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Casstime Nabs $80 Million In New Funding

Casstime CEO Overmars Jiang image: Casstime Casstime, a Chinese online automobile parts marketplace, has announced $80 million in new funding co-led by Sequoia Capital China and Source Code Capital, with participation from existing investor Hua Partners. The new funding brings the total investment raised by Shanghai-based Casstime to nearly $200 million. The company says it'll put the new funding towards R&D and market development. Casstime, founded in 2015, operates in more than 300 Chinese cities, and with more than 1,200 auto parts suppliers signed up on its platform. Casstime is basically an auto parts marketplace where individuals can search for and order auto parts from vetted suppliers. The company also offers a Software as a Service (SaaS) management system alongside supply chain financing and logistics services for workshops. Casstime currently employs more than 1,000 people, including 200+ R&D staff and 750+ marketing and operations staff. Prior

DJI Debuts A New Lightweight Drone

Mavic Mini image: DJI Popular drone maker DJI has debuted a new drone, this time a lightweight one that weighs just 249 grams. The new drone, named the Mavic Mini , is the smallest and lightest drone DJI has ever made, and costs $400 (for the standard package; that is the drone itself, one battery, a remote controller, extra propellers and all required tools and wires). There's a higher package, costing $500, that includes all the components of the standard version plus a Two-Way charging Hub, three batteries, three sets of extra propellers, a propeller cage and a carrying case. Already available for pre-order, the Mavic Mini will begin shipping on the 11th of November. The Mavic Mini comes with several features that are standard for DJI drones. They include a high-grade camera that's able to capture footage at a resolution of up to 2.7k, Wi-Fi transmission to enable stable control and an HD live feed when in use, and GPS receivers and downward visual sensors to

Report: Apple Will Use Qualcomm 5G Chips In 2020 iPhones

Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller image: Apple According to a new report from the Nikkei Asian Review , Apple is adopting Qualcomm's X55 5G chip for three iPhones that it's expected to launch next year, and is already mobilizing suppliers to assemble its first ever 5G iPhones. According to Nikkei, Apple has also set a target of shipping at least 80 million of the new 5G phones. Apple is betting on 5G-enabled phones to help it topple Huawei's current position as the second-largest smartphone maker, Nikkei reports. If such report stands true, then 5G-enabled phones from a much-patronized manufacturer like Apple will also likely be an incentive for global carriers to roll out 5G telecoms infrastructure. Nikkei's report kind of corroborates with a previous one from Bloomberg  that said Apple will wait until at least 2020 to release a 5G phone. The X55 is the most advanced chip designed by Qualcomm, which Apple had fought a long-standing business

Scopely Raises $200 Million, Now Valued At $1.7 Billion

Steve Case's Revolution Growth participated in the funding Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Scopely, an LA-based mobile games developer, has announced $200 million in Series D funding led by NewView Capital, with participation from Baillie Gifford and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) alongside existing investors like Greycroft, Revolution Growth, and Sands Capital Ventures. According to a Bloomberg piece , the funding values Scopely at $1.7 billion, up from $710 million in early 2018. Scopely says it'll use the new funding to accelerate mergers & acquisitions and expand its game portfolio.The funding comes after the Los Angeles-based company crossed more than $1 billion in lifetime revenue, as made known in an official press release. Scopely also says it's "profitable and growing", after having previously said it was on pace to eclipse $400 million in annual sales. Scopely, since its founding in 2011, has devel

Alphabet Has Reportedly Offered To Buy Fitbit

image: Fitbit Not long after a previous report of Fitbit exploring putting itself up for sale, Reuters has reported that Google parent Alphabet has made a offer to acquire the smartwatch maker. A situation where Google's parent Alphabet acquires Fitbit isn't far-fetched, and was one actually speculated in a previous Reuters report . In that report, which first touched on the topic of Fitbit putting itself up for sale, Reuters said Fitbit held discussions with Qatalyst Partners, a famed investment bank known for its involvement in several big tech deals, which in turn argued that Fitbit could be of acquisition interest to Alphabet as well as private equity firms. With Reuters' new report, it turns out Qatalyst may have just been right with its argument. Alphabet acquiring Fitbit would not be a surprising move, given it has yet to develop any wearable offerings even when it has joined other major tech companies in making smartphones and several smart home products. 

