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Showing posts from June, 2019

A Look At SpinLaunch

A depiction of a SpinLaunch orbital vehicle placed in an electric kinetic launcher image: SpinLaunch There are several big name space companies -- to name a few; SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Boeing -- that deliver payloads and satellites to space. Each of the aforementioned companies take different but quite similar approaches to launch payloads into space, the similarity being the use of vertical rockets. But there's one company -- named SpinLaunch -- working on a different way, this time looking to send objects to space using a catapult, yes you read that right. Just how legit you may ask?,...as legit as being able to secure $40 million in funding from investors including Airbus, Kleiner Perkins and Alphabet, and also being able to secure a contract with the U.S. military . The contract recently secured from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is SpinLaunch's first ever. SpinLaunch, by early next year, aims to begin the first tests of firing catapults containing payloa

WhatsApp Said To Poach Top Executive From WorldRemit

image: WhatsApp Facebook's WhatsApp has hired a top executive from WorldRemit, a U.K. money transfer startup valued at more than $900 million , with nearly $400 million in total funding. Reuters reported the hire, citing three persons 'familiar with the matter'. The top executive in particular is Alice Newton-Rex, WorldRemit's chief product officer, which Reuters reports will join WhatsApp's product team later this year. According to one cited person familiar with the matter, Newton-Rex will not work on Facebook's recently unveiled digital currency, Libra , but will work on the main WhatsApp messaging service. WhatsApp - one of the world's largest messaging apps, with over 1 billion users -- has been expanding its team in Europe, including in London. image: WhatsApp According to Newton-Rex's LinkedIn profile , she's been at WorldRemit for nearly five years, initially serving in two product roles before becoming chief product officer

Microsoft Makes Bank On Adaptive's IPO

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella image: Microsoft Adaptive Biotechnologies -- a commercial-stage life sciences company that's aiming to leverage the human immune system to diagnose and fight diseases -- recently debuted on the public markets, soaring roughly 140% from an initial $20 per share to $48.30 per share (as of writing). Prior to its IPO, Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies raised roughly $400 million in funding according to Crunchbase data . One big winner from the company's IPO was Microsoft, which previously invested $45 million in the company at $10.67 a share. Now at $48 a pop, the value of Microsoft's stake in the company has grown nearly five fold. Microsoft invested in Adaptive Biotechnologies as part of a cloud partnership. Adaptive's S-1 filing  indicated $500,000 in R&D spend on Microsoft Azure in 2018, with a commitment to spend $12 million over a seven-year period. Adaptive Biotechnologies CFO Chad Cohen image: Adaptive Biotechno

Theranos' Holmes To Face Trial Next Year

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Elizabeth Holmes -- the founder and former CEO of Theranos, a now defunct but once $9 billion valued company known for its claims to have revolutionized blood testing and now accused of being fraudulent  -- has been ordered to stand trial next year on fraud charges along with former Theranos COO Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani. At a hearing in a San Jose, California federal court, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila ordered jury selection to begin in the trial of the two former top Theranos executives, with a set date on the 28th of July, 2020. Holmes and Balwani were previously indicted on 11 counts of conspiracy and wire fraud and both pleaded not guilty. The two ex-Theranos leaders are accused of leveraging advertising and solicitations to urge doctors and patients to use the company's testing laboratory services even though they knew it didn't yield accurate and reliable results. Prosecuto

Apple Said To Allot $100 Million Lifeline For Japan Display

image: Apple Japan Display -- a struggling liquid-crystal display (LCD) manufacturing joint venture set up by Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba -- has announced that a customer will invest $100 million as part of a bailout led by a Chinese investment firm. According to a piece from Reuters , that customer is Apple, which accounted for 60.6% of Japan Display's revenue in its last fiscal year. Reuters says an investment group led by China’s Harvest Group is investing up to 80 billion yen ($743 million) in Japan Display. As Apple shifts away from the use of liquid-crystal displays, with the iPhone XR being the only LCD model in the company's 2018 lineup, Japan Display has struggled with funding. According to Bloomberg , Japan Display was in line for a $1.1 billion bailout from Taiwan’s TPK Holding before the smartphone touch panel manufacturer pulled out from a rescue deal. Inside an Apple store in Taiwan image: Apple Japan Display has a big $900 million debt to Apple fo

