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Showing posts from June, 2019

A Look At SpinLaunch

There are several big name space companies -- to name a few; SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Boeing -- that deliver payloads and satellites to space. Each of the aforementioned companies take different but quite similar approaches to launch payloads into space, the similarity being the use of vertical rockets. But there's one company -- named SpinLaunch -- working on a different way, this time looking to send objects to space using a catapult, yes you read that right.

Just how legit you may ask?,...as legit as being able to secure $40 million in funding from investors including Airbus, Kleiner Perkins and Alphabet, and also being able to secure a contract with the U.S. military. The contract recently secured from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is SpinLaunch's first ever. SpinLaunch, by early next year, aims to begin the first tests of firing catapults containing payloads at hyper-sonic speeds to launch objects into space.


The company earlier this year moved from Silicon Valley t…

WhatsApp Said To Poach Top Executive From WorldRemit

Facebook's WhatsApp has hired a top executive from WorldRemit, a U.K. money transfer startup valued at more than $900 million, with nearly $400 million in total funding. Reuters reported the hire, citing three persons 'familiar with the matter'. The top executive in particular is Alice Newton-Rex, WorldRemit's chief product officer, which Reuters reports will join WhatsApp's product team later this year.

According to one cited person familiar with the matter, Newton-Rex will not work on Facebook's recently unveiled digital currency, Libra, but will work on the main WhatsApp messaging service. WhatsApp - one of the world's largest messaging apps, with over 1 billion users -- has been expanding its team in Europe, including in London.


According to Newton-Rex's LinkedIn profile, she's been at WorldRemit for nearly five years, initially serving in two product roles before becoming chief product officer one year ago. Prior to WorldRemit, she had stints …

Microsoft Makes Bank On Adaptive's IPO

Adaptive Biotechnologies -- a commercial-stage life sciences company that's aiming to leverage the human immune system to diagnose and fight diseases -- recently debuted on the public markets, soaring roughly 140% from an initial $20 per share to $48.30 per share (as of writing). Prior to its IPO, Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies raised roughly $400 million in funding according to Crunchbase data.

One big winner from the company's IPO was Microsoft, which previously invested $45 million in the company at $10.67 a share. Now at $48 a pop, the value of Microsoft's stake in the company has grown nearly five fold. Microsoft invested in Adaptive Biotechnologies as part of a cloud partnership. Adaptive's S-1 filing indicated $500,000 in R&D spend on Microsoft Azure in 2018, with a commitment to spend $12 million over a seven-year period.


Adaptive's partnership with Microsoft involves the application of machine learning and computational statistics on Adaptive&…

Theranos' Holmes To Face Trial Next Year

Elizabeth Holmes -- the founder and former CEO of Theranos, a now defunct but once $9 billion valued company known for its claims to have revolutionized blood testing and now accused of being fraudulent -- has been ordered to stand trial next year on fraud charges along with former Theranos COO Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani.

At a hearing in a San Jose, California federal court, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila ordered jury selection to begin in the trial of the two former top Theranos executives, with a set date on the 28th of July, 2020. Holmes and Balwani were previously indicted on 11 counts of conspiracy and wire fraud and both pleaded not guilty.


The two ex-Theranos leaders are accused of leveraging advertising and solicitations to urge doctors and patients to use the company's testing laboratory services even though they knew it didn't yield accurate and reliable results. Prosecutors say Holmes and Balwani took part in schemes to defraud investors, doctors and patie…

Apple Said To Allot $100 Million Lifeline For Japan Display

Japan Display -- a struggling liquid-crystal display (LCD) manufacturing joint venture set up by Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba -- has announced that a customer will invest $100 million as part of a bailout led by a Chinese investment firm. According to a piece from Reuters, that customer is Apple, which accounted for 60.6% of Japan Display's revenue in its last fiscal year. Reuters says an investment group led by China’s Harvest Group is investing up to 80 billion yen ($743 million) in Japan Display.

