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Showing posts from May, 2019

Slack Records $135 Million Q1 Revenue

Slack chief product officer, Tamir Yehoshua image: Slack Slack -- on its way to an IPO -- has made changes to its S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, indicating its financial results for the first quarter of this year. The company's filing shows $134.8 million in Q1 2019 revenues, up 67% from the same period last year, but with losses of $31.8 million for this year's first quarter. In comparison, Slack recorded $80.9 million in Q1 last year amid $24.8 million in losses. For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2019, Slack recorded revenues of $400.6 million amid $138.9 million in losses. The updated Q1 results indicate quite impressive growth and lower losses when compared as a percentage of total revenue. Slack is getting ready for a direct listing on The New York Stock Exchange, where it'll trade under the ticker "WORK", in respect to its popularity as a workplace collaboration tool.

Tempus Raises $200 Million Series F

Tempus co-founder and CEO Eric Lefkofsky Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Health Tempus -- a company led by Groupon co-founder and ex-CEO Eric Lefkofsky that gathers and analyses molecular and clinical data on cancer treatment from medical centers and hospitals, which is then offered to life sciences customers -- has raised $200 million Series F funding that values it at $3.1 billion. This is up from a $2 billion valuation  August last year. Tempus has now raised a total of $520 million since inception in 2015. Investors including Baillie Gifford, NEA, Revolution Growth, Novo Holdings, Franklin Templeton and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price participated in this round. Tempus claims its data platform now reaches more than 1 in 4 cancer patients in the U.S. Revolution Growth CEO and AOL co-founder Steve Case. Revolution Growth participated in this round. Case is also an advisor to Tempus. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Eric Lefkofs

Uber Records $3.1 Billion Revenue In Q1

image: Uber For the first time ever as a public company, Uber reported its financial results yesterday (or on the 30th of May to be precise). The report shows $3.1 billion revenue for the first three months of the year, up 20% from $2.6 billion in the same period last year, but with a $1 billion loss, up from $478 million in the same period last year. Uber recorded $14.6 billion in Q1 gross bookings, up 34% from $10.9 billion last year, and 93 million monthly active users, up 33% from 70 million last year. Also in the quarter, roughly 1.55 billion trips were made on Uber, up from 1.14 billion in the same period last year. Other key takes from Uber's financial results for the quarter include: $2.4 billion revenue from ride-sharing, $536 million from Uber Eats, and $145 million from "other bets" in Q1. $7.6 billion current cash and cash equivalents, up from $6.3 billion for the same period in 2018. $1.75 billion revenue from the U.S. and Canada, $1.2 billion f

Intuit Acquires Origami Logic

Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi Photo by Stephen Brashear/The DEMO Conference Intuit has acquired Origami Logic, a Silicon Valley based company backed by $65 million in funding ( Crunchbase data ), that develops technology to analyse and fetch insights from multiple data sets. The acquisition price was not disclosed. Intuit says this acquisition will support a critical component of its goal of streamlining data structures and architecture for customers. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. “....This acquisition will accelerate Intuit’s ability to organize, understand, and use data to deliver personalized insights that help customers quickly achieve success and build confidence whenever they use Intuit products.” Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi said in a statement. image: Intuit “We are impressed with the way the Origami team tackled their problem through the development of an elegant platform

Nreal Debuts $500 Consumer Version Of AR Glasses

nreal light AR glasses image: nreal nreal -- a Chinese maker of ready-to-wear mixed reality glasses backed by the likes of iQIYI, Shunwei Capital, and China Growth Capital -- has unveiled a consumer version of the nreal light AR glasses that'll cost $500 and will begin shipping later this year "in limited quantities." The company has also unveiled a developer kit -- comprising of a pair of nreal light glasses, a 3 degrees of freedom (DoF) controller and nreal's proprietary computing pack -- that'll sell for $1,200. Developers would have to apply to get their hands on the kit, with information like previous development projects or project ideas for the nreal light being taken into consideration. The developer kit will go on sale by September. Features of the nreal light consumer version include: 1080p display Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor USB-C cable connection Foldable glass temples for easy storage nreal co-founder and CEO Chi Xu i

