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OneWeb Reportedly Offers Stake Sale To Russian Government

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (left) Foto: Per Thrana/ Utenriksdepartementet OneWeb, A London based company working on a planned global satellite communications system and with $1.7 billion in funding so far is reportedly offering to sell a minority stake in the company to Russia to cool down concerns for its planned global internet satellite network by the country's Federal Security Service (FSB). This October, The FSB said it was against the plan operating in Russia for security reasons, fearing it could be used to garner intelligence and harm national security. “Some of Russia’s regions would become totally dependent on a foreign satellite service,” Federal Security Service official Vladimir Sadovnikov then said at a conference in Moscow. “The only way to address the threats of foreign satellite networks like OneWeb, especially in the Arctic region and Far North, is to restrict their usage in Russia,” Virgin Group founder Richard Branson (middle), The V

Gatwick Drone Attack Suspects Released By Sussex Police Without Charge

An aerial photograph of the Gatwick Airport image : Gatwick According to The Guardian , two persons detained by the Sussex Police after the recent Gatwick Airport drone disruption have been released without charge with a senior police officer stating it was “always a possibility that there may not have been any genuine drone activity in the first place”. A discovered damaged drone around the scene was examined for hints on Sunday night, but detective chief superintendent Jason Tigley added that though this drone was a significant line of investigation, wet weather could have washed away evidence, The Guardian's report says. Embed from Getty Images Tingley is also said to have noted that there were no pictures or video footage of drone movements in airspace around Gatwick, as officers' investigation has relied solely on witness accounts. From 19 December to 21 December, 67 reports were made by the public, passengers, police officers and staff at the Gatwick

Musk Says Tesla Will Reimburse Customers For Missed Tax Credits

image : Tesla Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has said the electric car manufacturer will reimburse customers if car delivery delays make them miss out on a significant tax credit. Under a tax overhaul passed by the U.S. congress last year, Electric vehicle manufacturers receive incentives for vehicle purchases phased out gradually once a company hits 200,000 sales. The incentive is reduced by 50% every six months until it phases out. A full tax $7,500 credit available for Tesla purchases ends in less than two weeks, dropping to $3,750 beginning January 1st 2019. Tesla said orders for cars placed by October 15 will be eligible for this incentive and that customers would get hold of their cars by the end of the year. image : Tesla But with some customers still waiting, they took to social media to voice complaints about delays and what they term lack of communication by the company. Replying to a Twitter user, Elon Musk said Tesla would cover the tax credit difference if c

SpaceX Inks Record 2018 With First U.S. National Security Space Mission

image : SpaceX SpaceX has set a record 2018 this Sunday with the launch of a rocket ferrying a U.S. military navigation satellite after several delays due to technical issues, marking its first ever national security space mission for the U.S. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted a $500 million GPS satellite built by aerospace contractor Lockheed Martin at 8:51 a.m. local time (1351 GMT) from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This comes after four launch delays made due to bad weather and a technical issue involving its rocket sensors. image : SpaceX SpaceX first won U.S. Air Force certification for national security missions in 2015, breaking through a monopoly held by the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company. This launch is its 21st this year, up from a record 18 in 2017, by designing its rockets for re-usability, SpaceX has been able to reduce launch costs and gain more market share. This time however, SpaceX says it's not attempting

Two Persons Detained Following Gatwick Airport Drone Disruption

An aerial photograph of the Gatwick Airport image : Gatwick Airport According to a statement from the Sussex Police, Two persons - a 47-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman, both from the town of Crawley - have been detained on suspicion of disrupting civil aviation services after illegal drone activity led to a shutdown of flight operations at Gatwick Airport, the U.K.'s second busiest, for 36 hours. “Our investigations are still on-going, and our activities at the airport continue to build resilience to detect and mitigate further incursions from drones, by deploying a range of tactics.” The Sussex police said. Further information on the detained individuals was not given. An aerial photograph of the Gatwick Airport  image : Gatwick Airport A first drone sighting occurred around 9 p.m. on Wednesday followed by a buzz of the Gatwick Airport runway over 40 times within 48 hours, This forced officials to shutdown and re-open flight operations at the airp

