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Showing posts from September, 2019

Facebook Said To Be Working With Luxottica To Make AR Glasses

According to a report from CNBC, Facebook has partnered with Luxottica to develop augmented-reality glasses that are designed to replace smartphones. For those not familiar, Luxottica is the world's largest eyewear company, that's behind several eyewear brands including the famous "Ray-Ban" collection. According to CNBC, Facebook has been working to develop AR glasses out of its Facebook Reality Labs in Redmond, Washington, but faced struggles that have led it to seek help from a company like Luxottica. CNBC reports Facebook hopes a partnership with Luxottica will get its AR glasses completed and ready for consumers between 2023 and 2025.

According to CNBC, the glasses are internally codenamed "Orion", and would allow users to take calls, see information in a small display and live-stream their camera feed to social media friends and connections. CNBC previously reported of Facebook developing an AI voice assistant that'll serve as user input for the g…

Juul Sales Ceased In China Days After Launch

Just days after entering the Chinese market, Juul has halted sales in the country, with its products pulled from JD.com and Alibaba's Tmall, two of the biggest Chinese e-commerce marketplaces. No official reason for the halt was provided, but a statement from a Juul spokesperson hinted of regulatory issues. “While Juul products are not currently available on e-commerce Web sites in China, we look forward to continued dialogue with stakeholders so that we can make our products available again,” a spokeswoman for Juul said in a statement.

Juul's products became available in China beginning on the 9th of September, but suddenly disappeared from Chinese e-commerce sites on Tuesday. The company's move into China happens to be at a time it's facing regulatory scrutiny in the U.S., with the Trump Administration having made plans to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes. The renewed scrutiny from the U.S. government came amid recorded cases of deaths from vaping-related …

Fair Raises $500 Million In Debt Financing

Fair, a Santa Monica-based car leasing startup, has announced $500 million in debt financing led by Mizuho Bank, with participation from Softbank and other unnamed credit providers. This follows a $100 million debt facility closed over the summer, and a $50 million increase to its credit line with Silicon Valley Bank in July. Fair also has credit lines from Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, and previously raised $385 million in Series B funding led by Softbank.

Fair will use the new capital to expand its Uber partnership, which involves leasing cars on flexible terms to Uber drivers. Fair's appeal is its more-flexible-than-normal car leasing model that allows its customers lease a car for as long as they want and be able to cancel any time, in contrast with the long-term commitments of conventional car-leasing services. Thanks to its partnership with Uber, drivers looking to earn money through ride-sharing can easily lease a car and then drive for Uber, being able to cancel the le…

GitLab Raising Funding At A $2.6 Billion Valuation

GitLab has authorized the issuance of $268 million worth of shares that'll value it at $2.55 billion, according to a filing reviewed by the Prime Unicorn Index. Basically, it means the company, which was valued at more than $1 billion last year, plans to raise up to $268 million in funding at a $2.55 billion valuation. However, there's no guarantee the full amount will be raised, as it's dependent on investor interest and demand. GitLab was valued at $1.1 billion after it raised $100 million in Series D funding last September. ICONIQ Capital, an investment firm known to manage money for several Silicon Valley bigwigs, led that round.

If GitLab successfully raises at its targeted $2.55 billion valuation, it would mean a more than double in valuation in a single year, a very impressive feat for a startup. This is just a speculation, but GitLab may have seen a strong increase in user numbers after the acquisition of GitHub, another web-based Git repository, by Microsoft last…

This Is The Apple Watch Series 5

Earlier this week, Apple held a keynote event where it debuted the iPhone 11, alongside its Pro and Pro Max variants. On that day, Apple also announced the launch dates and pricing models for the Apple TV+ video subscription and Apple Arcade game subscription service. Apple TV+ will launch on the 1st of November, costing $5 per month. Apple Arcade on the other hand will launch in 4 days time (19 September), also costing $5 per month.

