Startup Roundup April 6, 2016


Vietnam’s Startups Step to the Fore – WSJ

In 1988, a team of Vietnamese technicians secured their first deal to make computers for Russia’s Academy of Sciences. One of their early machines is still on display here in Hanoi, surrounded by Hollywood-style imprints of the build team’s hands, buttocks and other body parts.

“We were wild in those days, crazy,” said Truong Gia Binh, one of the lead designers on the team.

Today, the company created by that group of technicians, FPT, is one of Vietnam’s leading firms with nearly 27,000 employees and revenue of nearly $1.8 billion in 2014. 


This startup is using drones to deliver medicine in Rwanda | The Verge

A Silicon Valley startup is using drones to deliver medicine and blood to patients in Rwanda, and it plans to expand to other countries by the end of the year. The company,Zipline International, announced this week that it will begin flying its drones in Rwanda in July, under a partnership with the government. The unpiloted autonomous vehicles will ferry supplies to hospitals and health centers across the tiny East African nation, forming what Zipline describes as the world’s first drone delivery system to operate at a national scale. 


India has seen at least four startup fundings per day in 2016 so far – Quartz

After a slump in the last quarter of 2015, investments in Indian startups are back with a bang. However, much of the party is limited to early-stage startups.

Indian startups raised $1.73 billion during January-March 2016, according to a recent report (pdf) by venture capital and startup research platform, Xeler8. VC investments in startups had declined 46% quarter-on-quarter during October-December 2015, the report said. 


Salesforce.com Acquires Deep Learning Startup MetaMind | Re/code

Cloud business software company Salesforce.com has acquired MetaMind, a startup focused on artificial learning that had been funded by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and venture capital firm Khosla Ventures.

Terms were not disclosed, but it has all the markings of an “acqhire” sort of deal. Founder and CTO Richard Socher announced the deal in a post on the MetaMind website. Socher says on his personal website that his new title is Chief Scientist at Salesforce.

MetaMind’s area of expertise is deep learning, the subset of artificial intelligence focused on data processing that is en vogue with Google, Facebook and other tech companies. The startup’s specialty is natural language processing — allowing computers to analyze relationships between words. Some of its capabilities disclosed in published researchdescribe advancements in the field that outrank those of some of the larger tech giants. 


Techstars Announces 10 Startups For First-Ever African Program – Forbes

Renowned startup incubator Techstars has announced the first 10 businesses – all in fintech – for the newly opened its Barclays Accelerator partnership in Cape Town.

The companies are: Inuka Pap (from Kenya), BimaAfya (Tanzania), Social Lender (Nigeria), Beyonic (US, focused on Uganda and Kenya as its initial markets), tech4farmers (Uganda), Asoriba (Ghana), Reable (Lebanon), BenBen (US, focused on Ghana and a co-founder originally from Ghana), WizzPass (South Africa) and Simba Pay (UK/Kenya with Kenyan founders and focused on Kenya and Uganda). 


Lessons From The Epic Fails Of Well-Funded Startups | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

In the startup world, failure is a given. Fail fast is the founder’s mantra.Make a mistake, learn from it, move on, say the experts. When startups are well funded—and have a growing number of staff members and stakeholders, it’s not quite so simple.

We know that the road to success is paved with bumps. It’s possible to rise from the ashes of a startup’s crash and burn. We’ve reported how one CEO picked herself up and bootstrapped another startup that’s now a smash hit with over $100 million in revenue. Others pulled a hard pivot when their first idea didn’t measure up. 


Tesla Motors CIO Leaves to Launch Stealth Startup – The CIO Report – WSJ

Jay Vijayan has left his job as the chief information officer at Tesla Motors Inc. to begin working on a stealth startup. Tesla Motors confirmed Mr. Vijayan’s departure, but it would not say whether it has yet found a permanent replacement.

Mr. Vijayan told CIO Journal that he loved working at Tesla but he’d wanted to start his own company for some time. “Elon Musk is my favorite CEO,” he said, adding that Mr. Musk was supportive of his decision to start a company. For now, Mr. Vijayan is keeping his new startup under wraps.

He officially left the company in January and started his new role as founder and CEO about a month ago. The move was earlier reported by Fred Lambert at the blog Electrek. 


City CEOs to PM Modi: Make Noida India’s startup destination – Times of India

day ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s launch of ‘Stand Up India Campaign’ in Noida on April 5, where he will distribute 5,000 e-rickshaws via the Bharatiya Micro Credit, city based startup companies claimed that a major focus is now needed to seal the gaps and push Noida to the top rung as the top startup destination of the country and implement ‘startup India‘ full-spree in the city. 


World’s biggest startup incubation centre to be set up in India | ZDNet

In a boost to entrepreneurship in the country, the south Indian state of Telangana on Monday announced in its new IT policy that the government will develop 1 million square feet of infrastructure space in tandem with the private sector, which will be dedicated to startups and entrepreneurship-related activities, over five years.

The new policy — Telangana IT Policy 2016 — was unveiled by the state’s Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao in the presence of several dignitaries including Governor ESL Narasimhan, IT Minister KT Rama Rao, National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) chairman BVR Mohan Reddy, and Infosys mentor Narayana Murthy. 


An insider’s handbook for IoT startups | TechCrunch

Tips are everywhere. There’s an abundance of generic advice available for how to build teams and culture, how to fundraise, how to be productive, how to stay above the noise… But what about specific advice? Specific tips for what differentiates the leaders from the followers. And even more specifically, a guide to differentiate and succeed as a hardware startup.

We’ve learned a ton while working on Notion over the past couple of years. We’ve had some big wins and some big losses. We read the blogs, read the books, attended conferences, focused on best practices and did our best to be a walking TED talk. 


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