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Showing posts from August, 2018

Airbnb Profitable For Two Years Straight As It Heads For Public Markets

Airbnb today announced a number of milestones which include being profitable for a second year on an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) basis in 2018. This counts as a plus as the company heads for an IPO reported to be taking place this year.

It also says it's on track to hit 500 million guest arrivals on its platform by the end of Q1 this year. While specific figures are not provided, the company exceeded its 2017 projections with $93 million in profit on $2.6 billion in revenue, Bloomberg says with CEO Brian Chesky promising a public offering before 2020 when some employee stock grants expire.

This month, longtime Amazon executive Dave Stephenson joined the company as chief financial officer, a key role in preparation for an IPO after its previous CFO Laurence Tosi left last year amid a disagreement with Chesky.

“He (Dave Stephenson) will use his experience in growing large businesses quickly at scale to ensure we are investing for both gro…

Colombian on-demand startup Rappi gets $200 million round at over $1 Billion valuation

Colombia based on-demand delivery startup Rappi has now been confirmed to have raised a new $200 million round led by DST Global with participation from Andressen Horowitz and Sequioa Capital, All previous investors in the 3 year old startup now said to be valued north of $1 Billion.

This will bring the total amount of funding secured by Rappi to nearly $400 million with the company notably raising $130 million in a funding round January this year from the likes of Delivery Hero, FJ Labs, Endeavor Catalyst, Redpoint Ventures and several others.

This round also notably marks Rappi as the 2nd Latin American startup to join the unicorn club with Brazillian fintech startup Nubank previously occupying the main position after a $150 million funding led by DST who also led this round which gave the firm a private valuation of $2 Billion.






Regardless of valuations, This marks very good growth in the Latin American startup space as more firms pop up in the area in line with venture funding gro…

Xiaomi linked smart home appliance startup Viomi files for $150 million U.S. IPO

Chinese internet connected home appliance maker Viomi has now filed for a U.S. public offering targeted to raise up to $150 million through listing of its shares under the ticker "VIOT".

The company notably backed by smartphone giant and recent public market debuting Xiaomi is very well connected and counts a main part of its operations through affiliation with the consumer electronics manufacturer.

Based out of Guangdong, Viomi develops a IoT home platform consisting of a collection of smart products such as dishwashers, air purifiers, refrigerators and several other household appliances.





It recorded revenues of $132 million for last year along with a net income of around $14 million for the same period from sales of its appliances. Notable shareholders of Viomi include Xiaomi itself, Shunwei Capital, The VC firm founded by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun and Sequia China who control respective stakes of 19.5%, 20.5% and 6.3% in the company.

"Powered by advanced artificial intelli…

Huawei's P20 series inks 10 million global sales in 5 months

Consumer electronics giant Huawei has just made known of its P20 Pro and P20 units reaching 10 million units after 5 months of release marking an exceptional milestone for the smartphone maker as more consumers adopt its products.

This latest flagship devices sold heavily across China and Western Europe, The company's key smartphone markets which counts a whole lot of tech-savvy citizens based in the regions.


The P20 smartphone outstanding for super-quality camera was unveiled at an exclusive event which held at the iconic Grand Palais Paris museum. It features an advanced camera system, Innovative AI enabled photography features, strong performance and a sleek design for consumers.

“We are humbled by the reception of our latest flagships among global consumers. By going above the 10-million mark, we have again set ourselves a high bar to clear, but we will treat it as a symbol of encouragement that will fuel us as we continue doing what we do best—putting cutting-edge innovation…

Enterprise software Unicorn Qualtrics said to interview banks for an IPO this year

Utah based enterprise software startup and unicorn Qualtrics has now been reported to be interviewing bankers for a public offering targeted to take place this year as the company joins the populated list of tech companies going for U.S. IPOs this year.

This report of an IPO came from Bloomberg which citing people familiar with the matter as the software firm which has raised $400 million in total across 3 rounds while being valued at $2.5 Billion from its most recent round of funding takes to the public markets.

Qualtrics provides software which makes sophisticated research simple for organizations making use of in-depth customer insights with the 16 year old company counting various notable names including Microsoft, Yahoo, Volkswagen, Allianz, Fandango and JetBlue among its customers.

As of last year, The company was said to be on-track for $250 million in annual revenue indicating high adaptation of its products by various global enterprises.

