Web Apps | StartupWizz
Search

Web Apps

Daily Crunch: Alphabet shuts down Loon

Alphabet pulls the plug on its internet balloon company, Apple is reportedly developing a new MacBook Air and Google threatens to pull out of Australia. This is your Daily Crunch for January 22, 2021.

The big story: Alphabet shuts down Loon

Alphabet announced that it’s shutting down Loon, the project that used balloons to bring high-speed internet to more remote parts of the world.

Loon started out under Alphabet’s experimental projects group X, before spinning out as a separate company in 2018. Despite some successful deployments, it seems that Loon was never able to find a sustainable business model.

“While we’ve found a number of willing partners along the way, we haven’t found a way to get the costs low enough to build a long-term, sustainable business,” Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth wrote in a blog post. “Developing radical new technology is inherently risky, but that doesn’t make breaking this news any easier.”

The tech giants

Apple reportedly planning thinner and lighter MacBook Air with MagSafe charging — The plan is reportedly to release the new MacBook Air as early as late 2021 or 2022.

Google threatens to close its search engine in Australia as it lobbies against digital news code — Google is dialing up its lobbying against draft legislation intended to force it to pay news publishers.

Cloudflare introduces free digital waiting rooms for any organizations distributing COVID-19 vaccines — The goal is to help health agencies and organizations tasked with rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to maintain a fair, equitable and transparent digital queue.

Startups, funding and venture capital

‘Slow dating’ app Once is acquired by Dating Group for $18M as it seeks to expand its portfolio — Once has 9 million users on its platform, with an additional 1 million users from a spin-out app called Pickable.

MotoRefi raises $10M to keep pedal on auto refinancing growth — CEO Kevin Bennett sees the opportunity to service Americans who collectively hold $1.2 trillion in auto loans.

Backed by Vint Cerf, Emortal wants to protect your digital legacy from ‘bit-rot’ —  Emortal is a startup that wants to help you organize, protect, preserve and pass on your “digital legacy” and protect it from becoming unreadable.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

How VCs invested in Asia and Europe in 2020 — The unicorns are feasting.

End-to-end operators are the next generation of consumer business — VC firm Battery has tracked seismic shifts in how consumer purchasing behavior has changed over the years.

Drupal’s journey from dorm-room project to billion-dollar exit — Twenty years ago, Drupal and Acquia founder Dries Buytaert was a college student at the University of Antwerp.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

UK resumes privacy oversight of adtech, warns platform audits are coming — The U.K.’s data watchdog has restarted an investigation of adtech practices that, since 2018, have been subject to scores of complaints under GDPR.

Boston Globe will consider people’s requests to have articles about them anonymized — It’s reminiscent of the EU’s “right to be forgotten,” though potentially less controversial.

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 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

Share

Google to add App Store privacy labels to its iOS apps as soon as this week

Contrary to reports, Google is not delaying updates to its iOS apps because it doesn’t want to comply with Apple’s recently announced App Store Privacy Labels policy. The new policy, a part of the company’s larger privacy push, requires developers to disclose how data is collected from App Store users and used to track them. TechCrunch confirmed Google is not taking a stand against the labels. It is, in fact, preparing to roll out privacy labels across its sizable iOS app catalog as soon as this week or the next.

TechCrunch looked into the situation with Google’s apps following a story by Fast Company today that speculated that Google’s slowdown on releasing iOS app updates could be because it was not ready to be transparent about the data it collects from its users. The report stated that “not a single one” of Google’s apps had been updated since December 7, 2020 — coincidentally, just one day before Apple’s new privacy label requirements went into effect on the App Store.

It went on to suggest the late November to early December time frame when many of Google’s iOS apps were updated was another indication that Google was trying to squeeze in a few last updates before the app privacy label deadline.

There are a few problems with speculation, however.

For starters, Google actually did update two of its apps after the deadline — but those updates didn’t include privacy labels.

