Saturday, September 22, 2018
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Many of us have witnessed the unnerving fluations of Bitcoin, but few actually understand the underlying blockchain technology that enables crypto currencies.

In a new five-episode PodcastOne series called CRYPTONOMICS, futurist Mark Pesce aims to demystify blockchain and shed light on the emerging economics of “crypto” — hence the name CYPTONOMICS. Listeners will learn the basics of the blockchain, the fundamentals of the Bitcoin bonanza and how money will work in the 21st century.

Anyone who knows Mark Pesce, and who is familiar with his frequently hyperbolic observations about technology’s next-big-thing, will know that CYPTONOMICS is probably worth a listen.

Pesce became a World Wide Web icon in the mid-90’s during Internet 1.0. Among his best known accomplishments was co-authoring the first 3D interface to the web, known as VRML. He was also one of the luminaries featured in Architects of the Web: 1,000 Days that Built the Future of Business, a book that profiled him and other web pioneers including Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape; Kim Polese, the JAVA product manager at Sun Microsystems and the founder of Marimba; and Halsey Minor, founder and CEO of CNET.

Credit: Mark Pesce Flickr

Later in his career, Pesce was a judge on the Australian Broadcasting Company’s series, The New Inventors, celebrating Australia’s newest inventions. He also has hosted several podcasts, including This Week in Startups Australia, and The Next Billion Seconds, which won the Best Technical and Scientific Podcast of 2018 at the Australian Podcast Awards.

In commenting on his new podcast, CYPTONOMICS,  Pesce noted, “It’s vitally important for everyone – not just bankers and techies – to understand this new world of finance, investing and money. CRYPTONOMICS gives listeners the tools they need to understand this new world.”

Blockchain has expanded far beyond cryptocurrency into virtually every industry, including agriculture, ecommerce, and energy, and it is finding its way into every aspect of our daily lives. Examples of its diverse applications include “smart contracts,” which blend computer code with ordinary agreements like leases and purchasing orders, and other contracts that depend on security and confidentiality. Anyone who knows Mark Pesce, and who is familiar with his frequently hyperbolic observations about technology’s next-big-thing, will know that CYPTONOMICS is probably worth a listen.

Learn all about these in CRYPTONOMICS, which is available to download on, the PodcastOne App, or Apple iTunes Podcasts.

Consero Global, LLC, Secures $50 Million

Finance as a Service (FaaS) provider Consero Global acquired $50 million in private equity funding from Boston-based BV Investment Partners in collaboration with Consero founders and management.

For more than a decade, Consero has combined innovative integrated software, including its recently announced SIMPL financial management console, with traditional CFO, controller and bookkeeping services. This platform approach is designed to quickly give companies financial clarity into how their businesses are performing as well as a scalable infrastructure to support daily business operations without the time, cost, and effort of creating and managing a full in-house finance and accounting department.

Allegedly one of the largest single funding events in history for a mid-market FaaS company, this collaboration is designed to support accelerated organic growth through expansion of Consero’s business development efforts and continued development of disruptive technologies.  It will also facilitate a focused acquisition strategy.


Unified Communications API Nylas Closes $16.2 Million

Nylas, the unified communications API for integrating software with email, calendars, and contacts, secured $16 million in a Series B funding round led by Spark Capital with participation from Slack Ventures, Industry Ventures, and ScaleUp, joining existing investors 8VC, Great Oaks Capital, Rubicon Venture Capital and John Chambers’ personal fund. Andrew Parker, general partner at Spark Capital, spearheaded the deal and will join Nylas’ board of directors.

Nylas is designed to power the communication layer in software applications for customers Newscorp, Dialpad, Salesloft, Pipedrive, Hyundai, and Ellie Mae. The company’s Nylas API handles more than 100 million API requests per day and has 22,000 new developers signed up to test the platform. Nylas has reportedly doubled in annual recurring revenue in the past year and plans to continue this growth trajectory with the Series B funding.

AgriTech Startup Recombinetics Closes $34 Million in Series A

Recombinetics, a pioneer in gene-editing solutions for human health and animal agriculture, completed a $34 million Series A financing round.

The company plans to use the proceeds to accelerate new research and development by adding scientists and expertise focused on emerging science, including regenerative medicine. It also plans to add to its intellectual property and patent portfolio and expand its laboratory, animal care, and advanced reproductive facilities. Finally, it will build out its business development, product marketing, and management team to take advantage of licensing and co-development opportunities. In conjunction with this financing, Recombinetics claims to have converted or repaid all of its outstanding debt.


Wi-Fi Provider Common Networks Gains $25 Million In Series B

Common Networks, a wireless Internet service provider that offers affordable, fiber-class home internet, secured $25 million in a Series B financing round led by General Catalyst, with participation from existing investors Eclipse Ventures and Lux Capital.

Common Networks was founded in 2016 by technology industry veterans Zach Brock, Grace Chen, Mark Jen, and Jessica Shalek. The founding team all previously worked at Square where they built the Square Register product, started the Square developer platform, and led Growth teams for domestic and international expansion.

Since launching in 2017 in Alameda, California, its initial market, Common Networks’ goal is to use wireless technology to take on traditional incumbents and big cable companies by delivering ultra high-speed internet to homes through its pioneering use of graph networks on a city-wide level.

According to the company, the new investment will be used for R&D and expansion.

Knewton Secures $25 Million in Funding

Adaptive learning products and technologies provider Knewton closed a $25 million financing round led by TriplePoint Capital with a debt facility of up to $20 million. Knewton’s existing investors—which include Accel, Atomico, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital, Founders Fund, and Sofina—invested an additional $5 million. Knewton plans to use the funding to scale Alta, the company’s adaptive learning courseware for higher education that made its U.S. market debut in 2018.

