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Slack acquires Rimeto, Sony invested in Epic Games, Kernel, Perfect Day and Permutive startups raised new rounds of funding

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Startup Jedi

We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.

Activity in the market does not cease, the venture summer is in full swing. There have been many significant events during this week. In today’s review, we’ll have a look at why Slack corporate messenger acquires Rimeto; how Sony will benefit from investing in Epic Games; how Kernel startup that creates a platform for non-invasive analysis of brain activity, attracted its first investors in the Series C round; how the revolutionary decision of Permutive startup for online media looks like; what awaits the food tech market in light of the investment in Perfect Day — a startup that creates an alternative milk protein without the use of animal protein.


1. Slack acquires Rimeto corporate service created by former Facebook employees (Source)


On July 8 the Slack team posted an announcement of the acquisition of the Rimeto service on their corporate blog. Rimeto allows you to create employee profiles with information about their experience, the clients they work with, projects (current and the ones they have worked before) and other parameters. What is more, all this is complemented by convenient search filters. And if organizing communication through channels and searching through channels in Slack made it possible to quickly get information about the current affairs of the project, then with Rimeo, searching for employees will help you quickly find the right people by competencies and generally will help to better understand who you work with: )

The terms of the deal are not disclosed, but it is known that Rimeto that is integrated into Slack, will continue to be sold as a separate service.

Rimeto was founded in San Francisco in 2016 by former Facebook employees Ted Zagat, Neville Bowers and Maxwell Hayman. The first years the team was bootstrapping, and in August 2019 they raised $10 million in the A-round, the deal was led by the U.S. fund. Venture Partners (USVP), at this stage the startup already had a positive cash-flow.

What does it mean? An evolutionary step in the direction of restoring order: when the team is scattered around the world, and the coronacrisis has locked everyone at home, there is really lack of information about the rest of the team members, their habits, projects, experience. In essence, these are timid steps towards socialization, which of course will positively affect working capacity and strengthen Slack’s market position. The old truth: the better social connections, the higher the retention, even when it comes to keeping employees on the team.


2. Sony invested in Fortnite and Unreal Engine maker Epic Games (Source)

Epic Games

Sony company, the maker of the PlayStation, has invested $250 million in the computer game developer Epic Games, known for its Fortnite and Unreal Engine. With the latest investments, Epic Games’ total funding to date is $1.58 billion, and the company’s value reaches almost $18 billion. Sony’s share in the company is now 1.4%, which makes it a minority investor in the company (at the same time, the Chinese corporation Tencent had a 40 % share for a $330 million deal in 2012).

The deal can be considered strategic for Sony: after all, it is preparing for some sort of a war in the game console market, and it really needs allies in the competition with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X before the release of PlayStation 5. At the same time, Epic Games released Unreal Engine 5 earlier this summer, demonstrating it on PlayStation 5, which indicates a close collaboration between Epic and Sony. Despite the fact that Epic is primarily focused on games, its Unreal Engine is used to create one of the series on Netflix. These activities fit perfectly with Epic and Sony’s collaboration in terms of the contingence of games, music and movies.

What does it mean? Epic Games is not limited by Fortnite (it has more than 350 million registered users by the way), it is also the Unreal Engine 5. Sony does not treat the Fortnite project as a game that generates a lot of profit. These are primarily breakthrough mechanics for the interaction of players in a successful 3D game. Concerts held at Fortnite also open many doors in the future: Travis Scott’s performance attracted more than 12 million people. For musicians in the wake of the pandemic, this is a great alternative to offline concerts. Although Sony simply acquired a small share, the main goal is likely to be part of the future and not let yourself be left behind in those niches in which Sony has historically been strong: in games and music. Among other things, this deal shows another trend in the market: large companies are strengthening their gaming directions. Case in point: Microsoft recently announced its intention to acquire Warner Bros. Interactive.


