Giphy held talks to raise a massive new funding round

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 We’re hearing from a number of sources that Giphy, the big platform for hosting GIFs that also runs a GIF keyboard, held talks to raise a huge new financing round — though it’s not clear if it ever crossed the finish line. Read More
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Intel is funding the future of large-scale VR environments

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If you've donned a VR headset and immersed yourself in a proper virtual reality 'experience,' you might have seen chills, thrills, and…not too many people at once. Today, Intel released a demo showcasing a software solution to the crowd problem the…
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HQ Trivia raised new funding at a $100 million valuation and its co-founder apologized for his previous bad behavior

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HQ co-founders Rus Yusupov, left, and Colin Kroll

HQ raised $ 15 million in a round Recode first reported was in the works last month.

The startup behind the popular gameshow app HQ Trivia has finalized a new round of funding that values the company at $ 100 million.

Recode first reported last month that HQ was raising money, and that Founders Fund was planning to lead the round and take a board seat for partner Cyan Banister. That is indeed the case, and the round landed right in the same ballpark we’d heard about back in February: HQ raised $ 15 million at a $ 100-million post-money valuation, according to Founders Fund. Axios first reported the final deal terms.

What makes this funding round so interesting, beside the fact that HQ is one of the buzziest consumer apps around, is that the company initially ran into trouble trying to raise back in late November and early December after Silicon Valley venture capitalists caught wind of alleged bad behavior by co-founder Colin Kroll when he was working at Vine.

Kroll and fellow HQ founder Rus Yusupov also co-founded Vine together, but Kroll was fired for being a bad manager from Twitter, which bought Vine in 2012. Former colleagues also alleged that he exhibited creepy behavior toward female colleagues while working there, Recode first reported.

Kroll issued a statement to Axios, his first since Recode’s story was published.

“As reported in the media, I was let go from Vine four years ago for poor management. It was a painful experience, but an eye-opening one that served as a catalyst for professional development and greater awareness in the office. I now realize that there are things I said and did that made some feel unappreciated or uncomfortable. I apologize to those people. Today, I’m committed to building HQ Trivia into a culture-defining product and supporting the dedicated team that makes it all possible.”

A few months ago, some investors were struggling with the idea of funding HQ Trivia because of the alleged behavior and fear of association at a time when many industries are dealing with the fallout from male leaders sexually harassing female colleagues. But Founders Fund did its own investigation into Kroll and evidently felt comfortable moving forward on a deal and putting one of its female partners on the board.

“I believe HQ can grow into the next generation-defining entertainment platform,” Banister wrote in a statement provided to Recode. “I’m excited to support Rus and Colin as they continue executing on their incredibly ambitious vision for the company.”

In an interview with Axios, she added: ”I believe in the spirit of forgiveness.”

Recode – All

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Apple funding $250k ‘Innovation Zone’ at new accessible playground in Sunnyvale

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Apple has long been lauded for their dedication to creating accessible products, and Tim Cook has even called accessibility a “core value” of the company. Now, Apple is giving back to their own local community by partnering with the Magical Bridge Foundation to support the development of a new accessible playground in Sunnyvale, CA.



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Virtualitics Scores Millions in Funding To Unlock Big Data Insights For Global Companies

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MMW learned Wednesday that Virtualitics — a breakthrough pioneer in next generation big data visualization and analytics — has closed a $ 7 million Series B round of equity funding led by Centricus, a global investment platform, and participated by existing investor the Venture Reality Fund (‘The VR Fund’) and other private investors.

The investment brings Virtualitics’ total funding to in excess of $ 11 million in support of its mission to make big data more useful and effective for all enterprises.

Virtualitics technology has been implemented by several major global Fortune 500 businesses across multiple industry sectors, including consumer goods, healthcare, energy and finance.

Michael Amori, Virtualitics Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, commented: “With this funding, we will enter the next phase of Virtualitics’ development and continue to unlock the potential of big data through the power of virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. We’ve started enabling some of the world’s leading companies to harness transformative insights that provide real competitive advantage for their businesses, and we will continue to onboard customers throughout the course of the year.”

Ciro Donalek, CTO and Co-Founder, added: “Turning big and complex data into useful insights requires new ways to analyze and interact with it. We’ve solved for this by coupling AI with immersive environments. Moreover, business intelligence platforms need to be 3D and collaborative by design in order to help companies gain a deeper level of understanding in the stories being told by the raw data. This is how we’re approaching big data and helping evolve the next generation of data analytics and intelligence platforms.”

For more information about the Virtualitics solutions, visit

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Index and AvP launch Startup Banking service to bridge early stage funding gap in Europe

The lifecycle of early stage startups is a feedback loop between two states: developing a product and raising funding. The better the product, the better the chances at funding. The more flush with cash the startup, the more room for product improvement there is. Startups don’t have it easy, though. Even if the product is solid, netting investment is an uphill battle. Fundraising is a process of convincing people with money to make an emotional decision based on objective metrics. An opaque undertaking to begin with, and often a guessing game as to which investors will be receptive to your…

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Signal launches the Signal Foundation with $50 million in funding from WhatsApp co-founder

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The encrypted messaging app Signal has become quite popular with millions of downloads on iOS and Android, and its underlying technology has been integrated with the chat platforms used by billions of people. Signal has done all this with only a handful of developers. Now, Signal is growing into the Signal Foundation. With $ 50 million in initial funding, this nonprofit will continue building on Signal’s success to support private communication.

