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Breakfast Briefing: The Boring Company’s Chicago Contract

 4 min read / 

The Boring Company Wins Chicago Job

Elon Musk’s tunnelling company won a contract to build an underground tunnel to O’Hare airport.

Editor’s Remarks: The contract is a vindication of Musk’s ambitious plan to reduce urban congestion by digging expansive tunnelling networks. The Boring Company has said that its new link will cut the journey from downtown Chicago to O’Hare airport from 40 minutes to just 12 via a set of two tunnels. So far, The Boring Company has only dug one tunnel – a test site in the SpaceX factory’s car park in Los Angeles. The contract is reportedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars and, if Musk is successful, could lead to wider adoption.

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WeWork Doubles Revenue in Q1

The company’s Q1 sales doubled year-on-year to $342m, potentially paving the way for an IPO.

Editor’s Remarks: Although its top line was impressive and EBITDA grew 137%, WeWork did not release figures for its net loss over the period. However, occupancy rates were up substantially in Q1 at 82%, compared to 73% in the same period last year; WeWork added that as of the end of May, it has over 256,000 members across the world. Back in April, WeWork raised $702 in its first bond issue and is looking at raising a fresh round of equity that could give it a valuation of up to $35bn, according to the SoftBank Vision Fund CEO Rajeev Misra.

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Rolls-Royce to Shed 4,600 Jobs

The UK manufacturer is making the cuts as part of its largest restructuring in 20 years.

Editor’s Remarks: CEO Warren East said that Rolls-Royce would remove 10% of its management and support staff, while the majority of the cuts would be at the company’s historic home in Derby. The cuts are expected to generate £400m in annual savings by 2020 and would cost roughly £500m to enact. Rolls-Royce is also hoping that the move will improve the company’s position in the aircraft engine market, while also making cash available for much-needed investments in technology and electric vehicles. Rolls-Royce shares rose 4% on the news.

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Microsoft to Upgrade Office Apps

Microsoft is stepping up its user interface design across its signature Office suite of programmes. 

Editor’s Remarks: Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook are all set to benefit from Microsoft’s Fluent Design System, which was released last year. The online and desktop versions of Office will receive the upgrade in the next few months. Notably, the Ribbon – the series of tabbed icons at the top of Office programmes – is going to be scaled back and simplified, although there will be an option to enlarge it. The new Ribbon is expected to generate controversy from users, and so Microsoft will initially offer it only on Outlook and the web version of Word.

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Opendoor Raises $325m

Investors are betting that Opendoor will reshape the process of buying and selling homes.

Editor’s Remarks: The mammoth funding round was led by General Atlantic, Access Technology Ventures and Lennar Corporation, with backing from notable VC firms Andreessen Horowitz and Khosla Ventures. The round takes the total equity raised by the startup to $645m with a further $1.5bn in debt. Opendoor hopes that its mobile platform will make property transactions as simple as ordering an Uber or some other service across the web and, by doing so, radically improve what is often a cumbersome process. By 2020, Opendoor is aiming to be active in 50 markets.

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