The party of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan won a snap parliamentary election in which rivals had talked of renegotiating his unpopular settlement with Azerbaijan.
The Turkish government, as well as human rights activists and ethnic Armenians, had a muted response to the news, describing the move as largely symbolic.
After years of avoiding the topic, the U.S. government now officially views the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire a century ago as genocide. Here’s how it came about.
The designation for the World War I-era killings would further fray U.S. relations with Turkey, but it is a risk the president appears willing to take to further human rights, officials said.
Who knew building a vertical software as a service toolkit focused on home heating and cooling could be worth $8.3 billion?
That’s how much Los Angeles-based ServiceTitan, a startup founded just eight years ago is worth now, thanks to some massive tailwinds around homebuilding and energy efficiency that are serving to boost the company’s bottom line and netting it an unprecedented valuation for a vertical software company, according to bankers.
The company’s massive mint comes thanks to a new $500 million financing round led by Sequoia’s Global Equities fund and Tiger Global Management.
ServiceTitan’s backers are a veritable who’s who of the venture industry, with longtime white shoe investors like Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and Index Ventures joining the later stage investment funds like T. Rowe Price, Dragoneer Investment Group, and ICONIQ Growth.
In all, the new $500 million round likely sets the stage for a public offering later this year or before the end of 2022 if market conditions hold.
ServiceTitan now boasts more than 7,500 customers that employ more than 100,000 technicians and conduct nearly $20 billion worth of transactions providing services ranging from plumbing, air conditioning, electrical work, chimney, pest services and lawn care.
If Angi and Thumbtack are the places where homeowners go to find services and technicians, then ServiceTitan is where those technicians go to manage and organize their own businesses.
Based in Glendale, Calif., with satellite offices in Atlanta and Armenia, ServiceTitan built its business to solve a problem that its co-founders knew intimately as the children of parents whose careers were spent in the HVAC business.
The market for home services employs more than 5 million workers in the US and represents a trillion dollar global market.
Despite the siren song of global expansion, there’s likely plenty of room for ServiceTitan to grow in the U.S. Home ownership in the country is at a ten-year high thanks to the rise of remote work and an exodus from the largest American cities accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A focus on energy efficiency and a desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will likely cause a surge in residential and commercial retrofits which will also boost new business. Indeed these trends were already apparent in the statistic that home improvement spending was up 3 percent in 2020 even though the broader economy shrank by 3.5 percent.
“We depend on the men and women of the trades to maintain our life support systems: running water, heat, air conditioning, and power,” said Ara Mahdessian, co-founder and CEO of ServiceTitan. “Today, as both homeownership rates and time spent at home reach record highs, these essential service providers are facing rising demand from an increasingly tech-savvy homeowner. By providing contractors with the tools they need to deliver a great customer experience and grow their businesses with ease, ServiceTitan is enabling the hardworking men and women of the trades to reach the level of success they deserve.”
A group of generals called for the resignation of the prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, in a dispute that has its roots in a humiliating loss in a war last year.
A village on the frontline of the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia welcomes peace — after more than two decades.
The iron-fisted tactics used against Georgia and Ukraine seem to have fallen out of favor, replaced by a more subtle blend of soft power and an implicit military threat.
The cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh may offer new hope for the preservation of threatened monuments everywhere.
Armenians flee what they consider their historical home, after the end of a six-week war with Azerbaijan over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
A deal brokered by Russia ended the fighting for now over Nagorno-Karabakh, leaving Armenians to pack up and burn their houses as they retreat, while Azerbaijanis plan a return to long-lost lands.
How did a deep-rooted local conflict draw in regional powers? And after a cease-fire agreement, what are the prospects for peace?
Russia and Turkey brokered an end to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. But they don’t have the region’s best interests at heart.
As Russian peacekeepers deployed to enforce a lopsided peace agreement, Azerbaijanis were savoring their country’s triumph.
In an agreement brokered by Russia, Azerbaijan won many of the concessions it has sought for decades in negotiations over the Nagorno-Karabakh separatist region.
The country asserted on Sunday that its military had gained control of a strategically important site that overlooks the regional capital, Stepanakert. Armenian officials said fighting continued.
Caught in an Armenian rocket attack, a New York Times reporting team captures the agony of an expanding, dirty war.
SpaceX staff and members of the media have been inundated this morning with emails ostensibly from concerned Armenians around the world, asking the company to cancel a launch contract with the Turkish government. The concerns are valid — and the mass-email method surprisingly effective.
In the form email, received by TechCrunch staff hundreds of times in duplicate and with minor variations, the senders explain that they represent or stand in solidarity with Armenians worldwide, an ethnic and national group that has suffered under the authoritarian rule and regional influence of Turkey’s President, Tayyip Erdogan.
SpaceX is slated to launch the Turkish satellite Turksat-5A in the next month or two, a geostationary communications satellite built by Airbus that will serve a large area of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The deal has been on the books for a long time, and SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk even traveled to Turkey to meet with Erdogan regarding the satellite in 2017.
