5 things you should know about tech today

- May 12, 2020 3 MIN READ
An artist's impression of the now abandoned Sidewalk Labs redevelopment of Toronto's waterfront. Image: Sidewalk Labs

Welcome to world series raise Tuesday.

Here’s what’s happening

1. Twitter tackles coronavirals

In a major setback for sellers of $15,000 light machines, Twitter says it will start tagging tweets with questionable claims about coronavirus with a warning label that tells readers “some or all of the content shared in this tweet conflict with guidance from public health experts regarding covid-19”.

Apparently it will be done on a case-by-case basis, which, if policed properly, suggests the global unemployment problem will be solved in one swoop. 

In a co-authored blog post overnight, head of site integrity Yoel Roth, and public policy boss ‎Nick Pickles said they won’t be fact-checking, but if misleading or disputed claims may have the warnings with a link to a Twitter-curated page or external trusted source, “depending on the propensity for harm and type of misleading information”.

“People don’t want us to play the role of deciding for them what’s true and what’s not true but they do want people to play a much stronger role providing context,” they wrote. 


2. Agtech lands $11m from Yamaha

Japanese giant Yamaha’s investment arm, Yamaha Motor Ventures (YMV), has backed another Australian startup, just four months after its first local investment in healthtech venture Loop+, this time turning its attention to agtech to lead at $11 million raise for The Yield, a farming app that gives large commercial growers microclimate data and predictive insights to support critical production decisions.

The Bosch Group has also converted its existing loan into equity in the company.

YMV’s agtech investment partner Nolan Paul said The Yield was “a best-in-class solution in delivering predictive insights for specialty crops”

“The Yield is poised to be The Climate Corp of horticulture and we look forward to supporting the team’s strategic plan to scale its data-driven solution to the global specialty crop market,” he said.

Meanwhile, The Yield has an ongoing capital raise running until July.


3. Home loans fintech raises $33m

A digital home loans fintech launched by two former Westpac execs has raised AUD$33m Series A from  Auckland businessman Murray Bolton’s investment firm, Bolton Equities.

Sydney-based Verteva said the funds will be used for product development, business expansion and market launch.

Bolton Equities CEO Chris Dineen said that the company appealed to them with its plans to change home lending using data science, deep domain knowledge and new technological capabilities.


4. Tank Stream Labs ups startup advice

With coronavirus hitting the bottom line of many startups, Tank Stream Labs CEO Bradley Delamare has enlisted Hall Chadwick to help fledgling businesses through the challenges ahead.

“We are seeing many vexing financial issues happening at the moment whether it be related to short term liquidity needs, operational expenditure management, staff retention or product/market fit in the current environment,” Delamare said, adding that Hall Chadwick “was the obvious choice” to help, especially partner David Kenney.

Kenney said many of the startups from Tank Stream Labs are already clients so it was a natural fit.

“We want to help Australian companies navigate all the challenges they are currently facing, utilise every legal resource available, including any and all Government assistance schemes for a potential crucial lifeline,” he said.


5. Alphabet folds on Toronto ‘hood

After three years of planning for a US$900 million high-tech neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada, (not the Lake Macquarie one) Alphabet’s urban innovation arm, Sidewalk Labs, has scrapped the controversial plan with the company’s CEO saying in a blog post that “it has become too difficult” to make the 5-hectare site, known as Quayside, financially viable.

Sidewalk Labs had estimated that the economic impact of the project by 2040 would have been 44,000 full-time, permanent jobs (and 93,000 total jobs), and around CN$14.2 billion in annual GDP output.

BONUS ITEM: Tassie unmapped

So they released the code for the CovidSafe app on the weekend and it appears Tasmania has once again been left off the map, although it appears it’s not a part of the code that’s required.

But that leads to this point: