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Moka raises $27M led by Hillhouse to make hiring more data-driven in China

Posted by on Mar 4, 2019 in Artificial Intelligence, Burger King, California, China, ggv capital, GSR Ventures, Hillhouse Capital, Hiring, JD.com, moka, recruitment, SaaS, Stanford University, TC, Tencent, turo, University of California, University of Michigan, Xiaomi | 0 comments

Moka, a startup that wants to make talent acquisition a little more data-driven for China-based companies that range from smartphone giant Xiaomi to Burger King’s local business, announced Monday that it has raised a 180 million yuan ($27 million) Series B round of funding.

The deal was led by Hillhouse Capital, an investor in top Chinese technology companies such as Tencent, Baidu, JD.com, Pinduoduo — just to name a few. Other investors who took part include Xianghe Capital, an investment firm founded by two former Baidu executives, Chinese private equity firm GSR Ventures and GGV Capital.

Moka claims more than 500 enterprise customers were paying for its services by the end of 2018. Other notable clients are McDonalds and one of China’s top livestreaming services YY. It plans to use its new capital to hire staff, build new products and expand the scope of its business.

Founded in 2015, Moka compares itself to Workday and Salesforce in the U.S. It has created a suite of software aiming to make recruiting easier and cheaper for companies with upwards of 500 employees. Its solutions take care of the full cycle of hiring. To start with, Moka allows recruiters to post job listings across multiple platforms with one click, saving them the hassle of hopping between portals. Its AI-enabled screening program then automatically filters candidates and make recommendations for companies. What comes next is the interview, which Moka helps streamline with automatic email and message reminders for job applicants and optimized plans for interviewers on when and where to meet their candidates.

That’s not the end, as Moka also wants to capture what happens after the talent is onboard. The startup helps companies maintain a talent database consist of existing employees and potential hires. The services allow companies to keep a close tap on their staff, whose resume update will trigger a warning to the employer, and alerts the recruiter once the system detects suitable candidates.

Moka is among a wave of startups founded by Chinese entrepreneurs with foreign education and work experiences. Zhao Oulun, whose English nickname is Orion, graduated from the University of California, Berkley and worked at San Francisco-based peer-to-peer car sharing company Turo before founding Moka with Li Guoxing. Li himself is also a “sea turtle,” a colloquial term in Chinese that describes overseas-educated graduates who return home to work. Li graduated from the University of Michigan and Stanford University, and had worked at Facebook as an engineer.

When the founders re-entered China, they saw something was missing in the booming domestic business environment: effective talent management.

“Businesses are flourishing, but at the same time many of them fall short in internal organization and operation. To a large extent, the issue pertains to the lack of digital and meticulous operation for human resources, which slows down decision-making and leads to mistakes around talents and company organization,” says chief executive Zhao in a statement.

Moka’s mission has caught the attention of investors. Jixun Foo, a partner at Moka backer GGV Capital, also believes China’s businesses can benefit from a data-driven approach to people management: “We are positive about Moka becoming a comprehensive HR service provider in the future through its unique data-powered and intelligent solutions.”


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Turo’s new dongle will let customers instantly find and unlock cars

Posted by on Nov 27, 2018 in Automotive, Transportation, turo | 0 comments

Turo, the peer-to-peer car-sharing company described as the “Airbnb of cars,” is rolling out a new product that will let users locate and unlock cars right from the app.

The new product, called Turo Go, is a dongle and an accompanying service that aims to bolster the number of cars and users on its platform. The product is designed to remove a barrier of entry — the time required to physically exchange keys — that once was a hallmark of the platform. As part of the Turo Go service, owners can opt to allow users to find, book and unlock a vehicle in as little as five minutes. Currently, the app requires a minimum 60-minute lead time before a customer can pick up a vehicle.

“We want to making hosting even easier,” Turo CEO Andre Haddad told TechCrunch. “Easy always wins when it comes to consumer products.”

The company is launching Turo Go in Los Angeles, where it has the biggest penetration of hosts who have multiple vehicles on the platform. Turo Go will expand to additional markets in 2019, he added.

Turo Go uses an aftermarket key-as-a-service entry device from Continental. The device doesn’t require any hardwiring, although it takes about an hour for the install. The device is connected to the OBD-II port (on-board diagnostics) found on modern vehicles. A hidden antenna connects the device to the ignition.

Turo Go costs $20 a month. Turo also charges a $150 installation fee to owners who want to add the device to their vehicle.

Car sharing and on-demand short-term car rental companies like Zipcar also use remote unlock and lock tech. This product is unique because it’s being used on a peer-to-peer car-sharing app.

Turo Go provides a technological upgrade of sorts that is designed for Turo’s experienced hosts, “people who have become comfortable with the notion that a stranger will be in their car,” Haddad said.

