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Alibaba ups its stake in Southeast Asia's Lazada with $1 billion investment
Alibaba is doubling down on Southeast Asia after it paid close to $1 billion to raise its stake in e-commerce firm Lazada from 51 percent to 83 percent. The Chinese firm made an initial $1 billion investment in April 2016 at a valuation of $1.5 billion - this second deal raises that valuation to $3.15 billion, Lazada disclosed.
Samsung will reportedly revive the Galaxy Note 7 with a Korea-only 'Fandom Edition'
Samsung is reportedly gearing to revive the Galaxy Note 7, its disastrous 2016 smartphone that was recalled after battery problems caused units to catch fire, with the limited release of a new model. The company hinted a few months ago that it planned to make such a move, but now we have more details. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Note 7 FE will go on sale in Samsung's native Korea as soon as July 7.
GoEuro to plug its data into Chinese travel booking platform, Qunar
The startup confirmed to TechCrunch this is the first partnership it's signed with another travel platform to provide its core data, and its first move into Asia. We are absolutely delighted to partner with Qunar and continue to grow our efforts internationally. In 2015 Ctrip, China's other largest travel booking service, entered into a partnership with Qunar. This later become a significant minority investment by Ctrip in its former rival - although Qunar continues to operate its business independently.
These are the autonomous trucks that Google's Waymo is testing
Alphabet/Google's self-driving car division Waymo disclosed earlier this month that it is working on (semi-)autonomous trucks, and now we have our first look at the vehicles in question. Waymo is, of course, not alone in exploring autonomous trucking. Levandowski, who has since been fired by Uber, founded Otto alongside a number of former Googlers in 2016. Like Waymo, Otto's focus is not to replace truck drivers altogether, but rather to automate much of their driving in the name of increased safety and efficiency.
Sign up for Praguecrunch V now!
Almost every year my buddy Jack Deneut has helped set up PragueCrunch, our kind-of-semi-annual celebration of Czech startups. The event is on July 13, 2017 at Riegrovy Sady Beer Garden. We'll have Kozel and Gambrinus beer all night and traditional Czech pub food for purchase at the venue. Startups will have 90 seconds to pitch without about 90 seconds of questions from judges. I will let you know if you are pitching five days before the event.
The latest in the Binary Capital blowup
A third option, says Bloomberg, would be for another investor other than Teo to manage out the firm's current investments. A report in The Information published last Thursday set off a chain of event leading to this moment. We can think of at least two precedents, but those situations each took more than a year to play out. The venture community has broadened considerably over the last decade, but it still remains tight-knit compared with many other industries.
Apple Music's first new personalized playlist wants you to Chill
This week Apple is beginning to roll out the first new personalized playlist under Apple Music's 'For You' section. The playlist, entitled 'Chill' is muxed based on editorial curation and algorithmic interpretation of your musical tastes. An updated Chill playlist will be delivered every Sunday to users who join the test group, which will roll out through the summer.
A bad day for cybersecurity
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Global IPO market rebounds, but it's still pretty 'quiet' for public offerings in the Pacific Northwest
Economic fundamentals are improving in the major developed economies and IPO pipelines are building, said Dr Martin Steinbach, EY Global and EY EMEIA IPO Leader in a press release. Activity is underpinned by rallies in many bull markets reaching all-time highs, while investor sentiment has brightened and global outlook is positive. With the momentum of the first half, 2017 is poised to surpass 2016 global IPO levels by both number and proceeds.
Magic Wormhole is a clever way to send files easily and securely
If you need to transfer a couple hundred megs to a coworker or friend across the country, you aren't short on options. Magic Wormhole, created by developer Brian Warner, is a clever way to do just that. They get it directly and securely, and you never have to worry about it again. Imagine being on the phone with someone and hearing oh let me send you that file. You can download all the components or contribute your own code at the GitHub project page.
