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Daymond John from the TV Show “Shark Tank” to Speak at the Startup World Cup Grand Finale Event in San Francisco, March 24

Startup World Cup LogoDaymond John, the famous shark on TV’s “Shark Tank,” will deliver a keynote presentation at the Startup World Cup 2017 event in San Francisco on March 24, 2017. Daymond John is a highly successful entrepreneur and is the CEO and Founder of the renowned apparel company FUBU. He will kick off the Startup World Cup Grand Finale competition in San Francisco at the Marriott Marquis hotel. Startup World Cup is a global conference and competition organized by Fenox Venture Capital to bridge startup ecosystems worldwide.

On stage, Daymond John will speak about how to grow a successful company. Starting his own business in his parent’s house in Queens with limited resources, he is familiar with what it takes to build a company from scratch and transform it into a billion-dollar business. His background and achievements will set the tone for an exciting competition.

At this Startup World Cup Grand Finale event, the winners of 16 regional events from around the world will pitch their companies to Eric Feng of Kleiner Perkins, David Cohen of Techstars, Kevin Hale of Y Combinator, Edith Yeung of 500 Startups, Lisa Suennen of GE Ventures, Adeo Ressi of Founder Institute, Saeed Amidi of Plug and Play, and Tim Draper of Draper Associates. The winner of the finale will receive a US $1,000,000 investment, worldwide media recognition, and access to accelerators and incubators in the US.

The event is organized as a one day conference, which includes the startup competition, but also has a number of high caliber speakers lined up. Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, and Garry Tan of Initialized Capital will partake in a fireside chat. There also will be a keynote speech given by Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist of Apple and popular author.

One more regional winner to pitch at the Grand Finale will be selected this week on February 2nd, representing the US West Coast. Register now for your tickets: http://www.startupworldcup.io/us-west-coast-event.

See the original story here.

February 1st, 2017|

FENOX VC DEBUTS STARTUP WORLD CUP: 1,000,000 USD FOR THE WORLD CHAMPION

Startup World Cup LogoSan Jose-based Fenox Venture Capital is launching a series of pitch competitions called the Startup World Cup, with a $1 million investment prize, in an effort to identify top entrepreneurial talent in 11 international markets, according to the firm’s CEO and General Partner Anis Uzzaman.

Uzzaman said talks with founders inspired the firm to launch this initiative.

“As we work with entrepreneurs outside of the U.S., we keep hearing that they want to know more VC’s and entrepreneurs here in Silicon Valley, or get connections to large corporations in the U.S. But at the same time, when we work with our portfolio companies here, we find that founders want to explore new markets and find business partners overseas.”

Fenox VC has promised a USD $1 million investment prize for the winners of the culminating event, but the firm intends to back other promising companies it meets through the competition, or may even invest more than $1 million in seed money in the winning company, Uzzaman confirmed.

Pitch competitions are nothing new. The first “b-plan competition,” then called Moot Corp., was held in 1984 at the University of Texas at Austin. Now, that competition is boringly named the Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition. And such events are held commonly by other colleges and universities, but also by other investment firms, foundations and corporations.

Some prominent examples include the MIT $100K and the Rice Business Plan Competition for new, high-tech ventures involving students at those universities; the Hult Prize and Mentor Capital Network Challenge for social ventures; the 1776 Challenge Cup, hosted by the D.C.-based investment firm 1776; and competitions at conferences like this publication’s TechCrunch Disrupt, WebSummit or LAUNCH Festival.

Of course, there are also pitch competitions on TV like ABC’s Shark Tank in the U.S. or CBC’s Dragons’ Den in Canada helping to popularize entrepreneurship worldwide.

The U.S. may see a glut of competitions, and launching a new one may win Fenox VC some skeptical eye-rolls, but these events haven’t spread to all the markets where entrepreneurs could use them, Uzzaman believes. “This platform is for startups and startup ecosystems of the world.”

Based in San Jose, Fenox VC invests on behalf of corporate limited partners only– no pension fund or endowment money is at stake in their deals. Its partners are in Fenox funds to generate financial returns, but also to find technology and services that can help them with their own business.

The firm has about 60 employees in 7 different countries today.

Fenox VC’s portfolio includes: Jibo, makers of a social, companion robot; Affectiva, developers of artificial intelligence systems that can detect emotions in visual content online; Scanadu, makers of a health diagnostic device inspired by Star Trek; and Hijup.com, a fashion and e-commerce site for Muslim women.

Judges who will decide on the winning company for Fenox VC’s Startup World Cup include: Y Combinator’s Kevin Hale, TechStars’ David Cohen and Eric Feng from Kleiner Perkins. Fenox is still looking to add judges, Uzzaman said.

