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Walmart reaches settlement with Tesla over solar panel fires, drops lawsuit

By Kirsten Korosec

Walmart has dropped a lawsuit that accused Tesla of breach of contract and gross negligence after rooftop solar panel systems on seven of the retailer’s stores allegedly caught fire.

A settlement has been reached and stipulation of dismissal has been filed with the court, a Walmart spokesperson said in an email. It is unclear what the settlement entails. TechCrunch has requested more information and will update the article if new details emerge.

The two companies issued a joint release Tuesday announcing that the issues raised by Walmart have been resolved.

“Safety is a top priority for each company and with the concerns being addressed, we both look forward to a safe re-energization of our sustainable energy systems,” the emailed statement reads.

The resolution comes just three months after Walmart filed the lawsuit in New York state court. The lawsuit was aimed at Tesla Energy Operations, a division within the clean energy and electric vehicle automaker that was formerly known as SolarCity.

Days after the lawsuit was filed, the two companies announced efforts were underway to try to reach an agreement that would keep the solar installations in place and put them back in service, according to a joint statement issued at the time.

While the announcement signaled progress, the specter of a lawsuit still loomed. Until now.

Walmart said it sued Tesla after years of gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards by Tesla, according to court documents. Walmart asked Tesla to remove solar panels from all 240 locations where they have been installed, as well as pay for damages related to fires that the retailer alleges stem from the panels. The lawsuit points to several fires on the retailer’s rooftops that allegedly stem from Tesla solar panels.

Amazon now sells movie tickets in India

By Manish Singh

Amazon has set its eye on the next business it wants to disrupt in India: online movie tickets. The e-commerce giant said Saturday it has partnered with online movie ticketing giant BookMyShow to offer booking option on its shopping site and app.

The move comes months after the e-commerce giant began offering flight ticketing option in the country as it races to turn its payments service Amazon Pay into a “super app” — a strategy increasingly employed by players in emerging markets such as India.

Starting today, Amazon users in India can book their movie tickets from the “movie tickets” category under “shop by category” or the Amazon Pay tab, the e-commerce firm said. BookMyShow, which leads the online movie ticketing market, is the exclusive partner for this new offering, the two said.

Neither of the parties disclosed the financial arrangements of the deal, but BookMyShow is likely paying Amazon a fee for tapping “millions” of customers the e-commerce giant has amassed in the country.

Amazon said its credit card users in India will get a 2% cashback on each movie ticket purchase. On its app, the company adds until November 14. it will also offer cashback of up to Rs 200 on each ticket purchase.

For its flight ticketing service, Amazon India partnered with Cleartrip . Balu Ramachandran, SVP at Cleartrip, told TechCrunch in an interview earlier that the company was paying a promotional fee to Amazon, but declined to offer specifics.

An Amazon India spokesperson declined to comment on the financial arrangements.

BookMyShow, which employs 1,400 employees, sells about 15 million tickets each month. The service, which has a presence in over 650 towns and cities, today counts heavily-backed Paytm as one of its biggest rivals. Paytm, which entered the movie ticketing business three years ago, has been able to eat some of BookMyShow’s market share by offering cashback on each ticket purchase.

The media and entertainment business in India is worth $23.9 billion, a report from EY-FICCI said in March this year, which noted that consumer spendings on the web is increasingly growing. More than 50% of all tickets sold by the top four multiplex chains in the country have occurred on the web.

Ashish Hemrajani, founder and CEO of BookMyShow, said through the partnership the company will be able to access Amazon India’s “deep penetration across tier 2 and tier 3 cities.”

Mahendra Nerurkar, Director of Amazon Pay, said today’s partnership shows Amazon’s commitment to “simplify the lives of our customers in every possible way — as they shop, pay bills, or seek other services.”

Last month, Amazon introduced a new feature that allows Amazon Pay users to pay their mobile, internet, and utility bills. This is the first time Amazon is offering these functionalities in any market (it plans to bring this to the U.S. in coming months).

