Author: Ingrid Lunden

Item tracking startup Adero is laying off 45% of staff, just weeks after it pivoted

Pivots can be the making of a startup, helping teams refocus on a good idea when previous things haven’t worked. But sometimes, they are just one more step on a difficult track. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Adero — an Amazon-backed maker of Bluetooth-enabled tracking tags that until last December was known as TrackR — is laying off at least 45 percent of its staff. The cuts come as Adero refocuses on building software instead of hardware products, and attempts to build a B2B business that reduces its emphasis on the consumer market, ahead of plans to raise another round of...

Read More

Twitter Q4 beats on sales of $909M and EPS of $0.33, but MAUs slump to just 321M

After strong results from Facebook and Snap this quarter, all eyes were on Twitter to see if the other big, publicly listed social network could deliver a hat trick of growth. If we judged the company on financials alone, the company did not disappoint, with revenues coming in at $909 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.33 with a net income of $244 million. On average, analysts had been expecting revenues of $859.5 million on an EPS of $0.25. However, user growth has now slumped to at 321 million monthly active users, falling short even of estimates that were expecting a decline. Advertising revenues were $791 million, accounting for 87 percent of the company’s revenues. “Monetizeable daily active users” are now at 126 million up from 124 million in the previous quarter. Shares are equally slumping in pre-market trading, down more than seven percent so far. To put user growth into some context, Twitter has long-standing issues with user growth that even predate the company going public, and many quarters (such as last quarter, when it also beat estimates on revenues of $758 million and earnings per share of 21 cents; and a year ago, when it also crushed ) user numbers, specifically monthly active users, remained flat or even shrunk. (Even analysts factor in declines to their own estimates. Analysts had been expecting 324 million monthly active users in Q4,...

Read More

Spotify reports 29% rise in MAUs to 207M but misses on Q4 revenues of $1.702B

Spotify continues to see growing uptake for its all-you-can-eat streaming music (and increasingly podcast) services, even as it fell short of analyst expectations on sales in its earnings. In Q4 results reported today alongside the blockbuster news that it was acquiring Gimlet and Anchor to step up its podcast push, the company said that monthly active users have hit 207 million, up nearly percent on a year ago, and that it is for the first time reporting positive operating profit — of €94 million — and net income — of €442 million, making this Spotify’s first ever quarter to post positive...

Read More

vArmour, a security startup focused on multi-cloud deployments, raises $44M

As more organizations move to cloud-based IT architectures, a startup that’s helping them secure that data in an efficient way has raised some capital. vArmour, which provides a platform to help manage security policies across disparate public and private cloud environments in one place, is announcing today that it has raised a growth round of $44 million. The funding is being led by two VCs that specialise in investments into security startups, AllegisCyber and NightDragon. CEO Tim Eades said that also participating are “two large software companies” as strategic investors that vArmour works with on a regular basis but...

Read More

Retail technology platform Relex raises $200M from TCV

Amazon’s formidable presence in the world of retail stems partly from the fact that it’s just not a commerce giant, it’s also a tech company — building solutions and platforms in house that make its processes, from figuring out what to sell, to how much to have on hand and how best to distribute it — more efficient and smarter than those of its competition. Now, one of the startups that is building retail technology to help those that are not Amazon compete better with it, has raised a significant round of funding to meet that challenge. Relex — a company...

Read More

Hatch, Rovio’s ‘Netflix for gaming’, picks up NTT Docomo as a strategic investor

Rovio’s efforts to diversify beyond its Angry Birds franchise is getting a little investment boost today. The company announced that Japan’s NTT Docomo is taking a stake in Hatch, a Rovio subsidiary that describes itself as the “Netflix of gaming”, providing subscribers with a rotating mix of freemium games from a mix of publishers, with the option of paying a single monthly fee for a wider mix. Docomo and Rovio are not discussing the size or value of the stake, but a spokesperson for Rovio told TechCrunch that prior to this deal, Hatch was 80 percent owned by Rovio and 20 percent by Hatch personnel. He didn’t specify who had sold shares to Docomo in this latest transaction. The deal will cover not just investment to expand the Hatch platform and number of games on offer — currently the selection numbers over 100 — but to bring Hatch specifically to the Japanese market. This will include, starting next week (February 13), a soft launch of Hatch on Android devices in the country, as well as prominent placement of Hatch on Docomo’s Android TV service, sweetening the deal with three-month free trials of the Premium tier. The Android TV offering is a key OTT play for Docomo. Known primarily as one of the country’s biggest mobile carriers (and, historically, a trail blazer in mobile services, setting the pace for how much...

Read More

Amazon invests in Hatch Baby, launches Baby Skill Activity API as it eyes up the next generation of parenting products

Amazon today is one of the biggest retailers of gear for babies and other parenting aides, and today the company is taking another two steps into that business and how it might develop in the future. Amazon today announced that it would be launching a new Baby Skill Activity API, so that baby apps and baby care devices can get updated and checked through voice commands, by way of Alexa and Alexa-powered devices. Available initially in the US, initial skills will include the ability to track weight, sleep, diaper changes and feeding, with more to be added down the line....

Read More

Microsoft acquires DataSense management from BrightBytes to step up its education play in Azure

One of Microsoft’s oldest and biggest verticals for its Azure cloud business has been education, and today it announced an acquisition that it hopes will help it deepen its reach: it has acquired DataSense — a data management platform that can be used to collect, integrate and report information from across a range of online education applications and services — from an educational technology company called BrightBytes, to integrate the functionality into Azure. DataSense is a master platform that’s used by schools and educational authorities both to ingest information as well as report it to state and other authorities as part of their reporting, used to manage data for millions of students in the US, BrightBytes says. It looks like the deal actually closed in December, according to data from PitchBook, although it’s only being announced today. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but as a point of reference, BrightBytes was valued at $120 million when it last raised money, in 2015 — a $33 million round led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Bessemer, Learn Capital and Rethink Education. The startup had raised just over $50 million in total, with other investors including New Schools Venture Fund and Andy Pechacke. It looks like BrightBytes will continue to operate, focusing on its Clarity data analytics platform, which itself is used by 25,000 schools in the US. “We...

Read More

Right Now in Politics and Business