Convoy, an on-demand trucking application, raises $185 million in funding round

Convoy’s total funds raised is $265 million, valuing the company at $1 billion. CapitalG led the latest funding round.

  • Greylock Partners had led Convoy’s Series A funding round in 2015. Y Combinator also led a round that raised $62 million last year.
  • Convoy connects truckers with people who need fright moved. Convoy hopes to expand nationally in the US and offer more than just fright matching.
  • “Trucks run empty 40% of the time, and they often sit idle due to inefficient scheduling,” said CEO Dan Lewis in a statement. “This is a drag on the economy, the environment, and the bottom lines of shippers and carriers alike.”
Clippings, a London based interior design startup, has raised $15.4 million in its Series B funding round

Clippings’ Series B funding round was led by Advance Venture Partners with participation from previous investor C4Ventures.

  • Clipping hopes to expand into the US. There are 50,000 people who use the service, according to Clipping.
  • “We’ve built software that enables full management of an interior project, offer a layer of service and logistics so that when you do buy, we manage it all for you vs Eporta where it’s fully self-serve,” said co-founder and CEO Adel Zakout.
  • The industry is estimated to be worth 9.6 billion EUR in Europe, while the in the US it is estimated to be $120 billion.
Twitter announces user's direct messages may have been exposed to third-party developers

Twitter has reported a bug in its software that sent user’s direct messages to third-party developers. They reported the issue has been “persisted since May 2017.”

  • The bug has been corrected and Twitter is investigating if any of the third-party developers used that data for unauthorized purposes.
  • Twitter said in the statement they believe that messages sent to brand accounts were the only messages that were affected.
  • The bug effected less then one percent of Twitter users. Twitter has a user base of 335 million people, according to its latest earnings release.
Farfetch, a luxury fashion marketplace, opens on the New York Stock Exchange at $27

Farfetch announced Thursday that it priced its IPO at $20 a share hoping to raise $885 million in funding by selling 44,243,749 Class A shares. The company’s market cap is $5.8 billion.

  • Farfetch has hit a high of $30.58 a share. They started their business focusing on fashion houses and boutiques who didn’t have an online presence.
  • The luxury goods market was worth about $307 billion in 2017 is expected to reach $446 billion by 2025.
  • “Farfetch is the leading technology platform for the global luxury fashion industry,” said Farfetch. “We operate the only truly global luxury digital marketplace at scale, seamlessly connecting brands, retailers and consumers. We are redefining how fashion is bought and sold through technology, data, and innovation.”
US Security and Exchange Commission to go after ICOs who don't fulfill proper registration requirements

The announcement was made by SEC co-director of enforcement Stephanie Avakian in a speech made on September 20th.

  • Avarkian said that while she believes the blockchain technology might have some uses, cryptocurrencies are “high-risk” investments that are susceptible to fraud.
  • The SEC has released public statements warning investors of the risk of ICOs. They believe investors excitement about the potential of ICOs could overshadow the risk associated with these types of investment.
  • The SEC states that it just wants to “affirm valid ways to raise money” for ICOs that legally protect investors. Last November, the SEC released a noticed highlighting efforts by ICOs using celebrity endorsements.
Cleo, a mobile banking digital assistant, raises $10 million in Series A funding round

The Series A funding round was led by Balderton follows Cleo’s expansion into the US this year, gaining 350,000 US users.

  • Cleo’s AI-powered chatbot monitors your accounts and spending, tracking it by transactions, category, or merchant.
  • CEO Barney Hussey-Yeo hopes to use the funds to further expand the company internationally. Cleo has previously received investments from Entrepreneur First and LocalGlobe.
  • Cleo has about 600,000 users throughout the US, Canada, and the UK.
AdGuard, an ad-blocking service, resets all user passwords following credential stuffing attack

AdGuard reported “continuous attempts to log in to AdGuard accounts from suspicious IP addresses which belong to various servers across the globe.”

  • AdGuard said that the attacks were unsuccessful because of limits to the number of times someone can try to login to an accounting using different passwords.
  • “As a precautionary measure, we have reset passwords to all AdGuard accounts,” said AdGuard co-founder and CTO Andrey Meshkov.
  • AdGuard plans to add two-factor authentication and has implemented stricter password requirements. The company has over 5 million users.
California's Fair Political Practices Commission announces ban on cryptocurrency donations to candidates

While candidates are barred from receiving donations in cryptocurrencies, the Federal Elections Commission allows “in-kind” donations to political action committees and political campaigns.

