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Showing posts from April, 2020

Ehud Barak To Depart Carbyne's Board

Carbyne, a New York-based startup that develops emergency communications software for law enforcement agencies, has announced that Ehud Barak, a former prime minister of Israel who has held a board seat the company since 2015, is relinquishing his board position. Barak is stepping down from Carbyne's board, which he has helmed as Chairman for about five years. Barak, a former prime minister and also defense minister of Israel, helped steer Carbyne through multiple funding rounds and an expansion into new countries. Barak has served as some sort of campaigner for Carbyne, having helped promote the company's products in media appearances and lent a significant deal of credibility to the New York-based but Israeli-originated startup. Barak's affiliation with Carbyne has, however, stirred some controversy towards himself.

As part of Barak's departure, he'll be selling all his shares in Carbyne to an -- unnamed -- investor whom the company says has already been identif…

Toast Adds New Board Member

Toast, a Boston-based startup that develops restaurant management software and was valued at just shy of $5 billion earlier this year, has announced the appointment of Salesforce's President and chief financial officer (CFO), Mark Hawkins, to its board. Hawkins' appointment is effective immediately. His appointment happens to be in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic that has significantly affected Toast's business. Restaurants have widely shut down across the U.S. and Toast whose business entails selling software to help restaurants facilitate sales has in turn been affected. Earlier this month, Toast laid off 50% of its workforce.

Hawkins is a well-versed tech executive, having worked at technology companies for more than 30 years. Save for Salesforce, Hawkins has also worked at Autodesk, Dell, Logitech, and Hewlett Packard (HP). His appointment adds up Toast's board headcount to five, the other four being Steve Papa, the founder of Endeca, a software company that …

Lyft Cuts 1,300 Jobs

According to a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), ride-hailing company Lyft is laying off 982 employees and has already furloughed about 288 employees and is also instituting salary cuts for all of its headcount. As part of cost reductions amid a severe business slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, beginning May 2020, Lyft's senior leadership will take a 30% pay cut, its vice presidents a 20% pay cut, and a 10% pay cut for all other employees. All members of Lyft's board have also agreed to forego 30% of their cash compensation for the second quarter of 2020.

Lyft's job cuts happen to come on the heels of its competitor Uber reportedly considering to cut 20% of its workforce. Lyft's own layoffs amount to 17% of its workforce. According to Lyft, it'll incur costs of between $28 million to $36 million primarily related to employee severance and benefits costs due to the job cuts.





Behavox Adds New Executives

Behavox, a New York-based data analytics startup, has announced the appointment of two new executives, a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) by the name of Neil Wu Becker and Chief Human Resources Officer by the name of Derek Sidebottom. Both Becker and Sidebottom are experienced executives in the tech industry who have previously worked at various technology companies. Sidebottom previously held HR leadership posts at companies including LendingHome, Kabam, and Rocket Fuel. Becker, likewise, has held previous marketing jobs at Apptus, Micron, and Cisco.

The appointments of Neil Wu Becker and Derek Sidebottom comes on the heels of Behavox establishing a board of directorship, which was announced roughly two weeks ago. Behavox seems to be maturing from a startup into a full-fledged company. Just in February, the company announced $100 million in funding from the second iteration of the SoftBank Vision Fund. SoftBank also happens to be a Behavox customer, as well as banks like Jefferies, hed…

Uber CTO Thuan Pham Steps Down

Uber's long-running chief technology officer (CTO) Thuan Pham is stepping down as the ride-hailing company considers layoffs to help weather through a business slowdown resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, as first reported by tech news site The Information. Pham, who is Uber's longest-serving senior executive, is said to have already notified employees who report to him of his plan to leave on the heels of possible job cuts that could affect about 800 out of a total of 3,800 employees in Uber's engineering department. Pham has headed Uber's overall engineering efforts since he took up the CTO position in 2013. He was recruited from VMware by Uber's former CEO, Travis Kalanick.

