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Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel in hot water over alleged comment maligning India

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Evan Spiegel
Evan Spiegel

Snapchat chief executive Evan Spiegel.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — During a 2015 meeting to discuss Snapchat’s creative growth, Anthony Pompliano says he expressed concern that the app was not taking off overseas. Pompliano, who had just been recruited away from Facebook to join the company, insists that he presented ample methods to address the issue, but that Evan Spiegel, the company’s chief executive, abruptly cut him off.

“This app is only for rich people,” Spiegel said, according to Pompliano. “I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.”

Pompliano’s allegations were revealed in a recently filed lawsuit, filed in redacted form in L.A. Superior Court in January. On Monday, Snap Inc. — the parent company of Snapchat — dropped its efforts to keep the unredacted complaint under seal and released it in a public filing. In the suit, Pompliano tells the story of his brief three-week tenure with the company, during which he says he learned that the company was exaggerated its user data and that top executives were “completely misinformed” about key metrics.

Snapchat had previously argued that Pompliano’s lawsuit contained trade secrets that were capable of damaging the company, and helping its competitors. But in a notice to the court filed earlier this week, Snap said it was dropping the effort to keep the unredacted complaint sealed because it “has nothing to hide” since going public last month. Snap described Pompliano as a “disgruntled employee fired for poor performance” who filed the lawsuit out of thirst for publicity.

“The simple fact is that he knows exactly nothing about Snap’s current metrics,” the company’s attorneys wrote. “He and his lawyers are — not to put too fine a point on matters — just making things up.”

John Pierce, Pompliano’s attorney, said that Snap withdrew its effort to seal the complaint because the company knew it would lose.

“This attempt to save face by Snap should serve as a reminder that no matter how big you are (or how many billions of dollars you have) in our system everyone has to play by the same set of rules,” Pierce said.

Pompliano says Snapchat was inflating its registration completion rate, which it claimed was about 87%. In fact, Pompliano says it was less than 40 percent. The company was also claiming to retain 40 percent of its users after seven days, when in fact the figure was closer to 20 percent, Pompliano claims.

Pompliano says he raised concerns that advertisers were being misled with several people, including Jill Hazelbaker, the vice president of communications. According to the lawsuit, Hazelbaker said she had raised similar concerns internally but had been ignored.

According to the lawsuit, Pompliano brought up the app’s lackluster performance in India and Spain, saying both countries have high mobile penetration and should be ripe for improved growth, at which point Spiegel made the remark about not being interested in “poor countries” and stormed out.

Pompliano claims that Spiegel then met with two other executives and determined that “Mr. Pompliano presented a risk to Snapchat’s IPO.”

Just days later, Pompliano says he was fired, a security guard handed him a box and escorted him out of the building, and his phone was wiped of Snapchat accounts and data.

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New Zealand eliminates India in cricket World Cup

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New Zealand wins Cricket

MANCHESTER, England (Diya TV) — After a rain delay stopped play between New Zealand and India, when play resumed, the Kiwis held on to win by 18 runs, knocking India out of the Cricket World Cup. It’s on to the championship round for New Zealand.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided an Indian restaurant in Washington DC, detaining several employees.

Airbnb, the Silicon Valley couchsurfing startup turned hospitality behemoth, says they made a direct economic impact of around $150 million in India in 2018.

Indian Airbnb hosts collectively made almost $28 million and welcomed nearly 800,000 guests last year. 

Chennai-based speech recognition startup, Uniphore Software Systems, raised $38 million as part of its Series C round. They’ve received funding from California venture capital firm March Capital Partners and former Cisco CEO John Chambers. 

And Indo-Australian Priya Serrao was crowned Miss Universe Australia 2019.

The 26-year-old policy advisor from the state of Victoria said she will use her new platform to promote multiculturalism. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Trump says tariffs by India are ‘No longer acceptable’

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Tariffs no longer acceptable

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — In a tweet, President Trump targeted India once again, saying “India has long had a field day putting Tariffs on American products. No longer acceptable.”

Yet earlier this year, the Trump administration stripped India of a preferential status that exempted billions of dollars worth of products from U.S. levies.

One of the most unique characters ever to run for President has died. Billionaire businessman Ross Perot was 89. Many give his independent campaign in 1992 credit for helping Bill Clinton beat incumbent George H.W. Bush.

A day after Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell got out of the race, another billionaire businessman, Tom Steyer, jumped into the Presidential fray.

India’s OlaCabs recently launched its ride-sharing services in London. And now Ola Electric, their electric vehicle spinoff, just raised a $250 million Series B round at a $1 billion valuation. It plans to bring 10,000 vehicles to the road this year.

And the world will have to wait another day to find out who will play for the Cricket World Cup, after a rain delay stopped play between New Zealand and India.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Trump meets Modi & Abe in Japan

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OSAKA, Japan (Diya TV) — President Donald Trump held a trilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. According to Ivanka Trump, the conversation encompassed 5G technology, working through details on trade and ongoing national security interests for each party.

From Japan, President Trump went to South Korea and entered the demilitarized zone between South Korea and North Korea. He then walked into North Korea to meet with Chairman Kim Jong Un, becoming the first sitting President to ever to enter North Korea.

Silicon Valley startup Fungible announced they’ve raised $200 million from a group of investors including Softbank, taking their total raise to $300 million. A leader in data-centric computing, Fungible is led by CEO Pradeep Sindhu, who previously founded Juniper Networks.

The NBA free agency signing period kicked off with a bombshell: Kevin Durant is leaving behind the team he won two championships with, The Golden State Warriors, for the upstart Brooklyn Nets. Kyrie Irving will join him there. The Warriors traded for the Nets player most impacted by those deals, D’Angelo Russell.

And England beat India by 31 runs in the Cricket World Cup, giving Team India its first loss of the Cup. India will face Bangladesh next.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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