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The well-funded startups driven to own the autonomous vehicle stack – TechCrunch

At some point in the future, while riding along in a car, a kid may ask their parent about a distant time in the past when people used steering wheels and pedals to control an automobile. Of course, the full realization of the “auto” part of the word — in the form of fully autonomous automobiles — is a long way off, but there are nonetheless companies trying to build that future today.

However, changing the face of transportation is a costly business, one that typically requires corporate backing or a lot of venture funding to realize such an ambitious goal. A recent funding round, some $128 million raised in a Series A round by Shenzhen-based Roadstar.ai, got us at Crunchbase News asking a question: Just how many independent, well-funded autonomous vehicles startups are out there?

In short, not as many as you’d think. To investigate further, we took a look at the set of independent companies in Crunchbase’s “autonomous vehicle” category that have raised $50 million or more in venture funding. After a little bit of hand filtering, we found that the companies mostly shook out into two broad categories: those working on sensor technologies, which are integral to any self-driving system, and more “full-stack” hardware and software companies, which incorporate sensors, machine-learned software models and control mechanics into more integrated autonomous systems.

Full-stack self-driving vehicle companies

Let’s start with full-stack companies first. The table below shows the set of independent full-stack autonomous vehicle companies operating in the market today, as well as their focus areas, headquarter’s location and the total amount of venture funding raised:

Note the breakdown in focus area between the companies listed above. In general, these companies are focused on building more generalized technology platforms — perhaps to sell or license to major automakers in the future — whereas others intend to own not just the autonomous car technology, but deploy it in a fleet of on-demand taxi and other transportation services.

Making the eyes and ears of autonomous vehicles

On the sensor side, there is also a trend, one that’s decidedly more concentrated on one area of focus, as you’ll be able to discern from the table below:

Some of the most well-funded startups in the sensing field are developing light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technologies, which basically serve as the depth-perceiving “eyes” of autonomous vehicle systems. CYNGN integrates a number of different sensors, LiDAR included, into its hardware arrays and software tools, which is one heck of a pivot for the mobile phone OS-maker formerly known as Cyanogen.

But there are other problem spaces for these sensor companies, including Nauto’s smart dashcam, which gathers location data and detects distracted driving, or Autotalks’s DSRC technology for vehicle-to-vehicle communication. (Back in April, Crunchbase News covered the $5 million Series A round closed by Comma, which released an open-source dashcam app.)

And unlike some of the full-stack providers mentioned earlier, many of these sensor companies have established vendor relationships with the automotive industry. Quanergy Systems, for example, counts components giant Delphi, luxury carmakers Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz and automakers like Hyundai and Renault-Nissan as partners and investorsInnoviz supplies its solid-state LiDAR technology to the BMW Group, according to its website.

Although radar and even LiDAR are old hat by now, there continues to be innovation in sensors. According to a profile of Oryx Vision’s technology in IEEE Spectrum, its “coherent optical radar” system is kind of like a hybrid of radar and LiDAR technology in that “it uses a laser to illuminate the road ahead [with infrared light], but like a radar it treats the reflected signal as a wave rather than a particle.” Its technology is able to deliver higher-resolution sensing over a longer distance than traditional radar or newer LiDAR technologies.

Can startups stack up against big corporate competitors?

There are plenty of autonomous vehicle initiatives backed by deep corporate pockets. There’s Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet, which is subsidized by the huge amount of search profit flung off by Google . Uber has an autonomous vehicles initiative too, although it has encountered a whole host of legal and safety issues, including holding the unfortunate distinction of being the first to kill a pedestrian earlier this year.

Tesla, too, has invested considerable resources into developing assistive technologies for its vehicles, but it too has encountered some roadblocks as its head of Autopilot (its in-house autonomy solution) left in April. The company also deals with a rash of safety concerns of its own. And although Apple’s self-driving car program has been less publicized than others, it continues to roll on in the background. Chinese companies like Baidu and Didi Chuxing have also launched fill-stack R&D facilities in Silicon Valley.

