Bluesmart – Smart Luggage Manufacturing Company Raises $12M

Almost two years ago we added Bluesmart to our list of portfolio startups and same year after six months Bluesmart added more $11.5M to its capital to prove its potential. Keeping its growth steady, Bluesmart has again won the hearts of its investors and raised another $12M funding in Series A round led by Tsing Capital. We are very happy to make this announcement and being part of Bluesmart. Just to share, Bluesmart is no more just Blue. It also offers a Black Edition now.

Tsing Capital is one of the largest venture firms in China. The partner leading this round, Michael Li, is a former Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers partner with strong expertise in cross-border technology companies. This investment comes from a dedicated Tsing Capital fund called “Smartech Innovation Fund” which is focused on Internet of Things and connected devices. We will leverage this partnership to continue our manufacturing and global operations in Asia. With the proceeds we plan to expand our product line in order to continue our mission of helping people travel the world in a smarter way.

“With a long history of venture capital investing in China and North America, we are pleased to add Bluesmart to our portfolio of sustainable life style companies,” said Li. “China represents one of the largest and fastest growing markets for premium luggages globally, and we look forward to helping support Bluesmart’s expansion and product delivery.”

Please read full story at Medium.

 

Flirtey – Real Time Delivery Service by Drones Raises $16M

We are pleased to announce that one of our portfolio startups, Flirtey – a premier delivery service using flying robots to deliver food, medicine, gifts, first-aid, books and mail has raised $12M in Series A round. When we invested in Flirtey less than two years ago, we were confident that it would fly high and deliver just like its drones.  Good luck Flirtey!

Flirtey’s Series A round was led by the company’s seed investors, Menlo Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures, and joined by Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, Y Combinator and World Innovation Lab, a firm that counts among its limited partners the Japanese airline ANA, Goodwater Capital, Amity Ventures and Partech Ventures.

Flirtey’s CEO, Matthew Sweeny said the company’s drone was designed with reliability and safety as priorities, obviously. Its flagship UAV is a hexacopter that can fly right if one of its six motors is taken out. It has two batteries, and can run if one of them fails, as well. The drone lowers a payload in a box from about 50 feet over a customer’s doorstep or other designated delivery area. If a would-be drone thief attempts to pull it down by the line, the drone detaches and safely fly away, Sweeny explained.

Flirtey was also the first company to attain FAA approvals to conduct a drone delivery in the US in 2015. That fact helped it land one of its drones in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, a milestone that CEO Matthew Sweeny calls a “kittyhawk” moment for the startup.

Please read full story at TechCrunch.

Bitmovin – Video Streaming and Cloud Encoding Service Provider Raises $10.3M

Bitmovin

Just around a year ago Zillionize invested in Bitmovin as a seed round investor. Today we’re happy to announce that Bitmovin has raised $10.3M in a recent Series A funding round.

“We developed the fastest cloud encoding service on the market, together with the best performing adaptive streaming player. We are first-movers when it comes to new features & technologies, as evidenced by our DRM for HTML5, 360°/VR streaming, HLS in HTML5, etc…

Although we are growing nicely with a healthy business, we decided to go this way (raising Series A funding round) to further improve our video infrastructure products, to maintain the level of support to our customers, and to build new products…” said Stefan, CEO & Co-Founder, Bitmovin.

Please read full story at Bitmovin.

Zillionize Invests in Wallarm – a Security Solution for Blocking Attacks on Web Apps and APIs

In the competitive IT environment companies are forced to run faster to survive. Frequent software updates often conflict with security audit processes, which in turn may result in missed software vulnerabilities.

To help businesses protect their web applications and APIs, Wallarm introduces a unique approach to revealing security flaws. It uses machine learning to analyze the normal user behavior of the web application, block abnormal user requests, and see if these requests expose vulnerabilities.

Wallarm
Wallarm – a Security Solution for Blocking Attacks on Web Apps and APIs

By creating a profile of what legitimate behavior looks like, Wallarm can easily distinguish between regular user activity and malicious attacks from hackers. When Wallarm detects behavior that falls outside of a normal user profile, it will automatically block the user.

Additionally, many security products available on the market can only alert security teams of any malicious behavior detected, but are unable to determine which ones are critical. Contrary, Wallarm is able to pinpoint attacks by blocking the malicious user and then testing it against the web application to see if a critical vulnerability exists. If it does, Wallarm alerts the security team immediately, helping them prioritize which security issues to focus on. This makes all the difference for large companies facing thousands of attacks a day. For more details, please visit Wallarm’s website.

Zillionize Invests in Proxy – a Startup that Turns Your Phone into a Personal Beacon to Access IoT Devices

In a world where everyone has a phone, it’s hard to imagine that people still have to carry things like data-transmitting wrist bands or badges to help identify themselves. Meet Proxy – latest portfolio startup of Zillionize, which turns your phone into a personal beacon that enables seamless interaction with your environment – be it access, identity, or personalization.

With Proxy, a user’s smartphone emits a Bluetooth signal that gets picked up by a sensor connected to an IoT device, like an electronically locking door, for example, or a home entertainment system.

Proxy
Proxy – a Startup that Turns Your Phone into a Personal Beacon to Access IoT Devices

The raising popularity of IoT devices in the recent years creates countless opportunities to applying Proxy’s technology. Basically, Proxy is your digital representation that interacts with the physical world. It may help people use Internet-enabled devices of every kind without all the annoying login processes and standalone apps for each separate device.

