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Tag Archives: nyc

Walmart’s Jet.com relaunches site with focus on urban shoppers, same-day grocery delivery

Jet.com, the e-commerce site Walmart acquired in 2016 for $3 billion , is relaunching itself today with an upgraded look and assortment, as well as a stronger focus on serving the needs of shoppers in urban metros. The site’s updated catalog now features an assortment that’s more relevant to city shoppers’ interests across categories like grocery, home, fashion, beauty and electronics, the company says. It will also introduce 3-hour grocery delivery as a challenge to Amazon’s Prime Now. Specifically, the site will now be localized to the city where the shoppers live. This localization involves the use of localized imagery and messages on the homepage and elsewhere, as well as Jet’s decisions about what products are featured in its assortment for that region. The site will also transition from a daytime theme to a nighttime theme as the day progresses. These localization efforts begin with New York, but will roll out to other cities over time. According to Simon Belsham, President of Jet.com, the Northeast will be a priority. After NYC, it will local sites for Boston, then Philadelphia, then D.C. The site will also focus on helping shoppers more easily reorder items and will be personalized to shoppers’ own preferences, in terms of things like product recommendations and when reorder reminders appear. And it will tailor its shopping experiences for each product category in different ways

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Carmera, the mapping startup for autonomous vehicles, raises $20 million

Autonomous vehicles need more than a brain to operate safely in a world filled with obstacles. They need maps. Or more specifically, self-driving vehicles need maps that constantly refresh and can deliver important information — like that sudden lane closure due to construction or a double-parked vehicle — so they can take the safest and most efficient route possible. This specific need has provided an opening for startups in what once looked like a locked-up mapping market dominated by a few giants. Carmera, a New York-based mapping and data analytics startup, is one of them. The company, which came out of stealth two years ago, has now raised $20 million in a Series B funding round led by GV , formerly known as Google Ventures. Carmera previously raised $6.5 million. The company announced the funding raise Thursday along with a few other updates, including a new feature on its autonomous mapping product and a partnership with New York City. The capital will be used to hire more talent and expand. “We’ll be doing the most aggressive hiring we’ve ever done this next year,” Carmera co-founder and CEO Ro Gupta told TechCrunch, adding that the company will mostly focus on building out its New York and Seattle offices. Carmera, which has about 25 employees, plans to have more than 50 by the end of next year.

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Global unicorn exits hit multi-year high in 2018

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Boston-area startups are on pace to overtake NYC venture totals Home run exits happen stealthily for biotech Unicorn exits are taking flight. With the IPO window wide open, an apparent record number of venture-backed companies privately valued over $1 billion have launched public offerings this year. Crunchbase data shows  23 unicorn IPOs  globally so far in 2018, well outpacing full-year totals for 2016 and 2017. Collectively, this year’s newly public unicorns are doing pretty well too. Most priced shares around or above expectations. We’re also seeing a lot of impressive aftermarket gains. At least six are currently valued at more than $10 billion. Meanwhile, unicorn M&A volumes are chugging along as well, with at least  11 deals so far this year . Big transactions like Walmart’s $16 billion acquisition of Flipkart and Microsoft’s $7.5 billion purchase of GitHub have helped boost the totals. It all adds up to some enormous numbers. We’ll delve into those in more detail below, focusing on year-over-year comparisons, geographic breakdown, biggest exits and more. How 2018 compares to prior years First off, a bit of context. A lot of startup-related metrics are on track to hit multi-year or record highs in 2018. These are lofty times for  supergiant funding rounds , venture capital  fundraising and  unicorn investment , to name a few

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NYC mayor signs ride-hailing vehicle cap into law

After the New York City Council passed legislation proposing a cap on all ride-hailing vehicles, mayor Bill de Blasio signed it into law today. This makes it the first US city to limit the total number of drivers working for Uber, Lyft and other serv...