Postmates Adds Google's Kristin Reinke To Board

Kristin Reinke image: Postmates Not long after hiring a long-time Apple engineer to work on its delivery robot, Postmates has announced the addition of Kristin Reinke, Google's vice president of finance, to its board. Reinke will join Postmates as an independent director. Her appointment signals preparations by Postmates in anticipation of an IPO . Reinke has been on Google's finance team since 2005. She previously worked at Oracle, where she headed Global Business Practices for its Alliances & Channels division. Reinke is joining a board that includes Postmates' founders and representatives from investors Founders Fund, Spark Capital and Tiger Global. "As Postmates continues to innovate and shape the on-demand delivery category, Kristin brings a wide range of financial expertise and experience to our board of directors," Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann said in a statement. "Given her impressive track record at Google and Oracle, I am confi

New Balance Debuts New Shoes With 3D-Printed Soles

New Balance 990 Sport image: New Balance New Balance has launched two new pairs of sneakers -- the  990 Sport and the FuelCell Echo -- that comes with soles 3D-printed by Formlabs, a Massachusetts-based 3D printing startup valued at $1 billion  after an investment from blue-chip VC New Enterprise Associates last year. The two sneakers are crafted atop a uniform 3D-printed sole dubbed TripleCell . The TripleCell sole is made with a new proprietary photopolymer resin dubbed  Rebound Resin . Formlabs put together this resin as part of a partnership -- first announced in 2017 -- with New Balance. New Balance says the new Resin is "designed to create springy, resilient lattice structures with the durability, reliability, and longevity expected from an injection molded thermoplastic." New Balance 990 Sport image: New Balance New Balance's new sneakers are manufactured in the U.S. The 990 Sport and the FuelCell Echo will hit stores on the 28th of June and

Apple Reportedly Shifts Mac Pro Production To China

Architecture of the new Apple Mac Pro image: Apple According to a report from the Wall Street Journal , Apple is manufacturing the new Mac Pro in China, shifting production of what had stood as its only major device manufactured in the U.S. outside the country. According to the WSJ, Apple has tapped Chinese contractor Quanta Computer to manufacture the $6,000 high-end desktop computer and is boosting production at a factory near Shanghai. The paper says Quanta's facility being close to other Apple suppliers in Asia makes it possible for Apple to lower shipping costs compared to shipping Mac Pro components to the U.S. Apple's previous Mac Pro model -- released in 2013 -- was assembled in the U.S. by manufacturing contractor Flex Ltd, made possible by a $100 million investment from Apple for a plant located in Austin, Texas. The new Mac Pro's cooling system image: Apple Although manufacturing has reportedly been shifted to China, a spokesman for Apple t

Livongo Files For IPO

Livongo President, Dr. Jennifer Schneider image: Livongo Livongo -- a Mountain View, California-based digital health company that sells hardware-software interlinked personal health platforms -- has filed for an IPO with the SEC. Livongo is one the first companies to file for a public offering in the digital health sector. Although the sector is filled with several companies -- to name a few; Zocdoc, Proteus, Butterfly, Tempus and 23andMe -- that have collectively raised billions in funding, most of them still remain private. Going by Livongo's S-1 filing, the company recorded $68.4 million revenue in 2018, up 122% from $30.8 million in 2017. But Livongo isn't profitable, with $33.4 million in 2018 losses, up nearly 100% from $16.9 million the year before. Other key takes from Livongo's IPO filing include: $32 million Q1 2019 revenue, compared to $12.46 million in Q1 2018. Roughly $15 million Q1 2019 loss, compared to $4.2 million in Q1 2018.  $54.9 million

Apple's Jony Ive Leaves To Form Own Design Company

Apple's chief design officer, Jony Ive image: Apple Apple has announced that its chief design officer and nearly three decade old veteran Jony Ive is leaving the company later this year to form an independent design company that'll count Apple as a primary client. Ive will continue to work on projects with Apple at his own design firm and will also be able to work with other clients. Apple's design team will now be led by Evans Hankey, its vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design. They'll both report to Apple COO Jeff Williams. Apple's newly appointed senior vice president of Operations, Sabih Khan. Khan has been at Apple for more than two decades. image: Apple Along with Ive's departure, Apple has also announced a new addition to its executive team. Sabih Khan, a 24-year Apple veteran, has been named as Apple's senior vice president of Operations. In his new position, Khan will head Ap

