C2A raises $6.5M for its in-car cybersecurity platform

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Cars are now essentially computers on wheels — and like every computer, they are susceptible to attacks. It’s no surprise then that there’s a growing number of startups that are working to protect a car’s internal systems from these hacks, especially given that the market for automotive cybersecurity could be worth over $900 billion by 2026.

One of these companies is Israel’s C2A Security, which offers an end-to-end security platform for vehicles, which today announced that it has raised a $6.5 million Series A funding round.

The round was led by Maniv Mobility, which previously invested in companies like Hailo, drive.ai and Turo, and ICV, which has invested in companies like Freightos and Vayyar. OurCrowd’s Labs/02 also participated in this round.

Like most companies at the Series A stage, C2A plans to use the new funding to grow its team, especially on the R&D side, and help support its customer base. Sadly, C2A does not currently talk about who its customers are.

The promise of C2A is that it offers a full suite of solutions to detect and mitigate attacks. The team behind the company has an impressive security pedigree, with the company’s CMO Nat Meron being an alumn of Israel’s Unit 8200 intelligence unit, for example. C2A founder and CEO Michael Dick previously co-founded NDS, a content security solution, which Cisco acquired for around $5 billion in 2012 (and then recently sold on to Permira, also for $5 billion).

“We are extremely proud to receive the support of such outstanding investors, who will bring tremendous value to the company,” said Dick. “Maniv’s expertise in autotech and strong network across the industry coupled with ICV’s rich experience in cybersecurity brings the perfect combination of skills to the table.”

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Luxury handbag marketplace Rebag raises $25M to expand to 30 more stores

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Rebag, an online resale marketplace for luxury handbags, is getting another infusion of capital as it prepares to expand its offline retail operations. The company this week announced $25 million in Series C funding, in a round led by private equity firm Novator, with participation from existing investors, General Catalyst and FJ Labs.

The round brings Rebag’s total raise to date to $52 million.

Rebag competes with other luxury goods resellers, like TheRealReal, and to some extent with broader resale marketplaces like thredUP or Poshmark, which also attract shoppers looking to buy quality pre-owned items. And it exists in alongside large marketplaces like eBay as well as rental shops like Rent the Runway, which offers an alternative to a site focused only on handbags.

In fact, Rebag founder and CEO Charles Gorra spent a brief period at Rent the Runway, before leaving to start Rebag in 2014. At the time, he said he saw an immediate opportunity to not just rent the items out, but to actually resell them on a secondary market.

Today, Rebag’s shop sells bags from over 50 designer brands, including all the majors like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, and others.

However, in the years following Rebag’s launch, the company has expand its offerings beyond just online resale to include brick-and-mortar retail and, more recently, a service called Rebag Infinity, which allows shoppers to turn in any Rebag handbag purchase within 6 months in exchange to receive a credit of at least 70 percent of the purchase price.

Last year, Rebag made headlines in the fashion world for selling the rare Hermès White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin collectible – typically an over $100,000 bag – for “just” $70,000, to celebrate the opening of its 57th Street and Madison Avenue store, its second Manhattan flagship location.

With the new funding, Rebag will expand its offline footprint, it says. The company currently operates five stores in New York and L.A. but plans to launch 30 more locations in the “medium term.” This will include both standalone storefronts, as well as presences within luxury malls.

It’s common these days for resale marketplaces these days to take their wares to offline shoppers. TheRealReal, Rent the Runway, ThredUP, and others all today offer real world locations, where shoppers can browse in person instead of just online.

Rebag says since it opened its retail stores las year, it moved from being a 100 percent digital operation to 80 percent digital, and 20 percent offline. Its sourcing network also grew to include over 20,000 stylists, partners, shoppers and sales associates.

With the funding, Rebag adds it will also refine its pricing and handbag evaluation tools aimed at standardizing the resale process, something that could represent another business for the brand (or make it attractive to an acquirer.)

“We are a technology company first,” noted founder and CEO Charles Gorra, in a statement. “Our goal is to become the standard for the luxury resale industry, just like Kelley Blue Book is the main resource for the auto industry.”

