The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the hospitality industry especially hard, and hotels around the world are looking for ways to regain revenue. Today, Marriott International and Grab announced a partnership that will cover the hospitality giant’s dining businesses in six Southeast Asian countries: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.
Instead of room bookings, Marriott International deal with Grab focuses on about 600 restaurants and bars at its properties in the six Southeast Asian countries, which will start being added to GrabFood’s on-demand delivery platform in November. A joint announcement from the companies said the deal represents Marriott International’s “first extensive integration with a super app platform in Southeast Asia and Grab’s most comprehensive agreement with a hospitality group to date.”
Marriott International is the world’s largest hotel company. During the second quarter, as the pandemic curtailed travel and in-person events, it reported a loss of $234 million, compared to the profit of $232 million it had recorded a year earlier. Chief executive Arne Sorenson called it “the worst quarter we have ever seen,” even though business is gradually recovering in China.
Harley-Davidson has spun out a new business dedicated to electric bicycles and plans to bring its first line of products to market in spring 2021.
The new business called Serial 1 Cycle Company started as a project within the motorcycle manufacturer’s product development center. The name comes from “Serial Number One,” the nickname for Harley-Davidson’s oldest known motorcycle.
The pedal assist electric bicycle company is being launched amid a booming ebike industry fueled by growing demand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global eBicycle market was estimated to be over $15 billion in 2019 and projected to grow at an annual rate of more than 6% from 2020 to 2025, according to Harley-Davidson.
The new Harley-Davidson brand Serial 1 didn’t provide performance details or other specs of its new line of electric bike products. However, the company did release several photos of its first model.
Image Credits: Harley-Davidson
The new business launch also comes at a critical time for the Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer, which has seen its sales slow as its core customer base ages out of its motorcycles.
In July, Harley-Davidson cut 700 jobs from its global operations as part of an internally branded restructuring plan called “The Rewire.” The plan, which Harley-Davidson …read more
Source: Tech Crunch
Last month, former Facebook and Pinterest executive Tim Kendall told Congress during a House hearing on the dangers of social media that Facebook made its products so addictive because its ad-driven business model relies on people paying attention to its product longer every day. He said much the same in the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma,” in which Kendall — along with numerous other prominent early employees of big tech companies — warns of the threat that Facebook and others pose to modern society.
Kendall — who today runs Moment, an app that helps users monitor device habits and reinforces positive screen-time behavior — isn’t done campaigning against his former employer yet. On Friday morning, we talked with him about the FTC inching closer to filing an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook for its market power in social networking; what he thinks of the DOJ’s separate new antitrust lawsuit against Google; and how venture capital contributed to the “unnatural” ways the companies have commanded our attention — and advertisers’ dollars along with it.
Our conversation has been excerpted. You can hear the full conversation here.
About a month after outting an open API platform for its customers to augment their apps, business trip SaaS startup TravelPerk has launched a standalone API product aimed at helping the wider travel industry provide up-to-date information on travel restrictions and risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The TravelSafe API is a monthly subscription product that lets travel providers integrate pandemic-related information on point to point restrictions between destinations during the booking process — with the service pulling data from official sources and local governmental websites that TravelPerk says is cross referenced by its own customer care agents.
It’s also calculating the risk level for travel to a particular country which it says is based on real-time analysis of the reproductive rate of the epidemic (R0).
The API launch follows TravelPerk’s acquisition of risk management startup Albatross in July, as the pandemic has pushed it to build out its travel risk management offerings.
Travel startups have of course been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, with the virus decimating demand for international trips and wiping out huge swathes of the business travel market. And, while domestic staycationing does appear …read more
Source: Tech Crunch
Lee Kun-hee, the long-time chairman of Samsung Group who transformed the conglomerate into one of the world’s largest business empires, died today at the age of 78, according to reports from South Korean leading news agency Yonhap.
The story of Samsung is deeply intertwined with the history of its home country, which is sometimes dubbed “The Republic of Samsung.” Lee, the son of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul, came to power in the late 1980s just as South Korea transitioned from dictatorship to democracy with the political handover from military strongman Chun Doo-hwan to Roh Tae-woo. Under his management, Samsung spearheaded initiatives across a number of areas in electronics, including semiconductors, memory chips, displays, and other components that are the backbone of today’s digital devices.
Lee navigated the challenging economic troubles of the 1990s, including the 1998 Asian financial crisis, which saw a near collapse of the economies of South Korea and several other so-called Asian Tigers, as well as the Dot-Com bubble, which saw the collapse of internet stocks globally.
Coming out of those challenging years, Lee invested in and is probably most famous today for building up the conglomerate’s Galaxy consumer smartphone line, which evolved Samsung from an industrial powerhouse …read more
Source: Tech Crunch
It could be the long-awaited turning point in the world of venture capital and beyond. Yale, whose $32 billion endowment has been led since 1985 by the legendary investor David Swensen, just let its 70 U.S. money managers across a variety of asset classes know that for the school, diversity has now moved front and center.