Amazon has been quietly expanding its payments offering, built on top of UPI payments infrastructure, in the country. Unlike its global rivals Google and Walmart that offer standalone apps for their payment services and also focus on transactions among customers, Amazon has kept Pay integrated with its e-commerce offering and focused on consumer-to-business transactions.

The company maintains tie-ups with several popular Indian online services and frequently offers cashback to incentivize users to pick Amazon Pay over other solutions. Earlier this week, Amazon pumped about $634 million into its India business.

Contentstack raises $31.5M Series A round for its headless CMS platform

By Frederic Lardinois

Contentstack, a startup that offers a headless CMS platform for enterprises, today announced that it has raised a $31.5 million Series A round led by Insight Partners. Existing investors Illuminate Ventures and GingerBread Capital also participated in this round.

The company says that it saw its revenue grow by 4x in the first half of 2019 compared to the same time period last year. Without a baseline, that’s not exactly a meaningful number for a startup founded in 2018, of course, but sales cycles in the enterprise are notoriously long and the company does have a number of marquee customers like Shell, Walmart and Cisco.

The Contentstack founding team, Neha Sampat, Nishant Patel and Matthew Baier, recently sold Built.io to Software AG . “With Contentstack, the opportunity feels even larger, but there is also a strong sense of urgency,” said Sampat when I asked her about why she decided to raise at this point, which comes relatively late for a company with Contentstack’s ambitions. “Being able to do more right now and scale the company’s operations to match the opportunity right in front of us required more resources than the company’s organic growth would provide us.”

Sampat also noted that she believes that brands are not realizing that their customers don’t want billboards but customized experiences across channels. Yet, at the same time, they often don’t know what’s working and how to get the most value out of the content they create.

headless cms assets management

“The belief that a single platform or product can ‘do it all’ is being replaced with the realization you can do more, better by bringing together the best technologies the market has to offer,” she said. “This wasn’t an option before, because integrations were so complex and clunky. But now, with the emergence of extensible content experience platforms, companies can actually get to market FASTER using this approach, compared to using a single-vendor approach that wasn’t built for the modern era.”

The company tells me that it is getting traction across industries, but retail, travel/hospitality, sports/entertainment and tech are doing especially well.

Like most companies at the Series A stage, Contentstack says it will use the new funding to scale its sales and marketing team and build out its partner ecosystem and community around the product. Sampat also tells me that the company plans to expand beyond its core regions of the U.S., India and Europe by moving into the APAC region in the first half of 2020, mostly with a focus on Australia and New Zealand.

Roku to launch low-cost versions of its soundbar and subwoofer under Walmart’s onn brand

By Sarah Perez

Roku will produce lower-cost versions of its new Smart Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer for Walmart under the retailer’s own onn brand, the company announced this morning. While Roku offers distinct versions of some of its streaming media players exclusively for retailers like Walmart and Best Buy, the company had briefly mentioned a larger deal with Walmart in its second-quarter financial report.

In addition to the Roku TVs and players sold at Walmart, Roku had said it would offer “several new Roku devices including audio products,” under the Walmart onn brand.

The new onn Roku audio devices for Walmart are an expansion of the line introduced last month.

In September, Roku debuted two new devices, including the Smart Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer, both at $180 each. The idea was to complement the existing Roku wireless speakers, in the case of the subwoofer, or offer an alternative for those who didn’t own a Roku TV or didn’t have enough space to set up the wireless speakers, in the case of the soundbar.

The Walmart onn-branded Smart Soundbar and Wireless Subwoofer, meanwhile, will only cost $129 each.

onn Roku Smart Soundbar lifestyle

Similar to Roku’s flagship models, onn Roku Smart Soundbar offers support for Dolby Audio, streaming from Bluetooth devices and connects to the TV via HDMI-ARC or HDMI and Optical. However, it will ship with Roku’s simpler IR remote, offering TV power and channel button shortcuts instead of the more powerful voice remote that comes with the $180 version.

It also features 40W of peak power versus the Roku Smart Soundbar’s 60W and different drivers.