Traditional automakers have also jumped into the fray. Back in 2016, for the price of a cool $1 billion, General Motors folded Cruise Automation into its R&D efforts in a widely publicized buyout. And, not to be left behind, Ford acquired a majority stake in Argo AI, also for $1 billion.

That leaves us with a question: Do even the well-funded startups mentioned earlier stand a chance of either usurping market dominance from corporate incumbents or at least joining their ranks? Perhaps.

The reason why so much investor cash is going to these companies is because the market opportunity presented by autonomous vehicle technology is almost comically enormous. It’s not just a matter of the car market itself — projected to be over 80 million car sales globally in 2018 alone — but how we’ll spend all the time and mental bandwidth freed up by letting computers take the wheel. It’s no wonder that so many companies, and their backers, want even a tiny piece of that pie.

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Here is where CEOs of heavily funded startups went to school – TechCrunch

CEOs of funded startups tend to be a well-educated bunch, at least when it comes to university degrees.

Yes, it’s true college dropouts like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates can still do well. But Crunchbase data shows that most startup chief executives have an advanced degree, commonly from a well-known and prestigious university.

Earlier this month, Crunchbase News looked at U.S. universities with strong track records for graduating future CEOs of funded companies. This unearthed some findings that, while interesting, were not especially surprising. Stanford and Harvard topped the list, and graduates of top-ranked business schools were particularly well-represented.

In this next installment of our CEO series, we narrowed the data set. Specifically, we looked at CEOs of U.S. companies funded in the past three years that have raised at least $100 million in total venture financing. Our intent was to see whether educational backgrounds of unicorn and near-unicorn leaders differ markedly from the broad startup CEO population.

Sort of, but not really

Here’s the broad takeaway of our analysis: Most CEOs of well-funded startups do have degrees from prestigious universities, and there are a lot of Harvard and Stanford grads. However, chief executives of the companies in our current data set are, educationally speaking, a pretty diverse bunch with degrees from multiple continents and all regions of the U.S.

In total, our data set includes 193 private U.S. companies that raised $100 million or more and closed a VC round in the past three years. In the chart below, we look at the universities most commonly attended by their CEOs:1

The rankings aren’t hugely different from the broader population of funded U.S. startups. In that data set, we also found Harvard and Stanford vying for the top slots, followed mostly by Ivy League schools and major research universities.

For heavily funded startups, we also found a high proportion of business school degrees. All of the University of Pennsylvania alum on the list attended its Wharton School of Business. More than half of Harvard-affiliated grads attended its business school. MBAs were a popular credential among other schools on the list that offer the degree.

Where the most heavily funded startup CEOs studied

When it comes to the most heavily funded startups, the degree mix gets quirkier. That makes sense, given that we looked at just 20 companies.

In the chart below, we look at alumni affiliations for CEOs of these companies, all of which have raised hundreds of millions or billions in venture and growth financing:

One surprise finding from the U.S. startup data set was the prevalence of Canadian university grads. Three CEOs on the list are alums of the University of Waterloo . Others attended multiple well-known universities. The list also offers fresh proof that it’s not necessary to graduate from college to raise billions. WeWork CEO Adam Neumann just finished his degree last year, 15 years after he started. That didn’t stop the co-working giant from securing more than $7 billion in venture and growth financing.

  1. Several CEOs attended more than one university on the list.

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CommerceDNA wins the TechCrunch Hackathon at VivaTech – TechCrunch

It’s been a long night at VivaTech. The building hosted a very special competition — the very first TechCrunch Hackathon in Paris.

Hundreds of engineers and designers got together to come up with something cool, something neat, something awesome. The only condition was that they only had 24 hours to work on their projects. Some of them were participating in our event for the first time, while others were regulars. Some of them slept on the floor in a corner, while others drank too much Red Bull.

