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Showing posts from July, 2019

Samsung Debuts The Galaxy Tab S6

Samsung has unveiled a new tablet: the Galaxy Tab S6, a new device that seems like a jab to the iPad Pro. The new tablet is Samsung's first that features an on-screen fingerprint scanner. It has a 10.5-inch display and a 5.7mm slim body. Other of its features include:
8MP camera [front]/13MP + 5MP dual cameras [rear]6GB/8GB memory options128GB/256GB storage optionsMicroSD support (up to 1TB)4 speakers123-degree wide angle lens420g (weight)A 7,040mAh batteryA magnetic strip for the Samsung S Pen to attach to the tabletSamsung Knox [security platform]A new-and-improved version of Samsung DeX [desktop-like functionality]

The new tab comes in gray, blue, and blush colors. It'll be available, starting in select markets, as from late August. The Galaxy Tab S6 is an addition to several other products Samsung has unveiled this year. The company has been on quite a spree, with debuts of several new products this year, including a gaming monitor, the Galaxy A80, the Galaxy Tab S5etwo …

Cloudflare Reportedly Eyeing September IPO

According to a new report from Business Insider [paywall], Cloudflare, a well known San Francisco-based company that powers nearly 10% of all internet requests, is eyeing an IPO in September, not long after raising $150 million at a reported $3.2 billion valuation. Cloudflare was previously reported to have hired Goldman Sachs for an IPO, but did not file with the SEC until this summer, according to Business Insider.

The valuation being targeted for the IPO is not certain, but for a hint, the San Francisco-based company was previously reported to be targeting a valuation of over $3.5 billion. Cloudflare is widely known for its content delivery network (CDN) that powers more than 18 million internet properties. For a hint into how big a role Cloudflare's network plays in the internet, a recent 30 minute outage took thousands of other popular services, including Discord, OkCupid, Feedly, Peloton and CoinDesk down with it.

Cloudflare's influence is spread all around the net, wit…

DigitalOcean Appoints New CEO And CFO

DigitalOcean, a well-known New York-based cloud infrastructure startup, has appointed a new CEO and CFO. DigitalOcean's new CEO is Yancey Spruill, who previously served as COO and CFO at SendGrid. Spruill, who began his career as an engineer, guided SendGrid through a $150 million IPO in 2017 and a recent sale to Twilio in a $3 billion all-stock deal.

DigitalOcean's new CFO is Bill Sorenson, who previously served as CFO at Enernoc and Qlik. Sorenson guided Qlik through an IPO in 2010. Qlik was later acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo for $3 billion. Sorenson also guided Enernoc through a $250 million sale to the Enel Group in 2017.


Spruill, the new CEO, is replacing Mark Templeton, who announced his decision to step down in May. Templeton has spent just a little more than one year as DigitalOcean's CEO. He worked closely with DigitalOcean's board to find a successor.

The new appointments could indicate IPO goals by DigitalOcean. With significant experience of…

Ford Acquires Quantum Signal AI

Ford has acquired Quantum Signal AI, a two decade old Saline, Michigan-based firm that has worked on robotics solutions for several clients, including the U.S. military. Quantum Signal has helped the U.S. military develop software that let it remotely control robotic vehicles located thousands of miles away. It also set up a simulation environment for the military that's capable of testing autonomous vehicle designs. That simulation software is still in use today.

Perhaps, Quantum Signal's work with military tech explains why it has operated in relative obscurity for 20 years running. Ford is acquiring Quantum Signal AI to bolster its self-driving efforts. Quantum's expertise will support Ford in several areas, including software development and hardware prototyping, as the automaker develops self-driving vehicles. If you recall, Argo AI, Ford's self-driving unit, recently secured a $2.6 billion investment from Volkswagen.


This isn't the first time Ford is acquiri…

Monday.com Raises $150 Million At A $1.9 Billion Valuation

Monday.com, an Israeli founded workplace collaboration startup, has announced $150 million in Series D funding that TechCrunch reports values it at $1.9 billion, nearly four times a $500 million valuation last year. Sapphire Ventures led the funding, with participation from Hamilton Lane, ION Crossover Partners, Vintage Investment Partners, and HarbourVest Partners. The funding brings the total raised by Monday.com to $234 million.