According to the company, Alta received a positive response from instructors in the U.S. higher education market, with many choosing Alta’s combination of adaptivity and insights into student performance, and high quality, openly available, expertly-developed content over the traditional textbook and digital homework offerings.

Root Insurance Raises $100 Million in Series D Funding

Touted as the first and only car insurance company to incorporate individual driving behavior in every quote, Root Insurance, closed $100 million in Series D funding. This latest round, led by Tiger Global Management, raises Root’s valuation to $1 billion. Redpoint Ventures, Ribbit Capital, and Scale Venture Partners all participated as follow-on investors in the round.

Founded in 2015, Root uses smartphone technology to understand individual driving behavior. Customers obtain their personalized quote after a two-to-three week test drive, and they can purchase and manage their policy entirely within the Root mobile app. With Root’s approach, good drivers can possibly save 50 percent compared to traditional insurance carriers in the $250 billion U.S. auto insurance industry.

According to the company, the funds will be used to deepen penetration in existing markets, expand into new states, and fuel hiring plans, with a focus on engineers, actuaries, claims, and customer service to support increased scale.

Nurx Launches Telehealth HIV Prevention Service Line

In a major step forward for HIV prevention, Nurx, a direct-to-consumer telemedicine platform, announced the launch of a new at-home lab testing kit for patients seeking PrEP, a medication that helps keep HIV negative people from becoming infected.

Nurx’s at-home test kits will be available in 19 states and Washington, D.C., at launch. The kit allows patients to discreetly complete all the testing required before initiating PrEP, including a fourth generation HIV test and kidney monitoring. While Nurx has offered PrEP treatment since 2016, according to the company, this is the first time any company has been able to offer a service that allows patients to consult with a provider as to whether PrEP is right for them, complete the necessary lab work, receive a prescription, fill the prescription, and get PrEP medication delivered straight to their door—all without needing to visit a physical health clinic.

Nurx raised $36 million in Series B funding to expand the reach and scope of its platform to those who traditionally lack access to affordable prescriptions and primary healthcare services.

Klara Raises $11.5 Million in Series A

Secure healthcare communication platform Klara announced its Series A funding round of $11.5 million led by FirstMark Capital, and joined by existing investors Lerer Hippeau, Project A Ventures, and Atlantic Labs. Klara also welcomed the support of Zac Weinberg and Nat Turner, founders of Flatiron Health; Vivek Garipalli, founder and CEO of Clover Health; and Clark Valberg, CEO and founder of InVision.

According to co-founders and co-CEOs Simon Bolz and Simon Lorenz, Klara strives to thrust the industry into the digital age by improving the quality of care while radically reducing its cost through a central messaging platform that securely and intuitively connects providers, medical professionals, and patients. Klara is designed to save medical staff hours each day with time-efficient messaging that’s deeply integrated with their day-to-day workflows, phone systems, and websites, allowing them to effectively collaborate. It also grants patients access to a channel so they can easily navigate their healthcare.

SaaS Product Provider WebLinc Secures $6 Million Investment

WebLinc, a provider of commerce and operations management systems for high growth retailers, closed a $6 million investment led by Montage Capital and Partners for Growth. WebLinc is the provider of cloud SaaS products Workarea and Orderbot.

International retailers and brands Reformation, Lonely Planet, and BuzzFeed have launched on WebLinc’s commerce platforms. According to the company, the capital will be used to expedite the scale required to meet the increasing demand for Workarea and Orderbot in North America from brands and top-tier commerce agencies.


Payments and cryptocurrency platform announced a series of new hires, with Adrienne Wong as senior vice president, head of product, Cerulean Hu as lead blockchain engineer, and Ivan Stefanovas as senior vice president of risk management.

Wong joins from fintech company Square, where she managed global strategy and market launches for its flagship product, Square Point of Sale. She has also led growth and expansion efforts in the Canada, UK, Australia, and U.S. markets. A former Deloitte strategy and operations consultant, Wong graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.S. in Business Administration, a B.A. in Economics, and a concentration in Global Management.

Hu joined with a strong background in both the blockchain and traditional financial services industries. In her past roles, she developed easy-to-use and robust financial products and systems. Previously, Hu was lead engineer at Equichain, implemented blockchain solutions at FINCOVA, and led finance and trading systems development at ANX. Prior to that, she was responsible for developing trading algorithms at HSBC. Hu graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a B.S. in Engineering.

Stefanovas joined the team with 11 years of experience in risk management in different sectors of the online payments ecosystem. His background in digital wallets and working with international companies Skrill and NETELLER allowed him the opportunity to manage large teams across multiple markets and enhance the existing fraud prevention and payments setup. Stefanovas also co-founded NOTOLYTIX, an innovative data processing startup that caters to all aspects of risk management.


Axoni Secures $32 Million in Series B Funding

Enterprise blockchain technology provider Axoni completed a $32 million Series B financing round led by Goldman Sachs and Nyca Partners, bringing Axoni’s total funding to date to $55 million. The financing round also included participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Citi, Coatue Management, Digital Currency Group, F-Prime Capital, Franklin Templeton Investments, J.P. Morgan, NEX Group, Wells Fargo, and Y Combinator.

Since 2013, Axoni’s goal has been to establish itself as a leader in blockchain technology through successful partnerships with top investment banks, asset managers, and market infrastructure companies. Axoni’s AxCore technology has been deployed across markets ranging from complex derivatives to high-volume foreign exchange. According to the company, it has earned the role as the industry’s choice to re-platform the system underpinning the legal records, lifecycle events, and cash flow calculations for the $11 trillion credit derivatives market.

Axoni plans to use the latest round of financing to enhance its data synchronization technology, expand its suite of infrastructure products to support mission-critical deployments of AxCore,