It’s been a busy year in delivery robot land.
Starship Technologies sounded the starting gun to bring autonomous delivery vehicles to market with a $17.2 million round led by Daimler back in January 2017. Then in January this year the Mountain View, Calif.-based company Nuro, raised the curtain on its own vision for robo-delivery with a whopping $92 million in funding. Meanwhile, upstart Robomart has its own notion for delivery vehicles that it unveiled at CES. And not to be outdone, everyone’s favorite Chinese retail powerhouse, Alibaba, announced its own self-driving delivery vehicle.
Boxbot is a latecomer in the field. The Oakland-based company boasts impressive pedigrees from its founders — former Tesla engineer Austin Oehlerking and Mark Godwin, an entrepreneur who was
While it’s never easy for entrepreneurs to convince venture capitalists to invest in their new companies, it was especially difficult during the first quarter of this year. Fewer startups received first-time funding, and those that were fortunate to do so saw smaller checks.
For the first three months of 2016, initial funding deals declined 16 percent to 297, and the total dollars invested fell 31 percent to $1.7 billion, according to the latest MoneyTree report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association (based on data from Thomson Reuters).
Moreover, the average amount for first-time financing dropped 17 percent from $6.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 to $5.7 million in this quarter.
Source: The MoneyTree Report
Of the $1.7 billion of initial investments, software startups garnered $666 million (39 percent) across 121 deals. The next closest industries were media and entertainment, biotechnology, consumer products and services, and IT services, in descending
You could spend $10K to drive paid traffic and get some users — or you can growth-hack and land 40,000 downloads in just a few days. What’s the secret? Join top ASO gurus for this free half-hour master class in getting your app ranked, fast.
“There’s this notion that you build a great app, and people will find it. Unfortunately that’s just not true anymore,” says Steve P. Young, ASO wizard and founder of App Masters.
Young, the host of the top mobile app podcast, has been picking the brains of hundreds of mobile developers since 2013. He’s successfully launched hundreds of new apps with his PR firm, Runway.bz. And he knows what mistakes make an app sink — and more importantly, how to make it rise.
App store and app marketing optimization (ASO and AMO), Young emphasizes, is not optional any more. “With
Allumette, a lovely animated feature by Penrose Studios, illustrates why virtual reality film should be taken just as seriously as traditional film.
The folks at Sundance and the Tribeca Film Festival have already figured this out — both festivals showcased virtual reality this year. But in such early days, the quality of each VR experience varies wildly from project to project.
That’s why Penrose Studios — founded by Oculus’ first cinematic hire, Eugene Chung — surprised me yesterday. Here’s a behind-the-scenes teaser of Allumette:
Allumette is 20 minutes long — lengthy by VR standards, but it never feels drawn-out. The world Penrose creates for the viewer leaves you wishing it lasted a bit longer. The experience is like a good song in that way; you want to repeat it again right when it ends.
The film premiered today at the Tribeca Film Festival, and Penrose tells us a teaser of Allumette is coming “in the next few days” to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive owners. The
DigitalGenius is announcing a Human+AI Customer Service platform today with a $4.1 Million seed investment. The platform integrates with existing customer service software suites — like Salesforce, ZenDesk, or Oracle — to automate the most repetitive parts of customer service through AI and machine learning-powered chat bots in an augmentative way — while still keeping the human element decidedly at the center of their operation. It’s interesting to note that Salesforce was part of the deal, which could conceivably help the startup scale quickly in this space with their massive distribution network and suite of automation products ripe for AI.
AI is the biggest buzzword of 2016
Haven’t you heard? #Botopia is officially upon us. Facebook made it so! I talked to DigitalGenius Chief Strategy Officer Mikhail Naumov to wrap some definition about what AI is and isn’t. “It’s important to decipher between Hollywood AI and practical AI you can
This sponsored post is produced in association with TiE.org.
While Silicon Valley remains the center of innovation and startup activity in the globe, other geographical markets are developing startup ecosystems in varying degrees of maturity. Comparing these bubbles of startup activity, it’s clear that more globally successful companies are coming out of Israel compared to any other geographical region apart from Silicon Valley.
