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Showing posts from August, 2018

Colombian on-demand startup Rappi gets $200 million round at over $1 Billion valuation

image credit : Rappi Colombia based on-demand delivery startup Rappi has now been confirmed to have raised a new $200 million round led by DST Global with participation from Andressen Horowitz and Sequioa Capital, All previous investors in the 3 year old startup now said to be valued north of $1 Billion. This will bring the total amount of funding secured by Rappi to nearly $400 million with the company notably raising $130 million in a funding round January this year from the likes of Delivery Hero, FJ Labs, Endeavor Catalyst, Redpoint Ventures and several others. This round also notably marks Rappi as the 2nd Latin American startup to join the unicorn club with Brazillian fintech startup Nubank previously occupying the main position after a $150 million funding led by DST who also led this round which gave the firm a private valuation of $2 Billion. image credit : Rappi Regardless of valuations, This marks very good growth in the Latin American startup space a

Xiaomi linked smart home appliance startup Viomi files for $150 million U.S. IPO

Xiaomi Chinese internet connected home appliance maker Viomi has now filed for a U.S. public offering targeted to raise up to $150 million through listing of its shares under the ticker "VIOT". The company notably backed by smartphone giant and recent public market debuting Xiaomi is very well connected and counts a main part of its operations through affiliation with the consumer electronics manufacturer. Based out of Guangdong, Viomi develops a IoT home platform consisting of a collection of smart products such as dishwashers, air purifiers, refrigerators and several other household appliances. It recorded revenues of $132 million for last year along with a net income of around $14 million for the same period from sales of its appliances. Notable shareholders of Viomi include Xiaomi itself, Shunwei Capital, The VC firm founded by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun and Sequia China who control respective stakes of 19.5%, 20.5% and 6.3% in the company. "Powered by adv

Huawei's P20 series inks 10 million global sales in 5 months

Huawei Consumer electronics giant Huawei has just made known of its P20 Pro and P20 units reaching 10 million units after 5 months of release marking an exceptional milestone for the smartphone maker as more consumers adopt its products. This latest flagship devices sold heavily across China and Western Europe, The company's key smartphone markets which counts a whole lot of tech-savvy citizens based in the regions. Huawei The P20 smartphone outstanding for super-quality camera was unveiled at an exclusive event which held at the iconic Grand Palais Paris museum. It features an advanced camera system, Innovative AI enabled photography features, strong performance and a sleek design for consumers. “We are humbled by the reception of our latest flagships among global consumers. By going above the 10-million mark, we have again set ourselves a high bar to clear, but we will treat it as a symbol of encouragement that will fuel us as we continue doing what we do best—put

Enterprise software Unicorn Qualtrics said to interview banks for an IPO this year

Qualtrics CEO/co-founder Ryan Smith announcing the company's experience management platform at an event March last year Qualtrics  Utah based enterprise software startup and unicorn Qualtrics has now been reported to be interviewing bankers for a public offering targeted to take place this year as the company joins the populated list of tech companies going for U.S. IPOs this year. This report of an IPO came from  Bloomberg  which citing people familiar with the matter as the software firm which has raised $400 million in total across 3 rounds while being valued at $2.5 Billion from its most recent round of funding takes to the public markets. Qualtrics provides software which makes sophisticated research simple for organizations making use of in-depth customer insights with the 16 year old company counting various notable names including Microsoft, Yahoo, Volkswagen, Allianz, Fandango and JetBlue among its customers. As of last year, The company was said to be on-track

Lyft reportedly hires advisor for aimed next year IPO

Lyft U.S. ride-hailing company and main Uber competitor Lyft has now been reported to have kicked off the process for a public offering in an effort to beat its main competitor in the public markets with a new report from Bloomberg  stating of the company hiring Class V Group LLC to work closely with its management on an IPO process. According to the report, The timing of the targeted IPO  hasn't been finalized and is subject to change. “A variety of factors will determine if and when Lyft goes public, but in the meantime we are focused on building our business, which continues to grow,” Lyft spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna said in a statement. “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.” Lyft's main competitor Uber is also geared for an IPO next year with the company making several moves pointing to preparation for a public offering, It's recent hiring of a CFO  marks as a very key move for a public listing of Uber recently valued at $72 Billion from a $500 million

