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Nourish Ingredients Raise $28.6M to Make Animal-Free Fats For The Next Generation Of Tastier Alternative Proteins
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA —WED OCT 12, 2022 — Nourish Ingredients, a food tech company creating animal-free specialty fats using synthetic biology, has raised a $28.6M USD Series A funding round.
Through science and their process of precision fermentation, Nourish has made a significant breakthrough in the taste and experience of alternative proteins. Nourish builds real animal fats that make alternative proteins cook, smell and taste as delicious as the real thing, but animal free. Their fats are set to make a transformative impact and are key to creating a smarter, more sustainable, more diverse food system. The funding round was led by Horizons Ventures and supported by Main Sequence Ventures and Hostplus.*
Nourish zeroed in on the differences between plant and animal foods to identify the most potent fats and oils missing in the alternative protein space; the ingredients that make Wagyu steak so special, and ice-cream so irresistible. The team at Nourish then engineered proprietary precision fermentation strains that can manufacture these potent fat molecules at scale and give alternative proteins a true animal-like taste and experience.
“The first generation of alternative proteins made waves, mostly with vegans and vegetarians, but they didn’t convert carnivores into return customers. By overlooking fats, the market has missed the most essential element to the taste experience. That’s where Nourish comes in. We’re not just mimicking meat – we’re creating animal ingredients but from an animal-free source. This creates an experience that can compare to the deliciousness of the real thing, and even go way beyond it.”, says James Petrie, Co-founder and CEO at Nourish Ingredients.
Nourish was founded by scientists and entrepreneurs, Dr. James Petrie and Dr. Benjamin Leita in Canberra, Australia, who have the shared belief that taste is the most critical challenge for the alternative protein sector, and alt-protein foods must win the hearts and taste-buds of even the most devout lovers of meat and dairy for the sector to truly tap into the mainstream. Imagine the texture of a juicy roast chicken or the aroma of a succulent beef burger but from plant-based meat. Nourish fats make a transformative impact on alternative proteins.
“The perfecting of alternative animal fats will deliver a quantum leap in the taste and experience of alternative protein products. Nourish, with their science-led approach, are able to produce at scale, tailor made non animal derived fats and oils that can match our expectations in taste and mouth feel.”, says Chris Liu of Horizons Ventures.
Nourish will use the funding round to scale production and extend product development. “Feedback from our alt-protein food partners has been very positive. Nourish’s products have a transformative impact on their products – they haven’t tasted anything like it before. Our main challenge is to scale fast enough to meet their expectations but we are also deeply invested in pushing the boundaries of alt-protein taste and experience into new spaces”, says Petrie.
As part of scaling and expanding R&D, Nourish has alliances with a number of leading universities from across the globe who are world-class in the fields of synthetic biology and precision fermentation. These world class institutions include The University of California Riverside (UCR), Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, University of Nottingham UK, and Deakin University. Nourish is also partnering with The University of Queensland to accelerate the production of next generation foods in Australia. Partnerships like this build on the continued internal expansion of Nourish’s R&D capabilities, further strengthens their IP position, and fast-tracks their product development of unique fat solutions for the alternative protein space.
Nourish aims to take its first product, fats that provide a meaty aroma and taste, to market in 2023 through deep partnerships with global food companies. Expect to see Nourish Ingredients in alternative protein product lines and specialty foods.
About Nourish Ingredients:
Nourish is a food tech company using synthetic biology to create animal-free fats for the next generation of alternative proteins. Nourish fats transform alternative proteins to cook, smell and taste like the real thing. Backed by top tier investors including Horizons Ventures and Main Sequence Ventures, Nourish Ingredients’ fats are key to creating a smarter, more sustainable, and more diverse food system. https://nourishing.io/
Horizons Ventures was co-founded by Solina Chau and Debbie Chang in 2005. It is known for backing era-defining companies making lasting and positive impact in the world. Amongst its string of notable early stage investments are Zoom, Impossible Foods, Perfect Day, Spotify, Siri and DeepMind, reflecting Horizons Ventures’ methodical long-term investment approach.
Main Sequence Ventures
Main Sequence is tackling the world’s biggest challenges by turning today’s scientific discoveries into tomorrow’s industries. It works closely with scientists, researchers and industry collaborators to create, fund and accelerate new companies and industries across health, food, space, transport, security and deep tech to accelerate humanity for a more prosperous future.
Founded in Australia in 2017, Main Sequence manages the CSIRO Innovation Fund, founded by the Australian Government and the national science agency to reinvest its historic contributions into the successes of the future. Main Sequence’s Fund I and Fund II have invested in 42 companies that are changing the way healthcare is delivered, food is produced, spaces are connected and more.
Hostplus has grown to be one of the largest industry super funds in Australia. With 1.6 million members, more than 275,000 employers and $88 billion in funds under management, our scale and ongoing growth allows for low member costs and a broad range of investment opportunities.
Media enquiries: Daire Hickey, 150 Bond, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 646 589 2026
• Co-led by Horizons Ventures and OurCrowd, new funding enables SaNOtize to invest in
its ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial for COVID-19 prevention and enhance clinical
development of its other nitric oxide-based therapeutics
• SaNOtize’s Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONSTM) has been clinically shown to treat COVID-
19 in high-risk adult patients and to prevent infections when used immediately after
known exposure to SARS-CoV-2
• NONS is currently authorized for use in countries throughout Europe, the Middle East,
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, August 24, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SaNOtize Research & Development
Corp., (“SaNOtize”), a Canadian anti-infective-focused therapeutics company, today announced an
oversubscribed $24 million Series B funding to advance its nitric oxide-based therapeutics pipeline. The
lead treatment in the pipeline is the company’s nitric oxide nasal spray (NONSTM), shown in clinical
studies to treat and prevent COVID-19 infection, including a recent Phase 3 study published in The
Lancet Regional Health Southeast Asia. The new funding round was co-led by Horizons Ventures and
OurCrowd, with participation from ABC International, and enables SaNOtize to
expand its research program, including its ongoing global Phase 3 NONS prevention clinical study with
plans to recruit up to 3,000 participants in Canada and Sri Lanka.
“We are thrilled to embark on these new partnerships, as they empower SaNOtize to accelerate its
research program in various therapeutic fields and expand our Phase 3 NONS COVID-19 trial to
additional countries,” said Gilly Regev, PhD, SaNOtize Co-Founder and CEO. “Our clinical and
observational studies found NONS to be safe and effective at both treating and preventing COVID-19,
even amid delta and omicron surges. We look forward to expanding our clinical research and working
toward regulatory approval in the United States and Canada.”
In SaNOtize’s clinical studies, NONS has been shown to rapidly reduce viral load in those with COVID-19
and decrease the risk of infection after known exposure. In a recent Phase 3 study, NONS shortened the
time to negative PCR and demonstrated a reduction in SARS-CoV-2 viral burden in high-risk COVID-19
patients by 94% and 99% within 24 and 48 hours of treatment, respectively. Similar results were found
in an earlier Phase 2 trial (95% reduction of viral RNA in 24 hours and 99% in 72 hours). As a preventive
measure, those using NONS after a high-risk close contact exposure to COVID-19 were 75% less likely to
become infected when compared to a control group, shown in an observational study.
“We are excited about SaNOtize’s Nitric Oxide Releasing Solution platform technology (NORSTM), bringing
about highly affordable and effective treatment and prevention to a range of bothersome upper
respiratory and topical infections, bettering health and wellness with an impactful option,” said Frances
Kang, Portfolio Curator, Horizons Ventures, who was recently appointed to the SaNOtize board of
SaNOtize was founded in 2017 by Dr. Regev and Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder, Chris Miller,
PhD to leverage the antimicrobial properties of nitric oxide (NO), a naturally occurring molecule known
to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. The company developed proprietary
technology, NORS, to deliver NO at an effective dose across multiple therapeutic applications, including
sprays, baths, lavages, gels, and creams. As demonstrated by other pharmaceutical companies, the nitric
oxide gas molecule when inhaled is effective across multiple applications, including in newborns with
pulmonary hypertension (blue baby syndrome). Research over the years continues to demonstrate a
strong safety profile.
“We are delighted to participate in this important funding round for SaNOtize, whose breakthrough
antiviral nasal spray continues to gain traction globally as the clinical results mount and NONS gains
regulatory approval in more countries, as it is here in Israel,” said OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved. “Almost
every week a colleague or collaborator in the field brings up the significant global unmet need and we
acknowledge together the potential NONS has in protecting communities across the world from COVID-
NONS is currently sold as a medical device under the brand name VirXTM in Thailand, Hong Kong, and
Singapore and as a medical device under the brand name of enovidTM in Indonesia, Israel, and Bahrain. In
India, NONS received an emergency use approval by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization
(CDSCO) for treatment of adult patients with COVID-19 who have a risk of progression of the disease. It
is registered as a Class I medical device and under CE mark in the European Union. While NONS is not
yet approved for sale in Canada or USA, SaNOtize is in discussions with regulatory authorities in both
SaNOtize Research & Development Corp. is a pharmaceutical company based in Vancouver, BC,
commercializing the multi-faceted antimicrobial properties of a liquid producing nitric oxide. The
company has developed and patented a Nitric Oxide Releasing Solution platform technology (NORSTM) to
treat and prevent upper respiratory and topical infections. For more information,
visit www.SaNOtize.com. Follow us on social: LinkedIn and Twitter.
Vice President, Business Development
(778) 381-6306 | email@example.com
EMERYVILLE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Ansa Biotechnologies today announced it has closed an oversubscribed Series A financing round of $68 million led by Northpond Ventures, with participation from new investors RA Capital, Blue Water Life Science Advisors, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Fiscus Ventures, PEAK6 Strategic Capital, Carbon Silicon Ventures, Codon Capital, and existing investors Mubadala Capital, Humboldt Fund, Fifty Years, and Horizons Ventures. The company has raised a total of $82 million from private financings to date.
The funding will be used to accelerate the development of Ansa’s next-generation enzymatic DNA synthesis technology based on polymerase-nucleotide conjugates, build high-throughput synthesizers, and launch its DNA synthesis service. To support this development, Ansa will expand its state-of-the-art R&D and manufacturing facilities and will grow its multidisciplinary team across biochemistry, chemistry, engineering, bioinformatics, and operations.
Ansa is on a mission to streamline the writing of DNA to power the next era of DNA-enabled industries. Currently, DNA is synthesized via a chemical method that has remained mostly unchanged for 40 years and uses harsh conditions that damage the growing molecules, limiting the length and accuracy of the DNA that is produced. Ansa’s novel enzymatic synthesis technology harnesses the power of nature’s machinery to synthesize DNA in an entirely new way that is substantially faster and more accurate than the chemical method.
Since Ansa’s method uses exquisitely precise enzymes instead of harsh chemicals for all steps of the synthesis process, it does not damage the growing DNA as it is made, enabling the direct synthesis of sequences that are hundreds or possibly even thousands of bases long. These long molecules streamline the construction of even longer sequences and greatly facilitate the construction of “complex” sequences that power emerging synthetic biology applications but are difficult for current vendors to produce.
Ansa’s enzyme-based approach will dramatically accelerate innovation across almost every industry enabled by synthetic DNA– from biologic therapeutics such as antibodies, gene therapies, and cell therapies, to the biomanufacturing of chemicals, materials, foods, and biofuels, and even to futuristic applications such as DNA-based data storage. The technology also has the potential to unlock new areas of life sciences research that have yet to be explored.
“Enzymatic DNA synthesis is rapidly becoming a commercial reality, and I believe we have the most advanced technology in terms of speed, length, and accuracy. We’re excited to have the support of our top-tier investor syndicate led by Northpond Ventures, and we look forward to bringing our enzymatically synthesized DNA to the market,” said Daniel Lin-Arlow, Ph.D., CEO & Co-founder of Ansa Biotechnologies. “To achieve this goal, we will be rapidly expanding our interdisciplinary team to build our synthesizers, scale up production of our reagents, and launch our service.”
“Currently, the ability to write long and complex DNA is a critical bottleneck in the broader life sciences industry. We believe Ansa’s fully enzymatic process of DNA synthesis will usher in a new era in which the delivery of high-quality and more accurate DNA sequences in a timely manner to end users will become the new industry standard,” said Lily Li, Ph.D., Principal at Northpond Ventures. “Northpond is excited to support Ansa who we think will become a leader in the enzymatic DNA synthesis space, and to work alongside the Ansa team to bring this advantaged technology to market.”
“Ansa’s unparalleled enzymatic approach is well poised to set the new standard for DNA synthesis speed and accuracy,” said Patrick Zhang of Horizons Ventures. “We are excited to further our partnership with Ansa to support the development of this powerful technology, addressing synthetic biology’s burning need for improved writing of the DNA code.”
Co-Founders Daniel Lin-Arlow and Sebastian Palluk were the first to describe a practical enzymatic method for the de novo synthesis of DNA sequences. The patented method, published in Nature Biotechnology in 2018, is based on polymerase-nucleotide conjugates that can rapidly extend a DNA molecule by one base at a time. The conjugates, which comprise a template-independent polymerase tethered to a single nucleotide via a linker, offer significant advantages in terms of cost, speed, and flexibility over other enzymatic synthesis approaches based on free nucleotides.
The company’s technology has much wider impact beyond life sciences applications. Last year, the company announced a collaboration with Microsoft to develop a set of enzymatic reagents for sustainable DNA-based data storage, and the company is actively exploring partnerships in other application areas.
About Ansa Biotechnologies
Ansa Biotechnologies is building a fast and reliable DNA synthesis service to accelerate synthetic biology research. Our core technology is a novel DNA synthesis method based on enzymes that is faster, cleaner, and more accurate than existing methods. For more information, visit ansabio.com or follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.
For partnering inquiries or information about Ansa’s early access program, email DNA@ansabio.com.
KKH Advisors 917-291-5744
Source: Ansa Biotechnologies
Caesarea, Israel – H2Pro today announced the closing of its $75 Million Series B financing. The B round was upsized and led by Temasek and Horizons Ventures with participation from existing investors such as Breakthrough Energy Ventures and multiple new strategic investors including ArcelorMittal, Yara and Companhia Siderugica Nacional. The latest round brings total funding to $107 million.
H2Pro is developing a water splitting device, expected to reach an unprecedented 95% efficiency (42kwh/kg H2) that will cost less than an electrolyzer. The system will support renewable (intermittent) energy. Coupled with anticipated reductions in the cost of renewable energy, H2Pro believes its technology will enable $1/kg hydrogen at scale in the second half of this decade. Funds from this round will be used to support ongoing development of the technology and scale up H2Pro’s manufacturing capabilities.
Among new investors in this round is also Doral Energy. Doral and H2Pro will be building together Israel’s first green hydrogen project. Using a PV facility with a 0.4MW capacity to generate green electricity and, from that, generate green hydrogen using H2Pro’s E-TAC technology. Green hydrogen will be used for energy storage.
“Green hydrogen is one of a small number of tools in the world’s decarbonization toolbox. To become a viable tool, green hydrogen needs to be cheaper — much cheaper,” said H2Pro CEO Talmon Marco. “Over the last couple of years, we’ve made tremendous progress and with this round of funding we’re not only on track to deliver on our promise of cheap green hydrogen technology, but we will also be able to setup manufacturing.”
“Because of H2Pro’s unprecedented efficiency, we believe that they can be the disruptive technology that the hydrogen economy needs right now” said Patrick Poon, Horizon Ventures. “By bringing down costs, H2Pro will start making it economic to use green hydrogen to reduce emissions across many different industries.”
“The potential green hydrogen holds to deliver deep decarbonization of the steelmaking process is well understood. Although the technology required to directly reduce iron ore using hydrogen still needs to mature, the greater challenge with this new method of ironmaking is the cost and availability of the energy input – green hydrogen” Said Pinakin Chaubal, Chief Technology Officer at ArcelorMittal said. “Given H2Pro’s focus on developing a novel technology which aims to produce green hydrogen in an energy efficient manner at competitive costs, it is a very welcome and natural addition to our XCarb™ innovation fund investment portfolio. Although at an early stage, E-TAC is a very exciting technology and we look forward to working with the H2Pro team as it seeks to move it into commercial production.”
To learn more, visit us at www.h2pro.co.
Founded in 2019 and based in Caesarea, Israel, H2Pro develops E-TAC – a revolutionary method for producing green hydrogen by splitting water that is over 95% efficient, safe and cost-competitive with fossil-fuel hydrogen.
H2Pro’s technology, known as E-TAC (Electrochemical – Thermally Activated Chemical), uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. However, unlike electrolysis, hydrogen and oxygen are produced at separate steps. This eliminates the need for a costly membrane, allows for a simpler construction and significantly lowers power consumption compared to electrolysis.
H2Pro is backed by leading investors and strategic partners, such as Breakthrough Energy, Temasek, Horizons Ventures, ArcelorMittal, Yara, Hyundai, Sumitomo Corporation and New Fortress Energy. E-TAC is based on years of research conducted by its founding team at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. H2Pro is the winner of Shell’s 2020 New Energy Challenge.
Temasek is a global investment company with a net portfolio value of S$381bn (US$283bn) as of 31 March 2021. Headquartered in Singapore, it has 13 offices in 9 countries around the world. The Temasek Charter defines Temasek’s three roles as an Investor, Institution and Steward, which shape its ethos to do well, do right, and do good. As a provider of catalytic capital, it seeks to enable solutions to key global challenges. With sustainability at the core of all Temasek does, it actively seeks sustainable solutions to address present and future challenges, as it captures investible opportunities to bring about a sustainable future for all. For more information on Temasek, please visit www.temasek.com.sg.
About Horizons Ventures
Horizons Ventures was co-founded by Solina Chau and Debbie Chang in 2005. It is known for backing era-defining companies making lasting and positive impact in the world. Amongst its string of notable early stage investments are Zoom, Impossible Foods, Perfect Day, Spotify, Siri and DeepMind, reflecting Horizons Ventures’ methodical long-term investment approach.
HAYWARD, Calif. – January 6, 2022 – Eikon Therapeutics, Inc., a pioneer in the application of live-cell super-resolution microscopy to drug discovery, today announced that it has closed a $517.8 million Series B financing. Since its founding two years ago, Eikon Therapeutics has raised more than $668 million to advance its mission of inventing new therapies that address grievous illness.
New investors participating in the Series B financing include funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), EcoR1 Capital, UC Investments (Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents of the University of California), ADIA, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, StepStone Group, Soros Capital, Schroders Capital, Harel Insurance, General Catalyst, E15 VC, Hartford HealthCare Endowment, and AME Cloud Ventures. The financing also included participation from the company’s Series A investors: The Column Group, Foresite Capital, Innovation Endeavors, Lux Capital, and Horizons Ventures.
“Through the integration of advanced engineering and high-performance computing, alongside more traditional molecular biology and medicinal chemistry, Eikon is developing a battery of innovative tools for biological exploration,” said Roger M. Perlmutter, MD, PhD, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Eikon Therapeutics. “With the support of our investors, we continue to make dramatic progress in the industrialization of our live-cell imaging platform. We will use the resources of this new financing to progress more quickly toward our mission of inventing innovative medicines that will improve and extend life.”
Biochemical regulation requires dynamic, short-lived interactions among intracellular constituents. Yet much of the scientific community’s understanding of these biological systems is based on static snapshots, typically obtained using frozen or fixed material. Eikon aims to change this with proprietary, purpose-built platforms that permit precise characterization of protein interactions in living cells with exceptional spatial and temporal resolution. This approach requires the integration of tools that support advanced imaging, high-performance computing, molecular and cellular biology, medicinal chemistry, and robotics.
“Eikon’s research at the intersection of technology, biology, and chemistry is generating significant volumes of quantitative information about the dynamic behavior of proteins. These insights are useful not only for biomedical research purposes, but they also hold promise for therapeutic development,” said John Hall, PhD, Investment Analyst at T. Rowe Price. “We are pleased to support Eikon’s world-class interdisciplinary team as they work to develop proprietary technology platforms for the evaluation of biological systems, and to accelerate the introduction of breakthrough medicines.”
Eikon has also completed recruitment of an experienced team of industry executives to senior leadership positions, including:
“By successfully integrating robotics, high-performance computing and advanced data analytics, Eikon has built a drug hunting biofactory of the future. The company’s proprietary single-particle tracking platform enables them to peer into live cells, in real-time, and derive biological insights never visualized before,” said Adam Goulburn, PhD, Partner at Lux Capital. “Combining this pioneering platform with Roger’s leadership and the Eikon team’s drug development pedigree, puts the company at the very forefront of discovery in the biotech industry.”
About Eikon Therapeutics
Eikon Therapeutics is a drug discovery and development company. Our proprietary platform leverages Nobel Prize-winning super-resolution microscopy, advanced engineering, and automation with the goal of bringing important new medicines to patients suffering from grievous illness. Scientists at Eikon measure the real-time movement of individual proteins in living cells to develop differentiated therapeutics. Eikon is based in Hayward, California and can be found online via our website or on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Wonder Dynamics, a startup developing AI powered production tools, announced today it has raised $9 million in what it called a “highly strategic” Series A round. The funding was led by Horizons Ventures with participation from Epic Games and Samsung Next.
Existing backers Founders Fund and MaC Venture Capital returned to participate in the round, which brings Wonder Dynamics’ total amount raised over the past eight months to $11.5M, including their $2.5M seed round announced earlier this year.
“We are very excited to lead this round for Wonder Dynamics to support Nikola and Tye’s vision,” said Jonathan Tam from Horizons Ventures. “Wonder Dynamics’ AI-powered platform will significantly improve on cost and speed for media production and post-production, but more importantly, will enable creators to explore and generate new digital experiences that we never could have imagined.”
The funds will be used to expand the team of machine learning engineers and CG artists in order to expedite the development of Wonder AI Suite – an AI driven, cloud-based content creation platform. The foundation of the platform is designed to bring blockbuster-level VFX to creators of all levels, but the potential of its applications extends well beyond visual effects.
“As we got deeper into our development we knew that this could be more than just software for Visual Effects,” said Tye Sheridan, Co-Founder and President of Wonder Dynamics. “Our platform can be used for film and TV, but also video games, social media content, and even the Metaverse. This is why we were so excited to bring strategic partners like Epic Games and Samsung into this round, who are leaders in these fields.”
“We’re excited about Wonder Dynamics’ innovative approach to content creation that both empowers professional users and democratizes high quality content creation for a broader group of artists,” said Vlad Mastilovic, Vice President, Digital Humans Technology at Epic Games. “We look forward to deepening our relationship with Wonder Dynamics and exploring ways to collaborate across our Digital Humans efforts.”
Wonder Dynamics has been keeping the details of what they’re developing mostly under wraps, but they have shared that they plan to reveal their technology to the public during SXSW 2022. The platform is expected to launch in 2022.
Joe Russo, Avengers: Endgame director, who is a part of an already impressive advisory board, shared his enthusiasm for the technology and new partners: “I personally cannot wait to see how this technology will impact the future for filmmakers. It’s incredibly exciting, and there is so much opportunity on the horizon. I’m happy to support the team at Wonder Dynamics in their mission of putting artists first and doing so by surrounding themselves with investment partners that share the same interests.”
Wonder Dynamics’ Advisory Board includes Joshua Baer (Founder & CEO – Capital Factory), Terry Dougas (Rhea Films), Angjoo Kanazawa (Assistant Prof. at Berkeley, Research Scientist at Google), Joe Russo (Director, Avengers: Endgame), Robert Schwab (private equity investor), Steven Spielberg (Director, Producer), Antonio Torralba (Head of AI and Decision making at MIT), and Gregory Trattner (President, Film Finances Inc.).
“We strongly believe that art shouldn’t be dependent on socio-economic status. AI and Machine Learning are tools that can bring us closer to making storytelling accessible to anyone,” said Nikola Todorovic, Co-Founder and CEO of Wonder Dynamics. “The future of art that we at Wonder Dynamics want to be a part of is the one with Empowered Artists – and that future is just around the corner.”
Sustainable packaging startup Notpla announced today the close of a £10 million Series A financing round. The round was led by Horizons Ventures, with participation from existing investors Astanor Ventures, Lupa Systems and Torch Capital.
Founded in 2014 by two Imperial College London and Royal College of Art alumni, Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez and Pierre-Yves Paslier, Notpla’s mission is to make packaging disappear by providing a sustainable alternative to plastic packaging using seaweed. This new round of funding will enable the London startup to grow its manufacturing capacity while developing new innovative solutions, among which a transparent flexible film and a seaweed paper.
Notpla (a play on the term ‘Not Plastic’) is harnessing the power of seaweed to replace single-use plastic, one of the leading causes of environmental pollution across the globe. The UN Environment Programme estimates that only 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled, while 12% has been incinerated and the remaining 79% has accumulated in landfills, dumps, or the natural environment.
Seaweed is one of the planet’s most abundant sources of biomass (growing at a rate up to 1 metre per day), its production does not compete with food crops, requires no fertiliser or fresh water to produce and actively sequesters carbon dioxide. In line with the new EU Single-Use Plastic Directive which aims to ban synthetic materials such as PLA, PHA and other bioplastics, Notpla’s products easily biodegrade in nature in just 4-6 weeks without the need for industrial composting or special conditions. The EU’s ambitious targets cannot be achieved without innovative solutions like Notpla.
Notpla is best known for its sustainable packaging solution “Ooho” – an edible and fully biodegradable packaging made of seaweed – to date, Oohos has replaced over 500,000 single-use plastic packaging at major international events such as the London Marathon with Lucozade and London Cocktail Week with Glenlivet.
Notpla launched in 2021 the first seaweed coating for cardboard packaging. Unlike regular boxes, the Notpla boxes are biodegradable and recyclable. Successful trials of 30,000 boxes led to the commercial launch of the Notpla box with Just Eat Takeaway.com to hundreds of UK restaurants. This innovative packaging will progressively expand to Just Eat’s 26 countries and onboard new customers in the foodservice industry.
The startup’s product pipeline is filling up with exciting new plastic-free solutions. This latest funding round will help accelerate the industrialisation of Notpla’s flexible, biodegradable films – a packaging alternative for dry products that are currently in plastic sachets. Applications include packaging for hygiene, cleaning products such as detergents or pre-portioned foods such as pasta, coffee and drink flavourings. With no other readily biodegradable, biobased, and flexible solutions on the market, these applications are in high demand from brands that are struggling to effectively remove plastic from their product ranges. Notpla has completed successful lab trials and is now currently working on scaling up the process with several commercial partners.
The funds will also support the development of Notpla’s seaweed fibre paper made from the by-products of the company’s industrial processes. This seaweed paper requires 30% less wood pulp than conventional paper, lowering pressure on forests while reducing waste from the seaweed supply chain, making it a first-class sustainable solution. Notpla is collaborating with fashion and luxury brands to develop premium sustainable solutions for secondary packaging such as boxes, envelopes or sleeves.
Wayne Cheng, Portfolio Curator at Horizons Ventures, said: “We are excited to join Notpla’s journey to make packaging disappear. Conscious of the urgency to act on single-use plastic pollution, we’ve been impressed by the innovative solutions offered by this team of ambitious entrepreneurs. We believe Notpla is revolutionising the packaging industry with seaweed as a raw material.”
Pierre-Yves Paslier, Co-CEO of Notpla added: “We are delighted to accelerate the pace towards a zero single-use plastic future. This new round coupled with soon-to-be-announced commercial partnerships is the perfect opportunity to put seaweed on the map of packaging solutions. At Notpla we believe that “Nature knows best”, and we only use naturally occurring materials that have had millions of years to adapt with the rest of the environment. Our new films and seaweed paper are great examples of this principle and are the most sustainable solution in their categories. We’re excited to see traction in the food service industry and are looking forward to moving into the cosmetics and fashion markets very soon.”
For more information, visit www.notpla.com
For pictures and videos, discover Notpla press pack
About Notpla (www.notpla.com)
Founded in 2014, Notpla is a sustainable packaging company based in London that has pioneered the use of seaweed as an alternative to single-use plastic. The startup is addressing both the environmental and health implications of single-use plastic pollution by using only natural materials like seaweed that can biodegrade in nature in 4 to 6 weeks. Notpla has received multiple awards and grants from Innovate UK and the Ellen Macarthur Foundation for its innovative product “Ooho” – an edible and fully biodegradable sachet.
About Horizons Ventures (www.horizonsventures.com)
Horizons Ventures was co-founded by Solina Chau and Debbie Chang in 2005. It is known for backing era-defining companies making lasting and positive impact in the world. Amongst its string of notable early stage investments are Zoom, Impossible Foods, Perfect Day, Spotify, Siri and DeepMind, reflecting Horizons Ventures’ methodical long-term investment approach.
About Astanor Ventures (www.astanor.com)
Astanor Ventures is a global impact investor that backs ambitious entrepreneurs with disruptive, scalable solutions that will create systemic change across the agrifood value chain, from soil to gut. They partner with ambitious, impact-driven founders who are committed to restoring balance and sustainability to the land and oceans, prioritizing nature and culture, nurturing change and feeding growth.
For further information, or to arrange an interview, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
$129 million funding raised from global venture firms and strategic investors including Horizons Ventures, I-MED Radiology and Sonic Healthcare in one of Australia’s largest Series B funding rounds ever
New pathology Joint Venture combines Harrison.ai’s expertise in clinical artificial intelligence with Sonic Healthcare’s clinical expertise and network
SYDNEY, 1 DECEMBER 2021 — Harrison.ai, the breakthrough healthcare AI company, today announced it has raised AU$129 million (USD$97 million) in one of Australia’s largest-ever Series B funding rounds. The funding will go to helping Harrison.ai expand on its mission to scale critical capacity in the global healthcare system through rapid commercialisation of comprehensive clinical AI applications.
The Series B funding round, led by existing investor Horizons Ventures, featured new equity investment from Sonic Healthcare and I-MED Radiology Network, alongside existing investors Blackbird Ventures and Skip Capital. It brings the total raised by Harrison.ai within the past two years to AU$158 million (USD$118 million).
Harrison.ai also announced a new partnership with Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL), a leader in medical diagnostics, to co-develop and commercialise new clinical AI solutions in pathology. The Joint Venture will culminate in new AI applications to improve efficiency and efficacy of pathology diagnosis with AI support.
New funding to help push Harrison.ai’s proven healthcare AI model to the global stage
Harrison.ai will use the new capital to rapidly expand its team of AI data scientists and engineers, while expanding into new areas of healthcare with global clinical partners. The combination of global investors like Horizons Ventures with strategic clinical investors will enable Harrison.ai to expand globally while leveraging medical expertise and reach.
Capacity in many areas of clinical diagnosis and treatment are under strain due to ongoing increases in healthcare demand contrasted with skills shortages and pandemic- related backlogs in clinical demand. Developed healthcare systems such as the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US) face massive shortages in skilled radiologists and clinicians, with significantly more staff required to meet surging demand for diagnosis. Despite this shortage, there is a stark disparity to other markets — the US has approximately 11 radiologists per 100,000 people compared to just 0.35 radiologists per 100,000 people in Kenya.
This increased demand for equitable, accurate and effective healthcare delivery requires complementary systems like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide human-aided diagnosis and help relieve some of this disparity.
Harrison.ai and its partners have pioneered a unique and proven model to rapidly develop, commercialise and deploy accurate and clinically effective AI tools that support clinical diagnosis in a range of medical areas. It has developed deep artificial intelligence expertise and methodology that, when combined with the clinical expertise and data of medical partners, significantly shortens the path to market for new healthcare AI applications.
Harrison.ai and I-MED Radiology partnered to form Annalise.ai in early 2020 to develop comprehensive solutions across radiology modalities. Annalise.ai’s first product, the world’s most comprehensive AI clinical decision-support solution for Chest X-Rays, is already in more than 350 radiologists each day in Australia and rolling out to hundreds more. The partnership saw Annalise.ai co-research, develop and commercialise the solution within 18 months. The solution, which is capable of detecting 124 findings, was recently featured in peer-reviewed publication the Lancet Digital Health journal.
Dr Aengus Tran, Co-Founder and CEO of Harrison.ai, said: “Delivering equitable, effective and accurate healthcare to more people is a critical part of our mission at Harrison.ai, and as we emerge from the pandemic that mission is more important than ever. With our model and methodology now proven across multiple clinical areas, we are in a position to expand to new clinical areas and deliver on our mission with the support of our investors and partners.”
