Student media giant Chegg acquires language learning startup Busuu for $436M

Chegg, the NYSE listed student media learning platform is acquiring Busuu, the online language learning startup established in Europe in 2008, for approximately $436 million (€385 million) in an all-cash transaction.

At its exit Busuu had raised only $16.1m in total, a tiny amount even I in European terms, and testament to the sheer grit of the founders who, by the end, had built a business that had reached over 120 million learners to date across more than 160 countries. Busuu provides courses in 12 different languages to over 500,000 paying subscribers.

The company’s last funding round was May 27, 2020 for $2m from GP Bullhound and ultra-high net worths. Prior to that the previous investors had consisted of Harold Primat, McGraw-Hill Education, PROfounders Capital, Martin Varsavsky and Johann “Hansi” Hansmann (according to CrunchBase).

Dan Rosensweig, President and CEO of Chegg said: “The addition of Busuu gives Chegg the unique opportunity to expand our business while also adding tremendous value to our existing users. It will allow us to drive further into international markets, as well as accelerate Busuu’s growth in the US market. Busuu’s team, who we have known for many years, are a great cultural fit. They have built an incredible learning service for the serious language learner, and we are excited to have them as part of Chegg.”

Chegg says it expects Busuu’s full-year 2021 revenue to be approximately $45 million with year-over-year growth of greater than 20%. The $17 billion digital language market is expected to triple in size in the next five years, said a statement by Chegg.

Founded in 2008 by Bernhard Niesner and Adrian Hilti, with offices in London, UK, and Madrid, Spain, Busuu has made a point of finessing its language-learning model and iterating every aspect of the platform, to the point where a study by ann academic at the University of Maryland, showed that users of Busuu needed only 13 hours of study in a two-month period to move up one college semester (typically 90-105 hours of instruction). The company offers free and paid subscriptions on a monthly, annual, and bi-annual basis.

Busuu is used by individuals but also offers corporate language training. Last year it added live language tutoring after acquiring Verbling.

Bernhard Niesner, CEO & Co-founder of Busuu, said: “We are proud and excited to be joining the Chegg family, a world-leading edtech company that puts students first. This partnership will give us an opportunity to leverage Chegg’s tremendous reach to fuel our expansion, particularly in the US. Our vision is to empower everyone in the world through languages, and we believe our relationship with Chegg will enable us to achieve this goal even faster.”

eBay acquires the sneaker authentication business from partner Sneaker Con Digital

Online marketplace eBay is further investing in its sneaker business with today’s news that it’s acquiring Sneaker Con Digital’s authentication business, which verifies the authenticity of high-value footwear. The business has operations in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and Germany, and had been previously working with eBay to vet the sneakers being bought and sold on its platform.

Sneakers have become a large category on eBay’s marketplace, where today there are over 1.9 million pairs available to buy every day.

In October 2020, eBay launched an “Authenticity Guarantee” service in partnership with Sneaker Con, whose team of experts would verify the sneakers at no cost to sellers before items were shipped to the buyers. If the buyer then returns the sneakers, the authenticators would inspect them again before they’re sent back to the seller. This multi-point inspection system involves checking various aspects of the shoes in question, including the sizing, labels, stitching, logos, heel tabs, laces, and more, and even the box itself.

When the shoes were verified, the left sneaker is given an NFC-enabled tag that provides more detailed information about the sneakers’ authenticity when scanned. Verifiable listings also receive a blue check mark next to the item. The service was available for any sneaker over $100 being sold on eBay’s platform.

Many buyers and sellers preferred to shop sneakers through eBay as they’d be able to see photos of the exact shoes they’d be getting, instead of stock photos, and there were fewer fees compared with some rival sneaker marketplaces. Attracting this kind of buyer is also part of eBay’s larger strategy to drive enthusiasts to its site across various high-end categories, like handbags, watches, and sneakers, then benefit as they shop more items on eBay. The company recently noted the average sneaker buyer on eBay spends approximately $2,000 in other categories, for example.

Ebay says its Authenticity Guarantee service led to quarter-over-quarter category growth and, in just over a year, it’s authenticated over 1.55 million sneakers worldwide.

