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Father Of Android Andy Rubin Set To Release Essential Smartphone

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Computer programmer, engineer, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist Andy Rubin, is all set to launch his latest project the Essential Smartphone.

Scheduled to be launched on May 30th, 2017 this is the most anticipated Android device and is expected to compete against the likes of Apple iPhone 8, Google Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy S8.

News about the Essential Phone was first leaked in January and back in March Rubin revealed that he was indeed working on a phone. In his tweet, he even unveiled a bit of the phone which looked to have a virtually borderless display. 

 

On May 25th, Essential created its official Twitter account and promised a big reveal on 30th May. They even posted a picture with the silhouette of the device which seemed to have some sort of an add-on accessory. Experts debate this add-on may be used to take 360-degree photos or for VR/AR.
Rumors are also going around that the phone may have a 5.5-inch display and feature a powerful processor along with 4 GB of RAM and 16 GB native storage.

 

Andy Rubin was the Senior Vice President of mobile and digital content at Google before he quit in 2014. He then launched Playground Global, an incubator for hardware startups.

Whether this new smartphone that resembles Xiomi MI Mix will create a dent in the market is yet to be seen!

Keep watching this space for more information.

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Binny Bansal Sells ₹531 Crore Worth Flipkart Shares To Walmart

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Binny Bansal, an Indian billionaire, entrepreneur and co founder of the e-commerce website Flipkart, sold $ 76.4 million worth of his shares in Flipkart to Walmart’s Luxembourg entity FIT Holdings SARL.

Binny Bansal, along with his partner Sachin Bansal, co founded the Flipkart and served as its Chief Executive Officer until January 2016.

Walmart, a multinational retail corporation, bought Flipkart in 2018 and back then, Bansal sold a small portion of his shares and held 3.85 % of stake.

Now, according to the documents filed by Flipkart with the regulators, Binny Bansal transferred 539,912 equity shares to FIT Holdings SARL.  These shares are valued to be $ 76.4 million (approximately Rs. 531 crores.)  This latest deal left him with only 3.52 % stake in Flipkart.

Vivek Durai, the founder of Paper.vc, a business intelligence platform, said, “With this transfer, Binny Bansal has monetised a small portion of his shareholdings. He had sold 1,122,433 shares for about $ 159 million during the Walmart takeover.”

According to his contract with Walmart, Binny Bansal is entitled to sell more than half of his shares to Walmart by August 2020 and he could gain around $ 400 million from this transaction.

Bansal, who is mostly based in Singapore, is now an investor in India’s  startup ecosystem and is also the co founder of xto10X Technologies, which was launched last year.

In December 2018, Binny Bansal invested a sprawling $ 25 million dollars in the online insurance startup Acko.  He also invested in several AI and healthtech startups.

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Facebook Reveals Details Of Its Cryptocurrency Libra

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On the 18th of June, Facebook revealed details of its brand new cryptocurrency called Libra.  An alternative to cash, this cryptocoin can be used to buy things or send money to people with close to no fees.  The cryptocurrency is going to be launched by an association called The Libra Association, which consists of a group of companies interested in getting Libra out into the world.

You can use Libra to buy or cash out your Libra at local stores like grocery stores and through third party wallet apps.  To make using Libra an easier task, Facebook owned Calibra Wallet will be built into WhatsApp and Messenger, thereby simplifying transaction processes.  Although certain countries have banned the use of cryptocurrencies, Facebook is trying to break new ground with the launch of Libra.

While Facebook is launching Libra, the social media giant is not going to be in complete control of the cryptocoin.  The coin will be controlled by a consortium consisting of its founding members, Visa, Uber and Andreessen Horowitz. The three companies have invested at least $ 10 million each into the creation of this cryptocurrency.

Customers interested in holding or transferring the newly acquired token will be given multiple options to do what they wish.  To further simplify matters, Facebook will let customers access transactions through this cryptocurrency via a special app designed for iOS and Android.

To protect the identity of its users while making transactions through the new app, Facebook won’t require you to share personal details.  “The advent of the internet and mobile broadband has empowered billions of people globally to have access to the world’s knowledge and information, high fidelity communication, and a wide range of lowercost, more convenient services,” the Libra Association said in a paper announcing the cryptocurrency.

Libra will be made available to the world during the first half of 2020.  As of now, Facebook is focusing on building relationships in international waters.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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Facebook Invests In Indian Startup Meesho

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On the 13th of June, social media giant Facebook announced, it invested an undisclosed amount in Indian startup Meesho.

A Bengaluru based startup, Meesho works with resellers and emerging brands using social media.  This is the first time Facebook invested in a startup based in India. Through this investment, Facebook aims to increase its commitment to the Country’s vibrant internet ecosystem.

“Facebook is an ally for India’s economic growth and social development. We are excited about India and its rapidly rising Internet ecosystem. With this investment in Meesho, we want to fuel a business model that can result in rapid job creation and the rise of a female entrepreneurial class in India,” Ajit Mohan, the Managing Director of Facebook India, said in a statement.

It was two primary factors which made Facebook invest in Meesho.  The first reason was how the startup is growing outside the Tier II and III cities, where new users are present.  The second reason is, Meesho has a larger user base, 80 % of which are women.

So far, Meesho has raised $ 50 million from a Series C funding round in November last year.  According to industry reports, the startup helps people using its service earn close to Rs. 25,000 every month!  With WhatsApp playing a crucial role in the app’s growth, it comes as an added blessing that Facebook invested in this particular startup.

Through investments like these, Facebook is capitalizing on the social media boom happening in India.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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