Fungible Raises $200 Million Softbank-Led Series C

Deep Nishar, a former Google and LinkedIn executive and now Senior Managing Partner at Softbank led the round for Fungible on behalf of the Softbank Vision Fund. Photograph by Kevin Moloney/Fortune Brainstorm Tech Fungible, a Santa Clara-based company founded by Juniper Networks co-founder Pradeep Sindhu and ex-Apple senior vice president of software engineering Bertrand Serlet, has raised $200 million in Series C funding led by the Softbank Vision Fund, with participation from Norwest Venture Partners and other unspecified existing investors. With this funding, Fungible has now raised more than $300 million since inception. Other investors in the company include notable names like Battery Ventures and Mayfield Fund. The company builds semiconductor technology that it calls "data-centric computing". In acute terms, Fungible builds semiconductors that helps data centers keep up with increasing loads while maintaining existing hardware infrastructure. The company se

VW And Ford's Partnership Could Be Expanded

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess image: Volkswagen According to a Bloomberg report , Volkswagen's supervisory board plans to talk through and maybe agree to next steps on expanding its partnership with Ford at a meeting scheduled to hold in two weeks time. The report says a previously announced partnership  on vans and pickup trucks could be bind at the meeting scheduled on the 11th of July and that the partnership could potentially expand into development of self-driving and electric-car technology. Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess previously said the German automaker was not yet committed to working on self-driving technology with Ford but this may change after the board meeting scheduled to hold soon. Both automakers were also previously reported to be in disagreement over an investment in Ford's self-driving unit. Ford was said to be seeking at least $500 million after earlier seeking a billion dollars but was met with resistance from Volkswagen. A Ford self-drivin

Instagram Explore Ads May Be $1 Billion Slot For Facebook

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Not long after analysts from Morgan Stanley predicted India's Ola Cabs as Uber's biggest potential threat in the U.K.  despite current competition from Bolt (formerly Taxify), analysts from the same investment bank have predicted that adding advertising to the Instagram Explore tab could add $1 billion to Facebook's revenue by 2021. Instagram recently announced it'll start placing ads within the Explore tab in the Instagram app for the first time. New ads will come into sight when Instagram users tap into Explore posts and scroll further for related content, while the main grid stays ad-free. Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak predicts that ads from the Explore tab could boost Facebook's total revenue by around $1.2 billion -- by 2021 -- if  monetization to the tune of $2 per user can be attained and user growth rates are maintained. But there are two potential hurdles accordin

TripActions Raises $250 Million Series D

Andreessen Horowitz co-founder and TripActions board member Ben Horowitz image: JD Lasica on Flickr Few months after Andreessen Horowitz led a $154 million round for corporate travel startup TripActions, the blue-chip VC firm has again led new funding for the company, this time a $250 million Series D that values it at $4 billion, four times its previous $1 billion valuation. A p ress release from TripActions says revenue is growing 5x annually which kind of explains why the company has quadrupled its valuation in less than a year. Along with Andreessen Horowitz, VC firms Lightspeed Venture Partners, Zeev Ventures and Group 11 (formerly SGVC) also participated in this round. TripActions -- which now has more than 700 employees spread across nine offices globally -- says it'll make use of the new funding to support global expansion, double down on partnerships, and further invest in its corporate travel platform. The Palo Alto-based company has more than 2,000 customers

StockX Raises $110 Million At A $1 Billion+ Valuation

StockX co-founder and outgoing CEO Josh Luber. Luber will be replaced as CEO by ex-Stubhub president Scott Cutler but will continue to serve on the company's executive team and board. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch Detroit-based sneakers and other fashion marketplace StockX has raised $110 million in Series C funding that values it at over $1 billion. VC firms DST Global, GGV Capital, General Atlantic, GV and Battery Ventures were investors in this round. Along with this funding, StockX has announced a new CEO by name of Scott Cutler, a longtime tech executive who previously served as president of ticket marketplace StubHub and most recently as a senior vice president at eBay. StockX's outgoing CEO and co-founder Josh Luber will continue to serve on the company's executive team and board of directors. Also as part of this investment, GGV managing partner Hans Tung is joining StockX's board of directors. StockX plans to funnel the new capital

