Elon Musk asking to be Apple CEO reportedly led to profanity-laced tirade from Tim Cook

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk are talking on the phone. The 2016 unveiling of the make-it-or-break-it Model 3 is coming soon, but Tesla is in serious financial trouble. Cook has an idea: Apple buys Tesla.

Musk is interested, but one condition: “I’m CEO.”

Sure, says Cook. When Apple bought Beats in 2014, it kept on the founders, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

No, Musk says. Apple. Apple CEO.

“F— you” Cook says, and hangs up.

Apple testing new Apple Maps for Italy, Vatican City, and San Marino in iOS 15 betas

Apple has begun testing the new Apple Maps on the Italian Peninsula as part of the iOS 15 developer and public betas.

The update includes areas in Italy, including Sardinia and Sicily, but does not include Malta at this time. Additionally, San Marino and Vatican City are also part of this update.

The new maps have expanded green areas, reclassified roads, and new 3D landmark features. In order to view these maps, users will need to be using a device on either the iOS 15 developer or public betas. However, it is likely that the update will be available to everyone soon, as tests usually last one month before rolling out to the general public.

As O’Beirne points out, once the update is released for all Apple Maps users, Italy, San Marino, and Vatican City will be the seventh, eighth, and ninth countries added to Apple’s revamped Apple Maps.

Apple Maps will soon be getting major updates in an upcoming overhaul, including more detailed maps, time-specific navigation, and improvements to transit directions.

Best deals for July 30 – Back to School Brydge sale, MagSafe iPhone Charger, and more!

Friday’s best deals include $100 off an ASUS Gaming Laptop, $212 off a Roborock S6 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, additional iTunes movie sales, and more.

Shopping online for the best discounts and deals can be a difficult and annoying task. Rather than sifting through miles of advertisements, check out this list of sales we’ve hand-picked just for the AppleInsider audience.

You’ll find more than just Apple products here. Each section is organized by product type or brand, and can contain anything from furniture to iPhone cases.

This post was originally published on July 26 at 10:00 a.m. ET. If an item is out of stock, it may still be able to be ordered for delivery at a later date. These deals won’t last long, so act fast for anything that might be of interest to you.

Deals are added every day, throughout the day. The newest deals will appear at the top of each section.

Brydge Pro+ on sale for only $139.99

Brydge Pro+ on sale for only $139.99

Brydge is holding its Back to School sale and customers can score up to 65% off of some products. Check out some sales below.

  • Brydge Pro+ for iPad Pro 12.9-inch & 11-inch, was $169.99 now $139.99
  • Brydge Pro for iPad Pro 12.9-inch & 11-inch, was $149.99 now $89.99
  • Brydge 10.2 MAX+ for iPad (8th & 7th Gen), was $149.99 now $89.99
  • BRYDGE 10.2 for iPad (8th Gen) & iPad (7th Gen), was $129.99 now $99.99
  • MacBook Vertical Dock, was $169.99 now $129.99
  • Stone Lite, was $129.99 now $99.99
  • Brydge SPX+ for Surface Pro X, was $159.99 now $119.99
  • Brydge 12.3 Pro+ for Surface Pro 4-7, was $149.99 now $129.99
  • Brydge 10.5 Go+ for Surface Go Go2, was $139.99 now $89.99
  • W-Touch for Windows, was $99.99 now $79.99
  • Computers and computer accessories

    Computer accessories

    • EVGA X17 Wired Gaming Mouse, was $79.99 now $29.99
    • Portable Laptop Table Stand with 2 CPU Cooling Fans and Detachable Mouse Pad, was $35.99 now $16.20 with on page coupon
    • Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Keyboard with Built-In Touchpad, was $39.99 now $19.99
    • Logitech StreamCam was $169.99 is $149.99
    • EVGA SuperNOVA 650 Ga 650W Fully Modular Power Supply (80 Plus Gold), was $129.99 now $85.98
    • Twelve South BookArc for MacBook was $59.99 is $40.69
    • Razer DeathAdder v2 Mini Gaming Mouse, was $49.99, now $19.99
    • MoKo RGB Gaming Mouse Pad, was $13.96, now $9.17
    • Wacom Intuos Wireless Graphics Drawing Tablet (Black and Pistachio), was $199.95 now $149.95
    • For Intel Mac mini and Intel iMac – G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 32GB (2 x 16GB) 260-Pin SO-DIMM DDR4 3200 (PC4 25600) Laptop Memory Model F4-3200C22D-32GRS, was $169.99 now $149.99
    • Mike uses this, you’ve seen it on his desk – TEDNETGO Gaming Mouse Pad, was $19.99 now $12.93 if you clip the coupon
    • Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma V2 Gaming Keyboard, was $139.99 now $69.99

