Grocery-delivering robots, holographic conferences and record Blockchain funding: This is your week in tech

New data shows local companies pulled in 4,000 investment rounds in 2021

Local startups did not take a hit in funding during the pandemic, new research shows. The Bay Area raked in more than 4,000 investments in startups last year, by far the most of any major tech hub, new research from Telstra Ventures shows. The San Francisco venture capital firm behind Box, DocuSign and Snap says the Bay Area and New York City pulled in more than half the VC cash that went to major tech hubs in 2021.

The hottest global investing sector of last year? Blockchain, where investment boomed 182% over 2020. The Bay Area more than doubled investments in Blockchain to 200. The other tech sectors where investment boomed in the Bay Area were ed tech, media and advertising, data and machine learning, and fintech.

The biggest funding round of last year in the Bay Area was $270 million into Altos Labs in September, according to PitchBook. That anti-aging startup picked up another $3 billion last month from investors including Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon

San Francisco’s Starship Technologies is bringing its cute grocery-delivery robots home to do their rounds in the Bay Area. Starship will be delivering groceries from the Lucky California flagship store in Pleasanton, the first store in the Bay Area to partner with Starship.

The little robots have been delivering groceries at a blazing speed of 4 mph in the Central Valley city of Modesto to more than 50,000 households, the company says. Starship, which has offices on Mission Street in SoMa, just pulled in $57 million from European investors a few weeks ago.

Here’s some serious robot cuteness: The English city of Milton Keynes has been smitten by the robots so much that a baker makes cakes in their likeness. Some kids in Milton Keynes have received birthday cakes from the robots that roll up to them playing “Happy Birthday.”…

The Niners got hacked by a ransomware gang that swiped team data and has posted some of it on the dark web in an effort to extort cash. The BlackByte ransomware gang posted documents in a file marked “2020 Invoices.” The team told the Associated Press the data appears to be confined to its corporate network and should not affect companies “connected to Levi’s Stadium operations or ticket holders.” Law enforcement is investigating, the team says. The BlackByte group is no joke. On Feb. 11 the FBI said the ransomware gang has hacked at least three U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, such as government facilities, financial, and food and agriculture…

Remember in “Star Wars” when remote worker Princess Leia pleads “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope” in a holographic Zoom call? (OK, that might be a 2020s interpretation of the classic 1977 movie scene.) A Canadian company has been demo’ing similar technology in The City’s Mission District.

ARHT Media captures and beams speakers in holographic form anywhere in the world to appear in high-definition at meetings, conferences and even special events such as a wedding. (Talk about an inventive way of getting out of a wedding.) The company says there is a COVID-19 tie, billing it for “global enterprises who are trying to navigate international travel in the wake of the pandemic.”…

Finally, there is this. New data from Stanford and the University of Chicago show nearly 30% of remote workers don’t bother to put on clean clothes before they start work. This hygiene data comes from a poll of 5,000 workers done each month of the pandemic for their Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes, which they post at wfhresearch.com.

The poll shows workers save time by not commuting, which they are apparently not applying to their personal upkeep. Nearly 20% said they are spending the time that they used to commute on “indoor leisure,” such as watching TV and movies. That’s the most common response after working (32%). The researchers also point out productivity is up 5% during remote work, even if wardrobe and getting off the couch are not.

Send items to jelder@sfexaminer.com.

Remote workers aren’t putting on clean clothes before work nearly as often as in-person workers do, researchers found. (WFH Research graphic)

Remote workers aren’t putting on clean clothes before work nearly as often as in-person workers do, researchers found. (WFH Research graphic)

Suspected monkeypox case in California: What you should know

Health officials are working to confirm California’s first suspected case of monkeypox

California approves new water restrictions amid worsening drought

Local water agencies to reduce water use by up to 20% and prohibit watering lawns at businesses

SF budget proposal could raise SRO caseworker wages to $28 per hour

High employee turnover often worsens living conditions in San Francisco’s residential hotels. As a result, extremely low-income residents can get…