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Deepgram lands new cash to grow its enterprise voice-recognition business

Deepgram, a company developing voice-recognition tech for the enterprise, today raised $47 million in new funding led by Madrona Venture Group with participation from Citi Ventures and Alkeon. An extension of Deepgram’s Series B that kicked off in February 2021, led by Tiger Global, it brings the startup’s total raised to $86 million, which CEO Scott Stephenson says is being put toward R&D in areas like emotion detection, intent recognition, summarization, topic detection, translation and redaction.

“We’re pleased that Deepgram achieved its highest-ever pre- and post-money valuation, even despite the challenging market conditions,” Stephenson told TechCrunch in an email interview. (Unfortunately, he wouldn’t reveal what exactly the valuation was.) “We believe that Deepgram is in a strong position to thrive in this tougher macroeconomic environment. Deepgram’s speech AI is the core enabling technology behind many of our customers’ applications, and the demand for speech understanding grows as companies seek greater efficiency.”

Launched in 2015, Deepgram focuses on building custom voice-recognition solutions for customers such as Spotify, Auth0 and even NASA. The company’s data scientists source, create, label and evaluate speech data to produce speech-recognition models that can understand brands and jargon, capture an array of languages and accents, and adapt to challenging audio environments. For example, for NASA, Deepgram built a model to transcribe communications between Mission Control and the International Space Station.

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Clarifruit raises $12 million to reduce waste in the fruit and vegetable industry

Clarifruit, a company developing a software platform for automated quality control for fruit and vegetable supply chains, has announced that it has completed a $12 million Series A round led by Champel Capital and Firstime Ventures with participation from Kubota, a provider of agricultural machinery and technologies, and NevaTeam Partners venture capital fund. It brings the company’s total funding to $15 million following a grant of $2.5 million received through Horizon 2020.

The company hopes to reduce waste in the fresh produce supply chain, an industry estimated to be valued at $2 trillion, and secure a sufficient food supply for future generations. Its solution addresses challenges in quality control and decision-making and the lack of standardized and objective quality control processes when assessing fruits and vegetables. It is estimated that this problem leads to a waste of 45% of the agricultural production in the industry, representing approximately $900 billion of loss every year.

“Since we launched our product 20 months ago, we have been able to make a significant impact and onboard tens of leading global players into our circle of clients that are now using Clarifruit’s advanced technology to automate their quality control and provide real-time info to reduce waste and maximize revenue opportunities,” said Elad Mardix, Co-Founder and CEO of Clarifruit.
Its platform has two elements: the first is a mobile app allowing quality inspects to conduct quality control processes in minutes. The second is a cloud-based control system that allows operation managers to monitor the process specific to their company and its goals, results, and insights all in real-time. It uses computer vision technology with Big Data and analytics capabilities to help retailers, wholesalers, marketing companies, and growers make data-driven decisions to reduce waste.

IoT and Industry 4.0: Zerynth raises a €5.3 million round led by United Ventures

Zerynth supports companies in digitizing production processes through Industrial IoT solutions which enable any machinery to Industry 4.0.

The investment round, one of the largest in Italy in the Industrial IoT field, is led by United Ventures with the participation of a pool of selected Italian and international investors and business angels, including Vertis SGR with Venture Factory through the VV3TT Fund, LIFTT and CDP Venture Capital with the “Comparto IndustryTech” of the Corporate Partners Fund.

The capital increase will enable Zerynth to make AI and IoT technologies increasingly accessible, confirm its leadership in Italy, and strengthen its international expansion.

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Infront acquires Israeli sportstech startup Pico

Switzerland-based sports marketing company Infront has acquired Israeli startup Pico Get Personal, a sports technology company that helps rightsholders to gather, manage and own zero- and first-party audience data to customize marketing.
Pico pairs content with fun activations, capturing first-party data and individual preferences. Brands or rightsholders can then use those insights to create personalized marketing.
Pico, founded in 2014 by Asaf Nevo, Aviv Paz, and Roi Mozer, has raised $5 million to date and all 12 of its employees will be joining Infront.

