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Showing posts from November, 2018

Mercedes-Benz envisions Empathy as Anchor for automobile Digital Transformation with its cooperative vehicle concept

"At Mercedes-Benz we are convinced that the digital transformation can only be designed successfully if it is deeply anchored within society. Humans and access to data must be at the heart of a digital transformation," Daimler's Head of Research for Future Technologies Jasmin Eichler says.

"That is why we are also working on solutions in the field of digitalisation which place the freedom, decision-making autonomy and individuality of human beings at their centre. We aim to create a balance between humans and technology. The approach we are following here is "Human first"." This signals the direction of Mercedes Benz concerning digital transformation hitting the automobile industry in full force.





At the FutureInsight event which held recently on 21 and 22 November in Berlin, Mercedes focused on empathy and trust as topics regarding inspiration for future mobility solutions and has showcased that in a cooperative vehicle concept with features such as …

Sweetgreen expands WeWork Delivery Partnership

Salad chain sweetgreen is widening a pilot program with WeWork that provides its members with free delivery through order ahead locations set across several WeWork locations in the U.S. Various locations in seven cities namely its homebase of New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles have been fitted with order ahead sweetgreen units as WeWork works on a plan to cover 50 of its locations with this service.

WeWork members and employees can order via sweetgreen's platform with a select of specific locations for pickup which sweetgreen drivers then deliver to. Sweetgreen recently raised $200 million in a round led by Fidelity at an over $1 billion valuation stating of the investment positioning it "to create a new food platform with expanded menu categories and innovative retail formats".


This counts as part of these efforts aimed for a boost in restaurant expansion, outposts, digital platform, blockchain tech and social impac…

Tesco and Volkswagen partner for development of EV charging network

British retailer Tesco and Volkswagen have teamed up for the development of what would count as the country's largest electric vehicle charging network powered by charging infrastructure provider Pod Point which will offer customers free charging for their vehicles using a normal 7kW charger or the use of a 50 kW charger for a cost in-line with market rates.

Over 2,400 charging bays will be rolled out across 600 Tesco locations within the next 3 years for this effort playing part in support of a transition to a low-carbon, clean air UK. It builds on Tesco's commitment made last year to 100% renewable electricity use by 2030.


As of current, charging infrastructure is available in 19 Tesco locations including stores in the regions of Bromley by Bow, Cefn Mawr, Elmers End, Haddington, Stourbridge, Sunderland Retail Park, Swansea Llansmlet, Watford and Woolwich among others.

Pod Point is already an official charge point supplier for major auto brands including Volkswagen, Jaguar …

Workday Records over 30% Revenue Growth from Previous Year with $743 million quarterly revenue

Cloud software company Workday recorded revenues of $743.2 million for its fiscal 2019 third quarter ended October 31, 2018 marking a 33.8% increase from the same quarter last year thanks to growth across its suite of enterprise products.

Subscription revenues for the quarter came at $624.4 million as per its recently released financial results also marking an increase of 34.7% from the same period last year. Operating cash flows for the quarter were $114.3 million while free cash flows came at $58.9 million.


Also in this period, Workday hit various milestones which includes going live on Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud in just 10 weeks building on its $1.55 billion acquisition of the company, unveiling its Workday People Analytics software, ranking number one on the Fortune Future 50 list recognizing global companies with the best prospects for long-term growth and holding of its 12th annual customer conference, Workday Rising, in Las Vegas along with its fifth annual Euro…

Dell Records Revenue Surge prior to Vote on Public Market Return

Dell Technologies reported a 15% surge in quarterly revenue this Thursday in what counts as its last financial disclosure prior to a vote on a VMware tracking stock deal that could see the company return to trading on the public markets.

Dell reported sales of $22.5 billion for the period ahead of voting by shareholders for a buyback of shares bound to to its 81% economic stake in VMware which would return the company to trading on the stock market without the process of a conventional public offering.