Once the device is installed, users will be able to find the vehicle, instantly book it and unlock or lock it via the app. And unlike other car-sharing services, the device uses Bluetooth technology and doesn’t rely on a cellular connection, which can be problematic in parking garages or other remote areas with spotty network coverage.

turo go app

Turo Go also has a digital ID verification step, which uses facial recognition technology to confirm that users have the proper license and are who they claim to be. The tech matches the ID photo to a customer’s face and uses movement tracking to ensure the customer is a real person in front of the camera rather than just a static image that has been printed out.

Once a user has completed a trip, owners of vehicles equipped with Turo Go will be able to locate their car, truck or SUV. Haddad emphasized that owners will not show the location of the vehicle while a customer is using it. Turo Go will also provide other information, such as odometer and fuel levels. Other data features will be added to Turo Go in the future.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Car-sharing network Turo expands service in UK

Posted by on Sep 25, 2018 in allianz, Automotive, Kleiner Perkins, Transportation, turo | 0 comments

Turo — the peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace sometimes referred to as the ‘Airbnb of cars’ — is expanding to the UK. And this time, everyday car owners can actually use it.

The San Francisco-based company expanded to the UK once before in 2016. But at the time, the Turo platform was only offered to small rental car companies under its commercial host program. Now, anyone who owns or leases a 2008 model-year or newer vehicle can list it on the Turo app. The company’s insurance partner Allianz covers all vehicles rented by its pre-approved users.

Turo first launched in 2009 as Relay Rides and rebranded with a new name in 2015. Since then, the company has expanded to new markets, including Canada and Germany. Turo now has 8 million users, a third of whom were added this year, according to the company.

The UK is the company’s most-searched-for destination outside North America, according to Turo CEO Andre Haddad, who added that British guests in the U.S. and Canada represent its largest portion of international travelers. “This makes us confident that now is the right time to expand here,” Haddad said in a statement.

Turo markets itself to car owners as a way to earn extra money and cover the cost of owning their vehicle. Although some of its customers have turned into power users, people who own a fleet of vehicles that are listed on Turo. The average trip on Turo earns an owner £130 ($170, according to the company

Turo has received over $205 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins, August Capital, Shasta Venture and Google Ventures, among others. The company closed a $104 million Series D round earlier this year, which included investment from Sumitomo Corporation and American Express Ventures.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Turo files lawsuit against Los Angeles in car-sharing battle at LAX

Posted by on Jul 12, 2018 in Automotive, car sharing, Transportation, turo | 0 comments

Peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace Turo has filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles Airport in a preemptive strike aimed at defending the ability of its users to rent out their personal cars at Los Angeles International Airport.

Turo filed the lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. Central District Court of California in Los Angeles. The city is not able to comment on ongoing litigation, Alex Comisar, press secretary for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Turo contends in its lawsuit that LAX has misclassified its peer-to-peer car-sharing platform as a rental car company. Turo argues that California’s car-sharing law is clear and notes that it doesn’t own or operate a fleet of vehicles or use the airport’s facilities that traditional rental car companies do.

“Due to this misclassification, the airport expects Turo to obtain a rental car company permit and expects our community to pay anti-competitive fees whenever they choose to exchange cars at or near LAX,” Turo Chief Legal Officer Michelle Fang told TechCrunch. “We’ve seen firsthand how rental car giants Enterprise Rent-a-Car have prodded airports across the country, including LAX, to attack our community, including our users’ rights to choose transportation options other than rental cars and to share their own cars to supplement their income.”

Fang said LAX has repeatedly refused to even come to the table despite efforts to negotiate.

Turo says in the lawsuit that it has reached out to LAX officials in an effort to develop an appropriate fee structure. The company is open to paying a fee that is in line with how ride-hailing companies are charged.

“The fees need to be proportionate for the way that the ground transportation is being used,” Fang said, adding that rental car companies need parking lots and shuttles and other infrastructure at airports. “The use to LAX is much more comparable to TNCs and limos and taxis than it is to rental cars.”

The company decided to take action after it viewed email messages between the car rental company Enterprise Holdings and city officials that discussed an impending lawsuit against Turo. Enterprise has yet to respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit against Los Angeles marks further escalation of a battle between Turo and established car rental companies that aim to protect their domains.

Earlier this year, San Francisco sued Turo for allegedly ignoring fee requirements and other rules at San Francisco International Airport. The city’s lawsuit argued that Turo’s users have added to airport traffic congestion and that its operation at the airport without paying fees gives it an unfair advantage against competitors.

Turo countersued San Francisco, saying the city was trying to classify it as a traditional rental car company.

Turo closed a $104 million Series D round in April. The company has raised $205 million to date. 


Source: The Tech Crunch

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