In its Q3 2021 earnings, eBay also noted its U.S. sneaker business was healthy and growing at double-digit rates, and it was expanding to other markets, including Germany. The company additionally announced plans to invest in 3D image capability on sneaker listings that would allow buyers to interact with a 360-degree view of the item they’re purchasing, as another means of instilling buyer confidence.

With the acquisition, eBay is bringing its partnered authentication business in-house where it will continue to build on its offerings to accommodate resale market trends, the company said about today’s news. Deal terms were not disclosed.

However, the deal is only for Sneaker Con’s authentication business — its events business will continue to operate separately. The deal was signed and closed on November 24, 2021, notes eBay.

“eBay has always been a vibrant community of enthusiasts, with deeply knowledgeable buyers, sellers and employees,” said Jordan Sweetnam, SVP and General Manager of eBay North America, in a statement. “We partnered with Sneaker Con to launch sneaker authentication on eBay last year because the team shared our passion for the category – with best-in-class capabilities to deliver what our customers want most. The response to our authentication offering has been overwhelming, and this acquisition allows us to continue to transform eBay and bring a higher level of trust and confidence to every transaction,” he added.

Balance and Pokémon UNITE top Google Play’s ‘Best of 2021’ Awards

Google today announced the winners of its “Best of 2021” app awards, which highlight both the company’s and users’ picks for the best apps and games from the past year. This year, Google is expanding its awards lineup to include apps and games on tablets, Wear OS and Google TV, it says. Its U.S. winners included meditation app Balance as its app of the year and top game Pokémon UNITE. Meanwhile, Paramount+ and Garena Free Fire MAX won the user’s choice awards.

In 2020, the award winners had reflected a world undergoing a pandemic, where stressed users had turned to apps and soothing games to relax — like top sleep app Loóna, which was last year’s “Best App,” or escapist games like winner Genshin Impact.

With the early days of the pandemic now behind us, some of this year’s award winners are apps that now focus on personal growth and creativity, instead of just relaxing or escaping. This, too, seems to reflect where we are as a society. Over this past year, we saw the “great resignation” where U.S. employees voluntarily quit their unfulfilling, underpaid jobs in search of something better, and the creator economy began to boom as people pursued their passions.

In addition to Best of 2021 app Balance, which offers personalized meditation, other personal development-styled winners include Moonly, an app for “harmonizing your life” with the lunar calendar; a “comedic relaxation” app, Laughscape; a hypnotherapy app for women, Clementine; better sleep app Sleep Cycle; mentorship community Mentor Spaces; habit tracker and planner Rabit; and an app for navigating grief from loss, Empathy.

Other winners showcased how we adapted to pandemic life, as with audio chatroom Clubhouse, tools for reducing screen time, like Speechify, or those for reconnecting with nature, like Blossom.

In addition to winner Balance, the full lineup of app winners includes the following:

Best Apps for Good 

Best Everyday Essentials 

Best for Fun 

Best Hidden Gems

Best for Personal Growth 

Best for Tablets  

Best for Wear 

Popular on Google TV

The year’s best games were led by top game Pokémon UNITE, which focused on cross-platform gaming.

“Pokémon Unite is Pokémon’s first strategic team battle game, co-developed by The Pokémon Company and TiMi Studio Group. We tried to distill the best parts of the MOBA genre to create a new kind of game, but I must admit that I was unsure if it would be well received by players around the world,” noted Masaaki Hoshino, Producer, Pokémon UNITE, in a statement. T”his award shows that our game has been positively received by fans and the media, and while this is a great relief, at the same time it reaffirms our determination to continue doing our best to make Pokémon UNITE an even more exciting experience that meets our players’ expectations,” he added.

The larger lineup also included indie experiences like the introspective Bird Alone, which challenges you to become friends with the “loneliest bird in the world.” Annapurna Interactive’s Donut County won for its physics-based puzzle game, among others.

The full list of game winners included:

Best Competitive 

Best Game Changers

Best Indies 

Best Pick Up & Play

Best for Tablets

Each country will have its own list of winning apps and games which can be found in the new Best of 2021 section of the Play Store. The above are Google Play’s U.S. winners.

