In Los Angeles, the Women’s March embraces technology to organize and inspire

The roughly 300,000 marchers that filled the streets of downtown Los Angeles for the third annual Women’s March received more than just an opportunity to hear from some of the state’s high powered politicians, they were also part of a new experiment from local March organizers in bringing technology into the movement. Using an organizational…

China Roundup: Tencent’s new US gaming studio and WeChat’s new paywall

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. The spotlight this week is back on Tencent, which has made some interesting moves in gaming and content publishing. There will be no roundup next…

SpaceX could catch future Crew Dragons with astronauts onboard using ships at sea

SpaceX demonstrated a safety system that will protect astronauts in the case of any unfortunate unforeseen accidents in future Crew Dragon flights, which included the spacecraft splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean, but during a post-mission press conference SpaceX CEO Elon Musk suggested future return trips for the human-rated spacecraft could look very different. Musk…

First crewed SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launch could happen in Q2 this year

SpaceX and NASA hosted a press conference following their successful test of the Crew Dragon’s in-flight abort system on Sunday to discuss the mission and next steps. The first question asked by media in attendance was about what this means for the timeline for a mission with actual crew on board, and SpaceX CEO Elon…

Shadows’ Dylan Flinn and Kombo’s Kevin Gould on the business of ‘virtual influencers’

In films, TV shows and books — and even in video games where characters are designed to respond to user behavior — we don’t perceive characters as beings with whom we can establish two-way relationships. But that’s poised to change, at least in some use cases. Interactive characters — fictional, virtual personas capable of personalized…

SpaceX successfully completes key test of its Crew Dragon human spacecraft

SpaceX completed a crucial test of a key safety system of its Crew Dragon spacecraft today. The test involved launching its Crew Dragon using a Falcon 9, though without any actual crew on board. The launch was then intentionally cut short, with the In-Flight Abort (IFA) system triggered to separate the Crew Dragon from the…

TechCrunch’s Top 10 investigative reports from 2019

Facebook spying on teens, Twitter accounts hijacked by terrorists, and sexual abuse imagery found on Bing and Giphy were amongst the ugly truths revealed by TechCrunch’s investigating reporting in 2019. The tech industry needs more watchdogs than ever as its size enlargens the impact of safety failures and the abuse of power. Whether through malice,…

Watch SpaceX launch its Crew Dragon astronaut spacecraft for a key safety test

SpaceX is looking to launch its Crew Dragon spacecraft using a Falcon 9 rocket today, in a crucial test of the human-rated spacecraft’s In-Flight Abort (IFA) system. This safety feature will separate the Crew Dragon from the Falcon 9 rocket early, propelling the spacecraft (and any astronauts who would be on board, during a real…

Week in Review: Forget cord cutting, here comes the stream slashing

Hey everyone, welcome back to Week in Review where I dive deep into a bit of news from the week or just share some thoughts and go over some of the more interesting stories of the week. If you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site, you can get this in your inbox here, and follow…

Taiwan’s entrepreneurs move forward after tense presidential election

Last Saturday, Taiwanese voters re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen to her second term after an election that split the country among generational and ideological lines. A crucial issue were the differences in how Tsai, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and her main opponent, Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang (KMT), approach Taiwan’s fraught relationship…

Original Content podcast: Netflix goes to the Oscars

When this year’s Academy Award nominations were announced on Monday, Netflix received 24 nominations — the most of any Hollywood studio. That’s thanks in large part to “The Irishman,” which received 10 nominations, and “Marriage Story,” which received six (both films were nominated for Best Picture). As a result, Darrell finally watched Martin Scorsese’s three-and-a-half hour…

Startups Weekly: Plaid’s $5.3B acquisition is a textbook Silicon Valley win

Hi everyone, my name is Eric Eldon and I’m the new writer of the Startups Weekly newsletter.  I’ll be picking my favorite explicitly startup-focused articles of the week for you from Extra Crunch (where I’m the editor now), as well as TechCrunch (where I was the co-editor years ago… long story).  Some people tell us…

The last radio station

North of Silicon Valley, protected by the Point Reyes National Seashore, is the only operational ship-to-shore maritime radio station. Bearing the call sign KPH, the Point Reyes Station is the last of its kind. KPH is divided between two physical stations: one, knows as the voice, is responsible for transmitting; the other half of the…

