Alibaba and Foxconn pump $118m each into SoftBank’s robotics division


Alibaba and Foxconn have invested $236 million into the SoftBank’s robotics division. The two companies have pumped $118 million into SoftBank Robotics Holdings for a 20% stake each. SoftBank retains a controlling 60%. The company’s main product is Pepper, a household robot which goes on sale in Japan this week. “As we enter the data technology era, robotics will become a critical field that catalyzes technological breakthroughs in numerous sectors such as healthcare, public services, research and at home. Our partnership with SoftBank and Foxconn combines the best hardware and software talent in the industry to pave the way for robotics research and development. We are delighted to play an active role in the emerging field of robotics, that with cutting-edge technology and transformative products and services, can positively impact millions of lives,” Jack Ma, Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman, said.

Bond Street, an online lender to small businesses, secured $110 million in funding. Spark Capital and Jefferies led the round, which will mostly be used to make more loans. Bond Street is one of the many lending firms looking to capitalize on poor borrowing conditions for smaller businesses.

Harvest Exchange, an investment management marketplace platform, has secured $5 million in Series B financing led by Highland Capital Management. The company’s services aim to improve the content marketing and branding of investment firms and research providers. Harvest will use the latest cash injection to improve its marketplace and discovery features, in order to allow for a more scalable platform. “Wall Street has been a black box of information whose archaic culture has made it inefficient and expensive for investment firms to access the right buyers, and correspondingly difficult for buyers to access a clear picture of the expertise available to them,” said Peter Hans, Harvest Exchange CEO. “Harvest is tackling this long-standing problem by improving the discovery of, and access to, the best investment products, firms, and professionals the world has to offer.”

Mapping platform Mapbox has announced a $52.55 million Series B funding round led by DFJ Growth. DBL Partners, Foundry Group, Thrive Capital, Promus Ventures, Pritzker Group and Jon Winkelried also participated in the round. The company will invest the new capital into its team, growing all departments. “This new financing round gives us massive reach,” said Eric Gundersen, CEO of Mapbox. “This investment will enable us to keep building amazing technology and hire the best people in the world to do it. What we’re building isn’t just a map; it’s the building blocks for a complete mapping stack. It will change how people move around cities, how scientists understand the planet, and how geo applications are built.”