Southeast Asian cloud communications platform Wavecell acquired by 8×8 in deal worth $125 million


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Wavecell, a cloud-communications platform for companies in Southeast Asia, announced today that it has been acquired by 8×8 in a deal worth about $125 million. The acquisition will help San Jose, California-based 8×8 expand in Asia, where Wavecell already has offices in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Hong Kong.

Wavecell’s cloud API platform, which includes SMS, chat, video and voice messaging, is used by companies such as Paidy, Lalamove and Tokopedia. It has relationships with 192 network operators and partners like WhatsApp and claims its infrastructure is used to share more than two billion messages each year.

The terms of the deal includes $69 million in cash and about $56 million in 8×8 common shares. Founded in 2010, Wavecell’s investors included Qualgro VC, Wavemaker Partners and MDI Ventures.

In a prepared statement, 8×8 CEO Vik Verma said “8×8 is now the only cloud provider that owns the full,

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Southeast Asian cloud communications platform Wavecell acquired by 8×8 in deal worth $125 million


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Wavecell, a cloud-communications platform for companies in Southeast Asia, announced today that it has been acquired by 8×8 in a deal worth about $125 million. The acquisition will help San Jose, California-based 8×8 expand in Asia, where Wavecell already has offices in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Hong Kong.

Wavecell’s cloud API platform, which includes SMS, chat, video and voice messaging, is used by companies such as Paidy, Lalamove and Tokopedia. It has relationships with 192 network operators and partners like WhatsApp and claims its infrastructure is used to share more than two billion messages each year.

The terms of the deal includes $69 million in cash and about $56 million in 8×8 common shares. Founded in 2010, Wavecell’s investors included Qualgro VC, Wavemaker Partners and MDI Ventures.

In a prepared statement, 8×8 CEO Vik Verma said “8×8 is now the only cloud provider that owns the full,

Continue reading “Southeast Asian cloud communications platform Wavecell acquired by 8×8 in deal worth $125 million”

Mercari’s new Instant Pay feature transfers verified sellers’ balances to their debit cards within minutes


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For online sellers, waiting three to five days for e-commerce platforms to transfer their balance is one of their biggest pain points. Mercari is going after rivals with its new Instant Pay feature, which deposits money in a few minutes. Once sellers are verified, they can instantly transfer up to $500 per month of their Mercari balance to a debit card for a $2 processing fee.

Bradford Williams, Mercari’s head of communications, told TechCrunch in an email that the new feature is a first for peer-to-peer selling apps. “Uber and Lyft made instant payments table stakes for U.S. drivers; we’re extending that to casual sellers. Mercari U.S. is focused on casual sellers (versus power sellers); therefore, we’d like to attract sellers from all marketplaces/platforms,” he said. “Frankly, we see our biggest opportunity in influencing U.S. consumer behavior versus taking share incrementally from established competitors.”

To use

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Amazon adds Hindi to the Alexa Skills Kit


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


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Users of Amazon’s voice assistant will soon be able to talk to Alexa in Hindi. Amazon announced today that it has added a Hindi voice model to its Alexa Skills Kit for developers. Alexa developers can also update their existing published skills in India for Hindi.

Amazon first revealed that it would add fluent Hindi to Alexa last month during its re: MARS machine learning and artificial intelligence conference. Before, Alexa was only able to understand a few Hinglish (a portmanteau of Hindi and English) commands. Rohit Prasad, vice president and head scientist for Alexa, told Indian news agency IANS that adding Hindi to Alexa posed a “contextual, cultural as well as content-related challenge” because of the wide variety of dialects, accents and slang used in India.

Along with English, Hindi is one of India’s official languages (Google Voice Assistant also offers Hindi support). According to Citi Research, Amazon

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Amazon adds Hindi to the Alexa Skills Kit


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Users of Amazon’s voice assistant will soon be able to talk to Alexa in Hindi. Amazon announced today that it has added a Hindi voice model to its Alexa Skills Kit for developers. Alexa developers can also update their existing published skills in India for Hindi.

Amazon first revealed that it would add fluent Hindi to Alexa last month during its re: MARS machine learning and artificial intelligence conference. Before, Alexa was only able to understand a few Hinglish (a portmanteau of Hindi and English) commands. Rohit Prasad, vice president and head scientist for Alexa, told Indian news agency IANS that adding Hindi to Alexa posed a “contextual, cultural as well as content-related challenge” because of the wide variety of dialects, accents and slang used in India.