Alongside the iPhone 11, Apple debuted a new seventh-generation iPad, and the Apple Watch Series 5, the fifth iteration of the popular Apple Watch lineup. The Apple Watch Series 5 comes with never-seen before features in an Apple smartwatch, including an "Always-On Retina" display, which allows users to look at the time, or whatever is on the home screen without having to raise or tap the display; new location features, ranging from a built-in compass that'll tell the user what direction they're facing to a feature that measures the wea…

France And Germany Could Block Facebook's Libra

Not long after Yves Mersch, a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, took a jab at Facebook's proposed digital currency, Libra, France and Germany, two eurozone countries, have opposed the digital currency, saying it posed risks to the financial sector that could block its authorization in Europe. Both countries have supported the development of an alternative public cryptocurrency, which the European Central Bank recently announced it was working on.

The criticism from both countries sound similar to that of Mersch, who earlier opposed Facebook's Libra, stating it posed a risk to the monetary control and oversight by EU member states. Mersch described the control of Libra, which will be overseen by a team of founding members who have put up at least $10 million each to get equal voting rights, as "cartel-like". In a joint statement, France and Germany's finance ministers, Bruno Le Maire and Olaf Scholz, said digital currencies pose risks to…

Cloudflare Pops On IPO Debut

Cloudflare, roughly a month after filing for an IPO, debuted on the public markets yesterday, raising $525 million from the sale of more than 35 million shares. Cloudflare priced its IPO at $15 a share, up from a previous range of between $10 to $12 per share. The company's stock jumped 20% on its debut to $18 per share, giving the company a market cap of roughly $5.3 billion. This is up from its last private valuation of $3.2 billion.

Cloudflare's IPO happened at the same time frame another highly-valued private company, SmileDirectClub, debuted on the public markets. SmileDirectClub filed to go public the same week as Cloudflare and also went public the same week the company did. But unlike Cloudflare, SmileDirectClub didn't pop on its public debut, instead falling 28% below its IPO price. Still, the brace-making company notched a valuation of $6.4 billion [as of Thursday], double its last private valuation of $3.2 billion (notice it's the same as that of Cloudflare…

Softbank Reportedly Planning To Invest $750 Million In WeWork IPO

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Softbank, a major investor in WeWork, plans to buy at least $750 million worth of shares in WeWork's impending IPO, even amid reports of the company seeking a valuation as low as $10 billion for a public debut [a $10 billion figure would be lower than the $12.8 billion in equity and debt funding WeWork has raised since inception]. Softbank was previously reported to have pushed WeWork to postpone its IPO amid doubts and concerns over its cash burn rate and potential path to profitability. However, WeWork was reported to be going ahead with a public offering, even if it meant a value that's way lower than the $47 billion post-money valuation it got from a Softbank investment in January.

WeWork's push to go ahead with an IPO isn't surprising, given a $6 billion credit facility it has lined up that's contingent on it raising at least $3 billion from an IPO. However, there's no certainty there'll be enough in…

Affirm Reportedly Raising $1.5 Billion In New Funding

Not long after raising $300 million at a reported $2.9 billion valuation, TechCrunch reports that Affirm, an online lending startup led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, is raising as much as $1.5 billion in debt and equity funding. The report says Thrive Capital, the VC firm that led its $300 million funding, is leading the new financing, with participation from Spark Capital. According to TechCrunch, a significant part of the funding would lie on the debt side, with a line of credit from a large financial institution in the works.

Fintech companies, especially those focused on lending, often raise huge credit facilities or equity funding to sustain operations. For example, Kabbage, an online lender for small businesses, secured a $200 million credit facility sometime in June. Klarna, a Swedish startup that's in the same market as Affirm, recently raised $460 million in funding. Affirm is an online lender but doesn't actually lend money directly. It partners with several mer…

Square Said To Be Testing Free Stock Trading Service

According to a report from Bloomberg, Square is testing a new feature that'll let users of its Cash App to make free stock trades, a move that looks like a jab at Robinhood, a well known free stock trading service that was recently valued at $7.6 billion. Bloomberg reports Square employees began testing the new feature in recent weeks.

