[CropX in Amazon Web Services] CropX Runs Soil Sensor Application on AWS to Help Global Farmers Enable Sustainability 2020

“AWS provides easy-to-deploy and scalable technology, managed with a simple console,” says Sagi Briteman, vice president of research and development for CropX. “It is also easy to establish the architecture. We started with building blocks, with uncertainty about our physical deployment and how much we needed. Using AWS, it was easy to create instances as we grew.”

Read more here.

The post [CropX in Amazon Web Services] CropX Runs Soil Sensor Application on AWS to Help Global Farmers Enable Sustainability 2020 appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

New business (help)

Hey! My names Jaxyn and I’m 14, I’m planning to start up a little shirt business and a little skate shop type thing. I was wondering do I just need to buy plain sweatshirts and tshirts etc, then get a heat press and just put the design on it? I have always came up with great ideas but I’m serious about this one. Me and my friend tyler want to do this.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

This Danish startup believes co-living can help fight housing and climate crisis, intolerance & loneliness; raises €6M

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has impacted many industries including aviation, hospitality and much more. Despite the hardship, a Danish proptech startup LifeX, which already operates in six European cities secured fresh funding to expand its presence. This makes its co-living model successful during extremely tough times.

Secures €6M funding

LifeX has secured €6M funding from a Copenhagen-based startup studio, Founders alongside Berlin-based VC fund, Cherry Ventures. Previously, LifeX announced a seed funding round of €7.5M from the same investors along with participation from a few others. With the current funding round, LifeX has now received nearly €15M funding on the whole and is gearing up to raise a Series A round in the near future.

LifeX: A sneak peak!

The fresh investment will.be used to strengthen the presence of LifeX in both the existing and new markets, fuel product development, and accelerate its vision to make anyone feel at home across the world.

Founded in 2017 by Sune Theodorsen and Ritu Jain, LifeX claims to help young professionals overcome the many challenges of finding housing and growing a social network. The company offers a family-style approach to co-living, featuring shared living spaces filled with designer furniture. It also removes common points of conflict such as chores, house maintenance and bills.

LifeX also claims to help young professionals grow their social networks through community fostering initiatives such as events, networking opportunities and more with its embedded members from over 50 different countries.

According to the company, the monthly rent depends on the city, the apartment and the room size. Deposits vary from city-to-city in the range of €1 – €1.5k. The startup asks its customers to prepay the last month’s rent when they join LifeX. This means that as soon as they give their one-month move out notice, LifeX knows what your last month will be and this month will already be paid for.

According to the company, its prices are all-inclusive and includes, rent, utilities, Wi-Fi and Netflix membership, cleaning service (twice a week) for both the shared space and private room, shared supplies (household items that are generally shared among housemates like toilet paper, laundry detergent, salt, pepper, cooking oil etc.)

Success amidst COVID-19 crisis

While the hospitality industry is extremely hit by the COVID-19 crisis, LifeX claims to have continued to find success and has earned the attention of investors. “We have been focusing on our community of members, which is the essence of LifeX. It was really important for us to remain approachable and reactive during these unprecedented times. We were due to release a new feature in our LifeX app, which aimed to enhance communication with our members. We identified the need to accelerate development of this feature and released it during the lockdown period, allowing us to maintain a closer line of communication with our members,” says Theodorsen, who is the CEO of LifeX.

According to the company, it has also been focusing on fighting loneliness brought about by the pandemic-driven lockdown and isolation. “What we noticed during the crisis was that our members were very appreciative of not having to face this alone. They enjoyed spending time together, bonding and having their housemates as a support system to rely on,” says Theodorsen.

Currently, LifeX operates co-living homes in Copenhagen, Berlin, London, Paris, Munich and Vienna. There are 30 employees with offices in these cities mentioned here.

Main image picture credits: LifeX

Startups – Silicon Canals

Mine raises $9.5M to help people take control of their personal data

TechCrunch readers probably know that privacy regulations like Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA give them additional rights around personal data — like the ability to request that companies delete data. But how many of you have actually exercised that right?

