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Showing posts from September, 2018

Mercedes drops 'project' from Hypercar name and tags it 'AMG One'

Mercedes In the run-up to the Paris Motor Show 2018 event, Mercedes unveiled the official name of its Hypercar now dubbed 'AMG One' with a drop of 'project' from the vehicle previously known as the 'project one'. The One now stands for its highest automotive ambition to usher Formula 1 hybrid tech to the roads with the One being the pinnacle of Mercedes' model portfolio and an absolute top-of-the-line model. Mercedes Intensive testing of the hypercar have been on-going for months in England at high-performance test stands and race tracks with the AMG One reflecting the latest development status of an outstanding technical feature, It's active aerodynamics. The vehicle's active aerodynamics currently in the process of wind tunnel testing is equipped with a multi-part, two-stage extendable rear wing for maximum downforce in race mode which stands as a very high-end and individualistic feature for top-tier vehicles. F1 driver Va

Toyota is supplying its Fuel Cell tech to bus manufacturer CaetanoBus

Toyota Auto giant Toyota has reached another deal for its aim on stepping towards a broader hydrogen society through an agreement to implement its Fuel Cell technology for bus manufacturer Caetanobus SA. Toyota will provide systems which include fuel cell stacks, hydrogen tanks and other key components to the Portuguese bus engineering and production company which will be used for crafting hydrogen fuel cell city buses. Toyota In little over a year, The first zero emission fuel cell city buses will roll off Caetanobus's lines and will be operated as demonstration buses by the company. This marks as another notable step for Toyota as it promotes the application of its hydrogen fuel cell technology beyond passenger cars to other vehicles which include forklifts, buses, heavy duty and small delivery trucks. "Supplying our fuel cell systems to Caetanobus demonstrates the many practical uses and environmental benefits of hydrogen towards a carbon-free society. We'

The 2019 BMW i3 and i3s packs more electric range thanks to new high-voltage batteries

BMW BMW has unveiled more features coming for the 2019 models of its i3 and i3s vehicles with a focus on extended range for customers thanks to new high-voltage and more powerful batteries being equipped for the vehicle. Operating range is now set to increase to as much as 260 kilometres in everyday conditions without any loss of driving pleasure which count as an up for its buyers. BMW Other additional features for the new version include a sports package for the BMW i3 and new colors for the exterior and interior. The BMW i series is fusing its position as an innovation leader and trendsetter in the EV market with these new models as it sets its sights for more growth in the EV market. Storage capacity of the high-voltage battery used for the i series vehicles has doubled since initial launch thanks to on-going development and research concerning methods to make the EV experience much more better. BMW Increased capacity of the battery has led to a longer rang

Microsoft is experimenting with a Robot Operating System for Windows

Microsoft is tinkering into the field of advanced robots with the announcement an experimental release of Robot Operating System [ROS1] for Windows at the ROSCon 2018 event holding in the spanish capital of Madrid. This will bring the manageability and security of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise to the innovative ROS ecosystem which offers sets of libraries and tools that help in construction of complex robots used in implementing cutting-edge processes. At the ROSCon event, Microsoft is demoing a ROBOTIS Turtlebot 3 robot running the ROS software which recognizes and steers towards the person closest to the robot. The demoed robot runs Windows 10 IoT Enterprise on an Intel Coffee Lake NUC while utlizing a new ROS node which leverages hardware-accelerated Windows Machine Learning. Microsoft is also demonstrating a ROS simulation environment running on its Azure cloud service which exhibits a collection of robots running in a virtual environment linked to an orchestration system c

The BMW Cockpit has been heavily revised and modernised for new auto models

BMW BMW has now unveiled a newly reappraised, rebuilt, revised, modified and modernized version of its Cockpit for new launch models like the BMW X5, BMW 8 Series, BMW Z4 and BMW 3 Series which are all being debuted at the Mondial de l’Automobile 2018 event in Paris. The new Cockpit packs content which can be customized and personalized and a new fully digital BMW Operating System 7.0 focused increasingly on the driver experience. Improvements have been made on interaction options with the vehicle among other notable features. BMW These improved interactions are centered around the areas of voice recognition and gesture control with customers for the first time getting access to BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant which makes the vehicle experience way more smarter. Responding to the prompt “Hey BMW” command, The Intelligent Assistant offers a smooth integration of new functions and services which comes with optimal support at all times for the driver. BMW The new Re