Google Gets E-Money License In Lithuania

image : Google Google Payment, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc has gotten an e-money license in Lithuania that'll enable it process payments, issue e-money and provide electronic wallet services across the European Union. This marks the 39th e-money license issued by the country which is setting itself as a fast growing licensing jurisdiction in the European Union. It's the second largest e-money issuer in the EU leading behind the U.K. with 128 licenses issued so far. Just recently, payments unicorn Revolut obtained a banking license in the country to allow it offer more financial services like online lending and mortgages. Googlers in micro-kitchen image : Google E-money licenses allow for operation of digital payments services but not full banking services like deposit accounts, mortgages and loans. Large tech companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon have expanded into financial services to boost business, Just recently, Facebook was revealed to be reportedly d

SEC Slaps Fine On Wealthfront In First Move Against Robo-Advisers

Wealthfront former president and CEO Adam Nash, He was replaced by co-founder Andy Rachleff in 2016, notably also a member of VC firm Benchmark Capital's 1995 founding team. image : Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm TECH The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has fined Wealthfront, an automated investment services startup with over $11 billion in assets under management, accusing the company of making false statements and publishing spurious advertising. "Wealthfront falsely stated in its TLH whitepaper that it monitored all client accounts to avoid any transactions that might trigger a wash sale." The SEC said in a statement . "......In fact, until mid-May 2016, Wealthfront did not monitor client accounts to avoid any transaction that might trigger a wash sale. In Wealthfront’s TLH program, wash sales could occur, or were permitted, in certain circumstances relating to the management of a client account such as rebalancing a client portfolio or c

Delivery Hero Offloads German Operations To For €930 million

image :  Delivery Hero Berlin based Delivery Hero has inked a deal to sell its German operations to Netherlands based for €930 million (about $1.1 billion) consisting of €508 million cash and €422 million worth of Takeaway shares, 18% of the total outstanding shares of the food delivery company. has secured a €680 million credit facility for this move, more than enough to cover the cash portion of the transaction, Both companies have agreed to a standstill period of four years following transaction completion during which "Delivery Hero and its subsidiaries, with limited exceptions, shall, in particular, not directly or indirectly in any way effect or cause to effect any increase in its shareholding in N.V. through any financial instruments or related derivative securities" as part of this deal. image : Delivery Hero Delivery Hero's German operations consisting of marketplaces Lieferheld and, and delivery busin

Facebook Reportedly Working On Cryptocurrency For WhatsApp Transfers

Former PayPal president and Facebook blockchain head David Marcus Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch According to a Bloomberg report , Facebook is working on a cryptocurrency that will enable users transfer cash on its WhatsApp messaging app with a first focus on the Indian remittances market. The report says the company is developing a stablecoin - crypto pegged to a currency or exchange traded commodities to minimize volatility - for this. "Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology," a company spokesman said in a statement. "This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share." image : Facebook Former PayPal president David Marcus currently leads the company's blockchain initiatives so moves like this to take stand in the payments market are likely. Going by employee titles on LinkedIn, Facebook currently has about 40

Zynga Is Purchasing 80% Of Small Giant Games For $560 Million

Zynga co-founder and Executive Chairman Mark Pincus Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Tech Zynga has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Small Giant Games, the game studio behind the hit franchise Empires & Puzzles, taking an 80% stake for $560 million consisting of $330 million in cash and $230 million of Zynga common stock. The acquisition expected to close effective as of January 1, 2019 will be partially funded by a $200 million credit facility. Over the next three years, Zynga will purchase the remaining 20% stake at valuations based on "specified profitability goals". Small Giant Games 5 year old Small Giant Games hit jackpot with the release of its hit title Empires & Puzzles 18 months ago, The game has repeatedly broken into the Top 10 Grossing Games on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store with over 26 million downloads so far. This acquisition is aimed at expanding Zynga's global gaming reach. “Ou

Boosted Boards Nabs $60 Million Series B Funding

image : Boosted Electric skateboard manufacturer Boosted has raised $60 million Series B funding co-led by Khosla Ventures and iNovia Capital with participation from existing investors Stanford-StartX Fund and Bay Meadows. This rounds brings the total raised by Boosted to over $70 million and will see former Google CFO and iNovia partner Patrick Pichette move from an existing independent board position at the company to a preferred board seat. "Today’s generation is quickly adopting light electric vehicles as a superior way to commute, saving both time and money over existing options while enjoying the ride," Boosted CEO Jeff Russakow says. "However, the majority of lightweight vehicles on the street today are leisure-grade or toy-grade products, when riders need vehicle-grade products that provide exceptional acceleration and braking performance, safety, durability, and superior design." image : Boosted "Boosted has been perfecting street-quality

