ponders Technology TikTok

This Week in Apps: US ponders TikTok ban, apps see a Listing Q2, iOS 14 public beta arrives

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the most recent OS news, the software they support and the money that flows through everything.

The program industry is as sexy as ever, with a list 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. Individuals are currently spending three hours 40 minutes daily using programs, rivaling TV. Apps are to pass idle hours they’re a huge enterprise. In 2019, mobile-first businesses had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x greater than those without a mobile attention.

In this Extra Crunch show, we assist you to stay informed about the latest news in the world of programs, delivered on a weekly basis.

This week, we’re digging into the news of a possible TikTok ban from the U.S. and how that is already affecting rival apps. Additionally, both the Android and iOS saw beta launches this week — a near-ready Android 11 beta 2 as well as also the public beta of iOS 14. In addition, we look at the coronavirus’ effect on the app market in Q2, which saw utilization, record downloads and customer spending. In other app information, Instagram launched while Pokémon GO proceeds to reel it in, Reels from India, Tinder debuted Quibi flounders along with chat.


Apple discharge iOS 14 public beta

Image Credits: Apple

The much-anticipated brand new variant of this iOS mobile operating system, iOS 14, became accessible for public testing on Thursday. Users who join the public beta will have the ability to test out the newest features, such as that the App Library, Widgets and intelligent stacks, an updated Messages app, a fresh Translate program, biking instructions in Apple Maps, updated Siri and assorted improvements to center apps like Notes, Reminders, Weather, Home, Safari and others.

When iOS 14 starts into the general public, it may also incorporate support for QR code obligations in Apple Pay, according to a record of new assets discovered in the code base.

Alongside the general beta, programmers received their next round of betas for iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and other Apple software.

Google’s efforts in speeding up Android updates has been great news for Android 10

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Exchange Remote Technology

The Exchange: Remote dealmaking, rapid-fire IPOs, and how much $250M buys you

Welcome to The Exchange, an upcoming weekly newsletter featuring TechCrunch and Extra Crunch reporting on startups, money, and markets. You can sign up for it here to receive it regularly when it launches on July 25th. You can email me about it here, or talk to me about it on Twitter. Let’s go!

Ahead of parsing Q2 venture capital data, we got a look this week into the VC world’s take on making deals over Zoom. A few months ago it was an open question whether VCs would simply stop making new investments if they couldn’t chop it up in person with founders. That, it turns out, was mostly wrong.

This week we learned that most VCs are open to making remote deals happen, even if 40% of VCs have actually done so. This raises a worrying question: If only 40% of VCs have actually made a fully remote deal, how many deals happened in Q2?

Judging from my inbox over the past few months, it’s been an active period. But we can’t lean on anecdata for this topic; The Exchange will parse Q2 VC data next week, hopefully, provided that we can scrape together the data points we need to feel confident in our take. More soon.

Private markets

As TechCrunch reported Friday, some startups are delaying raising capital for a few quarters. They can do this by limiting expenses. The question for startups that are doing this is what shape they’ll be in when they do surface to hunt for fresh funds; can they still grow at an attractive pace while trying to extend their runway through burn conservation?

But there’s another option besides waiting to raise a new round, and not raising at all. Startups can raise an extension to their preceding deal! Perhaps I am noticing something that isn’t a trend, or not a trend yet, but there have been a number of startups recently raised extensions lately that caught my eye. For example, this week MariaDB raised a $25 million Series C extension, for example. Also this week Sayari put together $2.5 million in a Series B extension. And CALA put together $3 million in a Seed extension. Finally, across the pond Machine Labs put together one million pounds in another Seed extension this week.

I don’t know yet how to numerically drill into the available venture data to tell if we’re really seeing an extension wave, but do let me know if you have any notes to share. And, to be completely clear, the above rounds could easily be merely random and un-thematic, so please don’t read into them more deeply than that they were announced in the last few days and match something that we’re watching.

Public markets

On the public markets front, the news is all good. Tech stocks are up in general, and software stocks set some new record highs this week. It’s nearly impossible to recall how scary the world was back in March and April in today’s halcyon stock market run, but it was only a few months back that stocks were falling sharply.

