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Tech-Tainment Luminaries To Note

Technology and entertainment are undoubtedly intertwined. Without tech, there likely won't be entertainment and without entertainment, tech may as well be boring. The entertainment industry is very large, being one that's worth more than $700 billion in the U.S. alone. Such entertainment encompasses many fields, including movies, TV subscriptions, theater revenues, ticketing, and the likes. There's also the field of gaming, which is itself worth tens of billions of dollars on a global scale. With the entertainment industry being so large, it's no surprise that it has produced many storied luminaries ranging from movie directors and producers to the actors/actresses who star in their movies, game developers, music label owners, video streaming companies and the likes.
In this article, we're presenting ten of such luminaries who have clinched noteworthy successes in the field that intersects entertainment and technology. These people include movie producers who have…
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Ex-Hulu Chief Jason Kilar To Head WarnerMedia

WarnerMedia, a division of telecoms giant AT&T, has announced the appointment of entertainment and tech veteran Jason Kilar as its new CEO. Kilar, who was notably previously the founding CEO of popular video streaming service Hulu, will occupy his new position effective on the 1st of May. Under his role, he'll report to John Stankey, AT&T’s President and Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Although Kilar is not at all new to the media and entertainment industry, leading WarnerMedia happens to be his biggest job yet. WarnerMedia is in a no way a small division, being one with annual revenues in the tens of billions. It became a division of AT&T after the telecoms giant acquired the company in 2018 in a deal that amounted to a whopping $85 billion. Its acquisition wasn't without hassles however, as the deal was met with opposition in the form of an antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department. AT&T triumphed nonetheless and gained regulatory approval to close i…

GM Starts Making Face Masks Amid Shortage

Automaker General Motors (GM) has announced it has set up a manufacturing and supply chain to produce face masks amidst a shortage stemming from high use in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak. GM says it launched a "rapid-response project" to begin producing face masks on the 20th of March and successfully produced its first sample on a new production line seven days after that. The automaker is now gearing for mass-scale production, stating that it'll deliver the first 20,000 masks to frontline workers by next week. GM says it's already produced more than 2,000 masks that will, however, be used as initial test samples and not be shipped to workers.

GM says it expects to produce up to 50,000 face masks every day by the time its production line is running at full speed. The company is currently working on setting up safe distribution channels and utilities that'll make sure its masks get into the hands of frontline workers helping contain the spread of the co…

Palo Alto Networks Scoops Up CloudGenix

Cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks has taken its acquisition spree one step further, this time, announcing it has reached a deal to acquire CloudGenix, a San Jose-based provider of software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) services. Palo Alto Networks will pay $420 million in cash to acquire CloudGenix, a price that seems like a good win given CloudGenix raised around $100 million in total funding. CloudGenix's last known funding was a $65 million Series C closed in April last year. The company's investors include well-known venture capital firms like Intel Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Charles River Ventures.

Palo Alto's new acquisition is expected to close during the company's fiscal fourth quarter. As is usually the case, the acquisition deal is subject to the satisfaction of regulatory conditions. CloudGenix's purchase represents the first acquisition made by Palo Alto Networks this year, after the purchase of five startups in 2019…

Via Valued At $2.3 Billion With New Funding

On-demand transportation startup Via has been valued at more than $2 billion after an investment from Exor, a Netherlands holdings company controlled by the Agnelli family, a famed Italian business dynasty. Exor has announced an agreement to invest $200 million in Via in exchange for an 8.87% stake on a fully-diluted basis. This implies a valuation of around $2.3 billion, a laudable feat for Via, whose last known funding came in 2017. Under the terms of Exor's investment, the holdings company is getting a board seat at Via which will be occupied by one of its executives, Noam Ohana. Ohana leads Exor Seeds, the early-stage investment arm of Exor.

