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AmplifAI Raises $3.9M, Its First Outside Funding, For Call Center AI

Dallas—AmplifAI Solutions, which makes artificial intelligence-enabled software for call center operations, has raised $3.9 million.Investors in the funding round were Naya Ventures, LiveOak Venture Partners, and Capital Factory, all based in Austin.AmplifAI has developed software that uses machine learning algorithms to analyze behaviors of top-performing employees in order to create training programs for employees across the payroll. Now, the company plans to use the funding to further develo...
Tags: Startups, Home Depot, Texas, Funding, Trends, Tech, Investment, Data, People, Vc, Artificial Intelligence, Software, Austin, AT&T, Innovation, Venture Capital


CesiumAstro, MAP Health, StoryFit, Hatch Pitch & More Texas Tech

[ Updated 3/14/19, 1:53 pm CT. See below. ]  Another South By Southwest festival comes to a close in Austin. Let’s catch up with the highlights from the tech portion this year and other innovation news in Texas.—CesiumAstro, an Austin-based maker of antennas and communications systems for satellites, said it has raised $12.4 million in a Series A funding round. Airbus Ventures, the venture arm of plane-maker Airbus, led the round, according to a press release. Other investors were Kleiner Pe...
Tags: Apps, Publishing, Texas, Entertainment, China, Cancer, Funding, Los Angeles, Trends, Startup, Insurance, Tech, Investment, People, Vc, Artificial Intelligence


Topouzian Brings Economic Development Perspective to New MVCA Role

Ara Topouzian is a longtime Oakland County economic development official and a 2012 Kresge Artist Fellow recognized for his work playing a 76-string kanun harp in Armenian and world music bands. As of March 25, he’ll also be the new director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, which works to advance the state’s VC ecosystem.Topouzian comes to the MVCA after six years of heading up the 700-member Troy Chamber of Commerce, where he says he worked to reinvent the organization and create p...
Tags: Startups, Entrepreneurship, Trends, Vc, Innovation, Venture Capital, Detroit, Economic Development, Oakland County, National blog main, Detroit blog main, Detroit top stories, Diversity and Inclusion, Michigan Venture Capital Association, MVCA, EntryPoint


WI Watchlist: Foxconn Fund, UW Accelerator, MSOE A.I. Hall & More

It’s time to catch up on Wisconsin innovation news:—Jason Franklin will manage the Wisconn Valley Venture Fund, a $100 million fund formed last August by Foxconn Technology Group and three leading Wisconsin businesses and organizations: Advocate Aurora Health, Northwestern Mutual, and Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI). Foxconn, a Taiwanese manufacturing giant, has said it’s building a massive (and controversial) electronics factory in southeastern Wisconsin.Franklin is a University of Wisconsin-Madi...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Education, Trends, Tech, It, Vc, Software, Healthcare, Nvidia, Wisconsin, Silicon Valley, Andreessen Horowitz, Cleantech, Foxconn, Life Sciences


Vikram Jandhyala, Champion of Innovation at UW and Beyond, Dies at 47

Vikram Jandhyala, who built bridges between academia and industry across the globe and at the University of Washington, where he taught and worked, has died, the school said Wednesday. He was 47.In a statement on UW’s website, President Ana Mari Cauce said authorities were investigating Jandhyala’s death as a suicide. He is survived by two sons, ages 7 and 5, who will be cared for by their mother, Suja Vaidyanathan, Cauce wrote.Over the years, Jandhyala worked in industry, as a professor, and a...
Tags: Startups, Microsoft, Trends, Tech, Research, Vc, Commercialization, Engineering, Seattle, Madrona Venture Group, University of Washington, UW, Tsinghua University, Milken Institute, Vikram Jandhyala, World Affairs Council


Alchemie Snags NSF Grant to Develop AR Tools for Teaching Chemistry

Alchemie, a Troy, MI-based educational technology startup, has won another round of funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop 3D and augmented reality (AR) learning tools for teaching general chemistry.The funding, announced this week, is a $140,000 Technology Enhancement through Commercialization Partnerships extension to a Phase II SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) grant focused on building game-based learning modules and assessment technology for organic chemistry...
Tags: Startups, Entrepreneurship, Funding, Trends, Tech, Vc, Software, Chemistry, Innovation, Venture Capital, Detroit, University Of Michigan, Georgia Tech, National Science Foundation, University of Washington, NSF


