Friday, May 24th, 2019


DoorDash Raises New Funds
Company Blog Post

The on-demand food delivery company announced that it has raised $600 million valuing the company at $12.6 billion.

DoorDash stated that it has expanded “to more than 4,000 cities across the U.S. and Canada” and hosts more than 340,000 stores and restaurants on its platform.


Google Plans to Enhance the Food Delivery Ordering Experience
Company Blog Post

The technology company announced that users will be able “to use Google Search, Maps or the Assistant to order food from services like DoorDash, Postmates” and Delivery.com.

The move looks to enhance the delivery ordering process and make it easier for users to connect with on-demand food delivery companies.


LiveNation Looks to Make its Concerts and Events More Environmentally Sustainable
News Release

The live entertainment company announced that it plans to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030”, and end single-use plastic sales “at all owned and operated venues and festivals by 2021.”

The company’s new goals look to build on its existing sustainability targets which include introducing strict “environmental guidelines for concessions and vendor partners”.

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019


Ford Looks to Enhance Autonomous Delivery Capabilities
News Release
Company Blog Post

The automobile manufacturer announced that it’s teaming up with Agility Robotics to enhance autonomous deliveries with a robot that delivers goods from a self-driving vehicle, to a user’s front door.

The robotics firm designed a two-legged robot that has human walking capabilities and is designed to lift packages that weigh up to 40 pounds.

The collaboration looks to discover the best options for self-driving vehicles when its comes to delivering goods directly to a customer.


Zendesk Acquires a Messaging Platform
Press Release
eMarketer Study

The software company announced that it has acquired Smooch Technologies Holdings, a customer service platform that connects businesses with its clients.

The acquisition provides Zendesk with the ability to offer its users omnichannel experiences that allow for business to customer conversations on messaging channels such as, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber.

According to a report by eMarketer, more than 75% of smartphone users use messaging apps.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Wealthsimple Announces New Funding
Company Announcement

The online investment manager announced that it has closed a new $100 million round of funding.

The investment comes from Allianz’s digital investment arm, and also has participation from the Power Financial group.

The new funds will go towards helping expand the team, enhancing and investing in its platform, and growing its clientbase.

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019


Airbnb Partners with 23andMe to Offer Heritage Travel Experiences
Press Release

The accommodations marketplace announced that it’s working with the personal genomics company to offer a heritage travel product.

The partnership will recommend heritage travel experiences to a user’s native country once that user receives his or her 23andMe personalized ancestry report. According to an Airbnb news release, “Airbnb now has dedicated pages that correspond with 23andMe’s genetic populations, so that travelers coming to Airbnb’s site will be able to easily plan an end-to-end heritage trip.”


Google’s Sister Company Teams up with Big Pharma
Press Release
Research America
Verily Project Baseline

Verily, a life sciences research organization owned by Alphabet, announced that it has formed strategic alliances with Pfizer, Otsuka, Novartis, and Sanofi.

The collaboration looks to bring a more-tech driven approach to help modernize clinical trials. According to Research America, less than 10% of the US population participates in clinical research.

According to a Verily press release, the initiative looks to “implement a more patient-centric, technology-enabled approach to research, and increase the number and diversity of clinical research participants.”


Microsoft Looks to Use Big Data to Help Reimagine Healthcare
Company Blog Post

The technology company announced that it plans to use its Microsoft Azure cloud product to help tap into health data to empower healthcare teams, improve operational outcomes and care coordination, and personalize healthcare.

The company stated that it’s currently working with the Seattle Children’s Research Institute to better understand the correlations and causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Microsoft stated that it’s using a combination of publicly available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other datasets.

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019


Snap Appoints a New Chief Financial Officer
Company Announcement

The social media company announced that Derek Andersen, currently serving as Snap’s VP of Finance, has been appointed Chief Financial Officer.

Andersen joined Snap in 2016, and prior to that, served several leadership roles at Amazon.com

He will report to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Evan Spiegel.


Pepsico Launches the PepsiCo Foodservice Digital Lab
Press Release

The food and beverage company announced the initiative that looks to “connect foodservice operators with the companies, services, insights, and solutions best suited for their specific digital and online needs.”

The Foodservice Digital Lab will focus on developing a resource for foodservice operators to find, access, and deploy tools and knowledge needed to drive and enhance the consumer experience.

The company stated that it plans to educate operators on four key areas which are: digital insights, playbooks, activations, and innovation.


Kohl’s Teams up with Fanatics
Press Release

The department store retail chain announced that it has partnered with Fanatics, a licensed sportswear company, to help expand Kohl’s online fan gear inventory.

The partnership looks to bring apparel from sports leagues including the NBA, NFL, and NHL to Kohl’s online property.

As part of the collaboration, Fanatics will fulfill and ship orders made through Kohls.com directly to customers.

Monday, May 20th, 2019


Microsoft Looks to Train 15,000 Workers in Artificial Intelligence Skills
News Release

The technology company announced that it’s partnering with General Assembly, a global education provider of technology skills.

According to a company press release, the collaboration looks to “create standards and credentials for AI skills, upskill and reskill 15,000 workers by 2022, and create a pool of AI talent for the global workforce.”


JPMorgan Plans to Acquire InstaMed
CNBC

The financial services company announced that it plans to acquire InstaMed, a technology company focused on payments in the healthcare sector.

The deal looks to help expand the bank’s payment services offering, specifically for healthcare providers, payers, and consumers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Amazon Invests in Deliveroo
News Release

The London-based on-demand food delivery company announced that it’s raising “a total of $575MM with participation from Amazon alongside existing investors T Rowe Price, Fidelity Management and Research Company, and Greenoaks.”

Amazon is set to lead the round making it the largest investor in the food delivery company’s new funding. The new funds look to help expand its tech team at its United Kingdom headquarters, expand its reach in customer acquisition, and continue to invest in its delivery-only kitchens.

Deliveroo has raised a total of $1.53 billion to date since it was founded in 2013.

Friday, May 17th, 2019


Apple’s Former Head of Retail Joins Airbnb’s Board of Directors
Press Release

The hospitality company announced that Angela Ahrendts will be its “third independent non-affiliated Board Member.”

Ahrendts spent the past five years as the Senior Vice President of Retail at Apple. Prior to that she served eight years as the Chief Executive Officer of luxury brand Burberry.


GetYourGuide Raises New Funds from SoftBank
Press Release

The trip tour and activity marketplace announced that it has raised “$484 million in Series E financing led by the SoftBank Vision Fund.”

According to the company, the global market for tours and activities is expected to reach $183 billion in 2020 and is a fast-growing segment of the global tourism industry.

The company stated that it plans to use the funds to expand its global inventory of experiences, invest in its platform technology, and diversify its marketing channels.


Walmart Teams up with Lebron James
News Release

The retail giant announced that it’s working with basketball superstar, Lebron James, on initiatives that look to invest in education and fight hunger in communities across the United States.

As part of the partnership, Walmart will be providing Lebron’s I PROMISE school with “fresh and frozen food, toiletries and other basic necessities.” Lebron James will in turn be part of Walmart’s Fight Hunger. Spark Change. And Back to School campaigns.

Thursday, May 16th, 2019


American Express Acquires Resy
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire the “digital restaurant reservation booking and management platform.”

The acquisition of Resy looks to provide American Express card members with benefits outside of traditional rewards and points by offering access to other experiences such as dining. Resy has teamed up with approximately 4,000 restaurants across the United States.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Tim Hortons Introduces Plant-Based Breakfast Sandwiches
News Release

The fast-food restaurant chain announced that it’s working with Beyond Meat to test three new plant-based breakfast sandwiches which will be available at “select test market restaurant locations.”

The company stated that if successful, it plans to roll-out the breakfast options nationally across Canada by the end of the summer.


Mastercard Teams up with Lyft
News Release

The financial services company announced that it has partnered with the on-demand transportation provider to launch Lyft Direct Debit, a card that provides drivers with benefits of instant access to earnings, cashback on everyday purchases, and no-fee bank accounts.

The company stated that the program will initially launch in eight US cities including Los Angeles, Houston, and Atlanta.

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019


Impossible Foods Raises $300 Million from Jay-Z and Others
News Release

The plant-based burger company announced that the Series E equity round of funding was led by existing investors Temasek and Horizon Ventures.

The company announced that the round also had participation from investors including Jay-Z, Katy Perry, and Serena Williams.

Impossible Foods stated that the new funds will help with hiring and expanding its plant in Oakland, California.


Uber Launches an Enhanced Uber Black Experience
News Release

The company announced that it’s offering new premium features for Uber Black and Uber Black SUV riders to personalize their trip.

According to a company news release, “Quiet Mode, help with luggage, temperature control, extended pickup periods and premium support will be available to 100% of US Uber Black and Uber Black SUV riders on May 15.”


Adobe Teams up with Amazon
Press Release

The software company announced that it’s collaborating with Amazon to offer Magento Commerce branded stores for Amazon sellers.

Magento, which is part of the Adobe Experience Cloud, looks to “give sellers a seamless way to grow their business and manage their online presence across Amazon.com and their own storefront.”

The offering is available in North America and will soon be available to customers in Europe over the next few months.

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019


Amazon Launches an Initiative to Help Employees Start Their Own Package Delivery Business
Press Release

The technology giant announced that the Delivery Service Partner program will help employees “start a small business owning and operating a package delivery company.”

The company stated that the “new incentive will fund the startup costs, up to $10,000, as well as the equivalent of three months of the former employee’s last gross salary so employees-turned-business-owners can more easily get their package delivery companies off the ground.”


WestJet Gets a New Owner
Press Release

Onex Corporation has agreed to acquire the airline. As part of the deal, WestJet will operate as a privately-held corporation.

The airline announced that the all-cash transaction is valued at approximately $5 billion, including WestJet’s debt.

The company will remain headquartered in Calgary.


Mailchimp Expands its Product Offering
Company Announcement

The email marketing company announced that its expanding its business by rolling out an all-in-one Marketing platform that looks to help small businesses.

Mailchimp’s new Marketing platform looks to offer a deeply integrated app experience that ties in Signup Forms, Landing Pages, and Social Advertising alongside its core email marketing solution.

Monday, May 13th, 2019


Silicon Valley Gets a New Stock Exchange
LTSE Announcement

The SEC approved the Long-Term Stock Exchange’s application to register as a national securities exchange.

The approval gives the exchange the green light to become the 14th registered stock exchange operating in the United States.

It looks to cater to tech startups focused on long-term innovation and seeding future growth over short-term profits. It has been backed by several influential tech heavyweights including Marc Andreessen, the co-founder of Netscape and General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz.


Facebook Launches a New Creative Birthday Greeting Feature
News Release

The social media giant announced that it’s launching a feature on Facebook Stories that lets friends and family create and add “digital birthday cards, photos or videos to a story” to celebrate a user’s birthday.

The company stated that over 500 million users use Facebook Stories every day.


LVMH Teams up with Rihanna to Launch a New Luxury Brand
News Release

The luxury goods conglomerate announced that it has partnered with musical artist, Rihanna, to create a new luxury brand that will be based in Paris.

The brand, which will be named Fenty, will be focused on luxury shoes and accessories.

Fenty is set to debut later this Spring.

Friday, May 10th, 2019


Uber Goes Public
CNBC
S-1

The highly-anticipated IPO debuts on the New York Stock Exchange today.

The company is offering 180 million of its common stock shares “at a price to the public of $45.00 per share” which according to CNBC, values the company at an implied market value of $82.4 billion.

The company stated in its S-1 filing that it currently operates in over 700 cities, and generates approximately 17 million trips a day.


Netflix Acquires a Children’s Educational Content Media Brand
Press Release

The on-demand streaming company announced that it has acquired StoryBots, “the children’s learning and entertainment brand behind the hit Emmy Award-winning Netflix Original series Ask The StoryBots”.

The deal looks to bring “educational content to its growing member base of kids and families around the world.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Nike Unveils a New Technology Product
Nike News

The sportswear brand announced that it’s launching Nike Fit, “a new scanning solution that uses a proprietary combination of computer vision, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence and recommendation algorithms.”

The company stated that Nike Fit will be available within the Nike app and will use technology that measures the full shape of both feet to help customers find the perfect fit for each Nike shoe style.

Thursday, May 9th, 2019


McDonald’s Unveils a Globally Inspired Menu
News Release

The fast food chain announced that it’s introducing a few of its “most popular global menu items to participating restaurants nationwide” in the United States.

Menu items will be from various countries including The Netherlands, Spain, and Australia.

The company stated that starting on June 5th, “McDonald’s Worldwide Favorites will be touching down at participating U.S. restaurants nationwide for a limited time.”


L’Oreal Launches a New Direct-to-Consumer Hair Color Business
Brand Website

The personal care company announced that it’s launching Color&Co., a new brand focused on hair color personalization.

Color&Co looks to connect consumers with licensed colorists via live video chat to determine and provide personalized hair color recommendations. The personalized hair color will then be created and shipped out to the customer.

The new service will be available to US customers.


Waymo Teams up with Lyft
Company Blog Post

The self-driving technology company announced that it’s partnering with Lyft, the on-demand transportation service.

As part of the partnership, Waymo will deploy 10 self-driving vehicles on the Lyft platform over the coming months. Users on the Lyft platform wanting to experience self-driving transportation will have the option to choose a Waymo car.

According to a company blog post, the partnership will initially be available in the Metro Phoenix area.

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019


Nestlé Plans to Make Changes to the Delivery Model for Some of its Frozen Foods
Press Release
Bloomberg

The multinational food and drink company announced that it will be transitioning from its company-owned frozen Direct-Store-Delivery network to a warehouse model.

The changes, which affect its Pizza and Ice Cream businesses, will leverage the warehouse network currently being used for its frozen meals and snacks products. The move looks to cut costs and unlock opportunities in building its brand, and focus on innovation.

Bloomberg reports that the move is expected to affect approximately 4,000 jobs. According to a Nestlé press release, “the phased transition will commence in the third quarter of 2019 and is expected to be complete early in the second quarter of 2020.”


Facebook Unveils New Products for Small Businesses
Company Announcement

The social media giant announced that its launching new solutions to help small business owners grow their companies.

The new products include an automated ad service, the ability to book and manage appointments, and mobile video creation tools.

According to the company, 90 million small businesses have a presence on the social network.


Walmart Launches Three New Pet Care Initiatives
News Release

The retailer announced that it’s rolling out three ways for pet owners to better care for their pets while also driving down overall costs.

The company stated that it’s introducing an “online pet pharmacy for prescription medications; offering a more wholesome assortment of pet foods; and expanding in-store veterinary clinics.”

The new options will be available to customers in the United States.

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019


HBC Looks at the Possibility of Selling Lord + Taylor
News Release

The Hudson’s Bay Company announced that “it is pursuing strategic alternatives for the Lord + Taylor operating business, including a possible sale or merger”.

The company stated in a press release that it “has been simplifying its organization, strengthening its retail operations and unlocking the value of its real estate” while focusing “on improving its cost structure” and “making strategic investments in technology and digital capabilities, marketing and stores.”


Dropbox Launches a New Service for Less Frequently Accessed Files
Company Blog

The file hosting service announced that it’s launching a new product that lets users store files which are used less frequently, at lower costs.

The company stated that its new cold storage service looks to improve efficiency and reduce disk usage by 25%.


Carta Raises New Funds
Company Blog

The equity management company announced that it raised $300 million in its latest Series E round of funding.

According to the company, “the round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, and also includes Lightspeed Venture Partners and Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments.”

Its latest round of funding values the company at $1.7 billion.

Monday, May 6th, 2019


Sinclair Broadcast Group Plans to Acquire 21 Regional Sports Networks from Disney
Press Release

The telecommunications conglomerate announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with the Walt Disney Company to “acquire the equity interests in 21 Regional Sports Networks (the “RSNs”) and Fox College Sports, which were acquired by Disney in its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox.”

The $10.6 billion deal looks to help diversify Sinclair’s revenue streams and content sources.


Stripe Plans to Establish a Remote Engineering Hub
Company Blog Post

The financial payments company announced that it plans to launch a remote team to work closely with its global customer base and attract talent outside of San Francisco, Seattle, Dublin, and Singapore.

The company stated that it plans to hire over 100 remote engineers in 2019.

Stripe also stated that it’s looking to hire “remote product managers, engineering managers, and technical program managers later this year.”


Adidas Announces its Q1 Results
Press Release

The athletic sportswear company announced that “in the first quarter, currency-neutral revenues grew 4%.”

According to a company press release, its “top-line increase was largely driven by double-digit improvements in direct-to-consumer revenues with particularly strong support from e-commerce, where sales grew 40% in the quarter.”

Adidas stated that for 2019, it “continues to expect sales to increase at a rate of between 5% and 8% on a currency-neutral basis.”

Friday, May 3rd, 2019


JP Morgan and Microsoft Announce a Strategic Partnership
News Release

Both companies announced that “they have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a strategic partnership to accelerate the adoption of enterprise blockchain.”

According to a Microsoft press release, JP Morgan has developed a distributed ledger platform called Quorum which will be available on Microsoft’s Azure cloud service.

The move would enable JP Morgan and Microsoft customers to develop and scale blockchain on the cloud.


Chipotle Looks to Divert 50% of its Restaurant Waste from Landfills by 2020
Press Release

According to a company press release, as part of the goal, the restaurant chain plans to: test a “recyclable or compostable cup and lid including a strawless option”, and reduce “the amount of plastic in cutlery by 20%”.


DoorDash Expands Food Deliveries to Wyndham Hotels
Company Blog Post

The on-demand delivery service announced that it “launched a new partnership with Wyndham Rewards, enabling DoorDash customers to enjoy” local restaurants and service while traveling.

The move would bring DoorDash to over 3,700 Wyndham hotels across the United States.

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019


Google Plans to Let Users Auto-Delete Their Location-History and Activity Data
Google Blog Post

The technology company announced that it’s launching a feature to help its users manage their data better.

With the new feature, users can decide on if they’d like their activity-data to be stored for 3 or 18 months. In addition, data older than that time period will be automatically deleted from a user’s account on an ongoing basis.

The company expects the new feature to roll out over the next few weeks.


Amazon Reveals the Top States with the Fastest Growing Small to Medium Sized Businesses
Press Release

The technology company announced that “states with large rural populations have the fastest-growing small and medium-sized businesses.”

According to the report, “SMBs in Mississippi are growing the fastest, with businesses in Nebraska, Maine, Texas, and Indiana rounding out the top five.” The report referenced the year-over-year sales growth of businesses selling on Amazon to help determine the list.

A recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce finds “that unlocking the digital potential of rural small businesses could add $47 billion to the U.S. GDP per year.”


Uber Expands its Drivers Rewards Program to More Cities
Uber Pro Announcement
Uber Pro

The logistics company announced that it’s rolling out Uber Pro to new cities across the United States including New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.

According to the company, drivers can “receive 100% tuition coverage at Arizona State University toward a four-year degree or non-degree courses in entrepreneurship and English language learning.”

The program, which was piloted in November 2018, offers qualified Uber Pro drivers rewards such as free roadside assistance, up to 25% off car maintenance, and savings on everyday costs like gas.

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019


Facebook Plans to Roll Out Changes to its Apps
News Release

In an effort to reach its goal of building a more privacy-focused platform, the social media giant announced that it’s making changes and additions to its products including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

The new features look to “help people discover their communities, deepen their connections” and unlock new opportunities.

A few highlights include redesigning the Facebook app to focus more on its Groups feature, the ability to fundraise for causes on Instagram, and the launch of a business catalog within WhatsApp so that customers can easily discover new products and services when chatting with an organization.


Amazon Looks to Expand its Denver Office
Press Release

The technology giant announced that it “plans to create 400 new high-tech jobs in fields including software and hardware engineering, cloud computing, and advertising.”

The move would more than double its tech workforce in the metro area as it already has approximately 350 employees operating out of its Denver office.

According to a company press release, “Amazon has created more than 3,500 full-time jobs in Colorado and invested over $1.5 billion in the state since 2016, including infrastructure and compensation.”


Spotify Celebrates Over 100 Million Premium Subscribers
News Release

The streaming service announced in its Q1 2019 results that it has reached the milestone of serving 100 million paying subscribers.

The company, which was founded in 2006, operates in 79 markets, streaming music and podcasts to its users around the globe.

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019


Twitter Announces New Content Deals
TechCrunch

The social media company announced that its expanding its lineup of on-demand video content partners including Live Nation, NFL, and the Wall Street Journal.

The announcement was made at the Digital Content NewFronts event in New York on Monday.

In addition to offering more content to its users, the move enables advertisers with more opportunities to connect to its userbase.


Marriott International Launches a Home Rental Initiative
News Release

The hospitality company announced that it’s rolling out a home rental initiative that offers “2,000 premium and luxury homes located in over 100 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.”

According to a company press release, the new service “was developed as a result of the 2018 pilot under the brand extension Tribute Portfolio Homes.”

Homes & Villas by Marriott International looks to capitalize on the increasingly popular home rentals space and compete against other home sharing companies such as Airbnb and HomeAway.


Microsoft and Dell Expand Their Partnership
News Release

Both companies announced in a press release that the partnership expasion looks “to help customers accelerate their digital transformation.”

The collaboration looks to provide its mutual customers with digital workplace solutions and an integrated cloud experience by enabling “a fully native, supported, and certified VMware cloud infrastructure on Microsoft Azure.”

Monday, April 29th, 2019


Slack Files to Go Public
S-1 Filing

The workplace collaboration tool looks to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange via Direct Listing, a process where a company offers its securities directly to the public markets without the use of underwriters or banks.

The process to list publicly was also used by Spotify last year.

The company stated in its S-1 filing that it achieved $400 million in revenue for the year ending Jan. 31, 2019 with a net loss of $138.9 M. According to the filing, it currently has over 10 million daily active users, with over 600k organizations using the product.


Lattice, a Leader in Performance Management Software Raises New Funds
Company Blog Post

The performance management startup announced that it has “raised $15 million in Series B funding, led by Shasta and joined by Thrive and Khosla Ventures.”

The company, which was founded in 2016, looks to use the funds to grow its team and invest in developing new products on its platform.


Walmart is Entering the Beef Industry
Company Announcement 1
Company Announcement 2

The retail giant announced that it’s “developing an end-to-end supply chain for Angus beef” in an effort to provide its customers with greater “quality and transparency” on their beef purchases.

The move looks to work with best-in-class partners on sourcing “cattle raised on family farms and ranches.”

The company stated that a “selection of Angus beef cuts like steaks and roasts from this supply chain will be sold in 500 Walmart stores across a number of states in the southeast including Georgia, Alabama and Florida.”

Friday, April 26th, 2019


Amazon Announces Financial Results for the First Quarter of the Year
News Release

The tech company announced that its Q1 sales are up 17% to $59.7 billion, “compared with $51.0 billion in first quarter 2018.”

A few highlights from the quarter include the adoption of over 30 million active users of its Fire TV product, increased international growth of its Amazon Alexa product, and the launch of over “ 50 new and enhanced tools designed for SMBs to help build their business in Amazon’s stores.”


Snap Appoints a New Chief Marketing Officer
News Release

The messaging company announced that it has named Kenny Mitchell as its new CMO.

According to a press release, Mitchell “will lead all consumer and product marketing programs.”

He joins Snap from McDonald’s USA, where he served as the Vice President of Brand Content & Engagement, guiding “the company’s strategic brand and consumer marketing agenda in the US.”


Coursera Raises a New Round of Funding
Company Blog Post

The online learning startup announced that it has raised “$103 million of investment in a Series E equity round.”

The funds will help the company expand internationally and accelerate the development of its platform.

Coursera currently “serves 40 million learners, 1,800 businesses, and over 150 top universities.“

Thursday, April 25th, 2019


Lululemon Unveils a Strategic Growth Plan
News Release

The athletic apparel company outlined its growth plans over the next five years that looks to focus on creating better guest experiences, driving product innovation, and expanding deeper into key markets around the globe.

As part of the company’s growth strategy, Lululemon stated that it plans to “double men’s and digital revenues” and increase international revenues and growth in its core women’s business line.


Equifax Acquires Paynet
Press Release

The data analytics company announced that it has acquired Paynet, “a company that provides commercial credit risk underwriting and management solutions to online and alternative finance lenders, and commercial finance and leasing companies in the U.S. and Canadian markets.”

The deal looks to help Equifax provide innovative solutions to commercial clients.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Google Launches a Fitness App on iOS
Company Blog Post

The technology company announced that it’s rolling out Google Fit in the Apple App Store.

Google Fit allows users to track their daily movements to measure physical activity in order to “help reduce the risk of heart disease, improve sleep and increase overall mental health.”

Users who download the app will be able to sync other fitness apps including Sleep Cycle, Headspace, and Nike Run Club in order to get a holistic view of their fitness, and sleep activity.

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019


Amazon Launches its Garage Delivery Option
News Release

The technology company announced that customers are able to receive deliveries “in their garage using the Key Smart Garage Kit.”

According to a company press release, customers are able to select In-Garage Delivery as an option for purchases made on Amazon.com. They will then be able to “check the status of their garage door in the Key by Amazon app and remotely open or close it.”

The option is available to eligible Amazon Prime members based in the United States.


General Mills Announces a New Wind Power Agreement
News Release

The food manufacturer announced that it plans to “match 100 percent of its annual U.S. electricity use with new wind power agreement.”

According to a company press release the “15-year power purchase agreement with Roaring Fork Wind” will be for “200 megawatts (MW) of its Maverick Creek wind project.”

General Mills stated that the project is expected to produce renewable energy credits “that, together with the company’s previous wind power agreement, are calculated to equal 100 percent of the electricity used annually at the company’s owned domestic facilities.”


Postmates Stated that it Serves More than 70% of US Households
Company Blog Post

The logistics company announced in a company blog post that it “now operates in more than 3,500 cities, serving more than 70% of US households across all 50 states.”

The company, which offers “on-demand delivery from more than 500,000 restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, and traditional retailers” is expected to go public later this year.

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019


Kraft Heinz Appoints a New CEO
Press Release

The food company announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Miguel Patricio as its Chief Executive Officer.

Patricio joins the company from Anheuser-Busch InBev where he served various leadership positions during his time of approximately two decades with the company.

Patricio succeeds “Bernardo Hees, who will remain CEO through June 30, 2019, to ensure a seamless transition”.


Target Launches a New Household Essentials Brand
Press Release

The retail company is introducing “Everspring, a new household essentials brand comprised of more than 70 household essentials items.”

A few items include multi-purpose cleaners, laundry detergents, and paper towels.

According to a company press release, Everspring products will be made with “ingredients and components that are derived from plants or use other renewable materials, as well as post-consumer recycled paper.”


Tesla Plans to Rollout Robotaxis
Tesla
CNBC
CNN

Elon Musk stated that the company is expecting to launch a limited line of robo-taxis in 2020.

According to a statement made by Musk at the Tesla Autonomy Investor Day in Palo Alto, California, users would be able to summon a car, hop in, and go for a drive.

The potential move would be the company’s first step into the ride-sharing market.

Monday, April 22nd, 2019


LVMH Completes its Acquisition of the Belmond Group
Press Release

The luxury goods company announced that the deal will strengthen its presence in the luxury hospitality space.

The Belmond group operates in 24 countries, managing 33 hotels, which represents approximately 3,100 rooms.

According to a company press release, the deal will increase LVMH’s “presence in the world of ultimate luxury hotels, adding a collection of unique experiences in inspiring destinations.”


Everlane is Gearing up to Launch a Sneaker Brand
Everlane Tread
Bloomberg

The online clothing retailer announced that the new shoe line will officially launch on April 25th.

The new line, which is called Tread, is expected to be a low-impact shoe brand that plans to be eco-friendly and carbon neutral.

The move looks to bring the company to the $20 billion U.S. sneaker market.


Serena Williams Officially Launches a Venture Capital Fund
Instagram

The tennis professional announced in an Instagram post that the fund looks to invest in companies that embrace diversity, creativity, and individual empowerment.

Serena Ventures, which has been quietly in operations since 2014, has invested in startups such as, Coinbase, Billie, and Lola.

Thursday, April 18th, 2019


Google Cloud Hires a New President of Global Customer Operations
Company Blog Post

The cloud computing platform announced that it has appointed Robert Enslin to help it expand its customer and partner relationships “into established industries and growth markets around the world.”

Enslin joins the company from SAP where he spent the last 27 years in leadership roles across sales and operations.


Carl’s Jr. is Testing a CBD Infused Burger
Company Tweet

The fast-food restaurant chain announced that it’s testing its new product for one day only on April 20th.

According to the company, the “Rocky Mountain High: CheeseBurger Delight” will be available at one store located in Denver.

The company states that the burger will be infused with CBD oil which will be sourced by Bluebird Botanicals, a Colorado-based company.


Airbnb Leads an Equity Financing Round for a Premium Hospitality Startup
TechCrunch

The home sharing company led a $160-million equity financing round for Lyric, a premium stay hospitality platform that gets its inventory by building partnerships with landlords of multi-family residential buildings.

According to TechCrunch, Lyric is available in 13 markets with unit prices starting at around $200 per night.

The new round of funding looks to help the company expand its current operations and increase the number of units available on its platform.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019


Mastercard Acquires Vyze
Press Release

The financial services organization announced that it is acquiring the cloud-based financing technology company which focuses on point-of-sale financing.

According to a company press release, Vyze connects “merchants with multiple lenders, allowing them to offer their customers a wide range of credit options online and in-store.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Daimler Teams up with Sila Nanotechnologies
Press Release

The multinational automotive company announced that it has acquired a minority stake in Sila Nano, a new battery manufacturer that according to the company outperforms existing lithium-ion technologies.

According to a company press release, the strategic partnership looks to pave the way for the next generation of electric Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

The deal is part of Daimler’s research and development activities.


Walmart Plans to Acquire the Technology and Assets of Polymorph Labs
Press Release

The retail company announced that it’s acquiring the advertising startup to expand its in-house ad technology.

The deal looks to assist the retailer in delivering more relevant ads to its customers. According to a company press release, the transaction complements Walmart’s “current omni-channel ad targeting and measurement solution, and will provide a platform for continued future innovation, such as real-time auctions across multiple ad-pricing models.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019


US Bank Hires a New Chief Digital Officer
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it has appointed Derek White to lead its newly formed digital team.

He will be reporting to Andy Cecere, the company’s chairman, president and CEO. He previously served as the global head of client solutions with BBVA in Spain.

According to a company press release, White will focus on “enterprise-wide digital strategy, including innovation, digital products, development, omnichannel and Agile initiatives.”


Starbucks Looks to Power 360 Stores with Solar Energy
Press Release

The coffee company announced that it’s working with Cypress Creek Renewables, “a leading developer, investor, builder and operator of solar energy generating assets in regulated and deregulated markets across the United States.”

The move looks to power Starbucks stores in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano and Arlington.

Starbucks also announced that it’s “separately investing in six Cypress Creek-owned solar farms in Texas, representing 50 megawatts of solar energy.”


Mastercard Looks to Bring More Transparency into Amazon Business Purchases
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it’s helping commercial cardholders gather more enhanced data on their Amazon Business transactions.

According to a company press release, the feature looks to offer businesses with a “detailed understanding of each line-item, such as item description, price and relevant tax information, for all Amazon Business purchases.”

The product is currently available to commercial clients in “Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”

Monday, April 15th, 2019


Publicis Plans to Acquire Epsilon
Press Release

The multinational advertising and PR firm announced that it has “entered into an agreement with Alliance Data Systems Corporation under which Publicis Groupe will acquire Alliance Data’s Epsilon business.”

The $4.4 billion all-cash deal looks to accelerate the company’s data-driven capabilities and help it become the preferred transformation partner for its clients.

As part of the deal, Publicis looks to benefit from Epsilon’s leadership team, 3 700 data scientists, technology teams and artificial intelligence experts.


Coinbase Launches a Visa Debit Card
Company Announcement

The digital currency exchange announced that its users will be able to fund their Coinbase Visa debit card with their Coinbase cryptocurrency account balance.

According to the company, cardholders will be able to pay with contactless, PIN or withdraw cash from an ATM.

The company also states that Coinbase card users will be able to track secure spending through an iPhone or Android app.


Chevron Acquires Andarko for $33 Billion
Press Release

The multinational energy company announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.

According to a company press release, the $33 billion stock and cash deal will help “enhance Chevron’s already advantaged Upstream portfolio and further strengthen its leading positions in large, attractive shale, deepwater and natural gas resource basins.”

Friday, April 12th, 2019


Disney Launches an On-Demand Streaming Service
Company Announcement

The media and entertainment company announced that it’s launching Disney+, a streaming service that showcases content from its brands including Pixar, National Geographic, and Marvel.

The service will be available in the United States and will launch on November 12th, 2019 with pricing at $6.99 per month.

The company stated that it expects to roll out the service globally within the next 2 years.


Lemonade Raises $300 Million
TechCrunch

The insurance technology startup powered by artificial intelligence announced that it raised its Series D round of funding led by Softbank.

A few additional investors include General Catalyst, GV, and Thrive Capital.

The company plans to use the funds to accelerate its expansion into the United States and European markets, and launch new product lines.


Uber Files for its Initial Public Offering
S-1 Filing
CNBC

The transportation company filed its IPO prospectus with the SEC.

According to the filing, the company generated $11.27 billion in revenue in 2018, and posted $997 million in net income but an adjusted EBITDA loss of $1.85 billion. It also outlined that by the end of 2018, it had an average of 91 million active users across its product lines including Uber Eats and ride-hailing.

The company plans to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Thursday, April 11th, 2019


JetBlue Plans to Launch New Flights to London
Press Release

The low-cost airline company announced that it plans to roll out flights from New York and Boston to London, England. The company expects to launch from both New York and Boston in 2021.

The move would be the first European destination for the airline carrier. The destination looks to help JetBlue in its expansion strategy and offer service to it’s loyal business and leisure customers who have previously been forced to fly with other carriers to and from London.

JetBlue has not stated which London airports it will serve.


Macy’s Launches a New Retail Experience
Press Release

The department store chain announced that it’s rolling out STORY, a retail experience that looks to “bring to life an editorial approach to retail in 36 Macy’s stores nationwide.”

The initial store theme will be on the subject of color where customers across the US will be able to “explore and experience color through a rainbow of curated, giftable products and through a range of more than 300 fun color-inspired events.”

The new retail experience looks to average around “1,500 square feet, cumulatively representing more than 55,000 square feet of main-floor retail space.”


Accenture Teams up with Google Cloud
News Release

The management consulting and professional services firm announced that it’s will be teaming up with Google Cloud to “create solutions using Google Cloud artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology for Fortune 2000 clients in the financial services, insurance, energy, utilities, travel, retail, communications, media and technology industries.”

According to a company press release, the collaboration looks to help enterprise clients modernize their businesses and improve their customer experiences around three key areas: the enablement of multi-channel client interactions, data management improvement, and creating solutions for hyper-personalized services in marketing and sales.

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019


Slack Unveils New Integrations with Microsoft Office 365
Company Announcement
Slack/Office 365 Integration Page

The workplace collaboration tool announced that it’s enabling its users to connect their Outlook calendar, send Outlook email to Slack, import and search for files from OneDrive, and preview entire PowerPoint and Word files on the platform.

The company stated in a company blog post that the “updates are the first in a series of steps to integrate the work” created in “Office 365 with the collaboration taking place in Slack.”

Microsoft operates a similar work collaboration product, Microsoft Teams, which directly competes with Slack.


Walmart Expands its Investment in “Smart Assistant” Store Robots
News Release

The retail giant announced that after months of pilot testing the company is ready to introduce automation technology to enhance store operations across the United States.

As part of the rollout, the company will introduce 1,500 new autonomous floor cleaners, 300 additional shelf scanners, 1,200 item scan and sorter, and 900 online order pickup towers.

The new technologies look to help enhance its associates workplace experience as jobs in retail continue to change.


Uber Lets Businesses Pick Up the Tab for Rides
Company Announcement
Offering Page

The on-demand transportation company announced that it’s launching Uber Vouchers, a product that enables businesses to cover the cost of rides for their customers.

The move looks to help businesses attract new customers, reward current clients, or enhance customer service.

The company stated that it currently works with “Westfield, TGI Fridays, Live Nation, Sprint, and the Golden State Warriors” to offer the service to their customers.

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019


2U Announces that it’s Acquiring Trilogy Education for $750 Million
Company Blog Post
Company Announcement

The education technology company announced that the acquisition of Trilogy Education, “a workforce accelerator that prepares adult learners for high-growth careers in the digital economy”, will expand 2U’s university portfolio from 36 to 68 partners, combine over 250 educational offerings, and serve over 150,000 students.

The $750 million cash and stock deal will consist of “$400 million in cash and $350 million in newly issued shares of 2U common stock.”

The deal is expected to close in the next 60 days.


Viber Launches a Service that Helps its Users Save Money While Abroad
Company Blog Post

The mobile messaging app announced that it’s launching Viber Local Number, a service that provides its users with the option to use a locally-based virtual landline or mobile number enabling users to make calls at a local rate no matter where they are located around the globe.

The new offering starts at $1.99 per month for the first 10,000 users who sign-up to the subscription service.


Amazon Announces Three Renewable Energy Projects
Company Press Release

The technology giant announced that it’s opening “three new wind farms in Ireland, Sweden, and the United States”. The projects look to support AWS, its cloud service, in reaching its long-term goal of powering 100% of its infrastructure around the globe with renewable energy.

The projects are expected to generate wind-energy totalling over “229 megawatts (MW) of power, with expected generation of over 670,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually.”

Monday, April 8th, 2019


Snapchat Launches a Gaming Feature
News Release

The social media network announced that it’s launching Snap Games, a mobile gaming feature that allows users to experience games together with their friends.

Users will have access to the feature via the chat bar, with no installation required.

Snap Games will initially launch with 6 titles from mobile game developers including Zynga, SpryFox, and ZeptoLab. The new gaming feature is available to its global user base.


OnDeck Offers Same-Day Funding for Small Businesses
Press Release

The online lender announced that it will “offer to fund and debit customer bank accounts with Same Day ACH transfers.”

The move looks to eliminate the pain small businesses face in the traditional ACH transfer process that can take place over multiple days.

According to a company press release, the new OnDeck offering supports up to $25,000 by 5:00 pm local time, provided that the small business books their loan or draw by 10:30 am on a business day.


Microsoft Teams up with OpenClassrooms to Target the Artificial Intelligence Talent Gap
News Release

The technology company announced that it’s teaming up with the online vocational training platform “to train and prepare students for artificial intelligence jobs in the workplace.”

The move looks to enable students with access to learning in-demand skills to qualify for high-tech jobs.

According to a Microsoft news release, “the demand for next-generation artificial intelligence skills has far outpaced the number of candidates in the job market.”

Friday, April 5th, 2019


Marriott International Looks to Aggressively Expand into the Asia Pacific Region
News Release

The hospitality company announced that it plans to have 1000 hotels open by the end of 2020.

The move is expected to generate over 50,000 new jobs in the region. The company plans to “capitalize on global travel trends in China, India, and Indonesia.”

Marriott International’s portfolio in the Asia Pacific region “currently encompasses over 710 properties in 23 countries and territories, operating under 23 of the company’s 30 global brands.”


Whatsapp for Business Launches on the iPhone
Company Blog Post

The messaging platform announced that business owners who own iPhones will now be able to use Whatsapp for Business. The app will be “free to download from the Apple App Store and will include features to help small businesses and customers communicate.”

The company stated that the Android version of Whatsapp for Business has already been adopted by millions of businesses around the globe.

The initial rollout will be available to iPhone users in “Brazil, Germany, Indonesia, India, Mexico, the U.K. and the U.S.” The company stated that it plans to launch the new product to other countries in the coming weeks.


Adidas Teams up with Beyoncé
News Release

The sportswear brand announced that it’s working with Beyoncé in a multi-layered partnership that looks to inspire and empower creators, co-create new products, and identify new business opportunities.

As part of the partnership, the artist will be a “creative partner for the brand, develop new signature footwear and apparel”, as well as relaunch her athleisure clothing line, Ivy Park, on a global scale.

Thursday, April 4th, 2019


Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos Work Together to Fund Alzheimer’s Research
Biospace
Gates Notes

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Jeff Bezos’ Day One Fund are joining forces to donate $15 million to the Diagnostics Accelerator, a project which is part of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

The Diagnostics Accelerator looks to develop an affordable test for stopping Alzheimer’s disease. According to a blog post by Bill Gates, currently, the best methods for diagnosing Alzheimer’s is through a spinal tap or brain scan, however those methods, according to Gates, are invasive and expensive.


BNP Paribas Invests in a Pre-IPO Security Marketplace
Announcement

The European-based banking group announced that it has invested in Forge, a marketplace focused on pre-IPO companies. Forge enables employees of the unicorn firms – that is, private startups valued at over $1 billion – to sell their shares.

As part of the deal both firms will develop and distribute “investment products providing exposure to Pre-IPO / private innovation companies.”

According to a company announcement, there are “over 300 unicorns in the world, representing over $1 trillion in enterprise value” and many investors are looking to access the private companies.


WeWork Acquires a Workplace Services Company
News Release

The coworking company announced that it has acquired Managed by Q, a workplace management platform that offers facilities, workplace staffing, and project management services.

The deal looks to help WeWork “deliver an unprecedented and seamless office experience for growing companies”.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019


Walmart Teams up with Google
News Release

The retail giant announced that it’s launching Walmart Voice Order, a service that enables its customers to shop via voice using the Google Assistant available on Google Home Hub, Android phones, Watches, and iPhones.

Starting this month, US-based customers will be able to place orders such as milk directly to their online Walmart Grocery Cart, where customers can then choose to pick up their items at the store or have them delivered.

The company stated that it plans to expand shopping options for its customers by integrating with other voice-enabled systems in the future.


Zillow Group Launches a Mortgage Business
News Release

The real estate marketplace announced that it’s launching Zillow Home Loans, a new service that enables its users to shop for mortgages on its platform.

According to a company press release, “home shoppers who want to purchase a Zillow-owned home may use Zillow Home Loans to seamlessly finance their home purchase.”

Zillow Home Loans is the re-named business which was formerly known as Mortgage Lenders of America. which was acquired by Zillow Group in the fall of 2018.


Macy’s Appoints a Chief Supply Chain Officer
News Release

The department store chain announced that it has named Dennis Mullahy as its new Chief Supply Chain Officer.

According to a company press release, he will “oversee the entire product journey, including global sourcing, inventory management, store and ecommerce distribution, transportation, indirect procurement, supply chain systems, sustainability and supplier diversity.”

Mullahy previously served as the Execuitve Vice President of Supply Chain and IT at Michael’s Stores, Inc.

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019


Kellogg’s Sells a Portion of its North American Snacking Business
News Release

The consumer foods company announced that “it has reached a definitive agreement to sell selected cookies, fruit and fruit-flavored snacks, pie crusts, and ice cream cones businesses to the Ferrero Group.”

The transaction includes brands and assets related to the businesses, as well as, production facilities.

The all-cash deal, which represents a portion of Kellogg’s North America snacking business, is valued at $1.3 billion.


Burger King Teams up with Impossible Foods to Test a New Plant-Based Whopper
Youtube
CNBC
New York Times

The fast-food retailer will be pilot testing a plant-based version of the Whopper.

The meatless patties will be supplied by Impossible Foods, a plant-based food company.

The chain plans to test out the new menu item across 59 locations in and around the St. Louis area.


Intel Capital Invests $117 Million into Startups
News Release

Intel’s global investment organization announced that it has invested in 14 startups focused on the areas of artificial intelligence, manufacturing, healthcare, and communication.

Intel Capital stated that the investments extend into its “recent strategy of taking larger, more strategic positions in portfolio startups.”

The investment arm commits $300 to $500 million per year into innovative and emerging companies.

Monday, April 1st, 2019


Mark Zuckerberg Outlines Four Suggestions to Regulate the Internet
News Release

The founder and CEO of Facebook announced the need for regulation in harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability.

Zuckerberg stated that Facebook has a role and responsibility to address the issues. Moving forward, the founder looks to discuss the suggestions in detail with lawmakers around the globe.


Ford’s Explorer Model Offers a Self-Care Mindfulness Feature
Press Release

The automaker announced that its new Ford Explorer models will offer Mindful Mode, a feature that “strips away all data allowing drivers to process less information behind the wheel, leaving visible the fuel, speedometer and the road ahead.”

The mode looks to decrease the number of overwhelming features on most vehicle models today.

The new Ford Explorer is expected to be available this summer.


T-Mobile Launches a Soundproof Phone Booth
News Release

The telecommunications company announced that it’s launching Phone BoothE, “a soundproof cube that allows T-Mobile customers to take and make calls or browse their smartphone in peace – in some of the loudest public spaces in the country.”

In addition to peace and quiet, the temperature-controlled booths will have charging stations and large screens for video calls.

T-Mobile’s Phone BoothE will initially be available in New York City, Washington DC, and Seattle.

Friday, March 29th, 2019


Verizon Looks to Combat Robocalls
Press Release

The telecommunications company announced that it’s deploying tools for customers to help identify and block robocalls.

All postpaid wireless customers with a compatible device can enroll in the free program that provides an alert for calls that are considered spam and also block robocalls based on their preferred level of risk.

Customers who need an extra level of protection can purchase a $2.99 a month plan that identifies unknown callers, enables users to create a personal block list, and access a spam number lookup feature.


Domino’s Celebrates its 10,000th International Store
Press Release

The pizza chain announced that it has opened its 10,000th location in Shenzen, China.

The 1,300 square foot store is the 200th location in mainland China.

According to a company press release, the brand “operates in more than 85 markets worldwide, with more than half of its global retail sales coming from international stores.”


Amazon Expands its Austin Tech Hub
Press Release

The technology giant announced that it has expanded its headcount to 800 new tech roles in its Austin location.

The jobs will be in the areas of research science, software and hardware engineering, and cloud computing.

According to a company press release, Amazon “has created more than 22,000 full-time jobs in Texas and since 2011 has invested over $7 billion in the state, including infrastructure and compensation to its employees.”

