Categories
VentureBeat

With $5.7 million, One More Game comes out of the shadows


One More Game raised $5.7 million for a new studio in Seattle last fall, and now it is coming out with more details of its plans to make cross-platform PC and mobile games.

The company is revealing for the first time that the funding came from some all-star investors: Andreessen Horowitz, the a16z Cultural Leadership Fund, former Blizzard president Mike Morhaime, Twitch cofounder Kevin Lin, Super Evil Megacorp CEO Kristian Segerstrale, early Riot employee Jason Yeh, and En Masse Entertainment cofounder Chris Lee. Read More

Categories
TechCrunch

Zetwerk, an Indian B2B marketplace for manufacturing items, raises $21 million – TechCrunch


Zetwerk, an Indian business-to-business marketplace for manufacturing items, has raised $21 million in a new financing round as it looks to scale its operations in the nation and help local businesses find customers overseas.

San Francisco-based investment firm Greenoaks led the two-year-old Indian startup’s Series C financing round. Existing investors Accel, Kae Capital, Lightspeed and Sequoia Capital India also participated in the round, which brings Zetwerk’s to-date raise to $62 million. Read More

Categories
VentureBeat

Pudu Technology raises over $15 million for ‘contact-free’ autonomous delivery robots


Shenzhen-based robotics R&D startup Pudu Technology today announced an over $15 million round. The company claims over 2,000 hotel, restaurant, and hospital customers — including Sheraton and JD.com — across 20 countries. It will use the funds to develop new products, expand sales, and explore markets overseas.

The pandemic has accelerated the demand for robotic solutions, as they’re inherently contactless. Because customers and delivery workers are exposed to disinfected robots rather than each other, robots promise to limit the spread of infection while addressing gaps in on-demand delivery capacity. Read More

Categories
VentureBeat

MIT takes down 80 Million Tiny Images data set due to racist and offensive content


Creators of the 80 Million Tiny Images data set from MIT and NYU took the collection offline this week, apologized, and asked other researchers to refrain from using the data set and delete any existing copies. The news was shared Monday in a letter by MIT professors Bill Freeman and Antonio Torralba and NYU professor Rob Fergus published on the MIT CSAIL website.

Introduced in 2006 and containing photos scraped from internet search engines, 80 Million Tiny Images was recently found to contain a range of racist, sexist, and otherwise offensive labels such as nearly 2,000 images labeled with the N-word, and labels like “rape suspect” and “child molester.” The data set also contained pornographic content like non-consensual photos taken up women’s skirts. Creators of the 79.3 million-image data set said it was too large and its 32 x 32 images too small, making visual inspection of the data set’s complete contents difficult. According to Google Scholar, 80 Million Tiny Images has been cited more 1,700 times. Read More

Categories
VentureBeat

Voicemod raises $8 million for silly or serious voice filters in games


Voicemod has raised $8 million to expand its business of offering voice filters. People use these filters to change their voices in video games or in virtual worlds, where animated avatars can make your words sound silly.

The Valencia, Spain-based company was founded by three brothers who were musicians in 2009, but it really picked up after shifting a couple of years ago to focus on real-time voice modification for gamers and content creators on the PC. Now Voicemod has more than 10 million downloads and 2.5 million monthly active users. Read More

Categories
VentureBeat

Spiketrap raises $3 million for AI-based social media intelligence platform


Spiketrap has raised $3 million for its AI platform that helps brands understand how they are engaging with consumers on social media. The San Francisco-based company processes tons of text-based social data — like Twitter posts — to discern how consumers view a brand or a game in real time. When a big event happens, such as the launch of a new game like Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Spiketrap can collect the prevailing sentiment about the game.

“This is really exciting for us to raise money with a fantastic syndicate of people,” said Spiketrap CEO Kieran Fitzpatrick in an interview with GamesBeat. “We continue to grow our core product with a focus on understanding language, specifically the language of the internet.” The company is also expanding from PC and console games to include mobile games. Read More

Categories
VentureBeat

Microsoft pledges to upskill 25 million workers for the ‘COVID-19 economy’


Microsoft has announced a slew of new initiatives designed to open up access to new digital skills, including cash grants, providing access to data, affordable certifications for Microsoft products, and a new learning app baked directly into Microsoft Teams.

The company said in a press release that it planned to help 25 million people globally acquire the skills needed for the “COVID-19 economy,” and that it hoped it would help accelerate economic recovery particularly for those out of work. Moreover, it said that it plans to do so by the end of 2020. Read More

Categories
VentureBeat

Rios raises $5 million for robots that can grasp ‘thousands’ of types of products


Rios, a Stanford robotics spinout founded by former Xerox PARC engineers, emerged from stealth today after 18 months with $5 million in funding. The company plans to use the funds to bolster product R&D and to accelerate its go-to-market efforts as it signs on “global” customers and partners.

Around $1.2 billion in U.S. venture capital deals have targeted logistics-focused robotics and automation companies since 2015, according to PitchBook, and investments are poised to accelerate. During the pandemic, ecommerce order volume has increased by 50% compared with 2019 and shipment times for products like furniture more than doubled. At the same time, Datex found that warehouse positions being created to accommodate the expansion is outpacing the labor pool’s growth by six to one, signaling a talent shortage. Read More

Categories
TechCrunch

NASA pays out $51 million to small businesses with big ideas – TechCrunch


NASA has announced its latest batch of small business grants, providing more than 300 businesses a total of $51 million in crucial early-stage funding. These “phase I” projects receive up to $125,000 to help bring new technologies to market.

The Small Business Innovation Research/Technology Transfer programs help entrepreneurs and inventors transition their work from lab to commercial availability. The money is like a grant, not an investment, and Phase I recipients are eligible for larger Phase II grants if they’re warranted. Read More

Categories
TechCrunch

Cendana Capital, which has been backing seed funds for a decade, has $278 million more to invest – TechCrunch


When in 2010, former VC Michael Kim set out to raise a fund that he would invest in a spate of micro VC managers, the investors to which he turned didn’t get it. Why pay Kim and his firm, Cendana Capital,  a management fee on top of the management fees that the VC managers themselves charge?

Fast forward to today, and Kim has apparently proven to his backers that he’s worth the extra cost. Three years after raising $260 million across a handful of vehicles whose capital he plugged into up-and-coming venture firms, Kim is now revealing a fresh $278 million in capital commitments, including $218 million for its fourth flagship fund, and $60 million that Cendana will be managing expressly for the University of Texas endowment. Read More