Skip and Scoot awarded SF scooter permits

Skip After applications for licenses by several scooter sharing firms and operations, The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has issued 1 year licenses to just 2 companies being Skip and Scoot which stands as smaller players in the market which counts the likes of Uber, Lyft, Lime, Bird, Ofo and Spin as major competitors. The newly issued permits will allow for a maximum number of  625 scooters for each firm in the first 6 months with both firms being able to double their number after the first 6 months at the permit of the SFmTA. According to the SFmTA, Scoot and Skip's permit applications demonstrate a high capability to operate a "safe, equitable and accountable scooter share service" in addition to a commitment to meet the terms of the permit. Skip In its application, The organization says Scoot demonstrated a strong commitment to safety with a proposal to educate and train its users for safe scooter operations through safe, equitable

EA announces Battlefield V November 20 release date as it lowers fiscal year expectations

    Electronic Arts Gaming firm Electronic Arts just today announced it's revising its net bookings outlook for fiscal year 2019 driven by an update to its Battlefield™ V launch date with the new title's release being delayed to the 20th of November impacting its full year guidance with foreign exchange rates and a revised mobile forecast playing a part in this change. EA's stock dropped by as much as 9.7% as of trading on Thursday in reaction to this news as investors and Wall Street analysts respond to this change highlighting issues for gaming companies as they aim to keep up with mega titles like the current craze Fortnite which has taken the world by storm and has already grossed over $1.2 Billion in revenue since its last year July release. “We believe we’ve got one of the best Battlefield games ever coming in Battlefield V,” said Laura Miele, Chief Studios Officer, Electronic Arts. “Tens of thousands of players have been hands on with the game so far, and

Apple sets September 12 for new launch event

An customer reacts to getting hold of Apple's new iPhone X after release at Apple's Union Square store Apple Apple has announced the date for its next big event with the Cupertino based giant sending out invites for a September 12 event scheduled to hold at the new Steve Jobs Theater on its newly built campus. The tech giant is expected to unveil its new iPhones and other releases on this date although as usual, It hasn't made any official comments regarding what to be showcased at the event. Renowned Apple news site 9to5mac is reporting of Apple using the iPhone XS moniker for its new phone with another leaked photo made available which the site says is a newly revised Apple Watch 4 design. With Apple's revenues rising globally as the company also broke the record of being the first $1 Trillion publicly traded U.S. firm early this month, It's expected to unveil more gadgets at the event which would be followed globally while being a major talk ac

Snap recruits Time Warner veteran Kristen O'Hara to head U.S. sales

image credit : Blogtrepreneur Camera company Snap has now hired Kristen O'Hara, AT&T executive and WarnerMedia Chief Marketing Officer as as vice president of US Global Business Solutions with this role seeing O'Hara heading the company's U.S. sales as it makes more moves to drive bigger revenues.  O'Hara has spent 16 years in total at Time Warner while holding the position of CMO at the company for 7 years now in addition to a previous stint at PR giant WPP which indicates in-depth experience in the media industry. As the new global sales chief, O'Hara will be based at its New York office while reporting to Snap Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan and overseeing three of its executives who have been reporting to Khan since February this year. This new role is key to Snap's operations with O'Hara taking on a more “consultative” role with advertisers as the company expands beyond traditional sales and apply more creative advertising methods for e

