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Tag Archives: japanese

Undo gets $14M to scale to meet the software accountability challenge

Undo , a long time player in the debugging tools space, offering its program execution capture and replay technology to help others diagnose software failures, has closed a $14 million Series B round led by Cambridge Innovation Capital , the Cambridge, UK-based builder of tech and healthcare companies. The 2005 founded startup — initially bootstrapped (out of founder Greg Law’s garden shed) — has come a long way, and now has more than 30 paying customers for what it describes as its “record, rewind and replay” debugging technology, including the likes of SAP HANA, Mentor Graphics, Cadence and Micro Focus. A quick potted history: In 2012, Law quit his job to go full time on Undo, raising a small amount of angel funding and then a $1.25M from seed investment in 2014, followed by $3.3M in a series A funding in 2016. New investors in the Series B round include Global Brain Corporation, a Japanese venture capital fund; and UK-focused Parkwalk Advisors, while all Undo’s existing investor groups also participated —  including Rockspring; Martlet; Sir Peter Michael (founder of Quantel, Classic FM and California’s Peter Michael Winery); the Cambridge Angels group and Jaan Tallinn (co-founder of Skype and Kazaa). The Series B will be used to expand Undo’s software development team, accelerate product development and grow its US operations. Undo says its best markets so far are electronic design automation (EDA); database manufacturers/data management; and networking. “This funding will be used to significantly improve performance as part of Undo’s  always-on recording  vision, and also to accelerate our product roadmap and broaden the technology beyond compiled code so that it can be used with Java and other VM-based languages,” it tells us. “Our main competitor is the status quo — engineering organisations that do not evolve with the times. Old-school debugging techniques (e.g. printf, logging, core dump analysis) have been around for decades. 2000 was all about static analysis. 2010 was about dynamic analysis, 2020 will be about capturing software failures ‘in the act’ through capture & replay technology.” Undo argues that its Live Recorder technology offers “a completely new way of diagnosing software failures during development and in production” — arguing that its approach is superior to traditional debugging techniques such as printf, logging, core dump analysis which are “general purpose and provide limited information”, while it says static and dynamic analysis “are deep but can only look at specific instances of bugs” — whereas it claims its tech “can capture failure instances across the whole spectrum and therefore plugs in the gaps which no-one else has filled yet”. The UK company also sees a growing opportunity for its approach given increasingly complex and increasingly autonomous software risks becoming unaccountable, if it’s making decisions without people knowing how and why. So the wider vision for Undo is not just getting faster at fixing bugs but addressing the growing need for software makers to be able to articulate — and account for — what their programs are doing at any given moment. “Longer term it’s about that journey towards software accountability,” says Law .

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Enterprise software investments may be tepid now, but they’re poised to engage

Logan Bartlett Contributor Share on Twitter Logan Bartlett is a vice president with Battery Ventures . More posts by this contributor The SaaS Success Database Have we reached “peak software”? Just like the idea of “peak oil”—the hypothetical point at which global oil production could max out—you could say we’re approaching a saturation point for venture-capital investments in software companies. Recent data from Pitchbook shows that venture investing in software companies has plateaued: The amount of VC money invested in these companies–$32 billion last year—remained roughly constant over the last four years. The actual number of venture-backed software investments, mostly for business-focused companies, has actually declined, from 4,068 in 2014 to 2,980 last year. But software is not, in fact, a declining industry. As I explore with my colleague Neeraj Agrawal in a recent report called  Software 2018 , released last month, a closer look at the Pitchbook data shows that the falloff in software deal volumes is primarily in the Bay Area, where an overheated market has boosted valuations and caused some investors to temporarily pull back. Investment in other U.S. regions, and globally, is actually going up. Investment in software companies based in Europe, Canada and Australia/New Zealand, for example, was $5.4 billion in 2017, up nearly 69% from the previous year. Perhaps more important, a number of broader, global mega trends continue to fuel software innovation today, promising more new companies and more new jobs. These trends include everything from the rise of artificial intelligence, which is pushing software into new fields like autonomous driving, to the recent corporate tax cuts in the U.S., which could free up hundreds of billions of dollars for big corporations to buy up software startups.

