Tags funding

iBeacon Pioneers Estimote Raise $3.1M Seed Round

estimote

Jakub Krzych, founder of Estimote, has announced a $3.1 million seed round raise from Innovation Endeavors, Betaworks, Bessemer Venture Partners, Birchmere Ventures, Valiant Capital Partners and others. The company is already shipping its small Bluetooth products, called Beacons, to retailers and they expect a huge rush in orders as they line up large clients next year.

“In the future apps will not be designed just for smartphones. They will also be developed and installed on top of retail stores and other real world locations – like airports, museums or hospitals,” said Krzych. “We are shipping thousands of beacons per week and more than 10,000 developers around the world are already experimenting with Estimote beacons in contextual computing applications.”

Macy’s is already experimenting with the technology while Apple plans to add iBeacon to 254 of their retail stores. Estimote is poised to grab hundreds of those locations with its low-cost devices. They are also building a digital platform for handling iBeacon interaction with cellphones as well as improved wireless payment solutions. Estimote won Best Hardware Startup at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.

“Estimote is bringing on Steve Cheney as SVP of Business Operations, who will open a New York office and build out Estimote’s business and operations teams,” said Krzych. The company already has headquarters in Krakow, Poland and San Francisco. The company hopes to announce further partners over the coming months.


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John Biggs

December 10th

Gadgets

With $3M In New Funding, Memeto Lifelogging Startup Rebrands To Narrative To Go Global

narrative-clip

Swedish startup Memoto did well on Kickstarter – well enough to earn the company 11 times its funding goal, or $550,000 to drive the creation of its lifelogging camera. The small camera is designed to be worn on your person, features no buttons and takes pictures constantly while worn, but as of today it’s called the “Narrative Clip,” not the Memoto, as its creators rebrand to Narrative with $3 million in new funding. Both the rebrand and the new money will help Narrative expand on a global scale, the company says.

Memoto was a problematic name for global ambitions because it conflicted with the name of something else in the same market, the company explained in a release, so to make sure it didn’t run into any problems with trademarks worldwide, the Stockholm-based startup made the tough decision to switch to Narrative for their branding, which is pretty fitting, especially since now there’s freedom to develop more products beyond just the eponymous camera.

The design of the newly remained Narrative Clip remains the same, however, so pre-order customers can expect the same device to ship to them. And Narrative now has even more money in the coffers in addition to its big Kickstarter raise, thanks to a $3 million round led by San Francisco’s True Ventures. True Ventures has previously invested in hardware startups including MakerBot and Fitbit, and Narrative’s aims are somewhat parallel to those of Fitbit, with more of an emphasis on quantifying non fitness data. The round also included LDV Capital and London’s Passion Capital, which has backed photo sharing apps including EyeEm and Loopcam in the past.

The Narrative Clip should ship by November to the first customers, according to Narrative, and the $279 debut product is still available for pre-order in grey, white and orange. The device takes a photo every 30 seconds, and passes along geolocation data as well as date and time information to an online service that keeps track of your logged photos and makes them available to review or share. Photos are 5 megapixels, and the device has a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to two days.

Narrative might face a small challenge in terms of building on its existing momentum with completely new branding, but the lifelogging camera is still in very early stages, and hasn’t even shipped hardware yet, so the name switch is unlikely to drastically affect its chances at success. Early sample photos suggest this kind of scattershot approach at social photography could have some very lovely results, too, so I’ll be more interested to see how the Narrative Clip gets used by its first batch of owners as they set out to leave no stone undocumented.

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Darrell Etherington

October 3rd

Gadgets

‘Kamcord’ iOS gameplay recording platform adds new user community & more features as it picks up $1M in funding

Watch

Kamcord, the Y Combinator-backed startup offering a free SDK that makes it easy for iOS devs to offer in-game recording functionality to their users, is today announcing an additional $1M in seed funding funding and some big updates since the last time we checked in. 

