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DoorDash raises another $250M, nearly triples valuation to $4B

Food delivery startup DoorDash announced this afternoon that it has raised $250 million, just five months since the company announced a $535 million round . Why raise more money so soon? CEO Tony Xu told Axios that he wasn’t actively looking for additional investment, but was open to investor interest because it could help the company expand more quickly. (Maybe he’ll have more to say about those plans at Disrupt SF next month.) The new funding was led by Coatue Management and DST Global. It sounds like the terms were pretty appealing too, with the valuation growing from $1.4 billion to $4 billion. In a blog post , the company said it’s had a good 2018, with deliveries increasing 250 percent year-over-year, restaurant chains like Chipotle and IHOP signing up and last week’s launch of the DashPass subscription service , where you can pay $9.99 per month to get unlimited free deliveries. “As we grow, we will stay true to our values and our mission of connecting people with possibility  —  and, trust us, we’re just getting started,” DoorDash wrote.

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Google Search’s new featured snippet panel saves you more clicks

Google is introducing an additional format for featured snippets in its search results today. For years, these snippets have appeared at the top of the search results page and featured both images and text that Google thinks are relevant to your query. They are all about Google saving you a click. Today, Google is going beyond this single answer for some queries and introducing a panel that also features relevant subtopics, saving you even more clicks. Google’s canonical example for a query to trigger this new panel is “ Quartz Vs. Granite .” This query brings up the usual snippet, plus subtopics like cost, benefits, weight and durability. Those topics are automatically chosen based on what Google’s algorithms understand about this topic. You don’t need a vs. query to trigger this, though. If you look for something like “emergency funds,” you’ll also see a similar panel. For now, I was only able to trigger these new panels on mobile, but Google says it is rolling out this feature over the coming days, so it may be a while before you spot one in the wild. I was also unsuccessful in triggering them with any other query I tried, but maybe you are luckier than me. Google notes that today’s announcement is part of an ongoing effort to provide more comprehensive results to your questions. This February, for example, Google started showing multiple featured snippets when its systems think a query has multiple interpretations

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Tweetbot loses several key features ahead of Twitter’s API change

Twitter’s API changes won’t come out until tomorrow, but its ramifications are already being felt. Tapbots released an update today to Tweetbot for iOS that loses many of the Twitter client’s most popular or essential features. It also removed its Apple Watch app. In Tweetbot’s App Store release notes, Tapbots explained “on August 16th Twitter will disable parts of their public interface that we use in Tweetbot. Because Twitter has chosen not to provide alternatives to these interfaces we have been forced to disable or degrade certain features. We are sorry about this, but unfortunately this is totally out of our control.” The changes mean that Tweetbot’s timeline streaming is now disabled, so timelines will refresh every one to two minutes instead–a loss for people who want to see new tweets in real-time. Push notifications for Mentions and Direct Messages will also be delayed by a few minutes, while push notifications for Likes, Retweets, Follows and Quotes have been disabled altogether (Tapbots’ release notes say they are looking at how to reinstate some of those in the future). Tweetbot’s Activity and Stats tabs have been removed. As part of an effort to tighten control over how its services are used by third-party developers, Twitter announced in April 2017 that it will shut down User Streams, Site Streams and other APIs to prepare for the arrival of its new Account Activity API and other products. Other third-party Twitter clients that will likely be affected by the API changes include Twitterific, Tweetings and Talon, which along with Tweetbot protested in April that they hadn’t been given enough time or information to prepare for the release, which was originally schedule for June 19. In response, Twitter extended the deadline to August 16. Other apps that have already been impacted include Favstar, which went offline in June as a result of the API changes .

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Google One is now open to all

A few months ago, Google announced Google One , its new subscription program for getting more Google Drive storage and other perks. Over the course of the last few weeks, Google slowly rolled existing Drive subscribers over to a Google One membership and starting today , new users (at least in the U.S., with other countries coming soon) can now sign up for a One subscription, too. Google One plans start at 100 GB for $1.99. There’s also a 200 GB tier for $2.99 and a 2 TB option for $9.99. If you need even more storage space, Google will happily sell you 10 TB, 20 TB and 30 TB plans for between $99.99 and $299.99 per month. One nice feature of these new plans is that you can share your storage allotment with up to five family members. While storage is the main feature here, Google also promises additional perks. The most important of these may be access to live 24/7 support. These Google experts at the other end of the line will help you with figuring out any question you may have about a Google product. Another perk here is that you get deals on hotels when you search for them in Google Maps. Recently, Google also gave all One members credits on Google Play and the company today said that it’ll soon offer members deals for purchases in the Google Store and through Google Express, too. It’s worth noting that One is very much a consumer product. For businesses, Google’s G Suite remains the way to get additional service and features. For now, Google One is only available in the U.S., but it’ll roll out to more countries soon.

