Confluera Raises $9 Million in Series A Round

Confluera Inc., the real-time cybersecurity company, announced $9 million in Series A led by Lightspeed’s Indian American founder and managing partner Ravi Mhatre. Industry analyst firm Gartner estimates worldwide information security spending to exceed $124 billion in 2019 largely driven by security and risk management needs of digital business initiatives. Still, businesses around the world struggle to detect and stop ever-increasing advanced, multi-stage cyberattacks. Current solutions have failed to prevent attackers from navigating through the enterprise infrastructure. This has led to more frequent and devastating data breaches, reputational damage and regulatory action for businesses, while adversaries roam freely through their critical infrastructure. “The cybersecurity industry is broken. The industry has focused on a plethora of point solutions that fail to address modern cyberattacks. We have created a unique platform to deterministically intercept and stop cyberattacks in real time,” said Confluera co-founder and CEO Abhijit Ghosh. “We aim to help enterprises around the world manage security risks across their infrastructure.” “Confluera is uniquely positioned to revolutionize how brands protect themselves and their customers from modern cyberattacks,” said Mhatre, founder of Lightspeed Ventures. “This funding round will enable Confluera to accelerate its growth and bring to market a cybersecurity product that is unmatched in its ingenuity and effectiveness.” Confluera was founded by Ghosh, Niloy Mukherjee and Bipul Sinha.

Recogni Emerges from Stealth Mode with $25M in Series A Funding

Recogni Inc., the designers of a vision-oriented artificial intelligence platform for autonomous vehicles, announced $25 million in Series A financing led by GreatPoint Ventures. Founded in 2017 and headquartered in San Jose, Calif., the company has operations in Munich, Germany, and is positioning itself to revolutionize perception processing for Level 2-plus autonomous vehicles. Using a Vision Cognition Processor, Recogni, led by CEO RK Anand, will solve the endpoint inferencing problem with autonomous vehicles efficiently and change the trajectory of full level 3, 4, and 5 autonomy. The company’s founders possess deep industry experience in system design, AI, vision, and custom silicon design. "We see a huge opportunity here to truly achieve the goal of full vehicle autonomy with the Recogni platform,” said Ashok Krishnamurthi, managing partner at GreatPoint Ventures. “While scoping the market, we realized that most of the neural network accelerator technologies are either optimized for performance or power – none are optimized for both. We believe that the Recogni platform is orders of magnitude superior to anything we have seen. Further, this is a team we've known for years and have backed in the past. They are the right group to not only develop this promising technology but also get it into the hands of the auto OEMs.” Recogni plans to use the funds to deliver the most capable inferencing system to enable state of the art sensor fusion of visual and depth sensor data while continuing to grow its top-tier engineering team.

India’s New Billionaire: A Former Teacher Turned App Creator

India’s new billionaire 37-year-old Byju Raveendran is unique in many ways. This teacher turned entrepreneur had a modest background and started his career journey from a small village in India’s southern state of Kerala, IBT reports. Raveendran founded Byju’s app – the educational technology and online tutorial firm at Indian tech city Bangalore in 2011. His co-founder was Divya Gokulnath. Recently, Byju Raveendran’s coveted education app received $150 million in the latest round of funding. This pushed the valuation to $5.7 billion; his wealth crossed the billion-dollar threshold and made him a brand-new billionaire. Byju’s app’s parent company is Think & Learn Pvt in which Raveendran holds more than 21 percent stake. Global investors backing the venture included the Qatar Investment Authority, Tencent and Mark Zuckerberg, the report said. The Byju app founder now joins the club of India’s millennial unicorn billionaires who also include Flipkart’s Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal. The online education platform’s target audience is children aged 5 to 16. Built around interactive videos, games, and quizzes, the app helps students with everyday classes and in their preparation for competitive exams. Now the Byju app is going global and partnering with America’s Walt Disney, it said. While working as an engineer Byju devoted his spare time in helping friends to crack entrance exams for engineering and management schools. Word spread about his unique teaching skills and he started receiving nationwide requests from students who wanted interactive sessions with him to know his teaching techniques. The rest is history, the report notes.

Cairn to Exit Investments in Anglo-American Plc

Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal-controlled Vedanta Ltd. will exit from its interest in Anglo American Plc by divesting entire stake held in the mining company through structured investments in equity shares by its group entities. The company announced that Cairn India Holdings Limited, an overseas subsidiary of Vedanta and Volcan Investments Limited, a family trust of Agarwal, have agreed to unwind entirely the structured investment entered between them in December 2018 ahead of the originally envisaged schedule. This structured investment made through bonds secured by shares in Anglo American was to mature in parts in April 2020 and October 2020. But Cairn is exiting the same ahead of the originally envisaged schedule. "With this, Volcan will exercise the early exchange option available to it on July 26 2019, and consequent to this the full exchange of its two issues of mandatory exchangeable bonds secured by shares in Anglo American Plc, will settle on August 12, 2019. The share price of Anglo American has close to doubled, since Volcan invested, delivering attractive gains to all investors," the company said. “We are pleased this structured investment has achieved a superior return for CIHL, as we expected when it was entered into. Our strategy continues to be to focus on our existing businesses, where we believe that there are significant opportunities to unlock their full potential. The unwinding reflects our disciplined approach to treasury management and capital allocation together with our commitment at all times to act in the interests of all shareholders," said Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, CEO of Vedanta.

By GIOVANNI ALBANESE Jr., India-West Staff Reporter

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