The return-to-form has helped a number of companies go public this year like Vroom, Accolade, Agora, and others. This week was another busy period for startups, former startups, and other companies looking to go out.

In quick fashion to save time, this week we got to see GoHealth’s first IPO range, nCino’s second (more on the two companies’ finances here), learned that Palantir is going public (it’s financial history as best we can tell is here), and even got an IPO filing (S-1) from Rackspace, as it looks towards the public markets yet again.

The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. You can read it every morning on Extra Crunch, and now you can receive it in your inbox. Sign up for The Exchange newsletter, which drops every Friday starting July 25.

The IPO waters are so warm that Lemonade is still up more than 100% from its IPO price. So long as growth companies that are miles from making money can command rich valuations, expect companies to keep running through the public market’s door.

There’s fun stuff on the horizon. Coinbase might file later this year, or in early 2021. And the Airbnb IPO is probably coming within four or five quarters. Gear up to read some SEC filings.

Funding rounds worth noting

The coolest funding round of the week was obviously the one that I wrote about, namely the $2.2 million that MonkeyLearn put together from a pair of lead investors. But other companies raised money, and among them the following investments stood out:

  • Sony poured a quarter of a billion dollars into the maker of Fortnite, for a 1.4% stake. This rounds stands out for how small a piece of Epic Games that Sony got its hands on. It feels reminiscent of the recent investment deluge into Jio.
  • TruePill raised $25 million in a Series B. In the modern world it seems batty to me that I have to get off my ass, go to Walgreens or CVS, wait in line, and then ask someone to please sell me Claritin D. What an enormous waste of time. TruePill, which does pharma delivery, can’t get here fast enough. Also, investors in TruePill are probably fully aware that Amazon spent $1 billion on PillPack just a few year ago.
  • From the slightly off-the-wall category, this headline from TechCrunch: UK’s Farewill raises $25M for its new-approach online will writing, funerals and other death services.” Farewill is a startup name that is so bad it probably works; I won’t forget it any time soon, even though I don’t live in the U.K.! And this deal goes to show how big the internet really is. There’s so much demand for digital services that a company with Farewill’s particular focus can put together enough revenue growth to command a $25 million Series B.
  • Finally, TechCrunch’s Ron Miller covered a $50 million investment into OwnBackup. What matters about this deal was how Ron spoke about it: “OwnBackup has made a name for itself primarily as a backup and disaster-recovery system for the Salesforce ecosystem, and today the company announced a $50 million investment.” What to take from that? That Salesforce’s ecosystem is maybe bigger than we thought.

That’s The Exchange for the week. Keep your eye on SaaS valuations, the latest S-1 filings, and the latest fundings. Chat Monday.

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Americans Technology unrealistic

CBP says it Is”unrealistic” for Americans to avoid its license plate surveillance

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has admitted that there’s not any practical way for Americans to prevent having their movements tracked by its own license plate subscribers, based on its most recent privacy assessment.

CBP printed its brand new evaluation — three years following its first — to inform the public that it intends to tap into a commercial database, which aggregates license plate information from both private and public resources, as part of its border enforcement efforts.

The U.S. includes a huge community of license plate readers, typically found on the roadside, to collect and record the license plates of vehicles passing by. License plate readers can capture tens of thousands of license plates every moment. Plates giving authorities and law enforcement agencies the ability to track millions of vehicles, are listed and stored in enormous databases.

The agency upgraded its solitude evaluation in part because Americans”might not be aware” that the agency can collect their license plate data.

“CBP cannot provide timely notice of license plate reads obtained from various sources outside of its management,” the privacy evaluation said. “Many regions of both public and private property have signage that alerts individuals that the area is under surveillance; however, this signage doesn’t always contain a description of how and with whom such information may be shared.”

But buried in the document, the bureau admitted:”The only way to determine of these surveillance is to avert the impacted area, which may pose substantial hardships and be generally unrealistic.”

CBP struck an identical tone in 2017 through a trial which scanned the faces of American travelers as they departed the U.S., a movement that drew ire from civil liberties advocates at the time. CBP told Americans who travellers who wanted to opt-out of their face scanning had to”refrain from traveling.”

