Automated e-commerce marketing platform Machine Labs scores €1.12 million additional seed funding

Edinburgh-based Machine Labs has today raised an additional seed funding round of €1.12 million led by Techstart Ventures alongside the founders, the angel investors Bill Dobbie and Richard Freedman, and the British Business Bank. An additional €112K was provided in the form of grant funding by Amazon and Scottish Enterprise.

Founded in 2018, the Scottish startup Machine Labs is an automated ecommerce marketing platform that harnesses data science to improve email communications, develop quality customer relationships and exponentially boost sales. The Machine Labs SaaS solution for marketing automation also enables you to create dynamic segmented groups by industry type.

Andrew Veitch, the founder and CEO of Machine Labs stated: “We’ve had a great first year with over 300 e-commerce stores from 23 different countries choosing Machine Labs to increase their sales. Right now, we work exclusively with Shopify who power over 1 million web shops around the world, of which 80,000 are in the UK. We are planning to add other e-commerce platforms next year.”

For many startups Covid-19 caused disruption to funding rounds and forced the cancellation of several critical business meetings. On the other hand the public health and safety measures resulted in an increase of 57% in usage of Shopify as high street shops were forced to switch to e-commerce.

Andrew Veitch added: “This was far from the ideal time to be raising money. Fortunately, we had made enough progress in the critical US market, which accounts for most of our customers, to get the support from investors for our next step. I’m hugely grateful to everyone who wrote a cheque at this difficult time, and I’m excited about where we will be in 2021.”

In total, the young company has now raised over €2.23 million, following the original seed funding round at the end of June 2019.


Mobile App Building Platform for a Beginner Programmer

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

London-based idea management platform Wazoku acquires US rival and raises additional €1.4 million for global expansion

The idea management software and services firm Wazoku today announced a new funding round of €1.4 million, led by Calculus Capital and supported by other shareholders and members of the Wazoku management team. Also, Wazoku is continuing its expansion with the acquisition of US open innovation firm InnoCentive‘s assets. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed yet.

The idea behind this acquisition is to create the world’s most comprehensive and powerful innovation platform and community. Following a partnership earlier in 2020, it quickly became clear that the combination of platform and network had great value to innovation-focused businesses. Wazoku was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in London.

Simon Hill, the Wazoku CEO commented: “Adding such a remarkable and proven external crowd to our existing platform means that no other organisation in the world has our reach and experience when it comes to open innovation, crowdsourcing and idea management. This is a significant step for Wazoku – further funding and a strategic acquisition mean we are better positioned than ever and have a strong and established US presence. Workplaces are becoming inherently open and collaborative and we can offer the tools, services and collective expertise to help global businesses of all sizes solve problems and create opportunities.”

InnoCentive has grown a global network of almost 500,000 expert problem “solvers” comprising CEOs, PhD students, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, retired technologists and business leaders. This combined brainpower has helped address thousands of the world’s most complex innovation and bid data challenges, for organisations such as AstraZeneca, NASA and Enel. According to InnoCentive they have a 75% success rate in solving such challenges.

Wazoku now probably provides the world’s biggest innovation community and broadest innovation offering. It allows the crowdsourcing of solutions to any pressing business challenge, all supported by the features and functionality already found in the Wazoku platform, Idea Spotlight.

Wazoku’s latest investment round brings the total amount raised to €8.21 million and recognises the increasing demand for innovation in business. Covid-19 saw both an increase in business and a change in the way in which organisations were using Wazoku, with the quarter during lockdown (April-Jun 2020) Wazoku’s best ever from a new business perspective and overall platform activity level.


MariaDB raises $25M more to expand its SkySQL cloud database platform

Cloud services continue to be a key component of how organisations remain operational even as so much else — such as physically working in enclosed offices — is forced to change because of the COVID-19 health pandemic. Today, MariaDB Corporation, the company behind MariaDB SkySQL and one of the startups leading the charge on open-source cloud databases, is announcing $ 25 million in funding to continue its growth.

The money is coming in the form of an extension to the company’s Series C round, and it’s being led by SmartFin Capital, a Belgian VC, with participation from previous investor GP Bullhound.