Thursday, March 28th, 2019


Volkswagen Teams up with Amazon
Press Release

Amazon announced that the automaker will be using Amazon’s AWS Cloud service to power its “Volkswagen Industrial Cloud, a cloud-based Industrial digital production platform that will transform the automotive company’s manufacturing and logistics processes.”

The multi-year global agreement will help Volkswagen “increase plant efficiency and uptime, improve production flexibility, and increase vehicle quality.”


Casper Raises $100 Million
Business Insider
Bloomberg

The new funds value the mattress startup at over a billion dollars.

The round of new funding looks to help the company drive omnichannel growth, and fuel its position in the industry.

As part of the new funds, Casper will add Karen Katz, the former CEO of Neiman Marcus Group and Dani Reiss, the Chairman and CEO of Canada Goose to its board.


Airbnb Announces Half a Billion Guest Arrivals
Press Release

The hospitality company announced that it has facilitated over 500 million guest arrivals since it was founded in 2007.

The company now operates in “over 191 countries and 81,000 cities worldwide” enabling over 6 million places to stay, as well as, over “over 25,000 Experiences available in over 1,000 cities.”

According to a company press release, Airbnb Hosts have earned over $65 billion.

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019


Uber Acquires a Ride-Hailing Company
Press Release

The on-demand transportation company announced that it’s agreed to acquire Careem for “$1.7 billion in convertible notes and $1.4 billion in cash.”

According to a press release, as part of the deal, Uber will acquire Careem’s “mobility, delivery, and payments businesses across the greater Middle East region, ranging from Morocco to Pakistan, with major markets including Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.”

Careem will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber. The deal is expected to close in Q1 of 2020.


UPS Teams up with Matternet to Deliver Medical Samples via Drone
Press Release

The logistics company announced in a company press release that it’s launching a “new logistics service to deliver medical samples via unmanned drones through a collaboration with Matternet, a leader in autonomous drone technology.”

The program will operate at WakeMed’s flagship hospital and campus in the Raleigh, North Carolina. The FAA and North Carolina Department of Transportation will oversee the program.

The transportation of medical samples via drone opens the opportunity for on-demand and same-day delivery providing the ability to avoid road traffic, lower costs, increase medical delivery efficiency, and improve the patient experience.


Spotify Acquires Another Podcast Content Studio
Press Release

The audio streaming service announced that it’s acquiring Parcast, a podcast creation studio founded in 2016.

The deal will provide Spotify with a “curated library of highly produced shows and its engaged, loyal audiences.” Terms of the Parcast deal were not disclosed.

The announcement was made just over a month since Spotify announced that it was acquiring Gimlet Media, a podcast producer, and Anchor, a podcast creation and distribution platform.

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019


Apple Announces New Services
Apple News+
AppleTV+
Apple Arcade
Apple Card

The technology company announced that it’s launching Apple News+, Apple Card, AppleTV+, and Apple Arcade.

Apple News+ provides users with access to over 300 publications including The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, and National Geographic Magazine for $9.99 a month for US customers.

Apple Card, a Mastercard credit card that offers 3% cashback on Apple puchases, and 2% Apple Pay transactions will be available to US customers in the summer. Users will have the opportunity to also use a physical titanium card that doesn’t show a user’s card number, expiration date, or CVV.

AppleTV+ offers an ad-free streaming platform that will show exclusive content and will be available to over 100 countries by the fall.

Apple Arcade will be a video gaming service that allows users to play over 100 games online and offline across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV.


Starbucks Commits $100 Million to a New Venture Fund
Press Release

The coffee company announced that it’s investing $100 million in Valor Siren Ventures, a growth investment firm launching a fund that looks to “raise an additional $300 million in the coming months from other strategic partners and key institutional investors.”

According to a company press release, the investment “will identify and invest in companies that are developing technologies, products, and solutions relating to food or retail.”


McDonald’s Acquires an Artificial Intelligence Company
News Release
WSJ

The fast food chain announced that it’s acquiring Dynamic Yield, a machine-learning technology startup. The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources familiar with the matter, that the transaction will be for more $300 million.

According to a company press release, the deal will help the company personalize its customer experience by customizing Drive Thru menu items at the point of sale depending on time of day, trending menu items, and weather.

Monday, March 25th, 2019


Pinterest Announces a New Head of Engineering
Head of Engineering Announcement
IPO News Release

The social media platform announced that Jeremy King, Walmart’s former CTO, will be joining the company as Head of Engineering. King brings expertise in eCommerce development and scaling and building consumer products.

The company also announced plans for its long-anticipated initial public offering. Pinterest aims to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. It joins a wave of other tech startups looking to go public this year including, Lyft, Slack, and Zoom.


Shaquille O’Neil Teams up with Papa John’s Pizza
Press Release

The NBA Hall of Famer and Restauranteur will be joining the company’s Board of Directors and will also invest in 9 Papa John’s restaurants in the greater Atlanta region.

In addition to the announcement, O’Neil will also join the pizza company as an Ambassador assisting with various marketing efforts and initiatives.


Mastercard Expands its City Transit Payment Partnerships
Press Release

The global payments technology company announced that it’s expanding partnerships with 20 cities in the United States enabling contactless payment solutions for its public transportation systems.

The company already offers its payment technology to 16 metro areas including Los Angeles, Denver, and Boston.

According to a company press release, New York City is expected to enable tap-and-go payments on its transit systems later this year.

Friday, March 22nd, 2019


Square Looks to Help its Merchants Sell More
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it’s helping its merchants start or grow their businesses by offering an eCommerce website, as well as other services which include Instagram selling, shipping, and in-store pickup.

In order to offer the service, the company stated that it will be integrating its Weebly commerce platform, a company that it acquired over a year ago for approximately $365 million.

The company’s new service will also help restaurants facilitate website orders, provide the ability to customize pickup times across multiple locations, and enable the option to pay ahead for online orders.


Postmates Launches a Group Delivery Option
Company Blog Post

The on-demand delivery company announced in a company blog post that it’s launching Postmates Party, an option that helps customers save “money by ordering from popular restaurants that people all around them are ordering from in real time.”

Customers who claim a Postmates Party deal within a specific time-frame are able to receive free delivery on their orders.

The feature will be initially available in cities including, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.


Rent the Runway Receives New Funding
New York Times

The New York Times reports that the designer dress and accessory rental company has closed a $125 million round of new funding. The round was led by Bain Capital Ventures and Franklin Templeton Investments.

The new capital looks to help the company expand its product offering, open a second distribution center in Dallas, and establish a new store in San Francisco.

Thursday, March 21st, 2019


Apple Announces New AirPods
Press Release

The technology giant announced that it’s releasing the second generation of its AirPods wireless headphones that will deliver up to 50% more talk time, improved device connection, hands-free Siri requests, and the option to purchase a wireless charging case.

The announcement comes ahead of the company’s March 25th keynote event.


Ford Adds its Second North American Electric Vehicle Plant
Press Release

The automaker announced that it will be opening its second North American electric vehicle plant which will be located in southeast Michigan.

The new plant is tied to Ford’s $11.1 billion investment in global electric vehicles.

According to a company press release, Ford will be “investing approximately $900 million in its southeast Michigan manufacturing footprint and targeting 900 incremental direct new jobs through 2023.”


Amazon Launches a Skincare Line
Press Release
L2 Report on Amazon Private Label Brands

The technology company announced that it’s launching Belei, its own skincare line of “12 items including moisturizers, serums, eye cream, spot treatments and more.”

According to a company press release, Belei “products are free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and fragrance and are not tested on animals.”

The new product is part of a growing list of Amazon private label brands spanning categories that include apparel, food and beverage, and electronics.

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019


Instagram Launches a New Shopping Feature
Press Release

The social media platform announced that it’s rolling out a feature that enables its users to purchase items without leaving the app.

Instagram Checkout gives users the ability to click on a brand’s shopping post, choose item preferences such as size or color, and proceed to a payment page all within the Instagram app, enabling a frictionless shopping experience.

The feature is “currently in closed beta for businesses and available to people in the US.” Brands included in the initial rollout include Warby Parker, Nike, and Prada.


Starbucks Enhances its Rewards Loyalty Program
Press Release

The specialty coffee retailer announced new updates to its loyalty program which include the ability for all Starbucks Rewards members to “earn Stars toward free Rewards from the day they join” and “No Star Expiration for Chase Credit/Debit Cardholders”.

As of December 2018, the company’s loyalty program has approximately 16 million active members, which is a 14% increase over the prior year.


Google Announces a New Gaming Platform
Company Blog Post

The technology giant announced that it’s rolling out Stadia, a video gaming platform that instantly delivers access to popular “games on any type of screen—whether it’s a TV, laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile phone.”

Stadia is expected to launch later this year in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and much of Europe.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019


Lyft Looks to Raise Up to $2.4 Billion
S-1
Reuters

The on-demand transportation company filed an amended version of its S-1 Registration Statement that could value the company at nearly $20 billion.

Lyft will trade on the Nasdaq and plans to offer more than 30 million shares with an initial IPO price per share between $62 to $68.

According to Reuters, its main competitor, Uber, is reportedly expected to announce its IPO plans in April.


FIS Announces a Merger with Worldpay
Press Release

The financial services technology company announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Worldpay, an eCommerce and payments leader.

FIS will purchase Worldpay for approximately $43 billion in stock and cash.

According to an FIS press release, the deal will help the combined company “offer best-in-class enterprise banking, payments, capital markets, and global eCommerce capabilities empowering financial institutions and businesses worldwide.”


IBM Launches a Blockchain Payment Network for Financial Institutions
News Release

The multinational information technology company announced that it’s launching “IBM Blockchain World Wire, a real-time global payments network for regulated financial institutions.”

World Wire is available in “72 countries, with 47 currencies and 44 banking endpoints”.

The new offering looks to accelerate remittances, foreign exchange, and cross-border payments.

Monday, March 18th, 2019


Gillette Partners with TerraCycle to Make All Razors Recyclable Across the United States
Press Release

The personal care products company announced that it’s teaming up with TerraCycle, a recycling company to make all of its “brands of disposable razors, replaceable-blade cartridge units and razor plastic packaging” recyclable on a national scale.

As part of the partnership, both companies are working together to launch recycling programs that enable users to mail-in their used razors to TerraCycle or send their razors to approved local TerraCycle partners.


23andMe Offers a New Type 2 Diabetes Genetic Report
Press Release
CDC Diabetes Report

The personal genetics company announced that it will “begin offering a new genetic Health Predisposition report on type 2 diabetes.”

Users will receive insights into the likelihood of developing the health condition.

According to estimates from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three Americans have prediabetes and more than 90% are unaware that they have the condition.


American Express Plans to Acquire LoungeBuddy
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it will acquire LoungeBuddy, an airport lounge booking platform.

According to an American Express press release, both companies have been working together since 2017. LoungeBuddy provides ratings, reviews, and booking capabilities on over 1,200 airport lounges around the globe.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to be completed in April 2019.

Friday, March 15th, 2019


Tesla Announces a New Vehicle
Verge

Tesla introduced the Model Y, a new vehicle that ranges in price between $39K to $60,0000. The vehicle is expected to be a 7-seater that accelerates from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds with a range of 230 to 300 miles depending on model.

The announcement was made during the evening of March 14th at a live event in its design studio in Hawthorne, California.

Tesla’s Model Y is expected to begin deliveries in the Fall of 2020.


AMC Theatres Rolls Out Mobile Food and Beverage Ordering
Company Announcement

The entertainment company announced that it’s introducing a mobile ordering feature that enables moviegoers to skip the concession line and pick up their order ahead of time.

The mobile ordering feature will initially be available in “Boston, Denver and Houston, with more markets expected to be added throughout 2019.”

The company expects approximately 150 locations to offer mobile ordering by the end of the 2019 summer season.


The National Football League Looks to Award a Fan with 100-Years Worth of Tickets
League Announcement

In honor of the league’s centennial season, the NFL is launching a contest that will award one contest winner with “a grand prize of a pair of season tickets to the winning fan’s preferred franchise for the next century.”

According to a league news release, contestants can enter by describing “how they are their favorite team’s biggest fan of the century in a social post tagging @NFL and #NFL100Contest in an Instagram post (picture or video) or Tweet.”

The NFL states that “the winner can pass the tickets down through future generations while also having access to exclusive team experiences and an NFL Shop lifetime discount.”

Thursday, March 14th, 2019


Blackbird, a Direct Flight Platform Raises New Funds
Company Blog Post

The aviation marketplace that gives its users the ability to “travel between 50 and 500 miles for less time and money than driving”, announced that it has raised $10 Million.

The funds will be used in part to help expand the team, grow its Commercial pilot program, and expand its aircraft availability.

The Series A funding round was led by New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, California.


Gogo, the InFlight Internet Service Provider Moves its Entire Infrastructure to Amazon’s Cloud Service
Company Press Release

According to an Amazon press release, Gogo will use a “range of AWS services, including analytics, serverless, database, and storage to improve inflight internet and entertainment experiences for millions of passengers around the world.”

The use of AWS will enable Gogo to “double the number of airlines it can support without increasing the size of its workforce and take an idea from concept to production much faster.”


Facebook Boosts Content and Community Features
Company Press Release

The company announced at the South by Southwest conference that it’s launching more features for users to express themselves.

The social media platform will be adding new Original shows through its Facebook Watch community, and enabling users to discover new music from artists through Spotify via posts made on a user’s profile.

Facebook is also launching a new Watch Party feature that enables users to host Watch Parties, post trivia questions, and discuss live events in real time.

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019


Chipotle Launches its Loyalty Program
Press Release

The fast-casual restaurant chain announced that it’s launching its Chipotle Rewards program across the United States.

To help promote the new program, Chipotle will use “Venmo payouts to give away up to a quarter of a million dollars, to approximately 25,000 Chipotle fans per day, from now through March 15, 2019.”

The Chipotle loyalty program gives members the opportunity to earn “10 points for every $1 spent in the restaurant, online, or in the app.” Reward members will have access to promotions such as extra point days, and surprise birthday rewards.


Mastercard Acquires Ethoca
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it’s acquiring the e-commerce fraud protection company for an undisclosed amount.

According to a company press release, the deal will help Mastercard “drive greater protection in the digital space, integrating with its robust suite of fraud management and security products.”

Ethoca works with approximately 5,000 merchants and 4,000 financial institutions around the globe in providing “technology solutions that help merchants and card issuers collaborate in real-time to quickly identify and resolve fraud in digital commerce.”

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.


Home Depot Develops Technology to Assist in Hiring 80,000 Associates
Press Release

The home improvement retailer announced that it has developed in-house technology to assist with the hiring process of approximately 80,000 associates for what is expected to be a busy spring season.

According to a company press release, the technology will help “hiring teams move candidates through the hiring process faster” across approximately “2,000 U.S. stores and more than 100 distribution centers.”

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019


JPMorgan Chase Reportedly Combines its Commercial Banking Groups to Better Serve Startups
Reuters

Reuters reports that the financial services company will be merging its emerging growth commercial banking and middle-market technology teams to help cater to tech startups positioned to become large companies.

The article states that the focus will be made towards companies that operate in the semiconductor, software, health and wellness, lifestyle, food, and pet products spaces.

Services reportedly include assisting and providing advice on topics ranging from credit and financing to payments, to mergers and acquisitions.


Microsoft Launches a Business Course to Focused on Artificial Intelligence
Microsoft Blog Post

The technology company announced that the free online course will focus on AI strategy, culture, and responsibility.

The course looks to help business leaders and executives understand and navigate the implementation of artificial intelligence technologies within their respective organizations.

According to a company blog post, course materials include case studies, guides, and lectures.


IBM Teams up with CULedger to Collaborate on Blockchain Services for Credit Unions
News Release

The multinational technology company announced that it’s working with CULedger, a credit union service organization to help credit unions provide a better experience for its customers.

According to a company press release, the initiative will use blockchain technology to create an “audit trail that can be used to create new business models and transform existing business processes for credit unions.”

The service looks to make it easier and more convenient for consumers who need to conduct any interactions that require authentication.

Monday, March 11th, 2019


Spotify Expands its Partnership with Samsung
News Release

The music streaming platform announced that it’s expanding its working relationship with Samsung by pre-installing its music service on new Samsung mobile devices.

The move is an effort to increase its consumer base and let Samsung users easily enjoy the latest podcasts and music as soon as they turn on their new phone.

As part of the expanded strategic partnership, “Spotify will be pre-installed on millions of new Samsung mobile devices globally” and “Eligible consumers with select Samsung devices in the U.S. will qualify for six months of free Spotify Premium.”


Netflix’s Chief Marketing Officer Steps Down
Press Release

The on-demand movie platform announced that Kelly Bennett will be leaving the company.

Bennett joined the company in 2012 and has led the company’s marketing efforts growing its paid member base from 26 million to more than 139 million.

The reason for Bennett’s departure were not disclosed.


Mastercard Acquires a Global Money Transfer Network
News Release

The financial services company announced that “it has entered into an agreement to acquire Transfast, a global cross-border account-to-account money transfer network.”

According to a company press release, the deal will complement Mastercard’s payment solutions “by increasing worldwide connectivity in the account-to-account space, enhancing compliance capabilities and offering more robust foreign exchange tools.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Friday, March 8th, 2019


Airbnb Acquires a Hotel Booking Service
Press Release

The hospitality company announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire HotelTonight, a last-minute boutique, and independent hotel booking app.

The deal will help Airbnb build an end-to-end travel platform, meet the demand for boutique hotels, and expand opportunities for home hosts through an increased customer base.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Bird’s e-Scooter Platform Expands Globally
Company Announcement
Crunchbase

The on-demand scooter company announced that it’s launching its platform in Canada, Latin America, and New Zealand.

The platform allows entrepreneurs and business owners to operate a Bird-branded e-scooter fleet.

Bird operates in more than 100 cities across the globe. According to CrunchBase, the company, which was founded in 2017, has received a total funding amount of $415 million.


Mondelez Invests in Uplift Food
News Release

The multinational food and beverage company announced that it has taken a minority stake in the “US-based early-stage start-up focusing on prebiotic functional foods.”

The announcement makes it the first investment made through the SnackFutures program. SnackFutures is Mondelez’s innovation hub, and venture investment unit.

As part of the deal, the SnackFutures team will provide the Uplift team with strategic support in marketing, R&D, sourcing, and distribution.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Thursday, March 7th, 2019


Mark Zuckerberg Outlines a Vision to Build a New Privacy-focused Facebook
Press Release
Zuckerberg Post

The co-Founder and CEO of the social networking site announced a vision to build a more privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform.

Principles of the new vision include encryption, ephemeral messaging, and storing sensitive data in countries that value human rights like privacy and freedom of expression.

Plans for the new direction is still in its early stages and the company looks to work with experts to help it reach its intended goals.


Fitbit Expands its Partnership with Solera Health to Help Reduce Type 2 Diabetes
Press Release

The wearable technology company announced that it is expanding its partnership with Solera Health, a healthcare services company, to help reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

The move is based on Solera Health’s analysis of over 1,700 National Diabetes Prevention Program participants that found Fitbit users as more active and lost more weight than those who did not.

According to a company press release, the “companies are making the latest Fitbit devices, Fitbit Inspire™ and Inspire HR™, available to all Solera Diabetes Prevention Program participants, including Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.”


Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase Announce a Name for its Joint Health Company
Haven Healthcare Website

The healthcare solutions company will be called Haven Healthcare.

Haven will focus on creating better outcomes, greater satisfaction, and lower costs for Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase’s U.S. employees and families. The organization will be led by Atul Gawande, a globally recognized surgeon, writer, and public health leader with over 20 years of experience.

According to the company website, Haven intends to share its innovations and solutions to help others in the future.

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019


Grab Secures $1.46 Billion of Funding from Softbank’s Vision Fund
Press Release

The Singapore-based ride-sharing company announced that it will use the new funds to focus on expanding its verticals in financial services, food delivery, parcel delivery, content and digital payments across Southeast Asia.

According to a company press release, the new raise from Softbank’s Vision Fund “brings the total financing secured in Grab’s current Series H round to over US$4.5 billion.”

Other participants in the round include the Microsoft Corporation, Booking Holdings, and the Toyota Motor Corporation.


Nestle Announces an Action Plan to End Deforestation in the Cocoa Supply Chain
Press Release

According to a company press release, the multinational food and drink company announced that it’s executing on a plan that looks to “help end deforestation and restore forests in its cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.”

Activities in the action plan include “mapping all 87,000 farms that are part of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan”, distributing and planting 2.8 million trees, and train approximately 70,000 farmers on good agricultural practices.

The company looks to achieve “deforestation-free commodities by 2020.”


SurveyMonkey Acquires Usabilla
Press Release

The survey software company announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Usabilla, a web survey company, for $80 million comprised of cash and equity.

According to a press release, Usabilla collects, analyzes, and acts on real-time user feedback to help improve its client’s customer experience and products. The company works with more than 450 companies in 35 countries, which include global brands such as Vodafone, Philips, and Lufthansa.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019


Office Depot and Alibaba Join Forces to Help US Small Businesses
News Release

The business service and supply company announced that it has entered into a strategic collaboration with Alibaba, a China-based technology company.

Both organizations look to leverage each others’ strengths to empower US Small-to-Medium-Sized businesses through a co-branded website.

The collaboration looks to connect Office Depot’s 10 million business account relationships with Alibaba’s supplier network and technology platform.


Comcast Acquires a Cybersecurity Firm
Press Release

The telecommunications company announced that it has acquired BluVector, a cybersecurity company that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to help protect large government agencies and Fortune 500 companies against cyber threats.

According to a press release, both companies plan to collaborate on growing BluVector’s existing business and develop new cybersecurity technologies.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


UPS Looks to Help eCommerce Sellers
Press Release

The logistics company announced that it’s building UPS eFulfillment, a technology platform combined with fulfillment services that help SMBs easily manage sales across multiple marketplaces.

The new solution looks to assist sellers with the flexibility and speed of order processing, storage, packaging, and shipping.

Under the new offering, sellers can log-on to 21 eCommerce platforms including Wal-Mart, Amazon, Etsy, and eBay.

Monday, March 4th, 2019


Lyft Files to Go Public
S-1 Filing

The on-demand transportation company filed an S-1 form with the SEC and a few highlights include its achievement in booking $8.1 Billion in 2018, completed over 1 billion rides since it was founded, and achieved a presence in over 300 markets across the United States and Canada.

Aside from the highlights, the company stated that had incurred $911 million in net losses in 2018.

The company is expected to kick off a wave of tech industry IPOs planned for this year.


Martha Stewart Teams up with a Cannabis Company
Press Release

The lifestyle influencer, businesswoman, and personality has signed a deal to work with Canopy Growth, a Canadian-based cannabis, and hemp company.

According to a press release, Stewart will join Canopy Growth in an advisory role to initially focus on pet products and “assist with developing and positioning a broad new line of product offerings across multiple categories.”


Starbucks Opens a 4-Story Location in Japan
Announcement

The coffee company announced that has launched a fully immersive premium coffee experience in Tokyo.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo will offer over 100 unique coffee and tea beverages and exclusive merchandise.

The new location will also offer floors dedicated to coffee, tea, and cocktail bars.

Friday, March 1st, 2019


Gap Inc. Looks to Spin-off Old Navy as a Separate Company
Press Release

The clothing retailer announced that it plans to separate into two publicly traded companies.

Old Navy, its family-focused apparel brand will operate independently, and another new company, which has yet to be named will consist of the “Gap brand, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix and Hill City” brands.

According to a company press release, the move looks to help each company “maximize focus and flexibility, align investments and incentives to meet its unique business needs and optimize its cost structure to deliver profitable growth.”


Daimler and BMW Group Partner on Automated Driving Technology
Press Release

Both companies announced that they’re working together on an initiative that looks to focus on next-generation technologies for driver-assisted systems, automated driving on highways and new parking features.

According to a company press release, each company views its “partnership as a long-term, strategic cooperation and aim to make next-level technologies widely available by the middle of the coming decade.”


Workplace by Facebook Reaches 2 Million Paid Users within 2 Years
Company Blog Post

The workplace communications platform which helps teams “communicate, collaborate and connect across desktop and mobile” announced that it now serves over 2 million customers every month.

According to a company blog post, Workplace, which competes against Slack and Microsoft Teams, now serves “more than 150 companies who have more than 10,000 users” on its platform.

Thursday, February 28th, 2019


Pizza Hut Teams up with FedEx to Test Autonomous Deliveries
Pizza Hut Blog
FedEx Smart Bot Website

The restaurant chain announced that it is working with FedEx to test its newly launched SameDay Bot, a self-driving robot that uses artificial intelligence and an array of sensors to deliver items.

The bot will support delivery staff to help improve the efficiency of the delivery process.

Pilot tests are expected to launch in the summer in select cities pending final city approvals.


Marriott Opens a Triple-Brand Hotel
News Release

The hospitality company announced that it’s launching a hotel that will combine the AC Hotels, Residence Inn and SpringHill Suites brands all under one location.

The 21-story, $140 million property is located in Nashville, across from the Music City Convention Center.


Spotify Launches in India
News Release

The music streaming company announced that it’s expanding its global reach with its recent launch in India.

The launch will add all-new features that are finely tuned to its listeners’ music tastes in the country.

According to a company press release, the launch comes on the heels of its recent expansion across the “Middle East North Africa and Southeast Asia region bringing the total number of Spotify markets to seventy-nine. Spotify now has more than 200 million users, including more than 96 million subscribers.”

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019


Amazon Web Services Teams up with Lyft
Press Release

Amazon’s cloud technology platform announced that the on-demand transportation company will fully use the service to enable its businesses including self-driving technology, and on-demand bike and car sharing.

According to a company press release, Lyft facilitates over 50 million rides a month and will use AWS’s services including “database, serverless, machine learning, and analytics, to automate and enhance on-demand, multimodal transportation for riders and drive innovation in its autonomous vehicles business.”


Google Launches a Developer Space in Singapore
Company Blog Post

The tech company announced that it’s launching a Developer Space within its Google Singapore office to bring together resources for developers, entrepreneurs and community groups in the region.

According to a company blog post, the new location will help provide “insights, hands-on mentorship and networking opportunities with various teams” at its Asia Pacific headquarters.


Walmart Looks to Reduce Plastic Packaging Waste
News Release

The retailer announced a new set of commitments to reduce plastic waste through its private label brand packaging.

The new commitment will affect over 30,000 SKUS.

According to a company press release, one of its goals include achieving 100 percent recyclable packaging for its private label brands by 2025.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019


GE Sells its BioPharma Business
Press Release

The multinational conglomerate announced a definitive agreement to sell its BioPharma business to Danaher Corporation for $21.4 billion.

Total consideration includes “$21 billion in cash as well as Danaher’s assumption of certain pension liabilities.”

GE stated in a press release that its BioPharma business provides “instruments, consumables and software that support the research, discovery, process development and manufacturing workflows of biopharmaceutical drugs.”


Roadie Raises New Funds
Twitter Post

The crowdsourced delivery company announced that it has raised $37 million from the Home Depot, TomorrowVentures, and others.

The Atlanta-based company, which was founded in 2015, works with retailers, airlines, and grocers to provide same-day and last-mile deliveries across the United States through its peer-to-peer delivery service.


Accenture Teams up with Mastercard, Amazon Web Services, Everledger, and Mercy Corps
News Release

The consulting services firm announced that it’s building a new initiative that will help “promote ethical and environmentally mindful practices across the supply chain”.

The collaboration provides producers, manufacturers, and retailers with the capability to reduce waste, create better transparency across the supply chain, ensure the authenticity of produce, and provide producers with more-equitable compensation.

According to a company press release, the initiative combines “blockchain, digital identity and payments technologies to allow customers to identify individual producers who use sustainable methods and financially reward them with a “tip” made by direct payment.”

Monday, February 25th, 2019


Daimler Teams up with the BMW Group on Mobility Services
Press Release

Daimler announced that it’s working with the BMW Group to merge each company’s mobility services in an effort to lead global sustainable urban mobility.

According to a press release, over 1 billion euros will be invested together in joint mobility services that will focus on “car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport.”

The initiative looks to merge 14 services into 5 joint ventures that plan to create up to 1,000 new jobs worldwide.


Wells Fargo Donated Over $400 Million to Nonprofits Last Year
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it donated $444 Million to 11,000 Nonprofits in 2018.

Through collaborations with community leaders, the company focused its efforts on addressing affordable housing, small business growth, economic and equity inclusion, access to education, and renewable energy initiatives.


Hilton Launches a New Hospitality Brand
News Release

The company announced that it’s launching Signia Hilton, a new hotel brand focused on the meetings and events industry.

The move looks to transform the hospitality experience for business travelers and meeting professionals by offering flexible meeting and event spaces. Each location looks to have a minimum of 500 guest rooms.

The global brand will initially be available in Atlanta, Indianapolis, and Orlando.

Friday, February 22nd, 2019


Flexport Raises $1 Billion
Company Blog Post

The customs brokerage and freight forwarding company announced that it has secured $1 billion in new funds. The round was led by Softbank’s Vision Fund.

The company plans to use the funds for product development, hiring and bringing onboard more local experts in its global markets.

Last year, the company doubled its top-line revenue to nearly $500 million and increased its headcount to approximately 1,000 employees. Flexport operates in 11 offices and warehouses globally. According to a Forbes report, citing sources familiar with the matter, the new funds value the company at $3.2 billion.


Zillow Announces a New Chief Executive Officer
Press Release

The real estate search platform announced that Rich Barton, its co-Founder who started the company in 2005 and served as its Chief Executive Officer until 2010, will now return as the CEO of Zillow Group.

He replaces Spencer Rascoff who will remain on Zillow Group’s board of directors.

According to a company press release, the announcement comes at a time when the Zillow Group is dramatically expanding the scope of its business with initiatives in buying and selling homes, and additional services such as mortgage lending.


DoorDash Increases its Valuation to $7.1 Billion
Company Blog Post

The on-demand food delivery company announced that it has raised $400 million in new funding.

The new funds look to help the company grow in an increasingly competitive food delivery market with rivals such as GrubHub, Uber Eats, and Postmates.

The Series F investment round was co-led by the Temasek and Dragoneer Investment Group.

Thursday, February 21st, 2019


Clutter, an On-Demand Storage Company Raises New Funds
Twitter Post

The Culver City, California-based company announced that it has closed a $200 million Series D round of new funding led by Softbank’s Vision Fund.

The funds will help the company expand into new markets and increase its presence in the cities it already operates in. Clutter is currently available in eight markets including Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.


Chevrolet Rolls Out a Vehicle Locate Feature
News Release

The division of the General Motors Company announced that its driver will be able to locate a vehicle if needed.

According to a company press release, the feature will be available through its myChevrolet mobile app which allows Chevy owners to alert trusted and concerned friends and family when its “connected vehicle enters or leaves a designated boundary area, or arrives at or departs from an address.”

The feature will be available for 2012 and newer models in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.


Kroger and Ocado Announce Two New Robotics Warehouse Facilities
Company Press Release

The grocery retailer announced that it’s working with Ocado to launch two new fulfillment centers in the Central Florida and Mid-Atlantic regions.

The new customer fulfillment centers operate automated warehouse facilities with digital and robotic capabilities.

The move looks to help Kroger redefine grocery shopping along the East Coast, particularly with a focus on the online shopping experience.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019


DoubleTree by Hilton Looks to Expand in the Asia Pacific Region
News Release

The hotel chain announced that it plans to open properties “across China, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand”.

The new properties will add to its global portfolio of approximately 560 existing hotels in over 45 countries.

According to a company press release, the expansion will help “accommodate the region’s thriving economic centers and growing tourism industries.”


Netflix Launches a Production Hub in Toronto
Press Release

The video streaming company announced that its new sites will help “expand its production presence across Canada.”

It plans to launch two sites which according to a company press release, will “provide production jobs for up to 1,850 Canadians per year.”

The announcement adds to its physical production footprint in Canada, as it currently leases space in British Columbia and operates several production sites, on a production-by-production basis across the country.


Loom Raises New Funds
Blog Post

The corporate communications platform announced that it has raised an $11 million Series A round which was led by Kleiner Perkins, a venture capital firm which has invested in companies such as Airbnb, Slack, and Pinterest.

The new funds will help the company introduce new product offerings and help fuel its next stage of growth.

Loom, which was founded in 2016, works with clients in over 170 countries and helps businesses record, communicate, and collaborate using sharable videos.

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019


Amazon Announces Shipment Zero
Company Blog Post

The eCommerce marketplace announced in a company blog post that it plans to “reach 50% of all Amazon shipments with net zero carbon by 2030.”

The company has already worked on several sustainability initiatives in renewable energy and reusable packaging. Amazon stated that it has over 200 scientists, product designers, and engineers focused on leveraging its scale for the benefit of its customers and the planet.

Shipment Zero looks to help the organization with its long term goal to fully operate 100% in renewable energy.


Apple Launches a Career Development Program in Oakland
News Release #1
News Release #2

The technology company announced that it is partnering with Dream Corps, an initiative that looks “to help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector.”

The program looks to focus on the Swift programming language with the purpose of providing students with the knowledge, tools, and skills needed to enhance their career prospects.

The program is set to launch later this year with plans to expand to other cities across the United States in the future.


General Motors Adds eBikes to its Portfolio
News Release

In an effort to expand its business, the automaker announced that it will be launching a new eBike brand called ARIV.

The company will be taking preorders on two eBikes, one which is compact, and the other which is foldable. Each model will provide pedal-assisted speeds of up to 25 kph, with a distance of approximately 64 kilometers on a single charge.

The new bikes were engineered and designed at its GM facilities in Michigan and Oshawa, Ontario. ARIV will initially be available in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Monday, February 18th, 2019


Amazon Invests in an Electric Truck Company
CNBC
Aurora Blog Post

Rivian an electric vehicle automaker announced a $700 million equity investment round led by Amazon.

According to a report by CNBC, the company plans to launch its electric pickup line by 2020, with pre-orders currently available via its website.

Amazon’s investment into the company comes just over a week after it joined other groups with investing in Aurora, a Palo-Alto based, self-driving technology company.


Coca-Cola Appoints a New Chief People Officer
Press Release

The consumer beverage company announced that Lisa Chang will lead its global human resource operations.

According to a company press release, “Chang most recently served as senior vice president and chief human resources officer for AMB Group LLC in Atlanta.”

Her role will be effective on March 1st, 2019.


Starbucks Launches its First Reserve Bakery Cafe in China
Press Release

The coffeehouse chain announced that it will launch the new cafe that will feature its “Starbucks Reserve® coffees served alongside artisanal and made-to-order food.”

The new Shanghai location will be the first out of more than 3,700 stores in 158 cities in China that will offer all-day dining menu options from breakfast to brunch to early evening cocktails.

Friday, February 15th, 2019


JP Morgan Gets into Cryptocurrency
News Release

The multinational financial services and investment bank announced that it has successfully tested a digital coin representing fiat currency.

JPM Coin is based on blockchain technology and offers instant payment transfers between institutions. The digital coins represent US dollars which are held in designated accounts at JP Morgan Chase.

The new offering looks to help reduce settlement times for transactions and is currently in the prototype stage with testing limited to a select number of its institutional clients.


Airbus Ends the Production of its Superjumbo Jet
News Release

The aerospace company announced that it will end the production and delivery of its A380 aircraft in 2021.

The decision comes after the company stated that it has lacked orders with other airlines.

According to a company press release, Emirates Airlines plans to “take delivery of 14 further A380s over the next two years.”


Amazon Cancels its Planned NYC Office
Company Blog Post

The multinational technology company announced that it will no longer move forward with plans to open a headquarters in the Long Island city of Queens.

According to a company blog post, the reason for the decision was due to the lack of support and opposition from a number of state and local politicians.

Amazon stated that it does not intend to look for a replacement location, and will proceed with its other plans to open corporate offices in Northern Virginia and Nashville.

Thursday, February 14th, 2019


IBM Watson Health Collaborates with Leading Medical Centers
Press Release

The data-driven health unit of IBM announced that it’s making a $50 million investment in research collaborations with the teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The 10-year initiative looks to apply artificial intelligence technology towards major public health issues.

According to a company press release, the initial focus of the study will be on improving electronic health records and claims data to address patient safety, precision medicine, and health equity.


Google Looks to Invest $13 Billion in Data Centers Across the United States
Company Blog Post

The tech giant announced that the investments will be made “throughout 2019 in data centers and offices across the U.S., with major expansions in 14 states.”

The investments will provide the company with the capacity to employ tens of thousands of new workers to improve its products and services to its global user-base.

The company stated that 2019 will be the second year in a row where it has grown faster outside of the Bay Area than in it.


Kroger Rolls Out a Mobile Payments Service
Press Release

The retailer announced that it will be launching a mobile payment solution that combines customer payment and loyalty information for the purpose of a faster checkout experience.

According to a company press release, Kroger Pay users will be able to scan a single-use QR code at the point of sale terminal “to quickly communicate payment and loyalty card information, which includes digital coupons and personalized offers.”

The rollout will be made available to 10 markets this Spring with additional plans for further nationwide expansion in the US over the course of the year.

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019


Amazon Looks to Set-up Shopping Lockers at Coachella
Press Release

The eCommerce marketplace announced that it will open Amazon Lockers at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival this April.

The lockers are to provide attendees with a convenient and secure delivery option for extra items they may need such as sunscreen, phone chargers, and sandals.

According to a press release, customers will be able to shop for items and “select one of the Amazon Lockers at Coachella as their shipping address. Once their package is ready for pickup, customers will receive an e-mail along with a barcode that they’ll use to pick up their package.”


Redfin Launches in Canada
Press Release

The tech-enabled real estate brokerage announced that has begun serving home buyers and sellers in the Greater Toronto region.

The company also stated that it expects to launch its services in Vancouver by the Spring with additional Canadian cities expected in the rollout.

According to a company press release, Redfin looks to “sell homes for just a 1 percent listing fee and refund a portion of its commission to its home-buying clients.”


Garmin Acquires an Indoor Bike Trainer Company
Press Release

The GPS technology company has signed a purchase agreement to acquire Tacx, a manufacturer of indoor bike trainers.

The privately-held Dutch company focuses on indoor bike trainers, tools, and software.

According to a Garmin press release, approximately 200 Tacx employees will join its global team. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close by Q2 of this year, were not disclosed.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019


Amazon Looks to Help Boost WiFi Connectivity
Press Release

The tech giant announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire eero, a mesh WiFi system that boosts the performance of smart home devices.

Eero helps eliminate dead zones within a residence providing dependable WiFi that delivers bandwidth to all WiFi-enabled devices as needed.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


McDonald’s Introduces Donut Sticks
News Release

The restaurant chain announced that its new McCafe product will be a crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside, cinnamon sprinkled snack.

The new breakfast menu item will be available in the United States beginning on February 20th.


Colgate Announces a New President
Company Announcement

The consumer goods company announced that it has elected Noel Wallace as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. His new role will be effective on April 2nd, 2019.

Prior to the announcement, Wallace served as the company’s Chief Operating Officer.

He has been with the company since 1987 serving on several senior management roles throughout his 32 years with the company.

Monday, February 11th, 2019


Foot Locker Invests in a Secondary Sneaker Platform
Foot Locker Press Release

The sportswear retailer announced that it’s making a strategic minority investment of $100 million in GOAT, a shoe reselling marketplace founded in 2015.

The investment looks to help support GOAT’s global operations, expand its omnichannel experience, and invest in innovative technologies.

As part of the transaction, both companies look to eventually combine digital and retail platforms in order to create exclusive customer experiences.


Walmart Unveils a New Private-Label Furniture Brand
News Release

The retailer announced that it’s launching MoDRN, a home brand exclusive to Walmart.

The new brand features over 650 modern household items ranging from fabrics to tabletops, to dining tables.

The exclusive line will be available through the company’s eCommerce channels which include Walmart.com, Jet.com, and Hayneedle.com.


Lyft Looks to Introduce Thousands of Electric Vehicles onto its Platform
Company Blog Post
Green Cities Initiative Blog Post

The on-demand transportation company announced that it will increase the number of electric vehicles on its platform. The eco-friendly cars will help the company provide cleaner transportation options for its riders, and increase earnings for its drivers.

According to a company blog post, passengers who choose Green Mode on the app will be able to select between electric or hybrid vehicles for their trip. The option will initially be available in Seattle.

The move is part of the company’s Green Cities Initiative, which is a multimillion dollar investment that looks to “offset the carbon emissions from all rides globally”.

Friday, February 8th, 2019


Airbnb Hires a Global Aviation Expert
Press Release

In an effort to reach its goals of building an end-to-end travel platform, the home share company announced that it has hired Fred Reid as its new Global Head of Transportation.

He will focus on establishing partnerships and services within the travel and tourism sectors.

Reid is an aviation industry pioneer with over three decades of experience. Prior to Airbnb, he has held executive roles at Cora Aircraft, Flexijet, Virgin America, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, and the Star Alliance.


Self-driving Startup, Aurora, Raises Over $530 Million
Company Blog Post

The self-driving technology company announced that it has “secured over $530 million in Series B financing led by Sequoia.” Other investor participants in the new funding round include Amazon, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Greylock.

The new funds look to help Aurora invest in its technology offering, strengthen its team, and contribute to its ecosystem.


WeWork Acquires Euclid
Company Blog Post

The coworking company announced that it has acquired Euclid, a spatial-analytics platform that uses WiFi to better understand how spaces are used.

The deal looks to help WeWork provide insights and analytics to its enterprise customers so that they can determine how their employees are utilizing their workplaces.

WeWork’s enterprise offering, which is called Powered by We, currently makes up to 30% of its membership base with clients that include UBS, and Standard Chartered. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Thursday, February 7th, 2019


Spotify Acquires Two Podcasting Companies
Press Release
Recode

Spotify announced that it’s acquiring Gimlet Media, a digital podcast network, and Anchor, a podcasting creation and distribution platform.

The deal looks to help the Spotify offer original and differentiated content to its user base.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, Recode reports, citing sources familiar with the deal, that the Gimlet transaction is approximately $230 million.


American Express Teams up with Bill.com
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it’s working with Bill.com in a strategic partnership that lets companies automate their Accounts Payable process to “pay vendors with their American Express® Business or Corporate Card.”

The new offering will be called “American Express “Vendor Pay” by Bill.com” and looks to help users easily reconcile payments, earn rewards, and improve working capital.


Lime, an e-Scooter Company is Now Valued at $2.4 Billion
Company Blog Post

The San Francisco-based company announced that it has raised $310 million from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Ventures, and Fidelity Investments.

The new funds will help the company invest in its technology, expand to new markets, and strengthen opportunities for its team and pilot projects. As part of the new funding round, the company stated that it will also make significant investments in rider safety and city collaboration.

The company, which was founded in 2017 currently operates in over 100 locations across 15 countries around the globe.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019


P&G Acquires a Feminine Care Brand
Press Release

Procter and Gamble announced that it has acquired the fast-growing feminine products company, This is L.

The San Francisco-based company, which was founded in 2015, has its products available in over 5,000 retail stores across the United States. The deal looks to “grow P&G’s Feminine Care business in the naturals segment”.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Foot Locker Announces a Global Realignment
Press Release

The sportswear retailer announced that it’s reorganizing its operating model into three geographic regions which are: EMEA, Asia Pacific, and North America.

According to a company press release, the move looks to help Foot Locker “better align its resources
across its international businesses, and to develop an infrastructure to support an expansion plan within the Asian market.”

Foot Locker operates over 3,200 stores across 27 countries.


Unilever Acquires a Snack Brand
Press Release

The consumer goods company announced that it has acquired Graze, a multichannel healthy snack company.

According to a company press release, the deal looks to accelerate “Unilever’s presence in the fast-growing healthy snacking and out of home markets.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019


Accenture and Microsoft Launch a Digital Transformation Business Group
News Release

The management consulting firm announced that it’s working with Microsoft to launch the Accenture Microsoft Business Group.

The new group looks to help clients develop solutions to develop new strategies, boost innovation, and lead digital transformation in their respective industries.

The Accenture Microsoft Business Group will be part of the company’s joint venture, called Avanade which was founded over 18 years ago.


IBM Teams up with McCormick
News Release

McCormick, a food company, announced that it’s working with IBM in a collaborative research project to develop new food products using artificial intelligence technology.

According to a company press release, both companies look to “learn and predict new flavor combinations from hundreds of millions of data points across the areas of sensory science, consumer preference and flavor palettes.”


VW’s Electrify America Plans to Use Tesla Battery Systems
News Release

The electric vehicle charging network, which is also a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group of America, announced that it will install Tesla’s Powerpack Battery systems at more than 100 of its charging locations across the United States this year.

According to a company press release, the battery systems will be deployed to help manage demand during peak charging times.

Monday, February 4th, 2019


Samsung Begins Production on its 1 Terabyte Smartphone Flash Storage
News Release

The technology company announced that it’s mass producing a 1 terabyte storage that allows smartphone users to access storage capacity that is comparable to a premium notebook PC.

The new storage lets users “transfer large amounts of multimedia content in significantly reduced time.”

According to a company press release, Samsung anticipates strong demand for its new 1TB storage from mobile device manufacturers around the globe.


Delta and Virgin Atlantic Airlines Celebrates 5-Years of Partnership
News Release

Over the past 5 years, both companies have been able to operate 74 daily nonstop flights between the UK and the United States, invested in new technology including biometric security at Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport, and introduced three new tiers of economy fares.

As part of the milestone, both airlines announced special gifts for travelers flying between London-Heathrow, Atlanta, and New York-JFK for the month of February including cocktails and Virgin Atlantic Happy Socks.


American Express Contactless Payments Expands to Target Stores
News Release
Target Corporate Page

American Express announced that its members will be able to use contactless payment technology at all US Target stores.

US retailers have increasingly begun integrating their point of sale systems with contactless payment technology including “contactless cards, contactless-enabled phones and wearables.”

Target operates 1,850 stores in the United States.

Thursday, January 31st, 2019


Toyota Announces an Update to its 2018 North America Production Numbers
Press Release

The automaker announced that it produced close to 2 Million vehicles at its North American vehicle plants last year.