The document added that the privacy risk to Americans is”improved” since the agency”may access [license plate data] seized anywhere in the United States,” such as outside of their 100-mile boundary zone in which the CBP typically operates.

CBP said it will reduce the danger by simply accessing license plate info whenever there is”circumstantial or supporting evidence” to further an investigation, and will just let CBP agents access data within a five-year period from the date of the search.

A spokesperson for CBP didn’t respond to a request for comment on the most recent assessment.

CBP doesn’t have the best track record with license plate data. Last year, CBP verified that a subcontractor, Perceptics, improperly copied license plate info on”fewer than 100,000″ people over a period of a month-and-a-half in a U.S. port of entry to the southern boundary. The bureau suspended its contract by Perceptics.


Crunch Daily Technology

Daily Crunch: Rackspace is Definitely Going public again

We look at Rackspace’s financing, a Facebook code shift causes numerous app difficulties and electrical vehicle company Rivian raises $2.5 billion. ) Here is your Daily Crunch for July 10, 2020.

The big story: Rackspace is going public again

The cloud computing company first went public in 2008, before accepting a $4.3 billion offer to go confidential in Apollo Global Management. Rackspace says it’s going to use the profits from the IPO.

Alex Wilhelm took a deep dip into Rackspace’s finances, concluding that the appropriate valuation is a”mystery”:

The company is tech-ish, which means it’s going to locate some interest. But heavy debts its slow growth rate and margins make it tough to pin a multiple that is reasonable onto.

The tech giants

Brand New report summarizes potential roadmap for Apple’s ARM-based MacBooks — Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that a 13.3-inch MacBook powered by Apple’s new chips will arrive at the fourth quarter of this year.

Facebook code change caused outage for Spotify, Pinterest and Waze apps — Looks like Facebook was responsible for some crashing apps this morning.

California reportedly launches antitrust investigation into Google — This makes California the 49th state to launch an antitrust investigation into the search giant, according to Politico.

Startups, funding and venture capital

Rivian raises $2.5 billion as it pushes to deliver its electric RT1 pickup, R1S SUV to promote — The company plans to deliver its electrical pickup truck and SUV, as well as delivery vans for Amazon, to advertise in 2021.

A glint of hope for India’s food delivery market as Zomato projects monthly cash burn of less than $1 million –“We’ll just lose $1 million this month” does not feel like a huge accomplishment, but at least things seem to be headed in the ideal direction.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

How Thor Fridriksson’s’Trivia Player’ earned 2.5 million downloads in 3 months — The latest game in the QuizUp founder was (temporarily ) the top program in the App Store. About the way he did it, we speak to Fridriksson.

COVID-19 pivot: Travel unicorn Klook sees leap in staycations — With reservations for overseas experiences plummeting, Klook began offering do-it-yourself kits for die-hard jobs and partnered with landmark websites to offer virtual tours.

Operator Collective brings diversity and inclusion to business investing — The firm, founded last year, said it currently has 130 operator LPs, 90% of these women and 40% of them people of color.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is the subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can register here.)

Everything else

NASA signs agreement with Japan to cooperate across Space Station, Artemis and Lunar Gateway jobs — Japan first voiced its intent to take part in the Lunar Gateway application in October 2019, which makes it among the first states to do so.

Equity: Silicon Valley is constructed on civic creation — The latest episode of Equity discusses how recent visa alterations will impact Silicon Valley.

Five reasons to attend TC Early Stage online — July 21 and 22! I will be there!

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of the biggest and most crucial stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox daily at approximately 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.


Fitbit Google's Technology

Google’s Fitbit deal May Prevent EU antitrust probe by agreeing not to use health Information for ads

Google announced its plans to get Fitbit for $2.1 billion back in November. For this writing, the deal has to undergo, courtesy of the regulatory scrutiny that occurs any time one firm buys another. EU regulators are an integral hurdle for these kinds of deals, and this time it can be no different.

Citing”people knowledgeable about the matter,” Reuters notes that Google may be facing down some scrutiny in the shape of an EU antitrust evaluation in case it does not make some concessions. The center of the concern here is an issue of health privacy. An enormous quantity of health information — such as other wearable companies — collects .

