India’s richest man built a telecom operator everyone wants a piece of

As investors’ appetites sour in the midst of a pandemic, a three-and-a-half-year-old Indian firm has secured $10.3 billion in a month from Facebook and four U.S.-headquartered private equity firms. The major deals for Reliance Jo Platforms have sparked a sudden interest among analysts, executives and readers at a time when many are skeptical of similar…

Mark Zuckerberg commits Facebook to $10 million donation to ‘groups working on racial justice’

Even as Facebook continues to take a hands-off approach to monitoring violent rhetoric and disinformation on its platform, the company will make a $10 million donation “to groups working on racial justice” in the U.S., according to a late Sunday night post from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. The commitment from Facebook follows a week of…

Amid protests, U.S. police scanner apps and others saw record downloads

Downloads of police scanner apps, tools for private communication and mobile safety apps hit record numbers this past weekend in the U.S., amid continued nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd, as well as the systemic problems of racial prejudice that plague the American justice system. According to new data from app store…

Facebook employees stage virtual walkout in protest of company’s stance on Trump posts

Some Facebook employees are virtually walking out today to challenge the company’s lack of response to President Donald Trump’s posts pertaining to protests in light of the brutal killing of George Floyd. Employees participating in the protest requested time off and then added an out-of-office response to their emails notifying senders they are protesting, The…

After a spate of device hacks, Google beefs up Nest security protections

Google has added its line of Nest smart home devices to its Advanced Protection Program, a security offering that adds stronger account protections for high-risk users like politicians and journalists. The program, launched in 2017, allows anyone who signs up access to a range of additional account security features, like limiting third-party access to account…

Android update delivers new ‘Bedtime’ features focused on improving sleep

At Google’s 2018 I/O developer conference, the company debuted a new suite of “digital well-being” aimed at helping Android users better manage their screen time. At its 2019 event, it expanded its tools’ capabilities and improved the related parental controls. Although Google I/O isn’t taking place this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company…

Daily Crunch: SpaceX’s crewed spacecraft successfully launches and docks

SpaceX made history this weekend, tech executives respond to the ongoing protests against racism and Zynga announces a big acquisition. Here’s your Daily Crunch for June 1, 2020. 1. SpaceX’s first crewed spacecraft successfully docks with the International Space Station SpaceX’s Crew Dragon “Endeavor” successfully docked with the International Space Station as planned on Sunday…

Priyanka Sharma takes over the leadership of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, the Linux Foundation-based home of open-source projects like Kubernetes, OpenTracing and Envoy, today announced that Dan Kohn, the long-time executive director of the organization, is stepping down, with Priyanka Sharma, the director of Cloud Native Alliances at GitLab, stepping into the general manager role. Kohn will continue to be part…

Pax launches desktop app, bypassing Apple’s vaping ban

Pax today is announcing a new app for its cannabis vaporizers. The service offers access to device controls, cannabis strain information and safety features. The company previously launched an Android and iPhone app with similar features, but Apple later removed the version on the App Store, stripping iPhone users of features and information. Pax is…

Tech companies respond to George Floyd’s death, ensuing protests and systematic racism

On Sunday, a fourth night of protests erupted around the country, spurred on by the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. The movement is a response to wide-ranging and systematic inequality that has seen a disproportionate number of black Americans suffer a similar fate, with Floyd’s desperate gasping…

Partners at B2B European VC henQ discuss remote work’s biggest advantages

HenQ, an Amsterdam-based VC that invests in European B2B software startups typically at seed and Series A, recently disclosed the first close of its fourth fund at €70 million. The final close is expected to top out at between €75-€85 million later this year, and the firm has already begun backing companies out of the…

Zoom’s earnings to test hot tech valuations

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. This week will see two richly-valued SaaS business share their Q1 earnings reports: CrowdStrike and Zoom. Both are 2019 IPOs, but these relatively young public companies have enjoyed a strong run in the public markets…

Equinix is buying 13 data centers from Bell Canada for $750M

Equinix, the data center company, has the distinction of recently recording its 69th straight positive quarter. One way that it has achieved that kind of revenue consistency is through strategic acquisitions. Today, the company announced that it’s purchasing 13 data centers from Bell Canada for $750 million, greatly expanding its footing in the country. The…

Pinterest adds a ‘Shop’ tab to its Lens Camera search results to showcase matching in-stock products

As more retailers are bringing their products online via Pinterest, the company this morning is launching a new “Shop” tab in its Lens camera search results that will show the matching in-stock merchandise similar to a photo you take of something offline in the real world or even uploaded as a screenshot. To use the…

Equity Monday: Tech’s stance on change, two funding rounds and fintech layoffs

Good morning and welcome back to TechCrunch’s Equity Monday, a brief jumpstart for your week. A big thanks to start to the whole Equity crew for doing a stellar job last week with the show while I was on vacation, especially to Danny for taking on this particular installment of the podcast. Equity Monday is still…

Zynga acquires Turkey’s Peak Games for $1.8B, after buying its card games studio for $100M in 2017

Today, some news of a huge acquisition out of Turkey that represents the first billion-dollar-plus exit for a startup out of the country. Social gaming company Zynga confirmed that it is buying Istanbul-based Peak Games, the company behind popular Candy-Crush-style mobile gaming apps Toon Blast and Toy Blast, for $1.8 billion — $900 million in…

Bonusly, the platform for employee recognition, raises $9 million Series A

Bonusly, a platform that involves the entire organization in recognizing employees and rewarding them, closed on a $9 million Series A financing round led by Access Venture Partners. Next Frontier Capital, Operator Partners, and existing investor FirstMark Capital also participated in the round. Bonusly launched in 2013 when cofounder and CEO Raphael Crawford-Marks saw the…

Global smartphone sales plummeted 20% in Q1, thanks to COVID-19

More dismal numbers confirm what we already knew: Q1 2020 was real rough for an already struggling smartphone category. Gartner’s latest report puts the global market at a 20.2% slide versus the same time last year, thanks in large part to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Every single one of the global top-five manufactures saw…

Africa Roundup: DHL invests in MallforAfrica, Zipline launches in US, Novastar raises $200M

Events in May offered support to the thesis that Africa can incubate tech with global application. Two startups that developed their business models on the continent — MallforAfrica and Zipline — were tapped by international interests. DHL acquired a minority stake in Link Commerce, a turn-key e-commerce company that grew out of MallforAfrica.com — a…

India rejects Walmart-owned Flipkart’s proposed foray into food retail business

The Indian government has rejected Flipkart’s proposal to enter the food retail business in a setback for Walmart, which owns majority of the Indian e-commerce firm and which recently counted its business in Asia’s third-largest economy as one of the worst impacted by the global coronavirus pandemic. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal…

Singapore’s micromobility startup Beam raises $26 million

Beam, a Singapore-headquartered micromobility firm that offers shared e-scooters, has raised $26 million in a new financing round as it looks to expand its footprint in Korea, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Taiwan. Sequoia India and Hana Ventures led the two-and-a-half-year-old startup’s Series A financing round, while several more investors from Asia Pacific region participated,…

The Station: Amazon eyes Zoox, Aurora goes back to school and Cabana hits the road

The Station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every Saturday in your inbox. Hi and welcome back to The Station, a newsletter dedicated to all the present and future ways people and packages move from Point A to Point B. I’m…

6 VCs share their bets on the future of work

As tech companies like Twitter and Facebook gear up for longer-term remote work solutions, the future of work is becoming one of the more exciting opportunities in venture capital, Charles River Ventures general partner Saar Gur told TechCrunch. And as loneliness mounts with shelter-in-place orders implemented in various forms across the world, investors are looking…

SpaceX’s first crewed spacecraft successfully docks with the International Space Station

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon ‘Endeavor’ successfully docked with the International Space Station as planned on Sunday morning, marking another key milestone during this historic Commercial Crew demonstration mission it’s conducting with NASA. On board Crew Dragon were NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, the test pilots selected to be the first ever humans to fly…

Watch live as SpaceX’s first astronaut-carrying spacecraft docks with the International Space Station

Today at around 10:30 AM EDT (7:30 AM PDT), SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule will dock with the International Space Station, with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board. The two have been in flight on orbit since launching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida yesterday at 3:22 PM EDT, a historic launch that…

Our grimdark meathook cyberpunk now

Jon Evans Contributor Jon Evans is the CTO of the engineering consultancy HappyFunCorp; the award-winning author of six novels, one graphic novel, and a book of travel writing; and TechCrunch’s weekend columnist since 2010. More posts by this contributor Living and working in a worsening world Why are people who cite videos always wrong? Ten…

SpaceX’s astronaut launch marks the dawn of the commercial human spaceflight industry

SpaceX on Saturday launched two NASA astronauts aboard its Crew Dragon spacecraft, and the accomplishment is a tremendous one for both the company and the U.S. space agency. At a fundamental level, it means that the U.S. will have continued access to the International Space Station, without having to rely on continuing to buy tickets…

NASA astronauts successfully pilot SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft manually for the first time

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley took over manual control of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft on Saturday, shortly after the vehicle’s historic first launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Crew Dragon is designed to fly entirely autonomous throughout the full duration of its missions, including automated docking, de-orbit and landing procedures, but it has manual control…

Director Ani Acopian breaks down her drone-shot video, ’A World Artists Love’

“A drone is a camera,” Ani Acopian begins simply. “And it can fly. It’s basically a flying super-camera! I’d love to see more film and TV productions embrace the nimble and magical nature of drones and use them for more than bird’s eye view establishing shots.” The director’s video for London-based record label AWAL (Artists…

SpaceX makes history with successful first human space launch

SpaceX made history today, flying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to space aboard its Crew Dragon spacecraft using a Falcon 9 rocket. The launch, titled ‘Demo-2’, is for the final demonstration mission in the human rating process of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Falcon 9, meaning that once this mission is complete, the launch…

Startups Weekly: Remote-first work will mean ‘globally fair compensation’

Editor’s note: Get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7am PT). Subscribe here. Most tech companies base compensation on an employee’s local cost of living, in addition to their skills and responsibilities. The pandemic-era push to remote work seems to be reinforcing that — if…

Huawei’s terrible week

When news broke Friday morning that Britain is looking to propose an alliance of democracies to build a 5G alternative to Huawei, you might think that that was the worst thing to happen to the controversial Chinese telecoms giant this week. In fact, it just caps off a series of fast-moving events that surely makes this…

Original Content podcast: ‘The Lovebirds’ has charming leads and not much else

“The Lovebirds” was originally slated for a theatrical release, but with movie theaters closed, Paramount decided to release the film through Netflix instead. But even without a global pandemic, a Netflix release was probably the right call. As we discuss latest episode of the Original Content podcast, this doesn’t feel like a movie that would…

This Week in Apps: Facebook launches trio of app experiments, TikTok gets spammed, plus coronavirus impacts on app economy

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all. The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending three hours and 40 minutes per…

Watch live as SpaceX launches its first ever spacecraft with people on board

SpaceX is once again preparing to make history – the private spaceflight company is set to launch its Crew Dragon Demo-2 mission in collaboration with NASA today. This is the second time they’ve prepared to launch this mission, after an attempt on Wednesday last week was scrubbed due to bad weather. Today’s attempt is set…

Amid unprecedented growth on its platform, Acorns cuts roles and shuts down an office

Acorns, which helps millions of people invest their spare change in the stock market, has laid off between 50 to 70 people, TechCrunch has learned from multiple sources. The Irvine, Calif.-based company would not confirm the total number of people laid off, but did confirm that there were cuts at the company as a result…

Toyota’s first plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime priced a skosh under $40,000

When Toyota unveiled the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime in November, the vehicle garnered a lot of attention because it achieved two seemingly conflicting goals. It was Toyota’s most fuel efficient and one of its most powerful vehicles. Now, it’s getting praise for managing a base price under $40,000. Toyota said Friday that the standard trim…

Zuckerberg explains why Facebook won’t take action on Trump’s recent posts

In a statement posted to Facebook late Friday afternoon, Mark Zuckerberg offered up an explanation of why his company did not contextualize or remove posts from the accounts associated with President Donald Trump that appeared to incite violence against American citizens. “We looked very closely at the post that discussed the protests in Minnesota to…

As wildfire season approaches, AI could pinpoint risky regions using satellite imagery

The U.S. has suffered from devastating wildfires over the last few years as global temperatures rise and weather patterns change, making the otherwise natural phenomenon especially unpredictable and severe. To help out, Stanford researchers have found a way to track and predict dry, at-risk areas using machine learning and satellite imagery. Currently the way forests…

Brex, the credit card for startups, cuts staff amid restructuring

Brex, last valued at $2.6 billion, is restructuring its credit card for startups business and cut 62 staff members, the co-founders Pedro Franceschi and Henrique Dubugras said in a blog post. “Today we’re restructuring the company to better align our priorities with this new reality, while simultaneously accelerating our product vision. With that, I have…

Sony will show off the first PlayStation 5 games on June 4th

Sony has been dishing out details on the PlayStation 5 piece-by-piece, rather than dropping all of the details at one big mega event. First came word of the Holiday 2020 release window. Then came an overview of the specs — like that it’ll have a super fast solid state drive by default. Most recently, they…

Jeremy Conrad left his own VC firm to start a company, and investors like what he’s building

When this editor first met Jeremy Conrad, it was in 2014, at the 8,000-square-foot former fish factory that was home to Lemnos, a hardware-focused venture firm that Conrad had cofounded three years earlier. Conrad —  who as a mechanical engineering undergrad at MIT worked on self driving cars, drones and satellites — was still excited…

4 views on the future of retail and the shopping experience

The global spread of COVID-19 and resulting orders to shelter in place have hit retailers hard. As the pandemic drags on, temporary halts are becoming permanent closures, whether it’s the coffee shop next door, a historic bar or a well-known lifestyle brand. But while the present is largely bleak, preparing for the future has retailers…

SpaceX’s Starship SN4 launch vehicle prototype explodes after static engine fire test

SpaceX had just conducted yet another static fire test of the Raptor engine in its Starship SN4 prototype launch vehicle on Friday when the test vehicle exploded on the test stand in Boca Chica, Texas. This was the fourth static fire test of this engine on this prototype, so it’s unclear what went wrong vs.…

YouTube and Tribeca’s global online film festival starts today

Today, the online film festival We Are One is kicking off 10 days of films, talks, musical performances and VR experiences. The event is a collaboration between Tribeca Enterprises (the organization behind the Tribeca Film Festival) and YouTube, with help from 21 film festivals from around the world. Think of it as an attempt to…

Aaron Levie: ‘We have way too many manual processes in businesses’

Box CEO Aaron Levie has been working to change the software world for 15 years, but the pandemic has accelerated the move to cloud services much faster than anyone imagined. As he pointed out yesterday in an Extra Crunch Live interview, who would have thought three months ago that businesses like yoga and cooking classes…

Salesforce stock is taking a hit today after lighter guidance in yesterday’s earning’s report

In spite of a positive quarter with record revenue that beat analysts’ estimates, Salesforce stock was taking a hit today because of lighter guidance. Wall Street is a tough audience. The stock was down $8.29/share, or 4.58%, as of 2:15 pm ET. The guidance, which was a projection for next quarter’s earnings, was lighter than…

Audi launches high-tech car unit Artemis to fast track a ‘pioneering’ EV to market

Audi has created a new business unit called Artemis to bring electric vehicles equipped with highly automated driving systems and other tech to market faster — the latest bid by the German automaker to become more agile and competitive. The traditional automotive industry, where the design to start of production cycle might take five to…

Daily Crunch: Trump takes aim at social media companies

President Trump follows through on his threat to challenge the legal protections enjoyed by social media and internet companies, Magic Leap’s CEO is stepping down and China sees its biggest autonomous driving round yet. Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 29, 2020. 1. Trump signs an executive order taking direct aim at social media companies…

Echo Looks will cease functioning in July, as Amazon discontinues the camera

Introduced in mid-2017, the Look was one of the more obscure — and, honestly, kind of bizarre — entries in the Echo line. It was a small camera designed to take videos and selfies of its owner, using machine learning to help choose outfits. No surprise, really, that it never caught fire. And now, three…

The best investment every digital brand can make during the COVID-19 pandemic

Steve Tan Contributor Steve Tan is a Singapore-based serial entrepreneur and full-stack digital marketer with over 14 years of hands-on experience who is also the CEO and founder of Super Tan Brothers Pte. Ltd, which operates e-commerce, software, logistics, marketing, educational and investment companies around the globe. Intuitively, stores that sell online should be making…

TinyML is giving hardware new life

Adam Benzion Contributor Share on Twitter A serial entrepreneur, writer, and tech investor, Adam Benzion is the co-founder of Hackster.io, the world’s largest community for hardware developers. Aluminum and iconography are no longer enough for a product to get noticed in the marketplace. Today, great products need to be useful and deliver an almost magical…

Bunq adds donations to charities and tests redesign

Challenger bank Bunq is adding a new feature that lets you donate to charities directly from the app. In addition to that, Bunq is also in the process of redesigning its app. The company is launching a public beta test to get feedback from its users. Other fintech startups, such as Revolut and Lydia, have…

Twitter, Reddit challenge US rules forcing visa applicants to disclose their social media handles

Twitter and Reddit have filed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging a U.S. government rule change compelling visa applicants to disclose their social media handles. The lawsuit, brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, the Brennan Center for Justice, and law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, seeks to undo…

How to upgrade your at-home videoconference setup: Lighting edition

In this instalment of our ongoing series around making the most of your at-home video setup, we’re going to focus on one of the most important, but least well understood or implemented parts of the equation: Lighting. While it isn’t actually something that requires a lot of training, expertise or even equipment to get right,…

