Autonomous Delivery Vehicle Company Dispatch Drives $2M in Seed Funding


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Dispatch wants its autonomous vehicles to make on-demand delivery available to the masses.

The company announced on Wednesday it has grabbed $2 million in seed financing led by Andreessen Horowitz. This is the second investment Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixonmade this week in autonomous vehicles, following the investment in Comma.ai he announced Sunday.

“I’m really excited about autonomous vehicles in general,” Mr. Dixon said. “Machine learning and deep learning is only recently at the point where you can really make a high-quality, highly autonomous, safe vehicle. It’s going to open up all sorts of vehicles.”

Dispatch develops a vehicle it nicknamed “Carry” to travel on sidewalks and pedestrian areas. The robot, which looks like a large cooler on wheels, can carry up to 100 pounds and travels at the same speed humans walk. It has four compartments that users unlock with their smartphones when it arrives.

The founders, Continue reading “Autonomous Delivery Vehicle Company Dispatch Drives $2M in Seed Funding”

South Asian Dating App Dil Mil Arranges $2.7 Million


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Dil Mil Inc. Chief Executive KJ Dhaliwal saw Tinder wasn’t working for his friends and family.

He realized apps like Tinder, Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel weren’t inclusive of the needs of the South Asian community, where dating can be taboo and arranged marriages still occur. Mr. Dhaliwal said 90% of South Asians marry within their own community and those users needed their own app.

His matchmaking app Dil Mil has now made more than 1.3 million matches, and Mr. Dhaliwal said the startup’s matches are resulting in an average of three marriages a week. The company recently raised an additional $2.7 million in seed funding, from CSC Upshot, Maiden Lane Ventures, Nelstone Ventures and Transmedia Capital, as well as Naval Ravikant, Kunal Shah, Sameer Parwani and Vijay Ullal.

The San Francisco company previously raised seed funding in 2015 from Match.com founder Will Bunker, 500 Startups and others. It Continue reading “South Asian Dating App Dil Mil Arranges $2.7 Million”

Hedge Fund Analysts Use Deep Learning To Diagnose Heart’s Condition


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Two quantitative analysts using artificial intelligence in an online data science competition showed they could diagnose heart disease about as accurately as doctors.

Qi Liu and Tencia Lee, hedge fund analysts and self-described “quants,” built the winning algorithm in the competition, which could find indicators of heart disease. The online data contest challenged participants to develop machine algorithms that could measure cardiac volumes from MRIs provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Mr. Liu and Ms. Lee didn’t know each other before they won the competition, beating out more than 1,390 algorithms. They met each other in a forum on the Kaggle site, where the competition was hosted over a three-month period.

“We decided to combine our methods,” Ms. Lee said. “We decided they were different enough from each other that we could do better than either of us would alone.”

Competitors worked on algorithms that could Continue reading “Hedge Fund Analysts Use Deep Learning To Diagnose Heart’s Condition”

MapD Locates $10 Million Series A for Faster Databases


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Todd Mostak couldn’t have predicted that his time in Cairo as an Arabic-English translator or as a student of Middle East studies at Harvard University would eventually lead him to a startup.

But as he was working on his thesis about social media in the Arab Spring, he realized there were no databases or visualization tools fast enough to do the kind of analysis he needed. So he decided to make his own while taking a class at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The result of his path was the GPU-powered database and analytics suite that is now known as MapD Technologies Inc. The startup, founded in 2013, recently closed $10 in Series A funding led by Vanedge Capital, which had participation from Verizon Ventures, Nvidia Corporation and GV, formerly Google Ventures.

Mr. Mostak declined to disclose the company’s valuation but said it has raised $12 million to date.

Many data Continue reading “MapD Locates $10 Million Series A for Faster Databases”

Raden Packs $3.5M for Connected Luggage


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Raden offers Bluetooth-enabled luggage in a variety of colors. The carry-on size retails for $295, and the check-on size retails for $395.
Raden

Raden wants to make the case that its Bluetooth-enabled luggage will change the way people travel.

The suitcases and Raden app allow travelers to track the location and weight of their luggage. The bags, which come in a carry-on and check-on size, also can charge mobile devices.

At $295 for a carry-on and $395 for the check-on size, Raden is tailoring its luggage to frequent travelers. The bags, which are available to ship Tuesday, are one of several connected traveling products to hit the market in recent years.
Raden on Tuesday said it has grabbed $3.5 million in seed funding led by First Round Capital and Lerer Hippeau Ventures. Silas Chou, Pritzker Group, Kal Vepuri, Rachel Zoe and others also participated in the round.

