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Showing posts from April, 2019

Eric Schmidt And Diane Greene To Step Down From Alphabet Board

Eric Schmidt Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Tech Alphabet has announced that former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and ex-Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene will not seek re-elections to its board after the expiration of their current tenures on the 19th of June 2019. This entails Schmidt and Greene are stepping down after 18 years and 7 years on the company's board respectively. Schmidt who ran Google from July 2001 to April 2011 will continue as technical advisor to Alphabet. Alphabet made this announcement while also announcing a new board member, Robin Washington, who notably serves as CFO of Gilead Sciences and is also a board member at Salesforce. She previously served in a number of executive positions at PeopleSoft and as CFO of enterprise software company Hyperion Solutions. Diane Greene Photograph by Kevin Moloney / Fortune Brainstorm Tech Greene stepped down as CEO of Google Cloud January this year to be replaced by ex-Oracle executive Thomas Kurian

Altice Pays $200 Million For Cheddar

image: Cheddar Altice USA has agreed to acquire Cheddar, the digital media company known for its millennial-focused news network available on lots of streaming networks and some cable systems. The cable operator is paying $200 million for Cheddar, with an acquisition expected to close in the next two months. Cheddar will be added to Altice's news offerings which include the News 12 and i24NEWS networks. Cheddar CEO Jon Steinberg will join Altice USA to now lead its news division, consisting of Cheddar itself and the News12 and i24NEWS channels. Cheddar -- known for its flagship newscast on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange -- broadcasts 19 hours of live news via two networks each day. The company's viewership is most concentrated on ages 25-34. Cheddar also operates CheddarU, a closed-circuit network spanning 1,600 screens in public spaces at 600 college campuses. Cheddar CEO Jon Steinberg (left) and Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei image: Altice Ched

UiPath Raises $568 Million At $7 Billion Valuation

UiPath CEO Daniel Dines image: UiPath Robotic process automation (RPA) company UiPath has raised $568 million in Series D funding at a $7 billion post-money valuation. Coatue Management led the round, with participation from Dragoneer, Wellington, Sands Capital, funds advised by T. Rowe Price, and existing investors Sequoia Capital, Alphabet's CapitalG, Accel, IVP, and Madrona Venture Group. New York-based UiPath has grown its employee count to more than 2,500, a 16x increase from when it closed Series A funding in April 2017. The company says its annual recurring revenue (ARR) has grown to over $200 million, having exceeded 400,000 users of its RPA software worldwide. As of recent, UiPath has attracted new customers like Google, Duracell, McDonalds, Uber, The US Navy, Virgin Media, and Orange. The company has now raised $1 billion in total funding according to Crunchbase data . (Second from left) Coatue Management founder Philippe Laffont Photograph by Kevin Molon

Samsung Records 60% YoY Drop In First Quarter Profit

Samsung Electronics CEO DJ Koh image: Samsung Samsung Electronics has posted its financial results for the first quarter of this year, recording 52.4 trillion Korean Won ($45 billion) in revenue and 6.2 trillion Korean Won ($5.4 billion) in profit for the period. This is down 60% from last year's first quarter profit, attributable to a drop in memory chips prices and slowed display sales. Yet, Samsung said the newly launched Galaxy S10 logged strong sales. Samsung's Display unit turned a quarterly loss, citing lowered demand for flexible displays and increasing market supplies for large displays. For its smartphone division, profitability declined year-on-year despite strong sales of the Galaxy S10. Samsung cites softer demand in the overall smartphone market and a revamping of its product line-up as a reason for this. DJ Koh presents the Samsung Galaxy Fold at this year's Galaxy Unpacked event. The launch of the Galaxy Fold has been delayed after reports