Bolt makes first acquisition with Tipser, launches ‘Remote Checkout’

The ability to purchase something at the point of discovery from digital content exists, but checkout technology company Bolt has the opportunity to give that its “one-click” treatment. It announced Monday that it made its first acquisition in Tipser, a Swedish-based technology company enabling direct checkout on any digital surface.

San Francisco-based Bolt is fresh off of raising $393 million in Series D funding in October, bringing total capital raised to date to $600 million. And though the Tipser acquisition is in line with the company’s plans of what it wanted to do with the new capital, Ryan Breslow, founder and CEO of Bolt, told TechCrunch the deal “had been in the works for a while.”

Tipser’s technology enables consumers to purchase products natively from sites like online publications, mobile marketplaces, price comparison sites, social media platforms or search engines. The company is led by Marcus Jacobsson, co-founder and CEO, who started the company in 2012 with Axel Wolrath and Jonas Sjöstedt.

In fact, when Bolt initially began talking to Tipser, the company was not in a place to sell, and was actually working on their next investment round (they raised just over $14 million), but the two companies ended up going into deeper conversations and found their cultural resonances worked better together, Breslow said.

“We saw how significant Tipser could be for Bolt,” he added. “They had been perfecting their embedded commerce technology for a decade and were the only formidable player. They were stronger than us in areas where we were weaker. It is very strategic to have them on our team.”

Exact transaction figures were not disclosed, but Breslow did reveal to TechCrunch that the acquisition, which was an all-stock deal, came in “just shy of $200 million.” The entire Tipser team is staying put, so Bolt will be adding 100 more people to its team. Tipser’s presence in Sweden will now also serve as Bolt’s European headquarters to go with the company’s recent announcement of expanding into Europe.

In addition to the acquisition, Bolt is launching Remote Checkout, a tool for shoppers to make a purchase from the exact point of discovery. Instead of seeing something on social media — where 84% of shoppers look for reviews, according to Pew Research Center — then going to another website to make the purchase,

The new tool is one that Bolt was working on internally for over a year and was inspired by Instagram Checkout, also a tool where you can discover a product and check out directly from the app, Breslow said.

“With the death of tracking and cookies, we could see the need for native checkout so retailers can track conversion,” he added. “It’s better for consumers to not have to click a million things.”

Bolt’s Remote Checkout features include the direct one-click checkout, engagement with Bolt’s network of shoppers and the ability for merchants to boost conversion rates while receiving orders through multiple channels and building direct relationships with visitors. It also turns anonymous visitors into logged-in account holders and monetizes traffic on-site.

The added feature of publishers and creators being able to monetize traffic coming to their sites was one that Jason Wagenheim, president and CRO at media publisher BDG (formerly known as Bustle Digital Group), found particularly interesting. BDG’s brands include Bustle, EliteDaily and Fatherly.

He was a bystander of sorts for the merger, having signed up with Tipser in January as the company’s first U.S. publisher, going live with the product in April on two of BDG’s 13 sites, Wagenheim said in an interview.

“What I love most about this acquisition is that we can accelerate the onboarding of hundreds of more merchants onto our platform,” he said. “This is a marriage of content and commerce.”

Before social media and companies like Bolt and Tipser, shopping directly from a magazine page meant utilizing QR codes, but that didn’t take off like people thought it would, Wagenheim said.

Other publishers tried to crack the code, and he noted Goop being one of the few able to do it. Now with these new technologies, any publisher or creator can close the gap between the upper and lower funnels and drive awareness because its commerce is shoppable and one click away.

He considers BDG’s project with Tipser still in the beta phase, but there are plans to roll out the technology on all of its sites next year. The company already had its audience engage in over 25 million sessions with people, on average, seeing 10 products per session, a metric Wagenheim says means the process is working: people are spending time with the products, are engaged and adding products to carts.

“With hundreds more merchants for editors to write about, and the one-click transaction happening, that is a game-changer,” he added.

Co-working and EdTech company Talent Garden acquires Hyper Island to scale online courses globally

Talent Garden is a sort of ‘European-WeWork-meets-General-Assembly’ in that its business model is a combination of co-working spaces (in places like Italy, Austria, Romania, among others) plus online/offline digital courses. It’s also a post Series B company (its last round was $73.5 million), having raised from investors such as 500 Startups and Social Capital. It’s now upping its game further with the acquisition of a majority (54%) stake in Hyper Island a place some Europeans regard as the continent’s ‘Digital Harvard University’.

