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WeChat in limbo

WeChat in limbo
September 22 2020

Messaging app users are the newest collateral damage in the US-China tension. There are 19M daily active WeChat users in the U.S., according to data provider Apptopia. The Commerce Department had issued regulations to ban U.S. companies from providing downloads or updates for the TikTok and WeChat apps. 

Many people were caught off guard. International data and messaging is expensive. WIthout messaging apps, communication globally will face increased inequality. Many families and businesses will resort to other solutions. 

In a plot twist, a court injunction order came to the rescue. U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in California said in an order that WeChat users who filed a lawsuit “have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs favor.“ For now, WeChat is still operational, but fears of a ban still remain.

 

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Messaging Apps that You Can Use Globally:

Rakuten Viber, or simply Viber, is a cross-platform voice over IP and instant messaging software application operated by Japanese multinational company Rakuten, provided as freeware for the Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux platforms.

Signal is a cross-platform encrypted messaging service developed by the Signal Foundation and Signal Messenger LLC. It uses the Internet to send one-to-one and group messages, which can include files, voice notes, images, and videos. It can also be used to make one-to-one voice and video calls, and the Android version can optionally function as an SMS app.

TextNow created the world’s first all-IP, cloud-based mobile phone carrier – a commitment-free mobile messaging and calling application with more than 8M monthly active users. Unlike its competitors, TextNow users automatically receive a dedicated phone number when they sign up for the service.  TextNow monitors the Wi-Fi and data networks in real-time so that if coverage degrades at any point, the call is seamlessly transitioned to the optimal network mid-conversation ensuring superior calling quality on the best network at any given time. 

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Since last week, PrivCo has added:
9080 Companies | 236 Funding Activities | 66 M&A Deals

Funding & Deal Highlights:

Bangalore-based Acko said on Tuesday it has raised $60MM in its Series D financing round. Munich Re Ventures, the investment arm of one of the world’s largest reinsurers, led the financing round, while existing investors Amazon, RPS Ventures and Intact Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer, participated in it.


Hexagon Bio, Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based biotechnology company turning nature’s genomes into medicines, raised $47MM in Series A financing. The round was led by The Column Group, with participation from 8VC and Two Sigma Ventures. Tod Smeal, formerly of Eli Lilly, Pfizer, and SUGEN, will join as Chief Scientific Officer as the company adds drug discovery capabilities to complement its interdisciplinary platform for molecule identification.

Medigate, an NYC-based IoT and medical device security, and asset management platform, closed a $30MM Series B funding round. The round, which brought total funding to $50MM, including a Series A round completed in 2019, was led by new investor Partech, with participation from existing investors YL Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), and Blumberg Capital, as well as Maor Investments.

GoodRx is a rare breed of modern tech IPO: a startup that is actually profitable and heading to the public markets. The consumer service offers coupons on prescriptions redeemable at pharmacies that can save customers significant money on their monthly drug prices. The company filed an amended S-1 with the SEC this morning, and that included three pieces of news that hadn’t previously been reported.

MyPorter, a valet storage startup based in Atlanta, announces today that it has closed an investment round of $2.2MM to drive accelerated market share gains in the Atlanta market and prepare for expansion into new markets in Q1 2020.

GoDaddy Inc., the company that empowers everyday entrepreneurs, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire SkyVerge, a leading WooCommerce product developer. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Altair, a global technology company providing solutions in data analytics, product development, and high-performance computing (HPC), today announced the acquisition of Univa, a leading innovator in enterprise-grade workload management, scheduling, and optimization solutions for HPC and artificial intelligence (AI) on-premises and in the cloud.

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