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Social media giant Facebook introduces music videos on Facebook Watch

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The US-based social media firm Facebook has launched official music videos under its Facebook Watch segment, allowing users across India, Thailand, and the US to discover, enjoy, and interact with the top-charting tracks and old school videos from different music genres on the social media.

Music from all studios, including T-Series, Zee Music, and Yash Raj Films, would be made available to its users, including international music from artists like Jonas Brothers, Josh Groban, Keith Urban, and more. 

Facebook has tied up with Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and many others in the US and will be expanding its collection of songs and videos. 

Music Destination for its users

As reported by Business Line (1), Facebook has made it a lot easier to find and discover music videos on its platforms, and now one will be able to access the videos in different ways including Facebook Watch’s Music Destination where people will be able to browse and watch music by exploring music by genre, theme, mood, etc., or based on playlists curated for its users like Top Bollywood, Top Artists, etc. 

Manish Chopra, Director & Head of Partnerships at Facebook India, stated that the company has been working on this from the past one year with partners in Indian music industry to build the foundation of a music video experience for their consumers. 

Users can easily follow their favorite artists on Facebook’s Music Destination and can even share their favorite music videos on Facebook Groups and personally on the Messenger. 

One can also access and discover music videos directly on their News Feed, allowing friends and family to share their favorite music, or through Search, making it a one-stop-destination for all of their music entertainment needs. 


A passionate writer with bachelor’s in the field of English & Journalism. Other than being a bibliophile, some of her hobbies are travelling, photography and poetry.

Source: https://timesnext.com/facebook-introduces-music-videos-on-watch/

Crowdfunding

Jeeves Cross Border Corporate Card Fintech gets a $57M Series B

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During the pandemic, international payments for startups is seeing explosive growth, company attests

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Founders of Jeeves, Sherwin Ghandi (Left), and Dileep of Thazhamon (Right).

Jeeves, a Y Combinator graduate credit card app that launched in 2019, announced today it has raised a $57 million Series B Led by CRV.

“We were not looking to do another financing round this soon after our Series A, but fueled by our exponential growth, we received strong interest, and term sheets from multiple funds,” CEO and Co-founder Dileep Thazhmon said. “We’re building an all-in-one global expense management platform for startups in LatAm, Canada, Europe, and the UK — cash, corporate cards, crossborder — all run on our infrastructure.”

Founded after incubating in the Y combinator class of 2019, Jeeves is a cross-boarder card and payments company aiming to slash fees for startups that operate over multiple borders. As a company founded as completely remote, Jeeves has employees all over the world and understands the issues that come with it.

For example, a company with employees in Mexico and the US would need a corporate card vendor in each country and a payment provider between. Jeeves said that with them, you could eliminate the automated 1-2% card fees, pay in local currency, and get up to 4% cashback on every purchase.

Thazhmon, with almost 17 years in the finance and startup space, previously worked in M&A at Deloitte and ran the international payment product for PayPal. Co-founder and President Sherwin Gandhi has almost two decades of experience, building equity trading software and trading at JP Morgan and as a founder and investor in the fintech startup space.

Valuation rises to $50 million

The round came just three months after a Series A of $31 million in equity and $100 million of debt. The new round brings the firm’s valuation to $500 million, the firm said and was lead by CRV, a VC that got in on the ground floor of Doordash and Airtable.

“We were blown away with Jeeves’ growth, consistently hitting and exceeding targets month over month, and the overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers that just love the product,” General Partner at CRV Saar Gur said. “Dileep and Sherwin designed Jeeves’ infrastructure from the ground up to dynamically manage cards, bank-to-bank transfer, FX across an increasing number of regions.”

Gur will be joining the Jeeves board. The firm now covers more than 12 currencies and ten countries across three continents and announced a launch in Colombia, UK, and Europe.

The firm said it would use the capital to fuel the launch, scale its infrastructure to cover more currencies, acquire new talent, and onboard new clients. There is a 15,000+ company waitlist, Jeeves reported.

“Building a business today increasingly requires a distributed team and multi-country banking processes,” Gandhi said in a LinkedIn post after the Series A. “With Jeeves, global business benefits from an unfragmented and cost-effective banking solution, increasing productivity and creating more jobs.”

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Source: https://www.lendacademy.com/jeeves-cross-border-corporate-card-fintech-gets-a-57-m-series-b/

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Telehealth giant Amwell to acquire Portland healthtech startup Conversa

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National telehealth provider Amwell said it will acquire Portland, Ore.-based healthtech startup Conversa and SilverCloud Health.

Conversa, founded in 2014, sells platforms tailored to different medical conditions that allow medical teams to communicate with patients remotely. The company raised $8 million at the beginning of this year, after COVID-19 generated increased need for the service.

Conversa also helps medical providers automate text-based conversations and other administrative tasks before, during and after patients check in to medical care.

Amwell said it will use Conversa’s patient profiling and engagement tools to boost client experience and outcomes.

Murray Brozinksy, CEO of Conversa Health, said the deal will help “usher in the hybrid care delivery model of the future.”

Amwell said it paid approximately $320 million in stock and cash to acquire Conversa and SilverCloud, a digital platform that caters to mental healthcare. The transaction is expected to close at the end of the third quarter.

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Source: https://www.geekwire.com/2021/telehealth-giant-amwell-acquire-portland-healthtech-startup-conversa/

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Egyptian ride-sharing company Swvl plans to go public in a $1.5B SPAC merger

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Cairo and Dubai-based ride-sharing company Swvl plans to go public in a merger with special purpose acquisition company Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, Swvl said Tuesday. The deal will see Swvl valued at roughly $1.5 billion.

