Week Ending 08.31.2018






Seven Stars Cloud, the New York City-based AI and blockchain services firm, said it acquired marketing platform Grapevine Logic. Terms weren’t disclosed. Seven Stars Cloud said last week it is changing its name to Ideanomics. 

In late August the company said shareholders, which include Sun Seven Stars Investment and Hong Kong Guoyuan Group Capital, may raise USD 111m from the sale of 37.7m shares they hold in the company. It originally filed in April. In June, Seven Stars hired Richard Frankel as chairman and CEO and Manuel Ron as COO at its digital advisory services subsidiary, Red Rock Global Capital.  

Apttus, the San Mateo, California-based business software developer using AI, sold a majority stake to private equity firm Thoma Bravo. Silicon Valley Business Journal’s take is here.

NIDEC, the Kyoto, Japan-based motor maker, is acquiring five German robotics companies for JPY 50bn (USD 450m), according to a Nikkei Asian Review report

Wuhan General Group (China), the Pointe-Claire, Canada-based blockchain company, said it plans to spin off its Canadian technology business called Strategic Development of Technology. The unit makes industrial batteries and is exploring AI and blockchain technologies for use in mining, agriculture and construction. Both companies will trade over the counter. 

Other deals included CentralSquare Technologies


Jump World, the Shanghai, China-based VR/AR game developer, said it is raising as much as USD 50m from an initial public offering on Nasdaq of an unspecified number of shares. 

Nio, the Shanghai, China-based electric vehicle maker, refiled for a USD 1.5bn initial public offering of 160m American depositary shares at USD 6.25 to USD 8.25 each on the NYSE. That’s slightly less than the USD 1.8bn it originally said it planned to raise. The Tencent-backed firm is also developing autonomous driving technology.

FarFetch, the London, UK-based online marketplace for luxury goods using machine learning, refiled for a USD 637.5m initial public offering of 37.5m shares at USD 15 to USD 17 each. Shareholders, including Advent Private Equity, are selling 7.5m shares. The company is selling the rest. An affiliate of China’s JD.com is also a shareholder. The family wealth unit of the Pinault family, which owns Gucci, Yves St. Laurent and other luxury brands, indicated they were interested in buying into the IPO. 

Qutoutiao, the Shanghai, China-based mobile news aggregation service using AI, refiled for a downsized USD 144m initial public offering of 16m American depositary shares on the Nasdaq. The company had filed earlier for a USD 300m deal. An affiliate of China’s JD.com is interested in investing USD 40m in the IPO.

Upwork, the Mountain View, California-based contract employment site using machine learning, said it and shareholders, which include Benchmark Capital and T. Rowe Price, plan to raise USD 100m in an initial public offering.

Amesite, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company developing AI software for college courses, refiled for the up to USD 19.64m sale of 13.1m shares at USD 1.50 each from current shareholders.

Other filings included Elastic, Eventbrite, Churchill Capital and AgEagle Aerial Systems


GreyOrange, the Singapore-based robot maker, said it raised USD 140m in a Series C led by Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital. Japan’s Mitsubishi and Indian ecommerce startup Flipkart are also investors. The robots GreyOrange makes are used in logistics centers.

Notable Health, the San Mateo, California-based healthcare company using AI, said it raised USD 13.5m in a Series A led by Oak HC/FT and F-Prime Capital Partners. The company’s software allows doctors to update patient records with an Apple watch.

This marks the fourth AI-related investment by Oak HC/FT in three months. In August the venture capital fund co-led a USD 32.8m in a Series D round for Olive, the Columbus, Ohio-based company using AI to cut healthcare costs, and a 14m Series B for Pagaya, the Tel Aviv, Israel-based financial technology company using AI, with former American Express CEO Harvey Golub. Oak also led a USD 30m Series B in Groundspeed Analytics, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based firm developing AI-backed insurance processes.

The US government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said it plans to invest USD 2bn in AI research.

PagerDuty, the San Francisco, California-based business services firm using AI and machine learning, said it raised USD 90m in a Series D led by T. Rowe Price and Wellington Management.

ThinCI, the El Dorado Hills, California-based AI computer technology maker, said it raised USD 65m in a Series C led by  Japanese automotive component maker DENSO and Singapore’s Temasek. 