Boeing Completes Parachute Testing For The Starliner

A  -- depiction of a -- Boeing Starliner space capsule as it docks to the International Space Station image: Boeing Boeing has announced it has completed the fifth and final qualification test of the parachute system of the Starliner , a new space crew capsule the aerospace giant is constructing for NASA's Commercial Crew Development program. NASA's program -- which also involves SpaceX -- is a planned mission backed by the U.S. government to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on privately operated space vehicles for the first time ever. Boeing and SpaceX have been selected for the planned mission and have both come up with unique spacecraft designs to fly selected U.S. astronauts to the ISS. NASA, last year, unveiled the first nine astronauts that'll fly on either SpaceX's Crew Dragon or Boeing's Starliner spacecrafts. For safety reasons, both spacecrafts are kit with parachute systems that'll be deployed when required. T

Boeing Partners With Kitty Hawk

Boeing airplanes image: Boeing Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has partnered with Kitty Hawk, a Mountain View, California-based flying car startup backed by Alphabet CEO Larry Page and led by Udacity co-founder and former Google VP Sebastian Thrun. In a joint  press release , both companies announced they'll work on "future efforts to advance safe urban air mobility", but didn't specify what the efforts entail. But a good guess can be that both parties will work on developing flying vehicles. This partnership comes not long after Boeing completed a first test flight of its own flying vehicle. Boeing -- being one of the largest aerospace companies and top manufacturer of commercial airplanes -- likely brings much to the table for Kitty Hawk, which is still a quite small and stealth startup. A Kitty Hawk flying vehicle image: Kitty Hawk Corporation “Working with a company like Kitty Hawk brings us closer to our goal of safely advancing the future

Carbon Raises $260 Million At A $2.4 Billion Valuation

A Ford engineer works on a Carbon 3D printing machine. Ford is a major user of Carbon's 3D printers and has also partnered with the company. image: Ford In consensus with a previous report of 3D printing company Carbon raising up to $300 million in new funding, the Redwood City, California-based company has announced $260 million in new funding co-led by Madrone Capital Partners and Baillie Gifford. New investors Temasek and Arkema, along with existing investors Johnson & Johnson, Fidelity, adidas Ventures, JSR Corporation and Sequoia Capital also participated in the round. This funding values Carbon -- which has now raised more than $680 million since inception -- at north of $2.4 billion. The company plans to use the new capital to broaden R&D efforts, fuel expansion in Europe and Asia and establish its first "Advanced Development Facility", an advanced manufacturing facility [like its name suggests] that'll help Carbon's engineering teams w

Ken Lerer Steps Down As Buzzfeed Chairman

Ken Lerer Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch Ken [full name Kenneth] Lerer, a veteran media executive and venture capitalist, is stepping down from the chairman role at Buzzfeed after a decade of occupying this position. According to  Axios  which first broke the news of his departure, Lerer is leaving for “personal reasons” to focus on Lerer Hippeau Ventures, a New York-based VC firm where he serves as managing director. Under Lerer and Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti's guide, Buzzfeed has grown to become one of the biggest names with digital media, valued at $1.7 billion  in 2016. Lerer and Peretti are no new players in the digital media world, having previously co-founded the Huffington Post, a popular news website that sold to AOL for $315 million  in 2011. Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti Photograph by Kevin Moloney/Fortune Brainstorm Tech Lerer Hippeau Ventures which Lerer founded is a top VC firm that has backed companies like Warby Parker, Allbirds,

Morgan Stanley Says Ola Is Uber's Real London Rival

Ola Cabs CEO Bhavish Aggarwal (left) and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella image: Microsoft According to analysts from investment bank Morgan Stanley, India's Ola Cabs persists as the main potential threat to Uber's stronghold on the London ride-hailing market. This is despite the recent return of Bolt (formerly Taxify) to the London ride-hailing market, after a previous ban  from the city emanating from the lack of an operating license. According to Morgan Stanley analysts, evidence suggests Bolt's recent return to London is not having a significant impact on Uber's operations in the city. A report from the analysts said Uber's app downloads initially slid after Bolt's return but has since recovered. Bolt has raised nearly $200 million in funding according to Crunchbase data , compared to Ola's $3.8 billion in funding. Bolt CEO Markus Villig image: Bolt Reports have suggested (paywall) Ola plans to launch in London by the end of this year