The new investment included, Via has now raised around $600 million in total funding. The company's last known funding was a $250 million investment led by automaker Daimler in late 2017. Via has also raised funding from the likes of Hearst Ventures, 83North, RiverPark Ventures, and Millhouse LLC, an investment firm controlled by Russ…

Kabbage Furloughs Majority Of Employees For A Month

Atlanta-based small business lending startup Kabbage has furloughed the majority of its employees for a month, according to a source familiar with the matter. The company also happens to have laid off all employees in its Bangalore office without severance packages, the source says. Kabbage is one of several tech companies that now happens to have laid off or furloughed employees amid a business slowdown stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. Being a small business lender, Kabbage with no doubt has been affected by the resulting lockdown from the outbreak. Small businesses around the U.S. have been hit hard and won't likely be tapping more loans to facilitate day-to-day business at a time when they're hardly generating revenue.

According to our source, the furloughs were announced by way of a video conference call, being a time when the entire company is currently working remotely. Even though Kabbage instituted a furlough (a sort of temporary leave) as opposed to a permanen…

15 Adroit VCs Who Should Be On Your Radar

Venture capital is really a game and just like every game, there's always wins and on the other end fails. Making a venture investment means knowingly taking a risk, albeit calculated, with money in hopes of reaping sizeable gains in future time. This hope usually fares along with a potential downside that a venture fails and all the money invested in a company reaps little or no returns. As is widely known, the majority of venture-backed companies don't fare well, in precise words, they fail. Both small and large companies aren't immune to failure as we've witnessed so many examples from both sides.

Like every game, some persons, however, have acquired an eye for grabbing good wins even though some failures may abound. In the venture capital world, they're many like that. The names Peter Thiel, Marc Andreessen, John Doerr, Arthur Rock, Michael Moritz and Doug Leone might ring a bell, that bell being that they're storied venture capitalists that have made shre…

Microsoft To Acquire Affirmed Networks

Just a day ago, Microsoft announced it has sealed an agreement to acquire Affirmed Networks, a Massachusetts-based venture-backed company that develops cloud-based 5G software. The announcement came just a day after Affirmed Networks announced a CEO change. According to Bloomberg, Microsoft's acquisition deal values Affirmed Networks at $1.35 billion, which if certain, will be Microsoft's biggest known acquisition since it bought out GitHub for $7.5 billion in 2018. Bloomberg reports Affirmed Networks raised funding at a $1.35 billion valuation just last month, so Microsoft paying that exact amount for the company doesn't seem far-fetched.

According to Pitchbook data, Affirmed Networks has raised more than $200 million in funding since its inception in 2010. Investors in the company include Deutsche Telekom, CRV, Matrix Partners, Qualcomm Ventures, Vodafone Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners.

With 5G on the rise, it shouldn't be startling that Microsoft is spendin…

TuSimple And ZF Partner To Develop Self-Driving Tech

TuSimple, a San Diego-based self-driving trucking company, and ZF, a German car parts giant, have announced a partnership to develop and commercialize technology for driverless trucks. The partnership is set to begin by next month, April, and is expected to cover large automotive markets including Europe, China and countries in North America. TuSimple and ZF say they'll co-develop production-quality parts such as cameras and radars that'll be adopted for driverless rides. Under the terms of the deal, ZF will ultimately serve as the default supplier for TuSimple's self-driving system, which will be marketed to commercial vehicle operators.

As part of their partnership, ZF will also contribute engineering support to validate and integrate TuSimple's self-driving system into vehicles. The partnership marks a significant point for TuSimple, which plans to kickstart commercial driverless operations by next year. The company has already begun pilot rides by delivering goods…

Most Read Posts

15 Adroit VCs Who Should Be On Your Radar

Venture capital is really a game and just like every game, there's always wins and on the other end fails. Making a venture investment means knowingly taking a risk, albeit calculated, with money in hopes of reaping sizeable gains in future time. This hope usually fares along with a potential downside that a venture fails and all the money invested in a company reaps little or no returns. As is widely known, the majority of venture-backed companies don't fare well, in precise words, they fail. Both small and large companies aren't immune to failure as we've witnessed so many examples from both sides.

