Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2019

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…

Slack Records $135 Million Q1 Revenue

Slack -- on its way to an IPO -- has made changes to its S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, indicating its financial results for the first quarter of this year. The company's filing shows $134.8 million in Q1 2019 revenues, up 67% from the same period last year, but with losses of $31.8 million for this year's first quarter.

In comparison, Slack recorded $80.9 million in Q1 last year amid $24.8 million in losses. For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2019, Slack recorded revenues of $400.6 million amid $138.9 million in losses. The updated Q1 results indicate quite impressive growth and lower losses when compared as a percentage of total revenue.

Slack is getting ready for a direct listing on The New York Stock Exchange, where it'll trade under the ticker "WORK", in respect to its popularity as a workplace collaboration tool.



Tempus Raises $200 Million Series F

Tempus -- a company led by Groupon co-founder and ex-CEO Eric Lefkofsky that gathers and analyses molecular and clinical data on cancer treatment from medical centers and hospitals, which is then offered to life sciences customers -- has raised $200 million Series F funding that values it at $3.1 billion. This is up from a $2 billion valuation August last year.

Tempus has now raised a total of $520 million since inception in 2015. Investors including Baillie Gifford, NEA, Revolution Growth, Novo Holdings, Franklin Templeton and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price participated in this round. Tempus claims its data platform now reaches more than 1 in 4 cancer patients in the U.S.


Eric Lefkofsky who founded Tempus in 2015 has an impressive list of entrepreneurial successes. Not only did he back and formerly lead e-commerce marketplace Groupon, he also co-founded ad-tech company MediaBank, publicly traded supply chain company Echo Global Logistics, Chicago-based VC firm Lightbank and $2.3 …

Uber Records $3.1 Billion Revenue In Q1

For the first time ever as a public company, Uber reported its financial results yesterday (or on the 30th of May to be precise). The report shows $3.1 billion revenue for the first three months of the year, up 20% from $2.6 billion in the same period last year, but with a $1 billion loss, up from $478 million in the same period last year.

Uber recorded $14.6 billion in Q1 gross bookings, up 34% from $10.9 billion last year, and 93 million monthly active users, up 33% from 70 million last year. Also in the quarter, roughly 1.55 billion trips were made on Uber, up from 1.14 billion in the same period last year.

Other key takes from Uber's financial results for the quarter include:
$2.4 billion revenue from ride-sharing, $536 million from Uber Eats, and $145 million from "other bets" in Q1.$7.6 billion current cash and cash equivalents, up from $6.3 billion for the same period in 2018.$1.75 billion revenue from the U.S. and Canada, $1.2 billion from other countries.$11.4 b…

Intuit Acquires Origami Logic

Intuit has acquired Origami Logic, a Silicon Valley based company backed by $65 million in funding (Crunchbase data), that develops technology to analyse and fetch insights from multiple data sets. The acquisition price was not disclosed. Intuit says this acquisition will support a critical component of its goal of streamlining data structures and architecture for customers.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. “....This acquisition will accelerate Intuit’s ability to organize, understand, and use data to deliver personalized insights that help customers quickly achieve success and build confidence whenever they use Intuit products.” Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi said in a statement.



“We are impressed with the way the Origami team tackled their problem through the development of an elegant platform,” Intuit CTO Marianna Tessel also said. “We are looking forward to integrating Origami Logic’s platform an…

Nreal Debuts $500 Consumer Version Of AR Glasses

nreal -- a Chinese maker of ready-to-wear mixed reality glasses backed by the likes of iQIYI, Shunwei Capital, and China Growth Capital -- has unveiled a consumer version of the nreal light AR glasses that'll cost $500 and will begin shipping later this year "in limited quantities." The company has also unveiled a developer kit -- comprising of a pair of nreal light glasses, a 3 degrees of freedom (DoF) controller and nreal's proprietary computing pack -- that'll sell for $1,200.

Developers would have to apply to get their hands on the kit, with information like previous development projects or project ideas for the nreal light being taken into consideration. The developer kit will go on sale by September.

Features of the nreal light consumer version include:
1080p displayQualcomm Snapdragon 855 processorUSB-C cable connectionFoldable glass temples for easy storage

nreal claims wearers of its AR glass will be able to stream "latency-free mixed reality conten…

Dashlane Raises $110 Million Series D

New York based password and confidential data management startup Dashlane has raised $110 million in Series D funding led by Sequoia Capital, whose partner Jim Goetz -- popularly known for his huge win on WhatsApp -- is joining its board. This round included, Dashlane has now raised more than $185 million in total funding. Existing investors FirstMark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Rho Ventures also participated in this round.