Dell recently increased its offer for VMware tracking stock to $23.9 billion or $120 a share which won backing from shareholders including including Icahn Enterprises chair Carl Icahn who had previously pushed against the deal and activist fund Elliott Management.

A jump in revenue for Dell's Client Solutions Group which consists of products like peripherals, PCs and tablets came at 11% and can be attributed to Microsoft's decision to end support for its Windows 7 OS in 2020. B…

GM President Dan Ammann taking up new role as head of Autonomous Vehicle unit

General Motors president Dan Ammann is now taking a new role as CEO of Cruise Automation, The company's autonomous vehicle unit as longtime lead and co-founder Kyle Vogt leads technology development now as president and chief technology officer. These new appointments announced by GM are effective beginning 2019.

Cruise has come into view as a leader in the autonomous vehicle space under Vogt's leadership spanning from its start in 2013 to its acquisition by General Motors 2 years ago. It has grown from 40 employees as of acquisition time to over 1,000 at its San Francisco headquarters and has also announced plans to expand into Seattle with the addition of 100-200 employees.


Ammann spearheaded the 2016 acquisition of Cruise and stands familiar with the company's team, business and technology. Among other global responsibilities, He oversaw GM's relationship with Cruise which has grown from a $581 million acquisition to a $14.6 billion post-money valuation after a rec…

Gear up for launch of "Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden" on the 4th of December

Tactical adventure game Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden will launch on the 4th of December globally for the PC, Xbox One and PS4 bringing what counts as "a game combining the tactical, turn-based combat of XCOM with real-time stealth and exploration of a detailed, post-human world."

Gamers who get their hands on the new title will play as a team of mutants in a world damaged by nuclear war, pandemics, and climate change where they'll explore in real-time and traverse for scraps and resources to assist their settlements.



In the process of exploring, Players will face enemies as the game switches to tactical turn-based mode bringing a fun experience involving battles and various challenges. Based on the the Swedish pen-and-paper RPG Mutant Year Zero, stealth and planning are key to taking on enemies in this new title, attacking the enemy head-on as done in most turn-based tactical games is not suited for the Road to Eden.

A sneak up on the enemy will serve better in a worl…

Asana nabs $50 million Series E round at $1.5 billion valuation

Asana, the collaboration software startup founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and early employee Justin Rosenstein has raised $50 million in Series E funding led by Generation Investment Management with participation from existing investors 8VC, Benchmark Capital and Founders Fund and new investors Lead Edge Capital and World Innovation Lab.

This round which brings the total raised by Asana to $125 million this year came at a valuation of $1.5 billion marking a new entrant into the unicorn club. San Francisco based Asana with more than 50,000 paying enterprise customers and millions of free enterprise users across 195 countries has now raised $213 million in total since founding.



It aims to use its new funding to fuel continued growth focused on key areas of Enterprise Scale, Global Expansion and Product Innovation as per its statement. These areas specifically include expansion of global infrastructure with the opening of a new data center in the German city of Frankfurt…

Microsoft secures $480 million contract to supply U.S. Army with HoloLens units

Microsoft has secured a $480 million deal with the U.S. Army to supply prototypes for augmented reality systems for use in training and in combat missions according to Bloomberg citing official confirmation from a company spokesman.

This deal could eventually lead to the purchase of 100,000 of Microsoft's HoloLens AR headsets according to Bloomberg and is aimed to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy,” quoting a government description of the initiative.





"Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions. This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defense to this new area,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

The HoloLens is one of the leading hardware in the consumer AR space with 50,000 sold according to a video made for the European Patent Office this spring but counts itself in a market not so larg…

Box reports Record Revenue and lesser-than-expected Losses amid Customer Growth

Cloud storage company Box reported lesser-than-expected losses for its fiscal 2019 third quarter as it inked a record $155.9 million in revenue thanks to over 40% growth in deals greater than $100,000 and addition of new customers bringing its total to over 90,000.

