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Amazon acquires self-driving car startup Zoox for over $1.2 billion

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Amazon has reached an agreement to acquire California-based autonomous-car developer Zoox, in a deal that values the self-driving startup at a little over $1.2 billion, according to person familiar with matter. With this acquisition, Amazon joins of big tech companies like Tesla and Google that have established substantial in-house autonomous-vehicle efforts. Some experts predict that Amazon plans to integrate Zoox’s technology into its distribution network than building a fleet of cars.

As part of the agreement, Aicha Evans, Zoox CEO, and Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO, will continue to lead the team as they innovate and drive towards their mission, the two companies said in an announcement Friday. Amazon will likely have to spend $2 billion a year on the technology to bring it to market, according to people familiar with the matter.

In March 2019, we wrote about Zoox after Tesla filed lawsuit against four former employees and self-driving startup Zoox for allegedly stealing its trade secrets. The lawsuit did little to stop the eCommerce giant from acquiring the startup.

Founded in 2014 Tim Kentley-Klay and Dr. Jesse Levinson, Zoox is a California based robotics startup that creates autonomous mobility. Operating at the intersection of design, computer science, and electro-mechanical engineering, Zoox is a multidisciplinary team working to imagine and build an advanced mobility experience that will support the future needs of urban mobility for both people and the environment. The 6-year-old self-driving Zoox has raised $955 million in venture-backed funding.

“Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO, Worldwide Consumer. “Like Amazon, Zoox is passionate about innovation and about its customers, and we’re excited to help the talented Zoox team to bring their vision to reality in the years ahead.”

“Since Zoox’s inception six years ago, we have been singularly focused on our ground-up approach to autonomous mobility,” said Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO. “Amazon’s support will markedly accelerate our path to delivering safe, clean, and enjoyable transportation to the world.”

Amazon is not the tech giants eyeing the autonomous driving space. In 2016, General Motors acquired Cruise Automation for $1 billion. Uber also spent $680 million to acquire an autonomous-vehicle startup. Alphabet Inc. is working to develop autonomous vehicles through its Waymo subsidiary, which began as a division of Google.

“This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry,” said Aicha Evans, CEO of Zoox. “We have made great strides with our purpose-built approach to safe, autonomous mobility, and our exceptionally talented team working every day to realize that vision. We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future.”


Source: https://techstartups.com/2020/06/26/amazon-acquires-self-driving-car-startup-zoox-1-2-billion/

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Startup News India, Startup Stories India – timesnext.com

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Source: https://timesnext.com

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Amazon focussing on digitizing MSMEs in India, working on getting more sellers onboard

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Ecommerce giant Amazon’s top company executive has revealed that the platform is focussing on digitizing MSMEs in India & is working on getting more sellers on board and hiring more people.

Amazon Director Investor Relations David Fildes said that the company has talked about India many times. 

He added that the great part about a place like India with all geographies is that there are a bunch of micro, small and medium-sized businesses, which is why the company is focusing on digitizing Indian sellers. 

Amazon has already launched a bunch of new features to help support digitization efforts with some of the brands. 

The company is focussing on on-boarding more sellers and hiring some people as well to work around their goals. 

Many ecommerce platforms, including Amazon, have been aggressively investing in expanding infrastructure and adding solutions to enhance consumer and seller experience on the platform. 

Intensified competition with JioMart’s entry

The US-based company is a constant competition with Walmart-owned Indian company Flipkart, which would further be intensified with the entry of Mukesh Ambani’s JioMart. 

Earlier this year, during Amazon founder Jeff Bezos visit to India, a fresh capital of Rs 2310 crore was fueled into one of its India units as per the regulatory documents. 

During the investor call, Amazon’s CFO Brian Olsavsky said,

“What you also see are investments in new countries. Obviously, India is the biggest one, but also, to a lesser extent, Middle East, Brazil, Turkey, & Australia are recent additions. So there is always an element of expansion going on there.”


A passionate writer with bachelor’s in the field of English & Journalism. Other than being a bibliophile, some of her hobbies are travelling, photography and poetry.

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Source: https://timesnext.com/amazon-digitizing-msmes-india-sellers/

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Social media giant Facebook introduces music videos on Facebook Watch

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The US-based social media firm Facebook has launched official music videos under its Facebook Watch segment, allowing users across India, Thailand, and the US to discover, enjoy, and interact with the top-charting tracks and old school videos from different music genres on the social media.

Music from all studios, including T-Series, Zee Music, and Yash Raj Films, would be made available to its users, including international music from artists like Jonas Brothers, Josh Groban, Keith Urban, and more. 

Facebook has tied up with Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and many others in the US and will be expanding its collection of songs and videos. 

Music Destination for its users

As reported by Business Line (1), Facebook has made it a lot easier to find and discover music videos on its platforms, and now one will be able to access the videos in different ways including Facebook Watch’s Music Destination where people will be able to browse and watch music by exploring music by genre, theme, mood, etc., or based on playlists curated for its users like Top Bollywood, Top Artists, etc. 

Manish Chopra, Director & Head of Partnerships at Facebook India, stated that the company has been working on this from the past one year with partners in Indian music industry to build the foundation of a music video experience for their consumers. 

Users can easily follow their favorite artists on Facebook’s Music Destination and can even share their favorite music videos on Facebook Groups and personally on the Messenger. 

One can also access and discover music videos directly on their News Feed, allowing friends and family to share their favorite music, or through Search, making it a one-stop-destination for all of their music entertainment needs. 


A passionate writer with bachelor’s in the field of English & Journalism. Other than being a bibliophile, some of her hobbies are travelling, photography and poetry.

Source: https://timesnext.com/facebook-introduces-music-videos-on-watch/

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