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Self-driving car engineer Anthony Levandowski files motion to force Uber into arbitration

Anthony Levandowski, the star self-driving car engineer who was at the center of a trade secrets lawsuit, has filed a motion to compel Uber into arbitration in the hopes that his former employee will have to shoulder the cost of at least part of the $179 million judgment against him. The motion to compel arbitration filed this week is part of Levandowski’s bankruptcy proceedings. It’s the latest chapter in a long and winding legal saga that has entangled Uber and Waymo, the former Google self-driving project that is now a…

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The Covid-19 Pandemic Aggravates Disputes Around Gig Work

The rapidly spreading novel coronavirus is supercharging a debate about the treatment of gig workers. The relief bill signed Friday by President Trump will provide a short-term lifeline. But some workers for companies such as Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Instacart, and Amazon worry the help won’t come soon enough. Today, many gig workers are considered independent contractors, not entitled to workers’ compensation, health care benefits, or sick pay. Because their employers don't pay into unemployment insurance, the workers haven’t been able to obtain those benefits either. Many app-based companies have established…

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Susan Fowler: When the time came to blow the whistle on Uber, I was ready

The former Uber engineer has written a memoir about exposing the companys systemic sexism she hopes it will help other women in the industry Before Susan Fowler was a whistleblower she was a violinist, and before she was a violinist she fed fruit flies to spiders that were milked for their venom at a small Arizona business known as Spider Pharm. In February 2017, Fowler was thrown into the public eye after she published a damning blogpost exposing the toxic sexism she experienced working as a software engineer at Uber.…

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A Cruise Ship Quarantine, a Hunt for Cheaters, and More Car News This Week

Turns out transportation angles lurk in every story. This week, the global reach of the coronavirus was top of mind, so we investigated how cruise ships—and one cruise in particular—helped spread the virus worldwide. Then, for a change of pace (pun intended), we looked into how digital footprints helped one data obsessive track down (we did it again) marathon cheats. Meanwhile, in California, a labor law is changing the way Uber and its drivers do business, which may end up affecting the price of a ride. Plus, check out this…

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SoftBank-backed Fair puts the brakes on weekly car rentals for Uber drivers

When Fair laid off 40% of its staff in October, CEO Scott Painter promised it wasn’t shuttering leasing services to on-demand fleets. But just one week later, he stepped away from the role of CEO and was replaced by Adam Hieber, a CFA from Fair investor SoftBank. Today, according to two sources, Fair announced at an all-hands meeting that it would end its Fair Go program that helped Uber drivers lease cars on short-term (by the week) deals, as the company pushes for profitability. The program will cease in April.…

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Indian bike rental startup Bounce raises $105M

Bounce, a Bangalore-based startup that operates more than 20,000 electric and gasoline dockless bikes and scooters in nearly three dozen cities in India, said today it has raised $105 million in a new funding round as it explores sustainable ways to expand within the nation and build its own electric vehicles. The new financing round, a Series D, was co-led by existing investors Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital and Accel Partners, the startup said. The new round valued Bounce at a little over $500 million, up from about $200 million in…

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What we know (and dont) about Goldman Sachs Africa VC investing

Goldman Sachs is investing in African tech companies. The venerable American investment bank and financial services firm has backed startups from Kenya to Nigeria and taken a significant stake in e-commerce venture Jumia, which listed on the NYSE in 2019. Though Goldman declined to comment on its Africa VC activities for this article, the company has spoken to TechCrunch in the past about specific investments. Goldman Sachs is one of the most enviable investment banking shops on Wall Street, generating $36 billion in net revenues in 2019, or roughly $1…

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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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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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Design may be the next entrepreneurial gold rush

Ten years ago, the vast majority of designers were working in Adobe Photoshop, a powerful tool with fine-tuned controls for almost every kind of image manipulation one could imagine. But it was a tool built for an analog world focused on photos, flyers and print magazines; there were no collaborative features, and much more importantly for designers, there were no other options. Since then, a handful of major players have stepped up to dominate the market alongside the behemoth, including InVision, Sketch, Figma and Canva. And with the shift in…

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Daily Crunch: Uber faces legal battle in London

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Uber has again been denied licence renewal in London over safety risks With Uber’s two-month license extension in London coming to an end, the company has once again been denied a full renewal by the city’s transport regulator — which said that it had found a “pattern of failures” that put “passenger safety and security at…

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Why were still waiting on the Postmates S-1

In a wide-ranging conversation at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco last week, Postmates co-founder and chief executive officer Bastian Lehmann made light of the company’s lack of IPO documents. The San Francisco-based on-demand delivery business was expected to publicly file its IPO prospectus in September in preparation for a fall exit, sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch this summer. September, however, has come and gone, and we’re still waiting on Postmates to release the critical document. “The reality is that we will IPO when we believe we find the right…

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Sources: Lilium is looking to raise up to $500M for its electric flying taxis

“Flying cars” — airborne vehicles designed for urban and other short-distance commutes to replace conventional private automobiles — are (at best) still years away from being a reality, with significant safety, technology and business model hurdles to clear before they ever hit the sky. Now, sources tell us that one of the more promising startups in the field, the German startup Lilium, wants to put itself into pole position by ramping up its financial position. Lilium has been talking to investors to raise a big round of funding, between $400…

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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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Uber loses Arianna Huffington and Benchmarks Matt Cohler as board members

Uber has lost two of its board members today. Arianna Huffington, CEO at Thrive Global, and Benchmark General Partner Matt Cohler‘s resignations from the board went into effect today, according to two Uber filings with the SEC. “Given Thrive’s growth, it has become clear to me that I will no longer be able to give my Uber board duties the attention they deserve, so I will be stepping down,” Huffington said. “It has been an unforgettable three-year ride, and I’m grateful to have been able to work alongside my fellow…

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