The onn Roku Wireless Subwoofer is designed to work with the onn Roku Smart Soundbar to offer customers a deeper, richer bass. The lower-cost version features a 10″ driver like the Roku Wireless Subwoofer, but it’s slightly smaller and features 150 peak watts of power versus the Roku Wireless Subwoofer’s 250 peak watts of power.

Both devices also feature branding and cosmetic differences, Roku says.

“Roku and Walmart have worked together for years to enhance the entertainment experience for millions of people who have purchased Roku TV models and Roku streaming players. Now, we’re looking forward to getting these new audio products on shelves to provide consumers with better sound for their TV experience at a great price,” said Mark Ely, vice president of Players and Whole Home Product Management at Roku, in a statement.

onn Roku Wireless Subwoofer

The Walmart exclusivity deal will help bring more customers to Roku’s products at a time when the majority of Roku’s revenue isn’t hardware sales, but rather platform revenue.

Led by advertising, Roku platform revenue has out-earned hardware sales for the past five quarters. And in Q2, Roku saw $250.1 million in revenue versus $224.4 million expected, up 59% from the same quarter in 2018 — the rise largely attributed to advertising.

onn Roku Smart Soundbar

The new onn Roku-branded products may serve as an entry point for some customers into Roku’s wider range of products, including its streaming players and Roku OS-powered TVs, for example. This, in turn, could help Roku grow its customer base for its platform business. In addition, Walmart shoppers are historically price-conscious, meaning they’re the ideal demographic to target with Roku’s growing ad-supported streaming business, where it provides free movies and TV through its home page hub, The Roku Channel.

The devices will become available sometime in the next few weeks both in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com, says Roku.

Where top VCs are investing in edtech

By Eric Peckham

Education is a $4 trillion market globally in urgent need of overall — so where within education are top venture capitalists optimistic about startups building large businesses by providing new solutions?

According to EdSurge, $1.45 billion of venture capital (a mere 1.1% of the $130 billion in US venture funding) was invested in education startups in the US in 2018; there were only 112 education-focused deals. In line with the trend in venture capital overall, this represented an increase in overall capital but a concentration in fewer deals (mainly large late-stage rounds).

Education is regarded as a tough market for achieving VC scale returns. Selling into school districts and universities is difficult and slow, and freemium models that go direct-to-teachers have struggled to monetize.

New software, content, and financing solutions for learning outside the traditional school system are more compelling business opportunities. This is particularly the case in vocational training where the return on investment of an educational program or tool can be quantitatively measured in job offers and salary increases

I asked four leading edtech VCs and six of the top generalist VCs (who have a track record of education investments) to share where they see opportunity in this sector:

  • Jennifer Carolan, Reach Capital
  • Amit Mukherjee, NEA
  • Michael Staton, Learn Capital
  • Annie Kadavy, Redpoint Ventures
  • Aydin Senkut, Felicis Ventures
  • Matt Greenfield, Rethink Education
  • Hemant Taneja, General Catalyst Partners
  • Marlon Nichols, MaC Venture Capital
  • Jan Lynn-Matern, Emerge Education
  • Charles Birnbaum, Bessemer Venture Partner

Here are their answers…

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Image via Getty Images / doyata

Jennifer Carolan, General Partner at Reach Capital (an education-focused VC firm in Palo Alto with investments including Abl, BetterLesson, Epic!, Handshake, Holberton School, Newsela, Outschool, and Tinkergarten):

“Human-centered learning has been traditionally limited to one’s physical geography but technology is unlocking learning opportunities that never before existed.  We’re particularly interested in the marketplaces that are better matching supply and demand across experiential learning, educator coaching, tutoring, and online small groups.

Startups Weekly: Part & Parcel plans plus-sized fashion empire

By Kate Clark

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about Stripe’s grand plans. Before that, I noted Peloton’s secret weapons

Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here.

Startup spotlight

The best companies are built by people who have personally experienced the problem they’re attempting to solve. Lauren Jonas, the founder and chief executive officer of Part & Parcel, is intimately familiar with the struggles faced by the women she’s building for.