Qualtrics is backed by renowned VC fi…

Lyft reportedly hires advisor for aimed next year IPO

U.S. ride-hailing company and main Uber competitor Lyft has now been reported to have kicked off the process for a public offering in an effort to beat its main competitor in the public markets with a new report from Bloomberg stating of the company hiring Class V Group LLC to work closely with its management on an IPO process.

According to the report, The timing of the targeted IPO  hasn't been finalized and is subject to change.

“A variety of factors will determine if and when Lyft goes public, but in the meantime we are focused on building our business, which continues to grow,” Lyft spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna said in a statement. “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”

Lyft's main competitor Uber is also geared for an IPO next year with the company making several moves pointing to preparation for a public offering, It's recent hiring of a CFO marks as a very key move for a public listing of Uber recently valued at $72 Billion from a $500 million round invested…

Skip and Scoot awarded SF scooter permits

After applications for licenses by several scooter sharing firms and operations, The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has issued 1 year licenses to just 2 companies being Skip and Scoot which stands as smaller players in the market which counts the likes of Uber, Lyft, Lime, Bird, Ofo and Spin as major competitors.

The newly issued permits will allow for a maximum number of  625 scooters for each firm in the first 6 months with both firms being able to double their number after the first 6 months at the permit of the SFmTA.

According to the SFmTA, Scoot and Skip's permit applications demonstrate a high capability to operate a "safe, equitable and accountable scooter share service" in addition to a commitment to meet the terms of the permit.






In its application, The organization says Scoot demonstrated a strong commitment to safety with a proposal to educate and train its users for safe scooter operations through safe, equitable and accountable scooter share …

EA announces Battlefield V November 20 release date as it lowers fiscal year expectations

Gaming firm Electronic Arts just today announced it's revising its net bookings outlook for fiscal year 2019 driven by an update to its Battlefield™ V launch date with the new title's release being delayed to the 20th of November impacting its full year guidance with foreign exchange rates and a revised mobile forecast playing a part in this change.

EA's stock dropped by as much as 9.7% as of trading on Thursday in reaction to this news as investors and Wall Street analysts respond to this change highlighting issues for gaming companies as they aim to keep up with mega titles like the current craze Fortnite which has taken the world by storm and has already grossed over $1.2 Billion in revenue since its last year July release.

“We believe we’ve got one of the best Battlefield games ever coming in Battlefield V,” said Laura Miele, Chief Studios Officer, Electronic Arts. “Tens of thousands of players have been hands on with the game so far, and we’ve been honored to receive…

Apple sets September 12 for new launch event

Apple has announced the date for its next big event with the Cupertino based giant sending out invites for a September 12 event scheduled to hold at the new Steve Jobs Theater on its newly built campus.

The tech giant is expected to unveil its new iPhones and other releases on this date although as usual, It hasn't made any official comments regarding what to be showcased at the event.

Renowned Apple news site 9to5mac is reporting of Apple using the iPhone XS moniker for its new phone with another leaked photo made available which the site says is a newly revised Apple Watch 4 design.

With Apple's revenues rising globally as the company also broke the record of being the first $1 Trillion publicly traded U.S. firm early this month, It's expected to unveil more gadgets at the event which would be followed globally while being a major talk across media circles as consumers get to know what to expect next from the smartphone giant.

Several news outlets are reporting expected…

Snap recruits Time Warner veteran Kristen O'Hara to head U.S. sales

Camera company Snap has now hired Kristen O'Hara, AT&T executive and WarnerMedia Chief Marketing Officer as as vice president of US Global Business Solutions with this role seeing O'Hara heading the company's U.S. sales as it makes more moves to drive bigger revenues.

 O'Hara has spent 16 years in total at Time Warner while holding the position of CMO at the company for 7 years now in addition to a previous stint at PR giant WPP which indicates in-depth experience in the media industry.

As the new global sales chief, O'Hara will be based at its New York office while reporting to Snap Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan and overseeing three of its executives who have been reporting to Khan since February this year.

This new role is key to Snap's operations with O'Hara taking on a more “consultative” role with advertisers as the company expands beyond traditional sales and apply more creative advertising methods for enterprises and organizations.

Snap whic…

Digital design firm InVision cements strategic partnership with Atlassian

NY based digital design and collaboration firm InVision has now deepened its strategic partnership with Australian software giant Atlassian with an aim to accelerate digital innovation for global organizations through seamless and effective collaboration.

