Recent Funding

Parsable secures $40M investment to bring digital to industrial workers

Posted by | Cloud, digital transformation, Enterprise, funding, Mobile, Recent Funding, Startups, TC | No Comments

As we increasingly hear about automation, artificial intelligence and robots taking away industrial jobs, Parsable, a San Francisco-based startup sees a different reality, one with millions of workers who for the most part have been left behind when it comes to bringing digital transformation to their jobs.

Parsable has developed a Connected Worker platform to help bring high tech solutions to deskless industrial workers who have been working mostly with paper-based processes. Today, it announced a $40 million Series C cash injection to keep building on that idea.

The round was led by Future Fund with help from B37 and existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Airbus Ventures and Aramco Ventures. Today’s investment brings the total to nearly $70 million.

The Parsable solution works on almost any smartphone or tablet and is designed to enter information while walking around in environments where a desktop PC or laptop simply wouldn’t be practical. That means being able to tap, swipe and select easily in a mobile context.

Photo: Parsable

The challenge the company faced was the perception these workers didn’t deal well with technology. Parsable CEO Lawrence Whittle says the company, which launched in 2013, took its time building its first product because it wanted to give industrial workers something they actually needed, not what engineers thought they needed. This meant a long period of primary research.

The company learned, it had to be dead simple to allow the industry vets who had been on the job for 25 or more years to feel comfortable using it out of the box, while also appealing to younger more tech-savvy workers. The goal was making it feel as familiar as Facebook or texting, common applications even older workers were used to using.

“What we are doing is getting rid of [paper] notebooks for quality, safety and maintenance and providing a digital guide on how to capture work with the objective of increasing efficiency, reducing safety incidents and increasing quality,” Whittle explained.

He likens this to the idea of putting a sensor on a machine, but instead they are putting that instrumentation into the hands of the human worker. “We are effectively putting a sensor on humans to give them connectivity and data to execute work in the same way as machines,” he says.

The company has also made the decision to make the platform flexible to add new technology over time. As an example they support smart glasses, which Whittle says accounts for about 10 percent of its business today. But the founders recognized that reality could change and they wanted to make the platform open enough to take on new technologies as they become available.

Today the company has 30 enterprise customers with 30,000 registered users on the platform. Customers include Ecolab, Schlumberger, Silgan and Shell. They have around 80 employees, but expect to hit 100 by the end of Q3 this year, Whittle says.

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Quarterback lets top esports gamers and streamers create their own fan-based leagues

Posted by | broadcasting, esports, Gaming, Mergers and Acquisitions, Recent Funding, serial entrepreneur, Startups, TC, Twitch, twitch tv, UpWest Labs | No Comments

In an effort to tie the top gamers and streamers more directly with their fans, a new company called Quarterback has just raised $2.5 million to create and manage fan-based leagues for the superstars of the esports and streaming world.

The company raked in its seed round from investors led by Bitkraft Esports, which is quickly building one of the most complete portfolios of gaming-related startups in the industry. Additional investors include Crest Capital Ventures, Deep Space Ventures, UpWest Labs and angel investors.

Essentially, it’s a platform for creating gaming leagues and content driven not by game publishers, leagues, or existing streaming sites like Twitch, but by the gamers themselves. It gives streamers and players a new way to reach their audience, the company claims.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Jonathan Weinberg, who acted as the chief executive for Round Robin and held a leadership role in the mobile game studio Spartonix, Quarterback is the latest attempt to get more revenue into the hands of gamers. 

Leagues created on Quarterback can host daily challenges, give away prizes and compete against fan clubs devoted to other top players.

Esports streamers and gamers are among the most bankable influencers, pitching to a new generation of consumers that don’t track traditional media sources. The ability to host and own their own channels gives these streamers an ability to create their own game libraries, cultivate a next generation of talent and encourage one-to-one interactions on platforms they control.

“Most streamers and pros struggle to monetize their fan-base and lose touch with their audience when the fans break away to play their own games,” says Jens Hilgers, a founding partner of Bitkraft Esports Ventures. “Quarterback solves this problem in a unique way by helping streamers become an integral part of their fan’s game-play.”

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Bluedot Innovation gets $5.5 million in funding to track smartphone users more precisely

Posted by | Advertising Tech, Bluedot Innovation, Mobile, Recent Funding, Startups | No Comments

When it comes to the promises of persistent location hyper-awareness, the promises of mobile have largely fallen flat. While this has been a bummer for consumers looking for more contextual services from the apps they have installed, this also has been a pain for marketers keen to get their hands on more quality user data.

Bluedot Innovation wants to tackle this by building out tech that can zero-in on smartphone users’ locations in the background. Bluedot announced today they have raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by a major toll road company, Transurban. The Melbourne startup has raised $13 million to date.

The startup’s tech focuses on dialing-in user location data to just a few meters so that companies utilizing the API can tell whether their marketing efforts are actually turning into consumers visiting physical locations. There are no shortage of players in this space; what makes Bluedot unique, the company insists, is their focus on R&D to develop more precise, low-power solutions that rely on networks and a variety of sensors in the phone to deliver data insightful enough that customers can distinguish what users are doing in tighter urban areas and how they’re getting around.

Bluedot had initially focused its efforts entirely on developing a service that could make mobile payments for toll roads, the idea being that rather than having to install something on your windshield, you could just download an app, allowing persistent location access so whenever you drove through a tollway that had been mapped within the app, you’d make a payment without any friction.

The startup’s ambitions have certainly expanded since then, particularly through a partnership with Salesforce, though given the fact that this round was led by a toll road company it suffices to say that this use case is still firmly within their sights. In November, the startup released the LinktGO app with Transurban, which allows Australian users to make toll road payments from their phone.

The startup says it’s using this latest fund raise to build out its U.S. office in San Francisco and its Melbourne HQ, where it plans to double its current staff of 30 employees.

 

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