Digital design firm InVision cements strategic partnership with Atlassian

InVision NY based digital design and collaboration firm InVision has now deepened its strategic partnership with Australian software giant Atlassian with an aim to accelerate digital innovation for global organizations through seamless and effective collaboration. The 7 year old design firm whose software is used by the likes of Spotify, Airbnb, Shopify, Zendesk, SoundCloud, CitiGroup, Visa and others is intensifying its existing integrations with Atlassian's Jira, Confluence, and Trello product suite while also bringing Atlassian functionality into its InVision Studio release. Both companies would also explore strategic initiatives which tie the work of designers and developers more closely together as it aims to offer better collaboration and design services for organizations. As part of this, Atlassian is also making a strategic financial investment into InVision marking another of the Australian software firm's investments into partnering companies. InV

Popular Gay dating service Grindr plans to go public

Grindr Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., The Chinese software company behind an acquisition of popular gay dating app Grindr is now planning an IPO for the unit aimed for an overseas stock exchange at a not yet specified time. As per a new stock exchange filing , A public offering for the dating app with over 3 million daily users would be determined by regulatory approval as well as capital market conditions. Kunlun first purchased a majority stake in the app 2 years ago for $93 million before completing a full buyout January this year. Grindr's users send over 228 million messages and 20 million photos each day on its service as per 2017 data indicating high usage of its service. Grindr The service which counts majority of its users across U.S. and Europe stands as one of the three major businesses operated by its parent firm Beijing Kunlun which also counts a popular gaming and entertainment service as part of its business. “Grindr’s listing won’t exert a huge i

SurveyMonkey files for $100 million public offering

SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie image credit : Flickr/Andrew Mager Online survey development cloud-based software company SurveyMonkey has now officially filed for an IPO aiming to raise $100 million as it goes public on the Nasdaq stock exchange. It officially announced the filing with the SEC today as it preps to list under the ticker “SVMK” although the number of shares and price ranges to be offered has not yet been determined. This would make an addition to the list of companies already filed for IPO this year which include the likes of Eventbrite , Farfetch , NIO , Tenable  and Cango . J.P. Morgan, Allen & Company and Merill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated stand as lead joint book-running managers for this offering with the likes of Wells Fargo, UBS and Credit Suisse also acting as book-managers for the IPO. As per its filing, SurveyMonkey which counts all of the Fortune 100 as customers did $218.7 million in revenue last year while recording $

Salesforce reports $3.3 Billion Q2 revenue

Salesforce co-CEO/Founder Marc Benioff Salesforce Cloud computing giant Salesforce just outed its Q2 results with the SF based company reporting total second quarter revenue of $3.28 billion marking a 27% year-on-year increase with subscription and support revenues coming at $3.06 billion while professional services and other revenues accounted for a remaining $221 million. Cash generated from Q2 operations stood at $458 million marking a 38% year-over-year increase with current total cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities coming at $3.43 billion. “Salesforce revenue grew 27% to almost $3.3 billion in the second quarter, with excellent performance across our clouds, industry segments and geographies," said Keith Block, co-CEO, Salesforce. “With this strong quarter, we’re well on our way to our next milestone of $23 billion in revenue in FY22.”  The company expects to bring in 49 to 50 cents in earnings excluding certain items on $3.355 to 3.365 bil

Vernā Myers joins Netflix mounting newly created role as Vice President of "Inclusion Strategy"

Employees at Netflix's Los Gatos headquarters walk past a display of notable film titles offered on its platform. Netflix Renowned American author, Inclusion Strategist and Cultural Innovator Vernā Myers will now be joining streaming giant Netflix as announced by the company creating a new role of Vice President, Inclusion Strategy to help devise and implement strategies that integrate cultural diversity, inclusion and equity into aspects of its operations. Myers would be bringing a lot to the table with an experience spanning over 2 decades of consultancy with wide range of major corporations and organizations on the eradication of cultural biases for better workplace productivity. “Having worked closely with Vernā as a consultant on a range of organizational issues, we are thrilled that she has agreed to bring her talents to this new and important role,” said Jessica Neal, Netflix Chief Talent Officer. “As a global company dedicated to attracting the best p

Eric Lefkosky's Tempus gets $110 million funding pushing its valuation to $2 Billion