Net loss for the same period came at $40.2 million ($0.28 a share) as compared with $42.9 million ($0.32 a share) a year earlier. Its customer base is up from 87,000 the previous quarter to the 90,000 figure thanks to new and expanded deals with the likes of 23andMe, BBVA Compass, Mizuho Bank, National Bank of Canada, Radian Group, Shiseido Company, and Sunbelt Rentals.


During this quarter, Box hosted the eight annual BoxWorks conference that lured a record number of Fortune 1,000 attendees, announced updates to Box Tasks and Automations, launched the general availability of the Box for Gmail add-on and the beta of the Box for G Suite integration, announced support for custom-trained AI models for Box Skills and also added…

Deliveroo reportedly looking to raise $400 million at a $4 billion valuation

Deliveroo is said to be seeking more investment into hundreds of millions at a valuation of between $3 billion - $4 billion on a raise of between $350 million - $500 million as per a recent report from Sky News amid reported acquisition interest from Uber.

As per Sky, This fundraising doesn't stand as urgent with Deliveroo still sitting on hundreds of millions in cash from previous rounds. The company was last valued at $2 billion after a $385 million round Series F round last year September led by Fidelity, It has raised over $800 million in funding till date.


A September report indicated of Uber having an interest in acquiring U.K. based Deliveroo to boost its share in the food delivery market which stands as a main part of the company's business alongside ride-hailing. Sky says persons close to Deliveroo have suggested of no active talks between both companies although anticipation stands concerning renewed interest from Uber.

Deliveroo more than doubled revenue to £277 mi…

Here are 10 things to know about the Pixel Slate and its separately sold Keyboard

The Pixel Slate tablet bundled with Google Assistant became one of the newest members of the Made by Google hardware family earlier this fall as consumers got a uniquely designed device powered by Chrome OS packed with a long-lasting battery for getting work done on the go.

The Pixel Slate is now available for purchase and letting customers know of its key features is an important thing to do. A list of 10 things to know about the Pixel Slate and its separately sold Pixel Slate Keyboard as highlighted by Google is presented below:

It's Comfortably handheld : Weighing in at 1.6 lbs and 7 mm thin, it has a slim profile coupled with a curved glass which makes it easy to hold.It gives a state-of-the-art viewing and gaming experience thanks to the new Molecular Display feature that delivers a sharp picture paired with dual front firing speakers for the best experience.It helps get work done from anywhere with multitasking features like split screen and draggable tabs. An attachment of …

EV charging provider Chargepoint raises $240 million Series H round

EV charging network Chargepoint has secured $240 million in Series H funding from a diverse set of investors ranging from early market to institutional investors across the VC, financial, manufacturing, oil and gas, energy, utility, technology and automotive sectors.

These include lead investor Quantum Energy Partners, American Electric Power, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Chevron Technology Ventures, Clearvision, Daimler, GIC and existing investors BMW i Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Linse Capital, and Siemens.


Campbell, California based Chargepoint has now raised over $500 million in funding with this latest coming just over a year from a Series G round that fueled the company's move into the European market. Chargepoint counts over 57,000 independently owned public and semi-public charging spots and thousands of customers including businesses, agencies, cities and service providers across its network.

It designs, develops and manufactures the hardware and software…

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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…

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…

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 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 …

Magic Leap Said To Be Raising More Funding

Magic Leap, a Florida-based augmented reality startup that's already garnered some $2.6 billion in funding, is raising even more funding according to a report from Variety. A spokesperson for the company further confirmed Variety's report, stating that Magic Leap "is in the midst of a significant financing round". “We have already closed a major portion of this round, some as equity and some as convertible debt that will become equity when the round is complete. The participants in this round include existing investors, new investors, and strategic partners.” The spokesperson said.

Initial signs of Magic Leap seeking more funding surfaced in August, when the company assigned all of its patents to JPMorgan Chase as collateral. Reports of the transfer recently surfaced on Hacker News, a popular technology-focused social news website/forum, where several commenters evinced that such arrangement could be an indicator of financial struggles. However, such arrangement isn…

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…

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…