Chris Liu from Horizons Ventures, said: “Harrison.ai‘s distinct approach to AI healthcare has enabled the team to commercialise market leading solutions at record pace with its partners. We look forward to working closely with the team and our partners to help augment the capacity of healthcare systems globally.”
New Sonic Healthcare Joint Venture provides new opportunities in pathology
The new partnership with Sonic Healthcare marks the next stage on the mission to deliver equitable healthcare. It will combine Harrison.ai’s depth of expertise with Sonic Healthcare’s clinical experience and distribution to commercialise an effective and accurate AI solution in pathology rapidly.
Globally, pathology faces an even more stark skills shortage, with the number of US pathologists decreasing 18% between 2007 and 2017 despite an increase in workload. Building comprehensive AI solutions for pathology will help scale the capacity of diagnostic care across the globe.
“Sonic Healthcare’s deep clinical experience and understanding combined with our proven AI methodologies will create a powerful new way to support clinicians to more effectively and efficiently diagnose patients in pathology,” Dr Tran said.
Dr Colin Goldschmidt, CEO of Sonic Healthcare, said: “The formation of a joint venture with Harrison.ai is an exciting moment in Sonic Healthcare’s progression as a healthcare company. Harrison.ai is a smart, agile, and medically led company with a proven track record in the healthcare AI space. The partnership with Sonic and our deep healthcare experience and global reach represents a synergistic union and a powerful force in healthcare AI.”
Sling & Stone for Harrison.ai
+61 402 266 163
Harrison.ai is a clinician-led healthcare artificial intelligence (AI) company rapidly developing and deploying AI solutions to address persistent healthcare challenges. With a mission to make world-class healthcare available and affordable to all, Harrison.ai works closely with clinical partners to deliver clinical-grade AI software at scale.
Harrison.ai works with partners to develop and deploy AI healthcare solutions that impact 50,000 patients each month in Australia, Europe and other countries. These include working with Virtus Health Limited to develop AI in IVF, as well as I-MED on Annalise CXR, the world’s most comprehensive AI clinical decision- support solution for chest X-rays. In July 2021, a Annalise CXR validation study published in the Lancet Digital Health found the AI model was capable of identifying 124 findings on chest x-rays to support and improve radiologist findings.
About Horizons Ventures
Horizons Ventures Leading “In The Moo For Love”, a city-wide moo-vement challenging Hong Kong community to evolve consumption habits and curb climate change.
(November 1, 2021, Hong Kong). As world leaders gather in Glasgow this November to discuss commitments to lower greenhouse gas emissions globally at COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Horizons Ventures is leading a moo-vement in Hong Kong, bringing corporates, communities and individuals together to contribute by making small changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, one bite at a time.
The In The Moo For Love campaign brings together like-minded people to share their perspectives on climate change – from chefs, corporations, retailers to consumers – and contribute in their own way starting from a public panelist discussion held in Central, Hong Kong. By pledging to make a change to greener food choices, consumers are encouraged to purchase earth friendly products and chef curated plant-based lunch, sponsored by Horizons Ventures with matching donations from both UBS and Goldman Sachs to beneficiaries that support the earth.
The In The Moo For Love campaign kicks off on November 1 with a panelist discussion including renowned chefs, restaurateurs and climate change advocates at Centricity (2/F Landmark Chater, Central). 6 of Hong Kong’s most renowned chefs and founders of plant-based food solutions, will be sitting down with Green Queen Media’s Founder and Editor in Chief, Sonalie Figuerias, to discuss sustainability in the food and beverage industry and how consumer demand continues to evolve and develop with the environment. The invitation only event will be livestreamed on In The Moo For Love’s Facebook page. The initiative continues with pledging activities where charity donation will be matched with:
Shop & Pledge (November 5 – 14, 2021)
Ice Age! will be offering products sponsored by Horizons Ventures for consumers to showcase how consuming earth-friendly products does not require sacrifice on taste or texture. Produced with Perfect Day’s animal-free whey protein, Ice Age! ice cream products and Ice Age! x The Cakery mini loaf cakes will be available at City’super, Great, select Fusion, Food le Parc, Taste, ParknShop stores and The Cakery outlets from November 5 – 11 (Ice Age! ice cream) and November 8 – 14 (Ice Age! x The Cakery mini loaf cakes) at a sponsored price of HK$10 each, for consumers to experience alternative dining decisions at minimal barrier. Matching donation will be made to The Nature Conservancy and World Resources Institute for every purchase by UBS and Goldman Sachs to support the initiative.
In collaboration with The Cakery, Ice Age! will produce two limited edition mini loaf cakes in Ginger & Orange and Dark Chocolate flavours. This will be the first appearance of Perfect Day’s animal-free whey protein in pastry items in Hong Kong, highlighting the versatility of Perfect Day’s protein. The Ice Age! x The Cakery cakes will be animal-free, lactose-free, hormone-free, egg-free and butter-free.
Eat & Pledge (November 8 – 12, 2021)
From November 1st, customers can pre-order 6 of Hong Kong’s most renowned chefs curated plant-based meals for lunch from November 8 – 12, 2021.
Chefs Richard Ekkebus of Amber, Umberto Bombana of 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, May Chow of Happy Paradise, Peggy Chan of Grassroots Initiatives, Michael Smith of Moxie and Christian Mongendre of Treehouse will each be creating a limited quantity of fifty (50) In The Moo For Love Bentos, served in an ecofriendly, reusable lunch box made of bamboo fibres from Take, a cup of Ice Age! Ice cream and an In The Moo For Love reusable canvas bag. (Please see daily menus in Appendix 3).
Each In The Moo For Love lunch meal is priced at HK$250 and will be sold on a pre-registration basis via inthemooforlove.com website. Pre-ordering starts from November 1st and for every meal sold, UBS and Goldman Sachs will be donating HK$250 to The Nature Conservancy and World Resources Institute respectively to support the initiatives.
Other In The Moo Activities
During the campaign period, other supporting activities include:
More information about In The Moo For Love can be found at:
For media queries, please contact:
Sissy Wong email@example.com Tel: 6559 9997
Denise Chiu firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 6114 6188
All materials and photos can be downloaded from this folder https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1oGdDm3jLm5nRJp35mWz_3pYACCCwW-ZZ?usp=sharing
wefox, the Berlin-based digital insurance company has raised a record US$650 million for its Series C funding round led by Target Global, resulting in a post-money valuation of US$3 billion.
This round is the largest for an insurtech globally and one of largest series C rounds ever recorded. wefox intends to invest the proceeds in strengthening its presence in existing markets and expanding globally within the next two years.
wefox, which was launched in 2015, has grown its revenues to more than US$140m in the 2020 financial year and reported a profit for 2020 through its insurance carrier, wefox Insurance.
Julian Teicke, CEO and founder of wefox, said: “We’ve grown our business significantly over the last six years since we launched and we have delivered strong year-on-year growth. This year we took several important steps, such as unifying the business under one wefox brand, expanding into Poland, and setting up a deep tech team in Paris. Within the next few years, we will expand our global footprint, increase our presence in Europe, and move into both the US and Asian markets. wefox will become the leading personal insurance company within the decade.”
“We have set out to improve the customer experience for both our advisors and our customers through technology to increase customer satisfaction, reduce customer acquisition costs, increase cross-selling, and decrease churn.”
“This is why wefox has built a huge network of advisors across Europe. We believe that insurance is all about people, and we believe that technology is an enabler and should not replace the human connection”, added Mr Teicke.
wefox is a fully licensed digital insurance company that sells insurance through intermediaries and not directly to customers, which has resulted in significant growth with a clear path to profitability.
wefox continues to deliver a loss ratio supported in large part by its straight-through- processing (STP) of more than 80%, and a central product factory that swiftly distributes new products to the market due to its full stack insurance technology.
Fabian Wesemann, CFO and founder of wefox, said: “This investment strengthens our growth strategy and moves us closer to realising our vision – to prevent 30% of risks from happening – in order to offer the most advanced service to our customers. As part of this, we want to ensure that we are building the technology to automate our business processes to have a STP ratio consistently above 80%.”
“This investment round is the culmination of six years of hard work and we are still at the very early stage of our business. I want to thank the entire wefox team for their hard work in enabling us to achieve such incredible results.” added Mr. Wesemann.
“The future of insurance service is tech-centric, and we believe Wefox’s data driven platform serving insurance agents and brokers will enable positive changes througout the value chain.” Frances Kang from Horizons Ventures said.
“We are keen to connect Wefox with local partners in South East Asia, their speed and agility could offer transformative changes in innovative fair pricing, cost- efficiency and much more satisfied customers”, added Ms Kang.
Yaron Valler, General Partner at Target Global, said: “wefox continues to deliver exceptional results backed with demonstrable year-on-year revenue growth, which saw their insurance carrier, wefox Insurance, report a profit earlier this year, marking them out to be the first insurtech to reach profitability. We invested in wefox in their series A round in 2016 and we are delighted to be leading this series C round. wefox is unique among the insurtech players with ample room for growth ahead.”
Goldman Sachs International was hired as the private placement agent to wefox for the financing round.
The Series C funding round was led by Target Global. New investors include FinTLV, LGT, Partners Group, Jupiter, Decisive Wealth, and Ace & Co. Investment from existing investors included Horizons Ventures, OMERS Ventures, Eurazeo, Mubadala, Merian, Gsquared, Creditease, Salesforce Ventures, Speedinvest, Alma Mundi Ventures, Victory Park Capital, GR Capital, Mountain Partners, Seedcamp, and Sound Ventures (founded by Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher).
wefox was founded in 2015 by Julian Teicke, Fabian Wesemann, and Dario Fazlic. wefox is a full-stack digital insurance company driven by a single purpose: to make people safe and prevent risk by reinventing insurance at scale through technology. wefox is the parent company of wefox Insurance, which is the in-house regulated insurance carrier.
Timeline of funding rounds
For more information contact:
Director of Communications – wefox HQ Ph: +49 (0)1731406796
UK / Europe
Ph: +44 (0)7884 187 074
Michael McMullan / Lori Rhodes
Ph: +1 201-826-6226 / +971 56 455 7105
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Ph: +49 151 64504430 E: email@example.com
Bad Robot’s Expanding Video Games Division also Adds Accomplished Industry Vets Joe Rumsey and Oneil Howell
LOS ANGELES, May 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Bad Robot Games, Bad Robot’s video game division, announced today that it has completed a $40+ million Series B raise to create games that are as compelling to watch as they are to play. This round was led by Galaxy Interactive, with participation from existing investors Horizons Ventures, ICONIQ Capital and Tencent. The financing follows the formation of its internal development team, Bad Robot Games Studio, and the hiring of CEO Anna Sweet in early 2020.
“Galaxy, Horizons and ICONIQ Capital comprise a veritable VC Dream Team, and we are grateful to have their continued support as we look to change the way people interact with and view video games,” said Sweet. “With this funding, we are able to build out both the studio and co-development sides of our operation, and create games that cross platforms, cross mediums and are based on IP originating from both games and linear content. We are very much looking forward to announcing our first titles.”
Bad Robot Games will use the new capital to build out its internal Games Studio, and further evolve towards its goal of building cross-medium stories and worlds. Bad Robot Games’ first internally developed title will be an original AAA game. As with the company’s other projects, this title will be developed in collaboration with Bad Robot’s Film, TV and Animation departments, as well as tap into Bad Robot’s network of artists and creatives. More details to come later.
Led by General Partners Sam Englebardt and Richard Kim, Galaxy Interactive invests at the intersection of content and finance, with a particular focus on videogames and game studios, social platforms and marketplaces and blockchain and other Web3 and infrastructure technologies powering the interactive sector.
“Bad Robot is one of the most forward-looking and creative companies in the industry” said Englebardt. “I’ve known Brian (Weinstein, President and COO of Bad Robot) and Anna for many years and the opportunity to join forces with them as they grow their videogame division was something we couldn’t miss. Consistent with Bad Robot’s long history of creative innovation, I’m certain they’re going to develop and bring to market revolutionary titles that will change and advance the way that we visualize, interact with and, more broadly, define games.”
Brian Weinstein, President and COO of Bad Robot said: “In closing this round of financing, we are incredibly grateful for the confidence and faith our financial and strategic partners have showed in all of us and particularly in the leadership team at Bad Robot Games. Under Anna’s guidance and with a growing, creative and experienced leadership team, we can’t wait to build and release our games.” In addition to appointing Sweet as CEO, who was part of the original business team that built the Steam platform at Valve, and led the content and developer strategy team for Oculus and Facebook’s VR products, Bad Robot Games also named Left 4 Dead Creator and Lead Designer Michael Booth as the General Manager of Bad Robot Games Studio.
To support the studio’s plans, Bad Robot Games has added celebrated industry vets Joe Rumsey (as Technical Director), and Oneil Howell (as Senior Level Designer) to the team.
With 25 years of games industry experience, having worked on the original World of Warcraft team, Rumsey has a deep passion for online architecture and multiplayer games. Previously, he spent four years as a Software Engineer at Facebook. Howell is an accomplished Level and World Designer, who will focus on creating majestic and experiential game worlds with a heavy emphasis on architecture, geology, culture, and tools management. He previously worked at Oculus in its R&D division, and on Just Cause 3 and 4 at Avalanche Studios.
With this new raise, Bad Robot Games is growing the internal development and co-development teams, and will continue to ramp up the team with additional hiring.
About Bad Robot
Bad Robot was formed by filmmaker J.J. Abrams in 2001. The company has produced television series such as Alias, Lost, Fringe, Person of Interest, Castle Rock, Westworld, Lovecraft Country and Little Voice; feature films such as Super 8, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, the Star Trek, Mission: Impossible and Cloverfield franchises; and interactive content including the mobile app Action Movie FX. Bad Robot’s first foray into publishing, S., a novel conceived by Abrams and written by Doug Dorst, was a New York Times Best Seller. In 2018, the company launched Loud Robot, an artist-friendly independent music label, and Bad Robot Games, a new entity dedicated to developing large and indie-scale original games for mobile, PC and console. Bad Robot is based in Santa Monica and can be followed at twitter.com/bad_robot and instagram.com/bad_robot.
Interested applicants: https://badrobotproductions.applytojob.com/apply
SOURCE Bad Robot Games
HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apr 6, 2021
Syzygy Plasmonics, a technology company developing the world’s highest performance photocatalyst for the industrial gas, chemical and energy industries, today announced a $23 million Series B financing led by Horizons Ventures with participation from new global investors including Equinor Ventures. Previous seed and Series A investors including The Engine, GOOSE Capital, and Evok Innovations also joined the round. The capital raised will fund product development, hiring and the commercialization of Syzygy’s photocatalytic reactor, which are key steps toward delivering on the company’s mission to reduce emissions using light to replace heat from fossil fuels in chemical manufacturing and production.
Today, the production of chemicals such as plastics, fuels, fertilizers, and hydrogen is primarily reliant on fossil fuel. The heat demand to power the combustion processes for chemical production accounts for 3.6% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Syzygy’s photocatalytic technology replaces heat with light to trigger these chemical reactions – a transformation in industrial processing that aims to reduce 1GT of CO2 emissions by 2040.
“With renewable electricity as an energy source, our technology is cleaner, and because of the stability and activity of our photocatalysts, we can drive dozens of possibilities, tuning reactions that produce different chemicals,” said Trevor Best, Syzygy Plasmonics’ co-founder and CEO. “Our initial product will focus on eliminating emissions from hydrogen production, transforming the industrial process involved in making semiconductors, LEDs and metals. Our system will also enable industries that are consumers of hydrogen fuel cells, like fuel cell vehicles.”
Based on photocatalysts invented at Rice University by co-founders and professors Naomi Halas and Peter Nordlander and developed under the leadership of Syzygy’s co-founder and CTO Dr. Suman Khatiwada, Syzygy’s light-powered reactors are modular and scalable, built from lower-cost materials with far milder operating conditions than their traditional counterparts. The elimination of the combustion of fuel, coupled with the ability to operate at low temperatures in a distributed, decentralized manner will enable the shift from high-cost production plants, bringing the production of chemicals closer to the end user and effectively further driving down costs and emissions by eliminating those associated with distribution. Syzygy’s first product offering is aimed at hydrogen where the technology has the potential to cut the cost of zero emission hydrogen in half, when compared to other alternatives such as electrolysis.
The technology has attracted interest and support from a roster of international investors and energy partners spanning the U.S., Asia, and Europe. New investors include: Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures, which funds especially disruptive and technology-focused start-ups; and Equinor Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Norway-based Equinor, an international energy company operating in more than 30 countries.
“The keys to unlock the potential of hydrogen energy lie within production cost reduction and safety enhancements. Syzygy uses a photocatalysis process to produce H2 on premises, therefore mitigating risks of explosion imposed by the transportation of liquid hydrogen while lowering production costs to increase overall energy efficiency. This technology will be applicable to a wide-range of use-cases, enabling a faster path toward zero-emissions,” said Patrick Poon of Horizons Ventures, the new board member of Syzygy.
“We have announced our ambition to become a net-zero energy company by 2050 and in order for society at large to meet its climate goals it will require new solutions and technologies. We are pleased to announce the investment in Syzygy as one potential contributor to help the energy industry reduce emissions as part of our effort to shape the future of energy,” said Gareth Burns, Head of Equinor Ventures.
Syzygy’s team brings together world-class academic, entrepreneurial and chemical and engineering talent from Rice University, University of Houston and Baker Hughes. The company employs 26 and anticipates doubling its workforce over the next 12 months, hiring top-tier mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering, project and supply chain management talent. Team expansion will help continue to scale Syzygy’s technology to achieve its first full-size, commercial-ready chemical reactors in 2022.
Previously, Syzygy raised nearly $12M and secured Department of Energy ARPA-E and National Science Foundation SBIR Program grants.
ABOUT SYZYGY PLASMONICS
Founded in 2017 based on technology licensed from Rice University, Syzygy is developing a first of its kind photocatalytic reactor to electrify chemical production. When powered with renewable electricity, this platform technology is able to reduce both cost and emissions from many different chemical reactions. Syzygy’s go-to-market focus will be on utilizing different feedstocks to transform the economics of zero emission hydrogen production and help accelerate the energy transition. After market entry with hydrogen, Syzygy plans to expand into other reactions such as CO2 to value, fertilizer, and commodity chemicals.
ABOUT HORIZONS VENTURES
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies, including Facebook, Waze, Spotify, Zoom, Impossible Foods and ZeroAvia.
ABOUT EQUINOR VENTURES
Equinor Ventures is Equinor’s corporate venture capital arm dedicated to investing in ambitious early phase and growth companies. We believe that the innovation, creativity and agility of start-ups can drive change, and transition the energy industry towards a low carbon future.
View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210406005501/en/
CONTACT: MEDIA CONTACT
KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA TEXAS
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: ALTERNATIVE ENERGY MANUFACTURING OTHER MANUFACTURING ENERGY CHEMICALS/PLASTICS
SOURCE: Syzygy Plasmonics
Copyright Business Wire 2021.
PUB: 04/06/2021 08:00 AM/DISC: 04/06/2021 08:01 AM
– This round brings the company’s total private funding to over $53 million
– The round is led by Horizons Ventures, with participation from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Shell Ventures, Summa Equity, and SYSTEMIQ.
– British Airways has also joined as a new investor in this round
– As the airline industry reels from the reduction in travel due to the pandemic, sustainable aviation may be key to recovery.
CRANFIELD, United Kingdom and HOLLISTER, Calif., March 31, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Propelling their mission towards delivering airlines zero-carbon, hydrogen-fueled flight, ZeroAvia is launching the development program for a 2MW hydrogen-electric powertrain for full-size regional aircraft. The program kick-off is supported by a new raise of $24.3 million, led by Horizons Ventures, joined by a new investor British Airways. Existing investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, Shell Ventures, and SYSTEMIQ also participated in the financing. This new round accelerates the larger hydrogen-electric engine development for the 50+ seat aircraft and supports additional commercial airlines initiatives to adopt hydrogen in aviation. Today’s announcement brings the company’s total private investment to over $53 million and the total funding raised since inception to nearly $74 million.
This latest funding follows the announcement in December that the UK Government – through the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), and Innovate UK – had awarded a £12.3m grant ($16.3m) to deliver a breakthrough 19-seat hydrogen-electric powered aircraft that is market-ready by 2023. The company announced its $21.4 million Series A funding round at the same time, accelerating its 600kW development program scheduled for commercial entry in 2024.
“This new funding, in conjunction with our other recent milestones, will significantly accelerate our path to zero-emission solutions for larger regional aircraft at a commercial scale,” said Val Miftakhov, CEO and founder of ZeroAvia. “With many airlines lining up and ready to make the shift to zero-emissions, we expect to see wide-scale adoption of this technology. We are extremely grateful for our investors who are helping to speed up our progress and ultimately the aviation industry’s adoption of zero-emission flight.”
ZeroAvia expects to achieve commercialization for its hydrogen-electric powertrain as early as 2024. Its hydrogen aviation solutions will address various markets by initially targeting a 500-mile range in 10-20 seat aircraft used for commercial passenger transport, package delivery, agriculture, and beyond. Accelerated by this new capital infusion, ZeroAvia will also target entering the 50+ seat commercial aircraft segment by 2026.
“‘Flying on jet fuel comes with an environmental cost, and finding an alternative for the aviation industry is vital. We believe ZeroAvia offers a real and practical solution for the aviation market to move towards cleaner options.” says Patrick Poon from Horizons Ventures.
The round will also further derisk the company vision of powering a 100-seat single-aisle aircraft by 2030. ZeroAvia’s achievements to date are the first steps in realizing the near-term transition from fossil fuels to zero-emission hydrogen as the primary source for commercial aviation.
“Innovative zero-emissions technology is advancing fast, and we support the development of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source because we believe it has the potential to enable us to reach true zero emissions on short-haul routes by 2050,” Sean Doyle, British Airways’ CEO, said. “There is a huge amount of energy and excitement building around the possibilities of a zero-emissions future for aviation, and while there is no single solution to this challenge, we acknowledge the need for urgent action to tackle the impact flying currently has on our planet and are making progress on our journey to net zero.”
As the company continues to scale its global operations, ZeroAvia also brings three new members to the senior team.
Christine Ourmières-Widener joins ZeroAvia’s Board of Directors and brings executive experience cultivated from her time spent in top leadership at airline and travel corporations, including Vice-President and GM USA for Air France-KLM, CEO and board member of CityJet, Chief Global Sales Officer of American Express Global Business Travel and CEO of FlyBe. She previously served on the Board of Governors for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and was a Non-Executive Director for the airline retailer Datalex.
Mike Friend, a retired Boeing Senior Technology Director and consultant for Mitsubishi Aircraft, joins the Technical Advisory Board to lend his extensive aerospace technology knowledge to the powertrain development programs. In the early 2000s, he led a historic Boeing Phantom Works project in Spain, resulting in the world’s first manned hydrogen-electric airplane flight. Following that, he was a chief engineer in the New Airplane Product Development team at Boeing Commercial Aircraft, playing critical roles in developing multiple vehicle concepts, including Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Mark Blair, a retired FedEx VP of Air Operations and a former Director of Fleet & Government Sales for Cessna Aircraft Company joins ZeroAvia Advisory Board to lend his extensive knowledge in package delivery applications of various sizes of aircraft. Mark is also engaged with a number of cargo and passenger operators in advisory capacities and will bring this diverse operator perspective to ZeroAvia.
ZeroAvia offers hydrogen-fueled powertrain technology to replace conventional engines in commercial aircraft. Adoption of this technology results not only in true zero-emission flight but also in lower fuel and maintenance costs. The company previously completed its first electric flight in the US in 2019, then built the second flying prototype in the UK, and conducted its first electric flight in June of 2020. In September 2020, it achieved the world’s first hydrogen-electric flight of a commercial-grade aircraft. Additionally, the company just completed a ground simulation of the complete power profile for its upcoming first cross-country flight. The ground test demonstrated a full battery shutdown in-flight using the company’s unique fuel cell powertrain configuration, allowing for complete removal of the battery system in the next configuration of the powertrain.
ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, focused on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions to address a variety of markets, initially targeting 500 mile range in 10-20 seat aircraft used for commercial passenger transport, cargo, agriculture, and more. Based in the UK and USA, ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for its two prototype aircraft from the CAA and FAA, passed significant flight test milestones, and is on track for commercial operations in 2024. The company’s expanding UK operations are supported by grants from UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK, and ZeroAvia is part of the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council. For more, please visit ZeroAvia.com, follow @ZeroAvia on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
About Horizons Ventures
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies, including Facebook, Spotify, Siri, Zoom, Impossible Foods and Perfect Day. For more information, please visit http://horizonsventures.com.
About Breakthrough Energy Ventures
Backed by many of the world’s top business leaders, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) invests in cutting-edge companies that will lead the world to net-zero emissions. BEV has more than $2 billion in committed capital to support bold entrepreneurs building companies that can significantly reduce emissions from agriculture, buildings, electricity, manufacturing, and transportation. BEV’s strategy links government-funded research and patient, risk-tolerant capital to bring transformative clean energy innovations to market as quickly as possible.
The first fund was created in 2016 as part of the Breakthrough Energy network of initiatives and entities, which include investment funds, non-profit and philanthropic programs, and policy efforts linked by a shared commitment to scale the technologies needed to address climate change and achieve a path to net zero emissions by 2050. Visit https://www.breakthroughenergy.org/ to learn more.
About Ecosystem Integrity Fund
Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF) invests in early growth-stage companies contributing to environmental sustainability across multiple sectors including renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste reduction, green chemistry, transportation, agriculture, and water. EIF takes a systems-based approach to sustainability investment, studying both the drivers for change as well as the constraints to innovation in market niches that are ripe for development. EIF invests in companies solving real problems, resulting in better investment opportunities and greater impact. For more information, visit: www.ecosystemintegrity.com.
About Summa Equity
Summa Equity is a thematic investment firm defined by a purpose-driven team that has come together to invest in companies that address some of our global challenges.
Summa Equity focuses on companies in industries supported by megatrends within three themes: Resource Efficiency, Changing Demographics and Tech-Enabled Business. The firm’s investments across the three themes have the potential for long-term sustainable outperformance because they address some of the social, environmental, and business challenges we need to solve as a society.
Summa Equity have more than SEK 14 billion of assets under management. For further information on Summa Equity, please visit www.summaequity.com.
About Shell Ventures
Shell Ventures helps companies reach the next level. Established in 1996 as one of the first corporate venture funds in the oil and gas industry, Shell Ventures works with startups and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) from their early stages to their scale and growth phases. Through minority investments and strategic partnerships, Shell Ventures helps innovative companies commercialise their solutions to accelerate the energy and mobility transformation.
SYSTEMIQ is a leading specialist consulting and investment firm applying system thinking to prevent the worst effects from climate change. SYSTEMIQ focuses on clean energy, materials/circularity, and nature with three complementary business models: (a) building coalitions of actors around climate themes, publishing industry-shaping reports that outline sector transition pathways, (b) advisory services for corporates and investment managers, and (c) investments in (early venture) technologies that accelerate the transition. For further information on SYSTEMIQ, please visit www.systemiq.earth.
About British Airways
British Airways is a global airline and the UK’s flag carrier, flying customers to where they need to be for more than 100 years. The airline connects Britain with the world and the world with Britain, putting customers and sustainability at its heart and providing service excellence. British Airways has a clear roadmap to meet its net zero 2050 target. More details of British Airways’ sustainability strategy can be found here.
● Doma, formerly known as States Title, is architecting the future of residential real estate transactions by overhauling the current system and building a better one based on what today’s consumers expect: a simple, digital, and frictionless experience.
● We believe this transaction will enable Doma to continue to invest in growth, market expansion and new products that extend the strategic advantage of its machine intelligence driven platform to deliver a more simple, efficient, and affordable real estate closing experience.
● The transaction values Doma at an enterprise value of approximately $3.0 billion and is expected to provide up to $645 million in cash proceeds, including a fully committed PIPE of $300 million and up to $345 million of cash held in the trust account of Capitol Investment Corp. V.
● Top-tier investors anchoring the PIPE overall include funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, The Gores Group, Hedosophia, SB Management, a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp., and Wells Capital. Existing Doma shareholder, Lennar, has also committed to the PIPE and Spencer Rascoff, co-founder and former CEO of Zillow Group, has committed a personal investment to the PIPE.
● Up to approximately $510 million of cash proceeds are expected to be retained by Doma, and existing Doma shareholders will own no less than approximately 80 percent of the equity of the new combined company, subject to redemptions by the public stockholders of Capitol and payment of transaction expenses.
● Investor Conference Call scheduled for Wednesday March 3rd at 10am ET.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA & ARLINGTON, VA. March 2, 2021 —(BUSINESS WIRE)— Doma, formerly known as States Title, a leading force for disruptive change in the real estate industry, has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Capitol Investment Corp. V (NYSE: CAP) (“Capitol”), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, to bring public a leading machine intelligence technology platform for residential real estate.
Founded in 2016, Doma uses machine intelligence to replace large portions of the antiquated residential real estate closing process with instant technology solutions. Doma’s platform is built on 30 years of historical data that accelerates title and closing timelines while also greatly benefiting lenders, real estate professionals and title agents with significant time and cost savings.
Even though consumers today expect instant digital experiences in nearly every aspect of their lives, residential real estate is only now joining the digital revolution. In 2020, home sales reached their highest level since 2006 as people rushed to take advantage of historically low interest rates. This surge in home buying and refinancing unveiled the critical need for the tech-first approach to real estate transactions that Doma is architecting. Using a combination of machine intelligence technology and deep human expertise, we believe Doma is creating optimal customer outcomes for the real estate closing experience. To date, Doma has facilitated over 800,000 real estate closings for leading lenders such as Chase, Homepoint, PennyMac, Sierra Pacific Mortgage and many more. With this investment, Doma is positioned to accelerate technology product adoption across all aspects of real estate.
Capitol’s founders have committed to make a “Capitol Charitable Contribution” and donate $5 million of sponsor shares to causes that support Doma’s philanthropic goals. Doma’s broader mission is grounded on the tenet that home ownership represents a key milestone in life which should be available to all individuals— regardless of their socio-economic circumstances, the color of their skin, where they come from, who they choose as a life partner, or their religious beliefs.
The company’s management team, led by Founder and CEO Max Simkoff, will continue to lead Doma. Mark Ein, Chairman and CEO of Capitol Investment Corp. V, will join the merged company’s Board of Directors upon completion of the transaction.
Max Simkoff, Founder and CEO of Doma, said:
“I founded Doma to remove friction and frustration from home-buying and to make closing on a home as simple and efficient as booking a ride or ordering a meal.
In 2020, adoption and usage of our core product exceeded our expectations. We pushed hard against our product and operational expansion road map and this accelerated momentum is helping remove friction from the home buying and refinancing experience. Right now, our patented machine intelligence technology reduces title processing time from five days to as little as one minute — our goal is that the entire mortgage closing process move from a 50+ day ordeal to less than a week. This partnership with Capitol demonstrates their confidence in our strong growth position as we continue our sprint to architect the future of real estate transactions.”
Mark Ein, Chairman and CEO of Capitol, said:
“Our mission at Capitol is to help build industry-leading public companies that deliver long-term value. Doma is an industry disruptor that is well on the way to doing just that, having already emerged as a market leader in the real estate industry with its proprietary technology solutions that are revolutionizing the title and escrow process. Through this transaction, Doma will be uniquely positioned to capitalize on the market opportunity to provide much-needed and long overdue innovation to the home closing experience. We are excited to work with Max and the talented Doma team to make the future of real estate transactions a better, faster and more accessible experience for homeowners, and we are confident that together we can deliver superior returns for shareholders long into the future.”
On March 2, 2021, Capitol entered into a definitive agreement to combine with Doma through a combination of stock and cash financing. The business combination values Doma at an enterprise value of approximately $3.0 billion.
The transaction is expected to provide up to $645 million in cash proceeds, including a fully committed PIPE of $300 million and up to $345 million of cash held in the trust account of Capitol. Top-tier investors anchoring the PIPE overall include funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Fidelity
Management & Research Company LLC, The Gores Group, Hedosophia, SB Management, a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp., and Wells Capital. Existing Doma shareholder, Lennar, has also committed to the PIPE and Spencer Rascoff, co-founder and former CEO of Zillow Group, has committed a personal investment to the PIPE.