An Israeli startup called Mine is working to make that process much simpler, and it announced this morning that it has raised $ 9.5 million in Series A funding.

The startup was founded by CEO Gal Ringel, CTO Gal Golan and CPO Kobi Nissan . Ringel and Golan are both veterans of Unit 8200, the cybersecurity unit of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Ringel explained that Mine scans users’ inboxes to help them understand who has access to their personal data.

“Every time that you do an online interaction, such as you sign up for a service or purchase a flight ticket, those companies, those services leave some clues or traces within your inbox,” he said.

Mine

Image Credits: Mine

Mine then cross-references that information with the data collection and privacy policies of the relevant companies, determining what data they’re likely to possess. It calculates a risk score for each company — and if the user decides they want a company to delete their data, Mine can send an automated email request from the user’s own account.

Ringel argued that this is a very different approach to data privacy and data ownership. Instead of building “fences” around your data, Mine makes you more comfortable sharing that data, knowing that you can take control when necessary.

“The product gives [consumers] the freedom to use the internet feeling more secure, because they know they can exercise their right to be forgotten,” he said.

Ringel noted that the average Mine user has a personal data footprint across 350 companies — and the number is more like 550 in the United States. I ran a Mine audit for myself and, within a few minutes, found that I’m pretty close to the U.S. average. (Ringel said the number doesn’t include email newsletters.)

Mine launched in Europe earlier this year and says it has already been used by more than 100,000 people to send 1.3 million data deletion requests.

The legal force behind those requests will differ depending on where you live and which company you are emailing, but Ringel said that most companies will comply even when they’re not legally required to do so, because it’s part of creating a better privacy experience that helps them “earn trust and credibility from consumers.” Plus, “Most of them understand that if you want to go, they’ve already lost you.”

The startup’s core service is available for free. Ringel said the company will make money with premium consumer offerings, like the ability to offload the entire conversation with a company when you want your data deleted. It will also work with businesses to create a standard interface around privacy and data deletion.

As for whether giving Mine access to your inbox creates new privacy risks, Ringel said that the startup collects the “bare minimum” of data — usually just your email address and your full name. Otherwise, it knows “the type of data, but not the actual data” that other companies have obtained.

“We would never share or sell your data,” he added.

The Series A was led by Google’s AI-focused venture fund Gradient Ventures, with participation from e.ventures, MassMutual Ventures, as well as existing investors Battery Ventures and Saban Ventures. Among other things, Ringel said the money will fund Mine’s launch in the United States.

Startups – TechCrunch

Secureframe raises $4.5M to help businesses speed up their compliance audits

While certifications for security management practices like SOC 2 and ISO 27001 have been around for a while, the number of companies that now request that their software vendors go through (and pass) the audits to be in compliance with these continues to increase. For a lot of companies, that’s a harrowing process, so it’s maybe no surprise that we are also seeing an increase in startups that aim to make this process easier. Earlier this month, Strike Graph, which helps automate security audits, announced its $ 3.9 million round, and today, Secureframe, which also helps businesses get and maintain their SOC 2 and ISO 27001 certifications, is announcing a $ 4.5 million round.

Secureframe’s round was co-led by Base10 Partners and Google’s AI-focused Gradient Ventures fund. BoxGroup, Village Global, Soma Capital, Liquid2, Chapter One, Worklife Ventures and Backend Capital participated. Current customers include Stream, Hasura and Benepass.

Image Credits: Secureframe

Shrav Mehta, the company’s co-founder and CEO, spent time at a number of different companies, but he tells me the idea for Secureframe was mostly born during his time at direct-mail service Lob.

“When I was at Lob, we dealt with a lot of issues around security and compliance because we were sometimes dealing with very sensitive data, and we’d hop on calls with customers, had to complete thousand-line security questionnaires, do exhaustive security reviews, and this was a lot for a startup of our size at the time. But it’s just what our customers needed. So I started to see that pain,” Mehta said.