The 7 year old design firm whose software is used by the likes of Spotify, Airbnb, Shopify, Zendesk, SoundCloud, CitiGroup, Visa and others is intensifying its existing integrations with Atlassian's Jira, Confluence, and Trello product suite while also bringing Atlassian functionality into its InVision Studio release.

Both companies would also explore strategic initiatives which tie the work of designers and developers more closely together as it aims to offer better collaboration and design services for organizations.

As part of this, Atlassian is also making a strategic financial investment into InVision marking another of the Australian software firm's investments into partnering companies.






As explained by InVision CEO Cl…

Popular Gay dating service Grindr plans to go public

Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., The Chinese software company behind an acquisition of popular gay dating app Grindr is now planning an IPO for the unit aimed for an overseas stock exchange at a not yet specified time.

As per a new stock exchange filing, A public offering for the dating app with over 3 million daily users would be determined by regulatory approval as well as capital market conditions. Kunlun first purchased a majority stake in the app 2 years ago for $93 million before completing a full buyout January this year.

Grindr's users send over 228 million messages and 20 million photos each day on its service as per 2017 data indicating high usage of its service.






The service which counts majority of its users across U.S. and Europe stands as one of the three major businesses operated by its parent firm Beijing Kunlun which also counts a popular gaming and entertainment service as part of its business.

“Grindr’s listing won’t exert a huge influence on the group’s revenues and pr…

SurveyMonkey files for $100 million public offering

Online survey development cloud-based software company SurveyMonkey has now officially filed for an IPO aiming to raise $100 million as it goes public on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

It officially announced the filing with the SEC today as it preps to list under the ticker “SVMK” although the number of shares and price ranges to be offered has not yet been determined.

This would make an addition to the list of companies already filed for IPO this year which include the likes of Eventbrite, Farfetch, NIO, Tenable and Cango.

J.P. Morgan, Allen & Company and Merill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated stand as lead joint book-running managers for this offering with the likes of Wells Fargo, UBS and Credit Suisse also acting as book-managers for the IPO.

As per its filing, SurveyMonkey which counts all of the Fortune 100 as customers did $218.7 million in revenue last year while recording $121 million for the six months ending June 30 this year indicating good consumer and re…

Salesforce reports $3.3 Billion Q2 revenue

Cloud computing giant Salesforce just outed its Q2 results with the SF based company reporting total second quarter revenue of $3.28 billion marking a 27% year-on-year increase with subscription and support revenues coming at $3.06 billion while professional services and other revenues accounted for a remaining $221 million.

Cash generated from Q2 operations stood at $458 million marking a 38% year-over-year increase with current total cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities coming at $3.43 billion.

“Salesforce revenue grew 27% to almost $3.3 billion in the second quarter, with excellent performance across our clouds, industry segments and geographies," said Keith Block, co-CEO, Salesforce. “With this strong quarter, we’re well on our way to our next milestone of $23 billion in revenue in FY22.”





 The company expects to bring in 49 to 50 cents in earnings excluding certain items on $3.355 to 3.365 billion in revenue for Q3 which comes lower than analyst expectations of 5…

Vernā Myers joins Netflix mounting newly created role as Vice President of "Inclusion Strategy"

Renowned American author, Inclusion Strategist and Cultural Innovator Vernā Myers will now be joining streaming giant Netflix as announced by the company creating a new role of Vice President, Inclusion Strategy to help devise and implement strategies that integrate cultural diversity, inclusion and equity into aspects of its operations.

Myers would be bringing a lot to the table with an experience spanning over 2 decades of consultancy with wide range of major corporations and organizations on the eradication of cultural biases for better workplace productivity.

“Having worked closely with Vernā as a consultant on a range of organizational issues, we are thrilled that she has agreed to bring her talents to this new and important role,” said Jessica Neal, Netflix Chief Talent Officer.





“As a global company dedicated to attracting the best people and representing a broad range of perspectives, Vernā will be an invaluable champion of our efforts to build a culture where all employees th…

Eric Lefkosky's Tempus gets $110 million funding pushing its valuation to $2 Billion

Tempus, The Chicago based startup advancing precision medicine through the collection and analysis of molecular data has now closed on a $110 million Series E financing round from several firms including Baillie Gifford, T. Rowe Price, Steve Case's Revolution Growth, New Enterprise Associates and other returning investors pushing the total amount raised by the 3 year old startup to $320 million.