The company plans also to triple its team of 100, which today includes newer hires CTO Jay Winters (Delivery.com, Goldman Sachs) and CMO Elizabeth Layne (Bonobos, Appear Here).

Rebag doesn’t share its hard numbers about sales, revenues, valuation, customer base or others, but told us it has tripled revenues since its Series B.

 


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Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s artist-collaboration platform HitRecord raises $6.4M

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In the early 2000s, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt was frustrated with the roles he was being offered. Instead of starring in critically acclaimed indies, he was typecast as the “the funny kid on TV” due to roles like Tommy from “3rd Rock from the Sun.”

So like anyone who matured alongside the internet, he created a website where he could ideate, produce and share his work. More than 10 years later, he wants to turn that pet project, called HitRecord, into a full-fledged technology company.

Onstage at Upfront Venture’s annual summit outside of Los Angeles, Gordon-Levitt announced a $6.4 million Series A funding to do just that. Javelin Venture Partners has led the round, with participation from Crosslink Capital, Advancit Capital, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and MasterClass co-founder David Rogier.

Gordon-Levitt, known for starring in “Inception,” “Snowden” and, my personal favorite, “10 Things I Hate About You,” tells TechCrunch that HitRecord has a team of 24 employees, with himself at the helm as chief executive officer, co-founder Jared Geller serving as president and co-founder Marke Johnson as creative director. The trio plan to use the investment to transform HitRecord from a traditional production company to a new collaborative media platform.

The company provides an online portal for artists to work together on projects, “building off of each other’s contributions, to create things [they] couldn’t have made on our own.” If projects created within the HitRecord community are sold, the creators are paid based on their original contributions. Since 2010, HitRecord has paid its community roughly $3 million.

HitRecord hasn’t accepted outside capital, until now. Initially, Gordon-Levitt used his own cash to push the company forward, and for the last five years, the startup has been cash-flow positive. I sat down with Gordon-Levitt to learn more about what he’s been working on and why he decided to pursue venture capital dollars. The following conversation has been lightly edited for length.

TC: How do you explain HitRecord in one sentence?

JGL: It’s a collaborative media platform where people make all kinds of creative things together. I guess that’s one sentence, but if I can keep going… As opposed to places where people post things that they’ve made on their own, this is a place where people collaborate, right? So they submit their ideas onto the platform and then they find people who want to collaborate with them and then they’re able to make money if the projects [find] a buyer.

We’ve done all kinds of monetized productions, but I certainly wouldn’t include money in the third or fifth or even 10th sentence of why people come to HitRecord.

TC: HitRecord launched a decade ago… what inspired you to create it?

JGL: I started HitRecord as this little hobby message board with my brother and it grew very slowly. It came out of a time in my life when I wanted to be an actor and I wanted to be in sort of like more serious Sundance movies and everyone was like, ‘oh, but you’re the funny kid on TV’ and you know, it was really painful for me. I sort of said, okay, you know what, I can’t just wait around for someone to give me a part. I want to make my own things. And I started making my own. I started making videos and songs and stories and stuff. And my brother helped me set up a website that we called HitRecord. We didn’t spend any money; we had no intention of making any money. It was just a fun thing we were doing.

TC: And now you want to expand it into a full-fledged tech platform. But… you’re cash-flow positive and you’ve built a solid community of avid users, why take venture money?

JGL: You know, it started as just a hobby that I was doing for fun. We launched it as a production company as a way to do more ambitious, creative things and do it with everybody. But if you talk to our users, what people really enjoy is having that experience of being creative and being creative with other people because I think honestly, being creative is really hard alone. Venture money will not only allow us to do even cooler productions, but it’ll also allow this whole other world and more people to participate.

TC: Now that you’re venture-funded, how do you plan on making money for your investors?