Dashlane Raises $110 Million Series D

Dashlane CEO Emmanuel Schalit image: Dashlane New York based password and confidential data management startup Dashlane has raised $110 million in Series D funding led by Sequoia Capital, whose partner Jim Goetz -- popularly known for his huge win on WhatsApp -- is joining its board. This round included, Dashlane has now raised more than $185 million in total funding. Existing investors FirstMark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Rho Ventures also participated in this round. Dashlane says it'll make use of the funding to enhance its core product, build a "category-defining" brand, and add new capabilities to better address the needs of consumers and businesses of all sizes. The company has also announced it has poached Lyft chief marketing officer Joy Howard to take the same position at Dashlane. The former Patagonia, Coca-Cola, and Sonos executive will assume the role in August. Sequoia Capital partner Jim Goetz image: Techcrunch on Flickr Goe

Leap Motion Sold To U.K. Rival

Leap Motion hardware mounted on the Oculus Rift image: Leap Motion Leap Motion -- a once high-flying  Silicon Valley startup known for its sensor device that supports hand and finger motions as input -- without the requirement of hand contact or touching -- on VR and AR devices has been sold to U.K. rival Ultrahaptics. Leap Motion made this known in a recent official announcement . Although Leap Motion termed the sale as "a strategic deal", a report from the Wall Street Journal  said the sale price was roughly $30 million, citing people familiar with the matter. This is down from a peak valuation of $306 million in late 2013 (Pitchbook data) and less than the nearly $100 million in total funding the company raised according to Crunchbase data . Leap Motion was backed by top investors like Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, SOSV and J.P. Morgan. Leap Motion hardware mounted on the HTC Vive image: Leap Motion Before now, Leap Motion was said to have been

Google Bars Marijuana Delivery Apps From Play Store

A woman consumes an Eaze cannabis product. Eaze is a top marijuana delivery startup that has raised more than $100 million in funding, including $65 million last year December . image: Eaze Google has banned apps on the Play Store that facilitate the sale of marijuana or cannabis related products, as part of an adjustment to its content policy. The ban affects any app that facilitates the sale of marijuana or related products within the app itself, leaving an option for developers to move their shopping cart option outside the app to be in compliance with the new policy. Google says it is working with developers to respond to technical questions and help implement changes without business disruption. Existing apps have been given a 30-day ultimatum to comply with the policy. The policy also covers apps that facilitate delivery and pick-up of marijuana and related products even if they don't sell directly. Two women consume cannabis-infused cookies image: Eaze

Gogo Plans 5G Networks For Planes By 2021

Gogo CEO Oakleigh B. Thorne image: Gogo Chicago headquartered in-flight internet provider Gogo has announced plans to set up 5G networks for planes flying to and fro the U.S. and Canada by 2021. The company will focus its use on commercial regional jets, business jets, and smaller mainline jets. The company says it'll set up the 5G network on its current infrastructure of more than 250 towers and will use unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4GHz range, paired with advanced beamforming technology. Gogo says the 5G infrastructure will support all spectrum types (shared, licensed and unlicensed) and bands (low, mid and high). The company will still maintain its mainstream 3G and 4G networks across the U.S. and Canada, that'll also act as "backup to the 5G network when needed." Gogo antennas installed on a plane image: Gogo Gogo also says it's "committed to provide easy upgrade paths to 5G" for existing customers. 5G networks are currently bei

Bose Debuts New Noise Cancelling Headphones

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 image: Bose Bose has unveiled a new wireless noise cancelling headphone, plainly named the  Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 . The new noise cancelling headphone -- a successor to the Bose QC 35 headphones -- isolates a user's voice from 360 degrees of unwanted sound. Its features include: Support for Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa Eight microphone system (six to cancel noise and two to improve voice pickup) Adjustable noise cancellation Up to 20 hours of battery-life Bose AR-enabled A beamform-array that isolates speech A rejection-array that filters disruptive sound Three buttons for control -- one for power, one to change noise cancellation levels and one for a chosen virtual personal assistant Flat folding Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 image: Bose Just like an Amazon smart speaker, the new Bose headphones could be turned on by a simple voice command of “Alexa”, but that would require an out-of-b

