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Tag Archives: techcrunch

Get passes to Disrupt SF 2018 before prices increase on July 25

Don’t look now, but July 25 is sneaking up mighty fast. Why should you care? That’s the day prices go up on all passes to Disrupt San Francisco 2018 , which takes place on September 5-7. If you want to attend one of the best tech conferences for all-things startup and — depending on the type of pass you select — save up to $1,200 in the process, then stop what you’re doing and go buy your passes today . Seriously, why wouldn’t you? You simply don’t want to miss this event, and we’ll tell you why. Disrupt San Francisco 2018 — the largest Disrupt event we’ve ever produced — is the only Disrupt event happening in North America this year. We’re dedicating our time, resources and talent to making this the biggest, boldest Disrupt show ever. More than 10,000 attendees will descend on Moscone Center West (our new venue with three times the floor space) to see the latest technologies from hundreds of early-stage startups. More than 1,200 of those startups — along with other exhibitors — will showcase a staggering array of technology in Startup Alley . All tech industries are welcome to exhibit, but you’ll find a special focus on these categories: AI, AR/VR, Blockchain, Biotech, Fintech, Gaming, Healthtech, Privacy/Security, Space, Mobility, Retail or Robotics/IoT/Hardware

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Inside the rise and reign of supergiant venture capital rounds

There was a time not so long ago when nine-figure venture capital rounds weren’t a near-daily feature of tech business news. But now funding rounds of $100 million or more cross the wires with  stunning frequency . The  era of supergiant rounds  is now the new normal. This is attributable, in part, to billions of dollars flowing into new venture capital funds — the largest of which are raised by the oldest, most entrenched firms — and competition from relative newcomers, like  SoftBank . Q2 2018 may have set new records for worldwide VC deal and dollar volume in this post-dot com cycle, but that belies an important fact: Investors are dumping the bulk of capital into a relatively small number of companies. The rise of supergiant rounds wound up in a “takeover” of the market. The chart below shows the proportion of capital raised in rounds of $100 million or more, tracing the period between Q1 2017 and the end of Q2 2018. Just a little over a year ago, in Q1 2017, nine and 10-figure venture capital deals accounted for a healthy 35 percent of global dollar volume. Five quarters later, in Q2 2018, $100 million-and-up deals accounted for a majority — some 61 percent — of equity funding into upstart technology companies. It’s not just that these mega-rounds are eclipsing smaller counterparts as a percent of dollar volume totals. Supergiant rounds also appear to be driving most of the growth in reported dollar volume, as the chart below shows. Between Q1 2017 and Q2 2018, reported dollar volume in sub-$100 million deals grew by around 42 percent. By that same token, dollar volume in nine and 10-figure venture deals ballooned by about 325 percent over that stretch of time. Granted, this is all based on recorded data in Crunchbase. And like all private-market databases, Crunchbase is subject to some reporting delays

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Why self-regulation is better than legislative regulation

Yale Fox Contributor Yale Fox is founder and CEO at Rentlogic . We are moving toward a society controlled by algorithms, but very few of us actually understand how they work. This asymmetry of information is a recipe for disaster. Case in point: Recently in the U.K., an  algorithmic failure  put the lives of 450,000 woman at risk through a technical error that inhibited their ability to detect breast cancer. Unfortunately, this is not an anomaly, and if the tech industry doesn’t take the lead on imposing oversights to our algorithms, the government may create its own regulations — causing roadblocks to innovation. We have seen time and time again the mistake of placing our blind trust in algorithms. Even our best intentions can go awry when we’re working with something we don’t always understand, which has the ability to scale globally almost instantly. This isn’t a new concept. For example, since the early 1900s, “scientifically proven” was the trend in innovation, which bled into marketing — only a few people with highly specialized knowledge, in this case scientists, had the esoteric research along with understanding of DNA and biological sciences. Most people blindly believed this research, and it was exploited to sell products. By the early 1990s, “data driven” beat out “scientifically proven” and became the de rigueur buzz phrase — anything data driven (or data-related) must be correct because the data said so, and therefore one should trust us and buy referenced products. Now that has been superseded by terms like “AI” and “machine learning” — still part of this knowledge only understood by a few that is being used to sell products. For years, these terms and approaches have been guiding myriad choices in our lives, yet the vast majority of us have just had to accept these decisions at face value because we don’t understand the science behind them. In an age in which many aspects of technology could still be considered the “Wild West,” and tech gurus “outlaws,” I contend, as a whole, that this is a problem we should get in front of rather than behind. It is imperative that companies should voluntarily prescribe to Algorithmic Audits — an unbiased third-party verification

