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Microsoft’s New Weapon in Console Wars: a ‘Netflix for Games’

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Last week, Microsoft and Sony kicked off a new round of game console wars, releasing new machines likely to be among the most sought-after gifts this holiday season. And this round is particularly important for Microsoft, which needs to do better than it did in the last chapter of the games business.

It’s fair to say that Sony left Microsoft—its main rival in the industry—in the dust during the last hardware cycle, as an analysis of gaming revenue at both companies for the past five years illustrates. Microsoft, though, has a good hand to play in the games business in the coming years.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/microsofts-new-weapon-in-console-wars-a-netflix-for-games

Venture Capital

SPAC Merger Class of 2020 Is Trading Better Than 2019

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Special purpose acquisition companies are the hottest investment phenomenon of the year. But they’re not a surefire way to make money, as many lose value after they merge with operating businesses. The good news is that the SPACs that have completed mergers this year are trading better than last year’s crop, according to new data.

Forty three percent of the stocks of companies formed from the merger of a SPAC with an operating business this year were trading at or above their initial SPAC offering price of $10 as of Nov. 10,  according to data from SPAC Research. While that means 57% are trading below their initial offer price, it’s an improvement on those that merged last year. Of that group, 71% were trading below their initial price earlier this month.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/spac-merger-class-of-2020-is-trading-better-than-2019

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Private Equity

Venture Capital: Chinese Edtech EEO Scores $265M Series C Round

At last count in August, Empower Education Online (EEO)’s ClassIn had 60,000 schools and institutional clients from 35 countries and regions across the globe. It services about 20 million individuals from 150 countries each month. The edtech giant raised $265 million in a Series C round of financing led by Hillhouse Capital’s venture capital unit GL Ventures.

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Venture Capital: Chinese Edtech EEO Scores $265M Series C Round

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EEO owns the online teaching platform ClassIn.

At last count in August, Empower Education Online (EEO)’s ClassIn had 60,000 schools and institutional clients from 35 countries and regions across the globe. It services about 20 million individuals from 150 countries each month. The edtech giant raised $265 million in a Series C round of financing led by Hillhouse Capital’s venture capital unit GL Ventures. (CaixinGlobal/CX Tech)

EEO is a Beijing-based SaaS provider of online education.

Other investors participating in the round included Tencent, Susquehanna International Group (SIG), INCE Capital, and Gaocheng Capital.

The latest financing comes within less than six months of its Series B Round held in July. Sole investor INCE Capital contributed “several tens of millions of dollars” in that round.

ClassIn

ClassIn is an innovative online teaching platform and software. It enables teachers and students from across the globe to come together, face-to-face, and learn in a collaborative online environment.

EEO was founded in 2014 and launched ClassIn in 2015.

The coronavirus pandemic has turned education on its head. It forced schools and colleges to switch to an online mode of delivery of their services virtually overnight.

Edtech startups have been a huge beneficiary of this trend. They raked in billions of dollars from venture capital and PE investors.

ClassIn made inroads into more institutions following the virus. These were Peking University and Tsinghua University, as well as public schools such as Beijing 101 Middle School and Shanghai Foreign Language School.

According to KrAsia, EEO launched a new version of ClassIn in July. Dubbed ClassIn X, the X represents two lines – “one line online, one line offline, and blending them together is one X, which means that ClassIn X is a product that integrates online and offline,” in the words of Song Junbo, the founder of EEO.

“SaaS (software-as-a-service) and education have been two sectors Tencent pays close attention to for long and EEO happens to be in the conjunction,” said Yao Leiwen, managing director of Tencent Investment in a WeChat post.

Investors making a beeline for cash-burning edtechs?

Earlier this month, Codemao, a Shenzhen-based tutoring platform focusing on teaching computer coding, raised 1.3 billion yuan ($198 million) in its series D funding round.

A fund affiliated with Baring Private Equity Asia led the round.

In September, BYJU’S, the Indian educational technology company operated by Think and Learn Private Limited, raised $500 million in fresh funding led by private equity giant Silver Lake and $122 million from DST Global.

Related Story:   Indian Online Learning Startup BYJU’S Raises $500M Amid Red-Hot VC Interest in Edtech          

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/chinese-edtech-eeo-scores-265m-series-c-round/

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Amazon Drops Pandemic Test to Track Warehouse Workers Through Wi-Fi

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Amazon has promised to spend billions of dollars this year on safety precautions to protect the workers in its warehouse facilities from the coronavirus pandemic. But it has quietly abandoned a test of one such safety measure that involved tracking the location of warehouse workers through their personal cell phones, The Information has learned.

Starting around late July, Amazon at four of its warehouses began testing a new health and safety plan through which it asked workers to provide their badge or employee ID numbers in order to access the free company Wi-Fi network from their personal devices. The purpose of the plan was to give the company a way to track employees’ locations inside warehouses so that it could develop better social distancing and cleanliness plans, Amazon told workers in an internal message seen by The Information. But the plan, had it continued, would also likely have raised privacy concerns for a company that has been under the microscope regarding its warehouse workplace conditions.

Source: https://www.theinformation.com/articles/amazon-drops-pandemic-test-to-track-warehouse-workers-through-wi-fi

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