Vector Maker Anki Shuts Down

Anki CEO Boris Sofman image: TechCrunch / Flickr Anki, the San Francisco based robotics startup behind popular consumer robots like Vector and Anki and backed by nearly $200 million in funding according to Crunchbase data  is shutting its doors and laying off its entire staff. Recode first reported this on Monday. According to its report, CEO Boris Sofman -- at a teary all-hands meeting - told Anki's staff (close to 200 employees) that they would be terminated on Wednesday and paid a week of severance. The report also says Sofman had earlier told employees that the company was scrambling to find more funding after a new financing round receded at the last minute. This isn't a small shut-down as Anki said last fall it had "approached" $100 million in 2017 revenue and expected to surpass that figure in 2018. Anki's leadership had previously told employees that it was looking after acquisition interest from companies like Comcast, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Apple Defends Pulling Of Parental Control Apps

image: Apple Apple has made an official statement blaming its removal of several parental control apps from the App Store on privacy and security concerns, after a piece from The New York Times  generated attention over fears of Apple restricting competition. According to research from NYT and app-data firm Sensor Tower, Apple has restricted or removed at least 11 of the 17 most downloaded parental-control and screen-time apps on the App Store. Among those affected is OurPact, the top parental control app with more than three million downloads on the App Store. Apple pulled the app from the App Store in February, putting a hold on what accounted for 80% of OurPact's revenue according to the New York Times article. Apple says the parental control apps affected made use of a "highly invasive" technology called 'Mobile Device Management (MDM)' which gives a third party control and access over a device and its sensitive information. Apple CEO Timothy Don

Comparing The BMW M121 And P48 Engines

BMW P48 Turbo engine image: BMW BMW has launched a new powerful engine -- the P48 -- that will make its debut in the BMW M4 DTM race-car when this season's Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) kicks off at the start of May. The new engine works thanks to BMW Turbo Power, an initiative that kicked off some 50 years ago. Just like the P48, BMW debuted the M121 engine 50 years ago. But despite the long time difference, both engines are similar in some ways. They: Are both straight Have four-cylinder engines with a two-litre capacity  Have turbo chargers Have sensitive engine components that must be protected by a heat shield from the heat emitted by the turbo charger Come with a mechanical injection pump that supplies the engine with fuel BMW M121 Turbo engine image: BMW (Left-Right) BMW M121 Turbo engine and BMW P48 Turbo engine image: BMW On the other hand, there are notable differences between both. Components like the wet sump, boost valve, fa

Verkada Raises $40 Million At $540 Million Valuation

(Left-Right) Verkada founders Filip Kaliszan, James Ren, Benjamin Bercovitz and Hans Robertson image: Verkada Verkada -- an enterprise video security startup that counts the co-founder of Meraki (acquired by Cisco for $1.2 billion in 2012), Hans Robertson among its founding team -- has raised $40 million in Series B funding co-led by Sequoia and Meritech at a $540 million valuation.  Existing investors First Round Capital and Next47 also participated in the round. Verkada previously raised $15 million in Series A funding April last year. The company says it has now has more than 1,000 clients, including more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies. In simple terms, Verkada sells an end-to-end video security system that enables users monitor cameras on a centralized platform. The company's custom cameras offer up to 120 days of built-in storage and can also send footage to the cloud for back-up. Verkada's end-to-end video security system image: Verkada Verkada d

PayPal To Take $500 Million Stake In Uber

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman Photograph by Kevin Moloney / Fortune Brainstorm Tech Ahead of an IPO , Uber and PayPal have reached an agreement to extend their global payments partnership, with the latter agreeing to invest $500 million in the ride-hailing company. PayPal is paying $47 per share for a $500 million stake in Uber, giving the company a valuation of $78.8 billion. This purchase is similar to one made by Salesforce in video-conferencing company Zoom ahead of its just recent public market debut. Salesforce invested $100 million in Zoom before the company debuted on the Nasdaq Stock Market. PayPal's Uber investment was announced by CEO Dan Schulman in a LinkedIn post  and also made known in Uber's S-1 filing . Uber COO Barney Harford image: Uber Schulman's post said both companies "intend to explore future commercial payment collaborations,", including working on Uber's digital wallet. Not much was made known in the announcement. Ub

More Details From Slack's S-1 Filing

Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield image: Slack Slack has officially filed to go public via a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. As usual, a company's S-1 filing reveals several key details about its operations. A  previous article  made note of some stats revealed by Slack in its filing like revenue, amount of users, amount of paying customers, executive compensation, and stakes held by VC funds. But there's more info in Slack's S-1 filing. They include: $180.8 million cash and cash equivalents held (as of January 31, 2019) $8.8 million committed so far to The Slack Fund, a VC style fund it holds 52% voting interest in. The Slack Fund was established in partnership with Kleiner Perkins, Spark Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel, Index Ventures, and Social Capital who are all also investors in Slack $10.1 million total invested in 46 companies from The Slack Fund $157.5 million R&D spend for the year ended January 31, 2019, compared to $141.3 milli