Existing Doma shareholders will own no less than approximately 80 percent of the equity of the new combined company. Upon completion of the transaction, Doma will add up to approximately $510 million of cash to its balance sheet to fund operations and support new and existing growth initiatives. All references to cash on the balance sheet, available cash from the trust account and retained transaction proceeds are subject to any redemptions by the public stockholders of Capitol and payment of transaction expenses.
The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of Doma and Capitol, is subject to approval by Capitol’s stockholders and other customary closing conditions.
Additional information about the proposed transaction, including a copy of the merger agreement and investor presentation will be provided in a Current Report on Form 8-K to be filed by Capitol with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and available at www.sec.gov.
Conference Call Information
Doma and Capitol will host a joint investor conference call to discuss the proposed transaction and review an investor presentation Wednesday, March 3rd at 10:00AM Eastern time.
A webcast of the investor conference will be available here:
To listen to the prepared remarks via audio webcast, go to Capitol’s website at capinvestment.com or
Doma’s investor website, at www.doma.com/investors.
A link to the Company’s investor presentation and other resources related to the announced merger transaction can be found on Capitol’s website at capinvestment.com or Doma’s investor website, at www.doma.com/investors.
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to Capitol. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. also acted as capital markets advisor to Capitol.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc. acted as financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal advisor to Doma.
Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as PIPE placement agents with JMP Securities LLC, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. and D.A. Davidson & Co. as co-placement agents.
About Capitol Investment Corp. V
Capitol Investment Corp. V is a $345 million public investment vehicle with the mission to invest in and help build an industry-leading public company that will aim to deliver long-term value to shareholders. Capitol is led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mark D. Ein, and President and Chief Financial Officer, L. Dyson Dryden. The Capitol team has raised $1.5 billion in five SPACs since 2007 and closed four SPAC mergers. Capitol’s securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbols CAP, CAP WS and CAP.U.
About Doma Holdings Inc. (formerly States Title Holding)
Doma is architecting the future of real estate transactions. The company uses machine intelligence and its patented technology solutions to transform residential real estate, making closings instant and affordable. Doma and its family of brands – States Title, North American Title Company (NATC) and North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) – offer solutions for lenders, real estate agents, title agents, and homeowners that make closings vastly more simple and efficient, reducing cost and increasing customer satisfaction. Doma’s clients include some of the largest bank and non-bank lenders in the U.S. To learn more visit doma.com or statestitle.com.
Additional Information and Where to Find It
This press release relates to a proposed transaction between Doma and Capitol. This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or exchange, or the solicitation of an offer to buy or exchange, any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, sale or exchange would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. Capitol intends to file a registration statement on Form S-4 with the SEC, which will include a proxy statement/prospectus, that will be both the proxy statement to holders of Capitol’s Class A common stock in connection with its solicitation of proxies with respect to the proposed business combination and other matters as may be described therein, as well as the prospectus relating to the offer and sale of the securities to be issued in the proposed business combination. A proxy statement/prospectus will be sent to all Capitol stockholders. Capitol’s stockholders and other interested persons are advised to read, when available, the preliminary proxy statement/prospectus and the amendments thereto and the definitive proxy statement/prospectus and other documents filed in connection with the proposed business combination, as these materials will contain important information about Doma, Capitol, and the proposed business combination. When available, the definitive proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant materials for the proposed business combination will be mailed to Capitol’s stockholders as of a record date to be established for voting on the proposed business combination. Stockholders will also be able to obtain copies of the preliminary proxy statement, the definitive proxy statement, and other documents filed with the SEC, without charge, once available, at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov, or by directing a request to Capitol Investment Corp. V at 1300 17th Street North, Suite 820, Arlington, Virginia 22209 or (202) 654-7060.
Participants in Solicitation
Capitol and its directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Capitol’s stockholders in connection with the proposed transaction. A list of the names of such directors and executive officers and a description of their interests in Capitol is contained in Capitol’s prospectus dated December 1, 2020 relating to its initial public offering, which was filed with the SEC and is available free of charge at the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov. Additional information regarding the interests of such participants will be contained in the proxy statement/prospectus for the proposed business combination when available. Doma and its directors and executive officers may also be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Capitol’s stockholders in connection with the proposed business combination. A list of the names of such directors and executive officers and information regarding their interests in the proposed business combination will be included in the proxy statement/prospectus for the proposed business combination when available.
This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as “estimate,” “plan,” “project,” “forecast,” “intend,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “seek,” “target,” or other similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding estimates and forecasts of financial and performance metrics, projections of market opportunity, total addressable market (TAM), market share and competition, and potential benefits of the transactions described herein, and expectations related to the terms and timing of the transactions described herein. These statements are based on various assumptions, whether or not identified in this press release, and on the current expectations of Doma’s and Capitol’s management and are not predictions of actual performance. These forward-looking statements are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to serve as, and must not be relied on by any investor as, a guarantee, an assurance, a prediction, or a definitive statement of fact or probability. Actual events and circumstances are difficult or impossible to predict, will differ from assumptions and are beyond the control of Doma and Capitol.
These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including changes in business, market, financial, political, and legal conditions; the inability of the parties to successfully or timely consummate the transactions described herein; failure to realize the anticipated benefits of the transactions described herein; risks relating to the uncertainty of the projected financial information with respect to Doma; future global, regional, or local economic, political, market, and social conditions, including due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the development, effects, and enforcement of laws and regulations, including with respect to the title insurance industry; Doma’s ability to manage its future growth or to develop or acquire enhancements to its platform; the effects of competition on Doma’s future business; the outcome of any potential litigation, government and regulatory proceedings, investigations, and inquiries; and those other factors included in Capitol’s final prospectus relating to its initial public offering dated December 1, 2020 filed with the SEC under the heading “Risk Factors,” and other documents Capitol filed, or will file, with the SEC.
If any of these risks materialize or Doma’s or Capitol’s assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements.
There may be additional risks that neither Doma nor Capitol presently know or that Doma or Capitol currently believe are immaterial that could also cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. In addition, forward-looking statements reflect Doma’s and Capitol’s expectations, plans or forecasts of future events and views as of the date of this presentation. Doma and Capitol anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause Doma’s and Capitol’s assessments to change. However, while Doma and Capitol may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, Doma and Capitol specifically disclaim any obligation to do so, except as required by law. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Doma’s and Capitol’s assessments as of any date subsequent to the date of this presentation. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed upon the forward-looking statements.
The Blueshirt Group for Doma
The Key PR for Doma
For Capitol Investment Corp. V
Joele Frank for Capitol Investment Corp. V
Gavin Michael, former head of technology of Citi’s Global Consumer Bank, joins Bakkt as CEO
Bakkt investors will roll their equity into the combined company, with Intercontinental Exchange contributing an additional $50 million in capital
Combined company valued at an enterprise value of approximately $2.1 billion
Transaction accelerates Bakkt’s growth and the rollout of its consumer application
ATLANTA and CHICAGO — January 11, 2021 — Bakkt Holdings, LLC (“Bakkt”), the transformative digital asset marketplace launched in 2018 by Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (“ICE”) and a marquee group of investors and strategic partners, and VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings (NASDAQ: VIH) (“VIH”), a special purpose acquisition company sponsored by Victory Park Capital (“VPC”), today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for a business combination that will result in Bakkt becoming a publicly traded company with an enterprise value of approximately $2.1 billion. The combined company will be renamed Bakkt Holdings, Inc. and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Since its founding nearly three years ago, Bakkt has been at the forefront of new innovations enabling institutions and consumers to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets. Bakkt’s differentiated and disruptive platform, soon to be made widely available through the new Bakkt App, will enable incremental consumer spending, reduce traditional payment costs and bolster loyalty programs, adding value for all key stakeholders within the payments and digital assets ecosystem. In building its platform, Bakkt leveraged ICE’s ability to create secure and regulated market infrastructure, to make Bakkt a trusted platform for digital assets.
Leading Bakkt as CEO will be Gavin Michael, whose appointment takes effect today. Michael, who served most recently as head of technology for Citi’s Global Consumer Bank and led the strategic planning, management and day-to-day operations of Citi’s global technology organization, succeeds David Clifton, Bakkt’s interim CEO, who will join the combined company’s Board of Directors at the closing of the business combination. Earlier in his career, Michael headed the digital team for Chase and served as Chief Technology Innovation Officer at Accenture, among other roles with leading financial services and technology firms.
“The average consumer holds a wealth of digital assets but rarely tracks their value and lacks the tools to manage and utilize them,” said Michael. “I’m excited to join the management team of a company, at this important time in its expansion, whose vision is to bring trust and transparency to digital assets through innovation and technology and, through that process, unlock trillions of dollars currently held in customer and loyalty accounts and allow consumers to put them to work.”
Jeffrey C. Sprecher, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, commented: “For the past 20 years, I’ve been privileged to work with great people to bring one great company to the public markets and watch it grow from there, and today I’m equally proud to see another great idea born within ICE, and shepherded by another great team, enter into a transaction that will allow it to become publicly traded. I’m thrilled we were able to partner with the fintech experts at VPC on this pathbreaking deal and look forward to watching Gavin and his colleagues bring Bakkt to the next level.”
Victory Park Capital, a global investment firm headquartered in Chicago, has a long track record of executing debt and equity financing transactions with some of the largest global fintech companies. VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings completed its initial public offering in September 2020.
“With VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings, our aim was to identify a high-growth fintech company with competitive differentiation and significant white space, and we are pleased to have found a great match in Bakkt,” said John Martin, CEO of VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings. “The company has a strong position in one of the most well-funded and fastest growing areas of technological expansion, as evidenced by its diversified revenue generation model and pathway to near-term profitability. We thank Jeff, David and the ICE team for their vision and look forward to working with Gavin and the Bakkt team to grow its market-leading position in digital assets.”
Bakkt currently supports more than 30 loyalty program sponsors and over 200 gift card merchants, and Starbucks has integrated Bakkt Cash as a payment method for customers to reload their Starbucks Card in the Starbucks app. The Bakkt App is currently available on an invite-only basis, with over 400,000 consumers currently signed up for early access. Bakkt is planning for the widespread rollout of the app in March 2021. Before it is widely available, users from approved jurisdictions who would like early access to the Bakkt App may download it in the App Store or Google Play Store.
Key Transaction Terms
The business combination values the combined company at an enterprise value of approximately $2.1 billion and is expected to result in over $500 million of cash on the combined company’s balance sheet, reflecting a contribution of up to $207 million of cash held in VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings’ trust account and a $325 million concurrent private placement (PIPE) of Class A common stock of the combined company, priced at $10.00 per share, including a $50 million contribution from ICE.
As part of the transaction, Bakkt’s existing equity holders and management will roll 100% of their equity into the combined company. Assuming no shareholders of VIH exercise their redemption rights, current Bakkt equity holders will own approximately 78%, VIH public shareholders will own approximately 8%, VPC will own approximately 2% and PIPE investors (a group that will include ICE) will own approximately 12% of the combined company (through an Up-C structure described below) at closing.
In connection with the business combination, VIH will change its jurisdiction of incorporation from the Cayman Islands to the State of Delaware. The business combination has been structured as an “Up-C” where former Bakkt equity owners will retain their equity interests in Bakkt and will receive non-economic voting shares of the combined company at closing. The combined company will also enter into a customary tax receivable arrangement with the current equity holders of Bakkt, which will provide for the sharing of certain tax benefits as realized by the combined company.
The proposed business combination has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of Bakkt and VIH, is subject to approval by VIH’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The business combination is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021.
A more detailed description of the business combination terms and a copy of the Agreement and Plan of Merger will be included in a current report on Form 8-K to be filed by VIH with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). VIH will file a registration statement (which will contain a proxy statement/prospectus) with the SEC in connection with the business combination.
PJ Solomon is serving as financial advisor and Shearman & Sterling is serving as legal advisor to Bakkt. Jefferies and Citigroup are serving as financial and capital markets advisors to VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings and co-placement agents on the PIPE. Jefferies is the lead capital markets advisor to VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings. White & Case LLP is serving as legal advisor to VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings.
The management teams of Bakkt and VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings will host an investor call on January 11, 2021 at 10:00 am ET to discuss the proposed business combination and review an investor presentation. The webcast can be accessed by visiting: https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/2959229/E600241C03A604B52F811C86F9053E76. A replay will be available.
For materials and information, visit https://www.bakkt.com/newsroom for Bakkt and https://www.victoryparkcapital.com/impact-acquisition-holdings/ for VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings.
VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings will also file the presentation with the SEC as an exhibit to a Current Report on Form 8-K, which can be viewed on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Bakkt is a provider of institutional and retail solutions for digital assets. Bakkt provides a mobile application enabling consumers to unlock the value of digital assets, including cryptocurrency, loyalty points, in-game assets, and gift cards, while giving merchants and loyalty program sponsors deeper customer engagement and delivering cost savings to merchants. Bakkt was founded in 2018 by Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
About VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings
VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings’ sponsor is an affiliate of Victory Park Capital, a global investment firm with a long track record of executing debt and equity financing transactions with some of the largest global Fintech companies. The firm was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Chicago with additional resources in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Victory Park Capital is privately held and a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC.
Additional Information and Where to Find It
In connection with the proposed transaction (the “Proposed Transaction”), VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings (“VIH”) intends to file a registration statement on Form S-4 that will include a proxy statement/prospectus of VIH. This press release is not a substitute for the proxy statement/prospectus, that will be both the proxy statement to be distributed to holders of VIH’s ordinary shares in connection with its solicitation of proxies for the vote by VIH’s shareholders with respect to the Proposed Transaction and other matters as may be described in the registration statement, as well as the prospectus relating to the offer and sale of the securities to be issued in connection with VIH’s change in its jurisdiction of incorporation from the Cayman Islands to the State of Delaware. This document does not contain all the information that should be considered concerning the Proposed Transaction and is not intended to form the basis of any investment decision or any other decision in respect of the Proposed Transaction. VIH’s shareholders and other interested persons are advised to read, when available, the preliminary proxy statement/prospectus included in the registration statement and the amendments thereto and the definitive proxy statement/prospectus and other documents filed in connection with the Proposed Transaction, as these materials will contain important information about Bakkt, VIH and the Proposed Transaction.
INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS THAT ARE FILED OR WILL BE FILED WITH THE SEC, AS WELL AS ANY AMENDMENTS OR SUPPLEMENTS TO THESE DOCUMENTS, CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN OR WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BAKKT, VIH, THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION AND RELATED MATTERS.
When available, the definitive proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant materials for the Proposed Transaction will be mailed to shareholders of VIH as of a record date to be established for voting on the Proposed Transaction. VIH’s shareholders will also be able to obtain copies of the preliminary proxy statement/prospectus, the definitive proxy statement/prospectus and other documents filed with the SEC, without charge, once available, at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. These documents (when they are available) can also be obtained free of charge from VIH upon written request to VIH by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by directing a request to VIH’s secretary at c/o Victory Park Capital Advisors, LLC, 150 North Riverside Plaza, Suite 5200, Chicago, IL 60606.
No Offer or Solicitation
This communication is for informational purposes only and is not intended to and shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy or subscribe for any securities or a solicitation of any vote of approval, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and otherwise in accordance with applicable law.
Participants in Solicitation
This communication is not a solicitation of a proxy from any investor or securityholder. However, VIH, Bakkt, ICE and certain of their respective directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from VIH’s shareholders in connection with the Proposed Transaction under the rules of the SEC. Information regarding VIH directors and executive officers may be found in its registration statement on Form S-1, including amendments thereto, and other reports which are filed with the SEC. Additional information regarding the participants will also be included in the registration statement on Form S-4 that includes the preliminary proxy statement/prospectus, when it becomes available. When available, these documents can be obtained free of charge from the sources indicated above.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This communication contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements about future financial and operating results, our plans, objectives, expectations and intentions with respect to future operations, products and services; and other statements identified by words such as “will likely result,” “are expected to,” “will continue,” “is anticipated,” “estimated,” “believe,” “intend,” “plan,” “projection,” “outlook” or words of similar meaning. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding Bakkt’s industry and market sizes, future opportunities for VIH, Bakkt and the combined company, VIH’s and Bakkt’s estimated future results and the Proposed Transaction, including the implied enterprise value, the expected transaction and ownership structure and the likelihood and ability of the parties to successfully consummate the Proposed Transaction. Such forward-looking statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of our management and are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond our control. Actual results and the timing of events may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements.
In addition to factors previously disclosed in VIH’s reports filed with the SEC and those identified elsewhere in this communication, the following factors, among others, could cause actual results and the timing of events to differ materially from the anticipated results or other expectations expressed in the forward-looking statements: (i) inability to meet the closing conditions to the Proposed Transaction, including the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the definitive agreement; (ii) the inability to complete the Proposed Transaction due to the failure to obtain approval of VIH’s shareholders or Bakkt’s members, the failure to achieve the minimum amount of cash available following any redemptions by VIH’s shareholders or the failure to meet the national stock exchange’s listing standards in connection with the consummation of the Proposed Transaction; (iii) costs related to the Proposed Transaction; (iv) a delay or failure to realize the expected benefits from the Proposed Transaction; (v) risks related to disruption of management time from ongoing business operations due to the Proposed Transaction; (vi) the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; (vii) changes in the markets in which Bakkt competes, including with respect to its competitive landscape, technology evolution or regulatory changes; (viii) changes in the markets that Bakkt targets; (ix) risk that Bakkt may not be able to execute its growth strategies, including identifying and executing acquisitions; (x) risks relating to data security; and (xi) risk that Bakkt may not be able to develop and maintain effective internal controls. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described in the “Risk Factors” section of VIH’s final prospectus dated September 22, 2020 relating to its initial public offering, the registration statement on Form S-4 and proxy statement/prospectus discussed above and other documents filed by VIH from time to time with the SEC. These filings identify and address, or will identify and address, other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements.
Actual results, performance or achievements may differ materially, and potentially adversely, from any projections and forward-looking statements and the assumptions on which those forward-looking statements are based. There can be no assurance that the data contained herein is reflective of future performance to any degree. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a predictor of future performance as projected financial information and other information are based on estimates and assumptions that are inherently subject to various significant risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. All information set forth herein speaks only as of the date hereof in the case of information about VIH and Bakkt or the date of such information in the case of information from persons other than VIH or Bakkt, and we disclaim any intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this communication. Forecasts and estimates regarding Bakkt’s industry and end markets are based on sources we believe to be reliable, however there can be no assurance these forecasts and estimates will prove accurate in whole or in part. Annualized, pro forma, projected and estimated numbers are used for illustrative purpose only, are not forecasts and may not reflect actual results.
VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings
Julia Sahin, Edelman
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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Japan’s MS&AD Insurance Group, will invest $350 million in U.S. home insurance technology company Hippo Enterprises to fund its next stage of growth, the companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
Mitsui bought a convertible note in Hippo that will turn into an equity stake the next time it raises new funds, Hippo Chief Executive Officer Assaf Wand told Reuters in an interview.
MS&AD’s venture arm was part of Hippo’s Series E funding round that was announced in July, and the new investment – which is accompanied by a plan to sign a reinsurance agreement with Mitsui Sumitomo – builds on that partnership.
Hippo was valued at $1.5 billion in July, although Wand noted this figure was now outdated because of market developments and the growth of the business. He declined to disclose an updated valuation.
“We have been very thoughtful on the people that we’ve bought into the capital structure and how can they help us build the biggest franchise,” said Wand.
Insurance technology startups such as Hippo have been growing rapidly in the pandemic as more consumers seek quotes and policies remotely.
Investors have funneled billions of dollars into the public offerings for Lemonade Inc, Root Inc and SelectQuote Inc this year, at significantly higher valuations than traditional insurance companies.
Asked if Hippo could become a publicly traded company in 2021, raise new funds from private investors or seek a sale, Wand said the company was evaluating all these options.
The Mitsui Sumitomo investment will allow Hippo to continue growing its product range and expand in new U.S. markets. Hippo aims to be able to offer services to about 95% of the U.S. population in the next year, Wand said.
Hippo’s other investors include Comcast Ventures, and technology-focused investment firms Dragoneer and BOND.
(Reporting by David French in New York; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
BERKELEY, Calif., Oct. 21, 2020 — Perfect Day, Inc., innovative animal-free dairy maker, announces the appointment of Robert Iger, Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company, to its board of directors, filling its first founder-designated board seat.
Iger’s decades of business leadership experience across media and entertainment will bring a unique blend of operational and global market excellence to the Bay Area startup. As Perfect Day establishes the new food category of Animal-Free Dairy, Iger is poised to help the company execute its rapid expansion plans and succeed in its mission to create a kinder, greener tomorrow by developing new ways to make the foods people love today.
“Innovation and leadership are both key to world changing ideas,” said Iger. “Perfect Day has established both innovation in its use of technology and novel approach to fighting climate change, and clear leadership in building a category with a multi-year head start in the industry they’re helping to build. I’m thrilled to join at this pivotal moment and support the company’s swift growth into new categories and markets.”
Iger joins Perfect Day’s board of directors alongside the company’s co-founders, Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, and representatives from lead investors, Aftab Mathur and Patrick Zhang of Temasek Holdings and Horizons Ventures respectively.
Establishing a well-rounded Board comes at a crucial time for Perfect Day as the alternative protein industry continues to grow, and fermentation technology in particular has proven its capabilities as a key pillar in the industry. Perfect Day, the most well-funded protein fermentation company in the world, has over $360 million in total funding to-date. The recent acceleration has been supported by continuing expansion of production capacity of its animal-free dairy protein, solidifying new brand and foodservice partners, and establishing commercialization plans in new product categories within the next year.
“We’re thrilled to have Bob Iger join our team, and are confident his tenured operational expertise and visionary leadership style will further help us scale our ambitions,” said Ryan Pandya, CEO and co-founder of Perfect Day. “We’re focused on rapid commercialization in the U.S. and globally. But we know we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re excited and humbled to have a proven leader like Bob to help us thoughtfully transform our purpose-driven aspirations into tangible and sustainable impact.”
About Perfect Day
Founded in 2014 by CEO and co-founder, Ryan Pandya, and co-founder, Perumal Gandhi — Perfect Day is on a mission to create a kinder, greener tomorrow by developing new ways to make the foods you love today — starting in the dairy aisle. Instead of relying on cows, the Bay Area startup utilizes fermentation to create proprietary ‘flora-made’ dairy protein. Perfect Day’s ingenious animal-free protein can be used across a range of products — from ice cream and milk to cheese and butter — to deliver the same taste and texture of dairy without the environmental, animal welfare, or food safety concerns. Foods made with Perfect Day protein can be labeled as vegan and lactose-free and are coming soon to a fridge near you as the company expands its network of food and dairy manufacturing and foodservice partners. To learn more, visit perfectdayfoods.com or follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
SOURCE Perfect Day
BERKELEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ansa Biotechnologies today announced that it has raised $7.9 million in an oversubscribed Seed round of funding led by Horizons Ventures, with participation from Mubadala Capital, Humboldt Fund, and additional investors. Combined with a Pre-Seed round raised in December 2018 led by Fifty Years, the company has raised $9.2 million to date.
The new investment will accelerate the development of Ansa’s next-generation DNA synthesis technology. Ansa will use the funds to recruit world-class talent, build out new, state-of-the-art R&D facilities, and establish strategic industrial partnerships. “Biology-based technology will continue to revolutionize multiple industries, and Ansa is poised to deliver the next generation of synthetic DNA to support this transformation. We believe that faster and more accurate DNA synthesis is foundational to fueling innovation in both biotechnology and basic biological research,” said Daniel Arlow, Ph.D., CEO of Ansa. “To achieve our goals, we will rapidly expand our team by hiring top talent from industry and academia over the next few months.”
“DNA read, write, and edit are the core pillars of synthetic biology,” said Seth Bannon, Founding Partner at Fifty Years. “Currently, the ability to write DNA is the main bottleneck in the synthetic biology industry. By enabling faster, longer, and higher quality DNA synthesis with their fully enzymatic process, Ansa will help accelerate the entire synthetic biology industry.”
“Ansa’s unique and versatile enzymatic approach promises to set the standard for DNA synthesis speed and accuracy,” said Patrick Zhang of Horizons Ventures. “We are excited to partner with Ansa to support the development of this critical technology that will streamline writing the DNA code that powers the synthetic biology industry.”
About Ansa Biotechnologies
Ansa Biotechnologies is building a faster and cheaper DNA synthesis service to accelerate synthetic biology research. Ansa’s core technology is a novel DNA synthesis method based on enzymes that will be faster, cleaner and more accurate than existing methods. The unique approach, developed by the founders at UC Berkeley, uses an engineered template-independent polymerase conjugated to a single nucleoside triphosphate molecule to rapidly build a DNA sequence one base at a time. For more information, visit ansabio.com or follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Horizons Ventures
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies including Facebook, Spotify, Zoom, Impossible Foods, Perfect Day and Demetrix. For more information, visit horizonsventures.com.
About Fifty Years
Fifty Years is a San Francisco based seed fund that backs entrepreneurs solving the world’s biggest problems with technology. They’re a leading pre-seed and seed investor in synthetic biology. They’ve seeded many synthetic biology startups shaping the world for the better — companies like Memphis Meats, Solugen, Lygos, Geltor, and OpenTrons. For more information, visit www.fiftyyears.com.
George McArthur (Head of Product, Ansa Biotechnologies)
(540) 440 1414, email@example.com
The investment will bring new and enhanced features while scaling content production and partnerships.
Curio, the premium audio platform with a curated library of expert journalism, has closed a $9M Series A round led by Earlybird. Draper Esprit, Cherry Ventures, and Horizons Ventures also took part in the investment. Before the Series A, Curio raised $2M, led by Cherry Ventures, with the participation of 500 Startups and private angel investors, bringing the total amount raised to $11M to date.
Curio plans to use the investment to strengthen its position in the US and UK markets, while expanding to other anglophone parts of the world, including India, Australia, and South Africa. Co-produced series and guest curation are also in the pipeline, alongside AI-led personalisation and commissioning based on over 2 million monthly data points.
The subscription app is entirely ad-free and updated daily with the most outstanding stories from over 50 leading publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Economist, and the Financial Times as well as specialised content from WIRED, MIT Technology Review, Foreign Policy and Aeon.
Govind Balakrishnan, an ex-BBC strategist, and Srikant Chakravarti, a former solicitor, founded Curio in London in 2016. Last year its users played over 18 million minutes of audio on the app, Apple featured it on its Keynote launch event, and Curio was named the App of the Year by Google. In 2020, Curio has already been featured over 220 times on the App Store worldwide.
“We want to help everyone become wiser, empathetic, and fulfilled. I believe learning about ideas and insights shaping our future, and stories that move us can do exactly that,” said Govind Balakrishnan, Curio co-founder and CEO. “I’d never have imagined when growing up in India and listening to the BBC on shortwave radio, that I’d one day work there, let alone found a startup that is building the future of screenless media and empowering publishers in the process.”
Focusing on audio rather than screen time, Curio provides an opportunity for people to learn in real-time from current world events through trusted, high-quality stories from top-tier and specialist publications. Curated to provide insights and coverage on essential topics that impact our present and the future, Curio gives voice to the top analysts and thinkers of our time.
“Audio offers us a unique way of engaging deeply with quality content. And on Curio, that quality consists of the best journalism and expert stories – including opinions, analyses, investigations – designed to help us all learn from the real world,” said Srikant Chakravarti, Curio co-founder and COO. “We have also developed a mix of curation and machine learning personalisation. With this combination, we believe that Curio can revolutionise how we all consume media and relate to it.”
Fabian Heilemann, a partner at Earlybird, will be joining Curio’s board. “Over the last five years, a boom of new technology brought exponential growth to the audio industry, impacting how media is consumed and produced. We, at Earlybird, share Curio’s vision of disrupting modern journalism through curated audio formats, and I am very excited to join the board. Being an early investor in the crowd-publishing platform Inkitt and a former consumer-tech entrepreneur myself, I am proud to support the exceptional team at Curio in scaling internationally” said Fabian.
Govind Balakrishnan and Srikant Chakravarti founded Curio to change the way people get insights on critical topics, learn new ideas, and grow. Curio is a premium audio platform with a curated library of expert journalism.
The concept was born while Govind was working at the BBC. He noticed that exceptionally written pieces were getting lost into endless feeds of unorganised content. The world was not lacking compelling stories nor insights; it needed a more straightforward and engaging way for people to discover them. So, in 2016, Curio was born, helping people to learn in real-time from current world events through trusted, high-quality audio stories from top-tier and specialist publications.
The app is free to download and offers monthly and yearly subscriptions, priced at £5.99/month and £44.99/year for those wishing to gain unlimited access to the content library and listen to unlimited stories. To learn more about Curio, visit www.curio.io
Ag-Tech venture giants – S2G Ventures, AgFunder, Bessemer Venture Partners – join Horizons Ventures in backing molecular coffee innovation.
SEATTLE, WA, August 11- Today, Atomo Coffee Inc, announced that it has closed an additional $9 million in Seed funding to bring it’s molecular coffee to market. The team has reverse-engineered the coffee bean to create a uniquely smooth and sustainable brew. In a blind taste test conducted by CNBC, 70% of consumers preferred Atomo’s less bitter brew over conventional coffee. Atomo will use funds to build their production roastery in the heart of Seattle’s industrial district with an anticipated launch in 2021.
Climate change is wreaking havoc on the global coffee industry; affecting quality, contributing to deforestation and driving a variety of wild coffee species into possible extinction. Atomo’s mission is to use science and technology to recreate coffee people love in a more sustainable way, by using upcycled plants.
“Our flagship grounds formula is made of upcycled plant materials such as pits, seeds, and stems from locally grown agriculture, mirroring the process of traditional coffee beans” says Jarret Stopforth, Chief Scientist and Cofounder, “Atomo’s magic comes from our proprietary bioreactive and thermal processes.”
Upcycling is a rising movement across multiple categories and is defined by the Upcycled Food Association as ”foods using ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment.”
“Seattle is the perfect confluence of tech and craft coffee, it only makes sense that coffee is reinvented here.” states Andy Kleitsch, CEO and Cofounder. “ Our tech creates a great tasting cup of coffee, that provides consumers with a sustainable choice, as well as greater value for our farmers.”
“Coffee is among the most consumed beverages worldwide, with roughly 42.6 liters per person per year according to Statistica. Atomo Coffee can make a huge impact in the market from a sustainability aspect while not sacrificing the quality and taste that consumers are going after.” states Tony Lau, Atomo board member and managing partner from Horizons Ventures.
“Today, coffee production has the 6th highest climate impact in terms of GHG emissions per kilogram of food product on the planet,” said Chuck Templeton, managing director of S2G Ventures. “The Atomo team’s molecular coffee recreates a wide variety of the coffee people love and increasingly consume in a sustainable and scalable manner.”
“With Americans drinking 450m cups of coffee a day, coffee is bigger than beef and we have already seen what the alternative meat industry has done for the food revolution.” Agfunder managing partner Rob Leclerc says, “This is only the beginning for disruptive innovation in the coffee industry.”
Tess Hatch from Bessemer Venture Partners remarks that “Atomo’s extraordinary team shares a profoundly important mission to do good for the planet and environment while also introducing an improved molecular coffee with no bitterness and better taste.”
Atomo’s production roastery will be located in SODO, not far from the local coffee icon, Starbucks, headquarters. They anticipate launching the first molecular coffee products into the market in 2021. Atomo has raised a total of $11.6 million across 2 Seed rounds.
About Atomo Coffee
Designed in Seattle, Atomo is the world’s first no-bean, molecular coffee. By reverse-engineering the coffee bean, Atomo has created an upcycled, sustainable brew which can be used in place of conventional coffee. Atomo’s mission is to create a better cup of coffee that is better for the planet, reducing the need for further deforestation and destruction caused by commercial coffee farming. The privately held company was founded by Jarret Stopforth, Ph.D and Andy Kleitsch. For more information, see www.atomocoffee.com
About Horizons Ventures
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies including Spotify, Siri, Zoom, Improbable, Impossible Foods and Perfect Day.
