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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

WeWork confirms deal to buy Naked Hub, one of its main competitors in China

WeWork is buying up one of its largest competitors in China after it announced a deal to acquire Naked Hub.

The deal was widely reported by Chinese media yesterday, but WeWork has now confirmed it through a blog post from its CEO Adam Neumann. Terms of the transaction are not disclosed but Bloomberg reported that it is worth around $400 million.

Naked Hub is an offshoot of China-based luxury resort company Naked Group that was started in 2015 by Grant Horsfield and Delphine Yip-Horsfield. The company is primarily anchored in China, with most of its locations in Beijing and Shanghai, but it has expanded into Australia, Hong Kong and Vietnam. All told, it claims to have 10,000 members across its 24 office locations.

Even though a deal to merge with Singapore-based JustCo was called off, Naked Hub had emerged as one of WeWork’s fiercest competitors in China with the ambition to continue that battle in Southeast Asia and other markets, as I wrote last year.

WeWork isn’t commenting at this point about how it plans to integrate the two brands, but its CEO Neumann paid tribute to the Naked Hub business.

“We have found an equal who shares our thinking about the importance of space, community, design, culture, and technology. Together, I believe we will have a profound impact in helping businesses across China grow, scale, and succeed,” he wrote.

“China-born naked Hub and WeWork may come from vastly different backgrounds, but there is more that binds us than separates us. The values we share toward creating a vibrant community for our members by using design, technology, and hospitality are core to how both companies are successful,” said Horsfield, Naked Group’s founder and chairman.

Naked Hub may be a growing threat to WeWork China, but it is far from the only major competitor. Unicorn Ucommune — which changed its name from URwork following a lawsuit from WeWork — is perhaps the largest profile Chinese challenger.

WeWork launched in China in 2016 via Shanghai. Today it said it has 13 locations in Greater China with plans to increase that to more than 40 by the end of this year. That’s a move that it said will quadruple its membership numbers in China from 10,000 to 40,000.

The deal is WeWork’s second acquisition of a competitor in Asia, its first being a deal to buy SpaceMob, a then 1.5-year-old company in Singapore, last year.

The company has been lining its pockets to fuel a big push into Asia.

Last year, the firm span out a WeWork China entity backed by $500 million from investors, while capital also went to WeWork Japan — a unit that investor SoftBank owns half of — and WeWork Pacific, its business focused on Southeast Asia and other parts of the region which also got a $500 million to spend. All of that capital was part of a $4.4 billion investment round in WeWork from SoftBank.


Source: TechCrunch

Cluno, the Munich-based ‘car subscription’ service, raises €7M Series A

Cluno, a startup operating out of Munich that offers what it calls a “car subscription” service, has raised €7 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Acton Capital Partners, with participation from previous investor Atlantic Labs.

Founded in 2017 by the same team behind easyautosale, which exited to Autoscout24 in 2015, Cluno lets you subscribe to a car for a fixed and all-inclusive monthly fee as an alternative to car ownership or a more restrictive lease. It’s a similar proposition to Drover, the London startup that raised £5.5 million ‘seed’ funding last month.

“Our vision is to give people smarter access to unrestricted, personalised mobility,” says Cluno co-founder Nico Polleti. “We still see a lot of people who want to have their car in front of their home every day. But in a smarter way than today! Carsharing is not the answer for the mass market. That’s why car subscription or smart ownership solutions will completely change the way people get access to everyday mobility”.

The Cluno service works as follows: You visit the Cluno website and choose the vehicle you want to subscribe to for a minimum period of six months. You then pay a setup fee, and a fixed monthly fee dependent on the model you have chosen, which covers the vehicle, insurance, breakdown cover, tax, and maintenance. The idea is that the only cost you are left with is fuel. You are also free to upgrade or downgrade your car after six months or can pause/cancel the subscription altogether.

“Why do customers have to buy, finance or lease a car for several years?” asks Polleti rhetorically. “People’s lives and needs change and so should their cars. We take care of the whole process… Our customers subscribe and get a car “ready-to-drive” and home delivered”.

To that end, Polleti cites the startup’s main competition as “buying, financing or leasing a car,” and says that typical Cluno customers have usually considered traditional ways of accessing a car. “Then they find us and see the huge advantage of flexibility and an all-inclusive rate. I think, that’s the big difference and main reason to choose a Cluno car,” he says.

Dr. Christoph Braun, Managing Partner at Acton Capital, echoes this sentiment, noting that the notion of mobility is changing, and argues that technologies such as electric vehicles or self-driving cars will no longer be bought or leased in the traditional way.

“In just a few months, Cluno has created an attractive car subscription model that makes these new technologies easily accessible. While traditional leasing offerings are characterised by rigid contracts and lack of transparency, Cluno relies on a flexible model, digital-first customer experience with transparent all-inclusive pricing,” he says.


Source: TechCrunch

Google Lens can tell you fun facts about your dog (and cat) – CNET

The new feature analyses pictures of your pet and tells you information about its breed.
Source: CNET

Weird quantum physics is key to keeping your credit card safe – CNET

US government researchers figure out a new way to generate provably random numbers, a key foundation to modern computer security protections.
Source: CNET

The Questions Zuckerberg Should Have Answered About Russia

Russian agents used Facebook to influence the 2017 election. Congress missed the chance to delve into what the company knows about it—and how they’ll stop it in 2018.
Source: Wired

The 7 best new features of Windows 10 Spring Creators Update – CNET

See the biggest and best changes that the latest version of Windows 10 introduces.
Source: CNET

Rep. Schiff has a question for Zuckerberg too video – CNET

The California Democrat tells CNET in an interview that we need to determine the job social media companies like Facebook are expected to do.
Source: CNET

Shadow profiles: Facebook has information you didn't hand over – CNET

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told lawmakers you control all the data you give the social network. But the company gets information about you from many sources.
Source: CNET

Why Facebook's 2011 Promises Haven't Protected Users

Facebook didn’t notify the Federal Trade Commission when it learned that Cambridge Analytica had improperly obtained personal information of users.
Source: Wired

DroneShield is keeping hostile UAVs away from NASCAR events

If you were hoping to get some sweet drone footage of a NASCAR race in progress, you may find your quadcopter grounded unceremoniously by a mysterious force: DroneShield is bringing its anti-drone tech to NASCAR events at the Texas Motor Speedway.

The company makes a handful of products, all aimed at detecting and safely intercepting drones that are flying where they shouldn’t. That’s a growing problem, of course, and not just at airports or Area 51. A stray drone at a major sporting event could fall and interrupt the game, or strike someone, or at a race it may even cause a major accident.

Most recently it introduced a new version of its handheld “DroneGun,” which scrambles the UAV’s signal so that it has no choice but to safely put itself down, as these devices are generally programmed to do. You can’t buy one — technically, they’re illegal — but the police sure can.

Recently DroneShield’s tech was deployed at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane and at the Olympics in PyeongChang, and now the company has announced that it was tapped by a number of Texas authorities for the protection of stock car races.

DroneShield’s systems in place in PyeongChang

“We are proud to be able to assist a high-profile event like this,” said Oleg Vornik, DroneShield’s CEO, in an email announcing the news. “We also believe that this is significant for DroneShield in that this is the first known live operational use of all three of our key products – DroneSentinel, DroneSentry and DroneGun – by U.S. law enforcement.”

It’s a big get for a company that clearly saw an opportunity in the growing drone market (in combating it, really) and executed well on it.


Source: TechCrunch

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