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Showing posts from January, 2019

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 …

Clutter Raising Between $200 Million And $250 Million From Softbank : TechCrunch

According to a TechCrunch report, Clutter, a storage-on-demand service that lets users get their possessions packed up, taken away, stored and returned at the click of an app, is raising between $200 million and $250 million in a round led by Softbank. It says term sheets for the investment are out but are not yet finalised as investors go through due diligence.

Clutter, which operates in the Bay Area, Seattle, Southern California, New York and Chicago, has raised $96 million in funding according to Crunchbase. Investors in the company include Alphabet's GV, Atomico, Sequoia Capital, Fifth Wall, Bracked Capital, Wonder Ventures and Four Rivers Group. It last raised $64 million in 2017 at a $240 million valuation according to Pitchbook.


An investment like this could be used to aid expansion into more regions, likely urban areas where people live in smaller spaces with less storage options and plausibly have more disposable income to pay for their stuff to be kept somewhere else.

P…

San Jose Based Zoom Reportedly In Process Of Filing For IPO

San Jose based Zoom, a provider of cloud based remote conferencing services valued at $1 billion is in the process of filing confidentially for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) according to Business Insider which cites a source familiar with the company's plans. It says that the registration is stuck due to the current U.S. government shutdown which makes the filing not yet official.

Reuters reported in October that the company is preparing for an IPO, joining a host that includes Infor, Megvii, Slack, Cloudflare, Palantir, CrowdStrike and Slack. It says the company has asked investment bank Morgan Stanley to lead the IPO, which could happen this year. Zoom has raised north of $140 million in funding according to Crunchbase, with investors including Sequoia Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Horizons Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Maven Ventures and healthcare billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.


The company was founded in 2011 by early WebEx engineer Eric Yuan who jo…

Intel Names Interim Robert Swan As CEO

Intel has announced it has appointed Robert “Bob” Swan, its interim chief executive officer for seven months running and former chief financial officer, as its new CEO, marking Swan as the seventh person to hold the position in Intel's 50-year history. He is replacing Brian Krzanich, who resigned June last year amid disclosure of a consensual relationship with an employee that was found to be in violation of company policy.

Other past Intel CEOs include co-founder Robert Noyce (1968-1975), co-founder Gordon Moore (1975-1987), Andrew Grove (1987-1998), Craig Barrett (1998-2005) and Paul Otellini (2005-2013). Swan joined Intel in September 2016, arriving from General Atlantic and replacing Stacy Smith as the chip manufacturer's CFO. Earlier in his career, he served as CFO of Electronic Data Systems (EDS), eBay and TRW Automotive and as CFO, COO and CEO of online grocery delivery early entree and dotcom bust Webvan.





As Intel's chief financial officer, he led its global finan…

Tesla Says Model Y Production To Begin By 2020 End

In a Wednesday letter to shareholders, Tesla has said that Model Y, the SUV electric vehicle the company has been teasing and hinting at since 2015 will begin production by 2020 end. The company reported $139 million in net profit for the three months ended December, its second consecutive quarter with positive earnings.

“This year should be a truly exciting one for Tesla,” the California based company said in the shareholder letter. “Model 3 will become a global product, the profitability of our business should become sustainably positive, our new Gigafactory Shanghai should start producing cars, and we will start tooling for Model Y production.”


Tesla says it expects to be producing about 7,000 vehicles a week at its Fremont factory by the end of the year. The company recently lessened production hours for the Model S and Model X vehicles, while it focuses on boosting Model 3 production. "Model 3's production rate progressively improved" last quarter, "with Decem…

Apple Music Users Will Now Be Able To Stream Songs On American Airlines Flights For Free

Beginning Friday, Apple Music subscribers will be able to access the over 50 million songs, playlists and music videos on the streaming service on any domestic American Airlines flight equipped with Viasat satellite Wi-Fi without needing to purchase in-flight WiFi. Apple just made this announcement, marking American Airlines as the first commercial airline to provide exclusive access to Apple Music for travellers via complimentary inflight Wi-Fi.

All Apple Music subscribers will have to do to begin streaming is connect to Wi-Fi on any Viasat-equipped American Airlines aircraft at no cost and login with their Apple Music accounts. People not signed up for Apple Music will be able to get it in-flight, sign up onboard and get the normal free access for three months after registering.


“For most travelers, having music to listen to on the plane is just as important as anything they pack in their suitcases,” Apple Music vice president Oliver Schusser said in a statement. “With the addition…

Stripe Nabs $100 Million Series E At $22.5 Billion Valuation

Just after Acorns and Clover Health, another startup has raised huge funding, this time, Stripe, the San Francisco based payments company that powers payments for lots of small businesses and also big names like Lyft, Postmates, Expedia, Google, Salesforce, Facebook, Zillow and Microsoft, has raised $100 million Series E funding that values it at $22.5 billion, up from a $20 billion valuation in September.

This investment, made by Tiger Global who also led its most previous round was first reported by The Information. A Stripe spokesperson said the funding will be used for growth areas including international expansion with Stripe CEO Patrick Collison also announcing on Twitter of a new board member, former Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene.

I haven't said much in the past about @Stripe's board. We're fortunate to add Diane Greene, our fourth outside director today. (All four have to put up with myself and John, for six in total.) — Patrick Collison (@patrickc) 29 January 201…

iRobot Unveils Robot Lawn Mover

Massachusetts based iRobot, the company behind the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner and Braava line of robot mops has unveiled a new product, this time a robot lawn mover it says is kit with "state-of-the-art mapping and navigation technologies" that enables high-performance and high-quality mowing.

