Author: Catherine Shu

Cryptocurrency wallet startup Cobo raises $13M Series A to enter the U.S. and Southeast Asia

TECHCRUNCH Cobo, a cryptocurrency wallet startup headquartered in Beijing, has raised a $13 million Series A to enter new international markets. The round was led by DHVC and Wu Capital, a family office based in China. Cobo plans to expand in the United States and Southeast Asia, in particular Vietnam and Indonesia. Cobo is also now taking pre-orders for Cobo Vault, a hardware wallet (pictured above) that it claims is military grade. Cobo’s Series A brings its total funding to $20 million so far. Cobo Wallet allows users to store both proof-of-stake and proof-of-work coins. One incentive for people...

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Some notable Facebook shareholders file (mostly symbolic) proposal to oust Mark Zuckerberg as chairman

TECHCRUNCH Several major Facebook shareholders have submitted a proposal calling for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to step down as chairman of the company’s board. The filing is mainly symbolic, since Zuckerberg has almost total voting control, an arrangement that has earned the company’s board structure comparisons to a “dictatorship.” The proposal is still noteworthy, however, because of the investors involved. The pension funds of New York City are joining activist shareholder Trillium Asset Management, which has wanted to remove Zuckerberg as Facebook’s chairman since its disappointing second-quarter earnings report in July, as well as the state treasurers of Rhode Island, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. The proposal will be voted on at Facebook’s shareholder meeting next year. In an online statement, New York City comptroller Scott Stringer called on Facebook’s board to make its chair an independent position. “Facebook plays an outsized role in our society and economy. They have a social and financial responsibility to be transparent—that’s why we’re demanding independence and accountability in the company’s boardroom. We need Facebook’s insular boardroom to make a serious commitment to addressing real risks—reputational, regulatory, and the risk to our democracy—that impact the country, its shareholders, and ultimately the hard-earned pensions of thousands of New York City workers,” Stringer said. “An independent board chair is essential to moving Facebook forward from this mess, and to reestablish trust with Americans and investors alike.” The shareholder...

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Samsung acquires network analytics startup Zhilabs to help its transition to 5G

TECHCRUNCH Samsung Electronics is betting that acquiring Zhilabs, a real-time networks analytics startup based in Barcelona, will ease its transition from 4G to 5G technologies. Financial details of the deal, which was announced today, have not been disclosed. Zhilabs will be fully owned by Samsung, but it will continue to operate independently under its own management. The acquisition of Zhilabs is part of Samsung’s initiative, announced in August, to invest 25 trillion won (about $22 billion) in businesses working on AI, 5G, components for self-driving vehicles, and biopharmaceutical technologies. In a statement, Youngky Kim, Samsung Electronic’s president and head...

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Amazon puts $10M in Closed Loop Fund to make recycling easier in more American cities

TECHCRUNCH Amazon announced today that it has invested $10 million in Closed Loop Fund, which finances the creation of recycling infrastructure and services in U.S. cities. In a statement, the e-commerce behemoth claimed that its investment will keep one million tons of recyclable material out of landfills and “eliminate the equivalent of two million metric tons of CO2 by 2028, equivalent to shutting down a coal-fired power plant for six months.” Founded in 2014, Closed Loop Fund invests in companies and organizations working on services, infrastructure, or technology that will make recycling accessible to more communities in the U.S. Only...

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks publicly for the first time about its censored China search engine

TECHCRUNCH Commenting publicly for the first time about Google’s censored search engine for China, CEO Sundar Pichai said onstage at the WIRED 25 summit in San Francisco that the company is taking “a longer-term view” about the country. Codenamed Project Dragonfly, the controversial development has been public knowledge since a report in August by the Intercept, generating significant backlash, with several employees resigning in protest. Google did not confirm Project Dragonfly’s existence until its chief privacy officer, Keith Enright, spoke at a Senate hearing last month. Even then, Enright did not provide much information about the project, so this...

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The real-life Emery and Evan from “Fresh off the Boat” launch Batu Capital for cannabis, crypto and big data startups

TECHCRUNCH Brothers Evan and Emery Huang, founders of Batu Capital Restaurateur and raconteur Eddie Huang is the best known of the three “Fresh off the Boat” brothers (it was his memoir that inspired the ABC sitcom), but his younger brothers Emery and Evan remain relatively mysterious even to its most loyal viewers. Though the two’s namesake characters are also prominently featured on the show, their real-life counterparts have kept a much lower public profile, making sporadic appearances on Eddie’s social media. Emery and Evan, however, have been busy investing in real estate and recently branched into tech startups. Though...

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ServiceNow to acquire FriendlyData for its natural language search technology

TECHCRUNCH Enterprise cloud service management company ServiceNow announced today that it will acquire FriendlyData and integrate the startup’s natural language search technology into apps on its Now platform. Founded in 2016, FriendlyData’s natural language query (NLQ) technology enables enterprise customers to build search tools that allow users to ask technical questions even if they don’t know the right jargon. FriendlyData’s NLQ tech figures out what they are trying to say and then answers with text responses or easy-to-understand data visualizations. ServiceNow said it will integrate FriendlyData’s tech into the Now Platform, which includes apps for IT, human resources, security...

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Google will not bid for the Pentagon’s $10B cloud computing contract, citing its “AI Principles”

TECHCRUNCH Google has dropped out of the running for JEDI, the massive Defense Department cloud computing contract potentially worth $10 billion. In a statement to Bloomberg, Google said that it decided not to participate in the bidding process, which ends this week, because the contract may not align with the company’s principles for how artificial intelligence should be used. In statement to Bloomberg, Google spokesperson said “We are not bidding on the JEDI contract because first, we couldn’t be assured that it would align with our AI Principles. And second, we determined that there were portions of the contract...

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