Tag Archives: Raises
LONDON (Reuters) – WhatsApp, the popular messaging service owned by Facebook Inc (FB.O), is raising its minimum age from 13 to 16 in Europe to help it comply with new data privacy rules coming into force next month.
It is not clear how or if the age limit will be checked given the limited data requested and held by the service.
Facebook, which has a separate data policy, is taking a different approach to teens aged between 13 and 15 in order to comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law.
It is asking them to nominate a parent or guardian to give permission for them to share information on the platform, otherwise they will not see a fully personalized version of the social media platform.
But WhatsApp, which had more than 1.5 billion users in January according to Facebook, said in a blog post it was not asking for any new rights to collect personal information in the agreement it has created for the European Union.
“Our goal is simply to explain how we use and protect the limited information we have about you,” it said.
WhatsApp, founded in 2009, has come under pressure from some European governments in recent years because of its end-to-end encrypted messaging system and its plan to share more data with its parent, Facebook.
Facebook itself is under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers around the world since disclosing last month that the personal information of millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, setting off wider concerns about how it handles user data.
WhatsApp’s minimum age of use will remain 13 years in the rest of the world, in line with its parent.
GDPR is the biggest overhaul of online privacy since the birth of the internet, giving Europeans the right to know what data is stored on them and the right to have it deleted.
Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and some other tech firms have said they plan to give people in the United States and elsewhere the same protections and rights that Europeans will gain.
European regulators have already disrupted a move by WhatsApp to change its policies to allow it to share users’ phone numbers and other information with Facebook to help improve the product and more effectively target ads.
WhatsApp suspended the change in Europe after widespread regulatory scrutiny. It said on Tuesday it still wanted to share the data at some point.
“As we have said in the past, we want to work closer with other Facebook companies in the future and we will keep you updated as we develop our plans,” it said.
Other changes announced by WhatsApp on Tuesday include allowing users to download a report detailing the data it holds on them, such as the make and model of the device they used, their contacts and groups and any blocked numbers.
“This feature will be rolling out to all users around the world on the newest version of the app,” it said.
The blog post also points to safety tips on the service, such as the ability to block unwanted users, and delete and report spam.
Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Adrian Croft
FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) – Germany’s SAP (SAPG.DE) announced upbeat results in the seasonally tough first quarter, saying it was gaining ground on its main competitors Salesforce (CRM.N) and Oracle (ORCL.N) in the cloud and that its margin recovery was firmly on track.
SAP, Europe’s largest tech company by stock market valuation, also raised its sales and profits guidance for 2018 to take into account the $ 2.4 billion acquisition of U.S. sales software firm Callidus that was announced in January.
“We’re gaining share fast and we’re outpacing our toughest competitors pretty handily,” Chief Executive Bill McDermott told reporters on a conference call, calling the results strong at the top and bottom line.
SAP now expects total non-IFRS revenues at constant currencies this year of 24.8-25.3 billion euros ($ 30.28-$ 30.89 billion), representing growth of 5.5-7.5 percent, up from an earlier expectation of 5-7 percent growth.
Non-IFRS operating profits rose 14 percent in constant currency to 1.235 billion euros, compared to the average forecast of 1.19 billion euros in a Reuters poll of 15 analysts.
Cloud subscription and support revenues, SAP’s growth driver, grew by 18 percent to exceed 1 billion euros for the first time. At constant currencies they rose 31 percent, to which McDermott said: “Wow.”
Cloud growth accelerated outside the United States and grew faster than any of SAP’s major rivals, including Oracle, Salesforce and Workday (WDAY.O), he added SAP has faced currency headwinds due to the strong euro, and both the company and analysts focus on key metrics after adjustment for currency effects to get an underlying picture of performance.
Had SAP reported in U.S. dollars, like its competitors, the growth numbers would have turned out even better, said Chief Financial Officer Luca Mucic. Cloud subscriptions, for example, would have shown year-over-year growth in the first quarter of 37 percent in U.S. dollar terms, he said.
“We grew faster than every ‘best-of-breed’ cloud (competitor) out there,” McDermott said. “Faster than Workday, a lot faster than Salesforce, and a lot faster than Oracle.”
Mucic said that an expansion of 1.1 percentage points in operating margins in the first quarter boded well for SAP after a strong showing in the same quarter a year ago.
($ 1 = 0.8191 euros)
Reporting by Douglas Busvine and Eric Auchard; Editing by Tom Sims
(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google is raising the price of its YouTube TV online service for new customers as it adds channels from Time Warner Inc’s Turner, National Basketball League and Major League Baseball, the company said Wednesday.
Less than one year after launching YouTube TV, the company is increasing its pricing to $ 40 per month from $ 35 per month as it adds Turner’s channels, which include TNT, CNN and TBS, and soon will be adding MLB Network and NBA TV, the company said.
