Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2020

Ehud Barak To Depart Carbyne's Board

Ehud Barak. Photo credit: Barak Weizmann, under Creative Commons license Carbyne, a New York-based startup that develops emergency communications software for law enforcement agencies, has announced that Ehud Barak, a former prime minister of Israel who has held a board seat the company since 2015, is relinquishing his board position. Barak is stepping down from Carbyne's board, which he has helmed as Chairman for about five years. Barak, a former prime minister and also defense minister of Israel, helped steer Carbyne through multiple funding rounds and an expansion into new countries. Barak has served as some sort of campaigner for Carbyne, having helped promote the company's products in media appearances and lent a significant deal of credibility to the New York-based but Israeli-originated startup. Barak's affiliation with Carbyne has, however, stirred some controversy towards himself. As part of Barak's departure, he'll be selling all his shares i

Toast Adds New Board Member

Mark Hawkins. Photo credit: Salesforce Toast, a Boston-based startup that develops restaurant management software and was valued at just shy of $5 billion earlier this year, has announced the appointment of Salesforce's President and chief financial officer (CFO), Mark Hawkins, to its board. Hawkins' appointment is effective immediately. His appointment happens to be in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic that has significantly affected Toast's business. Restaurants have widely shut down across the U.S. and Toast whose business entails selling software to help restaurants facilitate sales has in turn been affected. Earlier this month, Toast laid off 50% of its workforce . Hawkins is a well-versed tech executive, having worked at technology companies for more than 30 years. Save for Salesforce, Hawkins has also worked at Autodesk, Dell, Logitech, and Hewlett Packard (HP). His appointment adds up Toast's board headcount to five, the other four being Steve

Lyft Cuts 1,300 Jobs

Lyft CEO Logan Green. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch, under Creative Commons license According to a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC), ride-hailing company Lyft is laying off 982 employees and has already furloughed about 288 employees and is also instituting salary cuts for all of its headcount. As part of cost reductions amid a severe business slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, beginning May 2020, Lyft's senior leadership will take a 30% pay cut, its vice presidents a 20% pay cut, and a 10% pay cut for all other employees. All members of Lyft's board have also agreed to forego 30% of their cash compensation for the second quarter of 2020. Lyft's job cuts happen to come on the heels of its competitor Uber reportedly  considering to cut 20% of its workforce. Lyft's own layoffs amount to 17% of its workforce. According to Lyft, it'll incur costs of between $28 million to $36 million primari

Behavox Adds New Executives

Behavox founder and CEO Erkin Adylov. Photo credit: Behavox Behavox, a New York-based data analytics startup, has announced the appointment of two new executives, a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) by the name of Neil Wu Becker and Chief Human Resources Officer by the name of Derek Sidebottom. Both Becker and Sidebottom are experienced executives in the tech industry who have previously worked at various technology companies. Sidebottom previously held HR leadership posts at companies including LendingHome, Kabam, and Rocket Fuel. Becker, likewise, has held previous marketing jobs at Apptus, Micron, and Cisco. The appointments of Neil Wu Becker and Derek Sidebottom comes on the heels of Behavox establishing a board of directorship, which was announced roughly two weeks ago. Behavox seems to be maturing from a startup into a full-fledged company. Just in February, the company announced $100 million in funding from the second iteration of the SoftBank Vision Fund. SoftBank als

Uber CTO Thuan Pham Steps Down

Uber chief technology officer Thuan Pham. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/RISE via Sportsfile, under Creative Commons license Uber's long-running chief technology officer (CTO) Thuan Pham is stepping down as the ride-hailing company considers layoffs to help weather through a business slowdown resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, as first reported by tech news site The Information . Pham, who is Uber's longest-serving senior executive, is said to have already notified employees who report to him of his plan to leave on the heels of possible job cuts that could affect about 800 out of a total of 3,800 employees in Uber's engineering department. Pham has headed Uber's overall engineering efforts since he took up the CTO position in 2013. He was recruited from VMware by Uber's former CEO, Travis Kalanick. According to The Information , executives at Uber are discussing plans to cut around 20% of the company's headcount as it faces a steep business slowdo

