Technology

Technology

The FCC just repealed net neutrality. What happens next?

The FCC voted this morning to nullify 2015’s Open Internet Order and its strong net neutrality rules, substituting a flimsy replacement with a deeply (and deliberately) incorrect technical justification. The battle is lost. What of the war? Here’s what happens next, and what you can do to help. First, very little As rushed as this vote was, it doesn’t make the rest of the government move any faster. Voting to adopt the order doesn’t magically and instantly eliminate net neutrality. First the new rules have to be entered into the federal register — and that won’t happen for a little while, perhaps a couple months. In the meantime you’re going to get a whole lot of blog posts, opinion pieces in newspapers, speeches, statements, notices of intent, and anything else that will keep the topic al...

FCC to vote on net neutrality repeal

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to repeal so-called net neutrality rules Thursday that govern the way internet service providers treat different types of content and data. The five-member panel includes three Republicans expected to vote along party lines to roll back the rules, imposed in 2015 under President Barack Obama. Repeal supporters claim the rules unnecessarily regulate the industry and impede the free market. Under the current rules, internet service providers are prohibited from influencing loading speeds for specific websites or apps. Thursday’s expected repeal vote would rescind policies that treat the internet like a utility and potentially lead to the creation of different lanes of speeds for websites or content creators willing to pay for them. Crit...

Teabox raises $7M for its global tea-commerce business

Teabox, the company pioneered the concept of selling tea to direct to consumers online, has served up $7 million in fresh funding to grow its five-year-old business. This new infusion of capital — last tea joke, I promise — is a Series B round that takes Teabox, which has head offices in India and Singapore, to just shy of $15 million in funding to date. The round was led by Singapore’s RB Investments, with participation from existing backers — including Accel and billionaire U.S. businessman Robert M. Bass — and a portion of debt funding from Singaporean bank DBS in the mix. Newish competitor Vahdam Teas closed a $1.4 million Series A round this week, and it’s been some time since we last heard from Teabox — which closed a $6 million Series A around 18 months ago — but that’s because it h...

Paddle, the software sales platform founded by a Thiel Fellow, raises $12.5M

Paddle, a U.K. startup that offers software companies a single platform for the entire software sales process — including trials and licenses, payments, and analytics — has raised $12.5 million in further funding. Leading the Series B round is enterprise-focussed VC Notion, with participation from existing investors BGF Ventures and Kindred Capital. MacPaw, the independent Mac software developer, also joined the round, a move that looks a good strategic fit and builds on Paddle’s recent acquisition of MacPaw’s DevMate. On a self-proclaimed mission to “transform the way that software is sold,” Paddle’s platform tackles the problem whereby software developers typically need to piece together systems from multiple different suppliers in order to sell their wares online. This spans a number of...

Finiata, the finance platform for SMEs, freelancers and the self-employed, bags €18M funding

Finiata, the finance platform targeting SMEs, freelancers, and the self-employed that was founded by Sebastian Diemer, who previously co-founded credit scoring and loans company Kreditech, appears to be on somewhat of a roll. The company, formerly known as Bezahlt, has picked up €18 million of financing of its own, and already claims 5,000 customers. The new round is part equity and part debt: €10 million has been invested as a Series A by VC firms DN Capital, Point Nine, Fly Ventures, Redalpine, ENERN, and Kulczyk Investments, while an additional €8 million has been raised in the form of debt financing. Finiata is in the business of providing credit to its own customers, after all. Taking aim at the German ‘factoring’ market, but with a specific focus on smaller companies, including one-p...

Helpster, a platform for temp job seekers in Southeast Asia, raises $2.5M

Helpster, a two-year-old startup that connects blue-collar workers with employers in Southeast Asia, has closed $2.5 million in new funding. The startup operates in Thailand and Indonesia with around 50 staff split between Bangkok and Jakarta. It aims to disrupt the temporary worker industry, which is dominated by giants like Adecco and Manpower, by vetting its workers closely and using technology — principally its mobile app — to improve the temp worker-employer relationship. The company estimates that 40 percent of the 100 million semi-skilled workers across Southeast Asia take casual work. The Helpster approach lets workers choose their own schedule and types of jobs via the app, which will automatically offer them gigs around their specified times. Financially, they keep their full wag...