Andy Rubin-backed AR hardware startup CastAR reportedly shuts down
An augmented reality headset startup founded by former Valve employees and funded by Android co-creator Andy Rubin's Playground Global is shutting down after it failed to receive further investment, Polygon reports. CastAR was building a headset device that projected holographic images into the field-of-view of a user, similar to products being built by companies like Microsoft and Magic Leap. Following layoffs of less than 70 employees, a core group is attempting to sell off the company's tech according to the report.
Japan's SNES Classic gets Famicom look and tweaked game selection
Everyone's excited about the SNES Classic Edition, what with its twee 90's look and fantastic selection of games. As with its NES predecessor, the Japanese version of the device is significantly different, outside and in - here are the differences between the two. The most obvious change is the console itself, which is a miniature Super Famicom instead of a miniature SNES. The game selection itself is much more consequential. It blows my mind that we are finally getting to play this.
Boundless, Navigator CRE and Off the Record take prizes at TechCrunch's Seattle pitch-off
It was a lovely day for a meetup in Seattle, and the Showbox SoDo was packed as TechCrunch's annual pitch-off in my home town took place last week. Like many coastal regions, Seattle is a city of immigrants, so the mission of Boundless - helping prospective citizens navigate the murky waters of the immigration process - was perhaps especially potent here. Judges applauded the purpose, but questioned whether the new administration's policies could present roadblocks, and whether Boundless would run low on customers.
VC admits he doesn't hire women out of fear he'll get sued
There was a shocking revelation from one VC who emailed in a response this morning, saying he would not hire a woman out of fear that we will get sued. Not hiring women capable of filling a role at your workplace simply because they are a women is illegal. The name Johnathan is pretty generic and it's tough to know if this was even the guy's real name. Refusing to hire someone because they are a woman is also a great loss for Johnathan's firm.
Credit Karma touts $500 million in revenues
That's the lesson from Credit Karma, which today is announcing that it's running its business profitably after earning $500 million in revenues last year. Credit Karma launched to help consumers better understand their finances and to provide access to better financial products. Its flagship product is a free credit report and credit monitoring service, which it launched five years ago. While credit reports are still its bread and butter, Credit Karma is moving into adjacent areas in an effort to collect even more data.
Ford GoBike launches in the Bay Area starting tomorrow
Ford's GoBike dock-based bike-share program kicks off tomorrow, June 28 in the Bay Area. Ford says that it's interested in finding out how to answer the increasingly varied transportation needs of city dwellers, especially now that areas are becoming more dense. The GoBike program launches just as it's also expanding its Chariot shared commuter bus service, which is debuting in Seattle after beginning as a startup in SF prior to Ford acquiring the company last year.
MIT's gas-powered drone is able to stay in the air for five days at a time
It was the first flight for the 24-foot-wide drone, which the team believes is capable of staying in the air for five days on a single tank of gas. The craft was designed to address a challenge posed by the US Air Force. The teams were asked to design a UAV powered by solar energy that was able to stay in the air over long periods.
Twitter has a new VP of inclusion and diversity
A few months after Jeffrey Siminoff left his position as VP of diversity and inclusion at Twitter, the company has brought on Candi Castleberry Singleton to lead Twitter's diversity efforts. Castleberry Singleton previously founded the Dignity & Respect Campaign, and formerly led diversity and inclusion efforts at Motorola. Twitter's latest diversity report showed the company was making some progress around the hiring of underrepresented minorities. I've reached out to Twitter and will update this story if I hear back.
Dating apps are embracing video
Dating apps are, in their own way, a form of social networking - especially as they expand into new areas like friend-finding or professional networking. The company will also encourage video adoption, too, by showing Hinge profiles with video to five times more people it says. Now, Zoosk is pushing the bar even further in terms of video with the launch of live video chat.
Tango Card raises $10M to shake up how companies reward employees and customers
Seattle startup Tango Card has raised $10 million to speed up the expansion of its digital rewards platform. Tango Card CEO David Leeds said the company is on a clear path to profitability, and he didn't want to give up any additional equity. This latest round brings Tango Card to approximately $19.5 million raised since its 2010 founding. At Microsoft, Tango Card helps power the rewards platform in which customers earn points that they can redeem for products and causes.

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