Swvl was founded by Mostafa Kandil, Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah in 2017. The trio started the company as a bus-hailing service in Egypt and other ride-sharing services in emerging markets with fragmented public transportation.

Its services, mainly bus-hailing, enables users to make intra-state journeys by booking seats on buses running a fixed route. This is pocket-friendly for residents in these markets compared to single-rider options and helps reduce emissions (Swvl claims it has prevented over 240 million pounds of carbon emission since inception).

After its Egypt launch, Swvl expanded to Kenya, Pakistan, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The company also moved its headquarters to Dubai as part of its strategy to become a global company.

Swvl offerings have expanded beyond bus-hailing services. Now, the company offers inter-city rides, car ride-sharing, and corporate services across the 10 cities it operates in across Africa and the Middle East.

Queen’s Gambit, the women-led SPAC in charge of the deal, raised $300 million in January and added $45 million via an underwriters’ overallotment option focusing on startups in clean energy, healthcare and mobility sectors.

The statement also mentions a group of investors — Agility, Luxor Capital and Zain Group — which will contribute $100 million through a private investment in public equity, or PIPE.

Per Crunchbase, Swvl has raised over $170 million. From an African perspective, Swvl features as one of the most venture-backed startups on the continent. The company has been touted to reach unicorn status in the past and will when this SPAC merger is completed.

The company will aptly trade under the ticker SWVL. The listing will make it the first Egyptian startup to go public outside Egypt and the second to go public after Fawry. It will also make the mobility company the largest African unicorn debut on any U.S.-listed exchange, beating Jumia’s debut of $1.1 billion on the NYSE. Swvl joins music-streaming platform Anghami as the second startup in the region to go public via a SPAC merger in the Middle East.

Swvl had annual gross revenue of $26 million in 2020, according to the statement, and the company expects its annual gross revenue to increase to $79 million this year and $1 billion by 2025 after expanding to 20 countries across five continents.

On why Queen’s Gambit picked Swvl for this deal, Victoria Grace, founder and CEO, said in a statement that the company fit the profile of what she was looking for: “a disruptive platform that solves complex challenges and empowers underserved populations.”

“Having established a leadership position in key emerging markets, we believe Swvl is ready to capitalize on a truly global market opportunity,” she added.

In May, TechCrunch wrote that SPACs didn’t target African startups for several reasons, including a lack of global appeal and private capital and market satisfaction. Judging by Grace’s comments, Swvl has that global appeal and is ready to venture into the public market despite being in operation for just four years.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/07/28/egyptian-ride-sharing-company-swvl-plans-to-go-public-in-a-1-5b-spac-merger/

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Microsoft acquires Seattle startup Suplari, which uses AI to analyze corporate spending

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Suplari co-founders Jeff Gerber, Brian White, and Nikesh Parekh. (Suplari Photo)

Microsoft has acquired Suplari, a Seattle startup that uses artificial intelligence to help companies understand and get a handle on their spending.

Founded in 2016, Suplari analyzes procurement and spending data flowing into various enterprise systems. It can provide recommendations for cost savings, risk exposure, and other efficiency gaps. The software serves as an alternative to compiling data in an app such as Excel or Tableau and having a team of analysts comb through the information themselves. Suplari manages more than $180 billion in spend across millions of transactions per month.

Microsoft said it will pair Suplari with Microsoft Dynamics 365 “to help customers maximize financial visibility by using AI to automate the analysis of current data and historical patterns from multiple data sources.”

“Today’s announcement also signals our continued commitment to enabling organizations to move beyond transactional financial management to proactive operations that enhance decision making, mitigate risks, and reduce supplier costs through our data-first approach,” Microsoft vice president Frank Weigel wrote in a blog post.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Suplari said its “Suplari Spend Intelligence Cloud” will continue to remain available for existing customers.

Suplari is among a bevy of startups using artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate manual processes involving tons of data, and provide recommendations based on the computer-aided number crunching. There are several companies in Seattle applying similar technology in various industries, such as AttunelyLexionSigma IQ, and others.

Suplari had raised $18 million to date, according to PitchBook. Investors include Amplify Partners, Madrona Venture Group, Shasta Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, and Workday Ventures.

The company was co-founded by Jeff Gerber, Brian White, and Nikesh Parekh, Suplari’s CEO.

Parekh is a real estate technology veteran who previously held leadership positions at Market Leader and Trulia. Gerber is a long-time engineering leader who co-founded startups including iConclude (acquired by Opsware and later by HP) and helped lead Apptio’s machine learning and intelligent app development. White worked with Gerber at iConclude as an early employee and did stints at Amazon Web Services and Skytap.

Parekh said Microsoft and Suplari have had partnership discussions over the past several years.

“Given Microsoft’s AI, cloud and data investments, customers can expect that Suplari will continue to deliver more AI-driven, predictive & prescriptive insights and integrated workflows for finance, procurement, & supply chain teams,” he wrote in a blog post.

The deal is the latest in a string of IPOs, fundings, and acquisitions across the Seattle startup ecosystem. Earlier this week Seattle startup Algorithmia was acquired by DataRobot.

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Source: https://www.geekwire.com/2021/microsoft-acquires-seattle-startup-suplari-uses-ai-analyze-corporate-spending/

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