Along with English, Hindi is one of India’s official languages (Google Voice Assistant also offers Hindi support). According to Citi Research, Amazon

Continue reading “Amazon adds Hindi to the Alexa Skills Kit”

Meredith Whittaker, AI researcher and an organizer of last year’s Google walkout, is leaving the company


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Meredith Whittaker, founder of Google’s Open Research Group and one of the leaders of last year’s employee walkouts, is leaving the company. Google confirmed her departure, which was first disclosed on Twitter by a Google engineer and reported by Bloomberg, but had no additional comment. TechCrunch has also contacted Whittaker for comment.

Whittaker and another one of the walkout’s organizers, Claire Stapleton, said they had faced retaliation from Google after the protest. Other employees also claimed that they had experienced fallout as a result of their participation, which Google denied.

Thousands of employees around the world took part in the massive walkout last November to protest how Google handles sexual harassment and misconduct allegations. They asked the company to implement several measures against harassment and discrimination, including an end to forced arbitration, a publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report and a safe and anonymous process to report sexual misconduct.

The

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Swit, a collaboration suite that offers “freedom from integrations,” raises $6 million in seed funding


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


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A marketplace dominated by Slack and Microsoft Teams, along with a host of other smaller workplace communication apps, might seem to leave little room for a new entrant, but Swit wants to prove that wrong. The app combines messaging with a roster of productivity tools, like task management, calendars and Gantt charts, to give teams “freedom from integrations.” Originally founded in Seoul and now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Swit announced today that it has raised a $6 million seed round led by Korea Investment Partners, with participation from Hyunadi Venture Investment Corporation and Mirae Asset Venture Investment.

Along with an investment from Kakao Ventures last year, this brings Swit’s total seed funding so far to about $7 million. Swit’s desktop and mobile apps were released in March and since then more than 450 companies have adopted it, with 40,000 individual registered users. The startup was launched

Continue reading “Swit, a collaboration suite that offers “freedom from integrations,” raises $6 million in seed funding”

Swit, a collaboration suite that offers “freedom from integrations,” raises $6 million in seed funding


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




A marketplace dominated by Slack and Microsoft Teams, along with a host of other smaller workplace communication apps, might seem to leave little room for a new entrant, but Swit wants to prove that wrong. The app combines messaging with a roster of productivity tools, like task management, calendars and Gantt charts, to give teams “freedom from integrations.” Originally founded in Seoul and now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Swit announced today that it has raised a $6 million seed round led by Korea Investment Partners, with participation from Hyunadi Venture Investment Corporation and Mirae Asset Venture Investment.

Along with an investment from Kakao Ventures last year, this brings Swit’s total seed funding so far to about $7 million. Swit’s desktop and mobile apps were released in March and since then more than 450 companies have adopted it, with 40,000 individual registered users. The startup was launched

Continue reading “Swit, a collaboration suite that offers “freedom from integrations,” raises $6 million in seed funding”

Online community theAsianparent raises Series C to add e-commerce and expand into new markets


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


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TheAsianparent, Southeast Asia’s largest online community and content platform for mothers with 23.5 million monthly active users, announced today that it has raised a Series C led by Fosun Group, the Chinese conglomerate. The amount was undisclosed, but a person familiar with the deal says it was between $10 million to $30 million. E-commerce giant JD.com also participated, along with ATM Capital, Redbadge Pacific and returning investors Global Grand Leisure and WHG Holdings.

The new funding will be used on theAsianparent’s new e-commerce business and its expansion into new markets in Asia and Africa, focusing first on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Roshni Mahtani, the founder and CEO of Tickled Media, theAsianparent’s publisher, tells TechCrunch it looks for countries with high birth rates but relatively few online resources and communities for new parents. The site will have its own branding for African markets and launch first in

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Brooklinen, known for high-quality bed sheets, launches its first line of loungewear


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Brooklinen, the direct-to-consumer bed sheet brand backed by investors including FirstMark, is entering the apparel space with its first line of loungewear. The company says its designs, including tops, pants, shorts and a dress, are inspired by vintage athletic clothing and made from cotton and modal blended with spandex. Prices range from $28 for a t-shirt to $75 for jogger pants.