Hyper Island emerged in the 90s as a school of excellence in the emerging world of UX and games design and has gone on to produce an enormous range of talent, which is routinely hoovered-up by the biggest tech players.

The combination of the two will no doubt expand both’ ability to scale their online courses (and offline, where applicable).

For instance, Talent Garden offers a myriad of business training courses for the digital world, processing around 20,000 students a year. Likewise, Hyper Island has traditionally been best known for its online education, but with Talent Garden, that inline component will no-doubt be expanded. Talent Garden also has 20 campuses across Europe.

Talent Garden Co-founder Rasa Strumskyte told me: “Over 60% of our courses are online and the rest on campus and we will work to expand existing courses to more markets and create new ones, especially online.”

It’s estimated that some 97 million new digital jobs will emerge in the next few years, with the global digital education market estimated to grow from $8.4 billion in 2020 to $33.2 billion by 2025, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors of the post-pandemic era.

Hyper Island has a global presence operating in Europe, Asia-Pacific, North and South America through physical establishments in the UK, Singapore, USA and Brazil.

The combined entity says it will have expected revenues of €50 million in 2022, 20,000 professionals trained a year, 5,000 students placed on the job market “with a 98% placement rate and more than 4,500 start-ups and digital innovators as teachers and community members.”

Davide Dattoli, Talent Garden’s Co-Founder and Executive President said: “Through joining forces with Hyper Island, our project is making a new leap forward. In such an important but fragmented market, we are readier as ever before to act as aggregators and game-changers. We will expand our training offering for the benefit of many current and future workers who are living through this time of digital transition.”

Irene Boni, new CEO of Talent Garden said: “Talent Garden has an opportunity to grow considerably in the in the digital education market in Europe, also by training individuals as well as large companies that want to take advantage of the benefits of digitization — which is certainly a technological issue, but most of all a question of human capital.”

Before joining Talent Garden, Boni had been working for the past ten years in the unicorn Yoox Net a Porter (today part of Richemont luxury group) as CoGeneral Manager. Before that she worked at McKinsey.

Fredrik Mansson, Chairman of Hyper Island said: “Through the alliance with Talent Garden we will jointly get a substantial increase in the resources to accelerate both companies growth and impact in the world.”

Vauban, an AngelList-like platform for VCs and angels to run and raise funds, closes $6.3m

It’s always been a slight puzzle why AngelList never really properly took off in Europe, especially when, a few years ago, there was such a dearth of funding options for poorly served European startups. But the reasons are fairly simple when you look at them. For starters, the US tech industry boomed in the last ten years. Why bother spreading your resources, when your home market is taking off, right? Secondly, the sheer complexity of building such a platform across Europe’s myriad regulatory borders would tend to dissuade even the boldest of actors. So this is why the market for such a fund-raising platform has been more or less wide open for such a long time. Until now.

Vauban is a new startup based out of London which provides venture capital fund managers with tools to raise a fund and invest capital. It’s now closed a Post-Seed / Pre-Series A funding round of £4.7m or $6.3m.

Vauban says it will now deepen its tech and regulatory infrastructure, and launch a new office in Luxembourg to strengthen its European / EU offering, alongside its headquarters in London. Thus it will be able to span the entire European ecosystem.

The investment round was co-led by Pentech and Outward, in addition to 7percent Ventures and MJ Hudson. A roster of angel investors have also participated including CEO of Nested Matt Robinson;  the founder of Grabayo, Will Neale; the founder and CEO of ComplyAdvantage, Charles Delingpole; Partner at Augmentum Fintech Perry Blacher; and Al Giles, from legal services provider Axiom.

Vauban allows VCs and angel investors to raise funds, create angel syndicates, and manage fundraising and investment activities. The platform claims it enables users to set-up and deploy Funds and SPVs, from multiple global investment jurisdictions, at “a fraction of the usual time and cost”, covering structuring, legal documents, investor onboarding, banking, and reporting.