The Raden Continue reading “Raden Packs $3.5M for Connected Luggage”

Bromium’s Post-Money Valuation Is Sliced in Half in Down Round


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Cybersecurity startup Bromium’s post-money valuation was sliced in half, down to $242.27 million from a $491.6 million post-money valuation in its previous round, according to data from industry tracker Pitchbook.
ATTILA KISBENEDEK

Cybersecurity startup Bromium has raised $40 million in funding at a down round to its previous valuation, a move that comes as the sector is beginning to feel the pinch of changing market dynamics.

Bromium’s post-money valuation was sliced in half, down to $242.27 million from a $491.6 million post-money valuation in its previous round, according to data from industry tracker Pitchbook, VentureWire has learned.

Chief Financial Officer Earl Charles, whose hiring was announced on Thursday, declined to comment on the valuation or terms of the funding.

After venture capital funding increasingly poured into cybersecurity in recent years, analysts and investors are now predicting a year heavy with mergers and acquisitions for many companies.

Continue reading “Bromium’s Post-Money Valuation Is Sliced in Half in Down Round”

LifeBEAM Grabs $16M for Wearable Exercise Technology


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LifeBEAM Technologies Ltd. Chief Executive Omri Yoffe wants to bring the company’s technology to consumers with a new wearable device. The company will launch a device called the Awareable in the spring.
LifeBEAM Technologies Ltd.

LifeBEAM Technologies Ltd. grabbed $16 million in Series A funding as it prepares to release a wearable focused on fitness.

Square Peg Capital led the round, with participation from Wellborn Ventures, Cerca Partners, Atomic14 Ventures, Triventures and angel investors. The funding comes as the company plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign for the device, which it calls the Awareable, in May.

LifeBEAM Technologies launched four years ago, and since then the company has provided technology, hardware and analytics to players in the wearable and fitness spaces such as Samsung and Under Armour.

The company says its first mission was providing performance technology for pilots and astronauts, tracking their heart rate and blood flow as they pulled Continue reading “LifeBEAM Grabs $16M for Wearable Exercise Technology”

On-Demand Massage Startup Zeel Grabs $10M


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Zeel Networks Inc. Chief Executive Samer Hamadeh wants to make in-home massages safe for therapists and customers. His company is expanding to several U.S. cities next week.
Zeel Networks Inc.

Zeel Networks Inc., an on-demand massage provider, has closed $10 million of a $12 million Series A round.

The funding comes as the service, which is available in 20 cities, is slated to expand into three more areas. Zeel plans to launch in Phoenix, Austin and Seattle on Monday.

Emil Capital Partners led the round, which has participation from Slow Ventures, Partech Ventures, New Atlantic Ventures and Spafinder. The company didn’t disclose its valuation but has raised $11.5 million to date.

Zeel took a circuitous path to its on-demand massages business. When the company first launched in 2010, its founders envisioned it would be a service like ZocDoc but for alternative medicine. Instead the team quickly noticed half Continue reading “On-Demand Massage Startup Zeel Grabs $10M”

GreatHorn Seeded for Preventing Phishing Attacks


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GreatHorn Inc. Chief Technology Officer Ray Wallace, Chief Executive Kevin O’Brien, and Strategic Accounts Vice President Chris Fraser (from left to right) want to limit phishing on email and enterprise chat services.
Kevin O’Brien

GreatHorn Inc. wants to stop phishing attacks, a social-engineered form of cyberattack, before they even reach an employee’s inbox.

The company has raised $2.25 million in seed funding, led by ff Venture Capital and SoftTech Ventures. Techstars Ventures, RRE Ventures and Walter Winshall also participated, alongside Zelkova Ventures and V1.VC.

The funding comes after fraudsters have been using phishing attacks to file tax returns. There have been several incidents this year in which human-resources employees received fake emails from scammers impersonating company executives. The emails request W2 forms or personal information about other employees, such as Social Security Numbers. If the employee thinks they are actually coming from the top brass and responds with Continue reading “GreatHorn Seeded for Preventing Phishing Attacks”

Mark Zuckerberg’s Parents, Sister Back Bar-Inventory App Partender


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Karen Kempner and Edward Zuckerberg, the parents of Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, pose with their family. The couple and their daughter Arielle (second from right) invested in Partender Inc.
Edward Zuckerberg/Facebook

From its founders to its investors, Partender Inc. is a family affair.

