Who Cares What I Think (WCWIT) #25 : Launch Ticker Highlights…

Jason “@jason” Calacanis’ just plain excellent record of producing some seriously decent, useful content continues in his tech news feed, “Launch Ticker”. Sign up. This is one of the only newsletters I’ve ever actually read, let alone find incredibly useful, distilled and engrossing enough to quickly shape my macro tech thoughts — daily.

1. Just Some Straight Up Awesome News

White House proposes new rules to allow more foreign entrepreneurs to work in US; would not require congressional approval; Homeland Security would gain the ability to allow startup founders to work in the country for two years with a possible three-year extension — Link

Open borders FTW!! Now I don’t have to figure out how to file for a license to become the leader of a religion so I can legally green-card-mass-marry a bunch of immigrants seeking greener pastures! Yay!

1. Woah Boy

Milo Yiannopoulos files data request with Twitter for all of his personal data; hopes to demonstrate that his permanent ban was motivated by politics as opposed to violations of user policy; he is the tech editor of the conservative news site Breitbart — Link

This dude. While OBVIOUSLY trolling everything and everyone, even to himself, he does still, in the least easy to support way possible (relatively speaking), fight for the good guys — ie, Free Speech (Twitter notwithstanding, as it is not governmental censorship), Transparency (Twitter applies here), Data-supported discourse, Rolling back coercion in government, etc.

Twitter can totally maintain a walled garden, ivory tower, public choice marketplace of ideas, etc. but they should be more transparent about it — and I’d recommend staying as open as possible to the exchange of ideas, if they want to maintain any kind of real value proposition.

1. One Man’s Recession Is Another Man’s…

iPhone sales fall 40% YoY in Brazil in Q1, according to study by Gartner; sold 498K devices; all producers in Brazil saw declines due to recession; Samsung dropped only 15% and continues to be the market leader — Link

Opportunity to develop in the more accessible android mobile space, it seems. Entrepreneurs take heed of the ‘wheels of fortune’, as Voltaire might put it.

1. Ruh Roh

Alphabet’s Nest Labs hopes to enlist 50K people in CA to conserve energy; the smart thermostat producer will partner with utility company Southern CA Edison to hopefully bring down consumption by 50 megawatts; participants will receive a $125 credit and rewards for conserving — Link

Could be great, saving money while being granted a credit, while possibly doing some ecological good. I feel like there won’t effectively be any abuse here, as any interference into user preferences would just cause that user to jump to a competing device.

1. Mmmmmmmm hm.

Analysis by Carnegie Mellon finds ~33% of banks bypass standardized notification procedures when sharing customer information; Motherboard reports that this implicated multiple banks for violated US law or deliberately obscuring their policies — Link

Banks. Now, a lot of their unethical, insanely damaging behavior is either supported or outright mandated by the rat king of regulation in the banking space, but, here, they straight up broke the rules. Makes stories like the Russian man to pulled a classic bank move and amended a credit card agreement that the bank signed without reading — all the more satisfying.

From the VCs

Tomasz Tunguz says speech will soon overtake typing as a primary computer input method; ramifications will be broad; natural language processing technology will be critical for tech companies; consumers will change buying parameters based on speech recognition — Link
Shahin Farshchi argues that ubiquitous driverless taxis will not come from automakers or ride-sharing companies, but new startups; car companies won’t bear the risks and ride-sharing companies aren’t designed for fleet management; startups will solve myriad challenges — Link

1. The More You Share, The More The Sun’ll Shine

Motherboard profiles NASA’s new AI project for first responders, AUDREY; collects data on fires and chemical leaks to help advise in future instances; will be distributed to individual firefights, police and EMTs; set to launch in 2017 -Link

Well, this is objectively great.

1. You Can Acqui-Donate Yourself?

Duck Duck Moose, maker of children’s educational apps, donates itself to Khan Academy; includes team and IP: 21 top-selling titles; all apps are now free; will develop a new app for kids entering kindergarten; Duck Duck Moose previously raised $7M — Link


1. Where Was This Before 2013?

Class notes marketplace StudySoup raises $1.7M seed from 500 Startups, others; those seeking expert-level notes subscribe for $11 to $30 per month; note sellers get paid every time someone accesses their materials; claims 530k users, 1.2M documents, 243k courses — Link

Icoulda cashed in BIG TIME. I’m semi ashamed quasi proud to say I was one of those kids writing everyone else’s papers — even at other schools, as my rep grew for writing ace work for no pay. It was more about the showing off than anything else. But I would have had NO problem selling my maniacally thorough notes, shoot.

1. Less Interruptive Superpowers, Please

Eye-tracking startup Eyefluence has received licensing interest from most major virtual and augmented reality headset makers, according to CEO Jim Marggraff; currently in negotiations, details undisclosed; gives users mouse-like control using eye movements — Link

This tech has been around for some notable paraplegic patients for years, and this move towards a more accessible version of the tech can only mean amazing things for those similarly affected, and really interesting things for those who can communicate via such means by choice. Nice.

1. The Latest in IRLing

Amazon to open physical bookstore in Chicago next year; previously announced plans for stores in Portland and San Diego; reportedly targets New York as well; Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle last year — Link

Really interesting move by this dominator of digital services. I’ve seen some awesome developments and opportunities not quite yet seized in the wake of an evolving consumer culture, and this industry leader is making relatively bold moves towards leveraging some massive data and foresight gleaned to enter the brick and mortar space, quite conspicuously.

