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Showing posts from November, 2018

Elastic Acquires Endgame For $234 Million

Elastic -- a publicly traded company that builds custom search solutions for enterprises -- has announced it's acquiring cyber-security startup Endgame in an all-stock deal worth $234 million. The acquisition is subject to customary adjustments. Endgame has raised $111 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data. The $234 million acquisition price is a near 50% discount to a previous $465 million valuation (Pitchbook data).

Endgame's backers include Kleiner Perkins, Bessemer Venture Partners, Columbia Capital, Edgemore Capital, Savano Capital Partners and Paladin Capital Group. The Arlington, Virgina-based security startup's customers include the U.S. military and some Fortune 500 companies.


Elastic says the addition of Endgame will further advance its ability to offer a comprehensive security solution that's integrated with its own security information and event management (SIEM) products. "....By joining forces with Elastic, we will be able to take ou…

Mercedes-Benz envisions Empathy as Anchor for automobile Digital Transformation with its cooperative vehicle concept

"At Mercedes-Benz we are convinced that the digital transformation can only be designed successfully if it is deeply anchored within society. Humans and access to data must be at the heart of a digital transformation," Daimler's Head of Research for Future Technologies Jasmin Eichler says.

"That is why we are also working on solutions in the field of digitalisation which place the freedom, decision-making autonomy and individuality of human beings at their centre. We aim to create a balance between humans and technology. The approach we are following here is "Human first"." This signals the direction of Mercedes Benz concerning digital transformation hitting the automobile industry in full force.





At the FutureInsight event which held recently on 21 and 22 November in Berlin, Mercedes focused on empathy and trust as topics regarding inspiration for future mobility solutions and has showcased that in a cooperative vehicle concept with features such as …

Sweetgreen expands WeWork Delivery Partnership

Salad chain sweetgreen is widening a pilot program with WeWork that provides its members with free delivery through order ahead locations set across several WeWork locations in the U.S. Various locations in seven cities namely its homebase of New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles have been fitted with order ahead sweetgreen units as WeWork works on a plan to cover 50 of its locations with this service.

WeWork members and employees can order via sweetgreen's platform with a select of specific locations for pickup which sweetgreen drivers then deliver to. Sweetgreen recently raised $200 million in a round led by Fidelity at an over $1 billion valuation stating of the investment positioning it "to create a new food platform with expanded menu categories and innovative retail formats".


This counts as part of these efforts aimed for a boost in restaurant expansion, outposts, digital platform, blockchain tech and social impac…

Tesco and Volkswagen partner for development of EV charging network

British retailer Tesco and Volkswagen have teamed up for the development of what would count as the country's largest electric vehicle charging network powered by charging infrastructure provider Pod Point which will offer customers free charging for their vehicles using a normal 7kW charger or the use of a 50 kW charger for a cost in-line with market rates.

Over 2,400 charging bays will be rolled out across 600 Tesco locations within the next 3 years for this effort playing part in support of a transition to a low-carbon, clean air UK. It builds on Tesco's commitment made last year to 100% renewable electricity use by 2030.


As of current, charging infrastructure is available in 19 Tesco locations including stores in the regions of Bromley by Bow, Cefn Mawr, Elmers End, Haddington, Stourbridge, Sunderland Retail Park, Swansea Llansmlet, Watford and Woolwich among others.

Pod Point is already an official charge point supplier for major auto brands including Volkswagen, Jaguar …

Workday Records over 30% Revenue Growth from Previous Year with $743 million quarterly revenue

Cloud software company Workday recorded revenues of $743.2 million for its fiscal 2019 third quarter ended October 31, 2018 marking a 33.8% increase from the same quarter last year thanks to growth across its suite of enterprise products.

Subscription revenues for the quarter came at $624.4 million as per its recently released financial results also marking an increase of 34.7% from the same period last year. Operating cash flows for the quarter were $114.3 million while free cash flows came at $58.9 million.


Also in this period, Workday hit various milestones which includes going live on Adaptive Insights Business Planning Cloud in just 10 weeks building on its $1.55 billion acquisition of the company, unveiling its Workday People Analytics software, ranking number one on the Fortune Future 50 list recognizing global companies with the best prospects for long-term growth and holding of its 12th annual customer conference, Workday Rising, in Las Vegas along with its fifth annual Euro…

Dell Records Revenue Surge prior to Vote on Public Market Return

Dell Technologies reported a 15% surge in quarterly revenue this Thursday in what counts as its last financial disclosure prior to a vote on a VMware tracking stock deal that could see the company return to trading on the public markets.

Dell reported sales of $22.5 billion for the period ahead of voting by shareholders for a buyback of shares bound to to its 81% economic stake in VMware which would return the company to trading on the stock market without the process of a conventional public offering.


