A Reuters’ analysis reveals the scope of Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp investments in new mobility services. Citing public records and inside sources, Reuters pegs the power player’s total investment at $60 billion, funding more than 40 companies ranging from ride hailing and car sharing to delivery robots and self-driving vehicles. SoftBank’s Vision Fund, one of the conglomerate’s five investment vehicles, led the $1 billion Flexport round in February.
“Uber has a very powerful brand name. It undoubtedly contributed to Uber Freight’s growth. But if this was a stand-alone prospectus for just Uber Freight, and if the Freight division did not carry the name ‘Uber,’ who would be foolish enough to invest in them?”
– Steve Banker, vice president of supply chain services, ARC Advisory Group (Forbes)
Did you know?
Cellphone addicted drivers are 9 percent slower in braking, putting smartphone distraction on par with a 0.08 blood-alcohol content level. Around 20 percent of the driving population could be classified as phone addicts by 2022.
Source: Zendrive distracted driving report, cited in Automotive News
In other news:
Retailers expect a doubling of cannabis sales on April 20
The date 4/20 is celebrated by cannabis enthusiasts, with industry registering its biggest day of sales the same day last year. (Bloomberg)
On-demand buses come to Seattle, with a new service connecting the city to the suburbs
The service is provided by Via, a provider and developer of on-demand shared mobility solutions. (KingCounty.gov)
Alibaba’s Jack Ma calls China’s 72-hour workweek a “huge blessing”
The comment comes as workers are rebelling against grueling work culture in the nation’s tech industry. (MarketWatch)
Gas prices surge past $4 per gallon in California
Regulations, forest fires are to blame. (California Globe)
Zencargo, a London-based freight forwarding start-up, has closed a Series A round of funding of about $19 million, TechCrunch reported on April 16. The company runs a platform that allows for online booking, real-time tracking and provides instant quoting and business analytics. The new funds will be used to continue building out tools to predict and manage how cargo is moved, ZenCargo’s CEO Richard Fattal told TechCrunch. The Series A round was led by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures.Tom Stafford, managing partner at DST Global, Pentland Ventures and previous investors Samos, LocalGlobe and Picus Capital also participated in the round. The last time a freight forwarding startup round made the news it was Flexport and its $1 billion raise a couple of months ago. Zencargo has a ways to go before catching up, although as TechCrunch reports, the company serves several of Europe’s largest businesses and e-commerce companies, one of them thought to be Amazon.