Disney has quietly acquired tech and assets of MakieLab, a startup that 3D printed dolls
 MakieLab, a London-based startup that 3D printed and sold custom dolls, has officially shuttered, with a partial exit to Disney. TechCrunch understands that the U.S. entertainment company acquired MakieLab’s tech and assets as early as July last year, a story that I have tried but failed to nail down ever since. Until now, that is. Read More ...
500 Startups reboots its efforts in China, but there’s no dedicated fund
 500 Startups is rebooting its efforts in Greater China after it hired a new head of business for the region, which covers mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Edith Yeung, a former executive with browser firm Dolphin Mobile, is taking up the reins. The VC firm had been without a recognized setup in China for some time after former lead Rui Ma relocated to the 500’s U.S. operations… Read More ...
Baidu’s iQiyi video service raises $1.53 billion
Baidu is charging up its video content push after iQiyi, its YouTube-style service in China, raised $1.53 billion from the sale of convertible notes to investors. The deal appears to end speculation that the firm was mulling an IPO. iQiyi, which had on offer to go independent fall through last year, raised the capital from a number of top-name investors including Hillhouse Capital, Boyu… Read More ...
Meltwater acquires Oxford Uni spin-out Wrapidity to add AI to media monitoring capabilities
 Meltwater, the self-described ‘media intelligence’ company, has acquired Wrapidity, a U.K.-based AI startup that has built technology to automate the extraction of data from unstructured web-based content. Read More ...
Alibaba’s Ant Financial expands to Korea with $200M investment in Kakao Pay
 Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial is making yet another M&A deal. The firm is investing $200 million into a fintech project belonging to Kakao, the $5 billion firm that runs Korea’s dominant messaging service. Ant Financial, which manages payments service Alipay and Alibaba’s digital banking business, will invest the capital into Kakao Pay, a soon-to-launch Kakao fintech division. Read More ...
Monzo, a UK digital-only bank, is closing in on new funding led by U.S.-based Thrive Capital
 Monzo, one of a number of new digital only or so-called ‘challenger’ banks in the U.K. aiming to re-invent the current account, is closing in on new Series C funding, which could be announced as early as this week. According to multiple sources, U.S.-based Thrive Capital is leading the round. Read More ...
Temasek jumps into China’s bike rental startup war with investment in MoBike
 Temasek, Singapore’s state-owned investment firm, has jumped into China’s on-demand cycle war after it backed MoBike. China’s ride-sharing war is last year’s news. The big battle between Uber and Didi Chuxing is essentially over after the latter agreed to buy the former’s China-based business. The new startup drama du jour is in bikes — services that let… Read More ...
Alibaba’s Ant Financial extends global reach with first investment in the Philippines
 Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial has again extended its global reach after it completed its maiden investment in the Philippines. The company, which manages payment service Alipay and Alibaba’s digital banking services and is valued at $60 million, said it made an undisclosed investment in Mynt, a financial venture from Globe Telecom. Mynt’s interests include a micro-payment… Read More ...
Malaysia’s Dah Makan raises $1.3M for an organized approach to food delivery
 Dah Makan has become the first food delivery startup to raise significant capital in Southeast Asia this year, bringing some fire back to what has been a popular niche for local investors. The company has closed a $1.3 million seed funding round from backers that include NFQ Capital, East Ventures, Asia Venture Group and Grupara. A former CEO of Nestlé is among the angel investors to… Read More ...
Confirmed: Magic Leap acquires 3D division of Dacuda in Zurich
 Magic Leap, the augmented reality startup that has raised $1.4 billion in funding but has yet to release a product, has made an acquisition to expand its work in computer vision and deep learning, and to build out its operations into Europe. The company has acquired the 3D division of Dacuda, a computer vision startup based out of Zurich. One of Dacuda’s focuses had been… Read More ...