The company produces 13 models in North America including the Camry, Highlander, and RAV4. The automaker cited “low fuel prices, continued stability in the overall economy and strong customer demand for trucks and SUVs” as key drivers for its 2018 vehicle production numbers.

Toyota produced more than 38 million vehicles in North America since 1986.


Mattel Partners with Warner Bros. Pictures
Mattel Press Release

The toy manufacturing company announced that it’s working with the Warner Brothers Pictures Group to bring a live-action feature film based on its Hot Wheels toy racing car.

The deal marks the second partnership with the entertainment company following its recent announcement of a planned Barbie feature film.

According to a Mattel press release, more than 500 million Hot Wheels toys are sold every year.


T-Mobile and Sprint Look to Launch Customer Experience Centers
News Release

The telecommunications companies announced that they plan to build five new Customer Experience Centers around the United States.

Each of the five new centers looks to create an average of approximately 1,000 new customer care jobs by 2021.

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019


Visa Extends its Partnership with the NFL
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it’s renewing its agreement with the National Football League “to serve as the league’s Official Payment Services Technology Partner through the 2025 season.”

As part of the multi-year deal, Visa cardholders will be able to use contactless and digital payments at NFL events.

Both organizations have been partners since 1995.


Aetna and Apple Collaborate on a New Health App
App Website

The health care insurance company is working with Apple to launch Attain by Aetna, a health app that leverages Apple Watch data.

According to the application’s website, Attain by Aetna combines a user’s health history with his or her Apple Watch activity to offer action plans, goal setting, and rewards, such as gift cards from retailers.


Amazon Funds Computer Science Courses in New York
Press Release

The tech company announced that its Amazon Future Engineer program will be available to select schools in New York.

The Amazon Future Engineer program is a nationwide childhood-to-career initiative that’s focused on helping children in underrepresented and underserved communities gain access to introductory and AP Computer Science courses.

The program looks to initially serve more than 130 high schools in the area.

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019


Unilever Acquires an Eco-Friendly Home Cleaning Products Company
Press Release

The consumer goods company announced that it’s acquiring The Laundress, a company that focuses on eco-friendly detergent, fabric care, and home cleaning goods.

Since 2004, The Laundress has developed a distribution network across several specialty retailers, a direct-to-consumer, and e-commerce offering.

As part of the deal, the company will continue to operate out of its New York City headquarters. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Dropbox is Acquiring HelloSign
Company Blog Post
Company Press Release

The file hosting company announced that it’s acquiring HelloSign, an e-signature and document workflow platform.

According to a company press release, HelloSign worked with over 80,000 organizations at the time of acquisition.

The $230-million cash deal is expected to close before Q1 of 2019.


Samsung Plans to Replace Plastic Packaging with Sustainable Materials
Company Press Release

The company announced in a press release that it plans to “replace plastic packaging materials with paper and other environmentally sustainable elements” starting this year.

In order to move forward with the new policy, the company has developed a sustainability task force that will be focused on purchasing, designing and developing innovative eco-friendly packaging.

Monday, January 28th, 2019


Airbnb Acquires a Meeting Space Booking Company
Press Release

The home-sharing marketplace announced that it has acquired Gaest.com, an online marketplace focused on short-term meeting spaces rentals.

The company, which is based in Denmark, operates across six continents and helps its user’s book meeting spaces for meetings, team building events, and workshops.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Whatsapp Announces an Update to its Business Offering
Company Blog Post

The messaging platform owned by Facebook announced that more than 5 million business are using the platform to offer customer support across the globe.

The company stated in a blog post that popular web and desktop features used by businesses are: quick replies, which offer templated messages to answer common questions; labels, which offers the identification of specific chats like billing related conversations; and chat filtering, which provides the ability to filter, sort, and group specific conversations.


BMW, Porsche, and Land Rover Invest in a Roadside Assistance Company
Company Blog Post

Urgently, the global mobility and roadside assistance company announced that it has raised $21 million from the group of automotive brands, along with support from its current investors.

According to a company blog post, the Series B funding round was oversubscribed.

Friday, January 25th, 2019


Visa Looks to Help US Small Businesses Reach Customers on Yelp
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it’s working with Yelp, a local-search service platform, to offer US-based small and medium-sized businesses with exclusive advertisement benefits if they use their “Visa Business credit or debit card to purchase Yelp Ads.”

According to the company, businesses who spend a monthly minimum of $150 on Yelp Ads will receive an additional $50 towards Yelp advertisements per month.


The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Others Look to Raise $500 Million for Affordable Housing
News Release
Fund Website

The Chan Zuckerberg Foundation announced that it will work with a group of organizations including the San Francisco Foundation, Facebook, and the Ford Foundation to launch a fund called the Partnership for the Bay’s Future.

The fund looks “to address the regional affordable housing crisis” in the Bay Area of San Francisco.

According to the fund’s website, the partnership looks to “increase affordable housing and ensure vibrant communities of racial equity and economic inclusion.”


Unilever Acquires a Plant-based Food Company
Press Release

The consumer goods company announced that it is acquiring The Vegetarian Butcher, a plant-based meat company based in the Netherlands.

The acquisition looks to help Unilever expand into growing trends surrounding the vegan and vegetarian meal market.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Thursday, January 24th, 2019


Amazon is Field Testing a Delivery Robot
Company Blog Post

The tech company announced that it’s testing a new delivery system called Amazon Scout.

The new offering gives customers the opportunity to have their ordered items delivered by an autonomous robot the size of a small cooler.

The field tests will initially launch in the Snohomish County of Washington.


Youtube TV is Launching Nationwide in the United States
Company Blog Post

The streaming platform announced that it’s expanding Youtube TV, a cable-free live TV offering, which will be available to viewers nationwide in the United States.

The rollout will be available to 95 markets providing coverage to over 98% of households in the country.

Youtube TV offers over 60 networks including ABC, NBC, and CBS. In addition to other benefits, it also provides viewers with the ability to record live TV and will be available at $40 per month.


23andMe Receives FDA Clearance for a Cancer Test
Company Blog Post

The direct-to-consumer DNA genetic testing and analysis company announced that it has received FDA clearance to determine if a user has an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer.

The test reports on two genetic variants of MUTYH-associated polyposis.

According to a company press release, the “new clearance is part of 23andMe’s ongoing efforts to work with the FDA to offer additional Genetic Health Risk reports as part of its Health + Ancestry Service.”

*Correction: the announcement was made via the company’s Blog.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019


Starbucks Teams up Uber Eats
News Release

The coffee company announced that it’s teaming up with Uber Eats to expand its delivery service in the United States, following a successful pilot in Miami that began in the fall of 2018.

The service will initially be available in San Francisco, and expand to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.

According to a report by Statista, “the global online food delivery market currently represents a $95 billion opportunity and is projected to grow by more than 11 percent annually through 2023.”


Apple Pay Expands its Merchant Partnerships
Press Release

The contactless payment system that lets customers pay for items using their iPhone and Apple Watch will soon be available at 74 of the top 100 US Merchants including, Taco Bell, Target, and Best Buy.

The latest expansion will bring Apple Pay’s availability to 65% of all retail locations across the country.


Viacom Acquires a Streaming Service
Press Release

The multinational media conglomerate announced that it has agreed to acquire Pluto TV, an on-demand streaming service for $340 million in cash.

The acquisition looks to help Viacom expand its presence across next-generation distribution platforms and grow its advertising business.

The deal is expected to close before the end of the first quarter of 2019.

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019


Just Eat’s CEO Steps Down
Company Press Release

The restaurant delivery company announced that its Chief Executive Officer will leave the company, effective immediately.

According to a company press release, “Peter Plumb is stepping down as Chief Executive Officer and a Director of the Company.” He will be replaced by Peter Duffy who prior to the announcement was the company’s Chief Customer Officer. Duffy will serve as Just Eat’s Interim Chief Executive Officer.

The reason for Plumb’s departure was not stated. The announcement comes at a time when the company is facing increased competition from other restaurant delivery providers, such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats.


Knock, a Home Trade-in Platform Raises $400 Million
Company Blog Post

The company stated that it plans to use the new funds to expand nationwide in the United States, and invest in the development of its platform.

According to the company, it has experienced fast growth since it was founded, lauching in five US markets which include Dallas, Texas, Fort Worth, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia.

The Series B equity and debt financing round was led by the Foundry Group.


GameWorks Looks to Bring eSports to the Casino Industry
Press Release

The entertainment company announced that it has partnered with SCCG Management, a casino industry consulting firm, “to bring venue-based, peer-to-peer wagering esports Lounges to casinos nationwide.”

As part of the agreement, the lounges, which are called Play by GameWorks, will allow guests to participate and compete in esports games.

According to IDG Consulting, the esports market is expected to reach $177-billion by 2022.

Monday, January 21st, 2019


Salesforce Goes on a Hiring Spree in Ireland
Press Release

The cloud-based software company announced that it’s looking to add approximately 1,500 jobs over the next 5 years at its new office in Dublin, Ireland.

The new 430,000 Sqft campus will begin opening its doors in 2021 with plans to be a regional hub for “employees across sales, customer service, technical and business operations delivering new innovations to its more than 150,000 customers around the world.”

The company already has 1,400 employees in Dublin.


PayPal Looks to Help Federal Employees Impacted by the Government Shutdown
Company Announcement

The financial services company announced that it’s “offering an interest-free cash advance up to $500, the equivalent of one week’s take home pay, for any existing or new PayPal Credit customers who are federal employees.”

The company stated that it’s working with its partner Synchrony to help provide relief during these uncertain times.


Amazon Announces an Update on Third-Party Vendor Sales
Press Release

The tech company announced that “more than 50,000 Small and Medium-sized Businesses Exceeded $500,000 in Sales in Amazon’s Stores in 2018”

According to the company, third-party sales are outpacing first-party sales on the platform.

Amazon stated that it works with small and medium-sized vendors from over 130 countries across the globe.

Friday, January 18th, 2019


Airbnb Looks to Support Federal Employees Affected by the Government Shutdown
Press Release

The home sharing company announced that it’s offering financial support to federal branch employees who host homes through its platform.

According to the company, “executive branch employees who share their home for three nights anytime over the three months between December 18, 2018 and March 18, 2019 will get paid an extra night”.

The amount equals up to $110 which is the average per night income by US hosts.


Square Introduces a Free Debit Card for Businesses
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it’s launching a free business debit Mastercard to help ease cash flow management for companies.

According to a company press release, the new Square card will help eliminate the amount of time between making a sale and having the funds available.

In addition to the launch, the new card offers sellers with a 2.75% instant discount on purchases made at other businesses who use Square to sell goods.


Walmart Expands its Grocery Delivery Service
News Release

The multinational retail company announced that its working with 4 delivery startups to help expand its online grocery delivery service.

Walmart has established grocery delivery agreements with logistics companies Point Pickup, Skipcart, AxleHire and Roadie.

The grocery delivery option is currently available at over 800 locations across the United States with plans for 800 more locations to be added later this year.

Thursday, January 17th, 2019


Ford is Teaming up with a Few Companies to Launch a Blockchain Initiative
Press Release

The automaker is working with Huayou Cobalt, IBM, LG Chem, and RCS Global to work on a project that traces and validates ethically sourced minerals.

According to an IBM press release, the initiative includes participants from each critical stage of the supply chain.

The group looks to explore options in creating a blockchain platform that could be used across the industry when looking to “trace and validate a range of minerals used in consumer products.”


WeWork Reaches a New Milestone
Company Blog Post

The coworking company announced that it reached a milestone last month of opening its 100th city across the globe.

The company stated that it operated approximately 425 locations in the 100 cities it operates in with more than half of its growth being from outside of North America.


Microsoft Announces an Affordable Housing Initiative
Company Blog Post

The multinational tech company announced that it’s committing $500 million to help address affordable housing issues in the greater Seattle region, which is currently the 6th most expensive region in the United States.

According to a company blog post, $225 million will be used to help subsidize the preservation and construction of middle-income housing, $250 million will be used to support low-income housing, and $25 million will be used to provide philanthropic grants to address homelessness in the region.

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019


Volkswagen Teams up with Ford
News Release (Volkswagen)
News Release (Ford)

The automakers announced that they’re working together on a global alliance that looks to “boost competitiveness and better serve customers in an era of rapid change in the industry.”

Beginning in 2022, both companies plan to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups intended for the global market.


Nike Launches a Shoe that’s Powered by Your Phone
News Release

The sportswear company announced that it’s launching a new basketball shoe called Nike Adapt BB.

The new shoe uses a power-lacing system powered by a smartphone app to produce a multipurpose custom-fitted shoe. According to a company news release, the shoe uses a custom motor and gear to adjust the tension needed to keep a foot comfortable.

The shoe is expected to be available in February.


American Express Acquires a Restaurant Booking Company
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it has acquired Pocket Concierge, “a premium restaurant reservation platform, that provides easy access to high-end restaurants in Japan.”

The acquisition looks to help American Express customers with access to over 800 premium restaurants in the country.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


NBCUniversal Launches a Streaming Service
Press Release
CNBC

NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast Corporation, announced that it’s rolling out a new streaming service that will showcase its television programs and Universal movies.

According to CNBC, an ad-supported service will be available at no cost to pay-TV subscribers; Non-subscribers will have to pay a monthly charge of $12.

The new streaming service is expected to launch in early 2020.


Choice Hotels Teams up with Amazon AWS
Press Release

The hospitality company announced that it’s moving its infrastructure to the AWS cloud.

According to an Amazon press release, the move is set to help Choice Hotels migrate off of its “legacy systems to help improve performance, scalability, and reliability.”

Choice Hotels has over “6,900 hotels, representing more than 560,000 rooms in over 40 countries.”


Paypal Appoints a New Chief Marketing Officer
Press Release

The financial services company announced that Allison Johnson will be joining the company as executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

Johnson will focus on global strategic marketing for Paypal and its brands. Prior to Paypal, she served on several senior executive positions at Apple and HP.

Johnson will report to Dan Schulman, President, and CEO of PayPal which was effective on January 14th.

Monday, January 14, 2019


Starbucks Launches a New Location in Bali, Indonesia
Press Release

The coffee company announced that it’s launching a 20,000 square-foot store in an up-and-coming Bali retail district.

Dubbed the “Coffee Sanctuary”, the store will provide a retail experience that includes a concierge receptionist, a 1,000 square-foot tree farm, and a Starbucks Reserve bar.

The company stated that it has been sourcing Indonesian coffees for over four decades, with Sumatra coffee being offered through the company since 1971.


Piano Announces New Funding
Company Blog Post

The content monetization and audience intelligence technology platform announced that it has raised $22 Million in a Series B round of funding.

According to a company blog post, the new funds will help the company expand upon new product growth, and enter into new markets and sectors.

The round was led by Updata Partners.


Taco Bell Goes Vegetarian
Press Release

The fast-food chain announced that it’s testing out a new Vegetarian option as part of its 2019 menu.

Taco Bell will launch the new menu items later this year.

The announcement is part of its company commitments for this year which include: improving its recycling efforts, creating new job growth in the United States, and providing increased support for its Taco Bell Foundation.

Friday, January 11, 2019


Nike Expands its Relationship with a China-based Big Data Company
Gridsum Press Release

Gridsum, “a leading provider of cloud-based big-data analytics and artificial intelligence solutions in China,” announced that it’s expanding its relationship with Nike to work on “data analysis, consulting, and data modelling services.”

As part of the relationship, Nike will use Gridsum’s technology to analyze consumer behaviors across its marketing channels in order to created “highly-targeted marketing content, improve its portfolio of products and build sophisticated customer profiles.”


Chariot Shuttles Shuts Down
Company Blog Post

The commuter shuttle service, which was acquired by Ford in 2016, announced that it’s closing its operations by the end of March of this year.

According to the company, it has provided more than 3 million rides to commuters across the US and UK since it launched five years ago.


Oracle Teams Up with The San Francisco Giants
Press Release

The technology company announced that it has entered into a partnership with the Major League Baseball team that will provide Oracle with naming rights to its ballpark.

Dubbed “Oracle Park”, the 20-year deal will last through 2038.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Thursday, January 10th, 2019


The WorldBank Announces an Update to its Expectations on Global Economic Growth
Press Release

The WorldBank announced that it expects global economic growth to slow to 2.9% in 2019.

According to a press release, the WorldBank cites concerns over softening International trade and manufacturing activity, a rise in trade tensions, and financial market pressures surrounding large emerging economies.


TaxJar Announces New Funding
Press Release

The “sales tax automation company for eCommerce businesses and developers” announced that it “has closed a $60 million growth equity round of funding from Insight Venture Partners.”

The new funds will be used to reach aggressive hiring targets, and invest in ‘product development, research, and go-to-market for their new mid-market offering.”


The Bank of Canada Keeps its Overnight Rate Steady
Press Release

The Bank of Canada is holding its overnight rate at 1.75%. This follows 3 rate hikes which went into effect last year.

According to a press release, the Bank of Canada highlights concerns over slow growth in oil-producing provinces, global trade policy, and a weaker than expected housing market.

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019


BP Plans for Growth in the Gulf of Mexico
Press Release

The multinational oil and gas company announced that its recent breakthroughs with enhanced seismic imaging have helped the company identify approximately 1 billion barrels of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company stated in a press release that its recent discovery “could create further development opportunities around the production hubs it operates in the region.”


Walmart Teams up with an Autonomous Delivery Company
Walmart Udelv Press Release
Walmart and Ford Press Release

The retail giant announced that it’s testing a new autonomous delivery pilot service with Udelv, a self-driving delivery startup.

The service will initially run in Surprise, Arizona, a city located North West of Phoenix.

Walmart has recently begun an autonomous delivery pilot with Waymo and Ford, to explore customer usage trends surrounding different delivery methods.


IBM Introduces a Commercial Quantum Computing System
Press Release

The company unveiled the “IBM Q System One™, the world’s first integrated universal approximate quantum computing system designed for scientific and commercial use.”

The announcement was made on January 8th, at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Quantum technology is said to have the computing power that is able to work on complex problems that modern-day systems are currently unable to handle. According to a company press release, “future applications of quantum computing may include finding new ways to model financial data and isolating key global risk factors to make better investments, or finding the optimal path across global systems for ultra-efficient logistics and optimizing fleet operations for deliveries.”

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019


SiriusXM Teams up with Visa
Press Release

SiriusXM announced that it’s working with Visa “to enable Visa account holders to pay for coffee, gas, parking”, and movie tickets from within a user’s vehicle.

The SiriusXM eWallet will be made available on SiriusXM connected vehicles and will allow users to “activate and authenticate payment with their Visa account using biometric authentication, like voice and touchscreen commands”.


Microsoft Partners with Kroger
Press Release

Microsoft announced that it’s partnering with Kroger to help “redefine the customer experience and introduce digital solutions for the retail industry.”

Through the partnership, “Kroger will pilot a connected store experience and together with Microsoft, jointly market a commercial Retail-as-a-Service product to the industry.”

Projects in the partnership include Scan, Bag, Go technology, Virtual Store Manager Systems, and Inventory Management systems.


PizzaHut Plans to Expand its Beer Delivery Service
Company Blog Post

The pizza chain announced that it’s expanding its beer delivery program.

The company looks to expand the service to approximately 300 new locations by mid-January including areas in Florida, California, and Arizona.

Pizza Hut plans to expand to over 1,000 locations by the 2019 Summer season.

Monday, January 7th, 2019


The NFL Teams up with Caesars Entertainment
Press Release

The National Football League has announced that it has “selected Caesars Entertainment Corporation as the first ever Official Casino Sponsor of the NFL.”

The multi-year sponsorship, which begins in the upcoming 2019 playoffs, will integrate “casino properties, celebrity chefs, premier music artists, and a wide range of entertainment elements” associated with the sponsorship.

As part of the deal, “Caesars will have the exclusive right to use NFL trademarks in the United States and the United Kingdom to promote Caesars casino properties”.


Ford Issues a North American Recall
Press Release

The multinational automaker announced that it’s recalling approximately 953,000 vehicles which includes over 780,000 in the United States. Models affected by the recall include Mustangs, Lincolns, and Fusion vehicles.

The recall stems from concerns over Takata air bags that may hurt passengers when inflated.

The automaker is requesting that customers bring their affected vehicles to the dealership so that the airbags can be replaced.


Kraft Heinz Completes its Primal Nutrition Acquisition
Press Release
Press Release

The food and beverage company announced that it has completed its acquisition of Primal Nutrition.

As part of the deal, “Primal Kitchen will operate as an autonomous company and continue to be led by its current leadership team.”

The company, which focuses on Condiments, Sauces and Dressings was acquired for approximately $200 million.

Friday, January 4th, 2019


DoorDash Teams up with General Motors
Company Blog

The on-demand delivery company announced that it’s teaming up with General Motors Cruise Automation to offer autonomous deliveries.

According to a company blog post, the purpose of the pilot is to determine technical and infrastructure challenges, its impact on merchants and customers, and understand the quality of delivery associated with autonomous deliveries.

The pilot launch will be in San Francisco beginning in March of this year.


Whirlpool Expands Mobile Connectivity
Press Release

The multinational home appliance manufacturer announced that it’s “extending the mobile watch functionality of its connected appliances to include Wear OS by Google in 2019.”

The functionality will allow Android users to communicate with their appliances while away from home which includes: oven status, control washing options of an active washer cycle, and the control and detection of the start of an active dryer cycle.


FootLocker Invests $3 Million into Super Heroic
Press Release

The specialty athletic retailer announced that has made a strategic investment in Super Heroic, a children’s footwear company.

As part of the $3 million Series Seed II investment, “Kids Foot Locker will be the first brick-and-mortar retailer of Super Heroic products in the U.S.”

Thursday, January 3, 2019


Samsung to Supply Processors for Audi Cars
Press Release

The multinational technology company announced that its “automotive-branded processor, Exynos Auto V9, has been selected to power Audi’s next-generation in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system.”

According to a company press release, the technology chip helps provide an immersive driving experience that shows “content on multiple displays, providing information that assists drivers and passengers for a safer and more enjoyable in-vehicle experience” which includes the process of “visual and audio data for features such as face, speech or gesture recognition.”

The chips will make its debut in 2021.


Roku Adds Premium Subscriptions
Press Release

The digital media streaming company announced that it’s offering a premium tier that allows users “to add 25+ Premium Subscriptions from providers such as SHOWTIME®, Starz and EPIX.”

In addition to the premium option, users will have access to over 10,000 free ad-supported movies and TV episodes.


Netflix Announces a New Chief Financial Officer
Press Release

The on-demand video streaming company announced that it has appointed Spencer Neumann as the company’s CFO.

Neumann previously served as the CFO of Activision Blizzard and prior to that has held several senior level positions at the Walt Disney Company.

He succeeds David Wells who served as CFO since 2010.

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019


Nuvo Pharmaceuticals Completes its Aralez Pharmaceuticals Deal
Nuvo Press Release
Aralez Press Release

The Candian-based globally focused pharmaceutical company announced that the completed acquisition will provide the company with 20 revenue-generating products, a significant expansion of revenue, and an ability to launch and commercialize additional products.

The deal was valued at $110 million.


Bakkt Announces New Funding
Blog Post

The cryptocurrency project which is supported by the Intercontinental Exchange announced that it has raised its first “round of funding of $182.5 million from 12 partners and investors”.

The deal looks to help support the company’s work in “driving institutional access for digital assets, along with merchant and consumer uses.”


Sears Reportedly Looks to Close More Locations
CNBC

CNBC reports that the retailer is looking to close up to 80 Sears and Kmart locations across the United States by March of this year.

The move follows the announcement of 182 store closures since October of last year.

Monday, December 31st, 2018


Whole Foods Reportedly Plans to Open More Stores
WSJ

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is reportedly looking to expand its Whole Foods stores in the United States.

Sources familiar with the matter reportedly state that Whole Foods, which was acquired by Amazon for nearly $14 billion in 2017, is looking to specifically expand into suburbs to reach more customers and increase the range of its two-hour e-commerce delivery service.


Kroger Announces a Succession Plan for its CFO
Press Release

The grocery retail chain announced that J. Michael Schlotman, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, will retire in April 2019.

Gary Millerchip, CEO of Kroger Personal Finance, will be his successor. According to a company press release, he has played “an essential role in driving strategy and partnerships that have contributed to Kroger’s emergence from traditional grocer to growth company.”

His role will be effective April 4th, 2019.


Bounce Lands New Funding
TechCrunch

Bounce, a startup that lets users leave and retrieve items such as pieces of luggage and golf bags in select cities across the United States, raises $1.2 million in seed funding.

Users of the platform will be able to store their items at short-term storage locations such as hotels, dry cleaners, and other businesses.

The service is currently available in San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC, New York, and Los Angeles.

Friday, December 28th, 2018


NEC Acquires Denmark’s Largest IT Company
Press Release

The Japanese multinational provider of IT and network technologies announced that it has acquired KMD Holding for “approximately 8 billion Danish Kroner from Advent International, one of the world’s largest and most experienced private equity investors.”

The deal looks to help NEC with its “strategic ambitions within the public sector”.

The transaction is expected to close by February 2019.


Amazon Plans to Open a Fulfillment Center in Mississippi 
Press Release

The tech giant announced that the 554,000-square-foot fulfillment warehouse will be located in the Northern Missippippi area of Marshall County.

It “will create 850 full-time jobs” where employees will be focused on picking, packing, and shipping consumer goods.


AMC Theatre’s Membership Program Sees Growth
Press Release

The movie exhibition company announced that its AMC Stubs A-List program, a program that allows its members to “see up to 3 movies every week in any format, including IMAX® and Dolby Cinema,” has surpassed 600,000 members since it first launched 6-months ago.

The latest membership numbers have exceeded the company goal as it initially expected to reach 500,000 members after the first year of launching.

The Stubs A-List pass rivals other membership services such as MoviePass and Sinemia.

Thursday, December 27th, 2018


Amazon Sees a Boost in Sales of its Voice-Enabled Devices
Press Release

The tech giant announced that its voice-enabled products purchased this holiday season exceeded that of last year. Items include the “Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick 4K with all-new Alexa Voice Remote and Echo”.

Popular applications on Amazon’s voice-enabled devices include listening to music, requesting to turn on and off appliances, and searching for recipes.


Mastercard Saw US Retail Sales Grow 5.1% This Holiday Season
Press Release

Mastercard SpendingPulse, the company’s insights arm, stated that “holiday sales increased 5.1 percent to more than $850 billion this year – the strongest growth in the last six years.”

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, one of the major categories of spending were in the Home Improvement space.

The report details shopping between November 1st and December 24th of this year.


uBeam Looks to Unveil a New Product at CES
Press Release

The wireless charging startup announced that it will be unveiling a new ultrasonic wireless power system at next month’s International Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

According to a company press release, “the technology demonstration will showcase uBeam’s new contact-free power-at-a-distance ultrasonic wireless power system.”

The company’s leadership and engineering teams will be present at the industry leading event.

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018


DropCar Expands its Hiring Program
Press Release

The last mile logistics solutions startup announced that it’s expanding its “hiring efforts across New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC and Baltimore due to growth in new and existing B2B contracts.”

Founded in 2015, DropCar works with dealerships, fleet owners, OEMs and shared mobility companies to offer a last-mile logistics platform that helps “reduce costs, streamline logistics and deepen relationships with customers.”


Meredith Completes its Sale of the Fortune Media Brand
Press Release

The American media conglomerate announced in a company press release that it has “closed on the sale of the FORTUNE media brand for $150 million cash to Fortune Media Group Holdings Limited.”

The deal which was first announced at the beginning of November will provide the media company with proceeds to pay down debt. Meredith is expected to reduce its debt by $1 billion in its fiscal 2019.


LiveNation Acquires Argentina’s Leading Concert Promotion Company
Press Release

The events promoter and venue operator announced that it “has acquired a majority stake in DF Entertainment, one of Argentina’s top independent concert promoters.”

The deal looks to expand LiveNation’s reach and expertise in the region.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018


Nike Announces a New President and CEO for Converse
Press Release

The athletic sportswear company announced that “G. Scott Uzzell will become President & CEO of Converse, Inc.”

Uzzell previously served as the President of Venturing & Emerging Brands Group for the Coca-Cola Company where he helped develop a portfolio of high-growth brands including Honest Tea, ZICO Coconut Water, and Fairlife Milk.

His role will be effective beginning on January 22nd, 2019.


WWE Extends its Partnership with Japan’s J-Sports
Press Release

The WWE, or World Wrestling Entertainment company, announced that it is extending its long-time partnership with J-Sports, a Japanese-based producer and broadcaster of sporting programs.

According to a company press release, the partnership is extending into its 22nd year “with a new agreement to broadcast WWE’s flagship shows Raw® and SmackDown® live in Japan.”


Geico Announces a New Assistant VP Marketing
Press Release

The second largest auto insurer in the US announced that it has promoted Amy Furman as the company’s new Assistant Vice President of Marketing.

She previously served as a marketing Director since 2002.

Furman will be responsible for digital advertising, brand, and production.

Monday, December 24th, 2018


Amazon Expands its Air Package Delivery Network
Press Release

The tech giant announced that it’s expanding its partnership with “Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ATSG) by leasing an additional 10 aircraft to support Amazon’s growth.”

The new aircraft will add to Amazon’s “air cargo operation over the next two years.”

In 2016, the company first launched its Amazon Air program by leasing “40 Boeing 767 freighter aircraft” which fly “in and out of gateway operations at over 20 airports, making two-day shipping possible almost anywhere in the U.S.”


Zynga Acquires a Mobile Game Studio
Press Release

The social game developer announced that “it has entered into an agreement to acquire Helsinki-based mobile game studio, Small Giant Games.”

The deal looks to help Zynga expand its game portfolio and add an experienced team that will contribute to the company’s profitability and growth beginning in 2019.

Small Giant is the creator of the hit franchise, Empires and Puzzles which has been downloaded over 26 million times. As part of the deal, “Zynga will acquire 80% of Small Giant for $560 million, comprised of approximately $330 million in cash and $230 million of unregistered Zynga common stock.”


Calvin Klein and Raf Simons Part Ways
Press Release

The fashion company announced that it is parting ways with Raf Simons.

Simons previously served as the Creative Director at Christian Dior before starting as Calvin Klein’s Chief Creative Officer in 2016.

According to a company press release, the amicable split was based “on a new brand direction which differs from Simons’s creative vision.”

Friday, December 21st, 2018


Juul Announces a New Minority Investment
Press Release

The e-cigarette company announced that it has received a minority investment of $12.8 billion from Altria, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies.

The investment represents a 35% ownership in Juul.

As part of the deal, “Altria will apply its logistics and distribution experience to help JUUL expand its reach and efficiency.”


Boosted Announces a New Round of Funding
TechCrunch
Press Release

The electric skateboard company announced that it has raised $60 million in Series B funding. The round was co-led by Khosla Ventures and iNovia Capital.

The company will use the new funds to expand globally and launch new products.

According to TechCrunch, Boosted has raised more than $70 million to date.


Earnin Closes a $125 Million Round of Equity Financing
Company Blog Post
Press Release

The wage payments company announced that it has closed the round from investors including DST Global, Andreessen Horowitz, and Spark Capital.

The new funds will be used to expand the team, develop new partnerships, and invest in marketing.

According to a press release, Earnin “allows people to access their pay the minute they leave work, with no fees, interest, or hidden costs”. It has built a community of “more than 50,000 employers across all 50 states, logging a combined 15 million hours of work a week.”

Thursday, December 20th, 2018


Tilray Enters into a Research Partnership with Anheuser-Busch InBev
Press Release

The Canadian cannabis company announced that it’s working with Anheuser-Busch InBev, a multinational alcoholic beverage company, to research non-alcoholic beverages containing the cannabis compounds of THC and CBD.

The partnership is exclusive to Canada and a decision on commercialization will be made in the future.

According to a company press release, each party “intends to invest up to $50 million USD.”


Airbnb Introduces New Global Safety Measures
Press Release

The home-sharing marketplace announced that it’s rolling out a fire and carbon monoxide safety education program that looks to educate hosts and guests with resources regarding the prevention of “home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.”

As part of the program, the company is increasing the awareness of its “free smoke and carbon monoxide alarms” program which now looks to decrease delivery times and remove restrictions on the amount of devices given to hosts. According to the company over 30,000 devices have been distributed since 2014.

The company also stated that it’s partnering with the American Red Cross on increasing the awareness of the issue and is committing a “$1 million donation to support the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign”.


RiteAid and McKesson Look to Continue Their Partnership
Press Release

The American drugstore chain announced that it’s continuing its “pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution partnership for an additional 10 years” with McKesson, the multinational pharmaceutical distributor.

According to a company press release, under the new key terms of the partnership, “McKesson will continue providing Rite Aid with sourcing and direct-to-store delivery for brand and generic pharmaceutical products through March 2029.”

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018


Kroger Rolls Out Autonomous Deliveries
Press Release

The supermarket chain launches a self-driving grocery delivery service in Scottsdale, Arizona. The new service is now available to the general public after months of pilot testing.

In order to fulfill the service, Kroger has teamed up with Nuro, a robotics company which operates a self-driving unit, that “travels on public roads and has no driver, no passengers and only transports goods.”

With the new service, Kroger customers can now order groceries to be “scheduled for same-day or next-day delivery by Nuro’s fleet of self-driving vehicles.”


DraftKings Looks to Launch in West Virginia
Press Release

The fantasy sports provider announced that it’s preparing to launch a sports betting service in West Virginia.

According to a company press release, it has “reached a licensing agreement with an affiliate of Penn National Gaming, Inc., the operator of Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia.”

As part of the deal, sports fans will have access to DraftKings Sportsbook, a “sports betting platform, pending regulatory approvals.”


H&M Home and Google Collaborate On a Voice Payment And Holiday Gift Guide
Press Release

The fashion retailer announced that it’s launching a voice application which will be available on “Google Assistant” and “Google Home smart devices.”

Through the application, users will be able to launch H&M Home, and purchase items via voice, from its gift guide.

According to the company, the move makes H&M “one of the first voice shopping experiences ever launched within retail.”

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018


Honeywell Launches an eCommerce Platform
Press Release

The commercial and consumer products conglomerate announced that it’s launching a new website that will “improve access to new and used aircraft parts for airlines, air transport and business aviation customers”.

The platform, which is called “GoDirect™ Trade”, looks to offer a unique experience in the aviation buying experience offering “transparent pricing and the option to buy inventory directly from its website.”

GoDirect will use “blockchain technology to ensure every listing includes images and quality documents for the exact part being offered for sale.” According to the company, prior to the launch of its new platform, “buyers looking for aviation parts such as avionics, auxiliary power units and more would have to call numerous companies, wait days or even weeks to price a part, and risk buying from a company that did not have the inventory immediately in stock.”


Jack in the Box Explores Strategic Financing Options
Press Release
Qdoba Sale Press Release

The American fast-food chain announced that it’s “exploring a range of strategic and financing alternatives to maximize shareholder value.”

According to a company press release, one of the options could include a potential sale.

The company stated that it has not set a timeline to close the process. The announcement comes approximately a year after it announced that it will be selling its Qdoba fast food restaurant chain.


Google Expands its Presence in New York
Company Blog Post

The technology giant announced that it’s expanding its presence in New York City “by investing over $1 billion in capital improvements to establish a new campus.”

The new campus, dubbed ‘Google Hudson Square’, will be a 1.7 million square foot location. The new location will provide Google with the resources to “double the number of Googlers in New York over the next 10 years.” Google Hudson Square is expected to open the doors to the first phase of its new location in 2020 and will be the primary location for its “New York-based Global Business Organization.”

Google currently has over 7,000 employees based in the city.

Monday, December 17th, 2018


LVMH Acquires a Luxury Hotel Operator
Press Release

The luxury goods conglomerate, which is home to brands such as, Louis Vuitton and Hublot, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Belmond Ltd., a luxury hotel chain.

LVMH will acquire Belmond for $25.00 per Class A share in cash representing a $2.6 billion deal which is expected to significantly increase its presence in the luxury hotel market.

Belmond operates in 24 countries with a portfolio of 46 hotel, rail and river cruise experiences.


General Motors Looks to Help Workers Impacted by its Recent Layoffs
Press Release

The automobile manufacturer announced that it’s offering “training opportunities and access to tuition assistance” for U.S. hourly employees affected by its recent layoffs.

The company is also looking to provide employees with options to transition into other roles at other GM plants, if interested.

General Motors recently announced that it’s shifting towards a focus on electric and autonomous vehicles.


BBVA and Porsche Holding Team up on Blockchain Technology
Press Release

The multinational banking group announced that it has teamed up with Porsche Holdings, a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, to close a “€150 million term loan backing strategic acquisitions in the retail distribution network in Europe and Asia.”

The loan was arranged using blockchain technology which is capable of automating the negotiation process, minimizing operational risks and offer speed, traceability, and transparency.

According to a BBVA press release, the latest transaction “strengthens a long lasting commercial relationship between the two institutions.”

Friday, December 14th, 2018


Apple Plans to Build a New Campus in Texas
Press Release

The technology giant announced that it’s investing up to $1 billion on a new 133-acre campus in Austin, Texas. The new campus looks to employ approximately 15,000 workers and will make Apple the largest private employer in the state’s capital. Jobs at the location will include engineering, R&D, and sales.

Over the next three years, the company expects to launch new offices in “Seattle, San Diego and Culver City and expand in cities across the United States including Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado.”

Apple stated that it added 6,000 positions in 2018 and now employs approximately 90,000 workers across the United States.


General Electric Launches a $1.2 Billion Industrial Internet of Things Software Company
Press Release

The multinational conglomerate announced plans to “establish a new, independent company focused on building a comprehensive Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) software portfolio.”

The new company is intended to be a “wholly-owned, independently run business with a new brand and identity, its own equity structure, and its own Board of Directors.”

The company expects significant growth in the nascent market.


Google Rolls Out Artificial Intelligence Technology to Detect Diabetic Retinopathy
Company Blog Post

The technology company announced that it’s offering a new AI system “to help doctors analyze images of the back of the eye for signs of diabetic retinopathy” for patients in Thailand.

According to the company, its AI system “detects diabetic retinopathy with a level of accuracy on par with human retinal specialists.”

Thursday, December 13th, 2018


Procter & Gamble Acquires a Health and Beauty Brand
Press Release

The consumer goods company announced that it has acquired Walker & Company Brands, a company that makes health and beauty products for people of color.

The acquisition looks to help Procter & Gamble better serve consumers of color around the world. According to a company press release, “Walker & Company Brands will operate as a separate and wholly-owned subsidiary of P&G, continuing to be led by CEO and Founder Tristan Walker.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Farfetch Acquires a Sneaker Marketplace
Press Release

The online fashion retailer announced that it has acquired Stadium Goods, a sneaker and streetwear marketplace.

The $250 million deal “will be in the form of cash and Farfetch shares, with the exact amounts to be determined at completion following customary adjustments.”

As part of the deal, “Stadium Goods will continue to operate as a standalone brand on the Farfetch platform and will be led by its existing management team.”


Accenture Acquires a Digital Media Services Company
Press Release

Accenture acquires Adaptly, a company that helps brands “manage data-driven campaigns across prominent digital advertising channels and platforms” including, Instagram, Amazon, and Google.

According to a company press release, the deal looks to help “support Accenture Interactive’s ability to activate, optimize, and measure media cross-platform and help advertisers drive superior business outcomes.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018


Hubspot Launches a Venture Fund
Blog Post 

The marketing software company announced that it’s launching HubSpot Ventures, a $30 million fund that looks to invest in companies that align with HubSpot’s mission to “help millions of organizations grow better.”

The fund is dedicated to Software-as-a-Service type companies, who are looking to raise Seed, Series A, or Series B rounds.

In addition to funds and other perks, companies will have “access to personalized coaching and benchmarking from senior leaders and subject matter experts at HubSpot”.


Walmart Launches a New eCommerce Website in Japan
Press Release

The multinational retailer announced that it’s has teamed up with Rakuten, a Japanese eCommerce company, to launch a Walmart eCommerce store in Japan called the ”Walmart Rakuten Ichiba Store.”

The store will be accessible through Rakuten’s Ichiba internet shopping mall.

The new store looks to provide a new shopping experience to the Japanese market and will combine Walmart’s international expertise in US-branded goods with Rakuten’s strength in online commerce.


Hertz Introduces a Biometrics Service to Speed up the Rental Process
Press Release

The car rental company announced “the launch of Hertz Fast Lane powered by CLEAR – a new service that uses biometrics to drastically speed up the car rental process and get travelers through the exit gate and on the road in 30 seconds or less.”

With the new service, customers will be able to “verify their identity and rental reservation with just a look or tap of their finger.”

The service will be available in more than 40 airports and venues across the United States.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018


Over 10,000 Employees Are Leaving Verizon
Press Release

The telecommunications company announced that “approximately 10,400 employees have been accepted as part of a voluntary program to leave the business as the company better positions itself for future growth.”

The move follows the company’s realignment plans to further support opportunities in 5G technology.

The news affects approximately 7% of the company’s workforce. Employees were offered “up to 60 weeks’ salary, bonus and benefits, depending on length of service” as part of the Voluntary Separation Program.


Canada’s BMO Financial Group Looks to Setup a Flagship HQ in Downtown Chicago
Press Release

The new office tower, which is central to the company’s transformation strategy, will be home to approximately 3,600 employees.

The company is expected to occupy “14 floors of the 50-floor, 700 foot building, which opens in 2022.”

The new headquarters is expected to accelerate BMO’s growth in the United States.


Hyatt Regency Opens the Largest Hotel in the Pacific Northwest
Press Release

The hospitality company announced the launch of Hyatt Regency Seattle, a new full-service hotel that “features more than 1,200 guestrooms, 103,000 square feet of dynamic meeting and event spaces” and multiple restaurants.

The hotel is located “two short blocks from the Washington State Convention Center and adjacent to The Summit, the planned convention center expansion building slated to open Spring 2022.”

The new hotel looks to become the “new premier destination for meetings and events in the region.”

Monday, December 10th, 2018


Uber Reportedly Confidentially Files for an IPO
Reuters
TechCrunch
Wall Street Journal

Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the matter, that the transportation services company filed documents with the SEC for its expected IPO.

According to TechCrunch, the paperwork was confidentially filed last Thursday which was two days after its main competitor, Lyft, also filed confidentially for an IPO.

Uber was founded in 2009 and has raised $24.2 billion to date. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company could potentially be valued up to $120 billion.


TrueCar Acquires DealerScience
Press Release

The digital automotive marketplace announced that it has acquired DealerScience, a leading provider of advanced digital retailing software tools.

As part of the deal, DealerScience will operate as a subsidiary of TrueCar and will focus on “product development, sales and customer training”.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Apple Watch Launches Features to Analyze its Users Heart Health
Press Release

The multinational technology company announced that its Apple Watch product now “enables customers to take an electrocardiogram right from their wrist, capturing heart rhythm in a moment when they experience symptoms like a rapid or skipped heart beat”.

According to a company press release, with the new ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notification, “Apple Watch can now also occasionally check heart rhythms in the background and send a notification if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation is identified”.

The feature is available in the United States as part of a free update to the latest version of watchOS.

Friday, December 7th, 2018


Lyft Files for an IPO
Press Release

The ride-sharing company announced that it has filed a confidential submission of a draft registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The proposed IPO filing did not specify the price range or the number of shares being sold.

The company is reportedly expected to go public in the first half of 2019.


Walmart Acquires Art.com
News Release

In an effort to boost its product offering with more inspirational choices, the retail company announced that it’s acquiring the assets of Art.com.

According to the company, “Art.com is the world’s largest online retailer in the art and wall décor category, and the addition of its two million curated images – including a growing exclusive assortment – will create an even richer, deeper customer experience” across its home category.

Walmart plans to operate the assets of Art.com as a standalone site and eventually add its product assortment to its various online platforms such as Jet.com


Airbnb Collects Over $1 Billion in Hotel and Tourism Taxes
Press Release

The home-sharing company announced that through its partnership with over 400 governments around the world, it has “collected and remitted more than $1 billion in Transient Occupancy Taxes to date”.

Airbnb stated that it’s continually working with city officials around the globe to “reap the benefits of home sharing” with the exploration of “new and unique partnerships on the issue of taxes.”

Thursday, December 6th, 2018


The NYPD Launches a Drone Program
News Release

The New York Police Department announced that it’s rolling out a new Unmanned Aircraft System Program that is planned to be used for search and rescue missions, inaccessible crime scenes, hostage situations, or hazardous material incidents.

The drones will be operated by licensed NYPD officers of its Technical Assistance Response Unit, a group that specializes in “investigative equipment and tactical support to all bureaus within the NYPD”.

According to an NYPD press release, “there are more than 900 state and local police, fire and emergency units with UAVs” across the United States.


Pizza Hut Looks to Acquire an Online Ordering Provider
Company Blog Post

The restaurant chain announced that it’s “U.S. business has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire QuikOrder, a leading online ordering software and service provider for the restaurant industry”.

The deal will help Pizza Hut “improve its ability to deliver an easy and personalized online ordering experience and accelerate digital innovation across its base of more than 6,000 restaurants in the U.S”.

According to the company, the acquisition makes it one of the largest to date, however, terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Waymo Introduces its Commercial Self-Driving Service
Company Blog Post
Company Blog Post: Driving Experience

The self-driving tech subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc. announced that it’s launching Waymo One,  its self-driving taxi service.

The new service will initially be made available to the company’s early customers and will be accessible “across several cities in the Metro Phoenix area, including Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, and Gilbert”.

The company stated that initial runs will have a Waymo-trained driver present to supervise trips.

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018


Audi Plans to Spend Billions on Electric and Autonomous Mobility
Press Release

The German automobile manufacturer announced that it’s investing 14 billion Euros on electric mobility, digitalization, and autonomous driving by the end of 2023.

According to the company, the investment includes commitments to research and development, and property, plant and equipment expenditures.


Western Union Completes the Relocation to its New Global HQ
Press Release

The financial services company announced “the completed relocation of its global headquarters from Englewood to a new, highly-visible location in Denver, Colorado”.

The 350,000 square foot location provides space for more than 1,300 employees with amenities that include innovation labs, and self-serve micro markets.


