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Showing posts from July, 2018

Enterprise software startup Freshworks nabs $100 million in funding at $1.5 Billion Valuation

image credit : Freshworks

California headquartered enterprise and cloud based software startup Freshworks has now raised $100 million in a Series G funding round from Accel, Sequioa and Alphabet's CapitalG with the investment giving the 8 year old startup a valuation north of $1.5 Billion marking another entrant from the enterprise software space into the unicorn club with Freshworks now looking to expand its global footprint and further invest more into its Software-as-a-Service product ecosystem.

This valuation marks a double from the company's most previous $750 million valuation when its raised $55 million in a Series F funding round from Accel and Sequioa who returned to lead this round along with notable tech investor Tiger Global.





Freshworks now says it makes over $100 million in annual recurring revenue which represents a very remarkable milestone for the enterprise software startup which has already made 9 acquisitions since its start and offers several software produ…

Returns optimization tech company Optoro raises $75 million more for its service

Image credit : Optoro

Washington based logistics technology company Optoro has now raised $75 million from several firms consisting of Franklin Templeton, Generation Investment Management, Revolution Growth and Tenfore Holdings in a funding round which brings the total raised by the company which provides software for both online and offline retailers to manage the re-sale of returned inventory by customers to a figure of $200 million.

Optoro which was founded 8 years ago makes use of in-depth data analytics and online marketing via different channels to maximize recovery of items returned by customers with the company providing various methods of handling the returned goods which include taking them back to manufacturers, discount sales on its e-commerce website Blinq.com and several other methods.

Optoro's client list now include the likes of Groupon, Target, Staples, Home Depot, Best Buy, Jet.com, and several others some of which are not made public by the company which had rev…

WeWork gets biggest design deal yet from wealth management firm UBS

image credit : WeWork

Co-working startup WeWork has inked a design deal with wealth management giant UBS which will see WeWork refit its 30 year old office overlooking the Hudson River with this deal representing the largest yet for WeWork’s Powered by We service which was established last year to provide office management and design services to large companies and enterprises.

As reported by Bloomberg, WeWork presented a clear vision to UBS which consisted the need of "a juice bar, meditation room and a lot more greenery."

WeWork's shared workspaces has garnered a lot of users and positive reviews with the company since its establishment 8 years ago with the company now providing workspaces for the likes of Salesforce, Microsoft, Pinterest, Standard Chartered, General Electric, Bank of America, HSBC and several others.





Construction on the UBS space is set to begin mid-next year as WeWork takes on an important effort of providing a more suitable workspace for employees o…

Indian Health and Fitness start CureFit raises $120 million from Accel, IDG and others

image credit : CureFit

Bangalore based health and fitness startup CureFit has raised $120 million in Series C funding from notable tech investors Accel, IDG and Kalaari Capital who led the investment along with participation from Chiratae Ventures and Okatree Capital Management.

This round which brings the total raised by the 2 year old fitness startup to over $170 million counts as the second largest Series C funding ever in the Indian startup space only being beaten by ad-tech unicorn InMobi's $200 million Series C funding and also counts as a very notable investment marking the continuous growth in the Indian startup ecosystem.

CureFit is making use of this funding to development of its health technology with a focus on Artificial Intelligence for health planning in addition to launching into foreign markets and looking to produce its own fitness devices.





The Bangalore based startup was kicked off by popular Indian e-commerce service Myntra's co-founder Mukesh Bansal who le…

A new leak suggests the new iPad Pro to come with trimmed bezels and no headphone jack

According to a new report from Japanese supply chain blog Macotakara as reported by 9to5Mac, Apple could be making notable changes to its new line of iPad Pros which would reportedly include a slash in the size of its bezels, The elimination of its headphone jack and the use of its Face ID feature.
As stated by the report, The 10.5 inch models may come at 247.5mm x 178.7mm x 6mm in comparison with its current 250.6mm x 174.1mm x 6.1mm with Apple's 12.9 inch models said to come at 280 mm x 215 mm x 6.4 mm in comparison with its current 305.7 mm x 220.6mm x 6.9 mm dimension.

