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Tag Archives: industry

Interiors startup Clippings raises $15.4M Series B with Advance Venture Partners

Back in April we saw that eporta, a London-based B2B interiors marketplace startup, had raised $8 million in a Series A funding round led by US investor Canvas Ventures. Eport has digitized the catalogues of furnishing manufacturers and allowed businesses to order direct, cutting out the middle-men. Now London is continuing its obsession with interior decoration startups with the news that Clippings has raised a Series B round of funding, raising $15.4 million. Advance Venture Partners (AVP) lead the round and existing investor C4Ventures also participated. Founded in 2014 by architecture-trained entrepreneurs Adel Zakout and Tom Mallory, Clippings now plans to grow in the US. Currently, the furniture industry is worth €9.6 billion in Europe, and around $120 billion in the US, but only 6% of this spend is online. Clippings aggregates data on over 7 million products from over a thousand brands to simplify discovery and combines that with interactive mood boards that replace Pinterest to identify and buy a product. Then it throws in collaboration tools for teams, multiple quote requests, orders, invoices and timelines into one place. It now claims to have about 50,000 people – including teams designing for WeWork, Citroën and British Land – using Clippings. Adel Zakout, co-founder and CEO of Clippings told me “We’ve built software that enables full management of an interior project, offer a layer of service and logistics so that when you do buy, we manage it all for you vs Eporta where it’s fully self-serve. This doesn’t fix major pain point of customer.” He also says they have full pricing control, meaning “we can take a view of a whole project value / customer spend and offer optimal prices vs Eporta who can’t do that as the seller controls price.” He says a typical large co-working space project may have a budget in the £100k range and will have products from 40-50 different vendors, “so you need to be able to consolidate pricing, service, logistics and offer tech to manage it all.” Other players in the industry (but not competitors) include Houzz and made.com.

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Jamie Burke to explain why you should still bet on the blockchain at Disrupt Berlin

Now that your cousin doesn’t ask you questions about bitcoin anymore, is it the end of all things blockchain? Maybe it just means that it’s time to think about innovating at the protocol level and come up with new use cases. That’s why I’m excited to announce that Outlier Ventures CEO and founder Jamie Burke will join us at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin . Burke bet on the blockchain industry quite early as he set up Outlier Ventures back in 2013. The firm’s investment strategy is much more interesting than your average investment thesis. According to Burke, blockchain is key when it comes to decentralization. At some point, the web and the internet became too centralized. Most people now spend their time on social networks and other walled gardens. This isn’t the first centralization wave. Web portals and AOL’s navigator have more or less disappeared.

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Loupedeck+ Now Supports Adobe Premiere Pro CC

The Loupedeck+ custom photo editing console now offers a native integration with Adobe Premiere Pro CC. The Loupedeck+ will make the video editing process faster, more intuitive and more affordable than the industry norm, offering a native integration with Adobe Premiere Pro CC, with all Premiere Pro functions available on the device. Additional video software integrations will be announced later this year. On the photo editing side, the Loupedeck+ will include future integrations with Skylum’s other products, including Skylum Luminar. It is also currently in beta with Capture One, with full integration on the way, as well as additional photography software integrations to follow later this year.

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IBM launches cloud tool to detect AI bias and explain automated decisions

