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Fastly Files For IPO

Fastly -- a San Francisco based content delivery startup that has raised $219 million in funding according to Crunchbase data and counts the likes of Stripe, Github, Airbnb, Pinterest, Audi, Buzzfeed, Ticketmaster, Vice, Spotify, and Reddit as customers -- has filed for a public offering on The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company intends to list Class A common stock under the ticker "FSLY".

Fastly's S-1 filing revealed some key stats about its operations. They include:
$530,000 average revenue from each of its enterprise customers227 enterprise customers in 2018, up from 170 in 2017 1,582 total customers in 2018, up from 1,439 in 2017$144.56 million revenue in 2018, up from $104.9 million in 2017$29.1 million loss in 2018, down from $31 million in 2017$37 million cash and cash equivalents held as of December 31, 2018$50.1 million sales and marketing spend in 2018, up from $40.8 million a year earlier$34.6 million R&D spend in 2018, up from $29 million in 2017

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Serena Williams Unveils VC Fund -- Launched Back In 2014

Tennis star Serena Williams has officially unveiled a venture fund she launched in 2014 but kept under wraps till now. The new VC fund named Serena Ventures counts the likes of Brandless, The Wing, Coinbase, Masterclass, Andela, Impossible Foods, Tonal, Little Spoon, Propel, Gobble, and HoneyLove among its portfolio.

The fund's team is made up of Williams and a vice president, Alison Rapaport, who previously worked at J.P. Morgan. The fund has more than 30 portfolio companies in total who have a market cap of more than $12 billion.


Serena's play in the VC world isn't quite surprising given her marriage to Reddit executive chairman and Initialized Capital co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Initialized Capital manages more than $500 million and has backed the likes of Flexport, Opendoor, PlanGrid, Instacart, Triplebyte, Boosted Boards, Hellosign, Zenefits, Voyage, Rippling, Lendup, Drifter VR, Atrium, and GM Cruise.

Other notable sport stars like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Michael …

Pony.ai Launches Pilot Driverless Ride-Hailing Service

Pony.ai -- a Chinese driverless vehicle startup with $264 million in funding according to Crunchbase data and a nearly $1 billion valuation -- has launched PonyPilot, a pilot ride-hailing service for its driverless vehicles that's available to employees and invitation-only users within a limited region in Guangzhou, China, where it's headquartered.

Pony.ai says its self-driving tech originates from "extensive testing" in all three of its operational sites spread across Fremont (Silicon Valley), Beijing, and Guangzhou. The pilot ride-hailing service covers roughly 50 square kilometer of space, including office buildings, libraries, recreational areas, commercial plazas, and residential areas.



Although it's only available to Pony.ai employees and select users currently, The company says it's considering expansion of the pilot ride-hailing service in future. Pony.ai says it has improved overall ride comfort in its vehicles based on feedback from select passenge…

T-Mobile Launches Checking Account

T-Mobile has launched a mobile-first checking account -- T-Mobile Money -- nationwide in the U.S. that promises a 4% interest on account balances up to $3,000 and 1% on every dollar over $3,000 for customers who deposit at least $200 per month, and comes with no fees. The new checking account comes with an accompanying Mastercard debit card that can be used at more than 55,000 ATMs worldwide.

Each user can make mobile check deposits, pay bills, send checks, set up direct deposit, and pay via a mobile wallet using the app. The app is protected by biometric security with fingerprint and Face ID login, and account alerts and debit card disabling. The checking account is created in partnership with BankMobile, a division of Customers Bank (an FDIC member), with money deposits insured up to $250,000.


The T-Mobile Money app is already available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for download.



Uber ATG Raises $1 Billion From Toyota, Denso, and Softbank

Uber Advanced Technologies Group, the company's unit responsible for development of driverless vehicles has raised $1 billion in funding from Toyota, Denso, and Softbank Vision Fund. Toyota and Denso will put in $667 million into the round while Softbank Vision Fund funds the remainder $33 million. The investment values Uber ATG at $7.25 billion post money.

This investment comes on the heels of Uber filing for an IPO. It also further deepens an alliance with Toyota which invested $500 million in Uber last year August. Uber and the Japanese automaker have agreed to work on the deployment of modified driverless Toyota Sienna vehicles by 2021. Toyota will also contribute an additional $300 million over the next three years to help cover costs related to the development of these vehicles.