The ditch if the headphone jack was first made by Apple in 2016 with its iPhone 7 release and will now be reportedly repeated with its new iPad Pro models with this time coming with quite not too good news of Apple not including its Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter with the iPad Pro.





Apple

As several earlier reports indicated, The Face ID for the new iPad won't come with support for Landscape mode which com…

Tesla adds $1500 limited edition Carbon Fiber surfboard to its lineup

Tesla

EV maker Tesla has outed another merch not related to its main car business to its product lineup which comes this time in the form of a limited edition $1,500 surfboard designed by Tesla in collaboration with Lost Surfboards and World Surf League Championship surfboard shaper Matt “Mayhem” Biolos.

Only 200 of the surfboards will be produced as stated by Tesla who has already outsold its stock just hours after the product was put up for sale.

The boards are set to ship between 2-10 weeks to its buyers who would now have a hold of another unique product from the EV company known for its several vehicles as well as its fan merhandise which sell in huge numbers around the globe.





Tesla

An excerpt from the product page reads:


"Designed by the Tesla Design Studio in collaboration with Lost Surfboards and Matt “Mayhem” Biolos, surfboard shaper for World Surf League Championship athletes. The Limited Edition Tesla Surfboard features a mix of the same high-quality matte and gloss fini…

New York City Council moves to limit ride-hailing licenses as Uber and others oppose

Uber

New York's City Council has proposed for a yearlong cap on for-hire vehicle licenses in a move which aims to restrict the number of  for-hire vehicles permitted on the road whose explosive growth has been blamed for reduction in wages for yellow taxi drivers and an increase in congestion across the city.

This move would affect Uber and Lyft, The two major ride-hailing services in New York as the proposed pause to the issuance of new licenses in the ride-hailing market would lead to lesser number of drivers, higher prices and longer wait times with Uber recently voicing out in an e-mail to about 5 million New York users concerning the effort which would lead to adverse effects on its service.

In reaction, Several users have taken to social media to protest against the move with the hashtag #DontStrandNYC tweeted by thousands of New Yorkers in support of Uber.

Uber also made a video detailing its service assisting New York residents in commuting everyday voicing its own stand a…

Apple's Piazza Liberty new retail location launches in Milan

Apple

Apple has opened a new and notable retail location in the region of Milan bringing its latest and grand retail design to Italy for the first time as the brand new location dubbed the "Apple Piazza Liberty" located off Milan's popular Corso Vittorio Emanuele street kicks off.

The new retail location is now open 24hrs a day and is set to also host special Apple year-around events.

Apple has upped its retail location designs and feel in recent times with the company always being known for its design centrism hiring former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts in 2014 to lead its retail efforts as Senior Vice President of Retail.





Apple

“There’s no better expression of our vision for Apple stores serving as modern-day gathering places than Apple Piazza Liberty,” said Angela Ahrendts, “In a city with such rich history of art, entertainment and creativity, it's an honour to establish a space where anyone can be inspired to learn, create and connect with their neighbours.” 

App…

Ride-hailing company Grab defends its position concerning Uber deal to competition watchdogs

image credit : Grab

Singaporean based ride-hailing firm Grab has criticized the Singaporean anti-monopoly watchdog over its assessment that the merger between Grab and Uber's South East Asian operations has "substantially lessened competition" with the company terming the assessment as “one-sided”.

Just this year, Uber merged its South East Asian operators with Grab which stood as a major competitor in the area in exchange for a stake in Grab, A move which saw Grab increase its market share and operations in the region as Uber stood as the No 1 contender for the SE Asian ride-hailing market with Grab before the merger.

Early this month, Singapore's Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) scrutinized the deal stating it as being in violation of competition laws with the combined business controlling the lion share of the region's ride-hailing market which the organization says led to increased prices for consumers who have other limited options tha…

NBA Live 19 gamers would now be able to create Female characters for the first time

EA Sports
In what marks a new and notable addition to the diverse gaming ecosystem, Video game publisher Electronic Arts has just revealed its new NBA create-a-player tool which makes a plus to its last year's WNBA feature as gamers would now be able to create female characters for NBA Live 19's single player career mode which marks the first time ever players would get to use custom female characters in the video game.