Square's Cash App already lets users do a lot of things, including sending money to friends, using an accompanying debit card, or buying and selling Bitcoin. Square doesn't consistently provides updates on how many people use the Cash App, but as at last year December, the company said the Cash App had more than 15 million monthly active users. Robinhood, which is mostly known for its free stock trading app although it's expanded into other areas like options trading and margins trading, had more than 6 million users as at 2018 end.

According to Bloomberg, Square's initial product will offer no-fee stock trading but wouldn't com…

Anduril Is Reportedly Raising Funding At A $1 Billion+ Valuation

According to a CNBC report, Anduril, a defense technology startup founded by Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, which recently got a $13.5 million contract to monitor U.S. marine bases, is raising funding at a valuation of more than $1 billion. CNBC reports famed VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, an already existing backer, is part of the investors in Anduril's new round. Currently, Anduril is known to have raised $41 million in funding, last valued at $250 million according to Pitchbook data.

Anduril is a quite-secretive startup, with no press releases on any funding we can track. However, there's substantial information about its operations available on various news outlets, public government documents, and its own website. Anduril develops border surveillance technology that's used by customers like the U.S. government to secure and track movement in and around environments. Anduril's custom surveillance tech comprises of a custom drone and a surveillance tower whose imag…

Samsara Raises $300 Million, Now Valued At $6.3 Billion

Samsara, an industrial IoT startup that makes fleet management hardware and software, has announced $300 million in new funding that values it at $6.3 billion, up from $3.6 billion when it last raised funding late last year. The new funding came from Tiger Global and Dragoneer, who are new investors, alongside existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and General Catalyst. This funding included, Samsara has now raised a total of $530 million.

This funding comes as Samsara's customer demand continues to grow. The San Francisco-based company more than doubled its customer base to 10,000 over the past year, and also expanded into 10 new countries. Samsara says its revenue grew at 200% year-over-year. With this new funding, the company plans to develop new products for customers, expand into new markets, and grow its headcount.


Samsara makes complete hardware, software, and cloud solutions that enables industrial firms to monitor their fleets in real-time. The company produces custom ha…

WeWork May Still Go On With IPO

Amid reports of WeWork seeking an IPO valuation that's less than half of its last private valuation, or Softbank, a major investor, pushing the company to postpone the IPO, Reuters reports the co-working company is pressing ahead with its plans to go public, leaving its largest investor, Softbank, with an austere choice: take a loss from a slash in valuation or put in more cash to keep the loss-making company afloat amid current expansion plans.

Reuters reports WeWork may seek a valuation of between $15 billion to $18 billion in an IPO, down from its last private valuation of $47 billion. Such valuation would not be far from a  total of $10.65 billion in equity and debt funding Softbank has put into WeWork since 2017. The Japanese company, which invested out of its $100 billion Vision Fund, could be facing a hefty loss if WeWork proceeds with its IPO. This would be an additional hiccup as it's already $600 million in the red from an earlier investment in Uber.

WeWork's S-…

Apple Debuts The iPhone 11

Apple, yesterday at the Steve Jobs Theater, debuted the new iPhone 11, along with two additional variants: the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The iPhone 11 is a smartphone that has a dual-camera system, for the first time on an Apple phone, and is powered by Apple's A13 bionic chip, one of the most powerful smartphone chips out there. The Pro and Pro Max variants went a step further with a triple-camera system, comprising of an Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto camera that work together to shoot high-quality footage. The iPhone 11 on the other hand only has Ultra Wide and Wide cameras.