JGL: So historically, the way we’ve made money was as a production company, and the collaborative efforts of our community and our staff make money because we turn something into a TV show, or we license it to a brand or we do any number of things that we’ve done that has generated revenue. [HitRecord partnered with Ubisoft earlier this year to allow artists and musicians to contribute their own content to be used in its game, for example.] So moving forward, as we grow into a collaborative platform, the idea is that it’s not just our staff that’s leading these projects and letting people collaboratively finish them. The idea is anybody could come to start their own thing and there will be better tools to self-organize and find your collaborators.

TC: And how do you better monetize once you’ve expanded your user base?

JGL: I think, look, we were not ready to talk about exactly how we would make money that way. I think we have a number of ideas. There are ways that the internet gets monetized these days that I think incentivize the wrong things like attention for myself and I don’t want to enter into a business model that incentivizes that kind of behavior.

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt attends the 2014 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage).

TC: What was the process of raising venture capital like? Did being Joseph Gordon-Levitt make it a little less terrible?

JGL: I think, honestly, it was a double-edged sword. I think there was justified skepticism and people would assume that oh, I’m an actor so I can’t start a company and I faced a certain amount of that skepticism. I don’t blame anybody for having that. The assumption is that there’s not any substance behind the company or the idea, that it’s all sizzle and no steak.

But we’re also not really a startup, per se. It’s not like I was going into these offices and saying, like, I have an idea. It’s like, here’s what we’ve done for the last 10 years and we’ve been cash flow positive five years. We know how to run a business. It’s just we’ve been running a production company business, now we want to run something that’s more like a technology business.

TC: What’s your long-term vision for HitRecord?

JGL: My ultimate goal is for my acting career and HitRecord to kind of become one in the same thing. I would love to be, you know, developing a movie not for a Hollywood studio, but like in this new collaborative way for HitRecord. I mean, we won an Emmy for our TV show. We’re about to release this special that we’re doing with Logic, the rapper, and he used the platform to lead a collaboration and make a song and a music video and we documented the process and that special is going to come out on YouTube. What I really want is to be able to put an app in Logic’s hand where he goes like, oh, I understand this and is able to use it instantly. We don’t have that app yet. This is why we raised capital.



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Knotch raises $25M to help marketers collect data about their content

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Knotch announced yesterday that it has raised $25 million in Series B funding.

The round was led by New Enterprise Associates, with NEA’s Hilarie Koplow-McAdams joining the Knotch board of directors. Rob Norman, the former chief digital officer of ad giant GroupM, is also joining the board.

“Brands have a desire to understand the effectiveness of their digital content across all channels, a gap that hadn’t been filled before Knotch,” Koplow-McAdams said in a statement. “Our conviction around the Knotch platform and team is driven by their impressive traction and comprehensive product offerings. We’re thrilled to partner with Knotch as they continue their growth trajectory, providing transformative marketing intelligence at scale.”

When we first wrote about Knotch back in 2012, it was a consumer product where people could share their opinions using a color scale. It might seem like a stretch go from that to marketing and data company, but in fact Knotch still collects data using its color-based feedback system — now, it’s using that system to ask consumers about their response to sponsored content.

In addition, Knotch offers a competitive intelligence product, as well as Blueprint, which helps marketers find the best publishers for their sponsored content.

Knotch screen shot

“As [brands are building] their own content hubs and recognizing content as a really key piece of their marketing stack, as they’re turning to this space, there’s not a lot of great options for them to turn to and say, ‘Here’s a way to know in advance which creative themes and topics and formats [are going to resonate]. Here’s how we optimize this content, here’s a way to benchmark what you’re doing,” founder and CEO Anda Gansca told me.

And it sounds like Gansca’s vision goes beyond sponsored content.

“In this convoluted landscape, you need a partner that is going to be your Switzerland of data, who’s aligned with you, collecting transparent digital performance data across paid and own channels,” she said.

Knotch has now raised a total of $34 million. Customers include JP Morgan Chase, AT&T, Ally Bank, Ford, Calvin Klein and Salesforce.

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Petal raises $30m from Valar to bank the unbanked with credit cards

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Credit cards are a relatively new invention that have entered into something of an innovation rut. Reward programs seem stale, mobile apps remain mired in early-2000s UX paradigms, and all too often, critical financial decisions (and their expensive associated fees) are hidden like booby-traps for users. Little wonder then that consumers are fed up with their credit card providers.