As Apple shifts away from the use of liquid-crystal displays, with the iPhone XR being the only LCD model in the company's 2018 lineup, Japan Display has struggled with funding. According to Bloomberg, Japan Display was in line for a $1.1 billion bailout from Taiwan’s TPK Holding before the smartphone touch panel manufacturer pulled out from a rescue deal.


Japan Display has a big $900 million debt to Apple for the $1.5 billion cost of constructing a smartphone screen manufacturing fa…

Postmates Adds Google's Kristin Reinke To Board

Not long after hiring a long-time Apple engineer to work on its delivery robot, Postmates has announced the addition of Kristin Reinke, Google's vice president of finance, to its board. Reinke will join Postmates as an independent director. Her appointment signals preparations by Postmates in anticipation of an IPO.

Reinke has been on Google's finance team since 2005. She previously worked at Oracle, where she headed Global Business Practices for its Alliances & Channels. Reinke is joining a board that includes Postmates' founders and representatives from investors Founders Fund, Spark Capital and Tiger Global.


"As Postmates continues to innovate and shape the on-demand delivery category, Kristin brings a wide range of financial expertise and experience to our board of directors," Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann said in a statement. "Given her impressive track record at Google and Oracle, I am confident her leadership will have meaningful impact on Postma…

New Balance Debuts New Shoes With 3D-Printed Soles

New Balance has launched two new pairs of sneakers -- the 990 Sport and the FuelCell Echo -- that comes with soles 3D-printed by Formlabs, a Massachusetts-based 3D printing startup valued at $1 billion after an investment from blue-chip VC New Enterprise Associates last year. The two sneakers are crafted atop a uniform 3D-printed sole dubbed TripleCell.

The TripleCell sole is made with a new proprietary photopolymer resin dubbed Rebound Resin. Formlabs put together this resin as part of a partnership -- first announced in 2017 -- with New Balance. New Balance says the new Resin is "designed to create springy, resilient lattice structures with the durability, reliability, and longevity expected from an injection molded thermoplastic."


New Balance's new sneakers are manufactured in the U.S. The 990 Sport and the FuelCell Echo will hit stores on the 28th of June and 15th of September respectively, retailing for $185 and $175 accordingly. The debut of these new sneakers com…

Apple Reportedly Shifts Mac Pro Production To China

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple is manufacturing the new Mac Pro in China, shifting production of what had stood as its only major device manufactured in the U.S. outside the country. According to the WSJ, Apple has tapped Chinese contractor Quanta Computer to manufacture the $6,000 high-end desktop computer and is boosting production at a factory near Shanghai.

The paper says Quanta's facility being close to other Apple suppliers in Asia makes it possible for Apple to lower shipping costs compared to shipping Mac Pro components to the U.S. Apple's previous Mac Pro model -- released in 2013 -- was assembled in the U.S. by manufacturing contractor Flex Ltd, made possible by a $100 million investment from Apple for a plant located in Austin, Texas.


Although manufacturing has reportedly been shifted to China, a spokesman for Apple told the Wall Street Journal that the new Mac Pro is designed and engineered in the U.S. and includes U.S.-made parts. Also,…

Livongo Files For IPO

Livongo -- a Mountain View, California-based digital health company that sells hardware-software interlinked personal health platforms -- has filed for an IPO with the SEC. Livongo is one the first companies to file for a public offering in the digital health sector. Although the sector is filled with several companies -- to name a few; Zocdoc, Proteus, Butterfly, Tempus and 23andMe -- that have collectively raised billions in funding, most of them still remain private.

Going by Livongo's S-1 filing, the company recorded $68.4 million revenue in 2018, up 122% from $30.8 million in 2017. But Livongo isn't profitable, with $33.4 million in 2018 losses, up nearly 100% from $16.9 million the year before. Other key takes from Livongo's IPO filing include:
$32 million Q1 2019 revenue, compared to $12.46 million in Q1 2018.Roughly $15 million Q1 2019 loss, compared to $4.2 million in Q1 2018. $54.9 million cash balance, as of March 31, 2019 (Q1 end).$24.9 million R&D spend in…

Apple's Jony Ive Leaves To Form Own Design Company

Apple has announced that its chief design officer and nearly three decade old veteran Jony Ive is leaving the company later this year to form an independent design company that'll count Apple as a primary client. Ive will continue to work on projects with Apple at his own design firm and will also be able to work with other clients.