Google Slides, the slideshow presentation app and one of Google’s more significant apps in the productivity space, was updated on December 14, 2020. And Socratic by Google, a homework helper and the No. 7 free app in the Education category, was updated on December 15. (We fact-checked this data with Sensor Tower’s assistance, as Google’s iOS catalog is nearing 100 iPhone apps!)

While it may seem Google is skirting Apple’s new rules, we must also be careful about reading too much into the update timing. A slowdown in December app updates isn’t unusual by any stretch. Nor is it suspicious to see app changes pushed out to the public in the weeks before Christmas and New Year’s because the Apple’s App Store itself shuts down over the holidays. This year, The App Store closed from December 23 through December 27, 2020 for its annual break.

And like other large companies, Google goes on a code freeze in late December through early January, so as not to cause major issues with its products and services over the holidays when staff is out.

Google also isn’t the only major app publisher that delayed an immediate embrace of app privacy labels. Amazon and Pinterest haven’t yet updated with privacy labels as of the time of writing, for example.

Of course, none of this is to say that app privacy labels aren’t a concern for Google, given its primary business is advertising. In fact, they’re being taken quite seriously — with execs attending meetings to discuss that sort of thing.

Apple may have given Google some leeway on the matter, it seems, as it allowed Google’s apps to update after the deadline without submitting the privacy label information. (That probably won’t make happy smaller developers who worked to comply with the deadline, however.)

Reached for comment, a Google spokesperson confirmed the company has a plan to add privacy labels across its app catalog. They also confirmed the labels are expected to begin rolling out as soon as this week or next week, though an exact date is not yet available.

Share

Divvy raises $165M as the spend management space stays red-hot

Today Divvy, a Utah-based startup that focuses on corporate spend management, announced that it has closed a $165 million round at a $1.6 billion valuation. The company said that the new capital was raised from Hanaco, Schonfeld, PayPal Ventures and Whale Rock, along with a cadre of prior investors.

startupwizz.com

The new investment is not Divvy’s first megaround of private capital. The well-known startup raised $200 million in April of 2019. TechCrunch reported at the time that that round valued Divvy at around $700 million, making today’s deal a more than 2x increase in valuation for the company.

Divvy exists amongst the current generation of Utah-based tech upstarts that are keeping the state’s tech scene in the broader startup conversation. Podium fits in the same cohort, for example, while Qualtrics feels like it’s from the preceding peer group.

Divvy’s market, the corporate spend management space — broadly, corporate cards and software that helps firms manage and limit expenses — is incredibly active today as businesses look to modernize their financial infrastructure. The new capital for Divvy comes after multiple other competitors recently announced fresh funds itself, for example. Let’s take a look at who Divvy is taking on with its new round.

Competition

A few weeks back Ramp, another corporate-cards-and-software startup, announced a $30 million raise and that it had reached $100 million in spend through its service in its first 18 months of business. At the same time Divvy shared with TechCrunch that it had seen 120% customer growth and over 100% growth in platform spend in 2020, compared to 2019. At the time, Brex, which also competes in the corporate spend space, declined to share metrics.

That Divvy was able to raise so much capital given its recent growth rates is not surprising. But that so many companies in its sector are managing similarly strong-to-line expansion stands out. After covering the Ramp round in December and noting Divvy’s metrics at the same time, both Airbase (more here) and Teampay (more here) reached out with numbers of their own.

Teampay reiterated its October-era metrics: that it has seen its annual recurring revenue (ARR) grow by 320% and its total spend grow by 800% since its then year-ago Series A. Airbase noted what it described as 250% growth in ARR — up by 2.5x, in other words — and 700% growth in payment volume (annualized).

Divvy, Teampay and Airbase are therefore growing like all heck, though in slightly different fashions. Divvy and Ramp offer their corporate spend products and software for free, taking a slice of payment volume through interchange revenues. Teampay and Airbase generate incomes from interchange as well, but also charge for their software. This gives them both spend and software revenues.