    Computer storage

    • PNY 256GB MicroSDXC Card, was $42.99 now $37.90
    • PNY 5-Pack 16GB Full Size SD Cards, was $21.99 now $20.74
    • Samsung 1TB 980 PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 Internal SSD, was $139.99 now $109.99
    • SanDisk 1TB USB Type-C Ultra Dual Drive, was $130.75 now $109.99
    • Seagate BarraCuda 4TB 5400 RPM 256MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5-inch bare hard drive – OEM, was $89.99 now $74.99
    • Samsung 980 PCI-Express 3.0 x4 500GB MLC Internal Solid State Drive, was $74.99 now $64.99
    • Team Group 2280 1TB PCIe 3.0 x4 with NVMe 1.3 3D NAND Internal Solid State Drive, was $104.99 now $89.99
    • Seagate 2TB Portable External Hard Drive, was $72.49 now $62.99
    • Samsung 64GB microSDXC was $16.99 is $12.99
    • Sabrent Rocket Nano Rugged Water Proof 2TB External SSD (all colors), was $449.99 now $289.98
    • SAMSUNG 870 QVO Series 2.5″ 8TB SATA III 4-bit MLC V-NAND Internal Solid State Drive, was $849.99 now $699.99
    • SanDisk 500GB Extreme Portable SSD, was $149.99 now $87.99
    • XPG Spectrix S20G Series: 1TB Internal Solid State Drive PCIe Gen3x4 M.2 2280, was $139.99 now $129.99
    • Samsung T5 Portable 2TB USB 3.1 Type C External SSD, was $279.99 now $221.87

    Computers

    MSI Sword 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop currently $200 off

    MSI Sword 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop currently $200 off

    • MSI Sword 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop with Intel Core i7 NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050ti 512GB SSD 8GB RAM, was $1199.99 now $999.99
    • Lenovo 15.6-inch Legion 5 Laptop with Ryzen 5 8GB RAM 256GB SSD 1TB HDD GTX 1650Ti, was $899.00 now $699
    • ASUS ROG 120Hz 13.4-inch Touch Laptop with Ryzen 9 5900HS RTX 3050 Ti 16GB RAM 1TB SSD, was $1499.99 now $1349.99
    • Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 15.6-inch Intel Core i7 16GB RAM 512GB Storage, was $1299.99 now $1149.99
    • Lenovo Yoga 7i 2-in-1 15.6-inch Touch Screen Laptop with Intel Core i5 and 256GB Solid State Drive, was $849.99 now $599.99
    • Gigabyte Aero 15.6″ UHD 4K AMOLED with Intel Core i7 11th and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, was $1,799 now $1,499 with promo code 82BTSWKN474
    • Lenovo 13.3-inch ThinkBook 13s G2 ITL Laptop, was $779 now $649

    Monitors and monitor accessories

    • AOC 15.6-inch USB-C powered portable monitor, was $179.99 now $115.59
    • HUANUO Dual Monitor Stand for 13-27 inch VESA Monitors, was $27.99 now $11.19 with coupon on page AND 35ZZLHB9 promo code at checkout
    • HUANUO Single Monitor Gas Spring Stand, was $32.99, now $13.19 if you clip the coupon and apply code 8LKNXD4J
    • Samsung 49-Inch CRG9 120Hz QHD Curved Gaming Monitor, was $1499.99 now $1096.89
    • Samsung M7 Series 32-Inch 4K UHD Smart Monitor, was $399.99 now $347.71

    Networking and smart home

    NETGEAR Orbi Pro WiFi 6 Mini Mesh System currently $100 off

    NETGEAR Orbi Pro WiFi 6 Mini Mesh System currently $100 off

    • NETGEAR Orbi Pro WiFi 6 Mini Mesh System, was $299.99 now $199.99
    • RING Spotlight Cam, was $199.99 now $149.99
    • NETGEAR 4-Stream AX1800 WiFi 6 Router, was $149.99 now $57.98
    • Netgear Orbi Pro was $299.99 is $199.99
    • TP-Link AC5400 Tri-band Wi-Fi Gaming Router, was $279.99 now $199.99
    • Netgear GS308 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch, was $27.99 now $17.99
    • Netgear GS305E 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Plus Switch, was $34.99 now $20.99
    • Netgear GS305 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch, was $22.99 now $15.99
    • eero 6 AX1800 Dual-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (3-pack), was $279 now $223
    • ASUS RT-AX55 AX1800 Dual Band WiFi 6 Gigabit 802.11ax Router, was $129.99 now $99.99

