Fast Five from the Valley: Edition 46
Didi Chuxing pulls in strategic capital
Travel giant, Booking Holdings (formerly known as Priceline) has invested $500 million into China’s largest ride-hailing company, Didi Chuxing. This deal will see Booking Holdings collaborate closely with Didi to offer its on-demand car services through its Booking.com app via an integration. Conversely, Didi customers will have the option to book hotels through Booking.com and its sister site, Agoda.
Predictions for Uber to win the “scooter wars”
The co-founder of Sidecar (one of the pioneers of ride-sharing), Sunil Paul, has made a bold prediction that Uber will win the “scooter wars”. “Sidecar had the first-mover advantage,” Paul writes, “but Uber ended up being the dominant player” by aggressively pushing competitors out of the space. Paul believes Uber won the scooter wars the moment they bought the bike-sharing startup, Jump, last month. In addition with their most recent investment in Lime, the company has a “dominant source of demand for mobility solutions”. Only time will tell…
Walmart’s journey to cashierless retail
Walmart has dipped its toes into cashier automation, by firstly letting customers scan and pay for items within an app, and now, giving in-store representatives the ability to help customers pay on mobile devices. The retail giant is also studying customer comfort levels with automated payments. It’s not getting rid of cashiers just yet… they’ll just be part of a larger menu of checkout choices, according to a Walmart representative.
Google is to build a private Undersea Cable between France and the US
With Project ‘Dunant’, Google announced to build their fourth private undersea cable. It will connect their Datacenters in Virginia (US) and France. Usually, these cables are built by a consortium of companies and then shared, since construction and maintenance cost are huge. However, Google bets that building and using the cables on their own might give them a competitive edge.
Print your own Gun
The US Department of Justice made it easier to produce guns at home with 3D printers. In a settlement with the Startup Defense Distributed, the DoJ decided that 3D blueprints for guns fall into the first Amendment: The right of free speech. Now, Defense Distributed is legally allowed to share weapons blueprints on the Internet that allow anyone to print a gun without serial number at home. Wired did a piece on how easy it is to print guns back in 2015