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Twitter is already working on integrating newsletters on its site, following Revue acquisition

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Twitter only announced its acquisition of newsletter platform Revue two days ago, but the company has already begun to integrate the product into the Twitter.com website. It appears “Newsletters” will soon be the newest addition to Twitter’s sidebar navigation, alongside Bookmarks, Moments, Twitter Ads, and other options. The company is also readying a way to promote the new product to Twitter users, promising them another way to reach their audience while getting paid for their work.

These findings and others were uncovered by noted reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong, who dug into the Twitter.com website to see what the company may have in store for its newest acquisition.

According to a pop-up promotional message in development she found, Twitter will soon be pitching a handful of Revue benefits, like the ability to compose and schedule newsletters, embed tweets, import email lists, analyze engagement and earn money from paid followers. The messaging was clearly in early testing (it even had a typo!), but it hints at Twitter’s larger plans to tie Revue into the Twitter platform and serve as a way for prominent users to essentially monetize their reach.

Currently, the “Find Out More” button on pop-up message will redirect Twitter users to the Revue website. Wong found.

In addition, Wong noted Twitter was making “Newsletters” a new navigation option on the Twitter sidebar menu. Unfortunately, it was not shown on the top-level menu where you today find options like Explore, Notifications, Messages or Bookmarks, but rather on the sub-menu you access from the three-dot “More” link.

 

The tight integration between Revue and Twitter’s main platform could potentially give the company an interesting competitive advantage in the newsletters market — especially as Twitter has already dropped hints that its new audio product, Twitter Spaces, will also be used as a way to connect with newsletter subscribers.

In its announcement, Twitter referred to “new settings for writers to host conversations” with their readers. That likely means Twitter users would be able to not just publish newsletters with the new Twitter product, but also monetize their existing follower base, find new readers through Twitter’s built-in features, and then engage their fans on an ongoing basis through audio chats in Spaces. Combined with its lowering of the paid newsletter fee to 5%, many authors are rightly considering the potential Twitter advantages. If anything at all is holding them back, it’s Twitter’s less-than-stellar reputation when it comes to successfully capitalizing on some of its acquisitions.

Twitter declined to comment on Wong’s findings, but we understand these features are currently not live on the website. Wong told us she hasn’t found any indications of Revue integrations in the Twitter mobile apps just yet.

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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Qualcomm veteran to replace Alain Crozier as Microsoft Greater China boss

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Microsoft gets a new leader for its Greater China business. Yang Hou, a former executive at Qualcomm, will take over Alain Crozier as the chairman and chief executive officer for Microsoft Greater China Region, according to a company announcement released Monday.

More to come…

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Autonomous drone maker Skydio raises $170M led by Andreessen Horowitz

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Skydio has raised $170 million in a Series D funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz’s Growth Fund. That pushes it into unicorn territory, with $340 million in total funding and a post-money valuation north of $1 billion. Skydio’s fresh capital comes on the heels of its expansion last year into the enterprise market, and it intends to use the considerable pile of cash to help it expand globally and accelerate product development.

In July of last year, Skydio announced its $100 million Series C financing, and also debuted the X2, its first dedicated enterprise drone. The company also launched a suite of software for commercial and enterprise customers, its first departure from the consumer drone market where it had been focused prior to that raise since its founding in 2014.

Skydio’s debut drone, the R1, received a lot of accolades and praise for its autonomous capabilities. Unlike other consumer drones at the time, including from recreational drone maker DJI, the R1 could track a target and film them while avoiding obstacles without any human intervention required. Skydio then released the Skydio 2 in 2019, its second drone, cutting off more than half the price while improving on it its autonomous tracking and video capabilities.

Late last year, Skydio brought on additional senior talent to help it address enterprise and government customers, including a software development lead who had experience at Tesla and 3D printing company Carbon. Skydio also hired two Samsara executives at the same time to work on product and engineering. Samsara provides a platform for managing cloud-based fleet operations for large enterprises.

The applications of Skydio’s technology for commercial, public sector and enterprise organizations are many and varied. Already, the company works with public utilities, fire departments, construction firms and more to do work including remote inspection, emergency response, urban planning and more. Skydio’s U.S. pedigree also puts it in prime position to capitalize on the growing interest in applications from the defense sector.

a16z previously led Skydio’s Series A round. Other investors who participated in this Series D include Lines Capital, Next47, IVP and UP.Partners.

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Space startup Gitai raises $17.1M to help build the robotic workforce of commercial space

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Japanese space startup Gitai has raised a $17.1 million funding round, a Series B financing for the robotics startup. This new funding will be used for hiring, as well as funding the development and execution of an on-orbit demonstration mission for the company’s robotic technology, which will show its efficacy in performing in-space satellite servicing work. That mission is currently set to take place in 2023.

Gitai will also be staffing up in the U.S., specifically, as it seeks to expand its stateside presence in a bid to attract more business from that market.

“We are proceeding well in the Japanese market, and we’ve already contracted missions from Japanese companies, but we haven’t expanded to the U.S. market yet,” explained Gitai founder and CEO Sho Nakanose in an interview. So we would like to get missions from U.S. commercial space companies, as a subcontractor first. We’re especially interested in on-orbit servicing, and we would like to provide general-purpose robotic solutions for an orbital service provider in the U.S.”

Nakanose told me that Gitai has plenty of experience under its belt developing robots which are specifically able to install hardware on satellites on-orbit, which could potentially be useful for upgrading existing satellites and constellations with new capabilities, for changing out batteries to keep satellites operational beyond their service life, or for repairing satellites if they should malfunction.

Gitai’s focus isn’t exclusively on extra-vehicular activity in the vacuum of space, however. It’s also performing a demonstration mission of its technical capabilities in partnership with Nanoracks using the Bishop Airlock, which is the first permanent commercial addition to the International Space Station. Gitai’s robot, codenamed S1, is an arm–style robot not unlike industrial robots here on Earth, and it’ll be showing off a number of its capabilities, including operating a control panel and changing out cables.

Long-term, Gitai’s goal is to create a robotic workforce that can assist with establishing bases and colonies on the Moon and Mars, as well as in orbit. With NASA’s plans to build a more permanent research presence on orbit at the Moon, as well as on the surface, with the eventual goal of reaching Mars, and private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin looking ahead to more permanent colonies on Mars, as well as large in-space habitats hosting humans as well as commercial activity, Nakanose suggests that there’s going to be ample need for low-cost, efficient robotic labor – particularly in environments that are inhospitable to human life.

Nakanose told me that he actually got started with Gitai after the loss of his mother – an unfortunate passing he said he firmly believes could have been avoided with the aid of robotic intervention. He began developing robots that could expand and augment human capability, and then researched what was likely the most useful and needed application of this technology from a commercial perspective. That research led Nakanose to conclude that space was the best long-term opportunity for a new robotics startup, and Gitai was born.

This funding was led by SPARX Innovation for the Future Co. Ltd, and includes funding form DcI Venture Growth Fund, the Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, and EP-GB (Epson’s venture investment arm).

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