Which brings us back to Divvy’s news from today. I normally avoid quoting from releases, but in today’s case a paragraph is worth sharing:

The valuation of $1.6 billion and the addition of key investors validates Divvy’s ambition to modernize financial processes by combining credit, vendor, and spend management into a single platform. With this round of funding, Divvy plans to invest heavily in product development and engineering in order to accelerate their future roadmap.

Divvy is going to invest heavily in product? That makes sense. But to give away its software forever just seems odd. Some of its competitors are charging for theirs! Why not Divvy as well?

We’ll see, but what is clear today is that the capital that has gone into startups in Divvy’s cohort was put into a niche that has shown huge demand. So, expect to hear more from this product area in 2021.

Share

T-Mobile says hackers accessed some customer call records in data breach

T-Mobile, the third largest cell carrier in the U.S. after completing its recent $26 billion merger with Sprint, ended 2020 by announcing its second data breach of the year.

The cell giant said in a notice buried on its website that it recently discovered unauthorized access to some customers’ account information, including the data that T-Mobile makes and collects on its customers in order to provide cell service.

From the notice: “Our cybersecurity team recently discovered and shut down malicious, unauthorized access to some information related to your T-Mobile account. We immediately started an investigation, with assistance from leading cybersecurity forensics experts, to determine what happened and what information was involved. We also immediately reported this matter to federal law enforcement and are now in the process of notifying impacted customers.”

Known as customer proprietary network information (CPNI), this data can include call records — such as when a call was made, for how long, the caller’s phone number and the destination phone numbers for each call, and other information that might be found on the customer’s bill.

But the company said that the hackers did not access names, home or email addresses, financial data, and account passwords (or PINs).

A spokesperson for T-Mobile said the breach happened in early December, and affects about 0.2% of all T-Mobile customers — or approximately 200,000 customers.

It’s the latest security incident to hit the cell giant in recent years.

In 2018, T-Mobile said as many as two million customers may have had their personal information scraped. A year later, the company confirmed hackers accessed records on another million prepaid customers. Just months into 2020, T-Mobile admitted a breach on its email systems that saw hackers access some T-Mobile employee email accounts, exposing some customer data.

Updated with comment from T-Mobile.

Cybersecurity 101: How to protect your cell phone number and why you should care

Share

Sony to launch PlayStation 5 in India on February 2

Sony said on Friday that it will launch the PlayStation 5 in India on February 2, suggesting improvements in the supply chain network that was severely impacted last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Japanese firm said it will begin taking pre-order requests for the new gaming console in India, the world’s second largest internet market, on January 12. The console will be available for pre-order from a number of retailers including Amazon India, Flipkart, Croma, Reliance Digital, Games the Shop, Sony Center, and Vijay Sales, the company said.

The PlayStation 5 is priced at Indian rupees 49,990 ($685), while the digital edition of the console will sell at Indian rupees 39,990 ($550). Xbox Series X, in comparison, is priced at $685 in India, and Xbox Series S sells at $480. Both the consoles launched in India in November.

However, much like elsewhere in the world, Microsoft has been struggling to meet the demand for the new Xbox consoles in India. The Xbox Series X is facing so much shortage in the country that it’s not even easy to locate its page on Amazon India.

The announcement today should allay concerns of loyal PlayStation fans, some of whom — including, of course, yours truly — secured a unit from the gray market at a premium in recent months after India was not included in the first wave of nations for the PS5. Fans have also been frustrated at Sony and its affiliated partners for not offering clarification or providing conflicting accounts about the probable launch of the new gaming console in recent months.

In November, Sony suggested that it had delayed the launch of the PS5 in India due to local import regulations. Game news site The Mako Reactor reported earlier this week that Sony is unlikely to offer warranty and after-sales support for PlayStation 5 accessories in India — as has been the case for several previous generations.