The iPhone 11 measures 6.1-inch, with "the toughest glass ever in a smartphone", according to Apple. It's water resistant up to 2 meters for up to 30 minutes, and is also protected against accidental spills from common liquids like coffee and soda. Other of its specs/features include:
Face ID, Apple's facial recognition security systemGigabit-class LTE and Wi-Fi 6 for faster dow…

Rivian Raises $350 Million From Cox Automotive

Several months after raising a $700 million Amazon-led round, and a later $500 million from Ford, Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer, has announced $350 million in new funding from Cox Automotive, an Atlanta-based automotive services giant that owns well-known brands like Autotrader, Dealer.com, Dealertrack, Manheim and Clutch Technologies. This funding included, Rivian has raised $1.55 billion in funding this year alone. In addition to Cox's investment, Rivian will also partner with the automotive services company to "explore partnership opportunities in digital retailing, service operations and logistics."

Rivian has developed two electric vehicles: the R1T, a truck, and the R1S, an SUV. The Plymouth, Michigan-based company plans to launch both vehicles in the US late next year, and in other countries beginning 2021. With new funding, Rivian has been increasing its headcount, from 750 as at February to more than 1,000 currently. The EV company has development ce…

Shopify Acquires 6 River Systems For $450 Million

Shopify has announced it has reached a deal to acquire 6 River Systems, a Massachusetts-based maker of warehouse robots, for $450 million in cash and stock. This acquisition is a strategic one that comes shortly after Shopify announced it'll spend $1 billion to set up a network of fulfillment centers in the U.S. to help its merchants deliver goods faster and at lesser costs. Shopify has a likely target with this move: Amazon, and is seemingly acquiring 6 River Systems to ensure its fulfillment centers are on par with that of the Seattle-based e-commerce giant. Amazon makes use of an army of warehouse robots, and made a similar acquisition to Shopify's in 2012; that of Kiva Systems, a developer of warehouse robots it paid $775 million for. Interestingly, 6 River Systems was founded by former Kiva executives.

The $450 million figure is split into 60% cash and the remaining 40% in Shopify shares. The amount includes roughly $69 million worth of shares and options that'll be …

Daimler Begins Testing Driverless Trucks On Public Roads

German auto giant Daimler has announced that it has begun developing and testing self-driving trucks on public roads in partnership with Torc Robotics, a Blacksburg, Virginia based self-driving firm it took a majority stake in earlier this year. Daimler's self-driving trucks are being tested on highways in southwest Virginia, where Torc Robotics is headquartered. As the case has always been, a backup driver and an engineer are always present in the self-driving trucks. Daimler says its trucks are of "Level 4" standard.

The deployment on public roads comes after months of testing and safety validation on an enclosed loop track. Daimler says it'll continue to work on self-driving technology for heavy-duty trucks. “Torc Robotics is a leader in automated driving technology. Daimler Trucks is the market leader in trucks and we understand the needs of the industry. Bringing Level 4 trucks to the public roads is a major step toward our goal to deliver reliable and safe tru…

Facebook To Hire More Than 3000 In NYC

In a statement to Bloomberg, a Facebook spokesman said the social networking giant aims to hire more than 3,000 triple in New York City over the next three to five years, with poaching from the finance sector being a “quite common” way of doing that, according to the spokesman. Facebook aims to double its headcount in the city, which is a hotbed of tech talent, although lesser in comparison to the Bay Area (Palo Alto, San Francisco and San Jose).

Such expansion could set Facebook for a battle with some of the biggest finance firms, for example Goldman Sachs, which plans to hire 100 coders for its trading business as part of its biggest hiring spree in years. Goldman has said it plans to poach from rivals in technology and finance. Facebook's expansion plan further boosts NYC's status as a leading tech hub. Other tech giants like Google, Apple and Amazon already employ thousands in the city and are still adding more roles. In November, Google announced plans to spend more than…

Apple Contretemps Google's iPhone Exploit Report

Last week, Google security researchers published a post about security vulnerabilities on the iPhone, that involved the use of a "small collection" of hacked websites to stage attacks on any iPhone that visited them. Google's security researchers say they discovered 14 security vulnerabilities across five exploit chains, which "indicated a group making a sustained effort to hack the users of iPhones in certain communities over a period of at least two years." Apple was informed of the vulnerabilities and pushed out a patch 10 days after it got notified.

