Daily Entrepreneurship- International (5 April 2019)


Swedish fintech Zaver has raised $1.2M seed for its P2P payments platform

Zaver, a Swedish fintech that has built a payments platform to facilitate peer-to-peer trades and more, has picked up just over $1.2 million in seed funding. Backing the burgeoning startup are VC firms Inventure and Inbox Capital, as well as a number of relatively well-established angel investors.

They include Joen Bonnier (partner at Atomico), Tom Dinkelspiel, Pontus Hagnö, Fabian Hielte (owner of Ernström & C:o and a previous investor in Spotify and iZettle), Bo Mattsson (founder of Cint) and Fredrik Österberg (founder of Evolution Gaming).

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Fifty-Four Hours to Startup Launch

While some people got off work and headed into a typical Friday night on March 1, about 45 people gathered at Coalesce for an event that would give them an insight into entrepreneurship: Startup Weekend Jackson.

#The program, which Andrew Hyde launched in 2007, teaches marketers, designers, developers and more how to build a company. It partnered with Innovate Mississippi in 2012 to bring the program to Jackson. During Startup Weekend, participants go from pitching an idea to developing a prototype to getting customer feedback to making a final prototype and then presenting it.

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VC Funding Roundup: 18 Startups Raise More than $315M in March

With the start of the new season, Boston startups are looking flush with cash and full of renewed enthusiasm for projects. March was a notable month with some companies raising multi million dollars in venture funding.

Markforged, the Watertown-based maker of industrial 3D printers, raised $82 million in a Series D round led by Summit Partners. Paris-based Shift Technology, a company that uses artificial intelligence to help insurance companies detect fraud with offices in Boston, raised $60 million led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Cambridge-based MineralTree, the fintech startup that automates accounts payable and payments for mid-market companies, raised $50 million in a Series C, and travel startup Lola.com raised $37 million led by General Catalyst.

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5 best investment apps in 2019

Looking for the best investing apps to get your financial life back on track? A solid finance app can handle routine financial tasks, shuffle money into investing accounts, track spending and more. That leaves you free to do more of the things you really love to do.

Here are five of the top apps for getting your finances organized and invested. These apps aren’t from traditional stock brokers. Rather, this list includes non-traditional apps that help you manage your finances and invest. So you won’t find the same old list of brokers here.

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$10 billion identity startup Okta launches a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in startups using blockchain and AI (OKTA)

Today, cloud identity management provider Okta unveiled Okta Ventures, a $50 million in-house venture fund focusing on early-stage identity and authentication startups that use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain technology.

Announced on-stage at the company’s annual customer conference in San Francisco, Okta Ventures’ first investment is in Trusted Key, a blockchain-based digital identity company that had previously raised $3 million. While Okta isn’t disclosing the amount, the investment speaks to the company’s interest in using blockchain to improve its flagship tool, which helps customers log in to multiple work apps with just their corporate username and password.

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Amazon Alexa launches its first HIPAA-compliant medical skills

Alexa is moving into healthcare. Following a trial of Amazon’s smart speakers in patients’ rooms at Cedars-Sinai, the company this morning announced an invite-only program allowing select developers to create and launch HIPAA-compliant healthcare skills for Alexa. The skills allow consumers to ask the virtual assistant for help with things like booking an appointment, accessing hospital post-discharge instructions, checking on the status of a prescription delivery and more.

Amazon says the program will only allow select covered entities and business associates subject to HIPAA (the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) to create these skills. Amazon itself provides the HIPAA-eligible environment for skill building, while the developers themselves are required to comply with the applicable laws.

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Yahoo spin-out Altaba is selling its entire Alibaba stake and closing down

Bye-bye, Altaba . The Yahoo spin-out created to house Yahoo’s  lucrative stake in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan announced today that it will sell its lucrative stake in Alibaba and shut up shop.

The entity has long existed as a proxy to Alibaba — some might argue Yahoo was the same in its final years — and the sale is expected to net shareholders around $40 billion.

Altaba was formed following Verizon’s 2017 acquisition of Yahoo to create Oath — disclaimer: that’s TechCrunch’s parent, and it is now called Verizon Media Group — to keep hold of the 15 percent stake in Alibaba and a 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan that Yahoo owned.

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A Record $2.5B Went to U.S. Insurance Startup Deals Last Year, And Big Insurers Are In All The Way

Insurance policies are confusing as hell, but the basic business proposition is pretty simple. For policyholders, it’s a way to get paid if something bad happens. And for insurers, it’s a way to make money charging people who averted disasters.

Given that many major insurance companies have stayed in business a century or more, it’s clearly been a successful formula for those who write the policies. While other industries fall prey to the forces of creative disruption, giant insurers have largely managed to remain giant and profitable.

In the past few years, however, a surge of well-funded startups are scaling up insurance-focused offerings. Venture funding for insurance and insurtech companies hit all-time highs in 2018, according to Crunchbase data, with both global and U.S. totals reaching record levels. A space that once attracted a few hundred million in venture investment is now in the multiple billions.

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$100B Isn’t Cool. You Know What’s Cool? $115B.

The Vision Fund is 70 percent of the way through $100 billion, and it will need more capital to keep investing at its current pace.

There are a few ways that the investment vehicle can get that money. The first method that we heard about concerned the Vision Fund raising another fund. Call it the Vision Fund II. It was also supposed to be $100 billion. And at that time, there was even talk about more than two Vision Funds!

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