Secureframe co-founder and CEO Shrav Mehta

Secureframe co-founder and CEO Shrav Mehta

After stints at Pilot and Scale AI after he left Lob in 2017 — and informally helping other companies manage the certification process — he co-founded Secureframe together with the company’s CTO, Natasja Nielsen.

“Because Secureframe is basically adding a lot of automation with our software — and making the process so much simpler and easier — we’re able to bring the cost down to a point where this is something that a lot more companies can afford,” Mehta explained. “This is something that everyone can get in place from day one, and not really have to worry that, ‘hey, this is going to take all of our time, it’s going to take a year, it’s going to cost a lot of money.’ […] We’re trying to solve that problem to make it super easy for every organization to be secure from day one.”

The main idea here is to make the arcane certification process more transparent and streamline the process by automating many of the more labor-intensive tasks of getting ready for an audit (and it’s virtually always the pre-audit process that takes up most of the time). Secureframe does so by integrating with the most-often used cloud and SaaS tools (it currently connects to about 25 services) and pulling in data from them to check up on your security posture.

“It feels a lot like a QuickBooks or TurboTax-like experience, where we’ll essentially ask you to enter basic details about your business. We try to autofill as much of it as possible from third-party sources — then we ask you to connect up all the integrations your business uses,” Mehta explained.

The company plans to use much of the new funding to staff up and build out these integrations. Over time, it will also add support for other certifications like PCI, HITRUST and HIPAA.

Startups – TechCrunch

This Dublin-based edtech startup wants to help businesses unlock the power of learning; raises €47.2M

Learning

The European Learning Management System or LMS’s market growth is mostly attributed to the growing adoption of e-learning in training the employees. LMS software applications are designed to develop, manage, and track the report of educational courses and training programs.

According to a report, the market for Europe LMS is expected to reach $ 714.26M (approx €602.9M) by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 17.07% from 2020 to 2025. LMS is segmented into collaborative learning, content management, talent management, performance management, assessment, testing, and others.

The report also suggests that the global pandemic has impacted the adoption of digital learning technologies for the employees. The significant number of cases in the European region has resulted in the countries lockdown which created a dire need in the employment of the LMS in training newly recruited employees thereby impacting the growth of the market.

Cloud-based LMS Raises €47.2M

In a recent development, a Dublin-based company LearnUpon – a cloud-based LMS has received a $ 56M (approx €47.2M) growth equity investment from Summit Partners. 

Additionally, Antony Clavel, a Principal with Summit Partners, will be joining the LearnUpon Board of Directors.

The raised capital will be used by the company to boost its hiring, meet customer demand, and support the continued roll-out of its products.

Let’s learn about LearnUpon

The company was founded in 2012 by Brendan Noud and Des V. Anderson. LearnUpon was founded on the belief that a learning management system should be intuitive for users, quick and seamless to set up, and delivered with industry-leading customer support. The company’s LMS helps to train employees, partners, and customers.

LearnUpon is designed to enable more efficient delivery, tracking, measurement, and certification across numerous learning use-cases, including employee development, customer onboarding, partner education, and compliance training, all of which have traditionally been managed across different systems.

“We believe every learning opportunity should be an experience that advances employee, partner and customer success, and LearnUpon is purpose-built to help organisations of all sizes achieve this goal,” says Brendan Noud, CEO, and co-founder of LearnUpon. 

Development and expansion

The business currently employs 180 people across four offices – Dublin (HQ), Philadelphia, Sydney, and Belgrade – including more than 70 engineering and product development professionals.

Besides, it expects to add more than 100 engineers over the next 18 months to support continued product expansion. 

Noud mentions in a blogpost that LearnUpon has grown its annual recurring revenues by more than 50% year-on-year for each of the last 12 quarters. It has more than 1,000 customers worldwide, including Booking.com, Twilio, USA Football, and Zendesk.

