET, Wired, IncMashableRecode, SFGate, DC Velocity, PC MagazineBuzzFeed, Robotics Tomorrow, Vox, Fox News and Xconomy.

Other Marble news:
Spire has successfully developed and deployed eight more Lemur-2 CubeSats to add to its constellation of nanosatellites with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers. The data will augment the global observing system with measurements of atmospheric temperature, pressure and water vapor via GNSS-occultation. This will improve the accuracy of weather forecasts.

More Spire news:

Major League Baseball approved in-game use by players to use the WHOOP biometric tracking wearable device and performance optimization system. WHOOP is the first of its kind approved by any of the major American sports leagues to be worn during competition. The device measures sleep, recovery and strain, allowing players and teams to monitor the current state of an athlete's body heading into a game.

In 2016, WHOOP and MLB conducted the largest performance study in pro sports history involving 230 players from 28 different minor league teams. The athletes wore WHOOP Straps throughout the season, with the exception of when they took the field for games.

NBA athletes who also use WHOOP in training include LeBron James, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and others.

More WHOOP news:
Behavox's artificial intelligence financial compliance software can link seemingly unrelated things to help compliance staff within financial organizations find rogue traders by recognizing behavior that strays from the norm.   The CNBC interview can be watched here.

More Behavox news:
Navdy, an augmented driving device for the car, helps to reduce distracted driving while staying connected by helping drivers keep their eyes on the road ahead of them. Navdy continues to receive positive reviews, including Business InsiderCars.com, Autoweek, Stuff, TechRadar, Gizmodo, Popular MechanicFortuneUSA Today, Entrepreneur, MacRumorsMen's HealthGadget Flow10 Reasons You Should Get Navdy and Favorite Automotive Innovations from CES 2017.
Purchase Navdy online, at Amazon, or at Best Buy.

The June Intelligent Oven is a powerful and easy-to-use artificial intelligence-based oven that makes cooking easy. Other reviews include Forbes, GizmodoPC MagazineCNETBusiness InsiderWall Street JournalTechCrunch and Gizmodo.

Purchase the June Intelligent Oven online or on Amazon.
Bellabeat's Leaf Urban is reviewed in Business Insider as their "favorite piece of smart jewelry — period." Other reviews include US Weekly, TechCrunch, Wearable and PC Magazine.

Purchase Bellabeat online or at Amazon.

Other Bellabeat news:
Carnegie Robotics and Swift Navigation announced they will collaborate on products that will incorporate precise GPS systems into robotic vision and sensing equipment. The partnership could drive down the cost of automation for cars, agriculture, surface mining and military applications. Carnegie Robotics makes equipment to help robots see and sense where they are. Swift Navigation makes GPS systems that are accurate to within centimeters that help a robot determine its position.
More Swift Navigation news:
Tulip Retail and True Fit are partnering to foster a more personal in-store shopping experience and working with fashion brand Kate Spade to pilot the store associate-focused initiative. They aim to provide shoppers with highly personalized fit, size and style recommendations and will go into pilot mode at several Kate Spade New York stores later this year.
AltspaceVR wants to make virtual reality as pervasive and accessible as the worldwide web. The company is leading the charge to create a social VR experience that enables users to do almost everything they can do in real life in VR. AltspaceVR allows users to meet new people, watch a concert, stream videos, play games and get work done together entirely inside of virtual reality.
Other AltspaceVR News:

Prism Skylabs CEO and Founder, Steve Russell spoke on a panel Gigaom AI on "Building Better Customer Experiences with AI." Gigaom AI brought together AI experts and business leaders to explore the new opportunities AI opens up for businesses and the possibilities of human-level adaptive thinking.
Cape Analytics leverages computer vision and machine learning to generate structured real estate data. Nearmap (ASX: NEA), a leader in high-resolution aerial imagery, announced a long-term partnership allowing Cape Analytics unlimited access to Nearmap aerial imagery of property locations across the continental United States in order to provide insurers with the most accurate inspection-level property data instantaneously and at nationwide scale.

Other Cape Analytics news:

CrowdFlower is hosting the Train AI Conference on May 17, 2017 for AI and machine learning experts, forward-thinking executives, and product and engineering innovators. This is a one-day event to learn how AI is being applied to real business problems.

Notable speakers include executives and AI experts from Kaggle, Google, IBM Watson, Salesforce, Bloomberg, Microsoft, Descartes Labs, Amazon and the host, CrowdFlower.
Threadloom, a fast, powerful and lightweight forum search engine is now available for vBulletin and XenForo forums. Its powerful search technology makes it easy for users to quickly find the most relevant content on forums.

Customers include Tesla Motors Club, Baby Bargains, WDWMAGIC, Japan Reference, JazzFanz and more.
Chromatik was acquired by San Diego-based TakeLessons, a music and education marketplace for online and in-person lessons. TakeLessons will be integrating Chromatik into their product to better enable customers to learn and play music.
The Canadian Securities Administrators approved AngelList ​Syndicates to be available across Canada. Any Canadian startup can now raise funds on AngelList, and accredited Canadian investors can now apply to invest on the platform.

More AngelList and Product Hunt news:


Promus Ventures News

Airware, Kahuna and Deako were highlighted by Bloomberg on their list of the 50 most promising startups. 

Airware develops an operating system for commercial drones that enables enterprises to take full advantage of aerial data for any business application. Airware News:  
Deako is an easily upgradable smart lighting platform for the connected home.

Kahuna provides smart marketing automation software that enables marketers to deliver extreme personalization of cross-channel consumer journeys. 

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