May 2016

Tesla is opening a risky new store in the Hamptons (TSLA)
May 24, 2016

Last year, Tesla took aim at one of its key markets: the affluent Hamptons, a strip of town stretched out across the coast of Long Island's South Fork, long a vacation destination for New York City's moneyed elites.

The 2015 edition was a “pop-up” store. Adorned with Tesla branding and built from shipping containers, it welcomed potential customers in Southampton for five weeks.

The concept was so successful that Tesla is opening a fully blown store in 2016, located in East Hampton (Tesla is also opening a vacationer-oriented store in Massachusetts' Cape Cod).

But opening in this location comes with inherent risk because many people leave after the summer months.

Automotive New reported that the new store would experience a major slackening off in business during the non-summer months, but that Tesla assumes interest from Memorial Day to Labor Day will be strong enough to make the effort pay off.

Last year, Tesla offered test drives in the Model S sedan, but wasn&#0..

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Snapchat could now be worth $20 billion
May 24, 2016

Snapchat's massive valuation appears to be growing even bigger.

Sources have told TechCrunch that Snapchat is expanding its Fidelity-led $175 million Series F round into a Series FP round, and it reportedly comes with a valuation around $20 billion.

VC data provider VCexperts have pegged Snapchat's share price at $30.72 per share, and that the new round could propel Snapchat to a valuation “as high as $22.7 billion,” according to TechCrunch.

In addition to Fidelity, Alibaba, Coatue Management, General Catalyst, IVP, Kingdom Holding Company, Lightspeed, SV Angel, Tencent, and Yahoo are all investors in Snapchat, and many of them appear to be interested in participating in this new funding round, according to the report.

Snapchat has been making moves, most recently purchasing the custom emoji creation tool Bitstrips back in March, and improving its core functionality. Coupling those with the fact that Snapchat is more popular than ever, it's no surprise why investors..

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Apple is trying to convince a hearing that an €850 million Irish data centre is a good thing (AAPL)
May 24, 2016

Apple has started trying to convince people in Ireland to get behind an €850 million (£648 million) data centre that it wants to build in the middle of a forest, according to Galway Bay FM.

The Silicon Valley tech giant reportedly told an oral hearing at the Connacht Hotel in Galway on Tuesday that the data centre will pave the way for further development and investment into the area.

Up to 100 people reportedly heard Apple say that it is committed to becoming a part of the local community, adding that it will minimise the amount of disturbance.

It's not clear which Apple employee(s) spoke at the hearing.

Apple intends to use the data centre — which would be situated in the middle of Derrydonnell Forest near a small town called Athenry, in County Galway, on the west coast of Ireland — to store European user data and to help power online services including the iTunes Store, the App Store, iMessage, Maps, and Siri for customers across Europe.

Business Insider visited the site t..

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Volkswagen is making a $300 million bet on one of Uber’s rivals
May 24, 2016

Volkswagen is making a $300 million strategic investment in the ride-hailing app Gett, the startup announced on Tuesday.

The auto giant's minority investment comes as it attempts to move beyond a huge corporate crisis over emissions and launches a new mobility unit focused on new technology.

VW wants “to go beyond vehicle ownership,” Gett CEO Shahar Waiser told Business Insider in a telephone interview.

An Israeli startup that launched in 2010, Get is a rival to Uber, with users able to hail a driver with an app.

Waiser said the company was profitable in some early markets but not overall. It has annual revenues of $500 million. It previously raised $220 million in venture capital, with VW's investment raising the total to $520 million. Waiser declined to comment on Gett's valuation.

It operates in 60 European cities along with New York City. The new funding will help accelerate expansion on the continent, Gett says.

Waiser also said Gett's technology — big da..

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Apple CEO Tim Cook reveals the Apple Watch’s ‘holy grail’ (AAPL)
May 24, 2016

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about Apple's health ambitions at the Startup Fest Europe conference in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

He confirmed that Apple is “really focused” on health, and that the Apple Watch is the company's ticket into the massive but complicated healthcare market.

“I love the watch. One day, this is my prediction, we will look back and we will wonder: how can I ever have gone without the Watch? Because the holy grail of the watch is being able to monitor more and more of what's going on in the body,” Cook said during an interview with former European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. “It's not technologically possible to do it today to the extent that we can imagine, but it will be.”

“The things that interest us the most are things where we can bring our ability to integrate hardware, software, services into something that's magical, and enriches people in some way. If you look at some of the things that do not drive revenue, but have massiv..

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A Tesla driver was caught sleeping on the highway with his car on Autopilot (TSLA)
May 24, 2016

We can't be certain, but it looks like this Tesla owner is asleep at the wheel while his Model S is on Autopilot.

We found this GIF via Reddit's Tesla Motors community.

Autopilot is a pretty incredible system. It uses 13 ultrasonic sensors to help Tesla cars steer themselves and change lanes, avoid obstacles and barriers, and even park themselves. There's even a feature where you can “summon” your car to come pick you up.

That said, Autopilot doesn't mean Tesla's cars with this software are fully autonomous. Far from it: Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have repeatedly told drivers not to sleep at the wheel with Autopilot on, and that it's important for drivers to have their hands on the wheel in case anything should happen.

We reached out to Tesla about this particular instance; the company was not immediately available for comment.

Tesla's Autopilot system is improving all the time but it's not infallible: Tesla owners have complained about the..

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An online dollar store sounds like a terrible business. This CEO wants to prove it’s not
May 24, 2016

Bringing the dollar store online sounds like a bad idea.

Online buyers might reasonably worry that cheap items are cheap for a reason, and won't buy if they can't see them in person to judge whether they'll fall apart after one use.

Plus, there's the fundamental question of business metrics: How is a store supposed to turn a profit if it's both selling and shipping items that retail for a few bucks?

David Yeom, a former VP at The Honest Company, thinks he's found an answer with his new startup: Hollar.

“You can absolutely make it a business,” Yeom says.

After six months, the retail startup has already reached $1 million a month in online sales. Before it ran out of stock, Hollar was selling 1,000 copies a day of its most popular item, a unicorn version of the Glow Pets Light-Up Jumbo Pillow Pet. It doesn't sell cheap knock-offs, but real recognizable brands like Revlon lip gloss, Cheerios cereal, or Disney backpacks.

Yeom's making a big ..

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New ads in Google Maps will try to get you to stop for gas or eat at McDonald’s (GOOG, GOOGL)
May 24, 2016

Road trip time!

You plug your destination into Google Maps and start cruising down your route when a purple pin appears, showing you the location of the nearest McDonald's and offering a few dollars off on a combo meal if you stop.

“Add to your route,” it prompts. Well, you were getting hungry…

This is the new ad experience that Google is testing out in its Maps app to help businesses entice you into visiting their coffee shop, gas station, pharmacy, whatever.

“A Promoted Pin for McDonalds might convince someone to stop to eat,” Google ads VP Jerry Dischler explains.

The company has had some form of advertising in Maps since 2010 but it's now building out its Promoted Pins to be much more prominent, and adding new features for advertisers, like letting them list special offers or a local product inventory search bar (so you can check if the Walgreens down the street has the right kind of contact solution before you actually go there).

You'll also see more Pr..

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