Care.com Said To Be Exploring Sale

Care.com CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo image: BlissDom on Flickr According to a Bloomberg report , Care.com, a popular online marketplace for babysitters and caregivers, is working with financial advisers on a strategic review, which includes exploring a potential sale. This report comes after several hassles at the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company, whose share price tumbled after a Wall Street Journal story  raised concerns that it wasn't adequately vetting its caregivers. A few months after the Journal's story was published, Care.com's CFO, Michael Echenberg, announced he was resigning. Its CEO, Sheila Lirio Marcelo, followed suit, announcing she would step down in August, although she continues to hold the position as the company seeks a new chief executive. After the Journal's story, Care.com made amendments to its vetting process by issuing a new set of guidelines to govern that, and also took steps to boot fake day-care center listings off its platform.

Microsoft Wins $10 Billion Military Cloud Contract

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella image: Microsoft The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has announced it has awarded a $10 billion 10-year running cloud contract to Microsoft. The contract involves provision of enterprise cloud services that'll support the DoD's business and mission operations. The Department of Defense opened bids for the contract nearly two years ago, and happens to have selected Microsoft over several other cloud providers that competed for the contract. Being a very large one, the $10 billion contract's bidding process involved dramatic competition between top cloud players like Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle. Oracle even went as far as suing the U.S. government , claiming the contract's single-vendor nature (to be awarded to only one company) was unfair and illegal. The bidding process started out with several cloud providers including Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, IBM and Google, but was later streamlined to only Microsoft and Amazon, which the

Hyundai Debuts Robotaxi Service

image: Hyundai Hyundai has announced a new robotaxi service that'll launch in the city of Irvine, California on the 4th of November. The new robotaxi service, dubbed BotRide , is developed in collaboration with Pony.ai, a well-known self-driving startup, and Via, a popular ride-sharing service. Pony.ai is responsible for the self-driving technology while Via caters to the app required to match passengers with the self-driving vehicles. The vehicle adopted by BotRide is the Hyundai Kona electric SUV, a fleet of which will be available for free rides to Irvine residents. The Hyundai Konas that'll be used will be equipped with sensor hardware and proprietary software from Pony.ai, designed to navigate roads autonomously as the case has been with several robotaxi services. Via on the other hand is responsible for algorithms that'll enable multiple riders share the same vehicle. BotRide will be accessible via dedicated iOS and Android apps. In-app, passengers will be d

Gojek Plans Dual Listing After CEO Departure

Gojek co-founder Nadiem Makarim Photo by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Thanachaiary via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license The new co-CEOs of Gojek, Indonesia's largest startup, have said they plan to take the company public, likely via a dual listing (a situation where a company trades on more than one stock market). They made this known in a brief to reporters on Thursday, a brief that came shortly after its co-founder and long-running CEO Nadiem Makarim announced he's stepping down to join Indonesia's cabinet. Gojek co-CEO Andre Soelistyo, in his brief, didn't specify a particular time for an IPO, but said it could be “a few years” away. “We don’t have a set target yet when, but we’re already moving along,” He said. Soelistyo noted that Gojek would like to provide opportunity for Indonesian investors to participate, and said the company was also considering a secondary listing in a not-yet-decided location. Soelistyo alongside Kevin Aluwi, two Gojek veterans, ha

Fair Cuts 40% Of Staff, As CFO Departs

Fair founder and CEO Scott Painter Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Collision via Sportsfile Fair, a Softbank-backed car leasing startup that recently raised $500 million in debt financing, said today that it'll be cutting 40% of its staff. Atop that, its CFO, Tyler Painter, is also leaving, to be replaced in the interim by another executive. Deducing from an official memo [first reported by TechCrunch ], profitability is apparently the major reason for the layoffs, with Fair stating that it "must demonstrate a path to sustainable growth and profitability". "As one of the pioneers in automotive fintech, we now need to focus on being a profitable company." Fair's memo said. "....While we are proud of our growth, we are here for the long term. This means that we’ve decided to take proactive steps now to ensure we are a profitable public company later." It read. At a time investors have soured to money-losing startups, it's no surprise a c