Ford invests $1 billion in Pittsburgh-based Argo AI to build self-driving cars by 2021
 Ford has invested $1 billion in a joint venture with Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based company with ties to Carnegie Mellon. The goal is to completely outfit Ford vehicles with self-driving technology. Interestingly this isn’t a case of a large company simply hiring talent but the creation of an entirely separate company with an independent equity structure. Ford is the “majority… Read More ...
App platform company MuleSoft files for IPO
 MuleSoft is the latest “unicorn” to file for an IPO. The company, which helps businesses like Netflix and Spotify with their APIs, has unveiled its financials to the public in an S-1 filing, suggesting that they are targeting a debut as soon as March. The size of the proposed IPO is $100 million, but that is subject to change. In the filing we see that MuleSoft had $187.7… Read More ...
Why Snap would lowball its IPO valuation
 The short answer for why Snap lowballed its initial valuation for its initial public offering is that it probably won’t be that low for long. Normally these prices are set by expectations the underwriters and executives can divine from their conversations with Wall Street. It’s essentially a matching game — how does Snap and its underwriters figure out where to price the… Read More ...
Snap poised to raise up to $3.2B from IPO at a valuation of $18.5B
 Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, has set a valuation range of $16.2 billion to $18.5 billion for its upcoming IPO. That’s according to an updated filing which revealed that Snap shares will be priced between $14-$16, meaning it could bring up to $3.2 billion in capital. Snap’s pricing is below its initial range of $20 billion-$25 billion — and below what it raised at… Read More ...
India-based used car marketplace Truebil refills its tank with $3M raise
 Truebil, a marketplace for selling used cars in India, has closed a $3 million post-Series A funding round from China’s Shunwei Capital. Its $5.5 million Series A was raised in January 2016. Unlike more traditional rivals like CarTrade, which just raised $55 million led by Singapore’s Temasek, its sister site CarWhale and Cardekho, Truebil dis-intermediates the professional… Read More ...
Baidu furthers AI push with acquisition of digital assistant startup Raven Tech
 Baidu is furthering its push into artificial intelligence after it announced the acquisition of Raven Tech, a Chinese startup that developed an AI voice assistant platform. Baidu confirmed it has bought the startup’s tech, product and staff of 60. The deal comes a month after Baidu hired noted AI expert Qi Lu, formerly with Microsoft, as its COO and Group President.… Read More ...
Our favorite startups from 500 Startups’ 19th class
 Deep in the Valley this afternoon, 500 Startups’ 19th demo day drew to a close at the Computer History Museum. Business-to-business software, fashion and beauty products made up the largest proportion of companies, but 500 left room for a few outliers. It’s tough for anyone to say who the next Twilio will be, but it just might be hidden somewhere in the 40 companies that… Read More ...
Gamalon leverages the work of an 18th century reverend to organize unstructured enterprise data
 It’s hard to fathom that the work of Reverend Thomas Bayes is still coming back to drive cutting edge advancements in AI, but that’s exactly what’s happening. DARPA-backed Gamalon is the latest carrier of the Bayesian baton, launching today with a solution to help enterprises better manage their gnarly unstructured data. The world of enterprise is full of unstructured data. Read More ...
PayPal buys TIO Networks for $233 million
PayPal has agreed to buy bill payment management company TIO Networks for $233 million in cash. The deal will allow PayPal to gain access to a market of customers who pay their utility and cable bills at kiosks in locations like Rite Aid. This will help the company reach the “underserved” chunk of North Americans who are living paycheck-to-paycheck. “There’s a chance… Read More ...
Tim Draper is backing Indian startups again with Blume Ventures alliance
 An early stage fund that’s becoming a major player in India’s burgeoning tech scene, Blume Ventures, has joined the Draper Venture Network, the investors announced on Monday. Members of the DVN collaborate on investments, share business intelligence and syndicate their deals to firms in Silicon Valley, with portfolio services provided by a local team there. DVN claims that… Read More ...