A $1.9 billion valuation is really impressive for a startup that launched five years ago. What's more impressive is a near-quadruple in valuation in a one-year span. Monday.com's growth should justify that, with more than 80,000 customers currenctly compared to 35,000 a year ago. Monday.com's customers include well-known names like WeWork, Hulu, Glossier, Phillips, Zippo, and hundreds of Fortune 500 companies. Its customers are spread across 140 countries.


Monday.com's workplace collaboration software has integrations with several popular t…

Qualcomm And Tecent Collaborate On Gaming, 5G

Qualcomm and Tencent have announced they'll collaborate on projects that could include joint work on mobile gaming devices equipped with Qualcomm chips, game content and performance optimizations, cloud gaming, AR/VR, 5G gaming use, and "additional relevant technologies". Both companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for co-operation in the aforementioned fields although the agreement is non-binding, meaning neither of both parties are actually obligated to the partnership.

A non-binding agreement entails there's a probability both companies may not actually progress on the partnership, but it makes for an interesting one. Qualcomm and Tencent will collaborate on projects that could include making Tencent's video games better play on devices equipped with Qualcomm chips, and making a 5G version of Tencent-backed gaming phone. The gaming phone, created by Tencent and Asus, was revealed at an event earlier this month. Not surprisingly, the phone i…

Uber Reportedly Cutting One-Third Of Marketing Department

A new report from Bloomberg says Uber is dismissing up to 400 employees [or one-third] from its marketing department globally. Bloomberg reports Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi made this known in an e-mail sent to employees this Monday.

“Today, there’s a general sense that while we’ve grown fast, we’ve slowed down,” Khosrowshahi is said to have stated in the email reviewed by Bloomberg. “This happens naturally as companies get bigger, but it is something we need to address, and quickly.”

400 employees represents roughly 1.6% of Uber's global headcount. Such layoff would count as the first major reorganization of Uber's marketing and communications division since Jill Hazelbaker, a longtime Uber executive, took over. Hazelbaker took over after the recent departure of former chief marketing officer Rebecca Messina. Messina stepped down along with former COO Barney Harford.

Hazelbaker is a long-time communications executive who held previous executive roles at Google and Snapchat.



Microsoft Acquires BlueTalon

Microsoft has announced it has acquired BlueTalon, a Redwood City-based startup that helps companies set and enforce policies on how their employees can access their data. Financial details of the deal are not disclosed. BlueTalon had raised more than $25 million in funding, from investors including Bloomberg Beta, the Stanford-StartX Fund, Data Collective, Divergent Ventures, Maverick Ventures and more.

The BlueTalon team will become part of Azure Data, where it'll work on data privacy and governance solutions. Microsoft happens to be getting key intellectual property and talent with its acquisition. "This acquisition is a huge force multiplier on BlueTalon’s mission to make data easily and safely accessible across the enterprise by providing high quality data governance and compliance solutions." BlueTalon CEO Eric Tilenius said in a blog post.

"With the BlueTalon team now part of Microsoft’s Azure Data Governance group, we look forward to taking our technology t…

Jumia To Set Up Pickup Points At Petrol Stations

African e-commerce company Jumia has partnered with Vivo Energy, an operator of more than 2,100 Shell and Engen branded service [petrol] stations across the African continent, to use its stations as pick-up and drop off points that'll allow customers collect or return online orders made on Jumia. Jumia's customers will also be able to place and pay for orders at some service stations.

Jumia and Vivo say there are also other initiatives being explored that'll combine Vivo's physical service stations with Jumia's e-commerce services. Vivo has service stations in 23 African countries, more than enough to cover the 14 countries Jumia operates in. In addition to selling vehicle fuels and other petrol-related products at its service stations, Vivo also has shops, restaurants, card services spots, and other non-fuel related businesses operating at its stations.