GNC Launches an Experiential Retail Store
News Release

The health and wellness retailer announced that it’s opening a new retail experience in the South Hills Village Shopping Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The new store will offer several installations including a: smoothie lab, body composition analysis station, and in-house registered dietician consultants.

The company looks to leverage engagement and insights from the pilot launch to inform strategies at its other retail locations.

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018


Accenture Acquires a Gas, Oil, and Airline Consulting Firm
Press Release

The global management consulting and professional services company announced that it has acquired “Enaxis Consulting, a Houston-based management consulting firm with deep experience in digital capabilities, data science and agile project delivery focused on the upstream oil and gas and oilfield services sectors and the airline industry”.

The acquisition looks to assist companies in the respective industries through organizational transformation, innovation, and operational efficiency.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


GlaxoSmithKline Makes a Bid to Acquire a Biopharma Company
Press Release

The multinational pharmaceutical company announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Tesaro, an oncology-focused business.

According to the company, the $5.1 billion all-cash deal looks to “strengthen GlaxoSmithKline’s pharmaceutical business, accelerating the build of GlaxoSmithKline’s pipeline and commercial capability in oncology”.


Walmart Provides its Customers with a New Way to Shop for Online Items
News Release

The multinational retail company announced that it’s launching a new offering that allows customers to order and pay for online items available on Walmart.com at its stores.

The move looks to offer a one-stop-shopping experience that lets customers conveniently deliver items to their home or local store at no charge.

Monday, December 3rd, 2018


McKesson Moves its Headquarters
News Release

The healthcare and pharmaceutical distribution giant announced that it’s relocating its new headquarters from San Francisco to Las Colinas, a developed area in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas. The relocation is part of a multi-year strategic initiative that looks to “optimize the company’s operating and cost structures”.

McKesson stated that it “will continue to have a strong presence in California” after its relocation to Texas, with over 1,400 employees “primarily in distribution operations and sales”.

The move to the new headquarters is expected to go in effect on April 1st, 2019.


Apple Music Teams up with Amazon
Amazon Blog Post

The music streaming service will be made available on Amazon Echo devices, this according to an Amazon blog post.

The company stated that music is one of the most popular features on the Amazon Alexa device.

The streaming service is expected to launch on the device during the week of December 17th, 2018.


Marriott Announces a Data Breach
News Release

The multinational hospitality company announced that it has “has taken measures to investigate and address a data security incident involving the Starwood guest reservation database”.

According to a company press release, an investigation determined that there had “been unauthorized access to the Starwood network since 2014”.

Marriott stated that “approximately 500 million guests who made a reservation at a Starwood property” may have been affected. The company has reported the incident to law enforcement and has begun notifying regulatory authorities.

Friday, November 30th, 2018


T-Mobile Launches a Mobile Banking Solution
T-Mobile Money Website

The mobile telecommunications company is rolling out a new digital banking service called T-Mobile Money.

T-Mobile Money customers will be given up to 4% Annual Percentage Yield, no account fees, and access to over 55,000 no-fee ATMs. Users will also be able to access their checking account funds via Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay mobile wallets.

T-Mobile Money is backed by Bank Mobile a division of Customers Bank and is FDIC-Insured.


Cruise Automation Announces a New CEO
Press Release

The American Driverless Car company, which is owned by General Motors, announced that it’s appointing Dan Ammann as its new CEO.

Prior to Cruise, Ammann served as the President of General Motors and also led the acquisition efforts of the automation company back in 2016.

Kyle Vogt, Cruise’s co-founder will serve as President and Chief Technology officer beginning on January 1st, 2019.


Airbnb Looks to Design Houses
Press Release
Samara Website

The global home-sharing platform announced that it’s looking to get into the housing business.

Airbnb’s design studio called Samara announced its first project dubbed “Backyard”. Backyard will be an initiative to “prototype new ways that homes can be designed, built, and shared” and will focus on “humanistic, future-oriented, and waste-conscious design”.

Initial prototypes are expected to launch by the third quarter of 2019.

Thursday, November 29th, 2018


Facebook Expands its Local News Offering
News Release

The social media giant announced that it’s making it easier for its users to learn more about local news affecting their communities.

The new feature called “Today In” will initially showcase information and alerts from relevant government and first responder resources.

Today In is available across 400 cities in the United States and has also expanded to Australia.


Instagram Launches a New Feature for Visually Impaired Users
News Release

The photo and video social networking platform announced that it’s launching a new feature targeted towards making the social network more accessible to users with visual impairments.

The company stated that it’s launching audio descriptions on photos, as well as, custom alternative text which can be added to posts and accessed via screen readers.

According to the company, more than 285 million people in the world have visual impairments.


Apple Looks to Support Women Entrepreneurs
News Release

The multinational technology company announced that it’s launching an initiative that’s designed to support app type businesses led or owned by women.

The technology lab, which is called Entrepreneur Camp, is directed towards app-driven businesses that are female-founded or have at least one woman on the development team.

The pilot program, which is currently accepting applications, will initially start with 10 companies and begins in January 2019.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018


MGM Resorts International Teams up with Major League Baseball
News Release

Both parties are teaming up on an “all-inclusive partnership agreement that combines the MLB brand with MGM Resorts and playMGM brands across league and team sponsorships”.

The deal also includes “data usage in gaming, promotion across MLB-owned media platforms, and domestic and international activations at MLB events”.

The multi-year agreement makes MGM Resorts International the leagues first-ever Official Gaming Partner.


H&M Shuts Down its Cheap Monday Brand
Press Release

The multinational clothing retail company announced that it’s closing the brand due to struggling sales as a result of its traditional wholesale business model; a model which has “faced major challenges due to the shift in the industry”.

According to the company, approximately 80 employees are affected by the shutdown.

H&M stated that the closure is expected to be complete by June 30th, 2019.


Accenture Opens a Canadian Innovation Hub
News Release

The global management consulting firm announced that it’s opening a new innovation hub located in downtown Toronto.

The new office looks to “help clients grow, compete and transform in the digital economy”. The location is designed to help clients work with the firm to ideate, prototype, and scale new products and services.

Accenture also stated in a company press release that it will be “adding 800 new, highly skilled technology jobs by the end of 2020 and expanding its apprenticeship program”.

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018


General Motors Announces Restructuring Plans
Press Release

The multinational vehicle manufacturer announced that it’s closing five plants in North America, and cutting nearly 15,000 jobs.

It stated that it’s shifting its focus to electric and autonomous vehicles, and shutting down plants in response to changing customer preferences.

GM looks to cut “salaried and salaried contract staff by 15 percent, which includes 25 percent fewer executives”.


Airbnb Appoints a New CFO
Press Release

The privately-held home sharing marketplace announced that it’s has appointed Dave Stephenson as its new Chief Financial Officer.

Stephenson joins the company from Amazon, “where he was most recently Vice President and CFO of their Worldwide Consumer Organization, which is responsible for all of Amazon’s global website sales including Amazon Prime and subsidiaries such as Whole Foods and Zappos”.

He will start in January and report to Brian Chesky, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. According to multiple reports, Airbnb is reportedly preparing for an IPO in 2019.


British Airways Goes on a Hiring Spree
Press Release

The UK-based airliner announced that it’s investing in a new apprenticeship “programme to recruit more than 2,000 cabin crew in 2019”.

The apprenticeship program will begin in March of next year and looks to bring on candidates with “no prior cabin crew experience”.

According to the company, more than 2,500 candidates have already applied to the program.

Monday, November 26th, 2018


The State of Ohio Becomes the First to Accept Bitcoin for Tax Payments
Wall Street Journal
TechCrunch

The Wall Street Journal reports that businesses in the State of Ohio will now be able to log onto OhioCrypto.com to pay business-related taxes. The report outlines that the service will eventually be made available to individual filers.

According to TechCrunch, the states of Georgia, Illinois, and Arizona have also considered accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for taxes; however, the initiatives did not proceed further past state legislatures.


FedEx Acquires 1,000 Electric Vehicles
Company Press Release

The global logistics company announced that “it is expanding its fleet to add 1,000 Chanje V8100 electric delivery vehicles”.

According to a company press release, “FedEx is purchasing 100 of the vehicles from Chanje Energy Inc and leasing 900 from Ryder System, Inc.”

The vehicles will be used for commercial and residential deliveries within the United States.


Kroger Has Announced its New High-Tech Customer Fulfillment Centre
Company Press Release

The retail grocer announced that it will open its fulfillment center in Monroe, OH, a suburb north of Cincinnati. The initiative which is in partnership with Ocado, a UK-based company that offers automated warehouse facilities, “will measure 335,000 square feet and is expected to generate more than 410 new jobs”.

According to a company press release, Kroger will invest $55 million towards the new fulfillment center.

Friday, November 23rd, 2018


Nissan’s Board of Directors Vote to Discharge Carlos Ghosn as Chairman
Press Release
Washington Post

The auto manufacturers board has announced that Ghosn will no longer serve as its Chairman after he was arrested last week on suspicion of financial misconduct.

Ghosn is alleged to have under-reported approximately $44 million in income over the course of 5 years while also misusing company assets. According to the Washington Post, he faces a maximum 10-year sentence if convicted.

Nissan stated in a company press release that “the long-standing Alliance partnership with Renault remains unchanged”.


Nokia Establishes a New Division to Explore Opportunities in 5G Technology
News Release

The multinational telecommunications and electronics company announced that it is establishing a new division to fully exploit opportunities in 5G.

The new division will “consist of Nokia’s current Mobile Networks and Fixed Networks Business Groups, with the change to take effect on January 1, 2019”.

5G, or fifth-generation of mobile cellular communications, is the latest iteration of wireless technology that reduces latency and improves the speed and performance of wireless networks.


A New Company Looks to Help Procrastinators Achieve Their Goals
Company Website

Boss as a Service looks to help individuals who need a little extra motivation to achieve their goals, reach them.

According to the company’s website, the service — which is not for everybody — is targeted mainly towards individuals who work independently and need accountability.

Plans to help prospective procrastinators start at $25 a month.

Thursday, November 22nd, 2018


BMW Gets into the Ride-Hailing Business
Financial Times
South China Morning Post
Bain & Co.

The Financial Times reports that BMW has been granted a license to operate ride-hailing services in Chengdu, China, the capital of China’s Sichuan province.

Ride-hailing has been dominated by Didi Chuxing, who according to the South China Morning Post, accounts for over 90% of ride-hailing orders in China.

Bain and Company, a global management consulting firm, reports that China’s ride-hailing market is currently worth $23 billion, with expectations to grow to $72 billion by 2020.


GameStop Sells its Spring Mobile Division
Press Release

The video game and electronics retailer announced that it “has entered into a definitive agreement to sell” Spring Mobile, a business that owns and operates close to 1,300 AT&T wireless stores, “to Prime Communications, L.P. for $700 million”.

According to a company blog post, “proceeds from the sale may be used to reduce the company’s outstanding debt, fund share repurchases” or “reinvest in core video game and collectibles businesses to drive growth”.


IKEA Plans to Cut Over 7,000 Jobs
Press Release

The home furnishing retailer announced that it plans to cut 7,500 jobs as a result of a new business model structure that looks to adapt to a fast-moving and transformational retail landscape.

The company, who employs over 160,000 employees around the world, also stated in a company press release that the restructure will add close to 12,000 jobs globally, “through opening around 30 new IKEA touchpoints, investments in its fulfillment network and in digital capabilities”.

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018


Autodesk Acquires a Construction Productivity Software Company
Press Release

The 3D design, engineering & entertainment software company announced that it “has signed a definitive agreement to acquire PlanGrid, a leading provider of construction productivity software”.

The $875 million deal looks to boost Autodesk’s cloud-based construction platform. Plangrid lets stakeholders such as contractors, subcontractors, and project owners collaborate in real-time.

The transaction is expected to close by January 31st, 2019.


BeyondMeat Plans to Go Public
SEC S-1 Filing

The plant-based meat substitute company filed an S-1 form with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week.

The Los Angeles-based company, which was founded in 2009, has its plant-based products available in over 10,000 restaurants, hotels, and universities. It looks to list its common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market.

Beyond Meat looks to raise $100 million from its IPO.


Samsung Launches a New Product for Farmers
News Release

The multinational technology company announced that it’s launching a new horticulture product line that is “optimized for lighting in greenhouses and vertical farming”.

According to a company press release, the “new horticulture LEDs are designed to promote healthier plant growth and enhance farming conditions for indoor growers”.

The modules will be available worldwide in the first quarter of 2019.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018


Petco Looks to Offer Pet Prescription Delivery Services
Press Release

The pet specialty retailer announced a strategic partnership with Express Scripts, a healthcare company focused on personal prescription management and delivery.

The partnership looks to enable pet owners “to order and receive pet medicines from the comfort and convenience of home”.

According to a Petco company press release, pet owners “spend more than $8 billion annually on prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications for their animals”.


Airbnb Looks to Remove West Bank Listings from its Platform
Press Release

The home-sharing company announced that it’s removing “listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians”.

This comes as a result of a company framework which was developed for evaluating its operations in occupied territories.

The decision affects approximately 200 Airbnb listings in the region.


Instagram Begins to Remove Inauthentic Likes, Follows and Comments
Company Blog Post

The social media network announced that it’s identifying accounts that use third-party providers to inauthentically boost followers, likes, and comments.

The company is using machine learning technology to identify artificial activity on the platform.

According to an Instagram press release, using third-party providers poses security risks to accounts.

This is the first step in a series of additional measures which will be introduced in the coming weeks to curb inauthentic activity on the social media network.

Monday, November 19th, 2018


Blackberry Makes an Acquisition in the Artifical Intelligence and Cybersecurity Space
Press Release

The Canadian multinational enterprise software company announced that is has entered into an agreement to acquire Cylance for $1.4 billion in cash, “plus the assumption of unvested employee incentive awards”.

The company which was founded in 2012, helps predict and prevent cyber security threats through the use of artificial intelligence technology. According to a Blackberry press release, Cylance “generates highly recurring revenue from over 3,500 active enterprise customers, including more than 20% of the Fortune 500”.

The deal is expected to close before February 2019.


Visa Strengthens its Commitment to Digital Payments in India
Press Release
Oribis Research

The financial services company announced in a press release that it’s investing a minority investment in BillDesk, “a leading platform for online payments and bill payments in India”.

The investment looks to help BillDesk develop “new product lines for its payments and loyalty businesses and also expand its footprint into other geographies”. According to OrbisResearch.com, digital payment transactions in India are expected to reach over $700 Billion by 2022.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Volkswagen Invests in Innovation
Press Release

The 81-year-old German auto manufacturing company announced that it’s investing over 44 billion Euros on “e-mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services and digitalization in vehicles and at plants through 2023”.

According to a company press release, the spend represents approximately one-third of the company’s “total expenditure for the 2019-2023 planning period”.

Friday, November 16th, 2018


Nike Opens its Newly Built Flagship Store in New York
News Release

The sportswear retailer announced the opening of its 6-story 68,000 square foot store located in the heart of the city.

Dubbed the “House of Innovation 000”, the retail location offers an engaging and personal shopping experience that utilizes the latest in retail trends including data led inventory showcasing the products that consumers in the local market are buying, scan and go payment technology called Nike Instant Checkout which is similar to Amazon Go stores, and mobile shopping.

The new location opened this week.


American Express Launches a New Feature to Help with Business Expenses
Press Release

The financial services company announced in a press release that it’s launching “American Express Go, a new digital solution to help mid-sized and large companies efficiently handle business expenses for temporary workers, recruits, and employees without Corporate Cards.”

American Express Go gives users the option to make payments via online or through the phone. The new feature also allows companies to create temporary plastic cards for in-person payments.

Businesses who hire freelancers and contractors, such as those in the on-demand industry, would be among the many who would benefit from American Express’s latest solution giving them more flexibility in payments and reimbursements.


JetBlue Uses Facial Recognition Technology
Press Release

The airline company announced that it is rolling out an option for flyers to board their flight by using their face as a boarding pass.

The option will be available at JetBlue’s “first fully-integrated biometric self-boarding gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport”.

According to a company press release, “more than 50,000 customers have participated in biometric boarding” since JetBlue introduced the option in Boston and Fort Lauderdale in 2017.

Thursday, November 15th, 2018


The International Monetary Fund Explores the Use of Digital Currencies
News Release

Speaking at the Singapore Fintech Festival on Tuesday, Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, outlined significant changes in the financial landscape with respect to digital currencies.

Lagarde stated that central banks of various nations, including Canada, Sweden, and China are exploring its role of supplying money in the digital economy.

According to Lagarde, the benefits would be in regards to financial inclusion, security, consumer protection, and privacy. She also outlined potential downsides which include risks to financial integrity, and risks to financial stability.

Lagarde poses the case that with the rise of non-cash payments, central banks around the globe may want to “seriously, carefully, and creatively” evaluate the case of the potential for digital currencies.


Ford, Walmart, and Postmates Team Up to Offer Driverless Delivery
Ford Blog Post

The automobile manufacturer announced in a company blog post that it’s exploring the use of autonomous vehicles in regards to grocery delivery.

Brian Wolf, Director of Business Development for Ford’s Autonomous Vehicles unit stated in the blog post that the company is teaming up with Walmart to “deliver many everyday goods such as groceries, diapers, pet food, and personal care items”.

The pilot program which is powered by Postmates, an on-demand delivery company, will provide the infrastructure such as its ordering platform and potential consumer-base.

Wolf stated that the pilot program will take place in the Miami-Dade County of Florida.


Facebook’s Charitable Giving Reaches Over $1 Billion
Press Release

The social media giant announced that “over 20 million people have either donated to or started a fundraiser on Facebook”.

Since 2015, users have donated over $1 Billion through Facebook Fundraisers or Donate Buttons.

The company stated that over “1 million nonprofits in 19 countries” are able to receive donations through the social network.

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018


Facebook Launches a Career Development Platform
News Update

The social networking giant announced that it is launching Learn with Facebook, “a career development site that provides an introduction to both the hard and soft skills people need to advance in today’s digital workforce”.

The free-to-use service provides courses on resume building, interview tips, and digital marketing.

The company has been steadily creating the professional side of its business. In 2017, Facebook “launched Jobs on Facebook” which has helped people find over 1 million jobs since its rollout.


UPS Expands its Express Services to New Markets
Press Release

The global logistics company announced that it has expanded its Worldwide Express service to 14 new high-growth countries.

The expansion includes countries across the Indian subcontinent, Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and Europe.

The service is designed for customers who need an urgent shipping offering which guarantees time, and day delivery.


Chick-fil-A Announces Nationwide Delivery
News Release

The fast-food restaurant chain announced that it will be partnering with DoorDash, an on-demand delivery company, to offer “delivery from more than 1,100 of its restaurants nationwide”.

As part of the announcement, “Chick-fil-A and DoorDash will give away up to 200,000 free Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwiches” through participating restaurants from now until November 20th when users place orders through DoorDash.

The restaurant chain has recently made investments in new offerings targeting consumer consumption trends with the relaunch of its app, delivery focused locations, and its rollout of meal delivery kits.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018


Amazon Reportedly Picks Two New Headquarters
Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal reports, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, that Amazon will split its HQ2 locations between New York, and Northern Virginia.

The highly anticipated locations were up against 238 other city candidates looking to host the eCommerce giant’s new headquarters.

An announcement is expected to be made within the week.


Diageo Sells 19 of its Brands for $550 Million
News Release

The multinational alcoholic beverage company announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell 19 of its brands to Sazerac, one of America’s oldest family owned, privately held distillers.

The brands included in the transaction are Seagrams 83, Yukon Jack, and Peligroso.

The $550 million deal is expected to close early 2019.


Kellogg’s Announces Operational Changes to its North American Business
News Release

The multi-national food manufacturing company announced that it will implement changes to its North American organizational structure beginning in January 2019.

As part of the changes, Kellogg’s looks to invest in new eCommerce capabilities, consolidate its morning foods, snacks and frozen foods business units, and build an end-to-end North American supply chain which includes procurement, manufacturing, logistics, and customer service.

Monday, November 12th, 2018


Alibaba Announces $30.8 Billion in Sales Over the Weekend
Company Update
Business Insider

The 19-year-old China-based eCommerce company generated over $30 Billion during its annual Singles’ Day sale over the weekend. This year’s sales event increased 27% from the previous year.

Over 180,000 brands including Apple, L’Oreal, and Nike participated in the global event with Alibaba reporting over 1 billion delivery orders processed.

According to Business Insider, Alibaba’s Single’s Day sales surpassed Amazon’s Prime Day sales within 10-minutes of opening.


Meredith Sells its Fortune Brand for $150 Million
News Release

The American-based media conglomerate announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its Fortune brand to Chatchaval Jiaravanon, a Thai telecom Executive who is also a member of the country’s richest family.

According to a company press release, Jiaravanon intends to “increase investment in FORTUNE’s digital capabilities, geographic expansion, and editorial talent as part of a strategy to become the premium business content provider worldwide.”

Meredith Corporation, who also owns brands such as InStyle, Departures, and AllRecipes, expects the deal to close later this year.


Linkedin Launches a Feature to Boost Attendee Relationships at Events
News Release
US Dept. of Labor

The largest professional social network, which is also owned by Microsoft, announced that it is piloting a new feature that will help its users and event organizers “create and join professional events, invite their connections, have conversations with other attendees, and stay in touch online after the event ends.”

The feature will initially be available to a select group of event organizers in San Francisco and New York with the intention of a global rollout over the next few months.

According to the United States Department of Labor, face-to-face meetings continue to remain an important aspect of business operations, especially during a time of increased online communication.

Friday, November 9th, 2018


Ford Acquires a Scooter Company
Press Release

The automobile manufacturer announced that it has acquired Spin, “a San Francisco-based electric scooter-sharing company that provides customers an alternative for first- and last-mile transportation”. The company operates in “13 cities and campuses across the US.”

The acquisition looks to help Ford capture market share in growing mobility trends.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Walgreens Looks to Hire 5,000 Veterans
News Release

The company announced that it’s working with Southern New Hampshire University to “provide career and educational opportunities for 5,000 U.S. veterans over the next five years.”

Veterans who complete the program will be provided with in-store leadership roles and opportunities for advancement.

Participants of the program will also have the opportunity to obtain a “bachelor’s or master’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University at a significant discount.”


P&G Announces Organizational Changes
Press Release

The company announced that it’s introducing a new management structure that will “operate though six industry-based Sector Business Units” for its largest geographic markets which will each be “led by Sector Business Unit CEOs”.

The move looks to drive simplicity, productivity, and cost savings to fuel investments and margin.

The organizational changes, which will be effective July 1st, 2019, will help P&G achieve “faster top-line growth, increased consumption, and market share growth.”

Thursday, November 8th, 2018


Starbucks Teams up with Uber Eats in Japan
News Release

The consumer beverage company announced that it’s working with Uber Eats to deliver beverages and food products in an effort to gain more customers in Japan’s rapidly growing food delivery market.

The company plans to run the pilot starting with 6 locations. If successful, it plans to scale out the program within the next two years.

The new service begins on November 9th.


Amazon Alexa Launches in Mexico
Press Release

The e-commerce giant announced the launch of its Alexa and Echo Now products in Mexico.

According to a company press release, “Alexa has learned to speak and understand Spanish tailored for Mexico, and developers around the world are creating skills and devices with Alexa built-in for Mexican customers.”

Devices are currently available for pre-order and will be shipping next week.


Apple Opens its First Store in Thailand
News Release

The company announced that it’s opening its first store in the country’s capital of Bangkok in a move to help cater to its customers in the region.

The store will feature the full line of Apple products which includes the “iPhone XS, iPhone XR and Apple Watch Series 4.”

The company stated that more than 100 employees will be present to greet customers on its opening day this Saturday.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018


US Midterm Elections Took Place Yesterday
Washington Post
NYTimes
CNBC

Resulting in the Democrats taking control of the US House while Republicans holding onto the US Senate.

Democrats won seats in swing states which included Virginia, Kansas, and Michigan. While Republicans won key victories in Texas, North Dakota, and Indiana.

Healthcare and immigration were key issues amongst voters.


Kraft Heinz Canada Sells its Natural Cheese Business
Press Release

The company announced that “it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Canadian natural cheese business to Parmalat.”

The $1.23 billion US Dollar deal includes the Candian brands of Cracker Barrel, P’tit Quebec and aMOOza! Brands.

As part of the deal, “Kraft Heinz will sell its production facility located in Ingleside, Ontario.” According to a company press release, Kraft Heinz Canada “will also transfer approximately 400 employees from that facility to Parmalat.”

The deal is expected to close before the end of the first half of 2019.


Starbucks Expands its Delivery Service in China
Press Release

The company announced that it’s currently running its “Starbucks Delivers” service “across more than 1,100 stores in a total of 17 cities in China”.

The company stated in a press release that full-service operations were up and running in Beijing and Shanghai.

Starbucks plans to integrate delivery into more than “2,000 Starbucks stores across 30 cities” by the end of the year.

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018


Lowes Plans to Shut Down Underperforming Stores
News Release

The home improvement retail company announced that it’s planning to close 51 unprofitable stores across Canada and the United States.

The company stated that 31 Canadian stores, and 20 US stores will be shut down in an effort to improve upon the health of its store portfolio.

The locations are expected to close by February 1st, 2019, which is the company’s fiscal year-end.


Icelandair Group Acquires Wow Air
Press Release
CNBC
USA Today

The airline announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire all shares in the airline WOW air.

Multiple reports suggest that the deal is reportedly valued between approximately $18 to 25 million.

The deal brings in a combined market share of 3.8% in the transatlantic market. According to a company press release, both brands will continue to operate separately.


Spotify Announces a Stock Repurchase Program
Press Release

The music streaming giant announced that it plans to “commence a stock repurchase program beginning in the fourth quarter of 2018.”

The company plans to repurchase up to 10 million ordinary shares, which represents a repurchase of up to $1 billion. The decision has “been authorized by the Company’s general meeting of shareholders and the Board of Directors.”

Spotify stated that the repurchase program will end on April 21st, 2021.

Monday, November 5th, 2018


Elon Musk Announces Updates to the Boring Tunnel Company’s Progress
Project Overview
Elon Musk Tweet

Last week, Elon Musk shared a twitter update regarding the Boring Company’s rapid transit tunnel created in Hawthorne, Los Angeles.

The company, which creates tunnels in the hopes of reducing city traffic congestion, is expected to roll out an opening party on its Hawthorne location project on December 10th.

The company also has 3 other locations in the pipeline including creating an express service project for Chicago’s O’Hare airport, and a project connecting Washington DC to Maryland.


Setter Announces $10 Million in New Funding
Company Blog Update

The home maintenance management company announced that it closed a Series A funding round of $10 million backed by Sequoia Ventures, NFX, and Maple VC.

The company is available in San Francisco, which is its second market after Toronto.

The new funds will be used to help the company expand to multiple markets in North America.


Southwest Airlines Begins Operating New Routes
News Release

The airline announced that it began operations of new flights at the start of what is expected to be a busy holiday season.

New flights include routes between Burbank and Chicago, San Jose and Tucson, and New York and New Orleans.

The company stated that before December it “will offer up to 98 departures a day to more than two dozen destinations across the United States and Mexico.”

Friday, November 2nd, 2018


Canada Goose acquires a Footwear Company
Press Release

The winter clothing fashion brand announced that it has acquired Baffin, a “Canadian designer and manufacturer of performance outdoor and industrial footwear”.

The $32.5 million Canadian dollar deal looks to help Canada Goose expand its product portfolio to footwear. Baffin sells its products primarily through distributors and retailers in Canada and the United States.

According to a company press release, Baffin will become a “new wholly owned subsidiary of Canada Goose” and will “operate on a stand-alone basis out of its headquarters in Stoney Creek, Ontario.”


Zillow Group Completes its Acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America
Completion Announcement
Acquisition Announcement

The company announced in a press release that it has officially completed its acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America.

The deal which was originally announced last August will help Zillow get into the mortgage business and “streamline and shorten the home-buying process for consumers who purchase homes through Zillow Offers.”

Mortgage Lenders of America will continue to operate from its Kansas headquarters. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Adobe Predicts That Over $120 Billion in US Online Sales Will be Generated This Holiday Season
Press Release

The company announced that it forecasts US companies to reach $124 Billion in online sales between November 1st and December 31st of this year.

According to a company press release, “nearly one out of five dollars this holiday season will be spent between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, generating $23.4 billion or 19 percent of total online sales.”

The company stated that its “analysis spans large, medium and small retailers across over 50 merchandise categories”.

Thursday, November 1st, 2018


CVS Pharmacy Pilots a Membership Program
News Release

The retail division of CVS Health announced that it’s piloting CarePass, a membership loyalty program that “offers members a suite of in-store and online perks including free delivery on most medications and purchases, access to a 24/7 pharmacist hotline and 20% off all CVS Health brand products.”

CarePass will cost $5 a month. Customers can also purchase a yearly pass at $48 a year.

The pilot program will be available in approximately 350 CVS Pharmacy locations to customers in the Greater Boston area.


Pepsico Acquires a Plant-based Product Company
Press Release

The company announced that it has acquired Health Warrior, a plant-based consumer goods company.

The acquisition helps Pepsico expands the company’s portfolio into a high-growth category.

As part of the deal, Health Warrior will be part of Pepsico’s HIVE program, which is focused on high-growth emerging brands.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Ford Launches Autonomous Vehicle Testing in China
News Release

Ford announced that it’s working with Baidu, a China-based Internet search giant, on a two-year project focused on autonomous vehicle testing.

The tests will be conducted on the roads of Beijing.

The partnership expands on a working relationship between both companies which include the exploration of opportunities in digital marketing, connectivity, and artificial intelligence.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Uber Launches a Monthly Subscription Plan
Press Release

The company announced that it’s introducing Ride Pass, a monthly subscription plan that allows users to lock-in consistent rates during surge pricing periods affected by peak times and high-demand.

The plans start at $14.99 a month and will initially be available to 5 US cities.

The announcement comes after Lyft recently announced that it’s rolling out a monthly subscription package for riders using its service.


Waymo Gets the Green Light in California
Company Blog Post

The company announced that it has been granted a permit by the California DMV to begin driverless car testing.

Waymo stated that the permit is the result of “new DMV regulations that took effect in April, which allow companies to apply for fully driverless testing within carefully defined limits”.

Testing will commence in select areas including Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Palo Alto.


Deliv, a Same-day Delivery Company Raises New Funds
News Release

The company announced that it has raised $40 million in a new Series C funding round from investors including Google, UPS, and Upfront Ventures.

According to a company press release, citing Business Insider Intelligence, same-day delivery is expected to reach approximately $55 billion in Gross Merchandise Volume by 2023.

The company powers same-day crowdsourced delivery for over 5,000 retailers and businesses across 35 markets and 1,400 cities.

Tuesday, October 30th, 2018


Sam’s Club Pilots a New Cashierless Store
Press Release

The retail warehouse club announced that it’s close to opening Sam’s Club Now, “a mobile-first shopping experience powered by the new Sam’s Club Now app”. The shopping experience allows customers to scan items, pay through the app, and walk out the door.

Aside from offering a new retail experience to its members, the new store will serve as the company’s innovation lab to test new retail concepts.

The 32,000 square foot store, which is located in Dallas, is expected to open within the next few weeks.


Amazon Announces That it Has Donated More than $100 Million to Charities Through its AmazonSmile Program
Press Release

The AmazonSmile program allows customers to donate a portion of their purchase to a charity of their choice.

As part of the program, customers can “select from more than one million charities”.

AmazonSmile was launched in 2013.


Blue Apron Teams up with Walmart
Press Release

The meal kit company announced that it has partnered with Jet.com, an eCommerce company owned by Walmart, to offer meals through its website.

Meal kits will be available to consumers located in New York City, Jersey City, and Hoboken.

Blue Apron will be available to customers through Jet’s same-day or next-day delivery offering. The partnership gives Blue Apron a new channel that looks to boost sales and help it compete against the rise of other meal subscription kit companies.

Monday, October 29th, 2018


IBM Acquires Red Hat
News Release

The company announced that it will acquire Red Hat, a multinational Enterprise software company. As part of the deal, “IBM will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190.00 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $34 billion.”

The deal transforms IBM as the leading hybrid cloud provider helping companies unlock open cloud solutions for their business and “accelerate IBM’s revenue growth, gross margin and free cash flow within 12 months of closing.”

As part of the deal, Red Hat will “operate as a distinct unit within IBM’s Hybrid Cloud team.”


Pepsico Announces a New Sustainability Goal
Press Release

The company announced that it plans to use “25 percent recycled content in its plastic packaging by 2025.”

In order to achieve the goal, the company stated that it looks to collaborate with partners and suppliers to advocate for “improved recycling infrastructure and regulatory reform”.


The Expedia Group Acquires Two Accommodations Software Companies
Press Release

The company announced that it has acquired Pillow and ApartmentJet. Pillow operates a software solution for building owners and managers, and ApartmentJet provides software for rentals in multifamily communities.

The deal looks to help “unlock urban growth opportunities that, over time, will contribute to HomeAway’s ability to add an even broader selection of accommodations to its marketplace”. HomeAway, a competitor to Airbnb was acquired by Expedia in 2015.

Terms of the Pillow and ApartmentJet deal were not disclosed.

Friday, October 26th, 2018


UPS Pilots an eBike Delivery Service in Seattle
Press Release

The company announced that it’s rolling out a battery-powered electric delivery service which will operate on the bike lanes of downtown Seattle.

The move looks to ease growing traffic congestion and address air quality concerns in the city.

The company stated that it worked with the “Seattle Department of Transportation to develop plans for the new pilot program”. If successful, UPS hopes to expand the service to other parts of the city.

Its first eBike solution was launched in Hamburg, Germany in 2012 which has since expanded to 30 major cities across the globe.


Airbnb Sees Growth in its Experiences Product
Press Release

Airbnb announced that users over the age of 60 who offer Experiences such as baking, hiking, and painting have grown by nearly 1,110% over the past year.

The company also stated that “the number of Experience bookings made by guests age 60+ has grown by 260% in the last year.”

According to the company, Social Impact experiences are the most hosted category by the age group.


Ford Announces a Recall on Over a Million Vehicles
Press Release

The company announced that it’s recalling approximately 1.5 million Ford Focus units.

The automobile manufacturer stated that the issues stem from problems with its fuel tank which “could lead to a stall while driving and/or an inability to restart the vehicle.”

The recall affects US, Canada, and Mexico models made between 2012 and 2018.

Thursday, October 25th, 2018


Cathay Pacific Announces a Data Breach
News Release

The airline announced a data breach which affected up to 9.4 million people.

The breach leaked personal data which included: passenger names, nationalities, passport numbers, and dates of birth.

The company is currently in the process of contacting affected passengers.


Honda Teams up with Soundhound
Soundhound Blog Post

Soundhound, an audio and speech recognition company announced that it’s partnering with Honda to develop a voice-enabled artificial intelligence assistant.

According to a Soundhound company blog post, the assistant will be powered by Soundhound’s Houndify platform and will allow users to “engage in natural conversations with the assistant using their voice.”

The move looks to help enhance the Honda driving experience with voice-assist technology.


Nintendo Expands into Schools
Nintendo News

The company announced that it’s partnering with the “Institute of Play to bring Nintendo Labo to schools across U.S.”

Nintendo Labo kits introduce the basic principles of “science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics” in an engaging and innovative way.

The program will run during the 2018/2019 school year and will be available to 100 U.S. classrooms between grades 2 to 4.

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018


American Express Teams up with Amazon
Press Release

American Express announced that it partnered with Amazon to launch a new card for US-based small businesses.

The Amazon Business American Express Card gives small businesses the ability “to earn rewards or get a payment term to help their cash flow.”

Benefits include “3% Back or 60-day payment terms for all other customers on U.S. purchases at Amazon Business, Amazon Web Services, Amazon.com, and Whole Foods Market.”


Walmart Improves its Online Shopping Experience
News Release

The retail giant announced that it’s expanding free two-day shipping on purchases made on Walmart.com.

Beginning in November, Walmart customers will also have the ability to return items purchased online at one of its 4,700 US-based stores.

The move looks to help the company compete against other online rivals such as Amazon and Target, in what is expected to be a busy holiday season.


Lyft Acquires an Augmented Reality Company
Blue Vision Blog Post
TechCrunch

London-based Blue Vision Labs announced that it will be joining forces with Lyft.

According to a Blue Vision blog post, Lyft will acquire Blue Vision’s technology, team, and product. As part of the deal, the company will “be the first Lyft office in London, and will become part of Lyft’s Level 5 division to build technology for Lyft’s self-driving efforts.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, according to TechCrunch, citing sources familiar with the matter, Lyft acquired the company for approximately $72 million with an additional $30 million set aside if the company reaches certain milestones.

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018


Youtube Invests in Online Learning
Youtube Blog Post
Youtube 2018 Priorities Update Blog Post

The company announced that it’s investing $20 million to help “support education focused creators and expert organizations” in creating content for the platform.

With the rise of Youtube as a destination for learning, the company stated that the funds will be used to assist and support educational creators, and form partnerships with leading learning institutions.


Ford Expands its Autonomous Vehicle Business
News Release
Company Blog Post

The automobile manufacturer announced that it’s expanding its self-driving business unit to Washington DC.

According to a company blog post, the move is focused on “exploring how self-driving vehicles can be deployed in an equitable way across the various neighborhoods that make up Washington, D.C., and in a way that promotes job creation.”

The company is expected to operate its autonomous vehicles in the city by 2021.


Mastercard Looks to Develop Environmentally Friendly Cards
Press Release

The company announced that it’s working towards establishing a Greener Payments Partnership with three other card manufacturers that aim to “‘reduce first-use PVC plastic in card manufacturing.”

According to The Nilson Report, approximately “six billion plastic payment cards are made each year.”

The new initiative looks to improve upon those numbers through the use of environmentally friendly alternative materials.

Monday, October 22, 2018


JPMorgan Chase is Planning to Launch a New Fintech Campus in Silicon Valley
Press Release
Shareholder Letter (2017)

JPMorgan Chase announced that it’s looking to open a 1,000-person office in Palo Alto.

According to the company’s latest shareholder letter, JPMorgan employs “nearly 50,000
people in technology.”

WePay, a payment service provider acquired by JPMorgan in late 2017, will also be making the move to the new campus “as part of the company’s aggressive growth plans.”

Development of the new location is expected to begin early next year. The new campus looks to open in 2020.


The SEC Announces the Launch of its Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology
Press Release

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it’s launching FinHub, a public resource which includes the coverage of blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and artificial intelligence.

The new portal will be available to the public and will cover innovations and developments in the space. In addition, FinHub looks to provide automated investment advice and digital marketplace financing.

According to a press release, FinHub “replaces and builds on the work of several internal working groups at the SEC that have focused on similar issues.”


Microsoft Launches an Expense Tracking App
iTunes Page
TechCrunch

Microsoft is launching Spend, this is according to a recent addition to the app store, which was first spotted by TechCrunch.

Spend looks to track and streamline “business expenses for reimbursement or taxes”. The new app was created by MileIQ, which was a company that Microsoft acquired in 2015.

According to TechCrunch, the early version of Spend does not look to compete directly with established expense trackers such as SAP’s Concur or Expensify.

Friday, October 19th, 2018


American Express Expands its Strategic Partnership with PayPal
Press Release

Both companies are expanding its strategic partnership that looks to enhance the “digital payments experience for U.S. American Express Card Members paying with PayPal and Venmo.”

The deal includes the opportunity for American Express users to earn Membership Rewards points with online payments using Paypal. It will also allow users to send peer-to-peer payments via Paypal and Venmo directly from the Amex mobile app.

As part of the partnership, both companies also look to explore the development of new products and services. The integrations and features are expected to be completed in 2019.


Starbucks Looks to Fully License its Operations in Four European Markets
News Release

Starbucks announced that it plans to fully license its “operations in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg” to Alsea, an operator of independent chain restaurants in Latin America.

The deal provides Alsea with the opportunity to operate and develop new stores within the European market.

To support the new strategy in the region, Starbucks announced that it’s closing its support centre in Amsterdam.


Ryder Expands Last Mile Delivery in North America
News Release

The transportation and supply chain management company announced that it’s expanding Ryder Last Mile, its “home delivery and white-glove installation solution for big-and-bulky goods” service to 11 North American markets.

The company’s e-fulfillment network will now include 136 facilities with 95% coverage across the United States and Canada within a 48-hour time frame.

According to a company press release, the new service looks to help “Ryder to stay ahead of the curve in today’s “now” economy”.

Thursday, October 18th, 2018


Target Looks to Add Extra Space for More Toys
Press Release

The company announced that it’s devoting “nearly a quarter-million square feet of new space for toys across more than 500 stores”.

In addition to the increase in toy space, the company stated that it’s also adding in 2,500 new toys which are nearly double of what it stored last year.

The move hopes to fill the void left by Toys R Us in the upcoming holiday season.


The Los Angeles Clippers Introduce CourtVision
News Release

The NBA sports team announced that it’s introducing an augmented reality viewing experience that leverages machine learning and data visualization technology.

The new CourtVision viewing experience will be available to “FOX Sports Prime Ticket subscribers via the FOX Sports mobile application.”

CourtVision allows viewers to see real-time data, and augmented reality features layered over basketball games showcasing data points such as shooting percentages, graphics, and special effects. The viewing experience will be powered by technology supplied by “Second Spectrum”, a sports analytics and data visualization startup.


Gillette Looks to Offer Consumers Personalized 3D Printed Razors
News Release

The company announced that it’s piloting a new concept that allows consumers to personalize their shaving razors.

The project will allow individuals to create a “limited quantity of 3D-printed razor handles available to U.S. consumers” starting at $19.

The initative looks to leverage 3D-printing technology developed by Formlabs, a 3D printing technology developer and manufacturer.

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018


Canada Legalizes Recreational Marijuana
Bill C-45
FAQs

Today marks the first day that recreational cannabis is legal in Canada.

Individuals over the age of 18 can possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis in its dried or “equivalent non-dried form”, cultivate a maximum of four plants in their own residence, and prepare edibles for personal consumption.

The country is the first G7 nation to legalize recreational marijuana.


Zillow Launches in Canada
Press Release

Zillow, a platform for real estate and rental market sales in the United States, announced that it’s rolling out Canadian real estate listings through its mobile app and website.

The company has developed strong partnerships with brokerages and hundreds of MLSs in the United States and plans to replicate the model in Canada.

According to the company, its platform “attracts a global audience of home shoppers, receiving more than 100 million visits a year from non-U.S. audiences.”


Lyft Launches a Subscription Plan
Company Blog Post

Lyft announced that it’s launching a subscription program at $299 per month which includes 30 rides covered up to $15 per trip. Customers who exceed the $15 cap will pay the difference if the ride exceeds the amount.

The company stated that the subscription plan applies to all ride types, but does “not roll over to the following period.”

The Lyft All-Access plan will be available to all customers in the United States by the end of the week.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018


Rolls Royce Plans to Build Self-Driving Ships
Press Release

The company announced its intention to team up with Intel to “collaborate on designs for sophisticated intelligent shipping systems that will make commercial shipping safer”.

The initiative looks to use similar technology used in autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and drones.

The company plans to utilize “the expertise in advanced ship technology from Rolls-Royce with components and systems engineering from Intel.”


Sears Files for Bankruptcy Protection
Press Release

Sears announced that it has filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors.

Sears and Kmart Stores will remain open. However, the company plans to “close 142 unprofitable stores near the end of the year.”

As part of its restructuring efforts, Sears Holdings “intends to reorganize around a smaller store platform of EBITDA-positive stores”


Fidelity Makes Moves into Cryptocurrency
Press Release

The 72-year old firm announced that it’s launching Fidelity Digital Assets.

The new company will be a cryptocurrency platform offering “custody and trade execution services” for “sophisticated institutional investors such as hedge funds, family offices, and market intermediaries.”

The company stated that it has been researching, mining, and experimented with digital assets and blockchain technology since 2013.

Monday, October 15th, 2018


Walmart Acquires an Intimates Fashion Brand
News Release

The retail giant announced that it has acquired Bare Necessities, an intimates fashion eCommerce brand.

The company was founded in “1998 and offers more than 100,000 SKUs from more than 160 brands, including an extensive assortment of bras, swimwear, shapewear, and sleepwear.” The deal gives Walmart “deep category expertise, a content offering designed to educate intimates shoppers, as well as strong brand relationships and operational capabilities.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Wynn Resorts Partners with a European-based Sports Betting Company
Press Release
Reuters: Sports Gambling in the US

Wynn Resorts announced that it’s teaming up with Betbull “to pursue sports betting opportunities in the emerging U.S. market.”

The move helps both organizations capitalize on the recently legalized sports betting industry in the United States.

As part of the deal, Wynn Resorts will make a minority investment in and own 22.5% of Betbull.


SmileDirectClub Announces New Funding
Press Release
CNBC
TechCrunch

SmileDirectClub, a teeth alignment company, announced that it received $380 million in funding. The new funds now value the company at $3.2 billion. The deal will help SmileDirectClub invest in innovation, invest in research and development, and expand internationally.

The company, which was founded in 2014, stated that it “has straightened more than 300,000 smiles, has hired more than 3,200 employees, and is currently profitable.”

It has also opened more than 150 retail locations across the United States since 2016.

Friday, October 12th, 2018


Walmart Teams up with Paypal
News Release

The retail company announced that it’s teaming up with Paypal to “provide financial services and products that help their shared customers.”

As part of the partnership, both companies will roll out Paypal Cash-in, Cash-out services at Walmart locations. The collaboration will allow Paypal mobile app users to utilize funds in a physical brick-and-mortar location. Users will also be able to deposit funds into their Paypal account from Walmart locations.

Both cash-in and cash-out Paypal services are expected to be available in US-based Walmart stores by this November.


Dropbox Announces a Strategic Partnership with Zoom
Dropbox News Release
Zoom Blog Update

Dropbox, the cloud storage company, announced that it’s working with Zoom, a video communications platform, to “develop a series of cross-platform features that facilitate real-time communication around shared Dropbox content, making teamwork more effective.”

