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Softbank Reportedly Seeking Control Of WeWork Via Financing Deal

WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey (middle) image: Collision Conf on Flickr According to a new report from Reuters, Softbank has put together a financing deal for WeWork that would give it control over the embattled shared office space company. Reuters reports the financing deal has been structured in a way that'll increase Softbank's stake in WeWork, atop a roughly one-third stake it already owns, and also further decrease the influence/voting control of co-founder Adam Neumann. An unnamed source cited by Reuters said WeWork risks running out of cash as early as the end of December if it doesn't raise more money. Even amid cash burn concerns, WeWork is said to be opening new locations at breakneck speed, a situation that likely escalates its cash burn. Reuters, citing an analysis of WeWork's website,  reports  WeWork has opened nearly as many new locations in the last 3 and a half months as it did in the first half of this year. WeWork's website also

DOJ Said To Be Digging Deeper Into Google's Looker Acquisition

Looker CEO Frank Bien image: Looker According to a Bloomberg report , antitrust officials at the U.S. Department of Justice have kicked off an in-depth review of Google's proposed $2.6 billion acquisition of Looker, a Santa Cruz-based data analytics startup. Bloomberg reports DOJ antitrust officials are seeking more information from both companies to determine if the acquisition harms competition. Antitrust officials traditionally review acquisitions of such caliber so there just might be no cause for alarm. However, the DOJ seeking additional information plausibly signals increased scrutiny of tech giants, which have been the focus of recent antitrust-related investigations. In July, the DOJ announced  that its antitrust unit was "reviewing whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers." It said its review will cons

Uber Scoops Up Cornershop

image: Cornershop Uber has announced it's agreed to acquire a majority stake in Cornershop, a grocery delivery startup that serves the Latin American market. Cornershop may sound familiar, as Walmart actually entered a deal to acquire it last year (for $225 million) but saw its proposed deal later  blocked by Mexican antitrust regulators . With Walmart's proposed acquisition in limbo, it appears Uber swooped in to scoop up Cornershop, for an undisclosed sum. Uber's acquisition is expected to close by early next year, subject to regulatory approval. Cornershop was founded in 2015, and grew to be a leading online grocery provider in Chile and Mexico. The Chile-based startup also recently launched in Peru and Toronto, Canada. According to Crunchbase data , Cornershop has raised some $32 million in total funding, including a $6.7 million Series A  in April 2016. Jackson Square Ventures and ALLVP led the Series A, with participation from the likes of Accel, Endeavor

SAP CEO Bill McDermott Steps Down

SAP CEO Bill McDermott image: SAP SAP has announced a new leadership change that involves Bill McDermott, its CEO for nine years running, stepping down from that position. McDermott has stepped down (effective already) after 9 years as CEO, 11 years as a member of its executive board, and 17 years in total at the German software giant. SAP executives Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein have succeeded McDermott as co-CEOs, adopting a leadership method (co-CEO structure) that's known to be followed by two other software giants; Oracle and Salesforce. McDermott will remain in advisory role until the end of this year to ensure a smooth transition. “Every CEO dreams of being able to transition a company to its next generation from a position of significant strength,” McDermott said in a statement. “When you look at where we were and where we are, I simply could not be prouder of what this company has achieved over the past decade. I am thankful for the opportunity to l

Fitbit To Shift Manufacturing Outside China

Fitbit CEO James Park Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch Fitbit has announced  that it's embarked on a plan to move manufacturing operations for all of its trackers and smartwatches outside China, citing tariffs, from a U.S.-China trade war, as the reason. Fitbit expects the plan to go into effect beginning January 2020. “In 2018, in response to the ongoing threat of tariffs, we began exploring potential alternatives to China. As a result of these explorations, we have made changes to our supply chain and manufacturing operations and have additional changes underway,” Fitbit CFO Ron Kisling said in a statement. Fitbit says it'll provide more details on its manufacturing shift at its upcoming Q3 earnings conference call. Fitbit didn't disclose the region it plans to shift manufacturing to. In June, the famed smartwatch maker was part of a cohort of companies that filed letters of opposition to the Trump Administration's plan to impose more tari

