Agtech deals were up but total funding fell in 2016

Farms are being “teched up” to make feeding the world (9.7 billion people by 2050!) more sustainable and profitable. The number of venture investments in agriculture technology, or agtech, was up 10 percent last year versus a 24 percent drop in global VC deal activity, according to AgFunder’s 2016 report. Total agtech funding, however, fell

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative makes an acquisition to free scientific research

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s status as an LLC, rather than a traditional foundation, enables it do things like acquire Meta, a private company, and make its entire trove of medical research free to scientists and students. The (perhaps eventually) $45 billion initiative of the Facebook founder and his wife is building a big ecosystem of

HTC to invest $10 million in VR-for-good startups

Virtual reality “for good” has been having its moment ever since several 360-degree films stirred empathy for Syrian refugees. The Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC launched a $10 million impact fund to invest in virtual reality startups with storytelling projects around the Global Goals for sustainable development. Photo credit: Dan Mason / Flickr

CEI Ventures raises $10 million to back good jobs and small businesses in Maine

The fourth fund of the venture arm of the nonprofit community development finance institution will look for investments of $250,000 to $750,000 that support jobs for low- to moderate-income Mainers. Coastal Enterprises Inc., CEI Ventures’ parent company, seeded the fund with $1.5 million, which helped bring in eight investors and 17 local and regional banks. CEI

Future of Medicine: Healthcare in your hand

“Hospitals of the future will become more like NASCAR pit-stops than inescapable black holes,” says Melanie Walker, co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Future Council on neurotechnology and brain science. Tomorrow’s biggest health issues will be managed through preventative care, on mobile phones and through wearable health-monitoring devices. “The global burden of disease is largely

Ellen Pao to lead tech diversity effort at Kapor

Fresh from her lawsuit against her old firm, Kleiner Perkins, Pao will take a more forward-looking position with Kapor Capital’s Center for Social Impact. The venture capitalist will lead an effort to drive more women and minorities into tech, and into VC, where women make up 45 percent of the sector but only 11 percent

New $27 million fund wants to know, can AI be ethical?

Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn, joined with the Knight Foundation and Omidyar Network to support initiatives promoting ethical frameworks and moral values in artificial intelligence research. The new $27 million Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund will engage social scientists, ethicists, philosophers, faith leaders, economists, lawyers and policymakers in AI research. Hoffman said