The Daily Ten – Simon & Taubman merge, Former WeWork exec launches “PropTech Studio,” Uber sheds self-driving car division…
The Daily Ten
1. Mall owners Simon and Taubman revise merger terms, with $800 million price cut | CNBC
Luxury mall owner Taubman Centers has agreed to a lower price to merge with the biggest mall owner in America, Simon Property Group, the companies announced Sunday, evading what could have been a heated legal battle during the holidays.
Under the new deal, Simon will now pay $43 per share for Taubman, down roughly 18% from an original price of $52.50.
The companies also said that they have settled their pending litigation. Simon and Taubman were set to face each other in Oakland County Superior Court in Michigan, beginning Monday, to negotiate the contested deal.
2. Pandemic Speeds Americans’ Embrace of Digital Commerce | WSJ
Consumers try new ways to get health care, buy vehicles, eat and work out as the pandemic shakes up habits
Brooke Mallers recently bought a used car online, she uses food and grocery delivery services more and she makes telehealth appointments—new habits that she expects to last long after the coronavirus pandemic is over.
“I’m not sure I’ll ever go into a car dealership again,” said the 58-year-old retired investor in Boulder, Colo. “It was fun to have an experience that’s new and the internet enables.”
3. Former WeWork China exec launches a ‘startup studio’ for real estate | TechCrunch
The real estate industry has been slow to adopt technology compared to many other sectors. So when Dominic Penaloza left his job at WeWork China as the head of innovation and technology this spring, he decided to focus on proptech in Asia.
Instead of building a startup himself or investing in one, Penaloza combines both objectives by launching a “startup studio” called REinvent (“RE” short for “real estate”). The industry jargon refers to an organization that builds startups with an in-house team, hence it’s also referred to as a “startup factory” or “venture builder.” A famous example is Rocket Internet, which is credited for building Lazada in Southeast Asia and Jumia in Africa.
Penaloza, a serial entrepreneur who exited his co-working startup Naked Hub to WeWork China in 2018, now runs a team of 45 across Shanghai, Taipei and Singapore, most of whom he has worked with at WeWork and Naked Hub. The studio is organized into what the chief executive calls product “squads” consisting of the likes of product managers, designers, engineers, and artificial intelligence experts, and has the capacity to work on four projects at one time.
4. As WFH burnout mounts, some tech workers are turning to coworking and flex office space| GeekWire
When software engineer Joe Buck started his new job in September at Seattle-based remittance company Remitly, his desk was wedged between the family minivan and kids toys. Like so many tech workers this year, Buck had to improvise amid the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. In his case, the office was an uninsulated garage in the family’s West Seattle home.
Buck made do in the spring with the impromptu office as a Seattle employee of San Francisco-based Okera. But after a summer of parental leave to welcome his second child, he didn’t last long in another round of working from the garage. October mornings quickly became too chilly and an infant on top of a 3½-year-old led to frequent interruptions.
“I definitely was feeling the grind of having work and home intertwined,” Buck said.
That frustration led Buck last month to sign up for a desk at West Seattle Coworking. Even just a few days in, the difference was palpable. “I can already feel myself getting a bit more of a rhythm in my day,” he said.
5. Developers awaiting ruling on ‘too-tall’ Upper West Side tower | New York Post
A day of destiny is at hand for 200 Amsterdam Ave., the nearly completed, 52-story condo tower at West 71st Street which a judge ordered to be half torn-down. City developers are on pins and needles, because if an appeals court doesn’t reverse the ruling, it could stymie other buildings under construction — and even impact some famous existing ones.
On Wednesday, a four-judge panel of the state Appellate Division will take up the case by developers SJP Properties, Mitsui Fusodan and the city’s Law Department seeking to overturn Judge Franc Perry’s February decision that 20 floors be taken down because the tower supposedly violated zoning rules.
The Municipal Art Society and Upper West Side activists had sued to chop down the project, accusing the developers of using “deceptive practices” and “violating city regulations.” But project proponents said that the court was improperly trying to retroactively reverse long-standing Department of Buildings rules.