We could all feel the excitement in the air when the 64 teams took the stage to present a one-minute demo to impress fellow coders and our judges. But only one team could take home the grand prize and €5,000. So, without further ado, meet the TechCrunch Hackathon winner.

Winner: CommerceDNA

Runner-Up #1: AID

Runner-Up #2: EV Range Meter


Judges

Nicolas Bacca, CTO, Ledger
Nicolas worked on card systems for 5 years at Oberthur, a leader in embedded digital security, ultimately as R&D Solution Architect. He left Oberthur to launch his company, Ubinity, which was developing smartcard operating systems.

He finally co-founded BT Chip to develop an open standard, secure element based hardware wallet which eventually became the first version of the Ledger wallet.

Charles Gorintin, co-founder & CTO, Alan
Charles Gorintin is a French data science and engineering leader. He is a cofounder and CTO of Alan. Alan’s mission is to make it easy for people to be in great health.

Prior to co-founding Alan, Charles Gorintin was a data science leader at fast-growing social networks, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where he worked on anti-fraud, growth, and social psychology.

Gorintin holds a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, a Master’s degree in Machine Learning from ENS Paris-Saclay, and a Masters of Financial Engineering from UC Berkeley – Haas School of Business.

Samantha Jérusalmy, Partner, Elaia Partners
Samantha joined Elaia Partners in 2008. She began her career as a consultant at Eurogroup, a consulting firm specialized in organisation and strategy, within the Bank and Finance division. She then joined Clipperton Finance, a corporate finance firm dedicated to high-tech growth companies, before moving to Elaia Partners in 2008. She became an Investment Manager in 2011 then a Partner in 2014.

Laure Némée, CTO, Leetchi
Laure has spent her career in software development in various startups since 2000 after an engineer’s degree in computer science. She joined Leetchi at the very beginning in 2010 and has been Leetchi Group CTO since. She now works mainly on MANGOPAY, the payment service for sharing economy sites that was created by Leetchi.

Benjamin Netter, CTO, Lendix
Benjamin is the CTO of Lendix, the leading SME lending platform in continental Europe. Learning to code at 8, he has been since then experimenting ways to rethink fashion, travel or finance using technology. In 2009, in parallel with his studies at EPITECH, he created one of the first French applications on Facebook (Questions entre amis), which was used by more than half a million users. In 2011, he won the Foursquare Global Hackathon by reinventing the travel guide with Tripovore. In 2014, he launched Somewhere, an Instagram travel experiment acclaimed by the press. He is today reinventing with Lendix the way European companies get faster and simpler financing.


And finally here were our hackmasters that guided our hackers to success:

Emily Atkinson, Software Engineer / MD, DevelopHer UK
Emily is a Software Engineer at Condé Nast Britain, and co-founder & Managing Director of women in tech network DevelopHer UK. Her technical role involves back-end services, infrastructure ops and tooling, site reliability and back-end product. Entering tech as an MSc Computer Science grad, she spent six years at online print startup MOO – working across the platform, including mobile web and product. As an advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM & digital in 2016 Atkinson launched DevelopHer, a volunteer-run non-profit community aimed at increasing diversity in tech by empowering members to develop their career and skills through events, workshops, networking and mentoring.

Romain Dillet, Senior Writer, TechCrunch
Romain attended EMLYON Business School, a leading French business school specialized in entrepreneurship. He covers many things from mobile apps with great design to fashion, Apple, AI and complex tech achievements. He also speaks at major tech conferences. He likes pop culture more than anything in the world.

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Gravy’s new mobile game show is ‘Price is Right’ mixed with QVC – TechCrunch

Following the success of the live mobile game show HQ Trivia, a team of serial entrepreneurs have begun testing the market to see if another game show concept can work, too. Their new game show-inspired app, Gravy, is meant to be a riff on the “Price is Right” combined with a QVC-style shopping experience. That is, the “contestants” compete for discounts of 30 to 70 percent off the products advertised, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. In addition, through a side game, users can guess when the product – whose quantities are unknown – will sell out and at what price. Those who guess closest win a cash prize.

