January 2018

News:

Rocket Lab successfully launched its second Electron test rocket into space on January 21, 2018 from its Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. The launch included two cubesats from Promus Ventures-backed Spire for weather mapping and maritime and airplane traffic tracking and one Earth-imaging satellite from Planet. The video of the launch can be seen above.

More Rocket Lab coverage of the launch: Wall Street JournalNew York TimesCNBCFinancial Times, Washington PostLos Angeles TimesForbes, TechCrunch, CNNSpace.com, Spaceflight Now, SpaceNewsGeekWire, The Verge, QuartzStuffNZ, Huffington PostPhys.org, TV New Zealand, Slashdot, EngadgetBusiness StandardArs TechnicaColumbus Dispatch, Gisborne HeraldNZ Herald, Digital JournalNewshub, Otago Daily TimesSputnik News, New Atlas, Satnews, NASA Spaceflight, SlashGearCBC News and Yahoo.

Read about the New Space Race in the Economist.

 

Funding Announcements


True Fit raised a $55 million Series C round led by Georgian Partners. True Fit is a data-driven personalization platform for footwear and apparel deployed by over 200 global retailers and has more than 55 million registered users. The new funding will further develop True Fit’s robust AI data platform and advance innovation of its personalized style, fit and analytics solutions. True Fit will also develop more robust open APIs, new AI-driven integrations. True Fit recently tripled its year-on-year growth due to consumers' increased shopping on digital platforms and the need for sizing guidance.

Other coverage of True Fit's Series C round was profiled in Venture BeatFinSMEs, BostInno, Xconomy, Boston Business JournalPymnts, Drapers and Business Wire.

Fintech AI software firm, Behavox, announced a $20 million Series A round led by Citigroup and included new investor Index Ventures. Behavox’s technology is used by financial institutions to locate and question employee-generated data in real time to find possible signs of wrongdoing. Other coverage of Behavox's Series A round was profiled in Financial Times, UK Tech News and FinSMEs.

CEO Erkin Adylov was recently interviewed on Bloomberg TV.
June announced an investment by Amazon and integration with Alexa voice assistant.

The June Intelligent Oven is a connected oven system that can recognize and cook foods automatically using computer vision and artificial intelligence. Available in both countertop and wall models, the June Oven uses its built-in camera to recognize food items then attempts to cook them properly with minimum help from users.

Reviews include Best of DesignNew York TimesTasting TablePOPSUGAR, Popular MechanicsForbes, GizmodoPC MagazineCNET, Business InsiderWall Street JournalTechCrunch and Gizmodo.
 
Purchase the June Oven on their website.
  
Mapbox acquired Mapzen to strengthen its navigation toolkits to enable real time routing. Unlike other routing services that pre-compute directions based on information acquired from every road in a given area, Mapzen enables routing decisions to be made in real time which results in an efficiency improvement for companies.
Promus Ventures Speaking Engagements

Mike Collett will speak at the following upcoming events:


Promus Ventures' Recent Posts


Promus Ventures' Community Job Board - More than 475 Open Positions

The Promus Ventures' Community Job Board currently has more than 475 real-time job posts from Promus Ventures-backed companies.

 

News

State Street Corp, the third-largest U.S. issuer of exchange traded funds (ETFs), introduced three new ETFs based on Kensho benchmarks. Kensho provides next-generation analytics, machine learning, and data visualization systems for financial services.

The SPDR Kensho Intelligent Structures ETF follows the Kensho Intelligent Infrastructure Index which is designed to capture companies who drive innovation behind intelligent infrastructure. The SPDR Kensho Smart Mobility ETF XKST tracks the Kensho Smart Transportation Index and is similar to a new-wave transportation ETF. Lastly, the SPDR Kensho Future Security ETF tracks the Kensho Future Security Index which is designed to capture companies who drive innovation in future security.
AngelList has expanded its Syndicates program to India. Syndicates was launched in 2013 and enable experienced early-stage investors more financing potential and allows those with less experience to join syndicates to invest in promising early-stage companies. Syndicates has already been available in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom. To date, AngelList Syndicates have raised $705 million from more than 1,870 startups.