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Students and mentors: Apply for the all-new TC Include program at Disrupt SF with #BUILTBYGIRLS

We’re going all out for this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt SF (September 5-7),  which means more fantastic content, more of the most influential startup and tech leaders and tons of networking. As such, we are expanding our TC Include program at Disrupt SF and partnering with #BUILTBYGIRLS to host an engaging day full of interactive programming for even more students who are interested in tech and entrepreneurship. In the past we’ve worked with organizations like  BUILD.org ,  Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) ,  the Academy for Software Engineering ,  NYC Foundation for Computer Science Education ,  The Young Women’s Leadership Schools of the Bronx & Astoria ,  Red Hook Initiative ,  Mission Bit ,  The Urban Assembly Maker Academy  and  The Girls’ Network to bring small groups of students to Disrupt. This year we are inviting up to 200 young women ages 15-22 to participate in our day-long TC Include program at Disrupt SF on Friday, September 7. Just like in past programs, students will get to have a Q&A session with a Disrupt SF speaker, go on a tour of Startup Alley with a TechCrunch staffer and have some free time to check out all of the great talks, workshops and other content that will be happening throughout Moscone West. On top of that, #BUILTBYGIRLS is giving students an exclusive opportunity to meet and interact with several established leaders in tech through a small-scale version of WAVE, 1:1 matching platform. #BUILTBYGIRLS WAVE connects high school and college girls interested in pursuing tech careers with expert professionals working for top tech companies across the country. Advisors meet these girls monthly, sharing their career journey and expertise to give young women the exposure, skills and network they need to land their dream job. At Disrupt, students will get a mini version of WAVE, meeting 1:1 with Silicon Valley’s top tech talent, receiving direct access to professionals who will help build upon their knowledge of the limitless opportunities for a career in tech. To be eligible to participate as a student, you must be between ages 15-22. Anyone aged 15-17 will also be required to provide a signed permission form from your legal guardian prior to participating in the event. You do not need to be a young woman to participate in the TC Include program at Disrupt SF, but please note that the #BUILTBYGIRLS WAVE portion will only be available for young women and gender non-binary students to participate. Apply to participate as a student today . If you are interested in possibly participating as a WAVE Advisor, you can apply here

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Rentlogic lands millions to grade NYC real estate for renters and landlords

A company called  Rentlogic  has raised $2.4 million to take the guesswork out of determining whether that cheap, beautiful New York apartment is actually a deathtrap wrapped in a brownstone’s clothing. Renting in New York is murder already, but using Rentlogic, apartment hunters can figure out if their new housing situation could actually kill them (or put them at significant risk of bodily or property harm… or even minor inconveniences). Investors in the company’s seed round include the Urban-X accelerator (which is a partnership between Urban.US and Mini); Urban.Us, an investor in urban technologies; the millennial-entrepreneur-focused investment firm, Kairos; and Seagram beverage company scion Edgar Bronfman, Jr. Rentlogic already provides a grade for every building in New York — more than 1 million properties — but has added an inspection feature that it charges landlords for so that they can display a rating outside of their building. It’s like the city’s scoring grades for restaurants in neighborhoods. “We grade every single property in New York,” says Yale Fox, the company’s founder and chief executive. “We have inspected 103 properties. Everybody is really happy with it and everybody is going to re-sign and we’re going to start scaling this out to every property in New York.” Rentlogic scores buildings on a combination of around 150 different variables, including the ability to provide continuous heat and hot water, and whether or not a building has evidence of bed bugs or rodents. The looks of the building doesn’t matter, Fox says. It’s more about the conditions of the building. “It’s the same way a building would get LEED-certified,” says Fox. “It’s a good way for one landlord to differentiate their property as higher quality than a competitor’s in the same neighborhood.” Launched initially in 2013, Rentlogic was born out of Fox’s own tragic experience as a new renter in New York. The Canadian transplant (and the son of a family of real estate professionals and small scale landlords) had come to the city for a new job and was looking at an apartment in the West Village

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Uber and Lyft encourage NYC customers to oppose proposed ride-hail cap legislation