The Investments Cisco, Samsung, Toyota, and Chevron Are Making in AI

Austin—If you’re a startup talking up your artificial intelligence chops in your venture capital pitch, you’re not alone.For Cisco Investments, the venture arm of tech giant Cisco, artificial intelligence is no longer one of the key trends to watch for during pitches in 2019. That’s according to Noah Yago, a director at Cisco Investments, who said the firm did list it as a trend to watch in 2017 and 2018. Part of the issue is saturation, he said.“Our view is that we’re sort of at peak oil for A...
Tags: Google, Auto, Startups, Facebook, Texas, Technology, Trends, Startup, Tech, Investing, Cisco, Car, Vc, Artificial Intelligence, Software, Austin


Toyota Among Investors Backing Airbiquity With $15M for Vehicle Tech

Airbiquity, a Seattle-based developer of connected vehicle systems powering navigation, entertainment, and other software in cars, has raised $15 million in new financing from three Japanese automotive corporations, the company announced Monday.The investors that participated in the equity funding round are Denso Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM), and Toyota Tsusho Corp, which supports Toyota Motor’s automobile business, including the integration of Internet-connected technologies and device...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Transportation, Cars, Trends, Tech, Vc, Automotive, United States, AT&T, Autos, Mobility, Toyota, Autonomous Vehicles, Self-driving Cars, Seattle


Meet the Companies in Backstage Capital’s Detroit Accelerator

Backstage Capital, a Los Angeles-based venture firm seeding early-stage companies led by women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community, has announced the details of its Detroit startup accelerator.Earlier this year, Backstage founder Arlan Hamilton announced the firm would host its first accelerators in four cities, including Detroit. The Motor City’s inclusion, unlike the other three cities, was determined by way of a public vote.Monica Wheat, founder and partner at Venture Cataly...
Tags: Startups, Microsoft, Entrepreneurship, Los Angeles, Trends, Tech, Vc, Software, Innovation, Venture Capital, Detroit, Mailchimp, National blog main, National top stories, Detroit blog main, Detroit top stories


Vtrus Gets $2.9M For Drones That Inspect Indoor Industrial Equipment

Vtrus, a Seattle-based startup developing drones designed to autonomously inspect equipment in factories and other indoor settings, has raised more than $2.9 million to support its commercialization efforts, according to a regulatory filing.Nine investors participated in the equity funding round, the filing shows.Reached by phone on Thursday, a spokesperson for Vtrus declined to comment on the startup’s technology, timeline for reaching the market, or plans with the new cash.Many people first l...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Cloud, Facebook, Photography, Video, Maps, Cloud Computing, Wi-fi, Trends, Tech, Vc, Cameras, Drones, Vr, Oculus


TX Tech: ForeFlight to Boeing, Osano Debut, Saranas’ FDA Nod & More

Let’s catch up with the latest innovation news in Texas.—Boeing (NYSE: BE) has acquired Houston-based ForeFlight, a mobile and web-based maker of aviation software, according to a press release. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. ForeFlight had already been partnering with the Chicago-based aeronautical company for the past two years through Boeing’s subsidiary Jeppesen by using the latter’s data and charts in ForeFlight’s mobile platform. “This acquisition also expands Boeing’s rapidly grow...
Tags: Amazon, Startups, Mobile, Facebook, Apps, Texas, Privacy, Funding, Trends, Tech, Investment, Data, Analytics, People, Cybersecurity, Vc


Bright Cellars Uncorks $8.5M Round for Wine Subscription Service

A few years ago, the frothiest market in tech was arguably startups selling subscriptions to boxes of curated goods, such as clothing, beauty products, and food, which would arrive on customers’ doorsteps each month.The buzz around this area of e-commerce may have subsided a bit, but there are still a ton of box subscription startups plugging away. One of them, five-year-old Bright Cellars, apparently has amassed enough traction to score a fresh round of venture funding. The Milwaukee-based sta...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Milwaukee, Trends, Tech, Mit, Vc, Software, Aol, Wisconsin, Revolution Ventures, Steve Case, National blog main, Boston blog main, Xperience, San Francisco blog main


