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Showing posts from August, 2018

EU Hands Qualcomm $271 Million Fine

The European Commission has imposed a fine of €242 million (around $271 million) on U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm for behavior it termed "predatory pricing". The EU is alleging Qualcomm at some time abused its market dominance in 3G baseband chipsets by selling them at below production cost with an aim to force competitor Icera out of the market. Such activity is illegal under EU antitrust law.

The EU alleges Qualcomm abused its market dominance between mid-2009 and mid-2011 by selling certain 3G baseband chipsets below production cost to Huawei and ZTE, claiming this was done with an aim of eliminating Icera, Qualcomm's main rival in the 3G baseband market as at that time. An investigation into Qualcomm was first launched by the European Commission in 2015.


The European Commission opened a formal investigation on the 16th of July 2015 and sent out a Statement of Objections [a document stating preliminary concerns of its investigation] on 8 December 2015. Another Statement of…

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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James Murdoch Said To Bet On VR Company

According to a new Bloomberg piece, James Murdoch -- a long-time media executive and heir to media mogul Rupert Murdoch -- has invested $20 million in The Void, a Lindon, Utah-based virtual reality company that offers immersive experiences at some 11 cities globally. Bloomberg reports Murdoch has also taken a board seat at the company.

Murdoch runs a VC fund called Lupa Systems that makes bets on tech and entertainment businesses. A $20 million investment would count as the largest yet for that fund, although Murdoch is said to be working on a potentially larger investment in Zee Entertainment Enterprises, an Indian publicly traded television network.


To state The Void's business in clear terms; the company lets customers participate in virtual interactive worlds for a roughly $35 fee. The Void combines VR technology, physical stages and multi-sensory effects to achieve this. The company has collaborated with top animation companies including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Mar…

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…

Bird Reportedly In Talks To Acquire Scoot

According to a TechCrunch report, Bird -- the $2 billion valued Santa Monica-based startup known for its on-demand scooters -- is in talks to acquire Scoot, a competitor that has raised roughly $47 million in total funding, and was last valued at $71 million. TechCrunch says Bird has agreed to acquire Scoot although a deal is likely not yet closed. If it pulls through, this will be Bird's first full acquisition.

Scoot operates in the cities of San Francisco, Barcelona, and Santiago, with a fleet of manual kick scooters, electric scooters and electric bikes that users of its mobile app can access. The company has done more than 2.5 million total rides. Its backers include Vision Ridge Capital, India's Mahindra Partners, SunPower founder Tom Dinwoodie and Scout Ventures.


Bird -- led by former Uber and Lyft executive Travis VanderZanden -- on the other hand is much bigger, having raised $415 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data. Its backers include Accel, Ashton…

Amazon Reportedly Working On Alexa Robot

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Amazon is working on a wheeled robot that can be controlled by Alexa commands, alongside a new Echo Speaker. Bloomberg reports both devices are being developed at Amazon Lab126, an R&D team based in Sunnyvale, California. The report says Amazon originally planned to unveil the robot as early as this year but hasn't yet gotten to a point of mass production readiness for the machine.

Although Amazon could choose to axe the project, Bloomberg reports the company has courted engineers from other projects to work on it -- an indication the company plans to sell it at some point. It remains unclear what tasks the robot may be used for. Bloomberg reports [citing unnamed people familiar with the project] prototypes that are about waist-high and move around with the help of several computer-vision cameras. An Amazon engineer was said to have summoned the machine with his voice at an internal demonstration.

Amazon has not made any public sta…

Argo AI Now On Par With Self-Driving Competitors

Volkswagen recently announced a $2.6 billion investment in Argo AI, Ford's self-driving unit. The investment consists of $1 billion in cash commitments and the transfer of Volkswagen's $1.6 billion valued self-driving unit. With this investment, Argo AI now stands on par with other self-driving competitors including Alphabet's Waymo, GM Cruise and Uber ATG, three self-driving companies backed by billions of dollars in funding.

Argo AI's first known funding was a $1 billion commitment [over five years] by Ford in 2017. Ford has so far put in $400 million as agreed, and will invest the remaining $600 million atop Volkswagen's $1 billion cash commitment. Volkswagen's funding and the addition of its self-driving unit adds fuel to Argo's operations in a capital and talent intensive area.


