Money Management Firms Surpass VCs in Funding Startups

In Q2 of this year, large money-management companies including hedge funds, mutual funds, pensions and sovereign-wealth groups became bigger players in Silicon Valley than venture capitalists with regard to startups. According to PitchBook Data, these nontraditional funders took part in 42 percent of startup financing deals, forming more than 75 percent of the invested capital. PitchBook added that, in the first half of 2021, investment in U.S. startups reached $150 billion, more than funding in every year prior to 2020. Continue reading Money Management Firms Surpass VCs in Funding Startups

SpaceX Starlink Internet Slated to Go Live Globally in August

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has already launched 1,500+ satellites for Elon Musk’s broadband Internet network Starlink that is currently available in about a dozen countries. According to Musk, who spoke at the Mobile World Congress this week, Starlink will be beaming Internet everywhere in the world except polar regions by August. He added that Starlink should have about 500,000 users within the next 12 months and that SpaceX will have invested between $5 billion and $10 billion before cash flow becomes positive. Continue reading SpaceX Starlink Internet Slated to Go Live Globally in August

Rural Broadband Networks Get a Lift with $9.2B FCC Infusion

The Federal Communications Commission has allocated $9.2 billion to build rural broadband networks, which FCC chair Ajit Pai hailed as the biggest commitment to bring Internet services to these poorly served areas. The funding is the result of an auction in which companies such as Windstream Holdings, Charter Communications and SpaceX bid against each other to build the fastest broadband networks at the lowest costs. The 180 companies that won have 10 years to build the networks with incentives to finish sooner. Continue reading Rural Broadband Networks Get a Lift with $9.2B FCC Infusion

Kuaishou, Rival to ByteDance’s Douyin, Plans Hong Kong IPO

Although the Ant Group suspended its high-profile IPO last week, Kuaishou Technology, a popular short-video and streaming media platform founded in 2011, is moving ahead. According to sources, the company, whose platform competes with ByteDance’s Douyin (TikTok in China), aims to raise about $5 billion and reach a valuation of about $50 billion by filing for an initial public offering in Hong Kong as soon as January 2021. The company was founded by engineers Su Hua, formerly at Google China, and Cheng Yixiao, a Hewlett Packard veteran. Continue reading Kuaishou, Rival to ByteDance’s Douyin, Plans Hong Kong IPO

SpaceX Deploys Starlink Satellites to Washington Burn Zones

SpaceX tested its Starlink satellite in Washington state for emergency responders, the first early use of the service revealed thus far. Initial reports indicate improved setup times and significant decreases in latency. In early August, Washington’s state military, which includes its emergency response division, began using Starlink to bring Internet service to areas destroyed by wildfires via seven Starlink user terminals. Meanwhile, the four-year-old startup Swarm Technologies has placed 21 of its tiny satellites into orbit, to deliver Internet access to all types of devices. Continue reading SpaceX Deploys Starlink Satellites to Washington Burn Zones

Zoom Use Skyrockets, Revealing Privacy and Security Issues

Remote conferencing services company Zoom Video Communications has become an overnight success as more Americans stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. Zoom, once mainly used by businesses, is now being used for everything from yoga courses to happy hours, but is also stretching the tool’s limits to serve both those who pay for the premium service and consumers who gravitate to the free version. There’s also a dark side to Zoom’s uptick: online trolls who “Zoombomb” meetings, and concerns about the San Jose-based company’s privacy policies. Continue reading Zoom Use Skyrockets, Revealing Privacy and Security Issues

Companies to Launch Low Earth Satellite Internet Services

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos revealed more details of his Low Earth Orbit satellite plan for broadband Internet access with the announcement of Project Kuiper, a 3,236 array of satellites. Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink also recently launched a rocket with 60 satellites. These players, joined by OneWeb and others, are competing and, in the process, making LEO satellites for broadband a reality. SpaceX will first debut services in North America, with future plans to cover the planet, and Amazon has similar aspirations. Continue reading Companies to Launch Low Earth Satellite Internet Services

