Category: Germany

June 3, 2019 Off

Key Vision Fund investors are reportedly lukewarm on a second fund

By Jill T Frey

SoftBank shook up the venture capital world with its unprecedented $100 billion Vision Fund, and the speculation continues around its follow-up.

The fund hasn’t quite closed $100 billion — it is mighty close… — but that hasn’t stopped reports of a sequel from surfacing for the last 18 months. SoftBank has mown through its allocation at speed, dealmaking increased to a record speed in Q1 despite controversy while its hiring has intensified, but the latest chatter suggests that a number of the fund’s key backers are lukewarm at the prospect of a return act.

The Wall Street Journal this weekend reported that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which anchored the Vision Fund with a $45 billion investment (but also provides the controversy), and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board are among those that “plan to make limited or no contributions” to the follow-up vehicle.

Sources told the … Read the rest

May 30, 2019 Off

Audi works with Fleetonomy to monitor and manage fleet utilization for its on-demand program

By Jill T Frey

Audi just completed a trial with Israeli company Fleetonomy as part of a potential wider rollout of the Israeli company’s fleet monitoring and management services designed to improve utilization.

Using Fleetonomy’s tools that provide predictive analytics of fleet utilization, Audi was able to improve the overall efficiency and utilization of its on-demand services.

“Audi has always aspired to provide a great experience by advancing through innovation and technology. By taking an innovative multi-service approach, Fleetonomy’s platform showed great success in improving fleet efficiency while simultaneously reducing costs associated with utilization and operation according to fleet constraints,” said Nils Noack, Mobility Strategy, Audi Business Innovation GmbH. “We’re looking forward to exploring further the opportunity to leverage Fleetonomy’s AI-based fleet management platforms and to pushing Audi’s vision of innovative mobility services.”

Car companies around the world are rolling out on-demand or rental programs for their fleets as a way to replace traditional … Read the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

The all-electric Honda e is bringing its side view mirrors inside

By Jill T Frey

Honda e, the compact electric vehicle that’s coming to market in spring 2020, is bringing its side-view mirrors inside. The company confirmed Tuesday that its side-camera-mirror system, which was on the prototype version, will be a standard feature when the car enters production. 

The side-camera-mirror system includes two six-inch screens, situated on the left and right sides of the dashboard, that provide live images of traffic. Honda argues that the tech reduces aerodynamic drag by 90% compared to conventional door mirrors, for an overall 3.8% improvement for the entire vehicle. This, in turn, can help with the battery’s efficiency and range.

The mirrors also improve visibility, Honda says, adding that the camera unit housings are shaped to prevent water drops on the lens. The lens also has a water-repellent coating to prevent residual water build up.

You can check out how it works in the video below.

The driver can … Read the rest

May 24, 2019 Off

Nigeria’s Gokada raises $5.3M round for its motorcycle ride-hail biz

By Jill T Frey

In many large cities across Africa, motorcycle taxis are as common as yellow cabs in New York.

That includes Lagos, Nigeria, where ride-hail startup Gokada has raised a $5.3 million Series A round to grow its two-wheel transit business.

Gokada has trained and on-boarded more than 1,000 motorcycles and their pilots on its app that connects commuters to moto-taxis and the company’s signature green, DOT– approved helmets.

The startup has completed nearly 1 million rides since it was co-founded in 2018 by Fahim Saleh — a Bangladeshi entrepreneur who previously founded and exited Pathao, a motorcycle, bicycle and car transportation company.

For Gokada’s Series A, Rise Capital led the investment, joined by Adventure Capital, IC Global Partners and Illinois-based First MidWest Group. Coinciding with the round, Nigerian investor and Jobberman founder Ayodeji Adewunmi will join Gokada as co-CEO.

Gokada will use the financing to increase its … Read the rest

May 22, 2019 Off

Facebook found hosting masses of far right EU disinformation networks

By Jill T Frey

A multi-month hunt for political disinformation spreading on Facebook in Europe suggests there are concerted efforts to use the platform to spread bogus far right propaganda to millions of voters ahead of a key EU vote which kicks off tomorrow.

Following the independent investigation, Facebook has taken down a total of 77 pages and 230 accounts from Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain and Poland — which had been followed by an estimated 32 million people and generated 67 million ‘interactions’ (i.e. comments, likes, shares) in the last three months alone.

The bogus mainly far-right disinformation networks were not identified by Facebook — but had been reported to it by campaign group Avaaz — which says the fake pages had more Facebook followers and interactions than all the main EU far right and anti-EU parties combined.

