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Rent The Runway Raises $125 Million, At $1 Billion Valuation

New York based clothing rental startup Rent the Runway has raised $125 million in funding co-led by Franklin Templeton Investments and Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from all existing lead investors, T. Rowe Price and Hamilton Lane Advisors. This round brings the total raised by the company to approximately $337 million and values it at $1 billion.

With this investment, Franklin Templeton portfolio manager Sara Araghi has been appointed to Rent the Runway's board, joining as the fifth female board member at the female-led company. The company says the new funding will enable it to accelerate subscription growth, infrastructure and broaden assortment and category offerings.


“Shared, dynamic ownership is a movement that Rent the Runway has pioneered over the last decade and we’re excited to continue to lead the market and innovate our subscription service,” Rent the Runway co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman said in a statement. "The apparel and accessories market is …

Netflix Said To Hire Outgoing Activision CFO

Netflix is reportedly hiring Activision CFO Spencer Neumann who the company says it’s planning to let go of for unspecified reasons in an SEC filing. Reuters reports this hire citing a source familiar with the matter, stating Neumann who has been placed on paid leave at Activision will take helm as CFO at Netflix early 2019.

According to Activision’s filing, It intends to terminate Neumann  “for cause unrelated to the company’s financial reporting or disclosure controls and procedures.”  A hire won’t come as a surprise as current Netflix CFO David Wells made known this August of his intention to step down after a long 14 years at the company.

Netflix is expected to make an official announcement of this hire in the next few days, Reuters says, also noting that the company wants its next chief financial officer to be based in the Los Angeles area with a focus on production finance. Prior to Activision Blizzard, Neumann held roles at private equity firms Summit Partners and Providence E…

IP Disputes Can Now Be Taken To The Chinese Supreme Court

Intellectual property cases can now be taken to the Chinese Supreme Court, the government said this Saturday, marking a step to strengthen protection of IP amid complaints from U.S. along with the European Union of low enforcement of intellectual property rights in the country.

With China and the U.S. in talks to come to terms on a trade dispute which has led to tariffs placed on imported goods from both sides, This move likely counts as one related to this as displaying seriousness about U.S. concerns count as a step towards this.


Even with this, Deputy chief justice Luo Dongchuan has dismissed suggestions that this move was influenced by the U.S. side. “China has for many years followed international regulations and international treaties to protect intellectual property rights,” Luo said. “So it’s not because of the demands by foreign countries that we’ve stepped up protection [efforts]. This is an integral part of our own development.”

"China is already the world's secon…

Epic Games Said To Have Banked $3 Billion Profit This Year

Fortnite developer Epic Games made $3 Billion in profit this year according to TechCrunch which cites a source with knowledge of its business.

If this stands true, it'll mark a very successful year even more than previously estimated for the Fortnite maker. Several analyst predictions estimated the company was in line to make $2 Billion in gross profits for 2018.


Fortnite has proved to be a money making machine with its 125 million players spending lots of cash on in-game items for the free to play title. Epic has not released any revenue statistics for any of its games, In addition to Fortnite, it also makes money from other games like Battle Breakers, Robot Recall, Spyjinx and game development platform Unreal Engine.




Dell Returns To Public Markets After 5 Years In Private Hands

Dell has begun trading on the public stock market after listing on the NYSE this Friday under the symbol 'DELL', a move achieved through a buyback of shares that tracked financial performance of VMware, a firm it holds a majority stake in.

The buyback deal involved cash and stock, worth nearly $24 billion and allowed it to sidestep a traditional listing process which would likely have seen scrutiny from investors concerning Dell's debt pile. Dell has been leveling down its debt, majority of which was issued for its 2015 $67 billion purchase of EMC.


Dell is trading at around $45 (as of writing) on the New York Stock Exchange, It opened at $46 and hit a low of $44.77 during trading today. According to the Wall Street Journal, Silver Lake Partners, a key backer in Dell's 2013 buyout is retaining its 24% stake in the company.


Tesla Adds Larry Ellison And Walgreens Executive Kathleen Wilson-Thompson To Board

Tesla has made two new additions to its board with the appointment of Oracle chairman Larry Ellison and Walgreens Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer Kathleen Wilson-Thompson as independent directors. This appointment took effect as of December 27 2018.

Tesla's board, led by its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee made this appointment after conducting "a thorough, expansive process in searching for its new independent directors, considering candidates with a wide range of skill sets from across the globe who also hold a strong personal belief in Tesla’s mission of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy." The company said in its statement.


“In conducting a widespread search over the last few months, we sought to add independent directors with skills that would complement the current board’s experience. In Larry and Kathleen, we have added a preeminent entrepreneur and a human resources leader, both of whom have …

Apple Will Reportedly Start Assembling Top-End iPhone Models In India Next Year

According to a Reuters report, Apple supplier Foxconn will begin assembling high-end iPhone models in India, potentially taking its business in the country to a higher level and likely as a way to sidestep tariffs that may arise from a U.S.-China trade war.