Female gamers would also now be able to scan themselves into the video game through the use of an iOS or Android app which would enable them to kick off virtual careers in the video game due for release on the 7th of September.
 This feature stands as a very remarkable addition to the video gaming space as more females would get to embark on virtual careers modelled after their own custom imagination, stars and role models which would surely lead to more adoption of the video game by female players.
EA Sports
Coming as part of NBA's live feature mode "T…

IBM is awarded $83 million by Jury over patent dispute case with Groupon

image credit : Groupon

A recent patent dispute between e-commerce company Groupon and IBM which went to the jury has now ended up in a favor on IBM's side with the jury awarding the company $83 million to be paid by Groupon following a judgement for patent infringement for International Business Machines Corp which counts as the company with the most secured patents in the U.S. over the past 25 years.

In the lawsuit brought by IBM, The company's lawyers said Groupon developed its online coupon business on the foundation of IBM's e-commerce inventions, An allegation Groupon grossly denies with its spokesman Bill Roberts stating “We continue to believe that we do not infringe on any valid IBM patents, To the extent these patents have any value at all — which we believe they do not — the value is far less than what the jury awarded.”

IBM initially sought $167 million in damages saying it developed technology very crucial to the formation of the web with the patents involved i…

Amazon reports record quarterly profit as it tops Wall Street estimates on cloud computing and advertising soar

image credit : Flickr/Doc Searls 

Tech and e-commerce giant Amazon's shares are up about 4% hitting an all-time high as the company reported record Q2 profits of $2.5 Billion marking its most profitable quarter as a company thanks to bigger revenues from its higher-earning segment consisting mainly of its cloud computing and advertising unit.

Amazon always known to invest heavily in its e-commerce and logistics startups demonstrate quality business tactics to make up for its high expenses on package delivery and video streaming by building up higher profit reaping units and also controlling its expenses.

Amazon's cloud computing unit AWS has been the major leader in the cloud computing space since its start 12 years ago having grown to counting major companies as its customers including the likes of Airbnb, Adobe, Autodesk. BMW, Canon, NASA, General Electric and its video streaming competitor Netflix.





Amazon's advertising business has also been on the rise as more custome…

Jeffrey Katzenberg's Media startup NewTV closes on $1 Billion in funding for mobile videos

image credit : Flickr/Fortune Live Media

Media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg well renowned for his stints at the likes of Disney, Paramount, Dreamworks and now WndrCO and being behind several movie hits including The Little Mermaid, Alladin, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King among others has now closed on $1 Billion in funding for his new media startup NewTV which stands as part of WndrCO and counts former eBay and HP CEO Meg Whitman as current CEO and is embarking on a journey to dish out short video clips made by A-list talent for consumers in what can be dubbed as a Netflix meets YouTube platform.

This $1 Billion funding round came from the likes of Warner Bros, Disney, 21st Century Fox and several institutional investors for NewTV which represents another major media initiative by Katzenberg who has been reported to be talking to several top Hollywood producers and directors about creating content for its platform which would be dished out to digital consumers.

Katzenberg is aimi…

Twitter primes on fixing platform over user growth as shares plunge following user base decline

image credit : Flickr/ JD Lasica

Social networking company Twitter just reported its Q2 results which although topped analyst estimates with revenues showed a dip in its user base as the company has prioritized fixing its platform which saw it take down millions of accounts as it aims to make its platform more suitable and desirable for users.

Twitter reported $711 million in revenue for the quarter topping analyst estimates of around $696 million while also disclosing 335 million users as opposed to analyst estimates of 338.5 million.

Twitter's shares went down as much as 18% following the Q2 report as investors spark concerns over usage numbers of its platform.

Twitter reported $100 million in net income for the quarter marking its third profitable quarter since its start and also under the leadership of CEO Jack Dorsey who runs the company along with major payments company Square.





 Quoting Dorsey “Our second quarter results reflect the work we’re doing to ensure more people get…

Fintech startup Flywire gets $100 million Series D investment from Temasek, Bain and F-Prime

image credit : Flywire

Boston based global payments provider Flywire has now raised $100 million in a Series D round led by Singaporean national wealth fund and major tech investor Temasek Holdings with participation also from Bain Capital and Massachusetts based VC firm F-Prime Capital.