2019 021 Brooklinen SarahKehoe SHOT 12 WOMENS COLLECTION PAGE HERO 045x

The startup, whose investors also include NYU Innovation Venture Fund and Dorm Room Fund, has built its reputation around high-quality but affordable linens and is able to offer lower prices by controlling the design, manufacturing and logistics and fulfillment of its sheets, comforters, pillows and towels. It is primarily an e-commerce startup, but has also run pop-up shops. Brooklinen’s last round of funding was a $10 million Series A announced in 2017.

The Commerce Department will accept applications from companies that want to supply Huawei, but it remains blacklisted


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


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About two months after Huawei was placed on the Commerce Department’s Entity List, the Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone giant will be able to do business with American suppliers again–but only if they get a license from the U.S. government. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made the announcement during a department conference, adding that companies must first demonstrate that the technology they sell to Huawei will not put national security at risk.

Huawei will remain on the entity list, however, and license applications will be reviewed under a “presumption of denial,” making it likely that most will not be approved.

Last month while both presidents were in Japan for the G20 Summit, Donald Trump told Chinese leader Xi Jinping that he would allow U.S. companies to sell equipment to Huawei again, but the promise created confusion about how it would be carried out, with the Commerce Department instructing staff

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A vulnerability in Zoom’s Mac client could allow websites to turn on cameras without permission


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


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A vulnerability in the Mac client for popular web conferencing app Zoom may allow any website to join a video call without permission, writes software engineer and security researcher Jonathan Leitschuch. In a Medium post published today, Leitschuch detailed the vulnerability, writing that it remains an issue even if users have uninstalled the Mac client: “If you’ve ever installed the Zoom client and then uninstalled it, you still have a localhost webserver on your machine that will happily reinstall the Zoom client for you, without requiring any user interaction on your behalf besides visiting a webpage. This re-install ‘feature’ continues to work to this day.”

Leitschuch included patches for the vulnerability, including how to disable the ability for Zoom to turn on your webcam when joining a meeting, a terminal command for disabling video by default and instructions on how to shut down the web server and remove web

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Amazon warehouse workers in Minnesota plan to strike on Prime Day over labor practices


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Amazon warehouse workers in Minnesota are planning to strike during Prime Day on July 15, one of the company’s biggest sales events. Bloomberg reports that about 100 employees are expected to walk out for a total of six hours to demand changes in labor practices, including converting more temporary workers to employees and relaxing productivity quotas that they say create unsafe working conditions.

Striking workers at Amazon’s warehouse in Shakopee, Minnesota will be joined by several engineers in a show of solidarity. The activism is being led by the Awood Center, a workers’ rights advocacy group, and backed by the Service Employees International Union, the Teamsters and the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Amazon claimed that it “offers already what this outside organization is asking for,” including hourly rates from $16.25 to $20.80 with benefits. It also said that “on

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Smart scooter company Gogoro launches GoShare, an end-to-end vehicle sharing platform


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


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Founded in 2011, Gogoro now makes the best-selling electric scooters in Taiwan, where it is headquartered. The startup has always seen itself as an end-to-end platform developer, however, and today it marked a major milestone with the announcement of a new vehicle sharing system. Called GoShare, the program will start operating with a pilot fleet of about 1,000 Gogoro smart scooters next month in Taoyuan City, Taiwan, before becoming available as a turnkey solution for partners.

Gogoro, which develops everything from their scooters and batteries to software, telematics control units and backend servers, describes GoShare as “first fully integrated mobility sharing platform and solution.” Co-founder and CEO Horace Luke tells TechCrunch that Gogoro wants to work with partners to expand GoShare into international markets in Europe, Australia and Asia next year. He adds that building the entire platform, including its unique swappable battery system, gives Gogoro an advantage over

Battery 20150616 02 0617

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MoviePass temporarily suspends service to improve its mobile app


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MoviePass is temporarily suspending its service, starting on July 4, in order to finish working on improvements to its mobile app, the company announced today. The hiatus comes after a difficult year for the cash-burning company, and as Regal, the second-largest movie theater chain in the United States, is reportedly preparing to launch its own ticket subscription service.