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Baidu Self-Driving Buses To launch In Japan Next Year – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Baidu Self-Driving Buses To launch In Japan Next Year Ubergizmo Chinese tech giant Baidu has been working on its own self-driving technology and the company is now reportedly gearing up to launch its self-driving buses in Japan next year. Baidu's Apolong fully self-driving bus has been developed in collaboration ... and more »

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Bag Week 2018: The Nomadic NF-02 keeps everything in its right place

Nomadic, a Japanese brand sold by JetPens in the US, makes some of my favorite bags and backpacks. The Wise Walker Toto was an amazing little bag and I’ve always enjoyed the size, materials, and design. The $89 Nomadic NF-02 is no different. The best thing about this 15×7 inch backpack is the compact size and internal pouches. The Nomadic can hold multiple pens, notebooks, and accessories, all stuck in their own little cubbies, and you can fit a laptop and a few books in the main compartment. This is, to be clear, not a “school” backpack. It’s quite compact and I doubt it would be very comfortable with a much more than a pair of textbooks and a heavier laptop. It’s definitely a great travel sack, however, and excellent for the trip from home to the office. The bag comes in a few colors including turquoise and navy and there is a small hidden pouch for important papers and passports. There is a reflective strip on the body and it is water-repellent so it will keep your gear dry. Again, my favorite part of this bag are the multiple little pockets and spaces. It’s an organizer’s dream and features so many little spots to hide pens and other gear that it could also make an excellent tourist pack. It is small enough for easy transport but holds almost anything you can throw at it. Nomadic is a solid backpack

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Bag Week 2018: The Nomadic NF-02 keeps everything in its right place

Nomadic, a Japanese brand sold by JetPens in the US, makes some of my favorite bags and backpacks. The Wise Walker Toto was an amazing little bag and I’ve always enjoyed the size, materials, and design. The $89 Nomadic NF-02 is no different. The best thing about this 15×7 inch backpack is the compact size and internal pouches. The Nomadic can hold multiple pens, notebooks, and accessories, all stuck in their own little cubbies, and you can fit a laptop and a few books in the main compartment. This is, to be clear, not a “school” backpack. It’s quite compact and I doubt it would be very comfortable with a much more than a pair of textbooks and a heavier laptop. It’s definitely a great travel sack, however, and excellent for the trip from home to the office. The bag comes in a few colors including turquoise and navy and there is a small hidden pouch for important papers and passports. There is a reflective strip on the body and it is water-repellent so it will keep your gear dry. Again, my favorite part of this bag are the multiple little pockets and spaces. It’s an organizer’s dream and features so many little spots to hide pens and other gear that it could also make an excellent tourist pack.

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Google brings offline neural machine translations for 59 languages to its Translate app

Currently, when the Google Translate apps for iOS and Android has access to the internet, its translations are far superior to those it produces when it’s offline. That’s because the offline translations are phrase-based , meaning they use an older machine translation technique than the machine learning-powered systems in the cloud that the app has access to when it’s online. But that’s changing today. Google is now rolling out offline Neural Machine Translation (NMT) support for 59 languages in the Translate apps. Today, only a small number of users will see the updated offline translations, but it will roll out to all users within the next few weeks. The list of supported languages consists of a wide range of languages. Because I don’t want to play favorites, here is the full list: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Belarusian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian, Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jannada, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese and Welsh. In the past, running these deep learning models on a mobile device wasn’t really an option since mobile phones didn’t have the right hardware to efficiently run them. Now, thanks to both advances in hardware and software, that’s less of an issue and Google, Microsoft and others have also found ways to compress these models to a manageable size. In Google’s case, that’s about 30 to 40 megabytes per language. It’s worth noting that Microsoft also announced a similar feature for its Translator app earlier this year. It uses a very similar technique, but for the time being, it only supports about a dozen languages.

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Music startup Roli adds Sony as investor, eyes up expanded range of hardware and software

When people think of music startups in the tech world, the focus is often on streaming, or figuring out how to better track and monetise those streams, or perhaps hardware to make those streams sound better.  But today comes news of funding for a startup that is tackling a different kind of challenge: tapping innovations from the tech world to develop new instruments and ways of creating music. Roli , a London-based startup that develops new styles of keyboards to compose and play music that subsequently can be consumed and engaged with using smartphones and other devices, has announced new strategic investment from the Sony Innovation Fund , the VC arm of the Japanese consumer electronics and entertainment giant. The plan is to use the funds to expand its range of connected instruments — or, as the tech world might call it, hardware — as well as to develop the software that runs on them. “We’re developing new music-making tools across hardware and software,” founder and CEO Roland Lamb said. “It’s part of our long-term plan to create the first totally integrated hardware-software platform for music creation. The funding from SIF accelerates this, and positions us to continue focusing on innovative research and development as we scale.” This is a strategic investment for Sony across a number of areas. Among two of the biggest: Sony has a sizeable business in audio hardware; and, by way of Sony Music, one of the world’s biggest recording label conglomerates. (It’s also the owner of a vast gaming empire and film and television studios, giving it a number of entry points to working with Roli .) Neither Roli nor Sony are disclosing the amount of funding, but for some context, PitchBook notes that Roli had previously raised around $46 million, and today the company said that the total raised is “over $50 million.” Sony is not the first strategic investor in the company: others from the music world include Universal Music; Pharrell Williams, who is also Roli’s chief creative officer ; and Onkyo, the Japanese audio company that also controls the Pioneer brand of home entertainment devices — which had invested previously but is only getting disclosed today. Technology backers, meanwhile, include a strong list of VCs such as Index Ventures, Foundry Group, Balderton, Horizons Ventures, Founders Fund, Kreos, BGF and Local Globe, Saul Klein’s new fund. The fact that there are so many tech investors in the company is notable. It underscores how Roli is aiming to build not just a music company, but one that is rooted in tech and views a large part of the effort here as one of hardware and building software that is able to recreate on digital platforms something that has in its traditional way remained an analogue undertaking