Uber latest features lets riders book by the hour and make multiple stops

Uber is bringing a new feature to the U.S. that lets users book rides for $50 an hour and make multiple stops as the ride-hailing company tries to respond to changing consumer needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hourly booking feature, which is already available in a handful of international cities in Australia, Africa, Europe,…

How startups can leverage elastic services for cost optimization

Joey Lei Contributor Share on Twitter Joey Lei is director of service management at Synoptek, a global systems integrator and managed services provider. Prior to joining Synoptek, he was a lead product manager for Dell EMC’s Data Protection Division and was a founding product manager for Dell EMC PowerProtect Data Manager, Dell EMC’s newest generation…

Google’s latest experiment encourages social distancing through AR

Several months into this pandemic, you can no doubt already eyeball six feet/two meters with the best of them. But if you’re still having trouble — and happen to have an Android device handy — Google’s got you covered, I guess. The latest project out of the company’s Experiments With Google collection, Sodar is a…

Tech talent is flocking to smaller cities, but investors aren’t

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week’s show took a break from regularly scheduled programming. Our co-host Alex Wilhelm, who usually leads us through the show, was on some deserved vacation, so Danny Crichton and Natasha Mascarenhas took the reigns and invited…

Facebook takes on Twitter with Venue, a ‘second screen’ companion for live events

Facebook’s R&D group, NPE Team, is launching a new app for engaging fellow fans around live events, Venue. This is the third new app to launch just this week from Facebook’s internal team focused on experimenting with new concepts in social networking. With Venue, the company aims to offer a digital companion for live events,…

Cisco to acquire internet monitoring solution ThousandEyes

When Cisco bought AppDynamics in 2017 for $3.7 billion just before the IPO, the company sent a clear signal it wanted to move beyond its pure network hardware roots into the software monitoring side of the equation. Yesterday afternoon the company announced it intends to buy another monitoring company, this time snagging internet monitoring solution…

Uber UK launches Work Hub for drivers to find other gig jobs during COVID-19

Uber UK has launched a Work Hub for drivers to view a selection of temporary work opportunities with other companies as a way to supplement pandemic-hit ride-hailing earnings during the coronavirus crisis. The Work Hub sits within the Uber driver app and displays offers of work from third party providers — including jobs that involve…

SoftBank pours $500M into Didi in China’s biggest autonomous driving round

The race to automate vehicles on China’s roads is heating up. Didi, the Uber of China, announced this week an outsized investment of over $500 million in its freshly minted autonomous driving subsidiary. Placing the bet — the single largest fundraising round in China’s autonomous driving sector — is its existing investor Softbank, the Japanese…

Twitter screens Trump’s Minneapolis threat-tweet for glorifying violence

After applying a fact-checking label Tuesday to a misleading vote-by-mail tweet made by US president Donald Trump, Twitter is on a roll and has labeled another of the president’s tweets — this time screening his words from casual view with what it calls a “public interest notice” that states the tweet violated its rules about glorifying…

Belvo scores $10M from Founders Fund and Kaszek to scale its API for financial services

Belvo, a Latin American fintech startup which launched just 12 months ago, has already snagged funding from two of the biggest names in North and South American venture capital. The company is aiming to expand the reach of its service that connects mobile applications in Mexico and Colombia to a customer’s banking information and now…

Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz is out

Magic Leap talked a big game, and few were more responsible for fostering a cult of hype and excitement around its vision of the future than the company’s founder and CEO Rony Abovitz. Today, the CEO announced that the company has indeed secured a new bout of funding, but that the company will be attempting…

Tesla board certifies Elon Musk’s payday worth more than $700 million

Tesla’s board certified a financial milestone that unlocks the first tranche — worth more than $700 million — of an unprecedented multi-billion-dollar pay package for CEO Elon Musk, according a document filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The milestone allows Musk to purchase the first grouping or tranche of nearly 1.69 million shares…

SpaceX gets FAA permission to fly its Starship spacecraft prototype

SpaceX has received authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly suborbital missions with its Starship prototype spacecraft, paving the way for test flights at its Boca Chica, Texas site. SpaceX has been hard at work readying its latest Starship prototype for low-altitude, short duration controlled flight tests, and conducted another static engine fire…

3 bearish takes on the current edtech boom

Edtech is booming, but a short while ago, many companies in the category were struggling to break through as mainstream offerings. Now, it seems like everyone is clamoring to get into the next seed-stage startup that has the phrase “remote learning” on its About page. And so begins the normal cycle that occurs when a…

Trump signs an executive order taking direct aim at social media companies

On Thursday, President Trump signed an executive order targeting the legal shield that internet companies rely on to protect them from liability for user-created content. That law, known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is essential to large social platforms like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, the kind of companies the president has long…

Join us June 3 for a contact tracing and exposure notification app development and deployment forum

Exposure notification and contact tracing are two related but distinct measures many public health authorities are either considering or already implementing. Contact tracing is a practice almost as old as epidemiology itself, but today’s technology means the way that we go about tracking the spread of a contagious illness within and between communities is changing…

Amazon expands use of SNAP benefits for online grocery to 11 more states

Amazon customers in nearly a dozen more U.S. states are now able to use their SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits to purchase groceries online, the retailer announced on Thursday. The news represents a significant expansion of a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot program introduced in 2019 that aimed to open up online grocery shopping…

TechCrunch’s Early Stage, Mobility and Space events will be virtual, too

You may have heard the news: We’re taking Disrupt virtual. As you would expect, we are taking three of our other events this year virtual, too. The virtual version of TC Early Stage will retain its focus on giving founders the opportunity to absorb direct, practical knowledge about how to grow and develop their startups.…

The secret to trustworthy data strategy

Daniel Wu Contributor Dan Wu is a Privacy Counsel & Legal Engineer at Immuta, an automated data governance platform for analytics. He’s advocated for data ethics, inclusive urban innovation, and diversity in TechCrunch, Harvard Business Review, and FastCompany. He’s helped Fortune 500 companies, governments, and startups with ethical & agile data strategies. He holds a…

HBO Max was downloaded by 87K new users yesterday (Sensor Tower)

How did yesterday’s launch of HBO Max go? We don’t have official numbers from WarnerMedia, but app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower says HBO Max was downloaded by nearly 87,000 new users across Apple’s App Store and Google Play. That number might seem pretty low compared to other streaming launches — like the 4 million…

Google makes sharing Plus Codes easier in a push to simply addressing system globally

Two years ago, Google unveiled Plus Codes, a digital addressing system to help billions of people navigate to places that don’t have clear addresses. The company said today it is making it easier for anyone with an Android device to share its rendition of an address — a six-digit alphanumeric code. Google Maps users on…

Join GGV’s Hans Tung and Jeff Richards for a live Q&A: June 4 at 3:30 pm EDT/12:30 pm PDT

What does a global mindset look like in a world where most of us no longer travel? And what does it mean to be local when everyone is connected? Those are the first questions we had in mind when we read GGV Capital’s Twitter bio, which asserts that the investing shop with offices in five…

The Simpsons can now be watched in 4:3 aspect ratio on Disney+, as nature intended

The greatest comedy in television history became a part of the Disney family when the mega-corporation gobbled up Fox last year, like so many forbidden donuts. Beyond having to make nice with the cartoon mouse American’s family had so openly antagonized over the decades, the deal meant that The Simpsons would have a permanent home…

Going to war with Twitter, Trump threatens critical social media legal protections

Accusing Twitter of censorship for adding a contextual label to false claims he made about the 2020 election process, President Trump has again declared war on social media companies. After the White House told reporters that the president would soon announce an executive order “pertaining to social media,” the draft of that order is out…

BeeHero smartens up hives to provide ‘pollination as a service’ with $4M seed round

Vast monoculture farms outstripped the ability of bee populations to pollinate them naturally long ago, but the techniques that have arisen to fill that gap are neither precise nor modern. Israeli startup BeeHero aims to change that by treating hives both as living things and IoT devices, tracking health and pollination progress practically in real…

Rivian’s Amazon electric delivery van still on track as factory reopens

Rivian, the electric vehicle company backed by Amazon, Cox Automotive and Ford, has resumed work at its factory in Normal, Ill. following a temporary shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction on the factory, which will eventually produce its R1T and R1S electric vehicles for consumers as well as 100,000 delivery vans for Amazon, has…

Extra Crunch Live: Join Box CEO Aaron Levie for a live Q&A today at 3pm EDT/12pm PDT

Aaron Levie is a luminary of the SAAS world; the chief executive of Box, a company that helped revolutionize the collaborative office environment; and the leader of a team that had worked remotely before COVID-19 made it a necessity rather than a luxury. He’s also going to be joining us later today on Extra Crunch Live,…

How Grab adapted after COVID-19 hit its ride-hailing business

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on ride-hailing services, like Uber and Lyft. Grab, Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing company, has also been impacted, but the company has adapted by quickly transitioning many of its ride-hailing drivers to its on-demand delivery verticals and expanding services needed by customers during social distancing measures. The company…

Daily Crunch: Twitter vs. Trump

Tensions escalate between President Trump and his favorite social media platform, Google and Microsoft considering investing in the Indian telecom market and the Raspberry Pi foundation announces a new Raspberry Pi. Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 28, 2020. 1. Jack Dorsey explains why Twitter fact-checked Trump’s false voting claims After Twitter flagged a pair…

YouTube introduces Video Chapters to make it easier to navigate through longer videos

If you’ve ever found yourself scrubbing your way through a long YouTube video to get to the “good” part, you’ll appreciate the new feature YouTube is launching today: Video Chapters. The feature uses timestamps that creators apply to their videos, allowing viewers to easily jump forward to a specific section of the video or rewatch…

Truthset raises $4.75M to help marketers score their data

Data, the cliche goes, is the new oil of the digital economy. But Truth{set} co-founder and CEO Scott McKinley wants to know: “Why does no one care about the quality of that fuel?” That’s an issue McKinley saw in his seven years as an executive at Nielsen, where he said he realized that most marketing…

Plex launches a co-watching experience for its on-demand library and users’ personal media

Virtual viewing parties that let people watch video together remotely have become a popular way to stay connected with friends and family amid the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier today, Hulu announced the addition of a new “Watch Party” feature for its site to make a virtual viewing experience a built-in feature of its service. Now, media…

Win a Wild Card to compete in Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2020

Ready to take advantage of every opportunity to keep your startup on track and moving forward? Yes, yes you are. Exhibiting in Startup Alley during Disrupt SF 2020 is nothing but opportunity. It offers founders beaucoup benefits, but there’s one more whopper waiting for two standout startups. We’re talking about the Wild Card entry to…

Existing backers put another £40M into UK challenger bank Starling

Starling Bank, the U.K.-based challenger bank founded by banking veteran Anne Boden, has raised an additional £40 million in funding, TechCrunch has learned. The round is led by existing backers, Harry McPike’s JTC and Merian Chrysalis Investment Company Limited, and adds to the £60 million raised in February this year. Now boasting 1.4 million accounts,…

Mirantis releases its first major update to Docker Enterprise

In a surprise move, Mirantis acquired Docker’s Enterprise platform business at the end of last year and while Docker itself is refocusing on developers, Mirantis kept the Docker Enterprise name and product. Today, Mirantis is rolling out its first major update to Docker Enterprise with the release of version 3.1. For the most part, these…

Storage marketplace Warehouse Exchange raises $2.2M

Warehouse Exchange, a startup that describes itself as the Airbnb of warehouse space, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding. The company was founded Jonathan Rosenthal (CEO of Saybrook Management) and Dan Pimentel (previously CFO/COO of startup Hub TV). They recently brought on former eHarmony CEO Grant Langston as Warehouse Exchange’s chief executive. Langston admitted…

Researchers use biometrics, including data from the Oura Ring, to predict COVID-19 symptoms in advance

A team of researchers from the West Virginia University (WVU) Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (RNI), along with WVU’s Medicine department and staff from Oura Health have developed a platform they say can be used to anticipate the onset of COVID-19 symptoms in otherwise healthy people up to three days in advance. This can help with screening…

Cookware startup Caraway raises $5.3M as it eyes new product categories

Caraway, a direct-to-consumer startup selling ceramic pots and pans, is announcing that it has raised $5.3 million in seed funding. Founder and CEO Jordan Nathan (previously a brand manager at e-commerce holding company Mohawk Group) told me that he became interested in cookware after burning a Teflon pan and learning more about the dangers of…

Tia Health gets over $24 million to build a network of holistic health clinics and virtual services for women

Tia Health, the developer of a network of digital wellness apps, clinics and telehealth services designed to treat women’s health holistically, has raised $24.275 million in a new round of funding. The company said that the financing would support the expansion of its telehealth and clinical services to new markets, although co-founder and chief executive…

German federal court squashes consent opt-outs for non-functional cookies

Yet another stake through the dark-patterned heart of consentless online tracking. Following a key cookie consent ruling by Europe’s top court last year, Germany’s Federal Court (BGH) has today handed down its own ‘Planet49’ decision — overturning an earlier appeal ruling when judges in a district court had allowed a pre-checked box to stand for…

Netflix, Disney+ or HBO Max? The best streaming service for your watching habits

Gone are the days of not having enough time to catch up on all of those movies and TV shows you’ve been meaning to get around to. For the foreseeable future, at least, many of us have nowhere to go and nothing but time on our hands. We’ve already offered a few suggestions for ways…

Audient’s EVO 4 is a sleek, modern USB audio interface with useful smart features

The USB audio interface is a fairly standardized device – for those who might not know, that’s the hardware you use to take a microphone or instrument that uses an XLR or 1/4″ output and get that into your computer via a USB connection for recording or streaming. There are a lot of choices in…

2020 Lotus Evora GT Review: A thrilling, analog weekend racer

Why’s this on TechCrunch? We hear that occasionally when posting things outside of our general programming. Generally, there’s a tech hook; there isn’t here with this $100,000 2020 Lotus Evora GT. The Lotus Evora GT is supersized go-kart with nary an advanced technical feature. And I love it. While most cars are coming equipped with…

Video news startup Stringr raises $5.75M from Thomson Reuters and others

Stringr, a video-focused startup that says it can help news organizations adapt to the challenges of COVID-19, is announcing that it’s raised $5.75 million in new funding. When I wrote about the the company at the end of 2015, it was creating a marketplace that connected news organizations with videographers who could provide them with news…

Nuro’s self-driving vehicles to delivery prescriptions for CVS Pharmacy

Nuro, the autonomous robotics startup that has raised more than $1 billion from Softbank Vision Fund, Greylock and other investors, said Thursday it will test prescription delivery in Houston through a partnership with CVS Pharmacy. The pilot, which will use a fleet of the startup’s autonomous Toyota Prius vehicles and transition to using its custom-built…

Stackin’ raises $12.6M Series B to help millennials navigate the crowded fintech space

Fintech’s funding boom for the past decade has led to a flurry of new consumer startups tackling a wide range of money-related issues, from saving apps to investing platforms. Should you download Robinhood, Stash, Public, Acorns, or Truebill? The fintech craze creates confusion for consumers when it comes to figuring out which startup is the…

Italy’s Commerce Layer raises $6M led by Benchmark for its headless e-commerce platform

In the world of commerce, the last few months have underscored the fact that every retailer, brand and entity that sells or distributes something needs to have a digital strategy. Today, one of the startups that’s built a platform aimed at giving them more control in that process is announcing a Series A to continue…

Wasabi announces $30M in debt financing as cloud storage business continues to grow

We may be in the thick of a pandemic with all of the economic fallout that comes from that, but certain aspects of technology don’t change no matter the external factors. Storage is one of them. In fact, we are generating more digital stuff than ever, and Wasabi, a Boston-based startup that has figured out…

Providing card services to fintech companies around the world gives Marqeta a $4.3 billion valuation

This could have been Marqeta’s year to list as a public company on a major American stock exchange. The company, while still unprofitable, is a darling of the financial services sector and only last year reached a $2 billion valuation on the back of a $260 million round of financing. In the previously torrid public…

Google and Microsoft reportedly considering stakes in Indian telecom firms after Facebook deal

Weeks after Facebook acquired a 9.9% stake in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms, two more American firms are reportedly interested in the Indian telecom market. Google is considering buying a stake of about 5% in Vodafone Idea, the second largest telecom operator in India, according to Financial Times. Separately, Microsoft is in talks to invest up…

Gogoro unveils Eeyo, its new ebike brand

Gogoro, the mobility company best known for its SmartScooters, revealed details about its new ebike brand Eeyo today. Eeyo will launch with two lightweight models, both powered by the SmartWheel, a self-contained hub designed by the company that integrates motors, batteries, sensors and smart connectivity technology. Eeyo is the first product that Gogoro will introduce…

EQT acquires freemium graphics and stock photo marketplace, Freepik

Freepik, a Malaga-Spain based website which offers a curated freemium marketplace of vector graphics and stock photos fed by a community of contributing designers and photographers, is being acquired by investment and private equity firm EQT. The EQT Mid Market Europe fund has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake of Freepik from…

A 12 year journey ends as Skimlinks is acquired by retail marketing platform Connexity

Connexity, a lead-gen platform for online retailers, has acquired Skimlinks, a UK platform for publishers to make money through affiliate links. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. According to Crunchbase, Skimlinks had raised a total of $25.5M and reached a late a Series C stage of funding, the final round coming from Frog Capital which…