Goldman Reviewing Role In Megvii IPO After U.S. Blacklist

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon Photograph by Stuart Isett for Fortune Most Powerful Women Goldman Sachs has said it's reviewing its role in the planned IPO of Megvii, a high-valued Chinese AI startup that filed to go public in August. The review follows the placement of Megvii on a human rights blacklist by the U.S. government. Megvii is an Alibaba-backed AI startup that develops facial recognition and deep-learning software. It sells its software to both private customers and Chinese government entities, the latter which is the driving reason behind its blacklist [the U.S. government alleges Megvii, alongside 27 other Chinese firms, facilitated human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang region ]. SenseTime, another well-known Chinese AI startup, is among the blacklisted firms. In an e-mail to Reuters , Goldman Sachs said it was “evaluating [its role in Megvii's planned IPO] in light of the recent developments”. Goldman is a lead underwriter, alongside JPMorgan C

Group Nine Scoops Up PopSugar

Group Nine CEO Ben Lerer Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch There seems to be significant consolidation going on in the digital media world. Not long ago, Vox Media, one of the leading digital media companies, that's behind popular news sites like The Verge and Recode , acquired New York Media , a long-existing media house behind the popular New York Magazine . Now, shortly after that acquisition, Group Nine, another top media brand, has agreed to acquire PopSugar, a women-focused media publisher that's backed by tens of millions in funding. According to the Wall Street Journal , the acquisition was a $300 million all-stock deal that valued Group Nine at more than $600 million. A combined entity of Group Nine and PopSugar, that'll retain the Group Nine Media name, is now worth about $1 billion according to the Journal. Group Nine, in a press release, said the combined entity would reach more than 70% of U.S. millenials (ages 18-34) and more than 50

Omni Said To Be In Acqui-Hire Talks With Coinbase

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images for TechCrunch According to a report from TechCrunch , Omni Rentals, a San Francisco-based physical storage and rentals startup whose rentals business is said to be not going so well, is in talks to sell its engineering team to Coinbase after also garnering interest from Thumbtack. Such deals are known as acqui-hires, where companies pay a particular amount to absorb the employees of another startup.  Acqui-hires many times involve struggling or shuttering startups that are seeking ways to keep its employees employed by offering them to another business. They're also a way for companies to recruit key talent from other firms in fields of interest. According to TechCrunch, Omni is in talks with Coinbase to gobble up some of its engineering staff, who would work on Coinbase Earn, a service that rewards users with crypto for completing online educational programs. Earn was a standalone startup led by former Co

Tubi Reportedly Raising $150 Million In New Funding

Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi image: Tubi According to a report from The Information , Tubi TV, an ad supported streaming service, is in talks to raise around $150 million in new funding, which would be the largest it's ever raised if it pulls through. The San Francisco-based streaming service has already raised tens of millions in funding, the last known being a $25 million infusion from Silicon Valley Bank early this year. A previous $20 million round , in 2017, was also led by Jump Capital, with participation from Foundation Capital, Danhua Capital and Cota Capital. Tubi TV is one of several companies that have sprouted up in recent years to offer a free ad-supported alternatives to top video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Such (free) streaming services conventionally license older movies and titles from studios on "non-exclusive" terms, meaning it's usually available on other streaming services. Tubi, launched in 2014, has partnered with and tap

Apple Antitrust Probers Said To Have Sought Details From Spotify

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek image: Magnus Höij on Flickr According to a report from Reuters , U.S. lawmakers who are probing Apple for alleged anti-competitive behavior have sought information from Spotify, the popular music streaming company, which has in the past accused Apple of anti-competitive behavior . Reuters reports the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee reached out to Spotify with requests for information, and also narrowed its requests with follow-up calls. Spotify and other developers have accused Apple of imposing rules that impede distribution on its App Store, the only path for app developers to reach more than 900 million iPhone users. Spotify's previous complaint  alleged Apple "makes it harder and harder for companies" to offer rival streaming services "all for the sake of tilting the field to favor its own services and disadvantaging those it is playing against". Spotify's complaint was filed in the EU, a region known

