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Showing posts from November, 2019

Nigeria To License More Payment Providers

Nigeria's central bank plans to license more payment providers to operate in its jurisdiction in an effort to improve the financial-inclusion rate of its citizens to 80% by the end of next year from about 60% currently, the country's Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said in a statement on Friday. “The provision of licenses to several players will help support innovation and competition as all parties work to increase their customer base,” he said in a speech delivered in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

“Nigerians in underserved locations will have access to cost effective payment services, cash-in and cash-out facilities, and savings products.” Emefiele said. Such measures come as Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and biggest economy, sees a push in digital banking services thanks to the rise of some relatively new payments services and new solutions from already existing banks alike. However, even with such growth, Nigeria's digital banking reach pales whe…

Deliveroo Loses CFO, Poaches Airbnb Executive

Raif Jacobs, the chief financial officer of U.K. food delivery startup Deliveroo, has left the company after just a year on the job, adding to a substantial number of executive departures at Deliveroo. Jacobs left the company early October, around the same time frame the U.K.'s competition watchdog launched an investigation into a big Amazon investment in Deliveroo. The investment in concern was a $575 million investment led by Amazon, with participation from Greenoaks, T. Rowe Price, and Fidelity. The funding process got paused by regulators in July, with a formal investigation launched several months later.

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stipulated that Amazon's large investment may lead to a future merger with  Deliveroo, and said it was considering whether such a situation may "result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services." A deadline of the 11th of December was …

Wag CEO Hilary Schneider Departs

Wag, a Softbank-backed on-demand dog walking startup, has announced a departure of its current CEO, Hilary Schneider, who took on the role just last year, as at the time of a $300 million investment from the Softbank Vision Fund. Schneider is stepping down effective November 29, to be replaced by Garrett Smallwood, who is being promoted from a VP position. Smallwood is joining Wag's board as part of his transition to the CEO role.


Schneider's departure represents the third time Wag is going through a CEO change since its founding in 2015. Schneider, who has been Wag's CEO for just short of two years, replaced co-founder Joshua Viner when she took on the role. Smallwood is now replacing her, as she heads on to a CEO role at photography company Shutterfly. Prior to Wag, Schneider served as CEO at LifeLock, an identity theft protection company acquired by Symantec for $2.3 billion in March 2017.

The CEO change at Wag comes on the heels of reports of the company facing strugg…

Uber Loses London Operating License, Again

Uber has lost its license to operate in the city of London, marking the second time in just over two years that such situation is occurring. The London license cease, announced on Monday, was due to Uber's app not being “fit and proper” in regards to passenger safety, London's transportation regulator said. The decision to not renew the license comes at the end of a two-month probationary extension period that was added to a prior 15-month running license.

Uber was required by Transport for London (TfL), London's transportation regulator, to address issues regarding checks on drivers, insurance and safety, but seems to have not satisfied TfL, which said it had identified “pattern of failures” in regards to those requirements. The transportation regulator cited a case where a change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other drivers' accounts, entailing they could pickup passengers as if they were the booked driver.

TfL said such…

Darktrace Could Be Heading For An IPO

Darktrace, a U.K. cybersecurity startup that was valued at $1.65 billion after raising funding last year, could be looking towards a public offering, indicated by a closeness to naming a chief financial officer, Bloomberg reports. Companies looking to go public typically appoint a CFO, usually of high-profile, to take on the role of spearheading the company's finances in preparation for a voyage on the public markets. Also, with $231 million in funding and a high valuation to go along, Darktrace seems like a company that's ready to hit the public markets, especially if it's found stability in its business model.

In an interview, Darktrace co-founder and co-CEO Poppy Gustafsson said the company added about 400 employees in the past year, and expects to keep growing at a similar rate. However, she also noted that Darktrace hasn't made a firm decision regarding debuting on the public markets, and said the company doesn't require additional investment for its expansio…

Airbnb Reportedly Lost $100 Million In Q2

According to a report from The Information, Airbnb lost about $100 million in the second quarter of this year, compared to a profit of $10 million it made in the same period last year. The Information reports the loss is driven by increased marketing and administrative expenses, an indication that the company is dedicating more resources to its growth ahead of a planned IPO next year. A previous report from The Information had said Airbnb lost $306 million in the first quarter of this year, attributable in part to higher sales and marketing spend.