Knock Nabs $10M in Bid to Become the Opentable of Apartment Leasing

People in the market to rent an apartment have plenty of options for contacting property managers, from phone calls to e-mail messages and live chats hosted on their websites. A Seattle-based startup, Knock, says it can help managers track the range of these communications with prospective tenants by storing them on a single digital platform.On Thursday, Knock announced it has raised $10 million to support its continued growth. Madrona Venture Group, which is also headquartered in Seattle and h...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Real Estate, Renting, Housing, Trends, Tech, Vc, Software, SaaS, Apartments, Seattle, Rentals, Madrona Venture Group, Opentable, Property Management


Houston’s Alice Among Women-Led Startups Receiving Bumble Funding

Alice, a Houston-based digital community that connects women founders to resources tailored to their startup’s needs, has received funding from the Bumble Fund.The fund, which was launched last July by Bumble, a women-oriented dating app, did not specify the amount it invested in the startups. In a press release Thursday, the Austin company said the fund typically writes an average check size of $25,000.Carolyn Rodz, Alice’s founder and CEO, said in an interview that the funds will be used for ...
Tags: Startups, Apps, Texas, Funding, Women, Trends, Social Media, Investment, People, Vc, Artificial Intelligence, Software, Austin, Innovation, Venture Capital, Machine Learning


Steering Lyft’s IPO: What Investors Will Weigh During the Roadshow

Much has been said about Lyft’s early lead over Uber in the “horserace” to become the first ride-hailing app company to go public. But now that San Francisco-based Lyft has filed its 276-page IPO prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, potential investors can focus on much more detailed considerations as they decide whether to make bets on the smaller of the two U.S. ride-hailing leaders. Lyft’s IPO roadshow, during which it will make pitches to stock market investors and a...
Tags: Google, Startups, Mobile, Facebook, Lyft, Uber, Entrepreneurship, Wall Street, Funding, San Francisco, Trends, Tech, Regulations, IPOs, Vc, Software


Angel Networks Most Active Texas Investors Since 2010, Report Says

Austin — Two angel networks in Texas have been the most active investors in the state since 2010.The Houston Angel Network leads the list with 145 investments during the past nine years, followed by the Central Texas Angel Network in Austin with 144 deals, according to data compiled by Seattle-based PitchBook. Capital Factory, which runs a co-working space abd accelerator in Austin, and also invests in startups, was third on the list with 97 deals. PitchBook compiled the list ahead of South by ...
Tags: Food, Startups, Uber, Accelerator, Gender, Texas, Technology, Washington, Entrepreneurial, Entrepreneurship, Funding, Race, Women, Trends, Startup, Tech


Tasso Gets $6M For Device That Lets Users Self-Collect Blood Samples

Tasso, a Seattle-based startup that is developing an at-home blood sample collection device, announced Tuesday it has raised $6.1 million from investors. The new money will support its effort to launch sales of the device, Tasso OnDemand, in the coming months, and to add staff, Tasso says.Vertical Venture Partners, a Silicon Valley-based investment fund, led the funding round, Tasso says. Other participants included Techstars and Cedars-Sinai, a Los Angeles-based network of hospitals and clinic...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Los Angeles, Trends, Department Of Defense, Vc, Darpa, Food And Drug Administration, Silicon Valley, National Institutes of Health, Fda, Biotech, Seattle, Nih, TechStars, Life Sciences


WI Watchlist: Kauffman Ranking, Driverless Shuttles, Space Research

Here are some of the latest headlines from Wisconsin’s innovation community:—Well, it’s not last place, but it’s still not a great showing for Wisconsin in the latest assessment of entrepreneurial activity in each state by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Wisconsin ranked 45th in the foundation’s “early-stage entrepreneurship index” , which examined a variety of data from 2017. The index is a modified version of the group’s annual national entrepreneurship report, which went on hiatus las...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Space, Jobs, Entrepreneurship, Trends, Tech, It, Nasa, Vc, Software, M&a, Wisconsin, Autonomous Vehicles, Self-driving Cars, Driverless Cars