Other self-driving companies have raised huge funding to maintain operations even without operational businesses. To note a few; a $2.25 billion investment in GM Cruise from So…

Meet goPuff, A Low-key Delivery Company Worth $1 Billion

The food-delivery market is one with intense competition. The likes of DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, Deliveroo, Swiggy, Just Eat, Yelp Eat 24, and more are steadily competing for global market share while also raising huge funding. Just recently, Deliveroo raised $575 million in a round led by Amazon. DoorDash has also raised $600 million Series G funding at a $12.6 billion valuation.

Amid the intense battle, it turns out there's one hot startup that has stayed low key to avoid the eye of rivals, but it seems word is getting out. That low-key hot startup is goPuff, on-demand convenience store delivery app that was valued at $1 billion last November after a financing round, according to regulatory filings reviewed by The Information. goPuff ships products to customers from centrally located facilities -- as opposed to direct pickup from stores -- in 81 U.S. cities.


The company -- based in Philadelphia -- stocks more than 3,000 products at its facilities which it then ships to cu…

US Army To Test Armed Robotic Vehicles Next Year

The U.S. Army has said it'll begin testing the use of robotic combat vehicles (RCVs) by next year. A month-long operational test has been scheduled for March next year at Fort Carson, Colorado. The U.S. army says the test will provide input on next steps to take with the use of autonomous vehicles in military operations.

The next year test will be the first phase, with two more scheduled for late fiscal 2021 and mid-fiscal 2023. The RCVs [built on an M113 armored personal carrier] will be controlled from the back of modified Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Next year's test will involve two of such modified vehicles and four RCVs. Each modified vehicle will have a driver, gunner and four soldiers in its rear that'll control a pair of RCVs to conduct platoon-level maneuvers. The RCVs will be equipped with 360-degree cameras and a remote turret, which crew members will control with touchscreens.


There are three RCV variants adopted by the U.S. Army for this purpose -- light, medi…

Nissan Unveils New EV, The Leaf Plus

Nissan has unveiled a new electric vehicle, an addition to its Leaf lineup dubbed the Leaf Plus (or e+) which will become available for purchase at dealerships late this month. The Leaf Plus comes with improved range by 40% than its predecessor and is equipped with technologies including Nissan's ProPilot semi-autonomous driving system and e-Pedal mode for one-pedal driving.

Other notable features of the new vehicle includes:

Door-to-Door Navigation (syncs the vehicle's navigation system with a compatible smartphone for walking and driving directions).A larger full-color 8-inch display.A reprogrammed the e-Pedal software.458 km driving range.70 kW (100 kW peak) Quick Charging system.High-capacity battery (160 kilowatts of power and 340 Nm of torque) (288 cells).25% increase in energy density than that of predecessor (Nissan Leaf).16-inch wheels andBattery limited warranty of 8 years/160,000 km.


Pricing of the Nissan Leaf Plus in Japan starts at ¥4,162,320 ($38,240), Pricing in…

Postmates Said To Have Held At Least 3 Acquisition Talks

Postmates confidentially filed for an IPO this February but there has been no follow-up after that. Conventionally, companies that confidentially file for IPO tend to unveil their official S-1 filing soon after. This occurred in the case of Slack, Uber and Lyft, which all went public this year. Postmates' case has been quite odd, with no official talks on an IPO even months after a confidential filing. But there might just be an explanation.

 A new report from Vox's Recode says Postmates has held acquisition talks with at least three suitors, including Walmart, Uber and DoorDash. The on-demand delivery company is said to have hired Qatalyst Partners to explore a sale. Qatalyst is a famed boutique investment bank that has been involved in several tech acquisitions, to name a few: Looker [recently acquired by Google for $2.6 billion], HotelTonight [purchased by Airbnb], Qualtrics [acquired by SAP for $8 billion], Duo Security [acquired by Cisco], PillPack [acquired by Amazon], …

Curve Valued At $250 Million With $55 Million Series B

Curve -- a London-based fintech startup that launched out of beta February last year -- has announced $55 million in Series B funding that values it at a quarter of a billion dollars ($250 million to be precise). Gauss Ventures led the funding, with participation from other investors including Santander InnoVentures, Creditease, IDC Venture, Seedcamp, Outward VC and more.

Curve says it's on track to hit 1 million customers by year end. The London-based startup operates an app that lets customers link all their bank accounts and cards into one single card. Curve customers can spend abroad without any fees, and get instant notifications and categorisation of what they spend.


Using Curve cards, customers can also swap spend to a different card they have linked to the app for up to two weeks after a purchase is made. There's also instant 1% cashback on some services including Amazon, Uber, Netflix and more.

Curve operates out of two offices in London and Bristol. The fintech star…