Amazon Commits $3.9 Million To CodeVA

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Photo credit: James Duncan Davidson | Flickr, under Creative Commons license E-commerce giant Amazon has announced that it'll donate $3.9 million to CodeVA, a non-profit based in the U.S. state of Virginia that partners with educational institutions to further computer science education in under-served communities in the state. Amazon will donate the stated amount in three installments amounting to $1.3 million each, the first of which has already been donated. The company's donation was announced by Pamela Northam, the first lady of the state of Virginia. CodeVA says Amazon's donation will expand its computer science curriculum reach to over 500,000 students and more than 12,000 teachers in the state of Virginia. Amazon's donation, which will run through 2022, essentially doubles CodeVA's annual operating budget for the period. The company's donation supplements state grants awarded to CodeVA. Altogether, Amazon has donate

Khosla Ventures Leads Series A For HeartVista

Khosla Ventures founder and chair Vinod Khosla. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch, under Creative Commons license HeartVista, a Los Altos, California-based diagnostic imaging startup, has announced  that it's closed an $8.65 million Series A financing round led by venture capital firm Khosla Ventures, with participation from Leslie Ventures, Open Field Capital, former Facebook executive Jeff Rothschild, and other unnamed investors. The new financing adds up the total funding HeartVista has raised since its inception to $16.4 million. HeartVista says the new financing will go towards building out its AI-assisted diagnostic imaging product and expanding its sales and marketing efforts. The new funding will also help HeartVista offer its diagnostic imaging tool to healthcare customers for free in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic, according to a press statement. HeartVista offers a diagnostic imaging tool that's aided by artificial intelligence. C

Ben Horowitz To Depart Lyft's Board

Ben Horowitz. Photo credit: (cc) Kenneth Yeung - www.snapfoc.us Andreessen Horowitz partner Ben Horowitz is departing the board of ride-hailing company Lyft, according to a document the company filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). Horowitz joined Lyft's board in 2016 after Andreessen Horowitz, the famed venture capital firm he co-founded, invested in the company. Lyft says it wouldn't seek a replacement for his board seat following his departure. Currently, Horowitz sits on the board of another publicly-traded tech company called Okta. He also holds board seats at several privately-held technology companies. After Horowitz's departure, Lyft's board will consist of eight directors including co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer.

Automation Anywhere Cuts Jobs

Automation Anywhere CEO Mihir Shukla. Photo credit: Automation Anywhere Automation Anywhere, a robotic process automation company that was valued at $6.8 billion post-money after a funding round last year, began laying off hundreds of employees on Monday, Axios  reports . According to Axios, the number of employees Automation is laying off amounts to more than 10% of its 2,600-strong headcount. Automation Anywhere confirmed the layoffs in a statement to Axios, stating that it's "adjusting operations and restructuring parts of the company." Automation Anywhere is backed by investors including SoftBank, Salesforce Ventures, General Atlantic, Goldman Sachs, NEA, and Workday Ventures. The company, based out of San Jose, has raised north of $800 million in total funding. Automation Anywhere was founded in 2003 and was bootstrapped for a long time, having raised its Series A in 2018, more than a decade after its founding. The company's journey seems impressive

UPS To Deliver Drugs By Drones In Florida

Photo credit: UPS Delivery giant UPS, in partnership with pharmacy chain CVS, has announced that it'll begin using drones to deliver prescription medicines from a CVS pharmacy to the largest retirement community in the U.S., which is known as "The Villages", located in the state of Florida. The announcement comes on the heels of a coronavirus outbreak that has restricted movement across the U.S. and made it harder for persons, more so elderly persons, to obtain daily necessities, prescriptions being one of such necessities. Elderly persons are particularly more vulnerable to health issues and more so prone to serious complications if infected with the coronavirus. Drone transport in a controlled environment offers a fast delivery option for prescription medicines that are time-sensitive and also helps maintain advised social distancing efforts. The drone deliveries in The Villages, Florida are scheduled to begin in early May, subject to stipulated rules from the