LaunchDarkly CEO Edith Harbaugh explains why her company raised another $54M

This week, LaunchDarkly announced that it has raised another $54 million. Led by Bessemer Venture Partners and backed by the company’s existing investors, it brings the company’s total funding up to $130 million. For the unfamiliar, LaunchDarkly builds a platform that allows companies to easily roll out new features to only certain customers, providing a…

Compound’s Mike Dempsey on virtual influencers and AI characters

In films, TV shows and books — and even in video games where characters are designed to respond to user behavior — we don’t perceive characters as beings with whom we can establish two-way relationships. But that’s poised to change, at least in some use cases. Interactive characters — fictional, virtual personas capable of personalized…

Microsoft says it will fix an Internet Explorer security bug under active attack

Microsoft has confirmed a security flaw affecting Internet Explorer is currently being used by hackers, but that it has no immediate plans to fix. In a late-evening tweet, US-CERT, the division of Homeland Security tasked with reporting on major security flaws, tweeted a link to a security advisory detailing the bug, describing it as “being…

Instagram drops IGTV button, but only 1% downloaded the app

At most, 7 million of Instagram’s 1 billion-plus users have downloaded its standalone IGTV app in the 18 months since launch. And now, Instagram’s main app is removing the annoying orange IGTV button from its home page in what feels like an admission of lackluster results. For reference, TikTok received 1.15 billion downloads in the…

This Week in Apps: App trends from 2019, Pinterest tops Snapchat, Disney+ hits No. 1 in Q4

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 in 2019 and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019, according to App Annie’s…

Amazon partners with thousands of mom-and-pop stores in India

Neighborhood stores dot tens of thousands of cities, towns and villages in India. They have survived — and thrived, despite — retail giants’ billions of investment in the country. So now, Amazon is beginning to embrace them. Amazon said on Saturday it has partnered with thousands of neighborhood stores — locally known as kirana stores…

Deep tech VCs on what they view as some of the most impactful young startups right now

During this week’s Democratic debate, there was a lot of talk, unsurprisingly, about ensuring the future of this country’s children and grandchildren. Climate change was of particular interest to billionaire Tom Steyer, who said repeatedly that addressing it would be his top priority were he elected U.S. president. As it happens, earlier the same day,…

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon astronaut spacecraft has a key launch Saturday – here’s what’s going down

SpaceX and NASA are getting ready for a key test of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon commercial crew spacecraft on Saturday, and this should be the last major milestone that SpaceX has to pass in terms of demonstration missions before actual crew climb aboard the spaceship for a trip to the International Space Station. Starting at 8…

As Alphabet crests the $1T mark, SaaS stocks reach all-time highs of their own

Continuing our irregular surveys of the public markets, two things happened this week that are worth our time. First, a third domestic technology company — Alphabet — passed the $1 trillion market capitalization threshold. And, second, software as a service (SaaS) stocks reached record highs on the public markets after retreating over last summer. The…

Cruise calls for a new way to determine commercial readiness of self-driving cars

Cruise co-founder and CTO Kyle Vogt said Friday that disengagement reports released annually by California regulators are not a proxy for the commercial readiness or safety of self-driving cars. Vogt, in a lengthy post on Medium, called for a new metric to determine whether an autonomous vehicle is ready for commercial deployment. The post suggests…

Eaze’s struggles reflect falling VC interest in cannabis startups

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Yesterday, TechCrunch reported that Eaze, a well-known cannabis-focused startup, is struggling to stay in business amidst a cash crunch, leadership turmoil, banking issues and a business model pivot. It’s a compelling, critical read. The news, however,…

EU lawmakers are eyeing risk-based rules for AI, per leaked white paper

The European Commission is considering a temporary ban on the use of facial recognition technology, according to a draft proposal for regulating artificial intelligence obtained by Euroactiv. Creating rules to ensure AI is ‘trustworthy and human’ has been an early flagship policy promise of the new Commission, led by president Ursula von der Leyen. But…

Baraja’s unique and ingenious take on lidar shines in a crowded industry

It seems like every company making lidar has a new and clever approach, but Baraja takes the cake. Its method is not only elegant and powerful, but fundamentally avoids many issues that nag other lidar technologies. But it’ll need more than smart tech to make headway in this complex and evolving industry. To understand how…

Where FaZe Clan sees the future of gaming and entertainment

Lee Trink has spent nearly his entire career in the entertainment business. The former president of Capitol Records is now the head of FaZe Clan, an esports juggernaut that is one of the most recognizable names in the wildly popular phenomenon of competitive gaming. Trink sees FaZe Clan as the voice of a new generation…

