10 Feb 2020
Facebook has acquired Scape Technologies

Startup NEWS, Feb 10, 2020

1. Facebook has acquired Scape Technologies, the London-based computer vision startup

  • Scape Technologies, the London-based computer vision startup working on location accuracy beyond the capabilities of GPS, has been acquired by Facebook, according to a regulatory filing.
  • Full terms of the deal remain as yet unknown, although a Companies House update reveals that Facebook Inc. now has majority control of the company (more than 75%). However by looking at other filings, including a recent share issue, I understand the price could be about $40 million.
  • The technology initially targeted augmented reality apps, but also had the potential to be used to power applications in mobility, logistics and robotics. More broadly, Scape wanted to enable any machine equipped with a camera to understand its surroundings.

2. Uber vs Ola: Battle for dominance has restarted

  • The battle for dominance in India’s ride-hailing business has restarted, with rivals Uber and Ola both claiming they control majority market share.
  • On Thursday, global ride-hailing app Uber said in a report that it has more than 50% market share in India, based on its internal gross bookings estimate.
  • An Uber spokesperson said the company facilitated more than 14 million rides a week last year, compared to 11 million in 2018, as reported by technology news site TechCrunch.
    Homegrown cab aggregator Ola, responding to ET’s query on Sunday, said it had disclosed in regulatory filings for the year ended March 31, 2019 that it recorded 1.5 billion bookings on the platform, which roughly translates to over 28 million weekly bookings. This includes autos, bikes, cabs, as well as for all markets including international and food delivery.

3. Pidilite leads $40 million funding round in Pepperfry

  • Pidilite Industries, the maker of popular homegrown adhesive brand Fevicol, has led a $40 million funding round in online furniture retailer Pepperfry, as it looks to make strategic bets in newage companies to complement its core product offering.
  • In December, Pidilite co-invested $30 million in online interior design company Home Lane.
  • “With the pace of transformation currently under way, investing in disruptors gives established players a shorter route to market,” said Utkarsh Sinha, MD, Bexley Advisors. “Despite abundant dry powder for late-stage deals, the transaction execution has tempered post-Soft Bank/We-Work. These deals are more common in earlier rounds, and therefore, such a late stage bet is a vote of confidence on Pepperfry’s traction and probably its unit economics,” Sinha said.

4. B2B e-comm co Udaan backs PetPooja

  • Udaan’s investment in the two-year-old startup indicates its aspiration to build a larger fresh foods and vegetables supply business to small and medium enterprises, or restaurants in this case. This further intensifies Udaan’s competition with Walmart and Tiger Global-backed Ninjacart and online wholesale marketplace Jumbotail as it has been building the ‘Fresh’ vertical for the foods and vegetables supply business. “More than the capital investment, PetPooja’s data will help Udaan to understand the fresh supplies business better. They (Udaan) have been looking to scale up that line of business,” a source aware of the goings-on said. PetPooja has over 12,000 restaurants on its platform, another person aware of the matter added.
  • The Bengaluru-based B2B unicorn’s Singapore-based arm Trustroot Payments invested around $2 million in PetPooja, started by Parthiv Patel. The investment was made in December, the documents showed. This investment will help China’s Tencent-backed Udaan to get a closer look at the data on what restaurant order cycles look like and build its Fresh business accordingly.

5. This startup uses ‘human-assisted AI’ to build apps, but there’s more to the story

  • London and LA-based Builder.AI, then known as Engineer.AI, had made headlines in 2018 after it announced it will make “software creation as easy as ordering a pizza.” An ‘artificial intelligence-driven’ platform gave the impression that the platform used an AI to instantly deliver apps. The WSJ report citing the company employees said the company didn’t use AI to “assemble codes” for apps as it claimed.
  • Duggal says his company never said the process was 100% automated but stressed on the “human-assisted AI.” He blamed “disgruntled” people for the negative impression and that the company had moved on from the issue.
  • In 2018, the company raised $29.5 million in Series A funding, led by Lakestar and Jungle Ventures, with participation from SoftBank’s DeepCore.
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