As part of the partnership, Dropbox announced that it’s investing in Zoom. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The integrations are expected to be available in the first half of 2019.


SiriusXM Acquires a Road and Bridge Toll Payment Platform
News Release
News Release for Pandora Acquisition

The audio streaming company announced that it’s acquiring Paytollo, “a mobile payment platform for toll roads and bridges that gives both drivers and Toll Authorities a streamlined payment option.”

Paytollo provides a service that gives drivers the “ability to notify, verify and charge a user for toll crossings.” The service is currently available in California and Florida. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal adds to SiriusXM’s recent acquisition of Pandora, a music streaming service, for $3.5 billion in an all-stock deal.

Thursday, October 11th, 2018


Snapchat Launches Original Programming
Snap News Release
Recode
CNN

Snapchat announced that it’s launching Snap Originals, a selection of shows made exclusively for the platform.

The first set of shows include “Co-Ed, a new comedy from the Duplass Brothers; Class of Lies, a mystery thriller from one of the minds behind Riverdale; and Endless Summer, a docuseries following rising stars in Laguna Beach.”

The move looks to help increase activity on the platform as multiple reports suggest that the company’s user base is steadily declining due to increasing competition from other social networks such as Instagram.


Waze Announces a Carpool Feature
Company Blog Post

The GPS company announced that it’s rolling out, Waze Carpool, a carpool service that connects drivers with riders headed in the same direction.

The move looks to decrease traffic congestion in cities and is available nationwide in the United States.

Unlike ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber, the service simply connects users going to the same destination such as work or dedicated weekly events.


Airbnb Looks to Help Victims of Hurricane Michael
Press Release

The home-sharing company announced that it’s activating its Open Homes Program for individuals affected by Hurricane Michael.

The company announced that it’s working with “government agencies and regional disaster relief organizations to connect Airbnb hosts with evacuees and emergency responders, free of charge.”

The program has been activated in select areas within Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. According to the company, the Open Homes Program will be available from now until October 29th, 2018.

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018


T-Mobile Launches a Prepaid Wireless Service Committed to 5G
Press Release

The company announced that Metro by T-Mobile, previously operating as MetroPCS, will be “the first prepaid wireless service provider to commit to 5G service” which will be available in 2019.

The expected roll out will be part of T-Mobile’s introduction of “5G services and 5G-capable smartphones” to the market.

The company also announced that it’s teaming up with Amazon and Google by offering unlimited-rate plans that include Amazon Prime, and Google One memberships.


Puma Makes a Return to Basketball
Company Update

The sports brand announced that it’s rolling out Puma Clyde Court Disrupt, a new sneaker that is expected to help grow the company’s presence in the basketball market.

The launch is the first basketball sneaker produced by the company in over 20 years.

The shoe first debuted over the summer and will be available to customers on October 11th.


H&M Teams up with a Payments Company
Press Release
TechCrunch

The fashion retailer announced that it’s partnering with Klarna, a retail payments platform.

The global partnership looks to “integrate H&M’s digital and physical stores to give customers a seamless, personalized and engaging shopping experience” which includes “frictionless instore, mobile and online payments, simplified deliveries and returns” and a “try before you buy’ Pay later service.”

As part of the partnership, H&M will invest in Klarna. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, TechCrunch reports that the company reportedly received $20 million in funding.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018


Facebook Introduces a Video Calling Device
News Release

The tech giant announced that it’s launching two new video devices called Portal, and Portal+ which allows users to connect via an always-on encrypted video conferencing device 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The device, which is targeted towards long distance relationships with family and friends will integrate Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa for voice controls, and built-in privacy controls.

The device will be available for pre-order in the United States at a base price of $199 USD. Devices are expected to ship in November.


Microsoft Partners with an On-Demand Transportation Company
News Release

Microsoft announced that it’s working with Grab, an “on-demand transportation, mobile payments and online-to-offline services platform in Southeast Asia”.

The strategic partnership looks to leverage Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform and “expertise in machine learning and other artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities”. As part of the deal, “Microsoft will make a strategic investment in Grab.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


LinkedIn Looks to Acquire an Employee Engagement Firm
News Release

The professional social network announced its intention of Glint, a leader in employee engagement company.

The deal looks to help LinkedIn offer its business customers solutions that “build great teams through visibility into the people they have, the people they need, and with the means to attract, develop and retain the best talent.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Monday, October 8th, 2018


Target Launches a New Private Label Brand
Company Update
CNBC

The retail company announced that it’s launching Smartly, a new essential and personal care brand targeted towards budget-conscious and space-constrained shoppers.

The brand will carry approximately 70 items with most products at a price point of less than $2.

The Smartly brand will debut on Oct. 14th, “with new product rolling out through early 2019.”

The move looks to help Target compete against other retailers who have been heavily investing in private label brands, including Amazon who according to CNBC is said to be significantly growing its private label product catalog.


Kraft Heinz Announces a New Venture Capital Fund
Press Release

The company announced that it’s launching “Evolv Ventures, a venture fund that will invest in emerging tech companies transforming the food industry.”

“Kraft Heinz has committed up to $100 million” to the venture fund and has appointed “venture investor Bill Pescatello to lead the fund.”

Evolv Ventures will be based out of Chicago.


Lime Rolls Out Electric Scooters in Mexico
Press Release
CNBC
TechCrunch

The on-demand transportation company announced that it’s rolling out its scooter offering in Mexico.

The move officially expands the company’s presence in North America. Last week the company announced that it will open its first location in Canada.

Since it was founded in 2017, the company “has served more than 100 markets across the United States and Europe” with plans to launch in “50 new cities, internationally” before the end of the year.

Last July, the company announced that it entered into a strategic partnership with Uber to allow users to access available Lime scooters from within the Uber app.

Friday, October 5th, 2018


Netflix Expands its Offices in Hollywood
Press Release

Hudson Pacific Properties announced that the on-demand video streaming company has signed a lease to fully occupy a 13-story office on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

The office tower which is over 327,000 square feet is owned by Hudson Pacific Properties.

Netflix is expected to occupy the building in phases beginning in January 2020 until the lease ends in 2031.


Square Launches a New Feature to Help Sellers Grow Their Business
Press Release

The financial services company announced that it’s launching a new feature called Square Installments which allows users to split large purchases into fixed monthly payments.

The new feature allows sellers to offer flexible purchase options of 3, 6 or 12 months, increase order amounts, and create steadier business flow.

Square Installments will be available to “sellers in 22 states for qualifying purchases between $250 and $10,000.”


Walgreens Teams up with Birchbox, an Online Beauty Retailer
Press Release

Both companies announced that they’re teaming up to offer “Birchbox retail experiences within select Walgreens stores.”

The move looks to offer beauty brands in Walgreens stores and “allow customers to discover and shop for new brands in an interactive and accessible way.” As part of the offering, Walgreens will get “a minority equity interest in Birchbox.”

Birchbox retail experiences will be available in 11 Walgreens locations across the United States with initial rollouts starting in December through early next year.

Thursday, October 4th, 2018


Honda Teams up with Cruise and General Motors
GM Press Release
Honda Press Release
Cruise Blog Post

General Motors, and Cruise, a driverless car unit of GM, announced that it’s teaming up with Honda to work on a large-scale deployment of autonomous vehicle technology.

The partnership looks to build autonomous cars “for Cruise that can serve a wide variety of use cases and be manufactured at high volume for global deployment”. The deal also looks to explore opportunities to expand the Crusie network around the globe.

As part of the partnership, Honda looks to contribute $2 billion over a 12 year period towards the initiatives. It has also contributed a “$750 million equity investment in Cruise” which brings Honda’s “total commitment to the project to $2.75 billion.”

The deal values Cruise, which was acquired by GM in 2016, at $14.6 billion.


Visa Joins Forces with Postmates
Press Release

Visa announced that it has entered into an agreement with the on-demand delivery company, Postmates, to enable fast fund disbursements to the entire Postmates fleet.

Fund disbursements will be made through Visa Direct which is Visa’s real-time push payments platform.

The new feature called Postmates “Instant Deposits” will provide more than 200,000 postmates with the convenience of real-time access to their earnings “as opposed to waiting 4-7 business days to receive payouts”.


Wayfair Plans to Launch Pop-up Retail Stores
Press Release

The online eCommerce company announced that it plans to open pop-up stores on November 1st.

The stores will be launched in “Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts and the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey”.

The stores will feature home design experts who will be able to answer questions, provide recommendations on products, and share insights on new home solutions.

The move comes at a time when several online retailers are taking steps to open up physical locations as a way to differentiate itself from its competitors and offer a unique customer experience.

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018


Amazon Raises its Minimum Wage
Press Release
Press Release (UK)
Forbes

Amazon announced that it’s increasing its minimum wage to $15 for all employees across the United States, and over £10 for the London area.

The move comes after the company received criticism on its compensation for warehouse workers.

The tech giant states that “more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as more than 100,000 seasonal holiday employees, will benefit from the new, higher pay.”

The new wages will be in effect on November 1st.


Credit Karma Moves into Insurance
Press Release

The personal finance company announced that it’s expanding within the Insurance space to let customers in California and Texas view auto insurance options based off of what other users “are paying for the same coverage.”

The move looks to arm its 80 million members with the best decision on their insurance policy and curb the issue of auto insurance mispricing. According to Credit Karma, “Americans overspend on auto insurance by nearly $21 billion per year.”

The company stated that it plans to use data and insights from the “DMV and other sources” to be used in its new auto product.


Walmart Acquires a Plus-Size Women’s Apparel Brand
News Release
News Release (Additional)
Recode

The retail giant announced that it plans to acquire Eloquii, a plus-sized women’s clothing brand “specifically designed for women size 14 and up.”

The category represents a $21B market opportunity in one of “the fastest growing segments in women’s apparel.” Eloquii will join Walmart’s “portfolio of digitally native vertical brands, which includes ModCloth, Bonobos, and Allswell.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, Recode reports, citing sources familiar with the deal, that the company looks to purchase the fashion brand at $100 million.

The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018


Instagram Announces a New Leader
Press Release

Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s current Vice President of Product, will become the new Head of Instagram.

Mosseri will oversee all functions of Instagram and will be responsible for recruiting a new executive team. The new desired hires include a head of engineering, head of product and head of operations.

The move follows the exit of Instagram’s co-Founders from the company last week.

Mosseri became the new head of the company as of October 1st.


Marriott International Expands Across Africa
News Release

The company announced rapid expansion plans across Africa in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa.

The move looks to increase the company’s portfolio in the area by 50 percent with over 200 hotels by 2023 which is estimated to generate approximately 12,000 new job opportunities.

Marriott International is present in 21 countries on the African continent.


Netflix Reportedly Looks to Let Viewers Choose Their Own Endings
Bloomberg

Bloomberg reports, citing sources familiar with the matter, that Netflix will launch a feature on select shows that will allow viewers to choose their own storyline.

According to the report, the company is expected to launch its first show with the feature before the end of the year.

The move looks to differentiate the company in the on-demand video streaming world where competition in the space is heating up between rivals such as Amazon, Youtube, and Facebook.

October 1st, 2018


The US, Canada Reach an Agreement on a New Trade Deal
US and Canada Joint Statement

The United States and Canada released a joint-statement on a “new, modernized trade agreement for the 21st Century” that looks to replace the previous NAFTA trade deal made in effect in 1994.

According to the joint-statement, the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement looks to give “workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement” resulting in “freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth”.

Details on specifics were not outlined in the joint statement.


Elon Musk Settles Fraud Charges
SEC Press Release

The Securities and Exchange Commission has reached an agreement with Elon Musk after it filed a lawsuit last week against Musk for fraud surrounding his tweets on taking Tesla private.

The settlement requires that Musk step down as Tesla’s Chairman, and both Musk and Tesla must pay $20 million each in penalties.

According to a press release by the SEC, “Musk and Tesla have agreed to settle the charges against them without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations.”


Volkswagen Teams up with Microsoft
New Release

Microsoft announced that it’s partnering with Volkswagen to develop the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud. The partnership looks to build a global cloud platform that provides digital mobility services to Volkswagen drivers.

Volkswagen’s new cloud platform will be built using Microsoft’s Azure cloud and IoT Edge platform as its foundation.

The partnership looks to help Volkswagen differentiate itself as a software and associated services automaker transforming it into a digital services-driven business.

Friday, September 28th, 2018


Chase Lets Customers Lock, Unlock Credit Cards from Their Phone and Computer
Press Release

Chase announced a new feature that provides its customers with the ability to “temporarily turn off their Chase credit cards immediately, stopping them from being used when left behind or misplaced.”

According to a company press release, “the lock/unlock feature will allow customers to quickly lock or unlock their credit card right from their phones through the Chase Mobile app or by computer via chase.com to instantly block new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.”

The feature will be available to Chase debit cards before the end of the year.


The SEC Sues Elon Musk
SEC Complaint
TechCrunch

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit against Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. The suit looks to bar Musk from running a public company.

Musk is accused of misleading investors over his tweets last August stating that he had secured funding to take Tesla private.

Musk has since released a statement to TechCrunch stating that the lawsuit was an “unjustified action by the SEC”.


Cargo, a Company that Turns On-Demand Rides into Mini Corner Stores Gets New Funding
Twitter
Forbes
VentureBeat

The company announced in a tweet that it raised its Series A round of funding which was led by Founders Fund and includes investors such as CRCM Ventures, and Rosecliff Ventures.

According to Forbes, the company raised $22.5 Million.

Cargo reports that it works with over 12,000 drivers across 10 U.S. cities. The company announced in the summer that it has team with Uber and Grab to offer its services to drivers and riders on the network.

Thursday, September 27th, 2018


Amazon Launches a Physical Store
Amazon Blog Post

The company announced that it’s launching Amazon 4-Star, a brick-and-mortar store that sells items which are: rated 4 stars and above, top sellers, or new and trending on Amazon.com.

Amazon 4-Star opens today in the SoHo neighborhood of New York. The store uses data from Amazon.com to feature products which are frequently purchased together, most wished for, or are trending purchases from customers located in New York.

Amazon Prime Members will also be able to receive special Prime member savings on products within the store.


Sotheby’s International Expands into Shanghai
Press Release

Tera Realty Limited located in Shanghai, China will be the newest member of Sotheby’s International’s global network. The company will now operate as Tera Sotheby’s International Realty, this according to a company press release.

Tera Realty, which was founded in 2016, serves the residential real estate market in Greater Shanghai.

The deal helps Sotheby’s gain strategic exposure in the Shanghai market and strengthens the brand’s presence in Greater Asia. With this addition, the brand now has 50 offices in the greater Asia Pacific region.

The Sotheby’s International network consists of more than 22,000 affiliated independent sales associates located in over 960 offices in 72 countries and territories around the globe. The brand achieved global sales volume of $108 billion USD in 2017.


McDonald’s USA Drops the Use of Artificial Preservatives in its Classic Burgers
Press Release

The fast-food chain announced that its classic burgers are no longer made with artificial preservatives, artificial flavors and added colors from artificial sources.

The classic burgers include the McDouble, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, and Big Mac.

The changes will affect all 14,000 U.S. restaurants.

The move adds to the company’s commitment of sustainable sourcing which includes the use of cage-free eggs in the United States and Canada by 2025.

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018


Michael Kors Acquires Versace
News Release

The fashion company announced that it’s acquiring Versace for $2.12 billion. The acquisition looks to include the growth of Versace’s annual global revenues to $2 billion US dollars, Increase its global retail footprint from approximately 200 to 300 stores, and accelerate the company’s e-commerce and omni-channel development.

Donatella Versace will continue to lead the company’s creative vision.

The company also announced that Capri Holdings will be the new name to be adopted by Michael Kors Holdings group once it closes the Versace deal. Fashion brand, Jimmy Choo will also be under the new company umbrella.


AT&T Launches a New Advertising Company
Press Release

The company announced that it’s launching Xandr, a new advertising company which will be led by CEO Brian Lesser.

Xander looks to cover all aspects of the existing AT&T advertising & analytics businesses, including AT&T’s advanced TV business, its data and analytics business, and AppNexus.

According to a company press release, the “advertising company has four key advantages, which include data, premium content, advanced advertising technology and AT&T’s distribution to more than 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships across wireless, video and broadband.”


Apple Completes its Acquisition of Shazam
Apple News Release
TechCrunch

The tech giant announced that Shazam, a music identification app headquartered in London, is now part of Apple.

The app now offers an ad-free experience for all users.

According to a company press release, Shazam has been downloaded over “1 billion times around the world, and users identify songs using the Shazam app over 20 million times each day.”

According to Techcrunch, citing sources familiar with the deal, Shazam was reportedly acquired for $400 million.

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018


Instagram’s Co-Founders Leave the Company
Company Statement

Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger announced in a statement their departure from the business.

According to a statement, the founders will be taking time off to explore new creative projects.

Instagram was founded in 2010 and was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion two years later. The company had 13 employees at the time of its acquisition and has since grown to over a thousand employees with offices around the globe.

The news comes months after Whatsapp’s co-founder, Jan Koum, announced that he would be leaving the company. Facebook acquired Whatsapp for $19 billion in 2014.


SiriusXM Acquires Pandora
Press Release

SiriusXM announced that it’s acquiring Pandora in an all-stock transaction for $3.5 billion.

The deal looks to help SiriusXM expand its presence beyond vehicles into homes and other mobile areas.

According to a press release, Pandora has more than 70 million monthly active users, which represents the largest digital audio audience in the United States. SiriusXM has a base of more than 36 million subscribers across North America.


Snapchat Teams up with Amazon
Snap News Release
Instagram Shopping

Snap announced that it’s working with Amazon to test a visual search feature on its platform.

The new feature allows users to “search for products on Amazon right from the Snapchat camera.”

Users will be able to point their Snapchat camera at a physical product or barcode, once recognized, an Amazon card will appear within the app which will show a link for that product or similar ones available on Amazon.

The company announced that this feature will be rolled out slowly. The news comes a couple weeks after Instagram announced that it would expand more social shopping features available on through its app.

Monday, September 24th, 2018


Porsche Drops Diesel to Focus on Electric
Press Release

In a move to deepen its focus on hybrid technology and electric vehicles, the company announced that it would no longer be manufacturing diesel models.

Porsche expects to invest more than 6 Billion Euros into electric models by 2022.

Last year, the diesel share of worldwide Porsches was 12 percent.


Walmart will Use Virtual Reality Devices to Train its Employees
Walmart Blog

The retail giant announced that it would be ordering more than 17,000 Oculus Go Virtual Reality devices by the end of the year to assist with employee training and development.

The company plans to use the technology in three areas of employee training which are: new technology, soft skills like empathy and customer service, and compliance.

According to a company news release, VR training boosted confidence and retention of its employees who have used the technology in training modules. Trainees who used the technology also experienced an improvement in test scores of 10 to 15 percent.


There’s a New Whiskey in Town
Press Release

Eire Born Spirits announced the launch of Proper No. Twelve, which is a blend of golden grain and single malt Irish Whiskey.

Mixed Martial Arts Champion and UFC fighter, Conor McGregor, is the founder, chairman and majority owner of the new brand.

The initial launch will be in Ireland and the United States, with further expansion expected in 2019.

Friday, September 21st, 2018


BMW Rolls Out a Motorcycle Rental Service
Press Release

The company is introducing a new short-term motorcycle rental service.

The service will be called “Rent a Ride” and will allow users to rent BMW motorcycles depending on availability in a given region. Users will be able to make reservations through the service website and pick up the rental at one of the company’s Rent A Ride dealerships.

The “Rent a Ride” service will be available in Germany, Austria, and France beginning this month.


Gap Launches a New Men’s Lifestyle Brand
Press Release

The company announced that it’s launching Hill City, a fashion brand focused on high-performance active apparel for men.

The brand combines highly technical fabrications, performance, and style that can be worn throughout the day either working out, going to work or relaxing over a weekend.

Hill City is expected to launch in October and will be available exclusively at hillcity.com. Also, limited pieces will be displayed at 50 select Athleta locations.


Square Introduces a New Solutions Partner Program to Help Businesses Grow
Press Release

The company announced that it’s launching a new partner program that connects sellers with partners on solutions to specific business needs.

The program already includes more than 75 certified Square Solutions Partners across three categories: Mobile and Web Agencies, Systems Integrators, and Resellers.

The new program looks to help sellers connect with partners that will assist with overall growth through the creation of new revenue streams, and custom integrations for storefronts, restaurants, or online stores.

Thursday, September 20th, 2018


Amazon Reportedly Considers Rolling Out Approximately 3,000 Cashierless Stores by 2021
Bloomberg

Bloomberg reports that the tech giant is planning to launch over 3,000 AmazonGo stores by 2021, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Amazon Go stores use computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning technology to operate cashierless stores that require no checkout.

The first AmazonGo store launched in Seattle in 2016.


Coca-Cola Acquires a Kombucha Drink Company
Press Release

The company announced that it has acquired Organic & Raw Trading Co., a kombucha drink company.

Organic & Raw Trading Co. operates the MOJO Kombucha brand which is currently sold in over 4,000 locations in Australia.

Kombucha, a naturally fermented organic tea, is a fast-growing beverage category in Australia. The deal looks to help bring the brand to more consumers in the country.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Deloitte Forecasts a Boost to Holiday Retail Sales
Deloitte Press Release
CNBC – Macy’s Hiring
CNBC – Target

Deloitte released a 2018 Retail Holiday Sales report which forecasts retail sales to climb between 5 to 5.6%, which is an increase from 4.7% last year. It also expects ecommerce sales to reach between 17 and 22% for the holiday season.

The firm expects total holiday sales to exceed $1.1 trillion between November and January.

Retailers such as Macy’s are also preparing for the boost in expected seasonal sales this year, the company plans to hire 80,000 seasonal employees, while Target looks to bring an additional 120,000 seasonal employees over the holiday season.

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018


Audi Introduces e-Tron, its New Electric Vehicle
Press Release
Wired

The company introduced a mid-size electric SUV that runs a 95-kWh battery with more than 200 miles of range. According to Wired, the model starts at $74,500.

The company is also teaming up with Amazon Home Services to offer drivers in-home charging capabilities.

The vehicle is available for customers to place reservations.


Google Teams up with the World’s Biggest Car-Manufacturing Alliance
Press Release

Google is working on a technology partnership with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance in a move that equips Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi vehicles with intelligent infotainment systems made with Google’s Android technology.

The global multi-year partnership looks to provide an “ecosystem of automotive apps on the Google Play Store” which will provide drivers with “the ability to answer calls and texts, control media, find information, and manage vehicle functions with voice using the built-in Google Assistant.”

The system is expected to debut in 2021.


Lyft Announces That it Has Completed Over 1 Billion Rides
Lyft Blog Post
Bloomberg

The company announced that it reached a milestone of completing 1 billion rides on its platform.

Lyft stated a few highlights of its trips which include the completion of 76 million rides to airports, its single longest trip of 639 miles, and 47% of all rides taken during the winter.

According to Bloomberg, the company hired an Advisor to potentially guide the company through a reported IPO in 2019.

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018


Amazon Launches a Store Featuring Nearly 20,000 U.S. Small and Medium-sized Businesses
Press Release

The company announced that it’s introducing Amazon Storefronts, a store that allows customers to shop exclusively from U.S. small and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon.

Storefront offers a curated collection of over one million products and deals from nearly 20,000 U.S. small and medium-sized businesses.

According to a company press release, “more than 300,000 U.S.-based small and medium-sized businesses started selling on Amazon” in 2017.


WeWork Acquires a Workplace Software and Analytics Company
Company News Release

The company announced that it has acquired Teem, a software and analytics company providing enterprises with tools, data, insights, and analytics to help them optimize their offices.

At the time of acquisition, Teem worked with more than 2,800 customers.

According to a company press release, the company will continue to “operate as an independent business line” and will also be “part of a broader package of WeWork offerings to enterprises and Powered by We clients.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Instagram Provides its Users with New Ways to Shop on its Platform
Instagram News Release

The company announced that it’s expanding its Shopping in Stories feature which will be available to businesses in 46 countries around the globe.

Users will be able to view a company’s Instagram story and click on an item to learn more information about products.

The social media company also announced that it’s launching a feature that allows users to Shop via the Explore page which offers users a personalized feed of products available for purchase.

Monday, September 17th, 2018


Time Magazine Has a New Owner
Press Release

Meredith Corporation, the parent company of Time Magazine, announced that it “has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the TIME media brand to Marc and Lynne Benioff for $190 million in cash.”

The deal is unrelated to Salesforce.com, an enterprise cloud computing company founded by Marc Benioff who is currently chairman and co-CEO.

According to a press release, “Mr. and Mrs. Benioff will not be involved in the day-to-day operations or journalistic decisions” of TIME a media brand that reaches “100 million readers in print and online, including over 50 million digital visitors and 40 million social followers each month.”

The deal is expected to close within the next 30 days.


Target Announces New Hiring Targets for the Upcoming Holiday Season
Press Release

The retailer announced that it plans to hire approximately 120,000 seasonal employees across the United States for the upcoming holiday season.

The new seasonal hires look to fill a variety of roles across the company’s stores and distribution and fulfillment centers.


Airbnb Opens an Office for its Experiences Marketplace
Press Release

The new office will be located in Los Angeles and will serve as a hub for the company’s growing Experiences team.

According to a company press release, the new hub “will be part of more than 30 Airbnb regional offices around the world and will initially be home to some 40 new employees.”

Airbnb Experiences is an extended product offering by the marketplace, which allows local residents to earn extra revenue by offering tailored experiences around specific interests and passions, such as hikes, cooking classes, and intimate concerts.

Friday, September 14th, 2018


UPS Announces a Business Transformation Program
Press Release

The company announced that it is moving forward with 4 initiatives to help boost future earnings.

The four initiatives are a continued expansion of high-growth international markets, a profitable expansion from both B2B and B2C e-commerce, penetration of the Healthcare and Life Sciences logistics market, and enhanced services and value for Small- and Medium-sized Businesses.

UPS expects these actions to result in an incremental increase to adjusted earnings per share in the range of $1.00 to $1.20 by 2022.


Starbucks Looks to Boost its LEED®-certified Store Strategy
Press Release

The company announced that it’s launching a “Starbucks Greener Stores” framework which looks to design, build and operate 10,000 “Greener Stores” globally by 2025.

The move is expected to save the company an incremental $50 million in utilities over the next 10 years.

It adds to Starbucks focus on sustainability across all aspects of its business, including achieving 99 percent ethically-sourced coffee, and reducing single-use plastic straws globally by 2020.


Facebook Expands its Fact-Checking Program
News Release

The tech giant announced that it has built a machine learning model that identifies potentially false content on the platform.

Once a photo or video is flagged, it will then be sent to the company’s independent, third-party fact-checkers to review and rate the accuracy of a photo or video.

The move is the latest attempt by Facebook to combat misinformation and false news on the platform.

Thursday, September 13th, 2018


Macy’s Looks to Hire Approximately 80,000 Employees for the Upcoming Holiday Season
Press Release

The company announced that it’s hiring for positions at its Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores, call centers, distribution centers, and online fulfillment centers nationwide in the United States for the 2018 holiday season.

The company is expected to hold national hiring events on Thursday, October 18th.


StockX, a Sneaker Reseller Marketplace, Announced that it Raised $44 Million to Help Boost Growth
TechCrunch

According to TechCrunch, the company announced that it will be using the funds to help accel international and domestic growth in the United States, and also expand to more product categories.

The company, which was founded in 2016, currently employs approximately 300 workers in Detroit and 50 in Tempe, Arizona.

TechCrunch reports that StockX sees approximately $2 million in transactions each day with roughly 800,000 users who have sold or purchased items on the platform.

The company’s latest round of funding includes investors Google Ventures, Battery Ventures, and Salesforce Co-Founder Marc Benioff among others.


Hershey’s Acquires a Snack Brand for Over $400 Million
Press Release

The company announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pirate Brands.

According to a company press release, “Pirate Brands will operate within Amplify, Hershey’s better-for-you snacking hub in Austin, Texas, which is focused on driving growth in the warehouse snacking aisle with unique product flavors and forms like Skinny Pop, Paqui and Oatmega.”

The $420 million deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018


Microsoft Announces a New Canadian Headquarters
Press Release

The company announced that it’s opening a 132,000 square foot headquarters located in Downtown Toronto.

Currently, Microsoft employs more than 2,300 employees across Canada and supports an extended ecosystem of more than 14,000 trusted partners who sell, service or deploy Microsoft products.

The company has set an expected move-in date in September 2020.


IMAX Teams up with One of China’s Largest State Owned Commercial Developers
Press Release

China Resources Land, one of China’s largest state-owned commercial developers, announced that they will be featuring 14 new IMAX Laser Theatres at its shopping malls across the country.

The theatres are expected to open between 2018 and 2021.


Amazon’s Business-to-Business Sales Are Expected to Soar This Year
Amazon Blog Post

The less than the 4-year old business unit of Amazon stated that it’s expected to reach $10 Billion in annual sales this year.

The business unit is approximately the revenue size of Grainger, an industrial supplier, and rival to Amazon Business.

The company stated that it serves nearly 80% of the 100 largest enrollment education organizations, 55 of the Fortune 100 companies, more than half of the 100 biggest hospital systems and more than 40% of the 100 most populous local governments.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018


7-Eleven Partners with Apple Pay and Google Pay
Press Release

The company announced that it will be supporting the mobile payment providers at most of its US-based stores later this month.

The move looks to help deliver a frictionless customer experience at over 10,000 locations in the United States.

7-Eleven also announced five new innovations at the company, including a service called 7-Eleven NOW, which “enables on-demand ordering of products from local 7-Eleven stores” and 7Rewards, an “app-based customer loyalty program.”


Snapchat’s Chief Strategy Officer Leaves the Company
SEC Filing
Bloomberg

The company announced that Imran Khan will leave Snap to pursue other opportunities. According to Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the matter, Khan will leave the company to launch a technology investment firm.

According to a filing made with the SEC, Khan’s last day has not been determined and he will continue to serve as Chief Strategy Officer until the company finds a replacement.


Uber Hires a Former Coca-Cola Exec to Lead its Global Marketing Strategy
Uber News Release

The company announced that Rebecca Messina will join the ride-sharing company as its global Chief Marketing Officer.

According to an Uber news release, Messina joins the company from “Beam Suntory, where she has served as global Chief Marketing Officer since 2016.

Prior to Beam Suntory, she spent 22 years at The Coca-Cola Company, where she most recently served as Senior Vice President, Marketing & Innovation for Ventures & Emerging Brands.”

Monday, September 10th, 2018


Visa becomes the Official Payment Technology Partner of New York Fashion Week
Press Release

The company announced that as the Official Payment Technology Partner of NYFW it will provide consumers with new ways to pay, including providing attendees with the ability to make retail payments through contactless cards and devices.

The company looks to roll out vending machines that feature items from New York-based female designers, including Rebecca Minkoff, Venessa Arizaga, and Neely & Chloe.

New York Fashion Week runs from September 6th to the 14th.


BMW Plans to Roll out an AI-based Personal Assistant
Press Release

The company announced that it plans to launch a personal assistant powered by AI.

Starting in March 2019, BMW drivers and passengers will be able to operate their car and access its functions and information by simply speaking.

According to a company press release, the “personal assistant will also be able to assist the driver outside their vehicle, whether it’s at home with the help of a smart speaker or out and about via a smartphone.”


Alibaba’s Jack Ma Plans to Retire
WSJ
SCMP
Reuters

Daniel Zhang will succeed Jack Ma and will take the role of chairman in September 2019.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Ma, who co-founded the China-based tech giant in 1999, will focus his time on educational philanthropy.

His retirement was announced amid increased trade tensions between China and the United States.

Friday, September 7th, 2018


Airbnb for Work Expands its Offering
Company Press Release

The company announced that it is launching 3 new initiatives: experiences on Airbnb for team-building, Airbnb Homes for offsites and meetings, and new options for people relocating for work.

The tech company also announced that over 700,000 companies have had employees sign up and book with Airbnb for Work.


Toy Maker Mattel Opens a New Film Division
Company Press Release

The company announced that it’s launching Mattel Films, a new division focused on developing and producing motion pictures based on its globally-recognized franchises.

Robbie Brenner, an Academy Award-nominated producer will lead Mattel Films as Executive Producer.


Starbucks Opens a Location in Italy
News Announcement

The company announced that it opened a Reserve Roastery inside the historic Poste building in Piazza Cordusio.

It is the company’s first location in Italy, with plans to bring additional cafes to Milan beginning later in the year.

According to a Starbucks press release, the launch creates nearly 300 jobs in Italy.

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Harley Davidson Opens an Electric Vehicle Research and Development Facility
Press Release

The company announced that the new R&D facility will be based in Silicon Valley and will initially focus on electric vehicle research and development, including battery, power electronics, and e-machine design.

The company plans to launch its first electric motorcycle in 2019.

The new facility is expected to open in the later part of this year.


21st Century Fox Invests in a Streaming Platform
Press Release

The company announced that it has invested $100 million in Caffeine, a social gaming and entertainment broadcasting platform. Venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz, and Greylock Partners were among a few others who also participated in the funding round.

Caffeine also announced that it has entered into a content agreement with Live Nation to bring live music concerts to the social broadcast platform later this year.


Amazon Purchases New Mercedes-Benz Vans for its Branded Delivery Fleet
Press Release

Mercedes-Benz announced that it has entered into a new partnership with Amazon which includes the delivery of 20,000 Sprinter model vans.

The vans will be used for Amazon’s new branded delivery platform which allows small businesses to operate their own delivery fleet to customers across the United States.

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018


Mercedes-Benz Looks to Compete Against Tesla
Press Release

Mercedes-Benz announced that it’s rolling out an electric SUV, called the EQC, which is equipped with an electric range of more than 450 km.

The vehicle also offers 402hp, a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds, and the all-new voice operated MBUX infotainment system.

The company joins other auto manufacturers including Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi who are looking to make an impact in the electric-car industry.


Fatburger Expands into the East Coast
Press Release

The company announced that it’s working with franchise partner Praveen Vig to open a Fatburger restaurant in New Jersey. The launch will be part of the franchises return to the East Coast.

The new location is expected to open later this year.


Instagram is Reportedly Building an eCommerce Shopping App
The Verge
FB Q2 Earnings Call Transcript

The Verge reports that Instagram is building an app that lets users shop for products available on Instagram.

According to a recent Q2 earnings call with Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg stated that there are 25 million Instagram business profiles, 2 million advertisers on the app.

The reported move would help merchants sell through social media posts and rival other online eCommerce platforms such as Shopify.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018


Restaurant Brands New Zealand Plans to End its License Agreement with Starbucks
Restaurant Brands New Zealand Company Statement
Reuters

The company announced that its license agreement with Starbucks International will not renew when it expires in October of this year.

Restaurant Brands New Zealand, which operates New Zealand’s chain outlets including KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl’s Jr. has sold the fixed assets and stock in its Starbucks business for $4.4 million to Tahua Capital Limited.

According to a company statement, the deal will help Restaurant Brands New Zealand concentrate more on its core quick service restaurant brands.


Loot Crate Announces $23 million in New Funding
Company Press Release

The subscription commerce company announced that it it has secured new financing in order to fully refinance its outstanding debt facilities and to provide incremental operating capital for the business.

According to a company press release, Loot Crate also looks to use the funds to help its existing subscription lines, improve the overall customer experience, enabling new product launches, grow new product lines, and the establish new distribution channels.

The funding round was led by Atalaya Capital Management.


Lyft is Reportedly Working with an Advisor to Help it Plan for its Expected IPO in 2019
Bloomberg

Bloomberg reports that the ride-sharing company is reportedly in discussions with an advisor for a potential IPO early next year, citing sources familiar with the matter.

According to the report, the Class V Group is working closely with the tech company to assist in the IPO process.

The company’s major rival, Uber, is also reportedly expected to go public in 2019.

Monday, September 3rd, 2018


Coca-Cola Acquires a Coffee Company
Coca-Cola Press Release

Coca-Cola announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Costa Limited.

According to the company, the $5.1 billion deal will provide Coca-Cola with a strong coffee platform in nearly 4,000 retail outlets across areas of Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

Costa ranks as the leading coffee company in the United Kingdom and has a growing footprint in China.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019.


WPP Appoints a New Chief Executive Officer
Company Announcement

WPP announced that Mark Read will be the company’s new CEO.

Read will be replacing Martin Sorrell, the longtime CEO who left the company in April.

According to a company press release, Read has played a central role in many of WPP’s most successful investments and initiatives and has deep experience at the board and operational level.


Walmart Looks to Add More Toys in its Stores by the Holiday Season
CNBC
Walmart Announcement

CNBC reports that Walmart looks to add 30% more toys to its product offering for the upcoming holiday season following Toys R Us bankruptcy and closure of its stores in the United States.

According to a Walmart press release, the company looks to host more than 2,000 in-store toy demo dates over the next two months at Supercenters across the United States so that kids can play with top toys as they start to build their holiday wish lists.

Other companies including Party City, J.C. Penney, and Target look to help fill the gap in Toys R Us absence from the market.

Friday, August 31st, 2018


Apple Looks to Unveil New Products Next Month
Event Page
CNBC

The tech giant invited media to an event at Apple’s Headquarters on September 12th.

CNBC reports that the company is expected to unveil new iPhone models.

The event begins at 10 am Pacific Standard Time and is available via web live stream.


Snap Appoints a New VP of U.S. Global Business Solutions
Wall Street Journal

Snap has appointed Kristen O’Hara, a Warnermedia executive, to lead the company as vice president of U.S. global business solutions.

O’Hara previously served as Warnermedia’s Chief Marketing Officer for global media.

She will report to Snap’s Chief Strategy Officer Imran Khan. Her role will be effective on September 4th.


Microsoft will Offer Unlimited Device Installs on Office 365 Consumer Subscriptions
Product Announcement

The company announced that subscribers will be able to install Office on an unlimited number of devices.

Office 365 Home users currently have a 10 devices subscriber limit and Office 365 Personal has a two device limit.

The new offer is available to customers on October 2nd.

Thursday, August 30th, 2018


Aston Martin Reportedly Plans to go Public
Reuters

Reuters reports that auto manufacturer, Aston Martin, plans to launch the prospectus for its Initial Public Offering around September 20th.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the sports car manufacturer looks to target a valuation of 5 billion pounds, or $6.4 billion USD.

Reuters states that the company plans to float on the London Stock Exchange.


Amazon Expands its Whole Foods Delivery Service
Company Press Release

The company announced that it’s launching Whole Foods grocery delivery in Columbus, Dayton, Portland, Greater Washington D.C. and additional areas of New York City.

Whole Foods delivery is now available in 28 cities in the United States with plans for continued expansion across the U.S. throughout the rest of the year.


Facebook Rolls Out it Video Streaming Entertainment Platform
Company News Release

The company announced that its entertainment streaming platform, Facebook Watch, is now available around the globe.

According to the company, every month, more than 50 million people in the United States watch videos for at least a minute in Facebook Watch. The total time spent watching videos in Watch has increased by 14X since the start of 2018.

Watch includes programs such as, live Major League Baseball games, Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith, and beauty mogul Huda Kattan’s Huda Boss.

The service looks to compete against other online streaming rivals including Netflix, Amazon, and Walmart.

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018


Sears and Amazon Expand their Partnership
Press Release

Sears Auto Center announced that it’s working with Amazon to provide full-service tire installation and balancing for customers who purchase any brand of tires on Amazon.com.

The program is now available nationwide in the United States including Alaska and Hawaii.


Google India Rolls Out Digital Lending
Google Blog Post

Google announced that it is working to provide instant and pre-approved loans to Google Pay users through its partnership with India-based banks including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Federal Bank.

Last year, Google launched an app called Tez, which will now be called Google Pay.

The app is being used by more than 22 million people and businesses every month.


Raytheon is Working on Artificial Intelligence Technology that Explains Itself
Press Release

Raytheon announced that it’s developing a first of its kind neural network that explains itself.

The initiative is being built under DARPA’s Explainable Artificial Intelligence program which, according to a company press release, looks to help human users understand, trust and effectively manage AI.

According to the company, the project will allow AI programs to ‘show their work,’ which looks to increase the human user’s confidence in the AI’s suggestions.

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018


Toyota Invests Half a Billion into Uber
TechCrunch
WSJ

TechCrunch reports that Toyota is teaming up with Uber to roll out an autonomous vehicle. The company will also invest $500 million in Uber.

Under the terms of the deal, Toyota Sienna vehicles will be running on Uber’s self-driving technology.

The pilot launch is expected to begin in 2021.


Microsoft Launches an XBox All Access Plan
Offer Page

Microsoft will be selling its XBox One X and S consoles in monthly installment plans which will allow users to own the device after two years.

Under the plan, customers will be able to get unlimited access to over 100 games with Xbox Game Pass for 24 months. Customers will also have access to Xbox Live Gold for 24 months.


Berkshire Hathaway Buys a Stake in an India-based Fintech Company
Reuters
TechCrunch

Reuters reports that Berkshire Hathaway invested in India’s One97 Communications, which is the parent company of Paytm, a digital payments company.

According to TechCrunch, the move marks the first time the investment firm invested in an India-based startup.

The transaction amount or stake in the company has not been disclosed.

Monday, August 27th, 2018


Tesla Plans to Remain a Public Company
Company Blog Post

Elon Musk announced in a blog post that he is no longer considering taking the company private.

The post stated that going private would not be a popular option amongst existing investors, and the process of going private would be more time-consuming and distracting than initially anticipated.

The electric car company will remain public, a move that Tesla’s Board of Directors agrees on.


Porsche Appoints a New VP of Marketing for the United States
Company Press Release

The company announced that it has appointed Pedro Mota who will be heading Marketing for Porsche Cars North America which is headquartered in Atlanta.

Mota previously served as the President of the Americas for Rolls-Royce Motors Cars. He was responsible for sales initiatives and critical product launches for Rolls-Royce’s U.S., Canadian and Latin American markets.

He starts his new position on October 1st.


Uber Looks to Focus on Bikes
BBC
Financial Times
Lime Press Release

BBC reports that the on-demand company looks to focus its efforts on its electric bike and scooter business.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi forecasts that Uber users will likely make shorter trips in the future.

In July, the company invested in and partnered with fast-growing mobility startup, Lime, to allow Uber users to access its bikes and scooters through its app.

Friday, August 24th, 2018


Krogers Looks to Phase Out Plastic Bags
Press Release

The grocer announced that it plans to phase out single-use plastic bags at all of its stores and transition to reusable bags by 2025.

According to the company, some estimates suggest that 100 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away in the United States every year.

Currently, less than five percent of plastic bags are recycled annually in America, and single-use plastic bags are the fifth-most common single-use plastic found in the environment by magnitude.


Aurora Cannabis Plans to Launch Soft Gel Capsules in Canada
Press Release

The company announced that it has received Health Canada authorization to produce cannabis softgel capsules.

Aurora stated that it will begin production of its softgel capsules immediately, in partnership with Capcium Inc., a Montreal-based manufacturer that specializes in high-volume softgel encapsulation.

The company anticipates significant consumer demand for encapsulated cannabis products once cannabis is legal for adult recreational use in Canada.


Volkswagen Looks to Invest Billions in its Digital Transformation
Press Release

Volkswagen announced that it will invest 3.5 billion Euros (or $4 billion) through 2025 to build digital products and initiatives that will help boost its product line. The investment includes creating new a cloud-based ecosystem for services such as car sharing.

The company also stated that it will introduce a new operating system, caled “vw.OS” to its electric fleet starting in 2020.

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018


Barnes & Noble Acquires a Writing Services Company
Company Press Release

Barnes & Noble Education announced that it has acquired PaperRater.com, a website that offers a suite of writing services that helps its users improve their writing skills. PaperRater.com offers services that include writing revision tools, a plagiarism checker, and an AI-based auto-grading writing scoring system.

The new addition looks to strengthen the company’s offering of services to its higher education and K-12 educational customer base.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


AT&T Boosts its Cybersecurity Solutions
AT&T Press Release
Original Acquisition Announcement

AT&T announced that it’s acquiring AlienVault, a privately held company based in San Mateo, Calif.

According to AT&T, the acquisition will help it expand its enterprise-grade security solutions and offerings to its small and medium-sized business customers.

The transaction is expected to close before the end of September.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Kraft Teams up with Oprah
Company Press Release

Kraft Heinz is teaming up with Oprah Winfrey to launch a new line of premium frozen pizzas.

Both parties recently worked on a joint venture that offered refrigerated soups and side dishes. The new pizzas will be part of the O, That’s Good! Brand.

According to a joint press release, 10% of profits will be equally split between charitable organizations Rise Against Hunger and Feeding America to support the fight against hunger.

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018


Air Canada Expands its Acceptance of Alipay and WeChat Pay
Company Press Release

The airline announced that Alipay and WeChat Pay are now available as payment choices when customers book through its North American and Hong Kong websites.

Both Alipay and WeChat Pay are eWallet services with users primarily based in China.

Air Canada is amongst the first North American carriers to offer the payment options in North America.


Tinder Launches a Service Specifically for College Students
Tinder U Blog Post

The dating network announced that it’s launching Tinder U, a service for college students.

First-time users will need to sign-up with a .edu email address to be able to access the feature.

The new service is available to iOS users attending 4-year, accredited, not-for-profit schools in the U.S.


Uber Announces a New Chief Financial Officer
Uber Release
CNBC

The tech giant announced that it has appointed Nelson Chai as its new CFO.

Chai joins Uber from the Chicago-based Warranty Group, an insurance and warranty provider, where he was CEO. He also served as the Chief Financial Officer of Merrill Lynch and held roles in CIT Group, NYSE Euronext, and Archipelago Holdings.

CNBC reports that Chai joins the company at a time when it reportedly prepares to go public in 2019.

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018


Pepsico Acquires Sodastream
Pepsico Press Release

The company stated that it has entered into an agreement to acquire SodaStream, a manufacturer, and distributor of Sparkling Water Makers, for $3.2 billion.

Sodastream lets customers transform ordinary tap water into sparkling water and flavored sparkling water in seconds.