The lack of standard address systems is a significant problem that affects goods delivery in some areas across …

Ten Robotics Startups To Watch This Year

Robotics is a wide field with several use cases, including healthcare, warehouse and inventory management, security, bionics, industrial ops, agriculture, education and more. Startups in this industry collectively raised $2.7 billion in VC funding in 2017, signalling solid investor confidence in the industry. Between 2018 and so far this year, several robotics startups have collectively raised hundreds of millions in funding, a recent example being Fetch Robotics, which is fresh off $46 million in Series C funding.

A big acquisition also happened this year; Johnson & Johnson's purchase of Auris Health for $3.4 billion, with additional payments of up to $2.35 billion tied to certain milestones. Auris develops surgical robots used for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in the human lung.

Activities like the aforementioned indicate the robotics field is a very promising one. That's why we are here with this article to show you ten robotics startups to watch this year. The…

Vice Media Reportedly In Talks To Acquire Refinery29

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal [paywall], Vice Media is in talks to acquire Refinery29, a popular digital media outlet last valued at $500 million. The Journal says talks are still on-going, with a possibility that an offer may not be made.

If such acquisition occurs, it would mark a combination of two of the largest venture-backed media companies in the US. Refinery29 and Vice Media are among a wave of several digital media outlets that have raised huge funding at big valuations. Other of its kind include Buzzfeed and Vox Media, two other well known digital media outlets.

The Wall Street Journal reports Refinery29 has drastically lessened its losses and grown its revenue this year by diversifying its revenue sources. Other digital media companies have also made moves to cut losses, with layoffs regularly part of such moves. Vice Media did so by cutting 10% of its staff earlier this year. Such layoffs usually comes amid reports of revenue misses, with Vice Media a…

Gatik Begins Autonomous Deliveries For Walmart

Gatik -- a Palo Alto based self-driving vehicle startup that recently launched out of stealth with $4.5 million in funding -- has kicked off a pilot to deliver goods for Walmart in Arkansas. This is possible thanks to a legislation passed in March that permitted self-driving vehicles to operate in the state.

Gatik introduced Walmart as a partner when launched out of stealth last month. The Palo Alto-based startup focuses on business to business (B2B) short-haul deliveries, a significant market given business logistics is a very large industry. Gatik claims its solution cuts delivery costs by up to 50%, while improving metrics like safety and efficiency, and reducing congestion and emissions.

Gatik is led by Gautam Narang (CEO) and Arjun Narang (CTO) -- two brothers with more than a decade of experience in the fields of robotics, AI and machine learning -- alongside a third co-founder, Apeksha Kumavat. The trio previously had stints at the self-driving research units of Carnegie Mello…

Founders Fund Reportedly Backing Scale At Unicorn Valuation

According to a report from The Information, Scale -- a supplier of software to the self-driving vehicle industry -- is raising new funding that values it around $1 billion, a big jump from a previous $90 million valuation [according to Pitchbook data]. The report says Founders Fund is expected to invest around $50 million into the San Francisco-based startup.

The Information reports says Scale's annual recurring revenue [customer commitments to purchase its software over the next 12 months] has risen to $40 million from $4 million last year, indicating some good growth at the company. Although many self-driving vehicle makers, being in early testing stages, are yet to generate revenue, Scale which supplies software used by them is on a good side of business. Its customers include well known companies like Nuro, GM Cruise, Waymo, Lyft, Toyota, Zoox, Embark and more.

Scale has raised $22.7 million in total funding. Its backers include VCs like Index Ventures, Accel, Y Combinator, a…

Uber In Grocery Delivery Talks With European Chains

As confirmed by Uber in a statement to Bloomberg, the ride-hailing company is in talks with European supermarket chains to roll out a grocery delivery service as rivals like Deliveroo and Just Eat make moves to better compete in the market. “We’re currently speaking with a number of the major supermarkets around Europe,” an Uber spokesperson said in an e-mail.