Like every game, some persons, however, have acquired an eye for grabbing good wins even though some failures may abound. In the venture capital world, they're many like that. The names Peter Thiel, Marc Andreessen, John Doerr, Arthur Rock, Michael Moritz and Doug Leone might ring a bell, that bell being that they're storied venture capitalists that have made shre…

Tech-Tainment Luminaries To Note

Technology and entertainment are undoubtedly intertwined. Without tech, there likely won't be entertainment and without entertainment, tech may as well be boring. The entertainment industry is very large, being one that's worth more than $700 billion in the U.S. alone. Such entertainment encompasses many fields, including movies, TV subscriptions, theater revenues, ticketing, and the likes. There's also the field of gaming, which is itself worth tens of billions of dollars on a global scale. With the entertainment industry being so large, it's no surprise that it has produced many storied luminaries ranging from movie directors and producers to the actors/actresses who star in their movies, game developers, music label owners, video streaming companies and the likes.
In this article, we're presenting ten of such luminaries who have clinched noteworthy successes in the field that intersects entertainment and technology. These people include movie producers who have…

Nikola Raises $250 Million At A $3 Billion Valuation

Nikola, a formerly Utah but now Phoenix-based manufacturer of hydrogen-electric vehicles, has courted a $250 million Series D investment out of a targeted $1 billion raise. CNH Industrial, one of the world's largest capital goods companies, made the investment at a $3 billion pre-money valuation. The $250 million figure actually comprises of $100 million in cash and $150 million in services like product development, manufacturing engineering, and other forms of technical assistance that CNH will provide to Nikola.

CNH Industrial owns FPT Industrial, a leading manufacturer of powertrains for large vehicles, and Iveco, a leading manufacturer of heavy trucks. These two firms will provide strategic expertise for Nikola, which is known mainly for its hydrogen-electric (fuel cell) trucks. Iveco and FPT will provide engineering and manufacturing services to industrialize Nikola’s fuel-cell powered electric trucks, under the terms of CNH's investment. For example, Nikola has made pla…

TripActions Lays Off More Than 300

Palo Alto-based business travel startup TripActions has laid off more than 300 employees amid a business slowdown stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, according to a source familiar with the matter. The layoffs affected persons across various departments of the company. According to a source familiar with the matter, the layoffs happened to be announced via a Zoom video-conferencing call tuned into by several employees.

The job cuts at TripActions happen to come just a month after the company announced it had lined up a $500 million credit facility on the heels of the launch of TripActions Liquid, its corporate travel management and payments platform. Silicon Valley Bank alongside Goldman Sachs and Comerica Bank provided the credit facility.

TripActions hit the limelight after raising $154 million in Series C funding led by Andreessen Horowitz in 2018. The company further closed $250 million in Series D funding also led by the same VC firm in June last year. The Series D investmen…

Rivian Raises $1.3 Billion In Additional Funding

Not long after raising $500 million from Ford and an additional $350 million from Cox Automotive, electric car startup Rivian has announced $1.3 billion in new funding led by T. Rowe Price, with participation from BlackRock and existing investors Ford and Amazon. The additional investment is the fourth Rivian has raised this year, and comes a few months after Amazon announced it'll purchase 100,000 vehicles from the company as part of plans to make its delivery fleet run on renewable energy.

The additional investment brings the total raised by Rivian this year to a whooping $2.85 billion. In a statement, Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe praised the investment as demonstrating "confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy". With the investment, Rivian now stands as one of the top-most financed electric car upstarts in what seems like a crowded market.