6. Here Are All The Coronavirus Relief Programs Expiring At The End Of The Year | Forbes
A handful of Federal Reserve programs that helped prop up investor confidence and stabilize a careening stock market in March are slated to expire on December 31, including facilities to purchase municipal bonds and corporate debt and a lending program for small- and medium-sized businesses. According to a recent report from the New York Times, the Treasury Department under Secretary Steven Mnuchin is under pressure from some Republicans to end the emergency measures on the grounds that the Fed and Treasury don’t have the authority to extend them without approval from Congress.
That could have serious implications for a stock market that has only just recovered from major swings in the leadup to the election. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has repeatedly pledged that the Fed will continue to support the economy for as long as necessary during the coronavirus crisis.
7. Sino Group and Ping An launch new PropTech programme | FUTUREiOT
Hong Kong-based developer Sino Group and Ping An Smart City have launched a new programme to drive PropTech innovation in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau by fostering local technology startup focusing on the real estate industry.
Set to kick off in February 2021, the programme called PropXTech will push forward holistic solutions in areas such as geospatial technologies, drones, business process, robotics, smart city, smart home, smart buildings, modelling, data analytics, AR/VR, IoT, big data, machine learning, and sensors.
PropXTech is a five-month programme to be run by the Ping An Technology Innovation Center team and is expected to mentor four to eight startups with intensive training sessions and workshops. To be called “cohort”, selected companies will be granted access to Sino Group’s innovation ecosystem to develop pilots and proofs-of-concept, as well as test and fine-tune their solutions in a real-world environment.
8.Uber reportedly may sell its self-driving car division to rival Aurora | The Verge
UberATG has been involved in several controversies in recent years
Uber is in talks to sell its autonomous vehicle unit to startup competitor Aurora Innovation, TechCrunch reported. If it comes to pass, the sale of Uber Advanced Technologies Group (UberATG), would mark the end of a bumpy road for a division of Uber that was valued at $7.25 billion as recently as last July, but which has been plagued with ongoing problems.
In March of 2019, Uber avoided criminal charges in the 2018 death of Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona, the first-ever death involving an autonomous car. Federal investigators found that Uber, the safety driver behind the wheel of the car, and the state of Arizona all shared a portion of the blame for the incident. The accident ended Uber’s test program in Tempe, but the company resumed testing in Pittsburgh, where UberATG is headquartered.
And UberATG was involved in a trade secrets lawsuit with competitor Waymo, owned by Google parent company Alphabet. Uber settled the case unexpectedly in February of 2018.
9. Curbio Raises $25M To Support Continued Growth of “Fix First, Pay at Closing” Home Improvement Solution for Real Estate Agents | Benzinga
Curbio, the leading pay-at-closing home improvement company for real estate agents, today announced $25M in financing to support rapidly growing demand for their services nationwide. Curbio is the first company to provide home improvement services created specifically to help real estate agents fix-up client homes before they go on the market, so they sell quickly and at the best price, without any payment until the home is sold. Curbio will use the funds for market expansion, technology development and growth of their invitation-only job platform for the country’s best contractors.
10. To Survive the Pandemic, Savile Row Cuts a Bespoke Strategy | The New York Times
With formal events and travel canceled, the tradition-bound tailors are gently embracing technology — and finding leverage on their landlords.
LONDON — One morning in early November, a tailor on Savile Row took the measurements of a client 5,500 miles away with the help of a robot.
The tailor, Dario Carnera, sat on the second floor of Huntsman, one of the street’s most venerable houses, and used the trackpad on his laptop to guide the robot around a client who stood before mirrors in a clothing store in Seoul. Mr. Carnera was visible and audible to the client through an iPad-like panel that doubled as the robot’s face.
“I’m just going to come a little bit forward,” said Mr. Carnera, moving the robot a few feet to the left.
He was collecting the roughly 20 measurements that are standard in a first Savile Row fitting, the initial step in the fabrication of a made-from-scratch suit that starts at about $8,000 and can reach as high as $40,000 for the priciest material.