The DTC Crunch

Direct-to-Consumer Startups Falter

It's been a very tough month for direct-to-consumer startups, beginning with Casper Sleep's uninspired IPO, Axios says. On Tuesday, it also reported that Hollar, an e-commerce company that raised more than $75 million in VC funding, is expected to wind down soon. One day earlier, Fast Company reported the shutdown of SoftBank-backed Brandless.


2_BUSINESS

Xerox Ups Its Bid for HP

 

Xerox this week boosted its offer to acquire HP to $24 per share, or about $34 billion, CNBC reports. In November, HP’s board unanimously rejected Xerox’s offer of $22 a share.


3_BUSINESS

Former Android Chief's Startup Folds


Andy Rubin's Essential aimed to disrupt the smartphone industry. But despite $330 million in funding from some big-name investors, the startup led by Android's creator this week said it is shutting down, following months of scandal and scrutiny of its leader, BuzzFeed.News reports.


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4_GEAR

Samsung Unwraps Its Galaxy S20 Flagship Phones

 

Samsung this week unveiled its trio of Galaxy S20 flagship devices with an array of upgraded camera features and specs, a wide range of prices, and 5G as a default. ZDNet says Samsung's Galaxy S20 launch ultimately is likely to kick off the 5G upgrade cycle en masse for the smartphone market.


5_TECHNOLOGY

How to Steal a Luxury Car in Seconds 

 

Vice's Motherboard obtained a video of a so-called relay attack from "EvanConnect," who sells keyless repeaters that can be used to break into and steal luxury cars. Police departments around the world in recent years have reported an increase in the number of vehicle robberies that they suspect were carried out with a variety of electronic tools.


6_DESIGN

Lessons for Designers from Netflix


There’s a reason that consumers are drawn to streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go--and it's not just price. Something about the way the user experiences are designed makes them more attractive than other movie or TV viewing options. Especially Netflix. Web Designer Depot highlights three key lessons.


7_MEDIA

This Information Proves to Be Valuable

 

The Information, Jessica Lessin’s online tech publication, costs $399 a year and has no ads. Silicon Valley’s elite is eating it up, reports the New York Times.


8_STARTUPS

Bookbot Comes Back to Life as Cartken


The engineers behind Google’s short-lived Bookbot have launched their own startup to bring the sidewalk delivery bot back to life, TechCrunch reports. The secretive startup called Cartken was formed in fall 2019 after Google shuttered an internal program to develop a delivery robot.


9_EDUCATION

A STEM Theory Debunked


In 2018, an article in the journal Psychological Science claimed that in countries with less gender equality, women were more likely to get higher education STEM degrees than they were in more gender-equal countries. Writing in Slate, two members of the GenderSci Lab, an interdisciplinary group of scientists and gender studies scholars at Harvard, say the group tried to replicate the results of the study. But the numbers didn’t add up.


10_SAY WHAT?

Tunes for Lonely Dogs

 

Spotify has rolled out playlists and a podcast for dogs to listen to in their owners’ absence, Reuters reports. The podcast features soothing music, “dog-directed praise,” stories, and messages of affirmation and reassurance. According to Spotify, a quarter of pet owners say they have seen their pets dancing to music.