The parents and sister of Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg have backed the bar-inventory app. Nik and Anjali Kundra, a brother-and-sister team, started the 500 Startups-backed company.

Mr. Kundra said it has raised almost $2 million in seed funding to date.

Partender was the first angel investment for Arielle Zuckerberg, who said she has now made eight. She invested in the company first in 2014, and then again during a seed extension. Her total investment in the startup is $50,000. The amount of her parents’ investment is undisclosed.

Ms. Zuckerberg joined venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2015. The firm hasn’t invested in Continue reading “Mark Zuckerberg’s Parents, Sister Back Bar-Inventory App Partender”

Connected Doorbell Company Ring Buzzes In $61.2M


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Ring announced the release of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro on Wednesday. The new product came as the company announced funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Bot Home Automation Inc

Bot Home Automation Inc., which does business as Ring, raised $61.2 million in Series C funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The Santa Monica, Calif., company produces Wi-Fi-connected video doorbells, which allow users to remotely see who is standing at their door from their phones. The product gives users a notification when someone rings the bell or if its motion sensors detect someone in front of the house.

The company declined to disclose its valuation. PitchBook Data Inc. reported the company’s valuation jumped from $63.6 million to $202 million.

Chief Executive Jamie Siminoff said his goal is to use technology to make neighborhoods safer.

Mr. Siminoff said the inspiration for Ring, like many Continue reading “Connected Doorbell Company Ring Buzzes In $61.2M”

Zenefits Competitor Justworks Raises $33 Million


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Redpoint Ventures
Justworks Inc. chief executive Isaac Oates said his company’s culture differs from Zenefits.

Justworks Inc. wants to play by the rules.

Army veteran Isaac Oates says he has built his human resources company with regulation in mind from day one.

A culture, he says, that is different from the company’s once high-flying competitor Zenefits Inc. As Zenefits came under fire for its fraternity-like atmosphere, in which employees partied in the office, Mr. Oates was gathering his 100-person team for weekly talks, last month about macroeconomics and recessions.

The benefits and payroll company has picked up $33 million in Series C funding, bringing the total amount the company has raised to $53 million. Redpoint Ventures led the round and had participation from existing investors Bain Capital Ventures, Thrive Capital and Index Ventures.

Zenefits, which raised $500 million at a $4.5 billion valuation, has become a poster child for Continue reading “Zenefits Competitor Justworks Raises $33 Million”

Fenox Venture Capital to Pay Unpaid Interns Back Wages


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The U.S. Department of Labor found Fenox Venture Capital misclassified 56 workers as unpaid interns. The firm will pay $331,269 in back wages.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

A Silicon Valley venture capital firm has agreed to pay $331,269 in back wages after the U.S. Department of Labor found the company misclassified 56 workers as unpaid interns.

Investigators found Fenox Venture Capital had used the unpaid workers to screen startups for potential investments, send reports to Japanese investors and recruit potential employees. These interns displaced regular employees at the San Jose, Calif., firm.

“Silicon Valley has one of the highest concentrations of wealth in the United States,” said Michael Eastwood, an assistant district director at the U.S. Department of Labor. “For a business to not be paying their workers, it is deplorable.”

Mr. Eastwood said it is very common in the United States for businesses to classify workers Continue reading “Fenox Venture Capital to Pay Unpaid Interns Back Wages”

Zirx Shutting Down Its On-Demand Parking Service


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Zirx Consumer Services Inc. Chief Executive Sean Behr.
Zirx Consumer Services Inc.

Zirx Consumer Services Inc. is shutting down its consumer on-demand parking service, saying that the company couldn’t scale the business to profitability.

In a blog post, Zirx Chief Executive Sean Behr said the company would continue its enterprise business, which he said is growing.

“Consumer on-demand parking, while one of those novel, amazing experiences for customers, is a very difficult business to scale,” Mr. Behr wrote. “And, an even harder business to scale to great profitability.”

The service’s valets wearing yellow polos have been a familiar sight since 2014 in San Francisco, where three companies at one time competed to dominate on-demand parking. Zirx’s competitor Carbon Valet shut down its beta program and took its valets wearing pink tuxedos off the roads in August, leaving only Luxe Valet Inc.’s bright blue track jackets in the Continue reading “Zirx Shutting Down Its On-Demand Parking Service”

Bay Labs Launches to Bring Artificial Intelligence to Ultrasounds


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David Adams

Bay Labs Inc. launched out of stealth mode today to use deep learning to help medical professionals in developing countries interpret ultrasounds so they can better treat heart disease.

