The Bulletin
1D
New tool from IBM boosts machine learning with quantum computing
IBM is augmenting Qiskit, its quantum computing software kit, to improve machine learning models. Developers will be able to bring machine learning into the quantum space through Qiskit Machine Learning. The Qiskit team has also launched the Torch Connector, which allows users to integrate quantum neural networks directly into the PyTorch open source machine learning library.
2D
AWS announces general availability of Amazon Lookout for Equipment
AWS has announced the general availability of Amazon Lookout for Equipment, a new service that uses machine learning (ML) models to help customers perform predictive maintenance on the equipment in their facilities. Lookout for Equipment ingests sensor data from industrial equipment and trains a ML model to accurately predict early warning signs of machine failure or suboptimal performance.
2D
Digital forensics company Cellebrite to go public via $2.4bn SPAC
Digital forensics company Cellebrite has said it is to go public via a special-purpose acquisition company (SAPC) through a merger with TWC Tech Holdings II Corp. It is the latest in a long line of technology companies to go public via a SPAC and it values Cellebrite at $2.4bn. The deal includes Cellebrite obtaining $580m, comprised of TWC Tech Holdings’ cash held in trust.
2D
Computer vision startup CrowdAI launches with $10m in funding
CrowdAI, a startup which has built a platform for computer vision, has launched with $10m in funding. A new Series A round worth $6.25m, along with previous seed funding, gives the firm the chance to commercialise its offering. Businesses can use CrowdAI to analyse images and video. The company says its solutions can be used across different industries. The Series A was led by Threshold Ventures.
2D
Google open-sources Lyra codec to reduce voice call bandwidth usage
Google has open-sourced Lyra in beta, an audio codec that relies on machine learning to enable high-quality voice calls in low bandwidth situations. The code and demo are available on GitHub can compress raw audio down to 3 kilobits per second. Google assures the codec enables audio quality that is similar to the most popular existing codecs with 60% less bandwidth.
2D
IBM announces general availability of Cloud for Financial Services
IBM has announced the general availability of its cloud platform for financial service companies. IBM also revealed that the platform now includes support for Red Hat OpenShift and other cloud-native services. First revealed in 2019, the IBM Cloud for Financial Services was designed in collaboration with Bank of America to to reduce risk for financial institutions, their partners and FinTechs.
2D
UC San Diego to power supercomputer with Intel Habana Labs chips
Intel's Habana Labs will supply its AI chips to UC San Diego's supercomputer programme. The university's supercomputer aims to advance AI research across a number of domains. "Voyager" will use Habana’s interconnectivity technology to efficiently scale AI capacity. Intel bought Habana for $2bn in 2019 and went on to ditch its own Nervana neutral network programme in the wake of the acquisition.
2D
Business messaging service Gupshup raises $100m on $1.4bn valuation
Business messaging service Gupshup has raised $100mn in funding from Tiger Global Management, propelling the company's valuation to $1.4bn. This funding will be followed by a second close with significant additional funds raised from more investors, Gupshup revealed. The company said it will use this investment to rapidly scale product and go-to-market initiatives worldwide
3D
Trax lands $640m for retail analytics platform
Trax has closed a Series E funding round at $640m. The company helps retailers with merchandising through its computer vision and machine learning technologies. Among its backers are SoftBank's VisionFund 2, BlackRock and the Sony Innovation Fund. The round valued Trax at more than $3bn. Its CEO says the money will help it grow its team and scale its retailer business.
3D
Accenture snaps up cloud analytics firm Core Compete
Accenture has acquired Core Compete, a cloud analytics services firm. Core Compete enables digital transformations with cloud-native solutions that deliver AI and machine learning-infused business outcomes, to serve a diverse client base across the US and UK, with particular focus on supply chain, retail and financial services. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
3D
Redis Labs valued at $2bn+ after $110m financing round
Redis Labs has closed $110m in financing led by a new investor, Tiger Global, which brings the company’s valuation to more than $2bn. The company’s Series G round also includes participation from another new investor, Softbank Vision Fund 2, and existing Redis Labs investor TCV. Additionally, Tiger, Softbank, and TCV acquired additional ownership as part of a $200m secondary transaction.
4D
IT spending to hit $4.1bn in 2021
Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.1trn in 2021, an increase of 8.4% from 2020, according to the latest forecast by Gartner. The highest growth will come from devices (14%) and enterprise software (10.8%). "IT no longer just supports corporate operations as it traditionally has, but is fully participating in business value delivery," said John-David Lovelock, research VP at Gartner.
4D
No-code startup Bryter closes $66m round
Bryter, a German startup in the no-code space, has completed a Series B funding round worth $66bn. The round, led by Tiger Global, comes just eight months after its Series A. Bryter will use the cash to expand into the U.S.. The company's platform offers businesses the chance to develop apps even if they don't have the technical expertise. It counts McDonald’s and Telefónica among its clients.
4D
Google AI scientist Samy Bengio resigns to protest the firing of Timnit Gebru
Samy Bengio, an artificial research manager at Google has announced his departure from the company. Bengio's resignation comes as a response to the firing of his colleagues for questioning the tech giant's paper review and diversity practices, Reuters has reported. Bengio is the third Google scientists to resign and the highest-ranking employee to do so after the dismissal of Timnit Gebru.
4D
Patreon reaches $4bn valuation after latest funding round
Patreon, the online where fans can support content creators has been valued at $4 billion after raising $155 million in its latest investment round. The round was led by new investor Tiger Global Management, with participation from Woodline Partners, Wellington Management, Lone Pine Capital and New Enterprise Associates. Patreon plans to use the funds to expand and create new tools for creators.
4D
Nokia and Lenovo settle patent dispute
Nokia and Lenovo have settled a long-running patent dispute over video compression technology. In 2019, Nokia argued that Lenovo infringed its patents, with cases in the U.S., Brazil, India and Germany. Lenovo then countersued the Finnish telco in a Californian court. As part of the settlement, Lenovo will make a "net balancing" payment to Nokia but no financial details were disclosed.
4D
ServiceNow and Qualtrics partner to integrate sentiment data
ServiceNow and Qualtrics have partnered to add "empathy" to customer experiences. The deal will see ServiceNow integrate sentiment data from Qualtrics into its workflows. The aim is to increase employee productivity and enhance customer loyalty. "Empathy at mass scale is the business differentiator of the 21st century," said Bill McDermott. New products will be available later this year.
5D
Verizon and AWS to offer 5G private mobile edge computing to enterprise
Verizon Business is to offer private 5G mobile edge computing (MEC) to enterprises with AWS. Enterprises will be able to deploy a MEC platform fully integrated with AWS cloud services and Verizon 5G private networks to improve productivity, safety and operational efficiencies. “Private MEC is a natural expansion of our collaboration with Verizon,” said Dave Brown, VP Elastic Compute Cloud at AWS.
5D
LG exits global smartphone business
South Korea’s LG Electronics will become the first major smartphone brand to completely withdraw from the market after failing to find a buyer. LG’s smartphone division has logged nearly six years of losses totalling $4.5 billion. The company has said that its exist from this market will allow it to focus on other areas such as electric vehicle components, connected devices and smart homes.
5D
Stripe expands into the Middle East
Stripe has kickstarted its expansion into the Middle East. The payments startup, which is the most valuable in Silicon Valley, has opened a new office in Dubai, UAE. Businesses in the region will now be able to use Stripe to accept online payments and make payouts. "The UAE is a thriving hub for technology," said Matt Henderson, EMEA Business Lead at Stripe.
5D
SoftBank invests $2.8bn for 40% of robotics company AutoStore
SoftBank is to invest $2.8bn in robotics and software company AutoStore, meaning it will own 40% of the business. SoftBank said the deal will help to accelerate AutoStore's global expansion, with a particular emphasis on the Asia Pacific region. THL will continue to be AutoStore's majority shareholder and THL, SoftBank and EQT will each have representatives on AutoStore's Board of Directors.
5D
Splunk poaches AWS exec Teresa Carlson
Splunk has appointed AWS exec Teresa Carlson to the newly created role of President and Chief Growth Officer. Carlson currently serves as Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector and Industries at cloud giant AWS. Carlson will lead and work closely with Splunk’s sales, customer success and marketing leaders to drive its business transformations across Splunk’s go-to-market business segments.
10D
Verizon to build Europe's first private 5G network in Southampton
Verizon Communications has been the first telecoms company to sign a contract to build a private 5G network in Europe. Verizon has partnered with Associated British Ports (ABP) to deploy the mobile network at the Port of Southampton, in the United Kingdom. The port handles about 900,000 cars and millions of cruise passengers annually. The network will use equipment from Finland's Nokia.
10D
Celonis partners up with IBM and Red Hat
Celonis has sealed a major partnership deal with IBM and Red Hat. The agreement will see 10,000 IBM consultants trained on the Celonis process mining software. IBM Global Business Services is implementing Celonis software as part of its methodology. Celonis already has clients such as Coca-Cola, Siemens and Vodafone, and IBM says its strategy fits in well with its own hybrid cloud approach.
10D
TSMC commits to spending $100bn to expand chip capacity
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has laid out plans to invest $100bn over the next three years to expand its chip fabrication capacity. TSMC is considered to be the world's leading chip maker, with its products used in "practically every modern piece of electronics", according to Bloomberg. A number of companies have committed to spending billions on chips amid a global shortage.