The startup was created by Mark McGuire, Brian Wiegand, and Craig Andler – the founding team behind Jellyfish.com, an older social shopping network that was acquired by Microsoft back in 2007, to help create Bing Shopping. They’ve also paired up on other projects, including NameProtect (before Jellyfish), printable coupons resource Hopster, social network Nextt, and e-commerce subscription retail site, Alice.com. These have either exited or shut down or both.

The team’s efforts imply a clear passion for working with brands, but getting consumers to connect with brands in new ways is far more difficult, as their track record shows.

That’s why they’re now trying Gravy.

The hope is that the excitement around seeing the product unveiled nightly – and knowing you’ll get a big discount if you buy – will become an entirely new ad unit of sorts, while keeping players engaged in a game-show like experience.

“One of the challenges with millennials is their short attention spans, and they don’t respond well to interruptive advertising,” explains Wiegand, of why the team wanted to build this startup. “I don’t think anyone’s really mastered how to monetize live video. So we came up with this opportunity to create this new ad unit where brands could tell their story, and – for seven or eight or nine minutes – create a live shopping event where millennials can tune in and hear that story but in a fun, gamified kind of manner,” he says.

Here’s how Gravy works. Every night, at 8:30 PM ET in the Gravy iOS app, a live host will unveil the product users can buy. Currently, there’s a rotating selection of hosts who work on a per-show contract basis, usually local comedians – not brand reps.

Players are not told how many items are available, but it’s typically anywhere from two to twenty.

Then the price starts to drop. If you buy early, you’ll have a chance to snag it at a slight discount. But the longer you wait, the higher the percentage off will become. However, you don’t know who else could snatch it up first and when. If you wait too long, the product will sell out.

Meanwhile, if you’re not interested in the product itself, you can guess when you expect it to sell out (meaning, at which price.) Those ten or so closest will receive a small cash prize – a split of maybe $200 or $300, with first place receiving the largest chunk.

At least 20 percent of sales are given away to charity – a nod, I suppose, to millennials’ interest in do-gooder style companies. But ultimately, that decision that has more to do with the fact that Gravy doesn’t aim to be a retailer – it’s not another deal-of-the-day destination like Woot!, despite the similarities around generating product excitement.

Instead, it expects brands to donate products and pay a fee for the “advertising opportunity” Gravy offers.

Brands will like Gravy because they get millennials’ attention for seven minutes or more, Wiegand says. “They love the engagement. It’s a highly engaged audience…I have a chance to buy the products, so I’m heavily engaged in thinking about that product. The recall, memorability, and all of the subsequent buzz – tweeting and all the social media that gets created because of that – is great,” he adds.

However, none of this is proven out yet – Gravy is just a couple of weeks old.

So far, around 50 percent of the products it has featured have actually been donated by brands, including 23andMe, 3D Doodler, Tapplock, and others. The rest have been subsidized by Gravy, including the bigger draws – like a DJI drone, for example.

It’s not yet charging for the ad opportunity, either, as it’s hoping to grow the audience first.

The company says that’s already underway. After alerting friends and family to the app’s launch, the games are seeing 600+ players nightly, Wiegand claims, and is growing its audience 15 percent week-over-week. Around half of those who signed up to play are returning to watch around three shows per week, he says.

While the early numbers are promising if true, and it’s clear the team likes to work in the general space of connecting brands with consumers, Gravy still feels – like much of what the founders have created before – designed primarily with the needs of brands in mind, before that of consumers.

A “Price is Right”-style app would be a lot of fun, but this isn’t it – it’s, at the end of the day, an invitation to watch an ad and shop at a discount. That’s not something consumers may want to do every day, long-term – even if you try to woo them with a small cash prize won through a guessing game.

