All eyes are on Uber's price action today after Friday's underwhelming debut, where its shares closed nearly 8 per cent below their IPO price and the sentiment hit rival Lyft's share price as well. There is a good chance that Uber’s stock market debut will define the era of the “unicorns”, Richard Waters wrote in a Big Read weekend analysis. The signs were not good on Friday, with Uber's day-one performance trailing other prominent IPOs:
Shannon Bond in San Francisco and Nicole Bullock in New York have analysed whether the market, the bankers, retail investors or Uber's business model are responsible for its spluttering start. Hannah Murphy has the story of the angel investor who laments rejecting Uber's overtures when it had just a $5m valuation. As for today's open, Uber was down another 10 per cent in early trading.
Tech’s week ahead
Tuesday: Google holds its annual performance advertising/ad tech/analytics event Google Marketing Live where new products and services may be announced.
Wednesday: China’s tech giants Alibaba and Tencent report on Wednesday. The recent moves by the two groups to work with joint investment ventures is a sign of their growing maturity as leaders in this sector: capital is tightening and business shifting from consumer-focused apps to enterprise. Both last week won licences to launch new digital banks in Hong Kong, challenging the old-guard lenders HSBC and Standard Chartered that dominate the market. Cisco Systems reports after the New York close. French video game publisher Ubisoft will report its full-year results.
Thursday: Nvidia is expected to post a fall in first-quarter revenues after the close, as the graphics chip designer struggles with slowing sales to data centres and weak demand for its gaming chips, especially in China. Pinterest and Baidu also report after the bell. In the UK, there are full-year results from cyber security firm Sophos. NPD is expected to release April 2019 US retail video game hardware and software sales data.
Friday: In the UK, business software group Sage has half-year results.
The Internet of (Five) Things
1. Scotus opens up Apple to app lawsuits
The US Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for an antitrust lawsuit filed by iPhone owners who argued that Apple’s “walled garden” for apps is anti-competitive. In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the court said the customers could sue Apple over the 30 per cent commission it charges developers who want to sell apps through its App Store.
2. More meaty financing for plant-based food groups
Impossible Foods has announced a $300m funding round, hard on the heels of the initial public offering of its rival Beyond Meat at the start of the month. The investment, led by Temasek of Singapore and Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures, takes the total amount of funds raised by California-based Impossible to more than $750m and gives it a valuation of about $2bn.
3. Surgical robots succeed in trials
A medical start-up based in Cambridge in the UK has claimed success in the first clinical trial of a new generation of surgical robots, reports our Science Editor Clive Cookson. Doctors at the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune, India used CMR Surgical’s Versius robotic assistants to operate on 70 patients who required keyhole or minimal access surgery for a variety of gynaecological and gastrointestinal problems. The first 30 patients in the trial have had a 30-day follow-up that showed no adverse events.
4. Jumia hits back at Citron fraud allegations
Jumia, the Africa-focused ecommerce company, has denied fraud allegations made by an activist short-seller as its share price continued to fall in New York. Its shares lost a quarter of their value on Friday, after Citron's allegations. The company said it “completely stands by” the numbers it included in its initial public offering filings and it brought forward its maiden first-quarter results to Monday. They showed total revenues rose just 12 per cent, but gross profits surged 82 per cent. Lex says Jumia has a bigger problem regarding customer trust. As yet, few choose to buy over the internet in Jumia’s largest markets in Nigeria and Egypt.
5. Amazon adds box-packing automation
Amazon is rolling out machines to automate a job held by thousands of its workers: boxing up customer orders. The new machines crank out 600 to 700 boxes per hour, or four to five times the rate of a human packer, sources told Reuters.
Tech tools — HTC’s blockchain smartphone
Taiwanese phonemaker HTC is launching a more affordable blockchain phone with full bitcoin node capabilities. Originally announced last month, the Exodus 1S will be launching in Q3 this year and will have an extra SD card to support its blockchain capabilities, reports The Next Web. HTC was aiming to include node capabilities in the Exodus 1 (pictured above), but the company ultimately decided to drop the functionality for the device’s first iteration. The manufacturer has not shared a specific launch date but says the device will be priced at around $250-$300.
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