Tags: Startup news, Startup global, funding, mergers, acquisitions
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.
So, let’s start with last week’s startup funding scene. We had a total of 391 funding rounds, $9.2 billion total funding, 146 acquisitions recorded, and a transaction of a total acquisition amount of $12.5 billion.
Let’s dive right into the highlights now.
Used car marketplace Motorway picks up £11M Series A
Motorway, the U.K. used car marketplace, has raised £11 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Marchmont Ventures, the fund managed by Hugo Burge and Alan Martin (the former CEO and CFO of Momondo Group, respectively), along with participation from existing backer LocalGlobe.
Founded by the team behind Top10 — the mobile and broadband comparison site that exited to uSwitch in 2011 — Motorway has set out to make it easier to sell your used car online. The website lets car sellers instantly see live offers from multiple car buying services and specialist dealerships.
Indonesia’s EV Hive raises $13.5M and expands into co-living and new retail
WeWork’s battle to win co-working in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, is intensifying after one of the U.S. firm’s key rivals issued a slew of announcements to double down on its business.
EV Hive, an Indonesia-based co-working startup, said today that it has raised $13.5 million and expanded into new verticals. The company is putting off plans to foray into new countries in order to prioritize growth opportunities at home.
The four-year-old company, which started as a project for seed-stage VC firm East Ventures, has rebranded to CoHive as part of the strategy to diversify its business. That’ll see it add new services for living spaces (CoLiving) and retailers (CoRetail), in addition to its core co-working and events businesses.
Duffel raises $21.5M in Series A from Benchmark for its travel platform
Ten months ago London startup Duffel hinted that it would be “a new way to book travel online, aiming at the booking experience ‘end to end,’ ” and announced a healthy $4.7 million funding round, but not much else.
Last week, Duffel announced a funding of $21.5 million in Series A from U.S. VC giant Benchmark, which also backed Snap, Twitter and Uber. Benchmark is joined by Blossom Capital and Index Ventures, which participated in Duffel’s $4.7 million seed round last year.
Duffel appears to be building a new software stack for travel, in the same way that challenger banks started from scratch to make themselves more agile than the laggard banks.
SafeAI raises $5M to develop and deploy autonomy for mining and construction vehicles
Startup SafeAI, powered by a founding talent team with experience across Apple, Ford and Caterpillar, is emerging from stealth today with a $5 million funding announcement. The company’s focus is on autonomous vehicle technology, designed and built specifically for heavy equipment used in the mining and construction industries.
What SafeAI hopes to add is an underlying architecture that acts as a fully autonomous (Level 4 by SAE standards, so no human driver) platform for a variety of equipment. Said platform is designed with openness, modularity and upgradeability in mind to help ensure that its clients can take advantage of new advances in autonomy and AI as they become available.
Two Sigma leads $12m series A for expert knowledge network NewtonX
NewtonX is a “knowledge access platform” which attempts to intelligently answer questions posed to it by business clients. Clients answer a carefully calibrated series of questions to properly vet and scope a query, and then NewtonX farms it out to it network of experts for insight.
That rapid-response network has now gotten the attention of Two Sigma Ventures, the venture wing of the high-flying algorithmic-trading hedge fund, which led a $12 million Series A round into New York City-based NewtonX. That’s a follow up to a $3 million seed round co-led by Third Prime Capital and Xfund last year.
Moving on to acquisitions -
WordPress management site WP Engine acquires Flywheel as it moves to a $1B valuation and IPO
WordPress now accounts for 34 percent of all websites globally, and today one of the key companies that helps handle the creation and management of some of those WP-hosted sites is getting a little bigger through some consolidation in the wider ecosystem. WP Engine, which works with businesses to build and manage their WordPress-hosted sites, has aquired Flywheel, a smaller competitor. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed,
WP Engine, as Brunner describes it, focuses largely on mid-market and larger businesses, while Flywheel — founded and currently based out of Omaha — has focused on smaller businesses. That makes the two natural complements to each other, but Brunner notes that there will be more gained from the union.
What else caught our eyes-
Facebook just reinvented digital currency with its Libra cryptocurrency that will launch early next year. No they’re not calling it Zuckerbucks.
Libra is like cash that lives inside your phone. Starting in 2020, you’ll be able to purchase Libra through Libra wallet apps on your phone or from some local grocery and convenience stores. You cash in your local currency like dollars and get nearly the same number of Libra coins, which are represented by wavy three-line emoji instead of the $ symbol. But first you’ll have to verify your identity with a photo. You’ll then be able to spend your Libra while online shopping, or potentially pay for things like Ubers or your subscription for Spotify, since those companies have partnered with Facebook to make Libra popular. Since it’s almost free to digitally move Libra from one account to the other, you won’t have to pay high credit card processing fees that can add almost 4% to your total. And some Libra wallet apps and shops will give bonus discounts or free coins for signing up and paying with Libra.
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