Dashlane says it'll make use of the funding to enhance its core product, build a "category-defining" brand, and add new capabilities to better address the needs of consumers and businesses of all sizes. The company has also announced it has poached Lyft chief marketing officer Joy Howard to take the same position at Dashlane. The former Patagonia, Coca-Cola, and Sonos executive will assume the role in August.


Goetz is joining Spotify CMO Seth Farbman and Dashlane founder Bernard Liautaud on the company's board. Dashlane's raise is …

Leap Motion Sold To U.K. Rival

Leap Motion -- a once high-flying Silicon Valley startup known for its sensor device that supports hand and finger motions as input -- without the requirement of hand contact or touching -- on VR and AR devices has been sold to U.K. rival Ultrahaptics. Leap Motion made this known in a recent official announcement.

Although Leap Motion termed the sale as "a strategic deal", a report from the Wall Street Journal said the sale price was roughly $30 million, citing people familiar with the matter. This is down from a peak valuation of $306 million in late 2013 (Pitchbook data) and less than the nearly $100 million in total funding the company raised according to Crunchbase data. Leap Motion was backed by top investors like Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, SOSV and J.P. Morgan.


Before now, Leap Motion was said to have been courted by Apple twice in less than five years but with acquisition deals falling both times, partly in blame to poor management, "swirling negatives,…

Google Bars Marijuana Delivery Apps From Play Store

Google has banned apps on the Play Store that facilitate the sale of marijuana or cannabis related products, as part of an adjustment to its content policy. The ban affects any app that facilitates the sale of marijuana or related products within the app itself, leaving an option for developers to move their shopping cart option outside the app to be in compliance with the new policy.

Google says it is working with developers to respond to technical questions and help implement changes without business disruption. Existing apps have been given a 30-day ultimatum to comply with the policy. The policy also covers apps that facilitate delivery and pick-up of marijuana and related products even if they don't sell directly.


Such move will affect Eaze and Weedmaps, two of the biggest marijuana delivery apps. Eaze is a San Francisco headquartered cannabis marketplace that has raised more than $100 million in funding, most recently at a reported $300 million valuation. Co-incidentally, W…

Gogo Plans 5G Networks For Planes By 2021

Chicago headquartered in-flight internet provider Gogo has announced plans to set up 5G networks for planes flying to and fro the U.S. and Canada by 2021. The company will focus its use on commercial regional jets, business jets, and smaller mainline jets. The company says it'll set up the 5G network on its current infrastructure of more than 250 towers and will use unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4GHz range, paired with advanced beamforming technology.

Gogo says the 5G infrastructure will support all spectrum types (shared, licensed and unlicensed) and bands (low, mid and high). The company will still maintain its mainstream 3G and 4G networks across the U.S. and Canada, that'll also act as "backup to the 5G network when needed."


Gogo also says it's "committed to provide easy upgrade paths to 5G" for existing customers. 5G networks are currently being tested in the U.S. in anticipation for a future launch. But the tech still has several hiccups (see the …

Bose Debuts New Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bose has unveiled a new wireless noise cancelling headphone, plainly named the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. The new noise cancelling headphone -- a successor to the Bose QC 35 headphones -- isolates a user's voice from 360 degrees of unwanted sound. Its features include:
Support for Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon AlexaEight microphone system (six to cancel noise and two to improve voice pickup)Adjustable noise cancellationUp to 20 hours of battery-lifeBose AR-enabledA beamform-array that isolates speechA rejection-array that filters disruptive soundThree buttons for control -- one for power, one to change noise cancellation levels and one for a chosen virtual personal assistantFlat folding

Just like an Amazon smart speaker, the new Bose headphones could be turned on by a simple voice command of “Alexa”, but that would require an out-of-box software update. The Bose Noise Cancelling 700 will hit stores on the 30th of June, retailing for $400. Pre-orders are already open.

Bos…

Brex Reportedly Raising Funding At $2 Billion Valuation

Brex -- a B2B payments startup that creates corporate cards, rewards, and travel programs for startups and small businesses -- is close to raising new funding at a valuation north of $2 billion according to a Bloomberg piece. This is up from a recent $1.1 billion valuation Brex hit after just two years in existence. Bloomberg says Kleiner Perkins is expected to lead the round, with participation from existing investors IVP, DST Global and Greenoaks Capital.

