Inspirations

  • Panasonic is ending its solar cell partnership with Tesla

    Panasonic said it will stop producing solar cells and modules at Tesla’s factory in Buffalo, New York, ending a four-year joint venture with the electric automaker.  Nikkei Asian Review was the first to report that Panasonic planned to end its production agreement with Tesla. Panasonic has since issued an announcement to explain its decision. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. Panasonic said it will cease solar manufacturing operations at the Tesla factory by the end of May. The company will exit the factory by September. Panasonic employs about 380 people at the factory. Those employees will be given severance packages. Panasonic said it will work with Tesla to identify and hire qualified applicants from its impacted workforce. Panasonic said in its announcement that Tesla plans to hire qualified applicants to new positions needed to support its solar and energy manufacturing operations in Buffalo. Panasonic struck a deal in 2016 to jointly produce solar cells at T...

  • Storytelling community Wattpad embraces adult content with new personalization tools

    Wattpad, the online storytelling community that’s home to some 80 million monthly users, has successfully tapped into the power of crowdsourcing to help uncover the next potential hits for media companies including Netflix, Hulu, NBCU, Sony Pictures Television, and others worldwide. It even launched its own YA book line to bring its online stories to a wider audience of young adults. Now, Wattpad is making a change to its app to better embrace its adult readers. The company is adding an option to toggle on “mature” stories — meaning those meant only for a 17-and-up crowd, according to Wattpad’s policy. As you may imagine, a story is given a “mature” rating for explicit sex scenes. But stories can also be labeled mature if they include self-harm themes or scenes, like those focused on suicide or eating disorders, for example. Depictions of violence — including sexual, verbal, emotional, and physical abuse — will give a story a mature...

  • Detroit-based Rocket Fiber acquired by Everstream

    Rocket Fiber is the latest Detroit startup to be acquired. Today, the company is announcing it was acquired by Cleveland-based Everstream for an undisclosed amount. The founders tell TechCrunch the company was at a “record multiplier for the telecom space.” Under the deal, Everstream is acquiring all of Rocket Fiber’s infrastructure, including its service platforms and fiber network. The company says in a press release that Rocket Fiber’s customers will continue to receive the same service. Co-founder and CEO Mark Hudson said six to nine months ago the company started to look for ways to turbocharge Rocket Fiber’s growth. After looking at numerous offers from venture capital to acquisitions, the company felt Everstream was a good fit. Hudson found that Everstream has a similar cultural philosophy that works well in the Midwest. He says that Everstream feels like a bigger version than Rocket Fiber and an excellent partner to help build out Rocket Fiber’s mission of providin...

  • Fintech CAC and the Great Credit Card Craze

    Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Today we’re getting two items out of my notebook while sticking to our recent fintech theme (Q1 fintech VC results here and more on investing patterns into the category here). Let’s chat about fintech customer acquisition costs and the rise of card-focused plays inside of the category. For a little context: I’ve been hunting down a story on rising fintech customer acquisition costs (CAC) for what feels like a year. After a host of calls and chats on the topic, I’m admitting defeat. Details below, but I’m excited to cross the topic off my to-do list. Regarding cards, I’ve spoken to both the CEOs of Brex and Ramp in recent weeks and corresponded a bit with Coinbase. So let’s chat interchange a little bit as well. Today is a fintech grab-bag, and we’re all going to be better for it. Onward! ...

  • Meet the first wave of speakers & enter your startup for The Europas Awards, 25 June

    Excitement for The Europas Awards for European Tech Startups is heating up. Here are the first wave of speakers and judges — and more are coming! The Awards – which have been running for over 10 years – will be held on 25 June 2020 in London, U.K. on the front lawn of the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton, London — creating a fantastic and fun garden party atmosphere in the heart of London’s tech startup scene. TechCrunch is once more the exclusive media sponsor of the awards and conference, alongside The Pathfounder. The application form to enter is here. We’re scouting for the top late-stage seed and Series A startups in 22 categories. You can nominate a startup, accelerator or venture investor that you think deserves to be recognized for their achievements in the last 12 months. CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATIONS: 25 March 2020 For the 2020 awards, we’ve overhauled the categories to a set that we believe better reflects the range of innovation, diversity and ambition...