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Startups Weekly: The George Floyd protests come home to the tech industry

startups weekly: the george floyd protests come home to the tech industry

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The tech industry has generally wished that structural discrimination would go away, while pretending that it already has. But technology can be used by anyone for anything. And so, the world has watched video after video of police brutality against Black people in a real-time stream that plays through the closing days of quarantine, culminating in the death of George Floyd and ongoing protests. As employees have left their remote offices to hit the streets, even executives at the largest tech companies —who would usually avoid such complications — have expressed their support officially, online.
What can we expect to change now? After all, diversity and inclusion programs have been getting cut during the pandemic, and stats on employee diversity and VC partner/portfolio demographics have not seemed to be improving quickly over the past decade, at least in aggregate.
First up, a group of Black tech leaders in the Bay Area, including TechCrunch’s Megan Rose Dickey, has put forward a widely-signed petition that specifies five goals including local support and accountability, and commitment to hiring and investing in Black employees and founders.
On the ground in the startup world, a considerable range of investors say they are setting aside …

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SEBI Allows Startups To Test Fintech Innovations On Live Market Investors – Inc42 Media

sebi allows startups to test fintech innovations on live market investors – inc42 media

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Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), on Friday (June 5), rolled out a circular to pave way for financial innovations in stock exchanges through regulatory sandboxes.In the notification, the markets regulator laid the norms for fintech startups on how they can test, without hassles of registering in a controlled environment, on actual customers for promoting innovations.SEBI believes that encouraging adoption and usage of technologies can act as an instrument to develop and maintain an efficient, fair and transparent securities market ecosystem.For this, SEBI is looking to grant certain facilities and flexibilities to fintech platforms to test technologies in a live environment on a limited set of real customers for a limited time frame. “These features will be fortified with necessary safeguards for investor protection and risk mitigation,” SEBI said.The framework of the sandbox is based on a discussion paper issued by SEBI on May 29, 2019. Under this, SEBI laid out certain criteria for shortlisting the companies. At that time, however, SEBI only allowed startups to test their solutions in an offline environment.For instance, SEBI allowed all entities registered with SEBI under Section 12 of the SEBI Act 1992, shall be eligible for testing within the regulatory sandbox. An …

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Detroit tech startups offer free, reduced-cost services to small businesses

detroit tech startups offer free, reduced-cost services to small businesses

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Detroit — Tech startups are expanding their outreach during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering free or reduced-cost services to entrepreneurs and small companies pressed to do more things online.Internet marketing company Waymark is giving away customizable website video templates. Autobooks is waiving fees through the end of the year on its recently created payment and accounting platform. And Sift is offering its employee directory software free for six months.Through partnerships with Spectrum Reach and FordDirect, Detroit-based Waymark has given away $950,000 worth of the video templates for businesses. The offer includes a one-month free subscription and two free videos.“It’s needed so much because people are adjusting, changing their business practices on the fly,” said Nathan Labenz, the CEO of Waymark. “They’re moving to new ways of doing things… All these changes are just challenges not only for people to operationalize, but they also have to communicate that to their customers.” A woman types on a keyboard in New York. (Photo: Jenny Kane, AP)The videos will help businesses communicate changes to their customers, such as a restaurant offering takeout only. Even with no experience, he added, a person can customize a good-looking video.“Typically, our content is …

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60 San Diego startups named Cool Companies, twice as many as last year

60 san diego startups named cool companies, twice as many as last year

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Innovega has developed patented contact lenses that, when combined with specialized face glasses, bring digital augmented reality to a user’s field of view without a bulky headset.Vivid Genomics uses machine learning and genetic based profiling to produce tests aimed at improving drug development for Alzheimer’s disease.Educational Vision Technologies has developed an automated video platform that enables colleges to deliver virtual lectures — complete with searchable notes and slides — to students taking classes online without extra work for professors.These three San Diego start-ups are among the 60 firms selected at as this year’s Cool Companies by Connect/San Diego Venture Group.
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“The breadth and depth of the companies applying is what really excites us,” said Mike Krenn, chief executive of Connect. “And the companies were just so darn good, we chose twice as many as last year.”Cool Companies is designed to spotlight promising San Diego technology and life sciences startups that are ready to move beyond seed funding and into raising their first round of venture capital funding. More than 200 companies apply each year.Connect/San Diego Venture Group, which merged last year, typically hosts a live event where Cool Companies can show off to …

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Today In Payments: PayFort To Boost Startups | PYMNTS.com

today in payments: payfort to boost startups | pymnts.com

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In today’s top news, Amazon is looking at buying a stake in India’s Bharti Airtel, and the Trump administration expects the next round of stimulus funding to hit $1 trillion. Plus, Grab expands its shopping and delivery app to eight countries in Southeast Asia.Amazon Eyes Deal For $2B Stake In Indian Telecom Bharti AirtelAmazon may become the latest American tech giant to buy its way into India’s fast-growing telecom market as it eyes a deal to take a $2 billion stake in Bharti Airtel, India’s third-largest telecom operator. The potential move could reshuffle India’s mobile market by infusing cash into the up-and-coming telecom as it challenges the market’s dominant player, Jio, which has recently received major investments by U.S.-based tech companies.Next Economic Stimulus Package Could Hit $1TThe Trump administration anticipates a $1 trillion figure could be in the cards for the next round of stimulus funding, with an eye toward possibly including back-to-work incentives, liability protections and more. Talks on the matter that had been scheduled for this week have been delayed, however, and McConnell said no action on additional stimulus measures will be taken before the two-week recess that begins July 3.Grab …

