Odds and Ends 

The year of the gig worker uprising

2019 was a momentous year for gig workers. While the likes of Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash rely on these workers for their respective core services, the pay does not match how much they’re worth — which is a lot. It’s this issue that lies at the root of gig workers’ demands. “This past year has been a pivotal year not only for gig workers but for workers across the tech economy,” Gig Workers Rising co-organizer Lauren Casey told TechCrunch. “That unto itself is a win — to see mass…

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Odds and Ends 

R.I.P. Goofy Times

A strange new sensation has settled across the tech industry, one so foreign, so alien, it’s almost hard to recognize. A sense that some great expectations are being radically revised downwards; that someone has turned down a previously unquenchable money spigot; that unit economics can matter even when you’re in growth mode. Could it be … thrift? Well, OK, let’s not go that crazy. But we are witnessing a remarkable confluence of (relatively) parsimonious events. Last year’s high-profile tech IPOs are far from high-fliers: Uber, Lyft, Slack, Pinterest, and Peloton…

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Odds and Ends 

Lyft deploys 200 long-range EVs for its rideshare rental fleet in Colorado

Lyft is making 200 new long-range EVs available to rideshare drivers as part of its Express Drive program, the company revealed today. Express Drive is a program that Lyft offers to provide rental cars to drivers on its platform as an alternative to options like long-term leasing. Express Drive members get unlimited miles, as well as included insurance, maintenance and roadside service, with the ability to return the car after a rental period of as little as just a week. These 200 new EVs (all Kia vehicles for this particular…

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Odds and Ends 

Transportation Weekly: Didi woes, how Nuro met Softbank, Amazons appetite

Welcome back to Transportation Weekly; I’m your host Kirsten Korosec, senior transportation reporter at TechCrunch. This is the second edition and seriously people, what happened this week? Too much. Too much! Never heard of TechCrunch’s Transportation Weekly? Catch up here. As I’ve written before, consider this a soft launch. Follow me on Twitter @kirstenkorosec to ensure you see it each week. (An email subscription is coming). Off we go … vroom. ONM … There are OEMs in the automotive world. And here, (wait for it) there are ONMs — original news manufacturers. (Cymbal…

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Odds and Ends 

Uber sues NYC to contest cap on drivers

Uber filed a lawsuit against New York City, The Verge reported. The company wants to overturn New York City’s rule that caps the number of new ride-hailing drivers. Last summer, the city approved legislation that halts the issuing of new licenses to drivers for 12 months. It has been a multi-year fight between Uber and New York City. NYC mayor Bill de Blasio has been in favor of new legislation to regulate ride-hailing companies for years. And the NYC Council finally voted in favor of such a new rule back…

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Odds and Ends 

Lyft says it has more wheelchair accessible vehicles available in NYC

Lyft, which has faced at least one lawsuit pertaining to its alleged discrimination against people with physical abilities, announced today it has expanded its wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV) service in New York City. Details on the blog are very scarce (we’ve reached out to Lyft for more info) but Lyft now has more than 20 partners in New York City to help increase WAV access. “With more accessible rides on the road, we’ll be better able to help New Yorkers with physical disabilities get around the city,” Lyft wrote in a blog…

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Odds and Ends 

Best Uber Ever? Driver Installs Gaming Console for Riders

How awesome is this? Reddit user and rideshare driver BeefJuicyHot recently showed off what’s waiting for riders that step into his vehicle. In a follow-up post on Imgur, he explains how he created his retro gaming setup. For a display he used a 2016 Samsung Galaxy Tab; for the controller he used an SF30 Pro bluetooth gaming controller; for the actual games, he used an Arc Browser gaming emulator; and finally he mounted the whole setup to a Headrest Bar Mount. You can find the original post on reddit for…

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Odds and Ends 

With SEC workers offline, the government shutdown could screw IPO-ready companies