The transaction looks to help Pepsico promote health and wellness through solutions that are environmentally friendly, cost-effective and easy-to-use.


BlueApron Announces New Meal Planning Options
BlueApron Press Release
New Meal Planning Website

The company announced that it’s launching three Whole30 Approved® recipes each week beginning on September 3rd and continuing through the end of the month.

The Whole30 diet is a 30-day program that comprises of sugar-free, dairy-free, grain-free, and paleo-friendly foods.

The new addition follows a successful eight-week partnership it launched with the Whole30 organization last January.


Farfetch, a Fashion Startup, Files for an IPO
SEC F-1 Filing
CNBC
Crunchbase

The company plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange, this according to an SEC F-1 filing.

CNBC reports that the London-based luxury fashion marketplace is aiming for a valuation of up to $5 billion. The global market for personal luxury goods is expected to reach $446 billion by 2025, according to the filing citing Bain.

Crunchbase reports that the company which was founded in 2008 has raised over $700 million to date.

Monday, August 20th, 2018


Tesla Could Launch a $25,000 Model in 3 Years
CNBC
Interview

Elon Musk sat down in an interview with Youtuber, Marques Brownlee, discussing Tesla and the future of electric vehicles.

In the interview, Musk states that the company could produce an entry-level priced model at $25,000.

There are no definite plans, however, he stated that the model could be produced by 2021.


Walmart Completes its Investment in Flipkart
Company Press Release

The company announced that it completed its investment in India’s largest eCommerce company.

Walmart is now the largest shareholder at 77%.

The investment transforms Walmart’s position in a country with more than 1.3 billion people, strong GDP growth, a growing middle class and significant runway for smartphone, internet and eCommerce penetration.


DoorDash Raises New Funds Valuing the Company at $4 Billion
DoorDash Announcement 
Company Press Release

The on-demand food delivery company announced that it raised $250 million in a round led by Coatue Management and DST Global.

According to the company, its geographic footprint has nearly doubled to more than 1,000 cities across the U.S. and Canada and it’s on pace to reach 2,000 cities this year.

According to Edison Trends, DoorDash has become the fastest growing last mile logistics company in the U.S.

Friday, August 17th, 2018


Krogers Launches Driverless Grocery Delivery
Company Press Release

The company announced that it’s piloting a self-driving grocery delivery service in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Krogers is partnering up with Nuro, a maker of driverless delivery vehicles. Customers will be able to order their items and pick them up at the curb as the autonomous vehicles arrive at its destination.

Nuro will be piloting its self-driving Toyota Prius fleet this fall.


Amazon is Reportedly in Discussions with UK Insurers
Reuters
CNBC

Reuters reports that the tech giant is reportedly in discussions with a few of Europe’s top insurers to possibly launch an insurance comparison site in the UK.

According to the report, it was not immediately clear what type of insurance would be sold on any Amazon site nor did it specify when and if the site would launch.


Facebook Announces a New Milestone
Company Announcement
Initial Announcement on Fundraising Feature

The company announced that its users have raised over $300 million for causes they care about using birthday fundraisers.

The company introduced a feature last year which allowed its users to raise funds for causes they support.

According to Facebook, St. Jude, Alzheimer’s Association, and the American Cancer Society are among the top beneficiaries of birthday fundraisers.

Thursday, August 16th, 2018


Movado Group Acquires MVMT Watches
Press Release

The company announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire MVMT, a lifestyle brand focused on watches.

The acquisition helps Movado Group reach a Millennial consumer-base with global growth potential. It also accelerates the company’s digital strategy.

The deal is worth approximately $100 million.


BestBuy Acquires a Health Services Provider
Press Release

The company announced that it’s acquiring GreatCall, a health services provider, for $800 million in an all-cash deal.

The acquisition is part of Best Buy’s 2020 strategy to address the growing needs of an aging population with the help of technology products, services, and solutions.

GreatCall provides connected health and personal emergency response services to an older demographic. It serves approximately more than 900,000 paying subscribers.


Coca-Cola Acquires a Minority Stake in BODYARMOR Sports Drink
Press Release

Coca-Cola announced that it will acquire a minority ownership stake in BODYARMOR, a fast-growing premium sports drink company.

The deal provides BODYARMOR with access to Coca-Cola’s U.S. bottling system with future potential for global expansion.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Bumble Launches an Investment Fund
Company Blog Post
TechCrunch

The matchmaking company announced that it’s launching Bumble Fund, an investment fund focused on early-stage companies, primarily founded and led by women of color and those from underrepresented groups.

TechCrunch reports that the investments will range from $5,000 to $250,000.


Amazon is Reportedly in Talks to Purchase a Movie Theatre Chain
Bloomberg

Bloomberg reports that the company is in early stage discussions to acquire Landmark Theatres, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The deal could propel the tech giant’s efforts in the media space and expand its operations in the physical space outside of its Whole Foods acquisition.

The Mark Cuban backed movie theatres operate 50 theatres in 27 cities.

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018


Kroger Teams up with Alibaba
Krogers Press Release
Walmart/Flipkart Press Release

The company announced that it is piloting a move to sell its products on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform.

The company looks to provide access to its Simple Truth brand to more than half a billion Chinese consumers.

Kroger’s international expansion plans come months after Walmart recently announced that it purchased a stake in Flipkart, an India-based eCommerce retailer.


Airbnb Looks to Expand its Branded Apartment Complexes
Bloomberg

Bloomberg reports that Airbnb plans to reportedly open up to 14 new home sharing apartment complexes by 2020 under its partnership with the development company, Niido.

Niido looks to lease to long-term renters and short-term visitors.

The apartment complex has already launched a 324-unit complex in Florida with plans to expand to Nashville as its second location.


Facebook Acqui-hires Vidpresso
Vidpresso Announcement
TechCrunch

Vidpresso announced that it is now part of Facebook.

TechCrunch reports that the 7-person Utah-based startup makes it easy for publishers to create engaging content in the form of a polls, comments, and a graphics layer on top of video streams.

The acquisition looks to bring this technology to the broader Facebook community so creators can have more ways to interact with their audiences.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018


Elon Musk Shares an Update on Tesla’s Privatization Plans
Tesla Blog Post
Elon Musk Tweet

Elon Musk announced in a blog post that he’s in discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund on helping take the company private.

He also tweeted that he’s working with Silver Lake and Goldman Sachs as financial advisors on the potential deal.


City National Bank Acquires a Payment Platform
City National Bank News Release

City National Bank announced that it has acquired Exactuals, a Los Angeles-based payment provider of solutions for complex payments in the entertainment industry.

According to a City National Bank news release, Exactuals provides direct deposit payments, tax document management and online reporting to rights holders, performers, managers, service providers and independent contractors across the globe. The company also operates an artificial intelligence tool used by record labels and publishers to optimize ownership metadata for the calculation and payment of royalties.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Netflix Chief Financial Officer Steps Down
Company Press Release
Variety: Walmart Streaming Plans

Netflix announced that David Wells will leave the company once it has chosen a successor. Wells has been with the company since 2004 and has served as the CFO since 2010.

He plans to stay with the company until a new CFO is fully transitioned into the role.

Wells leaves the company during a time when the streaming giant faces new challenges from increased competition from rivals such as Amazon, and Walmart.

Monday, August 13th, 2018


WeWork Raises New Funds from SoftBank
WSJ
Business Insider
WSJ on $4.4 Billion SoftBank Investment

The Wall Street Journal reports that Japan’s SoftBank Group has invested $1 Billion in WeWork.

The company previously raised $4.4 billion from SoftBank just over a year ago.


Jaguar Land Rover Looks to Expand its Model Line
Autonews Europe
Autocar

According to Automotive News Europe, the company plans to roll out 3 new models over the next 5 years.

Autocar reports that one of the vehicles could include an entry-level model.


Former Tesla VP, Returns to Apple
Reuters

Reuters reports that Doug Field, a former Tesla VP of engineering has returned to Apple and is reportedly working on Apple’s special self-driving car initiative called Project Titan.

Friday, August 10th, 2018


Amazon Reportedly Planning to Launch Healthcare Clinics
CNBC

CNBC reports that Amazon is reportedly working on launching a health clinic for its Seattle-based employees which is expected to launch later this year.

Sources familiar with the matter state that the programs will initially be for a handful of Amazon employees with further company-wide expansion planned for 2019.

Earlier this year, the company announced that it’s working with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan on initiatives to help bring down the costs of health care for its respective employees.


Blackstone Invests in TaskUs
Blackstone Press Release
Bloomberg

TaskUs, a business process outsourcing company focused on helping high-growth technology firms grow and scale, received investment from Blackstone which, according to Bloomberg is $250 million.

According to a Blackstone press release, the surge in ecommerce, ride sharing, social media and other new technology industries is creating a surge in demand for business outsourcing and enablement.

The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.


2020 Tokyo Olympics Use of Facial Recognition Technology
The Verge

The Verge reports facial recognition technology will be implemented at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The technology is expected to be used to identify over 300,000 staff, athletes, media, and volunteers.

It’s the first time the technology will be used at the Olympics. The use of facial recognition hopes to increase efficiency in venue wait times.

Thursday, August 9th, 2018


Salesforce Announces Two CEOs
Company Press Release

Marc Benioff will be sharing leadership responsibilities with newly announced co-CEO Keith Block.

According to Salesforce, Benioff, will lead the company’s technology, marketing, stakeholder engagement and culture. Block will lead the company’s growth strategy, execution and operations.

Block served as the company’s COO since 2016.


Petco Partners with Canadian Tire
Company Press Release

The partnership looks to exclusively offer a variety of Petco pet products, including its assortment of food, treats and accessories to Canadian shoppers online and in stores.

The move marks Canadian Tire’s entry into the premium pet category. The partnership also provides Petco with the opportunity to access the multi-billion dollar Canadian pet care market.

Petco products will be available online and in Canadian Tire stores starting this month.


Verizon Teams up with Apple Music
Company Press Release

Verizon announced that it has entered into an exclusive partnership with Apple Music offering its customers 6-months of free access to the music streaming platform.

The move is the first step in its exclusive deal. The offer is available to new and current Verizon Unlimited customers starting on August 16th.

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018


Samsung Invests in Future Growth
Company Press Release
Reuters

The company announced that over the next three-years it looks to invest in areas of artificial intelligence, 5G, automotive electronics components, and biopharmaceuticals.

Reuters reports that the investment is the first of its kind at the company.

The total planned investment is $22 billion.


Airbnb Announces an Update to its Great Wall of China Promotion
Press Release
BBC

The company announced that it will no longer move forward with an essay competition that offered winners a chance to spend an evening on the Great Wall of China.

According to the BBC, the decision to pull the competition was partly due to concerns to potential structural damage and lack of approval from authorities.

It has since stated that it will focus on working on a range of other China destination experiences.


New Relic Launches a Joint Venture in Japan
Press Release

The company stated that it has signed a definitive agreement to establish a new joint venture in Tokyo, Japan.

New Relic will be working with Japan Cloud, a company that has led successful Japan joint ventures for companies looking to establish a presence in Japan. Its clients include Salesforce, Concur, and Marketo.

The partnership looks to help New Relic meet the demands of a growing number of Japanese companies that are looking to solve business-critical issues around mastering the complexity of modern software.


GM Expands its In-Dash Fuel Payment Network
Engadget
CNET

According to Engadget, Buick 2017 and newer vehicle models are now equipped with the ability for drivers to pay for their gas from within their in-dash operating system at select Exxon and Mobil stations.

The feature already works on Chevy models. GM plans to expand the offering to other model fleets.

The report outlines that one of the added benefits of an in-dash payment system is to deter the growing threat of card skimming at gas stations.

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018


Avis Teams up with Lyft
Company Press Release

Avis announced that it’s working with Lyft in a multi-year deal that will add Avis vehicles to the Lyft Express Drive program in cities across North America.

The partnership looks to make it easier for people to drive with Lyft without the cost and burden of car ownership. Lyft drivers will be able to reserve an Avis rental vehicle from within the Lyft app

The initial launch is set to happen over the coming months.


Airbnb Announces a New Milestone
Airbnb Press Release

Airbnb announced that nearly 700,000 companies are using Airbnb for Work, its business travel offering, previously known as Airbnb for Business.

The company noted that approximately 40% of Airbnb for Work users are employees from large enterprise companies, which represent workforces of 5,000 or more employees.

Startups and SMBs, make up the other 40%.

And midsize companies, which are between 251-5,000 employees make up 20% of its user base.


Zillow Acquires the Mortgage Lenders of America
Company Press Release

Zillow Group announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Mortgage Lenders of America, a national mortgage lender.

The acquisition looks to streamline and shorten the home-buying process for consumers who purchase homes through Zillow Offers.

Mortgage Lenders of America was founded in 2000 and has approximately 300 employees. It will continue to operate from its Kansas headquarters. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Pepsico Appoints a New CEO
Company Press Release

The company announced that its Board of Directors unanimously elected Ramon Laguarta to succeed Indra Nooyi as Chief Executive Officer. Nooyi will step down on October 3rd. She will remain Chairman until early 2019.

Laguarta has held a number of executive and general management roles in his 22 years at PepsiCo.

He will be the company’s 6th CEO in Pepsico’s 53-year history.

Monday, August 6th, 2018


Saudi Arabia Halts New Trade with Canada
Reuters

Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia will stop new business transactions with Canada after it raised concerns over recent arrests on women’s rights activists.

The Canadian ambassador was given 24 hours to leave the country. Saudi Arabia also recalled its own ambassador to Canada.


Stanford Ran a Study on the Use of Google Glass for Children with Autism
Stanford News Release

Stanford announced that it ran a pilot study which demonstrated that children with Autism improved their social skills when using a Google Glass device.

The therapy used a Stanford developed app that provided real-time cues to Google Glass users.

According to a Stanford news report, parents reported improvements in a child’s social skills after 1-3 months of use.


The City of Bellevue Washington Teams up with Lime Bikes
Bellevue News Release
Reuters

The city announced that it is launching the first bike share system in the Pacific Northwest. The one-year pilot will exclusively feature e-bikes through California-based startup, Lime Bikes.

Users will be able to locate and unlock the electronic bikes using Lime’s mobile app. The bikes cost $1 to rent plus 15 cents per minute of use.

Lime Bikes recently announced new funding of $335 million and a strategic partnership with Uber which will allow users to locate Lime Bikes from within the Uber app.


Intercontinental Exchange Teams up with Microsoft and Starbucks to Create an Open and Regulated, Global Ecosystem for Digital Assets
Press Release

The global exchange operator announced plans to launch a new company called Bakkt, which plans to work with organizations including BCG, Microsoft, Starbucks, and others, to create a platform that enables consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a global network.

The Bakkt ecosystem is expected to include federally regulated markets.


Coinbase Teams up with an eCommerce Company
Coinbase Blog Post

Coinbase announced that it is launching Coinbase Commerce, a feature that allows merchants anywhere in the world to accept cryptocurrency payments directly from their customers.

The company stated that it is working with WooCommerce, an eCommerce platform.

The move looks to increase access to help spread cryptocurrency adoption.

Friday, August 3rd, 2018


Apple Reaches $1 Trillion in Market Valuation
CNBC

The technology giant became the first publicly traded U.S. company valued at $1 trillion, a milestone that was expected to happen sometime this week by many on Wall Street.

The company has nearly quadrupled its value under Tim Cook’s leadership since 2011.

CNBC reports that Amazon is also another tech giant quickly gaining steam to reach the $1 Trillion mark.


Toronto’s Smart City Gets the Green Light
Business Insider
Sidewalk Labs Toronto

The city is working with Google’s sister company, Sidewalk Labs.

Officials approved a 12-acre redevelopment at the city’s waterfront location.

According to Sidewalk Labs, the initiative looks to combine urban design with the latest in technology to address some of the biggest challenges facing cities, including energy use, housing affordability, and transportation.


Activision Teams up with China’s Tencent
Company Press Release

Both companies announced plans to bring Call of Duty® to mobile in China.

Tencent’s mobile studio will spearheading the game’s development in China.

The game is expected to launch over the coming months.


Heineken Expands its Brand into China
Company Press Release

The alcoholic beverage giant is working with China Resources Enterprise and China Resources Beer in a strategic partnership for Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Under the partnership, Heineken China’s operations will be combined with China Resources Beer’s operations. Heineken will license its brand in China to the company on a long-term basis.

China is the world’s largest beer market by volume and is also the second largest premium beer market globally.

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018


Krogers Launches a New eCommerce Platform
Company Press Release

The company announced that it has launched a new direct-to-customer e-commerce platform called Kroger Ship.

Kroger Ship lets customers shop from a curated selection of 4,500 products, which are exclusive to the site, and more than 50,000 center-aisle groceries and household essentials letting users send products to their homes on a subscription-based rotation.

Kroger Ship will be initially launching in four markets: Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville, and Nashville.


Bird Electric Scooters Expand Internationally
TechCrunch

According to TechCrunch, the Electric Scooter company, which was founded in 2017 and is valued at $2 billion, will be launching a pilot program in Paris.

The report also outlines that the company has its sights on Tel Aviv.

Bird currently operates in over 15 cities across the United States. Its major rival, Lime, recently partnered with Uber to allow Uber users to request electric scooters from within its app.


Chase Offers Cardless Mobile Wallet Banking
Business Insider
Chase Website

According to Business Insider, Chase has added cardless transactions to the majority of its ATMs.

The feature which rolled out in 2016, allows ATM users to tap their mobile wallet, such as Apple Pay, to access their account.

Chase cardless transactions works with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.


Starbucks Teams up with Alibaba
Company Press Release

The strategic partnership will let both companies collaborate on e-commerce efforts that lets Starbucks work within the Alibaba ecosystem providing its products to Chinese customers.

The partnership looks to give an even more personalized online Starbucks Experience that will initially launch in Beijing and Shanghai in September 2018.

Further plans to expand across 30 cities to more than 2,000 stores are expected by end of the year.


Molson Coors Canada Expands into Cannabis Infused Beverages
Molson Coors Press Release

The alcoholic beverage company is teaming up with The Hydropothecary Corporation in a joint venture to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market after legalization.

The new joint venture will operate as an independent company with its own board of directors and an independent management team.

Molson Coors will have 57.5% controlling interest in the joint venture.

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018


MGM Resorts International Teams up with the NBA
Company Press Release

Both organizations announced a new multi-year partnership that will make MGM Resorts the official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA.

The partnership allows MGM Resorts to use official NBA and WNBA data and branding, on a non-exclusive basis, across MGM Resorts’ land-based and digital sports betting offerings throughout the United States.

Both parties will also team up to create a series of integrations across NBA platforms, including a special digital content series.


Heinz Commits to Sustainable Packaging
Company Press Release

The company announced plans to make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

It looks to partner with packaging experts, organizations and coalitions to explore solutions to reach that target.


Pandora Launches a Programmatic Advertising Marketplace
Company Press Release

The company announced that it’s giving advertisers the option to reach and engage with its ad-supported listeners in the United States.

Pandora stated that its programmatic audio solution has been used by more than twenty brand partners including P&G, Gatorade and Sony Pictures.

According to the company, 92% of its audience is ad-supported — which is more than double the size of its music streaming competitors.


Logitech Acquires a Microphone Company
Company Press Release

The company announced that it will be acquiring California-based, Blue Microphones, in an all cash deal of $117 million.

Blue Microphones is a leader in studio-quality microphones for professionals and consumers.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of August 2018.


Zillow Rolls Out New Tools
Company Press Release

The company announced new tools that let renters apply for multiple rentals with one application.

Many renters live in highly competitive markets and are on tight timelines, the online applications feature looks to streamline the process and help renters secure their next home quickly, and efficiently.

The company also announced additional new tools for landlords which help them manage tenant screening, perform background checks, and collect rent all within their account.


BMW Expands its Production Network in Europe
Company Press Release

The company announced that it will be building a new production facility in Hungary.

The new facility will cost approximately €1 billion, offer a capacity of up to 150,000 units a year and create over 1,000 new jobs.

Last year, Europe accounted for almost 45 percent of all vehicle sales, with 1.1 million units sold.


Brandless Gets New Funding
Company Press Release

The company announced on Tuesday that it has raised $240 million in Series C funding, led by the SoftBank Vision Fund.

Brandless plans to use the funding to deepen its investment in data science and accelerate the creation and distribution of new products and categories inspired by its community.

The company sells an assortment of goods including organic, non-GMO food, clean beauty and personal care products, non-toxic cleaners and home goods.

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018


Uber Shuts Down its Autonomous Truck Unit
TechCrunch

The company announced that it will halt its self-driving truck operations.

Uber looks to exclusively focus on self-driving vehicles. Employees from the autonomous truck driving unit will focus their efforts on self-driving cars.

The company’s Uber Freight app, a product that connects drivers with shippers, won’t be affected by the shutdown.


Tesla Goes Surfing
USA Today
The Verge

According to the USA Today, Tesla rolled out a Limited Edition $1,500 surfboard which sold out in a day.

The limited run of 200 carbon fiber Tesla branded surfboards went on sale on Saturday. The surfboards are part of branded merchandise that the company has sold in the past such as hats, jackets, and t-shirts.

A quick eBay search shows that some buyers are reselling the surfboards from anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000.


WeWork Expands into the Office Design Business
Powered by We
Bloomberg

The co-working office space company is rolling out a new business unit that teams up with corporations to transform their workplaces to be more friendly, lively, and enjoyable.

Bloomberg reports that UBS hired the company to transform its 30-year old wealth management office in New York.

According to the report, WeWork is looking to expand its focus on its ‘Powered by We’ business which helps corporations build Corporate headquarters, Satellite offices, Innovation labs or Agile workplaces.


McDonald’s Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Big Mac Sandwich with its Own Type of Currency
Press Release

The company announced that it’s launching the MacCoin, a food-backed physical coin that customers can use to redeem a free Big Mac at participating McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. and in more than 50 participating countries.

Customers will be able to receive a MacCoin with the purchase of a Big Mac starting on August 2nd.

According to the company, more than 6.2 million MacCoins will be distributed globally in more than 50 countries, while supplies last.

Monday, July 30th, 2018


Coca-Cola is Testing a New Type of Water Fountain
CNBC

CNBC reports that Coke is testing a Dasani Purefill filtered water fountain station that charges for add-ons like bubbles and different flavors.

The first station will be available on the campus at Georgia Tech and according to CNBC, the company plans to roll out 20 machines on campuses in 15 states by this Fall.

Users will have the ability to get filtered water for free but will have to pay a fee for add-ons like bubbles or flavor for 5 cents an ounce. Each fill-up will have a 15-cent transaction fee. A regular 20-ounce bottle would potentially cost users $1.15.

The move looks to guide the company against flavored water rivals such as LaCroix and Hint water.


Retailers Are Exploring the Advertising Business
Reuters

Reuters reports that retailers like Walmart and Target are using customer data to sell ads on its website.

For example, the report states that users who purchase allergy medications are targeted with vacuum banner ads and relating special offers.

The move looks to compete against Google and Facebook in the global revenue ad market.


Viacom Acquires AwesomenessTV
Company Press Release

According to the company, the acquisition looks to strengthen Viacom’s established digital and social relationships and dominance in youth culture.

The GenZ media company will operate under Viacom Digital Studios.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Friday, July 27th, 2018


WeWork’s China Operations Raises $500 Million
Company Update

WeWork announced a $500 million Series B investment in WeWork China led by four investors including Temasek, and SoftBank. The new funds will help the coworking giant expand to 6 new cities in China this year including Shenzhen, Chengdu, and Wuhan.

WeWork China currently supports 20,000 members in approximately 40 locations across three cities.

The company launched its first WeWork China location in 2016.


Atlassian Teams up with Slack
Slack Update
Atlassian Update

Atlassian announced that it has made an equity investment in Slack, and Slack has acquired the IP for Stride and Hipchat Cloud, an internal enterprise communications tool.

As part of this partnership, Atlassian will discontinue Hipchat and Stride in February 2019, and provide a migration path to Slack for all of its current customers.

The move looks to help Slack compete against internal enterprise messaging tools, such as Workplace by Facebook, and Microsoft Teams.


Coinbase Partners with a Digital Gift Card Company
Company Update

The company announced that its partnering with digital gift card company, WeGift, to offer its users in the EU and Australia with the ability to instantly spend their cryptocurrency balances on e-gift cards at select retailers and vendors including Nike, Google Play, and Uber.

As an example, the new offering will allow users to be able to spend their bitcoin into Uber credits or ether at a Nike store.

The move makes the company the first trading platform to offer direct withdrawals into e-gift cards.


Stripe Rolls Out a Card Issuing Business
Company Website

Stripe announced that it’s rolling out an end-to-end platform for companies to quickly create, distribute, and manage physical and virtual cards.

The new offering will provide companies with the ability to create employee expense cards with dynamic spending limits, generate virtual cards so marketplace couriers can pay with their phones at specific merchants, or create a card for a new digital bank.

The company stated that it’s able to provide this offering to its customers through its certification and direct relationship with all major card networks as an issuing processor.

Thursday, July 26th, 2018


Mattel Announces Layoffs
Company Press Release

The company announced that it’s laying off over 2,000 positions, which represents 22% of its global non-manufacturing workforce.

Mattel also stated that it is planning to sell its manufacturing sites in Mexico.

Net sales were down 14% in the second quarter which the company states was driven by Toys “R” Us liquidation.


GlaxoSmithKline Teams up with 23andMe
Company Press Release

Both companies announced a four-year collaboration deal on research and development of new medicines and potential cures.

The collaboration combines 23andMe’s genetic resources and advanced data science skills, with the scientific and medical knowledge and commercialization expertise of GlaxoSmithKline.

Both companies look to gain insights and discover novel drug targets driving disease progression and develop therapies for serious unmet medical needs based on those discoveries.


Waymo Teams up with Walmart
Company Blog Post

The company announced that its autonomous vehicles will drive customers to Walmart stores in Phoenix, Arizona.

Customers who order goods on Walmart.com will be driven to and from their nearest Walmart location to collect their purchased items.


ClassPass Lands $85 Million to Expand Globally
Company Press Release

ClassPass announced an $85 million series D financing round led by Temasek, an investment company headquartered in Singapore.

The new funds will help the company operate and grow in more than 20 new countries internationally and another 10 cities domestically by the end of 2019 while doubling-down on the density of studio offerings in its existing markets.

The company has raised a total of $255 million.

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018


Lululemon Appoints a New CEO
Company Press Release

Lululemon announced that it has appointed Calvin McDonald as its new Chief Executive Officer.

McDonald served as President and CEO of Sephora’s Americas business. His role will be effective on August 20th, 2018.

He will replace Laurent Potdevin who left the company earlier this year due to allegations of misconduct.


Ford Launches an Autonomous Vehicles Business
Company Press Release

Ford announced that it has created a new business called Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC.

The company will focus on all aspects of its self-driving vehicle business operations to accelerate its efforts in the autonomous vehicles space and capitalize on market opportunities.

Ford expects to invest $4 billion in its Autonomous Vehicles efforts through 2023, including its $1 billion investment in Argo AI. Argo AI is the company’s Pittsburgh-based partner for self-driving system development.


General Motors Introduces a New Peer to Peer Service
Company Press Release

Maven, an on-demand car sharing service within General Motors, announced that it’s expanding its car-sharing platform to include a peer-to-peer offering enabling owners to earn money by renting their personal Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac car or truck.

The service will be available in beta in Chicago, Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Maven operates in the United States, Canada, and Australia.


eBay Teams up with Square to Provide Small Business Financing
Company Press Release

Both companies announced a new partnership that enables US-based eBay sellers with access to funding that can help them grow their small businesses.

According to a company press release, Square Capital has facilitated $2.8 billion to more than 180,000 businesses since 2014. In 2016 it began providing loan offers to businesses outside of the Square ecosystem through its partnerships program.


Facebook Sets up a China-based Subsidiary
Reuters

Reuters reports that Facebook reportedly plans to create an innovation hub with a focus on helping local startups and developers through its newly formed subsidiary in China.

According to Reuters, a subsidiary filing was reportedly approved on China’s National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System last week.

The company has launched similar innovation hubs around the globe including, France, Brazil, and Canada.

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018


Nike Increases the Pay for More than 7,000 Employees
CNBC

CNBC reports that Nike is raising the salaries of over 7,000 employees, which is approximately 10% of its workforce, following an internal review of its compensation offerings.

The increase in salaries for select employees is an effort to address pay inequality.

The report also states that the company is reportedly also looking to change the way its yearly bonuses are determined.


Chick-fil-a Rolls Out Meal Kits
Company Press Release

The fast-food chain is looking to make it easy for customers to cook their own meals at home through its Mealtime Kits.

The kits are expected to launch at 150 restaurants across the Atlanta area from August 27th to November 17th. They will cost $15.89 and will include menu items such as Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Enchiladas, and Dijon Chicken.

The move brings Chick-fil-a in a competitive market joining other companies who offer meal kits such as Blue Apron, Amazon, and Walmart.


Pinterest’s Ad Revenue Business is Reportedly Booming
CNBC

CNBC reported that Pinterest is reportedly nearing $1 billion in ad revenue, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The increase in ad sales looks to help the company reportedly double its ad revenue from $500 million in 2017.

According to CNBC, the social media company is also reportedly looking to go public by 2019.


Equinox Teams up with Soulcycle to Launch a Talent Agency
Company Press Release

Both companies are working on a talent management agency that exclusively represents fitness influencers looking to unlock large-scale lifestyle sponsorship deals.

The management agency will launch with a network of employees from across the brands’ global portfolio of Fitness Clubs and Studios.

It will be supported with advisory from WME.

Equinox operates 93 upscale, full-service fitness clubs in cities including New York, Los Angeles, and Vancouver. Soulcycle operates 88 studios across 15 North American markets.

Monday, July 23rd, 2018


Coinbase Forms a Political Action Committee
Reuters

Reuters reports that Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, has formed a Political Action Committee in hopes to raise and contribute funds in future US elections, citing a filing made last Friday.

According to Reuters, no funds have been raised in the newly established PAC as of June 30th.


AT&T Expands its 5G Network
Company Press Release

The company announced that it will roll out its 5G network to Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. and Oklahoma City.

5G, or Fifth-generation wireless, increases the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks.

The announced cities will join Dallas, Atlanta, and Waco in an effort to bring a total of a dozen cities with 5G capabilities by the year’s end.


Snapchat’s Money Transfer Service is Reportedly Shutting Down
TechCrunch

TechCrunch reports that Snapchat will be discontinuing its peer-to-peer money transfer feature.

The feature known as Snapcash will reportedly be removed from the app on August 30th.

Snapcash was introduced to Snapchat users in 2014, which was launched in partnership with the financial services company, Square.

Friday, July 20th, 2018


Comcast Backs Out of the Bid to Buy Fox
Comcast Press Release
CNET

The company stated that it will no longer pursue the acquisition of Twenty-First Century Foxes assets. It plans to now focus its efforts on acquiring Sky.

CNET reports that Fox has already agreed to a $71.3 billion offer from Disney for its entertainment assets.


Grubhub Expands its Operations
Company Press Release

Grubhub announced that it will be expanding to additional markets across 17 states.

The new locations include Santa Barbara California, Reno Nevada, and Spokane Washington.

The expansion looks to help new local restaurant partners with opportunities to reach new audiences.


Target Rolls Out Same Day Delivery
Shipt Same-Day Delivery
Target/Shipt Acquisition Announcement

Shipt, a company that Target acquired last year for $550 million in an all cash deal announced yesterday that it will begin same-day delivery from Morton Williams Supermarket and Target to all five New York City boroughs which are the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island.

The new service will enable customers to be able to shop for fresh foods and household essentials starting on August 9th.


Starbucks Opens a Sign Language Store
Company Press Release

The company stated that it will hire 20-25 Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing partners from across the United States to work at the Signing Store located in Washington DC.

All employees at the location are required to be proficient in American Sign Language.

The idea to open a Signing Store in the U.S. was inspired by a similar Starbucks Signing Store which opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2016.

The Washington DC location is scheduled to open in October.


Delta Teams up with WestJet
Press Release

Both airlines have entered into a joint venture to offer customers an extensive route network within the United States and Canada.

The partnership will provide extended coverage in Canada and the U.S. with transborder service to more than 30 cities covering over 95% of U.S.-Canada demand.


Burberry Destroys Over $35 Million Worth of Unsold Merchandise
The Times UK

According to the Times UK, the luxury brand destroyed unsold and unwanted merchandise in 2017 in an effort to protect its brand.

The practice of destroying unwanted and unsold merchandise is an effort amongst high-end brands to not sell products at a discount to customers outside of its preferred target market.

The report stated that the company incinerated close to $120 million worth of its products over the past 5 years.

Thursday, July 19th, 2018


Google is Hit with a $5 Billion Fine
CNBC
Reuters
EU News Release

On Wednesday, the European Union fined Google $5 Billion for breaching antitrust rules.

It stated that Google imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators since 2011 in an effort to cement its dominant position in general internet search.

The EU stated that the tech giant must end its illegal practices within 90 days or face penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Google looks to appeal the ruling.


Costco Rolls Out Delivery in Canada
Financial Post

The Financial Post reported on Wednesday that Costco will launch grocery delivery for its customers in Southern Ontario.

The move is expected to help it compete against other rivals such as Walmart, Loblaws, and Amazon.

The company looks to expand the service to the rest of Ontario and into Quebec over the coming months. Plans for other regions in Canada have not yet been given a timeline.


Moneygram Expands its Digital Service
Company Press Release

The company stated that it’s launching its online platform in Australia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, and Austria.

Customers in those new markets will be able to send money 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, directly to more than two billion bank accounts and mobile wallets or to any MoneyGram location in more than 200 countries and territories.


Tiffany & Co. is Running a Secret Innovation Lab
Bloomberg

According to Bloomberg, the company has launched a 17,000 square-foot space dedicated to innovative prototypes, projects, and initiatives.

The shop which is located in New York offers 3D printers and other tools such as wooden mallets for designers to create new products that would potentially make its way to the company’s retail stores.

Wednesay, July 18th, 2018


UPS Tests a Smart-Key Delivery System
UPS Press Release
Amazon Press Release

The company announced on Tuesday that it has begun testing a Latch smart access device to enable in-building deliveries to multi-unit homes in New York City. The pilot looks to provide convenience for residents who are not at home to receive packages by using smartphones to unlock doors throughout a building.

UPS stated that it had already begun the pilot in Manhattan earlier this year and has now expanded to Brooklyn. The company hinted that it could possibly launch this service nationwide in the United States.

The pilot is similar to Amazon’s recently announced keyless entry system that allows couriers to drop off packages inside a residence if a customer is not home.


IHOP Partners with DoorDash
Company Press Release

The restaurant chain announced on Tuesday that it has teamed up with the on-demand delivery company, DoorDash, to launch delivery from more than 300 locations across the United States.

IHOP plans to have approximately 1,000 restaurants added to the DoorDash platform before the end of the year.

Founded in 2013, DoorDash connects customers with local and national businesses in more than 850 cities across the United States and Canada.


China’s Didi Chuxing Teams up with Booking Holdings
Company Press Release

Both companies announced the strategic partnership on Tuesday with Booking Holdings investing $500 million US Dollars in DiDi.

The partnership looks to provide Booking Holdings customers with the ability to request on-demand car service, powered by DiDi. DiDi users will have the option to book hotels through Booking.com or agoda.

Booking Holdings serves users and partners in more than 220 countries and territories through its major brands including Booking.com, agoda.com, KAYAK, Priceline, Rentalcars.com, and OpenTable.


Mastercard Could Potentially Roll Out Bitcoin Payments
CNBC
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

CNBC reported on Tuesday that Mastercard has a new patent that could potentially allow it to offer bitcoin payments through its credit cards.

Although no new products have been announced, the patent document, which was published with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, stated that “blockchain currencies have seen increased usage over traditional fiat currencies by consumers who value anonymity and security.”

The new patent could give Mastercard the option to offer cryptocurrency transaction capabilities and speed up the adoption of the technology.


Amazon Teams up with the Major League Baseball Organization
Company Press Release

Amazon announced on Tuesday that the Major League Baseball organization has chosen AWS as its official provider for machine learning, artificial intelligence, and deep learning workloads.

The partnership looks to amplify game statistical data integrations within broadcasts, and develop new technologies to support MLB Clubs in driving innovative fan experiences and engagement across all 30 Major League ballparks.


Inkbox Raises $13 Million
Company Press Release

Toronto-based Inkbox, a realistic semi-permanent tattoo company, announced on Tuesday that the new funds will help it expand its artist marketplace, develop new tattoo technologies, strengthen its brand, and further scale operations through strategic hires.

Since 2016, the company announced that it has grown 1000 percent, expanded its team to 60 people, and sold 450,000 tattoos to customers in over 150 countries.

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018


Walmart Establishes a Strategic Partnership with Microsoft
Microsoft Press Release
Walmart Press Release

Walmart announced on Monday that the partnership will help accelerate its digital transformation in retail.

The deal will help Walmart utilize the full range of Microsoft’s solutions in the cloud, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things technology.

The five-year agreement plans to assist Walmart in enhancing its performance ranging from its supply chain to its shopping experience online and in stores.


La-Z Boy Acquires an eCommerce Furniture Retailer
La-Z Boy Press Release

The company announced on Monday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Joybird, an e-commerce retailer, and manufacturer of upholstered furniture.

Joybird was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in California with manufacturing operations in Mexico. According to a company press release, its revenue was approximately $55 million in 2017.

The deal is expected to close by June 2019. It will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of La-Z Boy. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Salesforce Acquires Datorama
Salesforce Press Release

The company announced on Monday that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the cloud-based, AI-powered marketing intelligence and analytics platform that services enterprises, agencies, and publishers.

Datorama enables more than 3,000 global agencies and brands to optimize marketing campaigns, automate reporting and make data-driven decisions faster. Its clients include PepsiCo, Ticketmaster, and Unilever.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Papa John’s Cuts Ties with its Founder
Company Press Release

The company stated that it’s ending its relationship with its founder John Schnatter after he reportedly used a racial slur.

The company discontinued his access to office space in its headquarters and has specifically requested that he ceases all media appearances, and not make any further statements to the media regarding the company, its business or employees.

Schnatter owns approximately 30% of the company and remains on its board.


Goldman Sachs has Reportedly Chosen its Next CEO
CNBC
Financial Times
New York Times

CNBC reports that Goldman Sachs is expected to make an announcement on Tuesday regarding the appointment of its new CEO, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Multiple reports state that David Solomon is reportedly expected to be the successor to current CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

The company will also be releasing its second-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

Monday, July 16th, 2018


The MLB Gets into Crypto
Yahoo Finance: MLB Crypto 
Yahoo Finance: MLB Attendance Numbers
MLB Crypto Website

Yahoo Finance reported on Friday that the Major League Baseball organization is working with a blockchain-gaming company called Lucid Sight in a licensing deal that will allow users to buy and sell unique digital items.

Users will have to use ether, a cryptocurrency on the Ethereum blockchain, to trade the digital goods.

Yahoo reported in April that MLB game attendance numbers have dropped this season. The move into crypto may be an attempt to attract a younger audience.

The game’s launch date has not been disclosed.


McDonald’s Halts the Sale of Salads from its Menu
The Washington Post
Illinois Department of Health

The Washington Post reported on Friday that McDonald’s has pulled salads from its menu at approximately 3,000 locations in 14 states.

The move follows the outbreak of an intestinal parasite called cyclosporiasis in the Midwest.

Public health officials in Illinois and Iowa reported approximately 100 cases where the parasite was linked to restaurant’s salad.


LendingTree Acquires a Student Loan Management Company
Company Press Release

The company announced on Friday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Student Loan Hero, a company that helps student loan borrowers manage their student debt.

Student Loan Hero offers current and former students in-depth financial comparison tools, educational resources, and unbiased, personalized advice.

The $60-million all-cash deal is expected to close before September of this year.


It’s Going to Cost You at Least $200,000 for a Ride into Space
Reuters

Reuters reports that Blue Origin, a company founded by Jeff Bezos, looks to charge its initial passengers between $200,000 to $300,000 for a flight into space.

The space vehicle is designed for 6 passengers. Passengers will be able to see the earth’s curvature from 62 miles above the planet.

Tickets are expected to go on sale in 2019.

Friday, July 13th, 2018


Nike Rolls Out a New Concept Store
Company Press Release

The company launched a new concept store in Los Angeles on Thursday called Nike by Melrose.

The new store is designed to be a retail and service hub for local NikePlus members.

The location and the product assortment of Nike by Melrose were selected using insights gained from NikePlus member activity and buying patterns across Nike’s suite of digital touchpoints including Nike.com, and the Nike App.


The sbe Entertainment Group Teams up with Abercrombie and Fitch
Company Press Release

Abercrombie will launch co-branded events and pop-up shops at select global sbe properties.

Additionally, members of Abercrombie’s loyalty program, will have access to special benefits across sbe’s hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues.

The partnership is expected to roll out over the coming months.


Apple Announces a New Energy Fund
Company Press Release

The company announced on Thursday that it will launch a fund in China that looks to connect suppliers with renewable energy sources.

Apple will join 10 initial suppliers and jointly invest nearly $300 million over the next four years into the China Clean Energy Fund.

The fund looks to invest in and develop clean energy projects totaling more than 1 gigawatts of renewable energy in China which is the equivalent of powering nearly 1 million homes.


Uber Teams up with Venmo
Company Press Release

Both companies announced on Thursday that they’re teaming up to deliver new payment methods available with Uber and Uber Eats.

Uber customers in the United States ordering rides and food will be able to split the cost with friends and family in the Venmo app.

The new payment method will be available to US-based Uber customers in the coming weeks.


Casper Lets You Take a Nap for $25
Company Website

The mattress startup opened a storefront in New York that charges customers $25 for a 45-minute nap.

Customers will be able to use Casper beds, and have access to amenities including complementary pajamas.

The storefront will be called the Dreamery which is located close to its retail location. The company stated that it may also look at placing the nap space in offices and airports.

Thursday, July 12th, 2018


AT&T Partners with Magic Leap
AT&T Press Release
Crunchbase Magic Leap Profile

AT&T announced on Wednesday that it is working on a strategic, exclusive U.S. consumer relationship and investment with Magic Leap, a mixed reality company.

The deal will combine Magic Leap’s focus on transformational technology and products with AT&T’s network and distribution.

Magic Leap was founded in 2011 and has previously raised over $2 Billion from investors including Google, Fidelity and J.P. Morgan.


GoPro Announces Two Sales Milestones
Company Press Release

The company announced on Wednesday that it has sold more than 30 Million HD HERO Cameras since it launched in 2009.

The company stated that this milestone was achieved during the second quarter of 2018.

GoPro also announced that it has sold more than 4 million HERO5 Black cameras since it debuted in 2016.


Hampton by Hilton Rolls Out New Locations
Company Press Release

The company announced on Wednesday that it has opened 15 new properties spread out across California, Belgium, and Mexico.

The new openings add to the brand’s global portfolio of more than 2,345 properties.


JetBlue Technology Ventures Teams Up with Air New Zealand
Company Press Release

JetBlue announced that its venture capital arm, JetBlue Technology Ventures, has entered into an International Innovation Partnership with Air New Zealand.

Both companies will work together to build a technology innovation ecosystem that looks to partner with emerging technologies in the travel sector.

The partnership will provide JetBlue with opportunities for existing and potential portfolio companies, as well as other startup partners. The deal will also provide Air New Zealand with early access to emerging technologies as well as an entry point into the Silicon Valley tech ecosystem.


Marriott and Alibaba Test Facial Recognition Check-ins
Marriott News Release

Marriott announced on Wednesday that it is working with Alibaba to test a facial recognition check-in pilot with Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel service platform.

The check-in alternative will be available at two Marriott International properties in China with the goal to launch a global rollout across Marriott’s International properties in the future.

The facial recognition check-in option launches this month.


Broadcom Will Acquire CA Technologies
Press Release

Both companies announced on Wednesday that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Broadcom will acquire CA to build one of the world’s leading infrastructure technology companies.

The deal will be an all-cash transaction of $18.9 Billion and is expected to close by December of this year.

CA Technologies manages and secures complex IT environments that increase productivity and enhance competitiveness. It operates across 40 countries and currently holds more than 1,500 patents worldwide, with more than 950 patents pending.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018


Postmates Launches in more than 100 Cities and Deepens its Partnership with Chipotle
Postmates Blog Post
Postmates Company Press Release

The company announced on Tuesday that it has launched in more than 100 new cities in the United States, its third largest expansion to date.

It also announced that it has expanded its national delivery partnership with Chipotle with over 300 new locations that support delivery.

Postmates operates in 385 U.S. cities and provides access to over 250,000 merchants. According to the company, it generates over a billion dollars in Gross Merchandise Volume annually.


Jet.com Launches a Grocery Delivery Service
The Wall Street Journal
CNBC

According to the Wall Street Journal, Jet.com will be launching a fulfillment center in New York this Fall.

The move will help the company directly compete with same-day grocery delivery services such as Amazon.

CNBC reports that the new fulfillment center will be handling Jet.com orders for the initial launch. Jet.com was acquired by Walmart in 2016.


TD Bank Group Acquires Greystone Managed Investments
TD Bank Group Press Release

The Toronto Dominion Bank announced on Tuesday that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Greystone Managed Investments for $792 Million.

The deal will help TD Asset Management become the largest money manager in Canada. It will add Greystone’s $36 billion in assets under management to TD’s existing $357 billion under management, totaling approximately $393 billion of assets under management at TD.

Greystone was founded in 1988 and employs 200 people. It will operate under the name TD Greystone Asset Management out of its headquarters in Regina, Saskatchewan.


Visa Launches Loyalty Solutions in Latin America and the Caribbean
Company Press Release

The company announced on Tuesday that it has launched a new loyalty platform available to all issuing banks in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The white-label solution, called Visa Loyalty Solutions, enables issuing member banks of any size to offer top-of-the-line rewards and customer care programs branded as their own.

The platform has partnered with 285,000 hotels, hundreds of airlines and a wide network of car rental companies around the globe.