December last year, Uber received approval from the state of Pennsylvania to re-commence driverless vehicle tests on public roads months after a fatal crash that resulted in a pedestrian death. The …

Microsoft Acquires Express Logic

Microsoft has acquired Express Logic, a 23-year-old San Diego based IoT company that claims its real-time operating system (RTOS) has seen over 6.2 billion deployments. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Express Logic develops an RTOS named ThreadX that's complementary with Microsoft's Azure Sphere offering and will be adding to the company's growing support for IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

Microsoft announced earlier this month that it'll invest $5 billion in IoT over the next four years. This acquisition seemingly counts as part of this. Microsoft already offers an IoT platform used by the likes of Chevron, United Technologies, Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric, The Alaska Department of Transportation, and popular plumbing products manufacturer Kohler.


The Redmond, Washington headquartered software giant has partnered with the likes of Qualcomm, drone manufacturer DJI, SAP, PTC, and Carnegie Mellon University for IoT development. "..…

Apple Launches New Recycling Lab In Austin

Apple has announced it has opened a 9,000 square foot recycling lab in Austin, Texas that is says will apply machine learning and robotics to improve on traditional methods to recycle products. The new lab will work with Apple's engineering teams and persons from academia to "propose solutions to today’s industry recycling challenges" according to Apple's statement.

Apple also recently revealed it has nearly doubled the number of its suppliers that have committed to run production of its devices on renewable energy, now a total of 44 suppliers. The iPhone maker has allocated $2.5 billion in green bonds so far and says it -- along with its suppliers -- participated in clean energy generation that roughly equaled the amount of electricity needed to power 600,000 US homes just last year.


Apple has now quadrupled the number of locations US customers can send their unused iPhones to be disassembled by its recycling robot, Daisy. The company says Daisy is capable of disas…

Apple Reportedly In Talks With Potential Sensor Suppliers For Driverless Cars

According to Reuters, Apple has held talks with at least four companies who count as potential suppliers for lidar sensors for driverless cars while it still works on an its own lidar unit. The companies involved are not named in the report. Such a move could indicate Apple's renewed ambitions to get into the driverless vehicle market even after layoffs that affected more than 200 from its self-driving vehicle project in January.

Citing three persons familiar with the discussions, Reuters says Apple is seeking lidar units that would be cheaper, smaller and more easily produced on a mass scale that current technology. It says Apple is setting a high level with demands for a “revolutionary design”. Such effort may indicate Apple looking to develop the entire chain of hardware that'll power self-driving vehicles using custom tech.


Whether Apple wants to develop its own driverless vehicles or build hardware and software elements for self-driving vehicles is not yet known. Self-dr…

Salesforce Acquires MapAnything

Salesforce has reached an agreement to acquire MapAnything, a location-based software startup that has raised $84 million in funding according to Crunchbase data. Salesforce was previously an investor in the company, along with the likes of General Motors and Greycroft. The price of the acquisition is not disclosed.

This acquisition comes just Salesforce paid $300 million for its affiliate independent nonprofit organization Salesforce.org. The cloud software company also recently agreed to invest $100 million in videoconferencing company Zoom ahead of its IPO.


Salesforce's acquisition makes good sense as MapAnything is built on its platform and sold via the Salesforce AppExchange. MapAnything says it currently has more than 1,900 customers who will presumably be added to Salesforce with this acquisition.

"The addition of MapAnything to Salesforce will help the world's leading brands accurately plan: how many people they need, where to put them, how to make them as produc…

Microsoft Has Reportedly Repeatedly Tried To Acquire Zoom

According to a Recode report, Microsoft has repeatedly tried to acquire Zoom, the videoconferencing company looking to go public soon at an initial market cap of roughly $9 billion. The report says Microsoft acquisition talks have been repeatedly turned down by Zoom founder Eric Yuan, with the most recent approach happening as late as earlier this year.

According to Zoom's S-1 filing, it recorded $330 million in revenue for the year ending January 31, 2019, a more than double from $151.5 million for the same period in 2018. The company is also profitable with $7.5 million in profits recorded for the year ending January 31, 2019.