India is not yet a big market for full-fledged gaming consoles yet. According to industry estimates, Sony and Microsoft sold only a few hundred thousand units of their previous generation consoles in the country. Thanks to the proliferation of affordable Android smartphones and world’s cheapest mobile data tariffs, tens of millions of Indians have embraced mobile gaming in recent years.

Share

Former YouTube star sentenced to ten years in prison for child porn

Former Youtube star Austin Jones has been sentenced to ten years in a US federal prison after pleading guilty to persuading underage girls to send him explicit videos of themselves.

Jones, who made a name for himself online singing covers of songs, was arrested and charged in 2017 with two counts of producing child pornography.

He later pled guilty to one charge of receiving child pornography — admitting in a plea agreement that in 2016 and 2017 he enticed six girls to to produce and send explicit videos to “prove” they were his “biggest fan”, per Buzzfeed.

“Production and receipt of child pornography are extraordinarily serious offenses that threaten the safety of our children and communities,” it quotes assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Neff Welsh writing in a sentencing memo. “Jones’s actions took something from his victims and their families that they will never be able to get back.”

At the height of his YouTube fame Jones had around 540,000 subscribers to his channel and more than 20M video views.

In a 2015 apology vlog, after reports emerged of Jones asking young fans to send him twerking videos, he claimed it never went further than that. “There were never any nudes, never any physical contact, it never happened,” he said then.

But in his plea agreement Jones admitted to attempting to persuade more than thirty underage fans to send him explicit photos or videos.

YouTube removed Jones’ channel after he pled guilty in February — saying it had violated its community guidelines. But the Google -owned company initially refused to shutter it, telling the BBC a few days earlier that while it does have a policy of removing content when a person is convicted of a crime “in some cases” it does so only if the content is closely related to the crime committed.

Describing her experience in a vlog also posted to YouTube, one former fan she had received messages from Jones asking her for twerking videos prior to his 2015 apology video when she was 14-years-old.

“I just don’t understand how these people can let the fame get to their heads that much that they think it’s alright to do something to people like this,” she said. “It’s so messed up. But the fact that his fanbase was these vulnerable, insecure young girls makes it so much worse than it already is… He knew that that was his fanbase and he took advantage of that.”

Share

Startups Weekly: Will the Seattle tech scene ever reach its full potential?

Greetings from Seattle, the land of Amazon, Microsoft, two of the world’s richest men and some startups.

I’m always surprised the Seattle startup ecosystem hasn’t grown to compete with the likes of Silicon Valley — or at least Boston and New York City — since the dot-com boom. Today, it’s the strongest it’s has been due to the successes of companies like the newly minted unicorn Outreach, trucking business Convoy and, of course, the dog walking startup Rover. But the city still lags behind, failing to adopt the culture of entrepreneurship that defines San Francisco.

I spent a lot of time wondering why it hasn’t reached its full potential. Is it because Microsoft and Amazon pay their employees so well they don’t have the same urge to build something from the ground up? Is it a lack of access to capital? Is the city not attracting top talent? If you have thoughts, send them my way.

“We think part of the issue is a lack of capital and a lack of help,” Rover and Pioneer Square Labs co-founder Greg Gottesman told TechCrunch earlier this year. “If we can provide a little bit of both of those things, we can really put Seattle where it deserves to be, should be and will be.”

Despite its shortcomings, there is still some action in the city I want to highlight this week. A same-day delivery business, Dolly, is on the rise. The startup told me on Thursday it had raised a $7.5 million round from Unlock Venture Partners, Maveron and Jeff Wilke, the chief executive officer of Amazon Worldwide Consumer. Maveron, if you remember, is the VC fund co-founded by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz.

In other Seattle news, Madrona Venture Group, a well-regarded fund, raised an additional $100 million this week. Typically, Madrona focuses on companies based in the Pacific Northwest, but this fund will deploy capital throughout the entire U.S. Hmmm, that’s not necessarily a good sign for Seattle founders, but great progress for the ecosystem nonetheless.