    TV and TV accessories

    • VIZIO M-Series 5.1.2 Home Theater Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, was $449.99 now $299.88
    • Manor Park Farmhouse Barn Door TV Stand for up to 64-inch, was $250.00 now $129.00
    • Mijia Mini Projector Portable was $499.99 is $488.99
    • Epson Home Cinema 2100 1080p Projector – Refurbished, now $399.99
    • Sony A8H 55-inch OLED 4K Smart TV with HDR, was $1,899.99 now $1,299.99
    • Roku Express 4k+ Media Streamer, was $39.99 now $29
    • Roku Streambar 4K/HD/HDR, was $129.99 now $99

    Video games and toys

    • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age for Xbox One, was $49.99 now $9.88
    • Larger Than Light for macOS or Windows, was $5 now FREE
    • DJI Magic Mini Drone was $499 is $399
    • 8Bitdo Sn30 Pro+ controller was $49.99 is $42.50
    • Neogeo Arcade Stick Pro-Neo Geo Pocket, was $126.01 now $99.99
    • LEGO Ideas NASA Apollo Saturn V, discontinued by Lego and back in stock: new $119.99
    • Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe – Nintendo Switch, was $59.99 now $40.99
    • Mass Effect Legendary Edition – PS4, was $59.99 now $44.88
    • Mass Effect Legendary Edition – Xbox One, was $59.99 now $50.94

    House goods

    Roborock S6 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner currently $272 off

    Roborock S6 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner currently $272 off

    • Roborock S6 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner w/ Alexa, was $649.99 now $377.99
    • Dyson V7 Animal Cordless Vacuum – Nickel, was $399.99 now $229.99
    • Dyson AM11 Pure Cool Purifier Tower Fan – Iron/Silver – Refurbished, new $399.99 refurbished $319.99
    • Dyson V11 Animal Cordless Vacuum – Purple – Refurbished, now $329.99
    • Roborock S4 Max Robot Vacuum, was $429.99 now $359.99 if you use both the on-page coupon
    • TTKK Electric Standing Desk, 48 x 24 inches, was $279.99 now $109.99
    • Cricut Explore Air 2 – Mint, Lilac, Blue, was $249.99 now $169.99
    • Chefman 8-Quart Digital Air Fryer, was $99.99 now $79

    Headphones and Ear Buds

    • Sony Wireless in-Ear Headphones WI-C310/B – All colors, was $39.99 now $18.00
    • Etymotic Research ER2SE Studio Edition High Performance In-Ear Earphones, was $109.95 now $87.31
    • SENNHEISER PXC 550-II Wireless NoiseGard Adaptive Noise Cancelling, was $349.95 now $157.94
    • Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds – Black Ivory and Navy, was $199.95 now $179.95
    • Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro True Wireless Earbuds, was $129.99 now $99.99
    • JLab JBuds Air true Wireless Signature Bluetooth Earbuds and Charging Case in white, was $49.00 now $37.04
    • JLab JBuds Air Icon true Wireless Signature Bluetooth Earbuds and Charging Case in all colors, was $49.00 now $29.99

    Other

    • Rawlings Official League Recreational Grade Baseballs – 24, was $74.00 now $29.99
    • Force1 U34W Dragonfly Wi-Fi FPV Camera Drone, was $129.99 now $54.99
    • Sony Alpha a7 with 28-70mm Lens, was $1,598.00 now $1,198.00

    Charging and other phone accessories

    MagSafe

    MagSafe Charger on sale at Daily Steals for $28.99 with promo code

    MagSafe Charger on sale at Daily Steals for $28.99 with promo code

    • Apple Leather Wallet with MagSafe, was $59 now $49.55
    • Apple MagSafe Charger at Daily Steals, was $39.99 now $28.99 with code DSMAG
    • Apple MagSafe Charger at Amazon, was $39.99 now $34
    • Apple 20W USB-C Power Adapter, was $19.00 now $16.47