We spoke with CEO Matt Zitzmann about some new features coming to the service today and he also filled us in on the progress the company has made since rolling out a new voice overlay feature back in June. Not only has the service reached an impressive 1 billion gameplay videos recorded (up from 500 million in June), Zitzmann also tells us the company is experiencing developers switching from rival in-game recording platforms due to a much higher rate of gameplay videos shared to social networks.  In-game recording in mobile apps could become a big trend in months to come as Sony and Microsoft move to integrate system-wide recording features in their upcoming next-gen gaming consoles.

Kamcord is announcing some exciting new features for both users and developers today that will help it take advantage of the high share rate it’s experienced in apps using its platform (compared to it’s biggest rival, Everyplay). Perhaps the most important is a new community website that will allow users to browse gameplay videos uploaded using the service. It will also soon roll out likes, comments, user profiles, and a more personalized experience through a subscribing feature for the new community. Another new feature coming today is “infinite playlists” within the in-game UI and a new developer dashboard will let devs video shared videos and select videos to include in the infinite playlists.

Kamcord shared some stats from Trial Xtreme 3, one of the games that implemented its platform:

– 300,000 videos shared all-time

– 139 million recordings

in july

– 1.2 million visits to the Kamcord UI in july

– 743,000 views of own replays in july

– 122,000 videos shared in july

As for the funding, the additional $1M (bringing Kamcord’s total seed funding up to $2.5M) comes from Tencent and Innovation Works. Zitzmann also told us that Android remains a top priority and that the team is working very hard on implementing support.

You can learn more about Kamcord and the free SDK here.

For more information about iOS Devices, Apps, and iOS continue reading at 9to5Mac.

What do you think? Discuss “‘Kamcord’ iOS gameplay recording platform adds new user community & more features as it picks up $1M in funding” with our community.

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Jordan Kahn

August 22nd

Apple

Mac

‘Kamcord’ iOS gameplay recording platform adds new user community, hits 1B videos, & picks up $1M in funding

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Jordan Kahn

August 22nd

Apple

Mac

Withings Raises $30 Million From Bpifrance And Others To Fuel International Growth

withings-scale-3

Health gadget company Withings will announce in a few minutes a new funding round from Bpifrance, Idinvest Partners, 360 Capital Partners and existing investor Ventech. Out of the $30 million, $15 million comes from Bpifrance, the newly created public entity — BPI means Public Investment Bank in French. It is one of its first traditional VC deal.

Withings is perhaps best known for its series of smart scales and body analyzers (along with curious one-off devices like a baby monitor), but the company has recently decided to take a stab at creating yet another sort of fitness gadget: a wearable activity tracker. Calling that particular market crowded is putting it awfully mildly. Devices from the likes of Nike, Jawbone, and Fitbit have put an approachable face on the quantified self movement and have garnered plenty of attention from press and health-conscious consumers.

That’s not to say that Withings’ own fitness tracker, the Pulse, is entering the fight unarmed — it’s capable of measuring its user’s heart rate with a single touch in addition to tracking steps taken and hours slept. The Pulse’s big value though is that it provides even more data for existing Withings device owners to tap into, which helps users piece together a more fully-realized image of their health. That street runs both ways too — the $99 Pulse may wind up acting as a sort of Trojan Horse to introduce its users to the rest of Withings’ health-centric gadgets.

While Withings prepares to face off against some highly popular rivals, it plans to use that fresh infusion of capital to strengthen its foundation. In addition to expanding to new markets, and fleshing out its R&D efforts with new hires, Withings hopes to improve its retail distribution deals to more prominently show off its health-conscious wares to consumers. The Paris-based company was founded in 2008 and previously raised $3.85 million (€3 million) in 2010.

When it comes to the investment, the most surprising part is that Bpifrance is leading the round. Bpifrance is the new venture with teams from OSEO, CDC Entreprises, and the FSI (France’s sovereign wealth fund). In its past iterations, it has invested in France’s biggest startups, such as Dailymotion, or even well-established companies, such as Orange.