San Francisco-based Part & Parcel is a plus-sized clothing and shoe startup providing dimensional sizing to women across the U.S. The company operates a bit differently than your standard direct-to-consumer business by seeking to include the women who wear and evangelize the Part & Parcel designs by giving them a cut of their sales.

Here’s how it works: Ambassadors sign up to receive signature styles from Part & Parcel, which they then share and sell to women in their network. Ultimately, the sellers are eligible to receive up to 30% of the profit per sale. The out-of-the-box model, which might remind you somewhat of Mary Kay or Tupperware’s business strategy, is meant to encourage a sense of community and usher in a new era in which plus-sized women can facilitate other plus-sized women’s access to great clothes. 

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“I bought a brown men’s polyester suit and wore it to an interview,” Jonas, an early employee at Poshmark and the long-time author of the popular blog, ‘The Pear Shape,’ tells TechCrunch. “I was that kid wearing a men’s suit.”

Clothing tailored to plus-sized women has long been missing from the retail market. Increasingly, however, new brands are building thriving businesses by catering precisely to the historically forgotten demographic. Dia&Co., for example, raised another $70 million in venture capital funding last fall from Sequoia and USV. And Walmart recently acquired another brand in the space, ELOQUII, for an undisclosed amount. Part & Parcel, for its part, has raised $4 million in seed funding in a round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners’ Jeremy Liew.

The startup launched earlier this year in Anchorage, “a clothing desert,” and has since grown its network to include women in several other underserved markets. Given her own history struggling to find a fitted woman’s suit, Jonas launched her line with structured pieces, including suits and blouses — though the startup’s biggest success yet, she says, has been its boots, which come in three different calf width options.

“Seventy percent of women in this country are plus-sized,” Jonas said. “I’m bringing plus out of the dark corner of the department store.”

This week in VC

sex tech 1

Image: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

Must read

TechCrunch’s Megan Rose Dickey published a highly anticipated deep dive on the state of sex tech this week. The piece provides new data on funding in sex tech and wellness companies, analysis on sex tech startup’s battle for public advertising and responses from industry leaders on how we can destigmatize sex with technology. Here’s a short passage from the story:

Cindy Gallop sees a market opportunity in every type of business obstacle she encounters. That’s why All The Sky will also seek to invest in startups that tackle the infrastructural tools needed to fuel sextech, like payments, hosting providers and e-commerce sites.

“I want to fund the sextech ecosystem to maintain and sustain a portfolio for All the Skies, to create a bloody huge sextech ecosystem and three, to monopolistically build out the ecosystem to be a multi-trillion-dollar market,” Gallop says.

On my radar

I swung by Contrary Capital‘s Demo Day this week, in which a number of startups gave a 4- to 5-minute pitch. Next on my list is Alchemist‘s Demo Day in Menlo Park. The accelerator welcomes enterprise startups for a six-month program focused on early customer adoption, company development and mentorship.

Also on my radar is Females To The Front. The event began this week in Palm Springs and if I were based in SoCal, I would have swung by. Led by Amy Margolis, the event is said to be the largest gathering of female cannabis founders and funders to date. Here’s how the group describes the event: “Females to the Front Retreat will mix immersive and hands-on workshops, pitch training, investment deck preparation and business skill set education with investor meetings and plenty of shared meals, pool time, yoga, connections, rest and rejuvenation. Every workshop is built to directly engage attendees instead of powerpoint and panels. Be prepared to return home inspired, engaged and with so many more tools in your toolbox.”

For the record, I don’t advertise events in my newsletter just wanted to give props to this one because it’s a great development for the cannabis tech ecosystem.

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Time to Disrupt

We are just weeks away from our flagship conference, TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco. We have dozens of amazing speakers lined up. In addition to taking in the great line-up of speakers, ticket holders can roam around Startup Alley to catch the more than 1,000 companies showcasing their products and technologies. And, of course, you’ll get the opportunity to watch the Startup Battlefield competition live. Past competitors include Dropbox, Cloudflare and Mint… You never know which future unicorn will compete next.

You can take a look at the full agenda here. And if you still need convincing, here’s five reasons to attend this year’s conference from our COO himself.