The government shutdown has entered into day 19, making it the second-longest shutdown in U.S. history. With President Donald Trump slamming his hands down on a table and storming out of negotiations with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer earlier today, a fast-approaching end feels unlikely. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are out of work as U.S. leaders struggle to reach a fair agreement on the federal budget, including employees of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission . The government agency, responsible for protecting investors and maintaining fair,…

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Odds and Ends 

The 10 largest US venture rounds of 2018

Three U.S. companies raised more than $1 billion in just one funding round in 2018, a year in which total deal value for U.S. startups is expected to surpass $100 billion for the first time. For the most part, it was the usual suspects, and yes, SoftBank was an accessory in many of these rounds. Here’s a look at the 10 largest venture rounds of 2018. Epic Games: $1.25 billion Travis Kalanick, co-founder and former chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., speaks during the TiE Global Entrepreneurs Summit in New…

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Odds and Ends 

Contentful raises $33.5M for its headless CMS platform

Contentful, a Berlin- and San Francisco-based startup that provides content management infrastructure for companies like Spotify, Nike, Lyft and others, today announced that it has raised a $33.5 million Series D funding round led by Sapphire Ventures, with participation from OMERS Ventures and Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors General Catalyst, Benchmark, Balderton Capital and Hercules. In total, the company has now raised $78.3 million. Contentful, a Stripe for content management, raises $28M led by General Catalyst Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/06/contentful-raises-33-5m-for-its-headless-cms-platform/

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Headlines 

Uber CEO wants more riders on scooters and bikes, even if it brings in less money

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is all in on bikes.Image: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images Uber is a ride-hailing app, but lately it’s become an app for riding an electric bike or scooter, renting a car, and even checking when the bus is coming. In an interview released over the weekend in the Financial Times, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi emphasized his goal of turning Uber into a diverse mobility platform. Translation: He wants the app to offer passengers as many different ways to get around as possible. It’s not just about ordering a…

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Headlines 

Passengers Wont Stop Complimenting This Uber Drivers Music, So He Reveals How He Sorted People Into 11 Categories

After TJ’s initial tweet racked up 260K likes back in February, people have been flooding their feed with compliments and requests. From “white dudes who look like [they] like rap” to “quiet ppl”, Jones has a playlist for everyone. With the encouragement, the Spotify playlist virtuoso decided to create more collections and is now a professional playlist curator. Scroll down below to check out the story for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments! Meet TJ Jones (who uses they/them pronouns) whose Spotify playlists went viral…

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Odds and Ends 

MIT study shows how much driving for Uber or Lyft sucks

Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft are delivering pitiful levels of take-home pay to the hundreds of thousands of US independent contractors providing their own vehicles and driving skills to deliver the core service, according to an MIT CEEPR study examining the economics of the two app platforms. The report catalyses the debate about conditions for workers on gig economy platforms, and raises serious questions about the wider societal impacts of tax avoiding, VC-funded tech giants. The study, entitled The Economics of Ride-Hailing: Driver Revenue, Expenses and Taxes, and which was carried out by…

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Odds and Ends 

Crunch Report | Y Combinator Wants In On The 3-Comma Club

Lyft launches a new self-driving division and will develop its own autonomous ride-hailing technology Y Combinator is reportedly raising a $1 billion fund Credits Written by: Tito Hamze, John MannesHosted by: Tito HamzeFilmed by:Tito HamzeEdited by: Chris Gates Notes: I dont know what to wear on Crunch Report (Its a hard decision and I suck at dressing myself). If you are a startup andwant to me to wear something mail me an XL T-shirt and Ill wear it in an episode. Im not going to mention the company on the…

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Odds and Ends 

Lyft adds pickup suggestions for smoother ride routing

Lyft will offer pickup suggestions in the latest version of the Android or iOS app, making it easier for drivers to pick riders up without having to do traffic gymnastics, while also hopefully saving riders time. The pickup suggestions only trigger when itll actually save you time as a rider, Lyft says, and theyre only ever within short walking distance, plus you can opt to stick with your original pickup spot should you so choose. The pickup suggestions are available in every market where Lyft operates, and spell out explicitly…

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