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Inside SaaS

Inside SaaS (Jul 22nd, 2019)

1. AI-based car inspection scanner UVeye has received $31 million from Volvo, Toyota and other investors. The drive-through vehicles scanning platform will allow carmakers to offer detailed inspections with the help of AI and scanners. Volvo Cars, Toyota Tsusho Co, Toyota Group’s trading unit and others collectively invested $31 million in the Israel-based startup, but each has a different plan for how to apply the breakthrough technology, which can handle a myriad amount of inspections. “We’re able to find everything from a really small scratch, as small as 2 millimeters, to then understanding the gaps, or in case of collision to understand exactly what parts were damaged,” UVeye CEO Amir Hever said. -- FORBES

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2. Southeast Asia's leading video streaming platform iflix has raised $50 million in new funding ahead of a prospective IPO. The investment round was led by global asset manager Fidelity International and takes place as the Kuala Lumpur-based company prepares to launch an IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange later this year. According to iflix, the platform's user base has grown rapidly, surpassing 17 million users in May 2019, up from 9 million just six months earlier. “We have a strong pipeline of new content and are excited to be making our most extensive ever content offering available to our millions of users across the region,” said Patrick Grove, co-founder and chairman of iFlix. -- E27

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3. Mumbai-based voice software agency Agrahyah Technologies has raised $1 million in a Pre-Series A round of funding. The Indian software agency, which also provides voice and text content consulting services, received the fresh capital from an undisclosed investor. Agrahyah is a preferred software development partner of Amazon Alexa and specializes in building Alexa Skills for brands. -- HINDU BUSINESS LINE

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4. Tech jobs are flooding into Manchester and other British cities outside of London. “There are a number of British unicorns that are already in Manchester or moving here," the chief technology officer of price comparison site MoneySupermarket.com told the Financial Times. Despite the uncertainties of Brexit, many tech companies have recently created new jobs in Manchester, including Amazon, Booking.com, Boohoo, Autotrader and telecom provider TalkTalk. Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge are also now considered growing tech hubs. -- FT

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5. AI-powered financial workplace OS Behavox is approaching unicorn status with a fresh $100 million funding round. Its platform allows companies, mostly in the financial service space, to monitor their employees' emails, text messages and calls in real-time. The use of AI technology brings smarter oversight to financial institutions, allowing these companies to better spot malicious or illicit activity coming from within, such as rogue trading, bribery and expenses abuse. -- TELEGRAPH

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6. Atlassian has overhauled its performance reviews to better consider company culture and not just technical skills. Atlassian’s global head of talent Bek Chee says that the company wants to throw out the idea of the "brilliant jerk" from the performance review process, which she adds has been a mostly outdated system being applied to modern workforces. “Some of these performance systems don’t necessarily account for unconscious bias, they don’t necessarily reward the behavior that we’re seeking to reward,” she said. Atlassian's new review process will critique three core areas: the expectation of the role, team contribution and demonstration of company values. -- BUSINESS INSIDER AU

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7. Singapore-based family events platform BYKidO has raised $162,000 in pre-seed funding. Founded by Jiarong Yu in 2016, the Platform-as-a-service company currently connects 50,000 parents to recommended family-friendly events and activities via a multi-channel platform. The pre-seed funding was led by an incubator program in Singapore, and BYKidO plans to use the fresh investment to upgrade its technology, improve content and boost marketing efforts. Founder Jiarong Yu says that the company is addressing a major information gap concerning family events. "The issue is not a lack of events for families, but rather it is not knowing what is happening or when it is happening," he said. -- E27

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8. eBay has bought a 5.5 percent stake in India-based e-commerce firm Paytm Mall worth a reported $170 million to $200 million. The deal will bring Paytm Mall's total valuation to $3 billion, Your Story reports, and make more than a million eBay products available on the Indian platform. This is eBay's third investment in India, which started with a deal in 2013. Paytm Mall's partnership with eBay could strengthen its position in the country, where it competes against Walmart-owned Flipkart and Amazon India. -- YOUR STORY

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9. Singapore-based alternative ATM app soCash has raised $6 million in a Series B funding round. The new investment, led by  Japan’s Glory Ltd, will be used to expand the fintech's network to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. Through soCash's mobile app, users can turn participating retail stores into alternative ATMs, allowing the ability to withdraw cash or even take out a loan. SoCash has a network of 1,400 shops in Singapore and partnerships with ICBC and Standard Chartered. -- BUSINESS TIMES

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10. Global VC firm White Capital has opened up a new Hong Kong office to get closer to regional tech startups. The firm began its push into the east in 2018 when it opened up its first Asia office in Tokyo. Hong Kong offers the investment firm an opportunity to be close to tech hot spots in China, without having to be placed directly in the mainland, where plenty of venture capital is already available.  -- TECH CRUNCH

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This newsletter is written and curated by Justin Calderón. Justin is based out of Barcelona, Spain, and has covered technology and SaaS news for a variety of publications, including the BBC and Newsweek. Follow him on Twitter at @justinfuyun

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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