The new robot named Terra is capable of mapping its course after being schooled, with the use of wireless beacons users get to place around their yard and then drive the robot once around the perimeter. Once this is done, the robot charts its course, navigating the yard while remembering where it needs to cover. If its battery runs low, it will return to its base to recharge and then re-commence mowing until the yard handed to it is completely mowed.




Users can also make use of the iRobot Home App to customize their robot, with features like adjusting the height at which the grass will be cut or controlling precisely when the lawn is cut - day or night - available. There are already s…

Waymo Met With Over 12 Auto Companies For Driverless Tech Partnership : Bloomberg

According to a Bloomberg report, Alphabet's Waymo met with over 12 auto companies including Volvo in 2016, seeking manufacturing partners for its self-driving technology, citing an internal document  unsealed in court this week.

The memo, marked "highly confidential", was penned on August 18 2016, the day a report that Uber was partnering with Volvo and that it had acquired former Waymo engineer Anthony Lewandowski's Otto was made by Bloomberg.


"Did we try to talk to Volvo? Yes. We have met with over a dozen OEMs this year, including Volvo," Waymo said in the memo. "We were surprised they wanted to partner with Uber given the importance they place on safety, and developing this technology safely. However, the deal with Uber is non-exclusive for both parties."

This statement indicates pursuit of auto manufacturing partners by Waymo even before it spun out as a standalone unit in December 2016. As of current, Waymo has partnerships with Fiat Chrysl…

Argo AI Secures Permit To Test Self-Driving Vehicles In California

Argo AI, the Pittsburgh based self-driving company backed with huge funding from automaker Ford, has secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in the state of California. The permit, issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) ,is for two drivers and one vehicle and marks for the fifth location Argo AI is looking to test its self-driving vehicles.

The company currently tests its autonomous vehicle technology in Pittsburgh, Detroit and Miami with testing in Washington, D.C. also starting soon. Argo AI now joins sixty other companies with permits to self-driving vehicles (but with a driver) in the state of California.


They include Baidu, Zoox, GM Cruise, Faraday Future, Drive.ai, Intel, SF Motors, TuSimple, Apple, Samsung, Nuro, Aurora, Udacity, Nvidia, Valeo, Pony.AI, Lyft, Waymo, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Bosch, Tesla, Delphi Automotive and Qualcomm. Notably missing from the list is Uber which currently doesn't have a permit to self-driving vehicles in…

Health Insurance Startup Clover Health Raises $500 Million

Despite reports of missed financials and difficulties navigating a slow-moving and challenging insurance industry, San Francisco based health insurance startup Clover Health has announced new funding, pegged at $500 million by TechCrunch. The round is led by existing investor Greenoaks Capital, an SF based VC firm that counts Oyo Rooms, Brex, Sonder, Discord and Robinhood among its bets.

The valuation for this round is not disclosed, but for hint, Clover Health was last valued at $1.2 billion when it raised $130 million Series D funding also led by Greenoaks Capital in 2017. The San Francisco based company also counts the likes of Alphabet's GV, Spark Capital, Sequoia Capital, First Round Capital, Floodgate, Refactor Capital, Social Capital and Nexus Venture Partners as investors.


Clover, with over $900 million in funding (this round included) now stands as one of the most funded startups in the healthcare space. Even with this, the company has struggled in the past to decrease l…

Acorns Raises $105 Million Series E At $860 Million Valuation

Acorns, an Irvine based fintech company that allows individuals round up purchases and automatically invest the change in exchange-traded funds through a mobile app, has raised $105 million series E funding that values it at $860 million, according to its statement.

Investors in this round include NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures who led the round along with TPG, DST Global, Michael Dell's MSD Capital, BlackRock and Bain Capital Ventures. The company has now raised some $207 million in total according to Crunchbase, with its $860 million valuation placing it in a high rank among global fintech companies.


In November, We reported of Acorns being in discussions for funding at a $700 million valuation. This round confirms that, although it comes at a higher valuation for the company. Acorns, which has over 4.5 million registered accounts is also entering into a partnership for editorial content and events with NBCUniversal owned CNBC as part of the company's investment. NBC is …

Apple Kicks Off 'Entrepreneur Camp' - A Two Week Hands On Experience For Female App Creators

Apple has kicked off the inaugural session of 'Entrepreneur Camp', a two-week hands on technology lab where it says participants would work one-on-one with Apple engineers and experts to accelerate their apps. Eleven female-founded app development companies are participating in this session which will involve works on design, technology, App Store marketing and guidance and support from an Apple Developer Relations representative.

Apple says the program's curriculum will will harness several of its tech, including optimizing for the custom A12 Bionic chip, integrating core ML and building new experiences with ARKit. Each participating startup is also receiving two tickets to Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and complementary membership to the Apple Developer program for a year.


Cupertino based Apple says developers have earned some $120 billion since the 2008 launch of the Apple App Store, with over a quarter of that in the past year alone. This signifies stea…

BMW, Porsche and Jaguar Land Rover Back Roadside Assistance Startup Urgently's $21 Million Series B Round

Virginia based roadside assistance startup Urgently has raised $21 million Series B funding from several investors including Porsche Ventures, BMW i Ventures and Jaguar Land Rover's VC fund InMotion Ventures.

Existing investors also participated in the round which Urgently says was oversubscribed. BMW has also selected Urgently for collaboration with the BMW Assist roadside assistance service as the vendor partner to offer roadside assistance services to owners of its vehicles in the U.S.


Urgently works similar to Uber and Lyft, with users able to request for nearby roadside assistance services and get charged within the app. It's available in several cities spanning all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C and also Puerto Rico. The company boasts 55,000 service vehicles registered on its platform that provide services like fuel delivery, towing, jump start, flat tire replacement and car lockout solutions according to its website.

"We look forward to continuing to innovate…

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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 HÃ¥kan 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.