Worse, credit cards are not accessible to millions of people, whether due to a lack of credit history, immigration status, or because they are unlikely to be profitable since they often won’t use certain fee-based services.

Credit card issuer Petal wants to change that status quo, and now has another $30 million to do it.

The New York-based startup announced today that it raised a series B equity round from Valar Ventures, which also led the company’s $13 million series A round almost exactly a year ago (bringing the company’s total to $46.6 million including its seed round). Petal had previously announced in October that it raised a $34 million credit facility to power its product. It was founded in 2016 by a quad of founders including CEO Jason Gross, and currently has 60 employees.

Petal uses a more holistic and comprehensive underwriting model to determine the creditworthiness of credit card applicants compared to traditional banks that rely predominantly on an applicant’s FICO score. The goal is to focus more on cash flows rather than a static score, since that measure provides a more accurate assessment of a potential user’s payback capability. The hope for Petal is that its modern data models will allow more customers to qualify for credit, and for customers who qualify to receive a higher credit line.

After testing its model privately, Petal publicly introduced its Petal credit card product this past October, which is on the Visa network. Among its key features are eliminating many of the fees that credit card issuers have tacked on over the years, including the overdraft fee, late fee, international fee, and annual fees. Petal makes money through interest rates and through the transaction fees charged with use.

The company has seen success with customers so far: more than 100,000 potential applicants signed up during the company’s private beta phase according to Petal, and since then thousands of customers have gotten a Petal card following its public release.

Petal shows options for how to pay a credit card balance, and tries to transparently show the cost of interest when borrowers don’t pay off their whole statement.

Petal’s CEO Gross told me that one of the big goals for this new round of capital was to expand the product to more customers while also offering more features. “The card is really simple, but there is a lot more we want to do over time … and this funding allows us to reach that next level of what we can offer to consumers,” he said. Gross also noted that while there are adjacent opportunities to help consumers around their financial lives, Petal is heads down focused on the credit card market.

Valar Ventures has now led two equity rounds in the company. Gross explained that “the insiders have a lot more information … and they took a look at it and they decided they would rather do it themselves.” Valar has built up an unusually strong consumer fintech portfolio that includes money transfer business TransferWise, smartphone banking service N26, digital investment platform Stash, mobile tax filer Taxfix, and paycheck smoothing / budgeting app Even.

Greyhound Capital joins Petal’s cap table as a new investor in this round. Greyhound is focused on fintech, particularly in Europe. Gross said that he thinks bringing European financial innovation to the U.S. will be critical for Petal’s success. “We are hoping to learn a lot about best practices globally,” he said.

Credit cards have been getting more attention from venture investors recently. In addition to Petal’s series of rounds, Brex, a startup based in Silicon Valley that targets the corporate credit card market, has seen a slew of equity rounds, raising $182.1 million according to Crunchbase.

In addition to Valar and Greyhound, previous investors Third Prime Capital, Rosecliff Ventures, Story Ventures, RiverPark Ventures and Afore Capital joined the round.

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YC-backed Oxygen raises seed to bring digital banking to freelancers

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Few things are easy in our financial system if you don’t have regular employment. It’s hard to prove (regular) income, which makes applying for a credit card or personal loan much more difficult and time-consuming. That’s particularly tough, since freelancer income is variable, and these sort of income smoothing tools can be critical to make ends meet. Despite those challenges, freelancing is the new normal: if current trends hold true, a majority of the workforce in America could be freelancers within ten years.

SF-based startup Oxygen hopes to give those freelancers some breathing room in their financial lives. Through a digital banking app and a membership program, the startup offers freelancers simple access to credit that can be pulled down or paid off instantly at any time.

The company has raised $2.3 million in the first close of its seed round from investors including Digital Horizon Capital and Cynthia Chen. It participated in Y Combinator’s accelerator program last summer.