Greyparrot bags $2.2M seed to scale its AI for waste management

London-based Greyparrot, which uses computer vision AI to scale efficient processing of recycling, has bagged £1.825 million (~$2.2M) in seed funding, topping up the $1.2M in pre-seed funding it had raised previously. The latest round is led by early stage European industrial tech investor Speedinvest, with participation from UK-based early stage b2b investor, Force Over…

Raspberry Pi Foundation announces Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB of RAM

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released a new version of its flagship model, the Raspberry Pi 4. In addition to the models that come with 2GB and 4GB of RAM, there’s a new 8GB model. This model costs $75, which makes it the most expensive Raspberry Pi out there. As always, you get a single-board…

Meniga, the digital banking tech provider, raises €8.5M led by French bank Groupe BPCE

Meniga, the London-headquartered fintech that provides digital banking technology to some of the world’s largest banks, has closed a €8.5 million in additional funding. Described primarily as a “strategic investment,” the round is led by Groupe BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France, alongside Portugal’s Grupo Crédito Agrícola and long-standing strategic partner UniCredit. All three…

Meet News Break, the news app trending in America founded by a Chinese media veteran

TikTok isn’t the only new media app with Chinese background that’s making waves in the U.S. News Break, a news app founded by China’s media veteran Jeff Zheng with teams in Beijing, Shanghai, Seattle and Mountain View, has been sitting among the top three news apps in the U.S. App Store since March, according to…

Vaya Africa launches electric ride-hail taxi network

Vaya Africa, a ride-hail mobility venture founded by Zimbabwean mogul Strive Masiyiwa, has launched an electric taxi service and charging network in Zimbabwe with plans to expand across the continent. The South Africa headquartered company has acquired a fleet of Nissan Leaf EVs and developed its own solar powered charging stations. The program goes live…

DHL acquires stake in Link Commerce developed by MallforAfrica.com

DHL has acquired a minority stake in Link Commerce, a turn-key e-commerce company that grew out of MallforAfrica.com — a Nigerian digital-retail startup. Link Commerce offers a white-label solution for doing digital-sales in emerging markets. Retailers can plug into the company’s e-commerce platform to create a web-based storefront that manages payments and logistics. With the…

Dishcraft Robotics is using robots to save reopening restaurants from creating more waste

Dishcraft Robotics has a simple pitch to corporate kitchens and restaurants that could potentially save tons of single use plastic, non-compostable takeout containers, dishware and cutlery from ending up landfills. Use its cleaning service that will drop off all the clean, reusable dishware and cutlery a restaurant or corporate kitchen could possibly need in the…

Carry1st has $4M to invest in African mobile gaming

Gaming development startup Carry1st has raised a $2.5 million seed round led by CRE Venture Capital . That brings the company’s total VC to $4 million, which Carry1st will deploy to support and invest in game publishing across Africa. The startup — with offices in New York, Lagos, and South Africa — was co-founded in…

Jack Dorsey explains why Twitter fact-checked Trump’s false voting claims

After Twitter flagged a pair of President Trump’s tweets with a fact-checking label on Tuesday, tensions between the president and his favored social media platform are running high. On Wednesday night, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey—rarely one to pick a political fight—took to his own platform to clarify the company’s decision. Fact check: there is someone…

Investors say emerging multiverses are the future of entertainment

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the adoption of new technologies and cultural shifts that were already well underway. According to a clutch of heavy-hitting investors, this dynamic is particularly strong in gaming and extended reality. Unlike other segments of the startup and tech world, where valuations have been slashed, early-stage companies focused on building new…

Fintech regulations in Latin America could fuel growth or freeze out startups

Ximena Aleman Contributor Share on Twitter Ximena Aleman is co-founder and chief business development officer at Prometeo, an open banking platform that serves Latin America. It may have entered the game later than other leading regions such as Europe and North America, but Latin America’s fintech industry is dynamic and growing fast. The sector was…

Appeals court rules in favor of Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter in anti-conservative bias suit

The same day Donald Trump took to Twitter to threaten to regulate or shut down social media sites, the U.S. appeals court in Washington D.C. dismissed a lawsuit accusing top tech companies of silencing conservative voices. Filed in 2018 by nonprofit Freedom Watch and rightwing gadfly Laura Loomer, the suit accused Apple, Facebook, Twitter and…

Amazon offers more details about why HBO Max isn’t on Fire TV

WarnerMedia’s new streaming service HBO Max launched today with couple of conspicuous absences from the list of supported devices — Max is not yet available on Roku or Amazon’s Fire TV. It sounds like this isn’t just a technical issue that will be fixed imminently. WarnerMedia’s vice president of communications Chris Willard told USA Today that…

An hourly home-sharing startup in San Francisco finds itself in the city’s crosshairs

Emmanuel Bamfo is used to fighting uphill battles. Still, his latest fight, with the city of San Francisco, may well destroy his business if he doesn’t win it and quickly. Bamfo is the cofounder and CEO of Globe, a year-old, six-person startup that connects customers with rooms in people’s mostly urban homes. Think Airbnb, except…

Instagram’s AR filters are getting more dynamic

Augmented reality filters on Instagram are picking up some new tricks with the latest update to Facebook’s Spark AR platform. Spark AR has been making pretty consistent updates to the feature sets developers can play with in creating AR filters since it exited closed beta on Instagram last year. Today, Facebook added some new functionality…

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg shares his COVID-19 strategy and tactics

This week, Verizon Communications CEO Hans Vestberg joined us for an episode of Extra Crunch Live. Vestberg is leading the company through the midst of one its biggest rollouts to date with the push into 5G connectivity. In our discussion, he spoke about how he’s managing the organization during this global crisis, his thoughts on…

Rivian is building an in-house insurance agency

Rivian is hiring an insurance agency data manager, a job posting that suggests the all-electric automaker is planning to offer its own insurance to customers. The job was first posted by RivianForums, which also reached out to TechCrunch with the tip. Roadshow/CNET also reported about this new position. Rivian wouldn’t provide more details about its…

Crypto Startup School: Capturing value in crypto through network effects and mechanism design

Zoran Basich Contributor Share on Twitter Zoran Basich is the crypto editor for Andreessen Horowitz . More posts by this contributor Crypto Startup School: How to scale companies using crypto Crypto Startup School: A new type of computer drives waves of innovation Editor’s note: Andreessen Horowitz’s Crypto Startup School brought together 45 participants from around…

Docker expands relationship with Microsoft to ease developer experience across platforms

When Docker sold off its enterprise division to Mirantis last fall, that didn’t mark the end of the company. In fact, Docker still exists and has refocused as a cloud-native developer tools vendor. Today it announced an expanded partnership with Microsoft around simplifying running Docker containers in Azure. As its new mission suggests, it involves…

Angling to be eyewear’s next big thing, FutureMood launches with mood-altering sunglasses

Austin Soldner and Michael Schaecher, the co-founders of the new sunglasses brand Futuremood, met at the newly formed San Francisco research and development lab created by the high-end audio tech developer Bose. The two were tasked with working on Bose’s sunglasses wearable and bonded over a shared interest in sneakers and fashion. Over many conversations…

Up close with the fresh new spacesuits astronauts will soon wear in orbit for the first time

Inside the first American spacecraft to take humans to orbit since the Space Shuttle, launching today, are, well, humans. And those humans are wearing brand new spacesuits that are also making a historic debut. Ahead of today’s launch (which you can watch here), NASA and SpaceX gave a fresh look at the new suits, which…

Canada court finds against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on double criminality; extradition trial to continue

In a closely-watched decision today, the Supreme Court of British Columbia published a key decision in the extradition case of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei Technologies, China’s largest telecommunications company and a frequent target of U.S. policymakers. In its ruling, the court said that the case met the standard for “double criminality,” and thus…

Take a look inside Crew Dragon, SpaceX’s first human spacecraft, ahead of its historic launch

SpaceX is in the process of preparing for its historic first astronaut launch, with a mission to demonstrate its human spaceflight capabilities by flying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station. That flight is set to happen at 4:33 PM EDT (1:33 PM PDT), weather permitting, but meanwhile SpaceX has…

Tesla cuts prices across EV line up, ends free supercharging for Model S, Model X

Tesla slashed prices across its electric vehicle portfolio overnight as the automaker aims to boost sales in an economy beaten down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Reuters and Electrek were the first to report the changes. The base price of Model 3 standard range plus is now $37,990, a $2,000 reduction. But the biggest cuts were…

Siren raises $11.8M for its limb-saving smart socks

Can a pair of socks help those with diabetes avoid foot amputations? That’s one of the ideas behind Siren, a company that’s building smart, washable fabric wearables – the first of which is a pair of socks meant to help those with diabetes monitor their foot health and detect dangerous injuries early. They’ve just a…

CryptoKitties developer launches NBA TopShot, a new blockchain-based collectible collab with the NBA

When Dapper Labs launched CryptoKitties back in November 2017, the company’s take on Tamagotchi was seen as the first popular use of blockchain-based applications. It was the first popular use case outside of Bitcoin as a speculative investment. Like all fads, CryptoKitties didn’t last, but the app proved that Dapper Labs could build a compelling…

Gmail’s new feature makes it easier to personalize your inbox

Google is introducing a new “quick settings” menu in Gmail aimed at helping users browse, discover, and use different themes and settings to customize their Gmail experience. These options include the ability to change the density of text, select from different inbox types, add reading panes, and options to theme your inbox. They are not…

French contact-tracing app StopCovid passes first vote

Following a debate in the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament, deputies have voted in favor of the release of contact-tracing app StopCovid and the decree related to the app. While a vote in the parliament wasn’t a mandatory step, the government wants to rally as many people as possible around the…

Otrium raises $26 million to sell end-of-season fashion items

Otrium has raised a $26 million Series B funding round (€24 million) with Eight Roads Ventures leading the round. Existing investors Index Ventures and Hans Veldhuizen also participated. Otrium works with clothing brands to help them sell items when they reach the end-of-season status. Due to fast fashion, you have to regularly clear some space…

We throw away 80% of our content ideas, and you should too

Amanda Milligan Contributor Share on Twitter Amanda Milligan is the marketing director at Fractl, a prominent growth marketing agency that’s helped Fortune 500 companies and boutique businesses alike earn quality media coverage, backlinks, awareness and authority. More posts by this contributor What we’ve learned from building 40,000+ links for clients We’ve talked a bit publicly…

RudderStack raises $5M seed round for its open-source Segment competitor

RudderStack, a startup that offers an open-source alternative to customer data management platforms like Segment, today announced that it has raised a $5 million seed round led by S28 Capital. Salil Deshpande of Uncorrelated Ventures and Mesosphere/D2iQ co-founder Florian Leibert (through 468 Capital) also participated in this round. In addition, the company also today announced…

Bang & Olufsen’s latest Beoplay E8 fully wireless earbuds offer top sound and comfort

Bang & Olufsen has an excellent reputation in home audio, and its original Beoplay E8 fully wireless headphones were a category leader when there was barely a category to lead. The company recently launched the third version of the E8, a new generation of hardware that comes with a number of improvements for better audio…

5G, AI, cybersecurity and renewable energy set for investment boost under EU coronavirus recovery plan

The European Commission is proposing to direct billions of euros of financial relief into high tech and green investments to help the bloc recover from the coronavirus crisis. Technologies such as 5G, AI, cloud, cybersecurity, supercomputing and renewable energy look set to benefit from a €750BN pan-EU support package set out today — aligning with…

Daily Crunch: HBO Max launches in the US

WarnerMedia unveils its new streaming service, Donald Trump is mad at Twitter and GE Lighting has a new owner. Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 27, 2020. 1. HBO Max launches today, here’s what you need to know At $14.99 per month, the service — initially available to subscribers in the United States — is…

Instagram to test new revenue streams, including Badges and IGTV ads

Instagram today is launching new tools that enable video creators to make money, including badges that viewers can purchase during Instagram Live videos and the introduction of IGTV ads. Both launches are considered a test as the company is limiting the features’ availability during its experimentation phase, it says. Badges will give viewers a way…

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative drops $3.8M on 23 biomedical open source projects

The philanthropic arm of the Zuckerberg fortune is infusing $3.8 million worth of grants into nearly two dozen open source software projects in biomedical research. It’s the second such disbursement of funds, and a third will be open for applications next month. The grants range in size from $50,000 to $250,000 and any biomed-centric project…

Onboarding employees and maintaining culture in a remote work environment

Caryn Marooney Contributor Share on Twitter Caryn Marooney is general partner at Coatue Management and sits on the boards of Zendesk and Elastic. In prior roles she oversaw communications for Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus and co-founded The OutCast Agency, which served clients like Salesforce.com and Amazon. More posts by this contributor Onboarding employees and…

Quibi inches towards usability by adding AirPlay streaming support

When it launched in April, Quibi carried the express mission statement of offering short-form videos designed to watch on-the-fly. The service’s narrow focus rubbed a lot of potential subscribers the wrong way, with many requesting a more traditional method for watching the service’s series. Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg blames coronavirus for the streaming app’s challenges…

Rise Gardens raises seed funding for an indoor hydroponic gardening system

You don’t need a green thumb and a big backyard to grow baskets of fresh produce. In fact, according to Chicago-based Rise Gardens, you probably just need a bookshelf’s worth of space in your living room and an app. Rise Gardens, an indoor hydroponic gardening system, has raised $2.6 million in seed funding for home-grown…

Facebook launches Collab, a mix-and-match app for making collaborative music videos

Facebook’s internal R&D group, NPE Team, is rolling out yet another new app today called Collab after having just launched a new group audio calling app, CatchUp, on Tuesday. With Collab, the focus has now returned to video, and specifically, the concept of watching, mixing and matching original videos together, beginning with music. In Collab,…

Smart home company Savant set to acquire GE Lighting

Massachusetts-based smart home company Savant Systems this morning announced a deal to require GE Lighting. The division has existed as part of General Electric since 1911, with its origins reaching back even further to Thomas Edison’s work in the space. Today’s GE Lighting portfolio still largely revolves around bulbs, with some push into more modern…

Extra Crunch Live: Join Initialized’s Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan for a live Q&A on Tuesday at 2pm EDT/11am PDT

Extra Crunch Live is on fire, and the hits keep rolling! Next week, we’ll sit down with Initialized’s Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan. You can catch the chat live on Tuesday, June 2 at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT. Alexis Ohanian is the founder and former CEO of Reddit, and his investment portfolio includes Flexport,…

Toro snags $4M seed investment to monitor data quality

Toro’s founders started at Uber helping monitor the data quality in the company’s vast data catalogs, and they wanted to put that experience to work for a more general audience. Today, the company announced a $4 million seed round. The round was co-led by Costanoa Ventures and Point72 Ventures with help from a number of…

After Twitter fact-check, Trump threatens to regulate or close down social media platforms

Once again, Trump has doubled down. Following the addition of a fact-checking warning label added to his tweet about mail-in ballots, Trump took to the platform yet again to denounce it. In what may be his strongest words to date against a service that has largely given him free rein to this point, the President…

HBO Max launches today, here’s what you need to know

HBO Max, the HBO -plus-other-stuff streaming service from WarnerMedia, is finally here. At $14.99 per month, the service — initially available to subscribers in the United States — is more expensive than competing offerings like Netflix and Disney+. But from another angle, it’s still a pretty sweet deal, since you’re getting HBO, plus a whole…

Census raises $4.3M seed to put product info in cloud data warehouses to work

Companies spend inordinate amounts of time and money building data warehouses and moving data from enterprise applications. But once they get the data in, how do they get specific information like product data back out and distribute it to business operations, who can use it to better understand customers? That’s where Census comes in. It…

Kentik raises $23.5M for its network intelligence platform

Kentik, the company once known as CloudHelix, today announced that it has raised a $23.5 million growth funding round led by Vistara Capital Partners, with existing investors August Capital, Third Point Ventures, DCVC, and Tahoma Ventures also participating. With this round, Kentik has now raised a total of $61.7 million. The company’s platform allows enterprises…

ICE used ‘stingray’ snooping tech hundreds of times since 2017

Newly released documents show U.S. immigration authorities have used a secretive cell phone snooping technology hundreds of times across the U.S. in the past three years. The documents, obtained through a public records lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and seen by TechCrunch, show that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deployed cell site…

Google expands tools to help businesses impacted by COVID-19

Google is rolling out a series of updates aimed at helping local businesses adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic while continuing to serve their customers across Google Maps and Search. Since the outbreak, Google has made it possible for businesses to communicate to customers things like their revised operating hours or temporary closures, among other things.…

LeverEdge wants to get you and your friends a volume discount on student loans

Student loans are both a trillion-dollar debt category and also one of the most popular mini-verticals out there in fintech startup investing right now. There are dozens if not hundreds of companies in the space, and they all mostly do one of two things: either they help students think through their student loan options before…

Babylon Health leads a $30M Series B in US health kiosk operator, Higi

UK-based AI chatbot Babylon Health — which last year raised $550M at a $2BN+ valuation — has led a $30M Series B in US-based Higi, which owns and operates 10,000+ FDA-cleared health kiosks. Higi, which was founded back in 2012 per Crunchbase, has built out a nationwide network of “health stations” located at retail locations…

Apple begins offering Macs with custom configurations in India

Apple is finally giving customers in India the ability to order customized versions of iMac, MacBook Air, Mac Mini and other Mac computers. The Cupertino-giant has started to offer a full-range of the Mac portfolio with configure-to-order (CTO) or build-to-order (BTO) option in India, allowing customers in the country to request specific custom needs such…

Virgin Orbit provides more details about what went right with its first launch demo