The company was notably started by former Groupon CEO and co-founder Eric Lefkosky who is also notable for starting Big Data unicorn Uptake along with key partner and fellow Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell.

Tempus has built a comprehensive data set for its industry powered by its clinical partners and collaborators across the country, It applies machine learning, next-generation sequencing and AI-assisted image recognition to aid in real time decision making for thousands of physicians.

“Our mission is to help usher in precision medicine, in the United States and abroad,” said Lefkofsky. …

Facebook video platform Watch rolls out globally

Social networking giant Facebook has now rolled out its Watch video service globally making efforts to offer people around the world more ways to discover great videos and also interact with friends, creators and other users on its platform.

Watch was launched in the U.S. last year and has grown to a good number of users with Facebook reporting more than 50 million people watching videos for at least a minute on its platform since the start of this year as it also works making its video experience more social through the addition of new features.

Several notable shows available on the Watch platform include Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith, beauty entrepreneur Huda Kattan’s behind-the-scenes show Huda Boss, along with live Major League Baseball games for users to enjoy.

Watch offers a platform to discover new videos, catch up with creators and publishers people follow, a home for saved videos and also live videos people can participate in providing social and interactive experi…

Gaming startup Loot Crate gets $23 million Series B funding

LA based gaming collectibles subscription startup Loot Crate has secured a Series B funding round totalling $23 million from new investor Atalaya Capital Management and commerical partners NECA and Bioworld Merchandising to bolster subscription lines, improve customer experiences, and enable new product launches and distribution channels for its products.

The leading subscription commerce platform for passionate entertainment and sport franchise fans is also refinancing its outstanding debt facilities while taking on incremental operational capital with this funding.

The 6 year old startup which has formed partnerships with the likes of Marvel, Nickelodeon, Overwatch, WWE, Cartoon Network and the Fallout, Halo, Harry Potter and Minecraft brands has now raised over $40 million in total with this new round.

"Over the past 6 years, Loot Crate has grown and evolved from a single subscription to offering multiple subscriptions spanning the best of pop culture, sports and gaming, than…

Lyft is offering $50,000 worth of Texas free rides for Labor Day weekend

Ride-hailing firm Lyft is celebrating the U.S. Labor Day weekend with cool perks for its users with the SF based company offering $50,000 in free rides for Texans to celebrate this event responsibly.

Users of its service would be able to enjoy the fun with free rides of up to $10 each while living up the last moments of summertime.

Texan users can claim their free rides here or by applying code RIDESMARTLD on the Lyft app.

“Labor Day festivities create a busy weekend for San Antonio roads,” Janet Peavy, Market Manager for Lyft San Antonio stated. “Data shows that 36 percent of Labor Day weekend fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver, and Lyft is committed to doing our part to combat this statistic and encourage responsible choices through our Ride Smart TX program.”

Its Ride Smart TX program launched in May with the major ride-hailing player committing to reduce drinking and driving through its ride-sharing program.

Part of Lyft's major moves to grow and cement its status…

Medical equipment manufacturer Outset Medical closes $132 million Series D funding

San Jose based medical tech company Outset has now closed a Series D round of $132 million led by Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala with participation from T. Rowe Price, Warburg Pincus, Perceptive Advisors, Baxter Ventures, Fidelity and Partner Fund Management.

This brings the total raised by Outset to over $360 million marking it as one of the most funded medical tech startups on scene. Started in 2003, The company is notable for its Tablo® Hemodialysis System aimed at reducing the cost and complexity of dialysis in acute and chronic care markets.

Outset is gearing this funding towards commercial expansion of this product for the U.S. region where dialysis is delivered to more than 500,000 patients several times per week for removal of waste products and excess fluid from Kidney Failure patients.

“Our investment in Outset Medical represents an exciting opportunity for Mubadala, as it is aligned with our goal of improving people’s lives while meeting a major global market nee…

HPE names former Sprint executive Tarek Robbiati as CFO

Hewlett Packard Enterprise on the heels of just outing its financial results has also made a notable announcement involving a position change in the company as it has appointed a new CFO by name of Tarek Robbiati, A former Sprint executive and Flexigroup CEO who will now replace current CFO Tim Stonesifer who is getting ready to step down as of October end.