(Side note: Extensions to existing rounds seem to have become more frequent in recent months. That’s in part because extensions can be faster to close than opening and closing completely new rounds, in part because they are typically smaller amounts and in part because fundraising has become a lot more challenging and harder to do in recent months, with people travelling and meeting in person much less, and sometimes not at all.)

Notably, however, being an extension doesn’t mean the valuation is not changing. This latest infusion brings the total raised by MariaDB Corp. to over $ 125 million, “doubling our valuation,” CEO Michael Howard noted in a statement.

Howard didn’t reveal the exact figure of that valuation, but for some context, the company — founded in Helsinki, Finland and now co-headquartered in Redwood City, California — was last valued at €300 million ($ 340 million at today’s rates) in 2017, in a $ 27 million round led by Alibaba. That would put today’s round at a €600 million valuation ($ 680 million), a big leap for the startup — and for open source — in the space of three years.

Part of the boost for MariaDB’s business is coming directly as a result of the demands we’re seeing in the enterprise sector today for database-as-a-service tools built on cloud and open-source architecture, Howard noted.

“Expanding MariaDB SkySQL cloud operations is our key focus,” Howard said in a statement. “There is an addressable and immediate market need with a growing number of companies who want to enable faster innovation and agility by adopting cloud technologies and shifting database management to DBaaS solutions.”

MariaDB says that DBS Bank, ServiceNow, Walgreens, Samsung and more than 75% of the Fortune 500 customers run MariaDB in both private and public clouds, speaking to the reach of the platform.

MariaDB Corp. is not disclosing its own growth numbers — we’re asking and will update as and when we learn more — but it’s likely they have been strong, judging by the valuation hike.

“MariaDB continues to exceed our expectations,” said Jürgen Ingels, founding partner, SmartFin Capital, in a statement. “The company’s innovation in cloud database technology will help support the rapid growth in IT modernization that businesses large and small are pursuing to keep up with the world around us. We feel MariaDB is well-positioned to take a large share of the growing cloud database market as companies continue to push forward into the cloud. We are proud to invest more in MariaDB to continue their exceptional growth.”

Apart from the more immediate effects of the health pandemic, MariaDB Corp.’s growth speaks to other trends in enterprise IT that have been in play for years.

Gartner estimates that 75% of all databases will have migrated to cloud architectures by 2022 either with all-in or hybrid deployments, “with only 5% ever considered for repatriation to on-premises.”

While MariaDB remains committed to open source — indeed there is a MariaDB Foundation that includes members like Microsoft,, Tencent and Alibaba — MariaDB Corp. has positioned itself as something of a consolidator in terms of building commercial services on top of the open-source relational database. Its acquisitions have included Clustrix and MammothDB to expand its functionality, and this funding will be used to that end as well, particularly around scaling and improving the speed of SkySQL.

“MariaDB has risen to be a household name in the IT industry,” said Per Roman, co-founder and managing partner of GP Bullhound, in a statement. “We have been particularly interested in MariaDB’s focus on bringing its flexibility, security and stability to the cloud. That’s why we’re excited to invest in MariaDB, as we see enormous opportunities for its SkySQL product.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Karma Automotive raises $100 million as it looks to resell it EV platform to other automakers

Karma Automotive has raised a $ 100 million lifeline from outside investors, as reported by Bloomberg, with the struggling electric vehicle maker’s fortunes likely buoyed by the current market optimism on other EV companies, including Tesla. Karma is the reincarnated version of Fisker Automotive, which previously faced bankruptcy before being acquired by Wanxiang Group in 2014.

Karma Automotive has made more progress than Fisker ever did, including actually delivering around 500 of its inaugural Revero electric sport sedan in 2019. The company will be continuing to sell the Revero, which retails starting at around $ 140,000, and will also be looking to add a high-horsepower GTE version, as well as a supercar for an even higher-tier customer.

The automaker also says that it’s in discussions with a partner for a commercial delivery truck, which it intends to develop in prototype form by year’s end. There are a number of different companies pursuing delivery vans for use by courier companies, including UPS and FedEx, and the increase in e-commerce spending presents an opportunity for multiple players to succeed in this category, even as there is a rush on in terms of entrants.

Karma will also seek to leverage and extend the benefits of its fresh investment by shopping around its EV platform to other automakers and OEMs, the company says, and also will eventually expand beyond pure EVs to hybrid fuel vehicles. In short, it sounds like Karma is willing to try just about everything and anything to chart a path toward profitability, but time will tell if that’s intelligent opportunism, or scattershot desperation.

