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EV subscription startup Canoo, co-founder sued for alleged harassment – TechCrunch

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Just weeks after Canoo took the wraps off of its electric vehicle, the Los Angeles-based startup and co-founder Stefan Krause has been accused of gender and marital discrimination, harassment, breach of contract, and wrongful termination in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Christina Krause, the company’s former head of communications and Stefan Krause’s wife, was first reported by The Verge.

A Canoo spokesperson said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court makes a number of allegations against Stefan Krause and Canoo, including that Christina Krause was paid less than other founding members and not given the co-founder designation or the equity stake that often comes with that title despite being a founding employee. Much of the lawsuit focuses on Stefan Krause, who stepped away from the CEO role at Canoo in August for personal reasons. Stefan Krause filed for divorce from Christina Krause in July 2019.

Ulrich Kranz, originally the company’s CTO, has since taken over the day-to-day operations of Canoo. Stefan Krause remains at the company and is focused on fundraising, according to a spokesperson. His current title is chairman of the Advisory Board.

The lawsuit also reveals more details about Canoo — originally named Evelozcity — its investors and how it has scaled in a just a few years time.

Some of the nuggets that stood out, include its origin story and rapid growth. The company was founded in late 2017, after a meeting in Hong Kong with Pak Tam “David” Li and David Stern, who would become investors in Canoo, according to the lawsuit. Canoo has never revealed the names of its primary investors. Stern is a German entrepreneur who the lawsuit also lists as a friend of Stefan Krause. Stern is listed as a director to UK incubator Pitch@Palace and as consultant for Celestial Limited.

Li, Stern and Stefan Krause made a “gentlemen’s agreement” to start an EV company at the conclusion of the meeting and Christina Krause was tasked with securing talent and performing other administrative tasks related to the formation of a new company, the lawsuit says. The meeting with Li and Stern occurred around the same time that Stefan Krause left his job as CFO of the troubled company Faraday Future .

The company launched a month later, and by December it had 10 founding employees. Nine of those became co-founders. Christina Krause alleges in the lawsuit that she was the only one excluded from the founder designation status because her “role wasn’t critical for the building of the car.” She was also allegedly told that it would be “distasteful” for the wife of a co-founder to also receive the same designation and get an equity stake. 

By March 2018, just four months since its official formation, Canoo had more than 100 employees. That number spiked again to 200 by September, 300 by March 2019 and now reaches more than 400, according to the lawsuit.

As the company scaled, the relationship between Christina and Stefan Krause deteriorated. It hit a new low in March 2019 when Stefan Krause allegedly asked his wife to agree to a postnuptial agreement, which would presumably handle how shares of Canoo would be divided in the event of a divorce. The lawsuit alleges that Stefan Krause, Stern and Krantz pressured Christina Krause to sign the agreement.

Canoo has completed the design and engineering of its vehicle and is now preparing it for production through an unnamed contract manufacturer based in Michigan. The first cars are slated to appear on the road by 2021.



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YouTube Supervised Accounts limit access to content for teens

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This week the folks at YouTube revealed a new way to work with videos for kids and young adults. YouTube’s latest feature was made as “a new choice for parents who have decided their tweens and teens are ready to explore YouTube with a supervised account.” This feature will be launched first with a BETA mode, with a larger launch later this year.

This new system is different from YouTube Kids. Where YouTube Kids was designed and aimed at users below the age of 13, the rest of YouTube “always recommended that parents co-watch with their kids if they choose to watch YouTube.”

With the newest version of YouTube, parents will have three modes to choose from for their child. Explore, Explore more, and Most of YouTube will be available as “content settings” in YouTube.

Explore is aimed at children that’ve been using YouTube Kids but want to move beyond the basics. This setting restricts YouTube to “a broad range of videos generally suitable for viewers ages 9+.”

In the content setting “Explore More”, you’ll find content “generally suitable for viewers ages 13+.” This includes an “even larger set of videos” and “also live streams in the same categories as ‘Explore.’”

The “Most of YouTube” mode includes “almost all” of the video content on YouTube, except the age-restricted content. This also includes “sensitive topics that may only be appropriate for older teens.”

On the YouTube Blog right now, YouTube’s James Beser, Director of Product Management, Kids and Family, went into detail on the ways and reasons why this new system of control was created. As of yet, there is no release date for this new feature. Beser suggested that they are currently “building this new supervised experience” and still recommend parents use YouTube Kids for younger kids.

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Teenage Engineering teams with Nothing tech: It’s about to get weird

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If you were waiting for the Nothing technology company to team up with an interesting partner, wait no more. Today the Nothing company announced that they’d officially added Teenage Engineering to their list of Founding Partners. This is going to get weirder before it heads down the beaten path, of that you can be sure.

The Swedish-based Teenage Engineering made some interesting devices. They’ve made a whole bunch of stripped down barebones synthesizers, personal handheld video game machines, audio blasters, cables, display protectors, accessories – and some keychains for good measure. They’ve had their hand in quite a few interesting projects.

Jesper Kouthoofd is the owner of Teenage Engineering. Kouthoofd is a co-founder of a creative collective called Acne, aka the group that created Acne Studios (fashion!) Per the Nothing release, Teenage Engineering “have been developing highly acclaimed products for people who love sound, music, and design” for over ten years.

If you expected that Nothing would be a smartphone maker, and a smartphone maker alone, it seems safe to assume now that that’s not the half of it. They’ve partnered with a selection of very interesting people and companies in the short period they’ve existed, and they’ve raised $22 million USD without producing a single product.

Take a peek at the timeline below to learn more about Nothing and its founder Carl Pei, former co-founder of OnePlus. The company suggests that their mission is to “remove barriers between people and technology to create a seamless digital future.” There’ll be an “ecosystem” of devices that all work together – and we’re hoping that means they’ll be making something NEW, too – not just another brand making the same devices as everyone else, with different colors and finishes.

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Apple iMac 2021 leak tips return to colorful desktops, sans Jeff Goldblum

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A 2021 iMac was rumored today with a potential release in several colors. Much like our favorite Apple desktop campaign ever released with Jeff Goldblum, these desktop machines are rumored to be released in an array of colors. They won’t be as wild as those original iMacs, with their transparent backsides in purple, pink, and blue – they’ll be slightly more modern, if they prove to be viable and/or actually released.

The latest rumor suggests that current prototypes of the current (new) iMac are in testing in black, green, white, rose gold, and a light blue. These colors are very similar to the array of colors Apple currently has employed with the iPad Air.

Information was leaked by Jon Prosser, who also delivered the image above. These devices would likely be part of the array of devices that’ll be released in the second Apple event of the year here in 2021. As noted in a leak this January from Bloomberg, two iMac models will potentially be released this year to replace the 21.5- and 27-inch iMac models Apple currently has in stores.

It’s expected that the new iMac will have a far smaller bezel than is on the otherwise most current iMac. It’s suggested that the back of the iMac would be flat, rather than bowed, and that the look would be closer to that of the current Apple Pro Display XDR – likely without quite so many holes.

At the moment it does not appear that Jeff Goldblum has been tapped to take part in any sort of ad campaign for the new iMac. This is unfortunate. We’d love to see more of that strange energy summoned here for the year 2021.

Stay tuned as we get a better idea of when this next event will take place. Check the timeline below for more information on what Apple has coming up first.

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