Women Focused Co-Working Startup The Wing Raises $75 Million Series C

Women focused co-working space provider The Wing has raised $75 million Series C funding led by Sequioa Capital with participation from new investors Airbnb, Upfront Ventures and existing investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and WeWork. Individual investors including actresses Kerry Washington and Katie McGrath and ex White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett also participated. The company has now raised over $110 million in total to scale its business. Founded by Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan in 2016, The Wing has grown to about 6,000 members as of October 2018 who pay over $2,000 annually for access to its workspaces. In addition to its current locations - Flatiron, Soho, San Francisco, Dumbo and Washington, D.C. - the company has plans to launch in London, Seattle, Toronto, West Hollywood, Boston and Chicago. The Wing co-founder and CEO Audrey Gelman image : The Wing The Wing co-founder and COO Lauren Kassan image : The Wing CEO Audrey Gelman said th

Facebook Says Data Access To Partners Was With Users Permission After New York Times Report

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg image : TechCrunch on Flickr After a New York Times report said that Facebook gave some of the world's largest tech companies "more intrusive" access to users personal data more than it has disclosed. The company has come to its defense stating that users permission was required for this without which data could not be accessed. According to a blog post  from the company's Director of Developer Platforms and Programs Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, This issue mostly relates to the now shuttered instant personalization feature Facebook worked on with several partners including the biggest internet services. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg image : Facebook "To be clear: none of these partnerships or features gave companies access to information without people’s permission, nor did they violate our 2012 settlement with the FTC." Papamiltiadis said. "We’ve been public about these features and partn

Zwift Raises $120 Million For Its Real-Time Indoor Cycling Multiplayer Game

Zwift players make use of the RunPod sensor pictured here to compete in real-time with other indoor cyclists image : Zwift Zwift, an interactive platform for fitness enthusiasts to turn indoor cycling into a competitive, immersive and social real-time multiplayer gaming experience has closed on $120 million in Series B funding which will be used to expand into further training categories and esports tournaments according to its co-founder and CEO Eric Min. This round was led by Highland Europe with participation from online bicycle retailer Ribble owner True and sports-focused investment firm Causeway Media. It has now raised $166 million in funding till date. Zwift gameplay image : Zwift Zwift players can also compete in running image : Zwift “With this significant investment, Zwift is now more than ready to propel the business forward by providing innovative offerings that are greater in breadth and depth.” CEO Eric Min said. To use Zwift, users make us

Oath Rebrands As Verizon Media Group On Effect Next Year

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg image : Ericsson The Oath brand, one that holds all media properties operated by telecom giant Verizon will be put off and be replaced by a new name, The  Verizon Media Group , beginning January 8 2019, The company announced on Tuesday. This comes just after Verizon wrote down $4.6 billion in value of the unit citing strong competition in the digital advertising space leading to decreasing revenues. Properties held by Oath include Tumblr, Aol, TechCrunch, The Huffington Post, Yahoo and its associated brands. A re-brand move has been widely expected after a November Verizon shakeup which focused the company on three areas - consumers, business customers and media. Oath brands image : Oath Oath CEO Guru Gowrappan image : Oath Switching to use of its name as proven by this move stood as a very likely action by the telecom giant. Despite increasing struggles, The Oath brand highlighted the launch of new opportunities to reach consumers

Uber Seeks Chinese Tariff Exclusion For Electric Bikes

image : Jump Bikes Uber has asked the U.S government for an exemption from new tariffs on Chinese imports for electric bikes the company is producing in the country. With ambitious plans for its bike and scooter business, Bloomberg says  it now churns out nearly 1,000 bikes a day with over $1 billion set for spend on scooters, electric bikes and other transportation alternatives according to Vice President Rachel Holt in a recent interview. The request filed by Uber was posted this Monday by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. A current 25% tariff is in place for $16 billion worth of Chinese imports including scooters and electric bikes, this incurs more costs for companies like Uber, Lime, Bird and several more who manufacture their scooters and electric bikes in the country. Uber's newly designed Jump Bike image : Uber Uber's newly designed Jump Bike image : Uber Uber's newly designed Jump Bike image : Uber Uber just recently,

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Pokémon Go Creator Niantic Raises $300M, Valued At $9B