Negotiations for the deal are still on-going and may be subject to change. Brex has raised $315 million in total funding, inclusive of a $100 million debt facility from Barclays Investment Bank. Brex hit a $1.1 billion valuation October last year after closing $125 million in Series C funding led by Greenoaks Capital, DST Global and IVP.


The Y Combinator incubated startup was launched in 2017 by the founders of Brazilian payments processor Pagar.me, Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi. Other investors in the company include Rib…

iRobot Debuts A Robot Vacuum Cleaner And Mop

Few months after debuting a robot lawn mower, iRobot is back with two new robots: a vacuum cleaner and mop that can communicate with each other to clean up the home. The robot vacuum cleaner, Roomba s9+, works together with the robot mop, Braava jet m6, with the latter performing its task after sweeping is performed by the vacuum.

Features of the two robots include:

Roomba s9+
40X the suction of previous Roomba vacuums.Power Boost technology -- to automatically add suction to pull in debris and dirt from deep within carpet fibers.iAdapt 3.0 navigation (enables it to keep track of where it's been and where is yet to be cleaned)An advanced 3D sensor -- that constantly scans what's ahead of the robot at a rate of 25 times per second.Smart Mapping technology -- to get familiar with home floor plans.Anti-Allergen System -- to trap and lock pollen and mold allergens, keeping them from escaping the robot. Automatic disposal of contents once cleaning is doneVoice command (Amazon Alexa …

Volvo Takes Stake In Varjo

Volvo has announced an investment in Varjo -- a Finnish maker of high-end AR headsets that raised $31 million in funding October last year -- from the Volvo Cars Tech Fund. The amount invested and stake taken is undisclosed. This investment comes as part of a new creation: a mixed-reality app for use while driving, not by mainstream consumers but by engineers for development and safety evaluation purposes.

Varjo has debuted the XR-1 AR headset which Volvo personnel are able to wear while driving cars at its research facilities in Sweden, to test virtual car safety systems imposed by augmented reality on a real-world environment. Compared to its predecessor, the $6,000 VR-1 headset, Varjo says the XR-1 adds high-definition cameras and also enables use of mixed reality. This allows Volvo designers and engineers to test its cars in simulated environments, providing better insights on how to develop car safety and create a better user experience.


Features of the XR-1 headset include:
Eye-…

Toyota Reportedly Mulling $550 Million Bet On Didi Chuxing

According to a Nikkei report, Toyota is considering taking a 60 billion yen ($548.6 million) stake in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing and looking to partner with the company to set up a new mobility service. This would be some few months after Toyota invested $500 million in Uber and inked a driverless car partnership with the company, and a short time after a participation in a $1 billion round for Uber ATG, the unit responsible for its development of driverless vehicles.

Didi Chuxing has raised nearly $21 billion in total funding according to Crunchbase data. Its last known round was a $500 million investment from Booking Holdings that also came with a strategic partnership. Valued at $56 billion (CB Insights data), Didi is the second highest valued private tech company known, beaten only by China's Bytedance (valued at $75 billion).


With a valuation that high, Didi Chuxing is a likely IPO contender. But the company has been burning lots of cash and was reported to be…

Cameo Reportedly Raising At A $300 Million Valuation

Cameo -- a Chicago based startup that lets persons pay for personalized videos from celebrities -- is about closing a Series B investment -- to be led by Kleiner Perkins -- at a $300 million valuation, according to Axios. Up until now, Cameo has raised $15 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data.

Its backers include Chicago Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Pritzker Group, and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner. Axios says this round was a competitive one stemming from high growth at Cameo and a belief that the companys management has a strong handle on the talent side of the business as opposed to just consumer behaviour.

Axios says Spark Capital is also expected to participate in this round.



Roblox Teams Up With Tencent

Roblox -- a gaming platform for kids valued at $2.5 billion -- has formed a strategic partnership with Chinese gaming giant Tencent to crack the country's market. With this partnership, both companies are establishing a joint venture "with an initial focus on education to teach coding fundamentals, game design, digital citizenship, and entrepreneurial skills." The partnership doesn't directly involve taking Roblox's gaming platform to China although that's likely the end goal.

