Wednesday, January 23, 2019
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Machine Learning Startup Appvance Gains $5 Million
Credit: appvance.ai

Appvance.ai, an inventor and provider of AI-driven test automation software, secured $5 million in Series B funding. The company has raised a total of $12 million to develop and deploy its AI-driven test technology across the world.

Designed to help engineering teams make application testing autonomous and continuous as part of their agile and DevOps cycles, Appvance IQ’s patent-pending machine learning technologies hold the speed record for legitimate data-driven script creation—6,000 unique scripts created in 10 minutes. According to the company, this is several thousand times faster than humans can write test scripts in any language—or create them using any other test software—with or without AI.

Retail Tech Startup Vengo Labs to Gain $7 Million in Series B
Credit: vengolabs.com

Out-of-home advertising startup Vengo Labs closed its $7 million Series B funding round led by Arcade Beauty, an Oaktree Capital portfolio company and the largest manufacturer of beauty samples in the world. Also participating in the round were SPINS, Bill Apfelbaum, Grace Beauty Capital, and Kensington Capital Ventures. Previous investors included Tony Hsieh, Brad Feld, hip-hop artist Nas, Gary Vaynerchuk, David Tisch, and Joanne Wilson.

Vengo Labs’ digital kiosks and vending machines serve both consumer packaged goods and advertisements, marrying the convenience of online shopping with the instant access to products of traditional brick-and-mortar retail. One thousand Vengo digital kiosks can be found around college campuses, gyms, and hotels, creating targeted retail, sampling, and media opportunities for brands.

Vengo plans to use the funds to scale its presence in colleges and gyms and to begin testing new applications, with an initial focus on the beauty industry.

Real Estate Tech Company Knock Raises $400 Million Series B
Credit: knock.com

Knock, the creator of the proprietary technology behind its Home Trade-In platform, acquired $400 million in a Series B equity and debt financing round led by Foundry Group, with participation from existing investors RRE Ventures, Corazon Capital, WTI, and FJ Labs, and new investor Company Ventures. Foundry Group partner Seth Levine also joined Knock’s board of directors.

Knock experienced rapid growth—100 full-time employees distributed across 15 states—since launching in five markets: Atlanta, Georgia, Charlotte, North Carolina, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, Dallas, Texas, and Fort Worth, Texas. Its engineering, product, and data science team comprises one-third of the company’s employee base, demonstrating its commitment to developing a truly technology-centric solution.

Knock plans to use the funds to continue its nationwide expansion and accelerate development of its Home Trade-In platform technology.

Sourcing and Supplier Platform Scout RFP Secures $33 Million
Credit: scoutrfp.com

Scout RFP raised $33 million in a Series C funding round led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from previous investors Menlo Ventures and NewView Capital. New strategic investors Workday Ventures and Salesforce Ventures also participated in the round. In addition to the investment, Alex Niehenke from Scale Venture Partners will join Scout’s board of directors.  

Scout’s sourcing and supplier engagement platform is designed to help procurement teams simplify processes, optimize contracts, and increase enterprise profitability. The platform hosts 100,000 users across 117 countries, including 175 global enterprise customers such as Beam Suntory, Conagra, Gilead, VMware, Starbucks, and Zebra Technologies. According to the company, the team has seen twice the growth in annual recurring revenue.

Scout plans to use the Series C funds to grow sales and marketing, build innovative platform products and engineering, and expand Scout’s presence in financial services, pharma and biotech, manufacturing, and healthcare.

Chronicled Raises $16 Million Series A
Credit: chronicled.com

Supply chain ecosystems provider Chronicled, Inc., secured $16 million in a Series A funding round led by Mandra Capital, with participation from Streamlined Ventures, The Perkins Fund, Frank Fiore, and David Aho.

Chronicled is currently piloting the MediLedger Network with manufacturers, distributors, and solution providers, and plans to launch the blockchain-powered network commercially. The company plans to use the funding to expand the MediLedger Network with service provider integrations and additional protocols to address channel integrity and chargebacks, contracting, and revenue management.

Connected Compliance Solution GAN Integrity Raises $15 Million
Credit: ganintegrity.com

GAN Integrity, a completely integrated compliance solution for global businesses, closed a $15 million Series B growth financing round led by Aquiline Technology Growth, an early/growth-stage fund managed by New York and London-based private equity firm Aquiline Capital Partners.  

This funding comes on the heels of the release of GAN Connect, the next generation of GAN’s unified compliance platform designed to help global organizations manage their growing third-party relationships, new regulations, and enterprise risk. Its enhancements are meant to enable global organizations to tailor the platform for specific risk, policy, due diligence, requests, investigations, and training needs and processes.

TaxJar Closes $60 Million in Series A Funding Round
Credit: taxjar.com

TaxJar, a sales tax automation company for e-commerce businesses and developers, secured a $60 million growth equity round of funding from Insight Venture Partners. TaxJar’s most recent funding was a $2 million Series Seed round led by Rincon Venture Partners and Daher Capital in 2014, which allowed TaxJar to reach profitability in 2016.

TaxJar plans to use the funds to expand its 100% remote team of 60 in addition to accelerating product development, research, and go-to-market for their new mid-market offering, TaxJar Plus.

Talentsoft Completes $50 Million Funding Round
Credit: talentsoft.com

European leader in learning and human capital management software Talentsoft closed a $50 million funding round ranking among the ten largest funding rounds in Europe in 2018 for enterprise software. Francisco Partners led the new investment, alongside existing investors Bpifrance and Goldman Sachs.  

Talentsoft offers a combination of core HR and ready-to-use HR analytics dashboards designed to help users leverage the synergies between competency management, career paths, and learning opportunities.

The company plans to use the investment to accelerate its growth through innovation and international market expansion.

EdTech Startup EMERITUS Gains $40 Million in Series C Funding
Credit: emeritus.org

EMERITUS, an edtech company that partners with US and European universities to provide online courses to working professionals, successfully completed a $40 million Series C funding round led by Sequoia India. Existing EMERITUS investor Bertelsmann India Investments also participated.

According to the company, EMERITUS, along with its Singapore-based parent company, Eruditus, increased its student enrollment by 10 times over the past two years. In the current fiscal year, EMERITUS plans to enroll 30,000 students from across 80 countries in courses delivered in collaboration with university partners such as MIT, Columbia, Tuck at Dartmouth, Wharton, UC Berkeley, Kellogg, London Business School and IESE. EMERITUS expects to increase its enrollment by 10 times over the next five years across certificate courses and online degrees.

EMERITUS plans to use this funding to increase its course offerings in high-demand subject areas such as data science, machine learning, blockchain, and cybersecurity, and to expand its language offerings to include Portuguese and Mandarin in addition to English and Spanish.

Credit: PCMS/PRNewsWire

A global provider of retail commerce software and services, PCMS announced the hiring of Tanya Bowen as chief digital officer.

Bowen has more than 25 years’ experience in customer engagement, retail, and digital, and has previously held senior roles at BT Expedite, NSB Retail, and Aptos. She uses technology to unify store, mobile, web, and emerging sales channels to provide consistent cross-channel engagement.

According to the company, Bowen joins PCMS at a critical time, with conversational, immersive, headless, and IoT commerce technologies being rapidly developed and adopted across the world, and retailers swiftly evolving their transaction technology to enable consumers to scan and go or build mixed baskets over many channels.