Slack Files To Go Public

Slack CTO Cal Henderson Photo by Seb Daly / Web Summit via Sportsfile Slack has filed to go public via a direct listing on the NYSE, adding to the list of expected IPOs this year that includes other notable names like Uber and Fastly . The company is planning to list Class A common stock directly on the public markets just like Spotify did last year . As always, Slack's S-1 filing revealed some key stats previously not public information about the company. They include: $400.6 million revenue for the year ended January 31, 2019, up from $220.5 million in 2018 and $105.1 million in 2017 $138.9 million loss for the year ended January 31, 2019, compared to $140 million in 2018 and $146.9 million in 2017 88,000 paying customers customers in 2019, compared to 59,000 in 2018 and 37,000 in 2017 575 paying customers (more than $100,000) in 2019, compared to 298 in 2018 and 135 in 2017 More than 450,000 third-party apps currently used by organizations on Slack More than 36% of

Carbon Seeking Up To $300 Million In Funding

Carbon CEO Joseph DeSimone Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Collision via Sportsfile According to a piece from Pitchbook , 3D printing startup Carbon is seeking up to $300 million in Series E funding that could value the company at $2.5 billion, up from a previous $1.7 billion valuation . The company has already scooped up some $422 million in funding according to Crunchbase data . Founded in 2013, Silicon Valley based Carbon manufactures 3D printers and makes other hardware and software for the 3D printing industry. The company partners with customers like Aptiv, Adidas, Proterra, Ford, Delphi, and Oracle to develop custom 3D solutions for their industries. For an example, it recently partnered with sports equipment manufacturer Riddell to 3D print custom football helmet liners. A Carbon 3D printer image: Carbon Carbon is backed by the likes of Baillie Gifford, Emerson Collective, Sequoia Capital, Silver Lake Kraftwerk, GE Ventures, Adidas (via its VC arm Hydra Ventu

Magic Leap Raises $280 Million From Japan's Docomo

Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz Photograph by Kevin Moloney / Fortune Brainstorm Tech Magic Leap has raised $280 million in funding from NTT Docomo, Japan's largest mobile operator, and partnered with the company for use of its products in Japan. Docomo will be the exclusive telecom partner of Magic Leap in the country and work together with the company to create a media platform that'll utilise Magic Leap devices and Docomo's planned 5G network. Magic Leap and Docomo will also collaborate to customize the AR device manufacturer's operating system for the Japanese market. Magic Leap is getting access to Docomo's 70 million customer base as part of this partnership. The company says the partnership also furthers the realization of "Magicverse", its planned virtual world that harnesses  the field of augmented reality. Magic Leap chief marketing officer, Brian Wallace Photograph by Kevin Moloney / Fortune Brainstorm Tech Magic Leap has now r

Starry Raising Up To $125 Million At $870 Million Valuation

Starry founder and CEO Chet Kanojia Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Tech According to a Delaware stock authorization filing unearthed by Pitchbook , Starry -- a wireless broadband internet service startup that offers its service to consumers for $50 a month -- is raising up to $125 million in Series D funding that could value it at $870 million post-money (if Starry raises the full intended amount). This is in addition to more than $160 million already raised by Starry since its launch in 2016. The Boston based company is backed by investors including Tiger Global, KKR, Fidelity, IAC, Firstmark Capital, and Quantum Strategic Partners. In the past year, Starry expanded outside its home market of Boston into NYC, LA, Denver, and DC. An illustration of how Starry Internet works image: Starry Starry claims its $50 per month bundle offers customers up to 200 Mbps download/upload speed, and a no-data caps, no-contract, no-hidden fees plan. The company deve