Bill McDermott Lands New CEO Gig At ServiceNow

Bill McDermott image: Silicon Valley Leadership Group Just after stepping down from SAP where he served as CEO for 9 years, Bill McDermott has been announced as the new CEO of ServiceNow. McDermott will officially join ServiceNow as CEO by year-end, replacing current CEO John Donahoe, who is in turn taking the position of CEO at athletics powerhouse Nike, where he already holds a board seat. McDermott's new appointment means he's getting to head another large software company shortly after stepping down from another. Heading ServiceNow will add to his series of executive stints, which includes top positions at Siebel Systems, Gartner and Xerox alongside SAP. McDermott is replacing Donahoe, who has been ServiceNow's CEO for only two years. Before joining ServiceNow, Donahoe held CEO roles at Bain & Company and eBay. Currently, he also holds the role of chairman at PayPal. At Nike, he's set to replace Mark Parker, who is stepping down after 13 years as

Revolut Taps Mastercard For U.S. Launch

Revolut CEO Nikolay Storonsky Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch Revolut has announced a partnership with payments giant Mastercard that'll enable it launch Revolut cards in the U.S. by the end of this year. The announcement happens to occur shortly after Revolut announced it's hiring 3,500 additional staff  to expand into 24 new countries, starting in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore and the U.S. Revolut is leveraging on two well-known payments firms for its planned expansion, having previously announced an extended partnership with payments company Visa to enable it expand into new markets. With Mastercard -- a Visa competitor -- now on board, Revolut seems to be in for a good ride in the financial services scene. Just like Visa, Mastercard has also been a Revolut partner since 2015, the year it launched. Both payments companies have enabled Revolut to build out its payments network and issue cards to customers acros

Apple Begins Selling Locally Assembled iPhone XRs In India

image: Apple Apple has began selling iPhone XRs assembled in India, as indicated by boxes of the smartphone with an “Assembled in India” tag sighted on Monday at several of the country's electronics retailers. The sighted iPhone XRs starts from 49,900 Indian rupees ($704) for the 64 GB version, as first reported by Reuters . The “Assembled in India” iPhones corroborate a previous report that Foxconn, a well-known Apple supplier, was looking to start assembling high-end iPhones in India. Apple assembling iPhones in India isn't quite surprising. Assembling locally is not only a way to avoid high levies usually placed on fully-imported devices, but could also be a way to meet local sourcing demands for Apple, which is said to be looking to open its first retail store in India. There's also an ongoing trade war between the U.S., where Apple is based, and China, where most of its phones are manufactured. Companies like Apple are looking to use India as an export hub to

Casper Said To Be Working With Banks On IPO

Casper CEO Philip Krim Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch According to a Bloomberg report , Casper, an online mattress retailer valued at $1.1 billion earlier this year, is working with investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs on a U.S. initial public offering (IPO). Bloomberg reports the New York-based company could go public as soon as this year or the first half of next year. According to Bloomberg, Casper could be valued at more than its last private valuation ($1.1 billion) on the public markets. Despite bleak performances of some high-profile IPOs this year, several companies are still aiming to public before this year's end. The bleak performances of some IPOs were fueled in part by substantial losses and concerns around growth potential of the newly-public companies. Casper had previously said it topped $400 million in revenue last year, but there's no word on if it's profitable or not. The New York-based company seems to be aimi

Ford Debuts 12,000-Wide Charging Network In North America

image: Ford Ford has announced  the launch of a large charging network spanning 12,000 locations and 35,000 charging plugs in the North American continent, a charging network that easily makes for the largest in the region (based on publicly available information). The move is aimed at making it easier for customers to charge their Ford vehicles when the automaker begins delivering all-electric models next year. Ford touts the planned 12,000-wide charging network as "making public chargers as common as some of the most popular pharmacy or coffee chains." Ford isn't actually building the charging network on its own, instead it's collaborating with EV charging companies Electrify America and Greenlots to create a charging network consisting of 35,000 charging plugs that users of its electric vehicles can be directed to via an app or an in-vehicle touch screen. Ford is preparing to launch fully electric vehicles (designed from the ground up) for the first tim