The paradox of 2020 VC is that the largest funds are doing the smallest rounds

I talked yesterday about how VCs are just tired these days. Too many deals, too little time per deal, and constant hyper-competition with other VCs for the same equity. VCs are just tired One founder friend of mine noted to me last night that he has already received inbound requests from more than 90 investors…

Harvestr gathers user feedback in one place

Meet Harvestr, a software-as-a-service startup that wants to help product managers centralize customer feedback from various places. Product managers can then prioritize outstanding issues and feature requests. Finally, the platform helps you get back to your customers once changes have been implemented. The company just raised a $650,000 funding round led by Bpifrance with various…

Daily Crunch: NBCUniversal reveals its streaming plans

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. NBCU’s streaming service Peacock launches April 15 for Comcast subscribers, everyone else on July 15 NBCUniversal shared the details about its…

How scooter charging startups want to make the industry more profitable

In an industry where unit economics are low, operators are seeking ways to improve margins while also maintaining fleet reliability and low prices for riders. Charging stations may be part of the solution. Already, there are a handful of companies, other than the operators themselves, looking to address this issue by deploying charging stations. The…

Discount student tickets available for TC Sessions: Mobility 2020

“Revolutionary” may be an over-used adjective, but how else to describe the rapid evolution in mobility technology? Join us in San Jose, Calif., on May 14 for TC Sessions: Mobility 2020. Our second annual day-long conference cuts through the hype and explores the current and future state of the technology and its social, regulatory and…

Cambridge Analytica email chain with Facebook sheds new light on data misuse scandal

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser has released new documents today that suggest Facebook accepted only a simple acknowledgment on email from the firm that it had deleted data associated with 87 million Facebook users’ profiles. The data was improperly obtained in 2014 by researchers with access to Facebook’s developer platform who were being paid by…

LocalGlobe partner Julia Hawkins discusses fem tech’s risks and rewards

London-based seed fund LocalGlobe is incredibly active at the early-stage end of the startup pipeline with a broad focus across multiple sectors and areas, including health. We interviewed partner Julia Hawkins about the opportunities and risks related to fem tech investing in light of the fund’s early backing for Ferly, a female-founded startup with a…

Microsoft announces global Teams ad push as it combats Slack for the heart of enterprise comms

The long-running contest between Microsoft and its Teams service and Slack’s eponymous application continued this morning, with Redmond announcing what it describes as its first “global” advertising push for its enterprise communication service. Slack, a recent technology IPO, exploded in the back half of last decade, accreting huge revenues while burrowing into the tech stacks…

Zendesk launches Sell Marketplace to bring app store to CRM product

Zendesk acquired Base CRM in 2018 to give customers a CRM component to go with its core customer service software. After purchasing the company, it changed the name to Sell, and today the company announced the launch of the new Sell Marketplace. Officially called The Zendesk Marketplace for Sell, it’s a place where companies can…

Chinese podcasting and audio content app Lizhi debuts on Nasdaq

Lizhi, one of China’s biggest audio content apps, is debuting on Nasdaq today under the ticker symbol LIZI. It is the first of its major competitors, Ximalaya and Dragonfly, to go public (though Ximalaya is expected to also list in the United States later this year). Lizhi is offering 4.1 million shares at an IPO…

Cannabis marketing company Fyllo acquires CannaRegs for $10M

Fyllo, a digital marketing company focused on the cannabis industry, has acquired CannaRegs, a website offering subscription access to state and municipal cannabis regulations. Fyllo founder and CEO Chad Bronstein (pictured above) said his company paid $10 million in cash and stock. Bronstein previously served as chief revenue officer at digital marketing company Amobee, and…

Cloud services provider DigitalOcean is laying off staff, sources say 30-50 affected

After appointing a new CEO and CFO last summer, cloud infrastructure provider DigitalOcean is embarking on a wider reorganisation: the startup has announced a round of layoffs, with potentially between 30 and 50 people affected. DigitalOcean has confirmed the news with the following statement: “DigitalOcean recently announced a restructuring to better align its teams to its…

Privacy experts slam UK’s “disastrous” failure to tackle unlawful adtech

The UK’s data protection regulator has been slammed by privacy experts for once again failing to take enforcement action over systematic breaches of the law linked to behaviorally targeted ads — despite warning last summer that the adtech industry is out of control. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has also previously admitted it suspects the…

We’ve gone Plaid #

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week Danny and Alex were back together to riff over a the latest early-stage rounds, the latest on the late-stage front, and more. It was yet another stacked week, forcing us to pick and choose a bit.…

