Author: Romain Dillet

Apple pays millions in backdated taxes to French authorities

Apple has agreed to pay back a large sum in backdated taxes. The company has confirmed the information to the AFP and Reuters. According to L’Express, Apple could have paid as much as €500 million ($572 million) — the AFP also confirmed that sum. “The French tax administration recently concluded a multi-year audit on the company’s French accounts, and those details will be published in our public accounts,” the company told Reuters. French authorities can’t confirm the transaction due to tax secrecy. This isn’t the first time French tax authorities investigate on tech companies. Amazon also settled a dispute with...

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Lunchr grabs $34 million for its corporate lunch card

French startup Lunchr is raising a $34 million funding round (€30 million) from Index Ventures, with existing investors Daphni, Idinvest and Kima Ventures also participating. The company had already raised $13 million 7 months ago (€11 million). In France, companies of a certain size have to support employees in one way or another when it comes to their lunch break. Big companies usually build out a cafeteria while small companies hand out meal vouchers. Lunchr focuses on meal vouchers. Originally, employees received paper vouchers at the beginning of each month. But meal voucher companies, such as Edenred or Sodexo,...

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Crypto exchange Kraken acquires Crypto Facilities

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken just closed its biggest acquisition to date. The company is buying Crypto Facilities in a nine-figure deal. Crypto Facilities is an exchange and index provider regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. In particular, Crypto Facilities lets you trade futures on multiple cryptocurrency pairs. Following this acquisition, some Kraken users can now access both spot and futures trading. The company also has an OTC service for large orders. Futures are limited to six pairs for now. Kraken currently has 4 million users who traded the equivalent of $90 billion in 2018. In the past, the company had acquired smaller exchanges, such as Coinsetter, Cavirtex and CleverCoin, as well as Glidera and Cryptowatch. While Coinbase is quite popular in the U.S., Kraken has been popular with European customers. It has a large volume of orders in EUR. Fortune also reports that Kraken is about to close a $100 million funding round. Instead of raising from traditional VC funds, the company has emailed its most loyal customers for this new funding round. According to Fortune, this unusual path provides multiple advantages. For instance, the company doesn’t have to register the round with the SEC. Kraken has been working exclusively with accredited investors or foreign investors that are covered by an exemption. I’d love to see the list of investors, but it’s clear that Kraken wants to...

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Sencrop is a data platform to help farmers manage their lands

Meet Sencrop a French startup that wants to empower farmers using sensors, a data platform and a service marketplace. The company recently raised a $10 million funding round. The Series A round was led by Bpifrance with NCI Waterstart, Nord Capital and The Yield Lab also participating. Existing investors Demeter and Breega Capital also reinvested. If you’re a farmer and are getting started when it comes to leveraging data, Sencrop wants to be a one-stop shop for all your digital needs. The company sells connected stations that can measure temperature, humidity, rainfall, windspeed, etc. Each station costs between $340 and $570 (between €300 and €500) and you can have as many as you want. You can install the station yourself — it’s as easy as planting a post. After that, you pay a subscription to access the platform. It costs around $170 to $340 per year (€150 to €300). In addition to live readings of your sensors, Sencrop can help you predict the next steps. “On the other side of the platform, there are people broadcasting services to farmers,” co-founder and CEO Michael Bruniaux told me. “For instance, we can predict a disease and the farmer knows whether they need a product or not to prevent the disease.” You can imagine a full-fledged marketplace in the future. For instance, it could be a good way to subscribe to an...

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You can pre-order Meizu’s crazy phone with no port for $1,299

If you’re interested in Meizu’s insane smartphone that doesn’t have any port or button, you can now pre-order it on Indiegogo for $1,299. Supply is limited as the company is only selling 100 units for now. The Meizu Zero looks like any modern phone at first sight. But if you look beyond the display, you’ll notice that there’s absolutely zero port or button. The volume button has been replaced with a touch-sensitive surface. The fingerprint sensor is integrated in the display. Wireless charging is the only way to charge the device. And if you’re thinking about putting your SIM...

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AT&T misses on revenue for Q4 2018

AT&T just released its earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2018. The company generated $47.99 billion in revenue with adjusted earnings per share of 86 cents that exclude special items. Wall Street analysts had expected earnings per share of 86 cents and $48.5 billion in revenue. In other words, earnings per share are right on track, revenue is slightly below expectations. AT&T shares (NYSE:T) are currently trading down 0.78 percent in pre-market trading compared to yesterday’s closing price of $30.67. “Our top priority for 2018 and 2019 is reducing our debt and I couldn’t be more pleased with...

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Altice to acquire majority stake in OTT startup Molotov

Telecom company Altice is about to close a significant investment in French startup Molotov — the two companies have entered into exclusive negotiations. While terms of the deal are undisclosed, Altice should end up with a majority stake in Molotov for hundreds of millions of euros. This is an interesting move as it greatly increases the reach of Molotov and opens up some new opportunities when it comes to internationalization, content and more. Molotov is an over-the-top streaming platform in France. You can find all major TV channels, stream live content and watch replays for free. There are optional...

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Verizon reports mixed results for Q4 2018

Verizon (TechCrunch’s parent company) just released its earnings report for the fourth quarter of 2018. The company generated $34.3 billion in revenue with an adjusted EPS of $1.12 that excludes special items. Verizon’s actual EPS for this quarter is 47 cents. The reason why the company had to adjust its EPS is that the company wrote down $4.6 billion in Q4 2018 for the value of its media division, Verizon Media, formerly known as Oath. The company also took a $2.1 billion charge following a voluntary redundancy program. Wall Street analysts had expected earnings per share of $1.09 and $34.44 billion in revenue. In other words, earnings per share are slightly above expectations, revenue is slightly below. Revenue is up 1 percent year over year. Verizon shares (NYSE:VZ) are currently trading down 0.13 percent in pre-market trading compared to yesterday’s closing price of $55.07. Growth has been strong on the mobile front in particular. The company added 1.2 million postpaid wireless subscribers during the quarter. “Verizon finished 2018 by delivering solid financial and operational performance, as evidenced by our strong wireless service revenue and earnings growth,” Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg wrote in the release. “2018 was a remarkable year full of 5G firsts, including being first in the world to commercially deploy 5G with our 5G Home product. As we head into 2019 and the 5G era, we’re beginning...

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