Graphcore raises $50M amid a flurry of AI chip activity

 While some of the largest chip manufacturers are looking to shift their focus onto the GPU for their biggest machine learnings, there’s a blooming ecosystem of new chip startups looking to rethink the way processing for AI works That includes a European-based startup called Graphcore, which said today that it has raised $ 50 million in new financing led by Sequoia Capital. Graphcore,… Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch

Item-finder gadget TrackR banks $50M Series B

TrackR, a startup that helps track lost keys and everyday items through its Bluetooth-enabled device and smartphone app raised a $ 50M Series B round.

Revolution Growth led the round with participation from Foundry Group, Amazon Alexa Fund, DoCoMo Capital, The Glenmede Trust and Bespoke Strategies.

TrackR Bravo with iPhone

Founded in 2009, TrackR has shipped more than five million devices, though it first raised major venture funding of $ 10M in 2015.

Its core products are TrackR sticker, TrackR wallet, TrackR bravo, and TrackR pixel. TrackR Bravo is a coin-sized device that can be attached to everyday items. TrackR app can be used to locate the missing item in seconds. Users can ring their missing item or get a reminder to grab the item before leaving premises.

“With this round of funding, we will redefine personal organization by ensuring nothing is ever lost for millions of consumers while continuing to maintain our leadership position in the intelligent tracking space,” said Chris Herbert, CEO and co-founder TrackR.

TrackR Bravo product

TrackR’s main competitor in the Bluetooth tracker market is Tile. The item-finder gadgets have a limitation in that they rely on Bluetooth connectivity that has a low-range. To offset the limitation, both TrackR and Tile offer a ‘Crowd-locate’ feature. When the lost item is outside the Bluetooth range, users receive a confidential location update when another TrackR (Tile in the case of Tile App) user walks by the tracked item.

However, a key requirement is that enough number of people are using the device so that crowd-locate become a useful feature.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Samsung acquires Greek text-to-speech startup Innoetics for under $50M

 With the launch of Bixby and reports that Samsung is building its own competitor to Amazon’s Echo, the consumer electronics giant has now made an acquisition that could help power its next generation of voice-powered services. Samsung has acquired Innoetics, a startup out of Greece that has developed text-to-speech and voice-to-speech technology that can, among other things, listen to… Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch

Gamer chat tool Discord secretly raised ~$50M as insiders cashed out

 It’s been a rocky road to glory for Discord, a startup whose iPad battle arena game, “Fates Forever,” earned it a top spot at our 2013 TechCrunch Disrupt show, but wound up flopping with users. What a difference a few years makes. After pivoting to a voice and text chat tool for video game teams and trash talkers in 2015, Discord’s current trajectory makes it one of… Read More
Mobile – TechCrunch