Apple's design team will now be led by Evans Hankey, its vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design. They'll both report to Apple COO Jeff Williams.


Along with Ive's departure, Apple has also announced a new addition to its executive team. Sabih Khan, a 24-year Apple veteran, has been named as Apple's senior vice president of Operations. In his new position, Khan will head Apple's global supply chain, ensuring product quality and managing manufacturing logistics. He'll continue to report to COO Jeff Williams.



Fungible Raises $200 Million Softbank-Led Series C

Fungible -- a Santa Clara-based semiconductor company led by Juniper Networks founder Pradeep Sindhu and Apple's former senior vice president of software engineering, Bertrand Serlet -- has raised $200 million in Series C funding led by the Softbank Vision Fund, with participation from Norwest Venture Partners and other unspecified existing investors. With this funding, Fungible has now raised more than $300 million since inception. Other investors in the company include notable names like Battery Ventures and Mayfield Fund.

The company builds semiconductor technology that is calls "data-centric computing". In acute terms, Fungible builds semiconductors that helps data centers keep up with increasing loads while maintaining existing hardware infrastructure. The company sells a programmable processor named the "Fungible Data Processing Unit (DPU)" that it says improves execution of workloads in data centers. Fungilbe is aiming to get hold of a significant porti…

VW And Ford's Partnership Could Be Expanded

According to a Bloomberg report, Volkswagen's supervisory board plans to talk through and maybe agree to next steps on expanding its partnership with Ford at a meeting scheduled to hold in two weeks time. The report says a previously announced partnership on vans and pickup trucks could be bind at the meeting scheduled on the 11th of July and that the partnership could potentially expand into development of self-driving and electric-car technology.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess previously said the German automaker was not yet committed to working on self-driving technology with Ford but this may change after the board meeting scheduled to hold soon. Both automakers were also previously reported to be in disagreement over an investment in Ford's self-driving unit. Ford was said to be seeking at least $500 million after earlier seeking a billion dollars but was met with resistance from Volkswagen.


Nevertheless, later reports hinted progress in discussions of a self-driving partn…

Instagram Explore Ads May Be $1 Billion Slot For Facebook

Not long after analysts from Morgan Stanley predicted India's Ola Cabs as Uber's biggest potential threat in the U.K. despite current competition from Bolt (formerly Taxify), analysts from the same investment bank have predicted that adding advertising to the Instagram Explore tab could add $1 billion to Facebook's revenue by 2021. Instagram recently announced it'll start placing ads within the Explore tab in the Instagram app for the first time. New ads will come into sight when Instagram users tap into Explore posts and scroll further for related content, while the main grid stays ad-free.

Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak predicts that ads from the Explore tab could boost Facebook's total revenue by around $1.2 billion -- by 2021 -- if  monetization to the tune of $2 per user can be attained and user growth rates are maintained. But there are two potential hurdles according to Nowak, the first being how quickly Facebook will roll out the new ad section and the…

TripActions Raises $250 Million Series D

Few months after Andreessen Horowitz led a $154 million round for corporate travel startup TripActions, the blue-chip VC firm has again led new funding for the company, this time a $250 million Series D that values it at $4 billion, four times its previous $1 billion valuation. A press release from TripActions says revenue is growing 5x annually which kind of explains why the company has quadrupled its valuation in less than a year.

Along with Andreessen Horowitz, VC firms Lightspeed Venture Partners, Zeev Ventures and Group 11 (formerly SGVC) also participated in this round. TripActions -- which now has more than 700 employees spread across nine offices globally -- says it'll make use of the new funding to support global expansion, double down on partnerships, and further invest in its corporate travel platform. The Palo Alto-based company has more than 2,000 customers, including big names like Lyft, SurveyMonkey and WeWork.