Google is expanding its offering at a time when a growing number of competing services, such as Dish Network Corp’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Hulu, are vying to win over the growing number of viewers who are cancelling their cable subscriptions to watch their favorite shows online.
The four largest cable and satellite companies lost 1.5 million pay TV customers in 2017.
DirectTV Now has over 2 million subscribers, according to AT&T. Sling TV, Hulu and YouTube TV do not disclose how many users they have, but research firm BTIG estimates they respectively had 2.1 million, 500,000 and 350,000 as of the end of 2017.
The costs for these competing offerings range from $ 20 for Sling TV’s most basic offering of 30 channels to $ 39.99 for Hulu’s one with more than 50 channels and its library of shows and movies, which costs $ 7.99 separately.
Google is betting that its strong sports offering will help win over more subscribers, said Heather Moosnick, director of content partnerships, YouTube TV.
“Sports is really one of the key offerings that a millennial would be willing to pay for a live TV service,” she said.
To that end, Google has targeted sports fans with its TV ads this year. Ninety-six percent of YouTube TV’s ads on television so far this year have appeared during sports programming, including the Super Bowl, according to iSpot.tv, which tracks TV ads.
When Google launched YouTube TV last April it was cautious with how much content it was offering so that it could keep the price low enough to entice cord cutters or people considering cutting the cord, Moosnick said.
At launch YouTube TV offered almost 50 channels in five markets. With these additions, YouTube TV will have almost 60 channels, and be in 100 markets, Moosnick said.
The new pricing will take effect for new users who sign up after March 13, the company said.
Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Editing by Susan Thomas
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Swiss-Israeli technology firm Sirin Labs said on Thursday it had raised $ 118 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) to support the development of an open source blockchain smartphone.
ICOs allow startups founded on cryptocurrency technologies such as blockchain to quickly raise capital by issuing virtual tokens to investors.
Such offerings have become more common in the past year, but Europe’s top markets regulator warned last month they were “extremely risky and highly speculative investments.”
Sirin, which has recruited soccer superstar Lionel Messi to be its brand ambassador, said it had raised the money from 5,600 people globally within the first 24 hours and would continue the offering for another 12 days.
“These are our potential clients. We think they will be the first to buy the phones,” Moshe Hogeg, CEO and founder of Sirin, told reporters.
The ICO will help fund its secure blockchain phone, as well as a blockchain personal computer. The company said the phone, which should be on the market near the end of next year, benefits from enhanced security and the ability to carry out fee-less transactions.
Hogeg said his target had been to raise $ 75 million – the amount needed to develop the phone. The additional funds will enable the company to increase its production and invest more in sales and marketing.
Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Tova Cohen; Editing by Mark Potter
(Reuters) – Uber rival Lyft Inc is raising an additional $ 500 million in funding, according to a U.S. share authorization document filed in Delaware news website Axios said. (bit.ly/2BhebbU)
The additional funding round, led by Alphabet Inc’s CapitalG, is an extension of the $ 1 billion round announced in October.
Lyft spokesman Adrian Durbin, confirming the funding round, in an e-mailed statement said, “Increasing the potential for this round will allow us to further accelerate our commitment to serving passengers and drivers.”
In October Lyft had said that the previous round of funding boosted its valuation to $ 11 billion from $ 7.5 billion. The fresh funding would raise its valuation to $ 11.5 billion.
Reporting by Sangameswaran S in BengaluruEditing by Greg Mahlich
Mattermark, which has evolved rapidly from a database to help investors rank startups to a sales intelligence service, today announced that it has raised $ 7.3 million in series B funding and is valued at $ 42 million. The equity investment was led by Foundry Group and Jon Hallett, with participation from existing investors. (Disclosure: VentureBeat occasionally publishes opinion pieces from Foundry Group’s Brad Feld.) Total funding to date is $ 18.4 million.
Above: Mattermark’s founders: Kevin Morrill, Danielle Morrill, and Andy Sparks.
According to co-founder and CEO Danielle Morrill, “we’ve evolved a lot from our ‘Bloomberg for Startups’” origins and the startup is finding success with its sharpened focus.
Based in San Francisco, the three-year old Mattermark now has 50 employees, 500 customers drawn from the ranks of large corporations, private equity, and sales and marketing firms, and is generating $ 300,000 in monthly revenue, according to a company statement. The company will use the investment to build out its sales force and continue creating what it calls “an unkillable SaaS company.”
Mattermark’s service offers one-click integrations with a wide range of sales tools like LinkedIn and Salesforce, spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, and an API for software developers to write custom solutions that tie into the Mattermark platform. Mattermark’s customers use the service for lead discovery and qualification, detailed company information, as well as up to the minute data on a prospect’s brand footprint and employee headcount trends.