About S2G Ventures
S2G Ventures is a multi-stage venture fund investing across the food and agriculture markets. The fund’s mission is to catalyze innovation to meet consumer demands for healthy and sustainable food systems. S2G has identified sectors across the food system that are ripe for change, and is building a multi-stage portfolio including seed, venture and growth stage investments. Their portfolio includes multiple disruptive food-tech companies including Beyond Meat and Ripple.
About Bessemer Venture Partners
Bessemer Venture Partners was born from innovations in steel that literally forged modern building and manufacturing. Today, our team of investors works with people who want to create revolutions of their own.
Founded in 2013 and based in Silicon Valley, Agfunder is one of the most active agri-foodtech venture capitalists. Their mission is to invest in technologies to rapidly transform our food and agriculture system.
Cara LeDuc 509.778.3214 firstname.lastname@example.org
OTTAWA, ON, June 15, 2020 /CNW/ – Kinaxis® Inc. (TSX: KXS), the authority in driving agility for fast, confident decision-making in an unpredictable world, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Toronto-based Rubikloud, a disruptive, emerging provider of AI solutions that automate supply chain prescriptive analytics and decision-making in the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries.
Globally-recognized retailers and CPG manufacturers in the health and beauty, household and grocery segments use Rubikloud’s AI-based products today. Their offerings include demand forecasting and automation to manage and optimize trade promotions, pricing and assortment to drive product demand and dramatically improve financial results. Kinaxis will enhance RapidResponse’s demand planning capabilities with the Rubikloud offerings, anticipating initial opportunities in the company’s rapidly-growing CPG customer base and over time for other industries such as life sciences. The acquisition also offers Kinaxis a springboard into the enterprise retail industry.
“Rubikloud has capabilities and value that we can offer our CPG customers today, leads us into the retail industry with some bellwether accounts, and adds a group of approximately 80 people to an already-impressive AI and machine learning (ML) team here at Kinaxis. Over time, this enhanced group will contribute to new and existing AI-powered capabilities across the full Kinaxis RapidResponse® platform and applications,” said John Sicard, President and CEO of Kinaxis. “This acquisition reflects the growing importance of AI and ML to power intelligent automation and augment human decision-making to better deliver on customer promises, remove waste and increase resiliency for effective risk management.”
Rubikloud’s SaaS-based ML offerings empower retail and CPG manufacturers to transform their core operations by improving and automating complex, profit-generating decisions. Rubikloud’s proven AI capabilities and intuitive tools enable users to leverage disparate data sources to improve forecast accuracy, site-level allocations, inventory availability and promotion plans by allowing users to run boundless simulations in real time.
“We founded Rubikloud with the belief that purpose-built AI could be used to solve some of the most complex industry problems and we have spent the last seven years building a fantastic product that receives validation from global customers every day,” said Kerry Liu, CEO, Rubikloud. “We’re excited at the prospect of joining Kinaxis, which helps us bring our innovations to a much broader customer base at a faster pace than on our own. Not only that, being two strong Canadian companies we see great cultural synergy and look forward to working on the complex problems we know RapidResponse and concurrent planning can solve for customers.”
Terms of Agreement
Kinaxis will acquire Rubikloud for US$60 million in an all-cash transaction that is expected to close within 60 days. Based on Rubikloud’s current revenue and expense profile, the company’s fiscal 2020 revenue and Adjusted EBITDA guidance, as reiterated in its May 6, 2020 news release, remains unchanged. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.
About Kinaxis Inc.
Everyday volatility and uncertainty demand quick action. Kinaxis® delivers the agility to make fast, confident decisions across integrated business planning and the digital supply chain. People can plan better, live better and change the world. Trusted by innovative brands, we combine human intelligence with AI and concurrent planning to help companies plan for any future, monitor risks and opportunities and respond at the pace of change. Powered by an extensible, cloud-based platform, Kinaxis delivers industry-proven applications so everyone can know sooner, act faster and remove waste. For more Kinaxis news, follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.
Certain statements in this release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking statements include statements as to Kinaxis’ growth opportunities and the potential benefits of its acquisition of Rubikloud, and the affirmation of its previously issued revenue and Adjusted EBITDA guidance. These statements are subject to certain assumptions, risks and uncertainties, including our view of the opportunities associated with Kinaxis’ and Rubikloud’s combined businesses, and expected synergies from the acquisition. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such statements. Kinaxis’ actual results, performance, achievements and developments may differ materially from the results, performance, achievements or developments expressed or implied by such statements. Risk factors that may cause the actual results, performance, achievements or developments of Kinaxis to differ materially from the results, performance, achievements or developments expressed or implied by such statements can be found in the public documents filed by Kinaxis with Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Kinaxis assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as expressly required by law.
SOURCE Kinaxis Inc.
Greenspring Associates leads Series C financing round, alongside Horizons Ventures, Eminence Capital and HSCM Bermuda.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – May 21, 2020 – States Title, one of the leading forces for disruptive change in the real estate industry, announced today that it has closed a Series C financing round of $123 million, led by Greenspring Associates. States Title is applying modern-day technology to ancient title and escrow processes to provide an instant customer closing experience, enable mortgage originators and realtors to be more efficient, and lower costs for everyone involved. The company is already one of the top ten largest real estate settlement services in the US and has seen 100x growth over the last year.
“The most pressing need in our industry right now is to remove friction and cost from mortgage closings, and to do so with solutions that can deliver fully remote, instant, digital experiences,” said Max Simkoff, Founder and CEO of States Title. “We are committed to further investment in our patented, industry-leading machine intelligence platform to support the goal of providing an instant closing experience at a lower cost. Right now we are witnessing an unprecedented shift in the structural foundation of the real estate industry, and this new funding will allow States Title to provide enhanced support for lenders, real estate agents, and homeowners, as well as provide a solid foundation for continued technological investment in the face of future economic uncertainty.”
Greenspring Associates, a comprehensive venture capital investment platform with over $10 billion in assets under management, led the round with significant investments from new investors Horizons Ventures, Eminence Capital, and HSCM Bermuda. All of States Title’s previous investors also participated in this round of financing, including a large investment from Foundation Capital and additional investments from Assurant, FifthWall Ventures, Lennar Ventures, and SCOR Global P&C Ventures.
“States Title has developed an automated, patented technology that streamlines the laborious title and escrow process, emerging as the market leader in an industry that historically lacks meaningful innovation,” said Jim Lim, Managing General Partner of Greenspring Associates. “We are thrilled to support States Title as they advance the vision of an instant mortgage that closes with one tap. Especially in the current economic climate, the mortgage industry needs to be re-imagined with transformative technological solutions to reduce costs and improve the customer experience. States Title is leading the vanguard of this transformation.”
States Title’s clients are some of the largest mortgage lenders in the U.S., including one of the top two largest bank lenders and two of the top ten largest non-bank lenders. The company acquired North American Title Company and North American Title Insurance Company in early 2019 and has achieved exponential growth over the last year. States Title grew transaction volume by 100x from 2018 to 2019 and the combined business has closed or issued insurance policies for nearly half a million real estate transactions in the past year. States Title’s patented technologies enable the use of data science to create predictive title insurance based on an assigned risk score to indicate how safe a property is from liens or liabilities, helping to achieve faster title processing and more efficient underwriting. The company has a talented team of nearly 1000 data scientists, engineers, product managers, and operations associates throughout the U.S.
About States Title
States Title is enabling an instant real estate closing experience. The company is using machine intelligence and its patented technology solution to transform residential real estate, making closings instant and affordable. States Title and its family of brands – North American Title Company (NATC) and North American Title Insurance Company (NATIC) – offers solutions for lenders, real estate agents, title agents, and homeowners that make closings vastly more simple and efficient, reducing cost and increasing customer satisfaction. States Title’s clients include some of the largest bank and non-bank lenders in the U.S., and the company, which closed or issued insurance policies for nearly half a million transactions in 2019, is rapidly growing. To learn more visit statestitle.com.
Varden develops deep-tech plastic alternative to curb waste, improve sustainability of consumer packaging industry
Melbourne, April 27, 2020 – Varden, the Melbourne-based tech startup and manufacturer of high-performance, biodegradable packaging materials like Paperseal, announced a $2.2 million seed funding round. Horizons Ventures, a VC fund backed by Li Ka-shing with early investments in companies like Spotify and Zoom, led the investment. This financing will help Varden to develop a pilot manufacturing facility to create their products at scale and expand their offerings to a global market.
The ubiquity of single-use plastics in consumer goods packaging has been of much concern to governments and major corporations alike. The European Union banned the use of single-use plastic items beginning in 2021, and companies like Nestle and Walmart have pledged to deploy 100% sustainable packaging by 2025. On a wider scale, 91% of plastics are never recycled, and those that are can take up to 400 years to decompose naturally.
To address this massive shift, Varden has brought together a confluence of proprietary biochemistry and fiber-thermoforming to transform the way consumer packaging is designed through a process called “bio-mimicry”. Their fully compostable materials provide manufacturers of products like coffee pods and pharmaceutical blister packs the opportunity to lower their production costs and dramatically decrease the carbon footprint of their businesses at no consequence to product performance. The company’s flagship offering, Paperseal, offers a familiar look and feel to consumers without the harmful byproducts of traditional plastic packaging.
“Companies have a plastic problem. These outdated materials have long been the status quo, but smart businesses are beginning to wake up to the reality that ignoring negative environmental effects can hurt their bottom lines. Consumers are demanding alternatives and willing to reward companies who go the extra mile to be sustainable,” said Stuart Gordon, Founder and General Manager of Innovation at Varden. “At Varden we’ve built a real, technologically superior alternative to plastic. We are driven by technological innovation and a desire to ultimately return the materials used in our packaging products to where they originated from – the Earth – in a timely and sustainable manner.”
Varden is working with some of the largest coffee brands in the world to manufacture and test new coffee pod offerings. With over 20 billion coffee pods consumed every year, these products have the potential to massively reduce plastic waste on a global scale. Varden’s patented oxygen barrier, water vapor barrier and 3D thermoforming processes ensure the freshness and shelf stability offered by traditional plastic packaging.
The company is led by co-founders Stuart Gordon and Mark Appleford. Before starting Varden, Gordon served as a senior product designer in the consumer packaging industry working for many leading global brands. Appleford is an environmental scientist with extensive experience in business development and commercialization, positioning Varden’s executive team to tackle the issues present in contemporary packaging design head on.
“The continued use of aluminium and plastic is not sustainable – even a tiny pharmaceutical blister pack may take up to 400 years to decompose. Varden’s technology offers a truly disruptive solution, which delivers high performing packaging with zero environmental impact, at a competitive price. We are excited to be part of Varden,” said Chris Liu of Horizons Ventures.
Varden is a company focused on creating and commercializing sustainable materials that enrich our world. Our core technologies rely on the use of naturally molded plant pulp fiber to create eco-friendly, beautiful and high-performing packaging for a wide range of material applications.
About Horizons Ventures
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies, including Facebook, Waze, Spotify, Impossible Foods, Improbable and Zoom.
Sydney-based healthcare technology company Harrison.ai to rapidly grow its team and conquer some of healthcare’s greatest challenges through Artificial Intelligence
[10 December 2019] Harrison.ai, a Sydney-based healthcare artificial intelligence (AI) company, today announced it has completed its first capital raise of A$29 million. Founded by brothers – Dr. Aengus Tran, a clinician and world-ranked AI engineer and Dimitry Tran, a healthcare technologist, it is one of the most significant AI fundraisings in Australia. The company has been bootstrapped since inception in 2018 and has a vision to use AI to revolutionise global healthcare.
The initial funding round was led by Blackbird Ventures and joined by Horizons Ventures, Skip Capital and Ramsay Health Care.
Harrison.ai will use the funding to grow its world-class team with new hires in the field of data science and software engineering, as well as those with clinical and medical device backgrounds. It will also develop new applications in areas where AI technologies are ready to make an impact such as radiology, pathology, and hospital operation. Harrison.ai’s clinician-led approach empowers physicians and healthcare providers with customised AI tools to make better and faster decisions, leading to improved patient outcomes.
AI holds huge promise to improve and democratise access to best-in-class healthcare but so far has under-delivered on its potential. It takes years to obtain data to train algorithms, and even longer to collect clinical evidence and obtain regulatory approval for AI products. Consequently, most healthcare AI is stuck in the research and development phase and patients have missed out.
Blackbird was built to back founders like Dimitry and Aengus. Their twin passions for technology and medicine perfectly equip them to achieve the mission of speeding up and democratising access to world class healthcare for everyone. Australia has a long history of success in healthcare and we are confident Harrison.ai will be following in the footsteps of Cochlear, Resmed and others. We could not be more proud to join them on the journey,” said Samantha Wong of Blackbird Ventures.
Chris Liu of Horizons Ventures, commented: “We believe Harrison’s unique approach to AI in healthcare will set it apart from its peers and deliver a platform that will help to improve patient experience and outcomes.”
“I have been extremely impressed with Dimitry and Aengus, and their passion for changing healthcare through AI. They already have one successful product, and I’m extremely excited about what will come next,” said Kim Jackson, Principal of Skip Capital.
Harrison.ai’s unique approach is to collaborate with healthcare providers on data, product development and clinical validation studies, enabling them to successfully and safely release AI products for patients in record time.
This was the case with Harrison.ai’s first product launch in In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). In partnership with the world’s leading IVF provider, Virtus Health Limited (ASX:VRT), Harrison.ai developed, validated and deployed an AI technology (‘IVY’) capable of predicting the likelihood of pregnancy from analysing embryo videos. Dr Aengus Tran, CEO and Co-Founder of Harrison.ai prototyped the algorithm while completing his medical degree and it was rolled out in clinics within 11 months.
The capital raise was completed on the back of Harrison.ai’s formation of a new joint venture with I- MED Radiology Network, Australia’s leading diagnostic imaging provider, to develop world-leading prediction engines for key imaging modalities (such as X-ray, mammography and CT) to assist radiologists to efficiently and accurately diagnose diseases and injuries.
“I’m excited to be able to use my AI and medical background to help many thousands, potentially millions, of patients to achieve better healthcare outcomes faster than I ever could have by treating patients individually. Wearing the dual hat of a clinician and an AI engineer translates into clinically sound designs and technically robust solutions to benefit patients,” Dr Tran said.
Dimitry Tran, Co-Founder, Harrison.ai said: “Australia leads the world in many areas of healthcare. We have home-grown organisations that went on to become the world’s largest in their domains, such as Ramsay Health Care in hospital, Virtus Health in fertility, and I-MED in radiology. This presents a great opportunity for technology development and global distribution. At Harrison.ai, a key part of our strategy moving forward is to collaborate with such organisations to develop AI-as- medical-device solutions that improve efficiency, accuracy and safety, ultimately enhancing patient outcomes.”
Aengus graduated with distinction from medical school at the University of New South Wales where he served as president of the Student Cardiology Society. Aengus invented the IVY technology in last year of medical school after a chance encounter with Dr. Simon Cooke, Head of Science at Virtus Health, in a lecture on reproductive medicine at Sydney Children’s Hospital.
Dimitry graduated with university medal from Bond University and spent most of his career in finance and healthcare. He was the Head of Innovation at Ramsay Health Care where he worked with the global executive team and the board to develop innovation strategy, built the team, established partnerships with global tech companies & healthcare start-ups. Dimitry is passionate about improving healthcare quality in low-resource settings. He wrote two books about healthcare improvement and is the co-founder and chairman of the Centre for Healthcare Improvement Research (CHIR), an NGO working with over 200 public hospitals and 25,000 healthcare professionals to improve patient safety in public hospitals in Vietnam.
For more information visit: www.harrison.ai
Global funds Momenta Ventures, Horizons Ventures and more back Fleet in latest funding round
SOMEWHERE IN THE EXOSPHERE, 26/27 AUGUST 2019 — Fleet Space Technologies has raised USD$7.35 million (AUD$10.8 million) from global funds including Momenta Ventures and Horizons Ventures, to deliver ubiquitous Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity to remote industries, powered by a global constellation of nanosatellites.
Investors in the funding round also included Grok Ventures and Blackbird Ventures, who re-invested in the company, and major Australian materials hire company Kennards Hire, a Fleet customer focused on digital transformation. The new funding will enable Fleet to meet the increasing demand for global deployments of private IoT networks, powered by its constellation of nanosatellites, across industries including logistics, resources and energy.
Founded by aerospace engineers in Adelaide, Australia in 2015, Fleet’s technology enables companies to roll out transformative IoT solutions previously rendered impossible by cost, distance and connectivity. Fleet combines a global constellation of nanosatellites at a fraction of the cost of traditional satellites, with its Portal, a long-range LoRaWAN hub that processes data from sensors using edge computing to reduce data transmission needs. The result makes the impossible a reality; from tracking assets across thousands of kilometres, managing heavy equipment at remote mine sites, to monitoring major pipelines and utilities, all powered by Fleet’s growing constellation of shoebox-sized nanosatellites.
Fleet’s technology will make it possible to help connect the more than 14 billion low-power, industrial IoT sensors and devices expected to come online by 2025. The global Internet of Things market is expected to surpass USD$1 trillion in 2022, according to global research firm IDC, driven by increased use of industrial sensors in manufacturing, transportation, utilities and other asset-heavy industries.
Fleet’s technology has met unprecedented demand since launch, with more than three million LoRaWAN™️devices registered to join the global network in a single, 24-hour period. It launched its first four nanosatellites in 2018, on board SpaceX, Rocket Lab and ISRO, and will use the new funding to launch its next generation of nanosatellites in 2020.
The latest funding round introduces strategic investors specifically chosen to help Fleet develop its technology to become even more powerful, and deploy it with the right network and technology partners. The company is one of the first investments from Momenta Ventures’ LPWAN Ecosystem Fund, the only Internet of Things-focused fund in the US, established to accelerate industry solutions powered by Low Power Wide Area Networks with a focus on open standards and ecosystems such as LoRaWAN®.
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies including Spotify, Siri, Zoom, Air Wallex, Impossible Foods and Perfect Day.
Fleet previously raised AUD$5 million from investors including Blackbird Ventures and Grok Ventures, alongside matched seed funding from the South Australian Government.
About Fleet Space Technologies
Fleet Space Technologies is building the global digital nervous system to power the next industrial revolution. Founded in South Australia in 2015, Fleet was created by aerospace engineers who wanted to solve the issue facing businesses globally over the next decade: how to connect billions of sensors and devices, simply and cheaply. Fleet is building a constellation of more than 100 nanosatellites, combined with its LoRaWAN-powered Portal to create a global, connectivity network that will plug directly into the millions of digital sensors already beginning to transform industries like agriculture, logistics, and mining and gas.
Horizons Ventures – Early investor in Impossible Foods and Perfect Day – continues food innovation investment with Atomo.
SEATTLE, WA, August 14- Today, Atomo Coffee Inc, announced it has secured $2.6 million in seed funding to develop the world’s first molecular coffee, made without beans. The team reverse engineered the coffee bean to create a uniquely smooth cup of coffee, one that is more consistent and more sustainable than current commercial coffee.
Climate change is pushing coffee farmers uphill into virgin rainforest lands, causing approximately 250,000 acres of deforestation per year due to . Atomo’s naturally derived ingredients deliver the same great coffee experience without the negative environmental impacts.
“Atomo’s beanless coffee provides consumers with a sustainable choice while delivering the great taste and caffeine they expect in their morning cup.” CEO of Atomo, Andy Kleitsch
“The coffee industry is ripe for innovation and change.” said Chief Scientist, Jarret Stopforth Ph.D. “The acceptance o f agriculture alternatives has been proven with meatless meats and dairy free milks, we want to continue that movement in a category we feel passionate about, coffee.”
“Coffee consumption has been steadily increasing year over year globally. We are proud to share Atomo’s vision in finding innovative alternative solutions to the growing issues surrounding the coffee industry.” Tony Lau of Horizons Ventures.
Atomo has added food and beverage technology veterans to their advisory board including, Bryan Crowley, CEO of Soylent, as well as the world’s leading expert in coffee science, Dr. Chahan Yeretzian of the Swiss Coffee Excellence Center (ZHAW).
About Atomo Molecular Coffee
Designed in Seattle, Atomo is the world’s first molecular coffee containing no coffee beans. By reverse-engineering the coffee bean, Atomo has created a naturally-derived and sustainable coffee which can be used in place of traditional coffee. Atomo’s goal is to create a better cup of coffee that is better for the environment, reducing the need for beans thus minimizing deforestation and destruction caused by commercial coffee farming. The privately held company was founded by Jarret Stopforth, Ph.D and Andy Kleitsch. For more information, see https://atomocoffee.com
About Horizon Ventures
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies including Spotify, Siri, Zoom, Improbable, Impossible Foods and Perfect Day.
About Bryan Crowley, CEO Soylent
With over 20 years of leadership experience in the CPG and food tech industries, Crowley brings extensive industry, branding and innovation expertise to Atomo’s business development and go-to-market strategy.
About Dr. Chahan Yeretzian, ZHAW
Leading expert in coffee science, Chahan Yeretzian is the head of the Coffee Excellence Center and Professor for Analytical Chemistry, Bioanalytical Chemistry and Diagnostics at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland. He brings his expertise to Atomo’s coffee research in molecular decoding and formulation.
Funding Round led by Tuatara Capital with Continued Participation by Horizons Ventures
EMERYVILLE, Calif., July 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Demetrix Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the production of cannabinoids, announced that it has secured $50 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Tuatara Capital with participation from existing investor Horizons Ventures. Horizons Ventures previously led Demetrix’s $11 million Series Seed round.
The global market for cannabinoids, the active therapeutic compounds in the cannabis plant, is expected to reach $100 billion by 2029*. Over the last decade, the supply chain for this rapidly-developing global market has largely relied on traditional plant cultivation and extraction operations to produce high purity THC and CBD. However, the majority of cannabinoids in the plants are in very low concentrations and cannot be economically produced via plant extraction. Demetrix is working to solve this problem by using baker’s yeast to consistently produce large volumes of any cannabinoid at high quality, high purity, and lower cost. The Company intends to use its Series A funding to scale its operations and commercialize the first of more than 100 unique cannabinoids.
“Demetrix’s mission is to help the world benefit from nature’s rarest ingredients, and we’re excited to partner with world-class investors like Tuatara Capital and Horizons Ventures to help global pharmaceutical, supplement, and consumer product companies deliver innovative products using cannabinoids,” said Demetrix CEO Jeff Ubersax. “We’ve assembled a team of industry veterans, built a scalable technology platform, and are working with global regulatory organizations to quickly commercialize.”
Demetrix employs an industry-leading fermentation technology that accelerates the production of cannabinoids. The company has improved production by several orders of magnitude over what was reported in the February 27, 2019issue of the journal Nature that featured the technology.
“Tuatara Capital partners with industry-defining companies that are shaping the future of the legal cannabis industry, and we are excited to lead this investment in Demetrix. The team at Demetrix has a proven track record of commercializing rare ingredients at scale and have extraordinary expertise with both biological engineering and research and development around cannabinoids. The ability to consistently produce high purity, single cannabinoids in a process that easily scales to meet demand is an important factor for this emerging industry,” said Marc Riiska, Partner at Tuatara Capital.
“Horizons Ventures shares Demetrix’s passion for unlocking the potential of natural ingredients for customers around the world via its cutting-edge synthetic biology work, a field that we truly believe will bring a seismic shift to the world. Cannabinoids hold tremendous promise for improving human health, and Demetrix is uniquely positioned to bring these compounds to market in a cost-efficient way. We’re excited and proud to be part of this journey,” said Patrick Zhang at Horizons Ventures.
*Ackrell Capital estimates. U.S. Cannabis Market Estimates, 2016.
Demetrix, Inc. works with nature to make rare ingredients readily accessible to promote healthier and happier lives. By using microorganisms such as baker’s yeast and fermentation combined with the most advanced biotechnology, data science and automation, Demetrix can produce complex, sustainable ingredients at high purity and lower cost. Founded in 2015, Demetrix has secured over $60 million in funding led by Horizons Ventures and Tuatara Capital. For more information, see www.demetrixbio.com.
About Tuatara Capital
Tuatara Capital, L.P. is a specialized alternative investment manager founded in 2014 to support the legal cannabis industry. Tuatara currently manages over $330 million in cannabis-focused assets and is making long-term investments into market-leading companies who benefit from the growth trends of the legal cannabis industry. With an investment philosophy centered around partnership, Tuatara works alongside management teams to provide strategic, financial, and operational support to help navigate the rapidly evolving regulatory and commercial frameworks. In doing so Tuatara seeks to create positive economic impact and long-term value for our investors, our portfolio companies, and the communities that we help to support.
About Horizons Ventures
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies including Facebook, Spotify, Siri, Zoom, Impossible Foods and Perfect Day.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
SOURCE Demetrix, Inc.
HONG KONG, May 28, 2019 — Endless West, the company creating spirits and wines in under 24 hours from their San Francisco R&D lab, announced today that their product Glyph, the first whiskey ever to be made molecule by molecule without any barrel aging, will be available for an exclusive release at select Watson’s Wine stores in Hong Kong.
Glyph is the world’s first whiskey to be made ‘note by note’. The company uses analytical chemistry to identify the molecules responsible for the specific flavors, aromas, and characteristics of various spirits, sources them from more efficient sources in nature (like other plants, yeasts and fruits), then uses these molecules — or ‘notes’ — as building blocks to create their own original profiles of whiskeys.
“We’re not looking to replace conventional methods of spirit making. But there’s more than one way to create exceptional tasting spirits,” said Endless West Co-Founder and CEO Alec Lee. “We believe there’s space for new, innovative concepts that live next to, rather than as a replacement to, traditional methods. If we can create high-quality drinks people love, and can do it with fewer resources, then why not raise that bar together,” Lee expanded.
There are a number of advantages to Endless West’s methods compared to conventional wine and spirit production including greater control and precision over the overall product experience, speed of new product development, and more efficient production methods. Where the typical distillation and barrel aging process for whiskey can take 10 – 20 years, Endless West’s team of scientists and spirits specialists can develop new variations in just days. This enables them to continuously refine the taste and quality of their whiskeys by incorporating consumer and trade feedback and preferences into their process.
Since their first exclusive reveal to The Wall Street Journal in October, Glyph has also been certified a Craft Blended Spirit by the American Distilling Institute (ADI) and have collected a handful of awards (one gold and three silver medals) from leading spirits organizations like Tastings by the Beverage Testing Institute, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and Wines & Spirits Wholesalers of America from this year.
“We are very pleased to see the emergence of Glyph, using an innovative production method, giving customers a unique experience at a competitive price. Glyph is truly distinct and I highly recommend trying”, said Jeremy Stockman, General Manager of Watson’s Wine.
With regards to its taste, Endless West Chief Product Officer Josh Decolongon explains that stylistically, Glyph was inspired by the sweeter sherry cask-aged whiskies of the Old World but that over the course of its creation the brand took greater inspiration from the softer and fruitier styles of Japanese and Canadian whiskies. Those who enjoy sweeter-styled whiskies will appreciate Glyph for its vanilla, honey and caramel notes, its medium-bodied palate, and firm, earthy finish.
Decolongon continued that the decision to pursue a sherry-caramel forward whiskey was motivated by the desire to offer something unique and unexpected to the market. The company also sought to create an approachable whiskey as a way to invite more consumers into one of the most premium spirits categories.
In addition to The Wall Street Journal, Endless West has also been featured in Forbes, Fortune, and The Economist. The company currently self distributes in select states in the US and will be available for purchase today in the following Watson’s Wine stores – Cheung Kong Centre, Century Square, IFC, Pacific Place, and Ocean Centre. Glyph is set to retail in Hong Kong for HK$488.
About Endless West
Endless West is a spirits company that’s using innovative methods to create molecular spirits and wines. Its first product, Glyph, is the first whiskey ever to be crafted note by note, using molecules (or flavor and aroma notes) extracted pure from more efficient sources in nature. Unlike conventional whiskeys, Glyph is made without any aging or barreling — which means significantly less wood, water and land is used in its production process. Founded in 2015 by scientists Alec Lee and Mardonn Chua, and sommelier Josh Decolongon, the company is headquartered in San Francisco, California and has raised more than $13 million total funding to date. For more information, visit endlesswest.com/glyph.
TAIPEI, Taiwan, May 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Amidst the fierce competition in the world of artificial intelligence dominated by global tech companies, an AI startup in Taiwan has emerged as the pioneer in the field of edge AI. Kneron was founded by a young Taiwan native Albert Liu, and received funding from renowned investors including Himax, Qualcomm, CDIB, Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and Horizons Ventures, the private technology investment arm of Mr Li Ka-Shing. Today, Kneron is unveiling its ground-breaking 3D artificial intelligence solution and edge AI chip.
Named after its release date of May 20th, Kneron’s debut AI Chip “KL520” has the best-in-class power efficiency only consuming a few hundred milli-watts, bringing AI computation power to edge devices for various applications.
Building Global Partnerships to Bring AI to the Masses
Further to the KL520 edge AI chip release, Kneron is also announcing partnerships with industry leaders to bring their chip into our everyday lives. Partnerships include fabless IC maker Etron Technology Inc., US-listed company Himax Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: HIMX), enterprise PC OEM AAEON Technology Inc., 3C solution provider Alltek Technology Corp, renowned ODM players Pegatron, as well as 3D sensing provider Orbbec, and IC design house Datang Semiconductor.
Founded in 2015, Kneron is headquartered in San Diego. Founder Albert Liu graduated from National Cheng Kung University, received his PhD from UCLA, and subsequently worked at Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics and MStar, developing advanced AI systems.
Proprietary Reconfigurable Architecture to Bring Efficient AI Solutions On-Device
The KL520 edge AI chip is a culmination of Kneron’s core technologies, combining proprietary software and hardware designs to create a highly efficient and ultra low-power Neural Processing Unit (NPU). Running AI computations on the end device will help generate real-time insights without relying on the cloud.
In particular, KL520 is equipped with a unique reconfigurable architecture which allows the chip to run a number of different convolutional neural networks (CNN) based on different applications, regardless of its kernel size, architecture requirements or input size. In turn, the chip is able to achieve a very high MAC (media access control) efficiency, a key metric for efficient computation. This software innovation allows the chip to dynamically adjust its function based on applications needs, in order to achieve maximum efficiency. The KL520 is also equipped with a proprietary compression technology that is able to compress a large AI neural network into a very small footprint to process on the edge device, without sacrificing large amounts of power.
Kneron’s software and hardware innovations are truly a breakthrough in the development of edge AI. By bringing elements of reconfigurability and compression onto the chip, the KL520 is bringing AI computation to various end-devices that operate under low-powered environments.
Features and targeted applications for the KL520:
During the product launch event, Kneron’s Founder and CEO, Albert Liu said: “We are determined to deliver the best-in-class edge AI solution to the market. The results that we have achieved over the past four years are very promising, and we are proud to receive recognitions from industry partners for our innovations.”
Liu also mentioned that Kneron will be releasing its second-generation chip during Q4 this year, targeted toward the surveillance and security market. The team will also be exhibiting at CES Asia 2019 in June, showcasing Kneron’s latest products to partners and potential customers.
SOURCE Kneron Inc.
• Total funding for the industry-leading startup exceeds $750 million, including the
most recent Series E equity round of $300M
• Company’s flagship product, the award-winning Impossible™ Burger, continues
unprecedented sales surge — with strong growth among small restaurants as
well as new customers including Burger King, Red Robin and Qdoba
• Impossible Foods is adding a third shift of workers and second production line at
its manufacturing plant; additional expansion announcements coming later this
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (May 14, 2019) –– Impossible Foods has announced a $300 million funding
round. The Series E round was led by existing investors Temasek and Horizons Ventures.
The fifth equity funding round since Impossible Foods was launched in 2011 is intended to accelerate the
company’s rapid scaleup — including accelerated hiring and capacity expansion at the company’s plant
in Oakland, Calif. In total, the industry-leading food-tech startup has raised more than $750 million.
