Shohoz plans to go big with $15M investment. Can it keep up?

Shohoz rides, the latest addition in the ride-sharing industry of the country, has pulled in $15M worth of investments as a part of its round B investments. Singapore based Golden Gate Ventures led the new investments round. Linear VC of China, 500 Startups and Singapore based angel investor Koh Boon Hwee were also associated with this investment.

With this investment, Shohoz rides becomes one of the heavily invested in businesses in the country and looks steadily set in their goal of expanding their services in the future. Shohoz’s closest rival, Pathao, has also recently raised $10M investment from Indonesian ride sharing giant, Go-Jek.

Steady growth

Shohoz raises $15M
Shohoz started with online bus ticketing

Shohoz has remained a trusted name in online sales for bus tickets since 2014. After its initial success, it soon expanded to selling ferry tickets and very recently, tickets for events and movies. After the ride-sharing industry in the country saw a boom in the latter half of last year, Shohoz started out its ride-sharing services, Shohoz rides, this year in January.

With its ride-sharing services rapidly gaining traction, it does not, however, mean that the platform will move away from its bus ticketing services. “Bus tickets will remain an important part of our business, [there’s] lots of synergy with ride-sharing,” she explained in an interview with Techcrunch. “Dhaka has a super dense population with bad infrastructure. If anything, there’s a better case for ride-sharing than Indonesia. There’s no subway and transport is a horrid nightmare.”

Shohoz started its ride-sharing services by adding motorbikes to its platform. It recently added cars to it and hopes their overall service will ease the traffic situation in the capital city.

Keeping its feet on the ground

Shohoz raises $15M

Despite having shown promising prospects, Shohoz has apparently been taking things slow. It hasn’t yet shown any initiative to grab iOS users in the country but recently underwent a massive rebranding to appeal to new customers. It is unclear if they’re planning to launch an iOS app any soon.

Shohoz plans to tap into the groceries and food delivery market soon. It aims to model itself after the “Super App” style most southeast Asian tech giants usually go for and something Pathao has recently ventured into.

It doesn’t plan to go global anytime soon but is surely set to expand its services outside the capital city of Dhaka, as explained by the CEO in a recent interview.

Is three a crowd?

Shohoz raises $15M

Currently, three ride-sharing platforms, including Shohoz, are doing steady business in Bangladesh.

Pathao has skyrocketed with its constant influx of investment, aggressive market attitude and expansion beyond the country. Uber, although lagging a bit behind in the local market in comparison with Pathao, is on stable grounds. With its UberEats service soon launching in Bangladesh, its competition with Pathao is not dying down any soon either.

Can Shohoz keep up with aggressive Pathao and international giant Uber with its laid back but organised market strategies? So far, they’ve been doing good for themselves. Only time will tell what the future holds for this ride-sharing rising star.

Three iPhones and a watch: everything you need to know about Apple’s Sept 12 event

It looks like the rumours were right on the money.

On Wednesday, Apple announced three new iPhones– all successors to last year’s opinion dividing smash hit, the iPhone X. It also announced a new Apple Watch and a new iOS.

Apple is about to ship their two billionth iOS device this year. This sounds like a good time to double down on success and spread the goodness around.

Large displays get even larger

The new flagships, Apple XS and XS Max are faster, sleeker, and most importantly, larger than the iPhone X. The iPhone XS retains the 5.8-inch dimensions from last year, while the XS Max upgrades to a massive 6.5-inches, with a 2,688 x 1,242 resolution. These display panels are made of the strongest smartphone glass ever made, according to Phil Schiller.

New iPhones get bigger screens

The XS Max is also larger than even the newest Note 9, which has a 6.4-inch screen.

Not only is the XS Max larger than any iPhone before, it also feels better than any previous Plus model.

Both XS models boast better stereo speakers, faster Face ID and better water resistance. The newly announced A12 Bionic processor also gives the models a significant boost in speed, leading to an average increased efficiency of 45% among all cores. The A12 is a six-core chip, an industry-first chip to use a 7nm production process. The XS models will also support dual SIMs, which will be a massive boon to Asian markets. It will be available later in the fall, via a software upgrade.

Both the front and rear cameras got a nice boost. Like last year, the rear cameras are both 12-megapixels; but the new the wide-angle sensor creates a noticeable difference. Optical image stabilization has been added, and the True Tone sensor has been upgraded as well. The telephoto also includes a wider aperture, for better low light photography. Although the front camera is still at 7-megapixels, it’s gotten faster as well.

One big software upgrade Apple is introducing for its camera is the Smart HDR feature. Similar to the Pixel, iPhones will now take multiple images and splice them together to get the best shot.

The battery gets a modest upgrade: the XS has 30 more minutes of battery life, while the XS Max gets an hour and a half more.

The XS starts at $999, while the XS Max starts at $1,099.

The new affordable iPhone

iPhone XR the new default iPhone

The iPhone XR will be the default smartphone for many buyers this fall. It’s budget-friendly and sacrifices the dual cameras and OLED screens of its larger siblings, but it also provides newer features over last year’s iPhone 8.

