China Digest: Cisco backs $30m round in City Cloud; SoundAI raises $15m

@machinelearnbot

Chinese tech companies City Cloud and SoundAI have successfully raised $30 million and $15 million in separate funding rounds respectively. Cisco Investments and Country Garden Holdings co-led a $30 million (RMB200 million) Series B round in City Cloud International, a Hangzhou-based company focused on cloud computing and Big Data technologies, China Money Network reported. City Cloud disclosed the latest investment during the company's fifth anniversary, along with RMB500 million worth of credit from several banks. The company develops and sells Smart Connected Communities platforms and cloud computing services. It has subsidiaries in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu, and Hong Kong.


Face-recognition start-up Megvii said to raise $100 million

#artificialintelligence

Hong Kong/Beijing: Megvii Inc., a Chinese developer of facial-recognition technology, has raised at least $100 million from investors including Foxconn Technology Group and CCB International Holdings Ltd, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. The owner of Face is still in talks with other investors for more funding, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private. Megvii confirmed it's raising funds while declining to comment on the specific amount. It plans to work with investors to improve facial recognition technology, especially in the financial industry, smart cities and robotics, the company said in an e-mailed statement. Megvii provides face-scanning systems to Ant Financial, which operates the dominant payments service on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's online shopping platforms.


An Israeli Startup Raises $12.5 Million To Help Governments Spy On IoT

Forbes - Tech

Surveillance companies are showing an increasing interest in hacking into IoT devices like the Amazon Echo. With an impressive seed raise of $12.5 million and ex-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak as co-founder, alongside an "all-star" leadership team, Tel Aviv-based Toka Cyber can certainly claim to have nailed the definition of an auspicious beginning. But, as it comes out of stealth Monday, Toka is revealing itself as an atypical force in the digital security sphere, acting as a one-stop hacking shop for intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Whatever spy tool they need, Toka will try to craft it for them. Privacy activists are hoping the company follows through on its promise to operate ethically.


ThetaRay raises $30 million to grow its AI-powered cybersecurity business

#artificialintelligence

ThetaRay, a big data analytics company based in Hod HaSharon, Israel, today announced that it raised more than $30 million in a funding round led by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), GE, Bank Hapoalim, OurCrowd, SVB Investments, and others. That puts its fundraising total to date at about $60 million. "In this era when criminal activity and money laundering are increasing and becoming more sophisticated and also regulation is on the rise, there is a greater demand for our solutions," Mark Gazit, CEO of ThetaRay, said in a statement. "As the amount of digital information grows, you just can't protect it without artificial intelligence systems. ThetaRay offers the most advanced and mature solutions to detect threats before they happen."


Alibaba Thinks Outside the China Box

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. BABA 7.06 %, its business maturing at home in China, is seeking out growth in India and Southeast Asia. In India, the internet giant in recent months has snapped up executives with experience in the country's fast-growing, highly competitive e-commerce sector, a sign it could be planning an online-shopping push there. "We acquired the majority control of Lazada in an effort to start to serve local consumers in Southeast Asia, and that's something that's going to be a very important potential market for us," Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joe Tsai said on a conference call Thursday after the company reported revenue growth of 59% for its latest quarter. The attention to other parts of Asia comes as Alibaba faces competition at home from e-commerce rivals such as JD.com JD 5.84 % Inc. and as it attempts to boost revenue outside of its core commerce business. Analysts say e-commerce in India, the world's second-most-populous country, could take off the way it did in China as broadband internet spreads and incomes rise.