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Last call for tickets to the TechCrunch Summer Party at August Capital

The  TechCrunch Summer Party at August Capital  is the stuff of Silicon Valley legend. We’re celebrating 13 years of libations and convivial conversation while toasting the entrepreneurial spirit on the deck at August Capital in Menlo Park on July 27. And we want you to join us. If you have not yet secured your ticket to this summer soiree, heed our call. We’ve just released the last round of tickets. Once they go — and go quickly they will — that’s it. No party for you. Get clicking and buy your ticket right here , right now. We aren’t kidding when we say legendary things happen at TechCrunch events. Our favorite story is when Box founders Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith met one of their first investors, DFJ, at our summer party hosted by TechCrunch founder, Michael Arrington in his Atherton backyard. And that’s just it — this party draws a veritable who’s who of the startup community. You never know who you’ll meet on the deck at August Capital. Opportunity awaits, along with some pretty spiffy door prizes like TechCrunch swag, Amazon Echos and tickets to  Disrupt San Francisco 2018 . Here’s the where, when and how much: July 27, 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m

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Bird now offers discounts to people with low incomes

Bird, the scooter startup that has raised more than $400 million in funding, has introduced a program geared toward low-income people in order to increase access to transportation. Called One Bird, the program eliminates the $1 fee to unlock a Bird so that the rider just has to pay 15 cents per minute. “Everyone should have access to transportation that is accessible, affordable, and environmentally-friendly,” Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden said in a statement. “One Bird makes this a reality by providing a way for everyone to ride Birds in their city. We warmly welcome all new riders, and encourage our current eligible riders to enroll in the program, so together we can create a community with fewer cars, less traffic, and reduced carbon emissions.” The program is live in every market where Bird operates, which includes cities like Atlanta, Austin, Santa Monica, Calif. and Washington, D.C. In order to sign up for One Bird, you have to either be enrolled in or eligible for a state or federal assistance program, like CalFresh, Medicaid, SNAP or a discounted utility bill. Eligible people can reach out to one@ bird .co to learn more. Lime, a bike- and scooter-share startup, has a similar program. In May, Lime launched Lime Access to enable people who qualify for state or federal assistance programs to purchase 100 rides on pedal bikes for $5. Increasing access to transportation has long been a talking point for companies like Uber, Lyft, Spin, Lime and Bird. In San Francisco, which still has yet to decide which companies will get to operate scooter services in the city, the Municipal Transportation Agency has asked companies to outline how they each plan to support people in low-income communities. For Bird, offering discounted rides appears to be one of its strategies. You can read more about the scooter wars here. Silicon Valley scooter wars

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Coinbase didn’t get (or need) SEC approval for acquisitions after all, company says

