Mammoth Media, the startup behind chat fiction app Yarn, raises $13M

Hack'd Mammoth Media has raised a $ 13 million Series A funding to create what it calls “entertainment experiences for the mobile-first generation.” Mammoth isn’t not the first startup to pitch itself as reinventing entertainment for smartphones, but for the most part, that message has come from gaming companies. Co-founder and CEO Benoit Vatere said he wanted to take the… Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch

IoT and connected device security startup VDOO raises $13M

Vdoo, an IoT cybersecurity startup that aims to become “Security Authority (SA) for connected-devices” raised $ 13M, capital it will use to develop and commercialize Vdoo’s IoT security platform. The funding was led by 83North (formerly Greylock IL). Other backers include Dell Technology Capital and individual investors, including David Strohm, Joe Tucci, and Victor Tsao.

VDOO’s end-to-end IoT security platform

Recent cyber attacks including the Mirai botnet and other IoT malware have brought endpoint security at the forefront with the most vulnerable being the ‘smart home’ devices.

“An analysis of IoT attacks over the past 18 months, shows that even the simplest hacks, whether at an organization or at home, can have serious, even dire, consequences. The past attacks seem like a test run for future attacks, by the organized attackers, a fact that highlights the magnitude and severity of upcoming attacks.”
Netanel Davidi, Co-CEO and founder at VDOO

Vdoo’s solution works by automatically classification and analysis of multiple aspects of the IoT device (such as device manufacturer, device type, network interface, OS, and software vendor). It then creates a device-specific threat landscape and generates actionable security requirements. The last leg of the solution involves verification of the device security level and providing a visual and digital seal to indicate the state of security to all other systems.

2017 saw an uptick in startup funding for the IoT-aimed cybersecurity startups. Nanolock, an IoT malware protection startup raised $ 4.5M in Oct last year, however, SparkCognition stole the show by raising a handsome Series B round of $ 32.5M for its AI-based cybersecurity platform. Dedicated startup funds were also launched with cybersecurity giant Trend Micro announcing a $ 100M fund for IoT startups in June last year.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Expense report analysis startup AppZen raises $13M to build a smarter back office

 Expense reports aren’t the most exciting thing in the universe. But when you reach the scale of say, Amazon, and have tens of thousands of employees, making sure everything comes through smoothly and the right things are being billed to the company could mean the difference in millions of dollars to your bottom line. And when Anant Kale walks into the office of a big company and asks for… Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch

‘Apple community’ pulls in $13M for disaster relief in US, Mexico & Caribbean

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The "Apple community" — including workers and customers — has raised over $ 13 million for the relief of recent hurricanes hitting the U.S. and the Caribbean, and earthquakes in Mexico, Apple said on Thursday.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Sensor-based end-to-end IoT platform Cloudleaf snaps $13M Series A

Cloudleaf, an industrial IoT company providing sensors, gateways and cloud technologies raised a $ 13M Series A round. Seasoned investors like IndusAge Partners, Bold Capital Partners, Tandem Capital, and Mahindra Partners participated in the funding round.

Cloudleaf Sensor Fabric

The company was founded in 2014 with an undisclosed amount of seed capital. It markets its technology under the brand name of ‘Cloudleaf Sensor Fabric’. The fabric is just a mesh of location-aware sensors, end-points, gateways, and cloud-based platform for data analysis.

The Cloudleaf sensors and end-points collect location and contextual data and send it to the cloud platform. The cloud-based services of the platform let users access real-time metrics, historical trends, KPIs, and rule-based alerts.

Cloudleaf Business Rules Engines

The startup boasts having big-name customers such as Tesla Motors, Chevron, Mahindra, and McKinsey & Company. A key reason of Cloudleaf attracting customers across different verticals is that its sensor and end-point-based technology coupled with cloud-based analytics engine can be deployed in rugged environments as well.

As for use cases, the ‘Cloudlead Sensor Fabric’ can be used for asset utilization, factory floor operations, and condition monitoring of critical ‘things’. A close look at the company’s patents reveals that it holds three patents titled “Systems, methods, and devices for asset status determination”. The sensor devices collect data via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication signals from the leaf node device to the middleware and then on to the cloud-platform.

As the enterprise IoT gets heated, new companies have launched end-to-end platforms. The approach addresses a key problem of fragmentation between vendors and various systems as it gives rise to interoperability challenges. Particle, another full-stack IoT device platform banked $ 20M Series B in July this year. It also offers a cloud-based platform, device management console, cellular IoT SIMs, and asset tracking devices.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

AI-powered voice assistant platform Snips closes $13M Series A

Snips, an AI-powered voice assistant for connected products announced last week that it has raised a $ 13M Series A round.

The round was led by Korelya Capital and MAIF Avenir. BPI France and existing investor Eniac Ventures.

The startup previously raised $ 6.3M Seed round in Jun 2015 and obtained a grant of $ 2M in Sep 2016 with its total equity funding now reaching $ 21M.

The Snips’ voice platform for connected devices is an end-to-end solution with features such as hotword detection, speech recognition, natural language understanding and dialog management.

A differentiating capability of Snips is that it’s an on-device voice assistant and everything runs on the device that eliminates the need to send user data to the cloud servers. “A company that says they need your data is lying, or has no clue how to build technology,” said Rand Hindi, co-founder, and CEO of Snips. The voice assistant can be used to turn on the lights, check weather reports, play music albums, and even brew coffee.

Unlike Google Home and Amazon Alexa, Snips doesn’t ship the user’s data to the cloud. Startups like Snips might be at an advantage when European digital privacy laws get enforced starting 2018 whereby companies will have to seek explicit permission to collect user data. Since its voice platform competes with the likes of Facebook’s, Google’s, and Microsoft Luis, Snips might comfortably raise bigger investment rounds in the future.

Additional activity in the space include Rokid, a smart-home, and AI company that raised $ 50M in January, and PeoplePower, an AI-based smart home company that raised $ 3.2M in May of 2017.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Industrial IoT startup Tulip obtains $13M Series A financing

Tulip, a Somerville, Massachusetts-based Industrial IoT and advanced analytics app platform announced $ 13 million in Series A financing at an unknown valuation. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Pitango Venture Capital and some returning angel investors also participated in the round.

The proceeds will be used in customer services set-up, adding new functionality to the Manufacturing App Platform, and developing a community of Tulip users.

Tulip Gateway

Run by Rony Kubat and Natan Linder as the company’s co-founders, Tulip uses cameras, sensors, and Internet-connected tools to help factory floor managers during the manufacturing process.

Tulip’s main products are I/O gateways, USB gateways, cameras, scanners, sensors, specialized devices and human-machine interfaces. Tulip, a spinout from MIT, also announced the launch of a manufacturing app platform at Hannover Messe 2017.

The app platform is modular rather than being rigid software.

Front-line engineers can use the platform to create flexible shop-floor apps connecting workers, machines and existing IT systems. Apps might be visual work instructions, quality and audit forms, and training modules.

Tulip Use Case

Tulip’s IoT gateway integrates the devices, sensors, and machines on the shop floor. ERPs, MESs, devices, and sensors can be added to the Tulip platform.

Tulip charges its clients through a SaaS model on per/bench basis.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things