Vauban says it is onboarding “at least one new client every day” and current VC users include Anthemis, Passion Capital and Octopus Ventures. In total, it says over 5,000 LPs are using its platform.

Founder and Co-CEO Rémy Astié said: “Our goal is to reduce the friction between those who have the capital, and those who need it to solve humanity’s biggest problems. So, we decided to start by rebuilding the infrastructure on digital rails, because it’s mission-critical in order to provide a great UX to everyone in the industry: GPs, LPs and Founders.”

Vauban has appeared at a time when there is huge investment activity in European tech. Some €41.8bn was raised across Europe in the first half of 2021, up from €32.6bn in 2020.

With VC firms now managing several funds and now often using Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) to participate in specific deals, make secondary investments, or set up ‘sidecar’ funds alongside EIS vehicles or their main institutional funds, the whole process is becoming more complex, hence the increasing ‘platformization’ of the space. Doing all this on spreadsheets or, similarly simple tools, will no longer cut it.

Furthermore, European angel investors are more and more professionalizing and syndicating deals to boost dealmaking and dealflow, hence why a dedicated platform is likely to be welcome.

Ulric Musset, Founder and Co-CEO says, “One of the biggest catalysts for new startup creation was the launch of Amazon Web Services in the early 2000s. We believe Vauban will have the same impact that AWS has had on the startup ecosystem.”

Andi Kazeroonian, Investor at Outward VC, commented: “Despite the meteoric growth in alternative investments in recent years, the infrastructure the industry relies on has failed to evolve. Simply creating and administering an investment vehicle remains synonymous with lengthy, cumbersome and expensive processes fragmented across multiple service providers. Vauban’s integrated platform has turned this on its head with a relentless focus on product and user experience, which has unsurprisingly led to exceptional organic growth and its emergence as the standout category leader in Europe.”

Craig Anderson, Partner at Pentech added: “We like to invest in category-leading companies with big ambitions for growth. We believe Vauban is building a modern infrastructure for the alternate asset market which enables users to set up, deploy and manage their funds and SPVs in just a few hours.”

Founder and Co-CEO Rémy Astié told me over a call: “We are different to AngelList in that we are very international and global by design. The idea is to create a global platform, which means that you can raise from LPS anywhere in the world, to invest in a company that’s anywhere in the world. And yeah, we think that’s our core strength, that we build everything with international LPs in mind, so you can raise in multiple currencies.”

As human capital grows scarce, flexible compensation can help attract and retain talent

The Great Resignation is among the most significant events in recent U.S. history. We are seeing a post-COVID-19 generation refusing to work under the same conditions as they did before. The U.S. is facing the most prominent labor shortage of the decade, and positions that require high-demand skills are harder than ever to fill.

Midsized companies are finding it particularly hard to retain qualified personnel. Confronted by notable resource constraints, smaller budgets and workers’ demand for flexible solutions, the problems for SMBs are as great or even more significant than for larger organizations.

One way to make your company attractive is by developing attractive compensation strategies and increasing pay transparency and equity. Employees don’t always leave or stay because of their pay, but an opaque model for allocating compensation exacerbates feelings of disconnection and lowers engagement.

Let’s dive into how startups can benefit from compensation analysis, and how they can utilize available data to develop a comprehensive compensation strategy.

Understanding the complexity of compensation

Pay equity is one of the most pressing social issues today, and any discrepancies can have adverse spillover effects on reputation and company relationships.

The amount that lands in an employees’ bank account is just one fragment of today’s compensation packages. Compensation can consist of a base salary, annual cash bonuses and long-term incentives.

When stirring a compensation mix together, there are different trade-offs to consider:

  • Fixed versus variable compensation: Base salary compared with bonuses.
  • Long-term incentives versus short-term incentives: Short-term incentives can be in the form of annual bonus structures. Long-term incentives are usually stock or other forms of compensation that vest over the years.
  • Cash versus equity: Equity can include stock options, restricted stock and performance shares.
  • Group incentives versus individual incentives: You could implement a percentage-based salary increase for all positions or give bonuses to select employees.

It isn’t ideal to have a uniform policy for all positions and departments. Managers should explain their reward decisions on an individual level, and compensation decisions should reflect the skills and contributions of every employee. In addition, companies are bound to have varying budgets (e.g., higher revenue during the holiday seasons) and philosophies on allocating them.

