The Bulletin
NEW
Microsoft and Darktrace partner to tackle cybersecurity with AI
Microsoft is partnering with Darktrace, an autonomous cybersecurity AI company that uses self-learning AI to respond to threats at "machine speed". The technology works to learn from enterprise environments, learning a sense of “self” to distinguish between benign and malicious behaviours. Microsoft says the partnership will provide unparalleled defence against sophisticated attacks.
2H
AI chip company Mythic raises $70m
Mythic has pocketed $70m in its latest round of funding. The company's AI chips are built with analog technology and integrated with dense flash memory, making them cheaper and more energy efficient than other AI chips. The chips are most commonly deployed in smart home devices. Blackrock and HPE led this latest investment round. Mythic has so far raised $165m in total funding.
7H
Tech firms form coalition to lobby U.S. government over chip subsidies
Tech companies in the United States have formed a coalition to lobby the government for chip making subsidies. In recent months some industries have been forced to slow production because of the global semiconductor shortage. The newly-formed Semiconductors in America Coalition is made up of both chip makers such as Intel, and chip buyers includes Apple, Microsoft and Google.
7H
City of Tulsa hit by ransomware attack, systems taken offline
The City of Tulsa, Oklahoma has shut down a number of its online systems after being hit by a ransomware attack. In a Facebook post, Tulsa's government said the City has shut down various servers, internal programmes and its email system. "No customer information has been compromised, but residents may not be able to access City websites and there could be delays for some City services," it said.
8H
ServiceNow to acquire Lightstep
ServiceNow has signed an agreement to acquire next-generation observability leader Lightstep. ServiceNow said the acquisition will "solidify and accelerate its position as the world’s leading enterprise platform for digital businesses". ServiceNow said that it expects to complete the acquisition in second quarter of 2021. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
1D
Self-driving tech company Plus agrees $3.3bn SPAC deal
Self-driving truck technology company Plus has announced it is merging with SPAC company Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V. The deal values the company at $3.3bn, with the newly formed business getting proceeds of $500m, including a private investment of $150m. PlusDrive uses advanced sensing technologies, including radar, LiDAR, and cameras to provide a 360-degree sensing system.
1D
Pentagon could pull the plug on JEDI
The U.S. Pentagon is considering pulling the plug on its JEDI cloud project. The deal was awarded to Microsoft back in 2019 but has been challenged by AWS over allegations of political interference. The Pentagon had been set to dismiss most of AWS's case but a federal judge blocked such a move last month. The project was worth $10bn and is set to uproot the government's defence infrastructure.
1D
JPMorgan appoints two new CIOs
JPMorgan has appointed two new CIOs for its technology divisions, according to Reuters. James Reid will take the role of CIO for a new unit focused on developing and modernising tech for the bank's employees and is also the company's first ever Black CIO, said the report. Melissa Goldman has been appointed as CIO for the renamed Finance, Risk, Data and Controls technology unit.
1D
Nokia wins contract for Swisscom's optical transport network
Nokia has won a major contract with Swisscom to supply its new optical transfer network. The network transformation will allow Swisscom to meet demands around remote work and learning applications, video streaming, gaming and cloud computing. It is believed the deal will also lead to cost savings for Swisscom in the future. "Nokia has proven to be a trusted partner," said its CIO.
1D
Major U.S. fuel line hit by cyberattack
One of the major fuel lines in the U.S. has been shut down by a ransomware attack. The system is owned by Colonial Pipeline Co. and supplies more than 100m gallons of oil to the East Coast, from New York to Texas. Colonial Pipeline said it had taken some of its systems offline after the attack, which hit the company on Friday. Reuters says the attack may involve the DarkSide ransomware group.
4D
Huntress lands $40m for endpoint security platform
Huntress has been boosted by a $40m funding round. The endpoint security firm will use the cash to scale its platform. Managed service providers deliver Huntress to small and medium-sized businesses to support their security needs. “Until small businesses can improve their security posture, they’ll remain prime targets for attackers,” said Huntress' CEO. The Series B was led by JMI Equity.
4D
Oculii raises $55m to advance AI radar perception
Oculii has raised $55m in a Series B funding round to advance its work and development of advanced AI software for radar perception. Its Virtual Aperture Imaging platform sends out an adaptive, phase-modulated waveform that changes in real-time with the environment and then encodes that data over time. The new round of financing brings Oculii’s total funding amount to $75m.
4D
India holds up approvals for wireless China-made devices
India has held up approvals for the import of wifi modules from China for months, Reuters reported. This situation has forced companies such as U.S. computer makers Dell and HP and China's Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Lenovo to delay product launches in a key growth market. More than 80 applications have been pending approval since at least November 2020, according to sources.