Volvo outs Cross Country version of its V60 vehicle

Volvo Volvo has outed a new Cross Country version of its V60 vehicle in what marks a latest addition to its line-up of brand new Volvos which reflects its transformation in recent years. The initial V60 was launched earlier this year on the driveway of a Stockholm Villa reflecting its ability to function uniquely and seamlessly. The Cross Country version of the vehicle takes the V60 from from the suburb to the skogen (Swedish for forest). It adds the capability on and off the beaten track which has defined Volvo's Cross Country vehicles since its initial outing 21 years ago. Volvo The Cross Country modification brings about a ground clearance up to 75mm higher than the regular V60 thanks to its specially developed chassis and suspension for enhancement of its off-road capability. It packs other standard features such as All-wheel-drive, Electronic Stability Control, Hill  Descent Control, Corner Traction Control and a special Off-Road driving mode. The V60 Cross Count

Volkswagen partners with Microsoft to accelerate its connected car efforts

Volkswagen Volkswagen and Microsoft has now inked a strategic partnership which would see both companies work on progressing Volkswagen's Automotive Cloud and connected car services as is aims for transformation into a mobility provider with fully connected vehicle fleets. Volkswagen will now be leveraging Microsoft's expertise and learnings to assist in defining what will make its ‘Volkswagen Automotive Cloud’ service peculiar and globally accepted. The auto giant will set up a a new automotive cloud development office in North America which will support initial development of efforts pertaining to this partnership. From 2020 as targeted, Over 5 million new VW vehicles yearly will be fully connected and will be part of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the cloud, This partnership by both companies is aimed at laying the foundation for combination of Microsoft's expertise as a major cloud services provider and Volkswagen's experience as a global high-selling auto

Daimler's smart forease concept embodies urban driving fun in an individualistic way

Daimler Daimler has unveiled a new electric and urban concept to celebrate its 20th anniversary at the Paris Motor Show through an outing of an ingenious concept which offers a simple solution for urban mobility. The concept is seated under the open sky with the driver being at the centre of the hustle and bustle of the city which they can freely partake in thanks to its electric drive. Its openness and minimalistic style reflect a tribute to the pioneering smart concept vehicles "crossblade" (2001) and "forspeed" (2011). Daimler The concept is uncompromisingly open, pays no heed to convention and is powered by an electric powertrain while standing for the authentic urban mobility which continues to be the underlying concept behind the brand. It stands for emotionality, lifestyle and attitude as described by Daimler who owes the individualistic awe of the vehicle to the extension of its interior to the open environment. It packs radiant, dramatic

Grab said to be in discussions to offload Thai unit stake to retail giant Central Group

image credit : Grab Singapore based ridesharing firm Grab has now been reported to be in talks of selling a “a decent-sized stake” in its Thai business to Central Group, The country's largest retailer with over $10 billion in annual revenues. A deal like this would expand Grab's partnerships with the retail giant beyond food delivery into other sectors such as e-commerce and digital payments. This would also come at a time when Grab's main competitor Go-Jek is planning a foray into the Thai market with a $500 million investment set for its expansion into the country and several other South East Asian regions. Grab is also reported to be interested in doing business with JD Central, a $560 million joint venture set up with China's JD.com by the Central Group earlier this year. No official statement have been made yet as of now with still open room for countless speculations, Nevertheless, what's sure is that Grab has been on a rapid growth rate since its st

Color Genomics takes on collaboration with the Broad Institute and Partners LMM for historic 'All of Us' Research Program

Color Genomics Color Genomics, A Burlingame based genetic testing startup focused on early detection of cancer for users of its kit has now partnered with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the Laboratory for Molecular Medicine (LMM) at Partners HealthCare for establishment of one of three genome centres around the U.S. for the National Institutes of Health's  All of Us Research Program. This research program marks one of the most ambitious biomedical research efforts ever taken in the U.S. and is aimed at sequencing one million or more people across the U.S with a goal of accelerating health research and enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care for individuals. Color will be responsible for analysis and reporting of genomic data for this program with further support from Partners LMM for a set of 59 genes which can lead to serious and preventable clinical conditions such as breast and ovarian cancer, familial hypercholesterolemia, Lynch syndrome, a

Microsoft’s mobile phone keyboard SwiftKey adds two-way translation for Android

image credit : SwiftKey Microsoft Translator, The software giant's technology which makes use of artificial intelligence for provision of translations for more than 60 languages has now been integrated with the Android version of Microsoft's SwiftKey mobile keyboard. The company made this known in a recent announcement this Thursday. The real-time translation feature will now translate as its Android users text in real-time to offer a unique and much desired experience for cross-border messaging. Once users tap the Microsoft Translator icon on the SwiftKey keyboard, The app begins its function with translation of messages between users. The app would also remember users' preferences leading to an elimination of the need to scroll through the full list of the more than 60 available languages which users choose from. “We wanted to make it really easy for users to be able to translate as they type and to be able to translate incoming messages,” Colleen Hall, a sen