And finally… #EquityPod

This week, the lovely Alex Wilhelm, editor-in-chief of Crunchbase News, and I gathered to discuss a number of topics including WeWork’s IPO and Uber’s attempts to bypass a new law meant to protect gig workers. Listen here.

Walmart’s Vudu adds Family Play feature so viewers can skip sex, violence and substance abuse

By Anthony Ha

Vudu, the streaming service owned by Walmart, announced a new feature today that will make it easier for viewers to avoid sex and violence in movies.

Anyone who’s watched an R-rated movie on broadcast television or on an airplane is probably familiar with films that have been “edited for content,” but Vudu’s new Family Play option give viewers more control over what they find objectionable.

Specifically, they can turn filters on and off for sex/nudity, violence, substance abuse and language. In the first three instances, Vudu will skip the relevant scenes, and in the case of strong language, it will mute the dialogue. The feature is already supported in more than 500 films.

At an advertiser event in May, Vudu leaders suggested that they will stand out from the other streaming services by creating content that can be watched by entire families, with Senior Director Julian Franco declaring, “We’re not just going to be programming for Williamsburg and Silver Lake.”

It sounds like Vudu has similar ambitions for all its original content. In a blog post today, Vice President Scott Blanksteen wrote:

With so much content available and more people watching, what if we could also be a streaming service that provides a great, safe viewing environment for families? What if we could provide our customers the flexibility to ensure that content and the Vudu experience are appropriate for everyone in the family to watch, including the youngest of viewers – kids?

A streaming service called VidAngel ran into legal trouble (and eventually declared bankruptcy) a couple years ago when it tried to sell movies that were edited to be family friendly. However, where VidAngel was operating independently to decrypt and edit DVDs, Vudu told Variety that it’s working with the movie studios.

Vudu also says it’s partnering with advocacy group Common Sense Media to provide ratings and reviews “from a parent’s perspective,” and to create a kid-friendly viewing mode. And it’s launching its first original series today — a remake of “Mr. Mom,” with new episodes streaming every Thursday.

Walmart Grocery is expanding its $98 per year ‘Delivery Unlimited’ subscription across the U.S.

By Sarah Perez

Walmart is expanding its brand-new “Delivery Unlimited” grocery delivery membership program to more stores across the U.S., with plans to reach over 50% of the country by year-end. The new program allows regular grocery delivery customers to pay either an annual fee of $98 or $12.95 on a monthly basis instead of paying the usual $9.99 per delivery fee. These options make Walmart Grocery delivery more affordable for those who order at least twice a month or more.

The program also gives Walmart a better way to compete with rival grocery delivery services including Amazon Prime Now/Whole Foods, Instacart, and Shipt, all of which offer subscription memberships.

Shipt currently charges $99 annually, and Target recently announced a way for Shipt shoppers to pay a per-order fee of $9.99 for the first time, by way of a Shipt integration on Target.com. Instacart, meanwhile, cut its annual fee to $99 in November. Prime Now is the most expensive option at $119 per year, but includes all the perks of Amazon Prime’s broader membership program.

In June, TechCrunch broke the news that Walmart’s Grocery Delivery Unlimited program was being trialed in Houston, Miami, Salt Lake City, and Tampa.

Those customers responded favorably, which is why the retailer decided to roll out the program to more U.S. markets.

Initially, that includes all 200 metro areas where Walmart Grocery Delivery is available today. By this fall, it will reach 1,400 stores. And by year-end, it will reach 1,600+ — or more than half the U.S.

The program doesn’t offer any other perks, beyond the savings for Walmart Grocery’s regular shoppers. However, it does have the advantage of locking customers into Walmart Grocery and increasing their return rates and loyalty.

Walmart’s Grocery business grown steadily over the years, and has become a favored alternative to higher-priced services like Instacart where the individual products are marked up as a means of generating revenue. Walmart, on the other hand, charges the same online as it does in stores — the only added cost is the delivery fee and tip. (Pickup is free).

