President-elect Joseph Biden reportedly plucks Revolution’s Ron Klain as new chief of staff

President-elect Joseph Biden has plucked Ron Klain, a longtime colleague and confidant and the current executive vice president of the venture capital firm Revolution, as his White House chief of staff, reports The New York Times. 

Klain was Biden’s chief of staff for two years during the Obama administration and left his post as chief of staff in 2011 to join Revolution, the firm founded by former AOL chief executive and founder Steve Case. Revolution did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If Klain makes his second entrance into the White House, Biden will be bringing on a chief of staff he’s known for more than 35 years. The duo first worked together in 1989, when the president-elect was a senator and Klain was a newly graduated law student from Harvard Law School. He most recently worked as the White House Ebola Response coordinator from October 2014 to February 2015, and helped as a debate advisor to President Obama and President Clinton, as well as nominees Al Gore, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.

Klain’s appointment could pacify some of the presumed tension that could occur between startups and the government under the Biden-Harris administration. Biden has been vocal about pursuing aggressive regulation on the tech industry, which could negatively impact behemoths like Google, Apple and Facebook. Klain has spoken up (in TechCrunch!) about how regulatory hurdles could hinder key innovation in startup-land. Klain also helped lead efforts for Higher Ground Labs, an incubator and accelerator focused on politically-focused (and Democrat-loved) startups. While that likely wouldn’t impact Big Tech, it doesn’t hurt that, reportedly, one of Biden’s closest confidants will have a soft spot for startups.

 

 

Startups – TechCrunch

TechCabal Daily – This African telco is reportedly planning to layoff a third of its staff – TechCabal

TechCabal Daily – This African telco is reportedly planning to layoff a third of its staff  TechCabal
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

[OurCrowd in Crowdfund Insider] Israel Is Reportedly Preparing to Finally Roll Out its Fintech Regulatory Sandbox Program, which is Part of Proposals in New Arrangements Law

Israel-based OurCrowd, the world’s largest investment crowdfunding platform, recently announced the launch of a $ 100 million Pandemic Innovation Fund. The Fund will invest in both new startups and certain companies already included in OurCrowd’s existing portfolio.

Read more here.

The post [OurCrowd in Crowdfund Insider] Israel Is Reportedly Preparing to Finally Roll Out its Fintech Regulatory Sandbox Program, which is Part of Proposals in New Arrangements Law appeared first on OurCrowd.

OurCrowd

Uber reportedly agrees to acquire Postmates for $2.65 billion

Uber has reportedly agreed to buy Postmates in an all-stock deal worth $ 2.65 billion. According to Bloomberg, the deal may be announced on Monday morning.

Like other travel- and transportation-related businesses, Uber’s ride-hailing segment has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to shelter-in-place orders throughout the United States. On-demand delivery, however, has grown, with people relying on services like Uber Eats to get food without leaving their homes. According to its last earnings report, Uber’s ride-hailing gross bookings dropped, but its food delivery service saw gross sales growth of 54% during its first fiscal quarter.

According to previous reports, Uber made an offer to buy Grubhub, another on-demand delivery service, earlier this year, but after that deal fell through, it approached Postmates. Bloomberg reports that Uber and Postmates have actually talked on and off for about four years, but negotiations became more intense about a week ago.

Grubhub ended up being acquired by Just Eat Takeway in a deal worth $ 7.3 billion after its negotiations with Uber stalled.

With a valuation of $ 2.4 billion, Postmates is a smaller company than Grubhub. The company filed to go public in February 2019, but decided to hold off because of “choppy market” conditions.

If the deal goes through, the main competitors in the American food delivery market would be Uber Eats/Postmates versus Grubhub/Takeaway versus DoorDash.

In other countries, companies like Grab have also begun building out their on-demand delivery services to make up for losses from fewer ride-hailing bookings. For example, Grab responded to stay-at-home orders in Indonesia (its main market) and other Southeast Asian countries by re-deploying ride-hailing drivers to on-demand deliveries for food and essential items.

Startups – TechCrunch

After losing Grubhub, Uber reportedly hails Postmates

Uber has reportedly made an offer to buy food delivery service Postmates, according to The New York Times.

According to the Times, the talks are still ongoing and the deal could fall through.

For those that have been paying attention to Uber, this appetite is not new, albeit consistent. A little over a month ago, the ride-hailing company was reportedly pursuing an acquisition of Grubhub,  another food delivery company. Grubhub was ultimately acquired by Just Eat Takeaway in a $ 7.3 billion deal, but only after the deal with Uber fell through over a variety of concerns.

Food delivery market has set to benefit largely from the COVID-19 pandemic, as stores remain shuttered or switch operations to takeout only. Latest earnings from the public ride-hailing company show that its ride-hailing business is slowing while its food delivery service is growing like hell. Gross bookings for Uber Eats last quarter were $ 4.68 billion.

So even though Uber still loses a ton of money ($ 2.94 billion including all costs), its Uber Eats growth is staggering. And the green shoots might be fueling some of this interest in other competitors.

Sources close to Uber told TechCrunch that regulatory concerns scuttled the company’s bid for GrubHub, but its chief executive later said the JustEat deal was better.