Compass raises $400 million from Softbank and others at $4.4 billion valuation

Compass Real estate startup Compass has now closed a $400 million round led by the Softbank Vision Fund and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) with further participation from Fidelity, Insight Venture Partners and the Wellington Management Company. This comes less than a year after Compass nabbed $450 million in a round still led by Softbank with the total amount raised by NY based Compass now coming at $1.2 billion. This investment round came with a $4.4 billion valuation for the company marking a doubling of its most previous $2.2 billion valuation. An announcement of this funding comes just on the same day fellow real estate startup Opendoor raised $400 million in new funding of which Softbank provided the lion share. The company which count operations in major markets including San Diego,  Nashville, Atlanta, Houston and Austin among several others is planning to expand into international markets with this investment providing capital for this growth. Compass CFO

The Gears Pro Circuit Season 2 esports event is coming to San Diego

The Coalition The popular Gears Pro Circuit Season 2 esports tournament is heading to the city of San Diego debuting a first appearance on the West Coast for esports enthusiasts who will battle it out for a piece of the $250,000 prize pool. This event will hold from the 28th-30th of September at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center as Optic Gaming steps into the event to take the title after a dominating performance in New Orleans and wins of the last seven online 2Ks. Team Echo Fox is coming in as the second seed to battle it out after a loss in  New Orleans. Team Ghost Gaming and Spacestation Gaming will also come with new members as they look to run the table to the Championship match this Sunday. The San Diego event is also marking Gears Pro Circuit debut of 2v2 Gnashers Only on Boxes with a $10,000 prize pool being bundled for this side tournament which will have some of the top Gears players looking to prove their CQB dominance. Anyone with an event

U.K. based AI cyber defense startup Darktrace nabs $50 million Series E funding at $1.65 billion valuation

Darktrace co-founder and former CEO Poppy Gustafsson (left) at a 2016 TechCrunch Disrupt event image credit : John Phillips/Getty Images for TechCrunch U.K. based cyber defense firm Darktrace has now raised $50 million in a Series E funding round led by Vitruvian Partners with participation from KKR and 1011 Ventures to fund its expansion as the firm which counts as one of the largest in the enterprise security startup base scale its operations. This funding round came with a $1.65 billion valuation for the 5 year old company renowned for its machine learning approach to detection of security vulnerabilities in enterprise networks. With over 650 employees spanning across over 30 global offices and a deployment of its solutions to over 7,000 networks, Darktrace stands as a rapidly growing company having scaled to an impressive height in a quite short amount of time. Darktrace's products include cyber defense solutions targeted for the cloud, IT environments, physical

Stripe raises $245 million Tiger Global led round at $20 billion valuation

Stripe co-founders John Collison and Patrick Collison who old the positions of President and CEO respectively at Stripe Stripe San Francisco based Stripe, a leading payments company whose service is used by over 100 thousand businesses worldwide spreading across millions of customers has now raised $245 million in a new round at a $20 billion valuation, More than double the previous $9.2 billion valuation it garnered from its most previous funding round which took place in 2016. This round was led by Tiger Global with further participation from DST Global, Sequioa Capital, Kleiner Perkins and Thrive Capital. Stripe which counts major name customers such as Uber, Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Wish, Postmates, Expedia, Zillow, Deliveroo and Google has now raised $685 million in total across several rounds. Stripe 8 year old Stripe has now vaulted into the ranks of the world's most valuable private tech companies with a $20 billion valuation placing it amongst the top ten r

Oculus outs the Fall event lineup for its Venues app

Oculus Oculus has now unveiled the first taste of its Fall 2018 lineup for the Oculus Venues app where users get to experience live action like never before on the Oculus Go and Gear VR headsets. The latest events will be available on the Oculus companion mobile app for users to see upcoming events and select from to attend while taking on what counts as one the best VR experiences. Oculus in partnership with several other major entertainment names including Lionsgate, NextVR, Showtime, AEG and the NBA and MLB sport bodies to bring immersive and live VR content to its users. As announced by Oculus, Below is its content schedule for its Oculus Venues events from the months of September to November. More additions are also set to come soon; September September 26 // VR League Onward Qualifiers // 12:00 pm PT September 26 // VR League Onward Finals // 6:00 pm PT September 26 // Live Music Now — New Orleans, LA // 8:00 pm PT September 26 // OC5 Day 1 Keynote Encore wit