Tempus Tempus, The Chicago based startup advancing precision medicine through the collection and analysis of molecular data has now closed on a $110 million Series E financing round from several firms including Baillie Gifford, T. Rowe Price, Steve Case's Revolution Growth, New Enterprise Associates and other returning investors pushing the total amount raised by the 3 year old startup to $320 million. The company was notably started by former Groupon CEO and co-founder Eric Lefkosky who is also notable for starting Big Data unicorn Uptake along with key partner and fellow Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell. Tempus has built a comprehensive data set for its industry powered by its clinical partners and collaborators across the country, It applies machine learning, next-generation sequencing and AI-assisted image recognition to aid in real time decision making for thousands of physicians. “Our mission is to help usher in precision medicine, in the United States and abroad,” s

Facebook video platform Watch rolls out globally

Facebook Social networking giant Facebook has now rolled out its Watch video service globally making efforts to offer people around the world more ways to discover great videos and also interact with friends, creators and other users on its platform. Watch was launched in the U.S. last year and has grown to a good number of users with Facebook reporting more than 50 million people watching videos for at least a minute on its platform since the start of this year as it also works making its video experience more social through the addition of new features. Several notable shows available on the Watch platform include  Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith, beauty entrepreneur Huda Kattan’s behind-the-scenes show Huda Boss, along with live Major League Baseball games for users to enjoy. Watch offers a platform to discover new videos, catch up with creators and publishers people follow, a home for saved videos and also live videos people can participate in providing social a

Gaming startup Loot Crate gets $23 million Series B funding

image source : Loot Crate  LA based gaming collectibles subscription startup Loot Crate has secured a Series B funding round totalling $23 million from new investor Atalaya Capital Management and commerical partners NECA and Bioworld Merchandising to bolster subscription lines, improve customer experiences, and enable new product launches and distribution channels for its products. The leading subscription commerce platform for passionate entertainment and sport franchise fans is also refinancing its outstanding debt facilities while taking on incremental operational capital with this funding. The 6 year old startup which has formed partnerships with the likes of Marvel, Nickelodeon, Overwatch, WWE, Cartoon Network and the Fallout, Halo, Harry Potter and Minecraft brands has now raised over $40 million in total with this new round. "Over the past 6 years, Loot Crate has grown and evolved from a single subscription to offering multiple subscriptions spanning the best of

Lyft is offering $50,000 worth of Texas free rides for Labor Day weekend

Lyft Ride-hailing firm Lyft is celebrating the U.S. Labor Day weekend with cool perks for its users with the SF based company offering $50,000 in free rides for Texans to celebrate this event responsibly. Users of its service would be able to enjoy the fun with free rides of up to $10 each while living up the last moments of summertime. Texan users can claim their free rides here  or by applying code RIDESMARTLD on the Lyft app. “Labor Day festivities create a busy weekend for San Antonio roads,” Janet Peavy, Market Manager for Lyft San Antonio stated. “Data shows that 36 percent of Labor Day weekend fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver, and Lyft is committed to doing our part to combat this statistic and encourage responsible choices through our Ride Smart TX program.” Its Ride Smart TX program launched in May with the major ride-hailing player committing to reduce drinking and driving through its ride-sharing program. Part of Lyft's major moves to grow an

Medical equipment manufacturer Outset Medical closes $132 million Series D funding

Outset Medical San Jose based medical tech company Outset has now closed a Series D round of $132 million led by Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala with participation from T. Rowe Price, Warburg Pincus, Perceptive Advisors, Baxter Ventures, Fidelity and Partner Fund Management. This brings the total raised by Outset to over $360 million marking it as one of the most funded medical tech startups on scene. Started in 2003, The company is notable for its Tablo® Hemodialysis System aimed at reducing the cost and complexity of dialysis in acute and chronic care markets. Outset is gearing this funding towards commercial expansion of this product for the U.S. region where dialysis is delivered to more than 500,000 patients several times per week for removal of waste products and excess fluid from Kidney Failure patients. “Our investment in Outset Medical represents an exciting opportunity for Mubadala, as it is aligned with our goal of improving people’s lives while meeting a