According to The Information, executives at Uber are discussing plans to cut around 20% of the company's headcount as it faces a steep business slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Layoffs of such magnitude have never been experienced at Uber, even with the San Francisco-headqu…

Amazon Commits $3.9 Million To CodeVA

E-commerce giant Amazon has announced that it'll donate $3.9 million to CodeVA, a non-profit based in the U.S. state of Virginia that partners with educational institutions to further computer science education in under-served communities in the state. Amazon will donate the stated amount in three installments amounting to $1.3 million each, the first of which has already been donated. The company's donation was announced by Pamela Northam, the first lady of the state of Virginia.

CodeVA says Amazon's donation will expand its computer science curriculum reach to over 500,000 students and more than 12,000 teachers in the state of Virginia. Amazon's donation, which will run through 2022, essentially doubles CodeVA's annual operating budget for the period. The company's donation supplements state grants awarded to CodeVA.

Altogether, Amazon has donated more than $20 million to organizations that promote computer science and STEM education across the US. Among the…

Khosla Ventures Leads Series A For HeartVista

HeartVista, a Los Altos, California-based diagnostic imaging startup, has announced that it's closed an $8.65 million Series A financing round led by venture capital firm Khosla Ventures, with participation from Leslie Ventures, Open Field Capital, former Facebook executive Jeff Rothschild, and other unnamed investors. The new financing adds up the total funding HeartVista has raised since its inception to $16.4 million. HeartVista says the new financing will go towards building out its AI-assisted diagnostic imaging product and expanding its sales and marketing efforts. The new funding will also help HeartVista offer its diagnostic imaging tool to healthcare customers for free in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic, according to a press statement.

HeartVista offers a diagnostic imaging tool that's aided by artificial intelligence. Conventionally, healthcare personnel perform manual magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests. The use of such manual tests, although reliable, face…

Ben Horowitz To Depart Lyft's Board

Andreessen Horowitz partner Ben Horowitz is departing the board of ride-hailing company Lyft, according to a document the company filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). Horowitz joined Lyft's board in 2016 after Andreessen Horowitz, the famed venture capital firm he co-founded, invested in the company. Lyft says it wouldn't seek a replacement for his board seat following his departure.

Currently, Horowitz sits on the board of another publicly-traded tech company called Okta. He also holds board seats at several privately-held technology companies. After Horowitz's departure, Lyft's board will consist of eight directors including co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer.





Automation Anywhere Cuts Jobs

Automation Anywhere, a robotic process automation company that was valued at $6.8 billion post-money after a funding round last year, began laying off hundreds of employees on Monday, Axios reports. According to Axios, the number of employees Automation is laying off amounts to more than 10% of its 2,600-strong headcount. Automation Anywhere confirmed the layoffs in a statement to Axios, stating that it's "adjusting operations and restructuring parts of the company."

Automation Anywhere is backed by investors including SoftBank, Salesforce Ventures, General Atlantic, Goldman Sachs, NEA, and Workday Ventures. The company, based out of San Jose, has raised north of $800 million in total funding.

Automation Anywhere was founded in 2003 and was bootstrapped for a long time, having raised its Series A in 2018, more than a decade after its founding. The company's journey seems impressive, having been bootstrapped to a very successful point. More impressive is the fact tha…

UPS To Deliver Drugs By Drones In Florida

Delivery giant UPS, in partnership with pharmacy chain CVS, has announced that it'll begin using drones to deliver prescription medicines from a CVS pharmacy to the largest retirement community in the U.S., which is known as "The Villages", located in the state of Florida. The announcement comes on the heels of a coronavirus outbreak that has restricted movement across the U.S. and made it harder for persons, more so elderly persons, to obtain daily necessities, prescriptions being one of such necessities. Elderly persons are particularly more vulnerable to health issues and more so prone to serious complications if infected with the coronavirus.

