More TikTok and WeChat Drama | Sept 14 - Sept 18
Updated: Sep 25, 2020
Here we go again with more TikTok news. Developments seem to change by the day, though here is what we know so far.
U.S. President Donald Trump has given his “blessing” to a proposed deal amongst TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart that could prevent TikTok from being banned in the U.S. by September 27. Here is what the potential partnership (note, not ownership). may look like: Oracle would get a 12.%stake in TikTok Global and would store its data on the US Oracle cloud. Walmart would get a 7.5% stake and provide e-commerce and shopping-related services. Bytedance keeps 80% ownership (although, US venture firms own 40% of Bytedance). The U.S. government would get 25K jobs at the TikTok HQ in the US.
If the US-based TikTok Global is to be formed, it may pave the way for the rest of the world.
We’ve talked about WeChat as well. Previously we reported that Trump was set to ban Chinese-based WeChat in the U.S. regarding national security concerns. Users of WeChat in the U.S. (mostly Chinese people who rely on WeChat to communicate with friends and family in China) argued that banning WeChat in the U.S. would infringe on their First Amendment rights (basically right to free speech in the U.S.). The courts have halted Trump’s decision to ban WeChat, as it may be regarded as a target to Chinese people residing in the U.S. New details to unfold later on.
The PS5 will be released in the U.S. and Canada on November 19, 2020. It will cost $499.99 USD ($399.99 USD for the digital-only version).The timing of the release will compete with Microsoft’s next-gen consoles: the entry-level Xbox Series S ($299.99 USD) and its flagship Xbox Series X ($499.99 USD) which will release on November 10. The PS5 will be backwards compatible with most PS4 games and PS VR games and features an AMD GPU capable of ray tracking, 4K graphics support, and real-time 3D effects.
Robust tools related to training and education are still vital since many employees are still working remotely. Healthcare is no different. Osso VR’s surgical training platform is designed to train surgeons and hospital staff, and its customer base has skyrocketed during the pandemic as healthcare companies won’t require an onsite technician to be present. Osso VR’s latest round of funding was led by the investment arm of Kaiser Permanente. Osso VR currently has about 30 customers and is seeking to increase its customer base. Their recently validation study claims surgeons who trained with the Osso VR platform showed a 230% increase in surgical performance.
Chime, an American neobank with no fees, recently IPO’d raised an additional $485M and is now valued at $14.5B (up from a $1.5B in early 2019). Chime claims they are now EBITDA profitable and are painting themselves as a software company, rather than a fintech company, to attract more funding. This huge round shows that fintech is still highly valued and competitive.
Outschool was founded in 2015 to help homeschooled students boost their extracurricular activities. They were already offering courses ranging from “engineering lessons through Lego challenges to Spanish teaching by Taylor Swift songs.” Since the pandemic started in early 2020, Outschool was able to widen their customer base by adapting to the historic change; nearly every student worldwide is now taking courses online, so online learning sessions suddenly became a necessity.
From August 2019 to August 2020, Outschool has seen more than 2000% booking increases and went from $6.5M in sales to $54M in sales. Their latest $45M Series B funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners will help Outschool grow its current 60-person staff and build a global education community that supplements schooling.
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