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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Avengers: Endgame fever brings balance to Russia's Facebook – CNET

Thanos’ snap hit VK accounts, according to the BBC.
Source: CNET

2019 NHL Playoffs: Stream playoff games and Stanley Cup Finals – CNET

It’s the best time of year for hockey fans.
Source: CNET

How the Blockchain Could Protect California's Aquifer

State law requires farmers to use groundwater at sustainable levels, and lets them trade water with neighbors. The blockchain could make sure the system is fair.
Source: Wired

Nobody Knows What ‘Troll’ Means Anymore—Least of All Mueller

I have spent much of my career writing about trolls. I still find the word impossible to define.
Source: Wired

China’s Ctrip now owns half of India’s MakeMyTrip following share swap with Naspers

China’s Ctrip, the world’s second largest online travel company, is doubling down on India after it announced a deal to increase its ownership of travel company MakeMyTrip to nearly half.

Ctrip will boost its ownership of MakeMyTrip, which is listed on the Nasdaq like Ctrip, to 49 percent through an exchange deal that sees Naspers, the South African internet giant and early backer of Tencent, swap its shares for 5.6 percent of Ctrip. Ctrip said the investment leaves it with four percent of MakeMyTrip’s voting power.

On paper, each stake is worth around $1.3 billion. MakeMyTrip has a current market cap of $2.69 billion while Ctrip’s current share price gives it an overall valuation of $23.5 billion. In the industry, only Booking Holdings is valued higher with a current market cap of $84 billion.

There’s a long history between the three companies. Ctrip and Naspers invested $330 million into MakeMyTrip two years ago, a move that saw Naspers deepen its involvement after its portfolio company Ibibo merged with MakeMyTrip in January 2017. Prior to that, Ctrip invested $180 million into the India company in January 2016.

“Over the past years we have witnessed the great achievements of MakeMyTrip, and we are confident that MakeMyTrip will extend its success in the future,” read a statement from James Liang, co-founder and executive chairman of Ctrip.

“We are also delighted to welcome Naspers to become our shareholder. Ctrip will continue to work hard to create greater value to our customers, our partners and all shareholders,” added Ctrip CEO Jane Sun.

MakeMyTrip co-founder and co-CEO Rajesh Magow said the deal would take his company’s partnership with Ctrip “to the next level.”

The deal comes as Naspers prepares to list its international business, which includes advertising giant OLX and stakes in numerous internet companies, in the Netherlands.

Ctrip’s past deals have included the $1.74 billion acquisition of Scotland-based Skyscanner and the undisclosed purchase of U.S-based travel discovery app Trip.com. It has also invested $463 million in China Eastern Airlines and swapped shares with Chinese rival Qunar.

Today’s share swap deal is forecast to close in this current Q2, according to an announcement from Ctrip.


Source: TechCrunch

Want straight teeth? Head to CVS – CNET

The nationwide pharmacy is partnering with SmileDirectClub to get you started with straightening your teeth at your local CVS.
Source: CNET

Wheely raises $15 million for its luxury ride-hailing app

London-based startup Wheely has raised a $15 million Series B round led by Concentric with Oleg Tscheltzoff, Misha Sokolov and other investors also participating. The company wants to build an Uber competitor focused on the luxury market.

It’s a bit ironic when you think about it as Uber started as a luxury company. But everybody knows someone with horrific Uber stories. That’s why Wheely is building a reliable and predictable ride-hailing experience.

The company is currently live in London, Moscow and St. Petersburg — Paris is coming this summer. It works with 3,500 drivers and it currently has a run rate of $80 million in gross bookings.

Wheely doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel as the company works with third-party partners and doesn’t employ its drivers. Similarly, the company takes a 20 percent cut on each ride.

But the startup insists on its strict recruitment process. For instance, you can’t become a Wheely driver from day one. The company requires at least three years of previous chauffeur driving experience. You also need to pass multiple tests including driving tests and etiquette tests. Only one in four UberBlack drivers pass the exam.

There are currently three different classes — a normal one with Mercedes-Benz E-Class cars, a fancy one with Mercedes-Benz S-Class cars and a van category with Mercedes-Benz V-Class vehicles.

Minimum rides cost £12 with the entry-level class, £16 in an S-Class and at least £40 for a van. You then pay more depending on distance traveled and time spent in the car.

And it’s been working well as Wheely now represents around 11 percent of gross bookings in London. Given that each ride is more expensive than a traditional ride-hailing ride, it makes sense that Wheely already captured a good chunk of the money pie. Now let’s see if the company can find enough cities with affluent people to scale its business.

Anton Chirkunov – Founder of Wheely.