Comcast Reportedly In Talks To Sell Hulu Stake To Disney

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Photograph by Noah Berger/Fortune Global Forum Just after AT&T sold back its 9.5% stake in Hulu to the company for $1.43 billion, Comcast is reportedly in talks to sell its 30% stake in the video streaming service to Disney (a majority shareholder in Hulu). The report comes from CNBC  which says Comcast is now weighing the pros and cons of selling its stake now rather than later. The 9.5% stake sold back to Hulu recently at a $15 billion valuation is set to be split between Disney and Comcast, unless Disney gets hold of the entire company. After Comcast agreed to acquire NBCUniversal in 2011, the company was barred from having influence  in Hulu's strategy. This went on till 2018 when the decree phased out. Hulu Chief Financial Officer Elaine Paul image: Hulu But just as Comcast was due to have a say, Disney acquired 21st Century Fox and got its 30% stake in Hulu in addition to its previous 30% stake, making it a majority sha

Coursera Raises $103 Million Series E

Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Coursera has announced it has raised $103 million in Series E funding led by education focused company Seek Group, with participation from existing investors NEA and Future Fund. A TechCrunch article  says the company is now valued at 'well over' $1 billion, citing a source close to Coursera. Coursera says its user base has grown from 26 million to 40 million since it last raised funding in 2017. It now has 3,200 courses and 310 specializations available on its platform. Coursera has partnered with top learning institutions like the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins, and Columbia University to offer courses to its users. Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch The company not only meets individual needs but also has an enterprise solution users by more than 1,800 companies to educate their employees. Coursera is backed by other

Samsung To Invest $116 Billion In Chip Businesses Through 2030

HS Kim, President and CEO of Consumer Electronics Division, Samsung Electronics image: Samsung Samsung has announced it's investing 133 trillion South Korean Won ($116 billion) in its chip businesses through 2030, with plans to create 15,000 jobs in research and development to strengthen its tech. Out of the total, 73 trillion South Korean Won (nearly $64 billion) is geared for domestic R&D while the remainder 60 trillion South Korean Won (roughly $52 billion) is set for investments in domestic infrastructure. Samsung has been a powerhouse in the chip manufacturing scene, with its prowess enabling it debut products like the Galaxy Fold , Galaxy A80 ,  Galaxy A50 and A30 and a collection of wearables recently. The Korean company recently kicked off mass production of 5G chipsets , a market competitor Intel recently opted out of . image: Samsung This investment commitment comes a few days after Samsung announced it's delaying the launch of the Galaxy Fold

Getaround Acquires Drivy For $300 Million

Getaround CEO Sam Zaid image: Drivy Getaround has announced an acquisition of Drivy -- a carsharing service operating in six European countries -- for $300 million. With this acquisition, Getaround is expanding internationally from the U.S. for the first time, now operating in 300 cities across the U.S. and Europe. Both companies have more than five million users between them. Paris headquartered Drivy has presence in France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Belgium, and the U.K. It offers a similar carsharing service just like Getaround does in the U.S. This merger creates a leading carsharing company on a global scale. Post-acquisition, Drivy CEO Paulin Dementhon will remain in his role, heading Getaround's operations in Europe. Drivy's executive team will also remain in their roles. Getaround CEO Sam Zaid (left) and Drivy CEO Paulin Dementhon image: Drivy Drivy currently employs 130 people in officies in Paris, London, Barcelona and Berlin. The company says it

Ford Invests $500 Million In Rivian

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe (left) and Ford Chairman Bill Ford image: Ford Just a while after raising a $700 million round led by Amazon, Rivian Automotive -- an electric vehicle manufacturer expected to launch its first vehicle in 2020 -- has raised $500 million from Ford and agreed to work together to develop a new electric vehicle for the Detroit based auto manufacturer using its modular platform. Ford's president of Automotive, Joe Hinrichs will be joining Rivian's board as part of this investment. Ford intends to develop an electric vehicle based on Rivian's platform in addition to its plans to develop a portfolio of EVs. The company has already confirmed two fully electric vehicles -- a Mustang-based crossover and an electric version of the F-150 pickup -- in the works. Rivian itself is working on two electric vehicles -- a five-passenger pickup and a seven-passenger SUV -- that it aims to deliver beginning late next year. Rivian battery modules being teste

SoFi Reportedly In Talks For $500 Million Round From Qatar

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto U.S. Army photo by Michelle Eberhart According to a Bloomberg piece , SoFi is in talks to raise $500 million from the Qatar Investment Authority and other investors, citing four persons familiar with the matter. The report says the funding would value SoFi at an amount similar to the $4.3 billion valuation it garnered after a $500 million investment in 2017. Investors were said to be asking for more protections should SoFi raise money or get acquired for a lower price tag in the future, in order to raise at the same valuation. Terms of the deal haven't been finalized and are subject to change. SoFi has raised $1.9 billion in total equity funding so far. The company originated $3.6 billion in loans in the first quarter of 2018, up 27% from the same period in 2017. image: SoFi Investors in SoFi include Softbank, Silver Lake Partners, DCM Ventures, Third Point Ventures, Manhattan Venture Partners and RSC Capital.