The discovery and patch happened as early as February this year, but in the light of Google's recent report, generated concerns from Apple customers. Now Apple has published a statement on the issue, accusing Google of creating a false impression of “mass exploitation” used to “monitor the private activities of entire populations in real time,”. Apple accuses Google of "stoking fear" among all iPh…

Palantir Said To Be Seeking More Private Funding

According to a report from Bloomberg, Palantir, which was reported to be targeting a next year IPO, has postponed IPO plans in lieu of more private funding. Bloomberg reports the secretive data mining company has approached Singapore's Temasek Holdings, Softbank, and other investors outside the U.S. for additional funding. Talks are still ongoing, with no deal reached yet, Bloomberg reports.

According to Bloomberg, Palantir co-founder Peter Thiel, speaking to employees earlier this month, said the company wouldn't go public anytime during the next two to three years, entailing an IPO has been pushed up to 2022 or later. Raising more private funding would ease some IPO pressure, and provide a firm valuation for Palantir, whose value has been appraised at different figures, from $20 billion in 2015 to $11 billion this year, to as high as $41 billion [in the event of an IPO] and once as low as $4.4 billion, which led to a feud with the appraiser: mutual funds managed by Morgan S…

Palo Alto Networks Pays $75 Million For Zingbox

Palo Alto Networks has announced it's acquiring Zingbox, a Mountain View-based IoT security startup, for $75 million. The acquisition is expected to close in this year's fourth quarter. Before this acquisition, Zingbox had raised $23.5 million in funding, according to Crunchbase data. The Mountain View-based startup sells Internet of Things (IoT) security software to hospitals, companies, and manufacturing facilities, to help them manage and secure IoT devices.

Zingbox's security software is cloud-based and made possible by deep learning technology, a newer approach that's been adopted by several hot cyber-security startups and companies. Zingbox was founded by Silicon Valley veterans with expertise in cybersecurity, IoT, Deep Learning, and networking, and was incubated under the the Stanford StartX program. Zingbox's founders, Xu Zou, May Wang, and Jianlin Zeng, will join Palo Alto Networks following close of the acquisition.

Since Nikesh Arora, an ex-Google and …

uBiome Files For Bankruptcy

Not long ago, we wrote about some troubles at uBiome, a San Francisco-based health-tech startup whose offices were raided by the FBI, with layoffs, payment refunds and its founders being placed on administrative leave following. The FBI's investigation concerned billing practices, with reports that uBiome may have been billing customers using inaccurate codes, and claiming to have done bigger and more costly tests than had been really done.

It's a few months after the FBI raid and uBiome has just announced it has filed for bankruptcy protection in the state of Delaware, kicking off a process to facilitate the sale of its assets. uBiome has obtained debt financing from 8VC and Silicon Valley Bank to support operations as it seeks for a buyer. uBiome plans to secure a full sale within 75 days. Subject to a court's approval, potential buyers will be able to submit offers to acquire uBiome's assets, which includes its product lines, testing labs, intellectual property and…

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Cloudflare Pops On IPO Debut

Cloudflare, roughly a month after filing for an IPO, debuted on the public markets yesterday, raising $525 million from the sale of more than 35 million shares. Cloudflare priced its IPO at $15 a share, up from a previous range of between $10 to $12 per share. The company's stock jumped 20% on its debut to $18 per share, giving the company a market cap of roughly $5.3 billion. This is up from its last private valuation of $3.2 billion.