If you’re interested in learning more about Seattle tech, I’ve covered it a bit because it’s my hometown! Start with this story, which dives deep into a Seattle accelerator that’s working hard to encourage entrepreneurship in the city. Alright, on to other news.

Want more TechCrunch newsletters? Sign up here.

IPO corner!

WeWork: The co-working giant now known as The We Company submitted confidential IPO documents to the SEC, the company confirmed in a press release Monday. Is this the next massive startup win or a house of cards waiting to be toppled by the glare of the public markets? TechCrunch’s Danny Crichton investigates.

Slack: The business is in its final steps toward a much-anticipated direct listing, with one source telling TechCrunch the listing will be complete within 45 days. The WSJ reported this week that Slack will make an online presentation to potential shareholders on May 13. This week, we dug deep into Slack’s S-1 and decided to evaluate just how well the tech press, us included, did in covering the company. For the most part, the tech press did decently well, except for one curious, $162 million gap.

Uber: Finally! That ride-hailing company is going public next week. That latest news? Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick won’t be ringing the opening bell. Uber would not be where it is today without Kalanick, but him being there would surely be a reminder of Uber’s rocky past.

Beyond Meat: Shares of the company surged up 135 percent in their market opener last week, valuing the company as high as $3.52 billion. Volatility was so high on the company’s stock that the Nasdaq had to pause trading of “BYND” shares.

Micro-mobility instability:

Ofo has run into its fair share of issues, laying off hundreds of workers, shutting down its international division and more. Now, you can buy a piece of the startup’s history.

Now you can buy a piece of startup history… Ofo bikes for ~$60 https://t.co/LLJbDOXm0C

— Jon Russell (@jonrussell) April 29, 2019

In other micro-mobility news, Lyft’s head of scooter & bikes Liam O’Connor, who was hired to help transportation company Lyft build its bike and scooter operations, has left after seven months with the newly-public company. TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden has the scoop. Plus, Bird, the electric scooter unicorn doing its best to overcome regulatory barriers, has made its way back to San Francisco. Bird is using its business license in San Francisco to introduce monthly personal rentals in the city. The program enables people to rent a scooter for $24.99 a month with no cap on the number of rides. We’ll how that goes.

WTF?

For some reason, people are giving Magic Leap more money. The company has secured another $280 million in a deal with Japan’s largest mobile operator, Docomo. Do you know what that means? The developer fo AR/VR headsets has raised a total of $2.6 billion. We’re just as confused as you.

Brand new venture capital funds:

Unshackled Ventures raised $20 million. 

Exclusive: @UnshackledVC has a new $20M pre-seed fund to invest only in immigrants. Why? Because immigrants are “inherently more entrepreneurial:” https://t.co/ZLiZ1UczJV

— Kate Clark (@KateClarkTweets) May 2, 2019

Jungle Ventures closed on $175 million.

And Toyota AI Ventures launched a $100 million fund.

Startup Capital

Uber investors exit

I have the inside story on Menlo Ventures early Uber stake and TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos goes deep with early Uber backer Bradley Tusk.

Extra Crunch!

This week, we offer TechCrunch Extra Crunch subscribers exclusive tips on building extraordinary teams. Plus, the final piece in TechCrunch’s Greg Kumparak’s series on Niantic, the fast-growing developer of Pokemon Go. If you recall, we’ve captured much of Niantic’s ongoing story in the first three parts of our EC-1, from its beginnings as an “entrepreneurial lab” within Google, to its spin-out as an independent company and the launch of Pokémon GO, to its ongoing focus on becoming a platform for others to build augmented reality products upon.

