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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

WeWork is just one facet of SoftBank’s bet on real estate

This week WeWork announced that its Chinese subsidiary — WeWork China — raised an additional $500 million in capital in a deal led by SoftBank, Temasek Holdings and others. The deal reportedly values the Chinese branch of the shared workspace and real estate management company at $5 billion, up from $1 billion (post-money) in the round WeWork China announced almost a year ago in July 2017.

SoftBank rarely doubles down on a particular company. At time of writing, SoftBank itself has made 175 investments in 144 different companies, according to Crunchbase data. Of those, just 23 companies raised more than one round from SoftBank. And in conjunction with its China branch, with four cumulative transactions on record, WeWork is tied for first place in a ranking of companies most-engaged with SoftBank’s investment arm.

That being said, SoftBank’s investment strategy appears to be one of taking stakes in leading companies from a given sector. And although it’s sometimes difficult to tell just how large some of those stakes are as a percent of equity in the company, SoftBank finds itself involved in many companies’ biggest rounds to date.

Take WeWork for example. If you take all of the equity funding rounds raised by its main corporate entity and regional offshoots like WeWork China and WeWork India, you’ll find that SoftBank was either the sole investor, the round leader or a syndicate participant in the rounds that delivered the lion’s share of capital to the company.

If the market opportunity is big, SoftBank will typically make investments in regionally dominant companies operating in that sector. After all, if worldwide dominance is difficult to obtain for any one company, SoftBank is so big that it can take positions in the regional leaders, creating an index of companies that collectively hold a majority of market share in an emerging industry.

It’s a bold strategy that involves taking some big risks and writing big checks. As a result, SoftBank is typically the largest single investor — in terms of dollars committed — in the fastest-growing companies in an industry.

Real estate is just one theme

WeWork is just one facet of SoftBank’s real estate investment efforts. The table below shows a selection of SoftBank’s investments in the real estate and construction sector. It’s ranked by the amount of money invested in rounds involving SoftBank (either as the sole investor or as part of a broader syndicate). We also show what percent of total known equity funding SoftBank-involved rounds account for.

SoftBank’s strategy of writing big checks to successful startups in large and growing market segments extends past real estate, of course. It touches many other industries, including e-commerce and logistics, insurance and healthcare, and, perhaps most contentiously, ride-hailing and on-demand transportation.

SoftBank also has a strong portfolio of artificial intelligence companies to flex at some point down the road. It has invested in the likes of Nvidia, Improbable, Brain Corporation, Pentuum and others. Furthermore, its stakes in Mapbox and Cruise Automation are advantageous to SB Drive, its own autonomous vehicles effort.

SoftBank is one of the cases of everything old being new again. In the late 1990s, SoftBank and its founder Masayoshi Son were some of the biggest investors in tech. Then, like today, Son aimed to forge a kind of virtual Silicon Valley in SoftBank’s portfolio, a platform for symbiotic, cooperative relationships and business partnerships to emerge. There’s definitely the possibility for this sort of bonhomie to emerge today, given the thematic nature of the firm’s investment strategy. But at the same time, Son is famous for losing a lot of money when the first tech bubble collapsed. It remains to be seen whether the firm will make it out on top the second time around.


Source: TechCrunch

Google Doodle honors civil rights activist María Rebecca Latigo de Hernández – CNET

Activist used her voice to promote the rights of women and children of Mexican decent.
Source: CNET

Lyft gave DJ Khaled one of its electric scooters for his upcoming tour

Electric scooters are all the rage right now in Silicon Valley and as of late, they’ve made their way into the entertainment industry. Musician DJ Khaled recently posted a video of him riding one of Lyft’s electric scooter while also promoting his participation in Jay-Z and Beyonce’s On The Run II tour.

Word on the street, according to a source, is that DJ Khaled asked Lyft for one of its electric scooters for his upcoming tour. This is not too surprising given Lyft has previously tapped DJ Khaled to be one of its spokespeople. Lyft declined to comment for this story.

Earlier this month, Lyft outlined its scooter plans, along with its bike-share plans. There’s no word on exactly when this will happen, but it’s likely it will happen soon.

Lyft, along with 11 other companies, is currently vying for a permit to operate an electric scooter service in San Francisco. As of July 19, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency was still reviewing the 12 applications from companies to operate electric scooters in the city.

A bit of background: In early June, companies like Uber, Lime, Bird, Lyft and others applied for permits to operate electric scooter-share services in San Francisco. San Francisco’s permit process came as a result of Bird, Lime and Spin deploying their electric scooters without permission in the city in March. As part of a new city law, which went into effect June 4, scooter companies are not able to operate their services in San Francisco without a permit.

The SFMTA expects to finalize its recommendations and documentation “in the coming weeks,” the SFMTA wrote in a blog pos. Once that’s done, the agency says it will work with companies to finalize and clarify the terms and conditions of the permit. The goal, according to the blog post, is to issue permits sometime in August.

There are, of course, plenty of other markets for Lyft and its competitors to launch scooters in. You can read more about where you’ll find scooters below.


Source: TechCrunch

Walmart reportedly recruits ex-Epix CEO in bid to build video service

According to new reports, Walmart has enlisted the services of Mark Greenberg to help build a subscription video streaming service. Rumors have been floating around for some time now, that the retailer is looking to go head to head with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime video, and Greenberg — who left the role of CEO at Epix in September — is well-positioned to help.

The service would reportedly function apart from Vudu, the a la carte video service Walmart purchased in 2010, as a bid to bolster its smart TV offerings. According to Variety, the streaming service would be firmly targeted at what the retail giant views as its core demographic, with a low subscription price and content targeted directly at “Middle America.”

The company is said to be eying an $8 a month price point, which would put it $2 below Netflix’s standard subscription fee. Amazon Video is probably a more comparable competitor, given the size and breadth of both companies, but at the moment, Walmart doesn’t have an offering that fits the same scope as Amazon Prime.

Vudu, on the other hand, features around 150,000 films to purchase or rent, but currently commands only around 13-percent of videos streamed from U.S. TVs. Netflix and Amazon, meanwhile, are responsible 73 and 28 percent, respectively, by Comscore’s count.

This is all in the very early stages, according to reports. As such, neither Walmart nor Greenberg are disclosing anything.


Source: TechCrunch

Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Rumored specs, leaks, price, release date – CNET

Will Google play catch-up — or leapfrog the iPhone X?
Source: CNET

iPhone X vs. iPhone 8: Which iPhone is best? – CNET

Is the iPhone X really worth all that extra cash?
Source: CNET

The Rise of the Computer-Generated Celebrity

A new breed of digital star is stealing the limelight.
Source: Wired

How to Pick the Perfect Phone Case

Protect your phone—and your sanity—with this helpful expert guidance.
Source: Wired

G-Sync vs. FreeSync

There are some subtle differences between the two adaptive refresh technology offerings, and they affect cost, performance, and compatibility. Nvidia may have released it’s feature first, but in recent years AMD has stepped up to the plate as well.

The post G-Sync vs. FreeSync appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

So what exactly is 'Desmo' and why is it so cool? – Roadshow

Desmodromic valves are mostly a thing of the past, but one Italian motorcycle company continues to soldier on with the technology, and we’re curious why.
Source: CNET

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