    Other accessories

    • UGREEN USB C Hub, Type C to USB 3.0 4 Ports, was $9.99 now $7.49 with promo code UGREENSD350
    • Anker USB Wall Charger and Outlet Extender, was $14.99 now $9.99 with promo code ANKERA9221
    • Anker Qi-Certified Wireless Charger and PowerWave Stand in Black, was $18.99 now $15.29
    • Tile Mate + Tile Slim Combo – Key Finder 4 Pack (2 Tile Mate + 2 Tile Slim), was $99 now $45
    • Tile Mate & Slim Combo Item Tracker 4-Tiles, was $69.99 now $53.55

    iTunes

    Apple iTunes sales

    Apple iTunes sales

    There are a multitude of digital content sales on iTunes each week. For the most seamless purchasing experience, AppleInsider recommends opening video purchase links on an iPhone or iPad.

    Movies

    Robinhood’s CFO says it was ready to go public

    Robinhood priced at $38 per share this week, opened flat and closed its first day’s trading yesterday worth $34.82 per share, or a bit more than 8% underwater. The company posted a mixed picture today, falling early before recovering to breakeven in late-morning trading.

    It wasn’t the debut that some expected Robinhood to have.


    The Exchange explores startups, markets and money.

    Read it every morning on Extra Crunch or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


    To close out the week, we’re not going to noodle on banned Chinese IPOs or do a full-week mega-round discussion. Instead, let’s parse some notes from a chat The Exchange had with Robinhood’s CFO about his company’s IPO and go over a few reasonable guesses as to why we’re not wondering how much money Robinhood left on the table by pricing its public offering lower than it closed on its first day.

    Let’s not be dicks about it. The time for Twitter jokes was yesterday. We’ll put our thinking caps on this morning.

    Why Robinhood went public when it did

    Chatting with Robinhood CFO Jason Warnick earlier this week, we wanted to know why this was the right time for Robinhood to go public.

    Now, no public company CEO or CFO will come out and directly say that they are going public because they think that they can defend — or extend — their most recent private valuation thanks to current market conditions.

    Instead, execs on IPO day tend to deflect the question, pivoting to a well-oiled bon mot about how their public offering is a mere milestone on their company’s long-term trajectory. For some reason in our capitalist society, during an arch-capitalist event, by a for-profit company, leaders find it critical to downplay their IPO’s importance.1

    With that in mind, Warnick did not say Robinhood went public because the IPO market has recently rewarded big-brand consumer tech companies like Airbnb and DoorDash with strong debuts. And he didn’t say that with tech shares near all-time highs and a taste for high-growth concerns, the company was likely set to enter a market that would be willing to price it at a valuation that it found attractive.

    Last day to snag early bird passes to TechCrunch Disrupt 2021

    Don’t miss your chance to experience TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 — the startup world’s must-attend event of the season — for less than $100. Why not get the best ROI of your time while simultaneously learning about the latest industry trends and mining for opportunities that can take your startup to new levels of success?

    Disrupt takes place on September 21-23, but the early-bird deal expires today, July 30 at 11:59 pm (PT). Buy your Disrupt 2021 pass now and save.

    Let’s talk about what you’ll experience at Disrupt. Over on the Disrupt Stage you’ll find one-on-one interviews with icons and interactive, expert-led, presentations from across the tech, investing and policy sectors. Folks like Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn and Mirror CEO Brynn Putnam. And that’s just the tip of the tech iceberg. You can check out all the speakers here.

    You’ll find plenty of actionable advice and how-to tips and strategies on the Extra Crunch Stage. Take a gander at just two of the topics we have scheduled there and explore the full Disrupt agenda here.

    Crafting a Pitch Deck that Can’t Be Ignored: Investors may be chasing after the hottest deals, but for founders selling their startup’s vision, it’s never been more important to communicate it in the clearest way possible. Pitch deck experts Mercedes Bent (partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners), Mar Hershenson (co-founder & managing partner, Pear VC) and Saba Karim (Techstars’ head of accelerator pipeline) dig into what’s essential, what’s unnecessary and what could just make all the difference in your next deck.

