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TripActions Lays Off More Than 300

TripActions co-founder and CTO Ilian Twig. Photo by Harry Murphy/Web Summit via Sportsfile, under Creative Commons license Palo Alto-based business travel startup TripActions has laid off more than 300 employees amid a business slowdown stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, according to a source familiar with the matter. The layoffs affected persons across various departments of the company. According to a source familiar with the matter, the layoffs happened to be announced via a Zoom video-conferencing call tuned into by several employees. The job cuts at TripActions happen to come just a month after the company announced it had lined up a $500 million credit facility on the heels of the launch of  TripActions Liquid , its corporate travel management and payments platform. Silicon Valley Bank alongside Goldman Sachs and Comerica Bank provided the credit facility. TripActions hit the limelight after raising $154 million in Series C funding led by Andreessen Horow

Lime Said To Be Mulling Layoffs

Lime CEO Brad Bao. Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Web Summit via Sportsfile, under Creative Commons license Scooter sharing service Lime is considering layoffs of between 50 to 70 persons amid a slowdown in sales from the coronavirus outbreak, according to a Bloomberg report . The considered layoffs are said to mainly involve persons working at its San Francisco headquarters. According to Bloomberg , Lime, which has raised $765 million in total funding, had about $50 million of cash left as at recently as January albeit a monthly burn rate of $22.5 million. Bloomberg reports the company is estimated to have about 12 weeks of runway left when factoring revenue generation for the year to date. Lime CEO Brad Bao has already said  the company will begin winding down and pausing its scooter sharing service in more than 20 countries as the number of scooter rides drop due to movement restrictions stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. Just like other companies whose business mainly

Getaround 'Actively' Seeking A Sale: Report

Getaround CEO Sam Zaid. Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Web Summit via Sportsfile, under Creative Commons license. According to a Bloomberg report , San Francisco-based car-sharing startup Getaround is "actively" seeking a sale as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has led to demand plummeting and leaving Getaround "dangerously short on cash".  Bloomberg reports the company may consider bankruptcy protection if it can't find a buyer or an imminent cash infusion. Getaround has been a leader in the peer-to-peer car-sharing market, where persons can rent out their vehicles online for stipulated times when they're not in use. The company, which says it has more than 5 million users, has been valued at more than $1 billion by investors including SoftBank (Vision Fund), Cox Automotive, Menlo Ventures and Toyota. The coronavirus outbreak is surely posing a hard time for companies whose business majorly involves sharing of some sort, be it accommod

OneWeb Said To Be Mulling Bankruptcy Filing

OneWeb CEO Adrian Steckel. Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch, under Creative Commons license According to a report from Bloomberg , OneWeb, a U.K.-based satellite company backed by investors including SoftBank, Airbus and Qualcomm, is considering filing for bankruptcy to tackle a cash crunch as it wrestles with high costs and heavy competition.  Bloomberg reports OneWeb is considering seeking court protection even as it continues to assess possible out-of-court options. OneWeb has raised north of $3 billion in funding, so filing for bankruptcy wouldn't amount to a cheap loss. If it does so, it wouldn't spell good for investors who put in huge amounts into the company, most notably SoftBank, which has already seen of its huge bets on various companies falter. SoftBank invested $1 billion in OneWeb in 2016 and further co-led a $1.25 billion investment in the company last year. Other notable investors in the company include the Virgin Group, sate

Scopely Tops Series D With $200 Million

The Chernin Group CEO Peter Chernin. image: David Geller on Flickr , under Creative Commons license Not long after announcing $200 million in Series D funding , mobile games studio Scopely has announced it has added a $200 million extension to the Series D, bringing the total to $400 million. Investment firm The Chernin Group (TCG) and media firm Advance provided the extension, which Scopely says comes "on the heels of a year of significant growth". The Los Angeles-based company, which says it's profitable, says it'll use the additional funding to further support its acquisition and investment efforts. Scopely happens to be adopting acquisitions as a major way of expanding its game portfolio alongside developing its own titles. The new extension included, Scopely has now raised north of $600 million in funding since its inception. Other of the game studio's notable investors include BlackRock, Greycroft, Baillie Gifford, Steve Case's Revolution, B

