Young billionaire buys Forbes: Austin Russell, the 28-year-old founder and CEO of Luminar, which develops vision-based lidar and machine perception technologies primarily for self-driving cars, told The Wall Street Journal this week that he’s buying an 82% stake in Forbes Global Media Holdings in a deal that values the company at nearly $800 million.
New Teslas on the way: Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased two new electric vehicles Tuesday at the automaker’s 2023 annual shareholder’s meeting. Tesla previously hinted at new models during its Investor Day in March, displaying a photo with the company’s entire lineup and several unveiled car outlines. One of the vehicles looked to be the size of a van, roughly, and the other similar in appearance to a sedan or hatchback. Both are expected to be more affordable vehicles that sell at far higher volumes.
Free TV, but with a catch: Telly, a hardware startup led by Pluto TV co-founder Ilya Pozin, announced Monday that it’s giving away 500,000 of its new smart TVs for free. (Yes, we said free.) There’s a catch, though. Users must watch 24/7 ads while simultaneously streaming TV shows and movies.
ChatGPT goes mobile: This week, OpenAI announced the launch of an official iOS app that lets users access its popular AI chatbot on the go — months after the App Store was filled with dubious, unofficial services. The new ChatGPT app will be free to use and free from ads and will allow for voice input, the company says, but will initially be limited to U.S. users at launch.
Holmes headed to prison: After years of high-profile court proceedings, Elizabeth Holmes could actually be headed to prison — for real this time. The former Theranos founder and CEO was found guilty of defrauding investors last January, but has consistently delayed and appealed her sentencing to remain out of incarceration. Though the infamous biotech entrepreneur is still appealing her 11-year sentence, a panel of Ninth Circuit judges ruled that Holmes’ legal team has not raised enough of a “substantial question” to keep her out of prison.
Kustomer leaves Meta, raises money: Meta’s grand experiment in building an enterprise-ready customer service platform has come to a close. The parent of Facebook has officially spun out Kustomer, the CRM startup it acquired last year for around $1 billion. The new entity is starting life with an infusion of $60 million from backers Battery, Redpoint and boldstart, plus a major chop into its previous valuation — it’s now reportedly at $250 million.
Lock and hide: WhatsApp announced today that it’s introducing a new “Chat Lock” feature designed to give users an additional layer of security for their most intimate conversations. As the name suggests, the feature lets you “lock” a chat, which takes that thread out of the inbox and puts it behind its own folder that can only be accessed with your device password or biometric, like a fingerprint.
Humanoid robots FTW: Vancouver, British Columbia–based Sanctuary AI this week unveiled Phoenix, its stab at the humanoid robot form factor. The bipedal bot stands 5’7″ and weighs 155 pounds — not dissimilar from the humans it plans to augment (or replace, depending on who you ask). The system is capable of lifting payloads up to 55 pounds and traveling up to three miles per hour. No word on pricing — yet.