Source: TechCrunch

RosieReality, a Swiss startup using AR to get kids interested in robotics and programming, scores £2.2M seed

RosieReality, a startup out of Zürich developing consumer augmented reality experiences, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding led by RedAlpine. Other backers include Shasta Ventures, Atomico Partners Mattias Ljungman and Siraj Khaliq (both of whom invested in a personal capacity), and Akatsuki Entertainment Fund.

Founded in early 2018, RosieReality’s first AR experience is designed to ignite kids interested in robotics and programming. The smart phone camera-based app is centred around “Rosie,” a cute AR robot that inhabits a “Lego-like” modular AR world within which you and your friends are tasked with building and solving world-size 3D puzzles.

The kicker: to solve these 3D-puzzle games requires “programming” Rosie to move around the augmented reality world.

“By developing Rosie the Robot, we created the first interactive and modular world that exclusively lives in your camera feed,” RosieReality co-founder and CEO Selim Benayat tells TechCrunch. “We use this new computational platform to enable kids to creatively build, solve and share world-sized puzzle games with friends and families – much like modern-day Lego”.

Describing Rosie the Robot’s typical users as teens that “like the challenge of intricately crafted puzzles,” Benayat says part of the inspiration behind the AR game was remembering how as a kid he used to love spending time building stuff and then inviting friends over to show them what he’d built.

“Kids today are not that different,” he argues, before adding that AR makes it possible for them to have the same tangible and contextual sensation while giving them a bigger outlet for their creativity.

“We see the camera as a tool to teach and enable [the] next generation of creators. For us gaming is the ultimate creative, social and educational outlet,” says the RosieReality CEO.


Source: TechCrunch

Smart locks keep you secure and add convenience video – CNET

A smart lock on your front door is a great way to add security and convenience to your daily routine. Here are some of the benefits of installing this simple smart home device.
Source: CNET

FT parent Nikkei confirms it has acquired new media startup Deal Street Asia

It’s official: Nikkei, the Japanese media firm that owns the FT, has confirmed that it has acquired Singapore-based new media startup Deal Street Asia. (The Nikkei announcement is buried behind a paywall — make of that what you will!)

The deal is undisclosed, but the announcement does confirm a TechCrunch report from last month which broke news of the impending acquisition.

Deal Street Asia covers a mix of news from Asia’s financial markets, business verticals and startups… which I guess makes it a competitor to us here at TechCrunch. Like TechCrunch, it also runs an events business — its main show in Singapore in September costs upwards of $1,000 and features senior executives from the likes of DBS, Grab, Sea, GGV, Allianz and IFC.

Initially, we reported that the deal valued Deal Street Asia at around the $5 million mark, but we now understand that the valuation is between $5 million and $10 million. The arrangement will see Nikkei take a majority stake in the business, which includes buying out existing investors and making a separate capital investment into Deal Street Asia worth around $3 million, according to what we’ve heard.

Launched in 2014, Deal Street Asia never disclosed its funding total, but its backers include Singapore Press Holdings, North Base Media, Alpha JWC, K2 VC, SGAN and Hindustan Times, the Indian media firm that operates Mint which is a Deal Street Asia content partner. Its Angel investors include Vijay Shekhar Sharma — the founder of Alibaba-backed Paytm — the Singapore Angel Network and Rogers Holdings chairman Jim Rogers.

Deal Street Asia confirmed that all of those agreed to sell with the exception of Mint which “continues to be a minority shareholder.” We understand that all investors enjoyed a positive outcome from the deal, so Mint’s continued involvement is down to strategy not any kind of issue on Deal Street Asia’s side, a source disclosed.

Nikkei said its capture of Deal Street Asia will “deepen its coverage of the Asian startup ecosystem and tech industries, the fastest-growing sectors in the region” and boost its ScoutAsia news and data offering.

Indeed, it looks like you can expect to see links form between Deal Street Asia and Nikkei media properties.

“Joining forces with Nikkei will help us accelerate our mission of helping the PE-VC industry and dealmakers understand the changing megatrends in this space. As we expand our reportage across Asia, we look forward to greater collaboration across Nikkeiʼs publications and group of companies such as the FT, Nikkei Asia Review and scoutAsia,” read a statement from Deal Street Asia founder and editor-in-chief Joji Thomas Philip.

The deal follows Nikkei’s majority share acquisition of The Next Web [disclaimer: my former employer] in March. As we previously reported, both of those acquisitions are part of a new subscription media strategy that Nikkei is hatching:

This is far from it for the FT in terms of deals. TechCrunch understands that the company is actively seeking acquisition and investment opportunities in media startups across the world. Beyond augmenting its existing events business, one source told TechCrunch that the FT is considering a new media subscription business, which could bundle together some of its acquisitions. That’s very much an ongoing work in progress as it seeks additional deals to plump up that potential subscription offering.

Keep an eye out for more deals, we certainly will!


Source: TechCrunch

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