4D
Twitter launches Tip Jar to let users send money to favourite tweeters
Twitter has introduced Tip Jar, a new feature that allows users to send money to their favourite creators on the platform without Twitter taking a cut from it. The feature connects users with their Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal or Venmo accounts.“This is a first step in our work to create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter — with money,” Twitter said.
4D
Ericsson and Samsung settle patent disputes
Ericsson and Samsung have put their patent disputes behind them and agreed a new global license agreement. This includes patents relating to all cellular technologies. Lawsuits between the companies were ongoing in several countries. They have also agreed on tech cooperation projects to advance the mobile industry. "This confirms the value of our patent portfolio," said an Ericsson spokesperson.
5D
Enterprise subscription platform ReCharge raises $277m
Enterprise subscription platform ReCharge has raised $277mn in growth capital from Summit Partners, ICONIQ Growth, and Bain Capital Ventures. ReCharge helps brands to grow by allowing them to easily add subscriptions offerings to their business. The funnding round has taken the company's valuation to $2.1bn. Andrew Collins, Managing Director at Summit Partners has joined its Board of Directors.
5D
Insurance tech startup Shift Technologies becomes a tech unicorn
French startup Shift Technology has achieved a $1bn valuation after raising $220m in its latest funding round. The company sells a set of AI-based SaaS tools to insurance companies to scan and flag fraud scenarios including claims fraud, claims automation, subrogation detection and financial crime detection. Shift now wants to expand into the healthcare and travel sectors.
5D
IBM makes chip breakthrough with 2-nanometer technology
IBM has released what it claims to be the world's first 2-nanometer chip technology. It says the tech could offer up to 45% higher performance than standard 7-nanometer chips. IBM highlighted potential use cases, including mobile devices with 4x the battery life and data centres with far smaller carbon footprints. The chip fits 50 billion transistors on an area the size of a fingernail.
5D
Galaxy Digital buys crypto outfit BitGo for $1.2bn
Financial services and investment company Galaxy Digital has agreed a $1.2bn deal to buy enterprise cryptocurrency wallet and services startup. Founded in 2013, BitGo was the first independent regulated custodian, purpose-built for digital assets. BitGo processes over 30bn monthly transactions, supports the custody of more than 400 coins and tokens and has more than $40bn of assets under custody.
5D
KX teams up with Microsoft for cloud-native streaming analytics
Streaming analytics company KX is teaming up with Microsoft to expand capabilities on Azure. It will become an official Microsoft partner and the pair will help companies scale their real-time analytics tools. The partnership will initially focus on the financial services and industrial IoT sectors. “We’re pleased to welcome KX to the Microsoft Azure Marketplace," said a Microsoft spokesperson.
6D
Facebook's Workplace hits seven million subscribers
Facebook's enterprise collaboration platform Facebook Workplace has revealed that the number of paid subscribers has hit seven million. It said that it has seen subscribers rise by more than 40% over the last 12 months and from two million in March 2019. Customers include Virgin Atlantic, Walmart, Telefónica, BT, Booking.com, Deliveroo, AstraZeneca, Starbucks and Save the Children.
6D
Timescale nets $40m for time series database
Timescale is pressing ahead with the cloudification of its popular time series database following a hefty funding round. The creator of TimescaleDB has raised $40m in a Series B led by Redpoint Ventures. Its database allows users to measure data that changes over time. Timescale will invest cash to build its cloud-native relational database, as well as an observability platform for developers.
6D
TSMC planning Arizona chip factory expansion - report
Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC plans to build five additional chips plants at its $12bn facility that it is building in Arizona, according to Reuters. Three sources told the news agency that the company has put plans in place to increase the factory's output. There is a global shortage of silicon chips, which is putting pressure on multiple industries and could last until 2023.
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6D
Cymulate raises $45m to further threat testing platform
Cymulate has raised $45m in funding to further its cybersecurity testing platform. The company's technology tests companies' cloud and on-premise networks against the latest cybersecurity threats. Funding was led by One Peak, together with existing investors Susquehanna Growth Equity, Vertex Ventures Israel, Vertex Growth and Dell Technologies Capital. Cymulate has raised $71m to date.
6D
WhatsApp relaunches its payment system in Brazil
WhatsApp has relaunched its free of change, person-to-person payments service in Brazil. The service was suspended last June by Brazil’s Central Bank citing concerns about competition, efficiency and data privacy. The company is looking to expand the service in the country to allow for business payments. For the time being, only a limited amount of people will be able to use the service.
