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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

NASA's InSight Mars lander got stuck between a rock in a hard place – CNET

The robot’s heat-measuring probe, known as a “mole”, has hit a snag.
Source: CNET

Grab confirms $1.46B investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund

Grab has become the newest addition to the SoftBank Vision Fund after it announced today that it has pulled in a $1.46 billion investment from the super fund. Grab said the new money will be used to further its super app strategy, which is aimed at making its service a daily app for Southeast Asian consumers, but it is also likely to be used to battle rival Go-Jek.

The deal — which was first reported by TechCrunch in December — takes Grab’s ongoing Series H round to $4.5 billion. Other investors in that round include Toyota, Booking Holdings, Microsoft and Hyundai. The new deal means Grab has now raised over $7.5 billion to date. Grab was last valued at $11 billion when it secured a $1 billion investment from Toyota to kick off this Series H in June, but that valuation is likely to have increased significantly since then.

Despite this huge injection, Grab confirmed that the round — a record for a Southeast Asian startup — is not closed yet. TechCrunch reported in December that the Series H funding goal, which was originally $2 billion, had been raised to $5 billion.

The Vision Fund deal has been months in the making. SoftBank is an existing investor in Grab and, as had already happened with Coupang and Tokopedia, it is transitioning its stake into the Vision Fund while dropping in additional investment capital as well.

“We have been working alongside Grab for a number of years and are privileged to support the evolution of its user-driven technologies. This investment will help the company explore exciting new opportunities across on-demand mobility, delivery and financial services as it continues to grow its offline-to-online platform across Southeast Asia,” said SoftBank’s David Thevenon in a statement.

Beyond ride-hailing, Grab also operates payments and food delivery businesses. Last year, it began working with third-party partners to bring additional services into the Grab, some of those partners include streaming service Hooq, Ping An Good Doctor and grocery delivery company HappyFresh.

Grab’s news today comes just a day after Go-Jek announced a $100 million injection into its ongoing Series H fund, which sources have told TechCrunch is aimed at raising $2 billion. The company, which is expanding in Southeast Asia, said it closed $1 billion from existing investors in January.

Go-Jek originated in Indonesia but, over the past six months, it has expanded into Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore with the Philippines also in its plans.


Source: TechCrunch

The NSA Makes Ghidra, a Powerful Cybersecurity Tool, Open Source

No one’s better at hacking than the NSA. And now one if its powerful tools is available to everyone for free.
Source: Wired

Prosecutors find Uber not criminally liable in 2018 Arizona self-driving crash that killed a pedestrian

Yavapai County prosecutors said today that Uber is not criminally liable in a crash last year when one of its self-driving cars fatally struck a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

The autonomous SUV, which had a backup driver behind the wheel, collided with Elaine Herzberg while she was walking across the street. She later died as a result of her injuries. After the crash, Uber suspended its self-driving test program on public roads for nine months.

In a letter to the Maricopa County Attorney, prosecutor Sheila Polk wrote that based on its investigation, the Yavapai County Attorney’s office had determined that a video of the collision “likely does not accurately depict the events that occurred.” While “there is no basis” for Uber to be held criminally liable, Polk recommended that case be referred to Tempe police to collect further evidence related to the vehicle’s backup driver, Rafaela Vasquez. Police said last year Vasquez had been watching streaming videos on her smartphone while sitting behind the wheel.

Polk wrote that her office believes an expert analysis of the video to “closely match what (and when) the person sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle would or should have seen that night given the vehicle’s speed, lighting conditions and other relevant factors.”

Though Uber was found not criminally liable in the Tempe crash, The Information reported in December that a Uber manager had sent executives an email to warn about safety issues in its autonomous vehicle unit less than a week before Herzberg was killed.

TechCrunch has contacted Uber for comment.


Source: TechCrunch

Apple tied to new privacy website, suggesting future security marketing – CNET

The iPhone maker, which makes privacy a selling point for its devices, appears to be gearing up for another marketing push with PrivacyIsImportant.com.
Source: CNET

Captain Marvel review controversy doesn't stop Marvel's latest from being certified fresh – CNET

Brie Larson’s superhero can save the universe and evade review bombers.
Source: CNET

Minnie Ingersoll, co-founder of the fast-growing car marketplace Shift, just became a VC in LA

Minnie Ingersoll has already had an enviable career. After 12 years at Google, working as product manager and later principal with Google.org, she co-founded the venture-backed online car marketplace Shift in 2013, then she left to join the nonprofit Code for America, where she learned entirely new skills, including managing finance and marketing and recruiting.

Now, Ingersoll is taking her skills, know-how and network and putting them to work at the eight-year-old, L.A.-based seed-stage firm TenOneTen Ventures, which she has newly joined as a venture partner.

It’s a move she’d been longing to make, even if she wasn’t entirely honest with herself about it. “I’ve always been interested in VC but I think I was vaguely intimidated by the industry,” she said in a call earlier this afternoon. Despite her background — including a computer science degree from Stanford and a Harvard MBA — she wasn’t always sure she was qualified for a role as an investor.

Turns out that venture firms in L.A. quickly dispelled her of this notion.

While contemplating a move south from the Bay Area because it’s an expensive place to raise a family and because of aging parents in Southern California to whom she wanted to get nearer, Ingersoll found herself talking with local venture firms about executive roles at their portfolio companies. But those talks soon turned into job interviews, she says, which soon turned into repeated talks with one firm in particular: TenOneTen.

It’s the perfect fit for TenOneTen, says the firm’s co-founder, David Waxman. In fact, he says that while the firm had begun looking to hire another investor into the firm beginning last year, it only realized over time — while Ingersoll was meeting with some of TenOneTen’s portfolio companies as a kind of advisor — that he need look no further than Ingersoll, who felt very much part of the team straightaway.

Ingersoll voices a similar sentiment, saying she has fallen in love with L.A.’s collaborative seed-stage venture scene broadly, but adding that she was most attracted to TenOneTen because the young firm “feels like a scrappy startup with an unassuming techie team made of up hard-working engineers.” It’s a comfortable place for her to be, she suggests.

As for what Ingersoll will be funding, she says to stay tuned. TenOneTen typically writes $1 million checks to seed-stage companies, often as part of a syndicate, but its mandate is fairly broad. While Ingersoll remains interested in consumer tech and mobility, she suggests that not a lot is off the table.

Among the firm’s newest bets, for example, is HiHello, a year-old, Palo Alto, Calif.-based developer of digital business cards that can be exchanged seamlessly and that earlier this month announced $2.5 million in seed funding, including from K9 Ventures and August Capital.

Another of its bets is CREXi, a 3.5-year-old, Venice, Calif.-based commercial real estate marketplace that went on to raise $11 million in Series A funding last year, including from Jackson Square Ventures, Manifest Investment Partners, Lerer Hippeau, Freestyle Capital and Founder Collective.


Source: TechCrunch

The Gene Mutation That Could Cure HIV Has a Checkered Past

The same genetic defect used to cure two men of HIV was the target of unethical edits made by He Jiankui to produce the Crispr babies. New research on CCR5 suggests eliminating it in adults could be part of an ethical, practical cure.
Source: Wired

Apple claims former engineer co-invented tech in Qualcomm patent dispute – CNET

Qualcomm says the engineer contributed “nothing at all.”
Source: CNET

Apple tied to privacy domain, suggesting future security marketing – CNET

The iPhone maker, which makes privacy a selling point for its devices, appears to be gearing up for another marketing push with PrivacyIsImportant.com.
Source: CNET

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