SpaceX launched its second Falcon 9 rocket in the span of just four days on Wednesday at 9:25 PM EDT (6:25 PM PDT). This one was carrying 60 more satellites for its Starlink constellation, which will bring the total currently in operation on orbit to 480. The launch took off from Florida, where SpaceX launched astronauts for the first time ever on Saturday for the final demonstration mission of its Crew Dragon to fulfill the requirements of NASA’s Commercial Crew human-rating process.
Today’s launch didn’t include any human passengers, but it did fly that next big batch of Starlink broadband internet satellites, as mentioned. Those will join the other Starlink satellites in low Earth orbit, forming part of a network that will eventually serve to provide high-bandwidth, reliable internet connectivity, particularly in underserved areas where terrestrial networks either aren’t present or don’t offer high-speed connections.
This launch included a test
If you want to capture investor attention, you need a killer pitch. And that’s under normal circumstances. You’ve probably noticed that circumstances are anything but normal. With a global pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis, you’ll need to up your pitching game and get ready to bring the heat. We can help.
Register today for the second installment of our Pitchers and Pitches series. This interactive elevator pitch feedback session will take place on June 10 at 4pm ET / 1pm PT. Pour yourself a refreshing glass of something tasty and get ready to take your pitching game to the next level.
Note: The Pitchers and Pitches webinar series is free and open to all, but only companies that have purchased a Disrupt Digital Startup Alley Package get to pitch. If your startup wants to be in the running to pitch, you can purchase a ticket here.
We’ll choose five
Mobile banking startup Varo Money has raised an additional $241 million in Series D funding, the company announced today. The investment was co-led by new investor Gallatin Point Capital and existing investor The Rise Fund, co-founded by TPG. Also participating in the round were Bono (yes, that one), along with entrepreneur, impact investor and movie producer Jeff Skoll; plus HarbourVest Partners and Progressive Insurance.
To date, Varo has raised $419.4 million in funding.
Launched in July 2017, Varo is now one of several digital banking apps that are taking on traditional banks. Its rivals include startups like Chime, Current, Space, Cleo, N26, Empower Finance, Level, Step, Moven and many more.
Similar to others in this space, Varo promises an easily accessible bank account with no monthly fees or minimum balance, plus high-interest savings, and a modern mobile app experience. Though it doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar branches, customers can access their money
Monzo, the U.K. challenger bank, continues to be faced with tough decisions linked to the coronavirus crisis and resulting economic downturn.
Following the shuttering of its Las Vegas-based customer support office and almost 300 staff being furloughed in U.K., the company has announced internally that up to 120 U.K. staff are being made redundant. Reuters first reported the news just moments ago — which I have now confirmed based on my own sources.
According to an internal memo written by new CEO TS Anil, following an all-hands earlier this afternoon led by Anil and Monzo co-founder and president Tom Blomfield, the bank is to make up to 120 roles redundant, despite previously stating that furloughs and pay cuts already carried out would mean further layoffs could be avoided. That no longer appears to be the case, with Anil explaining that the current economic situation isn’t expected to revert back to
Snap announced this morning that it will not be promoting content from President Trump’s Snapchat account in its Discover tab following statements from Trump last week on Twitter, which threatened that protestors could be met with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons.”
The move is notable for many reasons, but is particularly interesting because social media platforms have tended to only discipline popular accounts when they’ve violated the rules on their own platform. Snapchat users will still be able to access content from Trump’s feed if they subscribe to it or search specifically for the account. At this point Snap is simply limiting his account to organic reach and stripping him from their curated feed.
“We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover,” a Snapchat spokesperson said in a statement.
In response to the move, Trump’s campaign accused Snapchat of “actively
Eric Tarczynski Contributor
Eric Tarczynski is the Managing Partner at Contrary, a network-driven venture firm backed by founders from Facebook, Tesla, and many others.
Across the country, university campuses are in limbo.
The California State University system has committed to online classes in Fall 2020. Northeastern University is reopening as normal. UT Austin is taking a hybrid approach: in-person classes until Thanksgiving break, then online classes during flu season.
This presents a special set of circumstances for university entrepreneurs. The traditional resources and networks are nonoperational. But time and focus, historically the most scarce resources for ambitious students, is now at an all-time high.
It’s often noted that both Facebook and Microsoft were started during Harvard’s Reading Period, a week where classes are cancelled to let students study. This spring has been like one long Reading Period, sometimes with even less responsibility.