The report says work will begin at Foxconn’s plant in the town of Sriperumbudur with a 25 billion Indian rupees ($356 million) investment set for expansion of the manufacturing facility. This may create as much as 25,000 jobs in the Indian market, it added.


A move like this makes much sense for Apple as in addition to avoiding potential tariffs from the Chinese side where it assembles the bulk of its products, India has also placed high tariffs on imported smartphones in recent years, making Apple's products more expensive and unable to compete with cheaper models from the likes of Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo and Micromax who lead the country's smartphone market.

Apple has already begun assembling lower-cost iPhone SE and 6S mod…

Amazon And Walmart Face Tough Rules In Indian Market

E-commerce leaders Amazon and Flipkart are facing tough rules from the Indian government aimed at preventing predatory pricing and deep discounts that pose threat to its local retail market. The rule, effective from the 1st of February require that all vendors be treated equally on the same terms and that cash back provided must be fair and not affect the price of goods and services.

The Indian government has also barred e-commerce services from coercing sellers to feature products exclusively on their platforms. E-commerce companies will have to present a certificate confirming compliance to these rules along with an auditor's note to the Reserve Bank of India by the 30th of September every year for the preceding financial year.


Highlights noted in the government's statement include :

E-commerce companies no longer permitted to offer products made by companies which they hold equity in or have control of its inventory.Name, address and other contact details of the seller shou…

White House Reportedly Mulling Executive Order To Ban Purchase Of Huawei And ZTE Equipment

According to Reuters, U.S. President Donald Trump is considering an executive order in the new year that will bar use of telecom equipment made by China's Huawei and ZTE for U.S. companies, a move that will mark the latest by the Trump Administration to cut Huawei and ZTE from the U.S. market following concerns its equipment could be used to spy on American citizens.

Reuters says the executive order which has been in consideration for over 8 months could be issued next month and would direct the United States Department of Commerce to prevent U.S. companies from purchasing equipment from foreign manufacturers that pose national security risks.





The order might unlikely name Huawei and ZTE in a direct manner but would be interpreted as authorization to restrict spread of equipment made by the two companies. An order like this may affect rural operators in the U.S. who make use of equipment made by foreign manufacturers that would cost lots of money and time to replace.

Telecom gian…

Citron Predicts Facebook Stock Could Hit $160 Next Year

Activist short seller Citron Research has predicted Facebook, trading at around $134 (as of writing) may hit $160 next year as it maintains revenues and user base with little impact even in the midst of several data scandals and privacy issues.

After years of growth, for the first time ever, Facebook is trading at a discount to the S&P and is at its lowest multiple ever, in part to data scandals including a most recent issue involving sharing of user data with several tech giants like Spotify, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo, it defended itself arguing this only happened with user permission granted.


"Despite Facebook’s massive $9.5B R&D Budget, it is inevitable that the system will somehow be abused or exploited." Citron said in its report. "What excites Citron the most is not the: live streaming, 3d photos, integration of platforms, or augmented reality. We believe investors will be rewarded by the shift of user behavior to Instagram shopping and the personalizati…

Amazon Inks A Record Holiday Season With "More Items Ordered Worldwide Than Ever Before"

Amazon has announced it had a record holiday season with customers purchasing millions more Amazon Devices this season compared to last year, best-selling devices for this period include the new Echo Dot smart speaker, The Echo and the Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa Voice Remote.

The company also said "tens of millions of people" globally began trials or paid memberships for its Amazon Prime subscription bundle, with over a billion items shipped for free this holiday in the U.S. Its Ring and Blink product lines also had more sales this holiday season than ever before, as per its statement.


Other highlights noted by the company for this holiday season include :
Customers requesting nearly 3x as many recipes on Alexa than normal.Alexa setting over 100 million timers.Customers requesting Alexa to turn on their holiday lights tens of millions of times, the number one request being “Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree.”“All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey being the top re…

Despite Turbulence, Huawei Sold Over 200 Million Smartphones This Year

Huawei has announced that it exceeded 200 million sold smartphones this year despite turbulence relating to bans of its telecom equipment and the recent arrest of its CFO Meng Wanzhou who is currently on bail in Canada.

The 200 million sales came about with strengthened sales of the Honor 10, P20 and Mate 20 models which account for a significant percentage of this figure. According to Huawei, within two months of release, The Mate 20 series had shipped over 5 million units while the popular Huawei nova series sold over 65 million units units year.


8 years ago, Huawei inked a little 3 million annual sales, now growing to over 200 million in 8 years, indicating high growth for the Chinese company. It says its smartphones are being used by more than 500 million countries in over 170 countries as of current.