Elon Musk shares details about SpaceX’s Starship, including estimated 20 to 30 year service life

Elon Musk appears to be pretty focused on Starship right now, sharing photos of the work being done on the orbital Starship prototype designed ‘SN1,’ which is currently under construction at SpaceX’s Boca Chica, Texas facility. The CEO answered a volley of questions over Twitter on Thursday evening, providing more details about Starship and how…

Caregiving startup Homage raises $10 million Series B to enter new Asian markets

In many countries, an aging population coupled with a low birth rate is increasing the demand for qualified caregivers. In Asia, the need is especially urgent because rapid demographic shifts and changing social structures means family members who traditionally cared for relatives are unable to because they need to work or live far away. Homage…

Xiaomi spins off POCO as an independent brand

Xiaomi said today it is spinning off POCO, a sub-smartphone brand it created in 2018, as a standalone company that will now run independently of the Chinese electronics giant and make its own market strategy. The move comes months after a top POCO executive — Jai Mani — and some other founding and core members…

Funnel closes $47M Series B to prepare marketing data for better reporting and analysis

Funnel, the Stockholm-based startup that offers technology to help businesses prepare — or make “business-ready” — their marketing data for better reporting and analysis, has closed $47 million in Series B funding. Leading the round is Eight Roads Ventures, and F-Prime Capital, with participation from existing investors Balderton Capital, Oxx, Zobito, and Industrifonden, in addition…

Trucks VC general partner Reilly Brennan is coming to TC Sessions: Mobility

The future of transportation industry is bursting at the seams with startups aiming to bring everything from flying cars and autonomous vehicles to delivery bots and even more efficient freight to roads. One investor who is right at the center of this is Reilly Brennan, founding general partner of Trucks VC, a seed-stage venture capital…

SpinLaunch spins up a $35M round to continue building its space catapult

SpinLaunch, a company that aims to turn the launch industry on its head with a wild new concept for getting to orbit, has raised a $35M round B to continue its quest. The team has yet to demonstrate their kinetic launch system, but this year will be the year that changes, they claim. TechCrunch first…

Copilot is a subscription personal finance tracker aiming to kill Mint

When Intuit acquired Mint more than a decade ago, mobile was in a different place — as were tech-enabled financial services. There hasn’t been much progress for the personal finance tracker app category in the meantime. Mint has stumbled along with integration issues and tiresome data misclassifications. For many, the best alternative has been firing…

Foxconn and Fiat Chrysler partner to develop EVs and an “internet of vehicles” business

Foxconn Technology Group, the Taiwanese electronics giant best known for its iPhone manufacturing contract, is forming a joint venture with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to build electric vehicles in China. The joint venture was disclosed in a regulatory filing. Nikkei was first to report the joint venture. According to the filing, each party will own 50%…

Visa’s Plaid acquisition shows a shifting financial services landscape

When Visa bought Plaid this week for $5.3 billion, a figure that was twice its private valuation, it was a clear signal that traditional financial services companies are looking for ways to modernize their approach to business. With Plaid, Visa picks up a modern set of developer APIs that work behind the scenes to facilitate…

Investors like Sundar Pichai; they just pushed Alphabet into the trillion dollar club for the first time

Alphabet this afternoon became the fourth tech giant to join the highly exclusive trillion-dollar club, one whose original member, Apple, saw its market cap soar past $1 trillion for the first time in August 2018 and which has since welcomed — and pushed back out — Amazon, which passed the $1 trillion mark in September…

‘PigeonBot’ brings flying robots closer to real birds

Try as they might, even the most advanced roboticists on Earth struggle to recreate the effortless elegance and efficiency with which birds fly through the air. The “PigeonBot” from Stanford researchers takes a step towards changing that by investigating and demonstrating the unique qualities of feathered flight. On a superficial level, PigeonBot looks a bit,…

NBCU’s streaming service Peacock launches April 15 for Comcast subscribers, everyone else on July 15

NBCUniversal officially unveiled its new streaming service Peacock today, announcing that the service will be available at no additional cost for Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex customers on April 15, before launching nationally on July 15. The company had announced its plans to enter the streaming market a year ago, describing it as an ad-supported, subscription…

Space Angels’ Chad Anderson on entering a new decade in the ‘entrepreneurial space age’

Space as an investment target is trending upwards in the VC community, but specialist firm Space Angels has been focused on the sector longer than most. The network of angel investors just published its most recent quarterly overview of activity in the space startup industry, revealing that investors put nearly $6 billion in capital into…