6D
Elon Musk's Starlink internet service gets 500,000 preorders
Elon Musk’s SpaceX has received more than 500,000 preorders for its Starlink satellite internet service it’s rolling out. Starlink is Musk's project to build an interconnected internet network designed to deliver high-speed internet to consumers anywhere on the planet. Musk said that the orders are "fully refundable" but that the company anticipates no technical problems in meeting this demand.
6D
AWS makes Amazon DevOps Guru generally available
AWS has made its Amazon DevOps Guru service generally available. The tool, designed to improve application availability for users, was first announced at an event in December. DevOps Guru uses machine learning to detect operational issues with apps, and recommend specific remediation actions. "It is so simple that turning it on would be an easy choice for every AWS customer," said a spokesperson.
7D
Teradata enhances offering on Google Cloud
Teradata has expanded its enterprise analytics offering through Google Cloud. The company's Vantage platform was made available on Google Cloud last year but this latest enhancement is designed to make it easier for customers to take advantage of a consumption pricing model. Teradata's technology connects data with key business intelligence, AI and machine learning services.
7D
Data backup company Acronis raises $250m, valued at $2.5bn+
Cybersecurity company Acronis has raised $250m in funding, taking its value to more than $2.5bn. A significant portion of the investment will also be used to further enhance Acronis’ go-to-market initiatives by expanding its broad partner network – most notably managed service providers. Funding was led by CVC Capital Partners VII with participation from other investors.
7D
Apple hires former Google AI scientist Samy Bengio
Apple has hired former Google AI scientist Samy Bengio, who recently left the company after controversy about its Google Brain unit. A report from Reuters says that Bengio is expected to lead a new AI research unit at Apple under John Giannandrea, senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy. Giannandrea also joined Apple in 2018 after spending a number of years working for Google.
7D
Dell to sell cloud platform Boomi for $4bn
Dell has agreed to sell its cloud-based integration platform as a service, Boomi, for $4bn to Francisco Partners and TPG Capital. Boomi is used by more than 15,000 customers globally to discover, manage and orchestrate data. The cash transaction is valued at $4 billion and is expected to close by the end of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.
7D
Vast Data valued at $3.7bn after new funding round
Vast Data has landed $83m from a new funding round, valuing the company at $3.7bn. The software storage firm has seen its valuation soar since last year and has now received further backing from investment giant Tiger Global Management. Vast specialises in flash storage and was founded in 2016 in Israel. Other backers include Goldman Sachs and Dell Technologies Capital.
7D
Verizon sells Yahoo, AOL for $5bn to private equity firm Apollo
Verizon Communications Inc has decided to offload its media businesses, including iconic brands such as Yahoo and AOL. The brands have been bought by private equity firm Apollo Global for $5 billion. With this transaction, Verizon's venture into the media and advertising space comes to an end. Verizon's new CEO, Hans Vestberg, wants to focus on growing the telecom side of the business instead.
11D
Developer-focused video platform Mux achieves unicorn status
Developer-focused video platform Mux has raised $105m in a Series D funding round. This latest investment brings Mux's total funding to $175m and raises its valuation to over $1bn. With this capital, Mux will accelerate hiring and delivery of features that enable developers to focus on building innovative video experiences. Over the last year, Mux has seen 300% growth of on-demand video streaming.
11D
EU charges Apple with anticompetitive behaviour
The European Commission has issued a formal ‘statement of objections’ charging Apple with breaking EU competition rules over its managing of the App Store. The EU accused Apple of raising the costs of competing music streaming app developers. Apple has 12 weeks to respond to the charges and faces a large fine and being forced to change its policies if its arguments do not convince the regulators.
11D
Intel wants $10bn in subsidies for new European chip plant
U.S. chipmaker Intel is seeking $9.7bn in public subsidies to build a new semiconductor manufacturing facility in Europe and reduce its reliance on Asian exports, according to its Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger. "What we’re asking from both the U.S. and the European governments is to make it competitive for us to do it here compared to in Asia," he said in an interview with Politico.
11D
Coinbase acquires crypto analytics company Skew
Leading cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has secured the acquisition of crypto analytics firm Skew. Coinbase says the deal will help users make trading decisions based on real-time data. Skew was only founded in 2018 but its platform is used by hedge funds, trading firms, banks and exchanges. The acquisition thought to be part of Coinbase’s broader strategy to serve institutional clients.
11D
Microsoft buys Kinvolk to boost "container-optimised innovation"
Microsoft has acquired Kinvolk in a bid to add more container services to Azure. Kinvolk is behind a Linux distribution currently used by Microsoft and other cloud providers. The distribution, called Flatcar Linux, has a number of optimisations for running containerised applications. Kinvolk will help Microsoft develop the Azure Kubernetes Service, which is a "high priority" for Azure customers.
