Weekly News Update // Week of April 6, 2020

Here's TRAUB's roundup of recent retail news. New vending machines in Hong Kong offer medical-grade masks, video streaming service Quibi launches, Netflix launches weekly series about coping with the crisis, and more.


  • Sony invests $400M in Chinese entertainment platform Bilibili TechCrunch
  • Tyto Care raises $50M as it looks to buy and build new services during COVID-19 demand surge TechCrunch
  • Sondermind raises $27M to expand its accessible behavioral health platform Reuters
  • With $23M for its plant-based, liquid meals, Kate Farms pushes into consumer and healthcare TechCrunch
  • Austin-based SourceDay closes $12.5M for its supply chain management software TechCrunch
  • ClimateView raises $2.5M for its toolkit to visualize climate mitigation plans TechCrunch


Thinking About Tomorrow: Value Retail Draws Lessons From China

This moment of pause — and enforced reflection — will not only change the fundamentals of sales, marketing and consumption, but will also reveal (and has been revealing) companies’ true stripes — and in some cases they are not pretty. According to Scott Malkin, the founder of Value Retail, and Frank Blanchette, the group marketing and retail director, it’s time for action, planning for post COVID-19 scenarios, and pivoting quickly — and coherently — in order to adapt to new circumstances. WWD


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These New Vending Machines in Hong Kong Offer Free Medical-Grade Masks to People in Need

In new vending machines that will soon be installed in neighborhoods in Hong Kong, low-income residents will be able to pick up sets of free face masks to help protect them from COVID-19. “Our goal is to make things as easy and convenient as possible for low-income families and disadvantaged groups, allowing them to get these much-needed medical face masks while still maintaining social distancing,” says Adrian Cheng, the CEO of the development and investment company New World Development, which pivoted to manufacturing masks earlier in the year and is now working with nonprofits to place 35 of the new vending machines throughout the city. Fast Company


The Rise of Cloud Gaming:  Cloud-based Streaming is the Next Frontier in the Video Gaming Ecosystem — Here’s Why Cloud Service Providers and Telecoms are Vying to Tap the Multibillion-Dollar Opportunity

A disruptive competitive dynamic is poised to shake up the gaming industry, and it's centered on the cloud. Cloud-based streaming has generated significant buzz in the entertainment business throughout the last decade, rocking the media and music industries with the likes of Netflix and Spotify. Now it's gaming's turn in the spotlight, with a number of cloud service providers and telecommunications companies revealing plans to enter the cloud gaming fray by launching their own services. These companies, each with unique advantages to disrupt the video gaming space, are largely driving the hype in the cloud gaming market.Business Insider


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Revealing Takeaways About Quibi, Which is Finally Here 

Quibi is not an easy service to review out of the gate. Like other recently arrived streaming video offerings (Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus) the much-hyped service’s day-one catalog feels incomplete, and any judgment of what is available will inevitably be skewed by an extraordinary amount of prelaunch hype. Meanwhile, the core Quibi proposition—that you’ll watch short-form videos on your phone to fill idle time while out and about—has been wiped away, at least temporarily, as we shelter at home from the coronavirus. Fast Company 


Netflix to Launch Weekly Instagram Live Series About Coping During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Netflix is launching a new series on Instagram that will focus on taking care of yourself and your mental health during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The series, which will begin airing on Instagram Live April 9th  at 7 PM PT, features the stars of some of Netflix’s top Young Adult shows and movies.The series will run every Thursday from now through May 14 on the @Netflix Instagram account, and will discuss the sort of challenges that young people are facing during the health crisis.For example, it will touch on topics like “what helps if you’re having trouble sleeping?,” “how do you stay connected during social distancing?,” “how do we manage anxiety?” and “what self-care actually means.” TechCrunch



CNN Preps NewsCo Launch by Acquiring Personalization Engine Canopy

Last year, The Information reported that CNN was working on a new digital news service to compete with the likes of Apple and Facebook. Today, some of those plans are taking shape. The Turner-owned news broadcaster has acquired Canopy, an all-purpose content personalisation that uses human curation, on-device machine learning and differential privacy to help readers discover things they actually want to see, while at the same kind keeping personal data private. The startup will become an anchoring part of CNN’s upcoming news project. TechCrunch


Airbnb Rolls Out New Features Aimed at its Next Big Bet: Longer-Term Stays

Airbnb is tweaking its landing page and introducing new features all aimed at longer-term stays, as the online rental marketplace looks to capitalize on a growing segment of its business.The changes are being rolled out just days after Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said the company had raised $1 billion and laid out plans to direct its attention and new funds toward three core products: hosts, long-term stays and Airbnb experiences. Airbnb raised the $1 billion in debt and equity from private equity firms Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners. TechCrunch



  • Vogue Singapore appoints editor-in-chief, Norman Tan BoF
  • Macy’s CFO, Paula Price, to resign BoF 
  • Mozilla names long-time chairwoman, Mitchell Baker, as CEO TechCrunch
  • Headspace appoints former Intuit exec, CeCe Morken, as president and COO TechCrunch


  • The coronavirus is exposing how vital stable housing is to healthcare Fast Company
  • Is This the End of Wholesale, or the Beginning of Something Better? BoF
  • Preparing for Recovery The Robin Report