Hot Links: Go-Jek goes big, Soylent wins, Apple pledges to reshore, Alibaba chief’s warnings, Blackberry is still around?
The hotness in tech this week.
Go-Jek raises 1.3 billion: they are the Uber of riding on the back of motorcycles in Indonesia
If you’ve never heard of Go-Jek, you’ve probably never ridden on the back of a scooter in Indonesia. Valued at 1.3 billion dollars, you can be sure that the 250+ million people in Indonesia know what it is, and see it all the time, everywhere. In the snarled traffic of Asia, this type of service is proving to be the most efficient and easy to hail. It also is an interesting example of localization, borrowing from Uber and in many ways applying its basic concept to the most fitting of environments.
Soylent makes comeback with $50 million B-series round
Soylent, the ‘hi-tech’ version of a meal-replacement beverage, didn’t do itself any favours when it decided on its tongue-in-cheek name, a reference to the human-remains-composed drink in the sci-fi film Soylent Green. It didn’t win customers when it made them violently ill either. But it did manage to gather 50 million dollars in venture capital this week. The brand might be weird, but big backers led by GV (Google Ventures) see promise in this nerdy comeback of ‘meal-in-a-glass’ solutions.
Apple pledges $1 billion for reshoring manufacturing
During the latter chapter of his control of Apple, Steve Jobs wasn’t exactly a creator of employment and industry in America beyond the retail and design of Apple’s products. Since WTO acceptance in 2001, China was the base for manufacturing of Apple’s products. In fact, a couple years ago it was reported that Apple couldn’t make an iPhone in America if it tried, and that the country had fallen behind China in hi-tech manufacturing dramatically. But that could change: this week Tim Cook announced the company would invest $1 billion in “advanced” US manufacturing (hinting at something highly automated, sorry job seekers!).
Blackberry sees out its destiny to bring back the keypad: won’t give up
Blackberry just won’t let it go: they want you to use keypads, be damned with full touch screens. The company that shot itself in the foot with its signature clicky-clicky keypad has just released the ultimate dark horse smartphone candidate for 2017: the Blackberry KEYone. Reviews praise the company on delivering a very solid product for its (diminishing) loyal base.
Jack Ma another tech titan warning all about AI: ‘going to cause more pain than happiness’
Speaking at an entrepreneurship conference in China about the job disruptions that would be created by automation and the internet, Alibaba chairman and founder Jack Ma said it will be the “key social conflict” of the coming three decades, and will cause people “more pain than happiness.” If it’s any reason for credence, Ma gave hundreds of speeches warning about the impact of e-commerce on traditional retailers 15 years ago, but few people listened.