If regulatory concerns were an issue, Postmates may make a better fit.

With a valuation of $ 2.4 billion, Postmates is significantly smaller than Grubhub. And while the company filed to go public nearly 16 months ago, it held off eventually citing “choppy market” conditions.

So if Uber Eats and Postmates combined, the result would still be smaller than Doordash’s market hold, but would be competitive nonetheless. DoorDash, last valued at $ 13 billion, confidentially filed for an IPO nearly four months ago. 

Also, Postmates delivers more than just food.

If the merger goes through, the food delivery race would get refueled in an interesting way: Uber Eats and Postmates versus Grubhub and Takeaway versus DoorDash .

Postmates declined to comment on rumors or speculation. Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Startups – TechCrunch

Apple to reportedly debut its first mainstream AR glasses with sleek design in 2022

Apple’s AR glasses have been on speculations for years now, with various patents dating back to 2015. But things got exciting when Apple announced ARKit at WWDC back in 2017, making it clear that the Cupertino giant is serious about the AR business. 

According to the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the first iteration of Apple’s AR headset could arrive in 2022 at the earliest. This falls in line with the reports from Taiwanese site DigiTimes and The Information, which said that Apple’s glass could launch in 2022 as suppliers work to ramp up development. 

The rumours circulating on the Internet indicates that Apple’s first headset will look similar to Facebook’s Oculus Quest but with few changes in the design department. Furthermore, the reports from Bloomberg said that Apple’s headset is expected to offer a combination of both AR and VR experience and would be designed for gaming, entertainment, and communication. 

Apple AR headsets are expected to feature a high-res display and likely to be reliant on iPhone for processing power considering it’s sleek built. On the software front, the headsets are expected to be shipped with realityOS (rOS). 

Apple acquires NextVR!

On the other hand, Apple has confirmed the acquisition of VR events startup NextVR. Based out of California, NextVR allows the fully immersive content to be streamed with pristine quality using current home and mobile Internet connections. While 9to5Mac reports acquisition value at $ 100 million, Apple didn’t disclose any figures as such. 

In a way of confirming NextVR website has disappeared and there is a message saying, “We’re heading in a new direction” and “thanked its partners and fans around the world for the role you played in building this awesome platform for sports, music and entertainment experiences in Virtual Reality.”

The VR company provided VR experiences for viewing live events with headsets from Oculus, HTC, PlayStation, Microsoft, and Lenovo headsets. Also, the startup tied-up with news organisation CNN and sports leagues like NASCAR and NBA to broadcast special events and games in VR. 

Launched in 2009 by David Cole, and DJ Roller, NextVR has more than 26 patents granted or pending for the capture, compression, transmission, and display of virtual reality content.

Main image credits: Martin Hajek/iDropnews

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more European technology news

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As Uber (reportedly) squeezes Lime, scooter startups run low on juice

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.

In December of 2019, this column wrote an entry detailing Uber’s micro-mobility efforts. Just six months ago — a mere two quarters — Uber’s Jump team was on the record saying that its parent company wanted to “double down on micro-mobility.” At the time, before COVID-19 and the decline in human travel, it made some sense.

Things have changed for both Uber and micro-mobility sector. Uber’s financial performance was looking up before the pandemic, with the company promising a more aggressive adjusted profitability timeline. Lime, a dockless scooter company, was also making noise about profits—or something close to them.

Both goals now seem out of reach. Bird and Lime, the best-known American scooter companies, have both cut staff this year. And The Information recently reported that Uber may invest in Lime at a dramatically lowered valuation with an option to buy the company at a later date.

As Uber already has its own micro-mobility bet (recall that it bought JUMP and thus has its own scooters in-market), why would it go through the bother of repricing Lime to maybe buy it later? The Information notes that Uber’s own micro-mobility bet is expensive. But given Lime’s own persistent losses and cash burn I couldn’t make the idea square in my head. So, this morning let’s peek at Uber’s numbers ahead of earnings and see what we can learn about its 2019 in the micro-mobility world, and if that helps us understand why it might drop up to nine figures on Lime during the smaller company’s struggles.

Startups – TechCrunch

Airbnb reportedly lays off contractors and cancels summer internships

Airbnb has ended its contracts with contingent workers early and postponed summer internships, Protocol reports. Contractors at Airbnb serve as property inspectors, home consultants and more.

Contractors will reportedly receive no less than two weeks’ pay after receiving notice from their temp agencies.

Airbnb will also reportedly delay hiring undergraduate students until next year. TechCrunch has since heard from an incoming intern that he was notified yesterday and that he’s now scrambling to find a new internship.

Airbnb is not the only tech company to cancel internships amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, Yelp canceled its summer internship and TC’s Natasha Mascarenhas has since learned StubHub, Glassdoor, Funding Circle and Checkr have also canceled their respective internships.

These personnel changes come just one day after Airbnb secured a $ 1 billion loan. Earlier this month, Airbnb raised an additional $ 1 billion in debt and equity.

TechCrunch has reached out to Airbnb and will update this story if we hear back.

Additional reporting by Natasha Mascarenhas. 

Startups – TechCrunch