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Tag Archives: products

Snapchat launches privacy-safe Snap Kit, the un-Facebook platform

Today Snapchat finally gets a true developer platform, confirming TechCrunch’s scoop from last month about Snap Kit . This set of APIs lets other apps piggyback on Snap’s login for sign up, build Bitmoji avatars into their keyboards, display public Our Stories and Snap Map content, and generate branded stickers with referral links users can share back inside Snapchat. Snap Kit’s big selling point is privacy — a differentiator from Facebook. It doesn’t even let you share your social graph with apps to prevent a Cambridge Analytica-style scandal. Launch partners include Tinder bringing Bitmojis to your chats with matches, Patreon letting fans watch creators’ Stories from within its app, and Postmates offering order ETA stickers you can share in Snapchat that open the restaurant’s page in the delivery app. Developers that want to join the platform can sign up here . Snap Kit could help the stumbling public company colonize the mobile app ecosystem with its buttons and content, which might inspire Snapchat signups from new users and reengagement from old ones. “Growth is one of our three goals for 2018, so we absolutely hope it can contribute to that, and continue to strengthen engagement, which has always been a key metric for us” Snap’s VP of product Jacob Andreou tells me. That’s critical since Snapchat sunk to its lowest user growth rate ever last quarter under the weight of competition from Instagram and WhatsApp. “There have been areas inside of our products where we’ve really set standards” Andreou explains. “Early, that was seen in examples like Stories, but today with things like how we treat user data, what we collect, what we share when people login and register for our service . . .

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LOLA just raised $24M for a subscription service that ships tampons, pads and now condoms

LOLA , a subscription service delivering tampons and pads, and now other products, including condoms, lubricant, and feminine cleansing wipes, has closed on $24 million in Series B funding. While the startup touts its products’ “100% organic” nature, it’s also well-received because of the customization offered and its direct-to-consumer nature. The new round of financing was led by private equity firm Alliance Consumer Growth (ACG), with support from existing investors Spark Capital, Lerer Hippeau and Brand Foundry Ventures. To date, LOLA has raised $11.2 million, from investors including also BBG Ventures, 14W, the founders of Warby Parker and Harry’s, Sweetgreen, Bonobos, and Insomnia Cookies. Celebs like  Serena Williams, Karlie Kloss, Lena Dunham, and Allison Williams have also invested. Launched in 2015, LOLA’s founders Alex Friedman and Jordana Kier had the idea to challenge industry giants, like Tampax and Playtex, with a 100% organic product. “We founded LOLA with a simple and seemingly obvious idea – as women, we shouldn’t have to compromise when it comes to our reproductive health,” explains Kier. “Like most women, we’d been using the same feminine care products since we were teenagers. But when we found out that brands – including the same ones we were loyal to all those years – aren’t required to disclose exactly what’s in their products, it made us wonder: what’s in our tampon?” “If we care about everything else we put in our bodies, products for our reproductive health shouldn’t be any different,” she states. LOLA’s tampons, pads and liners are made only with organic cotton, not synthetic fibers, like those used mainstream brands. Nor do they contain fragrances or dyes. The nature of its products appeal to consumers – especially, young millennial women – who are more conscious of the chemicals in their products, as well as those who want to buy organic for the environmental benefits. That said, there’s  a bit of debate over how dangerous (or not) it is to use traditional feminine care products. Skeptics , including some  doctors , insist there’s no threat from conventional products. But even women not concerned with buying organic may find LOLA appealing because of its model.

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Packhelp raises a seed round to spread the love of beautiful boxes

When we last left Packhelp they had raised €350,000 to build a business out of custom packaging. Their original hunch – that companies wanted cool, custom packaging for their products – was correct and now they’ve gone back to the VC trough for €2 million. The round, raised from Speedinvest x, PROFounders, and Market One Capital, will go to growing the Polish business internationally. It is run by Wojciech Sadowski, Konrad Kwiatkowski, Maciek Woźniczko, and Maciej Zając. “Before Packhelp, four of us were running a digital agency,” said Sadowski. “One of our clients asked us to order custom boxes for his product. We did some research and it turned out that it is almost impossible to place an order for small quantity of boxes. Why? Because normal printing houses require high minimum orders (> 500 pieces) and a lot of technical knowledge, they offer very long turn around (30-45 days) and very high personalization cost with poor quality and even worse customer service. We’ve decided to change that.” The company has 5,000 customers from 29 countries and sees about 600 orders a day.