While revenue isn't disclosed, TripActions says it…

StockX Raises $110 Million At A $1 Billion+ Valuation

Detroit-based sneakers and other fashion marketplace StockX has raised $110 million in Series C funding that values it at over $1 billion. VC firms DST Global, GGV Capital, General Atlantic, GV and Battery Ventures were investors in this round. Along with this funding, StockX has announced a new CEO by name of Scott Cutler, a longtime tech executive who previously served as president of ticket marketplace StubHub and most recently as a senior vice president at eBay.

StockX's outgoing CEO and co-founder Josh Luber will continue to serve on the company's executive team and board of directors. Also as part of this investment, GGV managing partner Hans Tung is joining StockX's board of directors. StockX plans to funnel the new capital towards international growth, with a focus on Europe and the Asian markets. The company says the funding will also allow it diversify its products categories and extend its brick-and-mortar presence.


StockX's team has grown from just four co…

Boeing Completes Parachute Testing For The Starliner

Boeing has announced it has completed the fifth and final qualification test of the parachute system of the Starliner, a new space crew capsule the aerospace giant is constructing for NASA's Commercial Crew Development program. NASA's program -- which also involves SpaceX -- is a planned mission backed by the U.S. government to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on privately operated space vehicles for the first time ever.

Boeing and SpaceX have been selected for the planned mission and have both come up with unique spacecraft designs to fly selected U.S. astronauts to the ISS. NASA, last year, unveiled the first nine astronauts that'll fly on either SpaceX's Crew Dragon or Boeing's Starliner spacecrafts. For safety reasons, both spacecrafts are kit with parachute systems that'll be deployed when required.


Boeing now just completed the final test of the Starliner's parachute system. For the test, two parachutes were intentionally disab…

Boeing Partners With Kitty Hawk

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has partnered with Kitty Hawk, a Mountain View, California-based flying car startup backed by Alphabet CEO Larry Page and led by Udacity co-founder and former Google VP Sebastian Thrun. In a joint press release, both companies announced they'll work on "future efforts to advance safe urban air mobility", but didn't specify what the efforts entail. But a good guess can be that both parties will work on developing flying vehicles.

This partnership comes not long after Boeing completed a first test flight of its own flying vehicle. Boeing -- being one of the largest aerospace companies and top manufacturer of commercial airplanes -- likely brings much to the table for Kitty Hawk, which is still a quite small and stealth startup.


“Working with a company like Kitty Hawk brings us closer to our goal of safely advancing the future of mobility,” vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt, Steve Nordlund said in a press release. “We have a…

Carbon Raises $260 Million At A $2.4 Billion Valuation

In consensus with a previous report of 3D printing company Carbon raising up to $300 million in new funding, the Redwood City, California-based company has announced $260 million in new funding co-led by Madrone Capital Partners and Baillie Gifford. New investors Temasek and Arkema, along with existing investors Johnson & Johnson, Fidelity, adidas Ventures, JSR Corporation and Sequoia Capital also participated in the round.

This funding values Carbon -- which has now raised more than $680 million since inception -- at north of $2.4 billion. The company plans to use the new capital to broaden R&D efforts, fuel expansion in Europe and Asia and establish its first "Advanced Development Facility", an advanced manufacturing facility [like its name suggests] that'll help Carbon's engineering teams work in "scaled-up manufacturing environments".


Carbon will also invest in its ongoing development of recyclable and biocompatible materials and accelerate its…

Ken Lerer Steps Down As Buzzfeed Chairman

Ken [full name Kenneth] Lerer, a veteran media executive and venture capitalist, is stepping down from the chairman role at Buzzfeed after a decade of occupying this position. According to Axios which first broke the news of his departure, Lerer is leaving for “personal reasons” to focus on Lerer Hippeau Ventures, a New York-based VC firm where he serves as managing director.

