Roundup of news and ideas from the world of startups – Week ending 15th Dec 2019.
News you can use
Does Your Startup Offer Remote Work? It Should. Workplace flexibility is on the rise, and smart employers are building a plan for growth. Recently our company had a mandatory work from home (WFH) week due to an office upgrade. What I found so interesting was the stark difference of opinions concerning working away from the office, or what is commonly referred to as remote work. I realized that people either loved it or hated it. Those that hated it had no experience with working remotely before and felt lost being unconnected and out of their routine. The majority of employees, especially the more senior, loved the time they saved by eliminating their dreaded commutes, and the comforts of working in their custom environment.
Startup Merger and Acquisitions
DataRobot acquires Accel-backed data preparation startup Paxata – DataRobot Inc., a unicorn that makes software for developing artificial intelligence models, has bought fellow startup Paxata Inc. to add more depth to its feature set. The deal size wasn’t disclosed in the acquisition announcement that went out Thursday afternoon. It was most likely a fairly sizable transaction. DataRobot is backed by over $400 million in funding, while Paxata has raised $86 million of its own from investors including Accel and boasts thousands of customers.
Walmart India Backs Grocery Supply Chain Startup Ninjacart – Walmart India is investing in B2B supply chain management startup Ninjacart, a company that specializes in streamlining the strategic sourcing operations of the grocery sector. Reports in Fresh Plaza on Friday (Dec. 13) said that Walmart India, alongside Flipkart (which was acquired by Walmart in 2018), led the investment in Ninjacart for an undisclosed sum. In a joint statement, the investors said their work with Ninjacart aims to bolster Walmart India’s Best Price B2B cash-and-carry stores, as well as Flipkart’s online grocery operation, Supermart. The collaboration and investment will focus on expanding access to quality produce both for consumers and the retailers that supply it, the firms noted.
Apple Reportedly Acquires Spectral Edge – Apple has bought a tech startup that improves mobile photo quality, according to a new report from Bloomberg. Spectral Edge technology improves colors in smartphone photos. Photograph is a key differentiator in the smartphone market.
Waymo enters the UK with acquisition of self-driving AI startup Latent Logic – Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has been pushing the self-driving car industry forward through its subsidiary Waymo. To date, the company has operated primarily within the US, but a recent acquisition demonstrates its interest in expanding internationally as well. As reported by The Guardian, Waymo has bought the UK-based AI company Latent Logic, which specializes in the testing of autonomous vehicles.
The Cautionary Tale of Three Startups Acquired by WeWork – WeWork announced yesterday that it would shut down Spacious, the company it acquired for $42.5 million just four months ago. Spacious transforms empty areas in restaurants during the day into co-working spaces. When Fortune reported on the deal in August, the story contained some cringe-worthy quotes like this one: “WeWork is still in growth mode—they need to hit those growth numbers post-IPO, and a couple acquisitions would help them do that,” said Matthew Kennedy, senior IPO market strategist at Renaissance Capital.
Kitchen tech startup Nomiku is winding down operations – This week, Kitchen tech startup Nomiku posted on its website that it is winding down operations. Nomiku, a San Francisco-based startup was founded after a successful Kickstarter project for its inaugural Nomiku Immersion Circulator. At that time, the company raised more than $1.3 million over two Kickstarter campaigns. In 2017, Samsung Ventures invested in the company, with plans to integrate it into its SmartThings connected platform.