Hussein Ahmed, the founder and CEO of Oxygen, is used to breaking down old institutions and understands the acute pain of freelancers. A single founder originally from Egypt, Ahmed worked as a consultant in the Bay Area after getting his MBA at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and his PhD in Computer Science at Virginia Tech. “I tried to take a loan out from LendingClub” and they couldn’t verify his income, he explained to me. They then “asked for 10 pages of documentation” since he was a freelancer.

That experience would eventually lead to the core offering of Oxygen, which is efficient and on-going access to a credit line. “When you have this cash flow problem, you can just make one tap,” Ahmed said. “Open the app, take the money out, and repay it whenever you can.”

Oxygen is unique in that it doesn’t charge fees for taking out a loan, but instead assesses a monthly membership fee of $29.99 if a user draws down their credit limit. “If you aren’t using the cash reserve then you aren’t paying the monthly fee,” he said. That model seems attractive to at least some freelancers as Oxygen has seen 80% month-over-month growth since its November launch according to Ahmed.

The company has also taken advantage of some key growth hacks. Oxygen bought advertising on the back of SF Muni buses, which is significantly less visible and popular than advertising on the side of a bus where pedestrians on sidewalks are more likely to see them. Ahmed though saw opportunity. We “decided to go for the back of the bus which is 10x cheaper than the side of the bus, but if you are working for Instagram or DoorDash, then you are actually spending your day behind the bus,” he explained.

The back of the bus is where the working freelancer looks for ads.

In addition to Digital Horizon Capital and Cynthia Chen, Oxygen received funding from ZMT Capital (China), Locus Ventures, Endure Capital, PioneerFund, Magic City, Light Bridge, Strawberry Creek, Base Ventures, The House Fund and Sam Yam.

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Kite raises $17M for its AI-driven code completion tool

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Kite, a San Francisco-based startup that uses machine learning to build what is essentially a very smart code-completion tool, today announced that it has raised a $17 million funding round. The round was led by Trinity Ventures, with personal participation from now-GitHub CEO Nat Friedman. In addition to the funding, Kite also today announced that its tools are now significantly smarter and that developers can run them locally on their machines, even if they don’t have an internet connection.

As Kite founder and CEO Adam Smith told me, the idea for Kite is based on the simple fact that a lot of programming is repetitive. “That’s why [developers] spend so much time on Stack Overflow. That’s why they spend so much time debugging really basic errors and looking up documentation, but not so much time looking at how the solution should work,” he said. “We thought we can use machine learning to fix that.”

Standard code completion tools often still use alphabetical sorting while Kite uses AI to infer what a developer is likely trying to do (though to be fair, the likes of IntelliSense and others are also starting to get smarter). In its first iteration, Kite, which sadly still only works for Python code right now, sorted its hints by popularity. Unsurprisingly, that was already more useful than alphabetical sorting and the right answer appeared in the top three results 37 percent of the time.

What’s interesting here is that if you can predict the next part of a line of code with high accuracy, you can start predicting a few more words ahead, too. And that’s exactly what Kite is starting to do now.

To do this, the team had to build its own machine learning models that worked well for code. As Smith told me, Kite first looked at using standard natural language processing (NLP) models, but it turns out that those don’t really work well for code, which has a different structure. As training data, Kite fed the system all the Python code on GitHub .

Looking ahead, what Smith really wants to achieve is what he calls ‘fully automated programming.’ “It’s that Star Trek vision of where you tell computers in a high-level language what to do,” he said. “If it’s ambiguous, the computer will ask questions.”

It’ll take a few more breakthroughs in AI to realize that vision, but for the time being, Kite’s tools are freely available and come with editor plugins for Atom, Sublime Text3, VS Code, Vim, PyCharm and IntelliJ. Currently, about 30,000 Python developers use its tools.

With today’s release, developers can also use these models locally, without the need for an Internet connection. That’s a sign of how efficient the models are, but as Smith also acknowledged, running the model locally means his company doesn’t have to manage a complex cloud infrastructure either. This should also make the tool more appealing to more developers — especially in larger corporations — given that the original tool would send all of your code to Kite’s servers (and in that context, it’s worth noting the company managed to create its own little scandal around some open source contributions that favored its auto-completion engine).

