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Showing posts from July, 2018

Golden Gate Ventures hits first close on new $100M fund for Southeast Asia

One of the fascinating things about watching an emerging startup ecosystem is that it isn’t just companies that are scaling, the very VC firms that feed them are growing themselves, too. That’s perhaps best embodied by Golden Gate Ventures, a Singapore-based firm founded by three Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in 2011 which is about to close a huge new fund for Southeast Asia.Golden Gate started out with a small seed investment fund before raising a second worth $60 million in 2015. Now it is in the closes stages of finalizing a new $100 million fund, which has completed a first close of over $65 million in commitments, a source with knowledge of discussions told TechCrunch.A filing lodged with the SEC in June first showed the firm’s intent to raise $100 million. The source told TechCrunch that a number of LPs from Golden Gate’s previous funds have already signed up, including Naver, while Mistletoe, the firm run by SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son’s brother Taizo, is among the new backe…

Bird’s electric scooters are going international

Electric scooter startup Bird, the one worth $2 billion, is going international. This does not come as a surprise given TechCrunch’s June report that Bird was looking to expand to Europe. Today, Bird is launching a pilot program in Paris to see how the electric scooter service operates in a city with more than two million people.“Paris is very forward-thinking on solving congestion issues and is one of the cities that’s dealing with the most congestion and pollution,” Bird Head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa Patrick Studener told TechCrunch.Bird is also gearing up to deploy some scooters in Tel Aviv, where the company says it’s chatting with Tel Aviv University and some municipalities about making something work in those areas, Studener said. In Tel Aviv, Bird will charge 5 shekels to start and then 50 agorot per minute.As Bird expands to international markets, it’s worth noting that competitor Lime has operated its bikes and scooters outside of the U.S. for quite some time. La…

Uber and Lyft encourage NYC customers to oppose proposed ride-hail cap legislation

Uber is making calls to some of its customers in New York City, offering to connect them to local council members to express their opposition to the proposed legislation that would cap the number of ride-hailing drivers in the city, Buzzfeed first reported. Meanwhile, Lyft is also reaching out to its NYC-based riders, asking them to contact their local officials.For context, the NYC city council is currently considering legislation that would limit the number of ride-hail drivers on the road. Specifically, the proposal wants to place a one-year hold on the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses, unless the vehicles are wheelchair accessible.This legislation would affect Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via — all of which operate ride-hailing services in the city. The deadline to submit an amended version of the proposal is tonight at midnight, so the clock is ticking.Anyway, some people seem to be a bit upset about receiving calls from Uber, but Uber Director of Public Affairs Jason Post told …

Four million people are using Apple’s OS betas

For the past few years, Apple has made early versions of its operating systems available to those willing to brave the bugs. Through its beta software program, anyone willing to deal with spotty battery life or a crash or three could load up pre-release builds of iOS, macOS, watchOS, or tvOS.Ever wonder how many actually take advantage of it?According to Tim Cook on today’s earnings call, over four million people are currently running on the betas.Alas, that’s as detailed as he got. He didn’t break down which platforms had the most beta users (though I’d bet iOS or macOS lead the way), nor what percentage of that beta group was developers (accessing the beta to debug their apps before the update) vs consumers (who just want to poke around the new goods early.)For reference: as of February of 2018, Apple had 1.3 billion active devices across Apple TV, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Mac. So if each of the users Tim Cook mentioned is running a beta OS on one device, that’s around 0.3% of …

Apple Pay is finally coming to CVS and 7-Eleven, and will soon expand to Germany

Longtime Apple Pay holdout CVS will finally be adding support for Apple’s mobile payments platform this fall, along with 7-Eleven, Apple CEO Tim Cook said this afternoon on the company’s earnings call. The news is particularly notable because CVS was one of the first major retailers to snub Apple Pay, choosing instead to launch its own barcode-based mobile payments solution “CVS Pay” back in 2016, following the failure of the retailer-backed Apple Pay rival CurrentC.CVS Pay had become the first mobile payments solution the pharmacy chain adopted, after having purposefully avoided support for Apple Pay or any other rival NFC (tap to pay) technologies at its register. The company believed there was value in offering its own end-to-end solution to customers that combined both payments and loyalty, it had said.In addition, CVS had earlier backed an Apple Pay alternative called CurrentC, which was developed by the merchant consortium MCX led by major retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Rite …

