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Japans mobile payments app PayPay reaches 10 million users

Paytm, India’s biggest mobile payments firm, now has 10 million customers in Japan, the company said as it pushes to expand its reach in international markets. Paytm entered Japan last October after forming a joint venture with SoftBank and Yahoo Japan called PayPay. In addition to 10 million users, PayPay is now supported by 1 million merchant partners and local stores in Japan, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm said Thursday. The mobile payments app has clocked more than 100 million transactions to date in the nation, he claimed.…

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Startups Weekly: SoftBanks second act

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I noted some challenges plaguing mental health tech startups. Before that, I wrote about Zoom and Superhuman’s PR disasters. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here. accelerating its IPO plans and targeting a September listing. We don’t…

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Startups Weekly: The Peloton IPO (bull vs. bear)

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s noteworthy venture capital deals, funds and trends. Before I dive into this week’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about the proliferation of billion-dollar companies. Before that, I noted the uptick in beverage startup rounds. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. A bullish perspective: Peloton, an early player in the fitness tech space, has garnered a cult following since its founding in…

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Skymind raises $11.5M to bring deep learning to more enterprises

Skymind, a Y Combinator-incubated AI platform that aims to make deep learning more accessible to enterprises, today announced that it has raised an $11.5 million Series A round led by TransLink Capital, with participation from ServiceNow, Sumitomo’s Presidio Ventures, UpHonest Capital and GovTech Fund. Early investors Y Combinator, Tencent, Mandra Capital, Hemi Ventures, and GMO Ventures, also joined the round/ With this, the company has now raised a total of $17.9 million in funding. The inclusion of TransLink Capital gives a hint as to how the company is planning to…

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Clutter confirms SoftBank-led $200M investment for its on-demand storage service

There’s plenty of speculation right now around apparently disgruntled investors in SoftBank’s Vision Fund, but the drum continues to beat and the checks continue to be written. The latest deal for the $100 billion mega-fund is Clutter, an on-demand storage company that pulled in $200 million in new financing for growth. Eagle-eyed viewers will recall that TechCrunch broke news of an impending SoftBank-led round of that size back in January, and now it is official. The startup is one of a number of companies that provide storage options for consumers who…

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Logistics startup Flexport just raised a SoftBank-led round at a whopping $3.2 billion valuation

Flexport, a 5.5-year-old, San Francisco-based full-service air and ocean freight forwarder, says it has raised $1 billion in fresh funding led by the SoftBank Vision Fund. Earlier backers of the company, including Founders Fund, DST Global, Cherubic Ventures, Susa Ventures and SF Express, all participated in the round, which reportedly pegs the company’s post-money valuation at $3.2 billion. According to Forbes, which broke the news, Flexport generated revenue of $471 million last year, up from $224.8 million in 2017, thanks in part to some customers who the company says spend…

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Payment service Toss becomes Koreas newest unicorn after raising $80M

South Korea has got its third unicorn startup after Viva Republica, the company beyond popular payment app Toss, announced it has raised an $80 million round at a valuation of $1.2 billion. This new round is led by U.S. firms Kleiner Perkins and Ribbit Capital, both of which cut their first checks for Korea with this deal. Others participating include existing investors Altos Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Goodwater Capital, KTB Network, Novel, PayPal and Qualcomm Ventures. The deal comes just six months after Viva Republica raised $40 million to accelerate growth, and it takes…

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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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