And like Trivia HQ , which has dropped from a top 20 app to the 140’s (by App Store overall rank, the shine may eventually wear off for Gravy, too. Especially because it’s not primarily a game – and millennials, as fickle and short attention-spanned as they may be (really? the generation that binges entire TV seasons in a few days?), will know it.

Wiegand isn’t concerned, though.

He says he gets bored with trivia apps in a few weeks, but Gravy is different.

“I always shop and I always like a deal. The deal industry and the shopping industry are so much larger than the trivia space,” Wiegand insists. “And the thrill of seeing a product that you like going down into the sixties and seventies percent off is unbelievably thrilling,” he enthuses. “We are able to feature things that have the best price on the planet of first-run products…it creates this heart-pounding, exhilarating and experience like, ‘Should I buy? Oh my God, look at this price. I can’t turn it down,’” he says.

The company raised $2.1 million in seed funding from a range of investors, including the founders at the turn of the year. Around eighty percent was outside capital, led by New Capital. The under-20 person team is based in both Madison and Minneapolis.

Gravy is on the App Store here.

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Riminder raises $2.3 million for its AI recruitment service – TechCrunch

French startup Riminder recently raised a $2.3 million funding round from various business angels, such as Xavier Niel, Jean-Baptiste Rudelle, Romain Niccoli, Franck Le Ouay, Dominique Vidal, Thibaud Elzière and Fred Potter. The company has been building a deep learning-powered tool to sort applications and resumes so you don’t have to. Riminder participated in TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield.

Riminder won’t replace your HR department altogether, but it can help you save a ton of time when you’re a popular company. Let’s say you are looking for a mobile designer and you usually get hundreds or thousands of applications.

You can then integrate Riminder with your various channels to collect resumes from various sources. The startup then uses optical character recognition to turn PDFs, images, Word documents and more into text. Riminder then tries to understand all your job positions and turn raw text into useful data.

Finally, the service will rank the applications based on public data and internal data. The company has scraped the web and LinkedIn to understand usual career paths.

Existing HR solutions can integrate with Riminder using an API. This way, you could potentially use the same HR platform, but with Riminder’s smart filtering features.

With this initial sorting, your HR team can more easily get straight to the point and interview the top candidates on the list.

While it’s hard to evaluate algorithm bias, Riminder thinks that leveraging artificial intelligence for recruitment can help surface unusual candidates. You could come from a different country and have a different profile, but maybe you have the perfect past experience for a particular job. Riminder isn’t going to overlook those applications.

With today’s funding round, the company is opening an office in San Francisco to get some clients in the U.S.

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Chinese Blockchain Complex Offers Startups Millions in Subsidies

A newly established blockchain industrial park in the Chinese city of Hangzhou is hoping to attract talented individuals and startups by offering millions of dollars-worth of subsidies.

A policy guide announcing the incentives was published on Thursday via the official WeChat account of the Xiong’An Fund (which translates as “Grand Shores Fund”) – the primary operator of the blockchain complex, both of which were launched in April.

As previously reported by CoinDesk, the establishment of the $1 billion blockchain fund and the dedicated blockchain incubation park were notable both for the amount involved and because the Hangzhou city government backed the initiative with 30 percent of the total funding.

According to the new policy, though still subject to further revisions, the industrial park plans to offer a maximum of 3 million yuan (roughly $490,000) as a resettlement allowance to qualifying individuals with high-level blockchain-based skills.

In addition, four main categories of subsidies are being made available for blockchain-related startups in a bid to attract them to set up shop at the complex.

For instance, for early stage startups, the industrial park plans to provide each with a maximum of $230,000 for housing and $1 million as research and development funding. More mature blockchain startups may apply to reside in the area with the help of $480,000 for housing and $780,000 for R&D.

It is currently unclear, however, what criteria must be met to be eligible to apply for the amounts offered. A representative from the industrial park told CoinDesk that the organization aims to provide clearer definitions and eligibility criteria for the different levels of funding this summer.