Uber is making calls to some of its customers in New York City, offering to connect them to local council members to express their opposition to the proposed legislation that would cap the number of ride-hailing drivers in the city, BuzzFeed first reported . Meanwhile, Lyft is also reaching out to its NYC-based riders, asking them to contact their local officials. For context, the NYC city council is currently considering legislation that would limit the number of ride-hail drivers  on the road. Specifically, the proposal wants to place a one-year hold on the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses, unless the vehicles are wheelchair accessible. This legislation would affect Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via — all of which operate ride-hailing services in the city. The deadline to submit an amended version of the proposal is tonight at midnight, so the clock is ticking. Anyway, some people seem to be a bit upset about receiving calls from Uber, but Uber Director of Public Affairs Jason Post told TechCrunch the calls are simply one of its tactics that is consistent with its terms of services. Uber is not calling every single customer in the city, Post said, but the company is making enough calls to yield a few dozen calls per council member. Though, why people are answering calls from unknown numbers is beyond me. Uber is also employing an in-app takeover that notifies passengers of the legislative landscape in NYC. “Uber has launched an App takeover so New Yorkers can read the Council’s bills for themselves,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. “We believe New Yorkers will join us in supporting living wages for drivers and opposing a cap that will harm outer borough riders who have come to rely on Uber because of the unreliable, or non-existent subway.” Lyft says the proposals would affect wait times, driver earnings and job opportunities. “Worst of all, the proposals prioritize corporate medallion owners above the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers,” a Lyft spokesperson said.

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Midterm attackers cited Black Lives Matter in false flag Facebook rally

Unknown midterm election attackers that Facebook has removed were hosting a political rally next month that they pinned on Black Lives Matter, Antifa and other organizations, according to third-party event websites that scraped the now-removed Facebook events. Facebook provided an image of the deleted “No Unite The Right 2 – DC” event as part of its announcement today that merely showed its image, title, date, location and that a Page called “Resisters” was one of the hosts of the propaganda event. But a  scraped event description  TechCrunch discovered on Rallyist provides deeper insight into the disruptive information operation. Facebook won’t name the source of the election interference but said the attackers shared a connection through a single account to the Russian Internet Research Agency responsible for 2016 presidential election interference on Facebook. “We are calling all anti-fascists and people of good conscience to participate in international days of action August 10 through August 12 and a mass mobilization in Washington DC” the description reads. “We occupy ICE offices, confront racism, antisemitism, islamaphobia, xenophobia, and white nationalism. We will be in the streets on August 10-12, and we intend to win.” But what’s especially alarming is how the event description concludes emphasis mine, in full below. “Signed, Black Lives Matter Charlottesville, Black Lives Matter D.C. , Charlottesville Summer of Resistance Welcoming Committee Agency, Crimethinc Ex-Workers Collective, Crushing Colonialism, D.C. Antifascist Collective, Future is Feminists, Holler Network, Hoods4Justice, The International, Capoeira Angola Foundation-DC (FICA-DC), Libertarian Socialist Caucus Of The DSA, March For Racial Justice, Maryland Antifa , One People’s Project, Resist This (Former DisruptJ20), Rising Tide North America, Smash Racism D.C., Showing Up for Racial Justice Charlottesville, Suffolk County DSA, Workers Against Racism, 350 DC.” It’s unclear if the attackers effectively “forged” the signature of these groups, or duped them into signing off on supporting the rally. The attackers were potentially trying to blame these groups for the rallies in an effort to further sow discord in the political landscape. Facebook initially provided no comment about the description of the event, but then confirmed that it was originally created by the attackers’ since-deleted Page “Resisters,” which then later added several legitimate organizations as co-hosts: Millennials For Revolution, March To Confront White Supremacy – from Charlottesville to DC, Workers Against Racism – WAR, Smash Racism DC and Tune Out Trump. Strangely, those co-hosts have relaunched a new event with a similar name, “Nazis Not Welcome No Unite The Right 2” and similar description, including a similar but expanded “Signed by” list, and now including BLM Charlottesville and D.C. as co-hosts. Meanwhile, Facebook also shared an image of a November 4th, 2017 “Trump Nightmare Must End – NYC” event, also without details of the description.

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New Amazon Echo Dot Seen In Leaked Images – Ubergizmo

New Amazon Echo Dot Seen In Leaked Images Ubergizmo Amazon's cheapest Alexa device is the Echo Dot that it last updated back in September 2016. It hasn't released a successor since then but it appears that the company might do that this year. Images have surfaced online of a device that's claimed to be ... and more »

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Amazon Reduces Device Confusion Among Alexa Devices – Ubergizmo

Amazon Reduces Device Confusion Among Alexa Devices Ubergizmo Due to the fact that Amazon made Alexa so freely available for developers to use in their products, we've started to see a ton of Alexa-powered devices in the market today. This is of course a good thing since it means variety, but a bad thing because ... and more »

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Both Amazon and Walmart announce expanded grocery delivery operations