In addition to blue-chip institutional investors, the Series E round includes individual investors including:
Jay Brown, Kirk Cousins, Paul George, JAY-Z, Trevor Noah, Alexis Ohanian, Kal Penn, Katy Perry,
Questlove, Ruby Rose, Phil Rosenthal, Jaden Smith, Serena Williams, will.i.am and Zedd.
“We have cracked the molecular code for meat and built an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio
and brand,” said David Lee, Chief Financial Officer for Impossible Foods. “Our global financial partners
are supporting a technology powerhouse that will transform the global food system.”
The latest funding round comes amid unprecedented demand for the company’s flagship product, the
plant-based Impossible Burger, which debuted at some of America’s best restaurants in 2016.
At the International Consumer Electronics Show in January 2019, Impossible Foods launched the award-
winning and “shockingly good” Impossible Burger 2.0 — the company’s first significant product upgrade.
The Impossible Burger, the first food ever featured at CES’ roster of game-changing technologies, won
the show’s top prizes.
Since January, Impossible Foods has recorded intense growth in every sales category in which it does
business — independent restaurants, large restaurant chains such as White Castle and Qdoba, and non-
commercial outlets such as theme parks, museums, stadiums, and college campuses. The Impossible
Burger is now sold in more than 7,000 restaurants on two continents. In many restaurants, it is a top-
selling item and a key driver of new foot traffic.
America’s largest “better burger” franchise, Red Robin, launched the Impossible Burger last month at
nearly 500 restaurants nationwide. Also in April, the world’s second largest burger chain, Burger King,
debuted the Impossible Whopper in a regional test in St. Louis. The 59-unit regional test of the
Impossible Whopper at Burger King restaurants in St. Louis has gone exceedingly well; the Miami-based
restaurant chain intends to bring the Impossible Whopper to all 7,200 U.S. restaurants at the end of
In addition to an increasing number of restaurants that sell the Impossible Burger, chefs are expanding
the number of items made from the versatile plant-based meat, with average per-store volume
Since launching in Singapore in March 2019, sales have increased in Asia more than three-fold.
Impossible is sold in a wide range of restaurants and cuisines throughout Hong Kong, Singapore, and
Impossible Foods plans to launch the Impossible Burger in retail outlets later this year.
DESIGNED TO DISRUPT, BUILT TO SCALE
Founded in 2011 by Stanford biochemistry professor and former pediatrician Dr. Patrick O. Brown,
Impossible Foods makes meat from plants — with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat
from animals. The company uses modern science and technology to create wholesome food, restore
natural ecosystems, and feed a growing population sustainably. Read Brown’s blog to learn more about
the company’s mission.
With demand outstripping supply, Impossible Foods is looking to hire at least 50 new employees at its
plant in Oakland, Calif., which already employs about 70 full-time workers. The company is adding a third
shift and a second full line of production to help increase its capacity this year. Please see the
Impossible Foods’ job site to learn about a wide variety of openings.
On Monday, Impossible Foods announced the hiring of tech industry veteran Sheetal Shah as Senior Vice
President, Product and Operations, overseeing numerous functions including manufacturing, supply
chain and logistics. Shah was previously Chief Operations Officer at Verifone. Before that he served as
Chief Procurement Officer and numerous leadership roles at Motorola Mobility, a $10 billion mobile
device company acquired by Google.
Since its founding, Impossible Foods intentionally designed a robust supply chain that is highly scalable,
with products sourced from abundant plant crops. Impossible Foods has a clear, long-term roadmap to
exponentially expand capacity, and the Series E funding will accelerate the scaleup.
The company’s goal is to eliminate the need for animals in the food chain by 2035. To achieve continued
breakout growth, Impossible Foods is actively planning to add to and diversify its manufacturing
The company will provide additional details on expansion plans later this year.
ABOUT IMPOSSIBLE FOODS
Based in California’s Silicon Valley, Impossible Foods makes delicious, nutritious meat and dairy products
from plants — with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals. The privately held
company was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at
Stanford University and a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Investors include Khosla
Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, UBS, Viking Global Investors, Temasek, Sailing
Capital, and Open Philanthropy Project.
By GlobeNewswire, April 18, 2019, 12:55:00 PM EDT ( Source nasdaq.com )
NEW YORK, April 18, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:ZM), a video-first unified communications platform that delivers happiness and fundamentally changes how people interact, rang the Nasdaq MarketSite bell in Times Square today in celebration of its initial public offering (IPO) on The Nasdaq Stock Market.
Zoom connects people through frictionless video, voice, chat and content sharing and enables face-to-face video experiences for thousands of people in a single meeting across disparate devices and locations. Their cloud-native platform delivers reliable, high-quality video that is easy to use, manage and deploy, provides an attractive return on investment, is scalable and easily integrates with physical spaces and applications.
“We are proud to open public trading of Zoom shares on The Nasdaq Stock Market. Nasdaq has been a long-time friend of Zoom, and we are thrilled to partner with them in this new endeavor,” said Eric S. Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom. “My most sincere thanks to all of our customers, employees, and partners for your support in getting us to this day. I look forward to continuing to work for you and deliver you happiness for many years to come.”
“Zoom’s success results from a culture that is focused on customer and employee happiness, a video-first cloud architecture, recognized market leadership, viral demand, an efficient go-to-market strategy and robust customer support,” said Nelson Griggs, President of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. “They provide a full suite of products and features designed to give users a frictionless communications experience. We could not be more excited to welcome them to the Nasdaq family of the world’s most innovative companies.”
The information contained above is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and nothing contained herein should be construed as investment advice, either on behalf of a particular security or an overall investment strategy. Information about the company is provided by the company or comes from the company’s public filings and is not independently verified by Nasdaq. Neither Nasdaq nor any of its affiliates makes any recommendation to buy or sell any security or any representation about the financial condition of any company. Statements regarding Nasdaq-listed companies are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investors should undertake their own due diligence and carefully evaluate companies before investing. ADVICE FROM A SECURITIES PROFESSIONAL IS STRONGLY ADVISED.
Techcrunch – Ingrid Lunden @ingridlunden /2019 Apr 15
Vimeo, the IAC-owned platform for hosting, sharing and monetizing streamed video, has made an acquisition to expand into providing more creation and editing tools. The company has acquired Magisto, a startup founded in Israel that currently has more than 100 million users, which focuses on providing tools to create and edit short-form videos, providing not just editing but sourcing of music, stock photos and other elements as part of the mix.
Vimeo — which itself has 90 million members in more than 150 countries — says that the two will work together “to develop entirely new short-form video creation capabilities for the Vimeo platform, with the goal of helping any individual or business tell their stories with professionalism and ease.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed — but we are trying to find out. Israeli publication Globes is reporting that it’s a $200 million deal. One source we talked to didn’t dispute that figure, but from what we understand the final price won’t be settled on until the deal has closed. Vimeo said that will happen by the end of Q2.
Magisto had raised around $23 million since 2010 from a mix of financial and strategic investors. The list includes Magma Venture Partners, Horizons Ventures, Kreos Capital, Qualcomm, SanDisk and the Mail.Ru Group. Notably, it hadn’t raised any funding since 2014, according to PitchBook data.
Magisto has around 75 employees in California and Israel, all of which are coming over with the deal.
The deal underscores Vimeo’s strategy to position itself as a one-stop shop for companies or individuals that publish videos online — either as part of publicity campaigns or as the basis of a bigger project. The idea is that this will help Vimeo get bigger margins per customer by providing more services. Today, Vimeo’s pricing starts at free for its basic membership, with five paid tiers starting at $7 per month and extending up to $75 per month (if billed annually; the price is higher if you pay monthly) that vary in terms of how much video you can store, how many users you can have on your account, as well as enhanced video playing, privacy, collaboration and distribution features.
Magisto, meanwhile, has three tiers of service, priced at $4.99, $9.99 or $34.99 per month, depending on whether you want longer video, more editing tools (including stock music and photos) or higher-quality video downloads, among other bells and whistles.
It’s about time that Vimeo worked to capitalise on what it already offers. In an age when some of the most popular services online are streaming-media sites like YouTube, broadband connectivity is ubiquitous and people are always on the go, video has become one of the primary ways that people express themselves and get the word out.
“Social media has sparked an insatiable demand for video – audiences today expect high-quality video content from every business, regardless of size or budget. But we’ve found that most small businesses don’t have the tools, resources or expertise to meet this increased demand,” said Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo, in a statement. “Magisto’s proprietary technology enables cutting edge mobile apps and AI-powered editing tools which, combined with Vimeo’s scale and unmatched creator community, will empower more people to tell compelling stories through video.”
In addition to developing new tools, Vimeo said that Magisto will be getting Vimeo integration in order to publish and monetize videos that they create on Magisto currently.
The two already have a lot of synergy as they both tap the same customer base: smaller customers that are turning to video and online tools to create it to get the word out about themselves, without the big budgets and other pricey resources that larger businesses might have.
“Magisto guides entrepreneurs and small business owners through the video storytelling process, helping them use video effectively to grow their business and engage with audiences,” said Oren Boiman, founder and CEO of Magisto. “We level the playing field so that any business can move fast and compete in today’s video-first world. We’re thrilled to join Vimeo’s industry-leading platform, and to power their vision to make professional quality video creation accessible to all.”
Vimeo engaged lawyers David Chertok, Keren Sadeh, Omri Arouch and Daniel Colthof from Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal for the deal. Magisto worked with Barak S. Platt and Daniel Damboritz from Yigal Arnon & Co.
Techcrunch- Jon Russell Mar-25-2019
Australia-based Airwallex is the latest tech startup to enter the billion-dollar “unicorn” club. The company announced today that it has closed a $100 million Series C round that values its business above $1 billion.
Started in Melbourne in 2015 by four Chinese founders, Airwallex provides a service that lets companies manage cross-border revenue and financing in their business much like an alternative to consumer-focused service TransferWise.
Its customers can, for example, set up overseas bank accounts if they have paying customers located overseas. When they want to move that revenue back to their HQ, they simply do so through the Airwallex system, which uses inter-bank exchanges to trade forex at a mid-market rate. That’s something that can save its clients as much as 90 percent on their foreign exchange rates, and it massively simplifies the challenge of doing business overseas.
This new round of funding is led by DST Global — the high-profile investors that have backed the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Xiaomi and more — with participation from returning investors that include Sequoia China, Tencent, Hillhouse Capital, Gobi Partners, Horizons Ventures and Australia’s SquarePeg Capital. Airwallex has now raised more than $200 million; its previous investment was an $80 million raise around nine months ago.
Most impressively, the company has become a unicorn within three years of its launch — that’s an impressive feat, and the company has come a long way since we wrote about its $3 million seed round in late 2016. (Airwallex joins Atlassian and Canva as Australia’s third tech unicorn, by the way.)
CEO Jack Zhang told TechCrunch that the company is being public with its valuation for the first time because it provides a major validation that will help it build a reputation and develop additional services in the financial services space.
“We talked to a number of global funds we found interesting but we picked DST because our biggest priority is international expansion and [the firm will] help us opening doors and going after larger opportunities,” Zhang said of the lead investor for the round.
Indeed, the Airwallex vision has grown since that seed round. Today the company has eight offices worldwide, more than 260 staff and it helped send “billions” of U.S. dollars worldwide through its payment flows. This year it expects that number to grow to “tens of billions,” while it has also expanded its focus in terms of both customers and services. Initially, a large chunk of its flows involved China, but Zhang said the spread is “quite distributed.”
“Traditionally, we served a lot of the internet companies, but now we are saying that it doesn’t matter about size,” Zhang said. “We want to go after small companies and help all businesses to grow and expand globally.”
On the product side, he added that “the vision has evolved and now we’re building a fundamental global finance infrastructure.”
What does that mean exactly? Well, Zhang said Airwallex wants to be more than just a cross-border partner for companies. It already offers services like virtual bank accounts in 50 countries, it plugs into partners to offer other financial services — for example, Stripe — and its planned future products include credit card issuance to allow companies to manage money overseas with greater granular control.
Indeed, already Airwallex has an internal team nicknamed “Alpha” that helps SMEs and other businesses to grow overseas. That’s very much like Amazon’s AWS business, while Zhang said Airwallex has made undisclosed investments in two companies where it sees an aligned global vision.
“Alpha identifies early-stage companies and helps them to grow,” Zhang explained. “Whether they work with us or not we don’t care, we help connect them to investors and networks.”
The idea for the business came to Zhang, who spent time at Australia banks ANZ and NAB, after he grew frustrated of the challenges of importing overseas goods for a coffee business that he invested in with friends.
“We were importing from overseas and paying Western Union a bunch of money,” he recalls. “It was all very slow.”
Airwallex has fixed that problem for any would-be international-minded coffee shop owners/investors, but Zhang is convinced that the future of his business is to be an ecosystem for global banking and financial services. Precisely what that might mean in the future isn’t clear. But looking at companies that work closely with business customers, Airwallex is ideally placed to offer loans and financing, either directly or via partners, and really involve itself in growing its customers and their businesses.
Having started focused on Asia — and China in particular — Zhang is gunning for global growth, and that really means the U.S. and U.K and growing beyond Airwallex’s offices in London and San Francisco. The company is looking to kickstart that push through acquisitions, with Zhang admitting his team is “actively seeking interesting payment startups in the U.K. and the U.S.”
Airwallex is also casting its eye on banking licenses in selected markets, which could mean it returns to raise additional capital at the end of this year or the start of 2020.
The company isn’t saying too much about its own financials at this point. Airwallex makes its money taking an undisclosed cut of the transactions its clients make — Zhang calls it “tiny” but he said revenue grew five-fold last year while it is seeing “double-digit” growth on a monthly basis. The economy is running on solid unit economics, he maintains.
For now, the backing of its investors is allowing Airwallex to grow its business without needing to focus on making money. That’s proven tricky for some fintech companies — such as TransferWise and Europe’s challenger banks — but Zhang is confident that when that changes, his company will have little trouble being sustainable.
“We believe that there are huge opportunities for companies such as Airbnb and Amazon while SMEs need a true one-stop shop for their business to go from local to global. We know we have so many revenue streams we can get on the future, [but for now we are] focused on customer acquisition and helping our customers to scale,” he said.
BERLIN, March 27, 2019 – Teraki, Automotive AI startup Teraki today announced it has raised $2.3 million in additional funding for its mission to provide breakthrough AI and edge data processing software to meet the exploding data demands of the $395 billion automotive electronics industry. The latest backing for the technology platform, which brings a more than tenfold increase in efficiency to the components used in automotive electronics, comes from Hong Kong-based Horizon Ventures and American Family VenturesTotal funding to date amounts to $5.3 million.
“Data driven insights will be key to innovation in the automotive and automotive insurance sectors, as a result, capturing highly accurate information from cars is the basis needed to drive to these insights. Teraki aids in acquiring this information with the highest efficiency and accuracy rates. We are excited to support the growth of the company and its path towards enabling better insurance applications,” says Katelyn Johnson, principal at American Family Ventures.
American Family Ventures is a $200 million fund backed by American Family Insurance, the 13th largest P&C insurer in the US, interested in bringing data-driven products to the insurance industry.
Teraki is the leading provider of embedded, pre-processing software for sensor data in the automotive industry. When embedded in automotive electronic systems, the software enables hardware to process more than 10 times more data without loss of information to train and run machine learning methods of customers.
Teraki’s deterministic technology is compatible with AI and conforms to standards for safety related applications. By applying techniques originally developed for quantum computing, Teraki condenses data to as little as two percent of its original size. This means with Teraki pre-processing applications run more than 10 times faster than implementations based on Neural Network. Teraki pre-processing can work directly with AI chips enabling even higher efficiencies. Alternatively, it can also simply reduce the specs of classic automotive chips, thereby reducing the bill of materials. With respect to sensor fusion, Teraki drastically reduces energy consumption and heat production due to lower computational tasks, while still delivering the algorithm detection and prediction performance that are essential for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles.
Daniel Richart, Teraki’s CEO and co-founder says, “Winning the support of these renowned and leading VCs is further validation of our vision to truly enable efficient edge computing and scalable AI applications in the automotive markets. With this investment we will be able to accelerate the time to market for our signed customer contracts and serve the growing customer funnel.”
The company also announced today the launch of the Teraki DevCenter—a cloud-based data training and prototyping environment, allowing customers to train Teraki’s algorithms on their data. Data training is an essential step used to teach AI models or machine learning algorithms how to make data-driven predictions or decisions by building a mathematical model from input data.
Unique to the industry, the DevCenter automates this complex process and provides development teams with the opportunity to quickly train Teraki’s machine learning algorithms based on their own data and to evaluate exactly what performance advantages Teraki’s technology can provide.
“With the DevCenter we have automated data training tasks, allowing development teams to test our solution with their own data more quickly,” says Markus Kopf, Teraki’s co-founder and CTO. “Automating this entire process is complex and difficult. For our current and future customers, this makes it much easier to experience for themselves what Teraki technology can do in terms of edge processing and performance improvements that can lower their hardware and data communication costs, improve their applications and algorithms, and create new possibilities in the automotive systems of tomorrow.”
For more information, visit Teraki website
Teraki provides breakthrough edge data processing software to meet the exploding data demands of the $395 billion automotive electronics industry. The company’s AI-based Intelligent Signal Processing software delivers a more than 10X increase in automotive chip, communications and learning performance. This makes highly accurate AI applications possible at scale in embedded environments.
These leaps in performance enable the automotive industry to develop new, innovative and cost-effective ways to use the vast amount of data generated by in-vehicle sensors and control units (ECUs, MCUs, TCUs) to improve vehicle safety and autonomy at lower operational costs. Teraki has completed several pre-production validations by premium automotive manufacturers, as well as successful integrations on a variety of microcontrollers.
Headquartered in Berlin, Teraki is privately held and funded.
Techcrunch – Steve O’Hear Apr-11-2019
Trint, the London-based translation startup co-founded by Emmy-winning journalist Jeff Kofman, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding.
The round includes follow-on investment from Horizons Lab, the Hong Kong-based seed fund operated by the managers of Horizons Ventures, with participation from TechNexus, and The Associated Press.
It brings total funding for Trint to $7.8 million since the company’s founding in December 2014. Original backers include Google Digital News Innovation Fund and the Knight Enterprise Fund.
Counting some of the world’s largest media organizations as customers — including The Associated Press, Vice News, The Washington Post, and Der Spiegel — Trint uses machine learning and speech-to-text technology to automate transcribing, which is a significant pain-point for journalists and other content producers, such as video makers.
The web-based software also combines an audio/video player and text editor, with the outputted transcription synced to the audio player’s playhead. This then makes it easy to manually correct any mistranslations, which, in turn, helps Trint get smarter. There’s an iPhone app too, for mobile translation of phone calls and recordings.
I’ve used the software a number of times in my own work and found the automation to be fairly accurate. However, as with similar systems, it is quite dependent on the audio quality you feed into it.
On that note, Trint says it will use the additional funding to enhance the AI translation software and enable customers to extract more value from recorded audio and video and unlock what it describes as “the emerging voice economy”.
Over the next few months, the company will launch collaboration features to suit the workflow of large teams working with audio and video. The idea is to enable teams to work together on editing transcripts and publishing content.
Trint will also release a new video player with interactive transcript features, so that recorded content can be “searchable, discoverable, and shareable” online.
“We’ve created Trint to go far beyond automated transcription, building the world’s first enterprise product for managing the workflow of the spoken word,” says Trint founder Kofman. “Trint is focused on serving the needs of video production, brands, news organizations and researchers, allowing them to unlock the value of the spoken word like never before”.
Meanwhile, since launch Trint has grown from 4 to 45 employees. This includes opening a North American headquarters in Toronto where 7 employees are posted.
December 12, 2018 02:30 PM Eastern Standard Time
LONDON — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Synthace Ltd., the company behind the leading cloud software platform for automating and improving the success rate of biological research and development, today announced the closing of a $25.6m Series B financing round led by Horizons Ventures with additional investment from Luminous Ventures, SOSV and select other individual and large family office investors. Synthace will use the new funds to drive continued product development and build upon its cell and gene therapy customer base to accelerate global awareness of its solutions.
Synthace is a leader in Computer Aided Biology, a new paradigm that comprises two domains: the Digital and the Physical. The Digital, powered by artificial intelligence, includes software for designing and simulating biological systems, as well as methods of collating, structuring and analysing experimental data. The Physical, enabled by automation, includes systems that allow for the seamless transfer of biological designs into real ‘wet lab’ experiments via logistics simulation and execution.
In October 2018, Synthace launched a white paper, Computer Aided Biology: Delivering Biotechnology in the 21st Century which provides the most complete industry vision to date for how biological research will be transformed by an emerging ecosystem of cloud connected and digitally empowered research tools that augment human capabilities, accelerating the transition of biology towards becoming an engineering discipline.
Synthace CEO Tim Fell said: “Digital-to-physical workflows have transformed the semiconductor, aerospace, automobile and many other industries. Now it is the turn of the biotechnology industry, and we are grateful for the support of Horizons Ventures and our other new investment partners who share Synthace’s vision of how to facilitate that change.”
Patrick Zhang, of Horizons Ventures, commented: “We are at a pivotal point in the development and use of biotechnology. We believe that Synthace will lead the industry’s transition to Computer Aided Biology, owing to its truly disruptive and cutting-edge AI driven experiment design capability and experiment execution technology. We look forward to working with the team on this next exciting stage of Synthace’s development.”
Bob Wiederhold, Synthace Chairman, concluded: “The realization is setting in across industry and academia that the complexity of biology can only be properly addressed with advanced software and automation. This investment in Synthace is a significant step in turning that recognition into reality.”
This announcement follows previous distinctions from Gartner and the World Economic Forum, where the impact of the Synthace platform in enabling the Lab of the Future and Industry 4.0 was recognised.
Based in London, Synthace is developing Antha, a language and software platform specifically for biology that lets researchers aim higher and achieve better results, faster. Antha is designed to make reproducible and scalable workflows that can be readily edited and shared, and easily automated on labs’ existing equipment. With customers across pharma, agritech and industrial biotechnology Synthace has been recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer that is helping shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. For more information, visit: www.synthace.com.
NYC biomaterials company spins bio-derived yarn from kelp. Addressing the overabundance of everlasting plastics, AlgiKnit is creating the next generation of sustainable wearable materials, produced within a closed-loop life cycle.
New York, NY, November 16, 2018 — Today AlgiKnit, a biomaterials company developing yarn spun from kelp, announced a $2.2 million Series Seed round of financing led by Horizons Ventures and including SOSV.
The funding will propel the company through the next steps of development, towards manufacturing and commercialization of their bio-derived yarn.To create an alternative to conventional textiles, AlgiKnit spins yarn from a combination of algae and plant biopolymers, primarily including kelp, one of the fastest growing organisms on earth. This seaweed absorbs the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide at a rate up to five times faster than land-based plants and improves marine habitats. By using a non-toxic wet-spinning process, the company transforms these sustainable biopolymers into a strong, hypoallergenic and compostable yarn. When products made from AlgiKnit’s yarn are worn out, they can be bio-recycled and reclaimed for the next generation of products.
“Our goal at AlgiKnit is to make fashion synonymous with sustainability.” Said Aaron Nesser, Co-Founder and CEO of AlgiKnit. “AlgiKnit Yarn sidesteps the harmful impacts of conventional fibers, the result is a material with exceptional sustainability performance, which does not contribute to microfiber or microplastic pollution. We’re exceptionally pleased to be working with such visionary partners.”
Bart Swanson, Advisor to Horizons Ventures shared, “Climate change affects everyone. We are excited that Algiknit’s biomaterials will give a sustainable option to the textile and fiber industry.”
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies including Facebook, Waze, Spotify, Siri, Improbable, and Impossible Foods.
AlgiKnit Inc. was founded in 2017 with a mission to transform the fashion industry, utilizing science and design to create new, sustainable materials that fit into a circular economy.
Arvind Gupta, the founder and managing director of IndieBio, the biotech brand of venture capital firm SOSV that invested in Endless West, put a finer point on it. “The potential of this business is on the scale of an Uber, where you can reinvent an industry through changing scarcity to abundance,” he told me. “I see Endless West as the first company that can do that scale disruption to the alcoholic-beverage industry. If Endless West can create extremely well-designed beverages that rival what is extremely expensive, for not quite as expensive, then what are those traditional industries going to have to do?” Gupta says. “They’re going to have to evolve and provide a better product at a lower price point. And that’s just great for everybody.”
Further announces Unity streaming waiver for developers on heel of uses at Evo 2018 and upcoming esports tournaments, as well as a new Japanese subsidiary
NEW YORK (August 20, 2018) – Interactive streaming engine developer Genvid Technologies, Inc. today announced the closing of a new round of funding from Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing. A total of $10 million was raised in this new financing round.
Genvid has raised $20M to-date, with its Series A having been announced in April 2018.
New Financing Round
The funds will be used to triple the company’s growth in the next two years; enabling Genvid to grow its current stack of technologies as well as build new media, bespoke offerings and platform teams. Furthermore, the company will continue its international and vertical expansions, moving beyond esports into mobile, arcade and VR gaming across the US, EU, Japan and China, as well as new opportunities in real sports and the wider media.
“Customer interest in our solutions is growing every day,” says Jacob Navok, CEO of Genvid. “Our patented, cross-platform interactive streaming engine can be used directly on popular platforms like Twitch, and across infrastructures and engines such as AWS, Unreal and Unity. And we are thrilled to bring on Horizons Ventures, whose tremendous track record among investments includes Facebook, Siri, Zoom, Waze, Spotify and now Genvid.”
“Game broadcasting brings about a surging opportunity for media, telecom, and sports industries,” says Jonathan Tam of Horizons Ventures, who will be joining Genvid’s Board of Directors. “We feel that the unparallel interactivity and real-time composition capability of Genvid’s technology will bring a new kind of streaming experience for the 2 billion gamers worldwide.”
Great News for Unity Developers
Announced today is a waiver for Unity developers that integrate the Genvid SDK available from September 1st 2018. Normally, developers looking to utilize Unity for Cloud and Streaming purposes are restricted from during so by the Unity Terms of Service, without separate direct permission from Unity. Going forward, Genvid is now able to offer a direct side-letter covering any Unity developer for Genvid-enabled interactive streams.
“Our main goal is to make it as easy and attractive as possible for developers to create awesome viewer-facing content” says Genvid COO Chris Cataldi. “This new deal, coupled with the easy to use and always improving Genvid plugin for Unity, are prime examples of why developers choose Genvid to power their interactive broadcast programming.”
If you’re a Unity developer who wants to generate interactive streams via Genvid, further details can be found at the Genvid SDK Licensing page at https://www.genvidtech.com/licensing
Esports Tournament Broadcasts
Genvid is being increasingly used for esports tournaments broadcasting to Twitch, YouTube, etc. and was most recently used earlier this month at Evo 2018 by Chilean game developer AOne Games for live tournament broadcasts of its new UE4-based fighting game Omen of Sorrow. Genvid interactivity was available directly on Twitch through a Twitch Extension, which enabled users (in the case of this tournament, the casters using instant replay) to toggle on/off in realtime the character hitboxes, player inputs and HUD. Additional functionality such as viewer cheering and display of win/loss probability are already in the works for future tournaments, with more dates and details to be announced soon.
Video clips from the Evo Tournament include https://www.twitch.tv/nycfurby/video/293236938 and more videos and clips are available at our Media Kit for this release https://www.genvidtech.com/Horizons2018mediakit
More games and tournaments integrating the Genvid SDK will be announced in coming months.
Genvid is also announcing the establishment of Genvid Technologies Japan K.K., the company’s latest international expansion located in Tokyo, Japan. Genvid’s technology has proven tremendously popular among Japanese developers and media companies, and the new subsidiary will be growing staff to market and support the activities.
Already an early September 2018 tournament for esports title Blitz Freak in the Red Bull Gaming Sphere Tokyo arena using Genvid’s technology and benefitting from the Genvid/Unity deal has been announced by ActEvolve, a Japanese indie game developer using Unity.
Genvid’s Japan office joins its existing New York headquarters and its Montreal development hub (Genvid Technologies Canada Inc.) Genvid is actively exploring its next set of expansions, expected for Europe in the next year.
About Genvid Technologies
Founded in 2016 by game industry veterans and backed by Horizons Ventures, Makers Fund, March Capital Partners and OCA Ventures, Genvid provides an SDK for game developers to integrate into their games and allows game developers to make revolutionary broadcasts. The Genvid SDK is a simple-to-use middleware, flexible enough to run on any streaming platform and infrastructure that developers want to support. As a result, livestreams can be monetized through transactions that are uniquely targeted to the individual watching, leading to a significant revenue opportunity for game developers through sponsorships and in-stream purchases. The first interactive streaming tools built specifically for game developers, the Genvid SDK be can downloaded for free at https://www.genvidtech.com
The company’s name is a fusion of two Latin root words, Gen meaning “birth” and Vid meaning “viewing”; reflecting the company’s mission to power a new era of interactive streaming experiences.
A media kit for this release, including screenshots, is available at https://www.genvidtech.com/Horizons2018mediakit
About Horizons Ventures
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies including Facebook, Waze, Spotify, Siri, Improbable, and Impossible Foods.
Company name: Genvid Technologies, Inc.
Email Address: email@example.com
Company Name: ActEvolve
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Company Name: AOneGames
Email Address: Felipe Budinich email@example.com
The Genvid SDK is Copyright 2016-2018 Genvid Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Twitch and Twitch Extensions are © 2017-2018 Twitch Interactive, Inc.
Australia’s first quantum tech start-up completes initial seed round
10 July 2018 – Three global technology funding giants have invested in Q-CTRL, Australia’s first venture-capital-backed quantum technology company, established by the University of Sydney’s Professor Michael Biercuk.
Sequoia China, a leading investment firm, is adept at partnering with winners in technology having worked closely with some of the world’s most successful companies. DCVC is a newer but no less impressive Silicon Valley fund focused on AI and deep technology. It was one of the earliest investors in quantum computing hardware manufacturer, Rigetti, and its founding team has been investing in quantum technologies for almost two decades.
“This is a very exciting investment from some of the world’s most experienced and knowledgeable venture capitalists,” said Q-CTRL founder and CEO, Professor Michael Biercuk, head of the University’s Quantum Control Laboratory.
Sequoia China and DCVC add a substantial contribution to Q-CTRL’s multimillion dollar seed investments. Their capital, with a top-up from initial backers, Horizons Ventures, completes the seed round. Horizons Ventures is the technology investment vehicle of Li Ka Shing and has previously funded Spotify, Skype and Facebook at an early stage.
Steven Ji, Partner at Sequoia China, said: “Our mission is to invest in companies that can change the world. Q-CTRL and its founder Michael Biercuk are a perfect fit for that mission and we are excited to become partners to help Q-CTRL grow.”
Q-CTRL is the global leader in one of the missing pieces in building scalable quantum computers. The company, which now employs 15 people based at the Sydney Nanoscience Hub, focuses on control techniques to stabilise the quantum bits that are used to build quantum computers, quantum sensors and related technology.
“Looking back at how the Wright brothers transformed aviation, we know that control has helped build an industry before. Q-CTRL will do the same for quantum technology,” Professor Biercuk said.
“We are growing rapidly and closing this seed round with such a powerful team is an enormous vote of confidence in what we’ve built and the potential for Australian companies to operate globally.”
James Hardiman, Partner at DCVC, said: “We appreciate that the US is not the only wellspring of deep-tech innovation and were incredibly impressed by what Professor Biercuk and the Q-CTRL team had built and demonstrated. Coherence time is a bottle neck in quantum computing and their application of cutting-edge research to address an imminent commercial problem is exactly the kind of company we back at DCVC.”
In April, just six months after it was founded, Q-CTRL became one of eight start-ups worldwide to be invited to join IBM’s Q Network, enabling a collaboration with a leading quantum computer hardware manufacturer.
Q-CTRL builds on fundamental research undertaken at the Quantum Control Laboratory at the Sydney Nanoscience Hub, the flagship of the University of Sydney Nano Institute.
Jonathan Tam from Horizons Ventures said: “We are excited to see great talent emerging from Australia and we are happy to show continued support for Q-CTRL’s mission to become a key enabling technology for quantum computing. Their approach to error control will be integral to the development of the next generation of computing.”