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MoviePass says those cancellation bugs have been fixed

MoviePass is about to roll out its new subscription plan , which will keep prices at $9.95 while imposing a new limit of three movies per month. But it seems that the transition hasn’t been going entirely smoothly. The Verge reports that several users have complained about previously canceling their plans, only to receive emails from the service suggesting that they were still subscribed. We reached out to a MoviePass spokesperson, who confirmed that there were “bugs” in the cancellation process, but said they’ve since been fixed: On Monday, August 13th, we learned that some members encountered difficulty with the cancellation process. We have fixed the bugs that were causing the issue and we have confirmed that none of our members have been opted-in or converted to the new plan without their express permission. In addition, all cancellation requests are being correctly processed and no members were being blocked from canceling their accounts. We apologize for the inconvenience and ask that any impacted members contact customer support via the MoviePass app. The company also said that all members are being given the option to either opt in to the new plan or cancel their memberships. If someone doesn’t respond by the end of their billing cycle, their subscription will be automatically canceled. The new plan is part of a broader effort at MoviePass to try to get the company to profitability. In addition to capping monthly tickets, the company is keeping big releases off the service for the first couple of weeks — and apparently, forcing subscribers to choose between only two movies at a given time .

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Zendesk introduces support bot for Discord gaming community

The Discord gaming community boasts 150 million members and 46 million active monthly users, who spend their days chatting about games, finding people to play with and looking for advice on how to resolve issues. Up until now, game publishers have had to monitor public discussions looking for people who need help or relied on expert users to assist them, but that’s about to change with Zendesk’s new Discord support bot. Zendesk VP of product and platform, Luke Behnke, says they count a fair number of gaming companies as customers, and they have been looking for a way to have more direct communication with Discord users right where they play. With the Zendesk-Discord integration, users can request help by typing /support, and then the nature of the problem. This activates the Zendesk bot and triggers the creation of a help ticket, paving the way for a customer service rep to work directly with a person having an issue. Calling the Zendesk bot in Discord. Screenshot: Zendesk Prior to this, the only way that the game publishers could use Zendesk to generate help tickets was through the traditional sources like email, texts or phone calls, which required their users to leave the flow of the game. This integration allows the publishers to let the customers come to them for help without leaving the community. Behnke says his company has been talking to Discord, whose members generate more than 530 million messages a day, about creating an integration that would work for their users. “We worked with Discord on this and they have been testing it internally and giving us feedback,” he said. Conversation with game publisher CSR using Zendesk-Discord bot. Screenshot: Zendesk Of course, it requires people know that you type /support to activate it, but Behnke believes that if the integration works well, word will get around that this is a useful way to get support directly from the publisher without leaving Discord. He says his company sees this as a unique approach to customer service, one that the gaming publishers, who tend to be innovative, are particularly open to. Future updates could include the ability to push messages to the community such as information on an outage, or for the bot to answer common questions without accessing a human CSR. For now, this integration is in early release.

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The NYT adds a personalized ‘news feed’ to its iOS app

The New York Times announced on Friday how it’s adding its own take on Facebook-style News Feed to its mobile app. Yes, literally a news feed. The publication says it will now allow its iOS app users to customize their reading experience through a new feature called “Your Feed,” which consists only of those channels readers choose to follow. Some of those channels will pull stories from existing New York Times sections and columns, like Modern Love, while others, like Gender & Society, At War, Pop Culture, and more will pull news from across the paper’s sections. And others will include commentary from reporters and editors, and will feature worthy reads from outside The Times. This additional context will only be found in this personalized Your Feed section, and is something the publication says is an experiment in terms of bringing another layer of insight to the news and stories. On the technical side, the commentary itself is actually pulled from The Times’ Slack, through the use of a bot built by backend engineer Brandon Hopkins. It basically turns Slack into the CMS for publishing these short posts to the Your Feed section of the app. The design team equates the Your Feed reading experience to the way people tend to peruse a printed newspaper. Beyond reading the front page news, people will often pull out the sections they want to read, and then thumb through them – coming across other stories they want to read. And different readers will gravitate towards different sections and articles. It says the idea for the feed came from its user research, where it found that many people wanted a separate place from the home page to follow a customized feed of content. With The NYT outputting around 160 articles per day, it’s very difficult to be a comprehensive reader of the paper in its entirety, of course

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Teamleader, the SaaS platform to help SMEs go digital, scores $22M Series C