“Beyond the joy of joining the biggest organization in our sector, one of the most important things for us was to ensure that every one of our employees would be able to come with us,” said Nevo. “We have been working with Infront for many years now, making this new chapter a very natural step in our growth. The sports industry has made a push in recent years into tech and data, with Pico playing a major part in that. By joining one of the biggest players in this market we will be able to provide our services at a much bigger scale.”

Revuze Announces $12 Million Growth Equity Investment Led by PSG

Revuze, a leading provider of real-time consumer insights for some of the world’s biggest brands, announced a $12 million strategic growth investment led by PSG, a leading growth equity firm partnering with software and technology-enabled services companies to help accelerate their growth. The round was joined by industry veterans Karyn Schoenbart and Tod Johnson, former CEO and Executive Chairman, respectively, of global market research leader NPD Group. Additional financial terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 2013, Revuze empowers brands to understand consumers’ preferences and behavior by delivering a faster, more efficient alternative to traditional market research. Revuze’s cloud-based software uses AI-based natural language processing to gather, cleanse, analyze and provide insights on consumer sentiment, feedback and overall satisfaction. By implementing Revuze’s product set, companies can generate deep consumer insights in nearly real time that would otherwise take months to understand.

“The world moves at a speed that has outpaced traditional market research tools, and Revuze was founded to help brands respond to changing landscapes in real time in order to allow them to win in the digital era. We have made the process of data gathering, analysis and research programmatic, arming companies with actionable, value-generating insights,” said Boaz Grinvald, CEO of Revuze. “We are proud to partner with PSG, Karyn and Tod as we look to scale our platform to serve more brands around the globe.”

This funding will be used to help accelerate Revuze’s geographic expansion into the U.S., scale its technology, and continue to innovate and grow its solution set.

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Computer vision start-up Everyangle raises €2.7m

Everyangle, a start-up that provides bricks and mortar retailers and hospitality venues with the same sort of insights available to online businesses, has raised €2.7 million to accelerate its expansion into international markets.

Founded by David Owens in 2019, the company, whose partners include Mulberry, helps retailers and other offline businesses to better understand what their customers are doing in-store. It also helps them to reduce loss through fraud and theft, and to optimise operations using computer vision technology.

Offline businesses have fallen behind their online counterparts in terms of analytics that can help them understand customer behaviour. Everyangle’s platform addresses this by using computer vision and machine learning to analyse CCTV footage for events of interest, without the need for human review.

Among the analytics it provides is information on customer footfall, demographics, sales conversion and customer theft and staff fraud.

Based in Ireland and with plans to increase headcount over the next 24 months, the company is looking to double staff numbers with hires in areas that include roles in machine learning, data science, software engineering, product management and sales.

“Our platform is becoming ever-more critical to ensuring retailers, hospitality venues and convenience service stations can leverage at scale all of their video data to improve the in-store customer experience, reduce theft and fraud, and deliver real operational cost savings,“ Owens said.

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EcoCart drives $14.5M of new funding into its sustainable shopping experience

With all the plastic and paper covering the things we buy, more and more consumers are seeking out companies that operate more sustainably.

EcoCart has built an infrastructure for e-commerce companies and works with them to make that shopping experience more transparent and sustainable. Here’s how it works: The three-year-old software company performs product life cycle audits for its customers to help them calculate, analyze and offset their carbon emissions.

Customers can then see how that company is doing in terms of protecting trees and using clean energy sources while companies can offer offsetting initiatives within its shopping experience — for example, providing a way for them to make carbon-neutral purchases or showing the number of trees saved from an order.

“Consumers are looking for ways to shop sustainably, but brands don’t have a great way of being able to communicate that to their customers or execute on that in an inexpensive, easy-to-understand way, and that’s all the things that we help with,” EcoCart co-founder Dane Baker told TechCrunch.

Baker and Peter Twomey started the company about three and a half years ago and launched its product about two years ago. When we last profiled the San Francisco–based company in 2021, it had raised $3 million in seed funding and was working with 500 customers.

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French inventory-pooling platform Stockly raises €12 million

Stockly, the French digital platform that helps e-tailers pool and share inventory to avoid stock-outs, has announced it has raised €12 million in capital. Stockly will use the funding to expand across Europe. The funding round involved Eurazeo, the Daphni investment fund and a number of “world-class” business angels, as Stockly stated. Stockly was founded in 2018, and its solutions are already in use at Galeries LafayetteDecathlonGo SportJonak and several hundred other partners.