Zoom has raised a total of $145 million from VCs including Sequoia Capital, Horizons Ventures, Maven Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, Emergence Capital, and GC Capital. With the company targeting an initial market cap of approximately $9 billion on the public markets, an acquisition might make for one of the largest and most high-profile in the software space…

Outreach Secures $114 Million Funding At $1.1 Billion Valuation

Seattle based sales engagement startup Outreach has raised $114 million in Series E funding that values it at $1.1 billion and boosts the amount raised by the company till date to $239 million. Lone Pine Capital led the round, with participation from Meritech Capital Partners, Lemonade Capital, and existing investors Spark Capital,Trinity Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Mayfield, M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures), Four Rivers Group, and DFJ Growth.

Outreach says the new funding will support its growth, with plans to double its machine learning team, expand its foreign footprint, and grow its partner ecosystem in coming months. The company currently employs some 315 persons and plans to boost that number to 450 by year end. Outreach says it currently supports more than 3,300 customer accounts and 50,000 sales professionals worldwide.


According to Pitchbook, Outreach was last valued at $515 million, implying a slightly more than 100% jump in valuation with this round. Outreach notably has…

CloudGenix Raises $65 Million Series C

CloudGenix -- a San Jose, California based cloud infrastructure startup -- has raised $65 million in Series C funding from existing investors Intel Capital, Mayfield Fund, Charles River Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, and new investor ClearSky. The 2013 founded startup has now raised close to $100 million in total funding.

CloudGenix says it grew 300% year-over-year and claims "greater than 90% win-rates against incumbent legacy networking vendors". It says Fortune 1000 companies, including those in retail, manufacturing, healthcare, finance, banking and hospitality have selected CloudGenix for remote office wide-are network (WAN) needs.


According to research firm IDC, the SD-WAN market -- one CloudGenix is focused on -- is expected to grow to $4.5 billion by 2022. CloudGenix is led by veterans from the likes of Cisco, Broadcom, IBM, and EMC who also operate in this space. Its CEO Kumar Ramachandran previously held leadership roles in product management and marketing for r…

Intel Opts Out Of 5G Modem Market

Intel has announced it's exiting from the 5G smartphone modem business, cancelling 5G modem products scheduled for launch in 2020. The company says it'll still continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business and complete an assessment of opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, IoT devices, and other data-centric devices.

Intel recently said it expects its 5G modem chips to not appear in phones until 2020. A now complete pull-out from the market might affect its biggest customer, Apple, although the iPhone maker recently settled a long legal spat with chipmaker Qualcomm (Intel's exit from the 5G modem market is a likely explanation for the sudden settlement). Both companies have reached a multiyear chipset supply deal and a six-year license agreement, including a two-year option to extend.


Intel will continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line. “We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘clou…

Daimler Leads $170 Million Series E For Sila Nano

Sila Nanotechnologies (“Sila Nano”) -- a battery startup founded in 2011 by Silicon Valley battery engineers and a Georgia Tech professor of materials science -- has raised $170 million in Series E funding led by Daimler, with participation from new investor 8VC alongside returning investors Sutter Hill Ventures, Siemens Next47, Matrix Partners, Chengwei Capital, and Bessemer Venture Partners.

This funding brings the total raised by Sila Nano to $295 million and values the company at more than $1 billion as confirmed by its CEO Gene Berdichevsky to TechCrunch. Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and Daimler executive Alex Nediger are joining Sila Nano's board as part of this investment.


Daimler has formed a strategic R&D partnership with Sila Nano thanks to its investment. The German automaker is focusing on the Mercedes-Benz EQ line of electric vehicles for this effort. Mercedes-Benz has previously announced it's putting in around €10 billion ($11.28 billion) towards…

Intel Acquires Omnitek

Intel has announced it has acquired Omnitek, a Basingstoke, England based provider of optimized video and vision FPGA IP solutions founded in 1998. Terms of the acquisition deal which marks the second since Bob Swan took over as CEO were not disclosed. The Santa Clara based chip manufacturer says it's transforming to compete for what is a $300 billion market for silicon. It estimates the market for programmable solutions -- which it's getting with this acquisition -- represents $8 billion of that opportunity.

Many of Intel's customers already utilize FPGAs in visual-related and video applications. Omnitek has developed more than 220 FPGA IP cores and companion software that it says "significantly improve time-to-market for customers". The England based company has also leveraged its signal processing prowess to come up with IP solutions that it says "deliver FPGA-market leading performance in AI inferencing."