See the original story here.

June 22nd, 2016|

Fenox Leads Series D Funding in Affectiva, AI for Emotion Recognition

Affectiva's systems can glean a user's emotional responses by analyzing their facial expressions.Affectiva, a startup developing “emotion recognition technology” that can read people’s moods from their facial expressions captured in digital videos, raised $14 million in a Series D round of funding led by Fenox Venture Capital.

According to co-founder Rana el Kaliouby, the Waltham, Mass.-based company wants its technology to become the de facto means of adding emotional intelligence and empathy to any interactive product, and the best way for organizations to attain unvarnished insights about customers, patients or constituents.

She explained that Affectiva uses computer vision and deep learning technology to analyze facial expressions or non-verbal cues in visual content online, but not the language or conversations in a video.

The company’s technology ingests digital images—including video in chat applications, live-streamed or recorded videos, or even GIFs—through simple web cams typically. Its system first categorizes then maps the facial expressions to a number of emotional states, like happy, sad, nervous, interested or surprised.

Over time, the company’s systems can learn to identify more complex emotions. The startup hopes to be able to accurately parse expressions of hope, inspiration and frustration from non-verbal cues in the future, for example. So far, Affectiva has amassed a data repository of 4.25 million videos from people in 75 different countries yielding over 50 billion emotion-related data points.

Assessing facial expressions across gender and international lines proved essential to making “emotion AI” work, el Kaliouby said. Some expressions are unique to different geographies. For example, Affectiva has discovered a “politeness smile,” that is not representative of “happiness,” or “smirking,” which is a prevalent expression among communities in Southeast Asian countries or India. But the politeness smile is not prevalent in the Americas, Africa and Europe.

Early adopters of Affectiva’s emotional intelligence systems have included independent video game studios and brand or advertising teams within large corporations like Unilever, Kellogg’s, Mars and CBS.

Flying Mollusk Studio used Affectiva’s Affdex software development kit to make a psychological thriller genre video game called Nevermind, which becomes more challenging when players feel scared or nervous. If players can master their emotions, and stay calm or calm down, the game levels are easier to master and less surreal.

Advertisers and marketers have also used Affectiva’s software-as-a-service to conduct focus groups, of a kind, where respondents don’t have to describe how they feel as they review an advertisement, program or new product for the first time. Their emotional response can simply be assessed through the software.

The idea is that if a majority of viewers of a film, program or commercial lose interest at a certain point, companies that use Affectiva for testing will know it, and be able to tweak their content after getting “emotional journey” reports back from a focus group.

It’s not hard to imagine bad actors using the power of emotional intelligence to swindle or hurt people. And of course marketing and consumer research is always a bit manipulative. But el Kaliouby emphasizes that Affectiva doesn’t and won’t develop lie detection features, and the company requires businesses using its technology to get explicit opt-ins and consent from their end users before analyzing their facial expressions.

“It’s like if you are playing poker, you can mask some of your emotions,” she added. “We want users to know exactly what our technology can and can’t do, and to be aware when they are engaging with it.”

Investors in Affectiva expect the company to take “emotion AI” into new corners of tech, especially health, robotics and education, said Fenox Venture Capital’s CEO and General Partner Anis Uzzaman. Fenox has also invested in the personal robot makers, Jibo. Uzzaman sees a future where things like Echo, Siri or even Google Maps are empathetic and responsive to a user’s mood.

Fenox’s limited partners are all corporations that want an early look at cutting-edge technologies that startups have to offer, and which they can use to improve their own businesses. With this deal, Uzzaman said, Fenox connected Affectiva with the likes of Bandai Namco and Sega Sammy Holdings, toy and video game makers who could use emotion AI in entertainment.

Today the company also announced that el Kaliouby has moved into the role of CEO.

Nicholas Langeveld, Affectiva’s previous CEO, is moving into the role of chairman. During his tenure as CEO, Langeveld led Affectiva’s growth from a company with a handful of early customers to one whose technology is used by 32 Fortune 100 companies and in 75 countries.

He also led Affectiva’s fundraising, attaining $34 million in venture capital to date, including the latest round led by Fenox, and $20 million in earlier venture funding from investors including WPP, Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures and KPCB.

Check out the original story here.

May 25th, 2016|

Fenox Venture Capital Invests in Leading IoT Platform Afero

Fenox Venture Capital has invested in Los Altos based Afero, an IoT platform-as-a-service company, in it’s newly announced $20.3 million Series A round of venture funding to secure connected devices, from toys and arcade games to medical equipment. The company’s technology works even when WiFi isn’t, employing 4GLTE and other radio sensors.