Today, Walmart Grocery Pickup is offered at nearly 3,000 stores and Walmart employs more than 45,000 personal shoppers to fill its online grocery orders. Walmart Grocery Delivery, as noted, is on track for over 1,600 stores this year.

Unlike some grocery delivery businesses, Walmart doesn’t operate its own network of delivery professionals or independent contractors. Instead, Walmart partners with delivery providers across the U.S., including Point Pickup, Skipcart, AxleHire, Roadie, Postmates, and DoorDash. It has also tried, then ended, relationships with DelivUber, and Lyft.

“We’ve been investing in our online grocery business by quickly expanding our Grocery Pickup and Delivery
services. Delivery Unlimited is the next step in that journey,” said Tom Ward, senior vice president, Digital
Operations, Walmart U.S., in a statement about the launch. “By pairing our size and scale and these services we’re making Walmart the easiest place to shop. Combine that with the value we can provide, our customers can’t lose,” he said.

Last month, Walmart reported its 20th consecutive quarter of sales gains in the U.S., with $130.38 million in revenue, earnings per share of $1.27, and net income to $3.61 billion, beating expectations. It said at the time that e-commerce sales had grown 37% in the quarter, in large part because of the rollout of next-day delivery and same-day grocery delivery.

Delivery Unlimited will not replace the pay-per delivery fee — that will remain an option for those who don’t want to subscribe. Customers will be able to see if the service is available in the market by visiting the Walmart Grocery website.

 

America’s largest companies push for federal online privacy laws to circumvent state regulatory efforts

By Jonathan Shieber

As California moves ahead with what would be the most restrictive online privacy laws in the nation, the chief executives of some of the nation’s largest companies are taking their case to the nation’s capitol to plead for federal regulation.

Chief executives at Amazon, AT&T, Dell, Ford, IBM, Qualcomm, Walmart and other leading financial services, manufacturing and technology companies have issued an open letter to congressional leadership pleading with them to take action on online privacy, through the pro-industry organization, The Business Roundtable.

“Now is the time for Congress to act and ensure that consumers are not faced with confusion about their rights and protections based on a patchwork of inconsistent state laws. Further, as the regulatory landscape becomes increasingly fragmented and more complex, U.S. innovation and global competitiveness in the digital economy are threatened,” the letter says.

The subtext to this call to action is the California privacy regulations that are set to take effect by the end of this year.

As we noted when the bill was passed last year there are a few key components of the California legislation, including the following requirements:

  • Businesses must disclose what information they collect, what business purpose they do so for and any third parties they share that data with.

  • Businesses would be required to comply with official consumer requests to delete that data.

  • Consumers can opt out of their data being sold, and businesses can’t retaliate by changing the price or level of service.

  • Businesses can, however, offer “financial incentives” for being allowed to collect data.

  • California authorities are empowered to fine companies for violations.

There’s a reason why companies would push for federal regulation to supersede any initiatives from the states. It is more of a challenge for companies to adhere to a patchwork of different regulatory regimes at the state level. But it’s also true that companies, following the lead of automakers in California, could just adhere to the most stringent requirements, which would clarify any confusion.

Indeed, many of these companies are already complying with strict privacy regulations thanks to the passage of the GDPR in Europe.

Urbvan raises $9 million for its private shuttle service in Mexico

By Jonathan Shieber

As cities in emerging markets grapple with increasingly traffic-clogged and dangerous streets, Urbvan, a startup providing private, high-end transportation shuttles in Mexico, has raised $9 million in a new round of financing.

Co-founded by Joao Matos Albino and Renato Picard, Urbvan is taking the reins from startups like the now-defunct Chariot and tailoring the business for the needs of emerging-market ecosystems.

Hailing from Portugal, Albino arrived in Mexico City as a hire for the Rocket Internet startup Linio. Although Linio didn’t last, Albino stayed in Mexico, eventually landing a job working for the startup Mercadoni, which is where he met Picard.

The two men saw the initial success of Chariot as it launched from Y Combinator, but were also tracking companies like the Indian startup Shuttl.