“From data centers to devices, compute-inten…

Hulu Buys Back AT&T Stake At $15 Billion Valuation

AT&T has sold its 9.5% stake in video streaming service Hulu back to the company for $1.43 billion, valuing the Netflix competitor at $15 billion. This is up more than 50% from a $9.3 billion valuation pegged by Disney (a 67% shareholder in Hulu following its acquisition of 21st Century Fox) last November. Comcast holds the remainder 33% of the company.

This sale makes for a case that Hulu may become a Disney-focused video streaming service in future time. Already, the entertainment powerhouse is preparing to launch its own streaming service -- Disney+ -- in November. It'll cost $6.99 per month with an annual subscription option of $69.99 and feature titles like The Sword in the Stone, Magic Camp, a remake of Lady and the TrampStargirl, Noelle, and Star Wars.


Hulu leads behind Netflix in the U.S. video streaming market, with more than 25 million subscribers. Its catalogue includes originals like Golden Globe Award-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale, Marvel’s Runaways, Castl…

Mavenlink Raises $48 Million Series E

Mavenlink -- an Irvine, California, based cloud-based software startup targeted at professional and marketing services organizations -- has raised $48 million Series E funding led by Goldman Sachs and Carrick Capital Partners, both prior existing investors in the company. Mavenlink has now raised some $112 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data.

Silicon Valley Bank is another known investor in the company. Mavenlink makes cloud-based software for professional services organizations to run their operations. The company counts the likes of Salesforce, WPP, Vizient, Qualtrics, and Cornerstone OnDemand as customers and currently operates four offices in the U.S. and three foreign offices in London, Melbourne, and the Philippines.


"It's such an exciting time to be serving professional and marketing services industries," Mavenlink co-founder and CEO Ray Grainger said in a statement. "The tide is rising, businesses are growing, competition is heating up, an…

Apple Acquired Texture For At Least $485 Million: NY Post

Apple paid at least $485 million for magazine subscription service Texture -- one that's the foundation of its recently unveiled News+ subscription service -- according to a piece from the New York Post. The paper says Apple paid $100 million upfront to four media publishers -- Meredith, Hearst, Rogers in Canada, and Condé Nast (who collaborated to launch Texture) -- and private equity backer KKR, with a further $145 million minimum payment due for the first year and a minimum of $240 million due for the second and third years.

The NY Post also said that Texture -- which Apple has said it will shut down -- had about 240,000 subscribers as at the time of acquisition. Apple is replacing it with its news subscription service that provides access to more than 300 popular magazines. The company has signed up popular media names like The Atlantic, Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker, Food & Wine, The Cut, Grub Street, Real Simple, ravel + Leisure, and Woman'…

Apple Reportedly Spending Up To $500 Million On Arcade

According to a Financial Times report, Apple has a budget likely to exceed $500 million to attract game developers to its recently unveiled game subscription service. The FT says Apple is wooing game developers with an extra incentive if they decide to make their games available exclusively on its game subscription platform before release to others. Although the $500 million looks quite high, it pales in comparison to Apple's reported budget of more than $1 billion for TV+, its newly unveiled video subscription service.

Apple Arcade as the game subscription service is named will focus on paid games and feature titles from the likes of Finji, Giant Squid, Cartoon Network, LEGO, Mistwalker, Konami, SEGA, Snowman, ustwo games, Bossa Studios, Annapurna Interactive, and Klei Entertainment. It'll launch with more than 100 new and exclusive games on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV platforms at a yet unspecified date.


Apple is focusing on indie games for the service and has not y…

SpaceX Reportedly Raising Additional $500 Million

According to an Axios report citing a Delaware stock authorization filing uncovered by the Prime Unicorn Index, SpaceX is seeking to raise an additional $510 million in new funding for the second time this year. The report says shares would go for a 9.7% premium to the prior round, which was said to value SpaceX at $30 billion.

This would imply a valuation closer to $33 billion for the company which just launched a Falcon Heavy rocket carrying a satellite for The Arab Satellite Communications Organization (Arabsat). SpaceX is planning to launch nearly 12,000 satellites as part of a constellation that'll provide internet connection on land. The company is targeting to launch the first of these satellites by May which might be a reason for new funding.


According to Crunchbase data, SpaceX has raised $2.9 billion in total funding.



