Eight – Smart Sleep Products Company Raises Another $14M

Almost an year ago, we announced about $5M funding raised by our portfolio startup, Eight in Series A round. And we are very excited to share that Eight, a smart sleep products manufacturing company has also raised another $14M in Series B funding round led by Khosla Ventures in participation with existing investors Yunqi Partners and YCombinator.

“The partnership with Khosla is a clear fit for us. They share our vision of a future in which technology and data make healthcare more scientific and consistent. With this new funding, our growing team and investors reaffirm the commitment we made in 2014 to bringing the biggest technological evolution that sleep has seen in the last 300 years.”, said Matteo Franceschetti Co-founder and CEO, Eight.

“Thanks to over 20,000 of you, we are on a path to become the largest sleep database in the world. In addition to tracking over 2.5 million nights of sleep, we have also collected and processed 500 terabytes of data, executed over 200,000 sleep-related smart home actions, and warmed up beds for over 1 million hours.” added Matteo Franceschetti.

Please read full story at Eight.

SendBird – Messaging and Chat API for Mobile Apps and Websites Raises $16M

SendBird, a messaging SDK and chat API for developers to add secure one to one messaging, group chat or open channels in mobile apps or websites has raised $16M in Series A funding round. We added SendBird to our startups portfolio two years ago after it got graduated from YCombinator Winter 2016 batch and we are happy for their growth. Congrats to SendBird!

SendBird, a company that provides the infrastructure for developers to build messaging and chat services into their apps, has raised $16 million in a series A round of funding led by Shasta Ventures and August Capital, with participation from Y Combinator and FundersClub.

“It’s our mission to digitize human interactions for businesses,” noted SendBird CEO and cofounder John S. Kim. “With the new round of financing, we can accelerate our plan to help companies rapidly increase the engagement and retention of their users by enabling real-time conversation with our chat API.”

The company claims that it powers chat and messaging for more than 6,500 applications globally, with the ability to support more than a million concurrent users per application. Its customers include Asian Uber rival Go-Jek, recently touted as Indonesia’s first billion-dollar startup; Korean video game giant Nexon; and Korean bank KB Kookmin Bank.

Please read the full story at VentureBeat.

Jopwell – Digital Diversity Recruitment Platform Raises $7.5M

Jopwell, a startup with the mission to connect under-represented professionals and students from ethnic minorities including Black, Latinx and Native Americans with the employers was added to our portfolio in August 2015. We are happy to announce that Jopwell has successfully raised a funding of $7.5M in Series A round which will help them to grow their network of students, professionals and employers.

The round was led by pre-existing investor Cue Ball Capital. Returning investors in this round include Y Combinator, Omidyar Network, Kapor Capital, and Valar Ventures. Among our new investors are SJF Ventures, Blue Ivy Ventures, and Teneo Ventures. This capital from our investors, both returning and new, will enable us to continue working toward our mission to diversify the workforce, while supporting the career advancement of our growing community.

We will put this investment to work to deliver mentorship and career advice in an even bigger way, create more networking opportunities, build tools and resources so users can continue to learn and grow in their careers, and expand the stories we are able to share via our digital magazine, The Well. Through new content, events, and initiatives, we want to provide our community a space to discuss the unique challenges they face in the workplace and celebrate the triumphs.

This round of investment will also help us expand our product suite to reach more partner companies of all sizes, from the scrappy startup to the Fortune 500. We not only want to increase the breadth of roles candidates can apply for through Jopwell.com – we also want to ensure we are working with young companies to help them prioritize diversity from day one.

Please read full story at Jopwell.

Zillionize Invests in Quilt Data – Docker for Data

If you are a programmer, you would have heard about docker and may be you have used it already. In simple words, docker is an open source product that automates deployment of applications in software containers. With docker, you can easily package your application along with everything your application needs including libraries and any other dependencies etc. and finally, using that package you can be sure that your application would run on any Linux or Windows machine with native docker installed on it. Docker provides many benefits like version control, isolation, CI etc. This was a brief introduction of docker. Now, let’s talk about the real problem.