Iridium and AWS Partner to Offer Global Satellite Connection

Satellite company Iridium Communications and Amazon Web Services inked a partnership to develop CloudConnect, a global network to enable Internet of Things (IoT) applications. According to Iridium chief executive Matt Desch, terrestrial networks only cover 10 to 20 percent of the earth, whereas the cloud platform, via satellite, can cover everything. The goal initially is to focus on areas without cellular technology. CloudConnect is slated to launch in 2019 as the first and only satellite provider connected to AWS. Continue reading Iridium and AWS Partner to Offer Global Satellite Connection

Series of Tweets Cost Elon Musk Chair Position, Major Fine

As part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has agreed to pay a $20 million fine and step down as chairman of the California-based electric automaker for three years. The SEC accused Musk of securities fraud after he tweeted from his personal Twitter account that he had secured enough funding to take Tesla private. Musk has admitted to no wrong-doing. In addition to Musk’s significant personal fine, Tesla has agreed to develop leadership reforms and pay $20 million for not properly vetting the CEO’s tweets. Continue reading Series of Tweets Cost Elon Musk Chair Position, Major Fine

Facebook Confirms Plans to Create Internet-Delivery Satellite

Facebook is aiming to launch its “Athena” Internet-delivery satellite early next year for parts of the globe where traditional delivery systems such as fiber optic cables are not feasible. According to an application the company reportedly filed with the FCC under the name PointView Tech LLC, the satellite intends to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world.” Facebook confirmed that Athena is its project, but offered no details. Similar Internet-delivery projects are in development by Elon Musk’s SpaceX and SoftBank-backed OneWeb. Continue reading Facebook Confirms Plans to Create Internet-Delivery Satellite

Elon Musk Envisions Future Los Angeles with Hyperloop Travel

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, Space Exploration Technologies, and Boring, tweeted how Los Angeles residents will be able to take advantage of an integration of all three of his companies’ endeavors: drive their electric car to an electric pod in a Boring tunnel that will take them to the Port of Los Angeles where SpaceX will have rockets that he hopes will fly to Mars. Musk aims to “solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic,” with autonomous pods that will travel at 600 miles per hour through a network of tunnels. Continue reading Elon Musk Envisions Future Los Angeles with Hyperloop Travel

SoftBank Invests $500M More in Broadband Provider OneWeb

According to a knowledgeable source, Japan’s SoftBank Group plans to invest about $500 million more in satellite broadband provider OneWeb. That brings SoftBank’s total investment in the company to about $1.5 billion. OneWeb is a U.S. startup focused on providing Internet connectivity worldwide that is faster than current space-based or terrestrial systems. OneWeb founder/executive chairman Greg Wyler reports that the company is currently designing and looking for suppliers for its next-generation satellites. Continue reading SoftBank Invests $500M More in Broadband Provider OneWeb

Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

Facebook developed mapping technology that has allowed it to create a data map of the human population in 23 countries so far. The map can zero in on any man-made structure as close as five meters, in any country on earth. Facebook says it is using the data to understand how humans are distributed around the planet, and thus be able to determine the best way to provide them with Internet access, via land, air or space. The goal is to create a “multi-pronged” Internet network to serve under-connected populations. Continue reading Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

Startup Debuts Prototype of Game Controlled by Brainwaves

Neurable, a Boston-based startup founded by engineer/neuroscientist Ramses Alcaide, is showing a prototype of a game, with the working title “Awakening,” that allows users to break out of a virtual room by issuing mental commands. The prototype, said to be a few years away from commercial introduction, includes an HTC virtual reality headset and seven sensors that read brainwaves. The user selects objects by looking in the general direction of the object she wishes to select, thus narrowing the number of items to be considered. Continue reading Startup Debuts Prototype of Game Controlled by Brainwaves

Elon Musk’s Neuralink Corp. Seeks to Enhance Brains with AI

Tesla founder Elon Musk has launched a new company, Neuralink Corp., to dig deep into so-called neural lace technology that would merge the human brain with artificial intelligence. Musk already heads up two complex businesses. At Tesla, he is under pressure to deliver the Model 3, priced at $35,000, on time. At SpaceX, the ambitious plan is to launch both a satellite-based Internet business and a rocket to carry humans to Mars. Max Hodak, who founded robotic startup Transcriptic, is a member of Neuralink’s founding team. Continue reading Elon Musk’s Neuralink Corp. Seeks to Enhance Brains with AI