Spotify now offers motion comics starring Archie

Spotify has been experimenting with incorporating non-musical formats over the last couple of years, including videos and multimedia podcasts. Next up: Motion comics based on new Archie stories.For those of you who haven’t been keeping track of the comics incarnations of Archie and his friends, the title was recently rebooted by writer Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and artist Fiona Staples (Saga). While I was initially skeptical about the need to mess with the characters’ classic designs, I found the first collection to be a perfectly enjoyable combination of teen comedy and soap opera.Now, as announced in Nerdist, the first six issues have been transformed by digital comics startup Madefire with music and voice acting.It’s still a comic book, and you can still see Staples’ gorgeous art, but it’s a story that you hit a “play” button to experience, rather than turning any pages. (Madefire and its CEO Ben Wolstenholme prefer the term “motion books” to distinguish the format from the cheesy m…

HP Launches $10,000 Bug Bounty for Printers

HP is opening a new bug bounty program that is the first of its kind -- HP wants hackers to break into its printers.The post HP Launches $10,000 Bug Bounty for Printers appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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DHS launches a new cyber hub to coordinate against threats to US infrastructure

Among the many things the current administration has been criticized for is its lack of a unified strategy to combat cyber threats, especially in light of ongoing election interference and psy ops perpetrated by Russia. The Department of Homeland Security is advancing the ball with the creation of the National Risk Management Center, intended on protecting critical infrastructure from attacks and subversion by online adversaries.The NRMC was announced today at a cyber summit in New York held by the agency, where DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen explained the purpose and justification for this new entity. Remarkably, she directly contradicted the ongoing soft-pedaling by the Executive of Russian operations targeting the country.“Let me be clear: Our intelligence community had it right. It was the Russians. It was directed from the highest levels. And we cannot and will not allow it to happen again,” she said.DHS Secretary Nielsen in 2017. Thus the creation of the NRMC, which will work dir…

Apple nears a $1 trillion market cap as it clears another quarter ahead of expectations

Apple is inching closer and closer to becoming a $1 trillion company today after posting third quarter results that beat out what analysts were expecting and bumping the stock another few percentage points — which, by Apple standards, is tens of billions of dollars.The company’s stock is up around 2.5% this afternoon after the report, which at a prior market close with a market cap of around $935 billion, is adding nearly another $20-plus billion to its market cap. A few quarters ago we were walking about how Apple was in shooting distance of that $1 trillion mark, but now it seems more and more like Apple will actually hit it. Apple is headed into its most important few quarters as we hit the back half of the year, with its usual new lineup of iPhones and other products and its accompanying critical holiday quarter.Here’s a quick breakdown of the numbers:Revenue:  $53.3 billion, up 17% year-over-year compared to analyst expectations of $52.34 billion.Earnings: $2.34 per share compare…

Intel’s Entire 2018, 2019 CPU Roadmap May Have Just Leaked

Intel's desktop roadmap for 2018 - 2019 has purportedly leaked. Despite the chatter, a new Core i9 could be some months away.The post Intel’s Entire 2018, 2019 CPU Roadmap May Have Just Leaked appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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Midterm attackers cited Black Lives Matter in false flag Facebook rally

Unknown midterm election attackers that Facebook has removed were hosting a political rally next month that they pinned on Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other organizations, according to third-party event websites that scraped the now-removed Facebook events.Facebook provided an image of the deleted “No Unite The Right 2 – DC” event as part of its announcement today that merely showed its image, title, date, location, and that a Page called “Resisters” was one of the hosts of the propaganda event. But a scraped event description TechCrunch discovered on Rallyist provides deeper insight into the disruptive information operation. Facebook won’t name the source of the election interference but said the attackers shared a connection through a single account to the Russian Internet Research Agency responsible for 2016 presidential election interference on Facebook.“We are calling all anti-fascists and people of good conscience to participate in international days of action August 10 thro…

TV Time debuts an analytics platform for the streaming era

TV Time, the consumer app that helps bingers keep track of where they are with favorite shows and socialize with fellow viewers, is today expanding its business with the launch of an analytics platform called TVLytics. The new service will allow creators and distributors to tap into real-time data from across more than 60,000 TV shows. It will also offer other anonymized data collected from viewers, including things like on which platforms viewers watched, their favorite characters, bingeing behavior, viewers’ locations, anticipation from fans for new episodes, social engagement and more.The data is pulled from the app’s community of around a million daily users from more than 200 countries who check in with the app some 45 million times per month. To date, TV Time has tracked more than 10 billion TV episodes, and has seen 210 million reactions.TV Time began its life as a source for TV show GIFs known as WhipClip, but later pivoted to a social TV community after acquiring TVShow Time

Digital therapeutics are just what the doctor ordered for patients — and for global healthcare systems