According to the WSJ, Swensen has told the firms that from here on out, they will be measured annually on their progress in increasing the diversity of their investment staff, from hiring to training to mentoring to their retention of women and minorities.
Those that show little improvement may see the prestigious university pull its money, Swensen tells the outlet.
It’s hard to overstate the move’s significance. Though Yale’s endowment saw atypically poor performance last year, Swensen, at 66, is among the most highly regarded money managers in the world, growing Yale’s endowment from $1 billion when he joined as a 31-year-old former grad student of the school, to the second-largest school endowment in the country after Harvard, which currently manages $40 billion.
<iframe sandbox="allow-scripts" …read more
Source: Tech Crunch
Huawei announced earnings results today showing that its growth has slowed significantly this year as the Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone giant said its “production and operations face significant challenges.”
While Huawei did not specify trade restrictions in its brief announcement, the company has been hit with a series of commercial trade restrictions by the U.S. government. The full impact of those policies haven’t been realized yet, because U.S. government has granted Huawei several waivers, including one that will delay the implementation of a ban on commercial trade with Huawei and ZTE until May 2021.
During the first three quarters of 2020, the Chinese telecoms and smartphone giant reported revenue of 671.3 billion yuan (about USD $100.7 billion), an increase of 9.9% year-over-year, with a profit margin of 8%. The company said those results “basically met expectations,” but it represents a huge drop from its performance during the same period last year, when Huawei reported 24.4% growth with a profit margin of 8.7%.
Huawei is a privately-held company …read more
Source: Tech Crunch
By Steve O’Hear
Acapela, a new startup co-founded by Dubsmash founder Roland Grenke, is breaking cover today in a bid to re-imagine online meetings for remote teams.
Hoping to put an end to video meeting fatigue, the product is described as an “asynchronous meeting platform,” which Grenke and Acapela’s other co-founder, ex-Googler Heiki Riesenkampf (who has a deep learning computer science background), believe could be the key to unlock better and more efficient collaboration. In some ways the product can be thought of as the antithesis to Zoom and Slack’s real-time and attention-hogging downsides.
To launch, the Berlin-based and “remote friendly” company has raised €2.5 million in funding. The round is led by Visionaries Club with participation from various angel investors, including Christian Reber (founder of Pitch and Wunderlist) and Taavet Hinrikus (founder of TransferWise). I also understand Entrepreneur First is a backer and has assigned EF venture partner Benedict Evans to work on the problem. If you’ve seen the ex-Andreessen Horowitz analyst writing about a post-Zoom world lately, now you know why.
<iframe sandbox="allow-scripts" security="restricted" title="“Former Andreessen Horowitz partner Benedict …read more
Source: Tech Crunch
Bradley Tusk has become known in recent years for being involved in what’s about to get hot, from his early days advising Uber, to writing one of the first checks to the insurance startup Lemonade, to pushing forward the idea that we should be using the smart devices in our pockets to vote.
Indeed, because he’s often at the vanguard, it wasn’t hugely surprising when Tusk, like a growing number of other investors, formed a $300 million SPAC or special acquisition company, one that he and a partner plan to use to target a business in the leisure, gaming, or hospitality industry, according to a regulatory filing.
Because Tusk — a former political operative who ran the successful third mayoral campaign for Mike Bloomberg — seems adept at seeing around corners, we called him up late last week to ask whether SPACs are here to stay, how a Biden administration might impact the startup investing landscape, and how worried (or not) big tech should be about this election. You can hear the full conversation here. Owing to length, we are featuring solely the part of our conversation that centered on SPACs.
Eat Just, the plant-based food startup, is launching a new Asian subsidiary through a partnership with Proterra Investment Partners Asia. The agreement includes building Eat Just’s first factory in Asia, which will be based in Singapore.
As part of the deal, Proterra, which focuses on agri-tech, will invest up to $100 million in the facility, while Eat Just will invest $20 million. The new subsidiary, called Eat Just Asia, will focus on creating a fully-integrated supply chain, working with manufacturers and distributers for Eat Just’s flagship product, vegan egg substitute Just Egg, which is made from mung beans.
Once completed, the Singapore facility will “generate thousands of metric tons of protein,” said Eat Just’s announcement. Eat Just Asia also received support from the Singaporean government’s Economic Development Board.
In addition to Just Egg, Eat Just and Proterra said they are also in talks to expand their partnership to include the development of plant-based meat alternatives.
Eat Just’s current distribution partners in Asia include SPC Samlip in South Korea, Betagro in Thailand and an as-of-yet undisclosed new partner in China, where Just Egg is already available on Alibaba’s Tmall and JD.com.
Based in San Francisco and formerly known as Hampton Creek, Eat Just has …read more
Source: Tech Crunch