Initial backer and Q-CTRL Director, Phil Morle, partner at Main Sequence Ventures, said: “An investment in Q-CTRL from these globally renowned VCs is further evidence of the exciting quantum computing industry emerging from Australia.”
Q-CTRL is ready to help you control your quantum future.
Marcus Strom +61 423 982 485 firstname.lastname@example.org
Q-CTRL website www.q-ctrl.com
Story: From quantum physicist to CEO: how Michael Biercuk started Q-CTRL
Blog: Q-CTRL joins IBM’s Q Network
Video: Q-CTRL’s Founding – powering the quantum revolution
Windward Adapts Market-Leading Intelligence Platform to Marine Insurance Industry
Tel-Aviv — July 1, 2018 – Windward, the pioneering maritime risk analytics startup that’s fundamentally changing the marine insurance landscape, today announced it had raised $16.5m in Series C funding. It brings the total raised to date to $38.9m.
The round was led by San Francisco-based insurtech fund, XL Innovate. Existing investors, Horizons Ventures and Aleph, also participated, as did a number of individuals, including Salesforce Chairman & CEO, Marc Benioff. As part of the fundraising, Tom Hutton, XL Innovate Managing Partner and former CEO of RMS, will become a board director. Windward will use the money to strengthen its position within the marine insurance market, expediting the development and rollout of its suite of marine insurance products, hiring top talent, and expanding its London office.
Commenting ahead of the Marine Insurance London conference, where he’s a keynote speaker, Windward Co-Founder and CEO, Ami Daniel, said:
“If there’s one investor you want to work with in insurtech, it’s XL Innovate. We know they only back the most promising, scalable technologies in the space. We’re delighted they chose us and look forward to putting their funds and expertise to good use, to offer our unique analytics and prediction tools to marine insurers around the world.”
Tom Hutton, Managing Partner at XL Innovate, said:
“We’ve had the pleasure of working with Ami and Windward for two years, believing a large opportunity existed for them in marine insurance. Today, Windward has established itself as the industry leader in marine risk analytics, earning the trust of governments and law enforcement agencies globally – and now expanding into insurance. We look forward to supporting Windward further, with our new equity investment complementing our existing commitment of time and resources.”
Building on its success quantifying marine risk for governments, Windward adapted its technology to create a unique offering for the marine insurance industry. Windward Insurance continuously monitors and analyzes what ships are doing, including: how they navigate; where they operate; when they operate; what they do in rough weather; and how they maneuver in ports. The company’s models use these vessel operating patterns and behavioral traits to predict the likelihood of a ship having an accident in the year ahead. Windward’s proprietary data and machine learning algorithms are integrated into insurers’ technical pricing models, leading to better underwriting decisions and improving profitability.
At the same time, Windward’s other main product is on course for a record year. Windward Intelligence, which helps intelligence, law enforcement and security agencies protect their national interests by revealing potential threats, has won a raft of major contracts in 2018. In March, the United Nations Security Council reported that it used Windward Intelligence to discover vessels helping North Korea evade sanctions.
Windward helps organizations understand maritime risk and therefore take actions to reduce it. Since its founding in 2010, the company has raised $38.9M from investors including Aleph, Horizons Ventures, former CIA Director David Petraeus, and former BP CEO, Lord Browne of Madingley. The company is headquartered in Tel Aviv, with an office in London. To learn more, visit: www.wnwd.com
About XL Innovate
XL Innovate is a venture capital fund focused on investing in companies that address the world’s most complex risks with new technologies and products for the insurance industry. XL Innovate provides companies with equity capital, unparalleled experience in building new ventures in this specific space, and access to XL Catlin’s global insurance expertise and underwriting. To learn more, visit www.xlinnovate.com.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Li Ka Shing Foundation Lead New Funding Round to Expand Groundbreaking Progress in Restoring Infant Gut Microbiome and Laying a Global Foundation for Long-Term Nutritional and Immune Health
Davis, California, June 13, 2018 – Evolve BioSystems, Inc., the leading infant gut microbiome company, today announced that it has completed a $40 million Series C round of funding co-led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Horizons Ventures, the venture division of the Li Ka Shing Foundation.
The new funds will be used to expand the availability of Evolve’s flagship infant probiotic product, Evivo®, in the US and worldwide. Evivo is an activated form of the beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis (B. infantis EVC001) and is clinically proven to restore the key beneficial bacteria to the infant gut microbiome and, thereby, reduce potentially pathogenic bacteria by 80 percent.
In addition to expanding its global footprint, this new financing will also support efforts to develop new products for different age segments beyond infants, and accelerate company efforts to bring to market the first-of-its-kind microbiome diagnostic test.
Evolve, Gates Foundation Deepen Partnership to Fight Global Malnutrition
Evolve and the Gates Foundation will further expand their partnership, announced in April, to investigate how Evivo can help infants suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) through the restoration of the gut microbiome. Severe acute malnutrition affects 16 million children worldwide, making them nine times more likely to die than well-nourished children. Through this investment, the Gates Foundation will support Evolve to further develop and evaluate its existing Evivo product to help determine the role of B. infantis in combination with breastfeeding in supporting the healthy growth and development of infants as well as preventing infection in developing countries.
“Promoting a healthy microbiome is a key element of addressing infant and neonatal health in regions that face a high burden of enteric infections and malnutrition,” said Anita Zaidi, Director of the Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We are excited by the potential of Evolve’s activated strain of B. infantis to address these challenges and create a healthy infant microbiome for the world’s most vulnerable children.”
Bringing Evivo to Asia
Evolve will look to expand its presence beyond North America and break into new markets where newborns are also missing B. infantis due to the unintentional consequences of C-sections, antibiotic usage, and formula feeding, which make it increasingly unlikely that today’s mothers have this beneficial bacteria to pass along to their babies.
“Evivo is proving that it can help create the foundation for lifelong health through the proper development of the immune system,” said Patrick Zhang, lead investor at Horizons Ventures and Evolve BioSystems Board member. “We are excited to increase our investment in Evolve, and for the tremendous societal impact that Evolve can make on restoring the infant gut microbiome, particularly in Asia.”
The Gates Foundation and Horizons Ventures are joined by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Arla Foods, and Continental Grain Company in the Series C round of funding. In addition to these leading institutions, Evolve’s loyal existing investor base, which includes Tate & Lyle Ventures, Alta Ventures, Spruce Ventures, Acre Ventures and Bow Capital, have all fully participated in this round.
“The profound and now recognized change in the infant gut microbiome and its biochemistry over the past 100 years is a major public health concern,” said Tim Brown, CEO of Evolve Biosystems. “With the confidence and financial backing of some of the world’s most respected investors, our products, science and vision will help transform global public health.”
About Evolve BioSystems
Evolve BioSystems, Inc. is a privately-held microbiome company dedicated to developing the next generation of products to establish, restore, and maintain a healthy gut microbiome. Evolve is a spin-out from the Foods for Health Institute (FFHI) at the University of California, Davis and builds on more than a decade of research into understanding the unique partnership of the infant gut microbiome and breast milk components. Having led to the development and commercial launch of products to resolve newborn gut dysbiosis, including Evivo for infants and GlycoGuard for both nursing foals and piglets, Evolve’s discovery platform is now being applied to solving gut dysbiosis throughout the human life cycle as well as other animal species. In addition to the landmark proof-of-concept trial, Evolve is undertaking further clinical studies to build out its suite of microbiome-based solutions.
For more information please visit www.evolvebiosystems.com
3D AI solution will be introduced to accelerate AI implementation
Taipei, May 31, 2018 — Kneron, the leading provider of edge artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, announced today the completion of their series A1 financing of US$18 million led by Horizons Ventures, a venture capital firm founded by Mr. Ka-shing Li. Horizons Ventures is an investor in many disruptive companies, including Deepmind, Siri, improbable, and VIV, during the early stage of their development.
Kneron offers innovative edge AI solutions by moving part of the AI computing power from the cloud to edge devices to perform real-time AI recognition, inference, and analysis without connecting to the cloud. Kneron’s solutions include a dedicated AI Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which provides high computing performance with low power consumption. This specialized AI processor will create endless possibilities for AI applications. Albert Liu, Kneron’s founder and CEO, said, “We are honored to be supported by Mr. Ka-shing Li, and we are confident to become the next company to lead the industry in innovation.”
Albert Liu also revealed that a breakthrough 3D AI solution will be launched in the second half of this year. “Kneron’s leading technologies include complete edge AI solutions, integrated visual and voice recognition AI solutions, and breakthrough 3D AI solutions that will be launched in the second half of this year. With this new round of funding, we plan to accelerate our product development and collaborate with strategic partners to implement vertical industrial applications, focusing in three major areas: smart home, smart surveillance and smartphones,” said Albert.
Edge AI will be key to modern day AI applications by offering fast, efficient and safe AI processing solutions. Horizons Ventures’ Jonathan Tam said, “Kneron offers revolutionary edge AI solutions which integrates software and hardware seamlessly. We believe that Kneron will continue to develop its edge AI technologies, deepen AI applications in diversified fields, and make AI accessible to everyone.”
Kneron, established in San Diego in 2015, is a leading provider of edge AI solutions. It is dedicated to the design and development of integrated software and hardware edge AI solutions for smart home, smart surveillance, smartphones, robots, drones, and IoT devices.
Kneron’s finished the series A round of investments in November 2017 include Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, CDIB, Himax Technologies, Inc, Qualcomm, Thundersoft, Sequoia Capital (its sub funds: Cloudatlas), and CYZONE. To date, Kneron has received financing amounting to more than US$33 million.
For more information about Kneron, please visit: http://www.kneron.com.
Funding round co-led by new investor Horizons Ventures and existing investor Aviva
CAMBRIDGE, England–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Owlstone Medical Ltd, a diagnostics company developing a breathalyzer for disease, announced today that it has raised $15 million (£11 million) to drive the global commercialization of its Breath Biopsy® platform. The funds will enable the company to bring its lung cancer Breath Biopsy test to market, deepen the early detection pipeline with ongoing trials across multiple cancers, and further grow its existing precision medicine services to the pharmaceutical industry.
The funding round was co-led by Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies, and current investor Aviva Ventures, the venture capital arm of Aviva plc, a global leader in insurance. The financing also includes follow on investment from Owlstone Medical’s other existing backers.
Owlstone Medical’s Breath Biopsy platform has the potential to revolutionize early detection and precision medicine, with applications in cancer and a wide range of other conditions. The technology enables disease to be detected earlier, when treatments are more effective and more lives can be saved. Breath Biopsy can also be used to enable precision medicine, ensuring that the right drug is given to the right patient at the right time, helping to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.
The Breath Biopsy platform is currently being evaluated in the world’s largest breath-based clinical trials for two of the most common cancer killers globally – lung and colorectal cancer. The platform is also being used in the PAN cancer trial, a collaboration with Cancer Research UK which is studying the early detection of eight different cancer types in breath.
The company’s Breath Biopsy Service is a unique capability enabling academic, clinical and pharmaceutical partners to explore breath-based diagnostics or biomarkers to optimize their own precision medicine activities. The Breath Biopsy service is attracting high profile global pharmaceutical clients, with GSK recently choosing to integrate the Breath Biopsy platform into the clinical development programme of one of the novel drug candidates in their respiratory disease pipeline.
Horizons Ventures’ Patrick Zhang, shared: “We are pleased to join Aviva Ventures and other key strategic investors in this financing round. We believe Owlstone Medical is positioned to become a strong player in the fields of early cancer detection and precision medicine across multiple therapeutic areas. We are confident that Owlstone Medical’s Breath Biopsy platform could have a major impact on healthcare.”
Dr Doug Wright, Medical Director at Aviva, commented: “Aviva Ventures invests in entrepreneurs with high growth businesses and has identified Owlstone Medical’s technology as being strategically important to our business. The expansion of our partnership with them signifies continued confidence in the company and in Breath Biopsy as an entirely new means of early disease detection, screening and treatment monitoring that could make a real difference to people’s health.”
Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, added: “We are delighted that Horizons Ventures has joined forces with Aviva to co-lead this funding round. Since founding the company, we have established Breath Biopsy as a new industry category and are confident that this funding will allow us to demonstrate the significant value that we can deliver from our market leading position in early detection and precision medicine.”
For Owlstone Medical Ltd
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Citigate Dewe Rogerson
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NiYO aims to serve 5000 organizations and over 1 million salaried employees by end of 2018
Investors: Social Capital, JS Capital LLc., Horizons Ventures and Prime Venture Partners
Bangalore, India – January 10, 2018 – NiYO Solutions Inc., an emerging fintech startup for salaried employees, has raised $13.2 million (85 crore) in Series A funding to drive the continued expansion of its payroll and benefits platform in India. The investment was made by Social Capital Partnership, JS Capital LLc (the family office of Jonathan Soros), and Horizons Ventures with participation by existing investor, Prime Venture Partners. In total, the company has raised more than $14 million in venture capital. Adding on to its continued growth and popularity among businesses across India, NiYO aims to serve 5000 organizations and over 1 million salaried employees by the end of 2018.
NiYO was launched in July 2016 as a pilot in Bangalore and has already clocked more than 500 corporates and is being used by over 100,000 salaried employees in these organisations, through its partnerships with YES Bank and DCB Bank. NiYO is a one-stop solution for all employee payouts; it’s solutions include salary accounts, meal cards, canteen solutions, corporate gift card, reimbursements account, international travel card and corporate credit cards.
With this fresh funding, NiYO plans to strengthen and expand its product suite for the salaried segment besides taking the product to tier 2 and 3 towns. The funding will also be used for further product development, team expansion and increasing presence in tier 1 cities. The addressable market is close to 75 million salaried employees in India who can benefit through a simple payroll & benefits solution which can increase the take home salaries and simplify financial planning & other banking needs.
Employee Payroll in India and around the world has traditionally seen very little innovation in the past several decades with banks hardly providing any differentiation to customers. This, coupled with inefficient, paper-driven processes mean that most employers and employees fail to take advantage of tax exemptions and other savings that the law provides for. Same holds true for investment and lending products for salaried class where the power of payroll is largely ignored in product design.
NiYO believes that it’s cutting edge technology and processes can combine the erstwhile unconnected worlds of Human Resources and Financial Services. The future is mobile and with support for disruptive platforms such as Aadhaar and the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), NiYO will enable its customers to simplify and control their banking, taxation & finance needs. All this while ensuring a transparent, compliant & efficient process for employers. NiYO has also filed multiple product & process patents in this space.
NiYO comprises of a corporate portal for salary disbursal, payroll card to receive salary and spend on ATM/POS/Online and a mobile app to track transactions and do basic banking functions like fund transfer etc. With eKYC and self-onboarding enabled on the NiYO app, users can easily access their account details and keep a tab on their expenditures and allowances digitally. It also has a capability to attach bill proof through mobile and also allow digital storage of bill and receipts on the cloud. The mobile app allows employees to review all card transactions as well as check balances in real time. While it helps the organizations to digitize the benefits and payroll process and be more compliant and transparent, it also provides employees a unique experience of a single card for all requirements. The solution does not require either the corporate or the employee to change bank accounts.
Vinay Bagri, CEO & Co-founder, NiYO
“These are exciting times at NiYO. We deeply believe that the rapidly growing number of salaried employees in India have not seen much innovation when it comes to their own payroll and benefits. They are mobile and app-savvy and very demanding. At NiYO, our core objective is to maximize employees’ effective salary by bringing innovations in payroll and benefits processes. Our aim is to optimize the product suite for employees in areas of taxation, lending and wealth. We have been fortunate to partner with JS Capital, Social Capital, Horizon Ventures and Prime – all of whom are top tier investors with deep fintech and operational expertise to take us to the next level.”
Arjun Sethi, Partner, Social Capital
“NiYO is digitizing the entire employee payroll and benefits value chain, making the process easier and more transparent for employers and employees alike. This is an area that hasn’t seen much innovation in the Indian technology ecosystem, despite the massive addressable market. We believe that India is on the brink of unprecedented consumer consumption, and that movement begins with infrastructure that manages people’s earnings in a reliable and modern way.”
Salil Seshadri, Chief Investment Officer, JS Capital Management, LLc.
“Payroll and benefits in India is highly underpenetrated with a complexity that has aspects that are unique to India. With a stellar team, and a technologically advanced and innovative product, NiYO has seen strong early traction. We are excited to be a part of their journey to address this massive market opportunity.”
Sanjay Swamy, Managing Partner, Prime Venture Partners
“NiYO’s strong growth since its inception is testament to both the innovative nature as well as rapid customer adoption of their solution which addresses a massive opportunity – providing effortless and innovative solution to manage payroll and benefits, powered by mobile. The combination of SmartPhone penetration and IndiaStack makes the timing right for NiYO’s patent-pending innovations to come to market. We are privileged to be associated with this stellar team from the start of their journey and be part of their vision to disrupt the payroll landscape.”
Founded in 2015 by Vinay Bagri and Virender Bisht, NiYO’s mission is to increase cash flow for all salaried individuals by leveraging technology in areas of payroll & benefits. NiYo features an integrated solution comprising of a Multi-Pocket Card, a Mobile App and a digital account with multiple wallets.
Vinay has spent more than 18 years working with diverse organisations like Parle, 3M, ICICI Bank, SCB, ING and Kotak Mahindra Bank. He combines deep understanding of distribution and retail banking having spent over a decade in leadership roles across unsecured lending, retail liabilities, corporate salary and retail banking strategy.
Virender is a seasoned technology professional with 16 years of experience in creating world-class software products for companies like MobiKwik, Makemytrip (MMYT), StudyPlaces.com, Exponential Inc, GE Medical Systems and Tata Consultancy Services. Virender is a hands-on technologist and has a reputation for building scalable solutions for e-commerce and payments domain.
New investment will accelerate Divergent’s efforts to globally commercialize its additive manufacturing-enabled technology.
LOS ANGELES and HONG KONG— November 21, 2017— Divergent 3D, a technology development and licensing company that is creating a sustainable manufacturing revolution in the car industry, announces a Series B financing scheduled for close on or before December 15, 2017. The Series B close is $65+million with an additional investor option of $40 million to further accelerate revenue growth, bringing the aggregate funding, with option, to $107 million. Hong Kong-based investment holding company, O Luxe Holdings Limited (“O Luxe”), led the investment group, which includes Horizons Ventures, Shanghai Alliance Investment Limited and Altran Technologies.
Launched in 2014 by Founder & CEO Kevin Czinger, Divergent’s patented, end-to-end software-hardware solution incorporates 3D metal printing into the design, engineering and manufacturing of advanced vehicle structures for the automotive and aerospace industries. Its proprietary Divergent Production System™ automates structural design and optimization for volume manufacturing of lightweight structures without upfront, capital-intensive factory and tooling investments.
“With the ability to quickly respond to market demands, the Divergent system allows automakers and technology companies to innovate at a much faster rate—scaling up volume production at only a fraction of the cost while also alleviating environmental damage,” explains Czinger. “As a leading investment holding company dedicated to advancing sustainable manufacturing and transportation, O Luxe aligns with Divergent’s mission and fully understands the importance of disruptive technologies to the automotive industry. We are thrilled to partner with a company that supports our growth and vision.”
Marking a major financial milestone, the Series B funding will accelerate the commercialization of Divergent’s technology and provide additional resources to proliferate the technology globally, especially in the rapidly expanding Chinese electric vehicle market. Through non-exclusive partnerships with automakers and technology companies, Divergent will continue its strong momentum in leading the adoption of an economically and environmentally transformative manufacturing solution—building safer, stronger and more profitable eco-friendly vehicles at mass volumes.
In January 2016, Divergent announced the first close of its Series A financing and received a total of $23 million Series A funding. Since then, the technology development and licensing company has received global recognition for its manufacturing solution, and forged strategic partnerships with Altran, SLM Solutions and PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroen & DS).
About Divergent 3D
Divergent 3D harnesses the power of 3D printing to unleash innovation in automotive manufacturing. Its breakthrough technology platform transforms the economics and environmental impact of designing and manufacturing complex structures such as cars. Divergent’s planet-saving manufacturing approach enables both low and high volume manufacturing without costly, traditional tooling and capital expenses, enabling manufacturers to quickly iterate and invent new vehicle models for competitive advantage. As a technology company, Divergent partners with OEMs and innovative startups around the world to produce the next generation of vehicles. For more information, please visit www.divergent3d.com.
About O Luxe Holdings
O Luxe Holdings Limited is a Hong Kong-based investment holding company focused on developing technology-based companies that will accelerate the global adoption of electric vehicles and drive the world toward sustainable manufacturing and transportation. O Luxe company most recently acquired GLM Co., Ltd, a Japanese electric vehicles and engineering solutions company, and received a major investment from Mr. Li Ka-shing, a renowned Hong Kong entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. The Group is principally engaged in distribution of watches, wholesale trading of jewellery products, mining, money lending and securities investments.
About Horizons Ventures
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies, including Facebook, Spotify, Impossible Foods, Improbable, Zoom, Blockstream, Soul Machines and ChromaDex. For more information, please visit http://horizonsventures.com/
Shanghai Alliance Investment Limited is a private equity and venture capital arm of Shanghai Municipal Government. The firm invests in high-tech, media, entertainment, infrastructure, financial services, telecommunication, healthcare, life science, and emerging low-carbon sectors such as clean energy, new material and eco-environment protection. Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. was founded in 1994 and is based in Shanghai, China.
As a global leader in Engineering and R&D services (ER&D), Altran offers its clients a new way to innovate by developing the products and services of tomorrow. Altran works alongside its clients on every link in the value chain of their project, from conception to industrialization. For over thirty years, the Group has provided its expertise to key players in the Aerospace, Automotive, Defense, Energy, Finance, Life Sciences, Railway, and Telecoms sectors, among others. With a headcount of more than 27,000 employees, Altran has a presence in more than 20 countries.
Lydia You | ID-PR
Hong Kong – November 20th, 2017 – Fano Labs, a Hong Kong based artificial intelligence (AI) startup specializing in speech and natural language processing (NLP) technologies, has raised a Series Pre-A round led by Horizons Ventures. The size of the deal was undisclosed.
Fano Labs was co-founded in 2015 by Dr. Miles Wen, a PhD graduate from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and a former Fulbright Scholar at University of California, Berkeley and Prof. Victor O.K. Li, BBS; ScD (MIT), Chair of Information Engineering and Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at HKU. Prior to this round, the company has been backed by angel investors, HKU, Hong Kong Science Park (HKSTP), Innovation and Technology Commision of HKSAR, and Zeroth.ai.
With Fano Labs’ technical focus in Chinese dialects processing and analysis, the funds raised will fuel the company’s expansion into the billion-dollar Chinese call center industry, where Chinese consumer-facing enterprises require all calls at call centers to be recorded, but only a small percentage of these calls are reviewed. Many of these calls are in various Chinese dialects, a hugely underserved market that Fano Labs intends to serve by having its proprietary AI system listen to all these recorded phone calls, analyze them and provide managers with valueable business intelligence. This would enable companies to have better quality control over their call centers and, at the same time, save them thousands of manager hours every year. As of today, the company has already developed speech and NLP technologies for Cantonese and Sichuanese, in addition to English and Mandarin, and signed some of Asia’s largest enterprises, including property developers, utility companies and telecommunication companies.
“We are a team of scientists and engineers. Our world-class technical expertise in speech and NLP technologies would empower us to revolutionize the way call centers operate. Our bond with HKU, one of the oldest universities in the region, brings us deep intellectual and academic resources. We aim to be the hub of AI in Asia.” says Dr. Wen, co-founder and CEO of Fano Labs.
Horizons Ventures’ Phil Chen says “Horizons has a heritage of investing in industry-shaping speech and NLP technologies starting from Siri, Viv, and now Fano Labs. We love deep-tech companies that apply this AI power to improve critical human communications problems. Fano Labs’ solution for multiple dialects allows for this rewind of the Tower of Babel story.”
“Fano Labs was named in memory of Prof. Robert Fano, a pioneer in AI, who invented Shannon-Fano coding, Fano Inequality and founded MIT’s CSAIL. My co-founder, Prof. Li, was my PhD advisor and Prof. Fano was Prof Li’s PhD advisor’s PhD advisor. This heritage of innovation is what moves our team forward.”, Dr. Wen adds.
About Fano Labs Limited
Fano Labs is a Hong Kong-based artificial intelligence startup specializing in speech recognition and natural language processing technologies. With the technical focus in Chinese dialects processing and analysis, Fano Labs helps enterprises conduct quality assurance and data mining in their call centers. Fano Labs is a spin-off from University of Hong Kong and operates both in Hong Kong and China.
For more information, please visit fano.ai or contact Dr. Miles Wen (email@example.com, +852 3543 1189)
About Horizons Ventures
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies, including Facebook, Spotify, Impossible Foods, Improbable, Zoom, Blockstream, Soul Machines and ChromaDex.
For more information, please visit http://horizonsventures.com/
Investment to Fuel Development of Largescale Immersive VR Experience Retail Centers
SAN RAFAEL, Calif — June 12, 2017 – Nomadic, an immersive entertainment company creating immersive, tactile virtual reality experiences today announced a $6 million seed round of funding led by Horizons Ventures, with participation in the round from Maveron, Presence Capital, Vulcan Capital, and Verus International. This financing will support Nomadic’s continued team growth, further development of its technology platform, and preparation efforts for global expansion.
“There’s currently a huge opportunity for out-of-home location-based VR,” said Doug Griffin, CEO of Nomadic. “With the expertise and global reach of our funding partners, we have the support and resources to forge a new entertainment category, and a new medium for interactive storytelling.”
Partnering with top gaming and film studios to create custom out-of-home VR focused content, Nomadic adventures deliver exceptional, high quality experiences that enable the virtual to feel real. Nomadic draws from the founding team’s history in the film, gaming, set design and motion capture sectors to marry physical components to narrative, storytelling content.
Nomadic has created a modular set of components that includes all the equipment, infrastructure, technology and content for a wide variety of commercial spaces – cinemas, malls, resorts, airports, casinos, theme parks and more – to build tactile, onsite VR attractions. Incorporating set design and physical props with gamified, narrative VR content, the physical layout of Nomadic installations are designed to be easily reconfigured and updated with fresh content.
“We’re coming to market as retailers are searching for a new, experiential ways to entice consumers back into brick-and-mortar locations,” said Kalon Gutierrez, Head of Growth for Nomadic. “With the support of our funding partners, we’re providing existing venues with a turnkey solution to offer exciting, ever-changing tactile VR adventures that keep customers returning for more.”
“The reception that Nomadic has received for their proof of concept is phenomenal,” said Phil Chen of Horizons Ventures. “Their ‘kit of parts’ model gives commercial spaces a mechanism to add value and foot traffic to their locations, while offering consumers a top-of-the-line VR experience. We’re excited to support the efforts of this team, who has the background and expertise to drive the location-based VR sector.”
Founded by veterans from the film, gaming, brand and retail sectors, Nomadic’s founding team each represents decades of applicable experience. With a background in technology, gaming, and visual effects contributing to franchises including Star Wars, The Mummy, and Pirates of the Caribbean, CEO Doug Griffin joins Nomadic following his management of two successful startups specific to the media and entertainment space. Driving the content arm of Nomadic, Rick Schulze serves as Creative Director, following a film career that includes work on blockbuster franchises like The Matrix as well as an Academy Award nomination for The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Leading the physical set and prop design of the experiences, Head of Physical Production John Duncan has contributed to beloved franchises including Star Wars, Star Trek and Pirates of the Caribbean. Managing the company’s go to market strategy, Head of Growth, Kalon Gutierrez has led marketing, business development and retail expansion for brands and retailers including Ralph Lauren, Bixbee, ZoomSystems, JC Penney, Sephora, Fox and Sony Picture Studios.
Nomadic came out of stealth in March 2017 with the first public showing of its new model and medium of tactile, location-based VR adventures at CinemaCon. Following the positive reception from content and location partners and media, the company plans to launch its first in-market experience by Q1 2018.
For more information visit: www.nomadicvr.net.
Investment to further develop Improbable’s virtual world and massive-scale simulation technology
London, 11th May 2017: Improbable, a British technology company, today announced that it has raised $502m in a round of Series B funding led by SoftBank.
All the funds from the investment will be invested in developing Improbable’s technology, including its SpatialOS distributed operating system. Improbable’s plans include accelerated recruitment in its London and San Francisco offices, and investments to develop a vibrant ecosystem of developers and customers.
Improbable uses cloud-based distributed computing to enable the creation of virtual worlds for use in games and massive-scale simulations of the real world.
“We believe that the next major phase in computing will be the emergence of large-scale virtual worlds which enrich human experience and change how we understand the real world. At Improbable we have spent the last few years building the foundational infrastructure for this vision,” said Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable.
Alongside the investment, Improbable will explore and identify opportunities for mutually beneficial relationships with SoftBank, its partners and portfolio companies.
Deep Nishar of SoftBank has joined the Improbable Board following this investment, which sees SoftBank taking a non-controlling stake in the company.
Existing Series A investors Andreessen Horowitz and Horizons Ventures are also making follow-on investments as part of this round, and will continue to offer advice and guidance to Improbable, along with Temasek Holdings, which was also involved in the Series A funding.
Solina Chau, Founder of Horizons Ventures, said, “Having backed Improbable from the start, we continue to see huge potential in the application of its technology, both for solving real-world problems and in changing the future of the games industry. Improbable is an exciting, ambitious company that we’re honoured to be a part of.”
Improbable and SpatialOS
Improbable’s technology enables the creation of massive simulations – “virtual worlds” – at a far greater level of scale and computational complexity than previously possible, and while able to support more simultaneous connected users.
Improbable’s first product, SpatialOS, a distributed operating system for massive-scale simulations created using Improbable’s technology, integrates with major game engines and has been in live beta since March.
Improbable is also applying the same technology that powers SpatialOS to the simulation of complex real world systems. Potential applications include simulating transport infrastructure, telecommunications networks or the behaviour of fleets of autonomous vehicles.
Improbable technology in gaming applications
Because the work of maintaining game worlds and tracking activities within them is managed and distributed across the cloud using SpatialOS, multiplayer and massively multiplayer games can be created and scaled by teams of any size, without dedicated network engineering and without initial infrastructure costs.
Developers are already using SpatialOS to build a range of different types of games which take advantage of its ability to manage larger scale, higher player numbers and easy scaling in a seamless virtual world.
Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable, said:
“The global games market is already huge, and we believe that far more growth is possible. The kinds of games enabled by SpatialOS – multiplayer games allowing players to form meaningful relationships with games worlds and with each other – will be category-defining, and attract new audiences.
This investment reflects the potential size and importance of the market for this next generation of games and, ultimately, how massive-scale virtual worlds could become fundamental to how society works.
SoftBank is a perfect partner for us, with many complementary investments in their portfolio. This investment will allow us to take the big, bold steps needed to fully realise our vision.”
Improbable technology – “real-world” applications
Improbable’s technologies enable the creation of complex simulations at massive scale. There is considerable potential for expanding the capabilities of simulation technology to real-world decision making.
Improbable is exploring applications in city management, telecommunications, infrastructure and logistics, cybersecurity, transportation and traffic control and the Internet of Things, and has also seen interest in medical applications, economic modelling and many other use cases. Proofs of concept and pilot projects have included the simulation of the Internet backbone, and a British city (based on open-source map, traffic, gas and electricity, water and sewage, Internet and mobile connectivity data).
Deep Nishar, Managing Director, SoftBank, said:
“Improbable is building breakthrough technologies that are becoming vital and valuable platforms for the global gaming industry. Beyond gaming, this new form of simulation on a massive scale has the potential to help us make better decisions about the world we live in. Improbable’s technology will help us explore disease, improve cities, understand economies and solve complex problems on a previously unimaginable scale.
Along with Machine Learning and IoT, Improbable’s distributed computation technology represents a critical next frontier in computing.”
Platform Creates Highly Defined, Dynamic, Ultra-Accurate Behavioral Insights by Analyzing Unstructured Data
TEL AVIV, Israel, Nov. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Voyager Labs, a software company established in 2012, has been quietly developing an artificial intelligence engine that combines expert systems with deep-learning algorithms. Capable of extracting dynamic, real-time, and tailored insights into human behavior by analyzing massive amounts of publicly available unstructured data, the company has emerged from stealth mode with customers, use cases, and $100 million in funding.