Flywire is making use of this funding to accelerate its growth across the regions of North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and other markets as it aims to expand its share in the huge commercial payments and receivables space.

Flywire has processed over $8 Billion so far for over 1,400 clients since its inception and has now raised a total of $143 million in addition to this investment for the fintech company which focuses on foreign currency payments for businesses, colleges, hospitals and other institutions.

Flywire provides payment solutions for several institutions and began as a service dubbed peerTransfer which focused on providing easy payment solutions for students making payments for foreign un…

WeWork China gets $500 million funding round at a $5 Billion Valuation to expand its presence

image credit: WeWork

Co-working startup and decacorn ($10 Billion(+) valuation) WeWork's China subsidiary has now closed on $500 million in funding from several Asian investors which values the unit at $5 Billion as WeWork aims to expand and strengthen its presence in the Chinese region.

This marks another addition to the company's already huge total funding as WeWork is known to have raised well above $7 Billion in equity financing across several investment rounds.

This founding round for its Chinese subsidiary is led by Shanghai based private equity VC investor Trustbridge Partners with participation also from Temasek, Hony Capital, Softbank as a company and its behemoth investment entity Softbank Vision Fund which notably made a $4.4 Billion investment last year into WeWork's major business.

WeWork China has now raised a total of $1 Billion across two rounds after just two years in the market which it has expanded its presence across 2 Chinese cities and a major move wh…

British gaming and virtual world startup Improbable valued at $2 Billion with strategic NetEase investment

image credit : Improbable
Virtual world and gaming startup Improbable has now inked a $50 million strategic investment from Chinese game developer NetEase with the company purchasing both existing and new shares in the 6 year old startup behind the SpatialOS cloud based gaming platform which has now doubled its valuation to $2 Billion from the $1 Billion it got after a $502 million round led by Softbank into the company May last year.
The funding round represents a $50 million new equity investment along with a purchase of $50 million in already existing shares from the company's investors and employees.
This makes a very strategic investment and partnership as NetEase would make use of Improbable's platform for the development of future video games as Improbable also gets a Chinese presence with this notable funding round.
The partnership as stated by Improbable co-founder and CEO Herman Narula is very instrumental in taking the company's SpatialOS distributed computation…

Slack acquires competing HipChat and Stride intellectual property as Atlassian's users set to migrate to Slack

image credit : Slack

Enterprise messaging unicorn Slack has now partnered with main competitor and software company Atlassian whose competing HipChat and Stride services will now be acquired by Slack which would in turn migrate these users onto its own service as both companies team up to take on Microsoft whose teams service count more paying users although Slack has more than double the total number of organizations using its service.

Atlassian is getting a stake in Slack as part of this deal with Slack paying an undisclosed amount over a period of 3 years to fully acquire HipChat and Stride's suite and software stack as both companies collaborate to increase its share in the corporate communication software space.

Slack would also now offer better integration for Atlassian's software suite consisting of its Jira Server, Cloud, Trello, Bitbucket, Confluence and other of its software products with newly added functionalities and consolidations.

After 6 years in the messaging …

Lenovo outs first Google Assistant powered Smart Display

Lenovo

Lenovo has just launched the first Google Assistant smart display device which will start shipping this weekend in what stands as a very good smart device embedded with smart and intelligent features whose specs places it as a desirable device and good competitor for Amazon's Echo Show.

This device is the first among the smart displays showcased at this year's Consumer Electronics Show by Google with LG, Sony and JBL also expected to release their own versions.

Lenovo's new smart display comes in two sizes being the 8-inch and 10-inch full HD models costing $199 and $249 respectively. The smart speaker integrates well with Google's ecosystem and services providing a valuable tool for consumers who can make use of the device to perform various tasks including streaming live or recorded shows from the likes of YouTube TV, YouTube Music, HBO Now, Spotify, Google Play Music and Pandora and also listen to audiobooks and others among several other tasks.









Lenovo

The Len…

Huawei is upping its annual R&D budget to at least $15 Billion

image credit : Flickr/Kārlis Dambrāns

China based telecom and smartphone manufacturer Huawei how made known it would be increasing its spending on annual Research & Development to between $15-$20 Billion as it aims to be a global leader in the 5G technology space.

