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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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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…

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…

Apple Lowers Guidance For Fiscal 2019 First Quarter

Going by a recently released letter to investors by Apple CEO Tim Cook, The company has lowered revenue guidance for its fiscal 2019 first quarter which ended on the 29th of December, citing lower than expected iPhone sales in China and "emerging market challenges".

It now expects revenue of approximately $84 billion, a gross margin of approximately 38%, operating expenses of approximately $8.7 billion, other income/(expense) of approximately $550 million and a tax rate of approximately 16.5 percent before discrete items for this period.


In the letter, Apple CEO Tim Cook blames this on two key factors - "emerging market challenges" and lower than anticipated iPhone revenue, primarily in Greater China, the latter which it says accounts for all of revenue shortfall to guidance and more than its entire year-over-year revenue decline. Cook noted that sales outside of the iPhone (Services, Mac, iPad, Wearables/Home/Accessories) combined grew almost 19% from last year.

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…

Brief: Dropbox Soars On Q4 Result

File hosting company Dropbox just released its financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2019, reporting $446 million in revenue, up 19% from the same period last year. For the entire year, Dropbox recorded $1.66 billion in revenue, up 19% year-over-year. In light of the results, Dropbox shares rose as much as 16% during trading on Thursday.

As of 2019 end, Dropbox had 14.3 million paying users, compared to 12.7 million as of the end of 2018. Average revenue per user amounted to $125, compared to roughly $120 in the previous year. As of 2019 end, Dropbox had $1.16 billion in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, slightly more than $1.09 billion as of the end of 2018.

As for losses, Dropbox recorded $6.6 million in losses in 2019, down from $9.5 million in 2018.

Dropbox has also authorized up to $600 million in share repurchases, representing less than 7% of its market cap as of writing.





Intel Scoops Up Habana Labs For $2 Billion

Intel has announced it has acquired Habana Labs, an Israel-based startup that makes AI chips. The semiconductor giant is paying roughly $2 billion for Habana, one year after leading a $75 million Series B investment in the company. The acquisition represents another score for Habana co-founder and chairman Avigdor Willenz, a serial entrepreneur who previously founded and led Galileo Technology (acquired for $2.7 billion by Marvell Technologies) and Annapurna Labs (acquired for $350 million by Amazon). Unsurprisingly, both companies were chip makers, crowning Willenz as a whizz in the chip-making sector with sequential successful exits.

Prior to this acquisition, Habana had raised $120 million in funding from investors including Intel Capital, Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and WRV Capital. As of November last year (when it last raised funding), Tel Aviv-based Habana had just over 120 employees. The company was founded in 2016, and maintains only two offices globally, one…

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…

Uber And Hyundai Debut Flying Taxi Concept

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Korean auto manufacturer Hyundai and Uber unveiled a flying car concept that's aimed for use in the "Uber Elevate" initiative, an initiative that's targeted at aerial ridesharing with custom air taxis made by partners to enable that. Hyundai is the first automaker to join Uber Elevate, whose previous partners were all electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturers. Uber aims to launch an aerial ridesharing network by 2023, and has already partnered with seven aircraft makers to enable that.

Hyundai's new concept air taxi vehicle is dubbed "S-A1" and has specifications similar to that of previous electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft unveiled by other Uber Elevate partners. It'll be 100% electric, be piloted initially but with plans to later make them autonomous, and is designed with four passenger seats to allow riders board and disembark easily. It's des…

Cloudflare Files For IPO

Not long after a previous report that said Cloudflare was eyeing a September IPO, the San Francisco-based CDN provider has filed for that with the SEC, meaning an IPO next month may just be happening. Cloudflare's S-1 filing comes a decade after its first funding. The company recorded $192.7 million in 2018 revenue, but with an $87.2 million net loss. This is up from $135 million revenue in 2017 and a $10.7 million net loss for the same period.

In the first half of this year, Cloudflare recorded $129.2 million in revenue, but still with losses of $36.8 million. Other key takes from its S-1 filing include:
$94.4 million sales and marketing spend in 2018, up 54% from $62 million in 2017$54.5 million R&D spend in 2018, compared to $33.7 million in 2017Roughly $125 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Q2 end (June 30, 2019)74,000 paying customers as of Q2 endTwo million total [free and paying] customers408 paying customers with annual billings of more than $100,000 (as of Q2…

Reddit Has Begun Tests For Live Video Streaming

As confirmed by Reddit to Wired, the widely called "front page of the internet" has begun tests for live video streaming, marking a significant moment for what has been majorly a text-only platform. In its 14 year history, Reddit has grown from an initial link-sharing site to a destination for online discussion, news aggregation and web content rating. Reddit is so popular and widely used that it's the 14th most visited website globally, according to Alexa data.

Allowing live streaming on its platform shows Reddit is really keen on a turnaround since co-founder Steve Huffman re-joined the company in 2015. With most major social media platforms currently supporting live streaming, it's obvious that it's somewhat necessary for a widely used platform to support live video. Reddit is known for being an internet property with boatloads of user engagement. With the addition of live video streaming, it could be looking towards a spike in both [an already large] user en…