Stonesifer is stepping down after heading to HPE 4 years ago as CFO following a nearly 3 year stint as s CFO of General Motor’s Co. Shanghai-based International Operations division. His tenure witnessed a period of significant transformation which included execution of the largest separation in corporate history in addition to spin-offs and mergers of 2 business segments delivering more than $20 Billion of transaction value.

“Tim has been an incredible partner and advisor for our company and for me personally,” said HP CEO Neri. “He played a vital role during a period of tremendous change, providing strategic counsel and execution…

Instagram ups its safety with new three-part plan

Instagram is making new moves in a bid to boost security on its platform as more users adapt its service with a safer environment being of positive interest to both parties. Just today, Instagram co-founder and CTO Mike Krieger detailed in a new post of three important steps its taking to offer a more secure platform for its 1 Billion global users.

The social media service is launching a new feature to help users evaluate account authenticity in addition to introducing a global verification form for notable public figures and an improved two-factor authentication system which makes it easier and safer for users to securely log onto the platform.

In coming weeks, Users would be able to see more information about accounts on Instagram which get to large audiences to evaluate authenticity through an “About This Account.” button to be accessed through a menu popping up after a click on a profile.


By September, People who have accounts which reach large audiences would be able to review t…

WeWork owned Flatiron School joins forces with design school Designation

Flatiron School, The coding school and bootcamp acquired and operated by co-working giant WeWork has now made a move to expand its service base with an acquisition of Designation, A dedicated User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) digital design program based out of Chicago notable for dishing out graduates for several big names including Facebook, Bose, Google, Apple, Capital One, Walgreens, IBM, Yelp, Uptake and several others.

Flatiron was established in 2012 and currently counts 7 campuses across the U.S. and U.K. in addition to an online presence for its enrollees. After raising over $14 million across 2 rounds from the likes of Thrive Capital, Matrix Partners, BoxGroup and CRV, WeWork acquired the firm October last year adding its offerings as another perk for its members.

This acquisition indicates WeWork's mission of furthering its co-working environment with new additions and features being made available to its over 200,000 members.

“Designation and Flatiron Schoo…

Brazilian on-demand trucking startup CargoX gets $60 million round led by Blackstone

Sao Paulo based on-demand trucking startup CargoX has now raised $60 million in a venture round led by investment powerhouse Blackstone along with participation from other notable names including Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm Ventures, Soros Fund Management and Uber veteran and co-founder Oscar Salazar.

This brings the total amount raised by CargoX to over $90 million as it aims to 'Uberize' the trucking industry and scale its operations in the huge logistics market. CargoX has already garnered notable customers including Heineken, Unilever, Votorantim and brewing giant Ambev.

CargoX handles transportation for a wide range of items including foods, electronics, packaged goods, Wood, Flooring and several other commodities crucial to everyday life offering easy transportation services for customers looking to move heavy goods across regions.

Previous investors in the 5 year old startup include Lumia Ventures, NXTP Labs, Agility, Valor Capital Group, NY  based Colle Capital Partners a…

Apple's Newest store - The Apple Kyoto in Shijō Dori

Tech giant Apple has always been making efforts towards ramping up its retail presence and this time, After opening a new location in Milan last month, The company has now opened another in Kyoto, The Japanese cultural and technological hub which has served as the city's major shopping spot since a long time ago.

This new location takes inspiration from local Japanese design and materials as per the company who fitted the upper levels with a translucent envelope inspired by Japanese lanterns along with the use of lightweight timber frame and special paper on the upper facade to draw reference to the country's traditional houses.


The building is notably surrounded by a multi-level Atrium which is earmarked to host its Today at Apple offering programs surrounding music, coding, photography and several other activities.

Apple's first store outside the U.S. was opened in Japan 15 years ago and as it expands its retail presence is opening several new stores and re-modelling ot…

AutoX launches pilot autonomous grocery delivery program in San Jose

In the ever growing autonomous vehicle service industry,  Another startup is making a foray into the market with the launch of a grocery delivery and mobile store pilot program which would allow public users to order and receive fresh produce and other forms of goods to be delivered by its self driving cars.

AutoX, The Silicon Valley based startup launching this service is partnering with GrubMarket, A online fresh food service also situated in its region along with local high-end grocery store DeMartini Orchard and will offer fresh foods from the likes of Chipotle, Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Amazon's Whole Foods for delivery to its users.

Customers will be able to order items after downloading its app which offers a selection of goods it says would be preserved in a temperature controlled environment throughout its journey.