According to him, the company also has 5-star ratings across Capterra, G2Crowd, GetApp, and TrustRadius.

Image credit: LearnUpon

Startups – Silicon Canals

This British-Israeli startup raises €1.1M to fight information overload & help you get to the ‘crux’ of the matter quick

Crux

Yesterday, October 20, 2020, was Information Overload Day, a workplace observance that calls attention to the problem of Information Overload and how it impacts both individuals and organisations. The Information Overload Research Group or IORG is the steward of Information Overload Day. It considers Information Overload as an excess of information that results in the loss of ability to make decisions, process information, and prioritise tasks. According to the group, the problem costs the U.S. economy a minimum of $ 988B (nearly €833.4B)per year in lowered productivity and throttled innovation. 

The moment you search for a specific piece of information on the internet, you get drowned in a deluge of information. Weeding out the clutter to find exactly what you’re looking for can sometimes get really frustrating. Also, while dealing with web content, you seldom have to wade through tonnes of senseless information, until you find something meaningful and insightful. This is exactly where this British-Israeli startup called CRUX comes into play. 

CRUX raised €1.1M

CRUX recently raised a £1M (approx €1.1M) in a seed investment round led by WENVEST Capital along with the participation of A-Round Capital and Founders Factory. The startup is planning to use the funding to further develop CRUX’s algorithm and engage with corporate design partners around new knowledge quantification use cases.

World’s first knowledge quantification technology

Founded by Roie Amir and Barak Ronen in 2018, CRUX claims to be the world’s first knowledge quantification technology, measuring how much users know about any topic based on what they read. The knowledge quantification process helps users in the time of information overload and allows them to focus on meaningful knowledge build up around any topic. CRUX is based in London and Tel Aviv and is a participant in the Founders Factory accelerator programme. 

Knowledge quantification platform

Based out of  London and Tel Aviv, CRUX uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and proprietary algorithms to calculate users’ knowledge score, measuring the share of available relevant information the user has covered. The individual content items are ranked and scored based on their relative importance within a topic and the volume of new insights they offer the user.

“Live deployments over the last two years have shown users dramatically increase their engagement and their knowledge when exposed to CRUX technology,” claims the company.

CRUX’s solution is available as a widget and API, enabling companies and publishers to optimise engagement, learning, and research.

Main image credits: Everett Collection/Shutterstock

Startups – Silicon Canals

How Metsä Spring & Its Initiatives Help The Development Of New Materials For A Sustainable Future

StartUs Magazine spoke to Jarkko Tuominen and Katariina Kemppainen of Metsä Spring, Metsä Group’s venture capital and innovation arm. Both Jarkko and Katariina head individual projects that contribute to a more sustainable future.

Jarkko is heading a collaborative project with Valmet to develop new 3D fibre products while Katariina is Metsä’s programme manager for ExpandFibre, a joint EUR 50 million R&D collaboration with the Finnish energy company Fortum, with the ambitious idea of lifting the adjunct innovation ecosystem to new heights.

Let’s find out more about how you can join the discussion by connecting with the leading industry player!

Jarkko, following our interview in March 2020, Metsä Group has decided to move forward in the collaboration with Valmet and continue the development related to novel 3D fibre products made from sustainably grown Nordic wood. What gave you confidence in this decision?

Jarkko: We have used the past six months to perform a technical pre-study together with Valmet as well as to execute a market feasibility study. These studies left us with promising results and thus, a good reason to move forward with the next phase. At this stage, both Metsä Group and Valmet are very committed to developing the related new technical concept. In fact, both companies recently announced a joint investment of EUR 20 million.

What are your plans to move forward with the project?

Jarkko: The immediate plan is to build a pilot plant with a pilot production line, in Äänekoski, Finland. We expect the plant to be built by the end of 2021 and then to commence with our technical development and testing activities, which will run for about one more year before the next step. By the end of 2022, we will evaluate the concept again and decide whether to move into the demo or production phase or not.