Jyoti Bansal's Harness Raises $60 Million Series B

(Left-Right) Harness CEO Jyoti Bansal and Chief Revenue Officer Jason Eubanks image: Harness Harness - a DevOps startup founded and led by Jyoti Bansal, notably the former CEO and founder of app monitoring company AppDynamics which sold to Cisco for $3.7 billion in 2017 -- has raised $60 million Series B funding led by Alphabet's GV, IVP, and ServiceNow Ventures, with participation from existing investors Menlo Ventures and Unusual Ventures (a VC firm co-founded by Bansal). The company was valued at $500 million with this round according to a Techcrunch piece . Harness has now raised some $80 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data . The company says it'll make use of this new funding to expand investment in R&D and scale is engineering, sales, and customer success teams. Since launch, Harness has attracted customers like SoulCycle, Bank of Santander, Home Depot, McAfee, and Beachbody. image: Harness In simple terms, Harness makes of machine

Facebook Hires Top Attorney Jennifer Newstead As General Counsel

Jennifer Newstead image: Facebook Facebook has announced it has hired Jennifer Newstead, the Legal Adviser to the United States Department of State, as its general counsel, replacing Colin Stretch who announced his planned departure from Facebook July last year. Stretch will stay at Facebook through summer to aid the transition. Newstead earlier in her career served in some senior roles in the U.S. government, including as a Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, General Counsel of the Office of Management and Budget, and an Associate White House Counsel. She has quite a history, having helped bring about the U.S.A. Patriot Act according to a 2002 press release . Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg image: Facebook The Patriot Act is an Act signed into law by former U.S. President George W. Bush in October 2001 in response to the September 11 attacks and the 2001 anthrax attacks . It involved the permission to use make use of surve

KeepTruckin Raises $149 Million Series D At $1.25 Billion Valuation

image: KeepTruckin KeepTruckin -- a San Francisco based provider of fleet management software for the trucking industry -- has raised $149 million in Series D funding led by Greenoaks Capital, with participation from existing investors Index Ventures, Alphabet's GV, Scale Venture Partners, and IVP. This round brings the total raised by KeepTruckin to $228 million and values it at $1.25 billion, as confirmed by CEO Shoiab Makani to TechCrunch . KeepTruckin -- whose software is used on more than 250,000 vehicles -- says it'll use the funds to fuel its growth via hiring, investing in hardware, furthering advancements in machine learning, and building partnerships. The company doubled its global headcount across seven offices in the past year and says software from its App Marketplace are now used in more than 130,00 trucks.The company's fleet management system help with tasks like navigation, maintenance, and fuel management. image: KeepTruckin September last y

Samsung Delays Launch Of Galaxy Fold

Samsung Electronics CEO, DJ Koh holds a Galaxy Fold image: Samsung Samsung has delayed the launch of the Galaxy Fold, the foldable smartphone it unveiled in February amid reports of breakdowns during tests ahead of an official launch previously scheduled for the 26th of April. Samsung says initial findings from the assessment of report issues on the phone's display showed that the breakdowns could be linked to impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge. The company also said there was an instance where substances founded inside the device affected the performance of its display. "We will take measures to strengthen the display protection. We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer so that our customers get the most out of their Galaxy Fold." Samsung said in a statement. Samsung Galaxy Fold image: Samsung The company says some reviews showed "how the device needs further improvements

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US Sanctions First Crypto Exchange For Alleged Ransomware Ties

