Sava, a spend management platform for African companies, receives pre-seed funding of $2 million
Yoeal Haile founded the lending company Aspira in 2017 with the goal of giving Kenyans additional options when using credit to buy goods. The company soon expanded to the point where it could provide customers loans totaling more than $1 million per month. On the other end of the scale, though, Haile observed a greater untapped opportunity: small and medium-sized firms (SMBs).
Like most African businesses, retailers using the Aspira platform suffered from cash flow issues and lacked access to affordable loans to expand their operations. While informal lenders serve as loan sharks to the detriment of smaller enterprises, banks have strict credit criteria. They don’t care much about small businesses, especially those without any local credit history or track record.
Modular closes $30 million seed round to simplify the process of developing AI systems
AI has the power to change the world. However, if you talk to the co-founders of Modular, a firm that is currently emerging from stealth, the software used to create it is “monolithic,” broken up into silos with a layer of complexity placed on top of each other. TensorFlow and PyTorch, two AI development frameworks maintained by Google and Facebook, respectively, are only two examples of the helpful contributions offered by major tech corporations. But according to the co-founders of Modular, many businesses exhibit a predilection for their infrastructure and tooling at the price of the advancement of AI.
Modular seeks to remedy this. The company closed a sizable ($30 million) seed round, led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), with participation from Greylock, The Factory, and SV Angel, to realize its vision of a streamlined, platform-agnostic AI system. The company was founded by former Apple and Google engineers and executives.
Retail Rocket, a startup in marketing automation, receives $24 million for growth
Retail Rocket, a platform for managing customer retention for companies, declared today that it has secured $24 million in a Series A investment headed by the private equity firm Flintera in Cyprus. Along with the investment, Retail Rocket also disclosed that it had purchased SailPlay, a business that created software to aid merchants in creating loyalty programs and launching mass marketing campaigns.
Twelve recycles CO2 captured into fuel, sunglasses, and other things
Many people are requesting change and coming up with original solutions to this problem as climate change continues to be a pressing concern on a global scale. In an effort to contribute to the answer, Twelve, a self-described “carbon transformation firm,” transforms captured CO2 into goods that are often generated from fossil fuels.
Visby Medical tests positive for a Series E extension at $1B+ valuation
Visby Medical, a provider of medical diagnostics, earlier this year received $100 million in a Series E financing. The company informed me today that it has increased that round’s size by $35 million while maintaining the round’s overall valuation. With this funding, Visby Medical will be able to increase its monthly test manufacturing capacity from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands. Additionally, it will supply at-home PCR diagnostics to customers and further expand its product line to include COVID + influenza A/B combo testing, antimicrobial resistance panels, and COVID + influenza testing.
Wirestock, an AI-driven photo stock business, joins with Getty Images
Taking excellent pictures is frequently only a small portion of what a stock photographer does. Keywording, categorizing, captioning, and all the other admin that goes along with it can take up nearly as much time as running a profitable business. That is the issue that Wirestock is addressing, and the business recently signed a significant agreement with Getty Images to increase the dissemination of its content.
Flying the efficiency flag, Wirestock asserts that its platform is the only one that automatically completes all the manual tasks necessary to sell material online, such as keywording and captioning. Additionally, it offers content creators a platform for content distribution so they may make their material available on various content marketplaces and platforms as well as an instant shop where they can directly license their own photographs..
Fintech Klarna reportedly raising at a $6.5B valuation, giving new meaning to the phrase ‘down round’
According to unnamed sources cited by The Wall Street Journal, Klarna was “negotiating to raise approximately $650 million from existing investors led by Sequoia Capital, with the remainder coming from other investors.” Michael Moritz, chairman of Sequoia, also serves as chairman of the troubled payments behemoth.
The Journal stated that the deal is still being finalized. However, if successful, it will mark a significant reversal of fortune for Klarna, which was enjoying success when it secured $639 million in a round-headed by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 at a valuation of $45.6 billion last year.
OpenSea’s $13B valuation doesn’t make sense as NFT trading volumes plunge
When we take into account how often its market grows and collapses, the new OpenSea valuation seems to be a little costly relative to recent fundamentals. The interest in NFTs fluctuated during last year alone. NFTs are a busy environment, and the guidelines for behavior there are still very much in flux. Furthermore, OpenSea is probably too pricey for the cryptocurrency trading firm to purchase given that Coinbase is entering the NFT space. So for the two, it will be a year of wearing gloves.