Drone transport in a controlled environment offers a fast delivery option for prescription medicines that are time-sensitive and also helps maintain advised social distancing efforts. The drone deliveries in The Villages, Florida are scheduled to begin in early May, subject to stipulated rules from the U.S. Federal Aviation Adm…

China's Xpeng Debuts New Electric Sedan

Xpeng Motors, a Chinese electric vehicle upstart, has unveiled a new electric sedan called the P7. The new sedan, which seems similar to Xpeng competitor Tesla's Model 3, will cost between $32,000 - $49,000 'post-subsidies', Xpeng says. Xpeng has already opened up orders for the new vehicle, which will come in 3 versions and 8 configurations. The company says deliveries will commence by the end of June 2020. A P7 feature that stands out is its stated maximum range of 706 km, a record when compared to other electric vehicles.

The debut of the P7 comes on the heels of Tesla having begun producing vehicles in China. Producing directly in China enabled Tesla to deliver a record number of vehicles in the country, according to industry groups. Xpeng is apparently looking to steer some potential Tesla customers towards its brand. The company, which has raised nearly $2 billion in funding to fund its operations, also competes with other electric vehicle brands in China.

At 706km,…

Starbucks Teams Up To Invest Along With Sequoia China

Coffee chain Starbucks has announced that its Chinese arm has teamed up with venture capital firm Sequoia Capital China to make strategic co-investments in Chinese companies and also secure partnerships with food and retail startups. Starbucks dubs the partnership as one that enables "early access to ideas in the retail marketplace" and opens up "opportunities for strategic investment to evolve Starbucks business in China."

A Starbucks-Sequoia tie-up is apparently the latest move by Starbucks to boost the digital aspect of its business in China as it faces competition from newer incumbents such as Luckin Coffee. Such a partnership is bound to secure investment spots for Starbucks in food and retail startups that Sequoia Capital China scouts for investments. Co-investing along with Sequoia will likely guarantee early access to the technologies and services that such startups develop to Starbucks. Partnerships to help boost Starbucks' digital business are also b…

Alphabet CEO's 2019 Pay Amounts To $281 Million

According to an SEC filing put out recently, the 2019 total compensation for Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai amounted to $281 million, 1,085 times more than Alphabet's median employee compensation as reported by the company. The majority of the reported compensation comes from stock awards, some of which will be paid out over time contingent on certain fiscal targets. Other top-paid Alphabet executives in 2019 include Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ruth Porat and former Chief Legal Officer David Drummond. Porat earned $664,000 last year as Drummond raked in $661,000, in contrast to 2018 where they both earned $47 million in compensation.

Pichai's compensation consisted of $650,000 in annual base salary, which will rise to $2 million this year. Ruth Porat and David Drummond also earned a $650,000 base salary last year. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two famed Alphabet co-founders who stepped down from active roles at the company last year, each earned a symbolic $1. They each contr…

Crypto Miner Ebang Files To Go Public

Ebang, one of the leading manufacturers of cryptocurrency mining equipment, has filed to go public with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). This is notably Ebang's second attempt to go public, after having filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong that failed to transpire. Ebang is seeking to raise up to $100 million from a U.S. IPO, compared to as much as $1 billion the company was reportedly aiming to raise from a Hong Kong IPO. The general crypto mining market has cooled down after hitting all-time highs amid a crypto craze that peaked sometime in 2018. Ebang itself has been significantly affected, evidenced by 2019 revenues of $109 million compared to $319 million in the year before.

Ebang isn't profitable, with its filing indicating $30 million in losses in 2019 and $24 million in the year before. As a ''risk factor'', the company apprises that its business is dependent on fluctuations in Bitcoin prices since its products are…

Box Adds New Board Member

Cloud storage company Box has announced the addition of a new board member by the name of Bethany Mayer, an experienced tech executive with over three decades of experience in the tech industry. Her appointment, as an independent board director, falls under an agreement Box made with Starboard Value LP, an activist investor that purchased a significant stake in publicly-traded Box last year and pushed for changes at the company. “Bethany’s deep technology experience and leadership roles scaling multi-billion dollar enterprise businesses at various stages and sizes will be a valuable addition to our Board of Directors,” Box CEO Aaron Levie said in a statement.