Meri BeckwithContributor Meri Beckwith is an investor at Oxford Capital, a seed and Series A VC in the U.K., where he focuses on digital health, the future of mobility and consumer brands. It would be hard to argue that digital products have a net-positive impact on our health. Most are designed to provide the same dopamine hit as a slot machine. We all know someone who wasted their youth playing games that were designed to be all-consuming, with the World Health Organization recently going so far as to categorize video game addiction as a mental health disorder.But this habit-forming power of digital products can be used for therapeutic benefit too, often by changing the behavior that causes disease or ill health. This new range of products is being commonly referred to as digital therapeutics. These apps and services offer evidence-based and personalized behavioral therapy, and cater to a broad cross-section of illnesses and conditions — from diabetes to loneliness, and everything in-…

Can Electronauts help make VR more social?

Virtual reality is an isolating experience. You power it up, strap the headset on and just sort of drift off into your own world. But maybe that doesn’t have to be the case. Maybe there’s a way to slip into a virtual world and still interact with your surroundings.Electronauts presents an interesting example. Survios sees the title as a party game — something akin to what Guitar Hero/Rock Band was at the height of their collective powers, when people would set them up in their living room and invite friends over to play.The new title has one decided advantage over those older games, however: It’s impossible to hit a wrong note. That’s kind of the whole point, in fact. Unlike the gamification of Guitar Hero/Rock Band, Electronauts is more experiential, designed to create remixes of songs on the fly.I played a near final version of the title at a private demo in New York the other week, and mostly enjoyed the experience — my own personal hang-ups about doing VR in front of a room full o…

Test.ai nabs $11M Series A led by Google to put bots to work testing apps

For developers, the process of determining whether every new update is going to botch some core functionality can take up a lot of time and resources, and things get far more complicated when you’re managing a multitude apps.Test.ai is building a comprehensive system for app testing that relies on bots, not human labor to see whether an app is ready to start raking in the downloads.The startup has just closed an $11 million Series A round led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund. Also participating in the round were e.ventures, Uncork Capital, and Zetta Venture Partners. Test.ai, which was founded in 2015, has raised $17.6 million to date.“Every advancement in training AI systems enables an advancement in user testing, and test.ai is the leader in AI-powered testing technology. We’re excited to help them supercharge their growth as they test every app in the world,” Gradient Ventures founder Anna Patterson said in a statement. “In a couple years, AI testing will be i…

Gusto raises $140 million to go after small business payroll and benefits with more gusto

Gusto, which sells payroll, benefits and human resources management and monitoring services to small businesses, has raised $140 million in its latest round of funding.The company said it will use the money to add new services to increase payment flexibility for employees. The company launched a new service called Flexible Pay, which gives employees a way to get paid no matter when a company’s pay schedule dictates. It seems sort of like a payday loan where a percentage of the salary is taken by Gusto for providing money upfront.The late-stage round was led by T.Rowe Price Associates portfolio, MSD Capital (the family investment fund for Michael Dell), Dragoneer Investment Group, and Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund.Previous investors including General Catalyst, CapitalG, Kleiner Perkins, 137 Ventures, Emergence Capital also participated in the round.The company claims that it processes tens of billions of dollars in payroll and offers a range of benefits including health insurance, 401…

Facebook really doesn’t want users to go to a fake Unite the Right counter-protest next week

According to COO Sheryl Sandberg, getting ahead of an event called “No Unite the Right 2, DC” is the reason behind Facebook’s decision to disclose new platform behavior that closely resembles previous Russian state-sponsored activity meant to sow political discord in the US.“We’re sharing this today because the connection between these actors and the event planned in Washington next week,” Sandberg said, calling the disclosure “early” and noting that the company still does not have all the facts.A Facebook Page called “Resisters” created the event, set to take place on August 10, as a protest against Unite the Right 2 — a follow-up event to last year’s deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that left peaceful counter-protester Heather Heyer dead.The Page, which Facebook identified as displaying “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” also worked with the admins from five authentic Facebook Pages to co-host the event and arrange transportation and logistics. Facebook has notified those …

Will We Someday Be Able to Do Everything Through Online Platforms?