If you enjoy this newsletter, be sure to check out TechCrunch’s venture-focused podcast, Equity. In this week’s episode, available here, Crunchbase News editor-in-chief Alex Wilhelm and TechCrunch’s Danny Crichton chat about updates at the Vision Fund, Cheddar’s big exit and more of this week’s headlines.


Share

Struggling grocery startup Honestbee fires its CEO

The changes continue to roll at Honestbee. Fresh from pausing operations in four countries and announcing plans to lay off 10 percent of staff, the Singapore-based online grocery startup has let CEO Joel Sng go, two sources with knowledge of his exit told TechCrunch.

Sng, who co-founded Honestbee back in 2015 and previously served as an advisor with its investor Formation 8, cleared his desk and vacated his office yesterday, according to sources.

Honestbee declined to comment.

Isaac Tay, another co-founder, left the company last year while the last remaining co-founder is Jonathan Low, who leads Honestbee’s engineering team.

Sng’s apparent exit comes after we reported that Honestbee had told staff that it is in the process of securing funding that it claims will provide an additional year of runway for the business. Sources who spoke to TechCrunch said it has not been announced how much that funding is, or which investor is providing it.

Honestbee had held acquisition talks with Grab, Go-Jek and others in recent weeks.

Honestbee co-founder Joel Sng [Image via LinkedIn]

It isn’t immediately clear who will take over from Sng. Sources previously told TechCrunch that Sng’s right man is Roger Koh, whose LinkedIn lists his current job as a principal with Formation 8. Formation 8 led Honestbee’s $15 million Series A round in 2015. The fund has since shut down and its stake appears to have transferred to Formation Group, according to the firm’s website.

Filings show that Honestbee has raised at least $46 million since that Series A. Its high burn rate suggests it may have raised even more, but nothing has been announced or filed while former staff have told TechCrunch that only Sng and Koh have access to financial details.

The company is going through some turbulent times. We reported last week that a cash crash — not helped by a burn rate of $6.5 million per month — had left suppliers unpaid, payroll for April uncertain and morale low among Honestbee’s estimated 1,000 staff.

The company said yesterday announced a series of cost-cutting measures that will see it temporarily cease business in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines while it conducts a review. It has also stopped offering food delivery, an additional service it launched in recent years, in Thailand and Hong Kong.

Grocery delivery startup Honestbee is running out of money and trying to sell

Share

Samsung Ventures’ first investment in Southeast Asia is HR startup Swingvy

Samsung Ventures, the VC arm of the Korean electronics giant, has made its first investment in Southeast Asia after it backed HR startup Swingvy.

Singapore-based Swingy’s service provides HR services, payroll and insurance for SMEs on a freemium basis. The company announced this week that it raised $7 million that was led by the Samsung arm with participation from Aviva Ventures — from insurance firm Aviva — and Bass Investment. Existing investors Walden International and Big Basin Capital, which financed a previous $1.6 million round, also took part.

Founded in 2016, Swingvy claims to work with over 5,100 companies across Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. Those customers, some of which do not pay, have a cumulative user base of over 100,000 employees.

“Our target customer is SMEs not enterprise,” Jin Choeh, who is CEO and one of three Swingvy co-founders, told TechCrunch in an interview. “There are some local players, some legacy players and some startup competitors, but generally we saw that there’s no market leader for HR tech in Southeast Asia.”

The service itself covers areas such as an employee directory, processes for leave, performance management, company calendar, HR reporting, payroll and benefits. On the latter, Swingvy offers health insurance through partnerships with third-parties — Choeh said it is a licensed insurance agent. He said that new features coming soon include claims (for expenses and payments) while further down the line will be monthly insurance and corporate cards.

It is quite common for HR and other ‘base-level’ SME services to develop marketplaces that match their customers with third-party providers — we’ve seen that in Japan among very mature players, for example — but Swingvy isn’t going down that route. Choeh explained that it will consider offering its own services in areas where it believes it can give value to customers and control the quality and experience directly.

More broadly, the startup is aiming to triple its customer base to 15,000 this year thanks to this new injection of capital.

The initial focus is on hiring — Swingy plans to grow its headcount of 23 to over 60 this year — and more “aggressive” sales growth. That’ll mean bringing in a dedicated sales team, increasingly online advertising spend to reach new customers and being more visible around event marketing.

“Sales and marketing has been less than 10 percent of our spend,” said Choeh. “We’ve proved our model is quite cost efficient and we believe it is time to raise sales and marketing efforts.”

There’s no immediate plan to expand to new markets, but the Swingvy CEO said his company is eyeing potential expansions in 2020. Potential countries include Thailand, Vietnam and Japan, he said. Indonesia — Southeast Asia’s largest economy and the world’s fourth most populous country — is also under review, but Choeh said his team is aware that it is hyper-competitive while the market for paid SME products is particularly challenging.

What of the relationship with Samsung? For now, the relationship is financial rather than strategic, but Choeh admitted that there could be opportunities to work closely together in the future.

Share

Elon Musk, SEC agree to guidelines on Twitter use

Tesla,  Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reached an agreement Friday that will give the CEO freedom to use Twitter —within certain limitations — without fear of being held in contempt for violating an earlier court order.

Musk can tweet as he wishes except when it’s about certain events or financial milestones. In those cases, Musk must seek pre-approval from a securities lawyer, according to the agreement filed with Manhattan federal court.

U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, the presiding judge on this matter, must still approve the deal. Nathan had given the SEC and Musk two weeks to work out their differences and come to a resolution.

Musk must seek pre-approval if his tweets include:

  • any information about the company’s financial condition or guidance, potential or proposed mergers, acquisitions or joint ventures,
  • production numbers or sales or delivery number (actual, forecasted, or projected),
  • new or proposed business lines that are unrelated to then-existing business lines (presently includes vehicles, transportation, and sustainable energy products);
  • projection, forecast, or estimate numbers regarding Tesla’s business that have not been previously published in official company guidance
  • events regarding the company’s securities (including Musk’s acquisition or disposition of shares)
  • nonpublic legal or regulatory findings or decisions;
  • any event requiring the filing of a Form 8-K such as a change in control or a change in the company’s directors; any principal executive officer, president, principal financial officer, principal accounting officer, principal operating officer, or any person performing similar functions

The fight between the two parties began after Musk’s now infamous August 7, 2018 tweet that had “funding secured” for a private takeover of the company at $420 per share. The SEC filed a complaint in alleging that Musk had committed securities fraud.

Musk and Tesla settled with the SEC last year without admitting wrongdoing. Tesla agreed to pay a $20 million fine; Musk had to agree to step down as Tesla chairman for a period of at least three years; the company had to appoint two independent directors to the board; and Tesla was also told to put in place a way to monitor Musk’s statements to the public about the company, including via Twitter.

The fight was re-ignited after Musk sent a tweet on February 19 that Tesla would produce “around” 500,000 cars this year, correcting himself hours later to clarify that he meant the company would be producing at an annualized rate of 500,000 vehicles by year end.

The SEC argued that the tweet sent by Musk violated their agreement. Musk has said the tweet was “immaterial” and complied with the settlement.

The SEC had asked the court to hold Musk in contempt for violating a settlement agreement reached last October over Musk’s now infamous “funding secured” tweet. The SEC had argued that Musk was supposed to get approval from Tesla’s board before communicating potentially material information to investors, the agency has argued. The SEC claimed a February 19 tweet violated the agreement.

Musk has steadfastly maintained that he didn’t violate the agreement.

Share

Follow StartupWizz on Twitter

TC Cribs: Asana, Where Zen Yoga And Knife-Wielding Drones Are All In A Day’s Work: Summer is just about here a... bit.ly/17ZffzP

About 8 years ago from StartupWizz's Twitter via twitterfeed

Socially!

Categories

Archives