Brex Reportedly Raising Funding At $2 Billion Valuation

Kleiner Perkins chairman John Doerr. VC firm Kleiner Perkins is said to be leading the new round for Brex. It's also reportedly leading a round for Chicago based startup Cameo that'll value it at $300 million. image: UNLV Photo Services / Geri Kodey Brex -- a B2B payments startup that creates corporate cards, rewards, and travel programs for startups and small businesses -- is close to raising new funding at a valuation north of $2 billion according to a Bloomberg piece . This is up from a recent $1.1 billion valuation  Brex hit after just two years in existence. Bloomberg says Kleiner Perkins is expected to lead the round, with participation from existing investors IVP, DST Global and Greenoaks Capital. Negotiations for the deal are still on-going and may be subject to change. Brex has raised $315 million in total funding, inclusive of a $100 million debt facility from Barclays Investment Bank. Brex hit a $1.1 billion valuation October last year after closing $125

iRobot Debuts A Robot Vacuum Cleaner And Mop

Braava jet m6 robot mop image: iRobot Few months after debuting a robot lawn mower , iRobot is back with two new robots: a vacuum cleaner and mop that can communicate with each other to clean up the home. The robot vacuum cleaner, Roomba s9+ , works together with the robot mop, Braava jet m6 , with the latter performing its task after sweeping is performed by the vacuum. Features of the two robots include: Roomba s9+ 40X the suction of previous Roomba vacuums. Power Boost technology -- to automatically add suction to pull in debris and dirt from deep within carpet fibers. iAdapt 3.0 navigation (enables it to keep track of where it's been and where is yet to be cleaned) An advanced 3D sensor -- that constantly scans what's ahead of the robot at a rate of 25 times per second. Smart Mapping technology -- to get familiar with home floor plans. Anti-Allergen System -- to trap and lock pollen and mold allergens, keeping them from escaping the robot.  Automat

Volvo Takes Stake In Varjo

A Volvo personnel wears a Varjo augmented reality headset while driving image: Volvo/Varjo Volvo has announced an investment in Varjo -- a Finnish maker of high-end AR headsets that raised $31 million in funding October last year -- from the Volvo Cars Tech Fund. The amount invested and stake taken is undisclosed. This investment comes as part of a new creation: a mixed-reality app for use while driving, not by mainstream consumers but by engineers for development and safety evaluation purposes. Varjo has debuted the XR-1  AR headset which Volvo personnel are able to wear while driving cars at its research facilities in Sweden, to test virtual car safety systems imposed by augmented reality on a real-world environment. Compared to its predecessor, the $6,000 VR-1 headset, Varjo says the XR-1 adds high-definition cameras and also enables use of mixed reality. This allows Volvo designers and engineers to test its cars in simulated environments, providing better insights on h

Toyota Reportedly Mulling $550 Million Bet On Didi Chuxing

Didi Chuxing CEO Cheng Wei image: World Economic Forum / Benedikt Von Loebell According to a Nikkei report , Toyota is considering taking a 60 billion yen ($548.6 million) stake in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing and looking to partner with the company to set up a new mobility service. This would be some few months after Toyota invested $500 million  in Uber and inked a driverless car partnership with the company, and a short time after a participation in a $1 billion round  for Uber ATG, the unit responsible for its development of driverless vehicles. Didi Chuxing has raised nearly $21 billion in total funding according to Crunchbase data . Its last known round was a $500 million investment from Booking Holdings that also came with a strategic partnership. Valued at $56 billion (CB Insights data), Didi is the second highest valued private tech company known, beaten only by China's Bytedance ( valued at $75 billion ). Didi Chuxing President Jean Liu imag

Cameo Reportedly Raising At A $300 Million Valuation

Kleiner Perkins chairman John Doerr image: JD Lasica on Flickr Cameo -- a Chicago based startup that lets persons pay for personalized videos from celebrities -- is about closing a Series B investment -- to be led by Kleiner Perkins -- at a $300 million valuation, according to Axios . Up until now, Cameo has raised $15 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data . Its backers include Chicago Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Pritzker Group, and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner. Axios says this round was a competitive one stemming from high growth at Cameo and a belief that the companys management has a strong handle on the talent side of the business as opposed to just consumer behaviour. Axios says Spark Capital is also expected to participate in this round.