Google, of course, is a company tremendously invested in advertising and data. Critics of this deal have suggested that purchasing Fitbit would provide another rich vein of information for Google. As such, the deal could backfire on the guarantee that Google will never utilize health data to sell ads.

The stipulation is in keeping with a promise the company made when the purchase was first announced, with the organization’s mind of hardware Rick Osterloh promising,”[P]rivacy and security are paramount. You are trusting your own information to Google, when you use our products. We understand this is a big responsibility and we work hard to protect your information, put you in control and give you transparency about your data”

In a followup to this week’s reporting, the business noted that it considers the acquisition could increase competition. Xiaomi, Apple and Huawei dominate the group, thanks in part to the late start from the category of Fitbit while Fitbit includes a footprint. Past 30, though the company did purchase a chunk of tech from Fossil, google’s efforts to make inroads through Wear OS have come up short.

A spokesperson also tried to put to rest possible regulatory fears, stating,”Throughout this process we have been clear about our commitment to not utilize Fitbit health and health data for Google ads and our responsibility to provide people with choice and management with their data.”

Regulators are set to choose the price by July 20. Google reportedly has till July 13 to show its concessions.


Fridriksson's Technology trivia

How Thor Fridriksson’s’Trivia Royale’ earned 2.5M downloads in 3 weeks

Tip: It made a large bet on TikTok

In its earliest few weeks of release, the most recent game from QuizUp creator Thor Fridriksson took the top place from the Games Section of Apple’s App Store and has been the top app (for a short time) in the App Store in large.

Since its launch on June 17, Trivia Royale has been downloaded more than 2.5 million times, with day-one retention of 45% and week-one retention of 45percent on iOS, according to the organization. Average daily usage per user is around 30 minutes. It currently sits on the App Store at the number six spot in the Free Games category.

there isn’t any lack of cellular games, but in such a cluttered area, it is difficult to break through the sound. Just how did Trivia Royale do it?

The game, which lets users compete in a 1,000-person, single-elimination trivia tournament, is developed on the Teatime Games stage . Teatime highlights the fun of playing against other humans in the mobile gaming arena, giving users the ability to communicate through video chat while they play at a game on their smartphone.

The platform allows game developers to utilize this movie chat performance, which includes Snapchat-like face filters or Apple Memoji-style avatars, in their own matches. But for Teatime to succeed as a gaming system, the business needed a hit game, Fridriksson said.

The serial entrepreneur told TechCrunch that he chose to take off his or her CEO hat and return to his own merchandise roots by focusing on a class that few people know as well as he can: trivia.

The Trivia Royale championship combines the scale of Battle Royale together with the durability of trivia — whether it is Jeopardy, HQ Trivia, bar trivia or this, we can not get enough of it or lets users match against one other player in a single category of trivia.

I’ve played around on the game for a little while now and can say that it is well done, in the design to the manufacturing value. But more important than the inner workings of the typeface or the tournament or the content of the questions will be express themselves via their facial expressions that are real-life and customization.

But none of that means anything if gamers do not join the game. So just how did Trivia Royale get over 2.5 million downloads (and climbing) in a few days?

A large bet on TikTok

Fridriksson advised TechCrunch that he has to give a lot of credit to his kids (who are 15 and 11). His daughter told him about TikTok and gave him a list of her favourite stars, such as Addison Rae and Dixie D’Amelio.


LA-based product Technology

LA-based Replicated adds former GitLab Mind of Merchandise as its chief product officer

Replicated, the Los Angeles-based firm pitching tracking and management solutions for Kubernetes-based software, has managed to deliver on the former head of merchandise of their $2. 75 billion-valued programming giant GitLab as its new chief product officer. 

Mark Pundsack is joining the firm as it moves to scale its business. At GitLab, Pundsack saw the company grow from 70 workers to 1,300 as it scaled its company through its on-premise offerings. )

Replicated is hoping to bring the same type of on-premise services to a broad variety of business customers, according to company chief executive Grant Miller.

introduced to Replicated while operating with CircleCI, it had been the company’s newfound traction since the launching of its Kubernetes deployment management toolkit that caused him to take a second look.