The company plans to use the new funding to build out the team, which mostly consists of engineers. It’ll also build out its product, with a special focus on supporting more languages.

As for its business model, it’s worth noting that Kite did test a subscription service last year, but as Smith argues, that was mostly to test if the company could monetize the service. “Now we want to optimize for growth,” he said and noted that the focus of the company’s monetization strategy will be on enterprise users. Indeed, that’s a common refrain I hear from startups that focus on developers. It’s very hard to sell subscriptions to individual developers, it seems, so most start to focus on enterprises sooner or later.

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As it raises new cash, Recharge adds homes to its supply of on-demand spaces

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Recharge, the business which got its start pitching pay-as-you-go rentals of unused hotel rooms, is adding private homes to its inventory of spaces — offering the first 100 signups in cities where the plan is available a guaranteed income of $1,000 per month.

“To celebrate the launch and continue to expand our community early Recharge hosts thate approved to be part of the Recharge 100 of each city will receive a guaranteed $1000/month,” said a spokesperson for the company. “Recharge 100 is a group of  early supporters and activists in each city that share their homes.”

The company began with a simple premise — that users might not need a hotel room for 24 hours. ” People are purchasing privacy,” says the company’s chief executive, Emmanuel (“Manny”) Banfo. “If you think about getaround — allow you to purchase a car in 30 minute increments. There are so many services that have come out right now and that allow you take your amount of time and control how much time you buy it for,” says the company’s chief executive, Emmanuel (“Manny”) Banfo. 

Recharge chief executive Manny Banfo.

Banfo says that Recharge actually began with homes as its first spaces available for rent back in 2016. At the time the spaces were all friends houses, but the company hadn’t figured out a way to vet and service the home inventory.

So Banfo took his pitch to hotels. The company has done over 50,000 bookings and managed to attract industry investors like JetBlue Technology Ventures. JetBlue liked the company’s ability to offer private space to weary travelers off of red eye flights on well-traveled routes from Los Angeles to New York, according to Banfo.

If JetBlue’s investment offered Recharge access to the demand side of the equation, then the company’s new investment partner, Fifth Wall Ventures, gives the company new access to supply.

Backed by a clutch of property developers, managers, and homebuilding companies, Fifth Wall will give Recharge access to new developments as they come online — and give property managers and owners access to instant revenue for unused spaces. That’s likely what attracted Fifth Wall — and its partner Brad Greiwe (who’ll be taking a seat on the board of directors) — to the company. To date, the company has raised $10 million in funding from Fifth Wall, JetBlue Technology Ventures, and

The Homes service, which is launching with just over 1,000 listings in Los Angeles, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area and another 80,000 people on its waiting list, can be offered in two ways. Homeowners can let Recharge manage the process and make up to $500 a month, or take care of cleaning and maintenance themselves and make upwards of $2000 or more per month.

There are two options available to homeowners that use the Recharge service.

“If you’re doing the work yourself we’re vetting you very hard,” says Banfo. “We’ll qualify the overall character and will qualify the unit… whether it has a doorman, an elevator, other neighbors on the floor, a fob for the door, fob for the lock.”

In cities like New York and San Francisco Recharge is able to avoid regulatory scrutiny by not allowing its users to stay overnight — thereby skirting the rules that have landed Airbnb in hot water with local regulators.

On average, users stay for roughly two-and-a-half hours and spent between $80 to $100 for their use of spaces.

Average stay is roughly two and a half hours. People are spending $80 to $100… average is lower in homes.. Becaues there’s so much more of them and the money is going directly to people’s pockets..

“What’s missing in a city is privacy.. In your home right now you can shower, you can cry, you can do pushups, you can run around, you can meditate, pray… when you’re in the city there’s just.. You have this mask on… and you can’t unmask and offices don’t allow you to unmask, because you’re being watched still,” says Banfo. 

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Crypto wallet BRD raises $15M for Asian expansion

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Mobile cryptocurrency wallet BRD is announcing that it’s raised $15 million in Series B funding.

