Briefing

AltspaceVR social app is shutting down

(TechCrunch)

It’s tough out there for startups in the fledgling virtual-reality market, and the latest casualty is Comcast Ventures-backed AltspaceVR. The startup, which will fold after failing to add to the $10.3 million it raised three years ago, was an early mover in the growing area of “social VR.” But Facebook and Oculus launched their own platforms for people to interact in virtual spaces, while sluggish headset sales has meant slow growth for VR startups. As we’ve written before, investors have certainly been cooling on this space. –Cory


SpaceX Raises $350 Million and Doubles Value to $21 Billion

(The New York Times )

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has raised $350 million of financing at a valuation of $21 billion. In 2015, according to Crunchbase, Google invested $1 billion at a valuation of $10 billion. Softbank is not the investor leading the round, not named in the Times story, a source told me, noting that Softbank’s satellite unit, Oneweb, is a SpaceX competitor. SpaceX also competes with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Bezos has reportedly said he plans to sell $1 billion of Amazon stock every year to finance Blue Origin’s ambition to send tourists and supplies to space. –Serena


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Twitter Stock Plunges as It Fails to Deliver User Growth

(CNBC)

Twitter’s goals to make the app easier to use and gobble up live video content haven’t improved its core metrics. User growth continues to plateau and ad revenue continues to decline. Few were expecting a rapid turnaround from Twitter, so the company still has some time to experiment with monetization and video. Still, the stock troubles of Twitter—shares tumbled 14% today—and Snap contrast with Facebook’s excellent earnings Wednesday, underlining again that every other social network is bound to be more niche. —Cory


WeWork Forms WeWork China, Aided by Investment From SoftBank, Hony

(Reuters)

This $500 million cash infusion will accelerate WeWork’s expansion in China, setting up a larger clash with China-based rivals such as Urwork, valued at more than $1 billion. WeWork said in an announcement that it plans to open both in new cities and in markets it has already entered, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. WeWork’s approach in China has been different than homegrown rivals. Its competitors have had an early leg up, leveraging connections with local government officials and business partners to negotiate rents. WeWork has gone upmarket, charging higher rents in more expensive parts of town. –Alfred

Related: WeWork’s China Challenge