10D
Mastercard to invest $100m in Airtel Africa's Mobile Commerce
Mastercard has announced its plans to take a minority stake in Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations, valuing the company at $2.6 billion. Mastercard will invest $100 million in the company. The investment is part of Airtel Africa’s plan to monetise the mobile money business by selling up to a 25% stake in the unit, the company said. Airtel Mobile Commerce is also backed by TPG’s Rise Fund.
10D
Kioxia Holdings could be sold for $30bn amid chip shortage - WSJ
Micron Technology and Western Digital Corp are both considering a deal to buy Japanese semiconductor organisation Kioxia Holdings for around $30bn, according to the Wall Street Journal. A global shortage of chips is likely to lead to some consolidation in the market in 2021. People familiar with the matter said a deal isn't yet guaranteed but that it could be finalised later this spring.
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10D
Hitachi buys GlobalLogic for $9.5bn
Hitachi is to pay $9.5bn for GlobalLogic. The move is seen as Hitachi positioning itself for a future based around software and services provision, rather than electronics. Silicon Valley-headquartered GlobalLogic has over 20,000 professionals in 14 countries. Hitachi says the deal will help it create "synergies" across its five markets of IT, energy, industry, mobility and smart life.
10D
Oracle offers free route to cloud with 'Cloud Lift'
Oracle has launched the 'Cloud Lift Service', allowing new and existing customers receive free cloud engineering resources and tech support to streamline migration of their workloads to Oracle's cloud. "Our customers want a seamless path to the cloud with the right guidance, solution architecture, and hands-on help we can provide," said Vinay Kumar, SVP, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
10D
Goldman Sachs and Dell back data integration firm Striim
Data integration startup Striim has pocketed $50m from a new funding round. The Series C attracted some high profile investors, including Goldman Sachs, Dell and Bosch. Striim has tailored its solution to support organisations that are moving from on-premise environments to the cloud. The firm, which has so far raised $100m in equity funding, wants to use the money to fuel a global expansion.
10D
Plus raises extra $220m for self-driving trucks
Self-driving truck company Plus has added $220m to its most recent funding round, raising a total of $420m. FountainVest Partners and ClearVue Partners co-led the extra investment, which will help Plus commercialise its autonomous driving tech. “Plus is the only autonomous trucking company to start mass production of its system this year," said its CEO. The firm is also considering a SPAC merger.
11D
Arm launches new chip architecture focusing on AI and security
Arm has its first new chip architecture in a decade. The “v9” will focus heavily on security and AI and will provide the backbone for the company's next 300 billion chips. “As we look toward a future that will be defined by AI, we must lay a foundation of leading-edge compute that will be ready to address the unique challenges to come,” said Simon Segars, chief executive officer, Arm.
11D
China's JD sells its cloud and AI business to fintech unit
Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com Inc announced that it has sold JD Cloud and artificial intelligence business to its financial technology unit for $2.4bn. JD Digits will take JD.Com's stake in the company to about 42%. The plans for the transaction were originally revealed last December. JD.Com also recently spun off its health unit and listed it on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
11D
InMobi, India's first unicorn, plans $1bn IPO
India's first unicorn, InMobi Pte, which provides mobile-advertising services globally, has revealed its plans to list in the U.S. via an IPO by the end of the year, Bloomberg revealed. InMobi could pave the way for other Indian startups targeting initial public offerings. The offering size is predicted to be as large as $1bn, valuing the company at $12bn to $15bn.
11D
Aurora and Volvo team up for self-driving trucks
Aurora has struck up a partnership with Volvo to jointly develop autonomous trucks in North America. The deal builds on years of collaboration between the two companies. Aurora, founded by ex-Tesla and Google engineers, has similar partnerships with other manufacturers. "This exciting partnership brings our goal of transport as a service an important step closer," said a Volvo spokesperson.
11D
Microsoft aims to fill 50,000 tech roles through LinkedIn initiative
Microsoft wants to place up to 50,000 individuals into tech jobs as part of a LinkedIn initiative. The Silicon Valley giant is reaching out to its broader "ecosystem" of partner companies to support people back into work. The three-year programme will begin in the United States. Microsoft also revealed that more than 30m people utilised its free, online digital learning courses during COVID-19.
11D
AI sales platform 6sense raises $125m, value hits $2.1bn
Account engagement platform 6sense has raised $125m in Series D funding at a $2.1bn valuation. D1 Capital Partners led the round with participation from Sapphire Ventures and Tiger Global. Existing investor Insight Partners also participated. The 6sense platform’s AI and big data architecture unifies silos of data to create a single system of insights and orchestration capabilities.
