Today’s top tech news, February 20: Gobi Partners and Sonae IM invest in AI company ViSenze

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Also, Sony welcomes any ideas to finance, and Entrepreneur First closes US$115M for this year’s investment plan

Gobi Partners leads Series C funding for AI startup ViSenze [e27]

ViSenze, an AI company focussing on visual commerce technology serving retailers, brands, and media companies, announced a US$20M Series C funding it has received from Gobi Partners and Sonae IM. The latter is a Europe-based corporate venture investor specialising in retail, telco tech, and cybersecurity.

Other participants in the funding round include new investors Tembusu ICT Fund, 31Ventures Global Innovation Fund, and Jonathan Coon’s Impossible Ventures.

In a press statement, ViSenze said that it will use the funding to provide advanced, vertically-focused visual commerce technology to retailers, brands, and media companies. It’s also looking at enhancing its current platform solutions partnership with major smartphone manufacturers to enable visual shopping on native camera lenses.

Also Read: SensorFlow secures US$2.7M Series A funding from Pierre Lorinet

“Visuals have incredible power and influence over buying decisions, therefore having visual search capabilities within mobile devices delivers a modern, smarter way to ensure discovery by consumers,” said ViSenze Co-Founder and CEO Oliver Tan.

Prior to this funding round, the company that launched into operation in 2012 raised US$10.5 million in Series B funding round in 2016. It has raised a total of US$34.5 million with the latest funding round. ViSenze is run by over 80 employees with offices in Singapore, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Korea, and Japan.

Talent investor Entrepreneur First closes the first US$115M worth of global fund [Press Release]

Entrepreneur First (EF), a worldwide talent investor, announced today an investment worth US$115 million led by top institutional investors across the US, Europe and Asia. Some prominent entrepreneurs also took part in the fundraising, such as Taavet Hinrikus, founder of TransferWise, Alex Chesterman, founder of Zoopla, and EF alumnus Rob Bishop, who co-founded Magic Pony Technology which has been acquired by Twitter.

EF said that it will use the new fund to invest in over 2,200 individuals across the globe, who are joining cohorts in Bangalore, Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Singapore, and Paris.

EF’s bespoke program has been known for time and money with the aim to help individuals in finding co-founders and building high-growth technology companies from scratch. To date, EF has helped more than 1200 individuals to build over 200 technology companies, collectively worth USD 1.5 billion.

A lesser known fact about the investments EF has poured is that a quarter of Singapore’s seed capital in 2018 that went into Singapore companies came out of EF’s program.

Logistics tech startup Haulio launches a connectivity app for efficient tracking [Press Release]

Singapore-based logistics-tech startup Haulio just revealed the mobile-focused app called Haulio Connectivity System (HCS), that connects container haulage companies and drivers today, February 20, at their official launch. The app is said to be the industry’s first.

The app works by bridging clients and drivers across a single interface for enhanced data standardisation, efficiency in communication, and collaboration. The users can overall access visibility of drivers and trips, track job progress and fulfillment more easily, as well as reduce manual paperwork while the drivers can access an overview of their performance, trip incentives, and behaviour via their HCS dashboard.

In the event, there was also MoU signing between the company and Yang Kee Logistics to collaborate on integrating Haulio’s resource pooling and matching platform, HCP, with the Logistics Integrated Transport Ecosystem (LITE), which is a S$1.8 million (US$ ) project led by Yang Kee Logistics and supported by Enterprise Singapore,

The launch event was attended by Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health, and supported by PSA International (PSA), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Workforce Singapore (WSG).

Sony Corp. welcomes any idea to support in its internal startup program [Bloomberg Tech]

Tokyo-based behemoth behind tech products like PlayStation, Sony, announced that it will open up an internal accelerator program to external entrepreneurs, backing them with money, marketing support, and more, as reported by Bloomberg. It will do so in a partnership with Tokyo University under which students can turn ideas into businesses.

Depending on the opportunity, Sony may invest, strike an alliance, provide office space, support the startups with its own marketing and sales expertise, or even acquire the businesses.

The initiative, now known as Sony Startup Accelerator Program, was started in 2014 and has seen some successful graduates such as smartwatches line wena, the digital smell dispenser Aromastic, and self-flying drone startup AeroSense.

“We’ll offer the know-how and the environment of our enterprise. Through these things, we want to realize the vision of creators,” said Shinji Odashima, head of Sony’s accelerator program. Sony welcomes application through its website to anyone.

Singapore-based social media platform Bigo to invest over US$100M for India expansion [Entrepreneur]

Bigo, Singapore-based social media platform, has announced an investment of over US$100 million to focus its expansion into India. It will also take steps to expand in the Middle East and the US, following the US$272 million Series D funding from Nasdaq-listed YY Inc it received in June last year, as reported by Entrepreneur.

It’s believed that Bigo will become the first Singaporean company to do so in India, possibly creating over 1,000 jobs and opportunities for cross-country learning for both Singaporeans and Indians.

Also Read: Singapore a honeypot for cryptocurrency and blockchain projects, data shows

“We have set our sights on expanding into India as the first region of three. India will act as a complementary center to Singapore’s Research and Development center,” said Jason Hu, CTO for Bigo Technology.

The company is known for its live-streaming product is BIGO LIVE, which has over 200 million registered users in more than 100 regions.

The post Today’s top tech news, February 20: Gobi Partners and Sonae IM invest in AI company ViSenze appeared first on e27.

Source: E27