스타트업 뉴스/이슈 05/24/2021

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스타트업 뉴스/이슈 05/24/2021

실리콘밸리 1 676 05.24 16:26

오늘의 기사 공유해드립니다:

Samsung Electronics expands monitor lineup with upgraded features [Yonhap, TheVerge]
Samsung Electronics added more products to its monitor lineup with enhanced connectivity options. The company said that its latest Smart Monitor, powered by the Tizen OS, includes a 43-inch M7 model supporting ultra-high definition resolution. The monitor, which supports 65W charging through a USB Type-C port and Bluetooth 4.2 solution, will be sold at ₩650,000 ($575) in South Korea and will come with a solar-powered remote control. The company also added that the white edition of the M5 monitor, which was first unveiled in May in South Korea, is now globally available. Samsung said that its new monitors can be also be voice controlled by Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa starting July, in addition to Samsung Bixby and Google Assistant.
Samsung Biologics signs vaccine production deal with Moderna [Yonhap]
Samsung Biologics, on May 22nd, signed a deal to manufacture Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine at its local factory. Under the agreement, the biotech unit of Samsung Group will provide the US drugmaker with contract manufacturing organization (CMO) services for its mRNA vaccine. The two companies signed the contract during a South Korea-US vaccine partnership event held in Washington, D.C., with President Moon Jae-in attendance. Moderna also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Under the MOU, Moderna agreed to strive for investments in the mRNA vaccine production facility and hiring of manpower in South Korea. The ministries plan to offer support for Moderna's investment and business activities.
Competitive Intelligence
Apple accuses Microsoft of using Epic in legal attack [Yahoo News]
Apple suggested that Epic was acting as a stalking horse for Microsoft and withholding evidence. The company made the accusations on May 19th in a filing asking a judge to make an adverse credibility finding against Lori Wright, an Xbox executive who testified in the trial on behalf of Epic. This would mean the judge could ignore her testimony. Apple said that Microsoft shielded itself from meaningful discovery in this litigation by not appearing as a party or sending a corporate representative to testify. Apple also complained that Microsoft withheld internal communications and held discussions with Epic about its decision to circumvent Apple’s payment rules.
Amazon is shutting down its Prime Now fast delivery app [CNBC]
Amazon announced on May 21st that is shutting down its stand-alone Prime Now platforms and is directing users who want fast delivery on groceries and other goods to order them through the Amazon app or website. The Prime Now app and website will be retired worldwide by the end of this year, the company said. Consumers will be able to choose two-hour delivery on essentials and other goods via the Amazon app or website. Two-hour grocery delivery will be available via Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods, both of which are on Amazon’s app and website. In addition, any third-party retailers or local stores that were offered on the Prime Now app will be moved over to Amazon.
Twitter, Google, and Facebook publish inaugural Australian transparency reports [ZDNet]
Twitter, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, TikTok, Apple, Redbubble, and Adobe, have all published their inaugural transparency report. The report outline their commitments and efforts on how they plan to protect Australians against harm from online disinformation and misinformation on their respective platforms. The first set of annual transparency reports comes three months after they all committed to the Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation.
LG winds up phone business with last rollable gadget [Chosun]
LG will produce a few hundred rollable smartphones before it winds up its phone business altogether. LG had been developing the gadget with Chinese display maker BOE since last year, and a prototype was unveiled at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. The rollable smartphone has a 6.8-inch screen that can expand to 7.4 inches. Moreover, the phone will not be sold but given away as gifts to people who took part in its development and other high-profile guests.
Spotify brings offline listening to the Apple Watch [TechCrunch]
Spotify announced that its Premium subscribers can now download music and podcasts to Apple Watch for offline listening. The new feature works more or less like standard downloading and sharing. Samsung has already offered the feature on some of the competition, including Samsung’s Galaxy Watch line. The service is also coming to Google Wear OS watches soon, per an announcement by Google at I/O. Whereas, Apple Music, has offered offline listening on the Watch for a while, as has Pandora.
Twitch is adding over 350 tags to help make streams more inclusive [Engadget]
Twitch is adding over 350 channel tags that reflect a wide range of communities, including ones for gender and sexual orientation, ethnicity, abilities and veteran status. The company said that it worked with organizations like GLAAD and AbleGamers to develop the tags alongside the community itself. The site will also accept UserVoice suggestions, and will review the most popular suggestions each week to potentially add them later. Twitch also added that those who may abuse the tags to harass streamers, will face punishment in line with the company's anti-hate policy.
Industry Innovations
Chinese startup Pony.ai can now test driverless vehicles in three California cities [TechCrunch]
Pony.ai has been given permission by California regulators to pilot its autonomous vehicles without a human safety driver behind the wheel in three cities. Pony.ai is the eighth company to be issued a driverless testing permit in the state, a list that includes Chinese companies AutoX, Baidu and WeRide as well as US businesses Cruise, Nuro, Waymo and Zoox. The permit issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, expands upon Pony’s existing activity in the state, where it has been allowed to test autonomous vehicles with safety drivers since 2017. Under the permit, the company will be able to test six autonomous vehicles without a driver behind the wheel on specified streets within Fremont, Milpitas and Irvine.
IBM’s Project CodeNet will test how far users can push AI to write software [VentureBeat]