Marijuana delivery giant Eaze may go up in smoke

The first cannabis startup to raise big money in Silicon Valley is in danger of burning out. TechCrunch has learned that pot delivery middleman Eaze has seen unannounced layoffs, and its depleted cash reserves threaten its ability to make payroll or settle its AWS bill. Eaze was forced to raise a bridge round to keep…

VCs are just tired

I was in SF last week and met with more than a dozen VCs over the course of two days. This was post the holidays, post their visits to the ski chalets in Tahoe and the island beaches, and in the smack dab of one of the most important fundraise periods of the year —…

SiteMinder raises $70M at $750M valuation after cresting $70M ARR in 2019

Today SiteMinder, an Australian software company focused on the hotel industry, announced a $70 million (USD) round that values the company at $750 million. That’s about $1.08 billion in Australian dollars, making the firm a Down Under Unicorn, even if it’s a bit shy here in America. According to SiteMinder, the round was “led by…

Can a $350 headband deliver better sleep?

Sleep is the next battleground on which the war for wearable health will be waged. Smartwatch and fitness band makers have been dipping their collective toes in the water for a few years now, but there’s only so much that can be done from the wrist. I wrote a CES trend piece earlier this week…

What we know (and don’t) about Goldman Sachs’ Africa VC investing

Goldman Sachs is investing in African tech companies. The venerable American investment bank and financial services firm has backed startups from Kenya to Nigeria and taken a significant stake in e-commerce venture Jumia, which listed on the NYSE in 2019. Though Goldman declined to comment on its Africa VC activities for this article, the company…

Hyundai and Kia put over $110M into UK electric delivery vehicles startup Arrival

Forget the consumer market for electric vehicles. It turns out delivery vehicles could be the ‘Trojan horse’ for electric to really take off. Korean auto giants Hyundai and Kia put over $110 million in UK startup Arrival, which emerged from relative stealth today. The investment immediately makes Arrival one of Britain’s most valuable startups, valuing…

Matera raises $11.2 million to let you handle residential property management yourself

Matera, the French startup formerly known as illiCopro, is raising a $11.2 million funding round (€10 million). The company has been building a SaaS platform to give you all the tools you need to handle property management for your residential building. Index Ventures is leading the round with existing investor Samaipata also participating. Business angels,…

TRI-AD’s James Kuffner and Max Bajracharya are coming to TC Sessions: Robotics+AI 2020

With the Tokyo Summer Olympics rapidly approaching, 2020 is shaping up to be a big year for TRI-AD (Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development). Opened in 2018, the research wing is devoted to bringing some of TRI’s work into practice. The organization is heavily invested in both autonomous driving and other key robotics projects. TRI-AD’s…

Loliware’s kelp-based plastic alternatives snag $6M seed round from eco-conscious investors

The last few years have seen many cities ban plastic bags, plastic straws, and other common forms of waste, giving environmentally conscious alternatives a huge boost — among them Loliware, purveyor of fine disposable goods created from kelp. Huge demand and smart sourcing has attracted a big first funding round. I covered Loliware early on…

44% of TikTok’s all-time downloads were in 2019, but app hasn’t figured out monetization

Despite the U.S. government’s concerns over TikTok which most recently led to the U.S. Navy banning service members’ use of the app, TikTok had a stellar 2019 in terms of both downloads and revenue. According to new data from Sensor Tower, 44% of TikTok’s total 1.65 billion downloads to date, or 738+ million installs, took…

Chrome gets global media controls

Here is a small but useful new feature in Google Chrome: global media controls that allow you to control all of the audio and video sources in your current tabs from a single widget. With this, you can switch to the next song from your favorite web-based music streaming service, start and stop a YouTube…

Venture Highway announces $78.6M second fund to invest in early-stage startups in India

Venture Highway, a VC firm in India founded by former Google executive Samir Sood, said on Thursday it has raised $78.6 million for its second fund as it looks to double down on investing in early-stage startups. The firm, founded in 2015, has invested in more than two dozen startups to date, including social network…

Daily Crunch: Mozilla lays off 70

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Mozilla lays off 70 as it waits for new products to generate revenue In an internal memo, Mozilla chairwoman and interim…

Are OYO’s deep cuts a reality check for unicorns?