  • “A committee can receive bitcoins as contributions,” according to FEC guidelines. “Bitcoins may be received into and held in a bitcoin wallet until the committee liquidates them.”
  • The vote took place Thursday and was 3-to-1 in favor of the ban. Tracking the origin of the donations was cited as a major factor for the decision.
  • Other states have made rules concerning donations in cryptocurrencies. North Carolina has banned campaign donations in cryptocurrency while Colorado has allowed them with limits.

 

Amazon and partner Samara Capital acquire More to begin push into India's physical retail space

Amazon and Samara Capital created Witzig Advisory Services Private Limited to hold the ownership stake through a reported $585 million deal.

  • More a supermarket chain based in India will help Amazon enter the physical space in the country, recently dominated by US competitor Walmart.
  • Amazon’s announcement comes after the acquisition of Tapzo, a payment service that operates in India.
  • Walmart recently brought Flipkart, an India based e-commerce market,  for $17 billion earlier this year.  PWC reports Flipkart could grow to $150 billion by 2022.
Twitch, a service that streams games, blocked in China

China has blocked the Twitch game streaming service since September 20th. Twitch was recently widely used in China to watch eSports matches during the Asian Games held in Jakarta.

  • State-run media in China did not broadcast the eSports games, so users were forced to use the Twitch service.
  • China has not released an official statement on the block, but China is notorious for censoring web content in the past.
  • It has been speculated that the block was a preemptive attempt by the Chinese government to censor popular Western media before the broadcasting of controversial content.
Eight Roads Ventures announces focus on Southeast Asia

Eight Roads Ventures, an investment department within the financial firm Fidelity International, has recently announced plans to expand investments in Southeast Asia.

  • The investment group announced that it will be focusing on startups in the technology, health, consumer, and financial services spaces. They are looking to focus on companies that are in Series B, Series C, and Series D funding rounds.
  • Eight Roads Ventures has already invested in three companies in Southeast Asia, Akulaku, Eywa Pharma, and Silot. They have also opened offices in Singapore.
  • “Southeast Asia has several early-stage and late-stage funds that cater well to the start-ups and more mature companies,” said Eight Roads Ventures managing partner for Asia Raj Dugar. “The growth-stage companies, looking at raising Series B/C/D rounds have had limited access to capital given the lack of global funds operating in the region.”
uBiome, an online health screening company, receives $83 million in Series C funding round

uBiome, based in San Francisco, started out offering a test of user’s gut health for the proper bacteria needed for healthy digestion but has since expanded to offer other health screenings for its users.

  • uBiome will use the funds on expanding into drug discovery, moving its therapeutics unit to Cambridge, Massachusetts and announcing former Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez to their board of directors.
  • The Series C funding round was led by OS Fund and saw participation from 8VC, Y Combinator, Dentsu Ventures, and others. uBiome has raised a total of $105 million in funding.
  • “This financing allows us to expand our product portfolio, increase our focus on patent assets and further raise our clinical profile, especially as we begin to focus on commercialization of drug discovery and development of our patent assets,” said founder Jessica Richman.

 

Adobe, known for its Creative Cloud software, purchases Marketo for $4.75 billion

Adobe hopes to close the deal by their fourth quarter.  The deal sets Adobe up to compete in the enterprise marketing space with companies like Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP.

  • With the acquisition of Magento in May, Adobe will have both the marketing and e-commerce capacity to move further into the enterprise marketing industry.
  • Adobe has enjoyed record profits this quarter, reporting earnings of $2.29 billion for the third quarter. Adobe is expected to earn $10 billion this year. A majority of their income comes from their Creative Cloud software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
  • Stock prices in Adobe have increased from $149.96 last year to $266.05.
Amazon announces new Alexa devices at hardware event

Amazon has released details on its new line of Alexa products, including new versions of the Echo device, an amp, camera, a clock, and a microwave.