Funding Roundup This Week

48 Deals


If we missed anything, post a comment on our public sheet or email fundings@launch.co.
— Enterprise — 
11 Deals: $669,900,000
 — Biotech/Health — 
8 Deals: $200,000,000
 — Fintech — 
3 Deals: $187,500,000
 — Manufacturing — 
3 Deals: $116,250,000
 — Cybersecurity — 
7 Deals: $89,400,000
 — AI/Machine Learning — 
3 Deals: $59,600,000
 — Consumer Internet — 
4 Deals: $46,700,000
 — Data/Storage — 
5 Deals: $40,100,000
 — Consumer Products — 
4 Deals: $10,800,000
Funding by Category
Funding by Week
Number of Deals by Week
— Enterprise —
JDA Software, software for integrated retail and supply chain planning: $570M undisclosed from Blackstone, New Mountain Capital.
 — Panopto, provides enterprise and education video platform: $42.8M undisclosed from Sterling Partners.
 — DroneDeploy, software platform for commercial drones:$20M Series B from Scale Venture Partners.
 — Centricient, B2C cloud messaging platform: $6.5Mundisclosed from Venrock.
 — MediaBrix, enables emotion-based brand marketing on mobile: $6.5M undisclosed from Edison Partners, Revel Partners, Horizon Technology Finance.
 — RedShelf, educational software provider: $4M Series B from Rick Patterson.
 — Grabr, P2P online delivery platform: $3.5M undisclosed from Alexey Repik.
 — Genesys Talent, talent acquisition platform: $2.1M Seed from angels.
 — Banyan Technology, provides software for truck-based shipping: $2M undisclosed from River SaaS Capital.
 — Nespris, platform to connect industry and education: $1MSeed from Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
— Biotech/Health —
Denali Therapeutics, portfolio of therapeutic holdings:$130M Series B from Baillie Gifford.
 — Singlera Genomics, genetic testing for early disease detection: $20M Series A from Lilly Asia Ventures.
 — Curology, online prescription skincare company: $15MSeries B from Advance Vixeid Partners.
 — Sample6, pathogen detection system for food: $12.5MSeries C from Acre Venture Partners.
 — Inscopix, brain mapping platform: $10M Series A from Playground Ventures.
 — Gobiquity, provides mobile health screening technology:$6M undisclosed from InterWest Partners.
 — Amylyx, develops treatment for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: $5M Series A from Morningside Venture.
 — SafeTraces, barcodes for food products to track safety:$1.5M Seed from Maumee Ventures.
— Fintech —
Fundation, provides online lending platform for banks:$100M Credit Facility from Goldman Sachs.
 — LendUp, consumer banking and loans: $47.5M Series C from Y Combinator.
 — MobiKwik, provides secure virtual wallet: $40Mundisclosed from Net1.
— Manufacturing —
Quanergy, develops LiDAR and other sensors: $90MSeries B from Sensata Technologies, Delphi Automotive, Samsung Ventures, et al.
 — Seegrid, develops vision-guided autonomous vehicles:$25M undisclosed from Giant Eagle.
 — Fusion Coolant Systems, applies CO2 cooling and lubricating to metal cutting: $1.25M Series B from Mints.
— Cybersecurity —
Virtru, provides data encryption solutions: $29M Series A from Bessemer Venture Partners.
 — BlueTalon, multi-platform cybersecurity provider: $16MSeries A from Maverick Ventures.
 — Auth0, authenticity and identification platform: $15MSeries B from Trinity Ventures.
 — ThreatQuotient, threat intelligence platform for enterprise:$12M Series B from New Enterprise Associates.
 — Tempered Networks, identity-defined networking platform:$10M Series B from Rally Capital LLC.
 — Radar, security software for healthcare: $6.2M Series A from undisclosed.
 — Dragos, provides access to ICS cybersecurity professionals: $1.2M Seed from DataTribe.
— AI/Machine Learning —
Veritone, AI for media technology: $50M undisclosed from Acacia Research Corporation.
 — SelfScore, AI analysis for credit scores: $7M Series A from Pelion Venture Partners.
 — Navinsens, GPS using AI instead of APs: $2.6M Seed from Resolute Ventures.
— Consumer Internet —
ZoomCar, a self-driving car rental service: $25M Series C from Ford Motor Company.
 — SongKick, concert and band-tracking platform: $15Mundisclosed from Access Industries.
 — Dice, ticket buying platform: $6M Series A from Evolution Equity Partners.
 — StudySoup, online note-taking market: $1.7M Seed from 1776 DC, Canyon Creek Capital, 500 Startups, et al.
— Data/Storage —
Symphony Commerce, cloud storage for e-commerce:$11M undisclosed from Charles River Ventures, Blue Cloud Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, et al.
 — Logikcull, cloud platform to share court-related information: $10M undisclosed from OpenView.
 — SigOpt, optimization platform for enterprise data analysis:$6.6M Series A from Andreessen Horowitz.
 — Prenav, uses drones to capture data about infrastructure:$6.5M Seed from Crosslink Capital.
 — SkyGiraffe, enterprise mobility platform: $6M undisclosed from SGVC.
— Consumer Products —
Bitfinder, creates indoor air filter AWAIR: $4.5M Series A from Altos Ventures.
 — Miami Bay Beverage, produces protein-infused water Trimino: $2.5M undisclosed from Vineyard Point Associates.
 — MeQ, produces tunable Even earphones: $2Mundisclosed from Ilan Shiloah, First Time Ventures and Metamorphic Ventures, et al.
 — Phlur, online gender-neutral fragrance brand: $1.8Mundisclosed from Next Coast Ventures.

Again, definitely, definitely subscribe to J-Cal’s Launch Ticker for more information, less uninformed exposition, updated daily @launchticker.com

Tweet me at @ElizabethHunker to yell praise / threats / dadaist riffs at me on this post, or life in general.