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- Hong Kong fintech unicorn WeLab raises $75M led by insurance giant AllianzOne of the few industries that have benefited from the COVID-19 crisis is online finance. Around the world, the pandemic has forced consumers to adopt digital banking. Hong Kong’s WeLab, a fintech company founded in 2013, saw users soar by 20% year-over-year in 2020, bringing its accumulative user base to 50 million. Facing innovative players like WeLab, which aims to bring more convenience, transparency, and affordability to consumers, financial incumbents feel compelled to reinvent themselves. That’s in part why Allianz X, a venture capital arm of the 131-year-old European financial conglomerate Allianz, led WeLab’s latest funding round of $75 million. The Series C1, which involved other investors, followed WeLab’s $156 million Series C round in late 2019. “Obviously, Allianz is one of the largest asset managers and insurers in the world with a strong presence and solid footprint,” co-founder and CEO Simon Loong told TechCrunch during an interview. Loong declined… ..... Read More.2 hours ago
- Smart glasses help to find your makeup palletJen Copestake tries out some of the latest augmented reality beauty technology. ..... Read More.3 hours ago
- OnePlus recruits Hasselblad for three-year smartphone imaging dealImaging has long been the primary battlefield on which the smartphone battles are waged. It makes sense. The thing about smartphones in 2021 is that they’re mostly very good. Sure, there are differentiators, but if you spend a decent amount on a device from any major manufacturer, you’re probably going to get a pretty good device. But there’s still plenty of opportunity to continually bridge the gap between smartphone imaging and devoted camera systems. And today OnePlus takes a potentially key step in that direction by announcing a partnership with Hasselblad. The DJI-owned Swedish camera maker has signed onto a three-year partnership with OnePlus. According to a release tied to the news, the pair plan to spend $150 million over the course of the deal, in an attempt to vault OnePlus to the front of the pack. Hasselblad has dipped its toes in the mobile market, including a Moto Z… ..... Read More.3 hours ago
- Google unveils $25 million in grants aimed at empowering women and girlsGoogle announced a range of programs as well as grants worth $25 million on Monday to fund works of nonprofits and social enterprises that are committed to empower women and girls. The effort, unveiled on Internet Women’s Day, is aimed at addressing systemic barriers so that women get access to economic equality, opportunity to build financial independence and pursue entrepreneurism, said Google chief executive Sundar Pichai at a virtual event. “Whatever these teams need, we are going to be alongside them and help carry out their vision,” said Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org, at the event. The deadline for new applications is April 9. Fuller also announced that Google.org is going to invest an additional $1 million to help underserved women in India. Even as India is the world’s second largest internet, women make up a small percentage of Internet users in the country. Five years ago, only one out… ..... Read More.3 hours ago
- Chinese beauty app Meitu bought $40 million worth of cryptocurrencyFollowing in the footsteps of Tesla, Chinese app maker Meitu has joined the ranks of cryptocurrency investment. In the early 2010s, Meitu reached such dominance in the portrait touch-up space that its eponymous flagship app became a verb for “photo beautifying” in China. But in recent years, as smartphones became to offer built-in filters, photo editors like Meitu are struggling to hold their lead. Meitu’s stock shrank from HK$18 apiece in 2017 to less than HK$3 today. As the company turns 13 years old and seeks alternative growth, it sets its eyes on cryptocurrency. Meitu purchased 15,000 units of Ether and 379.1214267 units of Bitcoin worth around $22.1 million and $17.9 million respectively on March 5 in open market transactions, the company disclosed Sunday. The purchase is the first tranche of the firm’s investment plan to buy up to $100 million worth of cryptocurrency, which is financed by its cash… ..... Read More.4 hours ago
- Praava Health raises $10.6M to increase access to quality healthcare in BangladeshPraava Health founder and chief executive officer Sylvana Sinha (third from left) at one of the company’s healthcare centers Before launching Praava Health, a company that combines telemedicine with physical clinics, Sylvana Sinha had a successful career in international law, including serving as a foreign policy advisor to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and working for the World Bank in Afghanistan. While visiting Bangladesh in 2011 for a family wedding, however, Sinha had a “lightbulb moment” after her mother nearly died after an operation at a top private hospital. “When I had this experience with my mom, I observed that there was really no amount of money that could afford you access to quality healthcare in Bangladesh,” she told TechCrunch. “It really struck me that despite all the progress the country had made, and the fact that there is now a middle class of 40 million people, that there are… ..... Read More.7 hours ago