Box Acquires an Artificial Intelligence Company
Box Blog Post
Butter.ai Crunchbase Profile

Box announced on Tuesday that it is has acquired Butter.ai, a company that uses machine learning to provide relevant content with context across a variety of enterprise services.

The deal will help Box’s 85,000 customers navigate through their unstructured data, enabling contextualized, predictive, and personalized search.

According to Crunchbase, Butter.ai is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2016. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


DropCar Partners with Volvo Cars Manhattan
DropCar Press Release

DropCar announced on Tuesday that it has teamed up with Volvo Cars Manhattan.

Under the deal, customers will be able to have their car picked up from wherever they are in the city, have the vehicle sent for maintenance, and have it delivered back to them at their desired location.

Volvo Cars Manhattan joins a growing list of dealers in the Tri-State area that have licensed DropCar’s service, including Manhattan Motorcars, Jaguar Land Rover Manhattan, and Lexus of Manhattan.

DropCar also announced that the company will be expanding nationwide.


BMW Expands into China
BMW Press Release
Marketwatch

The BMW Group announced on Tuesday that it is working with the Chinese manufacturer, Great Wall Motors, to produce MINI brand electric vehicles. The new 50:50 joint venture will be based in China.

Marketwatch reports that the deal is part of several agreements signed between German and Chinese companies during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Berlin this week.

BMW also announced that it will expand its joint venture in China with its partner, Brilliance. The company stated that approximately 560,000 BMW branded vehicles were delivered to customers in China in 2017 which was more than US and Germany combined.

Monday, July 9th, 2018


Groupon is Reportedly Looking for a Potential Buyer
Recode

According to a report by Recode citing sources familiar with the matter, daily deal site Groupon is reportedly looking to potentially be acquired.

In 2011, the Chicago-based company was valued at $16 billion at the time of its IPO, that valuation has since decreased to its current valuation of$2.4 billion.

The report did not state the specific reason as to why the company is looking to sell.


Sonos Files for an IPO
Reuters

Reuters reports that wireless speaker company, Sonos, filed for an initial public offering on Friday.

The company sells its products in 50 countries with the majority of sales coming from outside the United States. It recently partnered with Amazon to offer Alexa smart speaker capabilities through its products. Reuters reported that in 2017, the company’s revenue reached close to $1 billion.

The company did not state the size of the offering. It looks to list on the NASDAQ under the ticker SONO.

Friday, July 6th, 2018


eBay Launches a Sale That Looks to Counter Amazon’s Prime Day
Company Press Release
Amazon Prime Day

The company announced that on July 17th it launch a “no membership required sale” that will offer discounts and deals on select items available on its site.

The company also stated that it would offer 110% of the price difference on eligible items that are available on competing websites.

Amazon announced earlier this week that Prime Day, it’s annual sale for Prime Members would be from July 16th to the 17th.


MoviePass Introduces Surge Pricing
Engadget
MoviePass

According to Engadget, MoviePass will roll out a new pricing model called Peak Pricing which is based on the demand for particular showtimes.

Customers may have to pay an additional fee depending on the popularity of a specific movie.

The company stated on its website that the new pricing model will be implemented in all movie theatres over the coming weeks.


Square Drops its Bank Application
American Banker

The American Banker reported on Thursday that Square has withdrawn from its application to launch a depository bank.

According to the report, the company applied back in September, however, it is no longer on the list of pending new bank applications managed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

A Square spokesperson stated in the American Banker report that the company plans to refile its application in the future.


US Tariffs on Chinese Goods Take Effect Today
The New York Times
BBC

The New York Times reported that the United States has officially imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products as of 12:01 am on Friday.

The BBC reported that China plans to counterattack the duty with a 25% tariff on 545 US imported goods ttotaling$34 billion.

Thursday, July 5th, 2018


Volkswagen Announces an Electric Car Sharing Service
Company Press Release

The company announced that it will offer “zero-emission” car sharing services in 2019.

The on-demand electric car fleet will be called We.

The company plans to introduce the service in Germany in 2019 with international expansion to major cities in Europe, Asia, and North America scheduled for 2020.


Baidu, a Chinese Search Engine Giant, Expands into Autonomous Vehicles
Company Press Release
Stockholm Autonomous Bus

The company announced that it has begun production of a self-driving bus. Once completed, the vehicles will be operating in cities including Beijing, and Shenzhen.

The company also stated that it has plans to expand the bus to overseas markets, with Japan as its first destination.

Baidu stated that the production volume of the 14-seater buses has reached 100 units at its manufacturing facility.

Earlier this year, Stockholm introduced 12-seater autonomous buses powered by Ericsson. Baidu joins other companies such as Uber, Waymo, and Tesla, who are investing in autonomous vehicle technology.


Uganda Introduces a Social Media Tax
Reuters
BBC

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Uganda rolled out a new tax for social media access on sites such as Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter.

In May, the country’s parliament passed new tax laws introducing a levy of 5 cents per day to access select online services.

The country’s President, Yoweri Museveni, stated that the social media platforms encouraged the spread of lies in society.

The tax has been in effect since July 1st.


Google’s Cloud Chief Operating Officer Leaves the Company After 7 Months on the Job
TechCrunch
Business Insider

According to TechCrunch, Diane Bryant has left the company.

Reasons for her departure were not specified, however, there are speculations surrounding a possible move to Intel, as it’s currently in search of a new CEO.

Business Insider reported that Bryant spent 32 years at Intel prior to working at Google.


Amazon is Reportedly Opening a Second Self-Checkout Store
Geekwire
Amazon Go Stores

According to GeekWire, Amazon is expanding its Amazon Go retail store in Seattle.

Permit filings with the city of Seattle show that the store will be approximately 3,000 square feet. Amazon Go stores are powered by computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning technology allowing customers to walk into the store, pick items, and walk out.

Recode also reported in February that the company plans to open up to six Amazon Go locations before the end of the year.

July 4th, 2018


Barnes & Noble Fires its CEO
Company Press Release

The company announced that it terminated Demos Parneros for violating company policy.

A team has been formed to help share with the CEO responsibilities while the company searches for a replacement.

Barnes and Noble did not indicate specifics on the termination, however, clarified that firing was not due to any disagreement with the Company regarding its financial reporting, policies or practices or any potential fraud.

He did not receive severance and has been removed from the company’s Board of Directors.


Amazon Announces Prime Day
Company Press Release
Bloomberg – 2017 Prime Day 

The company announced that Prime Day, a day that offers discounts and sales on products available on the site, will start at 112 pm on July 16th and will last until the 17th.

In addition to online sales, Whole Foods Market will join in Prime Day deals at all U.S. stores.

Amazon reported that in 2017 its members ordered more than 40 million items from its small and medium-sized business partners worldwide.

Last year Prime sales accounted for an estimated $1 Billion in revenue, this according to Bloomberg.


Porsche Reports June Sales
Company Press Release

Porsche Cars North America, an importer and distributor of the Porsche vehicles including the 911, Panamera, and Cayenne models, announced year-over-year growth of 8.3 percent citing sales of 4,892 vehicles in June.

According to the company, overall sales for the first half of 2018 are up 6.7 percent from a year ago to over 29,000 vehicles.

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018


Lyft Acquires a Bikeshare Company
Company Blog Post
Carbon Neutrality Pledge

Lyft announced on Monday that it will acquire Motivate, a dockless and electric bike operator located in major cities across the United States including San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago.

The deal is part of an expansion plan that will place bikeshare systems across the United States. The new offering will help Lyft with its carbon neutrality pledge, an initiative which looks to offset carbon emissions from all Lyft rides globally.

As part of the deal, Lyft will acquire Motivate’s technology and corporate functions, including its city contracts.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Califa Farms a Plant-Based Beverage Company Secures Over $50 Million in New Funding
Company Press Release

The new funds will help the company expand its manufacturing capacity, develop its go-to-market strategy, and help it market new products.

The round was led by Ambrosia Investments and existing investors, Sun Pacific and Stripes Group.

The company also announced on Monday that it has appointed Sandeep Patel as its new CEO.

Patel previously worked at Barclays and Goldman Sachs as a Managing Director where he advised corporate clients on strategic and financing matters specific to the food, beverage, and agriculture space.


Dell Plans to Go Public
Company News Release

The company announced on Monday that it will be converting Class V Common Stock into Class C Common Stock, a transaction with a market cap of $21.7 billion.
The move marks 5 years since the company went private in 2013.

The new stock will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.


Uniqlo Partners with Roger Federer
Company News Release
ESPN

The company announced on Monday that Roger Federer will become its newest Global Brand Ambassador.

Federer will represent UNIQLO at all tennis tournaments throughout the year, beginning with Wimbledon.

Financial terms were not disclosed, however, ESPN reported on Monday citing sources familiar with the matter that the deal is worth more than $300 million.

Federer’s previous deal with Nike expired in March of this year.

Monday, July 2nd, 2018


Tesla Reaches a Production Milestone
Reuters
CNBC

Reuters reported on Sunday that Tesla’s Model 3 electric sedan hit a manufacturing milestone.

The company produced its 5,000th Model 3 to end the second quarter, a goal that was set in January and was deemed impossible by critics of the company.


Juul Labs, an e-cigarette Company, is Reportedly Raising $1.2 Billion
Bloomberg

According to Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the matter, Juul an e-cigarette manufacturer, looks to raise new funds which will value the company at $15 billion.

According to sources familiar with the deal, the San Francisco based company will use the funds for international expansion as it currently operates in the United States and Israel.


Canada Imposes Over $16 Billion in Tariffs
Government Press Release

Canada announced on Friday that it will impose $16.6 billion of imports of steel, aluminum, and other products from the United States.

The tariffs were in effect on Sunday, July 1st.

In 2017, about $14 billion of steel was traded between Canada and the United States.


Smart Luggage Company, Away, Raises $50 Million
Company Press Release

Last week, the company announced that it raised $50 million. The company plans to use the new funds to open new stores and expand the brand.

Away Travel primarily sells its luggage online, however, has physical stores in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Austin.

The New York-based company was founded in February 2015 and has sold over 500,000 suitcases.


The Los Angeles Lakers Franchise Signs LeBron James
Klutch Sports Group Tweet

Klutch Sports Group, Lebron James’s sports agency, announced on Sunday that he will join the Los Angeles Lakers in a 4-year deal worth $154-million.

Friday, June 29th, 2018


Amazon Expands into Health and Logistics
Amazon’s PillPack Acquisition Press Release
Amazon’s Delivery Press Release
CNBC
The Wall Street Journal

Amazon announced on Thursday that it has signed an agreement to acquire PillPack, an online pharmacy that offers pre-sorted doses of medications, and home delivery.

The announcement comes just a week after Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway announced a new CEO for its newly formed employee health care company.

Terms of the PillPack deal were not disclosed, however, multiple reports state that the company was reportedly purchased for around $1 billion.

Amazon also announced that it will be launching a delivery service for entrepreneurs. The new service helps individuals build their own delivery companies and will provide technology and operational support to individuals for the opportunity to run their own delivery business.

The company stated that successful owners can earn as much as $300,000 in annual profit when operating a fleet of up to 40 delivery vehicles.


Messaging Company, Line, Looks to Launch a Cryptocurrency Exchange
Company Press Release

Line announced on Thursday, that it will be launching a global cryptocurrency exchange called BITBOX.

Users will be able to exchange more than 30 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.

The exchange will be part of Line’s financial services business and is scheduled to launch in July. It will be made available for global users outside of Japan and the United States.


Walmart Introduces 3D Shopping
Company Press Release

Walmart announced on Thursday that it rolled out a feature on its website that provides a life-like 3D setting of a curated apartment.

The apartment will showcase nearly 70 items from both national brands and its private label offerings.

The technology is powered by Matterport, a California-based company that specializes in 3D tours, specifically for the real estate industry.


Kroger Partners with an Autonomous Delivery Company
Krogers Company Press Release
Partnership Website

On Thursday, Kroger announced that it is testing a service that will allow customers to receive orders that will be delivered by Nuro, a maker of a self-driving vehicles designed for local goods transportation.

The partnership looks to make the convenience of grocery delivery accessible and affordable for customers.

The pilot program is expected to be deployed this Fall. Krogers did not disclose the pilots initial test market.


Instagram Launches a Lite Version of its App
TechCrunch
CNBC

TechCrunch initially reported that Instagram has launched a simplified version of its app which is targeted towards users in emerging markets.

The Lite version of the app is available on the Google Play Store and is significantly smaller in size compared to the regular Instagram app.

The new version is expected to help the company increase its user-base after it announced last week that it reached over 1 billion active users around the globe.

Thursday, June 28th, 2018


Ride-sharing Company Lyft, is Now Worth Over $15 Billion
Company Blog Post

The company announced on Wednesday that it has raised $600 million in a round that was led by Fidelity Capital. The company is now valued at $15.1 billion.

Lyft has been gaining momentum in the second half of 2018 with its recently launched new passenger app, its new commitment to make all Lyft rides carbon neutral, and its partnership with Magna to develop and scale autonomous vehicle technology.

Senator Investment Group LP joined Fidelity in the new round of funding.


Blackberry Teams Up with Samsung to Roll Out Digital Solutions
Blackberry Press Release

Blackberry announced on Wednesday that it has entered into a multi-year strategic relationship with Samsung Electronics.

Both companies look to collaborate on developing and rolling out solutions that will help accelerate the digital transformation of their shared business customers.

The extended relationship builds on the companies’ multi-year partnership which was first announced in 2014.


Kroger Opens a New Headquarters for its Digital Team
Company Press Release
Ocado Announcement
Home Chef Announcement

Kroger announced on Wednesday that its new digital headquarters will be located in downtown Cincinnati.

The new headquarters is expected to employ more than 1,000 people over the next three years.

Earlier this year, the company announced that it is working with Ocado and merged with Home Chef to grow its digital business. The company has been in increased competition in the digital space against rivals such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart.


Live Nation Acquires a Concert and Festival Promoter
Company Press Release

Live Nation, a live entertainment company that owns Ticketmaster announced on Wednesday that it has acquired a majority stake in Red Mountain Entertainment.

Red Mountain Entertainment is a regional concert and festival promoter in the United States. The company has worked with artists such as John Mayer, The Rolling Stones, and Chris Stapleton.

The deal looks to grow live entertainment offerings in concert promotions, festival promotion and production, and venue consulting throughout the Southeastern United States.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Chipotle Announces Plans to Shut Down More Than 60 Stores
Company Press Release
Reuters

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Chipotle looks to close up to 65 underperforming restaurant locations.

According to a company press release, the location shutdowns are part of a restructuring plan that is expected to cost the company $115 to $135 million.

The plan is part of an effort to revamp its marketing communication, leverage digital sales, and engage with customers through a new loyalty program expected to launch in 2019.

Chipotle employs more than 70,000 people and operates more than 2,400 restaurants in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The company does not franchise its locations as it owns and operates all of its restaurants.

Wednesday, June 27th, 2018


Facebook Cancels its Internet Drone Project
Company Blog Post

Facebook announced in a company blog post on Tuesday that it will no longer design or build its solar-powered internet connectivity drone.

The Aquila project, a high altitude platform station system (or HAPs for short) was launched in 2014 to help provide internet access to remote parts of the globe. The project will still continue, however, the company now plans to work with partners like Airbus to integrate its HAPS technology instead.

As a result, Facebook announced that it will be closing its Aquila design facility in Bridgewater, United Kingdom.


UPS Invests in France
Company Press Release

The company officially opened its 30,000-square-meter, package sorting and delivery hub outside of Paris on Tuesday.

The $100 million facility spans the length of four soccer fields. It is part of the company’s multi-year, $2 billion European investment plan, which aims to modernize and expand the UPS network across the continent. The new building has the potential to sort up to 37,000 packages per hour and employs approximately 1000 people.

The new facility is the company’s largest investment in France to date.


Boeing Invests in and On-Demand Urban Aerial Delivery Company
Boeing Press Release
Matternet Press Release

The company announced on Tuesday that its investment arm, HorizonX Ventures, will invest in Matternet, a California-based startup focused on on-demand unmanned aerial vehicle delivery operations in urban environments.

The new funds will be used to expand its US and global operations.

Boeing HorizonX Ventures led the $16 million, Series A investment in Matternet, with participation by Swiss Post, Sony Innovation Fund, and Levitate Capital.


The Bank of Montreal, a Tier 1 Bank in Canada, Finances a Marijuana Company
Aurora Cannabis Press Release

Aurora Cannabis, a Canadian licensed cannabis producer, announced on Tuesday that it has landed up to a $250 million loan deal with the Bank of Montreal.

The loans are secured by Aurora’s cannabis production facilities which are projected to produce more than 100,000 kg of cannabis per year. The facilities are located in Edmonton.

The loans will mature in 2021.


American Express Partners with Amazon to Launch a Small Business Credit Card
American Express Press Release

American Express announced on Tuesday that it plans to roll out co-branded credit cards for small businesses in the United States.

The new card is part of a multi-year partnership that looks to enhance small business purchases across Amazon.

Earlier in the year, both companies launched an enhanced data solution for small businesses that allowed companies to access advanced analytics on American Express corporate card purchases made on Amazon’s Business Marketplace.


Fortnite Reportedly Made $318 Million in Revenue Last May
Recode
SuperData Research
Epic Games

Recode reported on Tuesday that global gaming hit, Fortnite, generated $318 million in revenue last May. That’s according to data from SuperData Research, a provider of market intelligence for Games and Interactive Media.

Fortnite is the only free-to-play game in history that has brought in that much revenue in one month.

According to the report, the game’s total revenue tops $1.2 billion. It has grown to 125 million players in less than a year.

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018


Party City Plans to Launch Toy Stores
Company Press Release
CNBC on Toys R Us

Party City, a North American supplier of party goods, announced on Monday that it will be piloting 50 new pop-up toy stores in the United States.

The new stores will be called Toy City and will be rolled out alongside its Halloween City pop-up stores. The locations will open in September of this year and will operate until the end of the holiday season.

The company’s CEO, James Harrison, stated that quote “The creation of a Toy City concept to complement our temporary seasonal retail strategy is a logical extension of our brand; one that will allow us to leverage our existing pop-up store capabilities and capitalize on the category whitespace that has recently been created.”

The announcement comes during the same week that Toys R Us will shut down its remaining locations in the US.


AT&T Acquires a Global Advertising Marketplace
Company Press Release
USA Today
TechCrunch

The company announced on Monday that it has entered into an agreement to acquire AppNexus, a marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of digital ads.

The company will be part of AT&T’s advertising & analytics business unit and will help the company accelerate its position in television advertising.

AppNexus employs more than 400 software engineers and product managers who specialize in machine learning, predictive analytics, advertising tech, and video.

The announcement comes weeks after its acquisition of Time Warner for $85 billion. The transaction is expected to close before October of this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, multiple reports speculate that the deal is reportedly between $1.6-2 billion.


Gray Television Merges with Raycom Media in a $3.6 Billion Deal
Joint Press Release

Both companies announced on Monday that they will merge to form the third largest television broadcast group in the United States.

The merger includes 142 television stations serving 92 markets and is expected to reach 24 percent of U.S. television households.

The transaction is planned to close before the end of the year.


Unilever Acquires a 75% Stake in an Italian Personal Care Company
Unilever Press Release

The company announced on Monday that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a 75% stake in Equilibra, an Italian personal care, and wellbeing business.

The company focuses on ‘natural’ personal care goods and is a leader in the nutritional supplements space in Italy.

Equilibra will operate as a standalone business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


According to Bloomberg, Instagram is Estimated to be Worth Over $100 Billion
Bloomberg

Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion after 18 months of operations. At the time of acquisition, it employed 13 people.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that if the company was a standalone organization, it would be worth $100 billion today. According to Bloomberg Intelligence Analysts, Instagram is likely to generate over $10 billion in revenue over the next 12 months, accounting for 16% of Facebook’s revenue during that time span.

Last week the company announced that it reached over 1 billion active users. It also launched a Youtube competitor that allows users to upload videos of up to 1 hour in length.


Andreessen Horowitz Launches a Cryptocurrency Fund
Fund Page

Andreessen Horowitz, a leading venture capital firm that has invested in companies such as Airbnb, Buzzfeed, and Facebook, announced on Monday that it will be launching a $300 million fund dedicated to cryptocurrency startups.

The firm stated in a blog post that it plans to hold onto investments at a minimum of 10 years, as the industry is still in its infancy. The firm also stated that the fund looks to invest in seed to late-stage companies globally.


Jay-Z Launches a Venture Capital Fund
Axios
Regulatory Filing

According to regulatory filings in California, first reported on by Axios, the artist has launched a new venture firm called Marcy Venture Partners. There has been no official announcement on the fund itself, however, the artist has been known to invest in companies in the past.

Jay Z had previously invested in companies such as Uber, Tidal, and JetSmarter.

Monday, June 25, 2018


Shopify Inks a Deal with Another Canadian Province for Online Marijuana Sales
LDB Announcement
CBC

Recreational marijuana will be legal in Canada starting on October 17th.

The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (or LDB) will be the sole wholesale distributor, and the public retailer, of non-medical cannabis in the province of British Columbia.

The LDB announced last Friday that it has selected Shopify as the e-commerce platform that will handle the online sale of non-medical cannabis to the public. The online store is expected to launch early in the Fall. As part of the deal, Shopify will create two separate websites, one for customers and another for retailers.

The LDB also announced that has secured a 6,500 square-meter distribution center which will employ 130 staff who will be focused on logistics, shipping and receiving, and customer care.

Last February, the province of Ontario announced that would also use Shopify as the e-commerce platform to facilitate recreational online marijuana sales.


Uber Fights to be Able to Operate in London
Reuters
Engadget

According to Reuters, the company goes to court on Monday in hopes to overturn a decision that halted its operations in London.

In September of last year, Transport for London, the city’s transportation regulator, decided that it would not renew Uber’s license with concerns that the ride-sharing app was unsafe for the public, citing the lack of reporting on criminal offenses and background check practices for its drivers.

The company is expected to appeal the decision and argue that it has made significant changes in how it operates. One of the changes were introduced in February when the company announced that it would launch a 24/7 support line for its users.


Tinder Introduces a Feature That Lets You Connect With Customized Matches
Company Blog Post

Gone are the days when random matches happen on the Tinder app. The company announced on Friday that it is introducing a new feature called Picks; a feature that zeroes in on potential matches that suit one’s personal preferences.

Versions of Picks are available for Tinder premium members and are currently being tested on iOS in markets including the UK, Germany, Brazil, and Canada.

The announcement comes around the same time that the Match Group, Tinder’s parent company announced that it acquired a 51% stake in Hinge, a Tinder competitor.


BBVA Bank Announces a Feature That Lets You Pay with Your Selfie
Company Announcement
Invisible Payments Announcement

Earlier this year, BBVA announced an invisible payments strategy allowing its customers to pay for purchases using biometric data.

As part of that strategy, the bank announced last week that it has deployed a facial recognition payment system which will initially be available for employees who dine at restaurants located within its headquarters. As part of the payment process, registered customers will simply have to smile at a camera next to the cash registers. Users will then automatically be billed for the purchases once their face has been verified

The new payment system is currently offered to employees located at its headquarters in Madrid, Spain.

Friday, June 22nd, 2018


Web.com is Acquired for $2 Billion
Company Press Release

The company announced on Thursday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Siris Capital Group, a private equity firm focused on investments in data, telecommunications, technology and technology-enabled business service companies in North America.

Web.com provides a full range of Internet services and online marketing solutions for small and medium‐sized businesses.

The all-cash deal is valued at approximately $2 billion and it is expected to close before the end of the year.


SUPERVALU Partners with Instacart
Company Press Release

SUPERVALU announced that it has entered into a reseller agreement with Instacart.

The company is one of the largest grocery wholesalers and retailers in the U.S. with annual sales of approximately $14 billion.

The partnership provides online shopping and delivery services to more than 3,000 independent retail stores in the over 240 metro areas where Instacart operates.


L.L. Bean Launches an Outdoor Co-working Space
Company Press Release

The company has partnered with coworking workplace startup, Industrious, to offer an outdoor coworking space, complete with individual work areas, collaborative conference spaces, and cycling desks.

The outdoor coworking space launched in New York on Thursday with plans to open similar locations over the summer in Boston Philadelphia and Madison, Wisconsin.


Twitter Acquires Smyte
Company Blog Post
Crunchbase

Twitter announced in a company blog post on Thursday that it has agreed to acquire Smyte, a San Francisco-based technology company that offers tools to stop online abuse, harassment, and spam.

Smyte’s review tools and processes will be used to strengthen Twitter’s systems and operations that will help improve the health of public conversation on the platform.

The company was founded in 2014 by former Google and Instagram engineers. And according to Crunchbase, was backed by $6.3 million in venture funding.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Microsoft Acquires Bonsai
Company Blog Post
Crunchbase

Microsoft announced that it is acquiring Bonsai, a company that assists enterprise organizations with machine learning and AI capabilities.

The San Francisco based company had raised $13.6 million prior to the company’s acquisition.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


PayPal Acquires a Fraud Prevention and Risk Management Platform
Company Press Release
Crunchbase

PayPal announced on Thursday that is has acquired Simility for $120 million in cash.

Simility will help PayPal deliver fraud prevention and risk management solutions to merchants globally.

According to Crunchbase, Simility had raised $24.7 million prior to the company’s acquisition.

The announcement comes during the same week that it also announced the acquisition of Hyperwallet, a global payouts platform, for $400 million in an all-cash deal.


US States Could Collect Additional Sales Tax from E-commerce Companies
CNBC
Reuters
Wall Street Journal

States and local governments are now able to collect billions of dollars in new sales tax from ee-commerceretailers.

According to CNBC, the US Supreme Court overturned a 1992 ruling that allowed internet companies to avoid collecting sales tax if they didn’t have a physical presence in the state.
CNBC also reported that Amazon already collects sales tax in every state it sells products in, as a result, the ruling would not have as much of an impact on its pricing and operations.

Thursday, June 21st, 2018


Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase Announce The CEO of Their Newly-Formed Healthcare Company
Press Release Regarding New CEO
Press Release on New Healthcare Initiative

The companies announced on Wednesday that Dr. Atul Gawande will lead the new employee healthcare initiative as Chief Executive Officer, effective July 9th.

Last January, the three organizations announced a partnership that looks to address healthcare for its U.S.-based employees. The partnership looks to focus on technology that provides U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.

Dr. Gawande practices at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. He has also founded a health innovation center and has written for The New Yorker and New York Times.

The new company will be headquartered in Boston.


JPMorgan’s Asset Management Division Lands a Deal with Amazon
Company Press Release

The company announced on Wednesday that it’s working with Amazon to provide 85 multifamily properties with more than 23,000 units of Hub by Amazon.

Hub by Amazon is a secure locker storage for properties that allows residents to receive packages from anyone, anytime, not just from Amazon. The units are fully automated and conveniently located in building lobbies or mailrooms and is free for residents to use.

Installation of the Hub’s in the 85 multifamily properties is underway.


CVS Rolls Out Prescription Delivery Nationwide in the US
Company Press Release

CVS announced that prescription delivery is now available from CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide in the United States.

Customers now have the ability to have their medications delivered directly to their mailbox, as quickly as the next day. Orders can be made through the CVS Pharmacy app or by calling their neighborhood store and asking to have their prescriptions delivered.

CVS is the first national drugstore chain to offer pharmacy delivery from approximately 9,800 locations as quickly as the next-day.


Match Group Adds a New Company to its Portfolio
Company Press Release

The Match Group announced on Wednesday that it has acquired a 51% ownership stake in Hinge, a New York City-based relationship app.

After investing in the company in September 2017, Hinge’s user base grew by more than 400%, with meaningful traction in East Coast markets.

As a result, the Match Group added new investments to help Hinge enhance its product and boost marketing.

The Group has the right to acquire all the remaining shares of the company within the next 12 months. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.


AMC Theatres Launches a New Subscription Service
Company Press Release

The company announced on Wednesday of a new program that rewards its customers with up to three movies per week for just $19.95 per month.

The new program is called AMC Stubs A-List and is an extension of its current membership rewards program.

The new subscription looks to compete against upstarts in the industry such as MoviePass and Sinemia.


Facebook Introduces a New Way for Group Admins to Make Money
Company Press Release

The company announced on Wednesday that it is piloting new tools with a select number of group admins who lead group pages.

The new feature will be called Subscription Groups for Admins and will allow administrators to track and collect payments from their members.

The move looks to help admins deepen engagement and continue to support their communities.


Instagram Launches a Youtube Competitor
Press Announcement

Instagram announced that it has rolled out IGTV, a new app for watching long-form, vertical video.

Users will be able to stream content that is up to 1-hour in length. They will also be able to watch videos from within the Instagram app.

In addition to the announcement, the company also stated that it has reached a milestone of over 1 billion users since it launched in 2010.

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018


Volkswagen and Ford Explore The Possibility of a Strategic Alliance
Company Press Release

Both companies announced on Tuesday that they’re exploring a joint development of commercial vehicles.

Each company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding that’s designed to strengthen their competitiveness and better serve customers globally.

The companies stated that any strategic alliance would not involve equity arrangements, including cross-ownership stakes.

The companies will provide updates and additional details as talks progress.


Barnes & Noble Education Expands its Relationship with Pearson
Company Press Release

Both companies announced on Tuesday of an agreement that will distribute Pearson rental titles at approximately 1,500 Barnes and Noble physical and virtual campus bookstores nationwide.

Working together will help each company in providing students, faculty, and institutions with greater access to cost-effective course materials.

Pearson’s rental titles will be available at Barnes & Noble Education stores this Fall.


Mondelez International Appoints a New CFO
Company Press Release

The company announced on Tuesday that Luca Zaramella will become its Chief Financial Officer, effective August 1st, 2018.

Over the past four years at Mondelez, Zaramella assumed a range of responsibilities as the Corporate Controller, Treasurer and global head of Financial Planning & Analysis.

Zaramella will oversee the company’s global Finance, Information and Technology Solutions. He replaces Brian Gladden, who will leave the company in August.


Pizza Hut Plans to No Longer Serve Chicken Raised with Antibiotics by 2022
Company Press Release

The commitment comprises of all chicken, including the company’s chicken wings. Yesterday’s announcement comes approximately a year after the brand completed the removal of antibiotics from its chicken for pizza.

The move makes Pizza Hut the first US pizza company to commit to an antibiotic policy for chicken wings.

Pizza Hut currently operates more than 16,000 restaurants in 100 countries.


PayPal Acquires Hyperwallet for $400 Million
Company Press Release

The company announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Hyperwallet, a global payout platform.

The all-cash deal will help PayPal enhance its payout capabilities, and enhance its suite of payment solutions to ecommerce platforms and marketplaces around the world.

The acquisition will help PayPal users with localized, multi-currency payment distribution capabilities in more than 200 markets. It will also provide users with numerous disbursement options, including prepaid card, bank account, and debit card.


Goldman Sachs Will Invest $500 Million in Women-Led Companies
News Release

The firm announced a new program called Launch With GS, a $500 million initiative focused on providing capital to women-founded, women-owned or women-led companies. The focus of the initiative will be towards private, and late-stage companies.

According to Stephanie Cohen, the firms Chief Strategy Officer, all-women founded teams received 2 percent of US venture capital in 2017 and 12 percent went to teams with at least one woman founder.

Launch with GS looks to tackle the gender investing gap and bring together investors, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations and other leaders to nurture and grow new businesses.


Amazon Introduces Alexa for Hospitality
Company Press Release

On Tuesday, Amazon announced that it will be rolling out a new initiative called Alexa for Hospitality. It’s a product that offers Amazon Alexa to hotels, vacation rentals, and other hospitality locations.

Guests will be able to make requests such as asking Alexa to order room service, request housekeeping or call the concierge for dinner recommendations.

The program is currently available by invitation only. Marriott International will integrate the new Alexa experience at select properties including Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, and St. Regis Hotels & Resorts starting this summer.

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018


Audi’s CEO Was Arrested in Germany
Reuters
BBC
CNN
Fortune

Rupert Stadler, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, was being held regarding the potential risk to tamper or hide evidence surrounding the ongoing diesel emission scandal, this according to a report by Reuters.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stated in September 2015, that Volkswagen had installed software on more than 475,000 vehicles that helped the company falsify outcomes on emissions tests.

Last year, Audi, a division of Volkswagen, recalled more than 850,000 cars to update emissions software. It also recalled approximately 60,000 vehicles just last May, on its A6 and A7 models after it was discovered that the emissions software in the car would need an update.


The Finish Line and JD Sports Fashion Complete Their Merger
Company Press Release
The Finish Line Initial Acquisition Announcement

Finish Line is now an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of JD Sports, the announcement was made through a press release on Monday.

JD Sports is a European-based retailer of sports, fashion, and outdoor brands.

The deal plans to create a global multi-channel, a retailer of sports fashion and footwear and gives JD Sports a presence in the US market.

Finish Line runs approximately 930 branded locations in U.S. malls and shops inside Macy’s department stores.

The Finish Line was acquired for $558 Million.


Unilever Pushes for Better Transparency in the Influencer Marketing Space
Company Press Release

The company announced in a press release on Monday that it is pushing for greater transparency in the influencer marketing space to combat fraud in the digital ecosystem.

The move looks to create better experiences for consumers and improve the company’s’ ability to accurately measure impact.

The company’s Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed stated that “At Unilever, we believe influencers are an important way to reach consumers and grow our brands. Their power comes from a deep, authentic and direct connection with people, but certain practices like buying followers can easily undermine these relationships.”

Unilever is one of the world’s largest advertisers with an annual brand and marketing investment of over €7bn.


Microsoft Acquires a Video-Based Learning Platform
Microsoft Blog Post
Flipgrid Blog Post

The company announced on Monday that it has acquired Flipgrid, an educational social video platform.

Flipgrid supports more than 20 million Pre-K to Ph.D. educators, students, and families across 180 countries.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


JetBlue’s Founder Reportedly Looks to Launch a New Airline
Airline Weekly
Bloomberg

David Neeleman, the founder of four commercial airline companies including JetBlue and WestJet, is reportedly looking to launch a new airliner, this according to a report by Airline Weekly.

According to the report, the proposed company is raising $100 million and will be called Moxy Airways. Bloomberg reports that the company has secured orders for 60 CS300 aircraft from Bombardier Inc.

Moxy Airways is reportedly expected to launch in 2020.

Monday, June 18th, 2018


Sesame Street Launches a VC Fund
Fund Page
CNBC
Tech EU

Sesame Street, yes, everyone’s favorite childhood show, launched a venture capital firm called Sesame Ventures.

The fund looks to work with startups that focus on education, health, and social welfare for children.

According to a report released by CNBC early last week, the fund invested in a London-based firm called Kano. The company focuses on teaching kids how to code and build computers. The report outlines that the funds were an extension of a $28 million funding round the company gained last year.

Terms of the latest cash injection were not disclosed.


Apple and Oprah Sign a Deal
Company Update
The Verge
Variety

Apple announced last Friday that it is working with Oprah Winfrey on a multi-year content partnership that aims to create original programs.

According to multiple reports, the company is said to be investing heavily in producing original content for its audiences around the globe.

It’s a move that is expected to compete against other online streaming services including, Amazon and Netflix.


Foxconn WIll Open a North American Headquarters in Milwaukee
Reuters
BizTimes
USA Today

According to Reuters, Foxconn has purchased a building in downtown Milwaukee.

The new North American headquarters will employ 500 workers.

The new setup comes just about a year since the company announced that it would be investing in a $10 billion plant in Wisconsin.


Google and China’s JD.com Announce a Strategic Partnership
Press Release

Both companies announced on Monday, Beijing time that Google will invest $550 million in cash in JD.com as part of a strategic partnership.

Both companies plan to invest in global retail solutions which include a focus on Southeast Asia, the U.S., and Europe.

Google’s Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler stated that quote, “We are excited to partner with JD.com and explore new solutions for retail ecosystems around the world to enable helpful, personalized and frictionless shopping experiences that give consumers the power to shop wherever and however they want”

JD.com is the largest retailer in China, a member of the NASDAQ100 and a Fortune Global 500 company.

Friday, June 15th, 2018


Rolls-Royce Looks to Cut 4,600 Jobs
Company Press Release

The company announced last January of plans to simplify the Group into three customer-focused business units. As part of the plan, Rolls-Royce stated on Thursday that it looks to reduce management layers and complexity.

Over the next 24 months, the company looks to reduce approximately 4,600 roles, predominantly in the United Kingdom.

The proposed restructuring aims to deliver improved returns, higher margins, and increased cash flow. The company expects full implementation of headcount reductions and structural changes by mid-2020.


Samsung Looks to Invest in Artificial Intelligence Startups
Company Press Release

Samsung announced on Wednesday that it will launch the Samsung NEXT Q Fund, a Seed and Series A focused fund that looks to finance startup dedicated to solving AI and computer science problems.

The team behind the Q Fund plans to work closely with researchers to identify cutting-edge approaches to machine learning and perform technical diligence on new opportunities.

The fund recently invested in Covariant.AI, a company that draws on advances in imitation learning and deep reinforcement learning to teach robots new, complex skills.


Equifax Appoints a New Chief Technology Officer
Company Press Release

The company announced on Thursday that it has appointed Bryson Koehler to serve as the company’s Chief Technology Officer.

Koehler will be responsible for the company’s global IT strategy and development. He will also work with Equifax’s product, data, and analytics teams to boost insights to customers and partners.

Koehler previously served as the CTO at IBM Watson and Cloud Platform.


Facebook Plans to Open a New $750 Million Data Center in Alabama
Press Release

Facebook will invest $750 million to build a data center in Huntsville, Alabama. The new center looks to create 100 jobs.

The announcement comes from the office of Governor Kay Ivey, who stated on Thursday that quote “Facebook has found a great location in Sweet Home Alabama, and we’ll do our best to help the company grow and prosper here.”

As part of the opening, Facebook will receive an investment credit under the Alabama Jobs Act with an estimated value of $86.25 million, over 10 years. The data center is expected to bring in close to $300 million in revenue over the next 30 years.


Google Plans to Open an Artificial Intelligence Research Center in Africa
Company Blog Post

The new AI center will open in Accra, Ghana. It looks to connect top machine learning researchers and engineers who will be focused on AI research and its applications.

The tech giant announced in a company blog post on Wednesday that it plans to work with local universities and research centers, as well as policy makers on the potential uses of AI in Africa.


Pandora Teams Up with Snapchat
Company Press Release

Pandora announced on Thursday that it will work with Snap Inc. as the music streaming launch partner for Snap Kit, the company’s new platform for developers.

Pandora listeners in the United States will be able to send their favorite songs to friends and family through animated song cards. Receivers of the song cards will be able to swipe up to listen directly on Pandora.

The integration looks to expand Pandora’s social sharing capabilities by reaching Snapchat’s audience while enhancing music discovery across both platforms.

Thursday, June 14th, 2018


Comcast Makes a Bid for Twenty-First Century Fox
Company Press Release

Comcast sent a letter to the Board of Directors of Twenty-First Century Fox, proposing to acquire the company for an all-cash bid of $65 billion.

Today’s proposal challenges Disney’s previous bid back in December who looked to acquire the assets of the company for $52.4 billion.

The move by Comcast comes a day after AT&T was given the clear to acquire Time Warner.


Gap Inc. Announces a New CEO for the Gap Brand
Company Press Release

The company announced on Wednesday that it has appointed Neil Fiske as president and chief executive officer of Gap brand.

Fiske served as chief executive officer at Billabong International, where he restored and led the brand to a position of market leadership and multi-year share growth. Prior to that, he five years as president and CEO at Eddie Bauer.

He begins his new role on June 20th, 2018.


RBC and Westjet Rollout a New Loyalty Platform
Company Press Release

Both companies announced on Wednesday that they are launching a loyalty platform called Ampli. It will provide members with merchant offers, rewards and exclusive bonuses.

The new platform looks to compete against other loyalty programs such as Aeroplan.

Merchant partners are expected to be announced over the coming months.


The US Federal Reserve Raises the Interest Rate
Press Release
Chairman’s FOMC Press Conference Materials

The Fed raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point from 1.75 to 2 percent.

It also signaled that it may potentially boost the pace of further rate increases.


Tableau Acquires an Artificial Intelligence Startup
Company Press Release

The company announced on Wednesday that it has acquired Empirical Systems, an artificial intelligence startup originating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The acquisition will help its customers with deeper insight into their data, without needing to manually build complex data models that would typically require a trained statistician.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Elon Musk’s Boring Company Will Operate an Express Train in Chicago
CNBC
Chicago Tribune
The Verge

According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, the Boring Company, a company owned by Elon Musk, has won against four other competing bids to provide high-speed transportation between the Chicago downtown core and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

According to the Mayor’s office, as reported by the Verge, each vehicle will carry up to 16 passengers and will depart as frequent as every 30 seconds.

The final route, timeline, and cost were not disclosed, however, it’s noted that the Boring Company is said to be reportedly covering all costs associated with the project.

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018


AT&T Gets the Green Light to Purchase Time Warner
Memorandum Opinion
The New York Times
CNBC

On Tuesday, AT&T was given the clear to buy Time Warner for $85 billion. The landmark deal combines a large communications network provider with a media conglomerate.

Last November, the Department of Justice filed a suit that looked to stop the merger with concerns that the deal would lead to higher prices and limited choices for consumers. The argument was rejected by US District Judge Richard J. Leon who allowed the acquisition to proceed with no conditions on the deal.

Time Warner’s portfolio of media companies includes HBO, CNN, and Warner Brothers.


Hyatt Announces Plans for Continued Global Growth
Company Press Release

Hyatt announced on Tuesday plans to further grow the Hyatt Centric brand, its millennial-focused hotel line.

The company announced new hotels in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Portland. The announcement comes in addition to its planned rollout of new hotels in Senegal, El Salvador, and Australia. It also just recently launched properties in Miami, Peru, and Chile.

The Hyatt Centric brand currently has 22 properties across seven countries, including the U.S., Japan, Spain, and France.


Bank of America’s Artificial Intelligence Product Surpasses 1 Million Users
Company Press Release

Bank of America stated on Tuesday that its artificial intelligence virtual assistant called Erica has surpassed 1 million users within two months of completing its roll-out.

Erica is available to mobile clients via the Bank of America mobile banking app.

The virtual assistant combines artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and natural language technology so that users can search transactions, view balance information and bills, get their credit scores and their account numbers.

According to the bank, its digital banking platform serves 25 million active mobile users.


Uber Launches Uber Lite
Company News Release

Uber announced on Tuesday a new product called Uber Lite. The Uber Lite version looks to help the company grow its user-base and expand its product offering in emerging economies.

Uber Lite keeps the core functionality of the Uber app, is less than 5mb in size and offers fast booking times under low connectivity conditions.

The app will be available for basic Android phones and will initially be rolled out in India.


Toyota Invests $1 Billion in a Ride Sharing Company
Grab Announcement
Uber Announcement to Sell SE Asia Ops

Grab announced that Toyota will invest US$1 billion as a lead investor in the company’s ongoing financing round.

The deal will help Grab and Toyota strengthen their partnership in the area of connected cars to drive the adoption of new mobility solutions across Southeast Asia. It will also help expand its other services including GrabFood and GrabPay.

The company operates in 217 cities across eight Southeast Asian countries and offers users transportation, food and package delivery, mobile payments and financial services. Last March, Uber announced that it sold its Southeast Asia operations to Grab for $1.6 billion in exchange for a 27.5% stake in the business.

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018


IHOP Promotes a New Menu Line
Company Press Release

IHOP announced on Monday that it has temporarily changed its name to IHOb, with a B, which stands for burgers.

The new promotion is to celebrate the debut of its new Ultimate Steakburgers line.

The new burger menu items look to boost sales to grow its Lunch and Dinner business.


Starbucks and Chase Introduce a New Visa Prepaid Card
Company Press Release

Starbucks announced on Monday that it has partnered with Chase to offer a new Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card. The new card allows customers to earn loyalty points on purchases made outside of Starbucks locations.

It’s the second co-branded product introduced by the companies this year following the launch of the Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Card in February.


Workday Acquires Adaptive Insights
Adaptive Insights Company Press Release

Workday, a provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, announced on Monday that it’s acquiring Adaptive Insights for $1.55 billion.

Adaptive Insights helps over 3,800 organizations around the globe with business planning cloud software.

Together, Workday and Adaptive Insights will enable customers to better plan, execute, and analyze across the enterprise all in one system.


Uber Applies for a Patent That Detects Drunk Passengers
CNN
Patent Application

In an article first reported on by CNN, Uber has applied for a patent that would determine an unusual behavior of a passenger.

The patent application describes using a system that would implement machine learning technology to determine if data input accuracy, data input speed, interface interaction behavior, device angle, or walking speed has been compromised or is out of the norm of a user’s normal behavior.

The patent application states that the driver would also be alerted to the predicted state of the user via a text message or notification.

Monday, June 11th, 2018

Music used:
Flow (Sting) by MK2
Cold Killa (Sting) by MK2
You Like It by Vibe Tracks
On the Tip (Sting) by Jingle Punks
Mumbai Effect (Sting) by Jingle Punks
Detour (Sting) by Gunnar Olsen


The Honest Company, Raises $200 Million
Company Press Release

The company announced last week that it raised a $200 million strategic minority investment from L Catterton, a consumer-focused private equity firm formed through the partnership of Catterton, LVMH, and Groupe Arnault.

According to a company press release, the new funds will help the company innovate in certain areas of the business, open new distribution channels and boost its supply chain globally.

Honest Company also announced that it inked a retail distribution deal with Douglas, a European based beauty retailer operating more than 2,500 stores.


China’s Ant Financial Raises $14 Billion
Company Press Release

The China-based company announced last week that it has entered into definitive agreements with investors for its Series C equity financing totaling approximately $14 billion USD.

According to a company press release, the funds will be used to help accelerate Alipay’s globalization efforts. The new funds will also be used to hire new talent in emerging markets and expand its financial services to new customers.


Accenture Acquires a Design Firm
Company Press Release

The company announced last Friday that it has acquired designaffairs, a Germany-based strategic design consultancy firm.