Hangzhou image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Kaltura acquires interactive video startup Rapt Media – TechCrunch

Kaltura is expanding its enterprise video platform with the acquisition of Rapt Media.

Kaltura already offers support for some interactivity in videos, particularly with quizzes, but co-founder and CEO Ron Yekutiel predicted that this technology is going to become increasingly important: “The bigger play in the world of enterprise and the world of education is a play towards interactivity and personalization.”

Kaltura isn’t the only interactive video startup — for example, I’ve been impressed by the branching narratives powered by Eko. But Yekutiel said Rapt stood out because it offers true interactivity (not just adding a few buttons and links to a linear video) for marketing, education and HR. He also praised its “high availability and reliability with zero lag time.”

In addition, Yekutiel said Kaltura customers had already expressed interest in integrating with Rapt, and he argued that the biggest benefit comes in bringing the technology into the broader Kaltura platform.

“We consider interactivity as one layer of this layer cake,” Yekutiel said. “Nobody wants to connect to 20 technology companies for video … They want to have one platform for all their video needs.”

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rapt Media was founded in 2011 and has raised $12 million in funding from investors including Boulder Ventures. Yekutiel said Rapt team members will continue to work out of their office in Boulder, Colorado and bring the total Kaltura headcount to more than 450.

“What an honor it is for our vision and technology to be recognized by a video technology powerhouse like Kaltura,” said Rapt Media founder and CEO Erika Trautman in the announcement. “I am excited that Rapt Media customers can now benefit from Kaltura’s wide range of video solutions and easily expand their video strategy to support any use case that may arise today and in the future.”

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Meet the five finalists at Startup Battlefield Europe – TechCrunch

Fifteen companies just got off the stage at TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Europe at VivaTech in Paris.

The TechCrunch team has taken feedback from our expert judges and narrowed the group down to five companies that will be competing in the finals on the VivaTech Main Stage at 6:15pm CET. (If you’re not at VivatTech, you can watch the finals live here on TechCrunch.)

One of the startups will receive the the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Top European Startup award, as well as €25,000 in equity-free money. Here are the finalists:

Glowee

Glowee is developing biological light systems using the natural properties bioluminescent marine organisms. These systems are built by encoding genes in symbiotic bacteria and will require neither electricity nor installation infrastructure.

IOV

IOV is building a decentralized DNS for blockchains. By implementing the Blockchain Communication Protocol, the IOV Wallet will be the first wallet that can receive and exchange any kind of cryptocurrency from a single address of value.

Mapify

Mapify aims to help travelers discover where to head next, what to pack and who to go with. It also allows them to share information about places, people and experiences.

Wakeo

Wakeo helps shippers and forwarders improve customer experience and optimize operations. It does this by consolidating multiple transport partners into a central SaaS platform to bring real-time visibility on all transport flows.

Wingly

Wingly is a flight-sharing platform that connects pilots and passengers. Private pilots can add flights they have planned, then potential passengers can book them.

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Dot lets you invest in property without the hassle of a traditional mortgage – TechCrunch

Dot, a new U.K. startup de-cloaking today, aims to make it easy to invest in property without the hassle of taking out a traditional ‘buy to let’ mortgage. The company is founded by Gray Stern, who previously co-founded London-based Buy to Let mortgage lender Landbay, and so knows at least a thing or two about investing in property. Namely, that it doesn’t need to be as arduous as it currently is.

In fact, Dot’s headline draw is that it makes property ownership a one-click affair via the “Dot Button” it wants to embed on property listings sites, including estate agents and property developers. Under the hood of the offering is what the startup describes as a “point-of-sale finance and management solution” that can be wrapped around any property that meets Dot’s lending criteria.

If you want to purchase the property as an investment, you simply click the button, pay the required deposit, and Dot will acquire and manage the property on your behalf, advancing 70 percent of the purchase price in the form of its pre-approved or “instant mortgage”. In addition, the property is furnished and Dot takes out buildings, contents and rent guarantee insurance. After those expenses, you receive monthly rent from the property, minus management fees and interest paid on your Dot mortgage.

