Palo Alto Networks intends to acquire Zingbox for $75M

Palo Alto Networks surely loves to buy security startups. Today it added to its growing collection when it announced its intent to acquire IoT security startup Zingbox for $75 million.

The company had raised $23.5 million, according to Crunchbase data. The three co-founders, Xu Zou, May Wang and Jianlin Zeng, will be joining Palo Alto after the sale is official.

With Zingbox, the company gets IoT security chops, something that is increasingly important as companies deploy internet-connected smart devices and sensors. While these tools can greatly benefit customers, they also often carry a huge security risk.

Zingbox, which was founded in 2014, gives Palo Alto a modern cloud-based solution built on a subscription model along with engineering talent to help build out the solution further. Nikesh Arora, chairman and CEO of Palo Alto Networks, certainly sees this.

“The proliferation of IoT devices in enterprises has left customers facing an enormous gap in protection against cybersecurity attacks. With the proposed acquisition of Zingbox, we will provide a first-of-its-kind subscription for our Next-Generation Firewall and Cortex platforms that gives customers the ability to gain control, visibility and security of their connected devices at scale,” Arora said in a statement.

This is the fourth security startup the company has purchased this year. It acquired two companies, nabbing PureSec and Twistlock, on the same day last Spring. Earlier this year, it bought Demisto for $560 million. All of these acquisitions are meant to build up the company’s portfolio of modern security offerings without having to build these kinds of tools in-house from scratch.

Reefknot Investments launches $50 million fund to invest in logistics and supply chain startups

Reefknot Investments, a joint venture between Temasek, Singapore’s sovereign fund, and global logistics company Kuehne + Nagel, announced today the launch of a $50 million fund for logistics and supply chain startups. The firm is based in Singapore, but will look for companies around the world that are raising their Series A or B rounds.

Managing director Marc Dragon tells TechCrunch that Reefknot will serve as a strategic investor in its portfolio companies, providing them with connections to partners that include EDBI, SGInnovate, Atlantic Bridge, Vertex Ventures, PSA unBoXed, Unilever Foundry and NUS Enterprise, in addition to Temasek and Kuehne + Nagel .

Dragon, a veteran of the supply chain and logistics industry, says Reefknot plans to invest in about six to eight startups. It is especially interested in companies that are using AI or deep mind tech, digital logistics and trade finance to solve problems that range from analyzing supply chain data and making forecasts to managing the risk of financing trade transactions. Data from Gartner shows that about half of global supply chain companies will use AI, advanced analytics or the Internet of Things in their operations by 2023.

“There is a high level of expectation from vendors that because of technology, there will be new methods to do analytics and planning, and greater visibility in terms of information and product, materials and goods flowing throughout the supply chain,” says Dragon.

Reefknot will also establish a think tank that will work with industry experts and government organizations on forums, research and exploring new logistics and supply chain business models that startups can bring into fruition.

Bellwether Coffee, ‘the fastest-growing company in coffee,’ raises $40M Series B

There’s an arms race in retail to produce better coffee, and one startup, Bellwether Coffee, thinks it has the solution for retailers to sell the very best beans.

The business, headquartered in Berkeley, is today announcing a $40 million Series B financing led by DBL Partners and SolarCity co-founders Peter and Lyndon Rive. The round brings its total funding to $56 million, including a $10 million Series A last summer.

The hardware and software business manufactures tech-enabled zero-emission commercial coffee roasters designed to sit in cafes, grocery stores, on college campuses and any other place people buy coffee. Purchase of a roaster, which are sold for $75,000 or leased for $1,000 per month, comes with access to an online marketplace for coffee beans. The goal is to give coffee shops the power to roast their own beans, forgoing the middle men that have historically sold wholesale pre-roasted beans at a premium to cafes around the world.

“We want to create this connected coffee experience from the farm in Ethiopia all the way to the roaster at the cafe and the customer,” Bellwether chief executive officer Nathan Gilliland tells TechCrunch.

With roughly 140 customers, Bellwether plans to expand manufacturing capabilities and grow its customer-facing team with the infusion of venture capital funding. After growing revenues 6x in 2019, the startup is also unlocking its global ambitions, with launches in Southeast Asia and Europe scheduled for next year.

Gilliland credits the company’s growth to a larger movement at play: The “premiumization of coffee,” in which consumers are in search of higher quality cups of joe.

“You saw it happen with wine, you saw it in craft beer,” he said. “You were drinking Bud Light and now you’re drinking craft beer. You see it in higher-end grocery stores pushing out these products; it’s the premiumization of the category.”

“Thirty years ago, everyone drank Folgers, then Starbucks changed how everyone thought about coffee in the 80s, then Blue Bottle took it to the next step and that’s the backdrop,” he added.

Bellwether was founded in 2013 by Ricardo Lopez. The company is also backed by FusionX, Congruent Ventures, Coffee Bell, Tandem Capital, Spindrift Equities, XN Ventures, Balius Partners and Hardware Club.