Cloudflare's IPO happened at the same time frame another highly-valued private company, SmileDirectClub, debuted on the public markets. SmileDirectClub filed to go public the same week as Cloudflare and also went public the same week the company did. But unlike Cloudflare, SmileDirectClub didn't pop on its public debut, instead falling 28% below its IPO price. Still, the brace-making company notched a valuation of $6.4 billion [as of Thursday], double its last private valuation of $3.2 billion (notice it's the same as that of Cloudflare…

Juul Sales Ceased In China Days After Launch

Just days after entering the Chinese market, Juul has halted sales in the country, with its products pulled from JD.com and Alibaba's Tmall, two of the biggest Chinese e-commerce marketplaces. No official reason for the halt was provided, but a statement from a Juul spokesperson hinted of regulatory issues. “While Juul products are not currently available on e-commerce Web sites in China, we look forward to continued dialogue with stakeholders so that we can make our products available again,” a spokeswoman for Juul said in a statement.

Juul's products became available in China beginning on the 9th of September, but suddenly disappeared from Chinese e-commerce sites on Tuesday. The company's move into China happens to be at a time it's facing regulatory scrutiny in the U.S., with the Trump Administration having made plans to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes. The renewed scrutiny from the U.S. government came amid recorded cases of deaths from vaping-related …

Fair Raises $500 Million In Debt Financing

Fair, a Santa Monica-based car leasing startup, has announced $500 million in debt financing led by Mizuho Bank, with participation from Softbank and other unnamed credit providers. This follows a $100 million debt facility closed over the summer, and a $50 million increase to its credit line with Silicon Valley Bank in July. Fair also has credit lines from Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, and previously raised $385 million in Series B funding led by Softbank.

Fair will use the new capital to expand its Uber partnership, which involves leasing cars on flexible terms to Uber drivers. Fair's appeal is its more-flexible-than-normal car leasing model that allows its customers lease a car for as long as they want and be able to cancel any time, in contrast with the long-term commitments of conventional car-leasing services. Thanks to its partnership with Uber, drivers looking to earn money through ride-sharing can easily lease a car and then drive for Uber, being able to cancel the le…

Affirm Reportedly Raising $1.5 Billion In New Funding

Not long after raising $300 million at a reported $2.9 billion valuation, TechCrunch reports that Affirm, an online lending startup led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, is raising as much as $1.5 billion in debt and equity funding. The report says Thrive Capital, the VC firm that led its $300 million funding, is leading the new financing, with participation from Spark Capital. According to TechCrunch, a significant part of the funding would lie on the debt side, with a line of credit from a large financial institution in the works.

Fintech companies, especially those focused on lending, often raise huge credit facilities or equity funding to sustain operations. For example, Kabbage, an online lender for small businesses, secured a $200 million credit facility sometime in June. Klarna, a Swedish startup that's in the same market as Affirm, recently raised $460 million in funding. Affirm is an online lender but doesn't actually lend money directly. It partners with several mer…

Softbank Reportedly Planning To Invest $750 Million In WeWork IPO

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Softbank, a major investor in WeWork, plans to buy at least $750 million worth of shares in WeWork's impending IPO, even amid reports of the company seeking a valuation as low as $10 billion for a public debut [a $10 billion figure would be lower than the $12.8 billion in equity and debt funding WeWork has raised since inception]. Softbank was previously reported to have pushed WeWork to postpone its IPO amid doubts and concerns over its cash burn rate and potential path to profitability. However, WeWork was reported to be going ahead with a public offering, even if it meant a value that's way lower than the $47 billion post-money valuation it got from a Softbank investment in January.

WeWork's push to go ahead with an IPO isn't surprising, given a $6 billion credit facility it has lined up that's contingent on it raising at least $3 billion from an IPO. However, there's no certainty there'll be enough in…

GitLab Raising Funding At A $2.6 Billion Valuation

GitLab has authorized the issuance of $268 million worth of shares that'll value it at $2.55 billion, according to a filing reviewed by the Prime Unicorn Index. Basically, it means the company, which was valued at more than $1 billion last year, plans to raise up to $268 million in funding at a $2.55 billion valuation. However, there's no guarantee the full amount will be raised, as it's dependent on investor interest and demand. GitLab was valued at $1.1 billion after it raised $100 million in Series D funding last September. ICONIQ Capital, an investment firm known to manage money for several Silicon Valley bigwigs, led that round.