The losses recorded by Airbnb this year are in contrast to an upheld status as one of the few profitable private tech companies out there. Airbnb is known to have been profitable for two years running before reports of losses sprang up this year. While losses due to higher investments and bets on growth could pay off in the long-term, it may muddle Airbnb's ability to present itself to investors as a tech company that makes money, espec…

Carbon Names Ellen Kullman As CEO

3D printing unicorn Carbon has announced the appointment of Ellen Kullman, of DuPont fame, as its new CEO, with current CEO Joseph DeSimone transitioning to the role of Executive Chairman. Kullman who has been a board member at Carbon since 2016 will remain as one as she serves as CEO. Carbon touts the leadership change as one that has been "worked on to prepare the company for its next chapter", which we speculate is an IPO.

As CEO, Kullman will lead the development and execution of short- and long-term strategies, a Carbon press release said, while DeSimone transitions to a role that doesn't entail much day-to-day management. As Executive Chairman, DeSimone will focus on growing adoption of the 3D printing company's Digital Manufacturing Platform, and pushing the company's vision to existing and prospective customers, partners and the general public.

DeSimone, who was previously a professor at the University of North Carolina for more than two decades, founded…

PayPal Scoops Up Honey For $4 Billion

PayPal has announced it has agreed to acquire Honey Science Corporation, an LA-based tech company behind a popular eponymous deals and coupons discovery tool, for roughly $4 billion. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to conventional closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. It represents PayPal's biggest acquisition since inception, and a likely mouth-watering win for Honey's shareholders, given the company only raised a relatively paltry $49 million in total funding.

After the acquisition, Honey will retain its headquarters in Los Angeles, where its co-founders George Ruan and Ryan Hudson will continue to lead its team but as part of PayPal's global consumer product and technology organization. The two co-founders will report to PayPal SVP John Kunze while maintaining their positions.

Honey was founded in 2012, and has grown to be a deals discovery tool with roughly 17 million monthly active users. The LA-based comp…

DoorDash Said To Be Considering Direct Listing

According to a Bloomberg report, DoorDash, which is fresh off $100 million in funding, is considering a direct stock listing for its planned debut on the public markets instead of taking the traditional IPO route. A direct listing entails a heads-on debut on the public markets rather than taking the conventional route of issuing new shares and raising capital from investors in order to do so. The direct listing route hasn't been around for long, just pioneered by music streaming service Spotify last year. Shortly after, Slack became the second major tech company to take that route, having directly debuted on the public markets just a few months ago.

According to Bloomberg, DoorDash has held talks with investment bank Goldman Sachs about a direct listing. Such idea doesn't seem far-fetched, given DoorDash has already raised billions in funding. The San Francisco-based company may not be looking to raise additional capital, hence the need for a direct listing. However, Bloomber…

Squarespace Said To Be In Talks For $400 Million Debt Funding

According to a Bloomberg report, Squarespace is in talks with banks to take on as much as $400 million in debt financing that would help prepare the way for an initial public offering. Bloomberg reports the company is seeking to arrange the debt facility ahead of an IPO that could happen in 2021 or later. Its report also notes that Squarespace, unlike several other high-profile unicorns, is cash-flow positive.

Securing a credit facility from Wall Street banks often comes before a public offering. In such a case, companies typically return favors to banks that make significant lending commitments by offering roles on their IPOs, which in turn leads to substantial fees for the banks.

Squarespace, a do-it-yourself (DIY) website service, has raised nearly $300 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data. Last valued at $1.7 billion, the New York-based company is known be only backed by four VC firms; Index Ventures, Accel, General Atlantic and Mosaic Ventures.