Under Lerer and Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti's guide, Buzzfeed has grown to become one of the biggest names with digital media, valued at $1.7 billion in 2016. Lerer and Peretti are no new players in the digital media world, having previously co-founded the Huffington Post, a popular news website that sold to AOL for $315 million in 2011.


Lerer Hippeau Ventures which Lerer founded is a top VC firm that has backed companies like Warby Parker, Allbirds, Axios, Bowery, Zipline, Mirror and Science Exchange. Lerer, still, also has another key connection in Group Nine Media, a digital media company valued at $585 mi…

Morgan Stanley Says Ola Is Uber's Real London Rival

According to analysts from investment bank Morgan Stanley, India's Ola Cabs persists as the main potential threat to Uber's stronghold on the London ride-hailing market. This is despite the recent return of Bolt (formerly Taxify) to the London ride-hailing market, after a previous ban from the city emanating from the lack of an operating license.

According to Morgan Stanley analysts, evidence suggests Bolt's recent return to London is not having a significant impact on Uber's operations in the city. A report from the analysts said Uber's app downloads initially slid after Bolt's return but has since recovered. Bolt has raised nearly $200 million in funding according to Crunchbase data, compared to Ola's $3.8 billion in funding.


Reports have suggested (paywall) Ola plans to launch in London by the end of this year. Backed by billions in funding, the company possibly stands a better chance of competing with Uber in the English capital.

Uber recorded $3.1 bil…

Monzo Raises £113 million In New Funding

Fresh off £85 million in funding last October, U.K. digital bank Monzo has announced £113 million in new funding led by Y Combinator Continuity, with participation from other existing investors. This funding values Monzo at £2 billion ($2.5 billion) post-money, double a previous £1 billion valuation from its last funding.

This funding comes on the heels of Monzo's expansion into the U.S. The U.K.-based company is working with an -- FDIC-insured -- partner bank to operate in the U.S. as it doesn't yet have a banking license in the country.


Monzo currently has more than two million users and says 200,000 people signed up in May (last month) alone. The company's new raise comes on the heels of another fintech startup, Blend raising $130 million in new funding at a near $1 billion valuation.



U.S. Cedes Tariffs On Japanese Aluminium For Tesla Batteries

The United States Department of Commerce has agreed to do away with a 10% tariff on imported aluminium from Japan that's used by Tesla in the making of battery cells at its Nevada Gigafactory. This decision is in response to an earlier request from Tesla for a tariff exclusion on 10,000 tonnes of Japanese aluminium annually.

The Japanese aluminium Tesla imports is produced by Nippon Light Metal Holdings, a Japanese multinational that's engaged in the manufacture and sale of aluminum and chemical products via several subsidiaries. In a document dated June 5 and recently put on a government website, the U.S. Department of Commerce said the -- Japanese -- aluminium “is not produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality.”

The tariff waiver on the Japanese aluminium upholds for one year.



Apple Says It Gets Fees From Less Than 1% Of Spotify Users

In response to an antitrust complaint from Spotify, Apple has disclosed that it collects a 15% fee from roughly 680,000 out of Spotify's 100 million paying customers [and 217 million total monthly active users]. Apple -- which competes directly with Spotify with the Apple Music streaming service -- said this in response to a complaint to EU regulators from Spotify that alleges Apple's control of the App Store, including fees it charges for processing payments, has made it hard for rivals to compete for music streaming subscribers.

Apple charges a 30% fee for in-app purchases made on the App Store but that drops to 15%  on subscription purchases made after a year. In exchange for the fees, Apple handles billing and payments -- for apps -- in over 100 countries. But in reaction to Spotify's complaint, The Cupertino-based iPhone maker said that only a little fraction of Spotify's users are affected by its fees. That's because Spotify used Apple's payments system …

Blend Raises $130 Million Series E

Blend, a San Francisco-based SaaS platform for digital lenders, has raised $130 million in Series E funding. Temasek and General Atlantic led the funding, with participation from existing backers Greylock Partners, Founders Fund, 8VC and Lightspeed Venture Partners. With this funding, Blend has now raised a total of $310 million. Although the valuation for this round is not disclosed, Fortune reports Blend is now valued at close to $1 billion, up from a previous $500 million post-money valuation [according to Pitchbook data].