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France Aims To Rescue Startups From Takeovers | PYMNTS.com

france aims to rescue startups from takeovers | pymnts.com

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Looking for a way to protect technology companies from becoming prey to foreign buyers, France has created a fund to bail out startups.Bloomberg News reported that the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance allocated 150 million euro ($170 million) through its government-backed lender, Bpifrance Financement SA, to invest in French companies if they are targeted by an unsolicited foreign investor.In a statement on Friday (June 5), the government said it may increase the fund to 500 million euros ($567 million) next year. Its mission will be to protect the country’s businesses by taking minority stakes in strategic companies, the news service reported.The infusion of cash is part of the nation’s stimulus package for the technology industry as France tries to keep investors at bay.In April, the French government passed a 300-euro ($339 billion) stimulus package that guarantees up to 90 percent of eligible loans to companies registered in France. The loans, a collaboration between the Finance Ministry, Bpifrance and the French Banking Federation, provide a 12-month payment deferral and an option for the borrower to repay the loan over five years, Proskauer reported.In addition, France is adding a 100 million-euro ($113 million) program for companies that are still in the research …

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Startups selected for Wells Fargo incubator

Information Access and Management (IAM) Platform powers IAM Network - 60,000 + engaged information professionals worldwide.

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Six early-stage companies have been selected to participate in the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator. Each company participating in the second cohort of the program will receive as much as $250,000 to further develop and validate its technology with scientists at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.AgroSpheres of Charlottesville, Virginia, has developed AgriCell, an encapsulation and delivery technology to enhance the performance of fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. AgroSpheres researchers will collaborate with Danforth researchers to investigate AgriCell’s interactions with host plant and pathogen cells and to explore whether encapsulating anti-fungal peptides increases their pesticide applications.Chi Botanic of Sarasota, Florida, develops proprietary stem-cell lines and generates plant-cell cultures from source plants. It uses high-throughput robotics to select optimum cultures for each product. Then it scales the cultures into production systems at industrial scale. The company will collaborate with Danforth scientists to investigate factors that increase consistency of production quality and yields for specific plant products.EarthSense of Champaign, Illinois, uses machine learning and robotics with the goal of helping farmers increase yield and eliminate resistant weeds. The company will deploy the robot to collect phenotype data and will collaborate with Danforth scientists to develop additional algorithms. The algorithms will be …

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From real-time payments for truckers to investments pouring in for startups – India’s logistics sector heats up in Unlock 1.0

from real-time payments for truckers to investments pouring in for startups – india’s logistics sector heats up in unlock 1.0

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As interstate movement begins, tech-enabled logistics companies are expecting business to return to normal soon.
With the rise in demand expected to set in, investments are also pouring in. Logistics startups LetsTransport and Vahak have both announced their funding today.
Meanwhile, Transport Corporation of India Limited (TCIL) has partnered with DBS Bank to offer real time payments to truckers across the country.
With the coronavirus lockdown since March, India’s supply chain sector had been severely impacted. But tech-enabled logistics companies began to gain pace to deliver essentials during lockdown and now, with the borders open, companies are expecting business to return to normal soon.
“Since the commencement of the lockdown, the logistics sector has been playing a key role in ensuring minimal disruption of supply chains for businesses offering essential goods. Now that the government has greenlit the delivery of non-essential goods, we are looking forward to businesses picking up the pace and resuming their growth trajectories, providing a fillip to the logistics space as well,” said Saahil Goel, CEO and cofounder of Shiprocket.
Investments pour in
Logistics startups LetsTransport and Vahak have both announced their funding today. LetsTransport has raised ₹10 crore from Blacksoil Capital. Pushkar Singh, Co-founder & CEO, …

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Capital Factory Launches 100K Challenge for Tech Startups

capital factory launches 100k challenge for tech startups

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[Video still: Harvard Biodesign Lab]
Capital Factory, which calls itself “the center of gravity for entrepreneurs in Texas,” has opened applications for the Human Performance Investment Challenge, which will close on June 28.
The finalists will be judged by a panel of entrepreneurs, defense industry leaders, and venture capitalists with $100,000, which will be awarded by Capital Factory on a convertible note, and a “new home” at Capital Factory’s Center for Defense Innovation on the line, according to a blog post.
The challenge will take place on July 15 during the first-ever Fed Supernova virtual conference, which is a “first-of-its-kind interactive experience” bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, and thought leaders in the defense industry, according to the post.
The two-day conference will also include keynotes, lightning talks, “Epic Office Hours,” and panel discussions. Army Futures Command’s Innovation Combine and xTechSearch programs have partnered with Capital Factory for the event.
To qualify for the Human Performance Investment Challenge, a tech startup must be based in the United States and developing hardware and/or software applications that improve a person’s physical or cognitive capabilities. You can apply for the challenge here.
Capital Factory’s Center for Defense Innovation
Last year, Capital Factory …

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Visualizing Layoffs at Prominent Startups Triggered by COVID-19

visualizing layoffs at prominent startups triggered by covid-19

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COVID-19 has brought the world to a halt—but after months of uncertainty, it seems that the situation is slowly taking a turn for the better.
Today’s chart measures the extent to which 41 major economies are reopening, by plotting two metrics for each country: the mobility rate and the COVID-19 recovery rate:

Mobility IndexThis refers to the change in activity around workplaces, subtracting activity around residences, measured as a percentage deviation from the baseline.
COVID-19 Recovery RateThe number of recovered cases in a country is measured as the percentage of total cases.

Data for the first measure comes from Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, which relies on aggregated, anonymous location history data from individuals. Note that China does not show up in the graphic as the government bans Google services.
COVID-19 recovery rates rely on values from CoronaTracker, using aggregated information from multiple global and governmental databases such as WHO and CDC.
Reopening Economies, One Step at a Time
In general, the higher the mobility rate, the more economic activity this signifies. In most cases, mobility rate also correlates with a higher rate of recovered people in the population.
Here’s how these countries fare based on the …

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