Being cash-flow p…

Gett Closes Shop In NYC

Gett, a Volkswagen-backed Israeli ride-hailing company, has announced an already effective closure of its New York rideshare business, Juno. As part of the closure, Gett is transferring its corporate clients in the U.S. to Lyft's ride-hailing network, thanks to a strategic partnership between both companies. Corporate customers in the U.S. will still be able to book rides on Gett's app, but will be matched with drivers on Lyft instead of Juno from now on.

Gett says Juno's closure reinforces its strategy to "build a profitable company focused on the corporate transportation sector". The Tel-Aviv based company also partly blames Juno's closure on recently enacted NYC regulations in the ride-hailing sector, or to quote the company; "the enactment of misguided regulations in New York City earlier this year".

Gett shutting down a business it acquired for $200 million two years ago seems like quite a hit, but isn't so jolting given reports of an IPO …

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…

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 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 an arrangement could be an indication of financial struggles. However, such an arrangem…

Freshworks Raises $150 Million At A $3.5 Billion Valuation

Freshworks, a San Mateo, California-based company that makes a host of customer support software, has announced $150 million in Series H funding led by Alphabet's CapitalG, Sequoia Capital and Accel. The funding values Freshworks at $3.5 billion, up from $1.5 billion when it raised funding July last year. Notably, Accel, Sequoia, and CapitalG, the participants in this new funding, were the only investors in the previous round, entailing a double down on a previous bet on Freshworks.

The new funding brings the total raised by Freshworks to $400 million. The company says it'll make use of the investment to further global expansion and accelerate investments in its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform. Freshworks was founded in 2010, formerly known as Freshdesk, and has grown to employ more than 2,500 currently. The San Mateo-based company has, as of late, embarked on what can be termed an expansion spree, having opened a second U.S. office last month, with plans to hire more t…

Tencent Said To Purchase 10% Stake In Policybazaar

According to a Bloomberg report, Tencent has purchased a 10% stake in Policybazaar, an Indian online insurance aggregator that notably raised funding from the Softbank Vision Fund last year. According to Bloomberg, Tencent paid $150 million for the 10% stake, valuing the company at $1.5 billion. Tencent didn't actually make a direct investment into the company, but purchased half of a stake held by famed tech investor Tiger Global, according to Bloomberg. This entails Tiger Global, a New York-based investment firm that has backed and reaped profits from several high-profile tech companies, is the one on the receiving end of the transaction and not Policybazaar itself.

Tiger Global seems to have reaped good profits on its Policybazaar bet, having been known to have invested less than $100 million altogether in the company. Selling just half of its stake for $150 million indicates a healthy profit on its investment and possibly more profits from its remaining stake. Talks of Tiger …

Blackstone Snags Majority Stake In MagicLab

Private equity juggernaut Blackstone has announced it's acquiring a majority stake in MagicLab, a company that's behind several popular online dating services including Badoo and Bumble. Blackstone's acquisition values MagicLab, which traces its roots to the launch of Badoo in 2006, at around $3 billion. Under the terms of the acquisition, Andrey Andreev, a Russian entrepreneur who launched and has led the company for more than a decade, will be selling his stake and stepping down, to be replaced by Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder and CEO of Bumble.

MagicLab is a prosperous but somewhat low-key company that has been behind some globally recognised online brands. Focused on the online dating sector, MagicLab is behind some of the best-known brands in that scene, including Badoo, a dating service with more than 400 million users, and Bumble, a female-focused dating app that was launched in 2014 by Whitney Wolfe Herd, who's also a founding member of Tinder, another leadi…

CloudKitchens Said To Have Raised $400 Million From Saudi Fund

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has invested $400 million into CloudKitchens, a food startup led by Travis Kalanick, who is better known as a co-founder and former CEO of ride-hailing giant Uber. According to the Wall Street Journal, CloudKitchens completed an investment agreement with Saudi Arabia's wealth fund in January, and actually notched a deal that valued it at around $5 billion.