“The momentum which Replicated has created with their latest offering is tremendous; actually changing the trajectory of the company,” said Pundsack in a declaration. “When I managed to get close to the product, staff, and customers, I knew that this was something which I wished to be part of. This firm is in such a position that is special to create value throughout the enterprise software ecosystem. The potential reminds me a lot of the early days of GitLab.”

It’s a massive coup for Replicated, according to Miller.

“Mark created the core product plan at GitLab; transforming GitLab from a source control company to a complete DevOps platform, with incredible support for Kubernetes,” said Miller. “There is in factn’t a better backdrop for a product leader in Replicated; Mark has seen GitLab’s evolution from a classic on-prem setup towards a Kubernetes-based setup and management experience. This is the transition that a lot of our clients are moving through and it has been done by Mark with a few of the very best. I have so much confidence that his engagement with our merchandise will cause more success for our customers.”

Pundsack is your second new executive hire from Replicated in six weeks, as the firm seems to deliver more muscle to its own C-suite and enlarge its operations.

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Gotham making Technology

HBO Max is making a Gotham City police Show with the director of’The Batman’

HBO Max, the WarnerMedia-owned streaming service which launched in May, announced today that it has made a succession devotion to an untitled TV show tied to the movie”The Batman” (currently scheduled for launch at 2021).

The series will be put from the Gotham City police department, with a creative group that includes Matt Reeves, the film’s co-writer and director, together with”Boardwalk Empire” founder Terence Winter.

This seems like familiar territory — that the police department of a town overrun by vibrant criminals was probably maybe best researched in the “Gotham Central” comics series (written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka and drawn by Michael Lark), but it was also the focus of the recent (poor ) Fox TV series”Gotham.”

However, the statement from HBO Max highlighted that this is going to be an extension of the feature film,”finally launching a new Batman universe across multiple platforms” It’s a strategy that the streamer is also taking with”Dune: The Sisterhood,” a succession that joins into the forthcoming”Dune” movie.

“This is an amazing chance, not only to expand the vision of the world I am creating in the film, yet to explore it in the kind of detail and depth that just a longform format could manage — and having to work with the amazingly talented Terence Winter, who has written so insightfully and powerfully about worlds of corruption and crime, is an absolute dream,” Reeves said in a statement.

It also remains to be seen whether the show is affected in any way by the ongoing protests for racial justice. It might seem absurd to connect real-world political issues with a comic book TV show, but the protests have led to a Hollywood reckoning with how films and tv have glorified the authorities — for instance, Andy Samberg recently said the writers and cast of”Brooklyn Nine-Nine” are trying to rethink the show to make something”that we all feel okay about.”


Facebook Technology worker

Tech at Work: DE&I at Facebook, Prop 22 and gig Employee earnings

Hey, ya’ll. I am experimenting with a bi-weekly roundup that looks at the condition of labor in tech.

We will use this space to explore topics related to equity, diversity and inclusion, the future of work, problems relating to pay equality, notable personnel changes and a lot more.

This week, we’re looking at Facebook’s civil rights audit, a new gig employee earnings study, the latest on California ballot measure Proposition 22 and layoffs amid COVID-19. 

Stay awakened

The artist Celos paints a mural in downtown Los Angeles on May 30, 2020 in protest against the passing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while being detained and trapped into the floor by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. (Photo from APU GOMES/AFP through Getty Images)

It has been less than two months since the police killing of George Floyd. There’s still work to be performed on the democratic justice while the tech industry has continued on with its financing rounds, mergers and acquisitions. Following is a look at some developments over the last few weeks. 

Facebook’s civil rights audit highlights openings in DE&I work

As noticed in Facebook’s final civil rights audit report conducted by former ACLU attorney Laura Murphy, the social networking giant still must do more to increase diversity in its senior leadership functions and C-suite. These roles for Black, indigenous and people of color should also not be”restricted to diversity officer positions as is often the case in corporate America,” the report states. 