Virgin Orbit performed a demonstration of its full launch system on Monday, and while it didn’t go quite as planned, with the mission cut short just a few seconds after Virgin’s LauncherOne separated from its Cosmic Girl carrier aircraft, the company says it still learned a lot – and a lot went right, too. Spaceflight…

Watch SpaceX launch people to space for the first time live

SpaceX is set to mark a huge milestone in its own company history, with a first-ever crewed spaceflight set to take off from Cape Canaveral in Florida later today. The mission is Commercial Crew Demo-2, the culmination of its Crew Dragon human spacecraft development program, which will carry NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken…

Voi hires former Bird UK chief to bring e-scooters to British streets

With the U.K. government set to accelerate trials of e-scooter rentals in a bid to reduce crowding on public transport and support social distancing during the coronavirus crisis, Europe’s e-scooter companies are gearing up to be ready. The latest move sees Sweden-headquartered Voi Technology recruit Richard Corbett to head up its U.K., Ireland and Benelux…

Coinbase to acquire Tagomi to improve institutional trading offering

Cryptocurrency exchange company Coinbase has announced plans to acquire Tagomi, an advanced cryptocurrency brokerage platform specifically targeted at professionals and institutional investors. Terms of the deal are undisclosed and the acquisition is still pending regulatory approval. While Coinbase is a well-known name for retail investors who are just getting started in the cryptocurrency space and…

China’s top short video apps and e-commerce giants pally up

JD.com, the online retailer that is Alibaba’s long-time nemesis, announced Wednesday a strategic partnership with Kuaishou, the main rival of TikTok’s sibling in China, Douyin. The collaboration is part of a rising trend in the Chinese internet where short video apps and e-commerce platforms increasingly turn to each other for monetization synergies. The thinking goes…

Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 therapy development partner AbCellera raises $105 million

When AbCellera won a $30 million contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop therapeutic countermeasures against viral outbreaks two years ago, it’s safe to assume that no one thought the technology would be so vitally important so soon. The work AbCellera was doing was part of a high-priority initiative from DARPA’s Biological…

ChatableApps launches its hearing assistance app

ChatableApps is launching its hearing assistance app on iOS today, with a wider Android release to follow shortly. Backed by Mark Cuban, and based on the work of auditory neural signal processing researcher Dr. Andy Simpson, the app removes background noise in near real-time so that one-to-one conversations can be heard more clearly. And, unlike…

Google removes millions of negative TikTok reviews amid backlash in India

ByteDance’s TikTok app, which has gained hundreds of millions of users in India with its short-form videos, is facing criticism in its biggest overseas market after disturbing videos surfaced on the platform. Phrases such as BanTikTok, DeleteTikTok, and BlockTikTok have trended on Twitter in India in the past three weeks after numerous users expressed disgust…

Aircall raises $65 million for its cloud-based phone system

Aircall has raised a $65 million Series C round (€60.2 million) with DTCP leading the round, Adam Street participating and existing investors eFounders, Draper Esprit, Balderton and NextWorld injecting more money in the company. Overall, Aircall has raised $106 million. Aircall is building a software-as-a-service company around phone calls. You could use it to operate…

Ola Electric acquires Etergo, to launch own line of electric two wheelers this year

Ola Electric, the EV business that spun out of the ride-hailing giant Ola last year, has acquired an Amsterdam-based electric scooter startup as the Indian firm looks to locally produce and launch its own line of two wheelers as soon as this year. The Indian firm said Wednesday it had acquired Etergo, a Dutch firm…

YouTube Kids app is now available for Apple TV

YouTube Kids, the video platform’s version of its service that lets families set age categories, viewing timers and other controls, is now available on Apple TV. Country availability is listed here, with more to be added later. YouTube says that safety controls still need to be set through the mobile version of the app. YouTube…

Zipline begins US medical delivery with UAV program honed in Africa

Drones are being deployed in the fight to curb COVID-19 in the U.S. Novant Health and California based UAV delivery startup Zipline have launched distribution of personal protective gear and medical equipment in North Carolina. Novant is a non-profit healthcare provider with a network in the Southeastern United States. Through the partnership, Zipline’s drones will…

Google outlines plan to get some employees back to the office

In a blog post, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai gave an overview of the company’s plan to return its workforce to some semblance of normalcy—or at least a new normal. Google will begin opening some of its office buildings in various cities starting on July 6, allowing a small amount of its employees who…

Walmart partners with fashion consignment marketplace thredUP

Walmart is continuing its foray into fashion e-commerce, announcing a strategic partnership with fashion resale marketplace thredUP to list a large number of the items on Walmart’s digital storefront. With this partnership over 750,000 items from threadUP will be available on walmart.com/thredup, starting today. Notably, only clothing items and shoes marked as “new” or “like…

Indonesian startup Delman raises $1.6 million to help companies clean up data

Delman, a Jakarta-based data management startup, has raised $1.6 million in seed funding. The round was led by Intudo Ventures, with participation from Prasetia Dwidharma Ventures and Qlue Performa Indonesia, and will be used to establish a research and development center and hire software engineers and data scientists. Delman was founded in 2018 by chief…

With $84 million in new cash, Commonwealth Fusion is on track for a demonstration fusion reactor by 2025

Commonwealth Fusion Systems closed on its latest $84 million in new funding two weeks ago. The U.S. was still very much in the lockdown phase and getting a deal done, especially a multi-million dollar investment in a new technology aiming to make commercial nuclear fusion a reality after decades of hype, was “an interesting thing”…

GoBear raises $17 million to expand its consumer financial services for Asian markets

Singapore-based fintech startup GoBear has raised $17 million from returning investors Walvis Participaties, a Dutch venture capital firm, and Aegon N.V., a life insurance and asset management provider. The funding brings GoBear’s total funding so far to $97 million, and will be used to expand its consumer financial services platform, which is available in seven…

Mercedes-Benz launches sales of its premium all-electric EQV van

Mercedes-Benz is now selling its EQV 300 all-electric premium van in Europe, the second EV to come out of the automaker’s initiative to produce a line of battery-powered models under its new EQ brand. A concept version of the EQV was first shown in March 2019. But unlike so many concepts destined for nonexistence, this…

AI is more data-hungry than ever, and DefinedCrowd raises $50M B round to feed it

As AI has grown from niche to mission-critical technology, the companies that enable it have multiplied and in many cases prospered. A good example of that success is DefinedCrowd, which has gone from the Disrupt stage to globe-spanning AI toolkit to the Fortune 500 in just a couple years. The company just raised a new…

How Automattic pays its remote employees across different geographies

A growing number of tech companies is telling their employees they can work from anywhere, even after this pandemic has passed. A looming question, however, is how. Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees that Facebook will adjust the pay of those who choose to move out of the Bay Area and work in…

How do several local news stations air virtually identical Amazon COVID-19 segments?

Simple: Amazon offers up the content free of charge. The company has been on the offensive in recent weeks, when it comes to how it’s handled the COVID-19 pandemic. Amazon’s offered all sorts of blog posts, public statements and made the subject a centerpiece of its recent shareholder letter and earnings report. It also went…

D-ID, the Israeli company that digitally de-identifies faces in videos and still images, raises $13 million

If only Facebook had been using the kind of technology that TechCrunch Startup Battlefield alumnus D-ID was pitching, it could have avoided exposing all of our faces to privacy destroying software services like Clearview AI. At least, that’s the pitch that D-ID’s founder and chief executive, Gil Perry makes when he’s talking about the significance…

AI can battle coronavirus, but privacy shouldn’t be a casualty

Philip N. Howard Contributor Share on Twitter Philip N. Howard is the director of the Oxford Internet Institute and author of the forthcoming “Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives.” Lisa-Maria Neudert Contributor Share on Twitter Lisa-Maria Neudert is a researcher with the Computational Propaganda…

Daniel Abt fired from Audi’s Formula E team for using pro sim driver in virtual race

Audi fired Daniel Abt from its Formula E racing team after learning he had a professional sim driver race for him during a virtual competition called the “Race at Home Challenge” held over the weekend. The automaker said in a statement via Formula E that Abt had been suspended from Audi Sport “with immediate effect.”…

Twitter adds a warning label fact-checking Trump’s false voting claims

On the heels of a furor over his tweets accusing MSNBC host Joe Scarborough of murder, Twitter has quietly begun to fact-check the president. A new warning label encouraging Twitter users to “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” appeared on a series of tweets in which the president baselessly claimed ballots received through mail-in voting…

YouTube says that an error caused comments critical of China’s government to auto-delete

YouTube responded to reports that it is automatically deleting comments criticizing the Chinese government, explaining that the seeming censorship is actually an error in its automated moderation systems. As the Verge reported, comments on the platform using the Chinese phrases for “communist bandit” or “50-cent party” — two terms tied to criticisms of the Chinese…

What should startup founders know before negotiating with corporate VCs?

Scott Orn Contributor Share on Twitter Scott runs operations at Kruze Consulting, a fast-growing startup CFO consulting firm. Kruze is based in San Francisco with clients in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York. More posts by this contributor How to approach (and work with) the 3 types of corporate VCs Bill Growney Contributor…

How to approach (and work with) the 3 types of corporate VCs

Scott Orn Contributor Share on Twitter Scott runs operations at Kruze Consulting, a fast-growing startup CFO consulting firm. Kruze is based in San Francisco with clients in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York. More posts by this contributor How to approach (and work with) the 3 types of corporate VCs Bill Growney Contributor…

Why localized compensation in a work-anywhere world isn’t so simple

Last Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg told Facebook’s 48,000 employees that he expects upwards of 50% of the company will be working remotely within 10 years. After outlining many of the advantages that remote work confers — including to “potentially spread more economic opportunity around the country and potentially around the world” — he added that those…

Sony’s ZV-1 compact camera zooms in on vloggers

Sony has taken aim at the suddenly enormous market of people who want to self-produce high-quality video with a minimum of setup. Its ZV-1 mutates the versatile RX100 series into a selfie video machine, and it could be the all-in-one solution many a vlogger has been searching for. The new camera is very much based…

Twitter plans to expand its misinformation labels—but will they apply to Trump?

President Trump is again testing Twitter’s stomach for misinformation flowing from its most prominent users. In a flurry of recent tweets, Trump floated conspiracy theories about the death of Lori Klausutis, an intern for former congressman Joe Scarborough who was found dead in his Florida office in 2001—a freak accident a medical examiner reported resulted…

Light-weight ‘banking via messaging’ services are getting Gen-Z buzz

More evidence that Gen Z is switching to chat platforms for just about everything, including banking, emerges today in the news that Zelf, a fintech startup offering neobank-style services, is generating buzz amongst Gen-Zers in Spain and France. Its ability for users to interact solely via messaging has seen the startup hit over 260,000 card…

Niantic to begin collecting 3D visual data from Pokémon Go players

Niantic, the game developer behind Pokémon GO, has raised $470 million — most recently at a $4 billion valuation — largely on the promise that it can translate the mainstream success of a breakout mobile game into a full-fledged augmented reality platform that can rival efforts by Facebook and Apple. Today, Niantic shared that it…

Daily Crunch: SpaceX’s first astronaut launch is a ‘go’

SpaceX is giving astronauts a lift to the International Space Station, a new jailbreak can unlock any iPhone and a startup raises $250 million to reduce food waste. Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 26, 2020. 1. NASA and SpaceX confirm SpaceX’s first ever astronaut launch is a ‘go’ SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon…

BlaBlaCar partners with scooter startup Voi to launch new BlaBla Ride app

Long-distance ride sharing startup BlaBlaCar announced that it is expanding to scooter sharing. But the company isn’t going to operate its own fleet of scooters. Instead, BlaBlaCar is partnering with Voi, a European e-scooter service that has raised $136 million over multiple rounds. Voi operates in dozens of European cities including Paris, Marseille and Lyon.…

You can now surf in Microsoft’s Edge browser

Browser developers love to add small Easter Eggs to their apps to help you while away the hours when your Interent is down, for example. Chrome has long had the Dino game, that you can start from the ‘No internet’ error screen, for example. With its surf game, Microsoft’s Edge team built something similar into…

SpaceX signs testing agreement with U.S. Army for use of Starlink network

SpaceX has signed a new agreement with the U.S. Army that will see that defense service test SpaceX’s forthcoming Starlink satellite-based broadband network over the course of three years to evaluate its usefulness in serving their needs. The R&D agreement, as first reported by SpaceNews, is a fairly standard agreement ahead of any actual commercial…

France’s data protection watchdog reviews contact-tracing app StopCovid

France's data protection watchdog CNIL has released its second review of StopCovid, the contact-tracing app backed by the French government. The CNIL says there’s no major issue with the technical implementation and legal framework around StopCovid, with some caveats. France isn’t relying on Apple and Google’s contact-tracing API. Instead, a group of research institutes and…

Dear Sophie: Can I work in the US on a dependent spouse visa?

Sophie Alcorn Contributor Share on Twitter Sophie Alcorn is the founder of Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley and 2019 Global Law Experts Awards’ “Law Firm of the Year in California for Entrepreneur Immigration Services.” She connects people with the businesses and opportunities that expand their lives. More posts by this contributor Dear Sophie: What…

Facebook launches CatchUp, an audio-only group calling app that shows who’s ready to chat now

Facebook’s internal R&D group, NPE Team, has today launched a new app called CatchUp that makes it easier for friends and family in the U.S. to coordinate phone calls or set up group calls with up to 8 people. While there are a number of group chat apps available to users today, what makes CatchUp…

Where these 4 top VCs are investing in manufacturing

Even though it’s a vast sector in the midst of transformation, manufacturing is often overlooked by early-stage investors. We surveyed top VCs in the industry to gather their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing manufacturing. Traditionally, manufacturing companies are capital-intensive and can be slow to implement new technology and processes. The investors in the…

Facebook rebrands Libra wallet Calibra to Novi

When Facebook unveiled Libra, its cryptocurrency project, there were two distinct entities — the Libra Association, a not-for-profit that oversees all things Libra, and Calibra, a Facebook subsidiary that is building a Libra-based wallet with integrations in WhatsApp and Messenger. Today, Facebook announced that Calibra has a new name, Novi. By rebranding Calibra to Novi, Facebook…

Spectrm raises $3M Series A from Runa Capital for its conversational marketing platform

In the ‘Age of Corona’ – as some like to call it, the roboticization of industry and business has been super-charged by the pandemic. So while companies using messaging platforms to drive customers towards purchases was always on a long term trend, the sheer volume of people staying online 24/7 during global lockdowns has led…

Spotify removes cap from users’ libraries, letting you save unlimited songs, albums and podcasts

Spotify announced this morning it’s removing the content cap on the app’s “Your Library,” allowing users to now save an unlimited number of songs, albums, and podcasts to their collection of favorites. The change addresses a top user complaint since 2014 which, to date, had received over 12,500 votes on Spotify’s Community Ideas Exchange forum.…

Omidyar-backed Spero Ventures invests in Mexico City’s Mati, a startup pitching ID-verification

Spero Ventures, the venture capital firm backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, has gone to Mexico City for its latest investment, backing the identity verification technology developer Mati. Launched in San Francisco, the two co-founders Filip Victor and Amaury Soviche, decided to relocate to Mexico because of its proximity to big, untapped markets in Mexico, Brazil,…

Apple fixes bug that stopped iOS apps from opening

Apple has now resolved the bug that was plaguing iPhone and iPad apps over the weekend, causing some apps to not launch at all. The issue was related to a bug with Apple’s Family Sharing system, it appears, as users reported error messages which said “This app is no longer shared with you,” and directed…

India’s contact tracing app is going open source

India said it will publicly release the source code of its contact tracing app, Aarogya Setu, in a relief to privacy and security experts who have been advocating for this ever since the app launched in early April. Ajay Prakash Sawhney, secretary in the ministry of electronics and information technology, made the announcement on Tuesday,…

Extra Crunch Live: Join Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg for a live Q&A today at 2pm EDT/11am PDT

As the leader of a publicly traded corporation with 135,000 employees, Verizon Communications CEO Hans Vestberg has a unique perspective on the state of the world. When he appears today on Extra Crunch Live, our virtual speaker series for Extra Crunch members, we’ll ask him about this extraordinary moment in history and his plans for…

Baton raises $10M Series A to organize post-sale implementation

Baton, an early-stage startup that wants to help customers organize the post-sales implementation process, emerged from stealth today with a $10 million Series A investment. Activant Capital led the round with help from Global Founders Capital and Hybris founder Carsten Thoma. Like so many startups, the idea for Baton stemmed from a pain point that…

Equity Morning: Remote work startup fundings galore, plus a major court decision

Good morning and welcome back to TechCrunch’s Equity Monday, a brief jumpstart for your week. This is a messed-up edition, because we are both hosting Equity Monday on Tuesday (because that makes sense) and our normal host Alex Wilhelm is on vacation, leaving (editor’s note: poor and massively underpaid) managing editor Danny Crichton to wake…

Consumer hardware device shipments are on track for a 14% decline in 2020, courtesy of COVID-19

New numbers from Gartner show a sizable — if not unexpected — decline in device shipments for 2020. According to the analyst firm, the category (including phones, tablets and PCs) is currently on track to decline 13.6% for the year. An already struggling smartphone market takes a big hit from COVID-19 COVID-19 is, naturally, largely…

Preventing food waste nets Apeel $250 million from Singapore’s government, Oprah, and Katy Perry

Food waste and the pressures on the global food supply chain wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic have captured headlines around the world, and one small startup based in the coastal California city of Santa Barbara has just announced $250 million in financing to provide a solution. The company is called Apeel Sciences and over the…

Benepass raises $2.4 million to help employees get the most out of their tax-advantaged benefits

