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CultureAlley raised $6.5M; 500 Durians received $5M; Chirp landed £400K
- Asio Ltd, creator of Chirp, a technology and mobile app which allows devices to share data using snippets of sound, has closed funding round led by the corporate venturing arm of software house Red Gate and complemented by a number of angel investors as well as founding investors UCL Business PLC. Chirp technology was originally developed at UCL’s Department of Computer Science and spun out in 2011. Chirp The funding, together with a significant SMART award from the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK), will be used by the company to target the technology at specific industry-defined use cases and to develop an API to allow open access to the patent-protected platform by licensed third party applications.
- Jaipur-based Intap Labs Pvt. Ltd., which runs cloud-based online language learning platform CultureAlley, raised $6.5 million in Series A funding from venture capital firm Tiger Global Management and other investors. Existing investors Kae Capital and 500 Startups also participated in this round, as per a press statement.
- 500 Startups added US $5M to its US$10M micro fund 500 Durians. The news was confirmed by a U.S filing. 500 Durians was launched in May 2013 for Southeast Asia and was joined by the Thailand-focused 500 TukTuks in February 2015, which makes up two of six micro funds for the VC shop.
- Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate to the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, closed a Series A funding round that includes investment from China’s largest pension fund, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF). The amount invested remain undisclosed but it is understood to value it at more than $50 billion. The NSSF now has a 5% stake in Ant Financial.
- Wuxi-based Maimaibao Information Technology, operator of m-commerce site Maimaibao, has announced the completion of Series D funding from Beijing-based B2C e-commerce platform JD.com and Chinese internet and mobile services firm Tencent. The firm did not disclose the size of the transaction. Tencent was an existing shareholder, and in March last year news outlet Tencent Tech described Maimaibao Information Technology as a controlled subsidiary of Tencent. The investment was coupled with a strategic agreement affording Maimaibao access to JD.com's product lines, warehouses and logistics. The move will allow Maimaibao to expand its product offering and JD.com to hasten its expansion into rural e-commerce. Tencent will contribute user resources to the partnership.
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500 Startups is an early-stage seed fund and incubator program located in Mountain View, CA. They invest primarily in consumer & SMB internet startups, and related web infrastructure services. Their initial investment size is typically $25K-$250K.
Selected areas of interest include financial services & e-commerce, search/social/mobile platforms, personal & business productivity, education & language, family & healthcare and web infrastructure.