After serving 20 years in the Israeli intelligence community, CEO Avi Korenblum founded Voyager Labs with a vision of making the ever-growing richness of publicly available data accessible and usable in a smart way for the benefit of all. The company’s cognitive computing deep-insights platform makes it possible for enterprises across a variety of market sectors to make highly accurate decisions, based on a previously untapped vault of information. Funding for Voyager Labs has come from prominent investors including Sir Ronald Cohen, Lloyd Dorfman, OCAPAC Holding Company, and Horizons Ventures to help finance the company’s next generation solutions for the financial and e-commerce markets. The company has R&D roots in Tel Aviv, and offices in New York, Washington and London.
“Powered by our sophisticated cognitive computing deep-insights platform, publicly available data becomes a treasure trove of information which can provide unprecedented value to businesses,” said CEO Korenblum. “Despite the elusive nature and overwhelming proliferation of unstructured data, we can extract precise, meaningful insights from this data to benefit our customers.”
Voyager Labs’ sophisticated deep-insights platform has rapidly become a must-have resource for customers in the public, retail, consulting and financial sectors who have benefited from its new level of insights – used effectively today for risk assessment, crisis management, intelligence, and fraud protection.
About Voyager Labs
Voyager Labs’ cognitive computing deep-insights platform features unprecedented capabilities for analyzing in real-time billions of publicly available unstructured data points. Armed with data from a wide variety of sources, Voyager Labs can understand and predict human behavior, enabling customers to create real-time dynamic insights. Founded in 2012, with offices in New York, Washington and London, and R&D center in Israel, the company currently employs more than 90 employees. For more information, please visit www.voyagerlabs.co
SOURCE Voyager Labs
Virtual Reality Storyteller Behind “INVASION!” Also Broadens C-Suite, Advisory Board
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Oct. 18, 2016 – Baobab Studios, the award-winning creator of cutting-edge VR (virtual reality) animation entertainment, announces the close of $25 Million in Series B funding, backed by prestigious and powerful investors in film and technology, including several returning for a second round of investment. This brings total funding to date to $31 Million.
Funding is being led by Horizons Ventures with Twentieth Century Fox, Evolution Media Partners (backed by TPG Growth and CAA), China’s Shanghai Media Group, Youku Global Media Fund and LDV Partners. They join the original investors, Comcast Ventures, HTC and Samsung. Collectively, the investors believe in the massive potential of Baobab Studios not only as an early pioneer with palpable vision, but as a studio driving VR entertainment through strong user engagement, top management and VR animation hires, and multiple coveted awards. This new round of funding will be used to develop more animated VR movies and grow Baobab on a global scale.
Along with the new funding, Baobab is expanding its executive team. Larry Cutler joins as chief technology officer (CTO), bringing deep technical expertise in animation and development. He was Pixar’s technical director for Toy Story 2and Monsters Inc., and then became global head of character technology for DreamWorks Animation. Cutler also judges for the Academy Awards’ Technical Achievement Awards, and is co-founder of DigiPro.
Baobab also has appointed Chris Milk, the well-known founder and CEO of Within, a premier destination for story-based VR content, to round out their deeply creative, influential advisory board. Milk has a long history of creating and inventing innovative products, winning multiple industry awards. His work tests the frontiers of interactive technology, including using VR as a canvas for storytelling.
Baobab Studios has launched “INVASION!” Episode One, an interactive animated VR movie short narrated by actor Ethan Hawke. Its universally appealing blend of film and gaming has created a VR experience both familiar yet new, enchanting film industry leaders and influencers alike. The film is a top-featured download in major digital storefronts, including Oculus, HTC VIVE, Sony PlayStation VR, Samsung, Within, Hulu and others. “INVASION!” has received substantial critical acclaim right out of the gate, drawing accolades from film festivals globally including Tribeca Film Festival, Tribeca’s “Special Selection”, Toronto Film Festival, and at Cannes Next Marche du Film. A “First Look” experience recently launched for “ASTEROIDS!,” the second installment in the “INVASION!” series, with the full episode scheduled for release in 2017.
“I’m excited to invest again seeing Baobab Studios has completed an already stellar team of ex-Zynga executive Maureen Fan, master storyteller Eric Darnell and narrative technology veteran, Larry Cutler. This cast is set to define the grammar of storytelling and experiences in VR,” explains Phil Chen, previously the founder of VIVE and now at Horizons Ventures to explore VR/AR. Phil Chen continues, “Baobab Studios is the pioneer of VR storytelling and technology, and their traction and reception by partners, audiences and tastemakers has been phenomenal.”
Baobab Studios was founded by Eric Darnell, Chief Creative Officer, and Maureen Fan, CEO, in 2015. Darnell is best known for his director and screenwriter talents on all four films in the DreamWorks Madagascar franchise, which together have grossed more than $2.5 billion at the box-office. He also held top roles for The Penguins of Madagascar and Antz, DreamWorks’ first animated film. Fan has held leadership roles in film, gaming, and the web, and most recently as vice president of games at Zynga where she oversaw three studios, including the FarmVille sequels, contributing 40 percent of the company’s revenues. Previously, she worked on Pixar’s Toy Story 3.
“We are on the cusp of a storytelling revolution with this medium, and VR gives filmmakers the opportunity to develop immersive experiences and take audiences into the story like never before,” says Mike Dunn, President, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Fox Innovation Lab. “Baobab Studios is an innovator in this space, and we look forward to working with them.”
“So far we’ve seen record downloads of “INVASION!” by VR users, and our investors see the promise of this type of entertainment,” explains Maureen Fan, CEO, co-founder, Baobab Studios. “The only thing better than launching a new product in an innovative industry is having amazing validation from partners and consumers.”
About INVASION! Episode 1
INVASION! is storytelling in VR form with menacing aliens who come to take over Earth and destroy anyone that tries to stop them. Despite the aliens’ superior technology and firepower, the citizens of Earth rise up and defeat the invaders. But these citizens aren’t humans, instead they are two of the cutest, meekest creatures of our planet, bunnies – and you are one of them! View the trailer here.
About Baobab Studios
Baobab Studios enchants audiences through immersive stories and fascinating characters, with child-like wonder. Established in 2015 Baobab Studios VR animations are dynamic narratives and storylines. INVASION! Episode One, is the studio’s first VR animated film, winning numerous awards including Tribeca Film Festival’s 2015 “Special Selection,” Cannes Next Marche de Film, Toronto Film Festival, and more. Baobab Studios is funded by Comcast Ventures, HTC, Samsung, Advancit Capital, The Chernin Group and Freelands Ventures, Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
$50 Million Round Will Fund Aggressive App and Meta 3 Development Projects
Redwood City, CA – June 13, 2016 – Meta, the pioneering technology leader in Augmented Reality (AR), announced the closing of $50 million in a Series B round of funding. The round includes significant participation by Horizons Ventures Limited, Lenovo, Tencent, Banyan Capital, Comcast Ventures, and GQY.
Called one of the most significant technologies in recent years, Meta 2 was unveiled to a standing ovation at TED 2016 in February. Meta is delivering a new “natural machine” that builds on the principles of neuroscience to create a completely intuitive experience that transforms how people work, play, communicate and engage with each other.
Meron Gribetz, CEO of Meta, said, “It is incredibly gratifying to have the support of big thinkers and investors who understand the importance of creating a new human-computer interface, anchored in science. Our friends at Tencent, Lenovo, Horizons Ventures, Comcast Ventures and all the other investors really get what we’re doing and why Meta is different from the other players in AR. They understand that the combination of our advanced optical engines along with our neuroscience-based interface design approach are what will create a computing experience that is 100x easier to use and more powerful than traditional form factors.”
Meta plans to use funds raised in the Series B round for building upon its hardware and software technology base, business expansion, including app development, and developing the next generation of its technology, Meta 3.
About Meta Investors
Horizons Ventures Limited
PR Contact: Wendy Yu, firstname.lastname@example.org
Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-shing, is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and disruptive technologies, including Facebook, Waze, Spotify, Impossible Foods, Hampton Creek and Blockstream.
PR Contact: Hao Fu, email@example.com
Headquartered in Beijing, Banyan capital is a leading venture capital firm in China, with rich experiences in frontier technology sector investment and deep connections with giant Internet companies in China. Banyan team invested Xiaomi, Xiaomi Band, Yi Camera, Lifesense, Razer and Moov before. The LPs of Banyan Capital include world-class investors, as well as successful entrepreneurs from both TMT and traditional sectors, such as founders of Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu, etc.
PR Contact: Angela Pontarolo, 415-858-2586, firstname.lastname@example.org
Comcast Ventures, the venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corporation, invests in innovative businesses that represent the next generation of entertainment, communications and digital technology by partnering with entrepreneurs who have the vision, passion and tenacity to succeed. Most investments are in the advertising, consumer, enterprise and infrastructure sectors. Comcast Ventures provides its portfolio companies with countless resources, relationships and know-how to help them perform at the highest possible levels.
PR Contact: Jier Yuan, email@example.com
Ningbo GQY Video & Telecom Joint-Stock Co., Ltd. is a pioneer in the manufacture and distribution of video, networking and telecommunications products. The company’s major products include image displays, image processing systems, robotics and automation equipment that are used in such industries as police, transportation, government, finance, energy and education. The company was founded on June 10, 1992 and is headquartered in Ningbo, China.
PR Contact: Marsh Zhang, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tencent uses technology to enrich the lives of Internet users. Every day, hundreds of millions of people communicate, share experiences, consume information and seek entertainment through our integrated platforms. Tencent’s diversified services include: QQ, Weixin/ WeChat for communications; Qzone for social networking; QQ Game Platform for online games; QQ.com and Tencent News for information and
Tencent Video for video content. Tencent was founded in Shenzhen in 1998 and went public on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2004. The Company is one of the constituent stocks of the
Hang Seng Index. Tencent seeks to evolve with the Internet by investing in innovation, providing a mutually beneficial environment for partners, and staying close to users.
Meta is the pioneering technology leader in Augmented Reality (AR), leveraging the principles of neuroscience to develop a new generation of natural machines, combined hardware and software that are a healthy, vital extension of how people work, connect and communicate. The company employs the best and brightest in AR and wearable computing and partners with forward-thinking organizations and academics around the globe. Meta was founded in New York City and is headquartered in Redwood City, CA. It can be found online at www.metavision.com.
“In our view, Meta has built a world-class team. Meta is probably the only startup which has the capabilities to compete with giant companies’ projects like Microsoft Hololens and Magic Leap.”
Bin Yue, Founding Partner of Banyan Capital
“Augmented reality represents a transformational platform for communication, collaboration and how individuals will work in the future,” said Michael Yang, Managing Director at Comcast Ventures. “Meta’s platform enables a host of new ways to conduct business across a wide array of industries. We look forward to supporting Meta as our first investment in the AR market.”
Michael Yang, Managing Director, Comcast Ventures
“Augmented Reality is the next strategic technology for GQY. Through the investment in Meta, GQY is looking to bring the best-in-class Augmented Reality applications to China. This goal will be achieved by leveraging Meta’s leading-edge AR hardware, software and GQY’s in-depth knowledge and relationships in industrial training, public transportation and education sectors in China. Therefore, the strategic partnership with Meta is extremely important for GQY’s success in Augmented Reality market.”
Jier Yuan, VP, North America, GQY
Berlin, 21 June 2016 – NUMBER26, Europe’s most modern bank account, has raised US $40 million in a
Series B financing round led by Horizons Ventures. Battery Ventures as well as Robert Gentz, David
Schneider, and Rubin Ritter also joined the round. Existing investors – namely Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures,
Earlybird Ventures, and Redalpine Ventures – reiterated their commitment to Number26 and completed
the Series B round.
Number26 has quickly emerged as a leading player in mobile banking. The company has acquired more than
200.000 customers across 8 European markets in just 17 months since its January 2015 launch. The Series B
funding will help accelerate additional geographic expansion and the integration of new products like savings,
investment and credit to create a true FinTech platform.
“This financing round brings together some of the world’s leading investors. They provide the substantial
financial resources and networks to accelerate our transformation of the banking landscape over the coming
years,” explains Valentin Stalf, founder and CEO of Number26. “Even given our success to date, we believe we
are only at the beginning of our journey to bring better mobile banking to millions of customers across Europe,
transparently and at much fairer prices.“
“We are excited to join Number26 to lead the innovation in retail banking and play an important role to create
the bank of tomorrow. Bringing transparency and focusing on an intuitive banking experience will set them
apart, so we look forward to their success and to being part of their global growth in the future.” said Frances
Kang of Horizons Ventures.
“Number26 has fundamentally transformed the traditional banking model,” says Maximilian Tayenthal,
founder and CFO. “We selectively partner with some of the best FinTech companies around the world to offer
a platform of products within a seamless, mobile-centric experience. We’ve also built a highly scalable
technology base using an extremely lean organizational structure. This combination means we can offer
significantly better products at much lower prices,” he adds.
The Series B round brings the total amount raised by Number26 to more than US $53 million.
The Berlin startup NUMBER26 GmbH offers the bank account of the future, geared especially towards the
needs of smartphone users. NUMBER26 partners with Wirecard Bank AG, which is regulated under German
law, to offer its services. Opening a new bank account takes only eight minutes and can be completed directly
on the smartphone. Founded in early 2013 by Valentin Stalf (30) and Maximilian Tayenthal (35), and led by the
founders and Christian Rebernik (39) as CTO, NUMBER26 acquired more than 200.000 clients in 8 countries:
Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy Slovakia and Spain in just 17 months and currently employs
140 people. Since January 2015, NUMBER26 has been available for Android, iOS, and desktop. In addition to Li
Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures, Battery Ventures and Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, other NUMBER26 investors
include members of the Zalando management board, EarlyBird Ventures, Redalpine Ventures, and Axel
Springer Plug&Play, amongst others.
Website: number26.eu | Twitter: @number26 | Facebook: facebook.com/mynumber26
NUMBER26 Press Contact
+49 (0) 176 3270 1760
It all begins when stars align…
Find the missing piece here
From mono to stereo, today the world meets the next step in sound evolution: Ambidio
Los Angeles, CA – March 14, 2016 – Ambidio, a Los Angeles-based sound company, backed by Grammy award-winning artist will.i.am and Horizons Ventures, is launching worldwide today. Ambidio brings a high quality, immersive sound experience to companies and consumers alike, using only software. Treating the brain as a decoder, Ambidio’s technology creates a continuous sound field with a sense of depth and dimension to be utilized through any device with stereo speakers.
Ambidio has enlisted Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Sound, which has been redefining immersive sound for nearly 4 decades for film, TV and videogames, as a strategic advisor to assist with Ambidio’s technology and creative development.
“Finding solutions to maintain sound fidelity across multiple platforms is something we care deeply about,” stated Josh Lowden, General Manager of Skywalker Sound. “We are very excited for the opportunity to work with Iris and the talented team at Ambidio.”
In development for over 2 years, Ambidio’s industry leading technology processes content in real time for any stereo speaker configuration.
“Technology is transforming the way we experience music and, as an artist and producer, I’m always looking to what’s next – where the innovation is. Ambidio brings music to life through immersive sound, giving people a chance to experience music in a whole new way,” says will.i.am of his involvement.
While attending graduate school at New York University, Iris Wu, Founder of Ambidio, was trying to create a quality listening experience but was dissatisfied with the results due to living in a small New York City apartment. She began experimenting with sound engineering through code rather than hardware and Ambidio’s technology began to take shape.
“The brain is a powerful mechanism that can interpret the directional origin of different sounds in everyday life,” says Iris, “however, when consuming content on a device, such as a laptop, sound consistently comes from a fixed point – the front. Ambidio creates an immersive sound experience using only stereo speakers by inserting common cues into audio files that the brain then uses to identify and perceive where different sounds within the audio stream would have come from. Essentially, our brains process the sound the way it does in everyday life.”
Ambidio works in one of two ways – it can be embedded directly into movie and audio files to have a continuous Ambidio sound experience or it can be used as a plug-in to process the audio output of any content played on a device in real time. Ambidio can be enabled through any device that has stereo speakers, including laptops, TVs and some Android mobile phones.
Offering a new way for people to experience sound, Ambidio has a range that is at least three times wider than conventional methods that simulates three dimensional sound, using traditional speakers and headphones, allowing for a fully immersive experience.
Founded by Iris Wu and Pei-Lun Hsieh in 2014, Ambidio is an innovative Los Angeles-based sound company, backed by Grammy award-winning artist will.i.am and Horizons Ventures. Ambidio brings a high quality immersive sound experience to companies and consumers alike. Treating the brain as a decoder, Ambidio creates a continuous sound field with a sense of depth and dimension to be utilized through any device with stereo speakers. For more information on Ambidio please visit http://www.ambidio.co/
will.i.am is a multi-faceted entertainer, producer and creative innovator who has been recognized by seven Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, a CLIO Award, and ranked on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list. In 2015, UK Trade and Investment named him Entrepreneur of the Year for his leadership as Founder & Chief Executive Officer of i.am.plus, creator of the first untethered smart watch device.
Fusing the worlds of technology and fashion, will.i.am is also a founding equity holder in Beats Electronics; the Creator of EKOCYCLE, a sustainable fashion and accessories brand; and, Co-creator & Partner in ill.i Optics eyewear. He is also an angel/strategic investor in a range of tech-focused companies.
will.i.am was recognized with a Crystal Award during the World Economic Forum 2016 annual meeting for his philanthropic work as a STEAM education advocate. His i.am.angel Foundation funds and operates STEM/STEAM after-school educational enrichment programs for under-served public school students in Los Angeles, CA, and Ferguson, MO.
About Skywalker Sound
Skywalker Sound, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd, is one of the largest, most versatile full-service audio post-production companies in the industry. Skywalker Sound offers comprehensive post-production services and utilizes the talents of Academy Award®-winning sound professionals working on sound design, editorial, Foley and re-recording mixes as a team. This provides filmmakers the most efficient model available for the audio post-production process. More information is available at www.skysound.com.
London, 11th February 2016: Student.com, the world’s leading marketplace for international student accommodation, today announces a $60 million investment led by global investment firm VY Capital, with participation from Horizons Ventures (the technology investment arm of Mr Li Ka-Shing’s fund), Expa, Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon and Hugo Barra from Xiaomi.
Student.com has quickly become the largest accommodation marketplace for students studying abroad. Traditionally, finding reliable fixed-term housing in a new country can be a lengthy and challenging process for many students. The company seeks to make booking accommodation as simple and secure as possible for international students through a free-to-use marketplace.
In the upcoming academic year, Student.com will list properties in 426 cities, in close proximity to over 1,000 universities. The company is truly international, employing over 200 people, speaking 35 languages, in 7 locations across the world, including London, Shanghai, New York and Hong Kong.
As increased mobility transforms the education sector, landlords are looking for new ways to access the international student market, which is growing at a rapid pace. Recent data shows that an estimated 5 million students are currently studying abroad and the number of higher education students going overseas to study is growing at an average annual rate of 6.4%.
Every landlord listed has a contractual relationship with Student.com, ensuring additional security and peace of mind. The website is available in 11 languages, and students have access to local knowledge of destination countries, as well as a team of multilingual booking agents.
Founder and CEO Luke Nolan set up Overseas Student Living in 2011 after a number of years working in China, where he observed first-hand the need to provide students with a trusted advisor to find accommodation abroad. Shakil Khan, who had met Nolan 10-years earlier while studying Chinese together in Shanghai, joined officially as Co-founder in 2014 to direct strategy and assume the role of advisor and mentor. John-Paul Jones joined as a second Co-founder and EVP Technology to head up the business technology solutions. In 2015, OSL became Student.com.
Nolan said: “Studying abroad is an incredible journey, full of excitement and adventure and it’s fundamentally influenced by where you live. Since starting the company, we’ve helped tens of thousands of international students find their perfect homes abroad. This round of funding, and what we’ve got in store for Student.com over the next few years, should enable us to help millions of students have the best possible study abroad experience.”
“The student housing market is arguably one of the single biggest industries not yet digitised,” remarked Khan. “WithStudent.com, we’re not only enabling international students the world over to quickly and easily find housing abroad; we’re also giving landlords a digital and global infrastructure to reach millions of students.”
Today’s investment will fuel growth in new markets, with expansion planned across the U.S., Latin America and the Middle East in the coming months. Funding will also be used to grow the team and bolster technology across the platform.
Alexander Tamas of lead investor VY Capital said: “The student housing market is one of the largest untapped real estate opportunities in the world, with international students contributing tens of billions of dollars to local economies. Student.com has built a platform that will truly revolutionise this market by bringing choice, access and a high-quality living experience to students around the world.”
Student.com is the world’s leading marketplace for international student accommodation. The company seeks to simplify booking accommodation for international students through a free-to-use global marketplace which puts security and ease-of-use first. Every landlord listed has a contractual relationship with Student.com, ensuring additional security and peace of mind, and students have access to local knowledge of destination countries, as well as a team of multilingual booking agents. In the upcoming academic year, Student.com will list properties in 426 cities, in close proximity to over 1,000 universities. To date, the company has raised $60 million from investors including VY Capital, Li Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures, Expa, Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, and Hugo Barra of Xiaomi.
February 3, 2016 – Blockstream, a leading innovator in blockchain and related technologies, today announces it raised $55 million in Series A funding. The Series A funds, along with the $21 million Blockstream raised in its 2014 seed round, will be used by Blockstream to further enhance its sidechain technology, expand operations globally and support new industry partnerships.
Blockstream, the leader in blockchain and related technologies, today announces that it has raised $55 million in Series A funding to bring next generation blockchain innovation to market using its sidechain technology, expand its operations globally, and support industry partners.
The round is being led by Horizons Ventures, AXA Strategic Ventures, and Digital Garage, with participation from existing investors including AME Cloud Ventures, Blockchain Capital, Future\Perfect Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Mosaic Ventures, and Seven Seas Venture Partners. As part of the round, Horizons has joined the Board of Directors. This builds on the company’s $21 million seed round announced in 2014.
Blockchain technology is at the bleeding edge of computer science and ushers in a new paradigm of programmable trust. The technology is rooted in decades of work in distributed systems, game theory and cryptography. Founded by Austin Hill, Dr. Adam Back, and leading Bitcoin engineers including Gregory Maxwell and Dr. Pieter Wuille, Blockstream provides companies with the most mature, well tested, and secure infrastructure in production – the Bitcoin protocol extended via interoperable sidechains – with one of the most experienced teams in the industry.
“Blockchain technology is redefining what is possible within the fintech ecosystem and beyond,” says Frances Kang, Horizons Ventures. “The transition to this new world – one that is decentralized, interoperable, secure, and trustworthy – is going to be illuminating. We are excited to be working with Blockstream to see their innovative sidechain technology reach its full potential.”
Sidechains, a novel blockchain protocol and platform, enable cross-chain functionality by extending Bitcoin to support both public and private blockchains. This approach leverages the most mature and well tested technology, as well as the nearly $1B invested in companies working with this code today, thereby drastically cutting the cost of trust, improving standards of security, and reducing network fragmentation.
“We are convinced that blockchain technology has the ability to transform not only financial services but also other industries,” said François Robinet, Managing Partner, AXA Strategic Ventures. “Blockstream has the best technical team in the industry and we strongly believe in their approach of developing foundational infrastructure for various blockchain applications. We value Blockstream’s open source approach and its sidechain technology, which will allow interoperability between different chains and provide critical long-term success in this sector. We also look forward to partnering with Blockstream to drive the transformation of insurance and asset management businesses.”
“We are excited to work with Blockstream to expand their business in Japan and other Asian countries in conjunction with Digital Garage’s strategic partners in the financial sector,” said Kaoru Hayashi, Group CEO, Digital Garage. “We look forward to seeing how cryptofinance and blockchain technology create new contexts for a better society.”
Blockstream’s platform is maintained within the Elements Project under an open source license. The company announced its first commercial sidechain offering last year, called Liquid, to provide an interchange settlement service for Bitcoin exchanges and brokerages. Blockstream also recently announced a strategic partnership with PwC to bring these capabilities to established industry sectors and companies exploring new blockchain applications.
AXA Strategic Ventures: http://www.axastrategicventures.com/#/
Digital Garage: http://www.garage.co.jp/en/
Horizon Ventures: http://horizonsventures.com/team/
BOSTON, Dec. 2, 2015 — Bevi (www.bevi.co), the Boston-based start-up that develops smart beverage machines, has announced a $6.5M Series A led by Horizons Ventures, the Hong Kong based private investment fund of Mr. Li Ka-shing.
Bevi was founded in 2013 by graduates of MIT and RISD with the environmental mission of making every beverage available without a plastic bottle. Bevi’s first product is a water cooler for offices that lets users create a variety of still, sparkling, and naturally flavored drinks, all based on filtered tap water. The company has developed a cloud-based system to remotely monitor and control its beverage machines.
The Series A will build on the sales momentum that Bevi has seen in the Boston area and enable geographic expansion. The company is also investing in major R&D projects to improve and expand the offerings of its beverage machines. Horizons’ strategic investment connects Bevi to a global network of food & beverage leaders, from technology disruptors to established distributors.
Bevi’s CEO Sean Grundy said, “Our team is inspired to be part of the Horizons family, working alongside leading food and beverage entrepreneurs to make the industry healthier, more sustainable, and more innovative. Horizons’ involvement will help take our beverage platform to the next level, opening new channels and enabling serious growth.”
Agua Brands, the maker of Agua Energy Water and Agua Fruit Essence, today announces an investment by Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka Shing. The strategic investment by the Hong Kong investor will provide Agua Brands with support and access to a broad international distribution footprint. The Company’s President, Michael Venuti believes that by joining forces with Horizons Ventures, “The brand will have a tremendous platform and international presence working as partners with a global powerhouse whose brand and Technology investments have shown internationally acclaimed success.” The amount of the investment and other transaction details were undisclosed.
The investment will kick-start Agua’s international expansion plans, beginning in Asia – the perfect launch market to introduce a healthier pick-me-up energy beverage. The Company founders, former vitaminwater executives are the innovative pioneers behind the creation of the first no-gimmick, healthy, low-calorie and hydrating energy beverages derived from a natural source of caffeine, the guarana berry.
“Agua’s management team brings a wealth of experience in developing and marketing innovative beverages in the U.S.”, said Chris Lai of Horizons Ventures. “We believe our partnership brings together all the right elements to build a global beverage company that provides healthy beverages to the consumer”.
Agua Brands launched in 2012 with a brand mission to create healthier solutions within existing beverage categories and carving space for contemporary groupings of healthy refreshments in the much needed beverage world. The Energy water line is vibrantly packaged and available in Tea & Lemonade, Kiwi Strawberry, Fruit Punch, Orange Passion and Pomegranate Acai and each bottle contains the same amount of caffeine as your morning joe, except its deliciously healthier. The recently launched zero-calorie fruit essence line is packed with electrolytes and the easy alternative to your eight cups of water a day, finally making hydration flavorfully fun in five enhancing fruit variations. The Horizons Ventures partnership will allow for healthier beverages to be available worldwide.
About Agua Energy Water
Founded and launched by seasoned beverage industry executives, Carol Dollard and Michael Venuti, Agua energy water introduces a new concept in naturally-energizing beverages for the health-minded consumer. Agua energy water combines the best of all beverage categories – sports drinks, enhanced waters and energy drinks – with only 10 calories per serving. Formulated with guarana extract, a natural source of caffeine, Agua energy water provides consumers with a better-for-you, great-tasting alternative to sugary energy drinks. Agua energy water is currently available at Fairway Market, select Shop-Rite locations, Kroger, Amazon and independent retailers. Agua energy water is available in five low-calorie flavors: Kiwi Strawberry, Tea and Lemonade, Pomegranate Acai, Orange Passion and Fruit Punch. For more information, visit www.aguaenerviva.com, www.facebook.com/aguaenerviva or follow Agua Enerviva on Twitter at www.twitter.com/drinkagua
Bangalore, August 6, 2015 – Ezetap Mobile Solutions, the Bangalore-based pioneer in mobile payments for emerging markets, today announced that is has raised Rs. 140 crores in fresh funding. Ezetap’s current investors Social+Capital, Helion Advisors, and Berggruen Holdings are joined by Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm for Li Ka-Shing, and the Capricorn Investment Group in this round. Social+Capital founder Chamath Palihapitiya will become Chairman of Board – the first time the former Facebook executive has taken on this role with a portfolio company outside the United States.
“India is where China was four years ago, and we have already seen young start-up companies successively disrupt consumption and then transportation in India over the last two years,” said Palihapitiya. “It’s clear to us that the next revolution will be in financial services, and that Ezetap will enable merchants to transact in ways and at a scale that were never imagined in the industry before.”
Started in 2011 and launched in 2013, Ezetap has grown much faster than the rest of the industry, deploying over 60,000 new points of sale across India in under 30 months. Ezetap processes over $1 million per day and has a customer base ranging from the most well-known enterprises to tens of thousands of small retail businesses. Ezetap has partnerships with leading banks including Citibank, HDFC Bank, and American Express, who is also an investor in the company. Most recently, State Bank of India chose Ezetap to be its MPOS partner and to help scale electronic payments and micro-ATM to every corner of the country.
The Ezetap solution turns any merchant’s mobile device into an intelligent point of sale that is able to read any type of card and complete any type of financial transaction – from a credit card sale to a real-time bill payment, to an ATM cash withdrawal or deposit. The Ezetap solution is comprised of a configurable mobile application, a secure and lightweight card reader, and a flexible platform that allows Ezetap to provide customized value-added services and integrate to a merchant’s existing systems. Ezetap’s technology has been developed and built in India, and is compliant with global security guidelines.
“What makes MPOS unique is that every Ezetap mobile application being used by a merchant is configurable and smart. This is a fundamental change from the way payments have worked for decades and why it never scaled in India,” says Abhijit Bose, CEO and Co-Founder of Ezetap. “Not only can we easily enable a storekeeper anywhere in the country to accept all forms of payments and increase their sales, we can actually turn his or her small shop into a bill payment centre, eGovernment service point, full service bank branch, and much more with only a few keystrokes in Bangalore. We are a true ‘Make In India’ company that will help deliver the promise of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.”
While many enterprises including some of the leading eCommerce, Insurance and mobile companies have standardized on Ezetap and deployed its integrated solution, the company also see huge potential in the growing smaller and medium business sector. Ezetap is already activating over 500 new merchants a week and will use some of the funds to increase that by 5X in the next few months, according to Bose. “Our vision is to be the most preferred, ubiquitous, and universal platform through which businesses transact and engage with their customers,” said Bose. “It doesn’t matter what payment method a customer wants to use, a merchant should never miss a sale and use that interaction to deepen their relationship with the customer.”
Ezetap is a Mobile-based Payments service provider for emerging markets based in Bangalore, India. The company was co-founded in 2011 by CEO Abhijit Bose, CTO Bhaktha Kesavachar, and mobile payments pioneer Sanjay Swamy who serves as the company’s Vice-Chairman. The Ezetap service is PCI-DSS compliant, has been certified by multiple, leading financial institutions. For more details: https://www.ezetap.com/
TEL AVIV, Israel — April 28 – Windward, a maritime data and analytics company, today announced a strategic investment of $10.8 million led by Horizons Ventures, with participation from Series A investor, Aleph, and other leading investors in the financial community. This strategic investment will accelerate Windward’s ability to build the largest, most comprehensive maritime data and analytics platform in history. In addition, it will make those insights accessible for anyone with stakes at sea, with a solution for the financial sector scheduled to launch later in 2015.
“Ship activity across the oceans fuels the global economy but is one of the last analog arenas. The Windward team is revolutionizing this archaic system and bringing visibility to this critically important domain, advancing the global ecosystem,” said Jason Wong of Horizons Ventures.
Windward’s intelligence solution, MARINT, is already in wide use by Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement agencies worldwide, who use Windward’s data and insights to preemptively identify threats before they reach their shores. The funding by Horizons Ventures, Aleph and other financial investors will enable Windward to expand its deep learning capabilities via its unique data platform – the Windward Mind – and to operationalize FORESEA, its finance solution. Currently, FORESEA is in beta testing as the first significant vertical extension of the Windward Mind and is providing traders, investors and analysts with access to unprecedented amounts of unstructured data, critical insights and untapped market opportunities.