Stockly is able to digitally share the inventory of the various e-tailers that use its tools, boosting stock depth for each of them. The solution is invisible to customers, as the various stakeholders request neutral packaging. If a product is available from a number of different inventories, Stockly’s algorithm will decide where to source it based on price, distance to customer and service quality.

Stockly was part of Foundry Paris Consumer Industry Program.

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FindMine Closes New Venture Round

FindMine, the leader in AI-powered dynamic content creation for brands, announced that it has closed a new venture capital funding round. Led by XSeed Capital and Underscore VC, this investment supplements a previous seed round and brings total capital investment in FindMine to $9.9 million.

Proceeds from the investment will be used to accelerate go-to-market activities and advance development of FindMine’s AI-powered content engine. Driven by predictive intelligence and merchant sales data, FindMine helps brands articulate their unique points of view to increase revenue and inventory performance across multiple sales channels – including e-commerce, email campaigns and targeted messaging, advertising and social media campaigns, and in-store applications such as kiosks, personal shopper programs and sales associates platforms.

By focusing on the content bottleneck, FindMine has created an entirely new category that addresses current shortcomings in the personalization and customer data platform (CDP) markets. The current personalization landscape has done a great job at carving out one-to-one communication channels with consumers based on their personal data. But it puts the onus on the brand to come up with content to share, resulting in the same small amount of assets being sent to every consumer/segment because marketing teams cannot create bespoke editorial content for every consumer. FindMine’s technology allows marketers to showcase unique, curated shoppable assets to every single segment and customer to improve top-line revenue with larger shopping carts and longer, more profitable customer lifecycles. Merchants use FindMine to improve bottom-line profitability and increase gross margins thanks to more effective inventory and logistics management.

“The current personalization process is broken, and one-to-one, persona-based marketing simply does not scale, because the industry forgot about one big piece of the equation: the content. We’re changing the game with AI-powered automation that can create visual, shoppable assets in milliseconds,” commented FindMine CEO Michelle Bacharach. “We’re excited about this investment because it means that we can continue to grow our platform’s ability to create highly-produced and differentiated editorial content out of thin air – empowering brands and retailers to maintain visibility with customers and other key audiences while driving both revenue and loyalty.”

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Oslo-based foodtech company TotalCtrl receives investment from Newday

TotalCtrl, an Oslo-based food waste prevention software company, announced recently that it has received a significant investment from Norwegian investment company Newday.. Besides Newday, existing investors, including Loyal. VC, also invested. The company says it will use the funds to accelerate its growth nationally and internationally.

TotalCtrl is a foodtech company that leverages its Inventory Management System to help the food industry optimise the planning, purchasing, and use of food inventory by providing data-driven insights and decision support to make fact-based and sustainable choices.

The company works with Halden municipality, Nordic Choice, and Bergstadens hotel – which can show good results in food waste reduction and improved profitability.

Further, TotalCtrl is a certified B corp company, which means it maintains the highest standards in social and environmental impact globally.

“Today is a big day for us at TotalCtrl. The fact that Newday, through a comprehensive process, has chosen to invest significant amounts and not least to contribute important experience, expertise, and passion – means that we can now take the company to a new level. Moreover, Newday’s investment means that TotalCtrl now has the muscle to grow”, says Charlotte Aschim, CEO of TotalCtrl.

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Talent Development Platform GrowthSpace Announces $25 Million in Series B Funding

GrowthSpace, the world’s first outcome-focused talent development platform, today announced $25 million in Series B funding led by Zeev Ventures. Existing investors M12 (Microsoft’s venture fund) and Vertex Ventures participated in this round, which brings the total amount raised to $44 million.

“We’re thrilled with the Series B investment led by Oren Zeev, that enables us to continue partnering with hundreds of forward-thinking companies looking to strengthen investments in the future of their employees, who will be able to drive business KPIs and impact performance through our outcome focused talent development platform,” stated Omer Glass, CEO and Cofounder of GrowthSpace. “The demand for our solutions is strong as we achieved a 5x ARR growth in the last 12 months. Additionally, we have built a network of 1,500 experts in over 50 countries, and look forward to expanding our reach and impact even further.”