HPE names former Sprint executive Tarek Robbiati as CFO

image credit : HPE Hewlett Packard Enterprise on the heels of just outing its financial results has also made a notable announcement involving a position change in the company as it has appointed a new CFO by name of Tarek Robbiati, A former Sprint executive and Flexigroup CEO who will now replace current CFO Tim Stonesifer who is getting ready to step down as of October end. Stonesifer is stepping down after heading to HPE 4 years ago as CFO following a nearly 3 year stint as s CFO of General Motor’s Co. Shanghai-based International Operations division. His tenure witnessed a period of significant transformation which included execution of the largest separation in corporate history in addition to spin-offs and mergers of 2 business segments delivering more than $20 Billion of transaction value. “Tim has been an incredible partner and advisor for our company and for me personally,” said HP CEO Neri. “He played a vital role during a period of tremendous change, providing str

Instagram ups its safety with new three-part plan

Instagram Instagram is making new moves in a bid to boost security on its platform as more users adapt its service with a safer environment being of positive interest to both parties. Just today, Instagram co-founder and CTO Mike Krieger detailed in a new post of three important steps its taking to offer a more secure platform for its 1 Billion global users. The social media service is launching a new feature to help users evaluate account authenticity in addition to introducing a global verification form for notable public figures and an improved two-factor authentication system which makes it easier and safer for users to securely log onto the platform. In coming weeks, Users would be able to see more information about accounts on Instagram which get to large audiences to evaluate authenticity through an “About This Account.” button to be accessed through a menu popping up after a click on a profile. Instagram By September, People who have accounts which reach large

WeWork owned Flatiron School joins forces with design school Designation

image credit : Flatiron Flatiron School, The coding school and bootcamp acquired and operated by co-working giant WeWork has now made a move to expand its service base with an acquisition of Designation, A dedicated User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) digital design program based out of Chicago notable for dishing out graduates for several big names including Facebook, Bose, Google, Apple, Capital One, Walgreens, IBM, Yelp, Uptake and several others. Flatiron was established in 2012 and currently counts 7 campuses across the U.S. and U.K. in addition to an online presence for its enrollees. After raising over $14 million across 2 rounds from the likes of Thrive Capital, Matrix Partners, BoxGroup and CRV, WeWork acquired the firm October last year adding its offerings as another perk for its members. This acquisition indicates WeWork's mission of furthering its co-working environment with new additions and features being made available to its over 200,000 members

Brazilian on-demand trucking startup CargoX gets $60 million round led by Blackstone

CargoX founder Federico Vega image credit : CargoX Sao Paulo based on-demand trucking startup CargoX has now raised $60 million in a venture round led by investment powerhouse Blackstone along with participation from other notable names including Goldman Sachs, Qualcomm Ventures, Soros Fund Management and Uber veteran and co-founder Oscar Salazar. This brings the total amount raised by CargoX to over $90 million as it aims to 'Uberize' the trucking industry and scale its operations in the huge logistics market. CargoX has already garnered notable customers including Heineken, Unilever, Votorantim and brewing giant Ambev. CargoX handles transportation for a wide range of items including foods, electronics, packaged goods, Wood, Flooring and several other commodities crucial to everyday life offering easy transportation services for customers looking to move heavy goods across regions. Previous investors in the 5 year old startup include Lumia Ventures, NXTP Labs, Agi

Apple's Newest store - The Apple Kyoto in Shijō Dori

Apple Tech giant Apple has always been making efforts towards ramping up its retail presence and this time, After opening a new location in Milan last month, The company has now opened another in Kyoto, The Japanese cultural and technological hub which has served as the city's major shopping spot since a long time ago. This new location takes inspiration from local Japanese design and materials as per the company who fitted the upper levels with a translucent envelope inspired by Japanese lanterns along with the use of lightweight timber frame and special paper on the upper facade to draw reference to the country's traditional houses. Apple The building is notably surrounded by a multi-level Atrium which is earmarked to host its  Today at Apple offering programs surrounding music, coding, photography and several other activities. Apple's first store outside the U.S. was opened in Japan 15 years ago and as it expands its retail presence is opening several