Mayer is currently an executive partner at the private equity firm Siris Capital Group. She already holds board seats at three publicly-traded companies, namely Marvell Technologies, the chipmaker, Lam Research Inc, and Sempra Energy. Prior to joining Siris, she served as CEO of Ixia, a networking company that was acquired in a …

Faraday Future Adds New Board Member

Embattled electric vehicle startup Faraday Future has announced the appointment of a new board member by the name of Brian Krolicki, an American politician who served as Lieutenant Governor of the state of Nevada for eight years. Krolicki is joining as the sixth and only independent member of Faraday Future's board. Prior to entering public service, Krolicki had a successful career in the private banking industry so his appointment doesn't seem unhandy. More so, Krolicki has drawn much expertise from holding public service roles for more than two decades, expertise that'll apparently be useful to Faraday Future.

Krolicki's board appointment apparently falls under leadership changes that were proposed when Faraday's current CEO, Carsten Breitfeld, took over last year. Faraday Future's journey, for the lack of more accurately fitting words, has been one "hell-of-a-ride." The company, once an apparent high-flyer that grew to more than 1,000 employees in…

Snap Proposes $750 Million Bond Offering

Snap Inc, the company behind Snapchat, has announced its intention to issue up to $750 million in convertible bonds that'll be due by 2025, its intention, however, "subject to market conditions and other factors." Snap says it intends to put the proceeds from the bond offering towards general corporate purposes such as working capital and operating expenses, and also possible acquisitions or stock repurchases.

The bonds Snap intends to offer will be due on the 1st of May, 2025. The bonds will be convertible to Snap Inc Class A shares at the choice of buyers. The interest rate, initial conversion rate, and other terms of the proposed bond offering are yet to be determined. Snap intends to settle the bonds with cash payments, shares, or a combination of cash and shares.

Update: Snap has boosted the proposed bond offering by $100 million, now amounting to $850 million.






Epic Games Fundraising At A $15 Billion+ Valuation: Report

According to a report from Bloomberg News, Epic Games, the gaming studio behind video game megahit Fortnite and game production software Unreal Engine, has begun discussions to raise a new round of financing at a valuation that would be "significantly" higher than the $15 billion valuation the company got when it raised funding in 2018. Bloomberg reports Epic Games has hired a financial adviser to handle the fundraising and is seeking between $500 million to $1 billion in new funding.

Epic Games, which was founded nearly three decades ago, is majorly known for its hit 'battle royale' game Fortnite. Before creating Fortnite, Epic, however, had produced some fairly popular games including Fire Fight, Gears of War, and Infinity Blade. The company had also launched the Unreal Engine, one of the top-most used video game development engines globally.

Epic's first major outside investor was Chinese gaming giant Tencent, which purchased about 40% of the game studio'…

Adverity Secures $30 Million Series C

Adverity, a Vienna, Austria-based marketing analytics startup, has announced €28 million ($30 million) in Series C funding led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Sapphire Ventures. Existing investors including Mangrove Capital Partners, Felix Capital, aws Gründerfonds, and an early-stage fund of software giant SAP also participated in the funding. With the new funding, Adverity has now raised about €45 million ($49 million) in total funding.

Adverity says it'll put the Series C towards research and development and expanding its product roadmap as well as boosting its sales and technology team in New York, U.S.A. Adverity has been able to court customers including IKEA, Red Bull, Unilever, and Mediacom thanks to its sales efforts. In the past 12 months, Adverity says its revenue has grown 100%, bolstered by customers in more than 60 countries.

“Our platform plays an important role for companies that want to be agile. Our solutions provide digital teams with intelligent i…

Wayfair Picks Jim Miller As Permanent CTO

E-commerce company Wayfair has announced the appointment of Jim Miller, its interim Chief Technology Officer (CTO), as the company's permanent CTO. Miller is permanently taking up the CTO role after serving as interim for eight months, having taken up the position in August of 2019 but with a plan to occupy the role while the company sought a permanent replacement. Apparently, Wayfair settled on Miller being its permanent CTO.