Niantic , an augmented reality (AR) company whose products include the famous  Pokémon Go game, has raised a big new round of funding. It's raised $300mn in funding at a valuation of $9bn. All the funding came from just one investor; Coatue , a New York-based hedge fund famous for investing in many blue-chip tech startups. With its new funding, Niantic says it'll invest in current games and new apps and expand its AR developer platform called Lightship . The company says it's set on building the "real-world metaverse," jumping on the bandwagon popularized by Facebook's parent firm, Meta.  The base for Niantic's metaverse vision is the Lightship developer platform which it launched this month. It's a platform for developers to build augmented reality apps and experiences, drawing from Niantic's tools that helped create its hit  Pokémon Go game. To draw creators to Lightship, Niantic has also set up a $20mn venture fund to invest in AR startups

Deal: Workday Buys Ohio Startup Vndly For $510M

Workday (NASDAQ: WDAY), the famous HR/finance software vendor, has made a big new acquisition to support its platform. The company will acquire Vndly , a software platform for companies to manage contract workers. Vndly fits in well in Workday's overall software suite, and the rationale behind the purchase is clear. Vndly is an Ohio-based startup. Workday will pay $510mn to buy it, marking one of Ohio's biggest startup exits this year. Vndly has raised roughly $60mn from VCs, so a $510mn exit is very lucrative and more so for a startup founded just four years ago .  Before now, Vndly and Workday were already close allies. Vndly's platform is integrated with Workday's, with official certification to go. The Mason, Ohio-based startup is part of Workday's global network of endorsed software partners, so Workday didn't even have to look far to snatch its latest acquisition.  Vndly was founded in 2017 by two entrepreneurs,  Shashank Saxena and Narayana Surabhi .

Amazon, Apple Fined $230M For Reseller Collusion In Italy

Tech giants Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) have been handed sizeable fines by the Italian government following an investigation into alleged reseller collusion between both companies. Amazon was fined €135mn ($151mn) and Apple  €69mn ($78mn), totaling $229mn .  The fine was levied by the  Italian Competition Authority . According to the agency, Apple and Amazon had a contractual agreement to allow  select resellers to sell Apple and Beats products on Amazon's Italian marketplace. The agency said that the selection was applied in a "discriminatory" way that violated European Union rules and affected price competition. According to the  Italian Competition Authority, at least 70% of local consumer electronics purchases are made on Amazon, making it a dominant retailer. This dominance, therefore, demands a "level playing field" for retailers that sell on Amazon's marketplace, the agency said. This is the nth time Amazon is getting in the cr

Antitrust: US DOJ Sues To Block Major Sugar Industry Merger

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is freshly on the antitrust circuit, seeking to block a merger it deems detrimental to consumers. The agency has filed a lawsuit to block the sale of  Imperial Sugar , a leading American sugar producer, to rival  U.S. Sugar . The DOJ says the proposed deal will make just two sugar producers account for an "overwhelming majority" of refined sugar sales in the U.S. Southeast, U.S. Sugar being one of the two producers. This concentration of power would make consumers pay more for refined sugar, the DOJ says.  Imperial Sugar is owned by Louis Dreyfus Company, a privately-held agricultural giant based in the Netherlands. The company agreed to sell Imperial to rival U.S. Sugar for the sum of $315mn this March.  U.S. Sugar is another privately-held agricultural giant headquartered in Florida. It can produce up to 850,000 tons of sugar annually at its refinery plant in Florida, and buying Imperial would give it two more sugar plants in Kentuc

Alt-Meat Maker Impossible Foods Raises $500M In Fresh Funding

A leading maker of plant-based meat substitutes, Impossible Foods , has obtained a fresh cash infusion from VCs. It has  raised $500mn in new funding, bringing the total amount of funding it has raised since inception to $2bn.  The latest round was provided entirely by existing investors doubling down on Impossible Foods.  Mirae Asset Global , a Korean investment firm, led the round and was joined by other unnamed existing investors.  It's evident that investors are longing for Impossible Foods, a leading brand in the nascent market for plant-based meat substitutes. There's clearly huge potential for plant-based meat substitutes, driven by an increasing vegan population and the appeal to lower the carbon footprint that spurs from meat consumption. To that end, Impossible Foods is growing rapidly. Its products can now be found in more than 20,000 retail stores, compared to 150 as of March 2020, and 40,000 restaurants globally. Over the past year, Impossible has launched in ne