The funds will be used to scale global operations to help meet the rapidly accelerating demand of the G2 category leader. The GrowthSpace talent development platform connects employees to relevant experts at scale, solving a major challenge in a $360* billion+ market.  As a market leader in supporting employee professional growth, Growthspace platform understands the challenge of an individual or a group and leverages sophisticated algorithms to match them with a proven, relevant expert for a development sprint. This can then be implemented dynamically and at scale, across an entire organization.

The platform can be implemented modularly to address specific requirements or set up as a comprehensive solution, enabling companies to plan and execute various talent development programs. Customers can utilize individual and group coaching, mentoring (internal & external), training, workshops, and lectures. GrowthSpace enables HR and organizational development executives to dynamically allocate resources and funds between different types of programs based on corporate goals and people requirements. This enables a centralized wallet powering a decentralized system that can be driven by each individual and team.

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ChatBook, developing chatbot and marketing automation tool, acquired by Monex Group

ChatBook, providing the automated marketing solution under the same name utilizing chatbot, has been acquired by Japan’s leading FinTech conglomerate Monex Group(TSE:8698). Monex acquired all stakes in ChatBook for an undisclosed sum.

Chatbook’s most recent funding was a pre-series A round in December of 2019 (securing 100 million yen, about $920,000 in the exchange rate at the time) where Monex Ventures, the VC arm of Monex Group, participated in the investment. Japanese startup database Initial reported ChatBook was valued at 712 million yen (about $6.6 million) at the time.

Chatbook was co-founded in September of 2016 (named Hect as its start) by Maiko Kojima who formerly worked for Prime Again (now known as Prime) as CFO/COO. The firm has been chosen for various accelerator programs so far; the first batch of the Code Public program in 2016, Accelerate course of FbStart which is a developer support program by Facebook in 2017 and the first batch of AI Accelerator organized by the major job information provider Dip.

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Milk Moovement Raises $20 Million USD To Transform the Dairy Industry’s Supply Chain

Milk Moovement, a leading cloud-based dairy supply chain software company, today announced the closing of a $20 million USD Series A round led by VMG Catalyst, the venture capital firm that invests in technology powering the next generation of retail and consumer businesses. The new funding will help accelerate product development and adoption of Milk Moovement among leading dairy businesses in North America.

The over $600 billion global dairy industry has yet to experience a major digital transformation, and the finite delivery windows of a perishable product and constantly shifting consumer preferences make the industry ripe for disruption. Milk Moovement’s technology platform brings the industry from pen-to-paper and legacy systems to the cloud – creating full supply chain visibility for dairy farmers and their distribution partners to track and route shipments in real-time, optimize delivery schedules, and ultimately create a significant decrease in food waste and loss of profits.

“We constantly seek out the best and brightest talent to join us as we build market-leading products and partner with dairy industry leaders,” said CEO and Co-Founder Robert Forsythe. “This latest round of funding is a major win for our employees and investors, but most importantly it allows us to support our incredible partners in getting the right milk to the right place at the right time.”

“VMG Catalyst immediately saw the value Milk Moovement brings to the dairy industry, in particular given a heightened focus on the fragility of global supply chains and the corresponding impact on consumer goods,” said Carle Stenmark, General Partner at VMG Catalyst. “Real-time data transparency is critical for managing perishables and provides tremendous benefit to all the constituents in the dairy value chain. We’re looking forward to seeing even broader adoption of the company’s innovative software platform, and the positive change it creates for the industry.”

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Pexapark secures €8m in Series B funding

This round began in late 2021, and brings Pexapark’s total Series B funding to €14 million, and its total equity investment to €19 million, accelerating its growth in the global renewable energy market.   The funding round, formally announced this month, has seen S&P Global Commodity Insights, which includes S&P’s Platts price benchmarks, and Fluence, an energy storage and digital applications leader, join existing Series A and B investors Encavis, RP Global and BayWa re Energy Ventures in backing the fast-growing business.

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Atlanta food waste management startup Goodr raises $8M

Atlanta food rescue startup Goodr Inc. has raised $8 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, likely the single largest investment round for the 5-year-old company.

As part of the raise, the company also received debt financing from Atlanta Emerging Markets, Inc., a community development entity created by economic development agency Invest Atlanta, for $300,000.

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