In Miller lies an experienced executive that has held leadership roles at companies including Google, Cisco, and Amazon. At Google, he served as Vice President of Worldwide Operations from June 2010 until February 2018. Before Google, he served as a senior executive at Cisco for seven years. Before Cisco, he served as Vice President of Supply Chain at Amazon. Miller was actually a board member at Wayfair before he took on the position of interim CTO. With his permanent appointment, however, he's stepping down from the company's board after four year…

Unlearn.AI Closes $12 Million Series A Funding

Unlearn.AI, a startup that develops software tools meant for clinical research, has announced $12 million in Series A funding led by 8VC, with participation from existing investors including Mubadala Capital Ventures, DCVC, and DCVC Bio. Under the terms of the Series A investment, 8VC Principal Francisco Gimenez has taken a board seat at Unlearn.

The new financing brings the total funding raised by Unlearn since its inception to about $17 million. Unlearn was founded in 2017 by a team of machine learning scientists who sought to build software to assist clinical trials. The company's current focus is on neurological diseases, starting with Alzheimer’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Unlearn has developed a machine learning platform that helps model and predict progression in clinical trials. The company has begun working closely with biopharmaceutical and medical device companies as well as regulators to ensure its platform delivers while complying with medical and regulatory sta…

Niantic Names Board Member Megan Quinn As COO

Niantic, the gaming company behind hits like Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, has announced the appointment of Megan Quinn, a partner at venture capital firm Spark Capital and a board member at Niantic, as Niantic's chief operating officer (COO). Quinn will be transiting from a board seat, which she got to occupy after investing in Niantic on behalf of Spark Capital, to a full executive role at the company. Quinn took up a board seat at Niantic in 2017.

As COO, Quinn will lead Niantic's business operations and international development as Niantic prepares "for the next phase of global growth and scale," according to a press statement from the company. Who knows, that next phase could be an initial public offering (IPO). Niantic has as of late been accelerating its investments in augmented reality (AR), mapping, and diversifying its business at large. Just last month, the company acquired 6D.ai, a startup that develops mapping APIs for augmented reality ap…

a16z Said To Be Providing New Funding For Figma

Famed venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, is providing at least $50 million in new funding for design software company Figma, according to a report from Forbes, which says the funding will value Figma, an 8-year-old company, at $2 billion. According to Forbes, Figma has initiated talks with Andreessen Horowitz, which is, in turn, in the process of finalizing an investment. If the report stands true, it'll be a significant feat for Figma, which last raised funding last year at a post-money valuation that amounted to north of $400 million.

Figma develops browser-based design tools that compete with the likes of Adobe and Sketch. The company's tools facilitate not just design but collaboration between designers working on collective projects. Among Figma's customers includes the likes of Slack, Uber, and Microsoft. Since its inception, Figma is known to have raised some $83 million in funding including from well-known venture capital firms like Klei…

Regulators Pave Way For Amazon's Deliveroo Investment

The U.K.'s competition watchdog has provisionally cleared U.S.-based e-commerce giant Amazon's investment in U.K. food delivery startup Deliveroo, citing potential financial hardships Deliveroo could face without the investment. The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) previously opposed an Amazon investment in Deliveroo on concerns that such an investment could harm competition in the U.K.'s food delivery market. The approval is provisional, meaning it's subject to further confirmation and could later be overturned.

The investment in concern is a $575 million round that Amazon reached a deal to lead in May of last year. Other investors including T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Greenoaks were to participate in the investment. Amid the coronavirus outbreak which has led to vast restaurant closures, Deliveroo's business has undoubtedly taken a hit, compounding financial hassles for the company which has long been in growth mode and, in turn, operated at a…

Uber Withdraws Guidance Ahead Of Earnings Call

Ride-hailing giant Uber has announced it's withdrawing its financial guidance for 2020 ahead of a quarterly earnings call scheduled to hold on the 7th of May. On that day, Uber, whose business has been sizeably affected by the coronavirus outbreak, will discuss its financial results for the first quarter of this year. The ride-hailing company has said it expects to take a hit of between $1.9 billion to $2.2 billion from minor equity investments in other ride-hailing companies. Uber has substantial stakes in a few ride-hailing and food delivery companies globally, including the likes of Didi Chuxing, Grab, and Zomato. The stakes were gotten as a result of acquisition deals Uber struck with the aforementioned companies, the acquisitions lying on Uber's side. Uber expects the losses to reflect on its quarterly results.