With New Cash, iUNU to Help More Greenhouses Monitor, Manage Plants

People in the Pacific Northwest who grow plants in greenhouses and nurseries face good odds of turning a profit on their 2019 harvests, according to Spokane, WA-based Northwest Farm Credit Services, which supports farmers, ranchers, and other agribusiness in the region.This positive outlook comes thanks to steady demand for crops, a strong U.S. economy, and a booming housing market, and the trend could even compel some greenhouse operators to invest in new equipment and technology. One startup ...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Trends, Tech, Vc, Software, Agriculture, Seattle, Pacific Northwest, Farms, Agtech, Greenhouse, Spokane WA, National blog main, Seattle blog main, Seattle top stories


Women Who Code in Houston, Sam’s Club, Springdale & More TX Tech

Let’s catch up with the latest innovation news in Texas.—Sam’s Club Now, the Dallas-based innovation center where Walmart’s bulk buying business is located, says it has a new scanning technology that can reduce checkout times. The technology, which uses computer vision and machine learning, will be piloted at the Sam’s Club Now store this spring, according blog post by Eddie Garcia, vice president of product and member experience at Sam’s Club. “Rather than having to locate the barcode and scan...
Tags: Startups, Apps, Accelerator, Texas, Funding, Toronto, San Francisco, Trends, Tech, Investment, Walmart, E-commerce, IP, People, Sam's Club, Aig


Cybersecurity on Tap: Agenda for Cyber Madness in Boston April 8

When it comes to cybersecurity, no one has all the answers. The best anyone can do is try to fend off cyber attacks with the latest technology and strategies, learn from their successes and failures, and maybe even share their experiences for the benefit of others.That last point is the goal of “Cyber Madness: Case Studies in Security,” a half-day forum Xconomy will host April 8 at EY’s offices in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. We’re assembling leading cybersecurity experts from New England an...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Mobile, Apps, Internet Of Things, Boston, Connected Devices, Trends, Tech, It, Cybersecurity, Vc, Software, Healthcare, M&a, Iot


Bio Roundup: Pharma in DC, Bristol-Cel in Trouble, Roche Gets A Spark

Could a shareholder revolt doom the planned marriage of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene? Analysts have hinted at the possibility since the two companies shook hands in January, but the threat became real this week.Bristol (NYSE: BMY) and Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) have campaignned heavily, starting with a joint presentation by their CEOs at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January. Celgene drugs that should come to market the next two years will unlock $15 billion in annual revenue. The co...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Ge, Trends, Merck, Vc, Astrazeneca, Fda, National, Bristol, Novartis, Pfizer, Life Sciences, Clinical Trials, Celgene, Amgen


Seattle Venture Capital Watch: Modumetal, Illumagear, HaptX & More

February may be the shortest month of the year, but the past four weeks have seen many investments raised by technology businesses based in the Seattle area. Here are some notable deals from the past month: —Modumetal, a Seattle-based company that develops nanolaminated materials for use in armor, vehicles, building exteriors, and other products, raised nearly $17.5 million in new capital, according to an SEC filing. Forty-two investors participated in the equity funding round, the filing sho...
Tags: Startups, Wearables, Technology, Video Games, Halo, Trends, Tech, Led, Vc, Software, Nanomaterials, Vr, Virtual Reality, SEC, Ar, Augmented Reality


Carmera, Toyota Research Institute Zoom Ahead on AV Mapping Project

Carmera, the maker of dynamic, real-time, high-definition maps for use in mobility applications, announced today that it has entered into a commercial partnership with Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development, the carmaker’s division focused on the development of autonomous vehicle technologies. The monetary value of the partnership was not disclosed.The two companies will collaborate on a proof-of-concept project to develop “camera-based automation of HD maps” for urban and surface roads...
Tags: Startups, Entrepreneurship, Trends, Tech, Vc, Software, Innovation, Venture Capital, Mobility, Toyota, Detroit, National blog main, New York blog main, Seattle blog main, Boston blog main, National top stories