The company also announced a seed round of $2.5 million led by Khosla Ventures. The National Science Foundation, Eleven Two Capital, angel investor Vince Monical, cardiologist Dr. Randy Martin and ultrasound innovator Kevin Goodwin.
Deep learning experts Yann LeCun, who serves as the director of AI Research at Facebook, and Nicolas Pinto and Jack Culpepper also invested.

Bay Labs founder Charles Cadieu said ultrasound imaging presented the perfect problem to be solved with deep learning because it takes years of training to learn how to read ultrasound imaging. As ultrasound devices become cheaper and cheaper, they are increasingly available but especially in developing or rural areas, there may not be people trained to properly use the device or read Continue reading “Bay Labs Launches to Bring Artificial Intelligence to Ultrasounds”

Slack Focuses on Artificial Intelligence With Hire of Foursquare Executive


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Slack

Slack Technologies Inc. on Tuesday announced Noah Weiss would join the company to lead its Search, Learning and Intelligence group, signaling the company is investing more in artificial intelligence that could speed up daily tasks in the workplace.

The fast-growing enterprise messaging service hired Mr. Weiss from Foursquare, where he served as vice president of product. In a Medium post, Mr. Weiss wrote he and Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield envision a Slack with conversational knowledge bots and tools that mine chat histories to alert people to the most relevant messages.

“Slack is well on its way to building the new business operating system,” Mr. Weiss wrote in the Medium post. “Weaving in an intelligent layer is a huge opportunity to enhance the product for people who use Slack and the platform for developers who build on top of it.”

The new group will be in Slack’s New York Continue reading “Slack Focuses on Artificial Intelligence With Hire of Foursquare Executive”

Internet-of-Things Security Company ForeScout Valued at $1 Billion


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ForeScout Technologies

ForeScout Technologies Inc. closed a $76 million late-stage funding round at a $1 billion valuation, signaling investors think it can remain the incumbent Internet of Things security company.

Wellington Management Company LLP led the round. Chief Executive Michael DeCesare said Wellington’s investment signals that the company is moving toward the public market.

The company’s value has tripled since its funding round 18 months ago. As ForeScout joins the pack of companies worth a billion or more, Mr. DeCesare said the startup will hold its own at a time when many are concerned companies are being overvalued. He said the company has maintained a low burn rate while growing revenue almost 5o% each year.

Though investments in cybersecurity are on the rise, ForeScout will be one of only a handful of security companies valued at more than $1 billion. CloudFlare, a company that deflects denial of service attacks, and Continue reading “Internet-of-Things Security Company ForeScout Valued at $1 Billion”

Cybersecurity Startup Shape Security Grabs $25 Million for China Expansion


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Zuma Press

Shape Security Inc. closed a $25 million Series D round, which it plans to use to fuel its expansion into China.

Baseline Ventures led the investment in the company that targets attacks led by bots. Beijing-based Northern Light Venture Capital joined existing investors GV (formerly Google Ventures), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Norwest Venture Partners, Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures and others. The company has raised $91 million in funding to date.

Chief Executive Derek Smith said there is an explosion of e-commerce companies in China that could benefit from Shape’s offering.

“We have long looked at the Chinese market and felt that with the rise of e-commerce, along with that comes the rise of automated attacks,” Mr. Smith said. “One of the things that we set out to do with this injection of capital was finding a go-to-market partner that could ease our entry into China.”

Read Continue reading “Cybersecurity Startup Shape Security Grabs $25 Million for China Expansion”

Slack Hires First Chief Security Officer


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Slack Technologies Inc. announced Monday that it has hired former Palantir Technologies Inc. employee Geoff Belknap to become its first chief security officer, almost a year after a breach of Slack’s database storing user profile information.

The company alerted users of the breach, which didn’t affect financial information, in March 2015, encouraging them to adopt two-factor authentication. Slack has been building a security team with deep expertise in incident response and product security over the last year.

“We’re a very fast growing organization and the fact that there was no one with the title Chief Security Officer does not mean there was no one in charge of security,” said CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield. “There is a tendency among startups to engage in title inflation and we do not subscribe to that way of doing things. We also have no COO or CFO, but we do operate the business and conduct our

Continue reading “Slack Hires First Chief Security Officer”