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. After a short pause, we’re back on the topic of unicorn layoffs. While it’s cheery that a number of companies are chugging ahead with ARR growth powered by efficient spend, not every company has taken…

Pinterest’s diversity report is missing some key data

Pinterest today released its latest diversity report, showing slight gains in representation of underrepresented minorities while also hitting its three hiring goals. The company has long been recognized as an industry leader when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion. It was one of the first tech companies to publicly release diversity data, and in…

WorkBoard triples again in 2019, raises $30M from a16z to celebrate

WorkBoard, a SaaS startup that provides goal setting and management software to other companies, announced today that it has closed a $30 million Series C. The new capital comes less than a year after the startup raised a $23 million Series B. WorkBoard has raised $66.6 million to date, according to Crunchbase. Andreessen Horowitz’s David…

Twitch’s loss of top streamers impacts hours watched and streamed in Q4 2019, report says

The loss of several big-name streamers is finally taking its toll on Twitch, according to a new report from StreamLabs and Newzoo out today. In August 2019, top streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, announced his intention to leave Twitch for Microsoft Mixer. Several others have since defected as well, including competitive gamer Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek who…

As customer demand shifts, Bose plans to shutter 119 retail locations

This stuff is never easy. Buying habits change with technology, and just about every brick and mortar operator has felt some squeeze from online purchasing. Seems even flagship brands like Bose technology aren’t immune from the powers of next-day shipping. The audio company confirmed with The Verge this week its plan to close shop on…

Epsagon scores $16M Series A to monitor modern development environments

Epsagon, an Israeli startup that wants to help monitor modern development environments like serverless and containers, announced a $16 million Series A today. U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), a new investor led the round. Previous investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and StageOne Ventures also participated. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $20 million, according to the…

Allen Institute for AI’s Incubator expands with $10M fund from high-profile VCs

The Allen Institute for AI (AI2) started its incubator up two years ago, helping launch companies like Xnor.ai, Blue Canoe, and WellSaidLabs. Their success has attracted funding from not just local Seattle VC outfit Madrona, but Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, and Two Sigma as well, resulting in a new $10M fund that should help keep the…

Cyral announces $11M Series A to help protect data in cloud

Cyral, an early stage startup that helps protect data stored in cloud repositories, announced an $11 million Series A today. The company also revealed a previous undisclosed $4.1 million angel investment, making the total $15.1 million. The Series A was led by Redpoint Ventures. A.Capital Ventures, Costanoa VC, Firebolt, SV Angel and Trifecta Capital also…

Amazon’s fresh $1B investment in India is not a big favor, says India trade minister

India’s trade minister isn’t impressed with Amazon’s new $1 billion investment in the country. A day after Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos announced that his company is pumping in an additional $1 billion into its India operations, making the total local investment to date to $6.5 billion, the nation’s trade minister Piyush Goyal said Amazon’s…

Mojo Vision’s AR contact lenses are very cool, but many questions remain

Companies keep trying to make glassholes happen. Understandably. After the smartphone and the wrist, the face is the next local battlefield for computational space, if decades of science fiction movies have taught us anything. But we’ve seen the Google Glass, the Snapchat Spectacles, The Magic Leap, the whatever that thing that Samsung just semi-announced was.…

Wipro Ventures announces $150M Fund II to invest in enterprise startups

Wipro Ventures, the investment arm of one of India’s largest IT companies by market capitalization, said on Thursday it has raised $150 million for its second fund as it looks to invest in more enterprise startups and venture capitalist funds. As with its $100 million maiden fund in 2015, Wipro Ventures will use its second…

Bolt raises €50M in venture debt from the EU to expand its ride-hailing business

Bolt, the billion-dollar startup out of Estonia that’s building a ride-hailing, scooter and food delivery business across Europe and Africa, has picked up a tranche of funding in its bid to take on Uber and the rest in the world of on-demand transportation. The company has picked up €50 million (about $56 million) from the European…

Atomico promotes surgeon-turned-VC Irina Haivas to partner

Irina Haivas, the surgeon-turned-VC that joined London-based VC firm Atomico in late 2018 and has already led several investments on behalf of the firm, has been promoted to partner. Her Atomico investments to date include: Healx, the Cambridge, U.K.-based startup using AI to help discover new treatments for rare diseases (and is clearly a big…

Getsafe, the German insurtech, brings its contents insurance app to UK

Getsafe, the German insurtech that offers home contents insurance via an app, has launched in the U.K., despite an increasingly competitive market for insurance in the country, and the thorny regulatory issue of Brexit. This has seen Getsafe incorporate an independent British subsidiary based in London, in order to shield it ahead of future political…