"Looking to the future, Huawei's consumer business will focus on the core concept of 'consumer-centric', and will dare to keep innovating, and make every effort to …

Here Are All The Retail Locations Apple Opened This Year

Beginning January this year, Apple launched new retail spots across the globe, spanning countries from Japan to Thailand, France and others. On the 26th of January, it opened its first official store in South Korea featuring 140 employees including 18 Koreans who worked in stores around the world before heading home.

Here are all the stores the company launched around the globe throughout this year:
Apple Garosugil in Seoul, South Korea - The company launched its first ever store in the country on the 26th of January to thousands of customers who braved sub-freezing temperatures to witness the event attended by Apple's senior vice president of Retail Angela Ahrendts.




Apple Kärntner Straße in Austria - Shortly after a South Korea launch, Apple opened its first store in Austria on the 22nd of  February. It's located on a famous pedestrian shopping street between St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera, housing 150 employees who speak 44 languages.




Apple Shinjuku in Toky…

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Apple Debuts Two New iPads

Ahead of a March 25 event expected to showcase its moves into subscription based software, Apple has unveiled two new additions to the iPad lineup: a new 10.5-inch iPad Air and 7.9-inch iPad mini. It says the new iPad Air comes with a 70% performance boost and twice the graphics capability of the previous version.

Features of the new iPads include:

iPad Air:
Apple Pencil SupportA12 Bionic chip'Advanced Retina display with True Tone technology' - nearly 20 percent larger (with over half a million more pixels) than the previous versioneSIM technology.


The features of the new iPad mini are also quite similar to the new iPad Air. Apple says the new iPad mini comes with three times the performance and nine times faster graphics than the preceding version. It also says it's "25 percent brighter and has the highest pixel density of any iPad".

Set to hit stores next week, the new iPad mini starts at $400 for the Wi-Fi model and $530 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, while …

Gett Reportedly Looking To Go Public This Year

According to the Financial Times, Gett - an Israeli based ride-hailing startup valued at $1.4 billion from a last year round - is planning an IPO this year, potentially joining Lyft and Uber which are expected to also go public this year. According to FT, Gett is planning a listing in either Israel or on the London Stock Exchange.

Citing CEO Dave Waiser, the FT reports Gett considered a listing after seeing that ride-hailing rival Lyft planned to go public, despite growing losses. “We will see how Lyft goes, we believe there’s a lot of public capital waiting for the [technology] darlings [Uber and Lyft], but we also believe that our business model makes sense,” Waiser said.


Citing a monthly profit chart, the Financial Times says Gett's global business lost $3.5 million in December, but expects to ink more than $1 million in Profit this December. It also says its more mature European business inked $2.4 million in losses but is projected to record a higher profit by the end of thi…

Volvo Debuts Speed-Limit Setting Key

Following Volvo's move to set a 180km/h top speed limit on all its vehicles beginning 2020, Volvo has unveiled the Care Key, a device that allows users of its vehicles to set a speed limit for themselves, family members or friends. The Care Key will become standard on all its vehicles beginning 2021.

The device lets Volvo drivers set limitations on their car's top speed before use, or lending to acquaintances, tackling the issue of over-speeding on roads. In addition to capping speed, Volvo says it's currently courting insurance companies in several markets "to conversations" to offer favorable, special insurance packages to drivers using its safety features.


Volvo says it expects to announce the first of such agreements with national insurance firms soon. “We believe that a car maker has a responsibility to help improve traffic safety,” Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said. “Our recently announced speed limit fits that thinking and the Care Key is another example. M…

Nvidia Debuts $100 AI Computer

Nvidia has unveiled the Jetson Nano, a new $100 AI computer that delivers 472 GFLOPS of computing performance for running AI workloads, and is power-efficient, consuming as little as 5 watts. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang unveiled the device at the on-going GPU Technology Conference, where the company also announced a self-driving collaboration with Toyota.

The Jetson Nano actually comes in two versions - a $100 devkit for developers and a $130 production ready module for companies looking to utilize it to create mass-market systems. Nvidia says it can run several neural networks on each sensor stream, process many sensors in parallel and support high-resolution sensors and many popular AI frameworks.


Specs of the AI device includes:
Linux for Tegra - OS SupportGigabit Ethernet connectivity4 GB 64-bit LPDDR4 memoryQuad-core ARM A57 CPU 128-core Nvidia Maxwell architecture-based GPUVideo: 4K @ 30 fps (H.264/H.265) / 4K @ 60 fps (H.264/H.265) encode and decodeCamera: MIPI CSI-2 DPHY lanes, 12…

Toyota and Nvidia Collaborate For Self-Driving Tech

Toyota has tapped Nvidia for a collaboration to 'develop, train and validate self-driving vehicles', Nvidia announced on Monday at the on-going GPU Technology Conference (GTC) . This partnership builds on an already existing relationship with Toyota to utilize the Nvidia Drive "scalable AI platform for autonomous driving", and is based on collaboration between teams from Nvidia, Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development (TRI-AD) in Japan and the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) in the U.S.