The talks come shortly after Deliveroo raised $575 million in funding led by Amazon, which the delivery startup said would be used to expand its presence. According to Bloomberg, Uber has held talks with the U.K.’s second-biggest grocer, J Sainsbury, even as the supermarket chain recently partnered with Deliveroo to deliver pizza to customers' homes.

A partnership between Uber and a U.K. supermarket chain may put pressure on online grocer Ocado, which holds a significant share of the online grocery market in U.K. Ocado -- which recorded £1.6 billion in 2018 revenue -- also builds out infrastructure for other food retailers …

DOJ Clears T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced it has reached a settlement with T-Mobile and Sprint regarding their proposed merger. The settlement is hinged on certain terms that both companies must fulfill, including a substantial sale of some assets to create space for another competitor. That new competitor is Dish, which has agreed to pay $1.4 billion for Sprint’s prepaid mobile business and another $3.6 billion for its 800 MHz spectrum assets.

In the event of a merger, T-Mobile and Sprint have agreed to provide Dish's wireless customers access to its network for seven years [while Dish builds out its own network], and offer transition services for a period of up to 3 years. Dish will also have an option to lease certain cell sites and retail locations that are decommissioned by T-Mobile and Sprint in the event of a merger.


A T-Mobile-Sprint merger would fuse two telecom giants that recorded a combined $75 billion in 2018 revenues. Although both telecom companies are bas…

Bond Leads $100 Million Series D For Hippo

Bond -- a VC firm led by famed investor Mary Meeker -- has led $100 million in Series D funding for Hippo, a Palo-Alto based home insurance startup that launched in 2017. Alongside Bond, participants in this funding include Comcast Ventures, Iconiq Capital, Fifth Wall, Lennar, Hillhouse Capital, Horizons Ventures, Felicis Ventures and more. This round included, Hippo has now raised $209 million in total funding.

According to a piece from Fortune, the Series D values Hippo at $1 billion, marking another entrant into the unicorn club just after Turo, a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace, hit the mark.


Hippo will use the funding to fuel its expansion to more than 80% of the U.S. homeowner population by year end. The Palo Alto-based startup will also deepen its direct-to-consumer product portfolio and grow its distribution network of insurance partners. In the past 12 months, Hippo says its insurance premiums has grown more than ten-fold.

Hippo leverages public data sets like municipal…

Unity Doubles Valuation To $6 Billion

Unity has announced it has signed investment agreements that doubles its valuation to $6 billion. The investment agreement consist of a $525 million secondary round [selling of shares by existing holders] atop $150 million in funding for Unity itself. Investors that entered agreements with Unity are Sequoia Capital, Silver Lake Partners, D1 Capital Partners, Light Street Capital, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

"We selected these investors because their vision of the future is very much aligned with ours. We are pleased to provide the opportunity for some liquidity to our dedicated employees who have worked so hard to make Unity the company that it is today," Unity CFO Kim Jabal said in a statement.

The $525 million secondary offering is open to all common shareholders, the majority of whom are current and former employees. Such offering signifies Unity might not be looking to go public soon, even as many of its well-funded peers head to the public mar…

Ford's Spin Debuts New Electric Scooter

Spin -- the e-scooter startup acquired by Ford late last year -- has unveiled a new electric scooter model that'll support its growth and demand in new and existing markets. Beginning next month, the new e-scooter model will be made available in the cities of Portland, Denver, Memphis, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Minneapolis. Spin plans to expand into other U.S. cities [apart from the aforementioned] with this new scooter model.

The new edition scooter is heavier than previous models, with a larger frame, strengthened mechanical structure, and a wider and longer platform. Other of its features include:
Bigger (10-inch) tubeless tires. This provides better shock absorption over rough terrain and conditions.Custom security screws to prevent tampering and vandalismExtended battery life (up to 37.5 miles at full charge)A more responsive bike-handle braking systemImproved acceleration and uphill performance
Spin has rapidly expanded from 13 markets as at the time For…

Apple Scoops Up Intel's Smartphone Modem Business

Apple has announced it's acquiring 'the majority' of Intel's smartphone modem business in a deal worth $1 billion. Apple is getting 2,200 employees and various wireless technology patents as part of its purchase. Combined with the patents Apple will acquire from Intel, the iPhone maker will hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation.