Uber Reveals Stakes In Other Ride-Hailing Companies

Uber recently filed for a public offering, debuting an S-1 filing that revealed previously non-public information about the company. One noteworthy part of the filing revealed the stakes the company holds in other global ride-hailing ventures. Uber in the past has entered merger deals with the likes of Didi and Grab (in exchange for existing competing markets) and also set up a joint venture with Russia's Yandex.

According to its S-1 filing, Uber held 15.4% and 23.2% stakes (as of September 30, 2018) in China's Didi and Singapore's Grab respectively. It also held a 38% stake in a joint venture set up with Yandex as of the same period. Uber estimates the values of its holdings in Didi and Yandex to be $7.95 billion and $1.4 billion respectively. Grab is said to be worth $14 billion from a recent investment, making Uber's 23.2% stake possibly worth some $3.24 billion.


This implies a $12.6 billion haul for Uber thanks to its partnerships in several global markets. Uber c…

Uber Officially Files For IPO

Uber has officially filed for its long-expected IPO, setting the pace for what may likely be the biggest public offering this year. This filing comes on the heels of its major competitor Lyft debuting on the public market. Uber's S-1 filing revealed some important stats not previously public information about the company. They are recorded for the year ended December 31, 2018, and include:
10 billion total trips made on its platform$78 billion total paid to drivers14 million daily trips made on its platform$125 million in quarterly revenue for Uber Freight$2.6 billion gross bookings for Uber Eats -- in its most recent quarter91 million monthly active customers$49.8 billion total gross bookings for 2018, compared to $34.4 billion in 2017 and $19.2 billion in 2016.$172 million stock-based compensation expense in 2018, compared to $137 million in 2017 and $128 million in 2016$1.5 billion R&D spend in 2018, compared to $1.2 billion in 2017 and $864 million in 2016

Uber had $11.27 …

Lemonade Raises $300 Million Series D

Insurtech startup Lemonade has raised $300 million Series D funding led by Softbank Group, with participation from Alphabet's GV, Thrive Capital, General Catalyst, and Allianz. According to Forbes, the company was valued at more than $2 billion with this round. Lemonade says it plans to use this funding to accelerate its U.S. and European expansion this year, and also look into new product lines.

The company has now raised some $480 million in total funding. Lemonade was founded by Daniel Schreiber and Shai Wininger, two tech veterans who have held top roles at Powermat and Fiverr respectively. The company is licensed as a full-stack property and casualty insurance carrier and entered the U.S. market -- starting with New York -- in 2016. It has expanded its availability to most of the U.S. population.


Lemonade claims it collects 100x more data than traditional insurance carriers, that enables it to "generate highly predictive data with the promise of ever improving underwrit…

Amazon Snaps Up Warehouse Robotics Startup Canvas Technology

Amazon has said it has acquired Canvas Technology, a startup with $15 million in funding -- from investors including Playground Global, AME Cloud Ventures, Heroic Ventures, Morado Ventures, Xplorer Capital, and Visionnaire Ventures -- according to Crunchbase data. Canvas builds autonomous carts that can transport goods around warehouses, an area key to Amazon's operations.

In the past, Amazon has acquired startups focused on robotics: they include Kiva Systems and Dispatch. It paid $775 million for Kiva in 2012 and integrated its robotics operations into its warehouses, and acquired Dispatch this year. Dispatch had raised $2 million in total -- from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Precursor Ventures, HAX, and SOSV -- according to Crunchbase data.



Amazon didn't disclose an acquisition price for Dispatch.



Tim Draper Looking To Invest In Facebook Crypto Project

Tim Draper, the venture capitalist known for founding the firm that would later become (DFJ), is looking to meet with Facebook to explore an investment in its cryptocurrency project.The New York Times first reported on a fundraise by Facebook for its crypto project, with a target of up to $1 billion. Although Facebook with $55.8 billion in annual revenue last year can well afford that, an investment by outsiders could help with credibility and better acceptance in the crypto scene.

The social networking giant is looking to launch its own stablecoin -- a digital coin tied to the U.S. dollar or other currencies to minimise volatility -- that'll let WhatsApp users send money to each other. It'll reportedly first focus on the Indian remittances market. According to Bloomberg -- which also confirmed Draper's interest by e-mail,  Facebook is still far from launching the coin and is trying to figure out how the digital assets that would be held to preserve the value of the stabl…

Samsung Debuts The Galaxy A80

Samsung has unveiled a new addition to the Galaxy lineup -- the Galaxy A80, new smartphone that features Samsung's first rotating camera. The A80 comes with three cameras that automatically pop up from the back of the phone and rotate when users select the selfie mode in the camera app. It comes with a 48MP main camera.