Monzo Raises £113 million In New Funding

Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield image: TEDx on Flickr Fresh off  £85 million in funding last October, U.K. digital bank Monzo has announced £113 million in new funding led by Y Combinator Continuity, with participation from other existing investors. This funding values Monzo at £2 billion ($2.5 billion) post-money, double a previous £1 billion valuation from its last funding. This funding comes on the heels of Monzo's expansion into the U.S . The U.K.-based company is working with an -- FDIC-insured -- partner bank to operate in the U.S. as it doesn't yet have a banking license in the country. (Starting from left) Revolut CEO Nikolay Storonsky, N26 CEO Valetin Stalf and Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield. Revolut and N26 are also European fintech unicorns. Photo by XDante for TechCrunch Monzo currently has more than two million users and says 200,000 people signed up in May (last month) alone. The company's new raise comes on the heels of another fintech startup, Blend

U.S. Cedes Tariffs On Japanese Aluminium For Tesla Batteries

image: Tesla The United States Department of Commerce has agreed to do away with a 10% tariff on imported aluminium from Japan that's used by Tesla in the making of battery cells at its Nevada Gigafactory. This decision is in response to an earlier request from Tesla for a tariff exclusion on 10,000 tonnes of Japanese aluminium annually. The Japanese aluminium Tesla imports is produced by Nippon Light Metal Holdings, a Japanese multinational that's engaged in the manufacture and sale of aluminum and chemical products via several subsidiaries. In a document dated June 5 and recently put on a government website, the U.S. Department of Commerce said the -- Japanese -- aluminium “is not produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality.” The tariff waiver on the Japanese aluminium upholds for one year.

Apple Says It Gets Fees From Less Than 1% Of Spotify Users

image: Apple In response to an antitrust complaint from Spotify, Apple has disclosed that it collects a 15% fee from roughly 680,000 out of Spotify's 100 million paying customers [and 217 million total monthly active users]. Apple -- which competes directly with Spotify with the Apple Music streaming service -- said this in response to a complaint to EU regulators from Spotify that alleges Apple's control of the App Store, including fees it charges for processing payments, has made it hard for rivals to compete for music streaming subscribers. Apple charges a 30% fee for in-app purchases made on the App Store but that drops to 15%  on subscription purchases made after a year. In exchange for the fees, Apple handles billing and payments -- for apps -- in over 100 countries. But in reaction to Spotify's complaint, The Cupertino-based iPhone maker said that only a little fraction of Spotify's users are affected by its fees. That's because Spotify used Apple&#3

Blend Raises $130 Million Series E

Blend co-founder and CEO Nima Ghamsari Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Blend, a San Francisco-based SaaS platform for digital lenders, has raised $130 million in Series E funding. Temasek and General Atlantic led the funding, with participation from existing backers Greylock Partners, Founders Fund, 8VC and Lightspeed Venture Partners. With this funding, Blend has now raised a total of $310 million. Although the valuation for this round is not disclosed, Fortune reports Blend is now valued at close to $1 billion, up from a previous $500 million post-money valuation [according to Pitchbook data]. The funding comes at a good time for Blend, which claims it now processes nearly $2 billion in loans per day for more than 150 lenders. The company has also recently expanded into deposit accounts and home equity, and homeowners insurance. Blend says it'll make use of the funding to continue growing its current team of nearly 400 employees and invest in new tech, grow its par

DJI Debuts Custom Drone For Government Agencies

A close-up shot of the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom image: DJI Facing increased security concerns from the U.S. government, Chinese drone maker DJI has announced a new "Government Edition" drone that's made "specifically for use in high-security situations" by global government agencies. DJI says the new edition's architecture ensures that drone data like photos and videos captured during flight never leaves the drone or get shared with unauthorized parties including DJI itself. The Shenzhen-based company says the way the drone is built ensures it "meets the stringent requirements of the government sector for data management, risk mitigation, and enterprise-level data sharing control." DJI first developed the Government Edition for the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Aviation Services, and is now offering it to other government organizations around the globe. The Chinese drone maker says the Government Edition drone partook in more than

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Cashing Out: Jeff Bezos Sells $2.5B Of Amazon Stock