In accordance with this audit, there should also be company-wide recognition that diversity, fairness and inclusion efforts should not fall solely on those in underrepresented groups, but instead on most members of the senior leadership staff and managers. The audit also highlighted employee concerns around”a lack of recognition for the time URM workers spend mentoring and recruiting other minorities to operate at Facebook.”


preps Rackspace Technology

Rackspace preps IPO after going private in 2016 for $4.3B

After going private in 2016 after taking a $32 per share, or $4.3 billion, cost from Apollo Global Management, Rackspace is appearing once again to the public markets. First going public in 2008, Rackspace is taking instant aim in a public offering approximately 12 years following its initial debut.

The company describes its business as a”multicloud technology services” vendor, helping its customers”design, construct and operate” cloud environments. This Rackspace is highlighting a services concentrate is useful context to understand its financial profile, as we’ll see in a moment.

But first, some basics. The company’s S-1 filing denotes a $100 million placeholder figure out how much the company may raise in its public offering. That figure will change, but does tell us that firm is likely to target a share purchase that will net it closer to $100 million than $500 million, another popular placeholder figure.

Rackspace will list on the Nasdaq with the ticker symbol”RXT.” Goldman, Citi, J.P. Morgan, RBC Capital Markets and other banks are helping underwrite its (second) debut.

Financial performance

Much like other businesses which went confidential, only later to introduction once again as a public company, Rackspace has oceans of debt.

The organization’s balance sheet reported cash and equivalents of 125.2 million as of March 31, 2020. On the other side of the ledger, Rackspace has debts of $3. 99 billion, composed of a $2. 82 billion term loan facility, and $1. 12 billion in senior notes that cost the firm an 8. 625percent voucher, among other debts. The term loan prices a lower 4% rate, also stems from the first trade to take Rackspace private ($2 billion), as well as another $800 million which was later taken on”in connection with the Datapipe Acquisition.”

The senior notes, initially worth a total of $1,200 million or $1. 20 billion, also came from the acquisition of the company during its 2016 trade; personal equity’s ability to get companies with borrowed money, later taking them public and using those proceeds to restrict the resulting debt profile while maintaining financial control is rewarding, if a bit cheeky.

Rackspace intends to use IPO proceeds to lower its debt-load, such as both its term loan and senior notes. How much its own debts can be put against by Rackspace will ride on its IPO pricing.

Those debts require a company that is comfortably profitable on an operating foundation and make it profoundly unprofitable on a web basis. Observe:

Image Credits: SECLooking in the far-right column, we can see a company with material revenues, though slim gross margins to get a putatively tech company. It created $21.5 million in Q1 2020 operating profit from its own $ 652.7 million in revenue from the quarter. Nevertheless, interest costs of $72 million in the quarter helped direct Rackspace to a deep $48.2 million net loss.

Not all is lost, however, as Rackspace does have positive operating cash flow in the identical three-month period. Nonetheless, the company debt load is burdensome, and steep.

Returning to our discussion of Rackspace’s business, recall that it said that it sells”multicloud technology services,” which tells us that its gross margins will be service-focused, and that’s to state they will not be software-level. And they aren’t. In Q1 2020 Rackspace had gross margins of 38.2%, down from 41.3% from the year-ago Q1. That trend is painful.

The company’s growth profile is also somewhat irregular. From 2017 to 2018, Rackspace saw its earnings expand from $2. 14 billion to $2. 45 billion, growth of 14.4%. ) The company appeared slightly in 2019, falling from $2. 45 billion in revenue in 2018 to $2. 44 billion the next year. Considering that the market that year, and also the importance of cloud 2019, the results are a bit surprising.

Rackspace did develop in Q1 2020, nevertheless. The firm’s $652.7 million in first-quarter top-line easily bested in its own Q1 2019 end result of $606.9 million. The business grew 7.6percent in Q1 2020. That is not much, especially during a period in but the return-to-growth is likely welcome.

TechCrunch didn’t see Q2 2020 contributes to its S-1 now while reading the record, so we assume that the firm will re-file soon to add more recent financial results; it’d be hard for the organization to debut for an attractive price at the COVID-19 age without sharing Q2 figures, we reckon.

How to value Rackspace is a puzzle. The company is tech-ish, which means it is going to locate some interest. But lackluster margins debts and its slow growth rate make it tough to pin a multiple that is fair on. More when we get it.