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1. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is taking over as CEO of Alphabet
Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced that Google CEO Sundar Pichai will be replacing Page as the CEO of parent company Alphabet. In addition, Brin is stepping down from his role as Alphabet’s president.
Rather than framing this as a departure, the pair suggested that they’ve “never been ones to hold on to management roles when we think there’s a better way to run the company” and that they remain “deeply committed to Google and Alphabet for the long term, and will remain actively involved as Board members, shareholders and co-founders.”
2. Plex launches a free, ad-supported streaming service in over 200 countries
Although there are plenty of similar offerings on the market, what makes Plex’s new streaming service unique is its broad availability — unlike many competitors, Plex has structured its deals in order to stream content outside the United States.
3. Toyota leads $50M investment in autonomous shuttle startup May Mobility
May Mobility has 25 autonomous low-speed shuttles spread out between Detroit; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Providence, Rhode Island. As part of the deal, Toyota has picked the startup as one of its “autonomous driving providers for future open platforms.”
4. Progressive VCs and private equity are using tech and analytics to revolutionize investing
HOF Capital’s David Teten says private equity and venture capital investors are copying their counterparts in the hedge fund world by trying to automate more of their jobs. (Extra Crunch membership required.)
5. Kustomer raises $60M for its omnichannel-based CRM platform
The New York-based company has been on a growth tear and has raised more than $161 million in the last 18 months. CEO Brad Birnbaum said the valuation is now “definitely above $500 million,” but he declined to be more specific.
6. Instagram still doesn’t age-check kids. That must change.
Josh Constine argues that user growth at all costs is no longer acceptable: It’s time for Instagram to step up and assume responsibility for protecting children, even if that means excluding them. (In fact, after this post was published, Instagram announced that it would in fact require birth dates from all new users.)
7. Reddit’s monthly active user base grew 30% to reach 430M in 2019
The most-upvoted post this year referenced Reddit’s fundraise from China’s Tencent, which led Reddit’s $300 million Series D. Users were concerned at the time the investment would lead to Chinese censorship, leading them to flood the site with images that would be forbidden in China.