The US government has moved to blacklist a Russian crypto exchange in what seems to be the first time the government is taking such an action against a crypto exchange; The US Treasury Department has announced sanctions against a crypto exchange named  Suex  for allegations of facilitating transactions for ransomware operators based in Russia. The department therein claims that over 40% of Suex's known transaction history was associated with illicit and criminal operations. The US has faced a wave of ransomware attacks over the past year with victims including a major oil pipeline company ( Colonial Pipeline ) that paid a $5mn ransom and a major food supplier ( JBS ) that paid an $11mn ransom . Both attacks are suspected to have been carried out by Russian criminal groups, making it a major point of concern that US President Joe Biden pressed Putin to address  in a July phone call; Out of many, the most infamous ransomware group globally appears to be a Russian organization name

Law: Ex-Quant Analyst Indicted For Front-Running Employer's Trades

Insider trading is like the most common crime on Wall Street or the crime most prosecuted. Every now and then, there's always a new insider trading case pursued by the appropriate American authorities; the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Justice Department (DOJ). To the unaware, insider trading is deemed as trading a public company's stock or other types of regulated securities based on material, nonpublic information about the company. The latest insider trading saga now making the rounds is that of a former quant analyst who has just been indicted for front-running his employer's trades and making a killing to the tune of over $8mn. Sergei Polevikov , the former quant analyst, allegedly bought securities he knew his employer ordered in large blocks on behalf of clients and then profited from little price bumps of the securities that typically occurred when the large orders were executed. He's said to have done this with a brokerage account opened in his

Deal: DraftKings Bids $22B For UK Betting Giant Entain

A certain American company has been on a tear ever since going public last year. It's DraftKings , a sports betting company that's riding the high waves of increased legalization of mobile sports betting in the US and tearing its way into more business as time goes. In the US where DraftKings is based, there's been a wave of legalization of sports betting spurred by the Supreme Court striking down a federal ban on it in 2018. It's such that sports betting is now legalized in more than two dozen US states and more states are considering it. The wave has vaulted DraftKings to high growth thanks to the company being an early mover and working hard to build this growth, DraftKings has spent big money on acquisitions to expand. For example, just last month, the company bought online casino Golden Nugget in a $1.6bn all-stock deal that marked its biggest acquisition to date. Right now and shortly after making its biggest acquisition, it appears that DraftKings is even push

Antitrust: US Sues To Block JetBlue-American Airlines Alliance

American antitrust actions against big companies have been brewing under President Biden, particularly against big tech companies like Faceboo k and Google . But the latest one from the government is targeting an industry far away from tech, the airline industry; The US Justice Department (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit  seeking to block an alliance between American Airlines , a major transnational and domestic airline, and JetBlue , a low-cost domestic airline. The alliance was for JetBlue to handle domestic flights between  Boston and New York City  on behalf of American Airlines with ticket sharing between both airlines. Now, the DOJ appears to be very opposed to the alliance along with the Attorneys General of six US states plus Washington, D.C. that followed it to file the lawsuit. The suit's core allegation is that such an alliance discourages airline competition and may cause fare hikes for everyday flyers. Given its statement, the DOJ actually has a point to make as an alliance

Deal: Blackstone Buys Condor Hospitality's Hotel Assets For $305M

Blackstone , the private equity giant, is yet again adding to its massive commercial real estate portfolio with a big purchase. It's agreed to buy the hotel assets of the  Condor Hospitality Trust , a publicly traded real estate investment trust that's liquidating all its assets and winding down its business. Blackstone will pay $305mn in cash to buy Condor's entire hotel portfolio. The PE firm won't be assuming any debt from the purchase. Condor's portfolio includes 15 hotels in 8 American states, some franchised under prestigious brands like Hilton and Marriott . Hotels are the trust's only business from which it gets all its revenue, and now that it's selling them, the trust has instituted a plan to distribute the sale proceeds to shareholders and close down its operations. Notably, Condor is shutting down after a tumultuous year for hotel operators caused by the pandemic's restrictions on travel and recreation. It, in fact, saw annual sales slip f