Kalanick, who is widely known for leading Uber from the ground up but amid series of controversies
that later led to his ouster, assumed a leadership role at CloudKitchens after acquiring a controlling stake for a reported $150 million early last year. As the aforementioned statement suggests, he didn't actually launch CloudKitchens from the ground up, but took a majority stake in the company shortly after his ouster from Uber.

CloudKitchens is an operator of so-called ghost kitchens, that is professional kitchens set up for the pre…

Mobileye and NIO Partner On Self-Driving Technology

Intel's Mobileye has announced a collaboration with Chinese electric car maker NIO on self-driving technology. The collaboration entails the development of a self-driving system by NIO on the foundation of Mobileye's own self-driving kit, with plans to mass-deploy the system beginning in China. The partnership also involves the purchase of specially configured NIO vehicles by Mobileye, marking NIO as the first large-scale automaker to have signed on to supply vehicles to the Intel-owned company. With such deal implying a potential increase in vehicle sales, NIO, whose stock has fallen more than 70% since it went public, shot up 38% during trading on news of its Intel partnership.

As part of their planned partnership, Mobileye will provide NIO with the design of a self-driving system built on the Mobileye AV Series, a custom kit comprised of a custom chip, hardware, and mapping and safety software developed by Mobileye. NIO will then build upon Mobileye's system to come up…

Rakuten Takes Subsequent Hit On Lyft Stake

Rakuten, the largest shareholder in Lyft, has said it expects to record a $947 million loss on its stake in the ride-hailing company in the latest quarter. This is atop an earlier 24.8 billion yen ($227 million) write-down by the company on its Lyft stake, driven by a tumble of the ride-hailing company's stock price from an all-time high of $88.60 to currently [as of writing] around $41. Lyft is locked in a cash-burning price war with its larger rival Uber in the U.S., a situation that has led to high spend to retain customers which has in turn led to substantial losses.

In the third quarter of this year, Lyft booked $956 million in revenue, up 63% year-over-year, but with losses of $463.5 million, of which $241.6 million was due to stock-based compensation and $86.6 million due to changes to liabilities for insurance. On the whole, Lyft spent $1.4 billion in the third quarter of this year, more than the revenue it pulled in. Just like Lyft, Uber is also spending more than it pul…

Germany To Raise EV Subsidies; Reuters

According to an official document seen and reported on by Reuters, the German government is planning to boost by 50% the subsidies available to buyers of electric cars over five subsequent years starting 2020. According to Reuters [citing the document], subsidies for plug-in hybrids in Germany will increase from 3,000 to 4,500 euros, and a further 5,000 euros for vehicles costing more than 40,000 euros.

The German government has set a target of having 10 million electric cars on its roads by 2030 and seems to be making steps in that direction. Not surprisingly, Reuters' report happens to have been published on the same day Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel attended an event that marked the start of mass-production of Volkswagen's ID.3 electric vehicle. Merkel wasn't just present at the event but even gave a speech, calling the ID.3's production start "a cornerstone of the future of the German automotive industry". She also promised support for the expan…

Keyssa Poaches Apple Veteran

Keyssa, a Campbell, California-based startup that's working on technology intended to enable high-speed wireless data transfer between devices, has announced it has hired RubĂ©n Caballero, a 14-year running Apple veteran, to serve as 'Chief Wireless Strategist'. Caballero is joining Keyssa after a nearly 15-year stint at Apple, where he headed wireless efforts, including leading designs for the first iPhone and iPad as well as the Apple Watch.

At Apple, Caballero was one of the founding leaders of the iPhone hardware team, and served as a VP of engineering for 14 years. During his tenure, he founded, built and oversaw Apple's Wireless Design & Technology Group, a team of more than 1,000 engineers in 26 countries working on all of Apple's products and disciplines including antenna design, wireless validation, field engineering, radio frequency (RF) architecture, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), certification and regulation and production testing.