Hmm. Well, after Coinbase confirmed to Bloomberg (and us) that they had received regulatory approval for some acquisitions that would let it eventually usher in trading tokenized securities on its exchange, the company is now walking back from which agencies it received approval. While a Coinbase spokesperson had initially indicated that the company had received approval from both FINRA and the SEC, it is now saying that the SEC did not offer approval, but only because Coinbase did not need their approval for a change of control application in the first place. Coinbase gets approval from U.S. regulators to start listing tokenized securities “T he SEC’s approval is not required for the change of control application. Coinbase has discussed aspects of its proposed operations, including the acquisition of the Keystone Entity, on an informal basis with several members of SEC staff,” the spokesperson told TechCrunch. “So it’s not correct to say that the SEC and FINRA approved Coinbase’s purchase of Keystone because SEC was not involved in the approval process. Approval was received from FINRA.” It’s all a bit confusing, though it doesn’t appear to change much as they still seem to have the needed approval from FINRA, but it is certainly an error in communication. The cryptocurrency industry and the SEC have not always had the most pleasant of interactions, so the news made it sound like both regulatory agencies were on a united front on this when the SEC didn’t offer any official input — so there really aren’t any takeaways, good or bad.

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Apply for TechCrunch Include Office Hours with August Capital

TechCrunch is partnering with August Capital for  Include Office Hours  on July 27. From 3:30-5:00 pm (before the Summer Party ), founders will have the opportunity to get key insight and feedback from Villi Iltchev, Lisa Marrone and Abie Katz. Founders can apply here . Founded in 2014, the TechCrunch Include program  works to leverage the broad network and resources for opportunities for underserved and underrepresented founders in tech. The Include Office Hours program is one such program. Over the course of the year, TechCrunch partners with a VC firm to host private one-on-one meetings between founder and investor. Founders will have 20 minutes to ask for valuable guidance, as well as product and business advice. Founders from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Underrepresented and underserved founders include, but are not limited to veteran, female, Latino/a, Black, LGBTQ and handicapable founders. The July Include Office Hours will be hosted by August Capital on July 27 from 3:30-5:00 pm PT. August Capital is a venture fund based in Menlo Park, Calif., primarily investing in early-stage startups. Apply here . Meet the participating investors: Villi Iltchev , Partner Villi Iltchev joined August Capital in 2016. Prior to joining, he was a member of the leadership teams at Box and LifeLock, where he was responsible for driving strategy and inorganic initiatives, including acquisitions and investments. Previously, Villi was vice president at Salesforce, where he led the strategy and acquisitions team and executed numerous talent, growth and strategic acquisitions.

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Announcing TechCrunch meetups in Buenos Aires and Santiago next week

TechCrunch is heading to Latin America for the first time and staging its first ever Startup Battlefield Latin America on Nov. 8 in São Paulo to find the next wave of early stage startups tackling big ideas! To spread the word, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber and Anna Escher will visit Buenos Aires and Santiago next week to meet with the startup community and hold meetups for anyone interested in learning more about the Startup Battlefield. They’ll also spend time explaining how to apply . Tickets to the meetups are free, but they will go fast so sign up now. Here are the details: Buenos Aires Tuesday, July 24th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm Innovation Lab Buenos Aires from Facebook @ Av. Cnel. Niceto Vega 4866, C1414BEF C1414BEF, Buenos Aires, Argentina Register here. Santiago Thursday, July 27th, 5:00pm – 7:00pm Startup Chile @ Monjitas 565, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile Register Here. At the meetup, Founders will learn how to apply for Battlefield and investors will learn how to refer companies in their portfolio. TechCrunch will provide a brief presentation on Startup Battlefield and answer questions. Application close next month, and when they do, our editors will choose 15 companies to compete, and one will win $25,000 and a free trip to the next Disrupt SF.  All the companies, however, will receive global exposure, winners or not, because video from their pitches on stage in front of top tier judges will be posted on TechCrunch. (And in case you missed it , TechCrunch COO Ned Desmond is in São Paulo and Mexico City this week hosting meetups and briefings for TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Latin America.) Startup Battlefield is the world’s premier startup launch competition

