Active.ai – intelligent virtual assistants for financial service institutions

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Active.ai will use funding to accelerate development of its platform’s features

Active.ai

Singapore-based fintech startup Active.ai has raised US$3 million from IDG Ventures India and Kalaari Capital.

It aims to use the newly-raised capital to accelerate the development of more advanced AI features for its platform.

Founded by Ravishankar, Shankar Narayanan and Parikshit Paspulati, Active.ai develops intelligent virtual assistants for financial service institutions. These virtual assistants come in the form of bots, SMS or voice API’s.

Customers who leverage on this automated AI-enabled service can get their queries and businesses handled much quicker than traditional means such as via telephone.

“Conversation is the new UX and with banks opening up APIs, a new era of digital business is emerging. We are moving from ‘Mobile First’ to ‘AI first’ and Active.ai is the platform facilitating banks to achieve that,” said Ravishankar, in a press statement.

“43 per cent of worldwide mobile phone consumers with a bank account use mobile banking today. The new generation of banking customers are looking for easy, secure and seamless interaction with their financial services provider,” said Sanat Rao, IDG Ventures.

Image Credit: Active.ai

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#Asia Price comparison platform Priceza gets Series B from Germany’s Hubert Burda Media

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Priceza operates in six countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, with over 13 million monthly visitors

Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 11.38.44

Priceza, a shopping search engine and price comparison platform in Southeast Asia, has secured a “seven-figure USD range and significantly higher than Series A funding” in Series B round from German media giant Hubert Burda Media (HBM).

The investment was made through HBM’s VC arm Burda Principal Investments (BPI).

HBM has taken over the initial stake from CyberAgent Ventures (CAV) giving them a 24.9 per cent share in Thailand-based Priceza.

Founded in 2010 by Thanawat Malabuppha, Vachara Nivataphand and Wirod Supadul, Priceza operates in six countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam) with over 13 million monthly visitors. The platform has a product database of over 59 million items.

In Thailand alone, Priceza has over 7.5 million monthly active users.

Priceza CEO Malabuppha said: “For Priceza, it’s a significant milestone; recognition as a strong, international tech-based company. Being backed by a strategic, global investor like HBM, who shares our mission, enables us to leverage their digital expertise and in depth media understanding to deliver the best online shopping services to consumers across SEA.”

Hubert Burda Media, headquartered in Munich, is an international technology and media company with over 540 brands and products that are oriented to the needs of consumers. Burda has 175 million users and approximately 60 million paying consumers. Burda is active in 19 markets in Europe, the US and Asia. Its portfolio companies include etsy.com (invested since 2006) or Xing (invested since 2009).

“We are looking at increasing our investments in SEA and Priceza seemed a natural choice because of how it has grown from an idea from three Thai computer engineers in 2010 to a high-profile platform spanning 6 countries,” said Fredrich von Scanzoni, CEO at Burda Asia.

“This is in alignment of our strategy to invest in a great team and in a robust e-commerce ecosystem. We have been investing in e-commerce companies for the past 20 years and understand the price comparison space very well. With Priceza joining our portfolio, they will bring deep insights into the region and together we can build Priceza to be a significant player and market leader in SEA,” said Friedrich.

Set up in 2015, BPI offers long-term growth equity for fast-growing digital technology and media companies.

According to the Euromonitor, Bofa Merrill Lynch’s eCommerce Report, e-commerce shopping accounts for a mere 1-2 per cent of total retail sales in SEA, compared to 16 per cent in Korea, 9 per cent in the US and 8 per cent global average. With the growing e-commerce ecosystem in the region, having the support of HBM will firmly place Priceza as the number one online shopping search engine in this region and provide the fuel for rapid growth.

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Tuplejump – using artificial intelligence to understand and manage big data

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Tuplejump

Photo credit: iphonedigital.

Apple has bought Tuplejump, a Hyderabad-based startup that uses artificial intelligence to understand and manage big data, according to reports from TechCrunch and Bloomberg. The acquisition happened in June, Bloomberg said.