IBM has launched a software service that scans AI systems as they work in order to detect bias and provide explanations for the automated decisions being made — a degree of transparency that may be necessary for compliance purposes not just a company’s own due diligence. The new trust and transparency system runs on the IBM cloud and works with models built from what IBM bills as a wide variety of popular machine learning frameworks and AI-build environments — including its own Watson tech, as well as Tensorflow, SparkML, AWS SageMaker, and AzureML. It says the service can be customized to specific organizational needs via programming to take account of the “unique decision factors of any business workflow”. The fully automated SaaS explains decision-making and detects bias in AI models at runtime — so as decisions are being made — which means it’s capturing “potentially unfair outcomes as they occur”, as IBM puts it. It will also automatically recommend data to add to the model to help mitigate any bias that has been detected. Explanations of AI decisions include showing which factors weighted the decision in one direction vs another; the confidence in the recommendation; and the factors behind that confidence. IBM also says the software keeps records of the AI model’s accuracy, performance and fairness, along with the lineage of the AI systems — meaning they can be “easily traced and recalled for customer service, regulatory or compliance reasons”. For one example on the compliance front, the EU’s GDPR privacy framework references automated decision making, and includes a right for people to be given detailed explanations of how algorithms work in certain scenarios — meaning businesses may need to be able to audit their AIs. The IBM AI scanner tool provides a breakdown of automated decisions via visual dashboards — an approach it bills as reducing dependency on “specialized AI skills”. However it is also intending its own professional services staff to work with businesses to use the new software service. So it will be both selling AI, ‘a fix’ for AI’s imperfections, and experts to help smooth any wrinkles when enterprises are trying to fix their AIs… Which suggests that while AI will indeed remove some jobs, automation will be busy creating other types of work. Nor is IBM the first professional services firm to spot a business opportunity around AI bias. A few months ago Accenture outed a fairness tool for identifying and fixing unfair AIs. So with a major push towards automation across multiple industries there also looks to be a pretty sizeable scramble to set up and sell services to patch any problems that arise as a result of increasing use of AI. And, indeed, to encourage more businesses to feel confident about jumping in and automating more.

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Early-bird sale ends this Friday for TC Sessions: AR/VR in Los Angeles

After Friday, September 21, ticket prices for TC Sessions: AR/VR will jump $100 for the October 18 event hosted at UCLA. Buy your early-bird $99 tickets today before these savings fly the coop! Students get tickets for just $45. The event’s stage will feature some of the industry’s most groundbreaking companies and thought leaders. Here are some agenda highlights: Kickstarting an Industry Yelena Rachitsky Oculus Oculus has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into funding VR content. Facebook’s VR future rests on people finding new worlds that they want to step into — how will Oculus make this happen? Building Inclusive Worlds Cyan Banister Founders Fund  (other speakers to be announced soon) If you had the chance to redesign society, where would you even start? As game developers continue designing massive online virtual worlds where we will spend more and more time, how should we look to correct issues we encounter and how can we build a better future? The Social Experiment Adam Arrigo TheWaveVR , Sophia Dominguez SVRF and Gil Baron Mindshow If anything, the Oculus VR acquisition in 2014 signaled that Facebook saw VR as a social final frontier. No one really knows what exactly those interactions look like though, but there’s an awful lot that’s already been explored. Reality Checks Niko Bonatsos General Catalyst , Catherine Ulrich FirstMark Capital and Jacob Mullins Shasta Ventures “VR is the frothiest space in the Valley right now. Nobody understands it, but everyone wants in. Any idiot could walk into a f***ing room, utter the letters ‘V’ and ‘R’, and VCs would hurl bricks of cash at them.” – Erlich Bachman. While this may have indeed been the case a couple of years ago, investor cash has been a bit sparser in 2018. Where are the opportunities now?

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The Gap Table: Women own just 9% of startup equity

Even bigger than the salary gap that sees women earn $.82 on the dollar is the equity gap. A new study from Carta and the ex-Twitter female investor group #Angels reveals that women make up 35 percent of startup equity-holding employees, yet own just 20 percent of the equity. That means they own just $0.47 for every $1 that men own. Even worse, women account for 13 percent of startup founder but just 6 percent of founder equity — or merely $0.39 on the dollar. Combined, that means only 9 percent of founder and employee startup equity is owned by women. “This is not just about wealth” says #Angels’ Chloe Sladden. “Wealth from successful exits goes on to shape the entire industry. It’s about who has power and who gets to decide what gets funded.” #Angels’ Jessica Verrilli notes that “Having this data is going to   be a watershed moment and catalyze more urgency to address this underrepresentation.” #Angels’ Chloe Sladden The study by cap table management tool Carta (formerly eShares) looked at a subset of its privately held company customers including roughly 180,000 employees, 15,000 founders, and 6,000 companies encompassing $45 billion in equity value. Amongst the hypothesized causes of the gap are that female-led startups get valued lower and diluted more, there’s less total capital allocated to wome due to investor and industry bias, the underrepresentation of women as investors, challenges facing women during negotiations, and that they often team-up with more co-founders that have to split the equity pool. #Angels’ Jana Messerschmidt explains that the gap table spotlights how women aren’t being hired for early engineering and leadership poisitions. These roles often get the lion’s share of equity, and when women are hired for sales, marketing, and HR jobs, “those folks are getting less equity because they are joining later and we have a hypothesis of how those roles are valued differently.” Sladden reminds founders to focus on diversity from day one. “Don’t push this off as something you’ll fix down the road as you’re facing all the other challenges.” Once a successful startup gets acquired or IPOs and paper money turns into cash, tech workers often reinvest their winnings into more startups as angels, fund LPs, or by starting their own venture firm. If only men are getting enough equity to make those downstream investments, their biases could further unbalance the gender breakdown of the tech industry. The #Angels say they’ve found this translates into fewer fundraising term sheets and bargaining power for female founders when they come to the Sand Hill Road boy’s club for venture capital. Beyond more diverse hiring, the #Angels believe it’s critical that the industry dymystify equity so more women know how to exercise stock options and score tax advantages for maximum gain