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Nest’s CEO is stepping down

Five months ago, Google decided to rein Nest in. After 4 years as a mostly independent division of the company, Nest was rolled into Google’s hardware team . Today, more big changes: Nest CEO Marwan Fawaz is stepping down, according to a report by CNET . The reason? Employees at Nest had reportedly been pushing for a change, hoping for someone who had more leadership experience. This news comes just a little over two years after Fawaz took over the role after the departure of co-founder Tony Fadell. Fawaz is said to be staying on in an advisory role, with Nest pushing forward under Rishi Chandra, who’s been overseeing most of Google’s hardware efforts (Home, Chromecast, Google WiFi, etc) as VP of Home Products for over 3 years. So what does all this mean for Nest? Further integrations between Nest’s hardware and Google’s other offerings are likely; in the past few months alone (since Google brought Nest back under its roof) Nest’s cameras have picked up support for Google’s voice-powered “Hey Google” Assistant, and its video doorbell can announce who’s at the door via Google Homes around your house. As they confirmed to us back in February: the Nest brand itself will continue to live on at Google, and the company isn’t expecting any layoffs. We’ve reached out to Google and Nest for more details, and will update accordingly if we hear back.

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Slack acquires Missions to help users automate work tasks inside chat

As Slack continues to grow its paid business users, the company is looking for ways to help customers build integrations that make sense for the work they do. Slack announced today that it has acquired Robots and Pencils’ Missions,  an app that allows Slack users to build tools to automate simple routines without code. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Paid users are already big fans of Slack integrations.There are currently 1,500 apps available in the Slack app directory. The company says that 94 percent of users in that bracket use apps and integrations, while 65 percent of teams have built their own. Building an integration certainly isn’t an easy process for non-tech teams to handle, Missions is focused on a more visual flow that ditches some of the complexity. Missions’ technology lets people create workflows for tasks that they might normally have to talk about inside Slack and then carry out the process off-chat. With Missions, Slack hopes that users can help teams boost productivity by making things more simple for a variety of repeatable processes. Onboarding seems to be an area where Slack sees a lot of potential for this tech, ensuring that new employees know what documents they need to fill out, who in the company they need to meet and other tasks they’ll have to complete. Other potential areas for the app to help users include managing approvals and rejections in the  hiring process as well as internal ticketing. The company says that they’ll be supporting Missions’ customers for free for the next few months as they begin to build the technology into their platform.

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Oculus starts selling $299 Go business bundle

Facebook’s virtual reality arm is beginning to sell its Oculus Go headsets directly to business users with a dedicated bundle. Starting today, business users can order a business bundle with a 64GB Oculus Go headset for $299. Oculus isn’t charging much of a premium for business users, tacking on an extra $50 for some added accessories and an extended warranty with dedicated support is probably worth that hassle. The company currently charges $799 for its Rift business bundle — a headset system that retails for $399 on its own — though the bundle similarly includes some extra stuff. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Oculus is probably expecting to ship more volume on the Oculus Go and is shifting the margins a bit accordingly. There’s a decent business opportunity here for Oculus; running multiple Rifts and PCs is such an unimaginable hassle that without several dedicated troubleshooters, it’s pretty rough to scale options quickly. With Oculus Go, functionality is a bit more limited by tracking ability, but ditching Windows makes things infinitely simpler and life is better without having to slot a Samsung smartphone that often needs its own updates as well. The fact is, standalone headsets are much better suited to casual business use cases, though some partners will definitely still need the power of a PC and game developers will obviously be restricted to the platforms for which they’re building.

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IBM’s Dario Gil will showcase quantum computing progress at Disrupt SF

After a few quiet years, the hype around quantum computing is reaching a new crescendo. Quantum supremacy now feels like an achievable goal. Among the large tech firms, IBM — and specifically the IBM Q lab —  has long been at the forefront of the quantum revolution. Last year, the company showed off its 50-qubit quantum computer and you can already start building software for it using the company’s developer kit. At Disrupt, we’ll sit down with Dario Gil, the head of IBM’s AI research efforts and quantum computing program to talk about the current state of quantum computing. We may even see a demo or two of what’s possible today and use that to separate hype from reality. With a bit of luck, we may even get a better understanding of what quantum computing is all about. It’s a technology, after all, that’s far from intuitive and, outside the small circle of researchers, few really have a grasp on the details. To hear more about this, join us at Disrupt SF. Passes for the show are available at the Early-Bird rate until July 25  here .

