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Cisco buys location services company July Systems, which was founded in 2001 and has raised almost $60M from Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital, and…

Ron Miller / TechCrunch : Cisco buys location services company July Systems, which was founded in 2001 and has raised almost $60M from Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital, and others   —  Customer experience management is about getting to know your customer's preferences in an online context, but pulling that information …

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Investment advisory software developer SigFig raises $50 million

SigFig , the developer of an automated wealth management toolkit, has raised $50 million in a new round of funding. The company said the new money would be used to continue its research and development. The new funding was led by General Atlantic and included participation from existing investors like Bain Capital Ventures, DCM Ventures, Eaton Vance, New York Live, Nyca Partners, UBS and Union Square Ventures. Unlike other tech-enabled advisory services firms like Betterment and WealthFront, which have primarily taken a direct to consumer approach, SigFig sells its tools primarily to financial services firms like Wells Fargo, UBS, and Citizens Bank. SigFig also has a small direct to consumer business, which the company uses to test new products and services before bringing them to their main, business, customers. SigFig’s chief executive and co-founder, Mike Sha, says that the blended approach of working with wealth managers actually allows his company to reach more customers than if they were to pitch their services directly to consumers. Sha isn’t the only executive with that philosophy. Companies like Starburst Labs and  FutureAdvisor  have a blended, advisory focused approach according to market analysis companies like Owler and CBInsights. “The market for digitally-native investment advisors continues to grow due to increasing customer demand for accessible and affordable financial advice,” said Paul Stamas, Managing Director at General Atlantic, in a statement. SigFig makes money by selling its toolkit under a license to financial services firms and by taking a percentage of the assets that are managed through its tech.  Some of the new services that SigFig will look to develop (now that it’s raised additional capital) include the expansion of its advisory and planning capabilities to look at retirement planning and plan and save for other longterm goals, Sha said.

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Bag Week 2018: The Bitcoin Genesis Block backpack will centralize your belongings

Welcome to Bag Week 2018. Every year your faithful friends at TechCrunch spend an entire week looking at bags. Why? Because bags — often ignored but full of our important electronics — are the outward representations of our techie styles, and we put far too little thought into where we keep our most prized possessions. It’s difficult to show people that you love blockchain. There are no cool hats, no rad t-shirts, and no outward signs – except a libertarian bent and a poster of a scantily-clad Vitalik Buterin on your bedroom wall – to tell the world you are into decentralized monetary systems. Until, of course, the Bitcoin Genesis Block Backpack . Unlike the blockchain, this backpack will centralize your stuff in a fairly large, fairly standard backpack. There is little unique about the backpack itself – it’s a solid piece made of 100% polyester and includes ergonomically designed straps and a secret pocket – but it is printed with the Bitcoin Genesis Block including a headline about UK bank bailouts. In short, it’s Merkle tree-riffic.

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IRL wants to get people together offline

Social planning apps are a dime a dozen, but none have risen to become a mainstay in our digital lives. IRL , founded by Abe Shafi and Scott Banister, is looking to break the pattern, focusing on positivity to get people excited about hanging out offline. When users first sign up, they’re asked a series of multiple choice questions about their friends: “Who is the best at building pillow forts?” or “Who has the best style?” with four of your contacts as possible answers. These ‘nominations’ are meant to catalyze making plans with those friends. Those nominations stay anonymous. From there, users can choose from a wide variety of interests like “Netflix and Chill,” “Grab Burgers,” or “Watch the World Cup.” Once they’ve chosen an interest, they can mark the time (today, soon, or pick a date) and send an invite to friends, at which point the group comes up with the right time and place for the plans. According to cofounder and CEO Abe Shafi, the structure of IRL is meant to take the pressure off of any one person from being the ‘host.’ “We designed IRL so that people could send out lightweight invitations,” said Shafi. “We want people to be able to say ‘hey, I want to do something’ and send it out to a larger group of friends, letting people opt in and decide what they want to do. Creating a safe container that lets people opt in helps with social anxiety around making plans.” This isn’t Shafi’s first go-round in the world of tech startups. Shafi sold his startup GetTalent to Dice in 2013. Shafi said that one of the difficulties in enterprise software was that he felt less and less connected to the problems he was solving, and knew that he felt at his best spending time with friends and family. “I knew I didn’t want to participate in the distraction economy,” said Shafi

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Tech giants and automakers form Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity (PTIO) group to explore the impact of self-driving cars on…

Andrew J. Hawkins / The Verge : Tech giants and automakers form Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity (PTIO) group to explore the impact of self-driving cars on human jobs   —  A crisis in labor is brewing, and the big AV companies are on it  —  Driverless vehicles could eliminate millions of jobs in the future …

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SaaS endpoint protection firm CrowdStrike raises $200M Series E at a $3B+ valuation co-led by General Atlantic, Accel, and IVP (Jonathan…

Jonathan Shieber / TechCrunch : SaaS endpoint protection firm CrowdStrike raises $200M Series E at a $3B+ valuation co-led by General Atlantic, Accel, and IVP   —  CrowdStrike, the developer of a security technology that looks at changes in user behavior on networked devices and uses that information to identify potential cyber threats …

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Pondering an IPO, cyber security company CrowdStrike raises $200 million at over $3 billion valuation

CrowdStrike , the developer of a security technology that looks at changes in user behavior on networked devices and uses that information to identify potential cyber threats, has reached a $3 billion valuation on the back of a new $200 million round of funding. The company’s hosted endpoint security technology has seen tremendous adoption worldwide and its popularity was able to win the attention of General Atlantic, Accel, and IVP which co-led the company’s latest round. Previous investors March Capital and CapitalG both participated in the company’s new financing. For companies seeing the number of devices that are accessing their corporate networks proliferate rapidly, the CrowdStrike hosted security technology is one of several potential fixes to what’s becoming a significant problem. For CrowdStrike that’s meant doubling revenues and headcount and winnin contracts with over 16% of the Fortune 1000 companies and 20% of companies in the Fortune 500. The company claims that its software processes over 100 billion “security events” a day and its automated threat detection service makes 2.3 million decisions each second. The company has a $1 million warranty offer on its  EPP Complete solution . Other security companies like Cylance and Carbon Black have raised hundreds of millions for similar technologies. Indeed, the security market remains hotly contested in part because no technology has yet come up with a silver bullet for cyber attacks even as the number of attacks continue to proliferate. Many chief security officers at big companies have mandates to only work with vendors that can replace at least three existing technologies that they’re already deploying, according to sources in the security industry. In a blog post announcing the company’s new round, chief executive George Kurtz acknowledged the increasingly complex security environment that companies face, calling it “more global and dangerous” with lines blurring between “nation state and criminal adversaries”. That’s why security companies like Cylance, Carbon Black and CrowdStriike have raised over $800 million between them.

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