Startups – TechCrunch

Ahead, a platform that connects psychiatrists with patients, raises $9 million

In 2015, Andy Rink debuted Lully at a Y Combinator demo day. The product was meant to help children overcome night terrors. Lully had plans to launch into new markets, such as bed wetting, but clinical trials found that the new products simply weren’t effective enough for the company to feel comfortable launching, resulting in the company winding down and returning money to investors.

Today, Rink is onto his next big project: Ahead, a startup aimed at connecting patients with psychiatrists. It just got $ 9 million in funding led by Truepill.

Ahead is a platform that looks to help patients suffering from ADHD, depression and anxiety get the medical assistance they need through a combination of telehealth and in-person visits with providers. The company has its own clinics, and employs its healthcare providers as full-time employees.

While most telehealth platforms contract out their HCPs, Ahead believes that it’s in the best interest of both the providers and the patients to bring HCPs in house.

“We really care about the patient experience, and we care about having providers who really buy into our vision,” said Rink. “We think the best way to get a mental health condition treated is by having a close relationship with your provider. So, even though it’s more difficult, we’ve taken the stance of hiring only full-time providers to really deliver on that.”

Ahead focuses primarily on the psychiatrist-patient relationship for conditions that are often treated with medication, rather than talk therapy. Ahead currently has one psychologist on staff for therapy and has plans to expand into that category, but has initially focused on psychiatry, alongside a mix of nurse practitioners and physicians assistants.

Ahead is also partnered with Truepill, its main investor, to offer a tightly integrated prescription delivery service for free to patients. Ahead offers a patient portal that allows users to see their prescription and get delivery times, and soon the company will launch the ability to request refills through that portal.

The company onboards patients in a 12-minute online process that includes a patient questionnaire. From there, Ahead sends the patient a list of HCPs in their area, along with some background information about those providers, giving the patient the ability to choose who they’d like to be paired with. If all goes well, that patient is always paired with that same provider through the duration of their experience.

The company does not currently accept insurance for visits with HCPs, but insurance can be applied toward medication costs. The first visit with an Ahead doctor is $ 275, and the price goes down for follow-up visits.

Ahead did 1,100 patient visits last month, with 15 healthcare providers on staff full-time and a total team of 33 people. Nearly 40% of employees are male, with nearly 60% female. The company said that all employees selected “unspecified” for race, so Ahead doesn’t have data to share publicly in that regard.

The company sees a real competitive advantage in the landscape by having physical clinics. With ADHD as the company’s primary focus, the company is able to treat the condition via medication, which requires at least one in-person visit before prescribing medicine.

Rink cites hiring as the greatest challenge for the company.

“We could take the approach of letting anybody that wants to work here walk in the door and start seeing patients, but we want to do it the right way,” said Rink. “We want to hire providers that are empathetic and caring and that the patients will love working with. As you know, mental health care is in high demand right now, so these providers have had a lot of offers and it’s hard to hire fast enough to meet our demand.”

Startups – TechCrunch

[VayaVision in Globe Newswire] LeddarTech Acquires VayaVision to Accelerate the Delivery of its Comprehensive and Open Sensor Fusion and Perception Platform for the Automotive and Mobility Market

LeddarTech®, a leader in ADAS and AD technology, is pleased to announce the acquisition of sensor fusion and perception software company VayaVision.

Read more here.

The post [VayaVision in Globe Newswire] LeddarTech Acquires VayaVision to Accelerate the Delivery of its Comprehensive and Open Sensor Fusion and Perception Platform for the Automotive and Mobility Market appeared first on OurCrowd.


Organise, a platform for worker rights, raises £570K seed funding led by Ada Ventures

Organise, a U.K. startup that has built a platform to help workers organise and campaign for better rights, has raised £570,000 in seed funding.

The round is led by Ada Ventures, fitting into the VC firm’s remit to back “overlooked markets and founders”. Also participating is Form Ventures, RLC Ventures (a seed-stage fund who commit a portion of their profits back to charitable causes chosen by founders), and Ascension Ventures via its Fair By Design Fund.

