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Startup News

Missing out on updates from the startup scenes around the globe? - We got you covered! This podcast will provide a 5 minute highlight reel of all that happened in the startup ecosystem last week.

Last week in startups - Global

This episode we have a couple of interesting bits to talk about. Starting with a company that offers a safety net to digital nomads, the world’s largest internet restaurant company and most interesting of all, keep listening to know if SpaceX is turning into Uber for space? Stay tuned to know more.

So, last week’s startup funding scene. We had a total of 283 funding rounds, $6.6 billion total funding, 175 acquisitions recorded, and a transaction of a total acquisition amount of $11.2 billion.

Let’s dive right into the highlights now.
SafetyWing raises $3.5M seed to offer medical insurance to ‘digital nomads’
They’ve got quite an interesting pitch. They claim to build safety nets for digital nomads. People used to be limited to working locally. Now the internet and recent technologies have made it possible to hire and work for companies globally, allowing people to live wherever in the world they choose to, free from the physical restraints of an office location. “Unfortunately, social safety nets like health insurance are national and only available in one’s home country. Millions are left to figure this out on their own with the majority going uninsured. To solve this problem, we are building the first global social safety net: a welfare state on the internet.”

SafetyWing’s first product is focused on medical travel insurance, with the promise to provide medical cover for anybody who works outside their home country. The cover is flexible, too, sold as a 28-day rolling subscription that can be paused at any time. Cover starts at $37 every 4 weeks.
Meanwhile, to support its mission of providing a safety net for digital nomads and to develop further products, the 2017-founded company, whose other co-founders are Sarah Sandnes (CTO) and Hans Kjellby (COO), has raised $3.5 million in seed funding. Leading the round is Nordic and Baltic-focused VC byFounders, with participation from Credit Ease Fintech Fund and DG Incubation. SafetyWing’s previous backers include YC and The Nordic Web Ventures.

The ‘world’s largest internet restaurant company’ quietly raised $125 million this month

Rebel Foods formerly known as Faasos, a once-small Pune, India-based company that now prepares a variety of foods in its cloud kitchens.

The growth of the nine-year-old company is a bit breathtaking — and instructive. According to Bloomberg, Rebel — which this month raised $125 million in fresh capital from the Indonesian delivery service Go-Jek, Coatue Management and Goldman Sachs — now operates 235 kitchens across 20 Indian cities. And it’s processing two million orders a month. (It calls itself the “world’s largest internet restaurant company.”)
While it began life as a chain of kebab restaurants, that original concept, Faasos, is now just one of eight other brands that Rebel operates, including a tea brand called Kettle & Kegs; a Chinese concept called Mandarin Oak; a pizza brand called Oven Story; and a brand called Behrouz, through which Rebel makes and sells slow-cooked biryani rice dishes.

Still, it’s little wonder that Rebel is racing headlong into new markets as fast as it can. According to Bloomberg, the company is currently planning to build 100 cloud kitchens in Indonesia over the next 18 months, with Go-Jek’s help. It also expects to open 20 cloud kitchen facilities in the United Arab Emirates by December.

Babylon Health confirms $550M raise at $2B+ valuation to expand its AI-based health services
Babylon Health, the U.K.-based startup that has developed a number of AI-based health services, including a chatbot used by the U.K’.s National Health Service to help diagnose ailments, has confirmed a massive investment that it plans to use to expand its business to the U.S. and Asia, and expand its R&D to diagnose more serious, chronic conditions. It has closed a $550 million round of funding, valuing Babylon Health at more than $2 billion.
The round brings together a number of strategic and financial investors, including PIF (Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund); a large U.S.-based health insurance company (which reports suggest to be Centene Corporation, although Babylon is not disclosing the name); Munich Re’s ERGO Fund; and returning investors Kinnevik and Vostok New Ventures. (Previous investors who do not appear to be in this round also include Demis Hassabis, the AI expert who co-founded DeepMind, which is now a part of Google.)
That additionally gives Babylon (and others in digital health) a big opportunity to break down some of the more persistent problems in healthcare, such as providing services in developing economies and remote regions: one of its big efforts alongside rollouts in mature markets like the U.K. and Canada has been a service in Rwanda to bring health services to digital platforms for the first time.

Trueface raises $3.7M to recognise that gun, as it’s being pulled, in real time
Trueface is a U.S.-based computer vision company that turns camera data into so-called “actionable data” using machine learning and AI by employing partners who can perform facial recognition, threat detection, age and ethnicity detection, license plate recognition, emotion analysis and object detection. That means, for instance, recognising a gun, as it’s pulled in a dime store. Yes folks, welcome to your brave new world.
The company has now raised $3.7 million from Lavrock Ventures, Scout Ventures and Advantage Ventures to scale the team growing partnerships and market share.
Trueface claims it can identify enterprises’ employees for access to a building, detect a weapon as it’s being wielded or stop fraudulent spoofing attempts. Quite some claims.

The company announced today that is has received signed agreements from D1 Capital Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Light Street Capital, Sequoia Capital and Silver Lake Partners to fund a $525 million tender offer that will allow Unity’s common shareholders — the majority of which are early or current employees — to sell their shares in the company.

What else caught our eyes-
SpaceX is expanding its launch offerings with a new, more affordable and consistent option for small satellite operators looking to put lighter payloads into orbit. The new service offering is designed to work for customers who can take advantage of a “rideshare” launch, sharing space on a Falcon 9 with other small satellites being sent up.

The rideshare option will be offered on a regular, defined schedule, and SpaceX says that it’s designed for flexibility, offering customers the ability to pre-book a spot, and ensuring that if they’re ready to launch when their rideshare comes up, the rocket will indeed go up — with or without other payloads also booked that may not be ready in time.

SpaceX’s new service is designed somewhat like rideshare programs here on Earth: Passengers who are ready get to ride, and the company looks to fill seats by offering bookings both in advance (12 or more months out) and much closer to launch time (between 12 and 6 months out) with a possibility of even tighter turnaround, though SpaceX hasn’t publicly posted pricing for that option, which means it’ll probably be costly.

As for those with plenty of notice, they get the biggest price break: Launches start at just $2.25 million for payloads of up to 150 kg (330 lbs), or $4.5 million for those weighing up to 300 kg (660 lbs). That sounds like a lot, but consider that the lowest cost for a current SpaceX launch is currently somewhere around $57 million.