China's Xpeng Debuts New Electric Sedan

Xpeng P7 . Photo credit: Xpeng Xpeng Motors, a Chinese electric vehicle upstart, has unveiled a new electric sedan called the P7 . The new sedan, which seems similar to Xpeng competitor Tesla's Model 3, will cost between $32,000 - $49,000 'post-subsidies', Xpeng says. Xpeng has already opened up orders for the new vehicle, which will come in 3 versions and 8 configurations. The company says deliveries will commence by the end of June 2020. A P7 feature that stands out is its stated maximum range of 706 km, a record when compared to other electric vehicles. The debut of the P7 comes on the heels of Tesla having begun producing vehicles in China. Producing directly in China enabled Tesla to deliver a record number of vehicles in the country, according to industry groups. Xpeng is apparently looking to steer some potential Tesla customers towards its brand. The company, which has raised nearly $2 billion in funding to fund its operations, also competes with other e

Starbucks Teams Up To Invest Along With Sequoia China

Photo credit: Starbucks Coffee chain Starbucks has announced that its Chinese arm has teamed up with venture capital firm Sequoia Capital China to make strategic co-investments in Chinese companies and also secure partnerships with food and retail startups. Starbucks dubs the partnership as one that enables "early access to ideas in the retail marketplace" and opens up "opportunities for strategic investment to evolve Starbucks business in China." A Starbucks-Sequoia tie-up is apparently the latest move by Starbucks to boost the digital aspect of its business in China as it faces competition from newer incumbents such as Luckin Coffee. Such a partnership is bound to secure investment spots for Starbucks in food and retail startups that Sequoia Capital China scouts for investments. Co-investing along with Sequoia will likely guarantee early access to the technologies and services that such startups develop to Starbucks. Partnerships to help boost Starbucks

Alphabet CEO's 2019 Pay Amounts To $281 Million

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. image: Niall Kennedy | Flickr, under Creative Commons license According to an SEC filing  put out recently, the 2019 total compensation for Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai amounted to $281 million, 1,085 times more than Alphabet's median employee compensation as reported by the company. The majority of the reported compensation comes from stock awards, some of which will be paid out over time contingent on certain fiscal targets. Other top-paid Alphabet executives in 2019 include Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ruth Porat and former Chief Legal Officer David Drummond. Porat earned $664,000 last year as Drummond raked in $661,000, in contrast to 2018 where they both earned $47 million in compensation. Pichai's compensation consisted of $650,000 in annual base salary, which will rise to $2 million this year. Ruth Porat and David Drummond also earned a $650,000 base salary last year. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two famed Alphabet co-founders who

Crypto Miner Ebang Files To Go Public

Ebang, one of the leading manufacturers of cryptocurrency mining equipment, has filed to go public with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). This is notably Ebang's second attempt to go public, after having filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong that failed to transpire. Ebang is seeking to raise up to $100 million from a U.S. IPO, compared to as much as $1 billion the company was reportedly aiming to raise from a Hong Kong IPO. The general crypto mining market has cooled down after hitting all-time highs amid a crypto craze that peaked sometime in 2018. Ebang itself has been significantly affected, evidenced by 2019 revenues of $109 million compared to $319 million in the year before. Ebang isn't profitable, with its filing indicating $30 million in losses in 2019 and $24 million in the year before. As a ''risk factor'', the company apprises that its business is dependent on fluctuations in Bitcoin prices since its product

Box Adds New Board Member

Bethany Mayer, Box's new board member. Photo credit: Interop Events, under Creative Commons license Cloud storage company Box has announced the addition of a new board member by the name of Bethany Mayer, an experienced tech executive with over three decades of experience in the tech industry. Her appointment, as an independent board director, falls under an agreement Box made with Starboard Value LP, an activist investor that purchased a significant stake in publicly-traded Box last year and pushed for changes at the company. “Bethany’s deep technology experience and leadership roles scaling multi-billion dollar enterprise businesses at various stages and sizes will be a valuable addition to our Board of Directors,” Box CEO Aaron Levie said in a statement. Mayer is currently an executive partner at the private equity firm Siris Capital Group. She already holds board seats at three publicly-traded companies, namely Marvell Technologies, the chipmaker, Lam Research Inc