Amazon and Walmart’s rivalry continues today with two dueling announcements related to their respective grocery delivery expansions. This morning, Amazon said it’s bringing grocery delivery via Whole Foods to several new markets in New York and Florida, including New York City and Miami, among others. Meanwhile, Walmart today is expanding grocery delivery in partnership with Postmates, with a launch in the L.A. region. The Postmates expansion brings grocery delivery to Los Angeles and outlying areas including Glendora, Baldwin Park, Garden Grove, Rosemead, Pico Rivera, Foothill Ranch and Santa Clarita, plus San Diego. Postmates now powers Walmart grocery delivery in seven total regions, it notes: Charlotte, Raleigh, Oklahoma City, Las Vegas, Tucson, L.A. and San Diego. This rollout with Postmates follows news from May of Walmart ending its relationships with prior grocery delivery partners, Uber and Lyft. At the time, Walmart said customers in the four markets Uber served, and the one (Denver) that Lyft had served, wouldn’t notice any changes as it would be switching them over to new delivery providers. Walmart currently partners with Postmates, Deliv and DoorDash on grocery delivery, instead of operating its own service in-house. Rival Amazon is also expanding grocery delivery with Whole Foods, but its strategy is murky, too.

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New law forces Airbnb to open its books to New York authorities

The New York City Council has voted in favor of a new law requiring Airbnb and similar home-share companies to share data on their users. The company has fought the law tooth and nail, but city authorities say it’s basically common sense for the local government to be informed of the number and nature of residents using the service. The law was characterized by the council as one that would “provide the City with an additional tool to enforce the laws against illegal short term rentals.” “This bill is about transparency and bringing accountability to billion-dollar companies who are not being good neighbors,” explained NYC Councilwoman Carlina Rivera. You can read the text here ; what it amounts to is that Airbnb is required to collect and present the following information monthly: Name, physical address, email, Airbnb profile URL, and phone number of hosts active that month Addresses and URLs of any properties a given host rents out, and whether it was a full-home or partial-home rental Total days the property was rented, rent/price paid, and any fees collected by Airbnb Failure to do so will result in a substantial fine: $1,500 or more per item, depending on the listing. Some of this data has already been provided voluntarily by Airbnb for a year and a half in monthly reports for its New York operations; here’s one it totally coincidentally issued today . It is however one thing to give statistics like average amount earned per month in this or that borough, and quite another to say Jane Jamison of 224 East 85th St. earned $3,712 from 12 nights at this address and 8 at her second place over in Brooklyn. The granularity of the data matters. In the first case, Airbnb is in a position of power, voluntarily granting data more or less of its own choosing, while also protecting the privacy of its users. But in the second case, hosts can be identified individually for all kinds of purposes: fines, taxes, licenses, inspections and so on. It’s not ideal for Airbnb or hosts, both of which will have their liberty curtailed considerably by the mere fact of their commerce being open for inspection by the city and potentially released publicly as part of studies, lawsuits and so on. But as with so many other new industries that have gotten ahead of regulation, this kind of clampdown was inevitable from the start; how long did Airbnb really think it could get away with its limited disclosure of data so obviously valuable to local government fighting skyrocketing rents, property scams, unscrupulous landlords and so on

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Real estate platform Nestio raises $4.5 million

Real estate platform Nestio is getting new funding as it continues to expand its footprint beyond New York City into other large U.S. markets. The startup’s software gives real estate owners and managers a hub to handle things like leasing and marketing. The round, which they announced today, was led by Camber Creek and Trinity Ventures, with participation from other real estate firms, including Rudin Ventures, Currency M, The Durst Organization, LeFrak Ventures and Torch Venture Capital. The startup has raised around $16 million to date. Nestio is building up its unit count in new markets, including Boston, Chicago, Houston and Dallas, and is seeking to expand operations with existing customers in NYC. The startup says that it’s grown the amount of units on its platform by 250 percent in the past 12 months. “We now have hundreds of thousands of listings on the platform that people are now managing,” Nestio CEO Caren Maio told TechCrunch. “Part of that growth is net new logos, but also expansion. So we’ve seen a lot of growth — particularly in New York — although I think the same behavior will replicate itself once we have some longevity in some of those other cities.” The company says they will use this new capital and strategic partnerships to “deliver advanced leasing and marketing solutions even faster.”

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