Body Vision Medical, the Rama Hasharon, Israel-based medical device maker using AI, said it raised USD 8.5m. The company didn’t provide more details.

Palantir Technologies, the Palo Alto, California-based company providing AI-based analytics to government organizations including US police forces and the military, may list as early as next year in a deal likely to be organized by Morgan Stanley, according to a Bloomberg report. 

WaveSense, the Somerville, Massachusetts-based company developing radar for autonomous vehicles, said it raised USD 3m in a seed round led by Rhapsody Venture Partners.

Other deals include Sonasoft, Hypefactors and Seafarer Exploration


No new legal and regulatory matters were covered in the areas we track this week.


CareerBuilder, the Chicago, Illinois-based human resources firm, said it promoted current COO Irina Novoselsky to CEO effective immediately. Current CEO Matt Ferguson becomes executive chairman and will oversee the company’s investment in AI and machine learning.

Xnor.ai, the Seattle, Washington-based AI edge computing company, said it hired Joe Gelsey as CEO. Gelsey was previously CEO at identity services firm Auth0.

VIQ Solutions, the Toronto, Canada-based security firm using AI, said it hired Susan Sumner as COO. Sumner was vice president of Nuance healthcare ambulatory division. VIQ Solutions captures video and audio feeds for analysis.

CyberSaint Security, the Boston, Massachusetts-based cybersecurity software maker using AI and machine learning, said it hired Jerry Layden as chief revenue officer. Layden was regional vice president, global accounts at Dell EMC.

Cambia Health Solutions, the Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit healthcare company, said it hired Faraz Shafiq as chief artificial intelligence officer. Shafiq was the global head of data science, AI and internet of things at Verizon.

BNY Mellon, the New York City-based financial services firm, said it hired Roman Regelman as head of digital. Regelman, who joins from Boston Consulting, will oversee the development of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics at BNY, and build a new global team across the company.

STATS, the Chicago, Illinois-based sports data and analytics firm using AI and machine learning, said it hired Steve Xeller as chief revenue officer. Xeller joins from MicroStrategy, where he was executive vice president of international sales. In July STATS hired former JPMorgan banker Helen Sun as chief technology officer. 

IRI, the Chicago, Illinois-based business services firm developing AI uses in the consumer sector, said it hired Harvey Goldhersz as executive vice president of data and innovation for its media center. Goldhersz was previously CEO of GroupM Analytics.

Precision Therapeutics, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company developing cancer treatment databases with AI, said Dr Marc Malandro is joining its scientific advisory board. Malandro is vice president of operations for science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which was formed by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife.

Glasswing Ventures, the Boston, Massachusetts-based venture capital firm, said it formed a advisory council, which includes the CEOs of marketing firms SocialFlow and CrowdTwist, to help AI companies develop. In July Glasswing raised USD 112m for a dedicated AI investment fund. 

BioXcel Therapeutics, the New Haven, Connecticut-based company developing cancer treatments using AI, said it hired Dr. David Hanley as vice president and head of global pharmaceutical development and operations. Hanley was the vice president of pharmaceutical sciences at Radius Health.

In August BioXcel hired Pfizer’s Dr Michael De Vivo as vice-president, neuroscience and Vikas Sharma as vice-president of business development. In June it hired Dr Cedric Burg as head of global clinical operations and project management. The company is developing treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders as well as cancer.  

ICX Media, the Washington DC-based marketing company using AI, said it hired Spotify’s Parbinder Dhariwal as head of sales and Upside Travel’s Alex Mitchell as chief product officer. ICX also promoted Daniel Jolicoeur to chief technology officer. 

Chisel, the Toronto, Canada-based company using AI in the insurance sector, said it hired Jason McDermott as chief revenue officer. McDermott was vice president of sales at TECSYS, a supply chain company. 

Other hiring included Black Dragon Capital, Looker, Real-Time Innovations, Linius Technologies, Tachyum, New York Cruise Lines and RTI

And Forbes’ take on a new report from the World Economic Forum on AI and the job market. Read the full WEF report here.


AI could add 1.2% to annual GDP growth over the next decade, according to a McKinsey report.