AutoX launches pilot autonomous grocery delivery program in San Jose

AutoX In the ever growing autonomous vehicle service industry,  Another startup is making a foray into the market with the launch of a grocery delivery and mobile store pilot program which would allow public users to order and receive fresh produce and other forms of goods to be delivered by its self driving cars. AutoX, The Silicon Valley based startup launching this service is partnering with GrubMarket, A online fresh food service also situated in its region along with local high-end grocery store DeMartini Orchard and will offer fresh foods from the likes of Chipotle, Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Amazon's Whole Foods for delivery to its users. Customers will be able to order items after downloading its app which offers a selection of goods it says would be preserved in a temperature controlled environment throughout its journey. “We are enabling two shopping experiences with self-driving cars,” explains AutoX COO Jewel Li. “You can order goods from an app and get

Uber to appeal Brazil court decision ruling drivers as employees

Uber Uber is set to appeal a decision by a Brazilian labour court which ruled in favor of a driver who demanded to be regarded as an employee of the service as per the company whose business model views its drivers as independent contractors as opposed to full employees. The company made known in a statement it will file an appeal before Brazil's top labor court with the company stating of “solid jurisprudence” to back its case. Uber has already won 123 similar lawsuits in the country as per its statement with several judges ruling that Uber has no compulsory need to treat its drivers as employees. Being its second largest market, The ride-hailing behemoth which sales its operations are profitable in the region have made efforts concerning its position and operations having fought legal battles brought about by various plantiffs regarding its service. “It’s important to clarify that it is not Uber who hires drivers, but drivers that hire Uber,” the company said in its st

VMware set to acquire CloudHealth as it makes efforts to grow cloud services

VMware CEO Patrick P. Gelsinger and parent company DellEMC founder Michael Dell at its 2017 VMWorld conference image credit : VMware Cloud software giant VMware has just announced its intent to acquire Boston based cloud service management startup CloudHealth in what would mark its 33rd acquisition and its 4th this year as the company aims to expand its services in the cloud software market. An official price has not been disclosed yet but Reuters reports VMware would pay $500 million for the 6 year old startup which has raised over $80 million in funding. VMware made its intent known during the keynote address of its annual VMWorld conference where it also made announcement of a new integration with AWS amid other  hybrid cloud focused changes. "Multi-cloud usage while beneficial to business creates a unique set of operational problems." said Raghu Raghuram, chief operating officer, products and cloud services, VMware. "With the addition of Cloud

Amazon opens a second Go store in downtown Seattle

Retail colossus Amazon is now ready to open a second location of its Amazon Go store, It's cashierless shopping experience powered by several sensory technologies which was first made available earlier this year. The company is now launching a second location near The Seattle Central Library at 920 Fifth Ave which will offer the same experience seen in its first pilot store to consumers. Just recently, Amazon rolled out the windows, turned the lights on with the layout of the building and products able to be seen by passers by. It's scheduled to open 7a.m on Monday morning. This store would feature a range of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack choices along with Amazon's own meal kits for people to purchase. Food options would me made available by Amazon chefs and various local caterers. As Amazon continues on its efforts to scale in the e-commerce market it already dominates, The company is making moves to challenge other mainstream retail competitors with Amazo

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Alert: Nikola Founder Trevor Milton Indicted On Fraud Charges

The founder of embattled electric car startup Nikola Corp. has been formally indicted on fraud charges by the US Justice Department months after resigning from the company. Trevor Milton by name, he's been accused of securities and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud and mislead investors. Milton is accused of misleading investors by making false statements regarding Nikola's products and capabilities. Notably, most of the investors allegedly misled were on the retail side. The DOJ alleges that Milton made false claims regarding "nearly all aspects" of Nikola's business. Milton founded Nikola in 2014 and led it through a public listing via a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) last year. The DOJ threw an apparent jab at SPACs in his indictment, asserting that he made 'many' of his false and misleading claims  during a period where he would not have been allowed to do so under rules that govern traditional IPOs were he