Founded in 2017 by CEO Nat Whalley and CTO Bex Hay, Organise describes itself as a “worker-driven network” that provides and range of digital tools and support to enable anyone to start a campaign to improve their working conditions. The idea is to combine the power of collective action, traditionally harnessed by trade unions, with the reach and insight of modern digital campaigns.

That makes sense. given its founders’ resumes. Whalley has a background in political campaigning at 38 Degrees and Avaaz, and also ran ChangeLab, a digital agency building campaigning technology.  And Hay was formerly the tech director at 38 Degrees, and also ran Amazon Anonymous, leading her to be dubbed “the thorn in Jeff Bezos’ side”.

“With so many people working remotely, it’s harder to share your problems with colleagues or raise issues about work,” says Whalley. “When people run into issues around unsafe environments or concerns about unfair pay or maternity rights, they have nowhere to turn for support. We provide a way to bring workers together and give them the tools needed to make themselves heard. Our platform empowers individuals, groups and workplaces, helping them to affect meaningful change”.

Whalley explains that users discover Organise in one of three ways: they’re looking to change something in their workplace and discover Organise as a way to make that happen; they join a campaign someone else in their workplace has already started; or they join a campaign calling for a national-level change related to the world of work.

“When people join Organise, we ask them to share their workplace and employment status,” she says. “The platform is then able to connect employees to existing networks of people from the same organisation, immediately enabling them to speak with one, much louder voice. For new campaigns, we can help people build up the awareness they need to get colleagues or workers from across their industry on board.

“Once part of the network, users are in control of their campaigns. They decide what change they want and we provide the tools to make it happen. This might be through surveys, calls to sign petitions, or open letters to decision makers”.

To date, Organise has enabled workers to mount successful campaigns against unjust working practices at companies including McDonald’s, Ted Baker, Amazon, Uber and Deliveroo. No doubt helped by the coronavirus crisis and resulting pressure on workers, the platform has grown from 90,000 to 400,000 members in the last three months.

Asked if Organise is designed to be an alternative to unions or to work with them, Whalley says the platform is complementary to union activities and that many of its members are union members too.

“They use the Organise tools to enhance their impact and increase their reach,” she adds. “For others, Organise makes it possible to bring colleagues together around a single issue where time is of the essence. The dynamic nature of the tools we provide and the speed at which campaigns can get off the ground can be exactly what employees need to drive through meaningful change”.

On competitors, Whalley says Organise is the only platform empowering workers’ rights at scale. There are also whistleblowing platforms in existence, like Vault, which she points out is paid for by companies, “meaning it’s not ultimately in the interests or control of the workers”.

Meanwhile, the business model is simple enough and, I’m told, is working. Organise is free for anyone to join but also offers paid-for, enhanced support for those who need it.

Around 5% of users pay a subscription (usually £1 – £2 a week, depending on income) for enhanced support. This includes employment advice and access to a peer-to-peer forum. “Because it’s paid for by the individuals who will ultimately benefit from it, we can scale and sustain impact at the same time,” says Whalley.

Startups – TechCrunch

[Stellar Cyber in HelpNet Security] CyFlare deploys the Stellar Cyber platform as the core of its SOC service

Stellar Cyber announced that CyFlare has deployed the Stellar Cyber platform as the core of its Security Operations Center (SOC) service.

Read more here.

The post [Stellar Cyber in HelpNet Security] CyFlare deploys the Stellar Cyber platform as the core of its SOC service appeared first on OurCrowd.


[Signals Analytics in PR Newswire] Signals Analytics Powers the Future of Market Intelligence with its Latest Advanced Analytics Platform Rollout, Incorporating Cutting-Edge NLP Breakthroughs and Other AI-Led Capabilities for Enhanced Accuracy, Granularity and Usability of External Data

Signals Analytics, the next generation advanced analytics platform that leverages external data to uncover trends and predictive insights, today announces a new rollout of its award-winning platform, leveraging breakthroughs in NLP, machine learning and other capabilities that enhance the precision, detail and utilization of advanced analytics in the enterprise.

Read more here.

The post [Signals Analytics in PR Newswire] Signals Analytics Powers the Future of Market Intelligence with its Latest Advanced Analytics Platform Rollout, Incorporating Cutting-Edge NLP Breakthroughs and Other AI-Led Capabilities for Enhanced Accuracy, Granularity and Usability of External Data appeared first on OurCrowd.