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Aldea Ventures creates ‘hybrid’ European €100M fund to invest both in Micro VCs, plus follow-on

The historical trajectory of venture capital has been to move to earlier and earlier finding rounds in order to capture the greatest potential multiple on exit. In the US, we’ve seen an explosion of Pre-series A funds, and similarly in Europe. But there’s been an opportunity to tie a lot of that activity together and also produce data that can feed into decision-making about growth rounds, further up the funding pipeline. Now, newly-formed Aldea Ventures intends to do just that.
Today’s it’s announcing a €60M first close of its Pan-European fund with the aim of reaching …

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SoFi acquires community bank Golden Pacific Bancorp to speed up its national bank charter process

SoFi, more formally known as Social Finance, announced today that it has agreed to acquire Golden Pacific Bancorp (GPB) for about $22.3 million.
The dollar amount is not staggering. What is more notable about the acquisition is that it’s giving SoFi a quick route to getting a national bank charter. SoFi, a digital personal finance company, got preliminary approval for a bank charter last October. By acquiring Golden Pacific, the company gets a fast track into that process. Once the transaction closes later this year, GPB will become a subsidiary of the company.
A national bank charter will give SoFi …

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Planning 500,000 charging points for EVs by 2025, Shell becomes the latest company swept up in EV charging boom

Shell’s plan to roll out 500,000 electric charging station in just four years is the latest sign of an EV charging infrastructure boom that has prompted investors to pour cash into the industry and inspired a few companies to become public companies in search of the capital needed to meet demand.
Since the beginning of the year, three companies have been acquired by special purpose acquisition vehicles and are on a path to go public, while a third has raised tens of millions from some of the biggest names in private equity investing for its own path to commercial viability.

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Lt. Gen. John Thompson explains how startups can interact with the Space Force

Space Force’s Lt. Gen. John Thompson spoke at TechCrunch Session: Space earlier this week. Throughout the wide-ranging interview, General Thompson explained the various ways and means for private companies like startups should interact with Space Force.
Thompson knows what he’s talking about. As the Commander of the Space and Missiles Systems Center, he oversees research, design, development, and acquisition of satellites and their associated command and control systems for the U.S. Space Force. His role puts him in direct contact with some of the most ambitious and innovative startups.

He pointed to three things when asked what’ …

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Fifth Wall adds new partner as it seeks at least $200 million for a new climate impact fund

When it first launched nearly three years ago, Fifth Wall had a vision of leveraging capital limited partners from across the real estate development and construction business to back the technologies the industry needed most.
That early vision resonated so well, that the firm has grown from managing one fund of $212 million to holding roughly $1.2 billion in assets under management. It has also come to the realization that the investment vehicles they’re currently managing have one huge blind spot — climate-related technologies.
With that deficit in mind, the firm has set out to raise a new climate-focused investment vehicle with …

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Fylamynt raises $6.5M for its cloud workflow automation platform

Fylamynt, a new service that helps businesses automate their cloud workflows, today announced both the official launch of its platform as well as a $6.5 million seed round. The funding round was led by Google’s AI-focused Gradient Ventures fund. Mango Capital and Point72 Ventures also participated.
At first glance, the idea behind Fylamynt may sound familiar. Workflow automation has become a pretty competitive space, after all, and the service helps developers connect their various cloud tools to create repeatable workflows. We’re not talking about your standard IFTTT- or Zapier -like integrations between SaaS products, though. The focus of Fylamynt …

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AI-tool maker Seldon raises £7.1M Series A from AlbionVC and Cambridge Innovation Capital

Seldon is a U.K. startup that specializes in the rarified world of development tools to optimize machine learning. What does this mean? Well, dear reader, it means that the “AI” that companies are so fond of trumpeting does actually end up working.

It has now raised a £7.1 million Series A round co-led by AlbionVC and Cambridge Innovation Capital . The round also includes significant participation from existing investors Amadeus Capital Partners and Global Brain, with follow-on investment from other existing shareholders. The £7.1 million funding will be used to accelerate R&D and drive commercial expansion, take Seldon Deploy — a new enterprise solution — to market and double the size of the team over the next 18 months.

More accurately, Seldon is a cloud-agnostic machine learning (ML) deployment specialist which works in partnership with industry leaders such as Google, Red Hat, IBM and Amazon Web Services.

Key to its success is that its open-source project Seldon Core has more than 700,000 models deployed to date, drastically reducing friction for users deploying ML models. The startup says its customers are getting productivity gains of as much as 92% as a result of utilizing Seldon’s product portfolio.

Alex Housley, CEO and founder of Seldon speaking to TechCrunch explained that companies are using machine learning across thousands of use cases today, “but the model actually only generates real value when it’s actually running inside a real-world application.”

“So what we’ve seen emerge over these last few years are companies that specialize in specific parts of the machine learning pipeline, such as training version control features. And in our case we’re focusing on deployment. So what this means is that organizations can now build a fully bespoke AI platform that suits their needs, so they can gain a competitive advantage,” he said.

In addition, he said Seldon’s open-source model means that companies are not locked-in: “They want to avoid locking as well they want to use tools from various different vendors. So this kind of intersection between machine learning, DevOps and cloud-native tooling is really accelerating a lot of innovation across enterprise and also within startups and growth-stage companies.”

Nadine Torbey, an investor at AlbionVC, added: “Seldon is at the forefront of the next wave of tech innovation, and the leadership team are true visionaries. Seldon has been able to build an impressive open-source community and add immediate productivity value to some of the world’s leading companies.”

Vin Lingathoti, partner at Cambridge Innovation Capital, said: “Machine learning has rapidly shifted from a nice-to-have to a must-have for enterprises across all industries. Seldon’s open-source platform operationalizes ML model development and accelerates the time-to-market by eliminating the pain points involved in developing, deploying and monitoring machine learning models at scale.”

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