Forming a partnership with one of the biggest names in China gives Roblox an edge in the case of entry into the country, the world's biggest gaming market. Roblox and Tencent's joint venture will be based in Shenzhen but has not yet been named. To kick off the JV's education aspect, both companies have set up a scholarship fund to sponsor 15 persons from China to attend week-long "creator camps" at Stanford University by summer.


The summer program will be taught b…

Palo Alto Networks Acquires Twistlock

The cyber-security sector has been hot as of late. Israeli security company Deep Instinct recently inked a reported $150 million deal to secure HP laptops. FireEye also just announced its acquisition of McLean, Virginia based security startup Veridon for $250 million. Now, Palo Alto Networks has acquired Israeli cybersecurity firm Twistlock in a deal worth between $450 million-$500 million according to Globes.

Globes also reports that Palo Alto Networks is about to acquire another unidentified Israeli startup for between $50 million-$100 million. This isn't surprising given Palo Alto's history of acquiring cybersecurity startups. The company paid $300 million for Evident.io in March 2018, $173 million for RedLock in October last year and $560 million for Demisto earlier this year.


Twistlock will mark Palo Alto's third acquisition since former Google and Softbank executive Nikesh Arora took over as CEO June last year. The Israeli cybersecurity company has raised $63 millio…

LinkedIn Acquires DrawBridge

Microsoft's LinkedIn has announced it's acquiring DrawBridge -- a programmatic advertising company that has raised nearly $70 million -- for an undisclosed sum. DrawBridge is backed by notable names like Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins, scoring a win for two of the biggest VCs on Sand Hill Road. This is LinkedIn's second known acquisition in 8 months, the first being Glint, an employee survey software company it acquired for a reported $400 million.

DrawBridge's tech will be integrated into LinkedIn following the close of the acquisition. LinkedIn is snapping up DrawBridge to boost its marketing and ad business, one it says recorded 46% year-over-year revenue growth. The company says 78% of B2B marketers have ranked it "as the most effective social media platform at helping their organization achieve specific objectives" in testament to its advertising prowess.

LinkedIn -- which was acquired for $26.2 billion by Microsoft in 2016 -- currently has over 63…

FireEye Pays $250 Million For Verodin

Cybersecurity company FireEye has announced it has acquired McLean, Virginia based cybersecurity startup Verodin for $250 million in cash and stock, based on the closing price of FireEye shares on the 24th of May 2019. FireEye says it expects this purchase to boost its billings this year by roughly $20 million and more than $70 million in 2020.

Verodin had raised just $33 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data. Investors in the company include Cisco, Bessemer Venture Partners, Capital One and Blackstone Ventures. Verodin provides a platform that identifies gaps in cybersecurity strength due to changes in an IT environment, evolving attacker tactics, and equipment mis-configuration. The startup's products will continue to be sold separately via re-sellers and also FireEye channel partners.


FireEye has also released its yearly guidance, indicating expectations of revenue between $890 million and $900 million for the year and between $213 million to $270 million for Q…

German Cartel Office Lengthens Review Of IBM-T-Systems Deal

Germany's Federal Cartel Office (also known as Bundeskartellamt), the country's national competition regulator has announced that it's extending a review of a mainframe computing deal between IBM and T-Systems, the IT services arm of Deutsche Telekom. The organization is extending its review period by two weeks to the 9th of July.

The deal involves the purchase of T-Systems' assets in IT services and outsourcing, and mainframe computing by IBM for a reported 860 million euros ($962 million). The unit -- to be purchased -- employs 400 people.


Since a takeover by current T-Systems CEO Adel Al-Saleh in 2018, the IT arm has reduced headcount, shut offices, and shifted some jobs offshore in a bid to generate profits and cash flows. This sale to IBM could be another way it's looking to boost its cash flows.

IBM agreed to a deal to acquire the assets from T-Systems early this year.



Pegatron To Invest Up To $1 Billion In iPhone Chip Factory

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Pegatron has announced it intends to invest 10-15 trillion rupiah ($695 million to $1 billion) in a factory in Indonesia that'll assemble “chips for Apple smartphones”, Reuters reports. The company made this known in a signed letter of intent as announced by Indonesia’s deputy industry minister on Tuesday.

Pegatron plans to assemble the phone chips in partnership with Indonesia's PT Sat Nusapersada, a top electronics manufacturer in the country. Production will be done at a factory on the island of Batam. The chips would be assembled on site with imported raw components.