Contrast this to a region like India with its own dynamic startup scene — and a population around 150 times bigger than Israel — and patterns start to emerge. Patterns that show the factors that make a billion dollar company.
“This is an intriguing question for us,” said Venktesh Shukla, Chair of TiE Global and President of TiE US, “we observed a couple of reasons why Indian startups are not as globally successful.” TiE — or The Indus Entrepreneurs — is a global network
We’re standing on the edge of the chatbot revolution, and I’m reminded of how I felt when those first apps hit the store in 2007. Only this time, the apps talk back.
And following its announcement at Facebook’s F8 developer conference yesterday — where it became the first commerce platform to announce an integration with Facebook Messenger — Shopify has today announced that it has agreed to acquire privately held Kit CRM Inc. Details of the deal were not disclosed.
Kit is the virtual marketing assistant I’ve covered at length before. It leverages SMS and other messaging platforms to help companies market their online stores by asking salient questions at the right time.
Kit can email your customers, build Facebook ads, sponsor Instagram photos, and send you timely reports to let you know if you sold those last ten pairs of designer jeans. And last month we announced it
At first blush, a review of venture capital dealmaking during the first quarter of 2016 suggests an industry gone mad.
VC firms raised the highest amount of capital raised in more than decade, even as they made the lowest number of investments in three years. What gives? The Q1 2016 Venture Pulse Report issued today by CB Insights and KPMG provides some method to this madness.
On Monday, the National Venture Capital Association had reported that U.S VC firms raised $12 billion across 57 different funds to invest in startups, calling it the largest amount raised in 10 years. KPMG and CB Insights did not specify a figure for the amount raised by firms, but called the billions raised the most since the dot com craziness of 2000. Regardless of the final amount, we’re talking about a vast amount of capital ready to be invested. For instance, Founders Fund raised
Beerock Studios’ founder Brock Busby and resident adviser Mark Norris can easily recall some of their worst online matchmaking experiences.
For Norris, it was a recent Call of Duty match. “The guy who won … his emblem was all White Supremacist stuff,” Norris told GamesBeat in a recent interview. “And so it was a horrible experience at the end of the game.”
The desire to avoid those kinds of situations led Busby to create a community site for Bungie’s popular online shooter Destiny called DestinyLFG.com. “LFG” is an acronym often used in MMORPGs that stands for “looking for group.” If the game lacks matchmaking tools, typing “LFG” into chat is often the only way to connect with players looking to do the same activity, but the resulting group’s quality is often sketchy at best.
Busby recalled an incident from his days playing Blizzard Entertainment’s massively multiplayer
How do you combat user acquisition scams that are increasingly slick and nearly undetectable? Find out from the front line how pros are successfully combating mobile fraud.
You’re spending up to $25 per high-quality user — but how many of them are real? User acquisition fraud has doubled since 2015. Unreliable install and conversion rates threaten your rank in the Google and Apple stores and squander a significant chunk of your already tight marketing budget.
Is there any hope for mobile app developers? To find out, VentureBeat gathered pros from the front line who have diagnosed, identified, and successfully combated fraud: Eric Seufert, VP of user acquisition at Rovio Entertainment — the company that blew up the mobile gaming industry with Angry Birds; Yevgeny Peres, VP of Growth at Supersonic by ironSource; and Paul H. Müller, CTO at adjust.
YapJobs, an app which seeks to match jobseekers and employers in the hospitality sector in real-time, has raised £1 million (about $1.4 million) in funding.
Investors in the round included Ziad Tassabehji, who invested in an angel capacity, and various other private investors.
Shahzad Ali, CEO of YapJobs, spoke about the raise: “I grew up in the heat of a restaurant and know that the people employed are the lifeblood of the service industry, but I also know how the wrong environment can make it a very difficult place to work which has an impact on staff retention.
“That’s why I launched YapJobs, to help the best people find work quickly in the places that they really want to work. We want to use technology to help drive a real change in the industry, ensuring that people are also matched to company culture which will help promote a better working