11D
Knowledge orchestration startup Zoomin raises $52m
Knowledge orchestration startup Zoomin has raised $52m in a Series C round led by General Atlantic. Zoomin will use funds to further fuel its go-to-market strategy and to expand its product offering and analytics to a wider range of enterprise organisations, in order to meet the growing demand. Additionally, the new funding will enable it to increase market share in EMEA and expand into the APAC.
12D
FTC drops four-year antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm
The United States' Federal Trade Commission has decided to drop its four-year-long antitrust lawsuit against Qualcomm Technologies. The mobile chipmaker was originally accused of abusing patents and forcing smartphone manufacturers, including Apple Inc., to sign unfair licensing deals. In 2019, a judge ruled in favour of the FTC but the decision was overturned in August 2020.
12D
PayPal to launch crypto checkout service
PayPal will launch this week a crypto checkout service that will allow its U.S. consumers to make payments online with bitcoin cash and litecoin. PayPal will convert crypto holdings into fiat currencies. “This is the first time you can seamlessly use cryptocurrencies in the same way as a credit card or a debit card inside your PayPal wallet,” President and CEO Dan Schulman told Reuters.
12D
China's Tencent Music announces $1bn buyback
China's Tencent Music Entertainment Group announced has revealed its plans to buy back up to $1 billion worth of shares over the next 12 months in its biggest buyback in history. The company's decision was announced after U.S. securities regulator adopted stricter measures for foreign companies listed on American stock exchanges. As a result, Tencent lost about a third of its stock value.
12D
Google and Facebook to connect Asia and America with new undersea cables
Facebook and Google have announced two new undersea internet cables that will boost internet connections between South East Asia and North America. The cables will increase overall subsea capacity in the trans-pacific by about 70%. "Those will be the first two cables to go through a new diverse route crossing the Java Sea," said Facebook vice president of network investments Kevin Salvadori.
12D
IBM launches certification for quantum developers
IBM has launched what it is calling the quantum industry's first certification for developers. Developers from different backgrounds will be able to earn a certification in programming with Qiskit, the open-source quantum software kit supported by IBM. The company says it wants to build a "diverse, global, cloud-based ecosystem of developers". Qiskit has been installed 600,000 times since launch.
12D
Samsung and Marvell develop SoC for 5G networks
Samsung and Marvell have developed a new System-on-a-Chip (SoC) to enhance 5G network performance. The SoC is targeted for market introduction to Tier One operators in Q2 2021. The SoC is designed to help implement new technologies, which improve cellular radios by increasing capacity and coverage, while decreasing power consumption and size. It is equipped to support both 4G and 5G networks.
13D
Visa settles first USD Coin crypto transactions
Visa has become the first major provider to settle payments in the cryptocurrency USD Coin. The pilot transactions have been done over the Ethereum blockchain and in collaboration with crypto.com, one of the world's biggest crypto platforms. USD Coin is a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, and Visa is promising further settlements later this year. A spokesperson said this was a "major milestone".
15D
Blockchain startup Chainalysis reaches $2bn valuation
New York-based blockchain startup Chainalysis has achieved a $2 billion valuation after raising $100 million from investors in its latest funding round. Chainalysis allows companies and government agencies to analyse and investigate blockchain transactions. The round was led by investment firm Paradigm, with participation from existing backers Addition, Ribbit and TIME Ventures.
15D
AT&T and Ericsson execs to lead 6G push
Executives from AT&T and Ericsson have been put in charge of the Next G Alliance. The alliance's aim is to manage North America's progress towards 6G. A press release said the alliance will "set the stage for the eventual commercialisation of 6G". Andre Fuetsch from AT&T and Jan Söderström from Ericsson will take up the leadership positions. Other companies represented include Nokia and VMware.
15D
UiPath files for IPO
UiPath has filed for its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. The automation provider last month raised $750m against a valuation of $35bn ahead of this expected IPO announcement. It also achieved an 81% revenue jump in the year ended January 31st. UiPath now has nearly 8,000 customers worldwide, although the organisation is still working at a net loss.
15D
WeWork to go public via $9bn SPAC merger - report
WeWork is the latest company that is to go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report says the planned merger with the BowX Acquisition Corp. SPAC would value WeWork at $9bn including debt. As part of the move, WeWork would also raise $1.3bn, including $800m in private investment in public equity, said the WSJ.
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16D
AWS announces GA of Amazon Lookout for Metrics
AWS has announced the general availability of Amazon Lookout for Metrics, a service that detects anomalies in metrics and helps determine their root cause. Amazon Lookout for Metrics helps customers monitor the most important metrics for their business like revenue, web page views, active users, transaction volume, and mobile app installations with greater speed and accuracy.