Signal uses end-to-end encryption, so your messages and images are safe from prying eyes.

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Signal launches the Signal Foundation with $ 50 million in funding from WhatsApp co-founder was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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AR/IoT startup RealWear snaps $17M in new funding

Vancouver based startup RealWear has raised $ 13.5M (17M CAD) and seeks another $ 3M, reveals the startup’s SEC filings. The company plans to use $ 20 million investment to get its product, head-worn computers called HMT-1, into the hands of more companies.


Founded in Silicon Valley, RealWear was headquartered in Milpitas, California and shifted to Vancouver in last summer with its presence in Shanghai, China. According to Silicon Forest standards, an early stage round of $ 20 million is a huge amount of investment.

RealWear’s product HMT-1 is a hand free wearable computer that connects industrial workers in the field and helps industrial companies implement the ‘Connected Worker’ program. It’s OS is an Android 6.0.1 (AOSP) and runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.0 GHz 8-core chipset. It supports Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS. The wearable devices come packed with microphones, speakers, cameras, and additional ports.

Andy Lowery, CEO of RealWear stated that the company has pilot projects in the pipeline with large enterprises like Tesla, WalMart, Amazon, and Boeing. One of the investors is another Vancouver based company, Columbia Ventures which has invested $ 8M in the startup.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Connected-Home security startup SAM gets $2.5M seed funding

SAM, a home network cyber defense company has raised $ 3.5 million in a seed funding round. The funding was led by Blumberg Capital, a global early-stage venture capital firm, based in SF, California. SAM provides a platform that can integrate with routers, providing homeowners with an easy-to-use and secure home network.

SAM Solution

The Tel Aviv based company has been working under stealth mode, in partnership with Israel’s largest telecom provider, Bezeq Israeli Telecom. SAM’s advisory team includes former leaders of Israel’s elite intelligence unit 8200 and founders of Team8, a cybersecurity think tank.

Led by Sivan Rauscher, Co-Founder, and CEO, SAM offers advanced features such as device fingerprinting, parental control, router protection and anomaly detection for home networks. Additionally, the company offers high-performance security in collaboration with Intel’s Connected Home Division by integrating its technology with Intel’s chipsets.

A number of high-profile data breach cases were reported in 2017. Cyber-attack victims included large enterprises such as eBay, Yahoo, Target and Home Depot, along with many health and financial institutions, media and government websites. Israel is one of the largest markets in the world to provide cybersecurity products to over 200 Israeli companies specializing in cyber defense, accounting for $ 3B worth of anti-hacking exports in 2013. About one-fourth of world venture capital-funded cyber-security startups are Israel based.

Another IoT and connected home security startup VDOO raised $ 13M in January this year. VDOO’s solution also profiles a connected device’s manufacturer, device type, network interface, OS, and software vendor.

Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Marketing Evolution Confirms $20.6 Million in Series B Funding

Marketing Evolution, leading provider of global AI-based marketing optimization and analytics software, announced Tuesday a $ 20.6 million Series B financing round led by leading global private equity and venture capital firm, Insight Venture Partners, with continued participation from existing investor, Zetta Venture Partners. This round brings the total invested to date to $ 24.6 million.

This new funding will be used for continued product innovation, further expansion of the company’s marketing and sales departments, and to support its growing global customer base. Jeff Horing, co-founder and managing director at Insight Venture Partners, will join Marketing Evolution’s Board of Directors.

“Marketers are hungry for a better solution to planning, investing resources, and optimizing marketing,” said Rex Briggs, founder and CEO of Marketing Evolution. “We are proud of the quality and diversity of customers using our software today including Allstate Insurance Company, Carfax, Inc, Collette Travel, Cox Business, Famous Footwear, Regions Bank, and Monarch Casino (Atlantis).”

The company is defining a new category for customer obsessed marketing by pioneering “Person-Centric Business Decisioning” that combines measurement, insights, optimization, and execution, using person-level data and analytics. It helps marketers make informed decisions about connecting with customers, adds transparency, removes friction, reduces costs, and increases ROI. This enables companies to fully unlock the power of customer relationships and use insights to make the overall business more effective, efficient, and profitable.

“Marketing Evolution’s Person-Centric Business Decisioning is driving a new category, providing companies with the ability to translate their customer data into actionable business choices and strategies,” said Jeff Horing, managing director at Insight Venture Partners. “Marketing Evolution leverages millions of data points from hundreds of sources using the most advanced algorithms to extract person-level insights. It’s clear the company will continue to capitalize on the opportunity to define a new category and accelerate its scaling through product innovation and growth.”

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