Spire recently launched six cubesats into orbit - two on January 21 aboard Rocket Lab's Electron and four on January 11 aboard an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. Spire currently operates a constellation over 50 cubesats to predict the weather and track maritime and aircraft traffic. The company estimates it can provide a persistent view of about 97 percent of Earth with a constellation of 150 satellites.

Spire currently builds one satellite per week and can scale production to produce cubesats even more quickly. The company currently operates 27 ground stations and plans to increase to 50 in order to provide customers with higher data refresh rates. Read more on how Spire is expanding its cubesat constellation to offer a persistent global view in Space News.

Get a video tour of Spire's satellite engineering facility in Glasgow, UK below:
Cape AnalyticsCrowdFlower, Gigster and Merlon Intelligence were identified as startup AI leaders by Forbes, VentureBeat and Business Insider. Artificial Intelligence is predicted to have an enormous impact on the world economy with PwC estimating that artificial intelligence could add $15.7 trillion to global GDP by 2030. Enterprise companies comprise a $3.4 trillion market worldwide of which an increasingly larger share is being allocated to artificial intelligence technologies. Many enterprise companies use combinations of automated data science, machine learning and modern deep learning approaches for tasks like data preparation, predictive analytics and process automation. 
  
Gauss Surgical has developed a real-time blood monitoring solution that scans surgical sponges to provide an accurate estimation of blood loss during medical procedures. Accurate blood loss measurement is an issue within healthcare as 20-60 percent of unnecessary blood transfusions drive $10 billion of waste each year. Gauss’ computer vision algorithms help recognize hemorrhage status and improve patient outcomes by suggesting blood transfusions only when truly necessary.
  
Cobalt Robotics’ CTO, Erik Schluntz, was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 List. Schluntz leads development of new AI algorithms, machine learning and robot mapping. Cobalt develops robots for enterprise security that are designed to work alongside humans and keep offices safe by patrolling the premises.
  

TerrAvion partners with Indiana-based Spensa Technologies to work with farmers to scout fields. TerrAvion provides up-to-date aerial imagery of all of Spensa's fields as well as synthetic maps and analysis throughout the growing season.
  
Tulip Retail is a mobile application provider focused on empowering workers in retail stores. Current customers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Kate Spade and Bonobos expanded their relationship with Tulip to elevate their in-store experience and drive sales. Tulip CEO, Ali Asaria, sees Sales Associates Key to Digital Convergence Success (WWD).
  
The WHOOP wearable is the first wrist-worn tracker allowed on the field by Major League Baseball, and it's the official recovery wearable of the NFL Player's Association.

The continuously monitoring wristband measures heart rate and heart-rate variability, fatigue levels and tracks sleep in order to give users calculated Strain and Recovery Scores via its app and online dashboard. The scores determine how close users are to their peak physical condition, and how much they've recovered from the previous day's workouts, which can be used to prevent injury and predict optimal performance.

Purchase WHOOP from their website.

Kahuna won Frost & Sullivan's annual Best Practices New Product Innovation Award for AI-based Cross-channel Marketing Automation. Kahuna's automation solution enables B2C marketers to address problems with their current email marketing and customer retention programs. Kahuna uses AI to learn and understand consumers in real time then enables brands to have highly personalized communication with consumers.
Swift ​​Navigation​ ​​which builds centimeter-accurate ​​GPS ​​technology ​​to ​​power ​​a ​​world ​​of ​​autonomous ​​vehicles, ​​experienced major growth in 2017. The company developed multiple, innovative GNSS products, formed new partnerships and achieved geographical expansion.

During 2017, Swift Navigation's doubled its team size, raised a $34 million Series B round of financing, shipped 2 new products (Piksi Multi and Duro), expanded operations internationally and to Detroit, Michigan, announced technology partnerships with Carnegie Robotics and PolySync and was recognized in lists of "Top 50 Best Places to Work" and "Top 25 Companies for Diversity."


Investment Team


Mike Collett 
Managing Partner
 

Julian Cheng
Vice President
 
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