Report: Airbnb's Q1 Loss More Than Doubled To $306 Million

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky Photograph by Kevin Moloney/Fortune Brainstorm Tech According to a report from The Information , Airbnb's operating loss in the first three months of this year more than doubled to $306 million, attributable in part to increased sales and marketing spend which The Information says was $367 million, a 58% increase from the same period last year. The Information reports Airbnb's sales and marketing spend surpassed that of any other category, including product development, which grew by 51% from the same period last year. Operations and support, which includes customer service, climbed 30% year-on-year according to The Information. Citing undisclosed financial data, The Information reports Airbnb's revenue grew 31% year-over-year to $839 million, while expenses climbed 47%. Its report also says Airbnb has more than $3 billion in cash on its balance sheet despite the losses, and that it has a $1 billion line of credit it has

Tesla Gets Clearance To Begin Manufacturing In China

Tesla CEO Elon Musk image: Daniel Oberhaus (2018) Tesla has been added to a government list of approved automotive manufacturers in China, entailing it's been granted a license to begin producing cars in the country. China is the world's biggest electric vehicle market , so it's no surprise Tesla is doubling down on that region. Rather than having to export cars produced in the U.S., which are usually subject to tariffs, Tesla began constructing a new auto manufacturing facility; the Gigafactory 3 , in December last year. The factory, located in Shanghai, is rumored to be heading for completion by year end . Earlier this month, news outlet Reuters reported  that Tesla targeted to begin producing cars at the Chinese factory this month. Although there's no certainty on that, Tesla just getting approval to begin producing in China sounds like a correlation to a situation where it'll begin rolling out cars from its Chinese factory in soon time. Tesla, whose

EU Imposes Interim Restriction Order Against Broadcom

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager Photo by David Fitzgerald/Web Summit via Sportsfile The European Union (EU) has issued an interim antitrust order against Broadcom, ordering the chip manufacturer to halt certain exclusivity deals it has with six customers. "Broadcom's behaviour would cause serious and irreparable harm to competition." the EU said in a press release  that announced the antitrust order. Interim antitrust orders of this type are uncommon but applicable in some cases. Essentially, such orders are imposed when the EU observes actions by companies that it considers "at first sight to be illegal". It's sort of a temporary restrain, albeit one that gives the concerned company a right to defend itself before an official decision is taken. The EU says it received information that Broadcom, which controls a significant share of the chipset industry, "may be imposing exclusivity and quasi-exclusivity restrictions on its cust

Uber, Lyft Decline To Testify Before U.S. Congress

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi image: Mike Bloomberg on Flickr Uber and Lyft, the two biggest ride-hailing companies in the U.S., declined to appear today (Wednesday) at a U.S. Congress hearing on matters related to the ride-hailing industry, a congressional committee said. The two companies had been requested to appear as part of an inquiry from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, a standing committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, on safety and labor practices in the ride-hailing industry. The inquiry happens to be at a time U.S. lawmakers are looking to pass legislation that will impact the ride-hailing industry. In an official statement , Peter DeFazio, a U.S. rep who serves as chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, took a jab at Uber and Lyft, casting nets on several topics including increase in traffic congestion, labor issues, background checks, wages, and even sustainability of the ride-hailing business model. 