Tuplejump was founded by Rohit Rai, Satyaprakash Buddhavarapu, and Deepak Alur. According to Rohit and Satyaprakash’s LinkedIn profiles, they moved to work at Apple in May. Deepak left to join Anaplan in April. Tuplejump’s site has been taken down.

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” Colin Johnson, an Apple spokesman, said in a statement to TechCrunch.

If the reports are true, this will be Apple’s third acquisition this year. Last month, it bought machine-learning startup Turi for US$200 million. In January, it bought Emotient for an undisclosed amount. Emotient uses artificial intelligence to analyze facial expressions to figure out emotions. It’s also yet another addition to the company’s foray into artificial intelligence technology. In October 2015, Apple acquired Perceptio, which makes it possible to run artifical intelligence image-classification programs on phones without needing too much customer data.

Tuplejump will be the first Indian startup that Apple has bought.

The southern city of Hyderabad has had some of its other startups get attention. AppVirality, a startup that develops toolkits to help mobile developers figure out how to grow their apps, has been backed by Rajan Anandan, managing director of Google India and Southeast Asia.

Tuplejump – Source: TechCrunch

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Tuplejump

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Tuplejump

Gfycat – user-generated content platform

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Gfycat A startup called Gfycat (which is pronounced “Jiffy Cat”) has raised a mammoth $10 million seed round to turn its already popular user-generated content platform into a revenue generating concern. On the content creation side of its business, the startup reports that 2.5 million unique users have already created 25 million “Gfycats,” or short, silent, looping animations… Read More

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Flywheel – Uber-like system for taxi cabs to NYC

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Flywheel Taxi startup Flywheel is officially making its move into New York City, with the aim to better equip old-school taxis to take on Uber and Lyft. Flywheel recently received approval from the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission to operate TaxiOS, its smartphone-based taxi meter that comes with electronic dispatch, payments, navigation and GPS-based metering. Competitors like Arro by Creative… Read More

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Scale Model – betaworks-backed marketing platform for better audience targeting

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Scale Model Scale Model, the betaworks-backed marketing platform for better audience targeting, has today announced the launch of its fully-baked V2.
Scale Model hooks into the Twitter Ads API to help brands and influencers better understand their audience, and the way that their own follower community, or sub-communities, interact with one another.
Upon the initial launch, Scale Model was building out… Read More

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SMS Contraceptive – deliver condoms in 30 minutes

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SMS Contraceptive

Forget fast pizza deliveries, an Indian startup wants to ensure that you find condoms at any time within 30 minutes.

Delhi-based startup SMS Contraceptive is delivering condoms and contraceptive pills in less than half-an-hour. What’s more, it will hand over your package for free if it fails to deliver on its promise. The startup aims to break the societal barriers people face in India while buying contraceptives.

“Many don’t want to have that awkward conversation with a chemist,” Sirhaan Seth, 18, founder of SMS Contraceptive told Mashable India. “We are currently seeing more queries from youngsters aged between 18 to 25,” Seth added. Read more…

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SMS Contraceptive

InfluxData – organizing IOT data

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InfluxData Imagine for a moment that you’re riding in one of John Zimmer’s proposed autonomous sleeper cars and you’re fast asleep on a road trip across the state. All of the sensors on the vehicle are collecting data so that standard components like the engine and steering systems don’t kill you. At sub-second intervals, some believe your car could generate nearly a gigabyte… Read More

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InfluxData

Gametime – last-minute, textable tickets to sporting events and concerts

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Gametime Gametime has raised $20 million in venture funding for an app that allows people to find and buy tickets to a nearby concert or sporting event at the last minute, and even up to a half-hour after a game begins.
Evolution Media Partners led Gametime’s Series B round, joined by GV, Stanford’s StartX Fund, Accel Partners, Casey Wasserman and Jeff Mallett.
The funding brings… Read More

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Gametime