This increase moves up its ranks among the world's top R&D spenders as Huawei has put in more resources towards development of fast-pacing technology with the company spending $13.2 Billion last year amounting to 14.9% of its revenues on Research & Development.

Huawei is dedicating between 20-30% of the stated amount on basic science research which comes as at least double its previous prediction of 10% as stated by the company.





Almost 50% of Huawei's current staff work in R&D with the company aiming to innovate rapidly to keep up with fast-changing and newer technologies even as it has faced recent hassles in several countries notably in the U.S. over opposition of Huawei's telecom gear sales acr…

AMD posts record seven year net income amidst strong Q2 results

Semiconductor and chip manufacturer AMD definitely had an impressive Q2 as the Santa Clara based company posted record second quarter results beating analyst estimates with a 53% Q2 growth posting $1.76 Billion in revenue with net income of $116 million representing the company's highest quarterly net income in a seven year span as demand for new products have led to a boost in AMD's sales.

AMD's $1.76 Billion in revenue stands as very good growth in comparison with $1.115 Q1 revenue as AMD also forecasts Q3 revenue of between the same range with Q2 amounting to around $1.7 Billion.

AMD's enterprise business segment along with its computing and graphics products saw increase in sales being a main factor in revenue boost even as the company which is the 2nd largest maker of graphic processors for PC games reported of a decrease in its blockchain market where it posted less than expected revenue.





During Q2 last year, AMD reported a net loss of $42 million as opposed to …

GlaxoSmithKline takes $300 million stake in 23andMe and partners for drug development

23andMe
Biotech company 23andMe has now partnered with drug giant GlaxoSmithKline on a 4 year deal which will see both companies collaborate and work on finding new targets and developing remedies making use of genetic data and clinical studies of which 23andMe possesses in-depth and in very valuable quantity.

As part of this deal, GSK is investing $300 million into the company led by Anne Wojcicki notable in the tech industry as both a biotech leader, sister of YouTube CEO Anne Wojcicki and ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

This partnership also comes with an option to be extended for a fifth year with the proceeds and funding being split equally.

GSK and 23andMe is focusing on translating genetic and phenotypic data into Research & Development that will both improve target selection for precision medicines, support identification of patient subgroups who are more likely to respond to targeted treatments and allow for more effective identification of patients for clinical…

iRobot shares jump after earnings beat

Roomba
Shares of home robot manufacturer iRobot popped today as high as 21.4% over quarterly earnings beat with the Massachusetts based company's Q2 revenue beating analysts estimates with $226.3 million for the quarter as international sales fueled the revenue growth.
iRobot enjoyed growth across several regions with sales up 51% across Europe, Africa and the Middle East and a 15% jump in the U.S. which has also led the company to increase its full year revenue prediction to between $1.06-$1.08 Billion in comparison to $883.9 million revenue last year.
iRobot's most popular product, The Roomba enjoyed very high sales across several regions in part to being a featured product on Amazon's Prime Day sale along with other of its products including the Braava mopping robot whose sales climbed 50% during the quarter.




iRobot was founded 1990 by 3 MIT graduates who initially designed robots for space exploration and military use and now stands as a top consumer robot manufacturer…

China withdraws approval for Facebook subsidiary

image credit : Flickr/Quintano Media

Just immediately after Facebook won approval for a Chinese Subsidiary, The New York Times now reports of the approval being withdrawn as the official filing has gone off the Chinese Government database with references to the Facebook subsidiary being censored across Chinese media.

The New York Times states of this move which marks another of the company's hassles concerning getting into China being due to disagreements between Chinese authorities.

The registered subsidiary dubbed Lianshu Science & Technology was established to provide several IT services as well as serve as an incubator earmarked to make small investments and provide guidance to local Chinese startups.





According to the person familiar with the matter as reported by NY Times, This withdrawal makes of the success of the established subsidiary very less likely although it doesn't out-rightly eliminate Facebook's chance of establishing the subsidiary.