Faraday Future Adds New Board Member

Brian Krolicki, Faraday Future's new board member. Photo credit: Faraday Future Embattled electric vehicle startup Faraday Future has announced the appointment of a new board member by the name of Brian Krolicki, an American politician who served as Lieutenant Governor of the state of Nevada for eight years. Krolicki is joining as the sixth and only independent member of Faraday Future's board. Prior to entering public service, Krolicki had a successful career in the private banking industry so his appointment doesn't seem unhandy. More so, Krolicki has drawn much expertise from holding public service roles for more than two decades, expertise that'll apparently be useful to Faraday Future. Krolicki's board appointment apparently falls under leadership changes that were proposed when Faraday's current CEO, Carsten Breitfeld, took over last year. Faraday Future's journey, for the lack of more accurately fitting words, has been one "hell-of-a

Snap Proposes $750 Million Bond Offering

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Snap Inc, the company behind Snapchat, has announced  its intention to issue up to $750 million in convertible bonds that'll be due by 2025, its intention, however, "subject to market conditions and other factors." Snap says it intends to put the proceeds from the bond offering towards general corporate purposes such as working capital and operating expenses, and also possible acquisitions or stock repurchases. The bonds Snap intends to offer will be due on the 1st of May, 2025. The bonds will be convertible to Snap Inc Class A shares at the choice of buyers. The interest rate, initial conversion rate, and other terms of the proposed bond offering are yet to be determined. Snap intends to settle the bonds with cash payments, shares, or a combination of cash and shares. Update: Snap has boosted the proposed bond offering by $100 million, now amounting to $850 million.

Epic Games Fundraising At A $15 Billion+ Valuation: Report

Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. image: Nvidia Corporation, under Creative Commons license According to a report from Bloomberg News , Epic Games, the gaming studio behind video game megahit Fortnite and game production software Unreal Engine , has begun discussions to raise a new round of financing at a valuation that would be "significantly" higher than the $15 billion valuation the company got when it raised funding in 2018.  Bloomberg reports Epic Games has hired a financial adviser to handle the fundraising and is seeking between $500 million to $1 billion in new funding. Epic Games, which was founded nearly three decades ago, is majorly known for its hit 'battle royale' game Fortnite. Before creating Fortnite, Epic, however, had produced some fairly popular games including Fire Fight , Gears of War , and Infinity Blade . The company had also launched the Unreal Engine , one of the top-most used video game development engines globally. Epic&

Adverity Secures $30 Million Series C

Adverity's management team. image: Adverity Adverity, a Vienna, Austria-based marketing analytics startup, has announced  €28 million ($30 million) in Series C funding led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Sapphire Ventures. Existing investors including Mangrove Capital Partners, Felix Capital, aws Gründerfonds, and an early-stage fund of software giant SAP also participated in the funding. With the new funding, Adverity has now raised about €45 million ($49 million) in total funding. Adverity says it'll put the Series C towards research and development and expanding its product roadmap as well as boosting its sales and technology team in New York, U.S.A. Adverity has been able to court customers including IKEA, Red Bull, Unilever, and Mediacom thanks to its sales efforts. In the past 12 months, Adverity says its revenue has grown 100%, bolstered by customers in more than 60 countries. “Our platform plays an important role for companies that want to be