Oculus unveils new 'Quest' VR headset set for release next year

Oculus Oculus has unveiled a new VR headset set to launch Spring 2019 dubbed 'Quest' which counts as its first all-in-one VR system with six degrees of freedom with lets users look around in any direction and walk through virtual space as would happen in the physical world. The Oculus Quest comes with Touch controllers to enable interaction with people and objects in a natural way and will pack over 50 games and experiences at launch with more to come in future time. Oculus It makes jumping into action way more easier with no PC, wires or external sensors needed for use. Packed with Oculus Insight unveiled by the company at its OC5 conference, It offers breakthrough inside-out tracking, Guardian, and Touch controller tracking which makes use of four ultra wide-angle sensors and computer vision algorithms to track exact position of players in real-time without the use of external sensors. The intuitive touch controllers brings real hands into the VR experience for

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Okta Buys Cloud Security Startup Auth0 For $6.5B

A very big new acquisition has happened in the tech industry, with Okta (NASDAQ: OKTA), the publicly-traded cloud identity and access management software provider, announcing an agreement to buy Auth0, a fellow cloud identity software provider, for a price of $6.5 billion to be paid all with shares. A $6.5 billion exit for Auth0 marks a major win for the startup scene in Seattle, the tech hub where Auth0 is based and also a major win for the company's backers and investors. Auth0 last raised venture funding last year in July with a $120 million Series F round that valued the company at $1.9 billion. Now, it's about to sell for more than triple that amount. Auth0 has raised more than $330 million in total venture funding, with investors including the likes of Salesforce Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Telstra Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, and DTCP. Salesforce Ventures led Auth0's most recent $120 million Series F round. With its acquisition of a fellow cloud identity a

John McAfee Indicted For $13M Crypto "Pump And Dump" Scheme

In October last year, John McAfee who's a controversial entrepreneur best known for founding the cybersecurity powerhouse bearing his last name McAfee was indicted for tax evasion by US authorities  with accusations of earning millions of dollars from cryptocurrency schemes and failing to report income and pay taxes as required to the US government. Now, it appears that McAfee is facing even more charges from US authorities, with the District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) having just announced  further indictments of him for fraud and money laundering coming from alleged crypto "pump and dump" schemes. McAfee along with an associate, Jimmy Watson, are accused of hyping and promoting certain cryptocurrencies on social media in order to artificially inflate their prices without disclosing that McAfee owned large quantities of the promoted crypto and intended to profit from his promotion. McAfee, Watson, and other unnamed associates are alleged to have p

Peter Thiel Cashes Out Big From Palantir

After taking his data analytics and mining company, Palantir, public last year, it seems that Peter Thiel is keen on cashing out significantly from his stake in the company after getting an opportunity to do so on the public markets.  Thiel founded and helped build Palantir from the ground up into a data analytics powerhouse with annual sales of over $1 billion.   Palantir stayed as a private company for 17 years before hitting the public markets. According to regulatory filings and records , Peter Thiel has sold over $780 million of Palantir shares since the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in September 2020.  Thiel's largest single sale transaction was an offloading of 20 million shares for $504.8 million on the 19th of February, 2020. His second-largest was the sale of 23 million shares in a transaction netting around $236 million on the 30th of September, 2020, which was the very day Palantir began trading on the NYSE. Altogether, Thiel has netted mor

New SPAC Deal: Bitcoin Mining Startup Cipher

The latest technology company to join the flurry of SPAC mergers is Cipher Mining, a newly-formed US-based bitcoin mining startup that's an offshoot of Bitfury, a leading maker of bitcoin mining hardware that's based in the Netherlands. Cipher Mining Inc will merge with Good Works Acquisition Corp (Nasdaq: GWAC) in a deal valuing the bitcoin mining startup at $2 billion. The SPAC will be anchored by a $425 million PIPE round committed by investors including Fidelity, Morgan Stanley (via its subsidiary Counterpoint Global), and Cipher's parent Bitfury. Bitfury will contribute a $50 million investment to the PIPE round that's structured as purchase credits for equipment and services from it for Cipher Mining. The SPAC merger will hand over $595 million in gross proceeds to Cipher Mining, consisting of the $425 million PIPE round and $170 million of cash held in trust by Good Works Acquisition Corp. Upon completion of the SPAC merger, the investors in Cipher's PIPE rou

Deal: Twilio Bets $750M On Mobile Comms Provider Syniverse

Twilio, the publicly-traded cloud communications company, has sought to strategically team up with an old-guard provider of mobile and wireless communications technology named Syniverse, with a formal business partnership just  announced between both parties that'll see Twilio invest up to $750 million for a minority stake in Syniverse under its terms. Twilio has agreed to invest up to $750 million in cash for a minority stake in Syniverse, buying the stake from the company's current owner which is the private equity firm Carlyle Group. The partnership between Twilio and Syniverse will see both companies enter into a major business partnership that entails a wholesale agreement whereby Syniverse will process, route and deliver application-to-person (A2P) messages originating and/or terminating between Twilio’s customers and mobile network operators. On Syniverse's end of the deal, the company is getting a business boost by providing services for Twilio which is one of the

