Aquifer Tech Snapshot: July 27 - 31
The popular video sharing app Tik Tok, owned by Chinese company Bytedance, was soon to be banned in the U.S. due to safety concerns over user data being sent to China. Instead, Microsoft is reported to bid on Tik Tok, with many speculating that the deal will go through.
Microsoft aims to acquire the vast amount of user data to gain insight into user behavior, such as how users interact with Xbox or Kinect. Microsoft may also be hoping to compete with YouTube (owned by Google), Snapchat, and Facebook in ways they could not before.
U.S. President Donald Trump has mandated the deal be closed by September 15.
In an unprecedented time where it seems like the world is flipped upside down, Google is giving their employees a bit more certainty about how to conduct work. Worldwide Google employees who are not required to be in the office are allowed to WFH until July 2021. The decision led by Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai provides more safety for employees and seemingly allows a peace of mind for those who have children and have to deal with school closures and remote learning. With a rise in coronavirus cases worldwide, Google’s formal 12-month WFH policy may set an example for other companies to transition to WFH as much as possible.
Businesses receive a tax benefit when donating to nonprofit organizations. With corporate profits down due to COVID-19, charitable donations are one of the first expenditures to be wiped out. In a typical year, about 4% of nonprofits shut down; within the next 12-18 months, it is estimated that 11% of nonprofits (about 35,000 organizations) will be forced to close due to lack of funding. Nonprofits related to the arts will be impacted the most, while nonprofits related to policing and social justice may benefit due to heightened awareness of social inequalities, largely brought on by the BLM movement and exacerbated by the changes people are forced to face due to COVID-19.
With the advent of remote work, Everphone catered to the need of mobile hardware to support businesses and their employees. Everphone offers a ‘one-stop-shop’ for mobile and tablet rentals, support, and associated software for businesses.
With a €34M investment from Deutsche Telekom, Everphone expects a 70-100% increase in sales volume due to the necessity of telecommunication during pandemic.
Remittances (money sent as a payment, usually to people overseas) are often a lifeline for people who live in developing countries. World Bank has estimated that remittances to developing countries will decrease by 20%, due in part to economic slowdown and job loss in developed countries. However, remitly, a remittance technology company, has seen a surge in business and raised $85M by Prosus because of their low rates and online platform (no going in the shop to send money overseas). When the world economy slowly rebounds, Remitly may have placed themselves in a strategic position to reap the future benefits.
Tempo raised $60M in Series B led by Norwest Venture Partners and General Catalyst to compete with Mirror, a San Francisco-based company acquired by Lululemon for $500M.
The Tempo mirror device costs ~$2000, plus a $39/month membership fee for work out video tutorials and on-demand content. Tempo says they may reach a $100M run rate by the end of this year.
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Research contributed by Stephanie Heinsohn