YC alum Modern Health, a startup focused on emotional wellbeing, gets $2.26M seed funding

About one year ago, a note from a CEO thanking his employee for using sick days to take care of her mental health went viral. It was a reminder to Alyson Friedensohn of what she wants to accomplish with Modern Health, the emotional health benefits startup she founded last year with neuroscientist Erica Johnson. “We want that to be normal. We want the email she sent to be normal, to be able to be that open,” Friedensohn tells TechCrunch. Modern Health, a Y Combinator alum, announced today that it has…

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Marketing startup Influential raises $12M from WME and others

Influential announced today that it has raised $12 million in Series B funding. The funding came from existing investors Capital Zed, ECA Ventures, Paradigm Talent Agency, ROAR and Tech Coast Angels, as well as from Hollywood agency WME . Just a couple weeks ago, Influential said it was working with (and had raised money from) WME. The agency is the first to try out a new Influential product called Talent Pro, which gives agents access to social data around a broader pool of talent. Influential founder and CEO Ryan Detert…

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Benchling raises $14.5M to help streamline collaboration among scientists

Email and a smarter notebook might be enough for handling communication for projects or experiments inside a team in a lab in some university basement. But when you have around 200 scientists working on discovering something new — say, a new drug — that communication process is going to quickly break down, and Sajith Wickramasekara that sits somewhere between science and software. That’s the goal for Benchling, which Wickramasekara hopes will make life easier for researchers and help simplify and speed up the process of scientific discovery. Specializing in life sciences, Benchling…

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IP platform PatSnap picks up $38M from Sequoia and Xiaomi founder’s fund

PatSnap, a Euro-Asian company that offers a patent and R&D platform and services, has pulled in a $38 million Series D funding round led by existing investors Sequoia and Shunwei Capital, the investment firm founded by Xiaomi co-founder and CEO Lei Jun. Southeast Asia’s Qualgro also took part. All three backed the company in 2016 when it led an undisclosed Series C round. While PatSnap didn’t give a figure for that previous round, it is saying this time around that it has raised over $100 million to date. Doing some quick via math…

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Samsung launches new fund for early-stage AI investments

Samsung is diving deeper into artificial intelligence after it announced a new fund focused on AI technologies and startups. The Korean firm’s ‘Samsung NEXT Q Fund’ is targeted at seed and Series A deals for startups that are “solving AI problems, as well as those using AI to solve computer science problems.” In particular, the announcement revealing the new fund mentioned areas that include learning in simulation, scene understanding, problem learning programs and human computer interaction. The fund itself doesn’t have a dedicated kitty, it instead invests from Samsung’s $150…

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Tableau gets AI shot in the arm with Empirical Systems acquisition

When Tableau was founded back in 2003, not many people were thinking about artificial intelligence to drive analytics and visualization, but over the years the world has changed and the company recognized that it needed talent to keep up with new trends. Today, it announced it was acquiring Empirical Systems, an early stage startup with AI roots. Tableau did not share the terms of the deal. The startup was born just two years ago from research on automated statistics at the MIT Probabilistic Computing Project. According to the company website,…

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Truecaller makes first acquisition to build out payment and financial services in India

Sweden’s Truecaller started out life as a service that screens calls and messages to weed out spammers. In recent times the company has switched its focus to India, its largest market based on users, adding services that include payments to make it more useful. Now Truecaller is putting even more weight behind its India push after it announced its first acquisition, mobile payment service Chillr. The vision is to go deeper into mobile payments and associated services to turn Truecaller into a utility that goes beyond just handling messages and calls,…

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Southeast Asia’s Grab lands $1B from Toyota at a $10B valuation

Grab, the ride-hailing firm that acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia business earlier this year, is raising a new round of funding and it just announced that it will be led by Toyota, which is committing $1 billion in capital. The deal values Grab at over $10 billion, a source close to the company told TechCrunch. In return for its capital, Toyota will also get a board seat and the opportunity to place an executive within Grab’s team. Grab said it plans to work with its new investor “to create a more…

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Kry bags $66M to launch its video-call-a-doctor service in more European markets

Swedish telehealth startup Kry has closed a $66 million Series B funding round led by Index Ventures, with participation from existing investors Accel, Creandum, and Project A. It raised a $22.8M Series A round just over a year ago, bringing its total raised since being founded back in 2014 to around $92M. The new funding will be put towards market expansion, with the UK and French markets its initial targets. It also says it wants to deepen its penetration in existing markets: Sweden, Norway and Spain, and to expand its medical offering to be able to offer more…

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