Tax-advantaged benefits, like flexible spending accounts, can save employees in the United States thousands of dollars annually, and reduce the amount of payroll taxes companies pay. But those benefits are often underutilized, simply because they can be confusing to navigate. Benepass wants to make the process easier with a mobile app that centralizes all of…

Bluecore raises $50M for its first-party, AI-based marketing automation tools

As more online brands look for ways to move beyond third-party cookies as a way of gaining more direct insights about their users and customers, a startup that has developed a platform to help them has raised a big round of funding. Bluecore, a marketing technology firm that uses data gained from direct marketing like…

A new Android bug, Strandhogg 2.0, lets malware pose as real apps and steal user data

Security researchers have found a major vulnerability in almost every version of Android, which lets malware imitate legitimate apps to steal app passwords and other sensitive data. The vulnerability, dubbed Strandhogg 2.0 (named after the Norse term for a hostile takeover) affects all devices running Android 9.0 and earlier. It’s the “evil twin” to an earlier…

Cloud canteen startup Feedr has been acquired by Compass Group for ~$24M

Feedr, the food tech startup that delivers personalised meals to office workers as an alternative to companies setting up their own canteens, has been acquired by Compass Group, the publicly-listed foodservice company. The price is described as “in the region” of $24 million, while I understand the the deal between the two companies was completed…

Scandit raises $80M as COVID-19 drives demand for contactless deliveries

Enterprise barcode scanner company Scandit has closed an $80 million Series C round, led by Silicon Valley VC firm G2VP. Atomico, GV, Kreos, NGP Capital, Salesforce Ventures and Swisscom Ventures also participated in the round — which brings its total raised to date to $123M. The Zurich-based firm offers a platform that combines computer vision…

Bolt, the European on-demand transport company, raises $109M on a $1.9B valuation

Bolt, a rival to Uber and others providing on-demand ridesharing, scooters and other transportation services across some 150 cities in Europe and Africa, is today announcing another capital raise as it weathers a difficult market climate where, because of COVID-19, many are staying in place and avoiding modes of transport that put them into contact…

Cathay Innovation’s first investment in Germany is healthcare startup Medwing

Medwing, a German startup with an ambition to tackle Europe’s shortage of healthcare workers, said on Tuesday that it has secured €28 million ($30 million) in a Series B financing round. Global venture capital firm Cathay Innovation led the round, marking its first investment in a German company. Other participating investors include Northzone, Cherry Ventures…

China’s food delivery giant Meituan hits $100B valuation amid pandemic

Meituan’s shares hit a record high on Tuesday, bringing its valuation to over $100 billion. The Hong Kong-listed giant, which focuses on food delivery with smaller segments in travel and transportation, is the third Chinese firm to reach the landmark valuation. Tencent and Alibaba respectively topped the number back in 2013 and 2014. Tencent-backed Meituan…

Uber cuts 600 jobs in India

Uber is cutting 600 jobs in India, or 25% of its workforce in the country, it said on Tuesday as it looks to cut costs to steer through the coronavirus pandemic. The job cuts, which affect teams across customer and driver support, business development, legal, policy, marketing, and finance, are part of the company’s global…

NASA and SpaceX confirm SpaceX’s first ever astronaut launch is a ‘go’

NASA and SpaceX are closer than ever to a moment both have been preparing for since the beginning of the Commercial Crew program in 2010. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon spacecraft are now set to fly with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken onboard, making a trip to the International Space Station, and…

Virgin Orbit’s first orbital test flight cut short after rocket released from carrier aircraft

On Monday, Virgin Orbit attempted the first full flight of its orbital payload launch system, which includes a modified Boeing 747 called ‘Cosmic Girl’ that acts as a carrier aircraft for its air-launched rocket LauncherOne. While Virgin Orbit has flown Cosmic Girl and LauncherOne previously for different tests and demonstrations, this was the first end-to-end…

Newton Mail founder returns with launch of personal net worth tracker, Kubera

Serial entrepreneur Rohit Nadhani, who last sold his Newton email app to Essential in 2018— an app so popular it’s been saved from shutting down multiple times — is today launching a new startup, Kubera. The service aims to offer an alternative to using a spreadsheet to keep track of your assets, investments, cryptocurrencies, debts,…

Max Q: Huge week ahead for SpaceX and Virgin Orbit

This week could be the biggest week to date for private spaceflight, with landmark launch attempts coming from both Virgin Orbit and SpaceX . Virgin Orbit is looking to join the elite club of private launch companies that have actually made it to space, with a full flight test of its combined Cosmic Girl and…

Jabra’s Elite Active 75t earbuds offer great value and sound for both workouts and workdays

Technology improvements over the past few years mean that most fully wireless earbuds are a lot better than they used to be. That has led to something of a narrowing of the field among competitors in this arena, but some of the players still stand out – and Jabra have definitely delivered a standout performer…

China set to launch Mars probe and rover mission in July

China’s space program will launch a Mars mission in July, according to its current plans. This will include deploying an orbital probe to study the red planet, and a robotic, remotely-controlled rover for surface exploration. The U.S. has also been planning another robotic rover mission for Mars, and it’s set to take off this summer,…

Work collaboration unicorn Notion is blocked in China

Notion, the fast-growing work collaboration tool that recently hit a $2 billion valuation, said on Twitter Monday that its service is blocked in China. The productivity app has attracted waves of startups and tech workers around the world — including those in China — to adopt its all-in-one platform that blends notes, wikis, to-dos, and…

A massive database of 8 billion Thai internet records leaks

Thailand’s largest cell network AIS has pulled a database offline that was spilling billions of real-time internet records on millions of Thai internet users. Security researcher Justin Paine said in a blog post that he found the database, containing DNS queries and Netflow data, on the internet without a password. With access to this database, Paine…

As fashion has its metaverse moment, one app looks to bridge real and virtual worlds for sneakerheads

Fashion is having its moment in the metaverse. A riot of luxury labels, music, and games are vying for attention in the virtual world. And as physical events and the entertainment industry that depends on them shuts down, virtual things have come to epitomize the popular culture of the pandemic. It’s creating an environment where…

R&D Roundup: ‘Twisted light’ lasers, prosthetic vision advances and robot-trained dogs

I see far more research articles than I could possibly write up. This column collects the most interesting of those papers and advances, along with notes on why they may prove important in the world of tech and startups. In this edition: a new type of laser emitter that uses metamaterials, robot-trained dogs, a breakthrough…

China Roundup: A blow to US-listed Chinese firms and TikTok’s new global face

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch’s China Roundup, a digest of recent events shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to people in the rest of the world. It’s been a tumultuous week for Chinese tech firms abroad: Huawei’s mounting pressure from the U.S., a big blow to U.S.-listed Chinese firms, and TikTok’s…

Living and working in a worsening world

Jon Evans Contributor Jon Evans is the CTO of the engineering consultancy HappyFunCorp; the award-winning author of six novels, one graphic novel, and a book of travel writing; and TechCrunch’s weekend columnist since 2010. More posts by this contributor Why are people who cite videos always wrong? Seven viral futures Not long ago we lived…

The Station: Hertz files for bankruptcy, hailing “self-driving” scooters, Memorial Day travel

The Station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every Saturday in your inbox. Hi and welcome back to The Station. Memorial Day is this coming Monday, a holiday meant to honor military personnel who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.…

Hackers release a new jailbreak that unlocks every iPhone

A renowned iPhone hacking team has released a new “jailbreak” tool that unlocks every iPhone, even the most recent models running the latest iOS 13.5. For as long as Apple has kept up its “walled garden” approach to iPhones by only allowing apps and customizations that it approves, hackers have tried to break free from…

JioMart, the e-commerce venture from India’s richest man, launches in additional cities

The rationale behind the deluge of dollars flooding into billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Platforms is beginning to become more clear as his e-commerce venture JioMart starts rolling out to more people across India. An e-commerce venture between the nation’s top telecom operator Jio Platforms and top retail chain Jio Retail, JioMart just launched its…

Elon Musk: the Tesla Cybertruck isn’t getting any smaller

In the days and weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the cybertruck — a post-apocalyptic inspired vehicle made of cold-rolled steel — there was a lot of speculation about whether it would be smaller once it actually made it to market. Production of the Cybertruck is still a long ways off. There isn’t even…

UK government reverses course on Huawei’s involvement in 5G networks

Conservative members of the United Kingdom’s government have pushed Prime Minister Boris Johnson to draw up plans to remove telecom equipment made by the Chinese manufacturer Huawei from the nation’s 5G networks by 2023, according to multiple reports. The decision by Johnson, who wanted Huawei’s market share in the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure capped at 35…

Here’s what Virgin Orbit hopes to achieve with their first full orbital test launch on Sunday

Virgin Orbit held a press briefing on Saturday hosted by CEO Dan Hart and VP of Special Projects Will Pomerantz. The company aims to fly its first ever orbital test launch on Sunday, at roughly 9:30 AM PT (12:30 PM ET), though there’s flexibility for that to move depending on preparations and weather. If it…

Original Content podcast: The new ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ special is pointlessly interactive

In many ways, Netflix’s new “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” special “Kimmy vs. the Reverend” is a delight. For fans of the show, it’s a chance to catch up with Kimmy (Ellie Kemper), Titus (Titus Burgess) and all their other friends/nemeses on the eve of Kimmy’s wedding to Prince Frederick (Daniel Radcliffe). Creators Robert Carlock and Tina…

Startups Weekly: SoftBank portfolio results show which tech sectors are still thriving

Editor’s note: Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Click here to subscribe to Startups Weekly and all the other great TechCrunch newsletters. Remember when the top investors and companies in tech were reacting to SoftBank’s every move? These days, we are picking through the latest results from the Japanese conglomerate and its Vision…

This Week in Apps: Facebook takes on Shopify, Tinder considers its future, contact-tracing tech goes live

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all. The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending three hours and 40…

Anything less than nationwide vote by mail is electoral sabotage

The global pandemic has cast a light on decades of cumulative efforts to manipulate and suppress voters, showing that the country is completely unprepared for any serious challenge to its elections system. There can be no more excuses: Every state must implement voting by mail in 2020 or be prepared to admit it is deliberately…

‘Fallout Shelter’ joins Tesla arcade in latest software update

Nearly a year ago, Todd Howard, the director of Bethesda Games, said that the company’s “Fallout Shelter” game would be coming to Tesla displays. It arrived, via the 2020.20 software update, this week, which was first noted at driver’s platform Teslascope. Fallout Shelter is the latest — and one of the more modern games —…

An eighth Amazon warehouse employee has died from COVID-19

An eighth Amazon employee has died of COVID-19. The news comes as the company is under scrutiny for failing to be more transparent about the wider number of infections among its warehouse workers. A spokesperson confirmed the reports of the death, telling TechCrunch, “We are saddened by the loss of an associate who had worked…

What the hell, SaaS valuations?

SaaS stocks are at it again, and I think I’ve got it figured it out. More precisely I think I’ve figured out what other people think is going on. After rigorous fact-checking by both reading tweets, making VCs talk to me on the phone, and chatting with the CEO of a $27 billion cloud company…

New York Auto Show canceled for 2020, pushed to spring 2021

Organizers of the New York International Auto Show, once hoping to hold the rescheduled event in August, have decided to scrap the entire year. The show has been officially canceled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers announced Friday. The next show will take place April 2 to April 11, 2021. Press days will…

The FBI is mad because it keeps getting into locked iPhones without Apple’s help

Riana Pfefferkorn Contributor Share on Twitter Riana Pfefferkorn is the associate director of Surveillance and Cybersecurity at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. The debate over encryption continues to drag on without end. In recent months, the discourse has largely swung away from encrypted smartphones to focus instead on end-to-end encrypted messaging. But a…

How to make the most of your at-home videoconference setup: Microphone edition

Working from home isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and a slew of companies just announced longer-term initiatives to make their remote work practices either extend or permanent. That means for some it’s the perfect time to take their at-home videoconferencing setup even further, so we’re going to take a closer look at various core elements…

Scale AI releases free lidar dataset to power self-driving car development

High quality data is the fuel that powers AI algorithms. Without a continual flow of labeled data, bottlenecks can occur and the algorithm will slowly get worse and add risk to the system. It’s why labeled data is so critical for companies like Zoox, Cruise and Waymo, which use it to train machine learning models…

Box will let employees work from home until at least 2021

Another tech company is joining the list of those planning on going remote for the long haul: Box . Box CEO Aaron Levie announced this morning that the company will “remain a digital-first organization” moving forward. While it sounds like they’re still working out exactly what that entails, one key aspect is that Box employees…

First major GDPR decisions looming on Twitter and Facebook

The lead data regulator for much of big tech in Europe is moving inexorably towards issuing its first major cross-border GDPR decision — saying today it’s submitted a draft decision related to Twitter’s business to its fellow EU watchdogs for review. “The draft decision focusses on whether Twitter International Company has complied with Articles 33(1)…

Minecraft Dungeons has charm and potential, but needs lot more time in the furnace

Minecraft is one of the most popular games on the planet, so it’s natural that Microsoft, after buying creator Mojang some years back, would attempt to apply the genre’s playful, blocky aesthetic to other genres. After modest success with the Story Mode adventure game and Pokémon GO-like Minecraft Earth, they’ve tried their hand at a…

3 views on the life and death of college towns, remote work and the future of startup hubs

The global pandemic has halted travel, shunted schools online and shut down many cities, but the future of college-town America is an area of deep concern for the startup world. College towns have done exceedingly well with the rise of the knowledge economy and concentrating students and talent in dense social webs. That confluence of…

SpaceX’s first crewed spacecraft launch is officially cleared to proceed on May 27

SpaceX has received approval on its mission to launch NASA astronauts for the first time ever on May 27, having passed the final Flight Readiness Review (FRR) conduced by the agency to ensure everything is go for launch. This final check, conducted over the past few days after the Crew Dragon spacecraft was mounted on…

Startup Battlefield is going virtual with TechCrunch Disrupt 2020

You read that right. The big announcement came yesterday — TechCrunch Disrupt is now fully virtual. What does this mean for Startup Battlefield? More opportunity. The best companies from across the globe, an even bigger launch platform, the eyes of more investors from around the world and press exposure at the biggest conference TechCrunch has…

Netflix’s beloved animated series Tuca & Bertie is getting a second life on Adult Swim

Tuca & Bertie was wonderful. It was a hilarious and heartfelt examination of adult relationships, coupled with whimsical animated visuals. And like most good things in this world, it was simple too beautiful to live. The Netflix series, which starred comedians Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong and two mismatched bird best friends was canceled after…

Steve Case and Clara Sieg on how the COVID-19 crisis differs from the dot-com bust

Steve Case and Clara Sieg of Revolution recently spoke on TechCrunch’s new series, Extra Crunch Live. Throughout the hour-long chat, we touched on numerous subjects, including how diverse founders can take advantage during this downturn and how remote work may lead to growth outside Silicon Valley. The pair have a unique vantage point, with Steve…

Thriva raises £4M from Target in an era when at-home blood testing is more crucial than ever

Thriva emerged in 2016 as an at-home blood-testing startup allowing people to check, for instance, cholesterol levels. In the era of a pandemic, however, at-home blood testing is about to become quite a big deal, alongside the general trend toward people proactively taking control of their health. It has secured a £4 million extension to…

Daily Crunch: Facebook embraces remote work

Facebook takes more steps to support and expand a remote workforce, IBM announces layoffs and TechCrunch’s big annual conference is going virtual. (I know, I know — I have mixed feelings about it, too.) Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 22, 2020. 1. Facebook makes big remote work moves with plan for new hubs in…

Strategies for surviving the COVID-19 Series B squeeze

Mikael Johnsson Contributor Share on Twitter Mikael Johnsson is a co-founder and general partner of Oxx, a venture capital firm investing in European SaaS companies at growth stage. A generation of companies now needs to forget what it has learned. The world has changed for everyone, and nowhere is this more true than in fundraising.…

IBM confirms layoffs are happening, but won’t provide details

IBM confirmed reports from over night that it is conducting layoffs, but wouldn’t provide details related to location, departments or number of employees involved. The company framed it in terms of replacing people with more needed skills as it tries to regroup under new CEO Arvind Krishna. “IBM’s work in a highly competitive marketplace requires…

Apple’s handling of Siri snippets back in the frame after letter of complaint to EU privacy regulators

Apple is facing fresh questions from its lead data protection regulator in Europe following a public complaint by a former contractor who revealed last year that workers doing quality grading for Siri were routinely overhearing sensitive user data. Earlier this week the former Apple contractor, Thomas le Bonniec, sent a letter to European regulators laying…

Statespace, the platform that trains gamers, raises $15 million

Statespace has today raised a $15 million Series A financing round led by Khosla, with partner Samir Kaul joining the board. Existing investors, such as FirstMark Capital, Lux and Expa, also participated in the round, as well as newcomer June Fund. Statespace launched out of stealth in 2017 with a product called Aim Lab, which…

API startups are so hot right now

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. A cluster of related companies recently caught our eye by raising capital in rapid-fire fashion. TechCrunch covered a few of them, and I read coverage of others. Looking back through my notes and the media…

Clubhouse proves that time is a flat circle

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. First, a big thanks to everyone who took part in the Equity survey, we really appreciated your notes and thoughts. The crew is chewing over what you said now, and we’ll roll up the best feedback into show…

New non-profit from Google Maps co-creator offers temporary ‘safe’ passes to aid COVID-19 reopening effort

There are a number of different technologies both proposed and in development to help smooth the reopening of parts of the economy even as the threat of the global COVID-19 pandemic continues. One such tech solution launching today comes from Brian McClendon, co-founder of Keyhole, the company that Google purchased in 2004 that would form…

Cake brings a Swedish take on e-motorcycle design to the U.S.

