TechSummit Rewind #065

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

HTC revenue falls 64 percent in Q1

HTC's Taipei headquarters
HTC’s Taipei headquarters

HTC’s revenues fell 64 percent in the first quarter, with profits falling 78 percent year-over-year.

The company reported $14.8 billion New Taiwan dollars ($460 million) in sales for Q1 2016, down from NT $41.8 billion ($1.29 billion). Profits were NT $1.8 billion ($60 million), down from NT $8.2 billion ($250 million).

“HTC has seen strong launches in early Q2 2016 for both the new flagship smartphone, the HTC 10, and the HTC Vive virtual reality system and anticipate good momentum over the year. HTC will continue to streamline processes and optimize resources to develop products in the most effective way.”

-HTC, in a statement

“The media and consumer buzz around HTC, including for the keenly awaiting launches of the flagship smartphone and Vive virtual reality system, clearly demonstrate our leadership in innovation and have provided a great boost to the HTC brand. We have been working hard to lay the groundwork over the last year, streamlining processes and optimizing resources to enable us to develop the best products in the most effective way.”

-Cher Wang; HTC chairperson, CEO, in a statement

Via raises $100 million to fuel another Uber rival

Via transportation

Via Transportation, which offers a carpooling service in several U.S. cities, is raising $100 million to expand its presence in the hyper-competitive ride sharing market.

Investors, including Israel’s Pitango Growth Fund, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, and Poalim Capital Markets, kicked $70 million into the round last month. According to Via CEO Daniel Ramot, the New York-based startup is in talks to secure another $30 million in the coming weeks from strategic investors in the transportation and auto industries.

SigFox will expand IoT network to 100 U.S. cities

sigfox-corporate

SigFox, responsible for building dedicated cellular networks for the Internet of Things, has announced a move into 100 U.S. cities in partnership with “strategic site owners” around the country, comprising over 230,000 tower, rooftop, and billboard sites.

“The U.S. is a huge growth market for Internet of Things connectivity, especially in smart cities, utilities, shipping, and agriculture sectors that require large-scale and cost-effective communication. Our partnerships with these site owners enables SigFox to leverage existing sites to rapidly deploy our out-of-the-box connectivity solution in the U.S. market. SigFox’s low-cost Internet of Things connectivity complements cellular networks, and allows billions of additional devices to participate in the benefits of IoT.”

-Allen Proithis, SigFox North America president

The Labege, France-based company is now in 18 countries with over seven million devices on its network.

Siri creator shows off first public demo of Viv “intelligent interface”

At TechCrunch’s Disrupt NY event Monday, Siri creator Dag Kittlaus showed off the first public demo of Viv, a virtual AI system that aims to be “the intelligent interface for everything.”

Spotify announces slate of original shows

spotify desktop

Spotify has unveiled plans for a slate of 12 original shows helmed by the likes of actor Tim Robbins and Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons.

Episodes of each program, which range from a few minutes to 15 minutes, will be available to all Spotify users in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Sweden.

“Music will always be most important, but our audience likes us and wants more from us. We have to figure out a second act, and I think it will come out of video. The idea is to make sure users know they can come here for something other than playlists.”

-Tom Calderone, Spotify content partnerships chief

Landmark is a documentary series on significant moments in music history. Two episodes have been shot so far, one about the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album and another on the band Metallica.

Simmons’ All Def Digital is producing Rush Hour, where two hip-hop acts are driven to an undisclosed location to conceive a musical collaboration that they must perform before an audience.

Robbins is producing a mockumentary series about a competition to become the next dance music phenom.

Spotify is also talking with artists about ways to collaborate on video in conjunction with upcoming albums.

“It will be our job to make this stuff famous. We have a ways to go.”

-Tom Calderone

Gunpowder & Sky will produce Drawn & Recorded for Spotify, an animated series focusing on artists or a moment in history, with producer T-Bone Burnett narrating. One episode recalls when Elvis Presley traveled through the Washington ghetto in full regalia while learning about roots music, while another tells the story of blues player Blind Willie Johnson.

Lending Club forces out CEO, stock collapses

Lending Club

Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche has resigned after the San Francisco-based company’s board of directors discovered the company discovered the company disregarded the instructions of an investor who buys loans from the lender.

According to the board, Lending Club sold $22 million in loans to a single investor that violated the investor’s investing instructions, with several employees knew about it.