Teamleader , the SaaS platform that helps SMEs operate in a more digitally savvy way, has closed $22 million in Series C funding. The round was led by London-based Keen Venture Partners, with participation from PMV and existing investors Fortino Capital and Sage Capital. Claiming to serve nearly 10,000 customers in 6 countries — comprised mostly of small and medium-sized enterprises — Belgium-headquartered Teamleader offers a SaaS-based platform to enable SMEs to digitise their business processes . This includes CRM and sales, project management, time tracking, and invoicing. A more recent aspect — and where Teamleader sees future growth — is the Teamleader Marketplace, which allows customers to integrate their favourite local SaaS tools with Teamleader. This is on track to support 1,000 integrations, with a heavy emphasis on localisation. “We even created a $1 million fund for developers across Europe to create integrations with Teamleader, a pretty wild idea that’s working great,” Teamleader co-founder and CEO Jeroen De Wit tells me. “What’s great about the marketplace is that it also allows European SaaS players to piggyback on our growth — like the Belgian startup Cumul.io which is now finding customers in Spain through our marketplace. This perfectly fits our vision”. More broadly, De Wit says SMEs are no longer afraid of digitization, and are using more and more business software to their advantage. “These tools need to work side by side as one, in integrated systems, for SMEs to get maximum value out of them,” he adds. Meanwhile, in addition to investing in the Teamleader Marketplace, Teamleader says it plans to use its Series C funding for continued international growth and to accelerate its product roadmap.

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Altru raises $1.3M to improve recruiting with employee videos

Marketers are increasingly looking for social media celebrities and influencers who can promote their products with more authenticity (or at least, the appearance of authenticity) than a traditional ad. So Altru CEO Alykhan Rehmatullah wondered: Why can’t businesses do something similar with recruiting? And that’s what Altru is trying to accomplish, powering a page on a company’s website that highlights videos from real employees answering questions that potential hires might be asking. The videos are searchable (thanks to Altru’s transcriptions), and they also can be shared on social media. The startup was part of the recent winter batch at Techstars NYC , and it’s already working with companies like L’Oréal, Dell and Unilever. Today, Altru is announcing that it’s raised $1.3 million in new funding led by Birchmere Ventures. Rehmatullah contrasted Altru’s approach with Glassdoor, which he said features “more polarized” content (since it’s usually employees with really good or really bad experiences who want to write reviews) and where companies are often forced to “play defense.” On Altru, on the other hand, employers can take the informal conversations that often take place when someone’s deciding whether to accept a job and turn them into an online recruiting tool. Over time, Rehmatullah said the platform could expand beyond recruiting to areas like on-boarding new employees. Since these videos are posted to the company website, with the employees’ name and face attached, they may not always feel comfortable being completely honest, particularly about a company’s flaws. But at least it’s a message coming from a regular person, not the corporate-speak of a recruiter or manager. Rehmatullah acknowledged that there’s usually “an educational process” involved in making employers more comfortable with this kind of content. “These conversations are already happening outside your organization,” he said. “In the long-term, candidates expect more authenticity, more transparency, more true experiences.”

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Fitbit stock jumps as smartwatches fuel growth

Fitbit’s stock price jumped in after-hours trading and is currently trading around $6.00 a share, off its 52-week intraday high of $7.79. The company today announced its latest quarterly numbers , which saw the average selling price of its wearables increase 6 percent year-over-year to $106 a device. New devices introduced within the last year represented 59 percent of the company’s revenue. Smartwatches were a high-point for Fitbit this quarter. The company stated that its higher-priced smartwatch wearables outsold Samsung, Garmin and Fossil smartwatches combined in North America. Smartwatch revenue grew to 55 percent of revenue, up from 30 percent on a sequential basis. “Our performance in Q2 represents the sixth consecutive quarter that we have delivered on our financial commitments, made important progress in transforming our business, and continued to adapt to the changing wearables market. Demand for Versa, our first ‘mass-appeal’ smartwatch, is very strong. Within the second quarter, Versa outsold Samsung, Garmin and Fossil smartwatches combined in North America, improving our position with retailers, solidifying shelf space for the Fitbit brand and providing a halo effect to our other product offerings,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO. Fitbit’s stock price rallied earlier this summer, hitting 7.79 — its highest selling price since early 2017.