Bird Raises $275 Million Series D

Bird founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Bird, a Santa Monica-based startup that's famous for its shared e-scooters, has announced  $275 million in Series D funding led by CDPQ and Sequoia Capital. According to TechCrunch , the funding values Bird at $2.5 billion, up from a previous $2 billion . Bird says the new capital will help it continue "on its path to profitability" and further research and development. This funding included, Bird has now raised $548 million in total funding, according to Crunchbase data . According to data from Crunchbase, Bird first raised funding (a seed round) in June 2017, and has gone on to raise hundreds of millions more in a relatively short time. Not long ago, Bird unveiled a new scooter , the Bird Two , shortly after debuting an earlier version; the Bird One . Coming up with new scooters, and even a new electric bike , likely draws significant R&D expenses, coupled with r

SE Asia's Internet Economy To Top $100 Billion This Year

Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling. According to CB Insights data , Grab is the highest-valued tech company in the Southeast Asian region. Photo by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Thanachaiary via  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license  According to a new report penned by Google, Temasek and Bain & Co, the Southeast Asian internet economy is expected to surpass $100 billion for the first time ever this year, up 39% from $72 billion last year. Google, Temasek and Bain & Co have been releasing annual reports and trends on Southeast Asia's internet economy for some years now, and have been reputable and highly-cited sources for statistics on the Southeast Asian internet economy. According to the newly released report, Southeast Asia's internet economy is further expected to triple to $300 billion by 2025. Southeast Asia's internet economy is fueled by growth in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the six largest internet markets in the regi

DraftKings Reportedly Raising Funding At A $2 Billion Valuation

DraftKings CEO Jason Robins Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch According to a new report from Business Insider , DraftKings, a popular sports betting startup, is raising "hundreds of millions" of dollars in new funding that could value it as much as $2 billion. If such report stands true, the funding would be in addition to nearly $1 billion DraftKings has already raised. The Boston-based company's last known funding came from casino giant Caesars , whose investment was part of a strategic partnership. Other notable DraftKings investors include The Madison Square Garden Co., Kraft Group, which owns the New England Patriots, the Raine Group and Eldridge Industries. DraftKings was founded in 2012, and offers fantasy sports contests in 8 countries including the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia. The Boston-based company competes intensely with FanDuel, a company it once tried to merge with  but later backed down after opposition from federal regu

Skydio Debuts New $1000 Drone

The Skydio 2 image: Skydio Skydio, a maker of self-flying drones, has unveiled a second drone; the Skydio 2 , a year after unveiling the first, the Skydio R1 . Skydio's new drone is priced at $999, with an optional controller and "Beacon" (think of a GPS tracker that lets Skydio's self-flying drone follow [and be controlled by] its owner) costing $149 each. Skydio has started accepting $100 reservations for its new drone, and will offer discounts for owners of the Skydio R1. The Skydio 2 is built around a custom AI system developed by Skydio, and sees and senses its environment using six 4k cameras paired with a GPS system. Skydio has a wireless range of up to 3.5 kilometers, and can trail and film objects at speeds of up to 36 miles per hour. The Skydio 2 (costing $999) is less than half the price of the Skydio R1 ($2,500). The new drone is also more portable, able to fit in any case/pouch/backpack one can use to carry a 13-inch laptop. Features/specs o