Microsoft’s M12 Leads $21M Round for Spycloud’s Security Software

Austin—Spycloud, an Austin cybersecurity startup, has raised $21 million.The funding round was led by M12, the venture fund of tech company Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). New investor Altos Ventures and existing investors Silverton Partners and March Capital Partners also participated.Spycloud, which was founded three years ago, makes software that prevents hackers from taking over professional and personal accounts online. The startup identifies vulnerable accounts and passwords and then notifies t...
Tags: Startups, Texas, Microsoft, Funding, San Francisco, Trends, Tech, Investment, Cisco, E-commerce, IP, Malware, People, Cybersecurity, Online, Vc


Amazon, Google, Facebook Boosted 2018 Tech Hiring Spree in U.S. Hubs

A tech hiring slowdown in 2018 in America’s three largest innovation hubs would not have surprised John Barrett, given global economic uncertainty stemming from factors such as trade disputes, slower economic growth in China and Europe, and the UK’s looming exit from the EU.Instead, the pace of tech hiring in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, and Boston remained “pleasantly, surprisingly strong” last year, according to the latest quarterly analysis by Barrett, a Boston-area partner with exe...
Tags: Apple, Google, Amazon, Startups, Facebook, Europe, UK, New York, Jobs, China, Boston, America, San Francisco, Trends, Tech, Eu


Blue-Collar Career Site Jobcase Raises $100M to Advocate for Workers

The social-media jobs platform Jobcase is raking in $100 million in growth funding to expand its blue-collar-oriented workforce site into a place where employees not only can host their qualifications but also can organize and advocate for better treatment from employers.Jobcase founder and CEO Fred Goff says the Cambridge, MA-based startup wants workers’ reviews of local employers to nudge how prospective workers apply to the firms, as well as how consumers view the companies.“Capitalism is a ...
Tags: Deals, Career, Startups, Uber, Jobs, Boston, Massachusetts, Trends, Social Media, Linkedin, Tech, Walmart, Vc, Venture Capital, Cambridge, Houston


Early-Stage VC Firm Sorenson Ventures Closes Inaugural Fund at $110M

Sorenson Ventures, an offshoot of Utah private equity firm Sorenson Capital, announced today it has closed its first fund with more than $110 million to invest in early-stage security and enterprise software companies.The young venture capital firm was formed in 2017 by Sorenson Capital, which recruited former Intel Capital executive Ken Elefant as managing director. Elefant shares leadership of the VC spinout with Sorenson Capital’s managing director Rob Rueckert. The pairing was a reunion for...
Tags: Startups, Utah, Entrepreneurship, Funding, San Francisco, Trends, Tech, Cybersecurity, Vc, Venture Capital, Machine Learning, Silicon Valley, Financing, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Investor, Intel Capital


Blackstone, Novartis Start Up Anthos With $250M and a Heart Drug

Blackstone Life Sciences, the biopharma investing arm of private equity firm Blackstone Group, has made its first strike. It has joined with Novartis (NYSE: NVS) to start a new biotech, Anthos Therapeutics, backed with $250 million in cash and rights to an experimental drug originally discovered by the Swiss firm.The Cambridge, MA, startup, Anthos Therapeutics, will use the investment to advance MAA868, a Novartis antibody drug that is meant to treat blood clots by targeting two clotting protei...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Boston, Trends, Vc, Novartis, Biotech, Life Sciences, Blackstone Group, Cambridge MA, National blog main, New York blog main, New York top stories, Boston blog main, National top stories, San Francisco blog main


Oyster Point Gets $93M To Clear Up Dry Eye With a Nasal Spray

Dry eye disease affects millions of people in the U.S., and while several treatments, mostly eye drops, are available, they all have flaws. An emerging startup called Oyster Point Pharmaceuticals is trying a completely different approach—a nasal spray that coaxes the body into making tears. And the company just got enough cash to get that treatment to market, if its final clinical tests are a success.Oyster Point, a Princeton, NJ startup led by former Ophthotech (NASDAQ: OPHT) executive Jeffrey...
Tags: Deals, Startups, New York, Trends, Vc, Allergan, Shire, New Enterprise Associates, Life Sciences, Ophthotech, Princeton NJ, Versant Ventures, National blog main, New York blog main, New York top stories, Seattle blog main