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Mercari, Japan’s first unicorn, files to raise $1.1B in Tokyo IPO

Mercari , the eBay-like service that is Japanese first tech startup unicorn, has filed to go public in an IPO that could raise as much as $1.1 billion. The company is scheduled to list on the Toyko Stock Exchange’s Mothers Market — a board for high-growth companies — on June 19. The company reached the symbolic $1 billion valuation mark in 2016 when it raised a $75 million Series D . In doing so it became the first Japanese tech startup to become a pre-IPO unicorn. Earlier this year, that valuation jumped to $2 billion following a $47 million investment . The five-year-old company operates an online ‘flea market’ that lets consumers sell unwanted goods with a focus on mobile. Japan is its core market, but the company expanded into the U.S. in 2014 and last year it entered Europe, initially via the UK. It boosted its overseas strategy in June 2017 when it hired former Facebook executive John Lagerling as its first chief business officer to guide its global strategy. The business passed 100 million downloads worldwide at the end of 2017. Mercari said that over 30 million downloads are in the U.S., with more than 60 million in Japan. Speaking earlier this year, CEO Shintaro Yamada — who sold his previous startup Unoh to gaming firm Zynga in 2010 — said success in the U.S. is essential if Mercari is to become an international player. Japanese unicorn Mercari is gunning for eBay’s crown Reuters reports that Mercari’s forecasted share price of 2,200-2,700 JPY per share would see the company raise up to 117.6 billion JPY ($1.1 billion) at a total market cap of 365.4 billion JPY, $3.3 billion. It’s common for Japanese startups to go public, but it traditionally tends to happen much earlier than in the U.S or other parts of the world. That’s often times down to investors — who seek to reduce the risk of their money not returning — and a relative lack of capital for startups, but Mercari has held out longer than most and that might set an example for future companies

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Walmart’s deal to buy Flipkart came with an interesting caveat

Retail giant Walmart, which earlier this week announced that it’s paying $16 billion for a 77 percent stake in the Indian e-commerce company, Flipkart Group, could have to take Flipkart public within four years, shows a public filing that was reported on earlier by Reuters . Specifically, the filing states that, “acting together,” holders of 60 percent of the Flipkart shares held by the company’s minority shareholders, may require Flipkart to stage an IPO following the fourth anniversary of the deal’s official close — and at a valuation that’s “no less” than that paid by Walmart under its current agreement, which is $20.8 billion. The caveat is a highly unusual one as far as we can tell — an apparent insurance policy for earlier investors who were concerned about giving away too much upside by selling so many of their shares now to Walmart. Some of the company’s minority shareholders following Flipkart’s tie-up with Walmart include Tencent Holdings, Tiger Global Management, Microsoft, and company cofounder Binny Bansal, who, according to the Economic Times, sold $104 million in shares but held on to a 4.2 percent stake . (Bansal is staying on with the company as a group CEO while his cofounder, Sachin Bansal, is leaving with at least $1 billion , according to regional outlets. Some are more newly suggesting he didn’t have much choice in the matter.) Another of Walmart’s minority shareholders, very notably, is SoftBank, whose CEO, Masayoshi Son, preempted Walmart itself by announcing the deal to reporters and analysts last Monday while discussing SoftBank’s quarterly results. At the time, Son suggested that SoftBank, which invested through its Vision Fund, would see a sizable return on its initial investment of $2.5 billion. (Told while still discussing SoftBank’s earnings that no announcement had been made by Walmart, he uttered the equivalent of: “Oops. I already said it.”) Now the Economic Times is reporting that SoftBank might not be selling those shares , which it acquired last year, after all. According to its sources, the Japanese giant is “still figuring out the tax liability that would arise if it sold its shares less than a year after investing in Flipkart. Further, it sees a significant upside potential in Flipkart.” SoftBank owns 21 percent of the company. Currently, both Amazon and Flipkart control a respective 35 percent of India’s e-commerce market, which is estimated to be a $30 billion market today but poised to grow into a  $200 billion market within the next 10 years.

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SNK Officially Unveils The Neo Geo Mini Console – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo SNK Officially Unveils The Neo Geo Mini Console Ubergizmo Last month the folks at SNK teased that they were preparing the launch of a new mini console based on the Neo Geo. Shortly after alleged leaked images made their way online and for those wondering about it, wonder no more because SNK has officially ... and more »

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