Fox Scoops Up Tubi

Fox Corporation co-executive chairman Rupert Murdoch. image: Hudson Institute on Flickr , under CC BY 2.0 license Confirming a previous report of Rupert Murdoch's Fox Corporation looking to acquire streaming service Tubi, a deal has just been announced by both parties. Fox Corporation has entered an agreement to acquire Tubi for roughly $440 million in cash. The company says the acquisition underscores its "long-term strategic initiatives to broaden and enhance FOX's[its] direct-to-consumer digital reach and engagement" and this doesn't seem surprising given Fox Corp (a separate company spun out from Disney's acquisition of its predecessor 21st Century Fox) doesn't currently have a streaming service at a time other media giants happen to be launching theirs. Following the acquisition, Tubi says it'll integrate its streaming service with Fox in 'key' areas such as digital advertising and personalisation technology. Fox seems to have

HashiCorp Nabs $175 Million Series E

HashiCorp co-founder Mitchell Hashimoto. image: HashiCorp HashiCorp, a San Francisco-based cloud infrastructure startup, has announced $175 million in Series E funding that values the company at $5.1 billion. Investment firm Franklin Templeton led the funding, with participation from funds advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Geodesic Capital, GGV Capital, IVP, Redpoint Ventures, Mayfield, and True Ventures. HashiCorp says the new funding will accelerate its focus on "enabling multi-cloud infrastructure automation for organizations around the globe that are working to extract the full value of multi-cloud IT environments." Before the new funding, HashiCorp is known to have raised $174 million in total ( Crunchbase data). Some participants in the new round happen to have invested in previous rounds for the company. HashiCorp says it has experienced more than 100% year-over-year revenue growth for four years straight so it's apparently no surprise investors ar

Apple To Hold This Year's WWDC Online

Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi at the 2019 WWDC. image: Apple Amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Apple has announced  that this year's installment of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will be held online. The company says this year's WWDC will be of an "entirely new online format packed with content for consumers, press and developers alike". The conference is scheduled to hold in June. Apple, however, didn't provide much information concerning how the event will be structured. "..We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead", the company's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller said in a statement. "The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the w

Gates Departs Microsoft Board

Bill Gates. image: Bret Hartman/TED, under  CC BY-NC 2.0 license Famed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has announced  his departure from the board of the software giant which he founded over four decades ago. According to the announcement, he is relinquishing his board position to "dedicate more time to his philanthropic priorities including global health, development, education, and his increasing engagement in tackling climate change". He'll however continue to serve as Technology Advisor to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and other executives in the company. Gates also announced his resignation from the board of Berkshire Hathaway, the famed investment conglomerate chaired by Warren Buffett, a known close friend of Gates. Gates alongside the late Paul Allen launched Microsoft way back in 1975. He served as CEO until the year 2000 when he was succeed by Steve Ballmer. Although no longer CEO, Gates still occupied a day-to-day role at Microsoft up until 2008 when

Air Taxis; Coming Soon?

A rendering of a planned Uber air taxi port. image: Uber The world of transportation has for long seemed like one that's ripe for disruption and in several cases that has proved true. Firstly came ride-hailing, a movement spearheaded by Uber that disrupted the taxi industry. The ride-hailing model has also been applied to the logistics industry by companies like Convoy and KeepTruckin that have built platforms to facilitate on-demand freight delivery. A few startups, one example being SoftBank-backed Reef, are building software to better manage and garner insights from automobile parking lots. Others such as Ohio-based Root are pushing to revamp the automobile insurance process. Several more are working on making the car-ownership process easier, be it by financing, facilitation of peer-to-peer car rentals, or aiding of online used car sales. There are numerous other examples of newer startups aiming to grab the business of older incumbents in the transportation sector

Magic Leap Said To Be Exploring A Sale

Magic Leap founder and CEO Rony Abovitz. Photograph by Kevin Moloney/Fortune Brainstorm Tech, under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license Nearly a decade after its founding and $2.6 billion raised, augmented reality (AR) hardware maker Magic Leap is said to be exploring a sale, following reports of poor sales of its first AR headset, the Magic Leap One. According to a  Bloomberg report , Magic Leap is working with an adviser to consider strategic options that alongside a sale could also include forming a partnership or selling a significant stake to an outsider. Apparently, $2.6 billion may not have been able to sustain Magic Leap, which was also previously reported to be eyeing more funding. According to a previous report from The Information , the Florida-based company projected to sell 100,000 units of the Magic Leap One, its first AR headset, in the first year of its release but however had sold only 6,000 units six months after its release. That report also said Magic Leap,