This marks another…

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Meet goPuff, A Low-key Delivery Company Worth $1 Billion

The food-delivery market is one with intense competition. The likes of DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, Deliveroo, Swiggy, Just Eat, Yelp Eat 24, and more are steadily competing for global market share while also raising huge funding. Just recently, Deliveroo raised $575 million in a round led by Amazon. DoorDash has also raised $600 million Series G funding at a $12.6 billion valuation.

Amid the intense battle, it turns out there's one hot startup that has stayed low key to avoid the eye of rivals, but it seems word is getting out. That low-key hot startup is goPuff, an on-demand delivery service that was valued at $1 billion last November (after an investment), according to regulatory filings reviewed by The Information. goPuff ships products to customers from centrally located facilities -- as opposed to direct pickup from stores -- in 81 U.S. cities.


The company -- based in Philadelphia -- stocks more than 3,000 products at its facilities which it then ships to customers who o…

Facebook Unveils Digital Currency

After several reports of Facebook working on a digital currency, the company has officially unveiled just that. Today, Facebook divulged details of a new cryptocurrency, Libra, that'll let people purchase things or transfer money to people with close to zero fees. Users will be able to buy or cash out their Libra online at local exchange points, and spend it using third-party wallet apps or Facebook's newly announced wallet, Calibra. Calibra will be offered as both a standalone app, and within the WhatsApp and Messenger apps.

 Facebook won't exert full control of Libra, but has instead assembled a team of founding members that'll each get a single vote (including Facebook itself) in the governance of the new digital currency. The partners (a quite reputable list) have each invested at least $10 million into Libra's operations. They include:
StripePayPal CoinbaseVisaMastercard PayU UberLyftSpotifyBooking Holdings Farfetch Andreessen Horowitz Vodafone Thrive Capital …

Amazon Starts Shipping Echo Auto After More Than 1 Million Pre-orders

Amazon has began shipping the Echo Auto, one of the several new Alexa-enabled devices the company announced last year September. Alongside the Echo Auto, Amazon also unveiled several other Alexa-enabled gadgets including a microwave, clock, security camera and a smart plug.

Amazon tells TechCrunch over 1 million pre-orders were placed for the Echo Auto, signalling high interest in the device, which is basically a digital assistant for automobiles. Using the Echo Auto, car owners can link Amazon Alexa to their smartphones, and then perform several auto-related tasks such as playing music via car speakers, opening the garage door, finding the nearest gas station, and listening to the news while on the go, all via voice command.


Before now, the Echo Auto had only been available on an invite-only basis, with a few users having already set their hands on the device just in time for Christmas, according to Amazon VP Steve Rabuchin. Why the Echo Auto remained open only for pre-orders for so…

AT&T set to acquire Digital ad-tech unicorn AppNexus for over $1.6 Billion

image credit : AppNexus

Telecom giant AT&T which provides a vast range of digital services to a huge number of customers around the world has now been confirmed to be acquiring NY based programmatic online advertising company AppNexus for a huge price between the range of $1.6 Billion -$2 Billion.

AT&T is making this huge acquisition of the company which provides a cloud based advertisement marketplace and raised over $300 million from various investors in order to add to AT&T's growing list of digital services with AppNexus being added to the company's advertising and analytics division.

This will also represent a huge addition to AppNexus's ecosystem as AT&T currently counts over 170 million direct to consumer relationships which AppNexus can hugely tap into and leverage for the expansion of its ad technology services.





AppNexus is notable for raising over $300 million from various investors including Khosla Ventures, Tribeca Venture Partners, Yahoo! Japan…

Big VC Wins From Slack's Public Debut

Slack filed to go public late April and has just achieved that with a direct listing that saw its stock jump nearly 50% on its first day of trading. Slack's prior SEC filing showed significant stakes held by VC firms, including Accel (24%), Andreessen Horowitz (roughly 13%), the Softbank Vision Fund (7.3%) and Social Capital (more than 5%).

With Slack's valuation on the public markets hitting $20 billion, investors that backed Slack have reaped major wins, including those that participated in the company's most previous $427 million round that came with a $7.1 billion post-money valuation. To name a few, Accel which poured in $200 million into Slack now commands a stake worth $4.6 billion. Softbank which got in quite late by leading a $250 million round at a $5.1 billion valuation now commands a stake worth roughly $1.5 billion.