The funding comes at a good time for Blend, which claims it now processes nearly $2 billion in loans per day for more than 150 lenders. The company has also recently expanded into deposit accounts and home equity, and homeowners insurance. Blend says it'll make use of the funding to continue growing its current team of nearly 400 employees and invest in new tech, grow its partner ecosystem, and further its expansion into other consumer lending areas.


The com…

DJI Debuts Custom Drone For Government Agencies

Facing increased security concerns from the U.S. government, Chinese drone maker DJI has announced a new "Government Edition" drone that's made "specifically for use in high-security situations" by global government agencies. DJI says the new edition's architecture ensures that drone data like photos and videos captured during flight never leaves the drone or get shared with unauthorized parties including DJI itself. The Shenzhen-based company says the way the drone is built ensures it "meets the stringent requirements of the government sector for data management, risk mitigation, and enterprise-level data sharing control."

DJI first developed the Government Edition for the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Aviation Services, and is now offering it to other government organizations around the globe. The Chinese drone maker says the Government Edition drone partook in more than 1,500 flight missions last year. In addition to data protectio…

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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…

Report: Airbnb's Q1 Loss More Than Doubled To $306 Million

According to a report from The Information, Airbnb's operating loss in the first three months of this year more than doubled to $306 million, attributable in part to increased sales and marketing spend which The Information says was $367 million, a 58% increase from the same period last year. The Information reports Airbnb's sales and marketing spend surpassed that of any other category, including product development, which grew by 51% from the same period last year. Operations and support, which includes customer service, climbed 30% year-on-year according to The Information.


Citing undisclosed financial data, The Information reports Airbnb's revenue grew 31% year-over-year to $839 million, while expenses climbed 47%. Its report also says Airbnb has more than $3 billion in cash on its balance sheet despite the losses, and that it has a $1 billion line of credit it hasn't used.

Although increased sales and marketing spend could bring in lot of new businesses for Airbn…

Uber, Lyft Decline To Testify Before U.S. Congress

Uber and Lyft, the two biggest ride-hailing companies in the U.S., declined to appear today (Wednesday) at a U.S. Congress hearing on matters related to the ride-hailing industry, a congressional committee said. The two companies had been requested to appear as part of an inquiry from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, a standing committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, on safety and labor practices in the ride-hailing industry. The inquiry happens to be at a time U.S. lawmakers are looking to pass legislation that will impact the ride-hailing industry.


In an official statement, Peter DeFazio, a U.S. rep who serves as chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, took a jab at Uber and Lyft, casting nets on several topics including increase in traffic congestion, labor issues, background checks, wages, and even sustainability of the ride-hailing business model. Uber and Lyft's "failure to appear at this hearing is a telling …

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

Amazon has began shipping the Echo Auto, part of the host of Alexa enabled devices announced last year September by the company which included a microwave, clock, security camera, smart plug, the Echo Sub, Echo Input and re-designed versions of already existing devices.

The company tells TechCrunch over 1 million pre-orders were placed by consumers signalling high interest in the device which connects Alexa to users' smartphone and then plays through car speakers, enabling tasks like playing music, opening the garage door, finding the nearest gas station and checking the news while on the go possible.


For now, the Echo Auto is only available on an invite-only basis with a few users having taken delivery in time for Christmas according to VP, Alexa Voice Service and Alexa Skills Steve Rabuchin. Why the device has stayed in pre-order status for so long is not clear but Bloomberg last month reported issues encountered by several Amazon retail stores in North America and Europe in ke…

Revolut Taps Mastercard For U.S. Launch

Revolut has announced a partnership with payments giant Mastercard that'll enable it launch Revolut cards in the U.S. by the end of this year. The announcement happens to occur shortly after Revolut announced it's hiring 3,500 additional staff to expand into 24 new countries, starting in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore and the U.S. Revolut is leveraging on two well-known payments firms for its planned expansion, having previously announced an extended partnership with payments company Visa to enable it expand into new markets. With Mastercard -- a Visa competitor -- now on board, Revolut seems to be in for a good ride in the financial services scene.

