In today’s ExchangeWire news summary: ByteDance is ready to acquire Chinese VR headset maker Pico; German car payment systems provider Ryd receives a € 10 million investment from BP Ventures; and the team behind the Cocoon subscription-based social network are bought by Substack.
ByteDance acquires the company VR Pico
ByteDance will acquire Pico, a Chinese company that manufactures virtual reality (VR) headphones. The parent company TikTok confirmed the move last week, and the company told CNBC that they felt “optimistic about the future of virtual reality and its alignment with our mission.”
Known for its Neo range of standalone VR headsets, Pico is estimated to be the third largest headset maker after Facebook owner Oculus and national competitor DPVR. The company supplies hardware for both consumer and professional customers and has been gradually expanding its footprint in Europe and North America.
Despite being known for its prodigious short video app, ByteDance has already sold hardware since it launched the Jianguo Pro 3 smartphone in 2019. The tech giant also took a step towards gaming with the acquisition of a mobile game studio in March. It is not yet clear what impact (if any) the agreement will have on Pico or TikTok.
In its statement, ByteDance said Pico’s “complete set of software and hardware technologies, as well as the team’s talent and deep experience, will support both our entry into the VR space and the long – term investment in this emerging field “.
Ryd will receive a € 10 million investment from BP Ventures
BP’s investment division, BP Ventures, has invested € 10 million (£ 8.6 million) in digital payment systems provider Ryd. The latest capital will allow the German company to strengthen its product offering and move to new international markets.
Ryd allows users to consolidate online payments for vehicle-related purchases (such as fuel, car wash, and electric vehicle charging) by integrating their app or smart car system, a service that fits digital payment options offered by BP using the BPme app. The financing follows an investment of $ 7 million (£ 5.1 million) in the IoTecha smart electric vehicle charging company made by BP in June.
Supporting Ryd, the oil and gas giant hopes to build on its digital offerings and continue to transform itself into a multifaceted energy company. For Ryd, the deal offers the opportunity to use BP’s European customer base to scale its technology. The startup, which was founded by Oliver Goetz in 2014, says it currently has 1.4 million direct customers and is accepted at 3,000 partner service stations in 7 countries.
Substack acquires the Cocoon team
Substack has acquired the team behind the Cocoon subscription-based social network. However, the start of the newsletter will not be owned by the firm’s eponymous app, with Cocoon co-founder and CEO Sachin Monga claiming that the app will be relocated elsewhere.
Founded by Facebook Alumni Monga and Alex Cornell in 2019, Cocoon sought to create an alternative to large social media networks that focused on maintaining close relationships between users. Concluding that this premise is unlikely to catch the attention of advertisers, the company chose to make its service available by subscription, putting its hopes in its belief in higher levels of consumer willingness to pay for services. .
The move comes amid growing newsletter popularity and the rise of the wider “creators’ economy, ”which focuses on creating a greater sense of community among subscribers. By joining Substack, Cocoon’s team will work on “all different types of connections between readers and writers,” according to Monga.