    How Do You Select the Right Tech Stack: From day zero, startups have to make dozens of trade-offs when it comes to the infinite variety of tech stacks available to today’s engineers. Choose the wrong combination or direction, and a startup could be left with years of refactoring to fix the legacy damage. What are the best practices for assessing potential stacks, and how can you minimize the risk of a painful mistake? Preeti Somal (executive vice president of engineering, HashiCorp) and Jill Wetzler (head of engineering, Pilot) will discuss strategies for improving engineering right from the beginning and at every stage of a startup’s journey.

    Disrupt’s virtual format provides plenty of opportunity for questions, so come prepared to ask the experts about the issues that keep you up at night.

    One post can’t possibly contain all the events and opportunities of Disrupt. Don’t miss the epic Startup Battlefield competition, hundreds of early-stage startups exhibiting in the Startup Alley expo area, special breakout sessions — like the Pitch Deck Teardown — and so much more.

    TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 offers tons of opportunity. Don’t miss out on the first one — buy your Disrupt pass today, July 30, by 11:59 pm (PT) for less than $100. It’s a sweet deal!

    Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

    White-label SaaS shipping startup Outvio closes $3M round led by Change Ventures

    Outvio, an Estonian startup that provides a white-label SaaS fulfillment solution for medium-sized and large online retailers in Spain and Estonia, has closed a $3 million early-stage financing round led by Change Ventures. Also participating were TMT Investments (London), Fresco Capital (San Francisco), and Lemonade Stand (Tallinn). Several angels also joined the round including James Berdigans (Printify) and Kristjan Vilosius (Katana MRP). This is the startup’s first institutional round of funding, after bootstrapping since 2018.

    Online retailers usually have to use a number of different tools or hire expensive developers to create in-house shipping solutions. Outvio offers online stores of any size a post-purchase shipping experience, which seeks to replicate an Amazon-style experience where customers can also return packages. Among others, itcompetes with ShippyPro, which runs out of Italy and has raised $5 million to date.

    Juan Borras, co-founder and CEO of Outvio said: “We can give any online store all the tools needed to offer a superior post-sale customer experience. We can integrate at different points in their fulfilment process, and for large merchants, save them hundreds of thousands in development costs alone.”

    He added: “What happens after the purchase is more important than most shops realize. More than 88% of consumers say it is very important for them that retailers proactively communicate every fulfilment and delivery stage. Not doing so, especially if there are problems, often results in losing that client. Our mission is to help online stores streamline everything that happens after the sale, fueling repeat business and brand-loyal customers with the help of a fantastic post-purchase experience.”

    Rait Ojasaar, Investment Partner at lead investor Change Ventures commented: “While online retailing has a long way to go, the expectations of consumers are increasing when it comes to delivery time and standards. The same can be said about the online shop operators who increasingly look for more advanced solutions with consumer-like user experience. The Outvio team has understood exactly what the gap in the market is and has done a tremendous job of finding product-market fit with their modern fulfilment SaaS platform.”

    Gillmor Gang: Social Climbing



    Fear is back with the deadly combination of pandemic politics and a vicious variant. The good news is that if enough people took the shots we could cut the damage to something manageable. The other good news is progress on the twin issues of Trump and social media. In both cases some semblance of balanced rationality is seeping in to the public discourse.

    First is the former president, who has already done about as much damage as he can. Joe Biden is doing a good job of wrestling Congress into some degree of productivity. As the Gang talks about on this and the next episode, it appears increasingly likely there will be a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Republicans and particularly Mitch McConnell can still shut the whole thing down, but Democrats hold the budget reconciliation process as a hole card to prompt a semi-partisan bill across the two parties. The Biden strategy is to not only force the right to accommodate some center victory but forestall a significant cave by the centrist Democrat Joe Manchin on the filibuster. This may have some value if Congress puts its foot down on voting rights or the effort to destroy them .

    Something similar may be playing out on the social side. Facebook and Twitter seem to be circling each other as Congress forces some antitrust positioning. With the courts giving Facebook a little running room on the operational description of what a monopoly is, Twitter reported strong numbers that beat the Street and make Jack Dorsey’s feint toward bitcoin and the creator economy easier to swallow when the smoke clears. The newsletterization of media is giving social media some street cred as Congress tries to force Facebook to grow up. Block an MGM deal here and a Section 530 carveout there seems possible although more likely just the beginning of negotiations.