Deal: KKR Makes $37B Buyout Offer For Telecom Italia

Private equity giant KKR (NYSE: KKR) has ventured into Italy for its latest buyout deal. The firm has offered to buy Telecom Italia (BIT: TIT), the largest telecom provider in Italy, in a deal worth  €33bn ($37bn), including debt. KKR offered 0.505 Euros in cash for each outstanding  Telecom Italia share, a 46% premium to the last closing share price before the offer. That sums up to  €10.7bn ($12bn) in cash to be paid for Telecom Italia, and including the telecom firm's large net debt of €22.5bn ($25bn) sums up to $37bn in total.  KKR's offer is non-binding and must be approved by Telecom Italia's board members and majority shareholders before the deal goes through. Approval must also come from the Italian government, which was veto power over the takeover of the formerly state-owned telecoms firm.  Telecom Italia gave no indication that it'll approve the deal. If approval is given, it'll mark one of the biggest buyout deals of a European company by an America

Earnings: Nvidia Is On A Tear

Chipmaking giant Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) has unveiled the financial results for its latest fiscal quarter ended October 31, 2021. The company reported a sharp rise in sales that can only be described as being on a tear. Nvidia posted $7.1bn in revenue in the quarter, up 50% year-over-year . The large growth was driven mostly by the company's data center sales, which increased 55% year-over-year to $2.9bn. Similarly, Nvidia's gaming revenue rose 42% year-over-year to $3.2bn. Net income for the quarter was $2.5bn , up 4% from the same period last year. It was an outstanding quarter all-around for Nvidia, a beneficiary of the recent massive growth of the gaming industry and data center boom. Nvidia's GeForce graphics cards are very popular with gamers, and data center operators patronize Nvidia's high-performance graphics processors for artificial intelligence applications.  Save for data centers and gaming, Nvidia has other minor product lines, including automotive chip

Cyber: Apple Sues NSO Group Over Spyware Hacks

Tech giant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has filed a lawsuit against NSO Group , a controversial Israeli company that sells smartphone hacking tools and has been  implicated in the hacks and surveillance of many notable persons, including journalists, activists, and business executives, by state-sponsored actors. Apple has sued NSO Group for infecting iPhones with spyware to track users of interest. As part of the suit, the tech giant seeks a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple products. NSO Group is best known for its Pegasus spyware that can be covertly installed on mobile phones running most versions of iOS and Android. The company exploits vulnerabilities in both operating systems to introduce spyware into a phone without the user's knowledge. Pegasus was the center of a Washington Post investigation called "The Pegasus Project," revealing that the spyware was used to surveil over 1,000 identified notable individuals across countries with shoddy hu

Markets: Retail Giant Authentic Brands Scraps IPO Plans

Authentic Brands Group , a New York-based retail conglomerate, has suspended its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) after already filing an S-1 document with the US SEC. The company has instead opted to raise private funding to fund expansion in the main time. Authentic Brands Group's portfolio retail brands include apparel retailer Forever21 , men's suit maker Brooks Brothers , and department store chain Barneys New York . The company is akin to an old people's home where once-vibrant retail brands go to stay after they've gone past their peak. Authentic buys these befallen retail companies and makes money from what's left of them through licensing deals.  Over the years, Authentic has relied on hefty venture funding to assemble its constellation of old-guard brands. An IPO was supposed to raise even more money for expansion but has been set aside in favor of private funding.  Authentic is  rather selling  equity stakes to private equity firm CVC Capital

Markets: IoT Startup Samsara Files For IPO

The latest tech startup to board the IPO train is Samsara , a VC-backed startup that makes internet-of-things (IoT)-based fleet monitoring hardware and software for logistical operators. It has unveiled an S-1 filing with the US SEC, showing its intention to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Samsara has raised nearly $1bn from VCs including Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global, and General Catalyst, with a valuation of $5.4bn from its last funding round. The company's co-founders sold a previous startup named Meraki to Cisco for $1.2bn . As expected, Samsara's S-1 filing gives a deep glimpse into the company's business with information not publicly disclosed before. The company has been rather secretive over the years, making this long-awaited information. We've extracted some important information so you don't have to, mostly the financial stuff. Samsara brought in $303mn in revenue in the nine months ended October 2021, compared to $174mn in the same