At Keyssa, …

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Robinhood Bags Extra $460 Million

Stock trading app Robinhood has bagged yet another round of funding, with the company just having raised $460 million in new funding as an extension to a recently closed $200 million funding round. With the new funding, it's such that Robinhood has raised nearly $1.3 billion in funding this year alone. Overall, the company has now raised some $2.2 billion in total funding since its inception. Among investors who provided Robinhood's new funding include Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital, DST Global, and D1 Capital Partners. The fundraise signals a very strong investor appetite for Robinhood, as the company benefits from surging retail trading activity during the coronavirus lockdown.This year has seen Robinhood top 13 million users and score $180 million in second-quarter revenue due to increased trading activity. The company added 3 million new funded accounts in the first four months of this year. As Robinhood has raised more funding, so has its valuation b…

Tesla Seals New Lithium Supply Deal

Electric carmaker Tesla has announced that it's entered into a binding agreement to purchase lithium ore mineral from Piedmont Lithium Limited, a publicly-traded lithium company that's based out of Australia. The agreement between both companies is initially for a five-year period, in which Tesla has committed to purchasing roughly one-third of Piedmont's annual output 160,000 tonnes of lithium ore mineral for each year as well as additional amounts that the electric carmaker has the option to request. The agreement is conditional on deliveries of the lithium ore beginning sometime between July 2022 and July 2023.Piedmont says it expects the Tesla deal to generate between 10-20% of total revenues from its proposed lithium project for the initial five-year period. That project, in particular, is the 'Piedmont Lithium Project', a lithium ore mining project being spearheaded by the company in the US state of North Carolina. A deal between Piedmont and Tesla represents…

Hims On Cusp Of Reverse Listing

Hims, a telemedicine upstart, is on the cusp of a deal to go public by merging with blank-check firm Oaktree Acquisition Corp, according to a report [paywall] from Bloomberg, which states that a deal could be announced as early as next week. According to Bloomberg, Oaktree Capital Group, the asset management firm which controls the blank-check firm, is in discussions with investors to raise about $75 million in new funds to fund a merger with Hims, which could be valued at up to $1.6 billion from the deal.Hims is a telemedicine upstart that's best known for offering online prescriptions to treat conditions that are usually stigmatized, such as sexual dysfunction. The company facilitates online consultations with doctors and deliveries of prescription drugs to patients. Also, Hims sells its own line-up of skincare products and vitamins. As a private company, Hims, which was founded in 2017, has raised nearly $200 million in funding and was valued at $1.1 billion from its most recen…

Peeking Into Postmates' Finances

Food delivery service Postmates in on the cusp of a deal to merge with counterpart Uber, which is coughing up $2.65 billion in stock to take over the company. As the merger nears, appropriate filings have been made with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), giving a peek into Postmates' finances, information not publicly revealed up until now. Filings with the SEC show that Postmates recorded roughly $321 million in revenue in 2019, but with a net loss of $420 million in the same year. In 2018, the San Francisco-based company reported roughly $156 million in revenue and a net loss of $129 million in that same year. As at the end of 2019, Postmates had $186 million in cash on its balance sheet, after having raised about $900 million in funding up until that point as a private company. In 2019, a year that Postmates sought to go public, the company burned through $335 million in sales and marketing expenses, its highest ever, and compared to $85 million for the same ac…

Brief: Apple Buys Scout FM

Technology giant Apple has bought Scout FM, a popular app that creates radio stations for podcast listeners. The acquisition was first reported [paywall] by Bloomberg, which notes that Apple acquired the company earlier this year. The financial terms of the acquisition aren't disclosed. As a private company, Scout FM had raised $1.4 million in known funding from investors including Bloomberg Beta, Betaworks, Precursor Ventures, and Advancit Capital. Apple's acquisition of Scout FM is one of several known purchases the company has made this year. The Cupertino, California-based tech giant has acquired more than half-a-dozen companies in 2020, including Fleetsmith, a mobile device management startup; Mobeewave, a payments company; virtual reality company NextVR; weather app Dark Sky; and artificial intelligence company Xnor.ai. Apple usually keeps its purchases tight-lipped, with most of them revealed by external media.