Most Read Posts

US Sanctions First Crypto Exchange For Alleged Ransomware Ties

The US government has moved to blacklist a Russian crypto exchange in what seems to be the first time the government is taking such an action against a crypto exchange; The US Treasury Department has announced sanctions against a crypto exchange named  Suex  for allegations of facilitating transactions for ransomware operators based in Russia. The department therein claims that over 40% of Suex's known transaction history was associated with illicit and criminal operations. The US has faced a wave of ransomware attacks over the past year with victims including a major oil pipeline company ( Colonial Pipeline ) that paid a $5mn ransom and a major food supplier ( JBS ) that paid an $11mn ransom . Both attacks are suspected to have been carried out by Russian criminal groups, making it a major point of concern that US President Joe Biden pressed Putin to address  in a July phone call; Out of many, the most infamous ransomware group globally appears to be a Russian organization name

Law: Ex-Quant Analyst Indicted For Front-Running Employer's Trades

Insider trading is like the most common crime on Wall Street or the crime most prosecuted. Every now and then, there's always a new insider trading case pursued by the appropriate American authorities; the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Justice Department (DOJ). To the unaware, insider trading is deemed as trading a public company's stock or other types of regulated securities based on material, nonpublic information about the company. The latest insider trading saga now making the rounds is that of a former quant analyst who has just been indicted for front-running his employer's trades and making a killing to the tune of over $8mn. Sergei Polevikov , the former quant analyst, allegedly bought securities he knew his employer ordered in large blocks on behalf of clients and then profited from little price bumps of the securities that typically occurred when the large orders were executed. He's said to have done this with a brokerage account opened in his

Deal: DraftKings Bids $22B For UK Betting Giant Entain

A certain American company has been on a tear ever since going public last year. It's DraftKings , a sports betting company that's riding the high waves of increased legalization of mobile sports betting in the US and tearing its way into more business as time goes. In the US where DraftKings is based, there's been a wave of legalization of sports betting spurred by the Supreme Court striking down a federal ban on it in 2018. It's such that sports betting is now legalized in more than two dozen US states and more states are considering it. The wave has vaulted DraftKings to high growth thanks to the company being an early mover and working hard to build this growth, DraftKings has spent big money on acquisitions to expand. For example, just last month, the company bought online casino Golden Nugget in a $1.6bn all-stock deal that marked its biggest acquisition to date. Right now and shortly after making its biggest acquisition, it appears that DraftKings is even push

Antitrust: US Sues To Block JetBlue-American Airlines Alliance

American antitrust actions against big companies have been brewing under President Biden, particularly against big tech companies like Faceboo k and Google . But the latest one from the government is targeting an industry far away from tech, the airline industry; The US Justice Department (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit  seeking to block an alliance between American Airlines , a major transnational and domestic airline, and JetBlue , a low-cost domestic airline. The alliance was for JetBlue to handle domestic flights between  Boston and New York City  on behalf of American Airlines with ticket sharing between both airlines. Now, the DOJ appears to be very opposed to the alliance along with the Attorneys General of six US states plus Washington, D.C. that followed it to file the lawsuit. The suit's core allegation is that such an alliance discourages airline competition and may cause fare hikes for everyday flyers. Given its statement, the DOJ actually has a point to make as an alliance

Deal: Blackstone Buys Condor Hospitality's Hotel Assets For $305M

Blackstone , the private equity giant, is yet again adding to its massive commercial real estate portfolio with a big purchase. It's agreed to buy the hotel assets of the  Condor Hospitality Trust , a publicly traded real estate investment trust that's liquidating all its assets and winding down its business. Blackstone will pay $305mn in cash to buy Condor's entire hotel portfolio. The PE firm won't be assuming any debt from the purchase. Condor's portfolio includes 15 hotels in 8 American states, some franchised under prestigious brands like Hilton and Marriott . Hotels are the trust's only business from which it gets all its revenue, and now that it's selling them, the trust has instituted a plan to distribute the sale proceeds to shareholders and close down its operations. Notably, Condor is shutting down after a tumultuous year for hotel operators caused by the pandemic's restrictions on travel and recreation. It, in fact, saw annual sales slip f

Alert: Coding Platform GitLab Files For US IPO

Catching us as a surprise late on Friday, GitLab , a popular coding platform and rival to GitHub,  has filed for an IPO in the US. GitLab is a popular code repository hosting service for software developers and is the 2nd-largest of its kind only beaten by GitHub.  While GitHub sold to Microsoft for $7.5bn three years ago, GitLab has remained independent and now is about to test the waters as a publicly-traded company. GitLab has unveiled its S-1 filing with the US SEC as is usual for companies looking to go public in the US and the S-1 document provides great insight into the GitLab's business with information not publicly disclosed before. Therefore, we'll be extracting some of the most important info from the bulky filing, mostly on its revenue stats. By the Numbers GitLab reported  $152mn in revenue in the fiscal year ended January 2021, compared to $81mn in the preceding year. In the first half of 2021, the company brought in $108mn in sales, compared to $64mn in t