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WHILL raises $45M to help people with disabilities get around airports and other large venues

WHILL , the startup known for creating sleek, high-tech personal mobility devices, announced today that it has closed a $45 million Series C. The funding will be used for expanding into new international markets, as well as developing new products for large venues, including airports and “last-mile” sidewalk transportation. The round’s lead investors were SBI Investment, Daiwa Securities Group and WHIZ Partners, with participation from returning investors INCJ, Eight Road Ventures, MSIVC, Nippon Venture Capital, DG Incubation and Mizuho Capital. This brings WHILL’s total funding so far to about $80 million. Founded in Tokyo in 2012, WHILL plans to open a branch in the European Union and enter 10 new European countries. It also plans to start working with partners on developing autonomous capabilities for its mobility devices, senior marketing manager Jeff Yoshioka told TechCrunch. The company will build its own sensors and cameras to use in its “mobility as a service” program, which allows users to control vehicles and call customer service through a mobile app. One of WHILL’s biggest projects is developing an autonomous personal mobility device system for airports. Yoshioka says that an estimated 20 million people request wheelchairs in U.S. airports each year. This means they need to wait for an airline employee to bring a wheelchair to them and then push them from check-in to their gates. At the same time, it doesn’t give users a lot of flexibility. The system that WHILL has in mind, on the other hand, would allow individuals to use an app to summon a mobility device over to them. Then they can go wherever they want — coffee shops, restrooms, shops — before heading to the gate without an assistant.

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Logistics startup Freightos raises $44.4M Series C led by Singapore Exchange

Freightos , a marketplace for logistics providers, announced today that it has raised a $44.4 million Series C led by Singapore Exchange. Returning investors including General Electric Ventures (the lead investor of Freightos’ Series B extension last year), ICV and Aleph also participated in the round, which brings Freightos’ total funding so far to $94.4 million. Launched in 2016 as a price comparison service for freight forwarders—the agents that organize shipments from a supplier or manufacturer to their final destination—Freightos now also lets users book, manage and track shipments with more than 1,200 logistics providers. In an email, founder and CEO Zvi Schreiber said its online freight marketplace will continue to be Freightos’ flagship product, but the company also wants to find ways to make the industry more efficient by building a global digital infrastructure. The company claims to process more than one million instant freight quote requests each month using its patent-pending routing and pricing engines. Its database of global shipping rates also underpins the Freightos Baltic Index (FBX) , an industry-specific index created to provide more pricing transparency. Developed in partnership with the Baltic Exchange, a market information provider for the maritime transportation industry, the FBX tracks freight pricing from 12 major routes around the world and also combines them into one index to serve as the freight industry’s equivalent of the S&P 500. “Nearly every major global industry, from jet fuel to livestock, leverages dynamic pricing based on real-time metrics to make smarter, automated decisions. We’re excited to explore how our global freight index, the Freightos Baltic Index, can reduce pricing risks and improve stability, and are already exploring implementation with major multinational corporations,” Schreiber said. He added that Freightos is also looking at more ways to connect airlines with logistics providers to sell cargo space on passenger flights. Freightos will partner with the Singapore Exchange, which owns the Baltic Exchange, to develop new financial instruments. It will start by launching daily reporting on the FBX, which is currently updated weekly. In a press statement, SGX head of derivatives Michael Syn said, “Freightos is at the forefront of a new wave of solutions for price discovery and digital marketplaces in global freight – an industry at the heart of the global economy. SGX is excited by the potential to develop risk management tools and services and build on Singapore’s unique position in the trade ecosystem, to bridge the physical and financial markets.”