    The big battle is over the shape of post COVID work and lifestyle negotiations. Vaccination reluctance is a five alarm fire, but the 2022 midterms may well be fought over the intersection of climate change and the speed of recovery led by the accelerated digital economy. I don’t believe that it’s a coincidence that back to work and a manageable ecology are deeply related. Silicon Valley can talk all it wants about inventing the future, but desperate consumers are looking for real answers from tech leaders who understand the future to come in a constantly unstable weather crisis that turns a burning West Coast into a choking rest of the country.

    Vaccine mandates are a fierce predictor of what’s to come. In a country under constant threat of a constitutional crisis over voter fraud by one of the two major parties, the federal response may be constrained but not the rules at the workforce level. These are serious issues of privacy and human rights, but in the short term the moves toward practical mandates will be swift at the state and company level, and supported by healthy polling. Do you think some version of work from anywhere will be tied to double vaccination? As a mandate, it’s not a done deal; as a choice it seems like a popular way of reducing the crisis from the current 35% to something approaching a too-high but winter-ready time frame of 15% where hospitals and state economies need help, red or blue. And those numbers may become the difference between major crisis and economy-crushing lockdowns if an even more egregious variant emerges.

    This is also where social and safety meet at a crossroads. Are we willing to cede a Facebook unimpeded from fueling the misinformation plague, or are we going to look for help from the creator economy to bypass the fallow mainstream media stuck in their controversy-fueled business model rather than a fact-based scientific approach to breaking the back of this turgid political cycle? We can see the outline of newsletter-framed social media courage, coupled with stakeholder-aware ethical values and economic leverage.

    Less obvious is the path for Clubhouse and its competitors. The Andreessen Horowitz-backed mobile app came out of invite-only beta and added an internal instant messaging layer to manage moderators, speakers, listener questions, room onboarding and feedback. But the big problem remains why does this mere feature of a live streaming podcast app buttress the high valuation of the startup. And this from Michael Markman:

    I’ve largely lost interest in Clubhouse. This may not be a significant data point, but I’m no longer fascinated…. The thing is, I sometimes find myself in rooms where I was learning something or getting points of view that hadn’t occurred to me. But usually I was listening to very frustrating conversations that led nowhere.

    Yeah, that would do it. But the bigger problem is the refusal to allow recording as a feature of the UI. Twitter Spaces won’t do it, Facebook is really a winner-take-all newsletter subscriber model (Substack) grafted on, and Spotify already has recording enabled on Anchor, its podcasting tool. Building one app is probably where Spotify will go, but then they have the problem that podcasting is considered only an audio product. So then what? Add video multi-platform streaming like ReStream to the hybrid social audio/podcast/recorder/newsletter and we got something. What’s the holdup?

    No recording started as a nod to privacy, a differentiator between the creators and the listeners. The idea was to create a unique quality of serendipity, discovery, and credibility. It’s reminiscent of the theater’s fourth wall, where characters step out of their circumstances to talk directly to the audience. It’s exhilarating to experience, a hybrid between writing and improvisation which is largely an illusion. Illusions are no less valuable just because they elegantly transcend their apparent boundaries. Clubhouse spoke directly to our sense that we had lost our way in the insidious virus of both science and truth.

    In the decay of the Clubhouse model, we sense that the creator economy is all hat and not enough cowboy. Brent Leary:

    I see this as just another way to accelerate the few getting most of everything with everybody else getting scraps. You’re going to hear all these stories about all the folks, all the people that make it big, but they’re going to be like an infinitesimal fraction of everybody else trying to do the same thing and not being able to do it.

    There’s just so much attention that you can give. And the people who know how to use this stuff and put a nice process together and find a way to really create a well oiled process machine; they have the chance of being in that top echelon of creators that get most of the money. But everybody else is going to be there trying and spinning their wheels because it’s just a continuation of what we’ve always had.

    Recording and a calendar page will make a difference if only to bring a vote to the floor. Is this something to look forward to, a social version of Andrea Mitchell or Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC, a system of record for issues that matter in the anywhere, creator, or thought leader economies. Markman’s question about Clubhouse viability is a broader hedge against the tendency of social media to add to the problems rather than alleviate them. Recording is really a timeshifting tool for user control, and a driver for leaderboard metadata to annotate a calendar either live or personally maintained. In theory Clubhouse should work, but in practise without recording it could be labeled another do-nothing congress.

    from the Gillmor Gang Newsletter

    __________________

    The Gillmor Gang — Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live Friday, July 16, 2021.

    Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor

    @fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @kteare, @brentleary, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang

    Subscribe to the new Gillmor Gang Newsletter and join the backchannel here on Telegram.