Other features of the new smartphone include:
Super AMOLED display8 GB RAM128 GB internal storageA 3,700mAh -- fast charging -- batteryAndroid 9.0 (Pie) OSFingerprint sensoryOcta Core (2.2GHz Dual + 1.8GHz Hexa) application processor (AP)Samsung Knox (mobile security platform)

Just to clarify, The Galaxy A80 doesn't support the use of an SD card, making its 128 GB internal storage the limit it can go. The new smartphone comes in Black, White, and Gold colors.



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Private equity giant Hellman & Friedman buys into home security startup SimpliSafe at a reported $1 Billion Valuation

image credit : SimpliSafe

Boston based home security startup SimpliSafe which provides self-installed security systems which are used by a huge number of homes in the U.S. has now sold a major interest in the company to Global private equity and investment giant Hellman & Friedman for an undisclosed sum which according to various sources values the company at a huge $1 Billion

The company which last raised $57 million in a Sequioa Capital led round and has been growing very well with the company counting over 300,000 customers as far as 2015 and a vast number of consumers currently making use of its suite of home security products.

This majority acquisition represents another move by Hellman & Friedman making huge acquisitions and bets in the technology space with the investment company's tech portfolio including notable companies like DoubleClick, Getty Images, Customer experience solutions company Genesys amidst other of its notable investments.

SimpliSafe will now conti…

Apple Reportedly In Talks With Potential Sensor Suppliers For Driverless Cars

According to Reuters, Apple has held talks with at least four companies who count as potential suppliers for lidar sensors for driverless cars while it still works on an its own lidar unit. The companies involved are not named in the report. Such a move could indicate Apple's renewed ambitions to get into the driverless vehicle market even after layoffs that affected more than 200 from its self-driving vehicle project in January.

Citing three persons familiar with the discussions, Reuters says Apple is seeking lidar units that would be cheaper, smaller and more easily produced on a mass scale that current technology. It says Apple is setting a high level with demands for a “revolutionary design”. Such effort may indicate Apple looking to develop the entire chain of hardware that'll power self-driving vehicles using custom tech.


Whether Apple wants to develop its own driverless vehicles or build hardware and software elements for self-driving vehicles is not yet known. Self-dr…

Misty II Personal Robot Scheduled To Ship In April For $2,399

Misty II, a personal robot which non-technical owners can program using the Misty Blockly client, a visual block-based programming interface for creation of new skills for the robot to make it talk, roar, move, dance and more will be available for purchase April this year for $2,399, a four months delay from its initial proposed December 4 released date.

From April, customers can get their hands on the robot which would come installed with pre-set skills to get them started on use. Those with programming experience will be able to utilize JavaScript APIs to create more skills and mods such as integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cognitive Services and Cloud APIs.



Skills the Misty II can perform out of the box include:
Recognize facesCreate a 3D map of her surroundingsAutonomous movementReceive and respond to commandsLocate its charger to charge itselfDisplay emotive eyes and other emotional characteristics Perform seeing, hearing, and speaking capabilities

It has…

Uber ATG Raises $1 Billion From Toyota, Denso, and Softbank

Uber Advanced Technologies Group, the company's unit responsible for development of driverless vehicles has raised $1 billion in funding from Toyota, Denso, and Softbank Vision Fund. Toyota and Denso will put in $667 million into the round while Softbank Vision Fund funds the remainder $33 million. The investment values Uber ATG at $7.25 billion post money.

This investment comes on the heels of Uber filing for an IPO. It also further deepens an alliance with Toyota which invested $500 million in Uber last year August. Uber and the Japanese automaker have agreed to work on the deployment of modified driverless Toyota Sienna vehicles by 2021. Toyota will also contribute an additional $300 million over the next three years to help cover costs related to the development of these vehicles.


December last year, Uber received approval from the state of Pennsylvania to re-commence driverless vehicle tests on public roads months after a fatal crash that resulted in a pedestrian death. The …

Intel Opts Out Of 5G Modem Market

Intel has announced it's exiting from the 5G smartphone modem business, cancelling 5G modem products scheduled for launch in 2020. The company says it'll still continue to invest in its 5G network infrastructure business and complete an assessment of opportunities for 4G and 5G modems in PCs, IoT devices, and other data-centric devices.

