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Wingcopter raises $22 million to expand to the U.S. and launch a next-generation drone

German drone technology startup Wingcopter has raised a $22 million Series A – its first significant venture capital raise after mostly bootstrapping. The company, which focuses on drone delivery, has come a long way since its founding in 2017, having developed, built and flown its Wingcopter 178 heavy-lift cargo delivery drone using its proprietary and patented tilt-rotor propellant mechanism, which combines all the benefits of vertical take-off and landing with the advantages of fixed-wing aircraft for longer distance horizontal flight.
This new Series A round was led by Silicon Valley VC Xplorer Capital, as well as German growth fund Futury Regio Growth. Wingcopter CEO …

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The Week in Business: Biden Gets Down to Business

All eyes are on President Biden right now. Here’s how his new policies will affect companies and households struggling to weather the pandemic economy — plus more of the week’s top business and tech news. Stay safe, everyone. — Charlotte CowlesCredit…Giacomo BagnaraWhat’s Up? (Jan. 17-23)Not a Moment to LosePresident Joseph R. Biden Jr. began his first days in office by signing a flurry of executive orders to bolster the flagging economy and help those worst hit. He directed his administration to speed up the delivery of stimulus checks to the millions of eligible Americans who still haven’ …

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This Week in Apps: TikTok viral hit breaks Spotify records, inauguration boosts news app installs, judge rules against Parler

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.
The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020.
Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.
Apps aren’t …

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One Martini, Ice Cold, With a Blanket and a Scarf

In winters past, Del Pedro, an owner of Tooker Alley in Brooklyn, responded to snowfall by inviting a group of friends to drink martinis in the bar’s frigid backyard. Called the Polar Bear Martini Club, the gatherings were a wry gesture of hearty determination tossed into the teeth of inclement weather.But what was once a goof has become an imperative. Faced with a winter in which New York City’s Covid rules allow only outdoor seating, Mr. Pedro is taking the club public. For $75 a head, including drinks and food, customers will be able to enjoy the privilege …

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Is Rivian the Next Tesla? Investors Bet Big on Electric Truck Maker

Another big trend reshaping the auto industry is autonomous cars. On Tuesday, Cruise, a unit of G.M. that is working in that area, announced it had raised $2 billion from Microsoft, G.M., Honda and other investors. Rivian and Tesla are also working on automated-driving technology.Rivian is different from Tesla in several respects. Tesla so far has grown by selling sporty sedans, a type of vehicle that is falling out of favor with consumers. Tesla intends to begin making an oddly angular, futuristic pickup, the Cybertruck, later this year. But it hasn’t yet put heavy focus on the …

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Apple’s new editorial franchise, Apple Podcasts Spotlight, to highlight interesting creators

Apple today announced a new editorial franchise called Apple Podcasts Spotlight, which aims to highlight rising podcast creators in the U.S. The editorial team at Apple will select new podcast creators to feature every month and then give them prominent screen real estate in the Apple Podcasts app and promote them across social media and elsewhere. This will allow creators to reach a wider audience, similar to how the App Store showcases a selection of recommended apps and games with large banners at the top of its screen.
The first Spotlight creator is Chelsea Devantez, who hosts the podcast …

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Tesla Might Finally Have Some Competition. From Ford.

The Mustang Mach-E and the Volkswagen ID.4, which is due in dealerships in March, go about 250 miles on a full charge — about the same as the cheapest version of Tesla’s Model Y — and start at about $43,000 and $40,000. The base Model Y starts at about $42,000, but the Ford and Volkswagen models are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit that will lower the final cost to well under $40,000, or close to the average price of new cars sold in the United States. The tax credit no longer applies to purchases of Teslas.Start-up automakers will also put new cars on the …

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Cash, Breakfasts and Firings: An All-Out Push to Vaccinate Wary Medical Workers

“If that doesn’t get you in line, I don’t know what will,” Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, said last month.At Houston Methodist, a hospital system in Texas with 26,000 employees, workers who take the vaccine will be eligible for a $500 bonus. “Vaccination is not mandatory for our employees yet (but will be eventually),” Dr. Marc Boom, the hospital’s chief executive, wrote in an email to employees last month.In an interview last week, Dr. Boom said the bonuses were “one of the many strategies to nudge people forward.” He added: “I do think we’ll get there. …

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Amazon is removing products promoting the QAnon conspiracy

Amazon has begun the process of removing QAnon-related products from its platform.
A spokesperson for the company said that the process may take a few days. Any sellers that attempt to evade the company’s systems and list products will be subject to action, including a blanket selling ban across Amazon stores.
News of the ban was first reported by The New York Times.
The company is shutting down the nation’s newest favorite conspiracy theory by removing products sold by QAnon adherents from its platform after supporters were prominently on display at the riot in the nation’s Capitol …

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A Year After Wuhan, China Tells a Tale of Triumph (and No Mistakes)

At a museum in Wuhan, China, a sprawling exhibition paints a stirring tale of how the city’s sacrifices in a brutal 76-day lockdown led to triumph over the coronavirus and, ultimately, rebirth.No costs appear to have been spared for the show, which features a hologram of medical staff members moving around a hospital room, heart-rending letters from frontline health workers and a replica of a mass quarantine site, complete with beds, miniature Chinese flags and toothbrush cups.But the exhibition is also striking for what is not included. There is no mention of the whistle-blowing role of Ai …

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