    The Gillmor Gang on Facebook … and here’s our sister show G3 on Facebook.

    EU hits Amazon with record-breaking $887M GDPR fine over data misuse

    Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) has hit Amazon with a record-breaking €746 million ($887m) GDPR fine over the way it uses customer data for targeted advertising purposes.

    Amazon disclosed the ruling in an SEC filing on Friday in which it slammed the decision as baseless and added that it intended to defend itself “vigorously in this matter.”

    “Maintaining the security of our customers’ information and their trust are top priorities,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. “There has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party. These facts are undisputed.

    “We strongly disagree with the CNPD’s ruling, and we intend to appeal. The decision relating to how we show customers relevant advertising relies on subjective and untested interpretations of European privacy law, and the proposed fine is entirely out of proportion with even that interpretation.”

    The penalty is the result of a 2018 complaint by French privacy rights group La Quadrature du Net, a group that claims to represent the interests of thousands of Europeans to ensure their data isn’t used by big tech companies to manipulate their behavior for political or commercial purposes. The complaint, which also targets Apple, Facebook Google and LinkedIn and was filed on behalf of more than 10,000 customers, alleges that Amazon manipulates customers for commercial means by choosing what advertising and information they receive.

    La Quadrature du Net welcomed the fine issued by the CNPD, which “comes after three years of silence that made us fear the worst.”

    “The model of economic domination based on the exploitation of our privacy and free will is profoundly illegitimate and contrary to all the values that our democratic societies claim to defend,” the group added in a blog post published on Friday.

    The CNPD has also ruled that Amazon must commit to changing its business practices. However, the regulator has not publicly committed on its decision, and Amazon didn’t specify what revised business practices it is proposing.

    The record penalty, which trumps the €50 million GDPR penalty levied against Google in 2019, comes amid heightened scrutiny of Amazon’s business in Europe. In November last year, the European Commission announced formal antitrust charges against the company, saying the retailer has misused its position to compete against third-party businesses using its platform. At the same time, the Commission a second investigation into its alleged preferential treatment of its own products on its site and those of its partners.

    Chilean fintech Xepelin secures $230M in debt and equity from Kaszek, high-profile angels

    Chilean startup Xepelin, which has created a financial services platform for SMEs in Latin America, has secured $30 million in equity and $200 million in credit facilities.

    LatAm venture fund Kaszek Ventures led the equity portion of the financing, which also included participation from partners of DST Global and a slew of other firms and founders/angel investors. LatAm- and U.S.-based asset managers and hedge funds — including Chilean pension funds — provided the credit facilities. In total over its lifetime, Xepelin has raised over $36 million in equity and $250 million in asset-backed facilities.

    Also participating in the round were Picus Capital; Kayak Ventures; Cathay Innovation; MSA Capital; Amarena; FJ Labs; Gilgamesh and Kavak founder and CEO Carlos Garcia; Jackie Reses, executive chairman of Square Financial Services; Justo founder and CEO Ricardo Weder; Tiger Global Management Partner John Curtius; GGV’s Hans Tung; and Gerry Giacoman, founder and CEO of Clara, among others.

    Nicolás de Camino and Sebastian Kreis founded Xepelin in mid-2019 with the mission of changing the fact that “only 5% of companies in all LatAm countries have access to recurring financial services.”

    “We want all SMEs in LatAm to have access to financial services and capital in a fair and efficient way,” the pair said.

    Xepelin is built on a SaaS model designed to give SMEs a way to organize their financial information in real time. Embedded in its software is a way for companies to apply for short-term working capital loans “with just three clicks, and receive the capital in a matter of hours,” the company claimed.

    It has developed an AI-driven underwriting engine, which the execs said gives it the ability to make real-time loan approval decisions.

    “Any company in LatAm can onboard in just a few minutes and immediately access a free software that helps them organize their information in real time, including cash flow, revenue, sales, tax, bureau info — sort of a free CFO SaaS,” de Camino said. “The circle is virtuous: SMEs use Xepelin to improve their financial habits, obtain more efficient financing, pay their obligations, and collaborate effectively with clients and suppliers, generating relevant impacts in their industries.”

    The fintech currently has over 4,000 clients in Chile and Mexico, which currently has a growth rate “four times faster” than when Xepelin started in Chile. Over the past 22 months, it has loaned more than $400 million to SMBs in the two countries. It currently has a portfolio of active loans for $120 million and an asset-backed facility for more than $250 million.

