Aptiv’s Karl Iagnemma at TC Sessions: Mobility July 10 in San Jose

Before automakers and giant tech companies kicked off their own autonomous vehicle pilots, a startup called nuTonomy launched a self-driving taxi service in Singapore for the public, not just its test engineers.

The AV industry took notice, and by October 2017 it was snapped up for $450 million by Aptiv, a U.S. auto supplier and self-driving software company formerly known as Delphi.

We’re excited to announce that Karl Iagnemma, co-founder of nuTonomy and now president of Aptiv Autonomous Mobility, will participate in TechCrunch’s inaugural TC Sessions: Mobility, a one-day event on July 10, 2019 in San Jose, Calif. centered around the future of mobility and transportation.

Iagnemma, who earned his MS and PhD degrees from MIT, co-founded nuTonomy in 2013. The former director of the Robotic Mobility Group at MIT has filed for, or been issued, 50 patents and published more than 150 technical publications and edited volumes that include books on the DARPA Grand Challenge and Urban Challenge autonomous vehicle competitions.

After Aptiv acquired nuTonomy, Iagnemma became president of Aptiv Autonomous Mobility, which is building advanced safety and automated driving systems. Aptiv recently announced that it’s opening an autonomous mobility center in Shanghai — the fifth market where the company has set up R&D, testing or operational facilities — to focus on the development and eventual deployment of its technology on public roads.

Aptiv has autonomous driving operations in Boston, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh and Singapore.

In short, Iagnemma is an authority on robotics and autonomous vehicles. Iagnemma will join a panel discussion focused on the real-life operations of autonomous vehicles — the where and how it works and what challenges could derail AVs.

If you haven’t noticed, TC Sessions: Mobility has a jam-packed agenda. Some of the biggest names and most exciting startups in the transportation industry … Read the rest

SoundCloud buys artist distribution platform Repost Network

The past year has seen Spotify embark on a series of acquisitions to beef up its service, particularly on podcast content. Now it is the turn of SoundCloud, another European music startup — albeit one that had lost its way in recent years — to go deal-making: the Berlin-based company has picked up Repost Network, a service that helps artists get the most out of SoundCloud.

The deal is undisclosed and it actually was announced last week, although it was not widely reported — perhaps an anecdotal sign of SoundCloud’s position as a relative outsider in today’s streaming market.

Once a pioneer of online distribution for artists, it has watched Sweden-headquartered Spotify takes its service global with a total audience of over 200 million monthly listeners. The competition includes services from Apple and Google as well as the likes of Pandora, Deezer and Jay-Z-owned Tidal.

Soundcloud had its come-to-Jesus-moment some 18 months ago when it raised a $169.5 million Series F fund led by New York investment bank Raine Group and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek.

That deal, announced in August 2017, was very much kiss-of-life that saved SoundCloud from bankruptcy — just a month earlier, it laid off 40 percent of its staff to slash costs. The investment also saw a change at the top as former Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor replaced co-founder Alex Ljung as CEO. The new money took SoundCloud to nearly $470 million raised, and the pre-money valuation was said to be $150 million — down from a previous of high of $700 million from previous rounds.

Still, things have progressed enough for this acquisition, which is SoundCloud’s second ever. The company said the purchase will enable its top artists to access Repost Network’s tools, which include streaming distribution, analytics dashboards and content protection.… Read the rest

Crypto exchange Binance prepares to add margin trading ‘soon’

Binance, the world’s most prominent crypto exchange, says it is close to adding a much-anticipated margin-trading feature to its service following weeks of speculation.

The company tweeted confirmation of the upcoming feature in a screenshot that subtly teases the imminent arrival of margin-trading options. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (pictured above) first revealed the feature was headed to Binance during a live stream following a hack earlier this month that saw Binance lose around $40 million in Bitcoin.

TechCrunch understands that margin trading has been beta tested among select users. A Binance representative declined to comment on the specifics, but did confirm that margin trading will be available on Binance.com “soon.”

