Corporate venture capital (CVC) is an investment by a corporate (fund) into external startups in order to make a financial return or to gain a competitive advantage. CVC is a polarizing subject and opinions are divided. Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures believes that it's evil and corporates should not invest in startups but simply buy them. While Marc Andreessen from Andreessen Horowitz on the other hand is co-investing with corporations such as General Electric. Whatever the opinions are, fact is that CVC is on the rise, also in the old continent.
Mapbox, a Washington, DC and San Francisco provider of nav systems for car companies and others involved in autonomous vehicles, raised $164 million in a Series C round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund, with participation from existing investors including Foundry Group, DFJ Growth, DBL Partners, and Thrive Capital. "Location data is central and mission critical to the development of the world's most exciting technologies," said Rajeev Misra, who helps oversee SoftBank's Vision Fund. Element AI, a Canadian startup providing learning platform solutions for self-driving and advanced manufacturing, raised $135 CAD million (around $105 million) in a Series A round (in June) led by Data Collective, a SV-based venture capital firm, and included participation by Fidelity Investments Canada, National Bank of Canada, Intel Capital, and Real Ventures. Ninebot, the Chinese consumer products company that bought out Segway and raised $80 million in 2015, raised another $100 million in a Series C round from the SDIC Fund Management Co. and the China Mobile Fund. Horizon Robotics, another Chinese startup, raised $100 million in a Series A round led by Intel Capital with participation by Wu Capital, Morningside Venture Capital, Linear Venture, Hillhouse Capital and Harvest Investments.
Europe is a hotbed of AI innovation. Here are 25 AI start-ups to watch out for in 2017 and beyond. There are literally hundreds of promising companies pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence and machine learning in Europe. We've included a number of Israel-based start-ups because they too fall into the sphere of influence of European investors. And, judging by recent acquisitions of Israel-based machine vision and AI companies by players like Apple and Intel, they are definitely producing the goods.
"Now is the best time in history to be an entrepreneur in Europe." That is one of the banner conclusions from a new report, The State of European Tech, published today by VC firm Atomico and Slush, the organisation behind of the Finnish tech conference of the same name. The expansive report, which surveyed founders, investors and other members of the European startup community, details a changing Europe that still faces a wealth of challenges but whose ecosystem is maturing, putting the region in an ever-better position to take those challenges on. Invest Europe, LinkedIn, and several others, which further demonstrates that the environment for tech startups to thrive in Europe has been steadily improving since 2011. Despite ups and downs along the way, overall it's easier than ever for young tech companies to attract funding, find talent, and scale their businesses to the next level, the report shows.