  • The Echo Dot will see its price tag reduced to $50 a device. The speaker is 75 percent more powerful.
  • Amazon also released details for the Echo Auto, a $50 device that can be placed on a user’s dashboard for hands-free voice controls while driving.
  • The Fire TV Recast, retailing at $230, will provide live-recording TV while connecting to all your devices to cast the programs.
Eventbrite, a ticketing service, debuts on the New York Stock Exchange at $23 and shots up almost 50 percent to $37

Eventbrite stocks went up to $37 on its debut, with the company reaching a valuation of nearly $3 billion.

  • Eventbrite had set out for a $1.8 billion valuation when it set terms for its public offering.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported that up to July of this year, 120 companies have raised $35.2 billion on US exchanges.
  • Experts believe that the increased investment this year is due to a market that is filled with private equity, sovereign wealth, and late-stage dollars.
Delta announces it will start to scan faces at airport check-in

Later this year, Delta Airlines will be implementing facial recognition at its Atlanta International Airport terminals.

  • The biometric facial scan is optional and will help passengers to save a few minutes when boarding a flight. It hopes to run trials at New York’s John F. Kennedy and Detroit Metropolitan airports.
  • Customs and Border Protection uses facial recognition data to combat visitors overstaying their visas, but the move brings up privacy concerns for consumers.
  • The biometric data collected by Delta is stored by the US government for two weeks. Exit records of citizens and green card holders are held for 15 years and non-immigrant visitors can be held for 75 years.
Cluep, an adtech startup, brought for $40 million by Impact Group

Cluep, a Canadian adtech startup, recently raised less than $500,000 from angel investors before the sale.

  • The digital advertising platform uses AI to help brands connect with people based on their interest, where they have visited, or how they are feeling.
  • “No one wanted to give us money at that time so we had to live off of my student loans,” said co-founder Karan Walia. “We did pretty much everything, whether it was programming and building the product, or going out and selling. I was our first sales rep and I was pretty bad early on but I learned.”
  • Cluep raised enough money to pay the founder’s salary, hire some engineers and sales representatives, and find some office space. Revenue has increased from $2 million CAD in 2015 to be on track to reach $30 million CAD in 2018.
Walmart, the retail chain, announces it will train it's employees in VR

Walmart, a US-based retail store, is planning on equipping its stores nationwide with 17,000 Oculus Go headsets to train employees.

  • Walmart is working with Strivr Labs to us VR technology to train store employees.
  • “Walmart was one of the first companies to benefit from VR’s ability to enrich employee education, and its applications will only grow from here,” said Oculus business partnerships head Andy Mathis. “What makes it so compelling is that costly, difficult, or otherwise impossible scenarios and simulations become not only possible but immediately within reach.”
  • “VR affords the chance for simulation-based, experiential learning that 2D methods simply cannot achieve. It’s awesome to see how fast this relationship has moved and is a testament to Walmart‘s willingness to push the envelope in everything they do,” said Strivr Lacs CEO Derek Belch.
Lime, a bike and scooter service, has recorded 11.5 million rides

Lime, a bike and scooter company that operates in the US and Europe, has announced that it has recorded 11.5 million rides through its service since deploying its first bike in 2017.

  • Lime currently operates in over 100 markets in the US and Europe. The company plans to open up in 50 additional cities by the end of the year.
  • Lime’s Juicer program, a scheme in which anyone can make additional money from charging scooters overnight, has paid out millions of dollars.
  • In its latest funding round, that was led by GV and saw participation from Uber, Lime was able to raise $335 million, bringing its total funds raised to $467 million.
Facebook Dating launches today in Colombia

Colombia has been chosen to test the dating feature, which uses an algorithm to create suggested romantic matches based on the data Facebook has collected on its users.

  • When it fully launches in a users country, an invitation to try Facebook Dating will show up at the top of their News Feed. Facebook will also add a shortcut to their bookmarks menu.
  • “We wanted to make a product that encouraged people to remember that there are people behind the profiles and the cards that they’re seeing,” said Facebook Dating’s product manager Nathan Sharp. “We wanted a system that emphasizes consideration over impulse. We want you to consider more than that person’s profile photo.”
  • Facebook Dating is currently only available through Facebook’s mobile apps. It is only being released in Colombia for now.