Odds and Ends 

Guardian Circle upgrades with a decentralized alert network

Chris Hays and Mark Jeffrey wanted to create a way for everyone to be able to tell their loved ones if they were in trouble. Their first product, Guardian Circle, did just that, netting a mention a few years ago. Now the same team is truly decentralizing alerts with a new token called, obviously, Guardium. The plan is to create an ad hoc network of helpers and first responders. “Guardium and Guardian Circle together open the emergency response grid to vetted citizens, private response and compatible devices for the very first…

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In venture capital, its still the age of the unicorn

Howie Xu At the time, the piece defined a new breed of startup — the $1 billion privately held company. When Lee did her first count, there were 39 “unicorns”; an improbable, but not impossible number.. Today, the once-scarce unicorn has become a global herd with 376 companies on the roster and counting. But the proliferation of unicorns begs raises certain questions. Is this new breed of unicorn artificially created? Could these magical companies see their valuations slip and fall out of the herd? Does this indicate an irrational exuberance…

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Travis Kalanick reportedly sought to reassert control at Uber after ouster

Just under two months after resigning from Uber, former CEO Travis Kalanick has reportedlyasked some former colleagues if they would support him in a potential shareholder battle, according to a new report by The Information. Youll periodically find these kinds of proxy fights happening at public companies, but after his ouster, it appears that Kalanick still may want to try to gain back some control at Uber. The Information reports that Kalanick isnt currently pursuing a shareholder battle. This comes amid reports that Softbank is looking to invest in the…

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Uber rival Grab is reportedly raising up to $2 billion from SoftBank and Didi

Grab, the Uber rival in Southeast Asia that operates across seven countries, is reportedly in talks to raise up to $2 billion from Japan-based SoftBank and China-based Didi Chuxing, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources.The funding would reportedly value Grab at more than $5 billion, which would make it the most valuable startup in Southeast Asia. SoftBank is the telecom giant that has become known for investing in any ride-hailing company other than Uber. SoftBank first invested in Grab in 2014, with a $250 million investment.That investment came just…

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SoftBanks massive Vision Fund raises $93 billion in its first close

SoftBanks huge $100 billioninvestment fund the largest tech fund in history Apple, Qualcomm, UAE-basedMubadala Investment Company,Saudi Arabias PID public fund, Foxconn, and Foxconn-owned Sharp. The plan is for the fund to reach its $100 billion target within the next six months through commitments from other investors. The fund is committing to a minimum of $100 million deal checks, with a focus on both minority and majority deals with companies that are either private or public. That leaves plenty of scope to play in, but some color can be found in…

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SoftBank makes it easier to customize Pepper the robots greeting skills

Until now, As far as out-of-the-box robotics programming solutions go, this is all pretty simple stuff. And while SoftBank has promised more to come from its team, the first solution out of the gate makes it pretty clear the key application the company expects its robot to fulfill: attracting customers with its novelty and pulling them into a place of business or getting information from them. Given the high sophistication of the technology that has gone into creating Pepper, its kind of a shame were not seeing it used in…

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