“The Windward Mind, the world’s first maritime data platform, brings cross-vertical and industry visibility into ship activity worldwide that is critical given the economics at stake,” said Ami Daniel, co-Founder and CEO of Windward. “We are honored to have Horizons Ventures join our journey. Horizons has a unique perspective as a seasoned investor in some of the world’s most disruptive tech companies; their involvement will provide us with many valuable opportunities for innovating this analog world.”
In addition to funding support, Windward will be adding top advisors to its boards. A member of Horizons will be joining Windward’s Board of Directors. Additional investors include Tom Glocer, the former CEO of Thomson Reuters, who will also be joining Windward’s Advisory Board and bringing his invaluable perspective from a world leader in delivering information to decision makers in professional markets. Ret. Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, the former IDF Chief of Staff and former CEO of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, is also joining Windward’s Advisory Board, with a depth of understanding of the security domain. In addition, Danielle Ullner has joined Windward as Chief Operating Officer. Ullner is the former VP of Strategic Partnerships at Perion, and will focus on deepening partnerships and access across the shipping and ports ecosystem.
“Windward is a game changer because it is bringing a data sciences perspective to today’s maritime data and making it accessible and relevant for the entire ecosystem,” commented Glocer. “Financial institutions, the next market for Windward’s unique data platform, are hungry for advanced data solutions that can provide valuable trading opportunities by extracting faint trading signals from noisy datasets such as maritime information.”
Windward is a specialized data company, analyzing and organizing the world’s maritime data. Ships transport over 90% of trade worldwide, but despite the massive stakes at sea, the data on ship activity is largely unusable: it is vast, fragmented and often intentionally manipulated. The oceans are the last analog market and the world’s missing data link.
Windward is bridging that information gap. We have built the world’s first maritime data platform, the Windward Mind, making the data accessible and actionable across verticals, from flagging criminal threats at sea to identifying new market trading opportunities. Our solution is in wide use among Intelligence and Governmental clients worldwide, and we are now bringing the same unprecedented visibility to additional markets. FORESEA, our new Finance solution, is giving traders, investors and analysts access to a gold mine of untapped market opportunities.
For more information, go to http://www.windward.eu/
Partnership deal involves strategic investors providing significant investment and global business influence in the publicly traded beverage company as well as appointment to its board of directors
Boca Raton, FL (April 21 2015) – Celsius Holdings, Inc., (Other OTC: CELH) is the creator and marketer of Celsius®, the world’s first Negative Calorie and Fat Burning beverage with significant benefits to consumers focused on accelerating weight loss, fitness and a healthier lifestyle. Celsius provides clean energy and is backed by clinical science, and today announces an investment of $15.95 million led by Hong Kong based Horizons Ventures, a private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-Shing, Mr. Russell Simmons and Ms. Kimora Lee Simmons.
“Celsius is thrilled to announce this strategic partnership with Horizons Ventures, Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons. On the cusp of our positive fourth quarter, we are excited for these business icons to join our team,” said Gerry David, CEO of Celsius Holdings, Inc. “This strategic partnership will broaden our reach across consumers and will further strengthen our position in both domestic and global markets.”
The investment by Horizons Ventures, Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee Simmons confirms the vision of long time Celsius investor Carl DeSantis, who founded Rexall Sundown and grew it into the world’s leading Vitamin Company. Mr. DeSantis sold Rexall Sundown for $1.8 billion in 2000 and made a strategic investment in Celsius in 2007.
“We always saw Celsius as a brand of the future with all its proven benefits” said Mr. DeSantis. “We were creating a new category and that is always quite a challenge. But it’s those types of challenges that are the most rewarding if you work hard and stick with it. Its takes time and strategic investment. We have always believed that Celsius was a winner with the potential to become a global brand. We are thrilled to welcome our new partners. They are visionaries with a proven track record. Together along with our existing management team, we will do great things.”
“This is an interesting time in tech-centric food and beverages products as more consumers are striving towards healthier lifestyle,” said Chris Lai of Horizons Ventures. “We are excited to support the Celsius team, who is meeting this growing demand with a revolutionary formula that keeps you energized while burning calories.”
“As a practicing yogi and vegan, I’m always cognizant of my health and what I put into my body. I found Celsius at a local market, fell in love with the drink’s clean energy and called Kimora immediately. It was clear we needed to learn more about the company,” said Mr. Russell Simmons.
“I am proud to announce my new partnership with Celsius as a strategic brand builder and innovator,” said Ms. Kimora Lee Simmons. “Energy has always been a key force in both my life and career and I’m excited about the potential this brand has to help people push themselves further towards their goals, be they related to fitness, family or fun. I also look forward to this unique opportunity to directly impact Celsius’ creative direction moving forward”
Disclosures can be found on the Company’s online disclosure portal at:
About Celsius Holdings, Inc.
Celsius Holdings Inc. (OTC: CELH) is a science-based functional beverage company, founded in April 2004. Celsius is the world’s first and only negative calorie and fat burning drink. Backed by multiple clinical studies, drinking Celsius before activity has been proven to help burn up to 93% more body fat, burn 100 calories and more per serving, boost metabolism, provide clean energy and accelerate results of any weight-loss program. It comes in five delicious flavors, carbonated and non-carbonated, and also in powder stick packets that can be mixed with water. Celsius contains no sugar, no high-fructose corn syrup, no aspartame, no preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors, and is low in sodium. The first clinical study was conducted in 2005. Six additional studies, including five from the University of Oklahoma, were conducted over the next five years. The studies validated the unique benefits Celsius provides to the consumer. For more information, please visit www.celsius.com.
This press release may contain statements that are not historical facts and are considered forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements contain projections of Celsius Holdings’ future results of operations and/or financial position, or state other forward-looking information. In some cases you can identify these statements by forward-looking words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “should,” “will,” “would,” or similar words. You should not rely on forward-looking statements since Celsius Holdings’ actual results may differ materially from those indicated by forward-looking statements as a result of a number of important factors. These factors include, but are not limited to: general economic and business conditions; our business strategy for expanding our presence in our industry; anticipated trends in our financial condition and results of operation; the impact of competition and technology change; existing and future regulations affecting our business; and other risks and uncertainties discussed in the reports Celsius Holdings has filed previously with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Celsius Holdings does not intend to and undertakes no duty to update the information contained in this press release.
San Francisco, CA April 16, 2015 – Slack,the essential team communication platform, today announced it has raised $160 million in new investment at a postfunding valuation of $2.8 billion. New investors include Horizons Ventures,Digital Sky Technologies (DST Global), Index Ventures,Spark Capital Growth,and Institutional Venture Partners (IVP).All existing investors participated in the round. Slack previously raised a total of $180M from Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, The Social+Capital Partnership, Google Ventures, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB).
Slack continues its trajectory as the fastest growing business app ever. Having launched in February 2014, Slack is now used daily by over 750,000 people, and has over 200,000 paid seats. Both daily active users and paid seats have more than doubled since the beginning of the year.
Slack’s traction demonstrates an appetite for a new set of tools that reflect the evolution of technology and the nature of work. People love it because it has an immediate and fundamental impact on their work lives. Some of the customers benefiting from the radically improved transparency and efficiency across its teams thanks to Slack include:Adobe, New York Times, Blue Bottle Coffee, BuzzFeed, Live Nation, Expedia, HBO, and PayPal.
“We take a very long view of both the opportunity before us and the company we want to build. We’re still at the beginning of a major transition in how people communicate and work together,” said Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack. “Our new roster of investors reflects Slack’s global audience, and they’ll be essential partners in our continued growth.”
“Stewart and the team at Slack have taken a page out of the consumer playbook and revolutionized business communications by taking a generationallydifferent approach to messaging,” said Mike Volpi, partner at Index Ventures, who as part of the investment, has joined Slack’s board of directors as an observer. “Slack has reached a level of early traction that’s rarely seen on the enterprise side, and we’re incredibly excited to support their continued growth.”
The current board of directors consists of CEO Stewart Butterfield, Andrew Braccia (Accel), John O’Farrell (Andreessen Horowitz), and Mamoon Hamid (Social+Capital). John Doerr (KPCB) and M.G. Siegler (Google Ventures) were named as observers in the last investment round.
To sign up for Slack, find out more about job opportunities, and keep up on the latest news, visit www.slack.comand follow @slackhq.
Slack is a messaging platform for teams which brings all communication together, creating a single unified archive accessible through powerful search. It integrates with dozens of popular services such as Twitter, Dropbox, Trello, Asana, Google Docs, JIRA, MailChimp, Stripe, Zendesk, and others to help consolidate and make sense of the evergrowing flows of data that confront modern teams. Based in San Francisco, and with offices in Vancouver, Slack has raised $340 million from some of the world’s best recognized investors including Accel, Andreessen Horowitz, Social+Capital, KPCB, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, IVP, DST, and Index.
TIRAT CARMEL, Israel, March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — MeMed, Ltd., today announced publication of the results of a large multicenter prospective clinical study that validates the ability of its ImmunoXpertTM in-vitro diagnostic blood test to determine whether a patient has an acute bacterial or viral infection. The study enrolled more than 1,000 patients and is published in theMarch 18, 2015 online edition of PLOS ONE. Unlike most infectious disease diagnostics that rely on direct pathogen detection, MeMed’s assay decodes the body’s immune response to accurately characterize the cause of the infection.
Bacterial and viral infections are often clinically indistinguishable, leading to antibiotic overuse and contributing to the spread of antibiotic resistance, which the World Health Organization says is approaching crisis proportions. Paradoxically, the inability to rapidly differentiate infections also results in the underuse of antibiotics, estimated to occur in 20-40% of all bacterial infections, putting patients at risk of complications and increasing healthcare costs. MeMed researchers developed the ImmunoXpert test to accurately distinguish between bacterial and viral infections, with the goal of improving patient management by providing physicians with information that enables them to reduce both the overuse and underuse of antibiotics.
Eran Eden, PhD, CEO of MeMed, noted, “Antibiotic misuse is a pressing public health concern, with devastating healthcare and economic consequences. Rapid, accurate and actionable diagnostic tools are an important part of the solution because they can aid physicians in making better informed treatment decisions. For the past four years, our team has been collaborating with leading clinicians and scientists from around the world to develop and validate our novel approach for distinguishing between bacterial and viral infections. Unlike most traditional diagnostics, this approach builds on an exquisitely informative system crafted by nature – the human immune system. Our scientists have figured out how to decode the actions of the immune system doing what it does best–detecting and responding to the precise cause of infection.”
MeMed’s technology leverages the fact that bacteria and viruses trigger different pathways in the immune system. By conducting extensive screening of immune system proteins in patients with acute infections, researchers identified three soluble proteins that are uniquely activated by bacteria or viruses. They then developed proprietary algorithms that integrate these proteins to produce an immune signature that accurately identifies the cause of infection.
In the PLOS One study, the ImmunoXpert immune signature was developed and independently validated on a cohort of 1002 patients with acute infections and yielded highly accurate results, with sensitivity and specificity greater than 90%. The assay was validated in a diverse group of pediatric and adult patients at different time points after the onset of symptoms (from the first day up to 12 days) and across 56 different pathogen species. ImmunoXpert remained robust over all sub-groups studied. The predictive power of the assay’s immune signature outperformed routine biomarker and laboratory tests, as well as combinations of these tests. The signature is amenable to rapid measurement using a blood test run on standard hospital and laboratory-deployed automated platforms, or using a point-of-care device now in development. “We conducted big data filtering, followed by extensive screening of 600 immune system-related proteins,” said Kfir Oved, PhD, MeMed CTO.
“A few of the proteins showed distinctly different patterns in bacterial and viral infected patients. In particular, the most informative protein we found, called TRAIL, dramatically increased in the blood of patients infected with a wide range of viruses, but surprisingly, decreased in bacterial infections. Our team developed an algorithm that computationally integrates TRAIL with other immune proteins to diagnose the cause of the infection with high accuracy.”
The ImmunoXpert immune-based approach overcomes inherent limitations of many traditional diagnostics tools. It is accurate and rapid, it can diagnose infections that are not readily accessible such as pneumonia (because immune system components circulate throughout the entire body), and it prevents false alarms due to the benign presence (“carriage”) of potentially pathogenic bacteria and viruses that are not causing active disease.
“This study represents a breakthrough in our efforts to develop more accurate, rapid and actionable diagnostic tools that improve the management of patients with acute infection.” said Professor Isaac Srugo, MD, Head of the Pediatric Department and Microbiology Lab at Bnai Zion Medical Center. “The incorporation of novel viral-induced proteins, currently not in clinical use, enables ImmunoXpert to attain high levels of accuracy, which can help physicians make better informed antibiotic treatment decisions.
This should result in more bacterial infected patients receiving timely therapy that is actually useful for treating their illness. Additionally, it can lead to fewer prescriptions to viral patients for whom antibiotics do nothing to speed recovery, while causing potential harm to the larger community.”
MeMed’s ImmunoXpert test is CE marked and approved for clinical use in the European Union and Israel. It is currently in pilot distribution in these territories, with a broader commercial roll-out planned for later this year. Additional clinical studies are underway and the company is planning to conduct clinical trials in the U.S. using a specially-designed point-of-care platform currently in development.
MeMed is committed to bringing this pioneering solution to help patients around the globe, and Asia Pacific in particular, including China and Hong Kong. To this end, MeMed will work closely with Chinese key-opinion-leader physicians, patients and healthcare authorities. MeMed’s team is currently working closely with Horizons, one of its main supporters, to evaluate the best route forward to bringing this solution to patients in Asia.
MeMed is dedicated to improving patient lives through research, development and commercialization of pioneering products that monitor the body’s immune state. Its products decode the immune system’s distinct responses to different health and disease states. The company focuses on providing rapid, accurate and actionable diagnostic solutions for acute infectious diseases and inflammatory disorders in the hospital and community. Its most advanced product, ImmunoXpertTM, has demonstrated the ability to accurately detect whether a patient has a bacterial or viral infection, with the aim of empowering physicians to make better informed antibiotic treatment decisions. ImmunoXpert is CE marked and approved for clinical use in the EU and Israel, with pilot distribution efforts underway. For additional information, please visit www.me-med.com.
Notes to Editors
For more information on the public health crisis caused by the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, see for example:
Laxminarayan R. et al. Antibiotic resistance—the need for global solutions. Lancet Infect Dis. 2013 (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099%2813%2970318-9/abstract)
Threat Report 2013, Antimicrobial Resistance, CDC. (http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/threat-report- 2013/)
Fauci and Marston. The Perpetual Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance. JAMA 2014 (http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1851734)
For more information on antibiotic underuse, see:
Craig JC, et al. The accuracy of clinical symptoms and signs for the diagnosis of serious bacterial infection in young febrile children: prospective cohort study of 15 781 febrile illnesses. BMJ. 2010 (http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c1594)
Houck PM. Timing of antibiotic administration and outcomes for Medicare patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia. Arch Intern Med. 2004 (http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=216850)
Funding round enables Rubikloud to capitalize on opportunities in North America and Asia
Toronto, Ontario – January 19, 2015 – Rubikloud Technologies Inc. (@Rubikloud) announced today that it has raised $7 million in an oversubscribed Series A financing round, bringing the total investment in the last 12 months to over $8.5 million. Following last year’s seed round led by Horizons Ventures—a private investment arm of Mr. Li Ka-Shing—this round is led by TOM Group (stock code: 2383) and Ule, with participation from Access Industries and other private investors.
Based in China, TOM Group is a joint venture of Mr. Li’s Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited and Hutchison Whampoa, and focuses on technology-enabled and value-added services in the e-commerce sector. In addition, TOM Group CEO Ken Yeung will join the Rubikloud board.
Rubikloud is planning to announce major customer and industry partnerships in the coming months. This round will be used to expand the core engineering and data science team, and the expansion of customer reach in North America and China.
The Rubikloud platform processes, cleans, and models important data for retailers, turning data into an asset in real time. Rubikloud’s global retail customers currently generate over $25 billion in annual sales. While e-commerce has been the fastest growing revenue segment for retailers for over a decade, the ability to process and understand their data across online and offline channels has become a technically challenging and arduous process. Rubikloud simplifies the tedious process of grabbing and connecting data from numerous sources, and pushes the most critical insights to retailers directly, significantly reducing the time needed to wait for a consultant’s analysis. Moreover, large omni-channel retailers can avoid the high costs of building in-house multi-channel data solutions and hiring expensive retail consultants.
“Omni-channel retailers are waking up to the fact that the future of retail will be data driven. If they don’t understand their customer across all their channels, they will become obsolete or lose their brand recognition and loyalty. We have seen tremendous customer growth in North America and Asia, and this round will allow us to double down on our product and customer efforts,” said Kerry Liu, co-founder and CEO of Rubikloud.
Yeung said, “We are excited about Rubikloud’s technology on big data analytics for retailers’ online, mobile and point of sale platforms. We look forward to working closely with Rubikloud to launch its retail data technology and services for our business partners in Mainland China.”
About Rubikloud Technologies Inc.
Rubikloud is a retail intelligence platform focused on turning retail data into revenue and insights. Using modern data science techniques, Rubikloud helps omni-channel retailers know their customers at a deeper level. They believe the most valuable future insights lie at the intersection of the retailer, the customer, and the brand. Most legacy analytics systems are unable to offer insights or track, process and analyze data from multiple channels. Rubikloud is able to do all these things and deliver actionable insights via their proprietary system – RUDI. Rubikloud currently has major clients and partners in North America, United Kingdom, and throughout Asia.
About TOM Group
TOM Group Limited (stock code: 2383) is listed on The Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. A leading Chinese-language media conglomerate in Greater China, TOM Group has diverse business interests in E-Commerce, Mobile Internet, Publishing, Outdoor Media, Television and Entertainment and across markets in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The Group was founded in October 1999 as a joint venture between Hutchison Whampoa, Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited, and other strategic investors. Headquartered in Hong Kong, the Group has regional headquarters in Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei with about 2,600 employees in about 20 cities.
Ule (www.ule.com) is China’s ‘local’ e-commerce platform jointly launched by TOM Group and China Post in 2010. It is a unique offline to online (O2O) and mobile e-commerce platform for both rural and urban shoppers. Ule has particular focus on the 700 million rural population, with the mission to use e-commerce technology to revolutionize the rural retail environment with sales and retail automation, CRM and e-commerce cloud services. Ule enables rural population to procure and purchase wide range of quality and authentic products, via the modernized local village outlets and post offices as well as by mobile phones and desktop computers.
About Access Industries
Access Industries is a privately held industrial group with long-term holdings worldwide. The company’s industrial focus spans three sectors: Natural Resources and Chemicals, Media and Telecommunications, and Real Estate. Founded in 1986 by Len Blavatnik, an American entrepreneur and philanthropist, Access is an international industrial concern with strategic investments in the United States, Europe and South America, with corporate offices in New York, London and Moscow. www.accessindustries.com
About Horizons Ventures
Based in Hong Kong, Horizons Ventures manages the Internet and technology investments of Mr. Li Ka-shing globally, including investments in companies such as Skype, Facebook, Spotify, Siri, Summly, and Waze. To learn more, visit
TORONTO, Dec. 2, 2014—The goal of most researchers is to distribute knowledge by publishing their work in a respected scientific journal, a process that can takes months if not years.
But viruses and infectious diseases such as SARS or Ebola won’t wait that long before spreading, threatening not just people’s health but also international security and economic prosperity.
To meet the timely demands of government decision-makers around the world, Dr. Khan today announced he has formed a new for-profit social enterprise, BlueDot, which uses big data analysis to track and predict the global spread of infectious diseases.
The name BlueDot is a reference to a photograph of Earth the Voyager 1 space probe captured in 1990 from about 6.4 billion kilometres away. The picture, which shows Earth as a small dot in the vast expanse of space, was taken at the request of astronomer Carl Sagan.
“As a clinician on the front lines in New York City, where West Nile virus first appeared in North America, and then in Toronto when SARS crippled the city, it was clear to me that the world would be experiencing more of these high-impact outbreaks,” Dr. Khan said. “But as a scientist, the ability to produce and distribute valuable information to decision-makers was limited by the slow process of publishing in academic journals. By fusing the academic mindset of discovery with ‘disruptive technology’ in big data analysis and visualization, I knew we would have a far greater impact in responding to rapidly evolving outbreaks in real time.”
One of the world’s most influential tech investors agrees. BlueDot recently received Series A venture capital funding from Horizons Ventures, the private investment arm of Asian businessman Li Ka-shing. Based in Hong Kong, Horizons Ventures is a leading investor in some of the world’s most innovative companies and “disruptive technologies” including Facebook, Waze, Skype, Spotify, Siri and Hampton Creek.
“We are excited about our partnership with Horizons because of their track record in helping companies amplify the impact of innovative technology,” said Albert Tseng, chief operating officer of BlueDot. “Another fundamental backbone of the partnership is that Horizons shares our vision of using business to address important social challenges in the world; in our case, using technology to predict and mitigate against the spread of dangerous infectious diseases.”
MaRS Innovation had previously provided $400,000 in seed funding and worked with BlueDot and St. Michael’s to incorporate the company and develop its initial go-to-market plan. Ontario Centres of Excellence provided $140,000 in commercialization grants that helped BlueDot get off the ground.
BlueDot recently entered into a five-year cooperative agreement to work with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. It also has received funding from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada to support the World Health Organization’s Ebola response in West Africa and to build capacity among the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to prepare for tomorrow’s inevitable infectious disease threats.
BlueDot is the commercial arm of Dr. Khan’s academic research program called BioDiaspora, which was developed at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s. BioDiaspora models how infectious diseases can spread and impact populations globally by analyzing big data such as the annual movements of more than 3 billion travelers on commercial flights; human, animal and insect population data; climate data from satellites; and news reports of disease outbreaks. The program was inspired by the Toronto’s SARS crisis in 2003 and its capabilities scientifically validated in prestigious academic journals such as the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine.
The BioDiaspora platform has been used by numerous international agencies, including the CDC, the WHO , the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the Public Health Agency of Canada to evaluate emerging infectious disease threats, including those during global mass gatherings such as the Olympics and the hajj.
BlueDot was one of the first 100 companies in Canada to incorporate as a “social benefit corporation,” a new type of corporation that uses the power of business to confront social and environmental problems. “B (for benefit) Corps” have to meet rigorous standards around purpose, transparency and accountability.
About St. Michael’s Hospital
St Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Dr. Khan, contact:
Manager, Media Strategy
St. Michael’s Hospital
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Company announces plans for its massively scaled, distributed artificial intelligence system
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, November 24, 2014, Sentient Technologies, the company seeking to solve the world’s most complex problems through massively scaled artificial intelligence, today announced it has raised $103.5 million in Series C funding that brings the total investment in Sentient to more than $143 million. Access Industries led the round with Tata Communications (Hong Kong) Limited (a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Tata Communications Limited), existing investors Horizons Ventures, and a group of private investors in the fields of finance, consumer, food and beverage, and real estate, all participating. Sentient will use the funds to further expand its distributed artificial intelligence products and services.
“Making sense of massive amounts of data is critical for consumer-facing digital businesses”, said Jörg Mohaupt from Access Industries. “We are delighted to be investors in Sentient and will apply its technology to our portfolio of e-commerce, media and entertainment businesses so that they can do innovative things and create new products for their customers. We look forward to supporting Sentient in its growth and development.”
Vinod Kumar, MD and CEO, Tata Communications said, “As an investor, we share a common vision on the transformative force that massively distributed computing and artificial intelligence can play in helping businesses get insights and solve their most complex big data problems. We see Sentient at the forefront of these technologies and bringing a disruptive approach to cloud based computing services. Furthermore, the scale of our leading global network infrastructure and data center footprint also complements Sentient’s growth plans and will enable its global deployment.”
Frank Sixt, Executive Director and Group Finance Director of Hutchison Whampoa Limited said “As a director of my Chairman’s charitable foundation, The Li Ka Shing Foundation, I have been involved with the team at Sentient for several years. I believe their unique resources and approach in focusing AI capabilities to achieve step changes in existing human capabilities in specifically targeted functional domains hold great potential for many businesses, including Hutchison’s own energy, retail, ports and telecommunications verticals.”
“We’re extremely encouraged with the progress that Sentient has made over the past year and we’re excited to have the support and funding of such a strong, global investor base,” said Antoine Blondeau, Chief Executive Officer, Sentient Technologies. “The new investment will allow us to continue to grow our team, further scale our partner infrastructure, and accelerate the commercialization of our distributed artificial intelligence technologies. Further, the expansion of our investor team brings a wealth of experience to our organization as we explore new vertical industries.”
BUILDING THE MOST POWERFUL INTELLIGENT SYSTEM IN THE WORLD
Sentient operates distributed artificial intelligence on an unprecedented scale, routinely running multiple distributed AI jobs, on millions of AI processing nodes, producing actionable results validated on large and complex data sets. Utilizing evolutionary computation and deep learning – designed to continuously evolve and improve – Sentient aims to create the world’s most powerful intelligent system. This system enables researchers, innovators and companies to solve mission- critical, high value, problems.
Sentient’s distributed artificial intelligence has unique, patented and powerful capabilities that address in distributed, varied, asynchronous nature of data and its continuous influx and growth in order to understand it and make accurate, actionable decisions.
The Sentient team has been quietly demonstrating the capabilities of its system through deep research and testing in the fields of financial trading and medical research. These vertical “proving grounds” were chosen due to the high volume of data, wide variety of data types and high complexity of decision-making necessary for valuable and successful results.
Beyond using machine learning and deep learning to identify patterns or make predictions Sentient’s focus is on improved decision making. Sentient’s Distributed AI platform builds on those predictions, continuously improving its decision-making by utilizing evolutionary algorithms at a massive scale.
“I believe that Sentient’s unique machine learning approach, deployed at nearly unprecedented scale, will provide solutions to complex, urgent problems in a wide range of fields,” said Adam Cheyer, co-founder & VP of Engineering at Viv Labs and advisor to Sentient. “In artificial intelligence, we are beginning to see that it’s not only about “big data,” but also about “big compute,” which gives the ability to search deeper and at a higher complexity to find the patterns and answers hidden within.”
PARTNERSHIP WITH TATA COMMUNICATIONS
In addition to their investment, Tata Communications will be a preferred provider to Sentient to furnish a suite of enablement services, including data center space, managed hosting and network. Sentient and Tata Communications will also partner to develop additional products and services.
Today, over 24% of the world’s Internet routes travel over Tata Communications’ global network which includes the world’s largest wholly owned subsea cable network and a tier 1 IP network that is ranked top five by routes in five continents –
CURRENT AND POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS
Sentient’s working model brings its distributed artificial intelligence technologies together with partner expertise, datasets and modeling challenges to solve complex, mission critical, high value problems. The company is seeking partners to explore solutions in the fields of healthcare, medical research, fraud detection, public safety, e-commerce, and other areas. Sentient is currently building APIs for faster and more independent partner development.
“The MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory team worked with Sentient to deploy problems from our ICU blood pressure prediction analytics research”, said Una-May O’Reilly, Principal Research Scientist, MIT CSAIL. “Sentient’s unique evolutionary algorithm, mapped across tens of thousands of nodes, gave us access to a method that scales to vast resources and addresses highly complex problems. Sentient enabled us to solve problems previously thought too formidable to tackle due to scale.”
WORLD CLASS TEAM OF LEADERS AND ADVISORS
Sentient’s management and advisors include executives with years of experience in a variety of relevant industry sectors from companies such as AiLive, Amazon, Cerberus, Citigroup, Mozilla, NASA Ames, Rackspace, Salesforce.com, SAP, SIRI, SRI International, Sybase, TIBCO and Yahoo!. Sentient team members have decades of combined experience building products and solutions in the artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, finance and security industries and they are bringing that knowledge to bear as they develop Sentient’s products and solutions, bringing value to their business partners.
Sentient’s mission is to transform how businesses tackle their most complex, mission critical problems by empowering them to make the right decisions faster. Sentient’s technology has patented evolutionary and perceptual capabilities that will provide customers with highly sophisticated solutions, powered by the largest compute grid dedicated to distributed artificial intelligence. For more information, visit www.sentient.ai.
Sentient Technologies (USA) LLC is a privately held company based in San Francisco and backed by world leading investors.
For more information, please visit: www.sentient.ai.
Sentient is a trademark of Sentient Technologies.
Media Contact: Monica Walsh, Zeno Group, 650-219-3220, email@example.com
In 1923, after the First World War, Albert Einstein visited the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. He founded the Technion Society and whilst there, planted the iconic Washingtonion Robusta. Still standing, the palm tree is symbolic of the Society’s mission to support and promote education, science and entrepreneurship, and to sow the seeds of innovation for generations to come. Upon planting this tree, Einstein said, “Israel can win the battle for survival only by developing expert knowledge in technology.” Honoring innovation as a driving force of growth, the Li Ka Shing Foundation invited Professor Dan Shechtman—Nobel Prize Laureate and full-time Professor at the Technion—to kick start the Techcracker Lab programme on 21 Nov 2014. In a lecture given to 100 participants traveling to Israel in January, Professor Shechtman reveals the secrets to successful innovation and entrepreneurship.
Dan Shechtman was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the revolutionary discovery of quasicrystals. His achievement not only challenged the way scientists fundamentally conceived the nature of matter, but also celebrated the awards of tenacity. Indeed, many scientists at the time ridiculed Professor Shechtman for this seemingly improbable observation. Even he could not believe his eyes when he saw a five-fold rotational symmetry in the atoms under his electronic microscope: “Eyn chaya kazo!” (“There can be no such creature!” in Hebrew). He still recalls when the head of his laboratory brought a textbook to his office and said, “Danny, please read this book and you will understand that what you are saying cannot be.” But his discovery proves that to innovate is to tread into the unknown, sometimes even unfathomable realm; and to break through, one must have the ‘guts’ to persevere even in the face of relentless criticism.
Apart from his dedication to the field of science, for the past 27 years, Professor Shechtman has been teaching a course on technological entrepreneurship at the Technion. While humanity has periods of ups and downs, and faces a widening gap in the distribution of wealth, Professor Shechtman believes that the development of start-up companies, high-tech companies and small companies will lead the world to a better future. In the lecture, titled “Technological Entrepreneurship – Key to World Peace and Prosperity”, he emphasized innovation as a key driver of growth, prosperity,and peace as the world inevitably consumes even more resources than it can produce.
From January 8-13, 2015, the Foundation will sponsor a group of near 100 university and high-school students and members of the press to visit Israel. The programme is designed for interaction with students and faculties of Technion, and with entrepreneurs, leaders and influencers of the local start-up community. The Foundation is very pleased that Techcracker Lab is supported by the Consulate General of Israel Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HK PolyU), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST),the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Hong Kong New Generation Cultural Association. In addition to learning about conceptualizing, funding and development of a start- up, participants will learn to tackle challenges with new perspectives.
The four supporting Universities have elected each participating student through a rigorous selection process. Equipped with an array of unique talents and skills, the participants will be separated into teams and will undergo a series of lessons from startup founders, venture capitalists and workshops at the Technion. As the trip concludes, each team will have the chance to present their plan to a panel of venture firms and founders in Israel. The winning team will be awarded a grant of USD 10,000 from the Li Ka Shing Foundation to donate to an Israeli NGO of their choice.
Date: Oct 9, 2014
Time: 9:00AM – 12:00PM
Venue: Lyceum Theatre 兰心大戏院
Address: 57 Maoming Lan Lu 57茂名南路
To change is to enter unfamiliar, unchartered territory. And while the idea of change is daunting to most, the ones who embrace it can liberate infinite possibilities. Humanness is our innate advantage – it enables us to adapt and engage with this changing world. Technology is our tool – it enables us to welcome this future with boldness and creativity.
In this inevitable progress, do you want to be a bystander or are you going to embody the change?
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Date: October 7, 2014
Time: 9:00AM – 12:00PM
Venue: NUS University Cultural Centre Hall
To change is to enter unfamiliar, unchartered territory. And while the idea of change is daunting to most, the ones who embrace it can liberate infinite possibilities. Humanness is our innate advantage – it enables us to adapt and engage with this changing world. Technology is our tool – it enables us to welcome this future with boldness and creativity.
In this inevitable progress, do you want to be a bystander or are you going to embody the change?
upload a photo that shows us your definition of what it means to be disruptive to win a gift at the conference!