Markets: Korea's Kakao Pay Delays $1.3B IPO To November

In South Korea, Kakao is one of the leading tech giants, best known for its  KakaoTalk messenger app. But like many tech companies, it's long branched out from messaging into other sectors such as gaming and fintech and made strides there. In fintech, Kakao has a separate digital bank ( KakaoBank ) and mobile payments and wallet app ( Kakao Pay ). The Korean tech giant took KakaoBank public this July with an IPO that raised $2.2bn and didn't just stop there. It then sought to take Kakao Pay public in a separate IPO but has hit some obstacles trying to do so. Just as it sought to take Kakao Pay public, the South Korean government toughened regulations on fintech apps. It made Kakao Pay suspend some services like insurance though the suspended services accounted for a minor part of its revenue. Then, Kakao Pay adjusted its IPO fundraising target to $1.3bn , 6% lower than it previously sought. But even with the hiccups, Kakao Pay still sought to go public by October this year

Markets: Covid Testing Provider Cue Health Goes Public

A diagnostics startup that found treasures amid dirt from the Covid-19 pandemic has stamped its success with a successful initial public offering (IPO). It's Cue Health , a little-known startup from San Diego that rapidly switched its focus to making Covid-19 testing kits on the onset of the pandemic and has built a big business with that. Cue Health debuted on the Nasdaq exchange on Friday, the 24th of September, raising $200mn before commissions and other underwriting expenses. Its stock climbed 25% on that day to end trading at $20, giving it a market cap of $2.9bn . Cue Health is one of the significant startup success stories to emerge from the pandemic. Before it started providing Covid testing kits, its annual sales were numbered in the low-digit millions but shot up to $23mn in 2020  on the pandemic's onset and $202mn in the first half of 2021 . Because of its fast pivot to providing Covid testing kits, Cue Health was an early mover. Thus, it got lucrative testing contr

Earnings: Nike's Sales Falter, Shares Drop 6%

Sports apparel giant Nike has dropped its latest quarterly results , showing that its earnings still stand firm despite sales challenges intensified by the Covid pandemic. But though its earnings beat analyst expectations, Nike's stock fell by a significant percentage during trading on Friday due to its sales outlook. Nike posted $12.2bn in sales in the three months ended August 31, 2021, its fiscal 2022 first quarter. Sales were up 12% year-over-year and slightly unchanged from $12.3bn in the preceding quarter. Nike's sales have dropped significantly due to the Covid pandemic that led to widespread closures of its physical retail centers. Even as the pandemic effects gradually wear off, the company is still battling supply chain disruptions caused by it. As usual, most of Nike's quarterly sales came from the  Nike brand ( $11.6bn ), while a minority was from the Converse brand ( $630mn ). For the quarter, Nike's net profit was $1.9bn , up 23% year-over-year and 27%

Markets: Dell Authorizes $5B Share Buyback, Dividend Plan

Dell Technologies (NYSE: DELL) is one of those tech giants that though not lustrous as in their prime, are still going strong with tens of billions of dollars of revenue annually. Others in that camp include IBM, HP, Oracle, et al. In today's news, Dell has announced a new share buyback program of up to $5bn beginning this November. The buyback will start at a projected time when Dell has completed its VMware spin-off that was announced this April, a deal that'll hand over nearly $10bn of cash as a special dividend to it that'll be used to pay down debt. Companies like Dell typically spend billions on share buybacks to stimulate stock growth, companies whose revenues are massive but growing merely in single-digit percentages over the years. Buybacks can be a remedy when revenue growth isn't enough to encourage investor interest. In fact, Dell bought back $562mn  worth of shares in the three months ended July 2021, its most recent fiscal quarter. It concluded the s