In 2005, the average person never would have believed how social media platforms wouldcompletely transformthe way humans interact. By 2010, that same person never would have dreamed that ride-sharing apps wouldoverthrow the taxi industrywithin a few short years. Cue 2015, and that person — who had seen countless industries transformed by online platforms — would have doubted whether cryptocurrency like bitcoin would become acceptable tender at companiesall over the world.Today, all those things (and more) have come to pass. Online platforms continue to change the way the world works, yet people continue to doubt the extent of these platforms’ power to disrupt. By now, the question should not be whether online platforms will change an industry, but when.Modern consumers depend on online platforms to order their groceries, work their jobs, watch movies, listen to music —even sell their homes. And, with the rise of IoT technology and sensors, these online platforms are getting even smoot…

Google partners with news orgs to show more data in its search results

Google today announced that it is working with a number of news organizations to surface more data from their data journalism projects in its search results. The idea here is to make it easier to discover the data that a lot of these organizations produce and then surface it in an easy to read format on the company’s search results pages.The company is currently working with a few news organizations, including ProPublica, to produce the structured data in the format it needs for its search index. As long as that data is in a table, adding it to the index should be pretty straightforward.“As a news organization that is focused on having real-world impact, it’s very much in our mission to give people information at the point of need,” said Scott Klein, the deputy managing editor of ProPublica. “If we can make the data we’ve worked hard to collect and prepare available to people at the very moment when they’re researching a big life decision, and thereby help them make the best decision …

Waymo partners with Phoenix to connect people to public transit

Waymo, the former Google self-driving project that spun out to become a business under Alphabet, is launching program in Phoenix next month that will focus on delivering people to bus stops, train and light rail stations.The program announced Tuesday is in partnership with Valley Metro, the Phoenix area’s regional public transportation authority.The announcement gives clarity to the fourth leg in Waymo’s business strategy. The company’s has publicly shared plans to focus on four areas: create a ride-hailing service, develop self-driving trucks for logistics, and license its technology to automakers for personally-owned vehiclesBut it was the fourth piece—connecting people to public transportation—that was nebulous until now.The program will be initially offered to employees of Valley Metro. These riders will be able to use the Waymo app to hail a ride in one of the company’s autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to take them to the nearest public transportation option.Waymo wil…

ET Deals: Dell Vostro Quad-Core for $350, Inspiron Six-Core Desktop for $450

The team at TechBargains have dug up great discounts on everything from Apple AirPods to Roku streaming sticks to smart light bulbs, so you're bound to find the perfect deal below.The post ET Deals: Dell Vostro Quad-Core for $350, Inspiron Six-Core Desktop for $450 appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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Admire Winners of the 2018 Drone Awards Photo Contest

Aerial photography was first practiced in the late 1850s. But the technique has really taken off (pun intended) since the commercialization of drones. And it’s not limited to cartography, movie production, or surveillance, […]The post Admire Winners of the 2018 Drone Awards Photo Contest appeared first on Geek.com.

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NASA Says Terraforming Mars Is Currently Impossible

A new analysis of Mars and its composition shows that we're nowhere near being able to terraform the planet with current technology. Elon Musk can put away his nukes.The post NASA Says Terraforming Mars Is Currently Impossible appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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Just 24 hours until prices go up for Disrupt SF 2018 passes

A lot can happen in 24 hours. Just ask Jack Bauer, the hard-charging protagonist from the TV drama series 24. Seriously, he had to save the world every dang episode. All you have to do is buy your pass to Disrupt San Francisco 2018 before the prices go up in — you guessed it — 24 hours.We want you to join us on September 5-7 at Moscone Center West, and we want you to get the best deal possible. You have until midnight PST on August 1 before the price hike hits. Depending on the pass you buy, you could save up to $1,200. Jack Bauer would take action, and so should you. Buy your ticket right now.What can you expect at Disrupt SF 2018? Plenty, and we’ll get to that in a minute. But sometimes it helps to hear what your peers found most beneficial. For example, Vlad Larin, one of the founders of Zeroqode, shared his Disrupt experience with us.“TechCrunch Disrupt was a massively positive experience,” said Larin. “It gave us the chance to show our technology to the world and have meaningful …

Facebook has found evidence of influence campaigns targeting U.S. midterms

In a newsroom post Tuesday, Facebook revealed that it has detected evidence of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” designed to influence U.S. politics on its platform.According to Facebook’s Head of Cybersecurity Policy Nathaniel Gleicher, the company first identified the activity two weeks ago. So far, the activity encompasses eight Facebook Pages, 17 profiles and seven accounts on Instagram. Facebook stated that the activity “violate[s] our ban on coordinated inauthentic behavior” though so far is unable to attribute the activity to Russia or any other entity with an interest in influencing U.S. politics.Facebook has been in contact with Congress and law enforcement about the discovery, which suggests that social platforms should expect to again detect the kind of coordinated disinformation campaigns targeted the 2016 election around U.S. midterm elections this November. The company stated that more than 290,000 accounts followed one of the Pages it identified. The Pages in question …