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Showing posts from January, 2019

Clutter Raising Between $200 Million And $250 Million From Softbank : TechCrunch

According to a TechCrunch report, Clutter, a storage-on-demand service that lets users get their possessions packed up, taken away, stored and returned at the click of an app, is raising between $200 million and $250 million in a round led by Softbank. It says term sheets for the investment are out but are not yet finalised as investors go through due diligence.

Clutter, which operates in the Bay Area, Seattle, Southern California, New York and Chicago, has raised $96 million in funding according to Crunchbase. Investors in the company include Alphabet's GV, Atomico, Sequoia Capital, Fifth Wall, Bracked Capital, Wonder Ventures and Four Rivers Group. It last raised $64 million in 2017 at a $240 million valuation according to Pitchbook.


An investment like this could be used to aid expansion into more regions, likely urban areas where people live in smaller spaces with less storage options and plausibly have more disposable income to pay for their stuff to be kept somewhere else.

P…

San Jose Based Zoom Reportedly In Process Of Filing For IPO

San Jose based Zoom, a provider of cloud based remote conferencing services valued at $1 billion is in the process of filing confidentially for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) according to Business Insider which cites a source familiar with the company's plans. It says that the registration is stuck due to the current U.S. government shutdown which makes the filing not yet official.

Reuters reported in October that the company is preparing for an IPO, joining a host that includes Infor, Megvii, Slack, Cloudflare, Palantir, CrowdStrike and Slack. It says the company has asked investment bank Morgan Stanley to lead the IPO, which could happen this year. Zoom has raised north of $140 million in funding according to Crunchbase, with investors including Sequoia Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Horizons Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Maven Ventures and healthcare billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.


The company was founded in 2011 by early WebEx engineer Eric Yuan who jo…

Intel Names Interim Robert Swan As CEO

Intel has announced it has appointed Robert “Bob” Swan, its interim chief executive officer for seven months running and former chief financial officer, as its new CEO, marking Swan as the seventh person to hold the position in Intel's 50-year history. He is replacing Brian Krzanich, who resigned June last year amid disclosure of a consensual relationship with an employee that was found to be in violation of company policy.

Other past Intel CEOs include co-founder Robert Noyce (1968-1975), co-founder Gordon Moore (1975-1987), Andrew Grove (1987-1998), Craig Barrett (1998-2005) and Paul Otellini (2005-2013). Swan joined Intel in September 2016, arriving from General Atlantic and replacing Stacy Smith as the chip manufacturer's CFO. Earlier in his career, he served as CFO of Electronic Data Systems (EDS), eBay and TRW Automotive and as CFO, COO and CEO of online grocery delivery early entree and dotcom bust Webvan.





As Intel's chief financial officer, he led its global finan…

Tesla Says Model Y Production To Begin By 2020 End

In a Wednesday letter to shareholders, Tesla has said that Model Y, the SUV electric vehicle the company has been teasing and hinting at since 2015 will begin production by 2020 end. The company reported $139 million in net profit for the three months ended December, its second consecutive quarter with positive earnings.

“This year should be a truly exciting one for Tesla,” the California based company said in the shareholder letter. “Model 3 will become a global product, the profitability of our business should become sustainably positive, our new Gigafactory Shanghai should start producing cars, and we will start tooling for Model Y production.”


Tesla says it expects to be producing about 7,000 vehicles a week at its Fremont factory by the end of the year. The company recently lessened production hours for the Model S and Model X vehicles, while it focuses on boosting Model 3 production. "Model 3's production rate progressively improved" last quarter, "with Decem…

Apple Music Users Will Now Be Able To Stream Songs On American Airlines Flights For Free

Beginning Friday, Apple Music subscribers will be able to access the over 50 million songs, playlists and music videos on the streaming service on any domestic American Airlines flight equipped with Viasat satellite Wi-Fi without needing to purchase in-flight WiFi. Apple just made this announcement, marking American Airlines as the first commercial airline to provide exclusive access to Apple Music for travellers via complimentary inflight Wi-Fi.

All Apple Music subscribers will have to do to begin streaming is connect to Wi-Fi on any Viasat-equipped American Airlines aircraft at no cost and login with their Apple Music accounts. People not signed up for Apple Music will be able to get it in-flight, sign up onboard and get the normal free access for three months after registering.


“For most travelers, having music to listen to on the plane is just as important as anything they pack in their suitcases,” Apple Music vice president Oliver Schusser said in a statement. “With the addition…

Stripe Nabs $100 Million Series E At $22.5 Billion Valuation

Just after Acorns and Clover Health, another startup has raised huge funding, this time, Stripe, the San Francisco based payments company that powers payments for lots of small businesses and also big names like Lyft, Postmates, Expedia, Google, Salesforce, Facebook, Zillow and Microsoft, has raised $100 million Series E funding that values it at $22.5 billion, up from a $20 billion valuation in September.

This investment, made by Tiger Global who also led its most previous round was first reported by The Information. A Stripe spokesperson said the funding will be used for growth areas including international expansion with Stripe CEO Patrick Collison also announcing on Twitter of a new board member, former Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene.

I haven't said much in the past about @Stripe's board. We're fortunate to add Diane Greene, our fourth outside director today. (All four have to put up with myself and John, for six in total.) — Patrick Collison (@patrickc) 29 January 201…

iRobot Unveils Robot Lawn Mover

Massachusetts based iRobot, the company behind the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner and Braava line of robot mops has unveiled a new product, this time a robot lawn mover it says is kit with "state-of-the-art mapping and navigation technologies" that enables high-performance and high-quality mowing.