Just like Visa, Mastercard has also been a Revolut partner since 2015, the year it launched. Both payments companies have enabled Revolut to build out its payments network and issue cards to customers across Europe. Revolut's new announcement is an extended agreement with Mastercard that invol…

Bill McDermott Lands New CEO Gig At ServiceNow

Just after stepping down from SAP where he served as CEO for 9 years, Bill McDermott has been announced as the new CEO of ServiceNow. McDermott will officially join ServiceNow as CEO by year-end, replacing current CEO John Donahoe, who is in turn taking the position of CEO at athletics powerhouse Nike, where he already holds a board seat. McDermott's new appointment means he's getting to head another large software company shortly after stepping down from another. Heading ServiceNow will add to his series of executive stints, which includes top positions at Siebel Systems, Gartner and Xerox alongside SAP.


McDermott is replacing Donahoe, who has been ServiceNow's CEO for only two years. Before joining ServiceNow, Donahoe held CEO roles at Bain & Company and eBay. Currently, he also holds the role of chairman at PayPal. At Nike, he's set to replace Mark Parker, who is stepping down after 13 years as CEO.

McDermott was co-CEO of SAP from 2010 to 2014, and served as i…

Ford Debuts 12,000-Wide Charging Network In North America

Ford has announced the launch of a large charging network spanning 12,000 locations and 35,000 charging plugs in the North American continent, a charging network that easily makes for the largest in the region (based on publicly available information). The move is aimed at making it easier for customers to charge their Ford vehicles when the automaker begins delivering all-electric models next year. Ford touts the planned 12,000-wide charging network as "making public chargers as common as some of the most popular pharmacy or coffee chains."



Ford isn't actually building the charging network on its own, instead it's collaborating with EV charging companies Electrify America and Greenlots to create a charging network consisting of 35,000 charging plugs that users of its electric vehicles can be directed to via an app or an in-vehicle touch screen. Ford is preparing to launch fully electric vehicles (designed from the ground up) for the first time, as opposed to hybrid…

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…

Casper Said To Be Working With Banks On IPO

According to a Bloomberg report, Casper, an online mattress retailer valued at $1.1 billion earlier this year, is working with investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs on a U.S. initial public offering (IPO). Bloomberg reports the New York-based company could go public as soon as this year or the first half of next year. According to Bloomberg, Casper could be valued at more than its last private valuation ($1.1 billion) on the public markets.

Despite bleak performances of some high-profile IPOs this year, several companies are still aiming to public before this year's end. The bleak performances of some IPOs were fueled in part by substantial losses and concerns around growth potential of the newly-public companies. Casper had previously said it topped $400 million in revenue last year, but there's no word on if it's profitable or not.

The New York-based company seems to be aiming for significant growth, having expanded from selling just online mattresses to off…

GM Names Executive Mark Reuss As President

With Dan Ammann leaving for a role as the CEO of its autonomous vehicle unit, General Motors has named Mark Reuss who serves as the leader of its Global Product Group and Cadillac unit up until now as its new president. The automaker announced this Thursday of the new appointment which sees Reuss who counts a long career spanning over a decade at GM taking up this new role.

Reuss was first appointed executive director of GM's Performance Division in 2001 and took up other roles including managing director of Australasian General Motors and senior product development director. His father notably, Lloyd E. Reuss was president at GM from 1990 to 1992.


“Mark’s global operational experience, deep product knowledge and strong leadership will serve us well as we continue to strengthen our current business, take advantage of growth opportunities and further define the future of personal mobility,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a press release. “Mark has played a critical role in leading the …