Betting and glue start-ups raise funds as Apple swoops for AI firm

15 May 2017

Apple. Image: Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock

WinView and Sugru enjoyed a positive few days of funding, while the founders of Lattice really hit the big time.

Sports betting is big business, with its prevalence in advertising one clue as to how populous the market is with companies.

It seems that saturation point has yet to be hit, with the US in particular seeing this industry continue to thrive.

The shift to mobile gambling gave an already massive sector a huge boost in popularity, with ease of use and sheer focus on UX helping more and more variants emerge.

For example, DraftKings and FanDuel, two giants of the controversial fantasy sports scene in the US, are in the process of merging.

Betting on WinView

And now WinView, a start-up with a different take on sports betting, is catching the eye.

Today (15 May) announcing $12m in Series B funding, WinView’s model is ad-based, free betting on events, with prizes on offer for users.

This approach – amid concerns over what constitutes gambling, and what gambling constitutes – clearly appeals to investors, with Tom Rogers, WinView’s executive chairperson, an example of where the interest comes from.

Rogers previously led TiVo, NBC Cable and Primedia, and he was also executive vice-president of NBC.

“The WinView Games app fills a sports culture void by converting fans and TV viewers from spectators into play-along-live participants,” he said.

“Following last fall’s successful start, these investments will enable us to take a significant step forward toward reaching our mobile, social and gaming business goals, while capitalising on fan excitement across virtually all professional sports including basketball, baseball and football.

“We also will strive to be part of the in-stadium experience, enabling fans to predict plays from their seats.”

Sticking with Sugru

Meanwhile, Sugru, the company behind a mouldable glue that has grown in popularity in recent years, has closed its second successful crowdfunding campaign, raising £2m from thousands of investors on Crowdcube.

Crowdfunding is growing more and more appealing to start-ups of a particular size, with Sugru’s target of £1.5m surpassed, bringing its total funding to £9.5m to date.

“We’re thrilled and excited to have so many new investors on board for the next phase of growth,” said Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh, Sugru inventor and CEO, and speaker at the upcoming Inspirefest 2017 event.

“The team has worked incredibly hard to make this a success, which is no mean feat considering the level of work currently going into our global retail expansion and launch plans for the new formulation. Exciting times ahead!”

New recipe for Apple Lattice

However, the true holy grail for the vast majority of start-ups is attracting a major player and cashing in, something that Lattice did to great effect with Apple, with the latter buying the company for a reported $200m in recent weeks.

Lattice is a start-up looking to make sense of ‘dark data’, which is data that lacks structure, making it hard for machines to read.

The company’s AI is attempting to transform the data generated from our everyday use into something that can be monitored, acted upon and learned from.

With devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home emerging to huge fanfare in recent years, and Apple rumoured to be revealing its own variant quite soon, investing in new and diverse data streams makes a good deal of sense.

Apple. Image: Roman Tiraspolsky/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic