Backer of Musical.ly, Grindr and Opera to invest $50M in self-driving startup Pony.ai

A games publisher in China is following the path of its larger peer Tencent to back a wide spectrum of startups for financial gains. Beijing Kunlun Wanwei, or Kunlun, announced in a filing this week that it plans to inject $50 million into autonomous driving startup Pony.ai in exchange for a 3 percent stake. Pony.ai […]

Partnering with Visa, emerging market lender Branch International raises $170 million

The San Francisco-based startup Branch International, which makes small personal loans in emerging markets, has raised $170 million and announced a partnership with Visa to offer virtual, pre-paid debit cards to Branch client networks in Africa, South-Asia and Latin America.  Branch — which has 150 employees in San Francisco, Lagos, Nairobi, Mexico City and Mumbai — […]

Snap is channeling Asia’s messaging giants with its move into gaming

Snap is taking a leaf out of the Asian messaging app playbook as its social messaging service enters a new era. The company unveiled a series of new strategies that are aimed at breathing fresh life into the service that has been ruthlessly cloned by Facebook across Instagram, WhatsApp and even its primary social network. […]

India’s OYO enters Japan in partnership with SoftBank

Fresh from closing a notable investment from Airbnb, India’s OYO has expanded its footprint into Japan. The move comes through a joint venture with investor SoftBank — which led OYO’s $1 billion round last year through its Vision Fund — which will cover hotel-based accommodation and home rentals. Financial details around the joint venture were […]

Reliance Jio’s latest acquisition is a $100M bet on the future of internet users in India

Reliance Jio, the telecom operator that has revolutionized India with its generous data plans, has its eye on the next generation of internet users with its latest acquisition. The company said today that it has bought a majority stake in Haptik, a startup that develops ‘conversational’ platforms and virtual assistants, in a deal worth $100 […]

Google reshuffles its leadership in Asia Pacific

There’s a changing of the guard within Google’s Asia Pacific business. In recent weeks, personnel changes within two of its most important roles show the search giant is entering a new era of management for its fast-growing business across the continent. Scott Beaumont, a British executive who previously ran Google in China and Korea, stepped […]

Airbnb confirms stake in India’s OYO, sources say it invested $150M-$200M

Airbnb is continuing to widen its focus beyond “unconventional” hotels as it gets ready for a much-anticipated IPO. Following its acquisition of HotelTonight last month, the company has picked today (April Fools’ Day) to confirm that it invested in India’s OYO — a startup that manages budget hotels and other stays. The deal has been […]

Crypto 2.0, accessibility, and Apple’s future strategy

From Extra Crunch Jon Evans has a comprehensive look at the most compelling futures for “Crypto 2.0.” With the trading frenzy out of the way (at least for the time being), engineers and product designers can now get back to the real world of improving these systems. Digital accessibility expert Beth Franssen has a piece […]

Kong raises $43M Series C for its API platform

Kong, the open core API management and life cycle management company previously known as Mashape, today announced that it has raised a $43 million Series C round led by Index Ventures. Previous investors Andreessen Horowitz and Charles River Ventures (CRV), as well as new investors GGV Capital and World Innovation Lab, also participated. With this […]