Even as Intel sells its smartphone modem business, it'll still be able to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, like self-driving vehicles, PCs, and IoT devices. Intel CEO Bob Swan says the deal will let the chip maker focus on developing other 5G technologies.


Apple's acquisition indicates it has good ground to begin producing its own 5G smartphone modems, a significant deal given its fallout with chipmaker Qualcomm. With Intel's smartphone modem business in its wings, Apple would easily produce its own 5G modems for use in iP…

Toyota Bets $600 Million On Didi Chuxing

Toyota has announced it's investing $600 million in Didi Chuxing, not long after the automaker was reported to be considering a 60 billion yen ($550 million) bet on the Chinese ride-hailing company. Toyota's now announced investment indicates the report was legit, although the amount invested is $50 million higher than as reported. Toyota's investment will go towards Didi Chuxing and a separate joint venture that'll provide vehicle-related services for Didi drivers.

Didi and Toyota first unveiled the joint venture early last year. The JV provides vehicle-related services, including vehicle leasing, maintenance, insurance, financing and more to Didi drivers. Toyota's investment would enable both companies move towards full-scale implementation of services they have developed under the joint venture.


Toyota, through its collaboration with Didi, also aims to introduce and promote the use of electric vehicles in China. "DiDi is committed to help our cities achiev…

Anduril Got $13.5 Million Deal To Monitor US Marine Bases

As first reported by The Verge, government documents reveal that Anduril -- a  defense technology startup co-founded by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey -- recently got a $13.5 million contract to set up autonomous surveillance systems at four U.S. Marine Corps bases. The contract runs for one year, with an option to extend to a second year. As per contract terms, Anduril must perform system maintenance, including onsite support on surveillance systems it sets up at Marine bases. The bases where it'll set up its systems are spread across four locations; two in Japan, one in Hawaii, and another in Arizona.

The contract was officially awarded on the 15th of July. Further documents published by Latinx activism organization Mijente [under the Freedom of Information Act] shows Anduril got two other contracts with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol -- a $4.8 million contract for “border surveillance equipment” and a $203,000 contract for a “small unmanned aerial system”. This isn't the…

Postmates To Use Ouster Lidars For Delivery Robot

Not long ago, Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann was accompanied by a cute little delivery robot to a Fortune Brainstorm Tech event. The robot - called 'Serve' -- was first unveiled last year. It currently roams on sidewalks in Los Angeles, making short distance on-demand deliveries. As conventionally known, autonomous robots make use of various sensors including lidars to navigate. These sensors enable robots to measure distance to a target and move towards that target.

Velodyne lidars are the most used in self-driving vehicles and robots, although there's much competition from other lidar makers like Luminar, Quanergy, Blackmore, and more. If observed closely, Postmates' initially unveiled robot spotted a lidar different from that of the robot which recently accompanied its CEO Lehmann to the Fortune event. One could get curious as to which lidar the company decided to use, but don't worry, as Postmates just announced its delivery robot will use lidars from Ouster, a…

Freenome Closes $160 Million Series B

Freenome -- a San Francisco-based startup working on cancer detection through blood tests -- has closed $160 million in Series B funding led by RA Capital Management and Polaris Partners, with participation from new and existing investors including Roche, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Alphabet's Verily, Andreessen Horowitz, the American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Ventures and more. This funding brings the total raised by Freenome to $238 million.

Freenome will use the funding to further develop its blood-based cancer test. It plans to conduct a pivotal study to detect colon cancer using blood tests for at least 10,000 patients, and then submit an application under a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) program with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). For Freenome to officially begin tests, the FDA has to give approval, while the Medicare agency gets to decide if it'll cover the cost of its tests for the elderly and disabled [under the U.S. health prog…

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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…