Culture Amp, a startup headquartered in Melbourne, Australia that helps businesses know just what their employees think about work, has raised US$ 10 million (A$ 13.5 million) in a new funding round.
The Series B funding was led by Index Ventures, along with Felicis Ventures and Blackbird Ventures, Culture Amp announced in a statement Monday.
Culture Amp banks on the fact businesses now recognise a good workplace culture can provide a competitive edge, Peter Haasz, vice president of business development and strategy at Culture Amp, told Mashable Australia. “We’ve realised if we want to be more innovative and deliver better service to our customers, we need better culture,” he said. Read more…
Shanghai-based workplace collaboration platform Teambition announced this week that it has raised $ 12 million in Series B funding from investors including NLVC, IDG, Vangoo Capital, and Gobi Partners.
Teambition is an online platform that allows for workplace collaboration on things like events, tasks, posts, and cloud-based file libraries. Immediate comparisons that come to mind include Planner, Asana, Basecamp, Wunderlist, Trello, Slack, Jive, Dropbox, Google for Work, and even Microsoft 365.
This Series B round brings Teambition’s total funding to date to $ 17 million — it previously raised a $ 5 million Series A in December last year, and was, ironically, a 2013 graduate of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program in Beijing. The company declined to comment on valuation.
The money will be used to further build out its existing freemium model, expand sales efforts, diversify the team, and hire more global talent from outside China. It also plans to adapt and customize the product “to what specific industries need to collaborate.”
Teambition’s chief executive, Junyuan Qi, a 2012 graduate in management information systems from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, told VentureBeat he is confident of strong traction in China going forward, but is also looking to grow internationally.
To that end, the company recently hired Paris-based Florian Monfort to head up international growth. Monfort, who has experience at companies like Dropbox and LibreOffice, will be moving to Shanghai in the coming weeks.
“If you think about services available on the Market today, they are mostly separate and/or bundled,” Monfort told VentureBeat. “This is as close as we get to any form of integration and interaction between each collaboration function.”
“We tackle this by creating an application that has the primary features those services provides, all integrated into one app. This means one account that everybody can use without having to jump between services and apps all the time,” he added.
Teambition is available on both Android and iOS, but also Mac and Windows. Here’s a further breakdown of some of the key functionality it offers, as laid out in the product description:
Tasks — On Task Board, you can share project progress with your colleagues straightforwardly, break tasks down to sub-tasks, add attachments and deadline. And all of these can be discussed in real-time .
Posts — You can share your ideas and knowledge with other members on Post Wall. All the posts are editable, and all the involved members will be noticed when the posts are updated. We also provide a Chrome add-on to help you sharing posts easier.
File library — As convenient as Dropbox, File Library is where to share documents with your colleagues and keep them updated. Each shared document can be discussed specifically. And best of all, Teambition File Library offers unlimited storage.
Events — Arrange a meeting and invite members to participate, and start online discussion on Teambition Events. We offer a subscription link which you can subscribe to your calendar app.
But to gain popularity and grow beyond China — clearly something that is playing on the company’s mind, now more than ever — it will need to persuade both free and paying users that it can be trusted with their data. As of now, all of its servers are still based inside mainland China, and that might not sit comfortably with everyone.
Monfort offers an example of how a developer who’s doing some programming based on a task on the platform may benefit.
“The task has some content linked to it: a design file, a post, and an event,” he said. “We let people link content, not only files. People can link to a task Teambition posts, events, or other tasks. Now, every time the designer will change the mock-ups, the developer will receive a notification in this task saying something has been updated.”
“This means at the end of the day, everybody works on the same content and items, in the search for a precise goal defined by the project itself. No need for extra services, everything you need is in there. We also put an extreme emphasis on mobile. Being China based, we evolve in a market where mobile and apps dominate,” he added.
In its home market, the company faces the strongest competition in its space from local players, including Worktile, Tower, and Mingdao. As of now, the only number it’s sharing is users, which stand at 500,000, as of August. It declined to comment on revenue or China market share.
Ultimately, Teambition sees Microsoft 365 as its single biggest competitor globally — Monfort believes the Redmond-based giant has moved forward by leaps and bounds on the productivity front under Satya Nadella’s leadership.
“This has made it a bit more difficult today, though I also believe that our value proposition sets us apart enough that we can feed on different pies,” he concluded.
Bringing in more integration with existing players is something that the company may consider going forward, but for now it wants to focus on creating a solid user experience — and not risk sacrificing that by stretching its “limited resources” too thin.
If you’re a China tech watcher, these guys are probably worth keeping on your radar.
Onshape, a three-year-old company in Boston, claims to be the first 100% cloud-based 3D design software and today announced a fresh $ 80 million in venture capital, roughly half of which is from new investor Andreessen Horowitz.