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Coinbase reportedly gets approval from U.S. regulators to start listing tokenized securities

Coinbase shared big news Monday that federal regulators are allowing the popular cryptocurrency exchange to proceed with plans to sell cryptocurrency tokens that are deemed securities. Last month, Coinbase acquired  Keystone Capital , a California-based FINRA-registered broker-dealer that operates as an alternative trading system. With the announcement, the SF-based cryptocurrency exchange disclosed that it would still need to get regulatory approval to operate under the Keystone licenses. Today, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority gave Coinbase just that, Bloomberg reported, approving that deal alongside the acquisitions of Venovate Marketplace and Digital Wealth. Today’s news opens up the scope of Coinbase’s ambitions to the billions of dollars that have been raised in initial coin offerings over the past several months. With permission to trade tokenized securities, Coinbase users could soon have the ability to move beyond the limited cryptocurrency options currently available to be traded on the site’s central exchange which currently just lists Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin. The company announced last week that it was exploring adding five new tokens to its exchange, including Cardano, Basic Attention Token, Stellar Lumens, Zcash and 0x. In a blog post, the company specified that the announcement did not necessarily deem that these tokens were not securities and that classification might vary by jurisdiction.

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Lyft outlines bike and scooter plans

On the heels of Lyft’s acquisition of bike-share company Motivate , the company is gearing up to fully integrate bicycle and scooter sharing into the app. There’s no word on exactly when this will happen, but it’s likely this will happen soon. Lyft is also investing $1 million to advance transportation equity to people in underserved communities. As part of its commitment, Lyft will work with non-profit organizations like TransForm to develop programs that support people with low incomes. “Soon you will be able to get real-time transit information, plan a multi-modal trip, and use Lyft Bikes and Scooters to connect to a local transit stop or shared ride pickup location,” Lyft wrote in a blog post. In June, Lyft revamped its rider app to encourage shared rides . Currently, 35 percent of Lyft rides are shared, but the goal is to reach 50 percent shared rides by 2020, Lyft VP of Government Relations Joseph Okpaku told TechCrunch last month. With scooters and bikes offered via the app, Lyft envisions being better equipped to “bridge the first and last-mile gap.” By the end of 2019, Lyft says it aims to take one million cars off the road. Last year, Lyft says 250,000 of its community members gave up their personal cars. This comes shortly after Uber invested in part of Lime’s $335 million round . Uber’s plan is to put its logo on Lime’s scooters, Bloomberg previously reported.

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The final season of ‘Unreal’ debuts on Hulu

Unreal , the critically acclaimed series that takes viewers behind the scenes of fictional reality TV show  Everlasting , has moved to Hulu . Today’s announcement confirms earlier reports that Hulu was negotiating with A+E Studios to get first dibs on Unreal ‘s fourth and final season. The show’s first three seasons aired on Lifetime, with the third season recently wrapping up just a few months ago, in April. Now all eight episodes of Season 4 are live on Hulu — a departure from the streaming service’s standard approach of releasing just one or two episodes of its original shows each week. Unreal once again stars Shiri Appleby as Rachel and Constance Zimmer as Quinn, producers who return to Everlasting for an “All Stars” season that brings back old contestants. While Unreal’s cable audience has been declining steadily , Hulu says its viewers have embraced the show — it’s not releasing total audience numbers, but apparently the average viewer binges three to four episodes of the show in one session and usually completes a full season in “a matter of days.” “UnREAL has captivated audiences on Hulu since season one, so when this opportunity came to us, we knew we couldn’t miss out,” said Hulu’s senior vice president of content Craig Erwich in the announcement. “This is a unique way to both satisfy fans of the show, while also continuing to introduce it to new audiences.”

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