Even Andreessen Horowitz whose co-founder Ben Horowitz termed Slack as an "accidental" investment now commands a stake worth roughly $2…

Facebook Reportedly Working On Cryptocurrency For WhatsApp Transfers

According to a Bloomberg report, Facebook is working on a cryptocurrency that will enable users transfer cash on its WhatsApp messaging app with a first focus on the Indian remittances market. The report says the company is developing a stablecoin - crypto pegged to a currency or exchange traded commodities to minimize volatility - for this.

"Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology," a company spokesman said in a statement. "This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share."


Former PayPal president David Marcus currently leads the company's blockchain initiatives so moves like this to take stand in the payments market are likely. Going by employee titles on LinkedIn, Facebook currently has about 40 people on its blockchain group signaling a hiring spree for the unit.

India has over 200 million users and counts as the world's largest remittances…

Microsoft Hires Former U.S. AG To Probe AnyVision

Microsoft has said it has hired Eric Holder, a famed lawyer who served as the Attorney General of the U.S. from 2009 to 2015, to investigate if AnyVision, an Israeli AI company it invested in, violated Microsoft's ethics regarding use of facial recognition technology. Quoting a Microsoft spokesperson, Holder's team of former federal prosecutors "will move quickly, reviewing documents and conducting on the ground interviews with AnyVision employees and others to ensure a full and thorough investigation."


NBC News earlier reported Holder's hire. The news outlet previously reported that facial recognition technology developed by AnyVision had powered a secret military surveillance project for the Israel army that monitored Palestinians in the West Bank. According to NBC News, the project was so successful that AnyVision won Israel's top defense prize in 2018 for preventing "hundreds of terror attacks" using "large amounts of data." AnyVision…

Magic Leap, Microsoft and others said to be bidding on AR army combat contract

Florida based Magic Leap, The AR hardware manufacturer valued at $6.3 billion from a most recent funding round and also known for a release of its first developer focused AR hardware of its first Creator's Edition augmented reality headset just last month has now been reported to be pushing to land a contract with the U.S. Army for development of AR  devices for soldiers to make use of in combat missions.

As per Bloomberg, The contract which could see the military purchasing up to 100,000 headsets as part of an initiative whose total cost could exceed $500 million is also being talked up with tech giant Microsoft.

The program currently known as HUD 3.0 (HUD standing for “heads up device”) is said to have been stirred for years in the armed forces with preparations being made for what entails a construction of a physical headset made to overlay digital images in the physical world in addition to a software platform to be used for both training and live combat.

Details concerning t…

Airbnb Seals Nine-Year Olympics Sponsorship Deal

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced it has sealed an agreement with Airbnb that entails the online accommodation marketplace joining The Olympic Partner Programme (TOP), the highest level of sponsorship offered by the Olympic Committee. Under the program, Airbnb will be a sponsor for the Olympic Games, with a contract that runs for a nine-year period. According to The Financial Times, Airbnb's sponsorship deal is valued at $500 million.


As a global partner, Airbnb will be a sponsor for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the Olympic Games Paris 2024, the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026 and the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028. The partnership also covers Paralympic Games from 2020 through 2028.

Such partnership, centered mainly on marketing and brand awareness, is conventionally bound to bring in more business for Airbnb. Airbnb said the partnership will generate "hundreds of thousands of new hosts" on its plat…

DoorDash Said To Be Considering Direct Listing

According to a Bloomberg report, DoorDash, which is fresh off $100 million in funding, is considering a direct stock listing for its planned debut on the public markets instead of taking the traditional IPO route. A direct listing entails a heads-on debut on the public markets rather than taking the conventional route of issuing new shares and raising capital from investors in order to do so. The direct listing route hasn't been around for long, just pioneered by music streaming service Spotify last year. Shortly after, Slack became the second major tech company to take that route, having directly debuted on the public markets just a few months ago.

According to Bloomberg, DoorDash has held talks with investment bank Goldman Sachs about a direct listing. Such idea doesn't seem far-fetched, given DoorDash has already raised billions in funding. The San Francisco-based company may not be looking to raise additional capital, hence the need for a direct listing. However, Bloomber…