Dell recently increased its offer for VMware tracking stock to $23.9 billion or $120 a share which won backing from shareholders including including Icahn Enterprises chair Carl Icahn who had previously pushed against the deal and activist fund Elliott Management.

A jump in revenue for Dell's Client Solutions Group which consists of products like peripherals, PCs and tablets came at 11% and can be attributed to Microsoft's decision to end support for its Windows 7 OS in 2020. B…

GM President Dan Ammann taking up new role as head of Autonomous Vehicle unit

General Motors president Dan Ammann is now taking a new role as CEO of Cruise Automation, The company's autonomous vehicle unit as longtime lead and co-founder Kyle Vogt leads technology development now as president and chief technology officer. These new appointments announced by GM are effective beginning 2019.

Cruise has come into view as a leader in the autonomous vehicle space under Vogt's leadership spanning from its start in 2013 to its acquisition by General Motors 2 years ago. It has grown from 40 employees as of acquisition time to over 1,000 at its San Francisco headquarters and has also announced plans to expand into Seattle with the addition of 100-200 employees.


Ammann spearheaded the 2016 acquisition of Cruise and stands familiar with the company's team, business and technology. Among other global responsibilities, He oversaw GM's relationship with Cruise which has grown from a $581 million acquisition to a $14.6 billion post-money valuation after a rec…

Gear up for launch of "Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden" on the 4th of December

Tactical adventure game Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden will launch on the 4th of December globally for the PC, Xbox One and PS4 bringing what counts as "a game combining the tactical, turn-based combat of XCOM with real-time stealth and exploration of a detailed, post-human world."

Gamers who get their hands on the new title will play as a team of mutants in a world damaged by nuclear war, pandemics, and climate change where they'll explore in real-time and traverse for scraps and resources to assist their settlements.



In the process of exploring, Players will face enemies as the game switches to tactical turn-based mode bringing a fun experience involving battles and various challenges. Based on the the Swedish pen-and-paper RPG Mutant Year Zero, stealth and planning are key to taking on enemies in this new title, attacking the enemy head-on as done in most turn-based tactical games is not suited for the Road to Eden.

A sneak up on the enemy will serve better in a worl…

Asana nabs $50 million Series E round at $1.5 billion valuation

Asana, the collaboration software startup founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and early employee Justin Rosenstein has raised $50 million in Series E funding led by Generation Investment Management with participation from existing investors 8VC, Benchmark Capital and Founders Fund and new investors Lead Edge Capital and World Innovation Lab.

This round which brings the total raised by Asana to $125 million this year came at a valuation of $1.5 billion marking a new entrant into the unicorn club. San Francisco based Asana with more than 50,000 paying enterprise customers and millions of free enterprise users across 195 countries has now raised $213 million in total since founding.



It aims to use its new funding to fuel continued growth focused on key areas of Enterprise Scale, Global Expansion and Product Innovation as per its statement. These areas specifically include expansion of global infrastructure with the opening of a new data center in the German city of Frankfurt…

Microsoft secures $480 million contract to supply U.S. Army with HoloLens units

Microsoft has secured a $480 million deal with the U.S. Army to supply prototypes for augmented reality systems for use in training and in combat missions according to Bloomberg citing official confirmation from a company spokesman.

This deal could eventually lead to the purchase of 100,000 of Microsoft's HoloLens AR headsets according to Bloomberg and is aimed to “increase lethality by enhancing the ability to detect, decide and engage before the enemy,” quoting a government description of the initiative.





"Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions. This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defense to this new area,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

The HoloLens is one of the leading hardware in the consumer AR space with 50,000 sold according to a video made for the European Patent Office this spring but counts itself in a market not so larg…

Box reports Record Revenue and lesser-than-expected Losses amid Customer Growth

Cloud storage company Box reported lesser-than-expected losses for its fiscal 2019 third quarter as it inked a record $155.9 million in revenue thanks to over 40% growth in deals greater than $100,000 and addition of new customers bringing its total to over 90,000.

Net loss for the same period came at $40.2 million ($0.28 a share) as compared with $42.9 million ($0.32 a share) a year earlier. Its customer base is up from 87,000 the previous quarter to the 90,000 figure thanks to new and expanded deals with the likes of 23andMe, BBVA Compass, Mizuho Bank, National Bank of Canada, Radian Group, Shiseido Company, and Sunbelt Rentals.