Cake has crafted the Swedish edition of electric motorcycle design starting in the dirt. The Stockholm based mobility startup’s debut, the Kalk OR, is a 150 pound, battery powered two-wheeler engineered for agile off-road riding and available in a street-legal version. On appearance, Cake’s Kalk has a minimalist stance and doesn’t evoke “motorcycle” in any…

Xiaomi’s investment house of IoT surpasses 300 companies

Xiaomi, the Chinese comapny famous for its budget smartphones and a bevy of value-for-money gadgets, said in a filing on Thursday that it has backed more than 300 companies as of March, totaling 32.3 billion yuan ($4.54 billion) in book value and 225.9 million yuan ($32 million million) in net gains on disposal of investments…

M17 sells its online dating assets to focus on live streaming

M17 Entertainment announced today that it has sold its online dating assets to focus on its core live streaming business in Asia and other markets. Paktor Pte, which operates Paktor dating app and other services, was acquired by Kollective Ventures, a venture capital advisory firm. The value of the deal was undisclosed. In its announcement,…

KKR invests $1.5 billion in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Platforms has agreed to sell 2.32% stake to U.S. equity firm KKR in what is the fifth major investment the top Indian telecom operator has secured in just as many weeks. On Friday, KKR announced it will invest $1.5 billion in the top Indian telecom operator, a subsidiary of India’s most…

Google highlights accessible locations with new Maps feature

Google has announced a new, welcome and no doubt long asked-for feature to its Maps app: wheelchair accessibility info. Businesses and points of interest featuring accessible entrances, bathrooms and other features will now be prominently marked as such. Millions, of course, require such accommodations as ramps or automatic doors, from people with limited mobility to…

Virtual events startup Run The World just nabbed $10.8 million from a16z and Founders Fund

Run The World, a year-old startup that’s based in Mountain View, Calif., and has small teams both in China and Taiwan, just nabbed $10.8 million in Series A funding co-led by earlier backer Andreessen Horowitz and new backer Founders Fund. It’s easy to understand the firms’ interest in the company, whose platform features every functionality…

Magic Leap has apparently raised another $350 million, in spite of itself

Magic Leap has reportedly received a $350 million lifeline, a month after slashing 1,000 jobs and dropping its consumer business. Noted by Business Insider and confirmed by The Information, CEO Rony Abovitz sent a note to staff announcing the funding, courtesy of unnamed current and new investors. The who — and more importantly, why —…

Extra Crunch Live: Join Box CEO Aaron Levie May 28th at noon PT/3 pm ET/7 pm GMT

We’ve been on a roll with our Extra Crunch Live Series for Extra Crunch members, where we’re talking to some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley about business, investment and the startup community. Recent interviews include Kirsten Green from Forerunner Ventures, Charles Hudson from Precursor Ventures and investor Mark Cuban. Next week, we’re pleased…

Fitbit launches a COVID-19 early detection study, and you can join from the Fitbit app

Fitbit’s activity-tracking wearable devices are already being used by a number of academic institutions to determine if they might be able to contribute to the early detection of COVID-19 and the flu, and now Fitbit itself is launching its own dedicated Fitbit COVID-19 Study, which users can sign up for from within their Fitbit mobile…

TechCrunch Disrupt 2020 is Going Virtual

The headline says it all. TechCrunch’s big yearly event, Disrupt, is going fully virtual in 2020. As you can imagine, this is largely due to the impact that the coronavirus has had on the world. But it also gives us a chance to make our event even more accessible to more people than ever before,…

Facebook makes big remote work moves with plan for new hubs in Dallas, Denver and Atlanta

In a live-streamed town hall, Mark Zuckerberg gave an overview for what he expects in the near future as Facebook pursues accommodations to keep workers productive and safe during the COVID-19 crisis. The move comes as large tech companies reassess the viability of their iconic Silicon Valley campuses, now empty as the pandemic keeps most…

Enjoy some 4K TV with your nature on Samsung’s new outdoor sets

Like most of us you’ve probably been stuck inside for months now. Sitting around, pacing your home, watching a lot of bad television. Would anything possibly be better that finally getting some time outdoors to commune with nature and catch a little ultra high-def television? Up to now, outdoor sets have largely been the realm…

Facebook’s Workplace, now with 5M paying users, adds drop-in video Rooms and more

One of the biggest technology takeaways of the last couple of months has been that organizations need confident, wide-ranging digital strategies to stay afloat, and Facebook — in its wider bid to build products to serve businesses — is taking note. In the same week that the social network doubled down on business tools for…

PathSpot sells a scanner that fact checks your handwashing efficacy

The novel coronavirus disease has reminded millions that handwashing is a great way to avoid preventable diseases. Christine Schindler, the CEO and co-founder of PathSpot, has been preparing for the past three months for the past three years. “I’ve been obsessed with handwashing,” Schindler said, who has a background in biomedical engineering and public health.…

Daily Crunch: Twitter tests limiting replies

Twitter is giving users tools to avoid abusive or annoying replies, MakeSpace raises $55 million and Sphero gets a new CEO and a new spinoff. Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 21, 2020. 1. Twitter is testing a feature that limits who can reply to your tweets Users can pick from one of three options:…

The Trash app’s new features can create AI-edited music videos and more

The team behind Trash, an app that uses artificial intelligence to edit your video footage, launched a number of new features this week that should make it more useful for anyone — but especially independent musicians. I wrote about the startup last summer, when CEO Hannah Donovan told me that her work as Vine’s general…

Spotify will let employees work from home through the end of year

Spotify this week joined a growing number of tech giants expanding their work from home policies as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to drag on. While not as radical as Twitter’s recent decision to let staff work from home forever, the music streaming service’s move does represent increased openness to the arrangement. First noted by Variety,…

Netflix to start cancelling inactive accounts

Netflix said Thursday it will ask customers who have not watched anything on the on-demand video streaming service in a year or more if they wish to maintain their subscription — and will cancel their membership if it does not hear back. The company said it has started to notify customers who have’t watched anything…

Skyflow raises $7.5M to build its privacy API business

Skyflow, a Mountain View-based privacy API company, announced this morning that it has closed a $7.5 million round of capital it describes as a seed investment. Foundation Capital’s Ashu Garg led the round, with the company touting smaller checks from Jeff Immelt (former GE CEO) and Jonathan Bush (former AthenaHealth CEO). For Skyflow, founded in…

Extra Crunch Live: Discuss work and raising cash in a downturn with Revolution’s Steve Case and Clara Sieg at 12pm PT/3pm ET

This afternoon, we’re chatting with Steve Case and Clara Sieg of Revolution as part of our new interview series, Extra Crunch Live. Topping our agenda, we will talk about jobs — in Silicon Valley, on the coasts and in the heartland. The technology sector is suffering through a contraction caused by the COVID-19 global health…

The future of flight can be energy-efficient

Vander Lind Contributor Share on Twitter Vander Lind is general manager for Heaviside at Kitty Hawk, a company whose mission is to free the world from traffic with eVTOL vehicles. We are at the dawn of a new era in transportation. At the turn of the 20th century, cars began to replace horses. Now, a…

VergeSense grabs $9M for its people-counting sensor tech as offices eye COVID changes

Facilities management looks to be having a bit of a moment, amid the coronavirus pandemic. VergeSense, a US startup which sells a ‘sensor as a system’ platform targeted at offices — supporting features such as real-time occupant counts and foot-traffic-triggered cleaning notifications — has closed a $9M strategic investment led by Allegion Ventures, a corporate…

Personal finance tracker Copilot adds support for Apple Card spreadsheet imports

When Apple added the ability to export transactions via spreadsheet to its credit card, Matthew hit up the folks at Copilot, asking whether they planned to support the feature. The answer was essentially “not yet, but soon.” This week, however, it’s finally official. The makers of the personal finance tracking app announced that users can…

Ecwid raises $42M from Morgan Stanley and PeakSpan

In the same week that Facebook announced a redoubled effort to make a bigger mark in e-commerce, one of its long-time partners has closed a large round of funding. Ecwid, the startup that sells e-commerce tools directly and via third parties like Square and Wix, letting businesses build e-commerce experiences on their own websites and…

What airport security looks like if you fly during the pandemic

As segments of the country begin the process of reopening, many antsy Americans are no doubt itching to travel during the Memorial Day weekend. With the holiday fast approaching the TSA is outlining new security measures for those flying during the pandemic. Some have already been in place amid limited flight schedules and for the…

Create a 90-day timeline after fundraising to strengthen investor-founder ties

Medha Agarwal Contributor Share on Twitter Medha Agarwal is a former founder and an early-stage investor at Redpoint Ventures, working with entrepreneurs focused on fintech, marketplaces and the future of work. As the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the nature of businesses and the way we work, it’s making even more clear how important communication is…

The Webby Awards polish up their gallery of internet history

The winners of the Webby Awards were announced earlier this week, and anyone visiting the Webby website to browse the winning work might have noticed that it’s gotten a fresh look. The awards’ executive director Claire Graves told me that while the existing gallery was already “a source of inspiration for anyone who wants to…

Beware mega-unicorn paper valuations

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. There’s a famous old post going around Twitter this week by entrepreneur and developer David Heinemeier Hansson (@DHH). DHH is a critic of certain elements of the startup world, especially wild valuations. This entry from…

Boulder Care opioid treatment platform picks up traction during coronavirus

With the regulations around telehealth changing rapidly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, an opioid treatment platform with a digital component is finally finding a strong market foothold after facing a mountain of regulatory hurdles. Boulder Care was founded by Stephanie Papes, a former associate at Apple Tree Partners. She first became interested in opioid treatment after…

With an ex-Uber exec as its new CEO, digital mental health service Mindstrong raises $100 million

Daniel Graf has had a long career in the tech industry. From founding his own startup in the mid-2000s to working at Google, then Twitter, and finally Uber, the tech business has made him extremely wealthy. But after leaving Uber, he wasn’t necessarily interested in working at another business… At least, not until he spent…

11 VCs share their thoughts on enterprise startup trends and opportunities

Compared to other tech firms, enterprise companies have held up well during the pandemic. If anything, the problems enterprises were facing prior to the economic downturn have become even more pronounced; if you were thinking about moving to the cloud or just dabbling in it, you’re probably accelerating that motion. If you were trying to…

Indianapolis’ venture studio High Alpha launches new business bringing studio model to corporations

The Indianapolis-based venture studio High Alpha has created a new business line called High Alpha Innovations to bring its startup spinup approach to big business. So far the firm has managed to sign on clients like the financial services firm, Silicon Valley Bank, the industrial manufacturer, Cummins, and the security hardware and services company, Allegion.…

How I Podcast: Articles of Interest’s Avery Trufelman

The beauty of podcasting is that anyone can do it. It’s a rare medium that’s nearly as easy to make as it is to consume. And as such, no two people do it exactly the same way. There are a wealth of hardware and software solutions open to potential podcasters, so setups run the gamut…

6 CISOs share their game plans for a post-pandemic world

Oren Yunger Contributor Oren Yunger is an investor at GGV Capital, focused on enterprise IT infrastructure, development tools and cybersecurity. He was previously chief information security officer at a SaaS company and a public financial institution. Like all business leaders, chief information security officers (CISOs) have shifted their roles quickly and dramatically during the COVID-19…

RapidAPI raises $25M more to expand its API marketplace

Less than a year after raising $25M led by Microsoft for its take on building API marketplaces, RapidAPI has rapidly followed that up with another infusion of capital as it reaches 20,000 APIs tracked, integrated, and used across its marketplace by millions of developers. Today the startup is announcing that it raised another $25 million…

Spruce is eliminating the drudgery of real estate, and has $29M more from Scale to make sales easy

Real estate is one of those classic industries we always talk about in Silicon Valley: multi-trillion dollars in scale in terms of assets and transaction volume, but still relying on good ole’ pen and paper to get anything actually done. A huge number of companies have launched to digitize all aspects of real estate, from…

Facebook introduces new Messenger safeguard aimed at combating scams and fake friends

Facebook this morning announced a new feature for Messenger designed to cut down on malicious parties looking to scam users. The company scans accounts for suspicious activity, leveraging machine learning to pick up anomalies like accounts sending a large number of requests in a short time span or numerous message requests to users under 18.…

Aspiration, the LA-based fintech focused on conscious consumerism, raises $135 million

When former Bill Clinton speechwriter and political wunderkind Andrei Cherny launched Aspiration four years ago, the upstart fintech startup was one of Los Angeles’ early entrants into a  financial services market dominated by players from Europe and the financial capital of the U.S. in New York City. Fast forward four years and the big New…

Chief, the leadership network for women, raises $15 million in funding

Chief, the social network dedicated exclusively to women in professional leadership positions, announced today that it has $15 million in funding from its existing investors, including General Catalyst, Inspired Capital, GGV Capital, Primary Venture Partners, Flybridge Capital and BoxGroup. The startup is a highly-vetted network of women who are leaders in their business, either managing…

Salesforce Commerce Cloud releases four quick-start pandemic business packs

As we move deeper into the pandemic, it’s clear that the way we conduct business is changing, maybe forever. That means that business has to change too — and fast. But if you’ve never conducted business digitally or only nominally, how do you suddenly transform on the fly? Salesforce Commerce Cloud CEO Mike Micucci says…

Couchbase raises $105M Series G funding round

Couchbase. the Santa Clara-based company behind the eponymous NoSQL cloud database service, today announced that it has raised a $105 million all-equity Series G round “to expand product development and global go-to-market capabilities.” The oversubscribed round was led by GPI Capital, with participation from existing investors Accel, Sorenson Capital, North Bridge Venture Partners, Glynn Capital,…

On-demand storage startup MakeSpace picks up another $55M

Sheltering-in-place and working from home curing COVID-19 has driven many of us to reorganize and de-clutter our living environments, and today one of the startups that is capitalizing on that trend is announcing a large round of funding to continue its growth. MakeSpace, an on-demand storage company that makes it easy to order, store and…

On-demand storage startup MakeSpace picks up another $45M

Sheltering-in-place and working from home curing COVID-19 has driven many of us to reorganize and de-clutter our living environments, and today one of the startups that is capitalizing on that trend is announcing a large round of funding to continue its growth. MakeSpace, an on-demand storage company that makes it easy to order, store and…

This UX specialist opened 12 UK bank accounts and ‘logged everything’

“I’ve got a really high attention to detail, which might sound great, but it’s possibly a curse because I can’t help but spot problems with everything around me,” says Peter Ramsey. He’s the founder of Built for Mars, a U.K.-based UX advisory, and he has spent the last three months documenting and analyzing the user…

Why don’t more VCs care about good tech (yet)?

Johannes Lenhard Contributor Share on Twitter Dr. Johannes Lenhard is Centre Coordinator at the Max Planck Cambridge Centre for Ethics, Economy and Social Change. One of the VC partners in a well-established London firm told me straight out: Venture capital is money [laughs], it is a risky asset class, perhaps the wildest asset class […]…

Amazon launches food delivery service in India

Amazon is joining India’s online food delivery market just as top local players Swiggy and Zomato reduce their workforces to steer through the coronavirus pandemic. The e-commerce giant today launched its food delivery service, called Amazon Food, in select places in Bangalore. The company had originally planned to launch the service in India last year,…

Facebook’s new safety feature for women in India: Easily lock the account from strangers

Facebook has rolled out a new safety feature in India that will enable users to easily lock their account so that people they are not friends with on the platform cannot view their posts and zoom into and download their profile picture and cover photo. The feature is especially aimed at women to give them…

Automattic pumps $4.6M into New Vector to help grow Matrix, an open, decentralized comms ecosystem

Automattic, the open source force behind WordPress .com, WooCommerce, Longreads, Simplenote and Tumblr, has made a $4.6M strategic investment into New Vector — the creators of an open, decentralized communications standard called Matrix. They also develop a Slack rival (Riot) which runs on Matrix. The investment by Automattic, which is at a higher valuation than the…

Mapbox and SoftBank form joint venture to provide mapping tech to Japanese developers

SoftBank Corp. and Mapbox, the mapping data company that competes with Google and Here, announced that they have established a joint venture called Mapbox Japan. The JV will provide Mapbox’s mapping platform, including APIs and data services, to developers in Japan. Between June 1 and September 30, Mapbox Japan will also provide up to three…

Founder Collective barrels forward, closing its fourth and newest fund with $85 million

Founder Collective, a seed-stage fund formed 11 years ago in Cambridge, Ma., has closed its newest fund with $85 million. Earlier today, we talked with the firm’s general partners — Eric Paley, David Frankel, Micah Rosenbloom — to learn more about it. Among our first questions: whether the three are themselves the largest investors in…

The NTWRK, the Live Nation-backed shopping app for Gen Z, is launching a virtual festival

SXSW may be cancelled, but the commodification and commingling of multinational corporations and youth and street culture is assured to be alive and well in the COVID-19 era thanks to events like TRANSFER, the new virtual festival from NTWRK — GenZ’s answer to the Home Shopping Network. The FootLocker, Live Nation, and Main Street Advisors-backed…

Scribd announces a perks program, giving its subscribers access to Pandora Plus, TuneIn Premium and more

E-book and audiobook subscription service Scribd has been actively embracing and experimenting with bundling over the past couple of years, creating joint offers with The New York Times and with Spotify and Hulu. Today it announced a slightly different take on the idea with Scribd Perks. These perks give Scribd’s paying subscribers (the service costs…