MoviePass’ announcement said the hiatus will start at 5 A.M. Eastern Time on July 4 and that subscribers will be automatically credited for the number of affected days once service resumes. It did not say when service would return, but replies to customers from its Twitter account say the company “estimate[s] this process will take several weeks.”

Screenshot from MoviePass' Twitter replies

This is an especially inopportune time for a hiatus because the July 4 holiday is when many major titles are released. In a press statement, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said “There’s never

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Despite Trump’s promised reprieve, Commerce Department tells staff to continue treating Huawei as blacklisted


This post is by Catherine Shu from TechCrunch


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President Donald Trump recently promised to ease the ban on American companies doing business with Huawei, but the Commerce Department is requiring its staff to treat Huawei as if the blacklist is still in place, reports Reuters.

Enforcement staff were sent an internal letter this week by John Sonderman, the Deputy Director of the Office of Export Enforcement, to continue treating Huawei as blacklisted. The letter, viewed by Reuters, said applications from companies that want to sell to Huawei should be considered on merit and flagged with language that notes Huawei is on the entity list. The applications should also still be viewed under a “presumption of denial” policy that applies to companies on the blacklist. This means license applications are scrutinized more closely and most of them are rejected.

Along with 70 other companies, Huawei was added in May to an “entity list” of companies that U.S.

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TikTok is being investigated in the U.K. for how it handles children’s data and safety


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TikTok is being investigated in the U.K. for how it handles the safety and personal data of underage users. According to the Guardian, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham told a parliamentary committee that the probe started in February, after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission levied a $5.7 million fine against TikTok for breaking children’s privacy law.

Denham told the Guardian that the commission is examining how TikTok collects private data and concerns about the open messaging system, which may allow adult users to contact children. “We are looking at the transparency tools for children. We’re looking at the messaging system, which is completely open, we’re looking at the kind of videos that are collected and shared by children online. We do have an active investigation into TikTok right now, so watch this space,” she said.

The investigation will also examine if the popular app, owned by ByteDance,

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Equinix and Singapore’s GIC will launch a $1 billion joint venture to build hyperscale data centers in Europe


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Equinix, one of the world’s largest data center companies, announced that it will form a $1 billion joint venture with GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. The partnership will focus on building xScale data centers in Europe. Instead of targeting the wholesale market, Equinix is developing xScale data centers to handle the demands of of the biggest cloud service providers in the world. Equinix’s clients have already included Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Google Cloud and other hyperscale cloud providers.

Under the agreement, expected to be finalized in the third quarter, GIC will own an 80 percent stake in the joint venture, with Equinix owning the remaining 20 percent. Equinix will also sell its London LD10 and Paris PA8 International Business Exchange (IBX) data centers to the joint venture for new xScale centers. xScale centers will also be built in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and London,

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Japan will restrict the export of some materials used in smartphones and chips to South Korea


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Japan’s trade ministry said today that it will restrict the export of some tech materials to South Korea, including polyimides used in flexible displays made by companies like Samsung Electronics. The new rules come as the two countries argue over compensation for South Koreans forced to work in Japanese factories during World War II.

The list of restricted supplies, expected to go into effect on July 4, includes polyimides used in smartphone and flexible organic LED displays, and etching gas and resist used to make semiconductors. That means Japanese suppliers who wish to sell those materials to South Korean tech companies such as Samsung, LG and SK Hynix will need to submit each contract for approval.

Japan’s government may also remove South Korea from its list of countries that have fewer restrictions on trading technology that might have national security implications, reports Nikkei Asian Review.

Earlier this year, South Korea’s

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Fungible raises $200 million led by SoftBank Vision Fund to help companies handle increasingly massive amounts of data


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Fungible, a startup that wants to help data centers cope with the increasingly massive amounts of data produced by new technologies, has raised a $200 million Series C led by SoftBank Vision Fund, with participation from Norwest Venture Partners and its existing investors. As part of the round, SoftBank Investment Advisers senior managing partner Deep Nishar will join Fungible’s board of directors.

Founded in 2015, Fungible now counts about 200 employees and has raised more than $300 million in total funding. Its other investors include Battery Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Redline Capital and Walden Riverwood Ventures. Its new capital will be used to speed up product development. The company’s founders, CEO Pradeep Sindhu and Bertrand Serlet, say Fungible will release more information later this year about when its data processing units will be available and their on-boarding process, which they say will not require clients to change their existing applications,

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