“We wanted to make shared mobility more accessible and a little bit more efficient,” says Albino. “We studied the economics and we studied the market and we knew there was a huge urgency in the congested cities of  Latin America.”

Unlike the U.S. — and especially major cities like San Francisco and New York — where public transportation is viewed as relatively safe and efficient, the urban environment of Mexico City is seen as not safe by the white-collar workers that comprise Urbvan’s principal clientele.

The company started operating back in 2016. At the time it had five vans that it leased and retrofitted to include amenities like Wi-Fi and plenty of space for a limited number of passengers. The company has expanded significantly since those early days. It now claims more than 15,000 monthly users and a fleet of 180 vans.

Urbvan optimized for safety as well as comfort, according to Albino. The company has deals with WeWork, Walmart and other retailers in Mexico City, so that all the stops on a route are protected and safe. The company also vets its drivers and provides them with additional training because of the expanded capacity of the vans.

Each van is also equipped with a panic button and cameras inside and out for additional monitoring.

Customers either pay $3 per ticket or sign up for a monthly pass that ranges from $100 to $130.

Financing for the company came from Kaszek Ventures and Angel Ventures, with previous investor Mountain Nazca also participating.

For Albino, who went to India to observe Shuttl’s operations, the global market for these kinds of services is so large that there will be many winners in each geography.

“Each city is different and you need to adapt. The technology needs to be adaptable to the city’s concerns, and where it can, add more value,” says Albino. “The Indian market is super different from Latin America… It’s a huge market with a lot of congestion… But the value proposition is a bit more basic [for Shuttl].”

Urbvan is currently operating in Mexico City and Monterrey, but has plans to expand into Guadalajara later this year.

Walmart and Tesla are going to try and work things out

By Kirsten Korosec

Walmart came out swinging earlier this week in a lawsuit that accused Tesla of breach of contract and gross negligence over problems with rooftop solar panel systems installed at the retail giant’s stores.

Now, just days later, the lawsuit has been placed on hold while the two companies try to reach an agreement that would keep the solar installations in place and put them back in service, according to a joint statement issued late Thursday night.

“Walmart and Tesla look forward to addressing all issues and re-energizing Tesla solar installations at Walmart stores, once all parties are certain that all concerns have been addressed,” the statement read. “Together, we look forward to pursuing our mutual goal of a sustainable energy future. Above all else, both companies want each and every system to operate reliably, efficiently, and safely.”

Walmart hasn’t dropped the lawsuit. The complaint is still on file with New York state court. But the two parties are going to try to reach an agreement that would avoid a lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which is aimed at Tesla’s energy unit that was formerly known as SolarCity, alleges that seven fires on Walmart rooftops were caused by the solar panel systems. Walmart asked Tesla to remove the solar panel systems on all 244 stores where they are currently installed and to pay for damages related to fires that the retailer alleges stem from the panels.

Now, a Walmart spokesperson said it is “actively working towards a resolution” with Tesla.

Neither Tesla or Walmart would explain the details of the negotiations.

The stakes are high for Tesla. Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk  announced a new rental offering for solar power in a bid to reboot the flagging renewable energy business.

Tesla’s share of the solar market has declined since its merger with SolarCity in 2016. In the second quarter Tesla deployed only 29 megawatts of new solar installations, while the number one and two providers of consumer solar, SunRun and Vivint Solar, installed 103 megawatts and 56 megawatts, respectively.

Tesla’s renewable energy business includes residential and commercial solar and energy storage products. The company also has a utility-scale energy product called Megapack. While Tesla still produces solar panels for residential use, much of its focus has been on developing its solar roof, which is comprised of tiles. It still operates a commercial business, which targets municipalities, schools, affordable housing, enterprise and agriculture and water districts as customers.

The company doesn’t provide a breakdown of its solar installations, making it difficult to determine if the commercial business is flat, falling or on the rise. Language in its latest 10-Q suggests Tesla is putting a renewed effort into its solar business.

Tesla said it’s working on revamping the customer service experience for solar products, according to the 10-Q. The company said while its retrofit solar system deployments have it expects they “will stabilize and grow in the second half of the year.”

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