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Apple to launch its own ‘digital health’ features in iOS 12, says report

At Google I/O in May, the company introduced a series of time management tools for Android users that help better manage screen time, track app usage, and limit the phone’s ability to distract, including a “shush” mode which turns on Do Not Disturb by flipping the phone over, and a “wind down,” color reduction mode for bedtime. Now, it seems Apple will follow suit with its own digital wellbeing features in an upcoming release of the iOS mobile operating system, a new report claims. According to Bloomberg , Apple will introduce a new set of digital wellbeing features for iOS users at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose on Monday. The tools will be later released as a part of iOS 12 operating system for iPhone and iPad devices, which typically arrives in the fall. The report was light on details in terms of which specific metrics Apple will track, but says those details will arrive in a new menu inside the Settings app in iOS 12. The initiative, called “Digital Health,” will monitor how much time users spend on devices, but it’s unclear if it will also include tools that help users silence their phones using new gestures or settings, or otherwise disengage from their devices. The digital wellbeing movement is part of a fairly recent course correction for Silicon Valley tech companies, which are now being held accountable for the addictive nature of the devices, apps and services they’ve created.   From the beginning, tech company engineers and designers were encouraged to make their products ever more engaging by taking advantage of specific design patterns that prompt regular, addictive usage of their products, and those that increase users’ time spent in apps. But more recently, some tech execs have come to espouse regrets for what they’ve built. Former Facebook president Sean Parker stated  Facebook’s design exploited weakness in the human psyche  to addict users, and said he worried about what it was doing to kids’ brains.

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Wedding startup Zola just received a lavish gift: $100 million in fresh funding

Zola , a fast-growing company that invites newly engaged couples to register their guests, shop from 600 different brands, and create customizable checklists, has itself received something a bit extravagant: $100 million in Series D funding. Earlier investor Comcast Ventures led the round, which also included new investors NBCUniversal and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners. The five-year-old, New York-based, 110-person company has now raised $140 million altogether. We talked last night with founder and CEO Shan-Lyn Ma to learn more. Ma is a former executive with the e-commerce companies Gilt Groupe and Chloe + Isabel who originally started Zola to reinvent the traditional registry process but who now sees an opportunity to eventually address every need a young couple may have, from caterers to Cuisinarts, to eventually, perhaps, even home mortgages. Our chat has been edited lightly for length. TC: You’re a decent size-company at this point. Is everyone in New York? SM: The vast majority, though we also have a small number in Charlottesville, Virginia. Earlier this year, we acquired the assets of a small wedding startup that had shut down and brought some of that team into Zola. TC: Have you made other acquisitions? Will you now with this giant new round? SM: No, and it’s possible, but the bigger vision is to cater to couples from the day they get engaged, into their first years of marriage. We’ll be using the funding to accelerate the  product development of more wedding planning tools for couples, so we can be that go-to destination.  TC: How are people learning about Zola

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Apple Announces That They Now Run On 100% Renewable Energy – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Apple Announces That They Now Run On 100% Renewable Energy Ubergizmo Apple has always boasted about their green efforts and how they try to strive for making their products as green as possible, whether it be making the product packaging and and manuals from recycled paper, or ensuring that their products use renewable ... and more »

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Suplari raises $10.3M Series A round to bring AI to procurement

Procurement isn’t the most exciting topic in the world, but for large businesses, it’s an area where inefficiencies can quickly affect the bottom line. Simply getting a complete view of all of the products and services that a company buys is a challenge in itself, though, which in turn makes it hard to find savings, ensure compliance with company policy or government regulations or detect potential fraud. Suplari wants to change this by bringing its AI systems to bear on this problem. The company today announced that it has raised a $10.3 million Series A round led by Shasta Ventures. Existing investors Madrona Ventures and Amplify Partners also joined this round, as well as new investors Two Sigma Ventures and Workday Ventures. “ Suplari uses advanced artificial intelligence on top of existing enterprise systems to proactively uncover the highest-value opportunities to pursue and empower the CFO or Chief Procurement Officer to unlock savings and profit that can be invested in growth, innovation, and their people,” said Suplari CEO and co-founder Nikesh Parekh in today’s announcement. The company’s cloud-based service allows businesses to analyze all of their procurement data across platforms and formats. This data can include contracts, purchasing data, product usage information and data from corporate credit card accounts. A number of Fortune 1000 customers have already signed up for the service and Supplari argues that it has helped its customers save software licensing fees by 33 percent and consolidate $200 million in professional service and temporary labor suppliers.

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Google Acquires GIF Platform Tenor – Ubergizmo

Ubergizmo Google Acquires GIF Platform Tenor Ubergizmo If you love using GIFs, there are several GIF platforms available on the web, such as Giphy and Tenor, in which the latter's case has been acquired by Google. The announcement was made on Google's blog in which Google shares some ideas on how they plan ... and more »

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Google introduces ‘Shopping Actions’ to help retailers in their battle with Amazon

Google announced this morning a new plan to help retailers take on Amazon – and give Google a cut of their sales in the process. The search giant will allow retailers to list their products across Google Search, in its Google Express shopping service, and in the Google Assistant app for smartphones and on smart speakers, like the Google Home. The program offers online shoppers a universal cart whether they’re shopping on mobile, desktop or via a voice-powered device. That latter item is especially important to retailers, given that Amazon has tied voice shopping to its Echo devices, and has claimed the majority of market share in smart speakers for the time being. And you aren’t able to shop Walmart from an Echo, of course. Google is working with a range of top retailers on the new effort, including Target, Walmart, Ulta Beauty, Costco, and Home Depot. Some of these were detailed in the company’s official announcement of Shopping Actions, as the program is called. A report from Reuters  noted the others. Walmart and Target were both already partnered with Google on voice-based shopping, which includes integrations with Google Express and Google Assistant. This allows customers to shop their site through the Google Express app or by saying things like “buy peanut butter from Walmart,” to place a quick voice order with Google Assistant’s help.

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