Afero works with large hardware makers who install the startup’s proprietary chip in their IoT devices or components.

The chips, which have been licensed to and are being manufactured by Murata, become identifiers for the gadgets they’re installed in. They interact with router-like hardware to process data as it passes between a gadget and apps in the cloud. The “router” in this equation could be a user’s smartphone, or standalone devices made by Afero.

Afero also provides API’s and mobile app monitoring and controls to secure data passing from smart devices to the cloud.

Fenox has invested in this round alongside co-investorsSamsung Catalyst Fund,Presidio Ventures, Sanshin Electronics Co. Ltd., SoftBank, Assembly Fund and Linear Technology co-founder Robert C. Dobkin.

Fenox Venture Capital CEO and General Partner Anis Uzzaman said “Afero will use use their newly raised capital to sell their system to category leading makers of smart devices and hardware components.”

The company has already inked deals with Bandai Namco and Infocom, both limited partners in Fenox funds.

Afero CEO Joe Britt said the company is also making inroads in the insurance business. He explained, “In the personal property preservation and loss industry, water damage is a huge driver of insurance costs. These companies want a straightforward way to detect water leaks, early. We give them a low-cost device that doesn’t rely on WiFi working in the home to be effective, that bridges water leak detectors in the home back to the cloud.”

Fenox is excited to add Afero to its portfolio of leading technology companies and further support its continued success.

See the original story here.

May 19th, 2016|

FENOX PORTFOLIO EDYN DEBUTS SMART WATER VALVE FOR INTELLIGENT GARDENING

Edyn, a Fenox Venture Capital portfolio company, launched their new smart gardening device this week: an Internet-connected water valve that lets users irrigate their gardens or lawns automatically.

The Edyn Water Valve uses data from the company’s Edyn Garden Sensor, a soil sensor, along with local weather systems, to adjust the moisture levels in the soil. If a user wants, they can adjust their irrigation systems via the Edyn smartphone app.

Sold for $69, the Edyn Water Valve weighs less than eight ounces, is solar-powered, Wi-Fi-enabled and fits a standard garden hose. The Edyn system was designed to be small enough for use with a hose that’s connected to a kitchen sink, and a window box garden if desired.

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Edyn previously raised seed funding from Fenox Venture Capital, Idea Bulb Ventures,Morningside Group, Indicator ventures, Y Combinator, and was a TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield finalist.

The Edyn Water Valve is the company’s second product since it’s founding, having previously released the Edyn Garden Sensor, a sleek IoT device that uses various sensors to monitor the soil health of customers’ gardens. Edyn’s products are sold at Home Depot stores, and the company will soon be adding its products to new brick-and-mortar retailers, Arumburu said.

Read the original story here.

May 19th, 2016|

Infoteria Corporation CEO Pina Hirano Joins Fenox Venture Capital as Board Advisor

Pina-Hirano1Infoteria Corporation’s CEO, Yoichiro “Pina” Hirano, joins the board of advisors of Fenox Venture Capital, Inc. (Fenox). Mr. Hirano is a natural-born entrepreneur who founded Infoteria Corporation and took it public in 2007 at Tokyo Stock Exchange. He also recently became the Chairman of the Blockchain Collaborative Consortium (BCCC), Japan’s first blockchain industry organization.

Fenox is a USA Silicon Valley-based global venture capital firm with more than 65 portfolio companies and 7 offices across North America, Europe and Asia. Aside from investing into startups around the globe, Fenox has been providing large Japanese corporations access to the hottest startups around the world, creating business development opportunities for both existing and new business segments.

“Fenox gives Japanese startups a global flavor. Along with its global portfolio, Fenox has also invested in top Japanese startups, including Terra Motors, Money Forward, Metaps, Evolable Asia, ZUU, Geniee and FiNC, and helped them with their globalization approach,” said Pina Hirano. “Fenox also plays a major role in Japan’s innovation by helping large corporations connect with Silicon Valley and global startups leading the technology trends. They already have numerous success stories with more than 15 existing corporate partners. I am happy to be a part of Fenox’s outstanding team.”

“As a part of our global initiative, Fenox is committed to help the Japanese startup ecosystem. In 2015 alone, Fenox has invested about $24 million USD into Japanese startups and the addition of Mr. Hirano shows our further commitment to Japan’s dynamic market,” said Anis Uzzaman, CEO & General Partner of Fenox Venture Capital. “With the help of Mr. Hirano, we will be able to not only invest in additional Japanese startups, but also help large Japanese corporations innovate in the most effective fashion.”