These days, many companies are leveraging the use of data science to perform analysis and understand problems in a better way to make important decisions. These data science jobs may involve large amounts of data which needs to be first prepared before performing analysis. Data preparation is a time consuming job and according to various studies, 80% average time of a data scientist is spent in only data preparation. Mostly, data is scattered, repeated and not in a form that can save a data scientist’s time. Another challenge is to maintain versions of data for tracking changes and ensuring that nothing gets lost.

To address most of these data related problems for data scientists and businesses in the same way as docker does it for software applications, we would like to introduce you to Quilt Data, our latest portfolio startup from YCombinator’s Summer 2017 batch.

Quilt Data – Docker for Data

Quilt Data treats your data like code and allows you to create reusable data packages by combining your files and folders. Every data package is versioned by Quilt Data and you can review complete version history of your data packages. In case, if you lose some data, you can always roll back to a previous version easily. This version control feature helps customers to always generate consistent and expected results from their data.

Moreover, Quilt Data internally stores data packages in Apache Parquet format (a columnar DBMS format) which also improves the performance of I/O operations and helps with quicker data analysis. Tools like Presto DB and Hive also benefit from Apache Parquet format and run even faster. Quilt Data also provides deeper integration with Python and developers can directly import Quilt Data packages to save time just as they use pip command to install and manage python packages.

Quilt Data offers affordable monthly pricing plans for individuals and businesses. However, if any business is interested in on-premise service, they can contact Quilt Data for more details. Quilt Data also offers Free plan for everyone and it allows to create unlimited data packages for no charges but these packages have to be public. By allowing everyone to create unlimited public data packages, Quilt Data encourages its users to build and share more data packages with each other.

On the corporate side, technology offered by Quilt Data also helps businesses integrate their data sources keeping everyone in the company on the same page and many businesses including some of the largest banks have already adopted it. You should also give it a try.

Next Caller – Intelligent Caller Identification & Fraud Prevention Service Raises $5M

Next Caller, an intelligent caller identification service that helps enterprises specially financial institutions and call centers to prevent fraud and serve their customers quickly by authenticating inbound callers in just few milliseconds after they call, was added to our portfolio three years ago. Recently, Next Caller has got $5M more from Crystal Towers, a fund backed by YC founders to further develop their platform.

Next Caller, which launched at Disrupt SF in 2013, raised $5 million in a recent round of funding led by the secretive Crystal Towers fund, an investment put together by YC alumni to back promising companies coming out of the group.

Using the technology, companies no longer need to ask callers to verify their identity. Next Caller has already identified the caller as the legitimate account holder, allowing the customer service rep to offer assistance sooner.

Typically, fraud detection has relied heavily on biometrics and phone number “reputation scores,” according to a statement from the company. Those methods, Next Caller says, are extremely vulnerable to spoofing.

Next Caller’s technology combats the spoofing menace in part by analyzing carrier-level metadata to determine whether a call is legitimate or not.

Please read full story at TechCrunch.

Zillionize Invests in Pyka – Self-Flying Planes for Agricultural Chemical Application & Transportation

It’s common to use pesticides in agriculture industry to fight insects and other organisms harmful for the plants. However, applying such pesticides or chemicals has its own challenges. The most important challenge is to ensure that chemicals are only applied within the target area so that other plants, stocks, animals and humans outside the target area remain safe. Wind and drift add more complexities to this challenge. Aerial application is also used to spray chemicals in a better way and it also helps to spray on areas like hills and other terrains where manual application is difficult. But, most of the aerial application is controlled by humans whether they fly planes by themselves or control it remotely so there is a margin of error.

To address this problem and minimize margin of error, there should be self-flying planes that can apply chemicals by themselves without human involvement.