Crowdfunded hardware startups are breathing fresh life into music making

I love music. Seriously, it’s one of the few things that brings solace in this cold, lonely world. Want to go deep on Joni Mitchell, William Onyeabor or Pablo Casals? I’m game. Yes, I worked at multiple record stores years before TechCrunch. Yes, I will always be that guy. What I will never be, however,…

Companies take baby steps toward home robots at CES

“I think there are fewer fake robots this year.” I spoke to a lot of roboticists and robot-adjacent folks at this year’s CES, but that comment from Labrador Systems co-funder/CEO Mike Dooley summed up the situation nicely. The show is slowly, but steadily, starting to take robotics more seriously. It’s true that words like “fake”…

Joby Aviation raises $590 million led by Toyota to launch an electric air taxi service

Joby Aviation has raised a $590 million Series C round of funding, including $394 million from lead investor Toyota Motor Corporation, the company announced today. Joby is in the process of developing an electric air taxi service, which will make use of in-house developed electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that will in part…

Apple buys edge-based AI startup Xnor.ai for a reported $200M

Xnor.ai, spun off in 2017 from the nonprofit Allen Institute for AI (AI2), has been acquired by Apple for about $200 million. A source close to the company corroborated a report this morning from GeekWire to that effect. Apple confirmed the reports with its standard statement for this sort of quiet acquisition: “Apple buys smaller…

Save over $200 with discounted student tickets to Robotics + AI 2020

If you’re a current student and you love robots — and the AI that drives them — you do not want to miss out on TC Sessions: Robotics + AI 2020. Our day-long deep dive into these two life-altering technologies takes place on March 3 at UC Berkeley and features the best and brightest minds,…

The US government should stop demanding tech companies compromise on encryption

In a tweet late Tuesday, President Trump criticized Apple for refusing “to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements.” Trump was specifically referring to a locked iPhone that belonged to a Saudi airman who killed three U.S sailors in an attack on a Florida base in December. It’s only the latest…

23andMe co-founder’s new startup, Precise.ly, brings genomics to India through Narayana partnerhsip

Precise.ly, the new genomics startup launched by 23andMe co-founder Linda Avey and Aneil Mallavarapu, is taking its spin on direct to consumer personalized genomics to India through a partnership with Naryana Health, one of India’s leading specialty hospital networks. Narayana, a company that operates a network of 24 hospitals serving 2.5 million patients, is one…

Mobileye takes aim at Waymo

Mobileye has built a multi-billion-dollar business supplying automakers with computer vision technology that powers advanced driver assistance systems. It’s a business that last year generated nearly $1 billion in sales for the company. Today, 54 million vehicles on the road are using Mobileye’s computer vision technology. In 2018, the company made what many considered a…

Accel-backed Clockwise launches an AI assistant for Google Calendar

Startups are paying for more subscription services than ever to drive collaboration during working hours, but–whether or not the Slack-lash is indeed a real thing–the truth is that filling your day with meetings can sometimes be detrimental to actually… working. Time management software and daily planners put the accountability on the individual, but when you’re…

NextNav raises $120M to deploy its indoor positioning tech to find people in skyscrapers

NextNav LLC has raised $120 million in equity and debt to commercially deploy an indoor-positioning system that can pinpoint a device’s location — including what floor it’s on — without GPS . The company has developed what it calls a Metropolitan Beacon System, which can find the location of devices like smartphones, drones, IoT products…

Collaborative Fund just hired a former top Goldman Sachs investor to do later-stage deals

Collaborative Fund emerged on the scene nearly 10 years ago to fund seed-stage and, as time passed, early-stage startups, many of them in New York, where the firm is based. Apparently, the firm has ambitions to do more later-stage investing, too. It just brought aboard Ian Friedman, former co-head of Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Venture…

Mozilla lays off 70 as it waits for new products to generate revenue

Mozilla laid off about 70 employees today, TechCrunch has learned. In an internal memo, Mozilla chairwoman and interim CEO Mitchell Baker specifically mentions the slow rollout of the organization’s new revenue-generating products as the reason for why it needed to take this decision. The overall number may still be higher, though, as Mozilla is still…

Cloudinary passes $60M ARR without VC money

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Today we’re continuing our exploration of companies that have reached material scale, usually viewed through the lens of annual recurring revenue (ARR). We’ve looked at companies that have reached the $100 million ARR mark and a…

Check out the view from inside Boeing’s crew spacecraft during its orbital flight test