Intel recently said it expects its 5G modem chips to not appear in phones until 2020. A now complete pull-out from the market might affect its biggest customer, Apple, although the iPhone maker recently settled a long legal spat with chipmaker Qualcomm (Intel's exit from the 5G modem market is a likely explanation for the sudden settlement). Both companies have reached a multiyear chipset supply deal and a six-year license agreement, including a two-year option to extend.


Intel will continue to meet current customer commitments for its existing 4G smartphone modem product line. “We are very excited about the opportunity in 5G and the ‘clou…

Apple Reportedly Cuts Production Plans For New iPhones By 10%

According to a report from the Nikkei Asian Review, Apple is cutting current production plans for new iPhones by 10% signalling expectation of a further hit in iPhone sales for the year after it recently lowered revenue guidance for its fiscal 2019 first quarter ending 29th of December 2018 due to lower iPhone sales.

Nikkei says Apple asked suppliers late last month to produce fewer of new iPhones for the January-March quarter of this year. This will be the second time in two months that the company has slashed production rate of the iPhone if this stands true.


Overall planned production volume will be reduced to 40 million to 43 million units for the January-March quarter from an earlier number of 43 million - 47 million units scheduled for production, Nikkei says.

Apple this previous week lowered revenue guidance for its fiscal 2019 first quarter to $84 billion for the period citing emerging market challenges and lower than anticipated iPhone revenue, primarily in Greater China. Th…

Daimler Leads $170 Million Series E For Sila Nano

Sila Nanotechnologies (“Sila Nano”) -- a battery startup founded in 2011 by Silicon Valley battery engineers and a Georgia Tech professor of materials science -- has raised $170 million in Series E funding led by Daimler, with participation from new investor 8VC alongside returning investors Sutter Hill Ventures, Siemens Next47, Matrix Partners, Chengwei Capital, and Bessemer Venture Partners.

This funding brings the total raised by Sila Nano to $295 million and values the company at more than $1 billion as confirmed by its CEO Gene Berdichevsky to TechCrunch. Former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt and Daimler executive Alex Nediger are joining Sila Nano's board as part of this investment.


Daimler has formed a strategic R&D partnership with Sila Nano thanks to its investment. The German automaker is focusing on the Mercedes-Benz EQ line of electric vehicles for this effort. Mercedes-Benz has previously announced it's putting in around €10 billion ($11.28 billion) towards…

Ford Slashes Thousands Of Jobs In Europe To Improve Profitability

Automaker Ford has announced it's slashing thousands of jobs in its European operations as part of structural cost improvements to improve near-term financial performance. The company made this known in a statement issued to investors.

“Ford aims to achieve the labor cost reductions, as far as possible, through voluntary employee separations in Europe and will be working closely with social partners and other stakeholders to achieve this objective.” The company said in its statement.





These job cuts will affect both salaried and hourly workers across its operations in Europe. Ford is ending production at its plant in Bordeaux, France that manufactures small automatic transmissions by this year August and has began discussions to end production of the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX vehicles at its German facility.

It's also considering "significant restructuring options" for its Russian joint venture, Ford Sollers and plans to merge its UK headquarters and Ford Credit Europe’s…

Hulu Buys Back AT&T Stake At $15 Billion Valuation

AT&T has sold its 9.5% stake in video streaming service Hulu back to the company for $1.43 billion, valuing the Netflix competitor at $15 billion. This is up more than 50% from a $9.3 billion valuation pegged by Disney (a 67% shareholder in Hulu following its acquisition of 21st Century Fox) last November. Comcast holds the remainder 33% of the company.

This sale makes for a case that Hulu may become a Disney-focused video streaming service in future time. Already, the entertainment powerhouse is preparing to launch its own streaming service -- Disney+ -- in November. It'll cost $6.99 per month with an annual subscription option of $69.99 and feature titles like The Sword in the Stone, Magic Camp, a remake of Lady and the TrampStargirl, Noelle, and Star Wars.


Hulu leads behind Netflix in the U.S. video streaming market, with more than 25 million subscribers. Its catalogue includes originals like Golden Globe Award-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale, Marvel’s Runaways, Castl…