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Blackmagic RAW Codec for Video

Blackmagic RAW is a new and very modern codec that combines the quality and benefits of RAW with the ease of use, speed and file sizes of traditional video formats. Blackmagic RAW is available today as a public beta via the Blackmagic Camera 6.0 Beta Update for URSA Mini Pro. The final release of Blackmagic RAW is expected to ship in several weeks’ time once further testing is complete.

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Blackmagic RAW Codec for Video

Blackmagic RAW is a new and very modern codec that combines the quality and benefits of RAW with the ease of use, speed and file sizes of traditional video formats. Blackmagic RAW is available today as a public beta via the Blackmagic Camera 6.0 Beta Update for URSA Mini Pro. The final release of Blackmagic RAW is expected to ship in several weeks’ time once further testing is complete.

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Drone startup Airware crashes, will shut down after burning $118M

Drone operating system startup Airware today suddenly informed employees it will cease operations immediately despite having raised $118 million from top investors like Andreessen Horowitz, Google’s GV, and Kleiner Perkins. The startup ran out of money after trying to manufacture its own hardware that couldn’t compete with drone giants like China’s DJI. The company at one point had as many as 140 employees, all of which are now out of a job. A source sent TechCrunch screenshots from the Airware alumni Slack channel detailing how the staff was told this morning that Airware would shut down. Airware makes a cloud sofware system that helps enterprise customers like construction companies, mining operations, and insurance companies reviewing equipment for damages to use drones to collect and analyze aerial data. That allowed companies to avoid using expensive helicopters or dangerous rigs with humans on harnesses to make inspections and gauge work progress. One ex-employee asked “How do I get my options sent to me on paper so I can burn them all in a fire? ” Founded in 2011 by Jonathan Downey, the son of two pilots, Airware first built an autopilot system for programming drones to follow certain routes to collect data. It could help businesses check rooftops for damage, see how much of a raw material was coming out of a mine, or build constantly-updated maps of construction sites. Later it tried to build its own drones before pivoting to consult clients on how to most efficiently apply unmanned aerial vehicles. While flying high, Airware launched its own Commercial Drone Fund for investing in the market in 2015, and acquired 38-person drone analytics startup Redbird in 2016. In this pre-crypto, pre-AI boom, Airware scored a ton of hype from us and others as tried to prove drones could be more than war machines . But over time, the software that shipped with commercial drone hardware from other manufacturers was good enough to make Airware irrelevant, and a downward spiral of layoffs began over the past two years, culminating in today’s shutdown.

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Apple iPhone XR Smartphone

The Apple iPhone XR features a 12-megapixel f/1.8 aperture wide-angle lens with an all-new sensor, delivering faster auto-focus, while larger and deeper pixels improve image fidelity and low-light performance on photos and videos. iPhone XR will be available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models in white, black, blue, yellow, coral and red starting at £749.

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Women in the Industry Showcases Female Photographers and Cinematographers

‘Women in the Industry’ is the first event of its kind to feature female photographers and filmmakers simultaneously presenting at seminars throughout the UK. Speakers will range from award-winning food, fashion and architectural photographers to renowned professional filmmakers, all taking place on Friday 28 September 2018, at locations from Edinburgh to Belfast to London.

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Apple iPhone Xs models do not include eSIM tech in China, since carriers there stopped offering cellular service to eSIM-based Apple Watch models in…

Alistair Barr / Bloomberg : Apple iPhone Xs models do not include eSIM tech in China, since carriers there stopped offering cellular service to eSIM-based Apple Watch models in 2017   —  Apple Inc.'s latest iPhones show how the world's largest technology company has to adjust its strategy for the crucial Chinese market.

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