During this quarter, Box hosted the eight annual BoxWorks conference that lured a record number of Fortune 1,000 attendees, announced updates to Box Tasks and Automations, launched the general availability of the Box for Gmail add-on and the beta of the Box for G Suite integration, announced support for custom-trained AI models for Box Skills and also added…

Deliveroo reportedly looking to raise $400 million at a $4 billion valuation

Deliveroo is said to be seeking more investment into hundreds of millions at a valuation of between $3 billion - $4 billion on a raise of between $350 million - $500 million as per a recent report from Sky News amid reported acquisition interest from Uber.

As per Sky, This fundraising doesn't stand as urgent with Deliveroo still sitting on hundreds of millions in cash from previous rounds. The company was last valued at $2 billion after a $385 million round Series F round last year September led by Fidelity, It has raised over $800 million in funding till date.


A September report indicated of Uber having an interest in acquiring U.K. based Deliveroo to boost its share in the food delivery market which stands as a main part of the company's business alongside ride-hailing. Sky says persons close to Deliveroo have suggested of no active talks between both companies although anticipation stands concerning renewed interest from Uber.

Deliveroo more than doubled revenue to £277 mi…

Here are 10 things to know about the Pixel Slate and its separately sold Keyboard

The Pixel Slate tablet bundled with Google Assistant became one of the newest members of the Made by Google hardware family earlier this fall as consumers got a uniquely designed device powered by Chrome OS packed with a long-lasting battery for getting work done on the go.

The Pixel Slate is now available for purchase and letting customers know of its key features is an important thing to do. A list of 10 things to know about the Pixel Slate and its separately sold Pixel Slate Keyboard as highlighted by Google is presented below:

It's Comfortably handheld : Weighing in at 1.6 lbs and 7 mm thin, it has a slim profile coupled with a curved glass which makes it easy to hold.It gives a state-of-the-art viewing and gaming experience thanks to the new Molecular Display feature that delivers a sharp picture paired with dual front firing speakers for the best experience.It helps get work done from anywhere with multitasking features like split screen and draggable tabs. An attachment of …

EV charging provider Chargepoint raises $240 million Series H round

EV charging network Chargepoint has secured $240 million in Series H funding from a diverse set of investors ranging from early market to institutional investors across the VC, financial, manufacturing, oil and gas, energy, utility, technology and automotive sectors.

These include lead investor Quantum Energy Partners, American Electric Power, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Chevron Technology Ventures, Clearvision, Daimler, GIC and existing investors BMW i Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Linse Capital, and Siemens.


Campbell, California based Chargepoint has now raised over $500 million in funding with this latest coming just over a year from a Series G round that fueled the company's move into the European market. Chargepoint counts over 57,000 independently owned public and semi-public charging spots and thousands of customers including businesses, agencies, cities and service providers across its network.

It designs, develops and manufactures the hardware and software…

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Angela Ahrendts Joins Airbnb's Board

Airbnb has added former Apple retail chief and ex Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to its board. She'll serve as the company's third independent non-affiliated board member, the other two being former American Express CEO Ken Chenault and former Pixar Studios CFO Ann Mather (who also serves on the boards of Netflix, Alphabet, Arista Networks, Glu Mobile and Shutterfly).

Ahrendts led global retail at Apple for five years before stepping down this year to be replaced by three decade running Apple Veteran Deirdre O’Brien. Prior to Apple, she spent eight years as CEO of British luxury brand Burberry. She also spent 25 years in New York as an executive at fashion brand Liz Claiborne and as President of Donna Karan International prior to Burberry.


Other notable Airbnb board members include LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Sequoia's Alfred Lin, Andreessen Horowitz's Jeff Jordan, and co-founders Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, and Nathan Blecharczyk.



Boosted Boards Nabs $60 Million Series B Funding

Electric skateboard manufacturer Boosted has raised $60 million Series B funding co-led by Khosla Ventures and iNovia Capital with participation from existing investors Stanford-StartX Fund and Bay Meadows. This rounds brings the total raised by Boosted to over $70 million and will see former Google CFO and iNovia partner Patrick Pichette move from an existing independent board position at the company to a preferred board seat.

"Today’s generation is quickly adopting light electric vehicles as a superior way to commute, saving both time and money over existing options while enjoying the ride," Boosted CEO Jeff Russakow says. "However, the majority of lightweight vehicles on the street today are leisure-grade or toy-grade products, when riders need vehicle-grade products that provide exceptional acceleration and braking performance, safety, durability, and superior design."


"Boosted has been perfecting street-quality technologies for the electric skateboard ma…

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…

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…

Affirm Raises $300 Million Thrive Capital Led Round

Affirm - the online lending startup led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin - has raised $300 million Series F funding led by Joshua Kushner's Thrive Capital, with participation from new investors Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures, Baillie Gifford, Wellington Management and Fidelity, and returning investors GIC, Founders Fund, Spark Capital, Ribbit Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Moore Asset Backed Fund.