Nvidia says the agreement included the development of "an architecture that can be scaled across many vehicle models and types", boosting production and development timeline, and also "simulating the equivalent of billions of miles of driving in challenging scenarios."


“Our vision is to enable self-driving vehicles with the ultimate goal of reducing fatalities to zero, enabling smoother transportation, and providing mobility for all,” TRI-AD CEO Dr. James K…

Volvo Outs In-Car Cameras To Tackle Unsafe Driving

Volvo has unveiled new in-car cameras that it says will help tackle drunk and distracted driving in its vehicles. These cameras will see its debut on Volvo vehicles early next year. Volvo says the in-car cameras in conjuction with other sensors will allow the car to intervene if "a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver does not respond to warning signals and is risking an accident involving serious injury or death".

The vehicle's intervention could involve limiting speed, alerting the Volvo on Call assistance service, and actively slowing down and safely parking the car as a final course of action. Examples of situations where the camera comes into effect include a complete lack of steering input for long periods, drivers who are detected to have their eyes off the road, extreme lane weaving and slow reaction times.


Details on the exact amount of cameras and their positioning in the interior of Volvo vehicles will be revealed later. Volvo also debuted a new speed-lim…

Rent The Runway Raises $125 Million, At $1 Billion Valuation

New York based clothing rental startup Rent the Runway has raised $125 million in funding co-led by Franklin Templeton Investments and Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from all existing lead investors, T. Rowe Price and Hamilton Lane Advisors. This round brings the total raised by the company to approximately $337 million and values it at $1 billion.

With this investment, Franklin Templeton portfolio manager Sara Araghi has been appointed to Rent the Runway's board, joining as the fifth female board member at the female-led company. The company says the new funding will enable it to accelerate subscription growth, infrastructure and broaden assortment and category offerings.


“Shared, dynamic ownership is a movement that Rent the Runway has pioneered over the last decade and we’re excited to continue to lead the market and innovate our subscription service,” Rent the Runway co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman said in a statement. "The apparel and accessories market is …

HP Debuts New VR Headset

At the HP Reinvent conference, HP unveiled a new VR headset - the Reverb, a new "grounds-up designed" headset with twice the resolution, two-thirds the weight and half the cost of of the preceding HP Mixed Reality VR Headset. With the debut of this new headset, HP says it worked on a device that addresses three pain points commonly associated with VR headsets: visual quality, comfort and worry-free deployment and support.

Weighing just 1.1. pounds, features of the HP Reverb include:
2160 x 2160 display 114-degree field of viewIntegrated headphonesDual microphonesPre-paired motion controllersWindows Mixed Reality and Steam VR supportBluetooth connectivityRemovable, cleanable facemask cushions


The new headset comes in two versions: a Consumer Edition and Pro Edition. Set for availability in April, they'll go for $600 and $650 respectively. The Pro edition comes with an additional 0.6m headset cable and a washable fabric face cushion, hence the price.



Atlassian Snaps Up AgileCraft For $166 Million

Atlassian has announced an acquisition of AgileCraft - a Georgetown, Texas based provider of "enterprise agile planning software" - for $166 million: $154 million in cash, and the rest in restricted shares subject to vesting conditions. The acquisition is expected to close next month.

San Francisco based Atlassian's purchase of AgileCraft is expected to add approximately $1-2 million to the company's fiscal 2019 revenue. The 2013 founded company raised $10 million in funding from investors including private equity firm Crane Nelson, and former Bank of America senior executives Jim Kelly and Tim Arnoult.


This acquisition adds to Atlassian's notable buys, including a $295 million purchase of OpsGenie September last year and a $425 million purchase of Trello in 2017. “As Atlassian tools spread through organizations, technology leaders need better visibility into work performed by their teams. With AgileCraft joining Atlassian, we believe we’re the best company to h…

Walmart Plans To Launch Budget Tablet

As confirmed to Bloomberg by a Walmart spokeswoman, the company is looking to launch a low-cost, kid-friendly tablet under its ONN store brand, potentially competing with the likes of Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Huawei and Lenovo which dominate the tablet market.

According to presentations "given by senior management at a recent meeting of the company’s suppliers" cited by Bloomberg, Walmart will make home goods and electronics a focus this year. Releasing a tablet might likely be a move to boost its electronics sales business.


Walmart wouldn't be the only retailer to enter the tablet market, The likes of Amazon and Britain's Tesco have also seen success with the release of popular tablets (Tesco discontinued its in 2015 after a management change).

Walmart's ONN store brand is mostly known for accessories like TV soundbars, headphones, charging cables, Bluetooth speakers and smartphone cases. It also counts a low-priced VR headset and camera among its inventory.