“The results are overwhelming: the disinformation networks upon which Facebook acted had more interactions (13

Read the rest
May 21, 2019 Off

Seraphim Space Camp launches its latest mission, with 7 SpaceTech startups

By Jill T Frey

U.K. space accelerator Seraphim Space Camp appeared last year as the first ever UK SpaceTech accelerator and being, frankly, the only accelerator of its type, it has quickly shored-up a number of partnership links and hoovered up many of the startups in the… space.

As is traditional with accelerators, it’s unveiled its latest cohort of startups.

The “Mission 3” accelerator programme, consists of seven new startups and will be a nine-week programme, culminating in an Investor Day. The first two cohorts (16 companies) have, says Seraphim, now collectively raised or had offers of around £20m in private investment and grants over the last nine months and have created 58 job opportunities since completing the programme.

The initiative has a number of high profile partners such as MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Lab (Dstl), unmanned aircraft systems company AeroVironment, ground station services provider Kongsberg Satellite Services and leading satellite provided Eutelsat. … Read the rest

May 17, 2019 Off

Amazon leads $575M investment in Deliveroo

By Jill T Frey

Amazon is taking a slice of Europe’s food delivery market after the U.S. e-commerce giant led a $575 million investment in Deliveroo .

First reported by Sky yesterday, the Series G round was confirmed in an early U.K. morning announcement from Deliveroo, which said that existing backers, including T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Management and Research Company and Greenoaks also took part. The deal takes Deliveroo to just over $1.5 billion raised to date. The company was valued at more than $2 billion following its previous raise in late 2017, although no updated valuation was provided today.

London-based Deliveroo operates in 14 countries, including the U.K., France, Germany and Spain, and — outside of Europe — Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and the UAE. Across those markets, it claims it works with 80,000 restaurants with a fleet of 60,000 delivery people and 2,500 permanent employees.

It isn’t immediately clear how Amazon … Read the rest

May 10, 2019 Off

Meet Bobbie, a baby formula delivery startup promising healthier ingredients

By Jill T Frey

Don’t like the idea of your baby guzzling down liquid candy all day? It may surprise you to find corn syrup is the main ingredient in most infant formulas in the U.S. That’s where Bobbie, a Bay Area-based baby formula delivery startup promising only wholesome ingredients, hopes to fill in.

Just go down the baby food aisle of any supermarket in America and start reading the ingredients and you’ll likely find corn syrup, soy bean oil, glucose syrup, maltodextrin and palm oil at the top. Even “organic” options often add these ingredients.

While it’s high-fructose corn syrup we should be most concerned with when it comes to diabetes (and some doctors might even recommend adding some sort of syrup to your baby’s diet to combat constipation), corn syrup is not something some parents may want their baby drinking all day.

Touting itself as “European” style, Bobbie’s first product features … Read the rest

May 9, 2019 Off

VW’s new electric hatchback receives 10,000 pre-orders in first 24 hours

By Jill T Frey

Volkswagen opened up pre-orders in Europe at a launch event Wednesday for a special edition of the first model in its new all-electric ID brand. Within 24 hours, the company received more than 10,000 registrations, a result that suggests growing demand for electric vehicles.

VW revealed Wednesday the name, some pricing and range specs for the first model in its multi-billion-dollar effort to produce and sell a portfolio of electric vehicles. This first model, known as the ID.3, is an electric hatchback that will be offered in three battery options, with ranges between 330 and up to 550 kilometers (205 miles to 341 miles) in accordance with WLTP. The WLTP, or Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, is the European standard to measure energy consumption and emissions.

Customer interest in the special edition “ID.3 1” — which will be limited to 30,000 vehicles — is “significantly exceeding the brand’s expectations, … Read the rest

May 2, 2019 Off

Africa Roundup: Jumia’s IPO, DHL launches Africa e-Shop, Cathay’s $168M VC fund, ConnectMed acquired

By Jill T Frey

The biggest news in a month of weighty African headlines was Jumia listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

After filing SEC IPO docs in March, the Pan-African e-commerce company’s shares began trading on the NYSE April 12, opening at $14.50 under ticker symbol JMIA. Jumia stock rose north of 70 percent on its first day of trading and started this week at $46.

With the public listing, Jumia became the first startup from Africa to list on a major global exchange. The IPO raised over $200 million for the internet venture.

The listing created another milestone for Jumia.  In 2016 the company became the first African startup unicorn, achieving a $1 billion valuation after a funding round that included Goldman Sachs and MTN.

Founded in Lagos in 2012 with Rocket Internet backing, Jumia now operates multiple online verticals in 14 African countries—from consumer retail to travel bookings.… Read the rest