3. Kernel startup raised $53 million of Series C round for its non-invasive methods for monitoring brain activity (Source)


A Los Angeles-based biotech startup Kernelraised the first third-party investment — a deal worth $53 million of round C led by General Catalyst venture capital fund. So far, the startup has been funded by its CEO and founder Brian Johnson, having invested $100 in a startup on the Seed round, according to the startup’s data on Crunchbase.

Kernel is a neuroscientific startup that analyzes the activity of the human brain. Thanks to an improved analysis of its properties, many areas can improve their services: everything related to wellness, rehabilitation, education, meditation, emotions, attention development, AI/ML and so on.

What does it mean? We all had seen a lot of projects where a person with wires on his head tried to move a mouse or control objects. All these projects were incomplete and could not gain a foothold in the market. But a player who would try to investigate brain activity in non-invasive ways and put all this in a cloud with subsequent research using advanced technologies including AI — this is something we haven’t seen before. It is also interesting to have a look at the new concept of Neuroscience as a NaaS service. With the help of such services many companies will be able to solve thousands of problems related to the brain: how to treat diseases as well as to understand not only how a person performs an action and makes a choice, but also to analyze why. Will such a service be popular on the market? No doubt!


4. Permutive data management platform raises $8.5 M of Series B funding with Octopus Ventures as the lead investor (Source)


The British startup Permutive, founded in 2014, raised $18.5 million investments to develop a platform that helps the media, in compliance with all the changing rules for processing personal information, legally advertise their publications and reach a new audience. The deal was led by Octopus Ventures venture fund and EQT Ventures fund, which had previously funded a startup on Series A round. The total investment in the project to date is $30 million.

Permutive allows the media to use their own data through an anonymous pageview. Such an approach allows you to collect the necessary data about the tastes, behavior, interests of the user without identifying their personality, which makes such data collection legal. According to the founder, the main goal of the platform is the elimination of the Personality in the adtech ecosystem. Today, Permutive is already working with major publications such as BuzzFeed, Penske, The Financial Times, The Guardian, Business Insider, The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, Bell Media, News UK and MailOnline.

The startup team will direct a new round of investments to geographic expansion, primarily they want to enter the North American market.

What does it mean? Data confidentiality is a reality, states began to struggle with the thoughtless usage of their residents’ data and began to protect them, which greatly affected businesses, since without this data it became much more difficult to understand who was your client and what kind of advertisement or service to offer them. Any restrictions give rise to the appearance of new businesses! New tools should provide new data in an indirect way and this can be cooler than “dumb” collection of cookies. If we do not know who this person is, then we can imagine who they can be exclusively according to their behavioral patterns. Interesting, fresh, revolutionary!


5. Perfect Day startup raises $300 million of Series C round to make animal-free diary (Source)

Perfect Day

American food tech startup Perfect Day received a new tranche of $50 million from CPP Investments (Canada), closing the current C round with a total investment of $300 million. Horizons Ventures and Temasek Holdings also joined the last tranche — both investors participated in the first stage of financing C Round in December 2019. Since its foundation in 2014, the startup has raised $361.5 million of venture capital investments.

Perfect Day startup makes an alternative milk from plant ingredients using enzymes. This is a real synthetic biology: when the finished products in significant proportions coincide in their nutritional characteristics with natural ones. In addition, manufacturers will not need to reconfigure processes and equipment, because Perfect Day’s products do not differ in taste and consistency from regular milk.

What does it mean? We have already heard about lab-grown meat, but milk is something new. So many products are made from milk that sooner or later someone has to solve the problem of replacing milk with real protein, which differs as it is not obtained in the classical way — not from a cow :) The approach is so revolutionary that an ordinary person should not feel the difference, while no animals are used for the extraction of milk protein, which is very important when it comes to marketing. By the way, the technology is quite old, it is an ordinary fermentation. It seems that this animal protein is not expected in the future, maybe only in the most expensive restaurants.

14 Jul 2020


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