Earnings: AMD Doubles Revenue, Triples Profit

In this earnings season, companies all over are dropping their latest quarterly results and we're here equally reporting on them. We've touched on social media companies Snap Inc and Twitter , electric carmaker Tesla , and iPhone maker Apple . Now, the next is chipmaker AMD Inc . AMD has dropped its earnings for the second quarter of 2021, showing strong prospects as revenue doubled year-over-year and net income more than tripled.   Details AMD posted $3.9bn in revenue in Q2, up 99% year-over-year and 12% from the preceding quarter. For the same period, the company's net income was $710mn , up 352% year-over-year and 28% from the preceding quarter. Doubling its revenue and nearly quadrupling net income indicates AMD has a strong yet fast-growing business. It's bound to grow even more as the company is set to complete its acquisition of rival chipmaker Xilinx . AMD makes money selling high-performance chipsets used in computers, consoles, data centers, and the likes

Antitrust: Amazon Fined $900M By EU For Privacy Violations

Tech behemoth Amazon is for the nth time in the crosshairs of the European Union (EU). The latest saga in that arena is that Amazon has been fined a record-breaking amount for alleged privacy violations, according to an SEC filing from the company. Amazon has been fined the sum of €746 million ($888mn) by the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) for not complying with data privacy laws. It's the largest fine imposed under Europe's data protection law.  The fine originates from the CNPD accusing Amazon of processing customers' personal data in violation of the EU's famous-cum-infamous General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws.  In June, it was reported ( WSJ )  that the Luxembourg data protection agency had sanctioned Amazon's privacy practices and proposed a fine topping $425mn to the EU's other two-dozen or so national data protection authorities. Now, it appears that the final fine is much larger than that.  Before now, the bigges

Deal: Qualtrics Buys CX Startup Clarabridge For $1.1B

Months after getting spun out of SAP into a separate public company, Qualtrics , a major provider of online survey software, has made a major acquisition. It's agreed to buy Clarabridge , a startup that does similar work to Qualtrics in the field fondly referred to as "customer experience (CX)". Qualtrics will pay $1.1bn all with shares to buy Clarabridge. The acquisition is a major strategic play for the company, pairing Qualtrics' customer survey business with Clarabridge's similar business of measuring customer sentiment from various sources like social media posts and customer support calls. Basically, Qualtrics is in the business of weighing customer surveys directly and Clarabridge in the business of doing so indirectly . Pairing both businesses represents a major strategic play for Qualtrics. In an investor presentation, Qualtrics said that Clarabridge has $100mn in annual revenue, implying an 11x multiple that it's paying to buy the company. That&#

Deal: Amgen Buys Biotech Startup Teneobio In $2.5B Deal

It appears that this Covid era has led to a boom for companies that work on  antibodies , which are protective proteins produced by the human immune system to tackle foreign substances, usually viruses. Antibodies are very useful in the research and treatment of viruses such as Covid. There are companies that specialize in antibodies and one of them, BioLegend , was recently bought for a whopping $5.3bn . Now, another such company, Teneobio , is getting bought for a big amount. Teneobio has agreed to be acquired by Amgen , an American biotech giant. Amgen is paying $900mn upfront for the company, then an additional $1.6bn in cash contingent on the company hitting certain milestones. It sums up to a $2.5bn deal . Teneobio is a clinical-stage biotech startup working on antibodies aimed at treating cancer, autoimmunity, and other infectious diseases. As it's still in the clinical trial stage with no viable product yet, it appears that Amgen is betting big on Teneobio's trials b