Many make the mistake of sticking to an approach that doesn’t pan out from a strategic standpoint or doesn’t motivate the team enough. Instead, managers should gather data, work through various analyses and scenarios and design a compensation strategy tailored to the company. This is where compensation management software comes into play.

The devil is in the data

Data will help you understand where the talent market is headed and where your company stands.

Afterpay unveils BNPL subscription offering for US customers

“Buy now, pay later” company Afterpay announced Wednesday that it was going after the $1.5 trillion global subscription payments market by offering to its U.S. customers payment installments for subscriptions, like gym memberships, entertainment subscriptions and online services.

The service will launch in both the U.S. and Australia beginning early in 2022 and will be free for customers who pay on time. IPSY, BoxyCharm, Savage X Fenty and Fabletics are among the initial list of merchants that will offer the feature. The company plans to expand the feature in-store and into other regions later, including Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and Europe.

In addition to paying for subscriptions in installments, Afterpay is also enabling its offering to be used on preordered items, where users can pay in four installments over time once the item ships. Another feature coming soon will allow merchants to accept deposits on custom items.

“By offering customers the option to pay for subscriptions with Afterpay, we’re not only giving consumers flexibility to pay for more expensive monthly costs, but we’re also helping our merchant partners capture a wider consumer base through this convenient experience,” said Zahir Khoja, general manager of North America for Afterpay, in a written statement.

Klarna, Afterpay’s competitor in the BNPL space, also announced news this week for its U.S. customers that it was offering its “Pay Now” option.

Meanwhile, in August, Square announced that it was buying Afterpay in an all-stock deal valued at $29 billion. Afterpay has also been on a roll with feature debuts recently, launching both Afterpay Ads, a suite of advertising products for brands to engage with shoppers within the ecosystem, and merchant analytics tool Afterpay IQ, in August.

Afterpay works with 100,000 retailers and has approximately 10.5 million active customers in North America as of June 30, up from 5.6 million the year prior. North America is the company’s “largest region in terms of underlying sales,” which grew 145% year over year, or from $4 billion in fiscal year 2020 to $9.8 billion in fiscal year 2021, according to the company.

Einride founder Robert Falck on his moral obligation to electrify autonomous trucking

Robert Falck used to work at a Russian trucking factory by day, and by night, he built a nightclub guest list startup. He also collects old books, and once guessed that Chinese author Gao Xingjian would win the Nobel Prize in literature. He grew up on a farm, but has degrees in finance, economics and mechanical engineering.

No, this isn’t a game of two truths and a lie — indeed, these are snippets from the life of a serial entrepreneur who harbors a vendetta against the carbon emissions produced by the world’s trucking industry.

Falck, now the CEO and founder of Swedish autonomous freight company Einride, also worked as the director of manufacturing engineering assembly at Volvo GTO Powertrain. He learned how heavy duty vehicles are produced en masse during his three-and-a-half years there, and also helped start and invest in other companies. Einride, which he founded in 2016, is his seventh company.

Einride’s business is threefold. It currently operates one of Europe’s largest fleets of electric trucks, but its main offering is its electric autonomous pods, self-driving freight trucks built without a front cab and no room for a human operator. The startup also offers an IoT system called Saga that runs through its fleet and helps the company and its shipping partners optimize routes, and manage and electrify fleets.

Einride launched its U.S. operations this month and plans to operate its pods, trucks and OS with partners like GE Appliances, Bridgestone and Oatly. In May, the company raised $110 million to help fund its U.S. expansion, bringing its total funding to $150 million.

We sat down with Falck to talk about Einride’s strategy for scaling revenue, the need for autonomous vehicles to be built on electric platforms and why the future is in startups’ hands.

“The average OEM will need to write off between six and seven years of profit to get rid of the legacy investments in diesel platforms.”

The following interview, part of an ongoing series with founders who are building transportation companies, has been edited for length and clarity.

TechCrunch: In addition to your work at Volvo, you’ve started two nightclub-related platforms and a hunting app. Why start an autonomous trucking company?

