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Crunch Report | Slack Raises $250 Million

Slack raises a pretty big chunk of change from SoftBank, the DOJ is investigating an Equifax stock dump and Google debuts payments app Tez in India. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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Steve Jurvetson on why he couldn’t join the board of secretive Zoox

 Today at our TC Disrupt event in San Francisco, we had the chance to catch up with investor Steve Jurvetson about a wide number of things that are sweeping across the startup landscape (and might fundamentally change it), from ICOs to Softbank’s giant Vision Fund to AI to Elon Musk’s new Boring Company. Jurvetson had plenty of interesting insights about all, unsurprisingly.… Read More

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Slack raises a huge financing round from SoftBank valuing the company at $5.1B

 Slack has raised another huge new round of financing that values the company at more than $5 billion, this time led by Softbank — which seems to be investing in everyone at this point. This seems like another huge investment from a $100 billion fund that is dumping an enormous amount of money in some of the biggest deals in Silicon Valley, this time participating in a $250 million round… Read More

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SoftBank, Dragoneer, Didi close to finalizing investment in Uber

 Japan’s SoftBank Group, U.S. investment group Dragoneer, and Chinese ride-share giant Didi Chuxing are close to finalizing their investment in Uber via a joint venture, sources tell TechCrunch. The tender offer is on track to launch by the end of the month and includes a direct investment in the company, as well as the purchase of shares from employees and early investors. The… Read More

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Everything electric | Crunch Report

Today’s Stories What to expect from the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X (plot twist there’s more bezel) China plans to ban sales of fossil fuel cars entirely Volkswagen to offer electric versions of all of its vehicles by 2030 Mercedes-Benz will electrify its entire car lineup by 2022 Google files to appeal $2.73BN EU antitrust fine Zoox in talks with SoftBank to fund… Read More

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Zoox in talks with SoftBank to fund self-driving cars

 Autonomous vehicle startup Zoox is in talks with Japanese investment firm SoftBank to raise more funding. We’ve confirmed the news, which was first reported by Axios.  We’re hearing the discussions are in the early stages and nothing has been finalized, but that SoftBank has been interested in Zoox for a while. The startup is also talking to other unnamed potential investors.… Read More

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Given an assist, sports e-commerce giant Fanatics closes that $1 billion round led by SoftBank

 Fanatics, the 17-year-old, Jacksonville, Fla.-based sports e-commerce company that helps leagues and teams sell their licensed apparel and fan gear directly to customers, has closed on $1 billion in funding led by SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund. Read More

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Uber’s Asian rival Grab loses its head of engineering

 Grab may be in the process of raising a huge $2.5 billion investment round, with SoftBank, Didi and Toyota confirmed as participants, but Uber’s Southeast Asia-based rival has lost its head of engineering.
Arul Kumaravel, VP of engineering at Grab, has left the company for personal reasons, according to a source. It’s not yet clear what his next plan is. Grab confirmed the… Read More

Softbank

That's the message from this week's Tokyo Int'l Funeral & Cemetery Show, where Softbank's Pepper robot demonstrated its ability to perform Buddhist funeral rites. 

Draped in traditional Japanese funeral garb, Pepper not only presided over a faux death ceremony, it also chanted Buddhist sutras, taking over the usual role of a human monk during such ceremonies. 

So far, Pepper isn't actually performing any real funeral rites, but Japan's Nissei Eco developed the funeral software for Pepper as an alternative when a Buddhist monk isn't available, or when the family can't afford the more expensive human practitioner (the service will cost about $450 versus the thousands of dollars usually spent for a human, according to CNBC).  Read more...

More about Japan, Pepper Robot, Softbank, Tech, and Artificial Intelligence'>
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Robot performing Japanese funeral rites shows no one’s job is safe

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When the robot apocalypse comes, robots will be there to say a prayer over your frail human remains, thanks to Japan’s Softbank

That’s the message from this week’s Tokyo Int’l Funeral & Cemetery Show, where Softbank’s Pepper robot demonstrated its ability to perform Buddhist funeral rites. 

Draped in traditional Japanese funeral garb, Pepper not only presided over a faux death ceremony, it also chanted Buddhist sutras, taking over the usual role of a human monk during such ceremonies. 

So far, Pepper isn’t actually performing any real funeral rites, but Japan’s Nissei Eco developed the funeral software for Pepper as an alternative when a Buddhist monk isn’t available, or when the family can’t afford the more expensive human practitioner (the service will cost about $450 versus the thousands of dollars usually spent for a human, according to CNBC).  Read more…

More about Japan, Pepper Robot, Softbank, Tech, and Artificial Intelligence

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Crunch Report | WeWork Gets a $4.4 Billion Investment from SoftBank

H3H3 wins in copyright lawsuit, WeWork gets 4.4 billion investment from SoftBank, Social Capital wants to help startups go public without an IPO and Uber’s financials show the company is still growing despite the drama. All this on Crunch Report. Read More