Such move from Pegatron could be the result of a biting trade war between the U.S. and China. Pegatron was previously reported to be moving production of MacBooks and iPads to Indonesia in partnership with the same company involved in this effort. “The factory might also be used to produce MacBook components as well, but it would not be in the short term,” Indonesia's De…

Have A Look At Walmart's Newly Proposed Headquarters

Walmart has proposed a new headquarters to be built in Arkansas, still in the same state where it's currently headquartered. The newly proposed office vies away from a traditional setting to a modern design on par with offices of the likes of Google, Amazon, and Facebook, not surprising given Walmart's current efforts to boost its e-commerce and digital business.

The new office will be built in Bentonville, Arkansas. Its features include:
Neighborhood bike pathsOpen floor plan15+ acres of lakesRenewable energy sourcesSolar panels atop parking decksEnergy-efficient lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systemsThousands of trees, shrubs and grassesAmple natural lightA child care facilityFitness centers  You can have a look in the video below:



In other Walmart news, the company has hired a CTO to help develop its e-commerce and new retail businesses. Suresh Kumar who was appointed to the position has an impressive career in the tech industry spanning IBM,…

Meta Gets New Life As New Company

Meta -- the AR hardware maker once valued at $300 million before struggles that led to a fire sale -- is getting new life as Meta View, a new San Mateo headquartered spatial computing company that'll be led by Jay Wright, a former Qualcomm Vice-President and co-founder of Vuforia, a Qualcomm-incubated AR platform that sold for $65 million to IoT software maker PTC in 2015.

Wright led Vuforia from inception at Qualcomm in 2008 to become a top AR development platform for head-worn and handheld devices with more than 450,000 developers and 50,000 apps in its ecosystem. The newly formed Meta View came about by the purchase of intellectual property assets held by a lender to the previous Meta. Meta View says it's a "wholly new and unaffiliated entity" to the former Meta.


Meta View will continue to support current owners of Meta 2, Meta's core AR headset, but will not be selling more of it. The newly formed company is hiring for roles in San Mateo, San Diego, and Tel-…

Walmart Hires A CTO

Walmart has appointed hired former Google, Amazon, and Microsoft executive Suresh Kumar as its Chief Technology Officer and Chief Development Officer, reporting directly to CEO Doug McMillon. This appointment comes at a time Walmart is pushing towards transforming its e-commerce and digital business.

Prior to this appointment, Kumar previously spent more than two decades at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM. He was most recently at Google where he served as vice president and general manager of display, video, app ads and analytics. Prior to Google, he held the role of corporate vice president of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and operations.


Prior to Microsoft, he spent 15 years at Walmart competitor Amazon in various roles, including as head of the company's retail supply chain and inventory management systems and as vice president of technology for retail systems and operations. He was also a research staff member at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center.

Walmart recentl…

Huawei Alleges FedEx Diverted Parcels To U.S.

Amid troubles for Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant is involved in another sort of unusual situation. It's reviewing its relationship with U.S. courier FedEx, alleging the delivery company diverted two of its parcels destined for locations in Asia to the U.S. without detailed explanation. The company also claims FedEx attempted to reroute two other of its parcels.

In a statement to Reuters, Huawei claimed FedEx diverted two packages shipped from Japan and addressed to a Huawei location in China to the U.S. and made an attempt to divert parcels sent from Vietnam to Huawei locations elsewhere in Asia. The company provided images of FedEx tracking records -- of which Reuters says the authenticity can't be verified -- to back up its claim.


FedEx declined to many any comment to Reuters when shown the tracking records, stating company policy barred it from disclosing customer information. Huawei claimed the four packages comprised of only documents and "no technology and also …

Apple Launches New iPod Touch

Apple has launched a new iPod Touch with enhanced features in regards to power and performance. The new iPod features the Apple-designed A10 Fusion chip, meaning improved gaming performance and augmented reality (AR) support for the first time on the iPod. The new iPod also supports Group FaceTime, making it easier for users to simultaneously chat with peers.

It's coming in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models that'll retail for $200, $300, and $400 respectively. The lightweight iPod will be ideal for enjoying Apple Music, bringing to life 3D objects like toys and sculptures via AR and using Apple Arcade, the company's game subscription service -- scheduled to launch this fall -- that it's reportedly spending up to $500 million to put games on.


The new iPod comes in space gray, white, gold, blue, pink, and red colors and is already available for order in 27 countries.



Most Read Posts

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…