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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Funding for a new developer academy in Detroit is one of several moves Apple is announcing today as it implements the $100 million racial equity and justice effort it announced last June.

The big picture: The tech industry is putting more money into racial equity efforts, but progress in diversifying its own ranks remains slow.

Details: Apple is pledging $25 million to help launch the Propel Center, a global learning hub. The center will consist of a physical campus in Atlanta along with a virtual community designed to serve those at historically Black colleges and universities. 

  • The Apple Developer Academy in Detroit will open later this year. It's being operated in partnership with Michigan State University and aims to help young Black entrepreneurs and coders find a place in the iOS app economy.
  • Apple is also investing $35 million in funds that focus on minority-owned companies. Some $10 million will be invested with Harlem Capital — an early-stage venture capital firm based in New York — and $25 million will be invested in Siebert Williams Shank's Clear Vision Impact Fund, which provides capital to small and medium-size businesses.

What they're saying: Apple CEO Tim Cook: "We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple's enduring commitment."

  • Apple VP and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson: "For too long, communities of color have faced gross injustices and institutional barriers to their pursuit of the American dream."

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 28, 2021 - Economy & Business

Reddit traders' real-world positive consequences

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

Thanks to Reddit, AMC Entertainment has managed to take $700 million of debt off its balance sheet, as well as raising $506 million of fresh cash in the stock market.

Driving the news: The movie-theater chain and hot meme stonk of the moment converted $100 million of junior debt into equity on Monday, while also raising fresh equity capital. Then, on Thursday, it announced that $600 million of senior debt had also been converted into equity, at a price of $13.51 per share.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

Varsity Tutors to be valued at $1.7 billion in SPAC deal

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Nerdy, the parent company of online learning platform Varsity Tutors, announced on Friday that it will be acquired by a SPAC called TPG Pace Tech Opportunities at a valuation of $1.7 billion. Axios had previously reported on the deal talks.

Why it matters: This is the first tech SPAC deal affiliated with private equity giant TPG, and comes as more and more legacy investment firms are hopping on the blank check bandwagon.

Updated 7 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.