Hims & Hers launch Spanish language telemedicine services

Hims & Hers, the startup focused on providing access to elective treatments for things like hair loss, skin care, and erectile disfunction and online telemedicine services, is expanding its services to include a Spanish language option, the company said. After Mexico, the U.S. has the second-largest Spanish speaking population in the world, with an estimated…

Democratic senators flag Uber’s possible Grubhub deal over antitrust concerns

In a new letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice, a group of Democrats in the Senate urge regulators to “closely monitor the negotiations” between Uber and Grubhub and to initiate an antitrust investigation if a rumored deal between the two companies comes to pass. In a letter signed by…

With BuzzFeed’s new feature, you can take a Quiz Party with friends

It’s been a rough couple months for BuzzFeed (and media in general), but the company is still releasing fun new features. Today’s addition offers a new, more social take on the quizzes that the site is known for. Instead of taking a quiz on your own and then sharing the results on social media (or…

Virgin Orbit sets first orbital launch for May 24

Virgin Orbit has been preparing for this moment for years, but it’s now officially ready to launch its small satellite delivery vehicle to orbit for the first time. This key demonstration mission, taking off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California, will replicate the actual operational launch experience that Virgin Orbit hopes to provide…

Tesla drops lawsuit against Alameda County over Fremont factory reopening

Tesla has officially dismissed a lawsuit filed earlier this month against Alameda County that sought to force the reopening of its factory in Fremont, California. The dismissal, which was granted Wednesday, closes the loop on a battle between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and county health and law enforcement officials. The lawsuit filed May 9, hours after Musk…

HBO Max will release Zack Snyder’s cut of ‘Justice League’

WarnerMedia announced today that director Zack Snyder’s version of “Justice League” will be released on HBO Max in 2021. Snyder is the only credited director on the 2017 superhero film, but he left the film during post-production, after his daughter’s suicide, with “Avengers” director Joss Whedon stepping in to write and shoot new material. The resulting…

Why VCs say they’re open for business, even if they’re pausing new deals

This week Alexia Bonatsos of Dream Machine and Niko Bonatsos of General Catalyst swung by Extra Crunch Live to discuss where they are investing today and what the future might look like. As expected, these seed and early-stage venture capitalists had a lot to say about their current investing cadence and what interests them in…

Crypto Startup School: How to scale companies using crypto

Zoran Basich Contributor Share on Twitter Zoran Basich is the crypto editor for Andreessen Horowitz. More posts by this contributor Crypto Startup School: A new type of computer drives waves of innovation Editor’s note: Andreessen Horowitz’s Crypto Startup School brought together 45 participants from around the U.S. and overseas in a seven-week course to learn…

Palantir picks up more COVID-19 contracts, this time with the VA

Palantir, the data analytics company co-founded by Peter Thiel, is already an active tech player in the scrum for federal contracts, but it’s playing a new and increasingly prominent role in providing the government with software tools to address the COVID-19 crisis. This month, the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded a new $5 million contract…

Autonomous aviation startup Xwing raises $10M to scale its software for pilotless flights

Autonomous aviation startup Xwing locked in a $10 million funding round before COVID-19 hit. Now the San Francisco-based startup is using the capital to hire talent and scale the development of its software stack as it aims for commercial operations later this year — pending FAA approvals. The company announced Wednesday its Series A funding…

What people tend to get wrong about remote work

What do people tend to get wrong about remote work? And how can companies make it work better for them? While just about every tech company on the planet has become remote over the last few weeks, GitLab has been at this a while — since pretty much day one of its existence back in…

GoPro releases a flashlight for some reason

Today GoPro entered the cutthroat business of personal lighting. This is the GoPro Zeus Mini and looks like a rad little light though it’s a curious product from an action camera company. The waterproof Zeus Mini costs $69.99 and ships with a magnetic spring clip. GoPro says the light is also compatible with all of…

Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield moves from UK CEO role to President

More than five years after starting the company, Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield is stepping down as CEO of the U.K. challenger bank to take up the newly created role of President. Current U.S. CEO, TS Anil, will become the new “Monzo UK Bank CEO”, subject to regulatory approval, and for now will hold both U.K.…

Conversa pitches its modified chat-based tool to monitor employee health in the wake of COVID-19

Conversa Health, the automated chat technology for healthcare updates, is pitching a modified version of its service specifically to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19. The company’s personalized automated chat asks about employees’ potential exposure to the novel coronavirus and then asks about potential symptoms. Once employees complete the survey they are either cleared to go…

COVID-19 exposure notification settings begin to go live for iOS users with new update

Apple has released iOS 13.5, which includes support for the Exposure Notification API that it co-created with Google to support public health authorities in their contact tracing efforts to combat COVID-19. The API requires third-party apps developed by public health authorities for use, and none have yet been released, but iOS device users already have…

Apple and Google launch exposure notification API, enabling public health authorities to release apps

Apple and Google today made available the first public version of their exposure notification API, which was originally debuted as a joint-contact tracing software tool. The partners later renamed it the Exposure Notification system to more accurately reflect its functionality, which is designed to notify individuals of potential exposure to others who have confirmed cases…

Twitter is testing a feature that limits who can reply to your tweets

Twitter today acknowledged that it’s begun testing a new setting that let users limit who can reply to tweets. The setting was first noted earlier this year. Similar to Facebook’s post view settings, the current implementation features a small glove icon in the corner. Tapping on it brings up a “Who Can Reply?” window. Testing,…

Home Chef confirms breach after 8 million user records found on the dark web

Meal delivery service Home Chef has confirmed a data breach, two weeks after a data breach seller listed a database of 8 million customer records on a dark web marketplace. The Chicago-based company said customer names, email addresses and phone numbers were taken in the breach, along with scrambled passwords. The hackers also took the…

EdSights raises money to help schools reduce their drop-out rates

While the idea of baring your soul to a chatbot might seem uncomfortable, sisters Claudia and Carolina Recchi think that might be exactly what college students across the United States need right now. The duo co-founded EdSights in 2017 to support high and medium-risk students to stay in school, and increase university retention rates. EdSights…

Shopify announces a new merchant debit card and support for payment installment plans

Shopify is announcing several new products and features today at Reunite, a virtual conference for the one million merchants using the company’s e-commerce platform. The additions include Shopify Balance, which Chief Product Officer Craig Miller described as an attempt to rethink the bank account in a way that’s better suited to a business’ needs. “The…

Google Cloud earns defense contract win for Anthos multi-cloud management tool

Google dropped out of the Pentagon’s JEDI cloud contract battle fairly early in the game, citing it was in conflict with its “AI principals.” However, today the company announced a new 7 figure contract with DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a big win for the cloud unit and CEO Thomas Kurian. While the company would…

Daily Crunch: Facebook unveils its Shops e-commerce platform

Facebook and Instagram are making a bigger push into e-commerce, MasterClass raises $100 million and Microsoft launches a new project management tool called Lists. Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 20, 2020. 1. Facebook and Instagram roll out Shops, turning business profiles into storefronts Both Facebook and Instagram already supported a degree of e-commerce —…

Watch Mitsubishi Heavy Industries launch a milestone Space Station resupply mission live

Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is launching a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) H-IIB rocket carrying the last of its H-II transfer vehicles. This cargo spaceship has enjoyed a long career of delivering supplies, payloads and experiments to the International Space Station, but MHI is working on a successor that will aim to begin flying in…

Hulu’s biggest redesign in years offers a more standardized experience, improved navigation and discovery

Hulu today will begin rolling out its largest redesign in years. The company is moving towards a more standardized, even Netflix-like user interface featuring collections laid out vertically within the Home screen, while tiles within the collections are laid out horizontally, in scrollable rows. However, the end result is not a Netflix clone, as Hulu…

The Midnight is the new synth pop you need in your life, here’s the world premiere of their new video

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen me waxing poetic about The Midnight, an LA-based synthwave band that has been putting out modern nostalgia for the 80’s set since 2012. Yeah yeah, why is this on TechCrunch? Because I love it and I know a good chunk of our audience will too,…

Mammoth Biosciences partners with GSK to develop handheld CRISPR-based COVID-19 test

California-based Mammoth Biosciences has signed a powerful partner for its development of a CRISPR-based test for COVID-19, which would aim to delivery accurate, fast results using a handheld, disposable testing platform. Mammoth Biosciences will be using its DETECTR platform to develop the test, which recently received validation through a peer-reviewed study published in Nature. Already,…

GE’s soft robot bores holes like a giant earthworm

A giant earthworm robot was not on the list of things I expected to see when I logged in this morning. But it’s here, and I’m here for it. Designed by a team at GE Research, the robot in question nabbed a $2.5 million award as part of DARPA’s Underminer. The program was created to…

Color receives FDA authorization for COVID-19 test tech that speeds up results

Color has received an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use of a testing method for detecting COVID-19 that provides accuracy it says is on par with currently approved best-in-class methods, but that can also produce results around 50% faster and with different supply requirements. That means more tests,…

Human Interest tacks on $10M more to its Series C

The COVID-19 pandemic is making life worse for many startups, but not all. Those benefiting are often taking advantage of the market updraft to add more capital to their accounts. Robinhood, for example, saw usage of its consumer fintech product rise rapidly. Then the company raised a Series F worth $280 million at a new,…

Plaid launches Plaid Exchange to help banks manage their API

Plaid, the fintech company that is in the process of being acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion, is launching Plaid Exchange this week. Plaid is mostly known for its range of APIs that let developers access banking information. This time, with Plaid Exchange, the company wants to help financial institutions directly so they can build…

Remote operators in Mexico are driving scooters to riders in this Atlanta suburb

In one Atlanta suburb, finding and returning an electric shared scooter will be taken care of by teleoperators some 1,700 miles away in Mexico City. Riders in the enclave of Peachtree Corners will be able to use an app beginning this week to hail a GoX scooter equipped with tech from teleoperations startup Tortoise. Using…

What to do when your VC writes your startup off

The novel coronavirus has been devastating for many people, families and communities — and the consequences are still being calculated. The tech world has seen wave after wave of layoffs, sometimes multiple waves at one company only weeks apart. Some startups have lost nearly all their revenue, and depending on their cash reserves, have little…

Sphero appoints new CEO, spins off robotics startup for first responders

Sphero just announced that it has spun off another company. Once again, the new startup has a decidedly different focus from its parent company’s core of education-focused products. While still a robotics company at its heart, the underwhelmingly named Company Six will create robotic systems designed for first responders and other humans whose work requires…

Cybersecurity insurance startup Coalition raises $90M Series C

This morning, Coalition announced that it has closed a $90 million Series C. The funding comes around a year after the cybersecurity insurance startup raised a $40 million Series B that TechCrunch covered at time. The startup’s new, larger funding round was led by Valor Equity Partners and included participation from Greyhound Capital and Felicis, along…

Why micromobility may emerge from the pandemic stronger than before

Since its inception, shared micromobility services have been in a precarious position — one supported by millions of dollars in venture capital. But the COVID-19 pandemic has brought even more turmoil upon an industry that has long struggled with unit economics. It has led to mass layoffs, operation shutdowns across several markets and more consolidation.…

Headless CMS company Strapi raises another $10 million

Strapi, the company behind the popular open-source headless CMS also called Strapi, has raised a $10 million Series A round led by Index Ventures. The company previously raised a $4 million seed round led by Accel and Stride.vc in October 2019. Strapi is a headless content management system, which means that the back end and…

LA-based Brainbase raises another $8 million for IP-licensing management

Brainbase, the rights management platform that’s helping Hollywood studios manage the licensing rights to their cultural icons, has picked up another $8 million in financing. Behind every popular story is an attempt to make money off of it, and Brainbase helps Hollywood find new ways to make money off of consumer tastes. The money came…

Despite COVID-19, optimism reigns in the Midwest’s startup scene

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Startups in the Midwest are optimistic despite the fact that a fair number of companies in the region are suffering from economic impacts stemming from COVID-19, recently collected data shows. The global pandemic has shaken…

Former Stitch Fix COO Julie Bornstein just took the wraps off her app-only e-commerce startup, The Yes

After teasing the launch of their new startup last year, e-commerce veteran Julie Bornstein and her technical co-founder, Amit Aggarwal, are today launching The Yes, a women’s shopping platform that they’ve been quietly building for 18 months and they say will create tailor-made experiences for each user, courtesy of its sophisticated algorithms. Bornstein’s experience and…

Directly, which trains customer service chatbots with expert advice, raises $11M more

Directly, a startup whose mission is to help build better customer service chatbots by using experts in specific areas to train them, has raised more funding as it opens up a new front to grow its business: APIs and a partner ecosystem that can now also tap into its expert network. Today Directly is announcing…

Extra Crunch Live: Join Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg for a live Q&A May 26 at 2pm ET/11am PT

Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, is a busy man. He’s also a business man. He’s a busy businessman, but has graciously made time to join us for an episode of Extra Crunch Live, our ongoing speaker series for Extra Crunch members. We’re thrilled to have Vestberg as a guest on the show! The episode…

BetterCloud scores $75M Series F as SaaS management needs grow

BetterCloud gives IT visibility into its SaaS tools providing the means to discover, manage and secure those tools. In the middle of a crisis that has forced most companies to move workers home, being able to manage SaaS usage in this way is growing increasingly significant. Today the company announced a $75 million Series F.…

FireHydrant lands $8M Series A for disaster management tool

When I spoke to Robert Ross, CEO and co-founder at FireHydrant last week, we had a technology adventure. First the audio wasn’t working correctly on Zoom, then Google Meet. Finally we used cell phones to complete the interview. It was like a case study in what FireHydrant is designed to do — help companies manage…

MasterClass just raised $100 million for celebrity-fueled content

MasterClass, a startup that sells celebrity-taught classes to people, has raised $100 million in a Series E round. The round was led by Fidelity Management & Research Company with participation from new investors including Owl Ventures, 01 Advisors and existing investors NEA, IVP, Atomico and NextEquity Partners. The new financing brings MasterClass’ valuation to $800…

Emerging from stealth, Octant is bringing the tools of synthetic biology to large scale drug discovery

Octant, a company backed by Andreessen Horowitz just now unveiling itself publicly to the world, is using the tools of synthetic biology to buck the latest trends in drug discovery. As the pharmaceuticals industry turns its attention to precision medicine — the search for ever more tailored treatments for specific diseases using genetic engineering —…

Identity management startup Truework raises $30M to help you verify your work history

As organizations look for safe and efficient ways of running their services in the new global paradigm of increased social distancing, a startup that has built a platform to help people verify their work details in a secure way is announcing a round of growth funding. Truework, which provides a way for banks, apartment-rental agencies,…

China’s Geek+ brings warehouse robots to US via Conveyco partnership

Chinese robots will soon be seen roaming a number of warehouse floors across North America. Geek+, a well-funded Chinese robotics company that specializes in logistics automation for factories, warehouses and supply chains, furthers its expansion in North America after striking a strategic partnership with Conveyco, an order fulfillment and distribution center system integrator with operations…

Indian ride-hailing firm Ola cuts 1,400 jobs

Ola said on Wednesday it is cutting 1,400 jobs in India, or 35% of its workforce in the home market, as the ride-hailing firm works to reduce its expense to steer through the coronavirus pandemic that has severely impacted mobility companies in the country. Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive of Ola, shared the job…

Big Sky Health raises $8 million to nurture its intermittent fasting, meditation, and alcohol consumption apps

Mike Maser, a serial entrepreneur, has been focused on longevity since well before being diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma more than five years ago. But he understandably took much greater interest in the potential role of fasting as a life-extending measure when he was convinced by friends to try it while undergoing cancer treatments.…

Tier brings integrated helmets to electric scooters

European mobility operator Tier has become the first major electric scooter company to integrate helmets into vehicles. The foldable helmets fit inside a box attached to the scooter below the handlebars. This month, Tier plans to deploy 200 scooters equipped with helmets in Paris and Berlin. Over the summer, Tier will deploy an additional 5,000…

Kenya’s Apollo Agriculture raises $6M Series A led by Anthemis

Apollo Agriculture believes it can attain profits by helping Kenya’s smallholder farmers maximize theirs. That’s the mission of the Nairobi based startup that raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Anthemis. Founded in 2016, Apollo Agriculture offers a mobile based product suit for farmers that includes working capital, data analysis for higher crop…

AngelList India head Utsav Somani launches micro VC fund to back 30 early-stage startups

As investors get cautious about writing new checks to early stage startups in India amid the coronavirus outbreak, AngelList’s head in India is betting that this is the right time to back young firms. On Wednesday, Utsav Somani announced iSeed, a micro VC fund to back up at least 30 startups over the course of…

India’s Khatabook raises $60 million to help merchants digitize bookkeeping and accept payments online

Khatabook, a startup that is helping small businesses in India record financial transactions digitally and accept payments online with an app, has raised $60 million in a new financing round as it looks to gain more ground in the world’s second most populous nation. The new financing round, Series B, was led by Facebook co-founder…

Polestar to open first U.S. stores in the second half of 2020

Polestar’s first U.S. retail stores will open in Los Angeles, New York City and two locations in San Francisco later this year — the latest milestone for the automaker as it gets closer to bringing its all-electric vehicle to market. Polestar, which is jointly owned by Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding of China,…

NASA’s Chief of Human Spaceflight Doug Loverro resigns days before historic crewed mission

Doug Loverro, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, has abruptly and unexpectedly resigned from his post, just days before a historic launch. Commercial Crew Demo-2 will take astronauts to the ISS aboard an American spacecraft for the first time since the Space Shuttle was retired, and Loverro was deeply involved. The reasons for…

Facebook, YouTube, Netflix and more get eye-tracking apps from Tobii

Modern apps and services are a mixed bag when it comes to accessibility, and people with conditions that prevent them from using the usual smartphone or mouse and keyboard don’t often have good alternatives. Eye-tracking tech leader Tobii has engineered a solution with a set of popular apps that are built for navigation through gaze…

iFixit introduces a free database of medical repair manuals

Best known as leading purveyors of device teardowns, iFixit today announced that it’s turned much of its focus to even more pressing matters. For two months, the site had roughly half of its staff turn its focus to the creation of a medical repair database — one it’s labeled the “world’s largest.” That includes 13,000+…

GitLab’s head of Remote on hiring, onboarding and why Slack is a no-work zone

With more than 1,200 employees distributed across over 65 countries and a valuation of nearly $3 billion, GitLab is one of the world’s most successful fully remote startups. Describing it as a textbook example of a remote company would be redundant, because the company actually wrote a textbook about it. I recently had a chance…

Porsche’s newest app lets buyers track the progress of their 911

Porsche has been placing more resources into developing digital services as it tries to match the tech demands of its customers. The latest effort from its Porsche Digital subsidiary is an app that lets U.S. buyers who have ordered a 911 sports car track its progress from production to the dealership. The app, which is…

Notion drops usage limit on its personal free tier

Notion, a popular note-taking and wiki-creation app, revamped their personal pricing plans today stripping many of the user limitations from the free tier, bringing it on par with the functionality offered by the $5 per month paid plan of yore. The company’s previous free tier had a fairly low usage limit (1,000 “blocks,” which are…

How to decode a data breach notice

Over the years I’ve seen hundreds, probably thousands, of data breach notifications warning that a company’s data was lost, stolen or left online for anyone to grab. Most of them look largely the same. It’s my job to decode what they actually mean for the victims whose information is put at risk. Data breach notifications…

Spotify signs ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ to an exclusive multi-year deal

Over the past couple of years, Spotify has demonstrating a long-term commitment to the podcasting format by shelling out money hand over fist. The music streaming service has made a number of high profile acquisitions, including production company Gimlet and editing tool Anchor, but today’s news may well be the biggest of all. The company…

GM is working on a hands-off advanced driving system for city streets

GM has a “big team” working on an advanced version of its hands-free driving assistance system, Super Cruise, that will expand its capability beyond highways and apply it to city streets, the automaker’s vice president of global product development Doug Parks said Tuesday. GM is also continuing to improve its existing Super Cruise product, Parks…

Dear Sophie: What is required of employers laying off foreign workers?