Alibaba will soon begin selling cars using these gigantic vending machines

Alibaba last week announced a deal to help Ford sell electric vehicles in China but, aside from the big names involved, the most intriguing part was a proposed vending machine for sales. Now the firm has spilled details of what exactly that will look like. The ‘Car Vending Machines’ are futuristic buildings that look like a gigantic version of something you’d find in Toys R Us. Alibaba has made a push to integrate its online sales platforms with offline retail, including a recent $2.9 billion investment in hypermarket operator Sun Art, but this new project is one of the clearest examples of its strategy to date. [embedded content] The process starts when a customer uses Alibaba’s Taobao app to scan a car that they want to test, and potentially buy. Once the system recognizes the vehicle it...

Instana raises $20 million for its microservice monitoring and management service

Instana, a company that helps enterprises monitor and manage their microservice deployments with the help of automation and artificial intelligence, today announced that it has raised a $20 million Series B round led by Accel, with participation from existing investor Target Partners. This brings Instana’s total funding to $26 million to date. Launched in 2015, Instana bills itself as a next-gen application performance management (APM) solution that focuses on monitoring the kind of dynamic modern applications that are slowly starting to crop up in the enterprise thanks to the help of containers and microservices. Instana’s promise is that, once users have installed its agent on their servers, it can detect and map all of the different components that make up these applications and that it...

Andreessen Horowitz has a new, $450 million bio fund

Almost exactly two years ago, the venture firm Andreessen Horowitz took the wraps off a $200 million “biofund” that aimed to invest at the intersection of biology and engineering and was being led by its (then) new general partner, Vijay Pande. Pande argued at the time that it was finally possible to invest in software-enabled biotech ideas — without having to wait eons for them to pan out — thanks largely to the growing ubiquity of machine learning and the falling cost of computing. Evidently, that experiment is playing out as planned. Today, the firm is announcing a $450 million second fund led by Pande —  formerly the chair of Stanford’s chemistry department — and Jorge Conde, a serial entrepreneur who officially joined the firm a few months ago as a general partner. If they have their ...

Gingko Bioworks secures $275 million in Series D, valuing the company at over $1 billion

Boston biotech startup Gingko Bioworks has announced the raise of $275 million in Series D funding to build out its Bioworks3 production facility. The funding comes from previous investors Viking Global, Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund, Cascade Investment, Bill Gates, as well as new investor, General Atlantic. The company previously raised over $154 million, bringing the total up to $429 million in the three years since launching out of Y Combinator. The new raise now puts Ginkgo’s valuation at over $1 billion, according to sources. Ginkgo started out using yeasts to create products for the flavor, fragrance and food industries and has produced probiotics in conjunction with DARPA to help U.S. soldiers stave off stomach bugs they might pick up overseas.  including creating bacteria that can...

It’s official: Disney is acquiring Fox’s film and TV divisions for $52.4 billion

We’re about to see two entertainment behemoths come together, as The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox have officially announced a deal. As a result, Disney will acquire Fox’s film and much of its TV operations for a price of over $52 billion in stock. Disney will take over the Nat Geo network, Star TV, Fox’s movie and TV studios and its stakes in both Sky and Hulu, as well as the parts of the business that focus on regional sports broadcasting. It’ll gain a majority stake in Hulu through the deal, too. Fox will retain Fox News, its basic broadcast network and its national sports channels. One of the reasons Disney already dominates the entertainment landscape is because of big acquisitions under CEO Bob Iger — Pixar, Marvel and most recently Lucasfilm. The move will bulk up Disney’...

Taiwanese media startup The News Lens lands deal with top video studio Dawin

Taiwanese digital media startup The News Lens launched only four years ago, but it quickly became one of the country’s most prolific news sources by leveraging social media to reach younger viewers. Today it took another big step by announcing a strategic partnership with Dawin, one of Taiwan’s top video and film production companies, that will help it reach a wider audience. Based in Taipei, with an office in Hong Kong, The News Lens now claims 7 million monthly unique visitors and publishes four online editions: Chinese-language sites for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia and an English-language site aimed at international readers. Its partnership with Dawin gives The News Lens access to resources like video and audio recording studios and personnel to create weekly programs and other...