Top tech startup news stories you need to know this Wednesday, May 16
Good morning! Here are some of the top tech startup news stories for today, Wednesday, May 16.
Toothbrush startup Quip buys an insurer startup so it can cover your dental visits, too. Toothbrush startup Quip is acquiring Afora, a dental insurance company. Quip started selling electric toothbrushes online in 2015 and has been cultivating a network of consumers. Similar to other online direct-to-consumer personal-care brands like Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club, Quip offers subscriptions. Founded in 2014 by Bill May and Simon Enever, Quip designs and delivers products, advice and professional services to make oral health more simple, accessible, and enjoyable — starting with a better electric toothbrush.
Goldman Sachs-backed startup Circle introducing a crypto version of the US dollar. Circle, a payments startup back by Goldman Sachs, is rolling out a digital version of the U.S. dollar with a cryptocurrency pegged to the currency.Circle also announced a $110 million investment round led by Bitmain, best-known as the profitable crypto mining company, bringing its valuation near $3 billion. “There are a number of banks who are excited about it and will support it,” says Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle.
A dozen Googlers quit over Google’s military drone contract. A dozen Googlers publicly announced they are quitting their jobs after Google agreed to work on a new U.S. military on drones contract. In addition, 4,000 more googlers have signed an open letter to the company’s CEO asking him to cancel the contract. According the Googlers who left, the company and its executives are telling them less and less about what they’re working on, and that concerns are being addressed in distressing fashion.
HR startup Namely has fired CEO Matt Straz, saying his actions violated startup’s values. Namely Board of Directors has fired its CEO, Matt Straz, saying his actions violated startup’s values. In a press release, the company announced that the departure of Matt Straz as the company’s CEO, effective immediately. “The Board of Directors arrived at this decision after determining that his actions were inconsistent with that which is expected of Namely leadership,” the release said.
What’s going on at Tesla? Another day, another round of defections from Tesla. Two executives from the energy side of the business depart, adding to departures at the electric-car giant. Arch Padmanabhan, the product director for Tesla’s stationary storage unit, and Bob Rudd, a former SolarCity vice president who led North American commercial and utility sales, have both left the company, according to a report from Bloomberg. Tesla didn’t immediately comment on the departures.
Sigfox launches Sens’it Discovery service to accelerate IoT adoption. Founded in 2009, Sigfox is a French startup that builds wireless networks to connect low-power objects such as electricity meters, smartwatches, which need to be continuously on and emitting small amounts of data. The company announced yesterday a new service designed to make it quicker and easier to develop connected products that use its network. The service, dubbed Sens’It Discovery, is intended to let various industries experiment with IoT experiences so they can learn about what is possible and hopefully incorporate more of the technology into their basic operations and products.
Scientist.com and Brain and Spine Institute’s Bioincubator, iPEPS, launch biotech startup competition for companies accelerating CNS disease research. Scientist.com, the life science industry’s leading online marketplace for outsourced research, and The Brain and Spine Institute incubator, iPEPS-ICM, the first innovation accelerator dedicated to brain diseases in France, are partnering to launch a call for biotech startups developing novel approaches to fighting CNS diseases as part of a pitch competition.
Facebook has disabled almost 1.3 billion fake accounts over the past six months. Facebook announced on Monday that it has disabled nearly 1.3 billion “fake” accounts over the past two quarters, many of them bots “with the intent of spreading spam or conducting illicit activities such as scams.”