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has continued his routine selling of Amazon shares to fund his other escapades. For a few years now, he's had an arranged trading plan that sees him regularly sell Amazon stock worth billions of dollars. Jeff Bezos' latest sell-off is of 739,000 Amazon shares worth around $2.5bn, SEC filings show. Another separate filing indicated that he plans to sell as many as 2 million shares that could net him nearly $7bn at current prices. This latest share sell-off from Bezos is noteworthy as one of his last in his position as Amazon's CEO which he's handing off soon to a top lieutenant named Andy Jassy. Jassy is currently CEO of AWS, Amazon's very profitable cloud computing division. Usually, a CEO offloading large amounts of stock in a company he leads draws some displeasure from investors, but as Jeff Bezos would soon no longer be Amazon's CEO, it opens up opportunities to sell larger amounts of shares than usual if the desires. Amazon's

EVs: Ford, BMW Co-Invest In An EV Battery Startup

It's currently of no doubt that electric vehicles represent the future for the automobile market, and many automakers have taken heed to that. Tens of billions of dollars in spending have been earmarked for the R&D and production of electric vehicles by global automakers, with efforts spanning battery development, building new factories, charging stations et al. Now, two of the world's biggest automakers, BMW and Ford, have jointly invested in a startup working on battery technology for electric vehicles. That startup is Solid Power, a Colorado-based startup developing solid-state batteries for EVs. Details: Solid Power has raised a $130 million Series B round  co-led by Ford and BMW. The two automakers were joined by green-focused venture fund Volta Energy Technologies in the round. As part of the strategic round, Ford and BMW have expanded their joint agreements with Solid Power to develop solid-state batteries for their use. In a way, the two automakers are funding and o

Is Apple Brewing A Major Digital Health Play?

That Apple has high ambitions in the digital health space isn't foreign news to anyone following the moves of the company. In fact, its CEO Tim Cook once referred to health as Apple's “greatest contribution to mankind.” Apple's main health product is the Apple Watch for which health represents a major use case and a selling point. The latest Apple Watch series has key health features including the ability to measure ECG (electrocardiogram) and oxygen saturation level in the blood. With all its grand ambitions, the reality is that Apple is progressing very well in the digital health space but yet hasn't gotten a big foothold in it like it's done in other markets. There still exists a large gap for Apple to conquer to make waves in the digital health market and the company seems much hell-bent on covering that gap. Details: A certain revelation has come out that details Apple's grand plans in the health sector, and it's that of a UK startup working on next-ge

Big Pay: AT&T Shareholders Vote Against Execs Pay

To bring back one of our most favorite sayings, "America is the land of many things, including very enormous executive pay". Executives of publicly-traded companies in the US are familiar with very large compensation packages on a scale not seen in other countries, take recent examples including Palantir CEO Alex Karp landing a $1.1 billion payday  and former T-Mobile CEO John Legere getting a $137 million severance pay . But with all the large executive pay packages flying around, it appears that the shareholders of one public company are not okay with it and that company is telecoms giant AT&T.  Details: AT&T in a statement  revealed that the majority of its shareholders voted not in favor of the compensation of its executive officers in 2020. Just under 49% of votes were cast in favor of the compensation, leaving the remaining majority 51%, not in favor.  Last year, AT&T had large pay packages for its top brass including $21 million for CEO John Stankey and $52

Deal: Verizon Sells Yahoo And AOL To PE Firm For $5B

Telecoms giant Verizon has found a buyer for its Verizon Media Unit which includes veteran internet properties like Yahoo and AOL, and that buyer is a major private equity firm. To note, though Yahoo and AOL have long faded from their glory days, they aren't exactly dead properties but ones still with a great deal of users bringing in a few billion in revenue annually. Details: Verizon has struck a deal to sell 90% of Verizon Media to private equity firm Apollo which will pay $5 billion for it, while Verizon retains a  10%  minority stake in the business. The deal takes off many internet properties off Verizon's hands, including bigger ones like Yahoo and smaller ones like technology news site TechCrunch operating under the AOL umbrella. Though it's selling for a seemingly huge price of $5 billion, Verizon paid a combined $9 billion to buy the web properties making up its Verizon Media unit so it doesn't come out on top financially from the sale.  Verizon paid $4.4bn t

