Weekly News Update // Week of April 27, 2020

Here's TRAUB's roundup of recent retail news. J.Crew prepares to file for bankruptcy, Twitch launches Esports directory to cater to growing streaming audience, Fortnite and Travis Scott's collaboration breaks records, and more. 


  • Dribbble, a bootstrapped ‘LinkedIn’ for designers, acquires Creative Market, grows to 12M users TechCrunch
  • EV startup Nio secures $1B investment from China entitiesTechCrunch 
  • SkyCell raises $62M for smart containers and analytics to transport pharmaceuticals TechCrunch
  • Smart contact lens startup Mojo Vision raises $51M TechCrunch
  • Material Bank, a logistics platform for sourcing architectural and design samples, raises $28M TechCrunch
  • Smart home startup Josh.ai raises $11M to offer a home assistant alternative to Alexa TechCrunch
  • A16Z-backed Tomorrow Health launches with $7.5M seed round to improve in-home healthcare TechCrunch
  • Wise  down $5.7M to scale its challenger bank designed for small businesses TechCrunch


J. Crew Prepares to File for Bankruptcy

J. Crew is preparing for a bankruptcy filing that could come as soon as this weekend, people familiar with the matter tell CNBC. The privately held company is working to secure $400 million to fund operations in bankruptcy, the people said. J. Crew was already struggling with a heavy debt load. Its woes have been worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.Clothing apparel company J. Crew is preparing for a bankruptcy filing that could come as soon as this weekend, people familiar with the matter tell CNBC. Privately held J. Crew is working to secure $400 million in financing to fund operations in bankruptcy, said the people, who requested anonymity because the information is confidential. They cautioned that timing could still slip, and plans are not yet finalized. CNBC



A Staggering Number Of People Saw Fortnite’s Travis Scott ‘Astronomical’ Event

It’s not shocking that we’d see impressive viewership numbers from Fortnite’s “Astronomical” event—not only did the Marshmello concert set records, but we’re currently going through a crippling pandemic that has seen entire countries locked down for weeks on end. Even so, it’s impressive to see it spelled out—after the first show, Epic said that 12.3 million people had tuned in for the premiere. After five shows, the developer says that number has reached up to 27.7 million unique viewers, with 45.8 million views, suggesting plenty of people saw multiple shows. Forbes


Twitch Launches an Esports Directory to Cater to Growing Streaming Audience

Twitch is doubling down on esports in this new era of social distancing as a number of traditional sporting events have been cancelled. The company this week introduced a new esports directory on its site that will make it easier for viewers to find live matches, information on players, games with active competition leagues, a directory of players and more. TechCrunch


The Apple-Google Contact Tracing Tool Gets a Beta Release and a New Risk Level Feature

The Apple-Google coronavirus exposure notification tool is one step closer to its planned mid-May release. On Wednesday, the companies announced that a beta version of the application programming interface (API) is being released to developers for the public health authorities who will be incorporating the tool into their digital contact tracing efforts. As contact tracing becomes an increasingly hot topic in the Covid-19 pandemic, details of the new tool built by Apple and Google are coming into focus. In late April, the companies offered updates that included a closer look at how the tool will work on smartphones, information about additional privacy features, and a new name. Apparently, Apple and Google are backing away from the term “contact tracing.” Their tool is all about “exposure notification.” Vox



UPS Will Start Delivering CVS Prescriptions by Drone in Florida

UPS and CVS announced on Monday drone-delivered prescriptions will start in early May. At first, the deliveries will go to The Villages, the largest retirement community in the US. The 135,000 residents of the Florida community will be able to have prescription medications delivered to their homes. The coronavirus has upended life around the world, and many countries and states are on lockdown. Pharmacies are considered essential and remain open, but venturing outside can be risky, especially for the elderly and immunocompromised populations. Business Insider 


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Nursing Home Design is Deadly. Here’s How to Change It

Nursing homes have long been seen as grim and sterile, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve also been fatal—1.3 million individuals living in nursing homes around the world have died from the virus. While elderly people and those with preexisting conditions are high-risk populations, the infection’s rapid rate of spread is also due to the way nursing homes are designed. Most rooms have two or four beds that are placed in close proximity; sinks and windows can be hard to access; and dated systems require surfaces to be frequently touched. In the face of coronavirus, it’s time to rethink how nursing homes are designed. Here’s what experts suggest. Fast Company



Amazon, Walmart, Target mega-strike: Here’s What to Know About the Sprawling Protest

Workers across the pandemic’s front lines plan to strike together this Friday, May 1, on International Workers’ Day, to protest what they say are unsafe conditions and a lack of protection from their employers.The May Day General Strike will unite employees at Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart, Target, Shipt, FedEx, and Walmart in a single, sprawling effort. According to a press release cited by The Intercept, workers—mostly non-unionized, given their employers’ notorious union-busting reputations—will call in sick or walk off the job during their lunch break, picketing outside their warehouses and storefronts. At some sites, rank-and-file union members will stand alongside them. Fast Company


  • Walmart taps CMO, William White, from Target BoF
  • Diesel appoints North America lead, Patrick Valeo BoF
  • Monzo recruits former Amex exec Sujata Bhatia as its new COO TechCrunch
  • Vogue China deputy publisher, Tang Shuang, steps down BoF


  • How open-source medicine could prepare us for the next pandemic Fast Company
  • Devastating unemployment maps show which areas are hardest hit by COVID-19 shutdowns Fast Company
  • The Future, According To Some Of Our Best Entrepreneurs Forbes