IBM’s AI research division has released a 14-million-sample dataset to develop ML models that can help in programming tasks. Called Project CodeNet, the dataset takes its name after ImageNet, the famous repository of labeled photos that triggered a revolution in computer vision and deep learning. With Project CodeNet, the researchers at IBM have tried to create a multi-purpose dataset that can be used to train ML models for various tasks. The dataset contains 14 million code samples with 500 million lines of code written in 55 different programming languages and have been obtained from submissions to nearly 4,000 challenges posted on online coding platforms AIZU and AtCoder. CodeNet can also help to develop ML models for code recommendation.
Facebook Wav2vec-U learns to recognize speech from unlabeled data [VentureBeat]
Facebook announced that it trained an AI model to build speech recognition systems that don’t require transcribed data. The company, which trained systems for Swahili, Tatar, Kyrgyz, and other languages, claims that the model, wav2vec Unsupervised (Wav2vec-U), is an important step toward building machines that can solve a range of tasks by learning from their observations. Facebook’s Wav2vec-U solves the challenges in supervised learning by taking a self-supervised (also known as unsupervised) approach. With unsupervised learning, Wav2vec-U is fed “unknown” data for which no previously defined labels exist. The system must teach itself to classify the data, processing it to learn from its structure. Facebook is releasing the code for Wav2vec-U in open source to enable developers to build speech recognition systems using unlabeled speech audio recordings and unlabeled text.
Quantum drums could lead to more powerful computer networks [Engadget]
NIST researchers have built two miniscule, quantum-entangled aluminum drums to measure their properties and lay the groundwork for large quantum networks. The team used microwave light to give the drums two patterns that entangled on a level so precise that human instruments couldn't match their level of coordination. The scientists then measured tiny differences in the drum head positions and found that they'd move at the same speed in relation to each other, just in different directions. NIST could only keep the entanglement active for about 200 microseconds. However, that would be long enough for them to be used as qubits for storing data and converting it to and from microwaves that could be sent to distant quantum computers in a network. There is still plenty of work left before this reaches hardware outside of a lab and the research group is looking to make the drums perform complex operations.
Investment and M&A
Snap acquires AR startup WaveOptics, which provides tech for Spectacles, for over $500 million [TechCrunch]
Snap acquired WavwOptics, an AR startup that makes the waveguides and projectors used in AR glasses for $500 million in a cash-and-stock deal. The first half of that will be coming in the form of stock when the deal officially closes, and the remainder will be payable in cash or stock in two years. It’s not clear whether WaveOptics will continue to work with other parties post-deal. Moreover, the latest deal marks Snap’s biggest acquisition to date in terms of valuation.
SK Hynix wins Europe’s approval for $9 billion Intel unit deal [Bloomberg Quint]
European regulators on May 21st cleared SK Hynix’s $9 billion acquisition of Intel’s Nand storage unit. The company had earlier secured a greenlight from US regulators and awaits approval from the UK and China. SK Hynix, which announced the deal in October, is trying to win approval from the remaining countries this year. The clearance comes as the Biden administration is reviewing semiconductor supply chains in the wake of a global chip shortage. If Hynix succeeds in getting signoffs from the remaining governments, it will cement its position as the largest NAND producer after Samsung Electronics. The company plans to more than triple its flash-memory revenue over five years through the acquisition.
Auto data startup Wejo explores SPAC merger with Virtuoso [VentureBeat, Yahoo Finance]
Wejo is reportedly in talks to go public through a reverse merger with blank-check company Virtuoso Acquisition in a deal that would value the British connected car data start-up at more than $1 billion. Reports suggest that the two companies have not closed a deal to raise funding from investors to support the deal. Founded in 2014, Wejo organizes data from about 15 million connected vehicles for such clients as GM, Hyundai Motor and Daimler, and companies can use the data to develop apps and services for fleets, smart cities and individual consumers.
factory14 raises $200 million to jump into the Amazon marketplace roll-up race, also acquired Pro Bile Tool [TechCrunch]
factory14 raised $200 million to acquire smaller businesses and help them grow through better economies of scale. Dmg Ventures and DN Capital co-led the equity-based seed funding. Victory Park Capital provided the credit facility and also participated in the equity consortium. The startup is describing this funding injection as a seed round, but in fact the majority of it is coming in the form of debt to acquire companies. The company also acquired Pro Bike Tool, a popular D2C seller of its own-brand bike accessories and tools, for an undisclosed sum. This is factory14’s fourth acquisition since launching earlier this year, and the company said that its focus on acquiring marketplace sellers that are already seeing success and some scale means that it is already profitable.
Cagney’s Figure valued at $3.2 billion in latest funding round [Yahoo News]
Figure Technologies, a blockchain-based startup, raised $200 million in a round led by 10T Holdings and Morgan Creek Digital, at a valuation of $3.2 billion. Founded in 2018, the company, which uses blockchain for products such as home equity lines of credit, has created a marketplace for buying and selling loans on blockchain. The funding will help the company hunt for deals for its lending operations, seek a national bank charter from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and build out Figure Pay, which offers services for individuals and helps merchants facilitate payments.
Workplace video message platform, Loom valued at $1.53 billion [Yahoo]
Loom raised $130 million in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia Capital, Coatue Management, General Catalyst and Iconiq Capital. The latest investment values the company at $1.53 billion, more than quadrupling its valuation from a year ago. Loom’s video platform allows people to send recorded video messages at work. Its customers include Netflix., Atlassian and Twitter. The company added that more than 10 million people across 120,000 companies use its product, with its active user base growing at a rate of 900% YoY. With the new investment, Loom said it plans to invest in R&D and product innovation.


JakeMin 05.24 16:44
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