Many startup enthusiasts thought that the public institutions weren’t supporting France’s startup economy by putting money into those companies. Dailymotion was already a “success” when the FSI invested. Withings may indicate a new trend at Bpifrance. The institution could make many smaller and riskier deals to support startups at an early stage.


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Romain Dillet,Chris Velazco

July 17th

Gadgets

Social Bicycles Raises $1.1 Million To Expand Bike Sharing Project

sobi03

Bike sharing service Social Bicycles has raised $1.1 million to expand the reach of their social bike sharing service to new markets. The company, led by Ryan Rzepecki, reported the funding this morning.

The round was led by David Rose on behalf of New York Angels as well as Esther Dyson, Amol Sarva, and Karl Ulrich. David Rose and Brad Higgins will be on the company board.

The company, founded in 2011, began as a Kickstarter project and then turned into a solid rental product with a pilot launch at the San Francisco airport in December and another pilot at the University of Buffalo in March.

The company is helping launch a bike share in Hoboken, New Jersey and St. Petersburg, Florida is on track to buy 300 bikes.

The bikes have built-in GPS systems and can be unlocked via your cellphone. Users can leave bikes almost anywhere and then find and unlock them anywhere using the app. This allows bike sharing services to exist without central hubs that take up valuable sidewalk space.


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John Biggs

May 1st

Gadgets

CGTrader, An Online Marketplace For 3D Models, Raises 185K Euro From Practica

LOGO_160x160_2

As 3D printing and modeling moves into the mainstream, it’s interesting to see the rise of small players in the market and the capital raised. Take, for example, CGTrader. Originally designed as a marketplace for 3D designers and artists, it’s just raised nearly 200,000 euro from Practica Capital, a fund in Lithuania. Founded by Marius Kalytis, the company is based in Vilnius.

Most of the models are highly detailed objects aimed at video game creators and other 3D wonks. However, because a 3D model is a 3D model is a 3D model, CGTrader is able to sell almost any virtual object.

A major problem in the 3D model industry is notoriously low royalty rates for designers and artists – the creator of the model frequently receives only 40-60% of sale proceeds, or, in order to earn more, is often bound by exclusivity requirements. This makes selling 3D models online not a very attractive activity for designers, and therefore limits the potential of industry growth,” said Kalytis. He said the CGTrader is “a fair, author-friendly marketplace”

The company takes 6% of any sale and they can use the platform to support their customers when they have issues or queries.

“The funding will be used for developing the marketplace from the technical perspective, building the community further, and, most importantly, expanding distribution channels for our designers – including 3D printing,” said Kalytis. It’s one small step for 3D models of horses, one giant leap for the monetization of the 3D-printing as a holistic market.


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John Biggs

February 21st

Gadgets

MacDock Wants To Expand Your MacBook Pro’s Connection Capabilities Without Added Bulk

macdock

Thunderbolt expansion docks for MacBook Pro have been slow to come to get started with offerings from Matrox and Belkin only now coming to market after lengthy delays. And they’re pricey, too, at $299 and $249 respectively. A new Kickstarter project called the MacDock argues you can do almost as much for considerably less, and without adding Thunderbolt into the mix.

Instead, the MacDock (and MacDock Mini, which is smallest but with fewer connectors) opt to take advantage of the addition of USB 3.0 to later-generation MacBooks to provide an expansion solution that likely fits the needs of most, in a portable package that retails for less than half what the Thunderbolt expansion options mentioned above are currently going for. A combined USB 3.0 and DisplayPort connector mean you can also hook external displays up to the MacDock, and it’s backwards compatible with USB 2.0 connectors, too.