The cooperation between Fenox and Mr. Hirano will catalyze the innovation in Japan, empowering Japanese startups with global expansion opportunities and bridging the latest technology trends from Silicon Valley for large corporations to take leadership in the global arena.

See the original story here.

May 16th, 2016|

TiE Global Chairman Venktesh Shukla Joins Fenox Venture Capital as General Partner

Venktesh Shukla, Chairman of TiE Global, is joining Fenox Venture Capital as a General Partner to further strengthen its investment activities in Asia.

Venktesh is a seasoned investor and serial entrepreneur who has been involved with numerous startups as an executive, investor, board member, or adviser. As the President of TiE Silicon Valley, he has had a transformational impact on the organization and now also serves as the Chairman of TiE Global. As the founding President of the Foundation for Excellence for the first 17 years of its 20 years existence, he set the stage for its current success in providing scholarship to thousands of talented but underprivileged students pursuing engineering and medical education in India.

Venktesh hosted the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi during his visit to Silicon Valley in September 2015 and contributed to the policies included in the Prime Minister’s new Start Up India initiative. He has hosted a large number of government delegations from India and other countries and helped them develop their start up policy. He recently led a large Silicon Valley delegation to India to participate in discussions relating to development of the startup ecosystem in India.

“We are very excited to have Venktesh Shukla as a General Partner,” said Anis Uzzaman, Co-founder and General Partner at Fenox Venture Capital. “Venktesh will bring core expertise to Fenox that will strengthen and diversify our global campaign. Two thirds of the world’s population lives in Asia, and Venktesh can help us expand our operations to new regions in Asia, including India”.

“I am very excited to join the Fenox team,” said Venktesh Shukla. “Fenox has been supporting entrepreneurs in the USA, Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and Bangladesh. I will be able to help them reach out to more regions. Fenox is the only VC firm in the Silicon Valley that has been working as a bridge between USA and Asia. Fenox has already introduced many Silicon Valley startups to Asia and connected them with large corporations for exponential growth. I feel that I will be able to add value to this existing model.”

Read more about Venktesh Shukla and his joining of Fenox Venture Capital here.

April 5th, 2016|

Fenox Venture Capital’s Portfolio Company, Evolable Asia, IPOs on Tokyo Stock Exchange

Evolable Asia IPOFenox Venture Capital is pleased to announce Evolable Asia’s IPO on March 31, 2016 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The now-publicly listed company is one of the many exciting investments in our Japanese portfolio. As investors in Evolable Asia, we greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication of Chairman Mr. Oishi, CEO Mr. Yoshimura, and the entire Evolable Asia in getting to a successful IPO. Evolable Asia is a Tokyo-based provider of online travel services, focused on travel and vacation packages for Japan. In addition to its three popular travel portals – Tripstar, Soratabi, and Tabiweb – which facilitate over a million transactions a month, Evolable Asia powers an additional 600 domestic travel sites through its in-house technology.

For more information about Evolable Asia, please click here.

March 31st, 2016|

FENOX’S ANIS UZZAMAN DELIVERS KEYNOTE AT INNOVATION EXTREME

Innovation xtremeAnis Uzzaman, General Partner & CEO of Fenox Venture Capital, recently delivered a keynote speech at Innovation Xtreme, the largest startup event in Bangladesh. This year, the 300 attendees received over 3 hours of guided networking time throughout the day, maximizing opportunities. It gave startups a chance to delve into their products with experts

Bangladesh is an exciting and fast-emerging economy – it is the world’s 8th largest country by population, and home to more than 50 million internet users. Anis spoke about some of the latest technologies entering the market and how the Bangladesh startup ecosystem can expect to see major growth over the next several years. Thank you to the Innovation Xtreme event organizing committee for involving us in their wonderful event.

For more information click here.

March 28th, 2016|

FENOX’S ANIS UZZAMAN FEATURED AS JUDGE AT TECH IN ASIA SINGAPORE 2016

Singapore

On April 13th, Anis Uzzaman, General Partner & CEO of Fenox Venture Capital, will be judging at Tech in Asia Singapore 2016’s Arena Startup Pitch Battle.

Tech in Asia is scouring the entire Asian region to pick the top 7 startups to compete in this year’s Arena. The final Arena battle will take place live on the Tech in Asia Singapore 2016 Main Stage on Wednesday, April 13. The winner brings home US$10,000 in prize money and will have their startup’s legacy engraved on the Tech in Asia Singapore 2016 Champion Trophy.

For more information click here.

March 18th, 2016|