The new robot named Terra is capable of mapping its course after being schooled, with the use of wireless beacons users get to place around their yard and then drive the robot once around the perimeter. Once this is done, the robot charts its course, navigating the yard while remembering where it needs to cover. If its battery runs low, it will return to its base to recharge and then re-commence mowing until the yard handed to it is completely mowed.




Users can also make use of the iRobot Home App to customize their robot, with features like adjusting the height at which the grass will be cut or controlling precisely when the lawn is cut - day or night - available. There are already s…

Waymo Met With Over 12 Auto Companies For Driverless Tech Partnership : Bloomberg

According to a Bloomberg report, Alphabet's Waymo met with over 12 auto companies including Volvo in 2016, seeking manufacturing partners for its self-driving technology, citing an internal document  unsealed in court this week.

The memo, marked "highly confidential", was penned on August 18 2016, the day a report that Uber was partnering with Volvo and that it had acquired former Waymo engineer Anthony Lewandowski's Otto was made by Bloomberg.


"Did we try to talk to Volvo? Yes. We have met with over a dozen OEMs this year, including Volvo," Waymo said in the memo. "We were surprised they wanted to partner with Uber given the importance they place on safety, and developing this technology safely. However, the deal with Uber is non-exclusive for both parties."

This statement indicates pursuit of auto manufacturing partners by Waymo even before it spun out as a standalone unit in December 2016. As of current, Waymo has partnerships with Fiat Chrysl…

Argo AI Secures Permit To Test Self-Driving Vehicles In California

Argo AI, the Pittsburgh based self-driving company backed with huge funding from automaker Ford, has secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in the state of California. The permit, issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) ,is for two drivers and one vehicle and marks for the fifth location Argo AI is looking to test its self-driving vehicles.

The company currently tests its autonomous vehicle technology in Pittsburgh, Detroit and Miami with testing in Washington, D.C. also starting soon. Argo AI now joins sixty other companies with permits to self-driving vehicles (but with a driver) in the state of California.


They include Baidu, Zoox, GM Cruise, Faraday Future, Drive.ai, Intel, SF Motors, TuSimple, Apple, Samsung, Nuro, Aurora, Udacity, Nvidia, Valeo, Pony.AI, Lyft, Waymo, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Bosch, Tesla, Delphi Automotive and Qualcomm. Notably missing from the list is Uber which currently doesn't have a permit to self-driving vehicles in…

Health Insurance Startup Clover Health Raises $500 Million

Despite reports of missed financials and difficulties navigating a slow-moving and challenging insurance industry, San Francisco based health insurance startup Clover Health has announced new funding, pegged at $500 million by TechCrunch. The round is led by existing investor Greenoaks Capital, an SF based VC firm that counts Oyo Rooms, Brex, Sonder, Discord and Robinhood among its bets.

The valuation for this round is not disclosed, but for hint, Clover Health was last valued at $1.2 billion when it raised $130 million Series D funding also led by Greenoaks Capital in 2017. The San Francisco based company also counts the likes of Alphabet's GV, Spark Capital, Sequoia Capital, First Round Capital, Floodgate, Refactor Capital, Social Capital and Nexus Venture Partners as investors.


Clover, with over $900 million in funding (this round included) now stands as one of the most funded startups in the healthcare space. Even with this, the company has struggled in the past to decrease l…

Acorns Raises $105 Million Series E At $860 Million Valuation

Acorns, an Irvine based fintech company that allows individuals round up purchases and automatically invest the change in exchange-traded funds through a mobile app, has raised $105 million series E funding that values it at $860 million, according to its statement.

Investors in this round include NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures who led the round along with TPG, DST Global, Michael Dell's MSD Capital, BlackRock and Bain Capital Ventures. The company has now raised some $207 million in total according to Crunchbase, with its $860 million valuation placing it in a high rank among global fintech companies.


In November, We reported of Acorns being in discussions for funding at a $700 million valuation. This round confirms that, although it comes at a higher valuation for the company. Acorns, which has over 4.5 million registered accounts is also entering into a partnership for editorial content and events with NBCUniversal owned CNBC as part of the company's investment. NBC is …

Apple Kicks Off 'Entrepreneur Camp' - A Two Week Hands On Experience For Female App Creators

Apple has kicked off the inaugural session of 'Entrepreneur Camp', a two-week hands on technology lab where it says participants would work one-on-one with Apple engineers and experts to accelerate their apps. Eleven female-founded app development companies are participating in this session which will involve works on design, technology, App Store marketing and guidance and support from an Apple Developer Relations representative.

Apple says the program's curriculum will will harness several of its tech, including optimizing for the custom A12 Bionic chip, integrating core ML and building new experiences with ARKit. Each participating startup is also receiving two tickets to Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and complementary membership to the Apple Developer program for a year.


Cupertino based Apple says developers have earned some $120 billion since the 2008 launch of the Apple App Store, with over a quarter of that in the past year alone. This signifies stea…

BMW, Porsche and Jaguar Land Rover Back Roadside Assistance Startup Urgently's $21 Million Series B Round

Virginia based roadside assistance startup Urgently has raised $21 million Series B funding from several investors including Porsche Ventures, BMW i Ventures and Jaguar Land Rover's VC fund InMotion Ventures.

Existing investors also participated in the round which Urgently says was oversubscribed. BMW has also selected Urgently for collaboration with the BMW Assist roadside assistance service as the vendor partner to offer roadside assistance services to owners of its vehicles in the U.S.


Urgently works similar to Uber and Lyft, with users able to request for nearby roadside assistance services and get charged within the app. It's available in several cities spanning all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C and also Puerto Rico. The company boasts 55,000 service vehicles registered on its platform that provide services like fuel delivery, towing, jump start, flat tire replacement and car lockout solutions according to its website.

"We look forward to continuing to innovate…

Most Read Posts

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…