For now, Proxy’s technology only works with the door locking systems used at offices, which normally require card keys. But the early-stage company has yet to expand it to work with other consumer electronics or building systems. For more details, please visit Proxy’s website.

Zillionize Invests in Metapacket – an Intelligent Antimalware Solution

For government organizations and data-driven corporations like banks and payments companies, security has always been a great challenge and the top priority. To protect themselves against any possible data leaks, corporations use different kinds of threat detection software, including antimalware programs that usually work by analyzing outbound network traffic.

However, trying to detect malware based on where it’s sending data can be complicated by hackers looping in legitimate services to mask malicious intent. Rather than trying to assess where data is being sent, Metapacket’s technology focuses on trying to determine whether network traffic is really being generated by a human or not.

Metapacket
Metapacket – an Intelligent Antimalware Solution

Unlike all other proxy or web-analysis solutions, Metapacket not just passively looks at the data, but is challenging the user and browser to prove that they’re human. Automated processes are whitelisted and anything remaining is malware.

In order for malware writers to workaround Metapacket’s detection system, they would have to create complex programs of a few megabytes that mimic human beings’ behavior, which would in turn be at risk of flagging up the presence of malicious software on the network. For more details, please visit Metapacket’s website.

Zillionize Invests in JustRide – A Car Sharing Service Employing Smart Vehicle Technology

JustRide is a technology aggregator in the car rental industry with the prime products being micro and macro leasing of vehicles.

Unlike existing market players, JustRide is not the proprietor of the vehicles it rents. Instead, the company focuses on connecting existing vendors in the car rental industry to end-users through a hyperlocal service.

JustRide
JustRide – A Car Sharing Service Employing Smart Vehicle Technology

JustRide cars are fitted with its smart vehicle technology (SVT), which taps into a vehicle’s electronic system and provides real time access to the location and performance parameters of the vehicle. The implementation of SVT negates the requirement of high security deposits as the vehicles are under 24×7 surveillance and can be stalled from a remote location if needed. Customers can reserve their vehicles through the company’s website or on their smart phones and order the vehicles to be delivered right at their doorstep.

JustRide has ambitious plans for its SVT system. For example, it can be easily implemented in alternative modes of transport over water and air. For more details, visit JustRide’s website.

Zillionize Invests in ApolloShield – a System that Detects and Intercepts Malicious Drones

ApolloShield develops world’s first active, plug & play anti-drone system. It actively protects sensitive areas from drones by not only detecting unwanted drones, but taking control of them and commanding them to land safely. Consider ApolloShield an anti-virus for the sky!

ApolloShield
ApolloShield – a System that Detects and Intercepts Malicious Drones

ApolloShield system detects drones using multiple technologies, including cameras, audio and radio sensors, so no drone can evade detection. The system detects not just whether or not there is a drone in the area, but what type of drone it is, and its unique ID.

Most of the comparable products on the market are either designed for military purposes, or only have the detection part. Unlike them, ApolloShield allows a user to intercept a drone by disconnecting the original operator and forcing the drone to land safely. Alternatively, ApolloShield can command an intercepted drone to return home.

For more details, visit ApolloShield’s website.

Zillionize Invests in Flutterwave – a FinTech Company that Builds Digital Payment Infrastructure for Africa

Payment processing in Africa is very different than it is in the United States. Any store in the U.S. accepts debit cards, credit cards, and even mobile payments. This is not the case in Africa. To provide the same full-service payment experience, merchants and payment service providers have to integrate with each form of payment individually. That means if you have a POS that accepts Visa, it may not accept MasterCard, for example.

Failed transactions are so common that many store owners don’t bother with the POS anymore. Because of this, Africa simply defaulted to cash and alternative payment methods like bank accounts or mobile money. This is the problem that Flutterwave has been designed to solve. It is a middle layer which works across payment channels, methods and local currencies in different African countries.

Flutterwave
Flutterwave – a FinTech Company that Builds Digital Payment Infrastructure for Africa

One of the largest banks in Africa, Access Bank, already employs Flutterwave’s infrastructure to ensure a seamless digital experience for all their customers across multiple African Countries. Flutterwave has also helped US companies like Uber to enter, accelerate and succeed in African markets, making it possible for global merchants to process payments just like a local African company. For more details, visit Flutterwave’s website.

Zillionize Invests in Coub – An Online Portal for Creating Gif-Like Looped Videos with Music

Coub lets you create, view and discover short, looped videos from any video source on the Internet. It is a new media format that has become popular in Eastern Europe and is looking to creep into American Internet culture.

Riding the wave that GIFs, memes, and the like have put in motion, Coubs are short loops of video or images that can be set to audio or full-length songs, sort of a Vine video that has more customization options. But unlike Vine or Cinemagram, Coub is designed to let users remix or edit existing videos, not create new ones from their phones.

Coub videos can be embedded or shared on social networks, blogs, and other websites. That said, the site is designed to have the same virality as all of the aforementioned services.

Coub
Coub – An Online Portal for Creating Gif-Like Looped Videos with Music

Each coub is attributed to its author and links back to the original video and audio sources. Brands and publishers favor this because it increases web traffic to their content without needing a complicated distribution channel. Fans love it because it makes discovering new content less complicated. To see what it looks like, visit Coub’s website.