If GitLab successfully raises at its targeted $2.55 billion valuation, it would mean a more than double in valuation in a single year, a very impressive feat for a startup. This is just a speculation, but GitLab may have seen a strong increase in user numbers after the acquisition of GitHub, another web-based Git repository, by Microsoft last…

This Is The Apple Watch Series 5

Earlier this week, Apple held a keynote event where it debuted the iPhone 11, alongside its Pro and Pro Max variants. On that day, Apple also announced the launch dates and pricing models for the Apple TV+ video subscription and Apple Arcade game subscription service. Apple TV+ will launch on the 1st of November, costing $5 per month. Apple Arcade on the other hand will launch in 4 days time (19 September), also costing $5 per month.

Alongside the iPhone 11, Apple debuted a new seventh-generation iPad, and the Apple Watch Series 5, the fifth iteration of the popular Apple Watch lineup. The Apple Watch Series 5 comes with never-seen before features in an Apple smartwatch, including an "Always-On Retina" display, which allows users to look at the time, or whatever is on the home screen without having to raise or tap the display; new location features, ranging from a built-in compass that'll tell the user what direction they're facing to a feature that measures the wea…

Square Said To Be Testing Free Stock Trading Service

According to a report from Bloomberg, Square is testing a new feature that'll let users of its Cash App to make free stock trades, a move that looks like a jab at Robinhood, a well known free stock trading service that was recently valued at $7.6 billion. Bloomberg reports Square employees began testing the new feature in recent weeks.

Square's Cash App already lets users do a lot of things, including sending money to friends, using an accompanying debit card, or buying and selling Bitcoin. Square doesn't consistently provides updates on how many people use the Cash App, but as at last year December, the company said the Cash App had more than 15 million monthly active users. Robinhood, which is mostly known for its free stock trading app although it's expanded into other areas like options trading and margins trading, had more than 6 million users as at 2018 end.

According to Bloomberg, Square's initial product will offer no-fee stock trading but wouldn't com…

France And Germany Could Block Facebook's Libra

Not long after Yves Mersch, a member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, took a jab at Facebook's proposed digital currency, Libra, France and Germany, two eurozone countries, have opposed the digital currency, saying it posed risks to the financial sector that could block its authorization in Europe. Both countries have supported the development of an alternative public cryptocurrency, which the European Central Bank recently announced it was working on.

The criticism from both countries sound similar to that of Mersch, who earlier opposed Facebook's Libra, stating it posed a risk to the monetary control and oversight by EU member states. Mersch described the control of Libra, which will be overseen by a team of founding members who have put up at least $10 million each to get equal voting rights, as "cartel-like". In a joint statement, France and Germany's finance ministers, Bruno Le Maire and Olaf Scholz, said digital currencies pose risks to…

Facebook Said To Be Working With Luxottica To Make AR Glasses

According to a report from CNBC, Facebook has partnered with Luxottica to develop augmented-reality glasses that are designed to replace smartphones. For those not familiar, Luxottica is the world's largest eyewear company, that's behind several eyewear brands including the famous "Ray-Ban" collection. According to CNBC, Facebook has been working to develop AR glasses out of its Facebook Reality Labs in Redmond, Washington, but faced struggles that have led it to seek help from a company like Luxottica. CNBC reports Facebook hopes a partnership with Luxottica will get its AR glasses completed and ready for consumers between 2023 and 2025.

According to CNBC, the glasses are internally codenamed "Orion", and would allow users to take calls, see information in a small display and live-stream their camera feed to social media friends and connections. CNBC previously reported of Facebook developing an AI voice assistant that'll serve as user input for the g…