“We are enabling two shopping experiences with self-driving cars,” explains AutoX COO Jewel Li. “You can order goods from an app and get them delivered by a…

Uber to appeal Brazil court decision ruling drivers as employees

Uber is set to appeal a decision by a Brazilian labour court which ruled in favor of a driver who demanded to be regarded as an employee of the service as per the company whose business model views its drivers as independent contractors as opposed to full employees.

The company made known in a statement it will file an appeal before Brazil's top labor court with the company stating of “solid jurisprudence” to back its case.

Uber has already won 123 similar lawsuits in the country as per its statement with several judges ruling that Uber has no compulsory need to treat its drivers as employees. Being its second largest market, The ride-hailing behemoth which sales its operations are profitable in the region have made efforts concerning its position and operations having fought legal battles brought about by various plantiffs regarding its service.

“It’s important to clarify that it is not Uber who hires drivers, but drivers that hire Uber,” the company said in its statement.

It…

VMware set to acquire CloudHealth as it makes efforts to grow cloud services

Cloud software giant VMware has just announced its intent to acquire Boston based cloud service management startup CloudHealth in what would mark its 33rd acquisition and its 4th this year as the company aims to expand its services in the cloud software market.

An official price has not been disclosed yet but Reuters reports VMware would pay $500 million for the 6 year old startup which has raised over $80 million in funding.

VMware made its intent known during the keynote address of its annual VMWorld conference where it also made announcement of a new integration with AWS amid other  hybrid cloud focused changes.





"Multi-cloud usage while beneficial to business creates a unique set of operational problems." said Raghu Raghuram, chief operating officer, products and cloud services, VMware. "With the addition of CloudHealth Technologies we are delivering a consistent and actionable view into cost and resource management, security and performance for applications across …

Amazon opens a second Go store in downtown Seattle

Retail colossus Amazon is now ready to open a second location of its Amazon Go store, It's cashierless shopping experience powered by several sensory technologies which was first made available earlier this year.

The company is now launching a second location near The Seattle Central Library at 920 Fifth Ave which will offer the same experience seen in its first pilot store to consumers.

Just recently, Amazon rolled out the windows, turned the lights on with the layout of the building and products able to be seen by passers by. It's scheduled to open 7a.m on Monday morning.

This store would feature a range of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack choices along with Amazon's own meal kits for people to purchase. Food options would me made available by Amazon chefs and various local caterers.

As Amazon continues on its efforts to scale in the e-commerce market it already dominates, The company is making moves to challenge other mainstream retail competitors with Amazon Go init…

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Lenovo Unveils An $80 Smart Clock With The Google Assistant

Lenovo has unveiled a latest addition to its family of smart home devices, a new Smart Clock kit with the Google Assistant which supports voice and touch controls on a 4-inch IPS display screen. With the Google Assistant, users can set up sleep routines like dimming the lights and displaying their first calendar event with single commands.

It includes a full-range 6W speaker tuned with Dolby's latest background noise reduction technology and also works with Chromecast for streaming of shows and music on TVs and speakers with voice commands. The $80 device connects with over 10,000 products and 1,000 partners and brands, leaving a wide range of choices for users to control other devices from their smart clock.


Its specs include:
A Mediatek 8167S 1.5ghz processorBluetooth 5.01GB RAM8GB Flash (eMMC)WLAN : 2.4G/5G Dual Band, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac328g weight
Inside the box, Buyers of the smart clock will get an adapter, a quick start guide and a  USB 2.0 Type-A cable for use. It'l…

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…

Amazon Set To Take Stake In Warehouse Robotics Firm Balyo

Amazon has agreed to a deal with publicly traded French warehouse robotics firm Balyo that could see the e-commerce giant build up a nearly one-third stake in the company and also boost sales of its self-driving forklift trucks. Under deal terms, Amazon will receive free stock warrants of up to 29% of Balyo's capital that it can exercise depending on its orders of products enabled by the company's software.

The full 29% would be exercised if Amazon purchases up to 300 million euros ($346 million) worth of these products. Use of warehouse robots is a key factor in efforts by Amazon to decrease costs and speed up deliveries. It began using robots developed by Kiva Systems (a company it acquired in 2012 for $775 million) in 2014, Kiva which initially shipped to other warehouse operators put an end to this after the acquisition, dedicating its technology to Amazon alone.


