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Ashton Kutcher and Effie Epstein to talk Sound Ventures at TC Disrupt SF

While many celebrities try to invest in the world of tech, very few do so successfully. And no one has proved their worth as celebrity-turned-VC more than Ashton Kutcher . That’s why we’re absolutely thrilled to host Ashton Kutcher and Sound Ventures partner Effie Epstein at TC Disrupt SF in September. Kutcher first got into investing in 2011 with the launch of A-Grade Investments . The firm invested in big-name companies like DuoLingo, FlexPort, ProductHunt, Airbnb, and Uber. In 2014, Kutcher, alongside his longtime friend and partner Guy Oseary, started a new VC firm called Sound Ventures . Since launch, Sound Ventures has made 53 investments and led six rounds of financing, with portfolio companies including Gusto, Vicarious, Robinhood, Lemonade, and Acorns. And in 2017, Sound made another investment in the form of Effie Epstein . The firm brought on Epstein as managing partner and COO, with Kutcher telling TechCrunch: “Effie has a deep understanding of business and fiduciary responsibilities. She also has a multidisciplinary background which makes her a home run for venture. The bottom line is she is someone I want to work for.” Before joining Sound, Epstein led global strategy at Marsh & McLennan subsidiary Marsh. Prior to Marsh, she served as SVP of planning and head of Investor Relations at iHeartMedia, and before that she worked in business development at Clear. Epstein also worked in investment banking in the energy sector and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Ashton Kutcher and Effie Epstein to talk Sound Ventures at Disrupt SF

While many celebrities try to invest in the world of tech, very few do so successfully. And no one has proved their worth as celebrity-turned-VC more than Ashton Kutcher . That’s why we’re absolutely thrilled to host Ashton Kutcher and Sound Ventures partner Effie Epstein at TC Disrupt SF in September. Kutcher first got into investing in 2011 with the launch of A-Grade Investments . The firm invested in big-name companies like DuoLingo, FlexPort, ProductHunt, Airbnb, and Uber. In 2014, Kutcher, alongside his longtime friend and partner Guy Oseary, started a new VC firm called Sound Ventures . Since launch, Sound Ventures has made 53 investments and led six rounds of financing, with portfolio companies including Gusto, Vicarious, Robinhood, Lemonade, and Acorns. And in 2017, Sound made another investment in the form of Effie Epstein . The firm brought on Epstein as managing partner and COO, with Kutcher telling TechCrunch: “Effie has a deep understanding of business and fiduciary responsibilities. She also has a multidisciplinary background which makes her a home run for venture. The bottom line is she is someone I want to work for.” Before joining Sound, Epstein led global strategy at Marsh & McLennan subsidiary Marsh. Prior to Marsh, she served as SVP of planning and head of Investor Relations at iHeartMedia, and before that she worked in business development at Clear. Epstein also worked in investment banking in the energy sector and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. In other words, Epstein brings a multi-disciplinary approach to Sound, which is venturing beyond consumer tech into financial services, insurance tech, enterprise, govtech and medtech sectors. This won’t be Kutcher’s first go-around at Disrupt.

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Researchers create a real cloaking device

Researcher Amanda D. Hanford at Pennsylvania State University has created a real cloaking device that can route sound waves around an object, making it invisible to some sensing techniques. From the report : Hanford and her team set out to engineer a metamaterial that can allow the sound waves to bend around the object as if it were not there. Metamaterials commonly exhibit extraordinary properties not found in nature, like negative density. To work, the unit cell — the smallest component of the metamaterial — must be smaller than the acoustic wavelength in the study. Hanford created an acoustic metamaterial that deflected sound waves under water, a difficult feat. In testing she and the team were able to place the material in water and measure sound waves pointed at it. The resulting echoes in the water suggested that the sound waves did not bounce off or around the material. This means the new material would be invisible to sonar. Obviously this technology is still in its early stages and the material does not make the objects invisible but just very hard to detect in underwater situations. However, the fact ship captains could soon yell “Activate the cloaking device” as evil, laser-toting dolphins appear on the horizon should give everyone a bit of cheer.

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Conserve the Sound is an archive of noises from old tape players, projectors, and other dying tech

All of us grew up around tech different from what we have today, and many of us look back on those devices with fondness. But can you recall the exact sound your first Casio keyboard made, or the cadence of a rotary phone’s clicks? Conserve the Sound aims to, well, conserve the sound of gadgets like these so that future generations will know what it sounded like to put a cartridge in the NES . It’s actually quite an old project at this point, having been funded first in 2013, but its collection has grown to a considerable size. The money came from German art institution Film & Medienstiftung NRW; the site was created (and is maintained) by creative house Chunderksen . The whole thing is suitably minimal, much like an actual museum: you find objects either by browsing randomly or by finding a corresponding tag, and are presented with some straightforward imagery and a player loaded with the carefully captured sound of the device being operated. Though the items themselves are banal, listening to these sounds of a bygone age is strangely addictive. They trigger memories or curiosity — was my Nintendo that squeaky? Didn’t my rotary phone click more? What kind was it anyway? I wonder if they have my old boombox… oh! A Viewmaster! The collection has grown over the years and continues to grow; it now includes interviews with experts in various subjects on the importance of saving these sounds. You can even submit your own, if you like. “We welcome suggestions in general, sound suggestions, stories, anecdotes and of course collaborations,” write the creators. I for one would love to revisit all the different modems and sounds I grew up using. 2400, 9600, 14.4, 28.8, all the way up to 56.6.

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