Germany's SAP Fined $8M For Violating Iran Sanctions

SAP, the German software giant, has agreed to pay a fine in the US for violating sanctions imposed by the country on conducting business in Iran. It'll pay over $8 million in fines after admitting to handling thousands of exports of its software to Iran violating US law. Details: SAP admitted to exporting US-origin software to Iran beginning in 2010 up until 2017. The exports including delivering software upgrades and patches more than 20,000 times to Iranian users and offering Iranian users access to US-based cloud services. As charged, executives at SAP were aware that the company didn't have geolocation protections to block downloads of its US-origin software in Iran and turned a blind eye to the situation.  SAP was also charged with neglecting to put in place adequate export control for cloud services made by some US-based companies that it acquired and integrated into its software suite. For the charges, SAP admitted guilt and reached a  Non-Prosecution Agreement with the

IPO: Cybersecurity Startup Darktrace Debuts On UK Markets

A major cybersecurity startup from the UK has held an initial public offering (IPO) and debuted to positive investor fanfare on the domestic public markets. That startup is Darktrace, a fast-growing cybersecurity startup founded by a team of mathematicians in collaboration with British intelligence agencies in 2013. Darktrace sells cyber-defense software that's claimed to harness artificial intelligence in spotting and managing cyber threats. It listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol "DARK". By the numbers: Darktrace debuted to positive investor fanfare that saw its shares soar by 40% on its first day of trading. It raised £143 million ($198m) from the public float at a valuation of £1.7 billion ($2.3bn) which soared to almost £2.4 billion ($3.3bn) on its debut trading day. Darktrace's IPO prospectus reports $199 million in revenue in its most recent fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. This was up from $137 million in the previous year, 2019, and $79 mill

Earnings: Pfizer Rakes In Cash From COVID Vaccine

Pfizer, one of the few pharmaceutical companies worldwide to produce an approved Covid-19 vaccine, has unveiled its earnings report for the first quarter of this year. As usual, the report provides a solid peek into the company's financials and with very noteworthy nuggets this time around. One key nugget from Pfizer's earnings report is that the company brought in $3.5bn in revenue from its Covid-19 vaccine in Q1' 21. It made up nearly a fourth of the company's total $14.6bn revenue for the period. The Covid vaccine was the biggest single source of revenue for Pfizer in the quarter. It's definitely a good time for the company in that regard, as it elected to keep the profit from the sale of its vaccines unlike some of its competitors which volunteered to waive off any profit-seeking from their vaccines. Unlike some of its competitors also, Pfizer didn't take money from the US government to fund the development of its vaccine under the Trump administration'

Earnings: Covid Vaccines Deliver Big Sales, Profit For Moderna

Moderna was among the few biotech companies that saved the day with the development of an emergency-authorized vaccine to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a breakthrough for the company, which was before then a cancer-fighting moonshot with minimal revenues and no working product. Being a publicly-traded company, Moderna is mandated to release quarterly earnings reports to the public and it has done so this time around, releasing its financial results for the first quarter of this year 2021. Moderna's latest earnings report shows that of a company that saw big success from its Covid vaccines, as it reported record revenue and its first-ever net profit as a public company. By the numbers: Moderna made $1.9bn in revenue in Q1' 21, compared to a paltry $8mn for the same quarter in 2020. The revenue came wholly from Covid vaccine sales in the US and foreign markets. Moderna reported a huge net income of $1.2bn in the quarter, compared to a net loss of $124mn for the same perio

Court Docs: Fortnite Maker Epic Made $15B In 2018-2020

Fortnite maker Epic Games is having a court battle with Apple over the latter's App Store practices and that battle has led to several documents coming out of the shadows with valuable information about Epic Games not publicly known before.  Among the information revealed in court proceedings between Epic and Apple is the sheer scale of Epic's revenue largely gotten from its hit game Fortnite . Official documents indicate that Epic Games made respective annual sales of $5.6bn, $4.2bn, and $5.1bn in 2018, 2019, and 2020, summing up to just shy of $15bn. Epic's revenue in 2018 and 2019 was revealed in financial documents made public as part of its court battle with Apple while its revenue for 2020 was separately revealed in a court testimony by Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. The vast majority of Epic's revenue comes from Fortnite while its other products like the Unreal Engine and the Epic Games Store bring in a minority of revenues. Specifically, Fortnite brought in $5.5bn a