[TechCONNECT] Atlanta Tech News Roundup | October 2020
It was a major month for business and tech in the Southeast. We’re sharing all of the news you should know below. Stay connected to the best tech stories every week by subscribing to TechCONNECT.
Trending: Atlanta's Top Tech Stories
Cox Communications Promises $60M to Close the Digital Learning Gap
Cox Communications has committed $60 million to close the digital learning gap. As school districts have worked to connect teachers and students through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Cox has launched Cox CARES Act Solutions for Education to help schools successfully implement virtual learning during the pandemic. One of the most important elements of the CARES Act Solutions for Education is the Connect2Compete program, which provides internet for low-income families with a K-12 child participating in a government-assisted program. This program supports eligible students and their families by providing low-cost home internet with wifi as well as access to the Cox Digital Academy, a free online resource hub that connects families with educational videos, tutorials, games, and more. To learn more about the CARES Act Solutions for Education and Cox’s additional coronavirus relief efforts, click here.
BIP Capital releases its 2020 State of Southeast Startups
BIP Capital released its 2020 State of Startups in the Southeast Report, and it revealed that, even in a pandemic, our region is showing few signs of slowing down. In fact, the report pointed out that investors are writing bigger checks into a more curated set of bets, and startups are growing across diverse industries. BIP’s CEO, Mark Buffington, also shared that despite “a rapid downturn in March due to the pandemic, both in the number of deals closed and dollars deployed, it does appear that the steep year-over-year decline we witnessed has begun to recover, with momentum returning as we head into the second half of 2020. We believe the Southeast’s persistent market maturation has positioned it well to emerge from the current crisis.” Be sure to check out the full report by clicking here, as well as the Southeast Funding & Tech New Round Up provided by Hypepotamus.
Atlanta Tech Village Hosts a Lunch and Learn for Women in Tech!
It’s time to make women in tech the rule rather than the exception. Every second Wednesday of the month, Atlanta Tech Village hosts a lunch and learn to empower women in tech through a kick-ass network, intentional teaching, and purposeful community. This month, ATV welcomed Candi Shelton to discuss how the principles of placemaking can influence our personal wellbeing. Placemaking is an approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces, but behind the ideas of placemaking are ideas about what it means to be human. Candi shared more about the 11 principles of placemaking and how we can apply these to our personal lives to help us design the kind of life we really want. The event is virtual and free of charge, so snag your spot and register for the next one by clicking here.
Smartphone Encryption: Friend or Foe?
90% of criminal investigations rely on smartphones for evidence, but advancements in modern encryption in use on mobile devices have created an unyielding demand and urgency in gaining access to these devices during the course of criminal investigations. So while Apple and Google users, in particular, pay premium prices for privacy and encrypted data, law enforcement officials across the nation are actually regularly breaking into encrypted smartphones. In fact, at least 2,000 law enforcement agencies in all 50 states now have tools to get into locked, encrypted phones and extract their data. While the existence of these tools has been known for some time, records indicate that the authorities are breaking into phones far more than we realized- and that smartphones, with their vast troves of personal data, are not as impenetrable as Apple and Google have advertised. Even with these phone hacking tools, law enforcement rarely gets instant access. The process can be expensive and time-consuming, sometimes costing thousands of dollars and requiring weeks, months or even years. Also, in some cases, the tools don’t work at all; however, Atlanta-based Grayshift, which just announced a $47M Series A funding round led by Pennsylvania-based PeakEquity Partners, delivers one of the fastest, most reliable solutions and strives to operate with the highest integrity. The funding will be used to increase sales and marketing initiatives, grow Grayshift’s research and engineering teams, and enhance awareness about its unique features. At the end of the day, solving more significant homicide and rape cases, as well as finding answers about less-serious offenses such as drugs and shoplifting, is what is at stake in order to protect the public. Most agree that it is more important than privacy-enabled smartphones. To get more information about how law enforcement is able to break into smartphones, as well as industry-leader, Grayshift’s series A funding round, click here.
Atlanta Funding News
CoreView Receives $10M in Series B Funding Round
Alpharetta-based software as a service (SaaS) company, CoreView, announced that it received $10 million in funding, completing its Series B round, from New York-based VC firm Insight Partners. CoreView will use the new funding for product innovation and expand its global network of enterprise clients, international resellers, and managed service providers. According to CEO Michael Morrison, “The southeastern region is obviously a hotspot for business and technology. Alpharetta is just booming, and we’re looking from every angle to take advantage of it. It’s a good place to be, especially in these tough times when accessing that type of talent is critical.” Alpharetta is the company’s base for all of North America, and CoreView increased year-over-year revenue by 173 percent in 2019, growing its total number of users under management to more than five million. You can read the full story here.