Rivian plans to begin selling vehicles next year, which may explain the additional funding at the tail-end…

Kabbage Furloughs Majority Of Employees For A Month

Atlanta-based small business lending startup Kabbage has furloughed the majority of its employees for a month, according to a source familiar with the matter. The company also happens to have laid off all employees in its Bangalore office without severance packages, the source says. Kabbage is one of several tech companies that now happens to have laid off or furloughed employees amid a business slowdown stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. Being a small business lender, Kabbage with no doubt has been affected by the resulting lockdown from the outbreak. Small businesses around the U.S. have been hit hard and won't likely be tapping more loans to facilitate day-to-day business at a time when they're hardly generating revenue.

According to our source, the furloughs were announced by way of a video conference call, being a time when the entire company is currently working remotely. Even though Kabbage instituted a furlough (a sort of temporary leave) as opposed to a permanen…

Palo Alto Networks Scoops Up CloudGenix

Cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks has taken its acquisition spree one step further, this time, announcing it has reached a deal to acquire CloudGenix, a San Jose-based provider of software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) services. Palo Alto Networks will pay $420 million in cash to acquire CloudGenix, a price that seems like a good win given CloudGenix raised around $100 million in total funding. CloudGenix's last known funding was a $65 million Series C closed in April last year. The company's investors include well-known venture capital firms like Intel Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Charles River Ventures.

Palo Alto's new acquisition is expected to close during the company's fiscal fourth quarter. As is usually the case, the acquisition deal is subject to the satisfaction of regulatory conditions. CloudGenix's purchase represents the first acquisition made by Palo Alto Networks this year, after the purchase of five startups in 2019…

Darktrace Could Be Heading For An IPO

Darktrace, a U.K. cybersecurity startup that was valued at $1.65 billion after raising funding last year, could be looking towards a public offering, indicated by a closeness to naming a chief financial officer, Bloomberg reports. Companies looking to go public typically appoint a CFO, usually of high-profile, to take on the role of spearheading the company's finances in preparation for a voyage on the public markets. Also, with $231 million in funding and a high valuation to go along, Darktrace seems like a company that's ready to hit the public markets, especially if it's found stability in its business model.

In an interview, Darktrace co-founder and co-CEO Poppy Gustafsson said the company added about 400 employees in the past year, and expects to keep growing at a similar rate. However, she also noted that Darktrace hasn't made a firm decision regarding debuting on the public markets, and said the company doesn't require additional investment for its expansio…

Ex-Hulu Chief Jason Kilar To Head WarnerMedia

WarnerMedia, a division of telecoms giant AT&T, has announced the appointment of entertainment and tech veteran Jason Kilar as its new CEO. Kilar, who was notably previously the founding CEO of popular video streaming service Hulu, will occupy his new position effective on the 1st of May. Under his role, he'll report to John Stankey, AT&T’s President and Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Although Kilar is not at all new to the media and entertainment industry, leading WarnerMedia happens to be his biggest job yet. WarnerMedia is in a no way a small division, being one with annual revenues in the tens of billions. It became a division of AT&T after the telecoms giant acquired the company in 2018 in a deal that amounted to a whopping $85 billion. Its acquisition wasn't without hassles however, as the deal was met with opposition in the form of an antitrust lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department. AT&T triumphed nonetheless and gained regulatory approval to close i…

TuSimple And ZF Partner To Develop Self-Driving Tech

TuSimple, a San Diego-based self-driving trucking company, and ZF, a German car parts giant, have announced a partnership to develop and commercialize technology for driverless trucks. The partnership is set to begin by next month, April, and is expected to cover large automotive markets including Europe, China and countries in North America. TuSimple and ZF say they'll co-develop production-quality parts such as cameras and radars that'll be adopted for driverless rides. Under the terms of the deal, ZF will ultimately serve as the default supplier for TuSimple's self-driving system, which will be marketed to commercial vehicle operators.

As part of their partnership, ZF will also contribute engineering support to validate and integrate TuSimple's self-driving system into vehicles. The partnership marks a significant point for TuSimple, which plans to kickstart commercial driverless operations by next year. The company has already begun pilot rides by delivering goods…