Margin trading, which lets traders use their balance as collateral to super-size their buying power, is seen by many as an important growth vector for crypto trading. Binance is often the world’s largest exchange based on daily trading volumes — though it is currently ranked second, according to Coinmarketcap data — but it has avoided margin trading to date. Instead, exchanges like BitMex, Huobi Pro, Poloniex, Kraken and Coinbase’s GDAX have run with the ball and offered the functionality. Coinbase has also considered adding it for regular, retail customers.

The new feature is part of a number of expansions from Binance as it aims to broaden its reach. The company has added support for purchasing crypto using fiat currency in three countries — Jersey (for the U.K.), Uganda and most recently Singapore — while it also released an early version of its “decentralized” exchange (DEX) to offer further trading options.

Despite that hack, which saw Binance pause withdrawals and deposits for a week, the crypto market remains bullish on the company. Binance’s BNB token … Read the rest

A young entrepreneur is building the Amazon of Bangladesh

At just 26, Waiz Rahim is supposed to be involved in the family business, having returned home in 2016 with an engineering degree from the University of Southern California. Instead, the young entrepreneur is plotting to build the Amazon of Bangladesh.

Deligram, Rahim’s vision of what e-commerce looks like in Bangladesh, a country of nearly 180 million, is making progress, having taken inspiration from a range of established tech giants worldwide, including Amazon, Alibaba and Go-Jek in Indonesia.

It’s a far cry from the family business. That’s Rahimafrooz, a 65-year-old conglomerate that is one of the largest companies in Bangladesh. It started out focused on battery manufacturing, but over the years its businesses have branched out to span power and energy and automotive products while it operates a retail superstore called Agora.

During his time at school in the U.S., Rahim worked for the company as a tech consultant whilst figuring out what he wanted to do after graduation. Little could he have imagined that, fast-forward to 2019, he’d be in charge of his own startup that has scaled to two cities and raised $3 million from investors, one of which is Rahimafrooz.

Deligram CEO Waiz Rahim [Image via Deligram]

“My options after college were to stay in U.S. and do product management or analyst roles,” Rahim told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “But I visited rural areas while back in Bangladesh and realized that when you live in a city, it’s easy to exist in a bubble.”

So rather than stay in America or go to the family business, Rahim decided to pursue his vision to build “a technology company on the wave of rising economic growth, digitization and a vibrant young population.”

The youngster’s ambition was shaped by a stint working for Amazon at its Carlsbad … Read the rest

Biofourmis raises $35M to develop smarter treatments for chronic diseases

Biofourmis, a Singapore-based startup pioneering a distinctly tech-based approach to the treatment of chronic conditions, has raised a $35 million Series B round for expansion.

The round was led by Sequoia India and MassMutual Ventures, the VC fund from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. Other investors who put in include EDBI, the corporate investment arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, China-based healthcare platform Jianke and existing investors Openspace Ventures, Aviva Ventures and SGInnovate, a Singapore government initiative for deep tech startups. The round takes Biofourmis to $41.6 million raised to date, according to Crunchbase.

This isn’t your typical TechCrunch funding story.

Biofourmis CEO Kuldeep Singh Rajput moved to Singapore to start a PhD, but he dropped out to start the business with co-founder Wendou Niu in 2015 because he saw the potential to “predict disease before it happens,” he told TechCrunch in an interview.

AI-powered specialist post-discharge care

There are a number of layers to Biofourmis’ work, but essentially it uses a combination of data collected from patients and an AI-based system to customize treatments for post-discharge patients. The company is focused on a range of therapeutics, but its most advanced is cardiac, so patients who have been discharged after heart failure or other heart-related conditions.

With that segment of patients, the Biofourmis platform uses a combination of data from sensors — medical sensors rather than consumer wearables, which are worn 24/7 — and its tech to monitor patient health, detect problems ahead of time and prescribe an optimum treatment course. That information is disseminated through companion mobile apps for patients and caregivers.

Biofourmis uses a mobile app as a touch point to give patients tailored care and drug prescriptions after they are discharged from the hospital

That’s to say that medicine works differently on different people, so … Read the rest