10 things in tech you need to know today

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Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Monday.

  1. Google is working on physical and virtual debit cards as it looks to catch Apple’s lead in the fintech space. TechCrunch reports that Google is working on physical and virtual debit cards which would link to an associated checking account.
  2. The UK has greenlit a £250 million rescue package to stop thousands of startups collapsing during COVID-19. Startups can apply for government cash, but must match taxpayer money with funding from private investors.
  3. Conspiracy theories blaming Bill Gates for the coronavirus pandemic are exploding online. A New York Times analysis found more than 16,000 Facebook posts linking Gates with the virus, as well as 10 YouTube videos espousing the conspiracy theories that had garnered 5 million views.
  4. Amazon is installing thermal cameras at warehouses to scan employees for fevers. Cases of the virus have been reported among staff at more than 50 of Amazon’s US warehouses, and working employees have expressed safety concerns. 
  5. $2 billion telehealth unicorn Babylon Health has furloughed 5% of its staff in response to COVID-19, Business Insider has learned. Babylon Health said it had seen an increase in demand for some services during COVID-19, but other parts of its business needed to be ‘paused.’
  6. Buzzy recruiting-software startup Greenhouse cut close to 30% of its workforce, making it the latest in the industry to suffer as hiring across the country comes to an abrupt halt. Greenhouse Software confirmed the news in an emailed statement to Business Insider, adding that the cuts largely affected its sales and marketing teams.
  7. Airbnb laid off most of its contractors and postponed summer internships during a Zoom Q&A with the company’s CEO Brian Chesky. An Airbnb contractor told Business Insider that many people were caught off guard by the announcement, which came during Chesky’s weekly Q&A.
  8. Startup valuations at Series A are likely to compress by between 22% and 33% in the second quarter of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, new analysis shows. US figures from Eddie Ackerman, head of financial analysis at Thomvest Ventures, indicate that pre-money startup valuations will drop, based on analysis of companies during the global financial crisis in 2008. 
  9.  Some of WeWork’s outsourced cleaners have lost their jobs — even as the coworking giant keeps offices open and charges members for space they can’t use. WeWork cleaning staff were laid off by JLL, the publicly traded real estate company to which the coworking giant outsourced maintenance in December.
  10. Melinda Gates said in an interview with BBC Radio on Thursday that she and her husband, Bill, had been storing food in their basements for years in anticipation of a pandemic or other disaster. The couple speculated on a possible lack of clean water and food during a pandemic and prepared accordingly.

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