“A key principle of the company is maintaining the highest levels of trust with borrowers, investors, regulators, stockholders, and employees. While the financial impact of this $22 million in loan sales was minor, a violation of the company’s business practices along with a lack of full disclosures during the review was unacceptable to the board. Accordingly, the board took swift and decisive action, and authorized additional remedial steps to rectify these issues.”

-Lending Club’s board, in a statement

Lending Club’s president Scott Sanborn will serve as acting CEO.

Periscope makes broadcasts permanent by default, introduces search

periscope_video_app

Periscope has announced several updates to the video streaming app: permanent broadcasts, search, and an integration with DJI drones.

Starting with an app update in about three weeks, Periscope broadcasts will no longer disappear after 24 hours by default. Instead, broadcasts will be permanently available on a broadcaster’s profile – and inside the tweets where they are often shared. If they want, broadcasters can still set broadcasts to disappear by default or delete broadcasts at any time. Until the update arrives, Periscope users can make broadcasts permanent by adding #save to the description when they begin streaming.

“We have moved past that world where people think about live with that moment of stress in a short amount of time. We’re frankly shocked the world evolved that quickly – but that’s great.”

-Kayvon Beykpour, Periscope co-founder

Periscope is also announcing its first integration with drones, particularly recent DJI Phantom models, where users can control the camera during a broadcast with their phones.

Lastly, the social network is adding a search bar, and some broadcasters and broadcasts organized by category. By searching for hashtags, you’ll be able to find broadcasts being filmed from drones, for example, or see a feed of everyone broadcasting. You can also search categories such as music, art, food, and travel. To add your broadcast to one of those categories, you can add it as a hashtag in the title of your broadcast.

“We’re still scratching the surface, but this is our starting place.”

-Kayvon Beykpour

Opera launches free, unlimited VPN app for iOS

Opera VPN

Opera is launching Opera VPN, an iOS virtual private network client, three weeks after the feature came to Opera’s desktop browser.

The VPN lets users bypass geographic restrictions for online content, circumvent firewalls, block ads, and thwart ad-tracking cookies, and is the byproduct of the acquisition of North American VPN SurfEasy last March.

The app is toggled to “off” by default, but you can manually turn it on within the “Settings” menu, where two additional options to block ads and ad-trackers lie.

“With the new Opera VPN app, we help people to break down the barriers of the Web and enjoy the Internet like it should be.”

-Chris Houston, SurfEasy president

Uber now offering flat $5 carpool rides in Manhattan during peak hours

Uber_NY_request-screenshot

Uber’s carpool service will now be a flat $5 in Manhattan below 110th Street during the peak hours of 7-10 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

According to the San Francisco-based company, riders will be prompted to walk a few blocks to a particular intersection to align the routes more efficiently. You might also have to walk a little further at the end of your ride

“Corner pickups and drop-offs make driving routes more direct, so you’ll save time and arrive at your destination faster.”

-Uber, in a blog post

According to Uber, the service is only a pilot, but doesn’t have a specific end date in mind. Riders are encouraged to offer feedback on their experience through the app via their trip receipts.

Drivers who accept UberPool trip requests will be paid UberX rates by time and distance, with Uber making up the difference.

CoreOS raises $28M Series B round led by GV

CoreOS
CoreOS, the company responsible for the container-centric CoreOS Linux distro and Tectonic container management service, has announced that it has raised a $28 million Series B round led by GV.

Other investors include Accel, Fuel Capital, Keliner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), and the Y Combinator Continuity Fund. The company has raised a total of $48 million.

According to CoreOS co-founder and CEO Alex Polvi, the round will provide “more fuel for the tank.” The company plans to grow its teams in the U.S. and Europe, expanding its sales and marketing teams so it can more effectively engage with potential customers for its paid products. The core of CoreOs’ product range is the CoreOS distro, but Tectonic is what brings everything together.

“What you’ll see is that we’ll continue to refine Tectonic, but also build more products that run on the platform.”

-Alex Polvi; CoreOS co-founder, CEO

Groupon offloads Breadcrumb business to Upserve

Groupon

Groupon has sold its Breadcrumb point-of-sale business to restaurant technology startup Upserve.

As a result, all Breadcrumb employees will join Upserve in San Francisco, Chicago, Providence, and New York.

“Upserve now offers the most complete suite of solutions purpose-built for restaurants, operating the industry’s largest cloud-based restaurant management platform. In the coming days and weeks, our team will be in regular communication with Breadcrumb customers as we transition the product from Groupon’s stewardship to Upserve.”

-Angus Davis; Upserve CEO, founder

Groupon is taking an undisclosed minority stake in Upserve.

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