Alert: Coding Platform GitLab Files For US IPO

Catching us as a surprise late on Friday, GitLab , a popular coding platform and rival to GitHub,  has filed for an IPO in the US. GitLab is a popular code repository hosting service for software developers and is the 2nd-largest of its kind only beaten by GitHub.  While GitHub sold to Microsoft for $7.5bn three years ago, GitLab has remained independent and now is about to test the waters as a publicly-traded company. GitLab has unveiled its S-1 filing with the US SEC as is usual for companies looking to go public in the US and the S-1 document provides great insight into the GitLab's business with information not publicly disclosed before. Therefore, we'll be extracting some of the most important info from the bulky filing, mostly on its revenue stats. By the Numbers GitLab reported  $152mn in revenue in the fiscal year ended January 2021, compared to $81mn in the preceding year. In the first half of 2021, the company brought in $108mn in sales, compared to $64mn in t

Markets: Korea's Kakao Pay Delays $1.3B IPO To November

In South Korea, Kakao is one of the leading tech giants, best known for its  KakaoTalk messenger app. But like many tech companies, it's long branched out from messaging into other sectors such as gaming and fintech and made strides there. In fintech, Kakao has a separate digital bank ( KakaoBank ) and mobile payments and wallet app ( Kakao Pay ). The Korean tech giant took KakaoBank public this July with an IPO that raised $2.2bn and didn't just stop there. It then sought to take Kakao Pay public in a separate IPO but has hit some obstacles trying to do so. Just as it sought to take Kakao Pay public, the South Korean government toughened regulations on fintech apps. It made Kakao Pay suspend some services like insurance though the suspended services accounted for a minor part of its revenue. Then, Kakao Pay adjusted its IPO fundraising target to $1.3bn , 6% lower than it previously sought. But even with the hiccups, Kakao Pay still sought to go public by October this year

Markets: Covid Testing Provider Cue Health Goes Public

A diagnostics startup that found treasures amid dirt from the Covid-19 pandemic has stamped its success with a successful initial public offering (IPO). It's Cue Health , a little-known startup from San Diego that rapidly switched its focus to making Covid-19 testing kits on the onset of the pandemic and has built a big business with that. Cue Health debuted on the Nasdaq exchange on Friday, the 24th of September, raising $200mn before commissions and other underwriting expenses. Its stock climbed 25% on that day to end trading at $20, giving it a market cap of $2.9bn . Cue Health is one of the significant startup success stories to emerge from the pandemic. Before it started providing Covid testing kits, its annual sales were numbered in the low-digit millions but shot up to $23mn in 2020  on the pandemic's onset and $202mn in the first half of 2021 . Because of its fast pivot to providing Covid testing kits, Cue Health was an early mover. Thus, it got lucrative testing contr

Earnings: Nike's Sales Falter, Shares Drop 6%

Sports apparel giant Nike has dropped its latest quarterly results , showing that its earnings still stand firm despite sales challenges intensified by the Covid pandemic. But though its earnings beat analyst expectations, Nike's stock fell by a significant percentage during trading on Friday due to its sales outlook. Nike posted $12.2bn in sales in the three months ended August 31, 2021, its fiscal 2022 first quarter. Sales were up 12% year-over-year and slightly unchanged from $12.3bn in the preceding quarter. Nike's sales have dropped significantly due to the Covid pandemic that led to widespread closures of its physical retail centers. Even as the pandemic effects gradually wear off, the company is still battling supply chain disruptions caused by it. As usual, most of Nike's quarterly sales came from the  Nike brand ( $11.6bn ), while a minority was from the Converse brand ( $630mn ). For the quarter, Nike's net profit was $1.9bn , up 23% year-over-year and 27%

Deal: Hollywood Agency CAA To Buy Rival ICM

In a historic deal in the talent agency industry, two of the biggest entertainment and sports talent agencies operating in the US are about to merge to become one. It's so that Creative Artists Agency (CAA) , a powerhouse talent agency with a roster of stars, has reached a deal to buy ICM Partners , a rival powerhouse agency. CAA buying ICM is a blockbuster deal that'll see two of Hollywood's most powerful talent agencies merge into one more robust powerhouse. The combined agency would be a more formidable one for arch-rivals such as William Morris Endeavor (WME) and United Talent Agency (UTA) . Normally, CAA, ICM, WME, and UTA are considered the "big four" talent agencies in Hollywood and sports, representing the most significant share of A-list talent across both industries. Now, it appears that the "big four" would soon become the "big three."  CAA is the bigger of the two agencies, commanding a bigger roster of talent and business than IC