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Ring Ring, Calling All Thieves
Thursday, April 20th, 2023.
1. Kindred Raises $15 Million to Help Travelers Play Russian Roulette with Their Homes
Kindred, a home-swapping network, has raised $15 million to make travel more affordable. These false promises of "more affordable travel" sound familiar... cough, cough, Airbnb. Kindred's goal is to give people the choice of booking lodging through a unique home-swapping model where members pay a fee to have the ability to allow someone to stay in their home, and vice versa. Essentially, you can relax on vacation while wondering if the person staying in your house is going to steal your belongings. The company has received 20,000 membership applications, largely from primary residences instead of investment homes and they plan to use the new capital to expand geographically and invest in its product and technology.
2. Tesla to Decrease Profits in Pursuit of Growth
Tesla's net income has fallen by 24% in the first quarter of 2023, thanks to its aggressive strategy of cutting prices for its four EVs. In a shock to absolutely no one, the strategy has helped boost sales, but it has also squeezed the automaker's profitability. Tesla shares fell 4% in after-hours trading, but the company remains optimistic, saying it expects to remain ahead of its long-term 50% compound annual growth rate with around 1.8 million cars for the year. We don't have increasing profits, but we have optimism. What more does a company need?
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3. Snapchat Testing New AR Features, Because Reality Just Isn't Enough Anymore
Snapchat is introducing Augmented Reality (AR) Lenses powered by generative AI, the company announced at its Snap Partner Summit today. First, the platform is rolling out a new "Cosmic Lens" that turns you and your surroundings into an immersive, animated sci-fi scene. Eventually, the app will start recommending Lenses that fit with the context of a photo or video a user has captured, and users will find hundreds of suggested Lenses organized by category. Snapchat is really breaking new ground here; if only they could create a Lens that makes you look like you're actually doing something productive... Snapchat is also testing ways to make it faster to add AR to content, and some of its most popular Lenses have been viewed more than 10 billion times. It's about time Snapchat caught up to the rest of the AR world. I mean, it's only been close to a decade since Pokemon Go, right?
4. Ditto Promises Data Synchronization Even in the Darkest Corners of the Internet, A.K.A Your Neighbor's Basement
Ditto, a company that provides a distributed database that runs "practically anywhere," has raised $45 million in Series A funding. The company's platform enables data distribution even in areas with limited or poor internet connectivity, working across Bluetooth, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, and local wired networks to automatically find and connect to other devices and then synchronize data. With limited connectivity, it sounds like it basically operates on prayers and wishful thinking. The company plans to expand its software products and further commercialize its tech, while acquiring customers in industries like travel, education, and retail. Ditto's total funding stands at $54 million, with the US Air Force among its many customers.
5. North Korea's First Spy Satellite: A Tool for Surveillance or a Tool for Bluffing?
North Korea has allegedly completed the development of its first military spy satellite, and leader Kim Jong-un has ordered officials to go ahead with its launch as planned. The country says its recent spate of weapons tests, including its first test-launch of a solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile designed to strike the US mainland, are a response to US-led security threats. The North's military reconnaissance satellites intend to acquire precise location and movement information in real time so that its missiles and other nuclear-armed weapons could accurately strike targets. Believe it or not, accuracy is quite important when you're in the mood for violence.