On the heels of Uber's announcement, the company's shares rose as much as 7.3% in extended trading, likely bolstered by investors who previously expected …

Verizon To Acquire BlueJeans Network

Telecoms giant Verizon has announced it has reached a deal to acquire video-conferencing company BlueJeans Network. Verizon expects to close the deal by the second quarter of this year, which we are already into. While Verizon didn't disclose how much it's paying for BlueJeans, a report from the Wall Street Journal says the company is paying less than $500 million, entailing the acquisition price could be hovering at anything close to that range. The acquisition notably comes amid an extraordinary spike in video-conferencing usage amid lockdowns and movement limitations that have been enacted globally in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

San Jose-based BlueJeans Network was founded roughly a decade ago and announced last year that it had surpassed $100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR). BlueJeans has been able to court many enterprise customers including the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Intuit, Illumina, and IBM's Red Hat. The company's video-conferencing …

Onfido Nabs $100 Million In New Funding

Onfido, a London-based digital identification startup, has confirmed it's raised $100 million in new equity financing led by private equity fund TPG Growth, with participation from existing investors M12 (Microsoft's venture capital arm) and Salesforce Ventures alongside other backers. With the new financing, Onfido has now raised a total of $180 million in funding since its inception. London-based Onfido says it'll channel the new financing towards product research and development (R&D) and global expansion.

Onfido's previous funding rounds include a $50 million financing announced April of last year and an earlier $30 million funding round in 2017. Onfido has attracted many well-versed investors thanks to carving a niche for itself in the digital identification and security market. Onfido develops artificial intelligence-based software that helps companies verify identities using facial biometrics, in its case, via a selfie and pictures of passports, legal docum…

eBay Names Walmart Executive As CEO

E-commerce company eBay has announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer (CEO) by the name of Jamie Iannone, whose appointment is effective beginning from the 27th of April, 2020. Iannone most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of Walmart eCommerce, the e-commerce arm of retail giant Walmart as the name suggests. Before occupying that position, he served as CEO of SamsClub.com, the e-commerce unit of Walmart-owned retail powerhouse Sam's Club. Interestingly, Iannone also previously held executive roles at eBay during an eight-year stint at the company. He's now returning to help run eBay at the very helm.

Iannone is replacing eBay's interim CEO Scott Schenkel, who took up the position in September of last year after serving as eBay's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for four years. Being interim, his position was more of a temporary one that he held while eBay's board searched for a CEO replacement. The company's board has apparently settled…

Photo Gallery: Robots To Brighten Up Your Day

We don't have much to say. This article is just a photo collection of robots and Robo-vehicles which we feel could be enticing to our readers. Here are high-resolution photos of some robots to brighten up your day. They could make for nice wallpapers, you know?

1. Postmates'; This one, made by food delivery service Postmates, makes use of lidar sensors from Ouster, a San Francisco-based startup that makes high-resolution lidar sensors for autonomous vehicles, robotics, security, and mapping. Ouster is one out of many lidar startups that emerged to grab market share from market leader Velodyne. Velodyne, although still dominant, is now facing competition from lots of other companies.

This delivery robot has begun pilot deliveries in Los Angeles, California.






Photo(s) credit: Fortune Magazine, under Creative Commons license






2. Starship's: This delivery robot model, made by Starship Technologies, has already made tens of thousands of deliveries. Collectively, Starship's robo…

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Velodyne Aims For Reverse Public Listing

Velodyne, the lidar manufacturer backed by among others Ford and Chinese search giant Baidu, is in talks for a reverse listing with Graf Industrial Corp in order to debut on the public markets, according to a source familiar with the matter. Graf is working with an adviser on a possible merger with Velodyne, according to our source. Last year, Velodyne was reported to have hired bankers to spearhead a possible public listing but it seems the company has decided to take the "backdoor" method of going public by merging with a Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation (SPAC). SPACs, in this case, are corporate entities taken public for the sole purpose of merging with another private company.

