Startup Roundup May 6, 2016

Azimo, a remittances start-up, raised $15M from Rakuten to expand into Asia

Azimo, a U.K. online money transfer business aimed at making it cheaper to send cash around the world, has raised $15 million led by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten as the start-up looks to expand its presence in Asia. 

Gas delivery startups want to change the world – but will they blow it up first? | Technology | The Guardian

It is hard to imagine a less hospitable niche for a startup to enter than gasoline – a combustible commodity that is (one hopes) being innovated into obsolescence. And yet, over the past 18 months, at least six startups have launched some variation on the theme of “Uber for gas” – your car’s tank gets refilled while it is parked somewhere. 

A place where startups begin | Harvard Gazette

This venture was clearly an investment in the future as Harvard Business School (HBS), the Harvard Ed Portal, and the Harvard i-lab presented 30 local high school students front-row seats to how entrepreneurship works. 

Why Secret, Sidecar, Rdio, and 10 other startups failed – Business Insider

You may not know it from the headlines, but most startups fail. Some go out in dramatic implosions that leave people without jobs overnight. Some just face a slow decline until they stop. The reasons startups fail are as varied as what they’re working on, but thanks to a new genre of “startup post-mortems” we can take a look at some of the reasons companies say they met the end. 

Ford, Microsoft pour $253 million into start-up Pivotal

Enterprise software company Pivotal will close a $253 million funding round led by new investor Ford and joined by Microsoft, GE, EMC andVMWare, the companies announced Thursday. It marks the second-biggest start-up investment this year, behind augmented reality company Magic Leap. 

Cooking for Oakland: How this tech startup gives back – May. 4, 2016

In Oakland, a startup called Clef is doing its part to unite the local community by hosting free dinners for anyone who wants to attend. For the past three years, Clef has been hosting weekly Wednesday night dinner events called Clef Cooks. They attract local politicians, small business owners, nonprofit workers, writers, and tech workers over home cooked meals. Clef has hosted more than 130 dinners to date. Typically about 25 people show up. One time, 125 people came. In all, they’ve had about 1,500 guests break bread with them. 

Agriculture Start-Ups Get Boost From Big Firms and Investors – The New York Times

Compared with medicine, where small companies often lead in turning cutting-edge science into new drugs, agriculture has never had much start-up activity. Agricultural biotechnology, for instance, has been dominated by six giant seed and chemical companies, including Monsanto and DuPont. 

360fly Funding Shows Broader Startup Plight, Gadget Woes – Bloomberg

To see how startup life has gotten harder, look no further than 360fly Inc. The Pittsburgh-based startup, which makes an orb-shaped camera that captures 360-degree video, began hitting up venture capitalists for funding last year just as these investors were pulling back on new deals and slashing valuations of many existing ones. 

Berlin Bootcamp – Calling all startups with innovative solutions in the energy sector to apply!

Buildings that double up as thermal batteries at the flip of a switch may seem like science fiction but they’re now close to becoming a reality. In fact, the energy sector overall, and energy technology in particular, is innovating like never before. One example is Tesla’s Powerwall, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that stores electricity for household consumption, as a backup, or for load shifting. The Powerwall has hogged the limelight for being, potentially, the next big disruption in the energy storage industry. 

Here’s what Paul Bassat looks for in startups | Business Insider

Innovation minister Christopher Pyne claimed this week that 4500 Australian startups miss out on equity funding each year. If so, it’s important to know what venture capitalists are looking for when investing. Seek founder and former CEO Paul Bassat, who currently runs Square Peg Capital took to an AMA session this week and spoke about what makes a great startup. 


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