12D
IBM buys Turbonomic to manage cloud apps
IBM has agreed to acquire Turbonomic in a deal reportedly worth up to $2bn. Turbonomic's technology manages application performance and fits in with IBM's broader strategy around AIOps and hybrid cloud. IBM says the acquisition will help its clients overcome the high costs normally associated with application management. The transaction is set to close in the second quarter of this year.
12D
AI-threat detections startup Vectra AI raises $130m, valued at $1.2bn
AI-driven threat detection and response company Vectra AI is technology's newest unicorn after a $130m funding round valued the startup at $1.2bn. Blackstone Growth led the funding round with the investment to be used to drive Vectra's continued growth through platform innovation and expansion into new markets and geographies. The funding round takes Vectra AI's funding to-date to $350m.
12D
AWS's JEDI cloud protest allowed by U.S. judge
In the latest twist in the JEDI cloud contract saga, a judge has declined efforts to dismissed AWS's protest lawsuit. The U.S. Department of Defense awarded the contract, which could be worth as much as $10bn, to AWS's cloud rival Microsoft in October 2019, but the programme has been held up since with litigation. AWS claims the tendering process was prejudicial and favoured Microsoft.
12D
Paxos joins unicorn club after $2.4 billion valuation
PayPal cryptocurrency partner Paxos has become a tech unicorn after a large funding round that valued the company at $2.4 billion. The $300 million Series D was led by Oak. Previous investors Declaration Partners, PayPal Ventures, Mithril Capital and others were also involved. Paxos builds white-label infrastructure services for clients that want to offer cryptocurrency products.
12D
Paysafe announces global agreement with AWS
Paysafe, the multinational payments provider, has struck a major agreement with AWS. It will migrate all of its "mission critical" workloads to AWS as part of its strategy to become a fully cloud-native provider. One service, Paysafe's eCash solutions, has already been migrated. "This will bring wide-ranging benefits to our business, both in terms of scale and innovation," said Paysafe's CIO.
13D
Hyperautomation market to reach nearly $600bn in 2022 - Gartner
The value of the hyperautomation market will reach $596bn in 2022, a rise of almost 25% compared with 2020 and a projected $532.4bn this year. That's according Gartner, which says process-agnostic software will be most in demand as key enablers of the hyperautomation trend. “Hyperautomation has shifted from an option to a condition of survival,” said Fabrizio Biscotti, research VP, Gartner.
13D
Cloud growth boosts Microsoft's sales
Microsoft surpassed its Q3 sales expectations thanks to further growth in its Azure cloud division. Cloud sales grew by 46% as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continued for businesses adopting remote working at scale. Overall revenue was $41.7bn and increased 19%. "Digital adoption curves aren’t slowing down. They’re accelerating, and it’s just the beginning," said Satya Nadella.
13D
UK to allow self-driving cars on its roads in 2021
The UK Department for Transport has announced it will allow autonomous vehicles to drive on its motorways with slow traffic by the end of the year. The automated lane-keeping system will be the first type of self-driving cars allowed on motorways, but they'll have a maximum speed of 37mph. However, insurers have warned the government's definition of ALKS as 'self-driving is misleading.
13D
Samsung's heirs will pay over $10.8bn in inheritance taxes
The family of late Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee will have to pay over $10.8 billion in inheritance tax for his estate. They have said that they will donate his renowned private art collection to state curators to facilitate the inheritance. The heirs will pay the full amount in six instalments over the course of the next five years. The first of them is due this month.
13D
Siemens acquires TimeSeries to boost low-code offering
Siemens has acquired TimeSeries, a firm with expertise in building apps with low-code. TimeSeries works with software from Mendix, the low-code specialist acquired by Siemens three years ago. Siemens says the acquisition will help it accelerate the development of apps for use cases including smart warehousing. "This will help our customers get to value with low-code even faster," said a spokesman.
13D
Vena Solutions raises $242m
Enterprise financial platform Vena Solutions has raised $242m in Series C funding. The minority round is one of the largest for a Canadian tech company and was led by Vista Equity Partners. Vena is a cloud-native platform that leverages an Excel interface within the Vena Growth Engine to streamline finance processes, connect teams and drive decision making. Vena has raised $362.5m to date.
14D
Spotify launches paid podcasts subscriptions to compete with Apple
Spotify will begin offering a paid subscription option for podcasters on its platform. Some shows have already announced their intention to offer subscription-only content, including Tiny Leaps, Big Changes and Mindful in Minutes. A waitlist will open today, so podcasters can sign up to be included in the expanded rollout in the coming months, which will also be able internationally.