UK unicorn Farfetch creates retail startup accelerator | Point Digital Finance lands $150M commitment from hedge fund | Investment in African startups on the rise
April 20, 2018
NVCA SmartBrief
News for the startup ecosystem
The Lead
UK unicorn Farfetch creates retail startup accelerator
Luxury fashion unicorn Farfetch is launching a startup accelerator to boost innovation in physical stores. The company, which plans an initial public offering this year, is creating services related to mobile payments and the tracking of customer behavior across multiple stores.
The Business of Fashion (4/19) 
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Capital Call
Point Digital Finance lands $150M commitment from hedge fund
Point Digital Finance has received a commitment from hedge fund Atalaya Capital Management to buy up to $150 million of its home-equity assets. Point Digital Finance lends capital to clients in return for partial ownership of their homes.
Bloomberg (free registration) (4/18) 
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View from Abroad
Investment in African startups on the rise
The number of African startups receiving venture capital is small but growing rapidly, with VC investments rising 51% from 2016 to 2017. The funding mostly comes from non-African sources such as Silicon Valley.
Quartz (4/20) 
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Corporate Venture Capital
Women's health startup sells to Boston Scientific for up to $275M
Boston Scientific will pay $150 million up front and a potential $125 million in milestone payments for nVision, a company founded by Surbhi Sarna to develop a device for detecting ovarian cancer. Sarna was inspired by a personal health scare to explore new ways to collect cells from the fallopian tubes and monitor them for signs of cancer.
Forbes (4/16) 
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Sector Spotlight: Life Sciences
Trayt launches app for tracking neurodevelopmental, brain disorder symptoms
An application has been released by data analytics startup Trayt for use in monitoring behavioral and nonbehavioral symptoms in patients with neurodevelopmental and brain disorders, including autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The app, which uses a comorbid rating scale, measures effectiveness of treatments and delivers progress reports and actionable insights.
MobiHealthNews (4/19) 
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Hitachi to test method for urine-based cancer screening
Hitachi has developed a tool to enable early-stage breast and colon cancer detection using urine samples, and the developers say it could be used for self-screening without medical assistance. Researchers identified 30 metabolites found in urine that are biomarkers for disease, and they are planning an upcoming trial of 250 urine samples.
Tech Times (4/18) 
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Venture Capital Culture
Protect company culture during rapid growth
Startups often have a collaborative feel and an appealing culture that can make them attractive work environments for young employees, writes Simon Mhanna. Rapid growth can create challenges, but you can preserve your company culture by articulating unspoken rules and codifying their values.
Medium (4/18) 
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Thought Leadership
Essential factors for creating a successful startup
There are 10 critical aspects for building a viable business, including have a strong vision, an effective onboarding process and an understanding of the competition, writes Des Traynor of Intercom. Entrepreneurs must be willing to review their assumptions and think about how their product will spread, he notes.
Inside Intercom blog (4/18) 
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Time to renew NVCA membership!
The NVCA 2018-2019 Membership Year begins on June 1. To ensure your team doesn't miss access to exclusive NVCA events, discounts, data, and resources, be sure to renew by May 31, 2018. Questions about renewals or member benefits? Please contact
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New AR and VR industry survey results
NVCA's partner Perkins Coie released their second survey of startup founders, tech executives, investors and consultants, which shows that the augmented and virtual reality industry is growing up. With augmented and virtual reality investment on the rise and more companies going to market, we can expect to see increased practical applications of the technology and more legal worries. Learn more about advancements and new obstacles in our 2018 Augmented and Virtual Reality Survey Report. Take a look.
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