Big-Name Investors Pile On Cloud Paper

Cloud Paper, a Seattle-based startup whose core product is toilet paper made from bamboo, has raised $3 million in seed funding from a host of investors led by venture capital firm Greycroft. Along with Greycroft, investors who participated in the seed round include; Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, entrepreneur Mark Cuban, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, music star Ciara, Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi, movie stars Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow, Riot Games founder Marc Merill, and NFL Quarterback Russell Wilson. Cloud Paper says it'll use the new funding to further its business and expand into other tree-free product areas. Toilet paper is conventionally made from materials cut down from trees. In fact, it's estimated that humans use the equivalent of 270,000 trees worth of toilet paper each day. Cloud Paper, with a goal of tackling deforestation, is now providing an alternative in the form of toilet paper made from soft bamboo. Although bamboo itself is a plant, it typically g…

Peter Thiel Eyes Blank-Check Firm

Palantir co-founder and famed entrepreneur Peter Thiel is looking to strike gold once again, this time with a blank-check firm that'll seek to merge with another company. Thiel, along with Hong Kong-based businessman Richard Li, have created a new blank-check firm named Bridgetown Holdings that's seeking to raise $575 million on the public markets. The blank-check firm's sponsor is a joint venture between Thiel Capital, Peter Thiel's personal investment vehicle, and Pacific Century Group, a Hong Kong-based investment firm founded by Richard Li. The Bridgetown blank-check firm is led by Chief Executive Daniel Wong and Chairman Matt Danzeisen, who is himself notably married to Peter Thiel, while Wong, the chief executive, is a senior vice president at Li's Pacific Century Group. Bridgetown will have other board members including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and RRE Ventures partner John Hass.Peter Thiel is apparently seeking to add yet another blank-check firm to what has b…

EU Fights Apple Tax Fine Reversal

The European Commission has said that it'll appeal an Irish tax penalty reversal that was recently granted to Apple after the technology giant won an appeal to a $15 billion tax penalty that was levied against it by the European Union's second-highest court. The tax penalty in concern was levied against Apple in 2016 over allegations that the European nation of Ireland granted selective tax breaks to the company, which maintains its European headquarters in Ireland. That penalty was later appealed by Apple as well as the Irish government, which both came out victorious in July of this year. Now, the European Commission's Executive Vice President, Margrethe Vestager, has said that it'll appeal the penalty reversal in the EU's highest court. Vestager is taking forward the matter to the European Court of Justice, officially the supreme court of the European Union. "If Member States give certain multinational companies tax advantages not available to their rivals,…

VW's Traton Partners With TuSimple

The Traton Group, a heavy-duty truck subsidiary of German automaker Volkswagen, has entered into a partership with self-driving trucks upstart TuSimple. Under the terms of the partnership, both parties have launched a development program to operate autonomous trucks in a specified route in the European nation of Sweden. Traton has also purchased a minority stake in TuSimple under the terms of the partnership.The partnership between Traton and TuSimple represents the latter's first in Europe and actually spans several countries. Traton is aiming to test driverless truck fleets powered by TuSimple's technology across countries including Sweden and Germany, with both companies focused on Level 4 automation for their truck fleet. Traton is particularly aiming to develop self-driving truck fleets to help tackle a shortage of drivers in Europe. It's estimated that there lies a shortage of 60,000 truck drivers in Germany alone. Along with tackling driver shortage, adopting self-d…

Gemini Expands Into UK

Gemini, the popular US-based cryptocurrency exchange founded by the Winklevoss brothers, has officially fully expanded into the UK, now supporting cryptocurrency trading and custody transactions in pounds sterling (GBP), the UK's official currency. Gemini's launch, as expected, comes on the heels of the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) granting the company an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license, a license that normally grants a firm the permission to store clients' money for longer periods and to also issue cards, e-wallets and other instruments that facilitate the usage of their clients' money. Gemini overall is one of the first crypto businesses to be given such a license in the UK.With Gemini's launch, users can now make crypto purchases with British pounds and also make pound deposits to fund their accounts on the go without any major need to transact in foreign currencies or incur exchange rate fees. Institutional investors in the UK are not s…