Katariina, you are the Programme Manager of ExpandFibre, another initiative where Metsä Group is a founding partner. What can you tell us about ExpandFibre?

Katariina: ExpandFibre is a EUR 50 million R&D collaboration and an ecosystem launched by Metsä Group Fortum and co-funded by Business Finland. We focus on upgrading pulp fibre, hemicellulose, and lignin from renewable and sustainable sources of straw and northern wood into new bioproducts. Our vision is to promote the development of new bioproducts based on sustainable biomass to contribute significantly to the reduction of the negative environmental impact of our everyday lives.

Why did you join forces with Fortum, an energy company, to realise this initiative?

Katariina: Both Fortum and Metsä Group have strategic targets to build new and sustainable bio-based businesses of considerable scale. These common interests led to establishing ExpandFibre to speed up innovation, decrease risks, and activate the ecosystem to build the critical mass needed to solve key challenges.

Moreover, ExpandFibre’s ecosystem consists of a multitude of bioeconomy players, who will have a central role in co-creating new technologies and concepts that complement the R&D efforts of Fortum and Metsä Group.

Jarkko’s 3D fibre product development is one of these projects that create new technologies – how is it linked to ExpandFibre?

Katariina: The goal behind our collaboration with Fortum is to act as a source of direction. By going into the entire value chain, talking to companies, understanding them, and seeing what they are doing, we are able to find gaps in the R&D landscape to understand where we need new projects.

Since ExpandFibre is co-funded by Business Finland, the national funding agency has also decided to steer funding into these R&D gaps because there needs to be sufficient activity throughout the value chain. And among many other projects, the 3D fibre project is one of them. Business Finland has taken a similar approach with other large companies and their R&D initiatives, for example, the parallel R&D effort by Nokia focusing on 5G.

What are some of the R&D gaps you have already identified? How do they connect to your focus areas?

Katariina: In general, we have chosen seven areas, in which we are interested and where we already see a need for more innovation and collaboration.

  • Textiles, which is a big joint theme for Metsä Group and Fortum. Both companies target finding sustainable new technologies to make textile fibers out of their respective raw materials.
  • Biocomposites, a joint focus area where Fortum can bring into play recycled plastics which they produce in Finland
  • Packaging, which we cover e.g. through Jarkko’s project
  • Sourcing & Fractionation of Straw, a big area for Fortum in particular
  • Lignin Products & Hemicellulose Products, again an interest area of Fortum due to the on-going development of the straw fractionation process
  • Other Fibre Products, especially looking for new high-volume material solutions that are based on wood pulp fibres, a significant commercial product of Metsä Group

Overall, we are mostly interested in new materials from biomass, however, we decided to exclude fuels and bulk chemicals from the R&D collaboration.

Jarkko: Within these areas, the gaps in the landscape often concern technologies such as 3D printing, robotics, and automation, among others.

While looking for new partners to fill these gaps – what are you looking for?

Jarkko: We want to work with partners that share our vision and have complementary skills. For example, in my project the main partner is Valmet. However, we are also talking with several other companies about gaps in the R&D landscape. We do this because we have the mission to meet the growing demand for sustainable bioproducts by developing groundbreaking materials and technologies. To achieve this, we involve many other companies across the globe.

Katariina: The problems that we are tackling are global – so we need to interact globally as well. We want to have any company on board that can bring in competencies, resources, or networks into this ecosystem of ExpandFibre. Ultimately, we want to activate, network, and bring together all companies and networks that share the same mission.

What is the best way for companies to get involved with ExpandFibre?

Katariina: The best way to get in touch is via our website, where my contact details are available. We’ll also have more information soon regarding joint projects and events, the activities of the ecosystem as well as other channels to share ideas.

What’s important to us is that our partners are aligned with our vision and have competencies, resources, or a network that can contribute to a common goal – and we are open for discussion at any time!

 

ExpandFibre will host an online launch event on 29.10 – to participate, register here, or get in touch with Katariina via expandfibre.com.

