OnePlus co-founder reportedly leaving phone maker for own venture

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OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei


Josh Miller/CNET

The co-founder of Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus has seemingly left the company, according to a report Monday. Carl Pei was absent from an internal memo listing OnePlus’ leadership, Android Police reported citing a screenshot by a Reddit user who suggested that Pei had either stepped down or was removed from the position.

The reported departure comes just ahead of the OnePlus 8T event, which is scheduled for Wednesday. Pei’s is departing OnePlus to start his own venture, according to TechCrunch, although no details about that venture were immediately available.

OnePlus didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In 2019, OnePlus ranked eighth in the US market with just 0.6% market share, according to Counterpoint Research, but its phone sales more than tripled last year — by far the biggest gain of any company in the US market, the analyst firm said.

The first OnePlus phone debuted in 2014, relying on high specs at a lower price point than Samsung and Apple. Now it has a range of phones at mid- and high-tier price points, like the OnePlus 8 Pro, OnePlus 7T and the 5G OnePlus Nord. The company has grown its business from a mobile startup to a player with significance that’s arguably achieved more buzz than established brands like Razr. And it’s been able to break in to the US market unlike fellow Chinese brand Huawei.

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Venture Funders Flock to Religious Apps as Churches Go Online

(Bloomberg) —

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Covid-19 has upended the traditional Sunday service, taking sermons from the pulpit to the screen. It’s sparking a long overdue digital awakening for churches across the country and investors are taking notice.

The pandemic has given more people a reason to seek solace in God and faith-based communities at the same time that houses of worship were forced to close their doors. Pastors have resorted to streaming on YouTube or Facebook Live in a bid to keep congregations engaged. Membership in spiritual apps has surged. The top Christian meditation apps raked in 2.3 million downloads in the U.S. from March to August, up 325% from the same period a year earlier, according to mobile data and analytics company App Annie.

Traditionally secular venture capitalists have largely shied away from religion. In Silicon Valley, “no one wanted to touch religion five years ago” says Peter Pham, co-founder of incubator and venture fund Science Inc., which backs Pray.com. Now, “there are many avenues to tap and more companies will be born out of this growing need for a creative spiritual-digital experience — the opportunity is mind-blowing.”

The pandemic has “crystallized the opportunity,” says Brett Martin, co-founder and managing partner at Charge Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm in New York. A global shutdown accelerated tools that the tech industry was already into, like video conferencing, community building and fundraising — all of which can be applied to religion, Martin says. “Shame on the venture capital community for not recognizing the opportunity sooner.”

Some did. Pray.com, for example, was founded in 2016 and is backed by $16 million in venture funding. Now there are plenty of ways investors can get involved across all the functional areas of a church — from digital tithing to management software and virtual

Edtech Startup Winuall Raises INR 14.7 Cr From Prime Venture Partners and BEENEXT

The company said it will use the fresh capital to enhance product capabilities and hire across technology, product, AI and business development teams

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Education technology company Winuall on Wednesday said it has raised INR 14.7 crore funding from Prime Venture Partners, BEENEXT, Ramakant Sharma, founder of LivSpace along with a clutch of angel investors.

Founded in 2019 by Ashwini Purohit and Saurabh Vyas, Winuall ties up with small and medium coaching centres to help them digitise the learning experience for their students with online study material, assessments and live classes.

It achieves this by offering institutes and tutors a software-as-a-service (SaaS) plug and play platform on a subscription model. The company provides tutors and institutes tools like class scheduling, batch management, attendance, live classes, online quizzes, AI-based recommendations, online courses, building online platforms etc. Additionally, tutors also get to sell their courses across the globe and collaborate with other tutors via Winuall platform.

“Our aim is to enable tutors in India to go digital and improve the quality of learning for students. We want to empower the tutors & coaching institutes to remain independent by building and retaining their own brand name through our platform,” said CEO Purohit. “With the ongoing pandemic, this investment is a testament to how newer trends of online learning will emerge in the times to come.”

The Bengaluru-headquartered company has so far on boarded over 3,700 coaching institutes and 5,000 tutors across the country. It aims add about 20,000 coaching institutes and serve more than three million students by the end of  2021.

The company said it will use the fresh capital to enhance product

4 Tests For Launching A Venture In The Pandemic

Times of rapid and dramatic change can shift the tectonic plates of opportunity. The current pandemic is such a time — meaning that leaders should looking for suddenly-surfaced opportunities around which to  build a new business.

How can you decide which of these new opportunities is the right one for you? I offer students In my Foundations of Entrepreneurial Management course at Babson College a way to think about this question. The most important principle to keep in mind is that most startup ideas people pitch to me don’t work because the founders are trying to solve the wrong problem.

Here are the four tests potential founders should apply to make sure their new venture idea is solving the right problem:

1. Compelling evidence of ‘customer pain.’

I have interviewed hundreds of company founders over the last 10 years and I’ve found that the most common reason they started their company was to solve a painful problem they faced in their own lives.

Many founders have told me that when they failed to find a company offering a solution to that problem, they started a company aiming to provide such a solution. If after a diligent search, you can’t find a solution to your problem, you can be fairly comfortable that you will not face initial competition from a large, more financially-solid rival.

Consider how the pandemic has destroyed old opportunities and created new ones. A fitness trainer saw that Covid-19 would slash demand for his business but with people riding bikes instead would create a need for bike repair.

According to the Wall Street Journal, that fitness trainer, “Ian Oestreich realized by early March that the coronavirus meant his days as a fitness trainer were numbered. So he began hawking his knack for fixing bikes, leading to the

Dr. Sabah al-Binali Joins OurCrowd as UAE-Based Venture Partner & Head of Gulf Region

Israel’s most active venture investor to increase tech investment and deal flow in the region

OurCrowd, the world’s largest global venture investing platform and Israel’s most active venture investor, today announced the appointment of Dr. Sabah al-Binali as UAE-based venture partner and head of the Gulf region.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201005005723/en/

Dr. Sabah al-Binali, Emirati investor and seasoned executive, has been appointed as UAE-based venture partner and head of the Gulf region for Jerusalem-based OurCrowd. (Photo: OurCrowd)

Dr. al-Binali will oversee the development of OurCrowd’s business in the region. OurCrowd plans to meet the growing demand for meaningful ties with Israel expressed by the investment and entrepreneurial communities in the UAE and neighboring states following the signing of the Abraham Accords.

Dr. al-Binali is a seasoned financial services executive with 22 years of experience in investments and an entrepreneurial leader with a track record of financing, building and exiting companies in the MENA region. He was instrumental in facilitating the sale to Credit Suisse of a Saudi investment bank and the acquisition of the Zawya news agency by Thomson Reuters.

OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved said: “Just two weeks after the Abraham Accords were signed, we are pleased to appoint Dr. al-Binali as head of the region for OurCrowd. Dr. al-Binali is one of the first senior Emiratis to be hired by an Israeli firm as a partner. Dr. al-Binali brings incredible energy and skills to our growing business. He will effectively build bridges between the tech and financial communities in the UAE and Israel.”

“I look forward to leading OurCrowd’s expansion in the UAE and the Gulf region at this historic turning-point in Middle East diplomacy,” said Dr. al-Binali, OurCrowd Venture Partner and Head of Gulf Region. “OurCrowd’s global platform provides