Wayfair Picks Jim Miller As Permanent CTO

Jim Miller. image: Wayfair E-commerce company Wayfair has announced the appointment of Jim Miller, its interim Chief Technology Officer (CTO), as the company's permanent CTO. Miller is permanently taking up the CTO role after serving as interim for eight months, having taken up the position in August of 2019 but with a plan to occupy the role while the company sought a permanent replacement. Apparently, Wayfair settled on Miller being its permanent CTO. In Miller lies an experienced executive that has held leadership roles at companies including Google, Cisco, and Amazon. At Google, he served as Vice President of Worldwide Operations from June 2010 until February 2018. Before Google, he served as a senior executive at Cisco for seven years. Before Cisco, he served as Vice President of Supply Chain at Amazon. Miller was actually a board member at Wayfair before he took on the position of interim CTO. With his permanent appointment, however, he's stepping down from t

Unlearn.AI Closes $12 Million Series A Funding

8VC founding partner Joe Lonsdale. 8VC led the $12 million Series A investment in Unlearn.AI. Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch, under Creative Commons license Unlearn.AI, a startup that develops software tools meant for clinical research, has announced $12 million in Series A funding led by 8VC, with participation from existing investors including Mubadala Capital Ventures, DCVC, and DCVC Bio. Under the terms of the Series A investment, 8VC Principal Francisco Gimenez has taken a board seat at Unlearn. The new financing brings the total funding raised by Unlearn since its inception to about $17 million. Unlearn was founded in 2017 by a team of machine learning scientists who sought to build software to assist clinical trials. The company's current focus is on neurological diseases, starting with Alzheimer’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Unlearn has developed a machine learning platform that helps model and predict progression in clinical trials. The co

Niantic Names Board Member Megan Quinn As COO

Megan Quinn. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch, under Creative Commons license Niantic, the gaming company behind hits like  Pokémon Go  and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite , has announced the appointment of Megan Quinn, a partner at venture capital firm Spark Capital and a board member at Niantic, as Niantic's chief operating officer (COO). Quinn will be transiting from a board seat, which she got to occupy after investing in Niantic on behalf of Spark Capital, to a full executive role at the company. Quinn took up a board seat at Niantic in 2017. As COO, Quinn will lead Niantic's business operations and international development as Niantic prepares "for the next phase of global growth and scale," according to a press statement from the company. Who knows, that next phase could be an initial public offering (IPO). Niantic has as of late been accelerating its investments in augmented reality (AR), mapping, and diversifying its business at l

a16z Said To Be Providing New Funding For Figma

a16z co-founder and partner Marc Andreessen. image: Joi Ito on Flickr, under Creative Commons license Famed venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, also known as a16z, is providing at least $50 million in new funding for design software company Figma, according to a report from Forbes , which says the funding will value Figma, an 8-year-old company, at $2 billion. According to Forbes , Figma has initiated talks with Andreessen Horowitz, which is, in turn, in the process of finalizing an investment. If the report stands true, it'll be a significant feat for Figma, which last raised funding last year at a post-money valuation that amounted to north of $400 million. Figma develops browser-based design tools that compete with the likes of Adobe and Sketch. The company's tools facilitate not just design but collaboration between designers working on collective projects. Among Figma's customers includes the likes of Slack, Uber, and Microsoft. Since its inception,

Regulators Pave Way For Amazon's Deliveroo Investment

Deliveroo co-founder and CEO Will Shu. image: Deliveroo The U.K.'s competition watchdog has provisionally cleared U.S.-based e-commerce giant Amazon's investment in U.K. food delivery startup Deliveroo, citing potential financial hardships Deliveroo could face without the investment. The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) previously opposed an Amazon investment in Deliveroo on concerns that such an investment could harm competition in the U.K.'s food delivery market. The approval is provisional, meaning it's subject to further confirmation and could later be overturned. The investment in concern is a $575 million round that Amazon reached a deal to lead in May of last year. Other investors including T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Greenoaks were to participate in the investment. Amid the coronavirus outbreak which has led to vast restaurant closures, Deliveroo's business has undoubtedly taken a hit, compounding financial hassles for the comp