Technically, once the property is purchased it is moved into a passive investment structure: an SPV known as a “Dot Container”. This structure holds the asset on your behalf (you effectively become the SPV’s beneficial owner/shareholder).

When you’re ready to sell, in theory a Dot Container can move from owner to owner without conveyancing, and can be refinanced without requiring new mortgage documents (via Dot Platform, Dot’s mortgage marketplace). Alternatively, the property can be put on the open market. Either way, as the SPV’s sole shareholder, you benefit from any increase in the valuation of the property, less the remaining balance of the mortgage.

“Dot enables anyone with a 30 percent deposit to become a professional property investor instantly, with none of the hassle of being a landlord,” explains Stern. “We do this by providing U.K. and U.S. estate agents and property developers with a pre-approved finance and management solution — a Dot Container — that can hold any suitable property. The agent can then offer Dot as a payment option (via the embedded Dot Button), turning their previously static listings into turnkey investments that anyone, anywhere can buy online on a fully financed and managed basis.

“Every Dot Container comes complete with a pre-approved mortgage, insurance, legal/conveyancing, tax compliance and reporting, lettings and management, furnishings and everything else required to turn that property into a compliant, well-managed and good-looking rental home. Dot takes care of the entire end-to-end process… and because we are lending a large portion of the total cost we have a vested interest in managing your property well”.

Stern says that Dot differs from property crowd-investing type platforms, such as Property Partner or Bricklane, which typically let you buy shares in a portion of a property or a property portfolio and aren’t coupled with a financing option.

“Dot’s solution is for sole investors or couples looking to build property portfolios that they control, we do not offer fractional ownership,” he adds. “Our clients own the asset and while they give Dot management rights, they can also remove Dot at any time, sell at any time, refinance their loans at any time. Dot’s challenge is to make our offer sufficiently compelling that they won’t want to”.

Meanwhile, Dot has raised $1.5 million in a pre-seed round from Stage Dot O, an L.A.-based venture-build firm run by Roofstock co-founder Devin Wade and ex hedge fund manager Mike Self.

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Watch every startup from Startup Battlefield Europe – TechCrunch

TechCrunch is hosting its first ever Startup Battlefield in Paris. This morning, 15 startups competed for the coveted Best of Show award.

They all pitched in front of three different panels of esteemed judges. Investors and tech leaders took some time to ask them some tough questions and understand what they’re doing. Later today, finalists will pitch on the big stage in front of a brand new batch of judges.

And now, meet the 15 startups who competed in the Startup Battlefield Europe.

Wisebatt

Wisebatt wants to lower the cost of R&D for hardware engineers by providing them with a patented simulation and collaboration platform.

Wingly

Wingly is a flight sharing platform connecting private pilots with passengers to share the cost of a flight.

Walk With Path’s wearables help Parkinson’s patients walk more confidently and avoid falls.

Wakeo is a SaaS platform that uses machine learning and satellite data to help industrial leaders optimize their supply chain.

Varanida is a web extension that allows users to choose when they want to see ads.

Tapoly offers on-demand insurance for freelancers contractors and SMEs.

StatusToday is an AI-powered employee insights platform that simplifies team management.

Statice’s software secures a company’s private data while providing an avenue for sharing of that data.

Solely Original is a womens footwear brand that enables customers to design their own shoes online.

Mapify is a social travel platform aimed at providing a single outlet for planning transportation, entertainment and housing.

IOV provides a universal protocol for blockchains and wallet users.

Glowee is a sustainable living light source powered by waste products and reusable biomass. Their mission is to disrupt the way we produce and consume light.

Drova is a decentralized gaming rental service that enables clients to rent games/apps around the world without having to buy a gaming console.

BIMlosophy is a platform aimed at providing construction managers with the software needed to pay workers without having to buy a license.

Anorak is a platform that uses machine learning to tailor advice to those seeking life insurance.

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