Antitrust: UK Probes Facebook's $1B Kustomer Acquisition

The UK's antitrust agency has launched a probe into Facebook's latest acquisition, that of chatbot platform Kustomer Inc , which Facebook agreed to buy last November for a reported $1bn. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday, the 30th of July, released a statement  indicating it had opened an inquiry into Facebook's purchase of Kustomer, regarding if it'll result in "a substantial lessening of competition" within the market Kustomer operates in. Such probes aren't out of the norm and are routine for big acquisitions. For Facebook, it speaks to the fact that antitrust agencies are watching the company's moves, especially regarding acquisitions. To note, two of Facebook Inc's biggest products outside the main Facebook platform, Instagram and WhatsApp , were acquisitions. In fact, it's primarily acquisitions that have propelled the company's growth. As with such probes, the UK will first seek comments from the public

Hollywood: Reese Witherspoon's Media Co. Sold In $900M Deal

A media company founded by superstar actress Reese Witherspoon has sold for a large amount to a company still in its infancy that hasn't even been named yet. That company is Hello Sunshine , a media company that produces content distributed across various platforms; movies, TV shows, podcasts, et al. Hello Sunshine has been sold to a newly-formed media venture t hat's backed by investment capital from Blackstone , the private equity giant.  The venture is led by ex Disney honchos Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs .  As it is, the Blackstone-funded venture is acquiring a majority stake in Hello Sunshine from a group of external investors while anchor shareholders like Witherspoon and her founding partners will roll over and retain their equity stakes in the newly-formed venture. Officially, the deal's financial terms weren't disclosed, but a report from The Wall Street Journal says it's a $900mn deal. According to the report, the Blackstone-funded venture will pay $500mn

Earnings: Shopify Beats Estimates, Reaches Major Milestone

In this season of earnings results and we at The Techee  reporting on them, we're here with a beat on Shopify , which has released its earnings statement for the second quarter (April-June) of this year. In Q2, Shopify beat revenue expectations from analysts and as well achieved a major financial milestone by crossing $1bn in quarterly revenue for the first time. Shopify had $1.1bn in revenue in the quarter, up 57% year-over-year. Net income for the same period was $897mn , most of which was due to a $778mn gain in equity investments, likely from Shopify's stake in Affirm , a major 'buy now, pay later' lender. As usual, most of Shopify's sales ( $785mn ) came from "Merchant Solutions", which groups additional services the company offers atop recurring subscriptions charged to online retailers. Sales from subscriptions came at $334mn in the quarter. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), representing the total worth of transactions made on the Shopify platform,

Alert: Square Buys Australia's Afterpay For $29B

It's a big day in the fintech world. There's been a major acquisition with a major American fintech company, Square , buying Australia's foremost fintech startup, Afterpay , a 'buy now, pay later' lender. Square has reached an agreement to buy Afterpay for a whopping $29bn , marking one of Australia's biggest buyouts. It's a big deal that a startup founded barely seven years ago is selling for $29bn.  Square will pay the $29bn all with shares. It means that shares of Afterpay, which are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange, will be exchanged for Square stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Afterpay is Australia's foremost 'buy now, pay later (BNPL)' lender in online retail. For the uninitiated, the 'buy now, pay later' business is a relatively young one providing alternatives to credit cards for consumers to shop online. It provides loans for consumers to shop online and then pay back in installments. Usually, credi

Markets: US SEC Takes Aim At Chinese IPOs

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a swipe at Chinese initial public offerings (IPOs) after regulatory hiccups in China have affected many Chinese stocks listed on US markets and American stockholders holding them. The SEC has issued new guidance on Chinese companies seeking to list shares in the US, requiring them to make certain disclosures to investors or otherwise refrain from listing in the US markets. First of all, usually, Chinese companies listing in the US don't actually sell shares of the operating companies but that of shell companies with contractual relationships with the operating companies. These shell shares, known as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) , are used to circumvent restrictions on foreign ownership of Chinese shares imposed by the country's government. Now, the SEC in a statement has made it clear that Chinese companies seeking to list in the US must provide clear descriptions of the shell operations involved in such listing