    Overall, the company has been seeing a growth rate of 30% per month, the founders said. It has 110 employees, up from 20 a year ago.

    Xepelin has more than 60 partnerships (a number that it said is growing each week) with midmarket corporate companies, allowing for their suppliers to onboard to its platform for free and gain access to accounts payable, revenue-based financing. The company also sells its portfolio of non-recourse loans to financial partners, which it says mitigates credit risk exposure and enhances its platform and data play.

    “When we talk about creating the largest digital bank for SMEs in LatAm, we are not saying that our goal is to create a bank; perhaps we will never ask for the license to have one, and to be honest, everything we do, we do it differently from the banks, something like a non-bank, a concept used today to exemplify focus,” the founders said.

    Both de Camino and Kreis said they share a passion for making financial services more accessible to SMEs all across Latin America and have backgrounds rooted deep in different areas of finance.

    “Our goal is to scale a platform that can solve the true pains of all SMEs in LatAm, all in one place that also connects them with their entire ecosystem, and above all, democratized in such a way that everyone can access it,” Kreis said, “regardless of whether you are a company that sells billions of dollars or just a thousand dollars, getting the same service and conditions.”

    For now, the company is nearly exclusively focused on the B2B space, but in the future, it believes several of its services “will be very useful for all SMEs and companies in LatAm.” 

    “Xepelin has developed technology and data science engines to deliver financing to SMBs in Latin America in a seamless way,” Nicolas Szekasy, co-founder and managing partner at Kaszek Ventures, said in a statement.The team has deep experience in the sector and has proven a perfect fit of their user-friendly product with the needs of the market.”

    Chile was home to another large funding earlier this week. NotCo, a food technology company making plant-based milk and meat replacements, closed on a $235 million Series D round that gives it a $1.5 billion valuation.

    Cheltenham’s GCHQ to get a massive, cyber-oriented tech startup campus right next door

    Since the UK’s spying headquarters of GCHQ was established in the city in the 1950’s, Cheltenham has attracted large firms like IBM, Raytheon, Microsoft, BAE Systems to the region. However, startups like Truststamp, Bamboo Technologies, Ripjar, Hub8, CYNAM, have emerged out of the city, which draws on the talent that naturally gravitates to such a place, especially when you have these kinds of organisations floating around.

    Now it appears that Cheltenham is getting its act together to more closely target entrepreneurs, investors and startups, especially now that the Covid-pandemic has seen talent thrown to the four winds, looking for better lifestyles and more access to nature. Smartly, it will be leveraging its association with the cyber-security-oriented GCHQ.

    In 2019, Cheltenham Borough Council spent £37.5m purchasing 45 hectares of land adjacent to GCHQ. The idea being to capitalize on the burgeoning cybersecurity and technology community.



    After a year-long selection process the Council has now selected key partners as ‘preferred bidders’ to deliver it – Factory and HBD (formerly Henry Boot Developments). The ambition is to grow the area to 200 hectares, which would make it one of the biggest tech startup campuses in Europe.

    Factory, which developed the very large scale tech campuses in Berlin and Lisbon, will partner with UK developer HBD and the council to create the project currently dubbed ‘Golden Valley’.

    The development is projected to add 12,000 new jobs, 2 million square feet of offices, and 3,700 new homes, and will be drawn on the ‘Garden City’ status, building upon the Garden City Movement established in the late 19th Century by Ebenezer Howard.

    Jeremy Bamberg, who will be leading the project locally for Factory said: “This is a once in a lifetime project – it’s unprecedented. By embracing tech, nature, and innovation we’re working to transform the area into Europe’s most intelligent Garden District – creating an ideal alternative to chaotic city life.”

    The first step of the project will be building, Factory Cheltenham. As with Factory’s projects in Berlin and Lisbon, the architecture and design will led by Julian Breinersdorfer, who recently joined Factory to create an in-house offering for similar buildings and districts.

    Tim Atkins from Cheltenham Borough Council said: “We were looking for a partner to help the Council make our ambitious plans a reality. HBD and Factory have shown us how they share these goals and more importantly, how these will be transformed into a living breathing entity right here in Cheltenham that has a positive impact locally, whilst being a key part of the global cyber sector.

    Factory Cheltenham

    Factory Cheltenham