As a private company, Velodyne has raised some $225 million in funding. The company's last-known private funding gave it a valuation of $1.8 billion, a valuation Velodyne may be seeking to surpass on the public markets. Graf Industrial, the intended SPAC for Velodyne, held an initial pu…

Xpeng Begins P7 Deliveries

Just a short while after unveiling a new electric sports sedan named the P7, Chinese electric vehicle upstart Xpeng has begun making deliveries, notably a few weeks after the company formally opened a new factory to produce the new vehicle. Production has apparently begun at the newly opened plant and Xpeng says it aims to produce 100,000 P7 sedans annually. Xpeng surely moves fast, being a company founded only six years ago. The China-based company launched and begun making deliveries of its first vehicle, the G3 SUV, in 2018, four years after its launch. The P7 sports sedan is the company's second-ever vehicle. A picture below gives an encouraging look of a large number of P7 sedans awaiting delivery into customers' hands;


The Xpeng P7 costs anywhere between $32,000-$49,000 "post-subsidies", quoting Xpeng. It's available in 3 versions and 8 configurations. The vehicle's best feature happens to be its range, which Xpeng pegs at up to 706km on full-charge. T…

Tesla Now World's Most Valuable Carmaker

Electric car maker Tesla has been on a tear as of late, with its share price having shot past $1,100 a pop and given the company status as the world's most valuable automaker. Currently (as of writing), Tesla has a market capitalization hovering around $208 billion, beating the likes of Ford, GM, and Toyota which actually manufacture way more cars and mint much more revenue. Before now, Toyota had been the automaker with the largest public market capitalization. Toyota (as of writing) has a market capitalization hovering around $203 billion, a bit lower than Tesla's.

Investors seem to be drooling for Tesla shares given its valuation despite minting lesser revenue than other traditional automakers. For a quick comparison, Tesla delivered 367,500 vehicles last year while Toyota delivered 10 million, about 27 times Tesla's. Investors seem to have much courage in Tesla's future potential, given it's a company that only debuted on the public markets 10 years ago. The l…

DoJ Indicts VC Michael Rothenberg

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced an indictment of investor Michael Rothenberg, a once high-flying venture capitalist whose wings seemingly got clipped after the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) accused him of misappropriating $19 million of investors' funds. Rothenberg was slapped with more than $31 million in fines from the SEC as a result, but it appears authorities are still pushing for more, as the Justice Department has filed charges of fraud against him. The DoJ alleges Mike Rothenberg "orchestrated multiple schemes to defraud his victims", victims, in this case, being investors in Rothenberg Ventures, the eponymous venture capital firm Rothenberg founded.

The Justice Department accuses Rothenberg of bank fraud and defrauding investors. As for bank fraud, it's alleged that Rothenberg made false statements about his wealth to his bank while refinancing his home mortgage and obtaining a personal loan. As to allegedly defrauding investor…

Peloton Launches On Roku

Fitness sensation Peloton has formally launched its app on the Roku streaming platform, entailing its live fitness classes can now be streamed by Roku users in the comfort of their homes. The Peloton channel has been made available on the Roku Channel Store, enabling users to stream live fitness sessions for a fee. Payments will be processed on the Roku Pay platform, making signing up much easier for users. Existing Peloton subscribers can also automatically log-in using their credentials and gain access to live fitness sessions.

The coronavirus pandemic has largely driven people away from public gyms towards home fitness activities, and such, online fitness streaming activity has seemingly shot through the roof. According to Roku, streaming on its Health & Fitness category grew more than 130% in May alone. Peloton happens to be a benefit of the large pivot towards home fitness, thanks to its stationary bikes and treadmills with live-streamed fitness sessions that have garnered a…

Uber Reaches To Buy Postmates: Report

Uber is in talks to acquire food-delivery competitor Postmates in a $2.6 billion deal, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, which notes that a deal could be announced by next week or even sooner. Postmates has been said to be targeting an initial public offering but while also shopping itself around to potential buyers. Uber is notably fresh off an attempt to acquire Grubhub, another food delivery competitor which was, however, sold to British food delivery company Just Eat Takeaway.com.