Pyka – Self-Flying Planes for Agricultural Chemical Application & Transportation

We present Pyka, our new portfolio startup flying autonomously straight through YCombinator’s Summer 2017 batch to help agriculture industry by applying chemicals on any type of target area safely, quickly and in an affordable manner.

Applying chemicals requires flying planes close to the surface which is a dangerous type of flying. Since Pyka planes self-fly so pilot can stay on the ground while Pyka does the job. Pyka airplanes make use of special sensors and controllers to not just fly automatically but also to detect that what is the right timing and path for spraying on the target areas so that it can compensate with the wind and reduce the drift. This also brings additional benefits like less usage of chemicals and minimized exposure to harmful chemicals. Another benefit of using Pyka airplanes is the speed. Since planes can fly up to 70 miles per hour so all types of areas can be covered quickly. Overall, reduced application time and chemical usage makes aerial application an affordable option even for smaller farms. Pyka is already providing aerial application services in New Zealand farms for $600 per hour.

Pyka as flying taxi

Besides serving agriculture industry, Pyka also has great ambitions to offer human transportation using its self-flying airplanes as flying taxis. Even the airplane presented by Pyka on YCombinator’s Demo Day also had the support of carrying one person. On a similar note, you might have heard of Ehang184, a rechargeable self-driving drone that can also carry a person with his bag and travel for about 31 miles so flying taxis are a reality. Unlike Ehang184, Pyka airplane is not a drone. It’s autonomous, can take off and land in just 90 feet.

Even having the abilities of a single person self-flying taxi, Pyka is still serving only agriculture industry at the moment because the regulatory authorities have to inspect and test Pyka airplanes thoroughly before giving them a go ahead to have humans on board. Once approved, you would be able to use Pyka’s airplanes as flying taxis too.

If you want to use Pyka for chemical application on your farms or know more about their flying taxi ambitions, feel free to contact them.

Zillionize Invests in Tpaga – Mobile Wallet for Everyone in Latin America

There are different types of digital wallets available across Latin America including BBVA Wallet, PayPal, SamsungPay, Visa Checkout, MasterPass, MercadoPago, AvalPay, BillMo etc. however they still have not been able to successfully penetrate into Latin America market and there is no prominent leader yet. Many analysts believe that the reason is: digital wallet providers are not focusing on right areas.

Most of the digital wallets are offered by banks and financial institutions which require a credit card to work and since most of the consumers specially younger consumers less likely own a credit card or bank account so they are not able to use such digital wallets. Similarly, paying for mobile and utility bills is an issue in Latin America where you have to wait in lines at banks but not all digital wallets support it. New players like BillMo however support it and are trying to solve this problem in the region. Another niche is the audience with ages less than 40 years that probably have bank accounts and also own smartphones but needs to be targeted properly because most of them don’t have a credit card and hence many digital wallets are pointless for them.

In short, there is no digital wallet solution in Latin America that caters the needs of all types of the audience including youth, ones living in cities, ones living in rural areas, ones without a bank account or the ones without a credit card etc. However, most of the audience may have one thing in common and that is, they own a smartphone. So, a mobile wallet that only works with a smartphone for most types of the payments without requiring a bank account or credit card, might be what Latin America is looking for.

Tpaga – Mobile Wallet for Everyone in Latin America

Tpaga, our new portfolio startup and fresh graduate from YCombinator’s Summer 2017 batch, aims to provide a mobile wallet solution for Latin America that may fulfill the needs of the whole population. So, If you own a smartphone, you can get Tpaga mobile app and start making payments. To cover most types of the payments, Tpaga has partnered with the largest supermarket chain in Latin America, top gas station chains in Colombia, 10 cell phone carriers and 25 utilities providers so that consumers can easily pay their bills through Tpaga mobile app.

Tpaga founders have already been running an Uber-like business in Colombia through another app, Tappsi which will also benefit from Tpaga and all drivers of Tappsi will be Tpaga’s early users.

Tpaga will officially launch on 1st October, 2017 however if you are interested in joining them as a partner or have any questions about their service, feel free to contact them.