Affirm has now raised $800 million in total funding, with this round valuing the company at $2.9 billion according to Axios. Thrive Capital is getting a board seat at Affirm with its investment. The company has also announced new additions to its board and executive team. Former Groupon executive Silvija Martincevic is joining as Chief Commercial Officer, former PayPal executive Greg Fisher is joining as Chief Marketing Officer, ex OpenTable CEO Christa Quarles is joining as an independent board member.


Affirm, which allows its customers get loans of up to $15…

Wall Street Arrange Big Loans For China's Unicorns

Several investment banks -- like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley -- are known to have arranged big loans for U.S. tech unicorns. Companies that have taken on such big loans include the likes of Uber, Opendoor, WeWork, Dropbox, SpaceX, SoFi and Affirm to name a few. But recently, China's Bytedance got a $1.34 billion loan from a group dominated by Wall Street banks, pointing to a new area of interest from Wall Street lenders; Chinese companies.

China's tech unicorns are not conventionally known for taking on big loans, but this may be changing, with a Bloomberg piece stating that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are arranging an up to $1 billion debt facility for Chinese real estate brokerage Beike Zhaofang, not too long after the brokerage secured $800 million in funding. Bloomberg also says Guazi -- fresh off  $1.5 billion in funding from Softbank earlier this year -- is in talks with banks for a credit facility of up to $400 million.


With historically low borrowing costs, …

Grab Reportedly Eyeing Banking License

According to a Reuters report, Grab -- the Singapore-based ride-hailing company valued at $14 billion -- is considering getting a banking license to offer online-banking services in Singapore as regulators in the city-state consider allowing online-only banks to operate. Reuters says Grab is close to enlisting a consultancy to give advice on its banking potential and is preparing to apply for a digital-only bank license if Singapore regulators open up the sector.

If this happens, it'll mark Grab's first foray into banking, not surprising given its massive funding ($8.8 billion total, according to Crunchbase data). Grab may be looking for ways to expand its reach and market prospects, with digital banking being attractive thanks to Southeast Asia’s growing payments market.


The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said last month that it was looking into the potential for letting “digital-only banks with non-bank parentage” into Singapore's market. According to Reuters, th…

Hyundai Takes Stake In Aurora

Shortly after Aurora partnered with Fiat Chrysler to develop self-driving vehicles, Hyundai has announced it has invested an undisclosed sum in Aurora, cementing a strategic partnership -- to work on self-driving technologies -- formed between both parties in 2018. With this investment, Hyundai and Aurora have agreed to expand research to other vehicle models, with the latter now working to build a custom self-driving platform for Hyundai and -- its subsidiary brand -- Kia's driverless vehicles.

Hyundai says its self-driving vehicles will "enhance their ability to monitor, react, and adapt to different surroundings" with the addition of "Driver", Aurora's self-driving stack. This stack is what Aurora earlier agreed to sell to Fiat Chrysler. Hyundai has made some waves in the driverless vehicle world, having successfully demonstrated self-driving tech in urban environments at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The company also debuted a fleet of driv…

Volvo And Uber Debut New Automated Car

Volvo and Uber have teamed up for a new self-driving car that'll be equipped with self-driving features at the factory level as opposed to fitting already made cars with Uber's own self-driving technology. The new vehicle is a Volvo XC90 SUV that the automaker says is "capable of fully driving itself" when combined with technology developed by Uber ATG.

The new self-driving vehicle is equipped with more safety features, the most prominent being back-up systems for steering and braking functions. The systems are designed to get the vehicle to a halt if any of its primary systems fail. There's also battery back-up power for the vehicles.


Volvo and Uber entered a commercial agreement in 2016 for Volvo to supply tens of thousands of self-driving vehicles in coming years. This new vehicle is based on the partnership.

Volvo plans to put this new vehicle to work by 2020.



Juul Sales Boom

According to a Bloomberg piece, popular e-cigarette maker Juul has told investors that sales have gotten stronger after a short period of lowered sales late last year, due to a pulling off of some flavored vape products in the U.S. stemming from increasing popularity with underage users. According to Bloomberg, Juul said -- in a letter to investors -- that its first quarter sales were $528 million, up 23% from $430 million a year earlier.

Juul was previously reported to be expecting $3.4 billion in sales this year. An earlier conference call from Altria -- which purchased 35% of Juul for $12.8 billion in December -- said Juul sold 175 million refill pods in the U.S. in Q1, up from 64 million a year earlier. In Q4 2018, Juul told investors it had $70.4 million in adjusted losses and more than $700 million cash on hand.


But increased sales come with increased scrutiny. Juul is facing increased probes from regulators in the U.S., India and other places, with critics saying the company h…