The 6.1-inch screen is an LCD Display, dubbed ‘Liquid Retina’, reportedly the most advanced LCD smartphone display yet, with a 1,792 x 828 resolution. Specs-wise, the XR matches many of the XS’ upgrades – which include the A12 bionic processor and dual SIM feature – but it lacks 3D touch. The single 12-megapixel camera is still capable of taking portrait-style photos with blurred bokeh effects.

The iPhone XR starts off at $749. It’s a much more affordable alternative to the X and the XS models. However, if you are looking for dual cameras, you are better off with the XS, or even an iPhone 8 Plus instead.

The watch gets bigger, too

Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 4  earlier at the event, with a newly revamped, larger screen that goes nearly edge to edge. It now comes in two sizes: 40 mm and 44 mm. Sporting a new dual-core 64-bit S4 processor, the new Apple Watch is twice as fast compared to Series 3 models. Other hardware improvements include a better accelerometer and gyroscope.

Bigger Applel watches

The Watch’s most notable new feature is the ability to take an electrocardiogram (EKG).

This makes this the first consumer product to do EKGs that are sold over the counter. The Series 4 model has already been approved by the FDA for use as a medical device.

The WatchOS’ UI has also been redesigned and tweaked to take advantage of the larger display. The watch face has also been overhauled, with eight new combinations. Other additions include haptic feedback and a ring-shaped LTE red dot indicator. The battery life remains unchanged at 18 hours, although the speakers have gotten a little louder.

The GPS only version will ship at $399, while the GPS + LTE version will ship at $499. They are a safe bet on Apple’s part, who overtook Xiaomi and Fitbit in Q2 2017 as the largest seller of wearables.

So many Apple devices, so little cash

Last year, there was some scepticism that the iPhone X’s $999 price tag would limit its appeal. However, Apple revealed in its last earnings that the X has proven consistently more popular than both the iPhone 7 and 8. It also outsold most rival flagships, including the Note 8 and the Pixel 2.

Apple special event

There’s little reason at this point to upgrade to an XR or an XS from an X this year, but that has never stopped Apple loyalists before. Feel free to spend away, and make the poorer folk weep at your misfortunes. If you are poor, worry not: the iPhone 7 and 8 are now available at $449 and $549 respectively.

The iPhones XS, XS Max and XR will be available in October, while the Apple Watch Series 4 will be available in late September.

Does Tesla and Elon Musk need an intervention?

As awesome as Tony Stark is, sometimes he needs friends to help him get through the day. That can include fighting aliens and rogue AIs or helping him recover from alcoholism and get his company back to speed. Perhaps, it’s time for Elon Musk to get the same kind of help, too.

Tesla’s shares slid by more than six percent on Friday, after Musk smoked weed during a live interview with Joe Rogan. This is the kind of behavior that, while not entirely unexpected from a man who launched a car into space, is also rarely seen from CEOs who run companies worth 45 billion dollars.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

2018 hasn’t been easy, for both Musk and Tesla. It has consistently missed production targets for the Model 3. Musk has amped up production since last year, a process that he has termed “production hell”. In a radical move, he attempted to automate most of the production line. One such production robot, affectionately dubbed the “fluffer bot”, was so ineffective that it repeatedly stalled production. He eventually had to replace it by human workers.

Then came the Thailand rescue saga, where Musk accused a diver of being a pedophile. He doubled down on these accusations in August, wondering why the diver, Vernon Unsworth, didn’t feel confident enough to sue Musk. Unsworth happily obliged.

Last month also saw Musk teasing about taking Tesla private. NYSE shorts Tesla among one of the most commonly shorted stocks. And Musk has often accused Tesla short sellers of actively trying to sabotage Tesla. However, he changed his mind after apparently securing funding from a Saudi Arabian fund. The SEC is also investigating Tesla for Musk’s initial “funding secured” tweet.

Should Musk Head Towards Greener Pastures?

elon musk tesla

Musk admitted, in a tearful interview for the New York Times, that 2018 has been the most stressful year of his life so far. He constantly uses Ambien and is open to hiring another executive at Tesla to help him tide over the constant challenges. Earlier, Azalea Banks also alleged on Instagram that she was in Musk’s house while he tweeted about taking Tesla private when he was on acid.

Musk’s latest stunt triggered two exits. His chief accounting officer, Dave Morton, is leaving Tesla after just a month on the job. Apparently, his expectations about the pressure and environment have been thoroughly exceeded, especially given the level of public attention being placed on the company. He and HR chief Gaby Toledano join a list of thirty executives who have departed Tesla since 2016.

Musk reshuffled his executive deck by announcing a series of promotions through a company-wide email. It should be noted that these were not new hires, and thus long planned before the resignations on Friday.

Musk’s antics put the investors in a tough spot. Tesla’s stocks are down by fifteen percent so far; compared to the all-time high last year, it’s a further degradation of thirty percent. There’s much to rejoice for within Tesla, with the SolarCity acquisition and plans for semi-trucks targeted towards corporate buyers. In fact, Tesla is forecasted to turn a profit for this year’s fourth quarter and expected to hold speed for the entirety of FY 2019-20.

However, now investors can’t help but wonder if Musk doesn’t just need another hand as a COO, but if he should step down as CEO entirely. Possible alternatives for Musk include ex-Ford CEO, Alan Mullaly.

SpaceX, for instance, is faring much better than Tesla, where Musk has a well-regarded CEO in Glynne Shotwell. Shotwell has been at the company since 2002 and was made COO in 2008.

Are Musk and Tesla Inseparable?

elon musk tesla

In Tesla, Musk’s influence is much more singular than in SpaceX. He constantly spends time with engineering problems. During a routine factory tour, Musk was visibly annoyed when the assembly line stopped moving. Although it was a standard safety precaution, he stated that wished the cars to keep moving anyways and didn’t see how the process could hurt him, head-butting a car to demonstrate his confidence.

It is, indeed, true that people are out to get Tesla. Andrew Left, an activist short seller, is suing Tesla and Chairman Elon Musk for actively inflating the company’s stock price. “In response to Musk’s tweets,” Left said in his official complaint, “many Tesla short-sellers were forced to cover their positions at artificially high prices, losing approximately $1.3 billion in a single day.”

It’s tempting to compare Musk to both Steve Jobs and Howard Hughes when it comes to brilliance, charisma and a bluster that may signal his eventual downfall. “People are always telling him he can’t do it,” explained Christopher Davenport, the author of Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos. “But he doesn’t like to hear it can’t be done. He categorically rejects that. It’s all about, ‘How can we do it?’”

“Starting a space company from scratch is simply not done. People warned him against it time and time again, and Elon’s friends even staged an intervention. But he had a commitment to his ideas and a passion and a vision and belief that he saw an opening there — a real business opportunity where, from a technology standpoint, there hadn’t been a lot of advancement.”

“The reason Elon seems to attract drama is that he is so transparent, so open, in a way that can come back to bite him,” said Kimbal Musk, Mr. Musk’s younger brother, to New York Times. “He doesn’t know how to do it differently. It’s just who he is.”

Why Musk Prefers Sleeping on Floors over Cursed Vacations

Elon Musk tesla

The problem with Musk, perhaps, is that he is too confident and firm in his belief in himself. He leads from the front, like the engineering version of Alexander the Great. Often found sleeping on factory floors or under his office desk. “A C.E.O.’s most important job is to build a great team around you,” said Bill George, a Goldman Sachs board member. “He shouldn’t be sleeping on the factory floor. I’d rather have him sleeping at home.”

Musk’s legendary work schedule is well known. He works one hundred and twenty hours a week, dividing his time between SpaceX and Tesla. He nearly missed his brother’s wedding in Spain this summer. “I got there two hours before the ceremony,” he said. “I left directly from the factory. And then I went straight back.”

As committed as Musk is, he is only human. We need humans like Musk, now more than ever. In a world where the youngest billionaires run the gamut from Mark Zuckerberg to Kylie Jenner, Musk is working on genuine problems to create solutions that benefit society, and civilization, at large.

“Launching a business is hard, particularly when you have a vision to change the world like Tesla,” wrote Amy Nelson, founder, and CEO of The Riveter, which creates work and community spaces. “I applaud Musk for his authenticity and I believe it is important for founders to share with one another and the world what starting a company is like…Musk, I hear you. This is really wonderful and really hard. You’ve got a few more years of running a company under your belt, but trust me: I feel your pain.”

Musk hasn’t taken a vacation since 2001. Vacations are cursed, he thinks. You can’t blame him. In 2000, he was ousted from Paypal by the board and replaced by Peter Thiel. Later, he contracted malaria in Brazil and almost died. However, for his own sake, and for ours as well, perhaps Musk should try taking more time off than he usually does.
The truth is, we can all try staging an intervention to bring Musk down to Earth. But interventions haven’t worked for Musk in the past, and they probably won’t work now, either.

Facebook rolls out updates to fight “fake news”

After several shocking revelations concerning Facebook sharing data with Cambridge Analytica, the social media giant has started rolling out an update that it tested last year as a means of curbing the tidal wave of “fake news”. Hopefully it will help build a credible base of information shared on Facebook, and reduce the influence of websites producing and distributing fake news.

By tapping on the [about this article, i] button on a news shared on Facebook, details about the website shared from and similar news appears. Scroll down and you will even find the regions where the news is getting shared from the most. It also shows who shared it – one of the crucial points of this new feature.

Initially the update appears to be giving context for the news that users share, but this new feature will help users recognize their Facebook friend’s views even more.

This clarifies how Facebook recognizes your behavioral patterns and builds a specific advertisement stream tailored for you. But this will shed more light on the people in your newsfeed who might be more prone to sharing fake news.

According to developers, the idea came from the “related articles” you can find whenever you interact with a news article on Facebook. In order for this feature to work, however, the authors of these stories have to have author tags implemented on their page.

The update is already available to everyone in the US and it’s expected to roll out worldwide in a few days.