Amazon said it will increase its U.S. headcount over the next 18 months to 280,000 employees, an increase of more than 100,000. The ecommerce giant said the jobs will be full time with benefits, will require a range of skill sets, and will be spread across the country, including many positions at newly built fulfillment facilities.
Nintendo to roll out Switch console in March
Nintendo revealed that its newest gaming console, the Switch, will be released on March 3 and cost $300. The launch of the touchscreen device will be accompanied with a cornucopia of new games to go with it.
HouseCanary raises $33M to predict house prices
San Francisco-based HouseCanary, a real estate analytics startup that forecasts prices for U.S. residential properties, raised $33 million in new funding from backers including Hillspire, Alpha Edison, ECA Ventures and Raven Ventures.
Atlassian, the publicly traded provider of work collaboration tools, is acquiring Trello, the developer of a popular app for group projects. The transaction is reportedly valued around $425 million, including $360 million in cash and the rest in restricted shares and options. New York-based Trello previously raised about $10 million in venture funding.
Google’s Waymo rolling out self-driving minivans
Waymo, the autonomous car startup spun off from Google last month, said it plans to deploy self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans on public roads in Phoenix and Mountain View, Calif. for the first time later this month. The company also said it has been able to cut more than 90 percent off the cost of key sensor and radar components to enable autonomous driving.
Boohoo to buy bankrupt Nasty Gal for $20M
Nasty Gal, a bankrupt fashion retailer focusing on young women, has received court approval to sell its brand and customer database for $20 million to British online fashion company Boohoo. Los Angeles-based Nasty Gal had raised around $65 million in funding prior to its bankruptcy filing late last year.
Leading China-based ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing is making an investment of more than $100 million in Brazil-based taxi on-demand service 99 (formerly known as 99Taxi), TechCrunch reports.
Medium cuts staff, shifts strategy
Medium, the social publishing platform, is laying off about one-third of its staff and shutting offices in New York and Washington DC as it plans a shift in its business model. San Francisco-based Medium, led by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, previously raised more than $130 million in venture funding.
Grail, a startup developing a blood test for early cancer detection, plans to raise about $1 billion for its Series B financing round from private and strategic investors. In advance of the round, Grail parent company Illumina said it will cut its ownership stake to below 20 percent and step down from company’s board.
Bitglass raises $45M for data security
Bitglass, a provider of cloud services to protect corporate data, has raised $45 million in a Series C round from new investor Future Fund, with participation from existing investors including NEA, Norwest, and Singtel Innov8. The round brings total funding for the Silicon Valley company to $80 million.
Proterra, a maker of electric buses, has raised $140 million in a funding round backed by new and existing investors. The company says it plans to dramatically accelerate production capacity at its manufacturing facilities in Greenville, South Carolina and Los Angeles County.
Facebook buys The Eye Tribe
Facebook’s Oculus division has acquired The Eye Tribe, a startup developing software to enable eye control for VR headsets and other devices. Copenhagen-based The Eye Tribe previously raised about $3 million in seed funding.
China’s Sogou eyes $5B IPO
China’s third-biggest search engine, Soguou, expects to carry out a U.S. initial public offering at a valuation of up to $5 billion as it raises cash to close the gap with leader Baidu in the mobile market, Bloomberg reports.
Anonymous social network Yik Yak, faced with declining usage, has laid off 60 percent of its employees, according to media reports. The three-year-old, Atlanta-based company previously raised $73.5 million in venture funding after gaining early traction on college campuses.
Tinder launches Swipe Ventures
Tinder announced the launch of a new investment vehicle called Swipe Ventures that will focus on acquisitions, business development and investing in companies in the dating and broader social space. As part of the move, Tinder founder Sean Rad will step down as CEO and become chairman of Tinder and Swipe Ventures. Greg Blatt, CEO of Tinder parent Match Group, will assume the Tinder CEO post.
Thanx raises $17M for loyalty programs
San Francisco-based Thanx, a developer of customer loyalty programs for small businesses, has raised $17 million in a Series B round backed by Sequoia Capital and Icon Ventures, the Wall Street Journal reports.
MoneyLion, a provider of online tools for managing personal finances, has raised $22.5 million in a Series A round led by Edison Partners. New York-based MoneyLion uses machine learning analytics to make recommendations for credit offers and consumer financial products.
Ex-Googler Maris raising $230M healthcare fund
Bill Maris, the former CEO of Google Ventures who left the company earlier this year, is raising a new $230 million fund that will invest in healthcare, Recode reports. The fund will reportedly be called Section 32 and will operate largely out of San Diego.
Uber is buying Geometric Intelligence, a developer of machine learning technology inspired by cognitive science, for an undisclosed sum. The ride-hailing giant is also creating an AI lab to work on improving algorithms for connecting drivers and passengers as well as self-driving technology.
Datrium raises $55M for cloud tech
Datrium, a developer of storage technology for building cloud infrastructure, has secured $55 million in a Series C round led by New Enterprise Associates. The new financing brings Silicon Valley-based Datrium’s total raised to more than $110 million since inception in 2012.
The investor and startup network AngelList has acquired Product Hunt, a site that tracks new product launches, for a reported $20 million. San Francisco-based Product Hunt will continue to operate independently post-purchase.
Bullpen Capital closes $75M fund
Bullpen Capital, a Silicon Valley firm that specializes in “post-seed financing” for startups too early for a Series A round, has closed on $75 million for its third fund.
Juniper Networks acquires AppFormix for cloud optimization
Juniper Networks announced that it will acquire AppFormix, a provider of cloud operations management technology, for an undisclosed sum. San Jose, Calif.-based AppFormix previously raised $7 million in venture funding.
Payment technology provider Stripe raised $150 million in a Series D funding round that values the San Francisco-based company at $9 billion. General Catalyst and new backer CapitalG (the investor formerly known as Google Capital) led the round.
Online and mobile gain share of shopping
U.S. holiday bargain hunters traditionally come out in force after Thanksgiving, and this year was no exception. More than 150 million Americans shopped over the weekend, with 44 percent going online and 40 percent heading to stores, the National Retail Federation reported. Mobile played a big part, with more than half of smartphone owners using their devices to help with shopping.
BMW increases size of venture fund to $530 million
BMW is increasing the size of its venture capital fund, BMW i Ventures, to 500 million euros ($530 million) from 100 million, according to media reports. The automaker also plans to move the five-year-old fund’s headquarters from New York to Silicon Valley.