Uber Withdraws Guidance Ahead Of Earnings Call

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Photograph by Michael Faas/Fortune, under Creative Commons license Ride-hailing giant Uber has announced  it's withdrawing its financial guidance for 2020 ahead of a quarterly earnings call scheduled to hold on the 7th of May. On that day, Uber, whose business has been sizeably affected by the coronavirus outbreak, will discuss its financial results for the first quarter of this year. The ride-hailing company has said it expects to take a hit of between $1.9 billion to $2.2 billion from minor equity investments in other ride-hailing companies. Uber has substantial stakes in a few ride-hailing and food delivery companies globally, including the likes of Didi Chuxing, Grab, and Zomato. The stakes were gotten as a result of acquisition deals Uber struck with the aforementioned companies, the acquisitions lying on Uber's side. Uber expects the losses to reflect on its quarterly results. On the heels of Uber's announcement, the company&#

Verizon To Acquire BlueJeans Network

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg. Photo by: World Economic Forum/swiss-image.ch/Photo Monika Flueckiger, under Creative Commons license Telecoms giant Verizon has announced it has reached a deal to acquire video-conferencing company BlueJeans Network. Verizon expects to close the deal by the second quarter of this year, which we are already into. While Verizon didn't disclose how much it's paying for BlueJeans, a report from the Wall Street Journal says the company is paying less than $500 million, entailing the acquisition price could be hovering at anything close to that range. The acquisition notably comes amid an extraordinary spike in video-conferencing usage amid lockdowns and movement limitations that have been enacted globally in response to the coronavirus outbreak. San Jose-based BlueJeans Network was founded roughly a decade ago and announced last year that it had surpassed $100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR). BlueJeans has been able to court ma

Onfido Nabs $100 Million In New Funding

Onfido co-founder and CEO Husayn Kassai (left) and board member Frank van Veenendaal (right). image: Onfido Onfido, a London-based digital identification startup, has confirmed it's raised $100 million in new equity financing led by private equity fund TPG Growth, with participation from existing investors M12 (Microsoft's venture capital arm) and Salesforce Ventures alongside other backers. With the new financing, Onfido has now raised a total of $180 million in funding since its inception. London-based Onfido says it'll channel the new financing towards product research and development (R&D) and global expansion. Onfido's previous funding rounds include a $50 million financing announced April of last year and an earlier $30 million funding round in 2017. Onfido has attracted many well-versed investors thanks to carving a niche for itself in the digital identification and security market. Onfido develops artificial intelligence-based software that helps

eBay Names Walmart Executive As CEO

Jamie Iannone. Photo by Harry Murphy/Web Summit via Sportsfile, under Creative Commons license E-commerce company eBay has announced the appointment of a new chief executive officer (CEO) by the name of Jamie Iannone, whose appointment is effective beginning from the 27th of April, 2020. Iannone most recently served as Chief Operating Officer of Walmart eCommerce, the e-commerce arm of retail giant Walmart as the name suggests. Before occupying that position, he served as CEO of SamsClub.com, the e-commerce unit of Walmart-owned retail powerhouse Sam's Club. Interestingly, Iannone also previously held executive roles at eBay during an eight-year stint at the company. He's now returning to help run eBay at the very helm. Iannone is replacing eBay's interim CEO Scott Schenkel, who took up the position in September of last year after serving as eBay's Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for four years. Being interim, his position was more of a temporary one that he

Photo Gallery: Robots To Brighten Up Your Day

Postmates' delivery robot. Photograph by Fortune Magazine, under Creative Commons license We don't have much to say. This article is just a photo collection of robots and Robo-vehicles which we feel could be enticing to our readers. Here are high-resolution photos of some robots to brighten up your day. They could make for nice wallpapers, you know? 1. Postmates' ; This one, made by food delivery service Postmates, makes use of lidar sensors from Ouster, a San Francisco-based startup that makes high-resolution lidar sensors for autonomous vehicles, robotics, security, and mapping. Ouster is one out of many lidar startups that emerged to grab market share from market leader Velodyne. Velodyne, although still dominant, is now facing competition from lots of other companies. This delivery robot has begun pilot deliveries in Los Angeles, California. Front view. Side view Back View Photo(s) credit: Fortune Magazine, under Creative Comm

Most Read Posts

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