Postmates has raised about $900 million in funding so far, valued at $2.4 billion as of its last funding round. The company had confidentially filed for a public listing in February of last year but didn't follow up with a public filing. In the past, Postmates is said to have shopped itself to companies including Walmart and food-delivery competitor DoorDash. Postmates is known to be unprofitable, so the public markets may not favor the company as much as a private sale and it seem…

TuSimple Seeks New Funding

Self-driving truck startup TuSimple is seeking up to $250 million in new funding and has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to help it raise that amount, as first reported by TechCrunch. Morgan Stanley is said to have sent out informational packets to potential investors in a bid to seek funding for TuSimple. Already, TuSimple has raised about $300 million in total funding but happens to be seeking more. The San Diego-based company last raised funding in September of last year.

TuSimple was founded in 2015, at a time when most of the self-driving industry was focused on passenger cars rather than big trucks. The company has managed to secure significant funding and attention since then, with backers including UPS, CDH Investments, and China's Sina Corp. Although based out of San Diego, TuSimple currently tests on public roads in the state of Arizona and also in Shanghai, China. The company is aiming to make a dent in the $800 billion U.S. trucking industry.

As of its last fundi…

Amazon Hands Bonuses To Frontline Workers

The coronavirus pandemic largely boosted the need for e-commerce and, in turn, the fortunes of Seattle-based e-commerce giant Amazon. It's such that Amazon hired 175,000 additional people to keep up with increased demand. Now, Amazon has announced it's doling out $500 million in combined bonuses to its frontline workers, who were employed at the company throughout the month of June. The bonus is divided into various grades, including $500 for full-time warehouse workers, $250 for part-time warehouse workers, $1,000 for warehouse leads, $3,000 for delivery service partners, and $150 for each Amazon Flex driver who drove more than 10 hours in June. The bonuses for warehouse workers also covers Whole Foods employees.

The bonus dole-out was announced by Dave Clark, Amazon's famed logistics chief, who has been instrumental in setting up and overseeing the company's mammoth logistics operations. Amazon dubs the bonus as a "Thank You" bonus for its workers, many of…

Tesla Delivered 90,650 Vehicles In Q2

As anticipated, Tesla just released its production numbers for the second quarter of this year and indicated it delivered 90,650 vehicles, a slight (4.8%) drop from the previous quarter. Tesla actually managed to beat expectations despite a pandemic that led it to suspend operation for weeks at its main production facility. The majority (80,050) of Tesla's deliveries were Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, its less expensive models, while Model S and Model X vehicles, the more expensive ones, accounted for a minority (10,600).

Analysts had anticipated lower delivery numbers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with some even forecasting as low as 39,000 deliveries in this quarter. A concord of analysts polled by FactSet indicated an average forecast of 72,000 vehicle deliveries for the quarter.

The release of Tesla's latest production results comes on the heels of the company surpassing Japanese automaker Toyota to become the world's most valuable automaker.





Personal Capital Sells For $1 Billion

Personal Capital, a Redwood City, California-based wealth management startup, has been sold to retirement plan provider Empower Retirement in a deal that adds up to $1 billion. Empower Retirement has reached a deal to acquire Personal Capital for an upfront payment of $825 million in cash plus $175 million in potential "planned growth" incentives. The acquisition seems like a win for Personal Capital, which has raised $265 million in funding as a private company. According to PitchBook data, Personal Capital was valued at $950 million as of its last fundraising in February of last year.

Personal Capital was founded in 2008. The company provides digital-based money management services, similar to the likes of Wealthfront, Betterment, and Acorns. Currently, Personal Capital manages a cumulative $12 billion in assets for some 2.5 million users. Personal Capital has offices in the cities of San Francisco, Atlanta, Denver, and Dallas. The company employs more than 400 people.

In…