#1 | Google owner Alphabet looking to buy Fitbit

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, made an offer to buy Fitbit, causing shares of the US wearable device maker to skyrocket by around 30 percent. The exact price that Alphabet has offered could not be learned. If the deal goes through, Google would become a major player in the wearable fitness tracking market, competing against Apple that’s increasing its share of the global smartwatch market. Fitbit would also benefit as support from Alphabet would enable the company to reclaim some of the lost market shares as it faces competition from Apple and China’s Huawei and Xiaomi. Read more: https://cnb.cx/34kI2Os

#2 | Uber is launching Uber Money and moving deeper into financial products

Uber has announced the creation of a new division called Uber Money that will deal with developing financial products like Uber Wallet and upgrading existing debit and credit cards. The new digital wallet will reportedly enable drivers to see their earnings and spending history, explore other Uber’s financial services, and store and manage their money. This will ensure that all four million Uber’s drivers have a mobile bank account and get paid after each ride. The ride company could eventually offer a bank account to consumers as well. This move makes Uber the latest tech firm to move into the financial services industry, joining the ranks of Apple, Google, and Amazon that already made significant payment products. Having in mind that Uber has 99 million monthly active platform users and four million drivers, it’s clear that the company can capture significant revenue from its high card volume. Read more: http://bit.ly/336lDE2

#3 | WeWork expands into esports with Play By We

WeWork is reportedly launching its electronic-gaming business having already trademarked a brand called “Play By We” and hired several new employees. The newly formed department would focus on professional gaming and esports, as well as hosting video-gaming events. Given its existing infrastructure for high-speed internet access, WeWork is well-positioned to play an important role in the more than $1 billion-large global esports industry. And video-game companies and event organizers are to spend even more money in the future organizing high-profile tournaments. The launch of Play By We should come as no surprise as the beleaguered coworking company has already forayed into many sectors including education and spiritual wellness. And finding new revenue sources is ever more important following the failed IPO attempt and ousting of former CEO Adam Neumann. Read more: https://bloom.bg/329fFkR

#4 | Virgin Galactic goes public on the NYSE

Virgin Galactic went public, fetching a valuation of around $2.3 billion. The Richard Branson-backed space travel company merged with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp, a publicly-traded shell company, led by former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya. Branson retains control of the company with a 51% stake. The NYSE debut provides Virgin with much-needed funds following the decision of the British billionaire to suspend discussions with Saudi Arabia’s investors after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Other companies are active in the business of outer-orbit travel too including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Read more: https://reut.rs/2N6p3kN

#5 | Rebag’s new algorithms might change the way people sell luxury handbags

Resale site Rebag has developed an algorithm called Clair that helps users appraise their luxury handbags and learn how much the company is willing to pay for them. The software tool provides owners with the handbag’s resale value and makes it easier to decide whether to hold onto the item or sell it to Rebag. The development of the new program was made possible because of vast amounts of data the site has acquired over the last five years. And by making luxury goods easily available online, the company hopes to bring “transparency to an opaque market,” says Charles Gorra, Rebag CEO. Read more: http://bit.ly/2JFIhvk 


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