If you are interested in connecting with Metsä Spring to talk about new, wood-based materials, go here.

 

 

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StartUs Magazine

Manic Mondays: Support To Get You Through The Week: Share What You Need Help With, Job Postings, For Hire Offers, or Resources

Welcome to this week’s Support Thread. Please refer to the below suggested formats to get the most out of this thread.

Need Support?

Please use the following format to seek support:

SUPPORT REQUEST

What I am working on: What I need support with: Why I need support with this: My questions to the community: Requested Resources: Relevant URL: [if applicable] Additional Comments: Please add any additional comments that may provide more context around what you need support with so others can provide the most relevant support or guidance to you.

Job Provider?

Please use the following format to post a job listing:

HIRING Company Name and URL: Job Title/Role: Employment Type: [Intern] [Contract] [Part Time] [Full Time] [Remote] Job Description/Responsibilities: Necessary Skills and Experience: Requested, but not necessary Skills and Experience: Job Compensation: Willing to Relocate New Hire: [yes] [no] Job Listing URL: Additional Comments:

Please add any additional comments that may provide more context around the job listing to make it easier for the right people to apply.

Job Seeker?

Please use the following format to post an offer to work :

FOR HIRE Title/Role: Desired Location: Willing to Relocate: [yes] [no] Remote Availability: [yes] [no] Relevant Skills and Experience: Requested Salary/Hourly Rate: Resume/Portfolio URL: Additional Comments:

Please add any additional comments that may provide more context around the job listing to make it easier for the right people to apply.

Resource Provider?

Please use the following format to post an offer to work :

RESOURCE Organization Name and URL: Location Served: Resource Name: Resource Description: Resource URL: Resource Cost:

Do not forget to explore the /r/startups discord. We have many relevant channels to seek support, post job listings, share for hire offers, and share resources. You can also find more support using instant chat on the /r/startups discord.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Lawmatics raises $2.5M to help lawyers market themselves

Lawmatics, a San Diego startup that’s building marketing and CRM software for lawyers, is announcing that it has raised $ 2.5 million in seed funding.

CEO Matt Spiegel used to practice law himself, and he told me that even though tech companies have a wide range of marketing tools to choose from, “lawyers have not been able to adopt them,” because they need a product that’s tailored to their specific needs.

That’s why Spiegel founded Lawmatics with CTO Roey Chasman. He said that a law firm’s relationship with its clients can be divided into three phases — intake (when a client is deciding whether to hire a firm); the active legal case; and after the case has been resolved. Apparently most legal software is designed to handle phase two, while Lawmatics focuses on phases one and three.

The platform includes a CRM system to manage the initial client intake process, as well as tools that can automate a lot of what Spiegel called the “blocking and tackling” of marketing, like sending birthday messages to former clients — which might sound like a minor task, but Spiegel said it’s crucial for law firms to “nurture” those relationships, because most of their business comes from referrals.

Lawmatics’ early adopters, Spiegel added, have consisted of the firms in areas where “if you need a lawyer, you go to Google and start searching ‘personal injury,’ ‘bankruptcy,’ ‘estate planning,’ all these consumer-driven law firms.” And the pandemic led to accelerated the startup’s growth, because “lawyers are at home now, their business is virtual and they need more tools.”

Spiegel’s had success selling technology to lawyers in the past, with his practice management software startup MyCase acquired by AppFolio in 2012 (AppFolio recently sold MyCase to a variety of funds for $ 193 million). He said that the strategies for growing both companies are “almost identical” — the products are different, but “it’s really the same segment, running the same playbook, only with additional go-to-market strategies.”

The funding was led by Eniac Ventures and Forefront Venture Partners, with participation from Revel Ventures and Bridge Venture Partners.

“In my 10 years investing I have witnessed few teams more passionate, determined, and capable of revolutionizing an industry,” said Eniac’s Tim Young in a statement. “They have not only created the best software product the legal market has seen, they have created a movement.”

 

Startups – TechCrunch