Revolut To Hire 3,500 Staff For Global Expansion

Revolut founder and CEO Nikolay Storonsky Photo by Stephen McCarthy/MoneyConf via Sportsfile Revolut, a British fintech startup valued at $1.7 billion , has announced it'll hire 3,500 staff to cater for expansion into 24 new markets, thanks to a new partnership with payments giant Visa. Leveraging Visa's brand, scale, and global footprint, Revolut will launch in 24 new countries, starting in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore and the U.S. [by the end of this year] This would be in addition to 34 markets Revolut already operates in. In a statement to Reuters , Revolut CEO Nikolay Storonsky indicated the company will hire 3,500 persons to cater for its expansion. “We are around 1500 people now and by summer next year we plan to be around 5000,” he said. Revolut's global expansion on the shoulders of Visa is built atop an already existing (four-year) partnership between both companies. Revolut began in 2015, has grown at a break-neck

Apple Will Reportedly Release Originals In Theaters Before Streaming

Apple co-heads of video programming, Zack Van Amburg (left) and Jamie Erlicht, talk about the company's new streaming service at an Apple event. Amburg and Erlicht previously served as presidents at Sony Pictures Television image: Apple According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal , Apple, which recently unveiled a new streaming service featuring exclusive productions from Hollywood bigwigs like Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and J.J. Abrams, will debut its feature-length films in theaters before making them available for streaming. According to the Journal, Apple has made precursory approaches to cinema chains and also consulted with an entertainment executive as it pursues a plan to keep its originals in theaters for weeks before they're made available on AppleTV+, its recently unveiled streaming app. The Journal reports Apple is currently reaching out to theater-industry representatives, and plans to release its movies first in cinemas in order to

Docker Trying To Raise Cash Amid "Significant Challenges"

Docker CEO Rob Bearden image: Docker Docker, a one-time superhot cloud software startup that cracked a $1 billion valuation in 2015, is apparently having some struggles, with CNBC reporting  of a company-wide email that acknowledged challenges as Docker tries to raise more funding. In an email [viewed and reported by CNBC] sent to Docker employees, its CEO Rob Bearden, who took up the position in May , thanked employees for “persevering in spite of the lack of clarity we’ve had these past few weeks.” He also made mention of  “uncertainty” at Docker, that “brings with it significant challenges”. “As shared at the last All Hands, we have been engaging with investors to secure more financing to continue to execute on our strategy.” Bearden, who is Docker's fourth CEO since inception, and most recently served as CEO at Hortonworks, said. “I wanted to share a quick update on where we stand. We are currently in active negotiations with two investors and are working through

Vox Media Scoops Up New York Media

Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff image: Web Summit on Flickr Vox Media, a New York-based digital media company that's behind popular news sites like The Verge , SB Nation , Recode , and Eater , has announced it has acquired New York Media, the publisher of the popular New York Magazine, alongside other well-known brands like The Strategist ,  Vulture , Intelligencer , Grub Street , and The Cut . The acquisition price is not disclosed, but the Wall Street Journal reports  it was an all-stock deal valued at $105 million. According to the Journal, the acquisition would give New York Media about 12% ownership in a combined entity consisting of Vox Media's and New York Media's media properties. In simple terms, the acquisition is said to be more of a merger between both companies than an outright acquisition that'll involve one party becoming a subsidiary of the other. According to the Wall Street Journal, the all-stock acquisition valued Vox Media at $750 million, do

WeWork Has Reportedly Considered Laying Off One-Third Of Its Employees

WeWork CEO Adam Neumann Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch According to a report from The Information , WeWork, whose CEO Adam Neumann just stepped down  amid an IPO debacle, has considered laying off as many as 5,000 employees, one-third of its workforce, to cut costs. The Information reports WeWork's executives discussed ways to reduce costs with bankers, and came up with the lay-off consideration. Other cost-cutting ideas also said to have been discussed includes slowing its expansion and shuttering side business related to education and housing. Such moves are likely aimed at restoring investor confidence after a cold reception stemming from its S-1 filing. A 5,000-person layoff doesn't sound at all good, and may count as one of the highest headcount cuts in a long time. However, with skyrocketing losses , it wouldn't be really surprising if WeWork pulls such a move. Companies looking to go public or those that have already gone public often lo

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