“This agreement ... represents an unprecedented opportunity for Balyo to grow its business and supports the so…

FedEx Agrees To $35 Million Settlement With N.Y. Over Cigarette Deliveries

FedEx has agreed to pay a $35 million settlement to the state of New York over illegal cigarette deliveries to its residents over a ten-year period, resolving three lawsuits alleging it partnered with cigarette trafficking businesses to illegally ship hundreds of thousands of untaxed cigarettes to New York residents.

The company will also implement internal reforms and hire an independent consultant that will oversee its compliance with the law and provide reports to the city and state. October last year, NY federal district judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that FedEx's conduct over many years for customers with such names as “Cigarettes Direct To You” violated a federal anti-cigarette trafficking statute, prompting FedEx to cease residential cigarette deliveries.


The reforms FedEx has agreed to as part of this agreement include ceasing domestic shipments of tobacco products, implementing company-wide communication and annual training concerning tobacco shipments and taking disciplinary…

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…

N26 Raises $300 Million Series D At $2.7 Billion Valuation

Berlin based fintech N26 has raised $300 million Series D funding led by New York based VC Insight Venture Partners with participation from Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, GIC and several existing investors. This rounds brings the total raised by the 5 year old company to more than $500 million and values it at $2.7 billion.

The $300 million round represents the largest private equity round for an European fintech company in recent years, shooting N26 operating in 24 markets across Europe with over 2.3 million customers into the unicorn club.



The company which says it has tripled its customer base in the last 12 months will make use of this investment to drive global expansion, starting with a launch of its mobile banking product in the U.S. in the first half of this year. It says it aims to reach over 100 million customers in the coming years.

“Around the world, millions of people still suffer from bad banking experiences and high fees. With Insight Venture Partners and GIC j…

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

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

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


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

Ford To Close Down On-demand Shuttle Service Chariot By March End

Ford has announced it's shutting down Chariot, the on-demand shuttle service it acquired in 2016 with the 25th of January being the last day it'll operate in the U.K. followed by a halt in the U.S. by the 1st of February.

It says it's ceasing all Chariot operations across both countries by March end, discontinuing the service it snapped up for a reported $65 million plus in what marked as the first acquisition for Ford 'Smart Mobility', the Palo Alto based unit it established in 2016 to grab a hold in growing automotive services like autonomous driving, multi-mode transportation and ride-sharing.


Chariot, a Y Combinator Alum founded in 2014 had raised only $3 million in funding after graduating from the accelerator prior to its acquisition by Ford, It says it has made over 3 million rides for its customers so far and will refund remaining commuter credit balances after it shuts down its service.

It'll also work closely with enterprise customers on a transition…

Apple's Jeff Williams Says Qualcomm Declined To Provide Chips For 2018 iPhones

Testifying this Monday in the on-going Qualcomm suit, Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams said the chipmaker declined to supply cellular modems for 2018 iPhones after Apple sued it in the previous year. William's testimony made known Apple was forced to use modems from Intel for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR rather than the decision being a choice by the company.

He said he tried negotiations with Qualcomm to provide new chips for Apple but was met with refusal while noting that Qualcomm still supply chips for older iPhone models. Apple is accusing Qualcomm of abusing its dominance in the smartphone chip market to force customers to use its products and take high patent licensing fees in return.


Just recently, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf argued that the company pushed to be the sole supplier of iPhone chips in response to a $1 billion "incentive payment" demanded by Apple, not with intention to block rivals like Intel from the market. Regulators …

Qualcomm CEO Says It Pushed For iPhone Exclusivity In Response To $1 Billion Apple Demand

Testifying in a Qualcomm lawsuit on Friday, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said the chipmaker pushed to become sole supplier of iPhone chips in response to a $1 billion "incentive payment" demanded by Apple, not as a move to block other suppliers from the market.

Mollenkopf says Qualcomm sought for exclusivity on the iPhone to regain the $1 billion payment Apple insisted on, stating that the company wasn't assured of how many chips the iPhone maker would be purchasing which pushed it to do this in order to ensure a safety net.


The payment made from Qualcomm to Apple in 2011 was meant to ease technical costs of swapping the iPhone's then Infineon chips with Qualcomm's, the CEO testified. Qualcomm was named sole supplier of Apple chips as part of a 2011 deal between the two, taking hold of a key smartphone market in a move antitrust regulators are terming as anti-competitive conduct.

Regulators are arguing Qualcomm did this in order to preserve its dominance in the…