The dock has a unique design compared to most, with a thin ribbon connecting the part that jacks into your Mac to the extension block with the added ports. The MacDock Mini merely replicates the ports it plugs into, giving you a single USB 3.0 (or USB 2.0, depending on which generation MacBook you have) and a single DisplayPort, but kept away from the body of your MacBook with a lead that will be either 25 or 50cm in length (depending on the results of a backer survey to follow). The MacDock borrows the same design, but puts three USB 3.0 ports, a DisplayPort and an audio jack on the hub end, greatly expanding your connection options. Both come in both black and sliver finishes. Versions designed to work with the MacBook Pro Retina and MacBook Air models will come later depending on funding achieved.

I asked U.K. designer Jan Sapper, the project creator, why he felt the need to bring this expansion dock to market when there are no shortage of USB hubs out there already. He argued that nothing that currently exists can both do everything the MacDock can (combining audio, USB and video into a single solution) and none match Apple’s unique design sensibilities. Sapper has been working on the MacDock for over a year now, and is partnering with Austrian data transmission firm Pidso (which counts Boeing and BMW among its clients) to get the product production-ready.

Pledges start at £37 ($57 U.S.) for a MacDock Mini, and £57 ($88) for a full-sized MacDock. Sapper is targeting an October 2013 delivery date for the gadget, so here’s hoping he built some allowances for changes in MacBook Pro design into that £30,000 funding target.


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Photo

Darrell Etherington

February 19th

Gadgets

MacDock Wants To Expand Your MacBook Pro’s Connection Capabilities Without Added Bulk

macdock

Thunderbolt expansion docks for MacBook Pro have been slow to come to get started with offerings from Matrox and Belkin only now coming to market after lengthy delays. And they’re pricey, too, at $299 and $249 respectively. A new Kickstarter project called the MacDock argues you can do almost as much for considerably less, and without adding Thunderbolt into the mix.

Instead, the MacDock (and MacDock Mini, which is smallest but with fewer connectors) opt to take advantage of the addition of USB 3.0 to later-generation MacBooks to provide an expansion solution that likely fits the needs of most, in a portable package that retails for less than half what the Thunderbolt expansion options mentioned above are currently going for. A combined USB 3.0 and DisplayPort connector mean you can also hook external displays up to the MacDock, and it’s backwards compatible with USB 2.0 connectors, too.

The dock has a unique design compared to most, with a thin ribbon connecting the part that jacks into your Mac to the extension block with the added ports. The MacDock Mini merely replicates the ports it plugs into, giving you a single USB 3.0 (or USB 2.0, depending on which generation MacBook you have) and a single DisplayPort, but kept away from the body of your MacBook with a lead that will be either 25 or 50cm in length (depending on the results of a backer survey to follow). The MacDock borrows the same design, but puts three USB 3.0 ports, a DisplayPort and an audio jack on the hub end, greatly expanding your connection options. Both come in both black and sliver finishes. Versions designed to work with the MacBook Pro Retina and MacBook Air models will come later depending on funding achieved.

I asked U.K. designer Jan Sapper, the project creator, why he felt the need to bring this expansion dock to market when there are no shortage of USB hubs out there already. He argued that nothing that currently exists can both do everything the MacDock can (combining audio, USB and video into a single solution) and none match Apple’s unique design sensibilities. Sapper has been working on the MacDock for over a year now, and is partnering with Austrian data transmission firm Pidso (which counts Boeing and BMW among its clients) to get the product production-ready.

Pledges start at £37 ($57 U.S.) for a MacDock Mini, and £57 ($88) for a full-sized MacDock. Sapper is targeting an October 2013 delivery date for the gadget, so here’s hoping he built some allowances for changes in MacBook Pro design into that £30,000 funding target.


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Photo

Darrell Etherington

February 19th

Gadgets

Google Wants To Starve Piracy Sites to Death

Google is looking into a new strategy for cracking down on piracy sites: cutting off the sources of their funding so they'll wither and die. More »


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Leslie Horn

February 19th

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