American Drone Maker Skydio Raises $170M, Valued At $1B+

Skydio, an American startup that makes autonomous drones, has closed a new funding round of $170 million that values it above $1 billion. The round was led by the famous venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from existing backers Next47, IVP, and Linse Capital, plus a new investor UP.Partners. Andreessen Horowitz led the new Series D round for Skydio from its Growth Fund, and with it, Skydio has now raised a total of over $340 million in external funding and then with a $1 billion+ valuation that makes it the highest-valued drone startup in the US. It seems that Skydio has drawn wide investor attraction after the US government placed China's DJI on a blacklist last year. DJI made its mark as the biggest drone maker globally and the largest in the US market but got placed on a government Entity List last year that barred American companies from supplying it with components. The blacklist was instituted by the former Trump administration due to alleged ties to

Carmaker Volvo To Go Fully Electric By 2030

The latest global automaker to commit to transitioning to a fully-electric production output in the future is Swedish carmaker Volvo, which has announced plans to become a fully electric car company by 2030. By then, the company says it intends to have phased out any car in its portfolio with an internal combustion engine, including hybrids, and transition to producing fully electric cars. The announcement of Volvo's grand plan comes a year after the company launched its first fully electric car, the XC40 Recharge , around the globe, and with just one fully electric car in its product portfolio now, it's apparent that the automaker would need to put in hard work to achieve a fully-electric portfolio in nine years time. To work towards its goal, Volvo has announced that it'll roll out 'several' additional electric car models in the coming years, the word several making the number indistinct. The Swedish automaker is aiming for fully electric cars to make up half of

Jay-Z's Tidal Sells To Payments Company Square In $300M Deal

It seems that this is the season of deals for rapper-cum-businessman Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter as just barely two weeks after he reached a deal to sell half of his premium champagne brand to luxury goods giant LVMH, he's reached yet another deal to sell one of his main business ventures, the music streaming app Tidal. Tidal has agreed to be taken over by Square, the payments company led by Jack Dorsey who's more popular for his role as the CEO of Twitter. In a statement , Square said it'll pay the sum of $297 million in a mix of cash and stock to acquire a "significant majority ownership" stake in Tidal leaving the remaining minority stake will be held by Tidal's artist shareholders. The exact percentage that Square is buying in Tidal isn't disclosed but it's definitely over 50% given it's a majority stake. With Square's statement of acquiring a "significant majority ownership", one can guess somewhere between 50%-80% of the com

Smart TV Maker Vizio Files To Go Public

Vizio, a well-known maker of smart TVs and other complementary equipment such as soundbars, has filed an S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a public listing, seeking to do so for the second time after having previously filed to go public in 2015 but later withdrew its plan in lieu of a $2 billion sale agreement to a Chinese company that unfortunately didn't pan out. The market for technology IPOs has been very hot as of late and it seems that Vizio is coming in at the right time to capitalize on that hotness. A popular maker of smart TVs, Vizio has sold over 80 million TVs and 11 million soundbars since the company's inception, as indicated in its S-1 filing. The company sold 7.1 million TVs in 2020 alone. Vizio has strong revenues and is profitable, reporting $102 million in net income on over $2 billion in revenue in 2020. In the previous year, 2019, Vizio reported a net income of $23 million on $1.8 billion in revenue. Most of Vizio's revenue c

New SPAC Deal: Home Insurance Startup Hippo

Amid a flurry of SPAC mergers as of late, the latest technology company to tap into the boom and reach a deal to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is Hippo, a home insurance startup that makes use of satellite imagery and smart home sensors to gauge and offer better home insurance policies. Hippo will merge with Reinvent Technology Partners Z (NYSE:RPTZ), a SPAC formed by the respective founders of LinkedIn and gaming company Zynga, Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus. Hippo will merge with  Reinvent Technology Partners Z in a deal that'll hand it over $230 million of cash held in trust by the SPAC, plus a $550 million PIPE round to be led by existing investors  Dragoneer, Lennar, and Ribbit Capital. The PIPE round will value Hippo at $5 billion. Following the merger's completion, Hippo expects to have $1.2 billion of cash at hand, fueled by the funds from its SPAC deal plus venture funding that it's already raised. A hot insurance startup, Hippo has raised o