The funding comes from SBI Crypto Investment, a subsidiary of Japanese financial services company SBI Holdings (formerly a subsidiary of SoftBank). BRD said the funding will allow it to grow its product and engineering teams, and to expand in Japan and across Asia.

“SBI Group’s investment in BRD allows us to firmly cement ourselves in the Asian market,” said BRD co-founder and CEO Adam Traidman in a statement. “It shows incredible support for the foundation that we have built in North America and reinforces our proven ability to scale the success we have achieved in the past 4 years. The new investment will ensure our long-term global growth, and we are incredibly excited about collaborating with SBI as a strategic investor and business partner to make that happen.”

It’s surprising to see a crypto startup raising money now, given the broader crypto downturn. After all, BRD bills itself as the simplest way to start buying and storing cryptocurrencies — but does that mean anything if consumers are being scared away from investing?

BRD - App - Wallet Screen

When I asked Spencer Chen, the company’s vice president of global marketing (and an occasional friend of mine), about the industry’s recent challenges, he argued, “The need for a single, global currency still exists.”

“That’s what all got lost in 2018 as the fast-money, traders, and speculators came piling into the crypto space,” Chen told me via email. “It really convoluted the core mission of a natively digital currency. Money that worked just like the open internet. As a company that’s built-to-last and committed to the core mission of crypto currency, there was nothing more frustrating than to witness the many steps backwards the industry at large took in 2018.”

In fact, BRD says it doubled its total install base in 2018, ending the year with 1.8 million globally. It also says it’s currently being used to store the equivalent of $6 billion —mostly in Bitcoin and Ethereum — with a 24 percent increase in monthly active users between in November and December, after it starting accepting stablecoins (namely, cryptocurrencies that are pegged to the value of a fiat currency).

BRD has now raised a total of $55 million. It’s also announcing a partnership with Coinify, allowing users to make cryptocurrency purchases using bank accounts in the European market.

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Humio raises $9M Series A for its real-time log analysis service

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Humio, a startup that provides a real-time log analysis service for on-premises and cloud infrastructures, today announced that it has raised a $9 million Series A round led by Accel. It previously raised its seed round from WestHill and Trifork.

The company, which has offices in San Francisco, the U.K. and Denmark, tells me that it saw a 13x increase in its annual revenue in 2018. Current customers include Bloomberg, Microsoft and Netlify .

“We are experiencing a fundamental shift in how companies build, manage and run their systems,” said Humio CEO Geeta Schmidt. “This shift is driven by the urgency to adopt cloud-based and microservice-driven application architectures for faster development cycles, and dealing with sophisticated security threats. These customer requirements demand a next-generation logging solution that can provide live system observability and efficiently store the massive amounts of log data they are generating.”

To offer them this solution, Humio raised this round with an eye toward fulfilling the demand for its service, expanding its research and development teams and moving into more markets across the globe.

As Schmidt also noted, many organizations are rather frustrated by the log management and analytics solutions they currently have in place. “Common frustrations we hear are that legacy tools are too slow — on ingestion, searches and visualizations — with complex and costly licensing models,” she said. “Ops teams want to focus on operations — not building, running and maintaining their log management platform.”

To build this next-generation analysis tool, Humio built its own time series database engine to ingest the data, with open-source tools like Scala, Elm and Kafka in the backend. As data enters the pipeline, it’s pushed through live searches and then stored for later queries. As Humio VP of Engineering Christian Hvitved tells me, though, running ad-hoc queries is the exception, and most users only do so when they encounter bugs or a DDoS attack.

The query language used for the live filters is also pretty straightforward. That was a conscious decision, Hvitved said. “If it’s too hard, then users don’t ask the question,” he said. “We’re inspired by the Unix philosophy of using pipes, so in Humio, larger searches are built by combining smaller searches with pipes. This is very familiar to developers and operations people since it is how they are used to using their terminal.”

Humio charges its customers based on how much data they want to ingest and for how long they want to store it. Pricing starts at $200 per month for 30 days of data retention and 2 GB of ingested data.

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