Improbable Struggling To Keep Game Developers

Improbable founder and CEO Herman Narula. image: Improbable Improbable, as you may know, is a U.K.-based SoftBank-backed startup that's behind SpatialOS , a relatively new cloud-based game development platform. SpatialOS is its core product and the foundation on which Improbable lies. Having developed the platform, the main challenge lies in convincing enough game developers to adopt it and Improbable happens to be struggling with that. A recent Bloomberg report sheds light on such struggles, stating that Improbable currently has only one game running on its platform. The company is also known to be unprofitable, having recently declared losses amounting to more than £1 million ($1.3 million) a week on revenues of just £1.2 million ($1.55 million) for the whole 2019. A few game studios are known to have trialed Improbable's platform but later pulled back for uncertain reasons. One of such is Bossa Studios, a London-based video game developer. It developed a multip

Postmates Expands Walgreens Partnership To 13 More Cities

Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch, under CC BY 2.0 license Last October, Postmates and pharmacy chain Walgreens entered into a partnership that involved the deliveries of select items on-demand from Walgreens stores in New York City and Brooklyn. Now, following what both companies dubbed a successful roll-out, the partnership is being expanded to 13 more cities; Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Portland (OR), Washington DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Houston. Residents of the aforementioned cities can now order health and wellness and other convenience products, including certain over-the-counter medications, from Walgreens to be delivered to their doorstep by Postmates' couriers. To inaugurate the expansion, Postmates is offering one-time free deliveries for persons who order from Walgreens in the 13 cities. Altogether, Postmates users can now order from about 1,70

Quibi Fends Off Patent Lawsuit Ahead Of Launch

Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. Photograph by Stuart Isett for Fortune Magazine, under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license Quibi, ahead of its scheduled launch next month, happens to be fighting a lawsuit from Eko, a company that develops software that supports the production and distribution of media content over the web. The lawsuit centers around Quibi's 'Turnstyle' feature, which determines the orientation of a user's phone (either vertical or horizontal) and presents content in a fitting style. Quibi unveiled the Turnstyle feature back in January at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The company's founder, famed media veteran Jeffrey Katzenberg, alongside its CEO, former HP head Meg Whitman, took the stage at CES and gave the general public a limited look into its video streaming app which is scheduled to launch on the 6th of April. It turns out others, not just the general public, happened to be observing closely on that day Quibi gave

Watchlist: Seven Promising Gaming Upstarts

GreenPark Sports co-founder Chad Hurley. Hurley also co-founded mega video site YouTube. image: nrkbeta on Flickr , under  CC BY-SA 3.0 NO license The gaming industry is already huge yet still growing. For a hint, research from  GlobalData predicts the gaming industry will soar to $305 billion by 2025. Mobile gaming accounts for much of the gaming industry's upsurge, coupled with additional factors like streaming, esports, augmented and virtual reality, cloud-based gaming and the likes. Games are getting more interactive and with more interactivity comes increased engagement and in turn more revenue for the entire industry. Several gaming startups have emerged recently to capitalize on the industry's rise. Others have long-existed but are also keen on making the most of the industry's upsurge. They include game studios, esports franchises, and of course developers of platforms that support game creation. You may remember the popular saying that "durin

10 Hardware Startups That'll Be Missed

Rethink Robotics founder Rodney Brooks. Rethink officially ceased operations in October 2018 amid reports of low sales. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch, under CC BY 2.0 license Hardware is hard, they say, and evidently, it's really hard. The startup graveyard is littered with numerous startups whose main business revolved around selling hardware, be it smartphones, security devices, cameras, interactive toys, audio accessories, robots and the likes. Many of such now-shuttered startups failed not entirely due to business laxity but also due to hapless situations that could not be controlled in some cases or hardly controlled in others. As is widely known, the majority of startups fail and hardware-centric ones are no exception. Some of the now-shuttered hardware startups had interesting and useful products but just couldn't go further due to a combination of circumstances. Some of these startups were widely cheered by the general public, others initi

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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

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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