To enter into the complexities of the long conflict in which Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and nearby countries and powers have figured is beyond the scope of this article, but it is hardly controversial to say that there have been serious human rights abuses under Erdogan’s regime and others. The word “genocide” is frequently used.
As the email plea points out, many countries and governments have opted to condemn Turkey’s behavior, and some companies have stopped doing business with the government. Will SpaceX join them?
At this stage — a month before launch, when the payload is likely already locked in — it seems unlikely that SpaceX will return the millions of dollars Turkey has no doubt already paid it, in order to appear more ethical by deplatforming, as it were, the government there.
But the campaign raises a legitimate question that is increasingly faced by new tech-focused companies growing to encompass a global community that is diverse and at times difficult to navigate. Where do companies like SpaceX — or Apple, or Google, or Facebook, or for that matter Airbus — draw the line? Should SpaceX be disinterested and mercenary, simply providing services to anyone who pays? Or are there some governments or people whose money it will not take?
So far SpaceX hasn’t had to walk too narrow a path on that front; the launch industry is heavily weighted toward military and government contracts, so the deal is already made with that particular devil. But as it becomes more established and can be a bit more choosy with its customers, it may consider acting as a gatekeeper in the industry where 10 years ago it was a gatecrasher.
As for the email campaign, TechCrunch staff were surprised at its effectiveness in eluding Google’s spam filters. I contacted Artsakh Strong, listed in the email as the originator of the campaign, for more information and to be removed from future emails (which I was).
Strong said that the emails were sent by individuals, not from a central location, which despite their duplicative content may account for their all making it to our inboxes. “These are people who are coming together to make their unified voice heard,” she wrote. ” We are not affiliated with any groups but our message is one shared by every Armenian American. I apologize for the inconvenience of you having to delete excessive emails but our people are being murdered on a daily basis and we need to bring attention to our cause.”
She suggested that as an American company, SpaceX should embody the country’s (supposed) values and refuse to do business with regime’s like Erdogan’s. Furthermore, she noted that SpaceX receives a great deal of funding and business from the U.S. government, which amounts to a secondhand blessing of its deals as being in the public interest.
“There are calls for sanctions of Turkey by the US and other NATO countries,” she wrote. “SpaceX is strongly urged to take all these factors into consideration and decide for itself whether or not it wants to continue to aid Turkey in the face of such overwhelming and clear evidence of criminal actions. At the very least, Elon Musk and SpaceX can halt the launch to see what these investigations lead to. While this may be a loss of profit for SpaceX it would be a huge leap for world progress.”
Strong raises legitimate points that many companies providing services internationally must address or have their intentions inferred from their actions. This cannot be the first, nor will it be the last, that SpaceX or any of the new generation of space companies will have to make a difficult choice. At the very least they might explain why they choose how they do.
While Azerbaijan is clearly the main driver of the Nagorno-Karabakh war, analysts say, Armenia’s populist prime minister pushed the situation to the brink.
As the country’s soldiers advance in the conflict with Armenia, every “liberated” territory is celebrated and tens of thousands of refugees plan their return to lost lands.
Times journalists find civilians huddling in basements as a three-week-old conflict over the disputed Caucasus territory hints of a long and punishing fight.
A truce brokered just a week earlier failed to hold. The war between the two Caucasus countries has already killed hundreds.
Involvement in regional conflicts such as the dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia has whipped up nationalist fervor and obliterated space for advocates of peace and democracy.
Armenians and Azerbaijanis coexisted in Soviet days. But conflict over the disputed territory exploded in the late 1980s, leaving festering wounds that have erupted anew.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said most of the front line was “relatively calm.”
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are coming to Moscow for a Russian-brokered negotiation on a limited truce to exchange prisoners and casualties.
Hundreds of people have already died in fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Bigger neighbors can help stop the bloodshed.
Without engagement from the United States, the region may be engulfed in war.
Fueled by the pandemic, uprisings in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan and a war in the Caucasus region are undermining the influence of the Russian leader.
Stepanakert, the capital of the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, came under bombardment on Monday as both sides used powerful, long-range weapons.
Fighting in and around the breakaway enclave shows signs that a local ethnic dispute is spiraling into a regional conflict.
Nikol Pashinyan, Armenia’s prime minister, said he was promised a call with President Trump over Turkey’s role in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Then Mr. Trump fell ill.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already intervened militarily in Syria, Libya and Iraq this year. His aggressive policies put him increasingly at odds with Russia.
Stretching the limits of documentary photography, Diana Markosian’s autofictional “Santa Barbara” is the most authentic project of her career.
Escalation on both sides suggests that an extended conflict may ensue in Nagorno-Karabakh, increasing the possibility of involvement by countries like Russia and Turkey.
The governments of both countries reported action with tanks, military helicopters and artillery in a rapid escalation of a long-simmering conflict.
When mothers take to the streets — particularly those from privileged groups — governments take note. The “wall of moms” in Portland has taken up the cause against police violence.