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Pico nabs $24.7M to create VR hardware that challenges Facebook, Google

While there aren’t many VR hardware startups raising cash out there these days, there are far fewer that are securing investments to actually build the VR headsets themselves. Even as established tech giants are having a rough go-ahead with the headset market, Beijing-based Pico Interactive is looking to give it a go with a focus on standalone VR headset hardware that can keep up with the innovations of larger firms. Pico has closed a $24.7 million Series A led by GF Qianhe and GF Xinde Investment, with participation from Jufeng S&T Venture Investment and others, the company said in an announcement. This is the startup’s first bout of outside funding since its founding in 2015. VR hardware had plenty of entrants around Pico’s founding, but as Oculus competitors were forced to slash prices to keep up with aggressive pricing, margins disappeared, leaving relatively scant space for startups. Pico has made its bet on moving past PC or console-based systems and focusing strongly on self-contained standalone headset options. Coinciding with the funding announcement, Pico also offered details on a new standalone headset being released in China. Called the Pico G2, it’s an updated version of the Pico Goblin that is built on Qualcomm’s 835 chipset. The company’s hardware runs on HTC’s Vive Wave VR platform. The company also says that it is planning to release its own augmented reality hardware in 2019.

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This is the leaked DJI Mavic 2 drone

Here is the DJI Mavic 2 before you’re supposed to see it. Just like the original, it’s a small, foldable drone with amazing capabilities. This time around, there will two different version, the Zoom and the Pro, though both will reportedly have the ability to fly at 45mph with a range of five miles. DJI has yet to announce this model. This leak comes from the UK where the drones are described in detail in the latest Argos catalog. Both editions of the Mavic 2 will reportedly have 360-degree collision detection and sport DJI’s Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems and Active Track 2.0 to assist in flying the drone. The battery life is clocked at 31 minutes. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro comes equipped with a 1-inch CMOS Hasselblad camera where the Zoom model has a 2x zoom lens. The Argos advertisement doesn’t mention if the gimbals are removable. Pricing and release date is not mentioned in the advertisement. Chances are both models will be available in the coming weeks as retailers ramp up holiday stock. Expect pricing to be similar to the current Mavic. @OsitaLV better quality image pic.twitter.com/UWuj6k56WE — Monty_f (@monty_f) July 28, 2018

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MoviePass borrowed $5M to end yesterday’s outage

More bad news for subscription movie ticket service MoviePass , which acknowledged yesterday that there was an unidentified issue preventing people from using their MoviePass credit cards to get tickets. A regulatory filing from parent company Helios & Matheson offers more insight about what happened. The filing ( first spotted by Business Insider ) announces a “demand note” of $6.2 million, including $5 million in cash that the company borrowed. It goes on to explain: The $5.0 million cash proceeds received from the Demand Note will be used by the Company to pay the Company’s merchant and fulfillment processors. If the Company is unable to make required payments to its merchant and fulfillment processors, the merchant and fulfillment processors may cease processing payments for MoviePass, Inc. (“MoviePass”), which would cause a MoviePass service interruption. Such a service interruption occurred on July 26, 2018. In other words, it looks like MoviePass wasn’t able to pay one of its service providers, which led to the outage. In order to make those payments, it borrowed $5 million. This doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in MoviePass’ finances. A Helios & Matheson filing from earlier this month suggested that the company was looking to raise up to $1.2 billion in equity and debt financing to fund MoviePass’ operations and growth. Meanwhile, although the service is best-known for offering access to unlimited movie tickets for $9.95 per month, the specifics of the pricing model have been changing  pretty frequently .

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You can buy the NES Classic and SNES Classic on Amazon now

If you missed the first few rounds of excitement about Nintendo’s mini nostalgia machines , you’ve got another shot at paying a normal price. Nintendo’s NES and SNES Classic consoles aren’t always easy to find, but they’re now available from Amazon for $59.99 (NES Classic) and $79.99 (SNES Classic) . You can place an order for either right now, though be aware that the NES Classic won’t ship until it’s back in stock on August 12 and the SNES Classic looks like it’ll be back on August 3 — a pretty reasonable wait for a sure thing. Update: It looks like Amazon’s stock of the NES Classic may have already run out in the course of the last few minutes, though the SNES version is still available at its normal retail price of $79.99 (and let’s be real, it was the best console). They seem to be dropping in and out of availability, so try refreshing! When they were first introduced, the reimagined versions of two of the best-loved consoles of all-time arrived to feverish demand. Back in 2016, the NES Classic was difficult to hunt down, and when it hit in August 2017, the SNES followed suit, managing to even outpace interest in its own progenitor. (Naturally, scarcity is the perfect fuel for a nostalgia-powered fire.) Nintendo originally didn’t intend for either console to be restocked indefinitely, but after observing the “ unbridled enthusiasm ” of the retro gaming boxes it decided to keep them around. The consoles reappeared in May and June but sold out quickly. Even with the repeat appearances, it’s been hard to keep track of when and where the things go on sale. If you’re reading this and you’ve yet to score a one-way ticket to nostalgic 8- or 16-bit euphoria, the Amazon listings look like a sure bet — for the moment, anyhow.

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