Robert Falck: Working at Volvo, producing diesel engines, gearboxes and trucks, made it clear to me the challenges the industry was facing and that I have a moral obligation. I mean, the heavy freight transport industry stands for between 7% to 8% of global CO2 emissions, and the engines that I helped to produce contribute roughly 1% of global CO2 emissions. That’s how much of an impact my previous position was actually making, and I realized that I was part of the problem.

It doesn’t exactly make sense to start a company. You’re either crazy, or if you’re in it for money, you’re not going to get there, because there are much easier ways to make money. But for me, I consider the CO2 emissions to be our generation’s greatest challenge. And it’s quite fascinating how secondary failure becomes when you know that you do it for the right reasons.

You have been described as a serial entrepreneur. Are you with Einride for the long run, or are you already thinking about your next startup?

I think all entrepreneurs get a thrill out of entrepreneurship. And I’m definitely more of an entrepreneur and company builder than I am an administrator and manager. I’m not the kind of person to sit there and keep the status quo. It’s not my thing.

So will your next startup tackle CO2 emissions, but just in a different industry?

A lot of the very traditional industries are ready for disruption, and that’s going to challenge and change society at its core. The main driver behind it is that if you look globally, there’s a huge demand for sustainability.

I think most of the companies that are going to change or save the planet will be created in the next five to 10 years, and there’s lot of potential in some of the more traditional parts of the economy. Everything from trucking and the automotive space to real estate, a lot of those big plays are still up for grabs. I think energy — smart grids and how we structure energy production — is going to be another one of them.

So you think most of the climate tech that’ll solve the biggest issues will come from startups rather than legacy companies?

Netflix’s gaming service adds two more titles, including the return of Gameloft’s ‘Asphalt Xtreme’

Earlier this month, Netflix’s new gaming service became globally available across both iOS and Android with a debut lineup that included two “Stranger Things”-themed games and a few more casual gaming titles. In the days since its launch, Netflix has expanded its lineup with two more games, including another casual game “Bowling Ballers,” and now, a reboot of Gameloft’s “Asphalt Xtreme,” which officially shut down this September.

“Bowling Ballers” is another title from existing Netflix gaming partner Frosty Pop, which already offers two other games for the streamer’s new service, “Shooting Hoops” and “Teeter Up.” Like the others, this latest addition is a simple game that’s described as an “endless runner” for bowling, which also includes a level-based mode. And like all Netflix games, “Bowling Ballers” is ad-free and doesn’t offer any in-app purchases.

The other new addition is a bit more interesting. “Asphalt Xtreme” was a fairly popular Gameloft title for a few years. It was the second spinoff from Gameloft’s “Asphalt” series of action racing games, and allowed players to go off-roads to explore exotic locales while controlling a variety of vehicles, including rally cars and monster trucks. The gameplay would see the cars having to traverse difficult elements like water, rocks, sand, mud, and snow.

The game was developed from August 2015 to September 2017, but was shut down entirely on September 30, 2021. By Oct. 1, 2021, it was no longer available on the app stores for download. Netflix then licensed the title from Gameloft to add to its mobile gaming collection.

Larger gaming publishers like Gameloft tend to shut down titles that have passed their prime, and no longer generate the revenue needed to keep the game active. But a service like Netflix, it seems, could be an interesting new home for such IP, as its goal is not to develop a profit from the games directly.

This format of an all-access “gaming subscription” is already used by the various cloud gaming services, like Xbox Cloud Gaming or Stadia, as well as the retro gaming service GameClub, and even Apple’s own Apple Arcade.

But Netflix doesn’t need the game subscription to stand on its own. Instead, Netflix sees these mobile games as a means of maintaining and growing its paying subscriber base by offering consumers a different type of entertainment beyond its TV shows and movies. Netflix subscribers can browse the available games inside Netflix’s streaming app, but the titles themselves are listed on the respective app stores as free downloads. When users are ready to play, the games require your Netflix credentials to log in — making them exclusive to Netflix members.

“Bowling Ballers,” which launched earlier this month, is available to global users. Netflix confirmed “Asphalt Xtreme,” which launched just this week, is now slowly rolling out to users worldwide. It will become available to U.S. users in the weeks ahead.