Sophie Alcorn Contributor Share on Twitter Sophie Alcorn is the founder of Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley and 2019 Global Law Experts Awards’ “Law Firm of the Year in California for Entrepreneur Immigration Services.” She connects people with the businesses and opportunities that expand their lives. More posts by this contributor Dear Sophie: What’s…

DJI Mavic Air 2 Review: Fantastic drone, despite obstacle avoidance blindspots

I’m supposed to get photos as soon as I take something out of the box. I know better. The rule is not to play with the gadget first. I’m going to crash the drone; I always do. I crashed the DJI Mavic Air 2 and broke a landing peg. I flew the drone before I…

ChromaCode’s tech to boost COVID-19 testing gets Bill Gates backing

Boasting a technology that can dramatically increase the capacity of existing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing used to identify people infected with COVID-19 and other illnesses, ChromaCode has attracted new funding from Bill Gates-backed Adjuvant Capital.  “We want a good solution for a resource-limited environment,” says ChromaCode founder and executive chairman Alex Wilkinson, a serial entrepreneur…

The mystery of RGV2cw, Microsoft’s extremely nerdy secret message to developers

When he was still running Microsoft, Steve Ballmer caused quite the stir in the tech world by screaming “Developers! Developers! Developers!” Since the executive retired to spend more time with his basketball team, however, the tech giant’s current CEO is decidedly more…subtle in his approach. In the kickoff keynote to the first all-virtual build conference,…

Facebook and Instagram rolls out Shops, turning business profiles into storefronts

Starting today, you’ll be able to browse and buy products directly from a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile. Both Facebook and Instagram already supported a degree of e-commerce — for example, Facebook has its Marketplace and will likely make a bigger push through its Libra cryptocurrency initiative, while Instagram allows users to buy products…

Microsoft’s Build keynote showcases the accessibility and awkwardness of online events

“We’re living through extraordinary times,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella opened his Build 2020 keynote on a somber note. It was an odd tonal shift following the event introduction by hosts Seth Juarez and Dona Sarkar. The pair spent kicked the 48 hour livestream off standing a CDC-approved social distance from one another behind a large…

Daily Crunch: Disney’s streaming chief departs for TikTok

TikTok enlists a big name from Disney as its new CEO, Walmart is shuttering its Jet e-commerce brand and EasyJet admits to a major data breach. Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 19, 2020. 1. Disney streaming exec Kevin Mayer becomes TikTok’s new CEO Mayer’s role involved overseeing Disney’s streaming strategy, including the launch of…

Byte projects $100 million in 2020 revenue without increasing marketing spend

One usual characteristic of a bootstrapped company is that its growth is slower than its VC-backed competitors. Bootstrapped marketing spend relies on revenue, revenue often relies on marketing spend, and the tension between the two can force slower growth. VC-backed companies, in contrast, can afford to spend ahead of revenue, often allowing them to grow…

Autonomous retail startup Standard Cognition acquires competitor Checkout Technologies

As cashiers across the country take precautions to limit interactions with customers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s hard to think of a better time for the rollout of an Amazon Go vision of autonomous retail. Standard Cognition CEO Jordan Fisher has been building towards that future for the past several years. His…

Microsoft acquires robotic process automation platform Softomotive

During his Build keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella today confirmed that the company has acquired Softomotive, a software robotic automation platform. Bloomberg first reported that this acquisition was in the works earlier this month, but the two companies didn’t comment on the report at the time. Today, Nadella noted that Softomotive would become part of…

Sequoia Capital’s Roelof Botha is coming to Disrupt this fall

Roelof Botha’s career is the stuff dreams are made of — that is, if the dream is to become one of the topmost investors in the U.S. venture capital industry. Not only has Botha had tremendous success in his investing career, including an early bet on the mobile payments company Square (on whose board he…

Xiaomi releases MIUI 12 global update with more privacy controls, revamped user interface

Xiaomi on Tuesday unveiled the global version of MIUI 12, the latest update to its Android -based operating system, for hundreds of millions of smartphones as the Chinese electronics giant pushes to broaden its services ecosystem. The world’s fourth largest smartphone firm said it is delivering a range of new features to its overseas users…

Microsoft launches new tools for building fairer machine learning models

At its Build developer conference, Microsoft today put a strong emphasis on machine learning but in addition to plenty of new tools and features, the company also highlighted its work on building more responsible and fairer AI systems — both in the Azure cloud and Microsoft’s open-source toolkits. These include new tools for differential privacy…

Microsoft launches industry-specific cloud solutions, starting with healthcare

Microsoft today announced the launch of the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, an industry-specific cloud solution for healthcare providers. This is the first in what is likely going to be a set of cloud offerings that target specific verticals and extends a trend we’ve seen among large cloud providers (especially Google), who tailor specific offerings to…

Microsoft’s quantum computing platform is now in limited preview

Microsoft today announced that Azure Quantum, its partner-centric quantum computing platform for developers who want to get started with quantum computing, is now in limited preview. First announced at Microsoft Ignite 2019, Azure Quantum brings together the hardware from  IonQ, Honeywell, QEI and Microsoft, services from the likes of 1QBit, and the classical computing capabilities…

Microsoft says it teamed up with OpenAI to build a massive AI supercomputer in Azure

At its Build developer conference, Microsoft today announced that it has teamed up with OpenAI, the startup trying to build a general artificial intelligence with — among other things — a $1 billion investment from Microsoft, to create one of the world’s fastest supercomputers on top of Azure’s infrastructure. Microsoft says that the 285,000-core machine…

Microsoft announces Project Reunion to make Windows app development easier again

Microsoft today announced a major new initiative that will finally alleviate some of the persistent confusion around Windows app development. Project Reunion, as it is called, is meant to unify the Windows developer platform, which is currently broken up between Win32, which was long the standard way of building Windows app, and the Universal Windows…

Microsoft Edge gets a Pinterest integration, sidebar search and automatic profile switching

Microsoft’s Edge browser is getting a bunch of new features soon. Some of these are for casual users while others are aimed at business users, IT admins and developers, but they all demonstrate that after releasing the first stable version of the browser only recently, the team is now starting to build in new features…

Microsoft updates Teams with new automation and scheduling tools, NDI support for broadcasting and more

At its (virtual) Build developer conference, Microsoft today announced a slew of updates for its Teams collaboration and communications platform. Given that Microsoft now sees Teams as its hub for teamwork and collaboration through calls, chats, and audio and video meetings, it’s no surprise that it would highlight Teams across today’s announcements. For the most…

Azure Cognitive Services learns more languages

It wouldn’t be a Microsoft Build without a bunch of new capabilities for Azure Cognitive Services, Microsoft’s cloud-based AI tools for developers. The first new feature is what Microsoft calls the “personalized apprentice mode,” which allows the existing Personalizer API to learn about user preferences in real time and in parallel with existing apps, all…

Microsoft launches Azure Synapse Link to help enterprises get faster insights from their data

At its Build developer conference, Microsoft today announced Azure Synapse Link, a new enterprise service that allows businesses to analyze their data faster and more efficiently, using an approach that’s generally called ‘hybrid transaction/analytical processing’ (HTAP). That’s a mouthful, it essentially enables enterprises to use the same database system for analytical and transactional workloads on…

Following multiple scandals including Luckin Coffee, Nasdaq ready to tighten rules on IPO listings

Chinese stocks have seen the highest highs and the lowest lows in recent weeks. While the country suffered the first economic shocks of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China’s aggressive containment strategy has allowed the country to reopen in recent weeks, sending stocks at least temporarily to multi-year highs. Yet, those bold numbers…

Popping the hood on Vroom’s IPO filing

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Yesterday afternoon, Vroom, an online car buying service, filed to go public. Based on its SEC filing, Vroom is a highly-successful private company in fundraising terms that has attracted over $700 million during its life…

Berlin’s IFA tech conference will go ahead in-person this September — with caveats

After months of news about large-scale event cancelations, Berlin-based mega-conference IFA announced today that it will go ahead with a planned in-person event, from September 3 to 5. With the future of the COVID-19 pandemic still uncertain around the world, the show will come with some major caveats. For starters, the show, which traditionally takes…

Where these 6 top VCs are investing in cannabis

The cannabis market was in the midst of a correction when the COVID-19 crisis hit and could emerge stronger than ever. After a breakthrough period of growth, cannabis startups entered 2020 with depressed values and an uncertain future. Now, with millions sheltering in place, many companies are seeing unprecedented demand and growth opportunities as many…

WooCommerce launches native WooCommerce Payments feature

WooCommerce, the e-commerce platform developed by Automattic, is improving the payment feature with a native solution called WooCommerce Payments. The payment feature is powered by Stripe. Compared to previous payment solutions on WooCommerce websites, it is fully integrated with the rest of the platform. In case you’re not familiar with Automattic, it is also the…

Brex brings on $150M in new cash in case of an ‘extended recession’

Fast-growing fintech behemoth Brex is raising big money as its customer base itself — high-growth and spendy startups — is struggling. The company, which sells a credit card tailored for startups, today announced that it has raised $150 million in a Series C extension from a group of existing investors, including DST Global and Lone…

Xilinx launches a new reconfigurable space-grade chip optimized for local machine learning on orbit

Space-specific silicon company Xilinx has developed a new processor for in-space and satellite applications that records a number of firsts: It’s the first 20nm process that’s rated for use in space, offering power and efficiency benefits, and it’s the first to offer specific support for high performance machine learning through neural network-based inference acceleration. The…

Algolia gets a new CEO as founder steps down

Search-as-a-service startup Algolia is announcing some changes at the helm of the startup. Co-founder and CEO Nicolas Dessaigne is transitioning to a non-operational role at the company. He’ll still be a board member, but Bernadette Nixon is joining the company to take on the CEO position. Algolia is building a search engine API. The company…

Command E raises $4.3 million to build the ultimate cross-app search tool

For the last two years, SF-based Command E has been quietly building a unified desktop search tool that helps uses quickly scour for files and data sources across nearly every app they use. The small startup had taken a page from other popular workplace software tools, slowly scaling up a passionate base of early beta…

EasyJet says 9 million travel records taken in data breach

EasyJet, the U.K.’s largest airline, said hackers have accessed the travel details of 9 million customers. The budget airline said 2,200 customers also had their credit card details accessed in the data breach, but passport records were not accessed, a company statement said. EasyJet did not say when the security incident happened or how the…

Europe to Facebook: Pay taxes and respect our values — or we’ll regulate

A livestreamed “debate” yesterday between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and a European commissioner shaping digital policy for the internal market, Thierry Breton, sounded cordial enough on the surface, with Breton making several chummy references to “Mark” — and talking about “having dialogue to establish the right governance” for digital platforms — while Zuckerberg kept it…

YouTube is relaunching its premium ad offering as YouTube Select

YouTube is announcing a new way to buy advertising, which it’s calling YouTube Select. The announcement — made ahead of the now-remote digital advertising NewFronts next month — doesn’t reflect a broader change in who gets to monetize their videos (something that’s been a fraught topic at the Google-owned video service), but it is part…

Contentsquare, the digital experience analytics platform, scores $190M Series D

Contentsquare, the cloud-based platform that helps businesses understand how and why users are interacting with their app, mobile and web sites, has closed $190 million in Series D funding. The round is led by BlackRock’s Private Equity Partners team, with participation from previous investors. In addition, as part of this round, Sapiance Capital Limited is…

Walmart says it will discontinue Jet.com, which it acquired for $3B in 2016

So much for Walmart’s big and expensive effort to take on Amazon with a digitally-native brand. Amid the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the retail industry, today the retail giant announced in its quarterly report that it would be discontinuing Jet.com, the online-only marketplace that it acquired for $3 billion when it was just…

United Dwelling is one startup building something to solve California’s housing crisis

The acute pain of California’s housing crisis can be measured in the human toll it takes on the increasing numbers of families made homeless by rising rents and the billions of dollars the state loses to the high cost of living. After wrestling with recalcitrant homeowners, husbanding their parcels of land to keep their property…

Experience marketplace Pollen lays off 69 North America staff, furloughs 34 in UK

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, throwing countries into lockdown and recession, two of the hardest-hit sectors have been travel and events. And startups operating in the space that have recently raised significant funding aren’t immune to the crisis. Pollen, the U.K.-based influencer marketplace for travel and events that closed $60 million in funding in October,…

70% of Indian startups will run out of money in less than 3 months

More than two-thirds of startups in India need to secure additional capital in the coming weeks to steer through the coronavirus pandemic, according to an industry report. 70% of startups in India, home to one of the world’s largest startup ecosystems, have less than three months of cash runway in the bank, and another 22%…

African countries need ‘startup acts’ more than ever to support innovation

Adedana Ashebir Contributor Share on Twitter Adedana Ashebir is regional manager for Africa for Village Capital, which has supported more than 100 entrepreneurs and 15 entrepreneur support organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa since 2012. As the fallout from COVID-19 continues to grip Africa’s major economies, the tech ventures in those countries need state support. National legislation…

TikTok parent ByteDance leads $6M round in financial AI startup Lingxi

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has added Lingxi, a Beijing-based startup that applies machine intelligence to financial services such as debt collection and insurance sales, to its ever-expanding portfolio of investments. The AI startup has raised a $6.2 million Series A round co-led by ByteDance and Rocket Internet, the German accelerator that has incubated e-commerce giants…

Former Andreessen Horowitz partner Benedict Evans joins EF as Venture Partner

Entrepreneur First (EF), the London-headquartered “talent investor” that backs individuals pre-team and pre-idea to enable them to found startups, has appointed former Andreessen Horowitz partner Benedict Evans as a Venture Partner. A well-respected analyst with a background in the tech and media industries, Evans will be tasked with providing “analysis, insight and recommendations” for new…

Arculus raises €16M to upgrade assembly lines with its ‘modular production platform’

Arculus, the Ingolstadt, Germany-based startup that has developed a “modular production platform” to bring assembly lines into the 21st century, has raised €16 million in Series A investment. Leading the round is European venture firm Atomico, with participation from Visionaries Club and previous investor La Famiglia. Arculus says it will use the injection of capital…

Pennylane is an accounting service that improves your financial visibility

Meet Pennylane, a new French startup that is a building a full-stack service to deal with your financial data. With Pennylane, you get a real-time view of your financial data and you don’t have to work with an accounting company — the startup hires accountants for you. The startup just raised a $4.3 million (€4…

SoftBank reportedly plans to sell about $20 billion of its T-Mobile shares

SoftBank Group Corp. is currently seeking buyers for about $20 billion of its shares in T-Mobile US, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. If the proposed sale goes through, its proceeds could help offset SoftBank’s heavy investment losses over the past year. According to its first-quarter earnings report yesterday, SoftBank’s Vision…

With 170M users, Bilibili is the nearest thing China has to Youtube

Bilibili, a Chinese video streaming website that was once regarded as a haven for youth subculture, has been steadily making its way into the mainstream as users age up and content diversifies. The NASDAQ-traded company recorded a 70% year-over-year growth to reach 172 million monthly active users by the first quarter, placing it in the…