The acquisition will help Accenture design smart products and services. It will also complement the company’s offerings around smart products, smart services, platforms, and new business models for the digital reinvention of industrial companies.

Designaffairs was founded in 1997 with two studios in Germany, one in Shanghai and one in Portland. The company has more than 100 employees and has worked with clients such as Hyundai, Siemens, and Nescafe.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


The A&W Fast Food Chain Announces That it Will Eliminate Plastic Straws from All of its Restaurants in North America
Company Press Release

The move will make A&W the first quick service restaurant chain in North America to make this commitment.

The company announced in a press release last Friday that guests will be provided with the option of a paper straw. According to the company, the paper straws last 2-3 hours in a drink without breaking down and are naturally biodegrade in 3-6 months in the environment.

The company stated that the switch to paper will keep 82 million plastic straws out of landfills every year.


Seaworld Announces the Removal of Single-Use Plastic from its Theme Parks
Company Press Release

Last Friday the company announced that all 12 of its theme parks have removed all single-use plastic drinking straws and single-use plastic shopping bags.

The move brings Seaworld alongside other organizations working to reduce the use of single-use plastics, such as Alaska Airlines, and Hilton.

Friday, June 8th, 2018


Amazon Scores a Deal with the Premiere League
Company Press Release

Amazon announced on Thursday that Amazon Prime Video UK has secured a deal with the Premiere League to stream football (or soccer) games for its 2019/2020 season.

According to a company press release, live and exclusive Premier League matches, and weekly highlights packages, will be available on Prime Video in the UK at no extra cost for Prime Members.

Amazon Prime Video has worked with other sports associations and has streamed several live sporting events including the US Open Tennis, ATP World Tour Tennis events and select NFL games.


Rakuten Acquires a Store Pickup and Delivery Company
Company Press Release

The Japan-based company announced on Friday, Tokyo time, that it has acquired Curbside, a Palo-Alto based technology company that works with Fortune 100 retailers and quick-service restaurant chains to streamline their online orders.

Founded in 2013, Curbsides offers predictive arrival technology that powers mobile shopping for store pickup and home delivery for consumers in the United States.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Linkedin Introduces a Feature That Helps You Calculate Commute Times to Potential Employers
Company Blog Post

Linkedin announced the “Your Commute” feature in a company blog post on Thursday. The new feature helps job seekers understand their potential commute time to a potential employer before applying for the role.

When viewing job listings, users will be able to set their address to calculate how long it would take to get to an office via walking, driving or on public transportation.


The G7 Summit Begins Today
G7 Discussion Themes

The 44th annual G7 summit will be held in Quebec, Canada today.

Members from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States will gather in a two-day event to build consensus and discuss today’s most challenging global issues.

A few points of discussion for the summit will be the future of jobs, climate change, and building a more peaceful and secure world.


Argentina Lands a $50 Billion Financing Deal with the International Monetary Fund
IMF Press Release
BBC

The IMF announced on Thursday that it has reached an agreement with Argentine authorities on a 3-year line of credit of $50 billion. This comes after the country sought assistance in May after its currency hit an all-time low.

The deal will still need to be approved by IMF’s Executive Board who will review the country’s economic plans.

Ms. Christine Lagarde stated that quote “At the core of the government’s economic plan is a rebalancing of the fiscal position. We fully support this priority and welcome the authorities’ intention to accelerate the pace at which they reduce the federal government’s deficit, restoring the primary balance by 2020.”

It’s also noted that Argentina will host this year’s G20 Summit which is to take place in Buenos Aires in November.


Nutella Plans to Open a Cafe In New York City
Company Press Release

Ferrero announced in a press release on Thursday that it will open a Nutella Cafe in New York by the end of the year.

The cafe will feature a Nutella-inspired cafe menu and specialty espresso beverages.

The planned opening follows its first cafe which was launched in Chicago in May 2017.

Thursday, June 7th, 2018


Pfizer Dedicates $600 Million to Invest in Biotech and Other Emerging Growth Companies
Company Press Release

The company announced on Wednesday that it plans to invest $600 million towards new companies through Pfizer Ventures, its venture investment unit. It has dedicated 25% of its available capital to early-stage neuroscience companies.

Pfizer also stated that it looks to launch an internal team that leverages expertise across venture capital investing, business development, drug discovery and clinical development.

The fund actively manages an existing investment portfolio of more than 40 companies. Wednesday’s announcement combined with approximately $500 million already invested in the fund brings total assets under management to more than $1 billion.


Athenahealth Searches for a New CEO
Company Press Release

The company announced on Wednesday that Jonathan Bush, the company’s President, CEO and member of its board, will be leaving the company effective immediately.

Athenahealth also stated that its Board of Directors are exploring strategic alternatives such as the consideration of a sale, merger or other transaction involving the Company as well as continuing as an independent company.

Athenahealth provides network-enabled services for hospital and ambulatory customers in the United States. The company’s network is comprised of 114,000 providers and 110 million patients.


Wellness Media Company, Well+Good, Has Been Acquired
Company Press Release

Leaf Group Ltd. announced in a press release on Wednesday that it has acquired Well+Good, a wellness media company.

Well+Good’s outstanding equity interests were purchased for $10 million upfront. Leaf Group has also agreed to pay incremental cash consideration targeted at $9 million when the company achieves certain targets up to the end of the 2020 fiscal year.

Under the acquisition, the brand will expand its audience reach and join forces with Livestrong.com.

The acquisition looks to strengthen Leaf Group’s position as a leader in the fitness and wellness category.


Fitbit’s CFO Leaves the Company
Company Press Release

Fitbit announced on Wednesday that William Zerella, the company’s Chief Financial Officer will be leaving the company, effective June 15th.

Zerella served as Fitbit’s CFO since June 2014, where he helped lead the company to its IPO. The company stated that he will pursue opportunities with an autonomous vehicle technology startup.

Ronald Kisling, currently serving as the company’s Chief Accounting Officer will replace Zerella where prior to Fitbit, he served as the CFO of Nanometrics, a publicly traded semiconductor equipment company.


Boeing Invests in a Drone Software Company
Boeing Press Release
KittyHawk Press Release

Boeing announced on Wednesday that it has invested in Kittyhawk, a technology startup focused on helping commercial drone operators safely operate unmanned aircraft.

According to a Kittyhawk company blog post, Kittyhawk raised $5M in funding, bringing the company’s total capital raised to $6.5 Million. Bonfire Ventures led the funding round.

The company stated that the new funds will help further its capabilities as a full stack enterprise drone solution to empower a variety of industries already realizing value from commercial drone operations.


Microsoft Tests a Data Center at the Bottom of the Sea
Company News Release

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it has set up an experimental, shipping-container-sized underwater datacenter on the seafloor near Scotland’s Orkney Islands.

Data centers are the backbone of the internet and the project looks to accommodate exponential growth in demand for cloud computing infrastructure near coastal cities.

The data center is part of a Microsoft research effort called Project Natick, an initiative to see if the company can manufacture and operate environmentally sustainable, prepackaged datacenter units that can operate underwater.

Project Natick is currently in its second phase where Microsoft will spend the next 12 months looking to see if the project is logistically, environmentally and economically practical.

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018


Mercedes-Benz Now Offers Subscription Plans
Company Press Release
Fortune
Bloomberg

Mercedes-Benz launched a subscription service that allows subscribers to switch between different types of vehicles depending on their needs or lifestyle.

The program offers 3 tiers which are called: Signature, Reserve and Premier, with prices ranging from $1,095 to $2,995 per month. Subscribers pay a one-time activation fee of $495 and may then choose from all the vehicle body styles offered in that subscription tier, including Mercedes-Benz SUVs, sedans, coupes, cabriolets, roadsters and wagon models. Each tier also allows access to the company’s popular high-performance Mercedes-AMG models.

The service will initially be available in Nashville, TN, and Philadelphia, PA.


Lyft Partners with United Way
Company Post
Engadget
Markets Insider

Lyft announced in a company blog post on Tuesday that it has committed $1.5 million to the Lyft Relief Rides program over the next year.

As part of the partnership, Lyft will work with the United Way and 2-1-1. 2-1-1 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline that connects people to essential services.

Rides will be used for non-emergency medical treatment, job interviews and other employment-related needs, and veterans services in 12 cities in the United States including Atlanta, Houston, and San Francisco.


Impossible Foods Expands to Hong Kong
Company Press Release

The company announced in a press release on Tuesday that its products will be available at three of Hong Kong’s top-ranking hotels which are: Hotel ICON, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, and InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is the first place outside of the United States to feature Impossible Meat products. The company’s products are now served in nearly 2,000 restaurants across the United States and Hong Kong.

Founded in 2011, Impossible Meats offers products that cook, smells, and tastes like ground beef but is made entirely from plants. Investors include Horizons Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, and UBS.


Viacom Announces a Leadership Transition at Nickelodeon Group
Company Press Release
AdWeek
Los Angeles Times

Viacom announced earlier in the week that Cyma Zarghami is stepping down as President of Nickelodeon Group after more than thirty years with the network.

The company stated in a press release that Sarah Levy, Chief Operating Officer of Viacom Media Networks, will lead the brand on an interim basis.

The company’s focus, while it looks for a new President, will be to launch a content pipeline of more than 800 new episodes and accelerate the brand’s push into new viewing platforms, film, live experiences and consumer products.


MyHeritage Announces a Cybersecurity Breach
Company Press Release
Motherboard
The Verge

The company announced in a statement earlier in the week that its Chief Information Security Officer received a message from a security researcher regarding a file named myheritage containing email addresses and hashed passwords, on a private server.

According to the company, the file contained user accounts of 92 million users who signed up to MyHeritage up to October 26, 2017.

The company has a dedicated team investigating the incident. It also stated that it’s working with a cybersecurity firm to conduct forensic reviews to determine the scope of the intrusion.

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018


Rue La La WIll Acquire The Gilt Group
Company Press Release
The Wall Street Journal
Fast Company

Rue La La announced in a press release on Monday that it would be acquiring Gilt, a member-based digital shopping business, from Hudson’s Bay Company.

The acquisition will serve over 20 million members with a focus on young, affluent, fashion and brand-conscious consumers.

Rue La La intends to hire more than 150 associates to run the Gilt business in New York, Boston, and Kentucky, as well as other sites across the country.

The transaction is expected to close in July 2018.


McDonald’s Opens a New Global HQ in Chicago
Company Press Release
USA Today

McDonald’s opened a new corporate headquarters in Chicago’s vibrant West Loop neighborhood on Monday, according to a company press release.

The move marks a return to Chicago where the company was headquartered from 1955 to 1971.

The new headquarters will house the flagship Hamburger University location and approximately 2,000 employees.

McDonald’s office space, including Hamburger University, will occupy 490,000 square feet of the building.


Red Bull Rolls Out a Line of Organic Carbonated Drinks in Canada
Company Press Release

Red Bull Canada announced in a company press release on Monday that it launched a new product called ORGANICS by Red Bull.

The new line comes in 4 flavors of organic, carbonated drinks made with natural flavors from plant extracts.

The line will be available in various locations across Canada.


Sun Life Financial Will Acquire Maxwell Health
Company Press Release
Xconomy

According to a company press release, Sun Life Financial announced on Monday that it has acquired Maxwell Health.

Maxwell Health is an employee benefits platform focused on simplifying benefits and HR admin for employers and their employees.

The Boston-based company was founded in 2012 and has 125 employees. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Cryptocurrency Platform, Coinbase, Rolls Out a New Office in Japan
Coinbase Blog Post
Bloomberg

According to a blog post by Dan Romero the company’s Vice President and GM of Coinbase, the new office will lay the foundation for Japan’s crypto investors to access a range of Coinbase’s products.

Coinbase services will be made available to Japanese customers who will be provided with Japanese language translations while using the service.


Visa Looks to Help European FinTech Companies
Company Press Release

Visa announced in a company press release on Monday two new programs designed to support European FinTechs who are developing the next generation of digital payment solutions.

The new FinTech fast-track program provides rapid onboarding and reduced fees to help early stage start-ups gain access to the capabilities that lie within Visa’s global network.

Visa also rolled out a $100 million European investment program to support the thriving FinTech ecosystem in Europe and grow its investment activity in start-ups.

The FinTech fast-track program will be available in July.


Caesars Entertainment Introduces Exclusive Resort Licensing & Brand Opportunities
Company Press Release

On Monday, the company announced plans to create unique branding and licensing opportunities for 4 of its brands: Caesars Palace, Flamingo, The Cromwell and The LINQ.

The company stated in a press release that the move will allow Caesars and select strategic partners to expand the global reach of these distinct brands into gateway cities around the world.


Howard Schultz Steps Down as Starbucks Executive Chairman
Company Press Release
CNBC
The New York Times

Starbucks announced on Monday that Howard Schultz will no longer serve as the company’s executive chairman and member of the Board of Directors. He will be honored with the title of chairman emeritus which will be effective June 26, 2018.

According to a company press release, during his four decades as CEO and chairman, Schultz grew Starbucks from 11 stores to more than 28,000 stores in 77 countries.

Under his leadership, Starbucks has delivered a 21,000% gain in the value of its stock price since its initial public offering in 1992.

Monday, June 4th, 2018


Microsoft is Reportedly is in Talks to Buy Github
Bloomberg
The Verge
Business Insider

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft will be acquiring GitHub, an essential tool used by computer programmers to code and collaborate on projects.

Bloomberg reports that the announcement could be made as early as today.

The company was founded in 2008 and was valued at $2 billion as of 2015. According to CrunchBase, it attained a total funding amount of $350 million.


HelloFresh Could Soon Be Available at a Grocery Store Near You
CNBC
The Wall Street Journal

According to the Wall Street Journal, HelloFresh meal kits will soon be available in Ahold Delhaize Giant Food and Stop & Shop stores.

The meal kits will be available in approximately 600 locations.

The company joins several other meal kit businesses such as Plated and Blue Apron who use grocery stores as a new distribution channel to reach more customers in an attempt to compete directly against new rivals in the meal-kit space, such as Walmart and Amazon.


Google Plans to End its Project with the Pentagon
BBC
The New York Times
The Verge
Gizmodo

According to Gizmodo, Google will reportedly end its involvement in Project Maven.

According to the report, the decision to pull its involvement from the program was due to internal and external backlash surrounding its involvement in analyzing drone footage and the potential weaponization of AI.

An internal petition against it was launched in March with approximately 4,000 Google employees demanding a quote “clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology.”

The current contract will expire in 2019.


Vermont Will Pay You to Move to and Work Remotely from the State
Quartz
CNBC

Quartz reported last week that the State of Vermont will pay people $10,000 to move to the state, and work remotely for employers located outside of Vermont.

The program is called The Remote Worker Grant Program and it will take effect on January 1st, 2019. The state has budgeted for 100 grants for the first 3 years with plans to bring 20 new workers each year after that.

Funds from the grant program can be used for relocation, and work-related expenses such as supplies, internet, and working space.

Friday, June 1st, 2018


A Company that Emerged from Walmart’s Tech Incubator Just Launched a Personal Assistant Service
Company Press Release
CNET
Bloomberg

Jetblack, a members-only shopping service launched on Thursday. It’s the first business to emerge from Walmart’s tech incubator, called Store No 8.

The service will be available in a limited release to customers in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Jetblack offers its members the ability to text a shopping request for Jetblack to find and deliver on the same or next day for no additional charge

The service uses a combination of artificial intelligence and expertise from professional buyers from various categories including home, health, and parenting.


Hello Alfred, an in-home Assistant Company, Closed a New Round of Funding
Company Press Release
Forbes
Fast Company

The company announced on Thursday that it closed a $40M Series B funding round. The new funds will accelerate growth and allow further investment in technology, data science, and the Alfred Home Essentials private label line of home goods and products.

Hello Alfred partners with residential developers to provide an in-home hospitality experience for it customers. Residents of Alfred buildings enjoy a dedicated assistant to manage weekly shopping and errands and the convenience of no-fee trusted in-home delivery.

It operates in New York, New Jersey, Stamford, Conn., Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, and plans launch in nine new markets, including Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, and Miami.

The company plans to be in over 100,000 homes by the end of the year.


Orange and Google Partner to Fund Startups
Company Press Release
TechCrunch
CNBC

Orange announced on Thursday that Orange Digital Ventures, its corporate venture fund, would work with Google to explore opportunities for co-investments in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Investments will explore opportunities in technologies surrounding the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, cloud, AI, and fintech.


Canada Goose Focuses on China
Company Press Release
The Globe and Mail
Forbes

The company announced on Thursday that it plans to expand into Greater China. Part of the expansion would include establishing a regional head office in Shanghai.

The company also stated that it is launching a direct-to-consumer business including opening two retail stores in Beijing and Hong Kong in order to meet consumer demand.

Canada Goose also plans to roll out e-commerce operations via Alibaba Group’s Tmall in the fall of this year.


Canada Plans to Impose Tariffs on the United States
News Release
Business Insider
The Globe and Mail

Canada announced on Thursday that it would be imposing tariffs on imports of $16.6 billion in steel, aluminum, and other products from the United States.

This is in response to the United States’ decision to impose tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum shipments.

According to a statement in a government news release, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced that the tariffs will commence on July 1st and will remain in place until the United States eliminates its trade-restrictive measures against Canada.


Softbank Invests in General Motors’s Self Driving Car Division
Company Press Release
The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal

General Motors announced on Thursday that the SoftBank Vision Fund will invest $2.25 billion in GM Cruise.

The new funding will boost the company’s plans to commercialize AV technology at large scale. Upon closing, GM will also invest $1.1 billion in GM Cruise.

The funds will assist the company to reach commercialization at scale beginning in 2019.

Thursday, May 31st, 2018


Walmart is Offering its Employees a College Education for $1 a Day
Company Press Release
Washington Post
CNBC

The company announced on Wednesday a new employee perk that provides access to affordable, associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in Business or Supply Chain Management.

Walmart plans to subsidize the cost of tuition, books, and fees. Under the program, the associates’ contribution toward a college degree would be just $1 a day. Degrees will be offered through the University of Florida, Brandman University, and Bellevue University.

The program will be available to all United States Walmart and Sam’s Club associates.


Zynga Acquires a Mobile Game Developer
Company Press Release
Bloomberg
Venture Beat

The company announced on Wednesday that it would acquire Gram Games for $250 million in cash and a three-year earn-out based on specific profitability goals.

Gram Games has a team of 77 employees and operates studios in London and Istanbul. The company’s popular game titled Merge Dragons! launched less than a year ago and broke into the Top 50 Grossing Game charts in the U.S. Apple App Store.

The acquisition will grow Zynga’s audience by 3 million mobile daily active users (DAU), and also expands its new game pipeline by adding several new games in development for 2019.


Hasbro Looks to Sell Rare Digital Stickers
Company Press Release

Hasbro has teamed up with Quidd to create, distribute and sell limited-edition digital stickers from 40 of Hasbro’s brands through the Quidd app.

Users will be able to make characters, buy, trade and use premium, rare digital stickers from Hasbro’s catalog to express themselves.

According to the company, Quidd has sold nearly 1.75 Billion individually serialized items since it was founded in 2015.


Monster, the Maker of Headphones and HDMI Cables, Looks to Launch an ICO
MarketWatch
CoinDesk
SEC Filing

According to Coindesk, citing a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Monster, the company formerly known as Monster Cable looks to roll out a $300 million initial coin offering.

It plans to integrate Ethereum blockchain technology for the “Monster Money Tokens” and wants consumers to be able to use either tokens or fiat currencies to purchase Monster products and services on its new website.

The company hopes to use its influence, scale and global connections to eventually compete against companies such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba.


Pandora Introduces a New Premium Family Plan to Compete with Other Music Streaming Services
Company Press Release
Fortune
CNBC

The company announced on Tuesday that it plans to offer a new family plan that provides ad-free, on-demand music for up to six people under one billing account for $14.99 a month.

With the introduction of the Premium Family Plan, Pandora broadens its current subscription model for families. It also plans to launch its new feature called “Our Soundtrack”, which is an auto-generated personalized shared playlist, updated weekly.


Taxify, an Uber Competitor Raises $175 Million
TechCrunch
Reuters
CNBC

According to a report by TechCrunch, Taxify an Estonia based company that operates in Europe and Africa raised the new round of funding led by Daimler, the auto manufacturing giant. The company also raised the new round from investors such as Korelya Capital and China’s Didi Chuxing.

Taxify plans to use the new funds to develop its technology and expand further into Europe and Africa. Reuters reports that a Daimler representative will join Taxify’s board.

According to the TechCrunch article, Markus Villig, the company’s CEO and co-founder stated that the company has more than 500,000 drivers and over 10 million users.


Adidas Makes Big Moves in the Upcoming Soccer World Cup
Reuters
Thompson Reuters Data
Business Standard

According to a report by Reuters, the German sportswear brand, takes the lead over Nike in FIFA World Cup Shirt deals; it will supply shirts for 12 out of 32 countries.

The upcoming World Cup begins in June and will take place in Russia.

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018


Allergan Issues a Voluntary Recall on Birth Control Capsules
Company Press Release
USA Today
The Wall Street Journal

According to a company statement, a physician report identified a packaging error that placed four placebo capsules out of sequence in a sample pack of TAYTULLA.

The company states that it may place the user at risk for contraceptive failure and unintended pregnancy.

The samples were sent to US health-care providers beginning in August 2017 with Lot# 5620706, expiring May 2019. Allergan urged patients to consult their physician or healthcare provider with questions or concerns.


Paypal Acquires an AI Retail Prediction Platform
Company Statement
Venture Beat
PYMNTS

According to a company statement by Harshal Deo, PayPal’s VP of Product and Engineering, the company has acquired Jetlore.

Jetlore’s proprietary prediction platform delivers personalized customer experiences to increase sales and loyalty. It’s used by retailers such as Uniqlo and Nordstrom Rack.

The acquisition looks to enhance and accelerate its PayPal Marketing Solutions offering and add new capabilities that would expand its value proposition to merchants beyond the online checkout experience.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Moody’s Invests in QuantCube, an AI-Based Predictive Analytics Firm
Company Press Release
Finextra

According to a company press release, Moody’s Corporation announced on Tuesday that it has made a strategic minority investment in QuantCube Technology.

QuantCube provides real-time, AI-based predictive analytics for corporate clients, financial institutions, and investment managers. The company supports a global and diverse client base with offerings including macroeconomic analysis, investment analysis and real-time analytics and data visualization.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, Moody’s stated that the investment was funded through available offshore cash and will not have a material impact on its 2018 financial results.


The Trans Mountain Pipeline System will be Sold to the Government of Canada
Press Release
Canadian Department of Finance News Release
CBC
The Globe and Mail

Kinder Morgan Canada announced on Tuesday that the Government of Canada will purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline system and the expansion project for C$4.5 billion.

The pipeline carries crude and refined oil from Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. It looks to increase daily capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels while improving market access to the US Pacific Coast and Northeast Asia.

According to a Canadian Department of Finance News release, the government stated that it doesn’t plan to own the project in the long-term and will work with investors to transfer the project and related assets to a new owner or owners.

The parties expect to close the transaction late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of this year.


US Home Prices Continue to Rise
Press Release
Home Price Data
S&P Housing Blog

According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index, data released on Tuesday for March 2018 shows that home prices continued to rise across the United States over the last 12 months.

According to the report, Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco reported the highest year-over-year gains amongst 20 cities, which include New York, Chicago, and Dallas.

We’ve included a link to a few resources on the report at dailyheadstart.com


Singapore Airlines Introduces a 19-Hour Flight
Company Press Release
The Wall Street Journal
Reuters

The airline announced today that it will offer non-stop services between Singapore and New York using the new Airbus A350-900 ultra-long-range.

According to the company, the route will initially be served three times a week, departing Singapore on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday with daily flights beginning on October 18th. The flights will be between Singapore Changi Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.

Flights will cover a distance of approximately 16,700km, and traveling time will be close to 19 hours.

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018


The Owner of Krispy Kreme Reportedly Looks to Buy a Restaurant Chain for $1.5 Billion Pounds
The Financial Times
Reuters

According to a report by the Financial Times, Pret a Manger, a fast-casual UK-based dining chain will reportedly be acquired for 1.5 billion Pounds (or $2 Billion USD) by JAB Holdings a Luxembourg-based firm.

Private equity firm, Bridgepoint owns a majority stake in the sandwich chain which will be sold to JAB Holdings. Bridgepoint purchased Pret a Manger for 364 million pounds back in 2008.

Pret a Manger has over 450 locations around the globe with shops in the UK, the United States, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai serving more than 300,000 customers daily.

Jab Holding’s investment portfolio includes companies such as Keurig, Peet’s Coffee, Panera Bread, and Krispy Kreme.


The European Union Looks to Ban Single-use Plastics
Press Release

On Monday, the European Commission looked to curb marine litter by focusing on banning single-use plastic products such as straws, plates, and cutlery.

According to a European Commission statement, the new initiative looks to “avoid the emission of 3.4 million tonnes of CO2, avoid environmental damages which would cost the equivalent of €22 billion by 2030, and save consumers a projected €6.5 billion.”

The Commission’s proposals will be sent to the European Parliament and Council.


The City of London Introduces Cashless Payments for Street Performers
The BBC
Sky News

According to a report by Sky News, street performers in London will be provided with contactless card readers.

The Busk in London initiative which is backed by the Mayor of London has partnered with iZettle, a financial technology payments company.

The project looks to grow the number of donations buskers receive by increasing their payment options. The initiative will initially be available in London’s 32 boroughs with plans for more locations over the next few months.


The Canadian Pacific Railway Faces a Potential Strike
The CBC
Teamsters Rail Strike Notice
Teamsters Canadian Rail Conference Notice
Reuters

The union that represents the Canadian Pacific Railway’s conductors and engineers stated last Saturday that it has rejected the company’s latest contract offer.

It could go on strike as early as today, Tuesday, May 29th.

According to Reuters, this comes at a time with strong demand for shipments of commodities, including grain and potash.

The Canadian Pacific Railway is Canada’s second-largest railroad.


Amazon Looks to Invest in an India-based Insurance Company
TechCrunch
The Economic Times India
VC Circle
Crunchbase

According to TechCrunch, Amazon is in the final stages of investing in Acko, an India-based digital insurance startup. The digital-only business currently focuses on automobile and bike insurance policies.

The Economic Times in India states that the funds will be used to co-create financial products with Amazon, and will also provide Acko with a platform to distribute its insurance offering.

According to Crunchbase, Acko was founded in 2017 and has raised $42-million to date.


Nestlé Announces a Re-Organization of its Global IT Activities
Company Press Release

The company announced today that the re-organization could potentially reduce up to 500 Information Technology positions in Switzerland.

Nestle’s reorganization looks to accelerate its digital transformation and help the company respond more quickly to fast-paced technological changes.

The move will make way for Nestle to enhance its operational effectiveness over the next 18-months.


Starbucks Will Temporarily Close its US-Based Stores Today
Company Press Release

More than 8,000 Starbucks company-owned stores and offices across the United States will close in the afternoon on May 29th. The closures will be for racial bias training and education.

Starbucks stated that it has worked with advisers and experts to develop the new curriculum.
Shops operated by major grocery stores, hotels, universities or airports, are expected to remain open.

Monday, May 28th, 2018


Pepsico Acquires a Healthy Snack Company
Company Press Release

The company announced last Friday that it will be acquiring Bare Foods Co. a fruit and vegetable snack manufacturer. The company which operates under the name, Bare Snacks, will expand Pepsico’s snacking portfolio.

The acquisition will further deliver on Pepsico’s Performance with Purpose vision to offer consumers healthier options.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


UPS Appoints a New Chief Marketing Officer
Company Press Release

UPS announced on Friday that it has appointed Kevin Warren as the company’s new CMO.

Warren will be responsible for all U.S. and international marketing, including the company’s product development, pricing, customer loyalty, industry segments, customer communications and public relations, among other functions.

Most recently, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Xerox Corporation, where he was responsible for worldwide channel strategy, salesforce effectiveness, and global client engagement for the company’s diverse portfolio of hardware, software, and services.

His duties will be effective June 1, 2018.


US Officials Are in North Korea
The Financial Times
Time Magazine
Tweet

According to a Tweet sent by President Trump on Sunday, US officials have arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the summit between both leaders.

Last Thursday President Trump announced that the discussions between both nations were canceled. A meeting looks like it may still be in the works between both countries which was previously scheduled to be in Singapore on June 12th.

Amazon Announces a new Fulfillment Center in Oklahoma
Company Press Release

The company announced over the weekend that it looks to create more than 1,500 jobs in Oklahoma by the end of 2019.

The facility will be more than 600,000 square-feet and will be located in Oklahoma city.

Employees at the Oklahoma centre will be expected to work on duties that involve, picking, packing and shipping small items such as books, toys, and household items.


Coca-Cola Launches its First Alcoholic Beverage
The Wall Street Journal
The Times of India
The Australian

According to the Wall Street Journal, the company has launched its first alcoholic beverage in Japan on Monday called Lemon-Do.

The new product capitalizes on the growing popularity of “chuhai” alcopops, which are a mixture of flavored carbonated water and alcohol.

The new beverage will be available in 3,5 or 7% alcoholic percentages. It is the first time in the company’s history that it has directly sold an alcoholic beverage.

Friday, May 25th, 2018


Samsung is Ordered to Pay $539 Million in Damages to Apple
CNET
The New York Times
BBC
Bloomberg
Reuters

A jury decided on Thursday that Samsung must pay the amount because it infringed upon Apple patents.

Both companies have been in a long legal battle since 2011 after Apple sued Samsung for copying its products.

According to Reuters, Samsung did not state whether it planned to appeal the verdict.


Uber Invests in Paris
Company Blog Post

The company announced this week that it would launch an Advanced Technologies Center in Paris that would focus on building a network of all-electric, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

It will be the company’s first research and development hub outside of North America. The company currently operates advanced technology offices in Pittsburgh, Toronto, and San Francisco.

Over the next five years, the company will be investing €20 million into developing new technologies and capabilities at the Advanced Technologies Center in Paris.

The new office will open this Fall and will focus on capabilities across airspace management, autonomy, real-time communication networks, energy storage, and charging systems.


LVMH, Owner of Louis Vuitton and Other Luxury Brands, Reportedly Invests into a Luxury Fashion Search Engine
Business of Fashion
The Financial Times

According to the Financial Times, the investment will help Lyst expand internationally. Funds will also be used to grow its team in London and New York.

The Business of Fashion .com reports that the company is raising a total of $60 million where LVMH is contributing up to 45%.

The Financial Times reports that Lyst is profitable with growth rates at approximately 400% over the past 3 years.

The company provides its users with the ability to shop at over 11,000 designers and stores from its platform.


Visa Looks to Accelerate Mobile Payments in Latin America and the Caribbean
Company Press Release

According to a company press release, Visa announced on Thursday that it looks to accelerate digital payment technology in the region.

The investment is part of a global strategy to open up the Visa ecosystem and support a broad range of new partners who are helping to redefine and enhance the purchase experience for millions of consumers globally.

The investment will fuel tokenized payments, increased access to Visa APIs, and expansion of Visa Direct push payments.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Iora Health Raises a New Round of Funding
Company Press Release

The healthcare provider is raising $100 million in Series E Financing.

According to a company press release, the new funds will drive its investment in its proprietary collaborative care technology platform, as well as, support continued growth.

The financing includes global investors including Khosla Ventures, GE Ventures, and Humana.


Music Video Platform, Vevo, Focuses on Youtube
Company Blog Post

The company stated on its website that it will be phasing out elements of its owned and operated platforms.

In order to reach its growth goals, the company plans to focus on Youtube and also explore working with additional platforms.

The company also stated that it plans to invest in original content including its flagship dscvr and LIFT emerging artist programs.

Vevo sees 25 billion views per month, with a total catalog of over 330 thousand pieces of content with the majority of it viewed on mobile devices. The company is headquartered in New York with offices in San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Portland.


Twitter Looks to Increase Transparency for Political Ads
Company Blog Post

According to a company blog post, the social media platform is launching its Political Campaign Policy in the U.S.

Advertisers who want to run political campaign ads for Federal elections will need to self-identify and certify that they are located in the United States. The company will also not allow foreign nationals to target political ads to people who are identified as being in the U.S.

The new policy will be rolled out this summer.


The World’s Largest Pet Sitter and Dog Walker Company Just Raised $155 Million
Company Press Release

Rover announced on Thursday that the funds will be used to increase the share of the market for its on-demand walking service, enhance its core offerings and introduce new services.

It will also dedicate a substantial amount of the new financing for expanding its service offerings into Europe. The European market represents 25 percent of the $85 billion global pet care market.

The company currently employs more than 375 people in the United States with plans to increase its team by one-third by the end of the year.

Thursday, May 24th, 2018


Apple is Reportedly Partnering with Volkswagen to Build Self Driving Vehicles
The New York Times
Bloomberg
CNBC

According to a report by the New York Times, the plans to partner with Volkswagen comes after the tech giant was reportedly unable to ink a deal with BMW and Mercedes Benz.

The company plans to customize Volkswagen T6 Transporter vans to be used as shuttles for Apple employees.

The company’s new self-driving program puts it up against rivals such as Waymo and Uber.


Rideshare Company, Lyft, Invests $100 Million in Driver Support Centers
Lyft COO Blog Post

According to a blog post by Lyft COO, Jon McNeill, the company looks to double its operational hours at all our current Lyft Hub locations, in 15 cities across North America.

Lyft Hub centers offer drivers heavily discounted oil changes and basic vehicle maintenance, electric vehicle charging stations, SUV and Car rentals courtesy of their partner Express Drive, Tax Help and Career support, and communal areas such as restaurants.


Krogers Buys a Meal Kit Company
Company Press Release

According to a company press release, Krogers has purchased Home Chef, a private meal kit company.

The deal is worth $200 million with an opportunity to potentially earn future payouts of $500 million over five years if certain milestones such as: significant in-store growth and increased online meal kit sales are achieved.

Home Chef is headquartered in downtown Chicago and employs approximately 1,000 employees. The company operates three distribution centers in: Chicago, San Bernardino and Atlanta. Home Chef’s distribution centers reach 98% of all continental U.S. households within a two-day delivery window.

Once the deal is complete Home Chef will become a subsidiary of The Kroger Co.


Chipotle Announces a New HQ
Company Press Release

The company announced on Wednesday that it plans to relocate its headquarters from Denver, Colorado to Newport Beach, California.

The Newport Beach location will serve as the corporate center for the company’s corporate functions including operations, business development, and marketing.

The transition is expected to affect approximately 400 employees in Denver and New York in Q4 2018.


Macy’s Signs on a New CFO
Company Press Release

The company announced on Wednesday that it has appointed Paula A. Price as its new Chief Financial Officer where she will be overseeing the company’s finance, accounting, investor relations and internal audit teams.

Price has 30 years of finance experience in retail and consumer facing businesses. She currently lectures on accounting and management at the Harvard Business school.

Price will replace Karen Hoguet who announced plans to retire at the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

The new appointment is effective July 9th, 2018.


The Government of Canada Has Blocked a China-based Company’s Takeover of a Canadian Construction Company
Aecon Group Company Press Release

The Aecon Group announced on Wednesday that the Governor in Council has issued an order under the Investment Canada Act directing CCCI not to implement its proposed acquisition of Aecon.

The Aecon Group is a Canadian leader in construction and infrastructure development. CCCI is the international investment and financing arm of the China Communications Construction Company Ltd., It is one of the world’s largest engineering and construction development companies.

The deal will not proceed.


Deutsche Bank Announces Major Job Cuts
Company News Release

The bank announced today that it will significantly reshape its Equities Sales & Trading business resulting in a reduction of its headcount by 25%.

Germany’s biggest bank stated that the number of full-time equivalent positions is expected to fall from just over 97,000 currently to well below 90,000.

The move part is of an accelerated effort to bring down costs.


Tourism Vancouver Plans to Attract More Chinese Tourists
Tourism Vancouver Media Article

Tourism Vancouver, a destination marketing organization that represents approximately 1,000 members in tourism and related industries and activities, announced on Wednesday that it has signed a deal with Chinese technology giant, Tencent.

The deal will launch Canada’s first official WeChat city app to provide real-time services to Chinese tourists.

Vancouver is expecting to see over 300,000 overnight visitors from China in 2018. According to Tourism Vancouver, the tourism industry contributes approximately $4.8 billion to the Metro Vancouver economy annually and provides over 70,000 full-time jobs.


Paddy Power Betfair Buys FanDuel
Company Press Release

According to a company press release, both companies plan to merge their US businesses.

The transaction combines FanDuel’s technology, brand, and user base with Betfair’s horse racing betting network, media business and online casino business in New Jersey.

The deal provides opportunities for the combined businesses to capitalize on the sports betting market opportunity in the United States. Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court allowed states to legalize sports gambling.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in Q3 of this year.


Tinder Introduces Places, a Feature That Connects People Who Share the Same Activities
Company Blog Post

Tinder announced on Wednesday that it is rolling out a new feature that allows individuals to discover new relationships while at the places they frequent the most, such as bars, yoga studios, and libraries.

The technology is powered by Foursquare and Mapbox and will be tested and made available in Sydney and Brisbane, Australia and Santiago, Chile.


Snap Launches Yellow, a Media Company Accelerator
Company News Release

Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, announced on Wednesday that it will be launching Yellow, a launchpad for creative minds and entrepreneurs focused on building media companies.

The accelerator will select individuals and teams from around the world to join the three-month program. Snap will invest $150k in each group that is accepted.

Participants will receive funding, mentorship, and introductions to industry veterans. They will be provided with workspace at Snapchat’s headquarters in Venice, California.


Facebook Rolls Out a Feature That Helps You Find Your Next Plumber
Company News Release

Facebook announced on Wednesday that it is working with Handy, HomeAdvisor, and Porch to provide its users with the ability to discover US-based professionals that specialize on home services, such as house cleaners, plumbers, and contractors.

Users will be able to get quotes, chat with the service provider, and view ratings and reviews all from within the Facebook Marketplace.

The rollout will be available across the United States over the coming weeks.

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018


Softbank is Selling its Stake in Flipkart
Reuters
The Economic Times India
The Wall Street Journal

According to Reuters, Japan’s Softbank Group plans to sell its 20% stake in Flipkart to Walmart.

Earlier this month, Walmart announced that it would be purchasing up to a 77% stake in the India based e-commerce company for $16 billion.

Terms of the Softbank sale to Walmart were not disclosed.


Youtube Officially Rolls Out Youtube Music
Youtube Blog Post
Recode

Youtube announced on Tuesday that it has officially launched early access of Youtube Music which is now available in the U.S., Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.

Customers will now be able to access albums, live performances, and Youtube Exclusives. Other benefits include an offline version that will allow paid users to access the tool without an internet connection.

The new service is expected to be the company’s answer to Spotify and Apple Music.


Outreach.io Announces a New Round of Funding
Company Blog Post
Company Press Release

The company announced on Tuesday that it has closed a $65M Series D round of financing led by Spark Capital.

The new funds will be used to accelerate product development with a specific focus on machine learning. The company also plans to extend the platform to every company customer-facing role.

The company’s total funding to date is $125M.


Qualcomm Partners with Facebook to Offer High Speed Internet
Qualcomm Company Blog Post

Qualcomm announced earlier this week that it plans to work with Facebook to offer high speed internet to urban areas.

Qualcomm’s 60GHz chipsets will be integrated into Facebook’s wireless high speed internet solution called Terragraph.

Facebook plans to roll out Terragraph field trials in 2019.


Instagram Introduces a Mute Feature
The Verge
Instagram Story Mute Option

According to the Verge, Instagram is rolling out a mute option with its app.

The new feature will provide users with the opportunity to block photos from certain individuals without actually unfollowing them.

According to the report, any individual who has been muted will not be notified. The rollout will allow the feature to be available over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018


Adobe Acquires Magento, an eCommerce Platform
Company Press Release
Bloomberg
Fortune

Adobe announced on Monday that it will acquire Magento Commerce for $1.68 Billion. The company specializes in cloud-based omnichannel solutions helping merchants merge offline and online shopping experiences.

Magento will be integrated into the Adobe Experience Cloud. Its customers include Canon, Helly Hansen, and Rosetta Stone.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of Adobe’s 2018 fiscal year.


Amazon Alexa Will Be Pre-Installed and Available on Select Acer Computers
Product Page
Company Press Release
The Verge

Acer announced on Monday that several of its notebook models will have an Amazon Alexa capability.

The pre-installed offering will let users command certain tasks on Acer Spin 3 and 5 lines via voice control.

The announcement is part of a broader rollout to integrate Amazon Alexa on more of its PC portfolio.


The Obama’s are Heading to Netflix
Company Press Release
CNN Money
BBC

Netflix announced on Monday that it has formed a storytelling partnership with Barack and Michelle Obama.

The multi-year agreement will produce various types of content such as documentaries and features.

The projects created by the agreement will be made available to 125 million Netflix members in 190 countries around the globe.


Wabtec Merges with GE Transportation
Company Press Release
The Wall Street Journal
Reuters

GE Transportation, a unit of the General Electric Company announced on Monday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to merge with the Wabtec Corporation.

The merger will make Wabtec a Fortune 500 leader in rail equipment, software and services, in 50 countries around the globe. Wabtec employs approximately 18,000 employees globally.

The deal is valued at $11.1 Billion.


HMD Global Raises $100 Million for its Next Phase of Growth
Company Press Release
Financial Times
TechCrunch

The Finland-based company announced on Monday that the funds will be used to scale the company and expand during its second year of operations. The new round of funding values the company at $1 Billion.

HMD, a manufacturer of Nokia branded smartphones, will use the new funds to expand its portfolio of Nokia smartphones. It will also focus on expanding channel reach in strategic markets.

HMD was established on December 1st, 2016. During its first year of operations, the company has shipped more than 70 million Nokia branded phones. It has also scaled sales operations in over 80 countries. The company’s products have been activated in 170 countries.


Sony Will Become the World’s Largest Music Publisher
Company Press Release
The New York Times
CNBC

Sony announced today that it has signed a legally binding memorandum of understanding with the Mubadala Investment Company to purchase its 60% equity stake in EMI Music Publishing.

The $2.3 Billion deal will turn EMI Music Publishing into a consolidated subsidiary of Sony as the company will now own a 90% equity interest in the music publisher. The deal comes at a significant point in time when the music industry is seeing new growth fueled by streaming services.

According to a company press release, EMI Music Publishing owns or administers over two million songs that include classics by Queen, Carole King and the Motown catalog along with contemporary songs from Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams, Calvin Harris, and Drake.

Monday, May 21st, 2018


The FDA Approves a Treatment to Prevent Migraines
Novartis Press Release
FDA Press Release

Novartis announced last week that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a preventive treatment for migraines.

The treatment is called Aimovig and will block certain receptors that play a critical role in migraines.

The new treatment is expected to be made available this week.


Pepsico Voluntarily Withdraws its Listing of Common Stock Shares from the Chicago Stock Exchange
Pepsico Press Release

The reason for the voluntary withdrawal from the Chicago Stock Exchange was made in an effort to eliminate costs associated with dual listings. The withdrawal will be in effect before the end of June.

Last Friday the company announced in a press release that common stock would continue to be available on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.


According to Glassdoor, More than 25% of Job Seekers Are Willing to Move to a New City for a New Gig
Glassdoor Press Release
Glassdoor Study

Job and recruiting site, Glassdoor, released the results of a study that outlined that more than 25% of job seekers are willing to move away from their current metro for a new job opportunity.

According to a company press release, the study was based off of a sample of 668,000 online job applications from 40 of the largest metros in the US. The study was taken between January 8-14, 2018.

The study found that San Francisco and New York were top destinations for applicants. San Jose was at 3rd place, Los Angeles at 4th, and Washington DC at 5th place.

Glassdoor’s study found that company culture was a major factor that contributed to a potential move. We attached a link to the study at dailyheadstart.com


The Government of Canada Launches a Fund to Help Reduce the Impacts of Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada Press Release
Calgary Herald

On Friday, the government of Canada announced the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund to help communities mitigate against natural disasters and build infrastructure to combat the effects of climate change.

The national program will invest $2-billion over the span of 10 years to help communities against floods, wildfires, seismic events, and droughts.

According to a government press release, from 1983 to 2004, insurance claims in Canada from severe-weather events totaled almost $400 million a year. In the past decade, that amount tripled to more than $1 billion a year.


DialPad Acquires a Real-Time Speech Recognition Company
DialPad Company Press Release
DialPad Blog Post
TechCrunch

The company announced last week that it has acquired TalkIQ, a company that uses artificial intelligence to analyze speech in real-time.

The acquisition will provide DialPad business teams with the ability to capture and learn from conversations as they happen.

The acquisition will boost DialPad’s product offerings that will include: real-time call transcription, automated call notes, rreal-time sentiment analysis, and real-time coaching and guides for sales and support teams.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


AT&T Launches a Product That Allows You to Get Products and Services at the Click of a Button
AT&T Press Release
The Verge
Engadget

AT&T announced last week that it has launched a device that allows users to order products online at the click of a button.

AT&T’s device will be dubbed the LTE-M Button. It’s similar to the Amazon Dash button where users can click on a physical button that would send orders on a customized list of products such as toiletries, and supplies.

The device does not depend on Wifi or Bluetooth to operate.

It’s available now in the company’s Internet of Things marketplace.


Greylock Announces a New General Partner
Greylock Blog Post
TechCrunch
Forbes

The firm announced in a blog post last week that Sarah Guo will be joining Benchmark to focus on quote “helping entrepreneurs create and scale the next generation of important b2b companies.”

Guo’s areas of focus will be on applications, infrastructure, cybersecurity and digital health companies.

Greylock holds current investments in companies such as Airbnb, Coinbase, and Discord. Its past investments include Facebook, Linkedin, and Tumblr.


Ferrari Gets a New CFO
Ferrari Company Press Release
Wall Street Journal
Marketwatch

Last Friday, Ferarri announced that it has appointed Antonio Picca Piccon as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer. Piccon will join the company from the Ariston Thermo Group where he previously held the CFO role.

Piccon will replace Alessandro Gili who will leave the company on May 31st to pursue other career opportunities.

Piccon is expected to start on July 30th.