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Facebook reportedly had ‘informal interest’ in buying HQ Trivia parent

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mark zuckerbergFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • Facebook at one point demonstrated “informal interest” in buying Intermedia Labs, the company responsible for the game-show app HQ Trivia, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • But Facebook‘s interest reportedly waned after Recode published an article describing allegations of inappropriate behavior by Intermedia Labs co-founder Colin Kroll during his time working for Twitter.
  • Kroll died of a drug overdose in 2018.
  • Facebook and Intermedia Labs did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment.

Facebook at one point demonstrated “informal interest” in buying Intermedia Labs, the company responsible for the game-show app HQ Trivia, The Wall Street Journal reports.

But Facebook’s interest reportedly waned after Recode published an article describing allegations of inappropriate behavior by Intermedia Labs co-founder Colin Kroll during his time working for Twitter. Kroll died of a drug overdose in 2018.

Facebook and Intermedia Labs did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for comment.

Read more: HQ Trivia and Vine cofounder Colin Kroll was a talented but tough boss who had a history of clashes with staff

The Recode article, published in December 2017, said many venture capitalists did not want to invest in Intermedia Labs due to concerns about Kroll’s behavior at Twitter. (Kroll co-founded the now-defunct six-second video app Vine, which was acquired by Twitter in 2012.) Recode reported that Kroll had been fired from Twitter due to his poor management skills and had developed a reputation at the company for acting in a “creepy” manner toward women. An internal investigation at Twitter determined that he was not guilty of sexual harassment, but had “created a hostile work environment,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

HQ Trivia raised a $15 million round led by Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund that it announced in March 2018. It was reported that at the time, the company’s valuation exceeded $100 million. 

Since that time, when the company was at it’s most prominent, its star has seemingly faded. As Recode reported in a November 2018 piece, HQ Trivia held the spot for the second highest number of monthly downloads in February 2018. By November, it had sunk to number 253.

In 2018, Facebook rolled out features that allow publishers to create game shows that stream on Facebook Live.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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