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China’s Anger at Foreign Brands Helps Local Rivals

Tim Min once drove BMWs. He considered buying a Tesla.Instead Mr. Min, the 33-year-old owner of a Beijing cosmetics start-up, bought an electric car made by a Chinese Tesla rival, Nio. He likes Nio’s interiors and voice control features better.He also considers himself a patriot. “I have a very strong inclination toward Chinese brands and very strong patriotic emotions,” he said. “I used to love Nike, too. Now I don’t see any reason for that. If there’s a good Chinese brand to replace Nike, I’ll be very happy to.”Western brands like H&M, …

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The Start-Up Enemies of Wall Street Are Booming

“The infrastructure has gone to a whole other level,” said CJ MacDonald, founder of Step, a debit card provider aimed at teenagers. Introduced in September, Step quickly reached one million customers, partly from endorsements from social media influencers like Charli D’Amelio.In December, Step raised $50 million in funding. The company was not looking for more money, Mr. MacDonald said. But investors started calling as soon as the app joined the top-downloaded finance app list shortly after it was released. The money came together in a matter of weeks, he said.Investors are even clamoring to buy into broken deals. …

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‘The Market Seems Crazy’: Start-Ups Wrestle With Flood of Offers

The frenzy has already led to trouble. The stock of Nikola, an electric car start-up that went public via a SPAC in June, has plunged more than 80 percent after Hindenburg Research, an investment fund, accused the company in September of lying about its technology, overstating business deals and deceptively rolling a truck down a hill in a product video. Trevor Milton, Nikola’s founder and chairman, resigned, and the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department have started investigating the company.The S.E.C. has also opened inquiries into Clover Health, a health insurance start-up, and Lordstown Motors, an …

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Learning Apps Have Boomed During the Pandemic. Now Comes the Real Test

After a tough year of toggling between remote and in-person schooling, many students, teachers and their families feel burned out from pandemic learning. But companies that market digital learning tools to schools are enjoying a coronavirus windfall.Venture and equity financing for education technology start-ups has more than doubled, surging to $12.58 billion worldwide last year from $4.81 billion in 2019, according to a report from CB Insights, a firm that tracks start-ups and venture capital.During the same period, the number of laptops and tablets shipped to primary and secondary schools in the United States nearly doubled to 26.7 million, from 14 million, according …

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Learning Apps Have Boomed in the Pandemic. Now Comes the Real Test.

After a tough year of toggling between remote and in-person schooling, many students, teachers and their families feel burned out from pandemic learning. But companies that market digital learning tools to schools are enjoying a coronavirus windfall.Venture and equity financing for education technology start-ups has more than doubled, surging to $12.58 billion worldwide last year from $4.81 billion in 2019, according to a report from CB Insights, a firm that tracks start-ups and venture capital.During the same period, the number of laptops and tablets shipped to primary and secondary schools in the United States nearly doubled to 26.7 million, from 14 million, according …

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Payments Start-Up Stripe Surges to $95 Billion Valuation

The payments company Stripe is worth $95 billion after a new round of funding, making it the most valuable start-up in the United States.The San Francisco and Dublin-based company said on Sunday that it had raised $600 million in new funding from investors including Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Management and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency. The investment nearly triples Stripe’s last valuation of $35 billion.The funding comes amid a surge in the adoption of digital tools and services in the pandemic as more people live, work and make purchases online. That has fueled a wave of investment into, and eye-popping …

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Coupang, South Korea’s Answer to Amazon, Debuts in I.P.O.

SEOUL, South Korea — The small white delivery trucks zip down streets all over South Korea. The uniformed workers send photos of safely delivered packages to impatient customers. Workers can move so fast, their employer promises, that it calls the service “rocket delivery.”The trucks and the operation belong to Coupang, a start-up founded by a Harvard Business School dropout that has shaken up shopping in South Korea, an industry long dominated by huge, button-down conglomerates. In a country where people are obsessed with “ppalli ppalli,” or getting things done quickly, Coupang has become a household name by offering “next-day” and …

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Roblox Tops $45 Billion on First Day of Trading as Gaming Booms

When the pandemic forced people indoors a year ago, many passed the time by playing games on their iPhones, building gaming computers and exploring the latest blockbuster titles on their Xbox and PlayStation consoles.For video game companies, that has meant gushers of cash. A record $56.9 billion was spent on gaming last year in the United States, up 27 percent from 2019, according to the NPD Group. Sony, which released the PlayStation 5 in November, recently reported a 62 percent profit jump while Microsoft tallied $5 billion in quarterly gaming revenue for the first time, helped by sales of its new Xbox devices.On Wednesday, …

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How Do Silicon Valley Techies Celebrate Getting Rich in a Pandemic?

Sprinter vansFor Palantir, a data analytics company that went public in September, Feb. 18 was “giraffe money” day. That was the first day that current and former employees could cash out all of their shares after the company went public.In a Slack channel for former employees called Giraffe Money — an apparent reference to wealth that can support casual giraffe ownership — many anticipated their windfalls by sharing links, mostly in jest, to absurdly expensive home listings and boats, one former employee said.But in reality, techies are spending in very different ways.Instead of fine art, they are buying NFTs, or …

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Away From Silicon Valley, the Military Is the Ideal Customer

In the drone business, however, he is not alone. A host of start-ups are building similar technology for the military. Shield AI, founded by a former member of the Navy SEALs, is in San Diego, not far from Anduril. Teal Drones, whose founder emerged from Mr. Thiel’s internship program, is in Salt Lake City.The Defense Department is hungry for small drones that will track objects and fly into buildings, combat zones and other dangerous areas with little help from remote pilots. Self-piloting drones will become a key part of fighting and other military activities in the years to …

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