Roblox Teams Up With Tencent

image: Roblox Roblox -- a gaming platform for kids valued at $2.5 billion -- has formed a strategic partnership with Chinese gaming giant Tencent to crack the country's market. With this partnership, both companies are establishing a joint venture "with an initial focus on education to teach coding fundamentals, game design, digital citizenship, and entrepreneurial skills." The partnership doesn't directly involve taking Roblox's gaming platform to China although that's likely the end goal. Forming a partnership with one of the biggest names in China gives Roblox an edge in the case of entry into the country, the world's biggest gaming market . Roblox and Tencent's joint venture will be based in Shenzhen but has not yet been named. To kick off the JV's education aspect, both companies have set up a scholarship fund to sponsor 15 persons from China to attend week-long "creator camps" at Stanford University by summer. Roblox CEO

Palo Alto Networks Acquires Twistlock

Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch The cyber-security sector has been hot as of late. Israeli security company Deep Instinct recently inked a reported $150 million deal to secure HP laptops. FireEye also just announced its acquisition of McLean, Virginia based security startup Veridon for $250 million. Now, Palo Alto Networks has acquired Israeli cybersecurity firm Twistlock in a deal worth between $450 million-$500 million according to Globes . Globes also reports that Palo Alto Networks is about to acquire another unidentified Israeli startup for between $50 million-$100 million. This isn't surprising given Palo Alto's history of acquiring cybersecurity startups. The company paid $300 million for Evident.io in March 2018,  $173 million for RedLock in October last year and  $560 million for Demisto earlier this year. Palo Alto Networks founder & CTO Nir Zuk image: Palo Alto Networks Twistlock will

LinkedIn Acquires DrawBridge

(Starting from left) LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman image: Microsoft Microsoft's LinkedIn has announced it's acquiring DrawBridge -- a programmatic advertising company that has raised nearly $70 million -- for an undisclosed sum. DrawBridge is backed by notable names like Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins, scoring a win for two of the biggest VCs on Sand Hill Road. This is LinkedIn's second known acquisition in 8 months, the first being Glint, an employee survey software company it acquired for a reported $400 million . DrawBridge's tech will be integrated into LinkedIn following the close of the acquisition. LinkedIn is snapping up DrawBridge to boost its marketing and ad business, one it says recorded 46% year-over-year revenue growth. The company says 78% of B2B marketers have ranked it "as the most effective social media platform at helping their organization achieve specific objectives&qu

FireEye Pays $250 Million For Verodin

FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Tech Cybersecurity company FireEye has announced it has acquired McLean, Virginia based cybersecurity startup Verodin for $250 million in cash and stock, based on the closing price of FireEye shares on the 24th of May 2019. FireEye says it expects this purchase to boost its billings this year by roughly $20 million and more than $70 million in 2020. Verodin had raised just $33 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data . Investors in the company include Cisco, Bessemer Venture Partners, Capital One and Blackstone Ventures. Verodin provides a platform that identifies gaps in cybersecurity strength due to changes in an IT environment, evolving attacker tactics, and equipment mis-configuration. The startup's products will continue to be sold separately via re-sellers and also FireEye channel partners. FireEye Executive VP of Research and Engineering, Jason Marin image: FireEye FireE

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

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty image: IBM Germany's Federal Cartel Office (also known as  Bundeskartellamt) , the country's national competition regulator has announced that it's extending a review of a mainframe computing deal between IBM and T-Systems, the IT services arm of Deutsche Telekom. The organization is extending its review period by two weeks to the 9th of July. The deal involves the purchase of T-Systems' assets in IT services and outsourcing, and mainframe computing by IBM for a reported 860 million euros ($962 million). The unit -- to be purchased -- employs 400 people. image: IBM Since a takeover by current T-Systems CEO Adel Al-Saleh in 2018, the IT arm has reduced headcount, shut offices, and shifted some jobs offshore in a bid to generate profits and cash flows. This sale to IBM could be another way it's looking to boost its cash flows. IBM agreed to a deal to acquire the assets from T-Systems early this year.

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

A worker at Corning, an Apple manufacturing partner that creates cover glass for its devices image: Apple Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Pegatron has announced it intends to invest 10-15 trillion rupiah ($695 million to $1 billion) in a factory in Indonesia that'll assemble “chips for Apple smartphones”, Reuters reports . The company made this known in a signed letter of intent as announced by Indonesia’s deputy industry minister on Tuesday. Pegatron plans to assemble the phone chips in partnership with Indonesia's PT Sat Nusapersada, a top electronics manufacturer in the country. Production will be done at a factory on the island of Batam. The chips would be assembled on site with imported raw components. An employee at Apple manufacturing partner Finisar prepares to begin work image: Apple Such move from Pegatron could be the result of a biting trade war between the U.S. and China. Pegatron was previously reported to be moving production of MacBooks

Have A Look At Walmart's Newly Proposed Headquarters

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon image: Walmart Walmart has proposed a new headquarters to be built in Arkansas, still in the same state where it's currently headquartered. The newly proposed office vies away from a traditional setting to a modern design on par with offices of the likes of Google, Amazon, and Facebook, not surprising given Walmart's current efforts to boost its e-commerce and digital business. The new office will be built in Bentonville, Arkansas. Its features include: Neighborhood bike paths Open floor plan 15+ acres of lakes Renewable energy sources Solar panels atop parking decks Energy-efficient lighting and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems Thousands of trees, shrubs and grasses Ample natural light A child care facility Fitness centers  You can have a look in the video below: In other Walmart news, the company has hired a CTO  to help develop its e-commerce and new retail businesses. Suresh Kumar who was appoint

Meta Gets New Life As New Company

The Meta 2 AR headset image: Meta Meta -- the AR hardware maker once valued at $300 million before struggles that led to a fire sale  -- is getting new life as Meta View, a new San Mateo headquartered spatial computing company that'll be led by Jay Wright, a former Qualcomm Vice-President and co-founder of Vuforia, a Qualcomm-incubated AR platform that sold for $65 million to IoT software maker PTC in 2015. Wright led Vuforia from inception at Qualcomm in 2008 to become a top AR development platform for head-worn and handheld devices with more than 450,000 developers and 50,000 apps in its ecosystem. The newly formed Meta View came about by the purchase of intellectual property assets held by a lender to the previous Meta. Meta View says it's a "wholly new and unaffiliated entity" to the former Meta. Meta former CEO Meron Gribetz image: Meta Meta View will continue to support current owners of Meta 2, Meta's core AR headset, but will not be

Walmart Hires A CTO

Suresh Kumar image: Walmart Walmart has appointed hired former Google, Amazon, and Microsoft executive Suresh Kumar as its Chief Technology Officer and Chief Development Officer, reporting directly to CEO Doug McMillon. This appointment comes at a time Walmart is pushing towards transforming its e-commerce and digital business. Prior to this appointment, Kumar previously spent more than two decades at Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM. He was most recently at Google where he served as vice president and general manager of display, video, app ads and analytics. Prior to Google, he held the role of corporate vice president of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and operations. image: Walmart Prior to Microsoft, he spent 15 years at Walmart competitor Amazon in various roles, including as head of the company's retail supply chain and inventory management systems and as vice president of technology for retail systems and operations. He was also a research staff member a

Huawei Alleges FedEx Diverted Parcels To U.S.

image: FedEx Amid troubles for Huawei , the Chinese telecom giant is involved in another sort of unusual situation. It's reviewing its relationship with U.S. courier FedEx, alleging the delivery company diverted two of its parcels destined for locations in Asia to the U.S. without detailed explanation. The company also claims FedEx attempted to reroute two other of its parcels. In a statement to Reuters , Huawei claimed FedEx diverted two packages shipped from Japan and addressed to a Huawei location in China to the U.S. and made an attempt to divert parcels sent from Vietnam to Huawei locations elsewhere in Asia. The company provided images of FedEx tracking records -- of which Reuters says the authenticity can't be verified -- to back up its claim. image: FedEx FedEx declined to many any comment to Reuters when shown the tracking records, stating company policy barred it from disclosing customer information. Huawei claimed the four packages comprised of on

Apple Launches New iPod Touch

The new iPod touch image: Apple Apple has launched a new iPod Touch with enhanced features in regards to power and performance. The new iPod features the Apple-designed A10 Fusion chip, meaning improved gaming performance and augmented reality (AR) support for the first time on the iPod. The new iPod also supports Group FaceTime, making it easier for users to simultaneously chat with peers. It's coming in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models that'll retail for $200, $300, and $400 respectively. The lightweight iPod will be ideal for enjoying Apple Music, bringing to life 3D objects like toys and sculptures via AR and using Apple Arcade , the company's game subscription service -- scheduled to launch this fall -- that it's reportedly spending up to $500 million to put games on. image: Apple The new iPod comes in space gray, white, gold, blue, pink, and red colors and is already available for order in 27 countries.

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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