Popmenu Raises $17M Series B round led by Bedrock Capital
Popmenu just announced that it closed a $17M Series B round led by Bedrock Capital. The Atlanta-based digital marketing and ordering SaaS platform is helping restaurants revamp their online presence in a big way to ensure that orders keep coming through during these uncertain times for the industry. Instead of customers searching for reviews and photos across the internet and then placing an order on a third-party app, Popmenu works as an all-in-one platform to keep potential customers on a restaurant’s website longer. The platform also helps restaurants of all sizes maximize their digital marketing outreach through emails, SMS, social media, and improved SEO rankings. To learn more about Popmenu’s fundraising round and how it is working to bring tangible solutions to restaurants of all sizes, click here to read an article by Hypepotamus.
Instacart Bags Another $200M in Funding
Instacart just bagged another $200 million in fresh funding, boosting its valuation to $17.7 billion. The grocery delivery app, which said that “COVID-19 has forever changed the way people shop for their groceries,” closed a new funding round led by Valiant Peregrine Fund and D1 Capital Partners just four months after announcing it had raised a $225 million financing round. The company said it will put the money to work on initiatives including introducing new features and tools for customers and investing in two of its offerings: Instacart Enterprise, which supports retailers’ end-to-end e-commerce needs, and Instacart Ads, which connects consumer packaged goods brands to customers. You can read more about Instacart’s success as well as the other two investments D1 Capital Partners has made just this month in the Crunchbase report linked here.
Trending: Top National Tech Stories
Google Announces New Features at Recent “Search On” Event
Google recently hosted “Search On,” where the company announced the latest ways it’s harnessing the power of AI to help people understand the world around them. Google shared a wide range of new features, including improvements to Google Maps that allow potential customers to collect details about the health and safety precautions local businesses are taking during COVID-19, as well as new advances in language understanding on Google Search to help you find exactly what you’re looking for (even if you misspell a few words), and finally, hum to search. In Georgia, the top three most searched song lyrics over the past six months have been for WAP, We Paid, and Savage. Now, instead of just searching lyrics, you can hum, whistle, or sing a melody to Google to solve your earworm. On your mobile device, you can simply tap the mic icon in the Google search bar and say, “What’s this song?” Or, click “search a song” and start humming for 10-15 seconds. You can check out a video from the Search On event by clicking here.
All the Buzz Around the New iPhone
Apple has finally announced, in true extra Apple fashion, the launch of the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini along with key new features, like a built-in magnet to allow for effortless attachment and faster wireless charging, 5G speed, an A14 Bionic, which is the fastest chip in a smartphone, a ceramic shield, live AR scanner for more realistic augmented reality, Super Retina XDR display, and a pro-camera system optimized for low-light, also known as night-mode. There is also a HomePod mini that is said to fill the room with sound and is powered by Siri. Click here to read more about Apple’s new products.
Justice Department Files Long Awaited Antitrust Suit Against Google
While Google has attracted considerable scrutiny over the past decade as it rose to power, the tech powerhouse has avoided a true showdown with the government—until now. The Justice Department has filed an antitrust lawsuit alleging that Google engaged in anticompetitive conduct to preserve monopolies in both search and search advertising. Google owns or controls search distribution channels accounting for about 80% of search queries in the U.S., meaning that Google’s competitors can’t get a meaningful number of search queries and build a scale needed to compete, leaving consumers with less choice and less innovation, and advertisers with less competitive prices, the lawsuit alleged. This long-anticipated case marks the most aggressive U.S. legal challenge to a company’s dominance in the tech sector in more than two decades, with the potential to shake up Silicon Valley and beyond. To learn more about the allegations against Google and how the company may respond, check out Brent Kendall and Rob Copeland’s article on The Wall Street Journal by clicking here.
Microsoft Teams Up with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to Bring Cloud-Computing to Customers
Just three months after Amazon Web Services disclosed its space-focused efforts, Microsoft made a big announcement that will effectively allow the company to compete with Amazon. Microsoft is partnering with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and others to target commercial and government space businesses, and according to the projections, the overall revenue from space-related cloud services could total close to $15 billion by the end of the decade. SpaceX, which is in the process of deploying its Starlink project consisting of thousands of high-speed internet satellites intended to provide connectivity around the globe, makes a natural partner for Microsoft. Together, the two will create integrated, secure networks, linking various cloud, space, and ground capabilities in order to accumulate and analyze huge volumes of data. Amazon’s and Microsoft’s steps in space come as U.S. military and intelligence agencies are increasing spend on a range of space projects. You can learn more about this new partnership, how Microsoft stacks up against Amazon, and why there is a focus on space-related projects by reading the Wall Street Journal article.
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