Category: New York

June 11, 2019 Off

Uber and AT&T team up for always-on connectivity for Uber Copter and Uber Air

By Jill T Frey

Uber is partnering with mobile network operator AT&T on the always-on connectivity it’ll require for its aerial transportation service network. The on-demand mobility company announced the team-up at its annual Elevate Summit, which brings together a number of key players working toward making affordable, accessible in-city aerial transit a reality.

Uber said that it’s already working with AT&T on the network it’ll use for Uber Copter, the Manhattan-to-JFK helicopter-based service that it’s launching in New York in July. The service is promising connection with ground transportation at both ends, and it’s also anticipating travel times and working backwards to provide transportation on-demand as needed to get passengers to their destination at the time they request. So, for instance, Uber Copter customers could say they need to be at JFK by 5 PM and the app will figure out when they need to get a car to get to the … Read the rest

June 4, 2019 Off

VCs bet $12M on Troops, a Slackbot for sales teams

By Jill T Frey

Slack wants to be the new operating system for teams, something it has made clear on more than one occasion, including in its recent S-1 filing. To accomplish that goal, it put together an in-house $80 million venture fund in 2015 to invest in third-party developers building on top of its platform.

Weeks ahead of its direct listing on The New York Stock Exchange, it continues to put that money to work.

Troops is the latest to land additional capital from the enterprise giant. The New York-based startup helps sales teams communicate with a customer relationship management tool plugged directly into Slack. In short, it automates routine sales management activities and creates visibility into important deals through integrations with employee emails and Salesforce.

Troops founder and chief executive officer Dan Reich, who previously co-founded TULA Skincare, told TechCrunch he opted to build a Slackbot rather than create an independent … Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

Fitness startup Mirror nears $300M valuation with fresh funding

By Jill T Frey

Today, Peloton is a bonafide success. The company, which sells $2,245 internet-connected exercise bikes, boasts a $4 billion valuation and a cult following.

That hasn’t always been the case. For years, Peloton battled for venture capital investment and struggled to attract buyers. Now that it’s proven the market for tech-enabled home exercise equipment and affiliated subscription products, a whole bunch of startups are chasing down the same customer segment.

Mirror, a New York-based company that sells $1,495 full-length mirrors that double as interactive home gyms, is closing in a round of funding expected to reach $36 million, sources and Delaware stock filings confirm, at a valuation just under $300 million. It’s unclear who has signed on to lead the round; we’ve heard a number of high-profile firms looked at Mirror’s books and passed. The company has previously raised a total of $38 million from Spark Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer … Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

PropTech startup Kodit.io raises $13M to automate house buying and selling

By Jill T Frey

As anyone who has ever tried to buy or sell a home knows, the entire process can be the most stressful of one’s life. Traditional real estate agents rarely make the process any less stressful, leaving the industry ripe for disruption by tech companies which can automate many of the existing processes.

Startups like Offerpad in the US have done just this by becoming an on-demand, tech-enabled direct home buyer and seller, and raising as much as $155M in VC to achieve this. The market in Europe is less well developed, which is why it’s clearly interesting that Kodit.io, a Finnish Proptech company that gives homeowners a “stress-free way to quickly sell their homes for a fair price”, has announced the close of a €12M ($13.4M) venture round to fund expansion in Europe.

Investors include New York-based FJ Labs, Austrian Speedinvest and Spanish All Iron Ventures, as well as … Read the rest

May 30, 2019 Off

Using augmented reality, Altoida is identifying the likely onset of neurodegenerative diseases

By Jill T Frey

For the past nineteen years, Ioannis Tarnanas, the founder and chief scientific officer at Altoida, has been developing virtual and augmented reality tools to offer predictions about the onset of mental illness in older patients.

The company, whose tools have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for predicting Alzheimer’s, claims that it can determine whether someone will present with the disease six-to-ten years before the onset of mild cognitive impairment symptoms with a 94% accuracy.

In 2019, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the U.S. nearly $290 billion and that figure could rise as high as $1.1 trillion by 2050, according to Altoida.

The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is rapidly growing. In 2019 alone, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will cost the nation $290 billion. By 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion, but Altoida says that these costs can be … Read the rest

May 29, 2019 Off

China’s used car marketplace Uxin to raise $230M via convertible notes

By Jill T Frey

Uxin, a Chinese second-hand car dealer with Leonardo DiCaprio as its latest brand ambassador, is tipped to get a bag of new funding less than a year after it raised $225 million from its public offering on the Nasdaq.

The company announced on Wednesday that it’s selling $230 million worth of convertible notes to 58.com — China’s answer to Craigslist, Warburg Pincus, TPG and other investors. The fresh proceeds will go towards strengthening its cross-regional car transactions, a new area of focus for the firm.

The notes, due in June, convert to Uxin’s Class A ordinary shares at a price of $1.03 per share or $3.09 per ADS. Upon closing the deal, each of 58.com, Warburg Pincus and TPG will obtain the right to nominate one board director to Uxin.

Uxin was trading at $2.46 at the end of Tuesday, a 74 percent decline from its recent peak in … Read the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

MyndYou partners with Mizuho to expand senior care services assessing cognitive degeneration

By Jill T Frey

MyndYou, which has developed a technology to assess cognitive degeneration in senior citizens, has partnered with the Japanese company Mizuho Information & Research Institute to test the company’s product for a potential nationwide rollout later in 2019. 

Starting with five cities in Japan over the course of May, MyndYou’s technology will be deployed in homes around Japan to provide remote care and analyze for changes in cognitive function.

The company has a downloadable app that passively tracks movement and monitors conversations for any signs of diminishing brain function.

“What we market today is anomaly detection and this allows us to go into the market without detecting specific anomalies,” says Ruth Poliakine, the company’s chief executive and co-founder. “As we grow and progress we see this going into more specific conditions and early conditions… first we have senior adults getting service.”

MyndYou says it already has over ten occupational therapists … Read the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

SoundCloud buys artist distribution platform Repost Network

By Jill T Frey

The past year has seen Spotify embark on a series of acquisitions to beef up its service, particularly on podcast content. Now it is the turn of SoundCloud, another European music startup — albeit one that had lost its way in recent years — to go deal-making: the Berlin-based company has picked up Repost Network, a service that helps artists get the most out of SoundCloud.

The deal is undisclosed and it actually was announced last week, although it was not widely reported — perhaps an anecdotal sign of SoundCloud’s position as a relative outsider in today’s streaming market.

Once a pioneer of online distribution for artists, it has watched Sweden-headquartered Spotify takes its service global with a total audience of over 200 million monthly listeners. The competition includes services from Apple and Google as well as the likes of Pandora, Deezer and Jay-Z-owned Tidal.

Soundcloud had its … 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 23, 2019 Off

Using full-body MRIs, Ezra can now detect 11 cancers in men and 13 in women

By Jill T Frey

When Ezra first launched about six months ago, the company was using magnetic resonance imaging machines to test for prostate cancer in men.

But the company’s founder, Emi Gal, always had a larger goal.

“One of the biggest problems in cancer is that there’s no accurate, fast, painless way to scan for cancer anywhere in the body,” Gal said at the time of his company’s debut.

Now he’s several steps closer to a solution. Rather than having to do painful biopsies, which often come with significant side effects, Gal’s software can now be used to slash the cost for a full-body MRI scan designed to screen for 11 different types of cancer in men and another 13 types of cancer in women (who have more organs that are likely to develop cancer).

The scans take about an hour … Read the rest