Late last year, Boeing flew a key orbital flight test of its Starliner commercial crew spacecraft, a key test prior to the vehicle being able to actually carry astronauts on board. That test didn’t go exactly as planned, since the Starliner didn’t rendez-vous and dock with the International Space Station as outlined in the actual…

Buttigieg’s CISO resigns, leaving no known cybersecurity chiefs among the 2020 candidates

Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has lost his campaign’s chief information security officer, who cited “differences” with the campaign over its security practices. Mick Baccio, who served under the former South Bend mayor’s campaign for the White House, left his position earlier this month. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news. TechCrunch also confirmed Baccio’s…

Google Cloud gets a premium support plan with 15-minute response times

Google Cloud today announced the launch of its premium support plans for enterprise and mission-critical needs. This new plan brings Google’s support offerings for the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) in line with its premium G Suite support options. “Premium Support has been designed to better meet the needs of our customers running modern cloud technology,”…

Formlabs CEO on the state of 3D printing and its remaining challenges

3D printing isn’t the buzzy, hype-tastic topic it was just a few years ago — at least not with consumers. 3D printing news out of CES last week seemed considerably quieter than years prior; the physical booths for many 3D printing companies I saw took up fractions of the footprints they did just last year.…

YouTube launches Profile cards that show a user’s comment history

Last September, YouTube began testing a new feature called profile cards, which showed a user’s public information and comment history on the current channel. The feature was touted as a way for creators to more easily identify their biggest fans by offering easy access to their past comments. Now, YouTube is launching the product to…

Daily Crunch: Goodbye Hipmunk

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Four years after being acquired, Hipmunk is shutting down Founded by Adam J. Goldstein and Reddit co-founder Steve “spez” Huffman, Hipmunk…

Plant-based milk substitute market gets frothy with$225 million for Califia Farms

The market for companies developing dairy substitutes is really getting frothy. In December, the startup Perfect Day Foods announced it had raised $110 million in financing for its dairy replacement and now Califia Farms, the producer of a range of oat and almond milk products (along with a slew of coffees, juices, and non-dairy snacks)…

Here is the first stable release of Microsoft’s new Edge browser

Right on schedule, Microsoft today released the first stable version of its new Chromium-based Edge browser, just over a year after it first announced that it would stop developing its own browser engine and go with what has, for better or worse, become the industry standard. You can now download the stable version for Windows…

Google’s new feature makes it easier to shop from search results

Following the big revamp of Google Shopping last fall, Google today is updating the shopping experience on Google Search, on mobile. Now, when you do a web search for clothing, shoes, and accessories, you won’t just get a set of links to different products and stores. Instead, Google will present a new section where it…

Uber kicks off adaptive electric scooter pilot in SF

Uber’s JUMP has started its adaptive scooter pilot in partnership with San Francisco Bike Rentals. This is part of Uber’s permit with the city of San Francisco, which requires all electric scooter operators pilot adaptive scooter share. “We’re committed to helping improve access to transportation for everyone in San Francisco and we believe our adaptive…

Yac is reinventing voicemail for the Slack generation

With distributed workforces all the rage in the tech community these days, startups are trying to build new tools to keep those teams connected and communicating in the ways that make folks most comfortable. One of these companies is the Orlando, Fla.-based startup, Yac, which just raised $1.5 million in financing from a clutch of…

Brooke Hammerling on how early stage startups should think about PR

It’s easy to remember the big names in tech. But we often forget about the operators who help them along the way. When it comes to the person behind the person, few are as notable and experienced as Brooke Hammerling. I sat down with the Brew PR founder (and new pop culture newsletter author), who…

Mobile payment app Lydia raises $45 million round led by Tencent

French startup Lydia is raising a $45 million Series B round (€40 million). Tencent is leading the round with existing investors CNP Assurances, XAnge and New Alpha also participating. If you live in France, chances are you already know Lydia quite well. The company has become a ubiquitous mobile payment app, especially for people under…

Mass surveillance for national security does conflict with EU privacy rights, court advisor suggests

Mass surveillance regimes in the UK, Belgium and France which require bulk collection of digital data for a national security purpose may be at least partially in breach of fundamental privacy rights of European Union citizens, per the opinion of an influential advisor to Europe’s top court issued today. Advocate general Campos Sánchez-Bordona’s (non-legally binding)…

Sophie Alcorn, Rebecca Lynn, MG Siegler and Garry Tan are joining us for Early Stage SF

One of the most valuable resources in the tech startup community is mentorship. Founders, tackling brand new challenges and adapting to a rapidly changing world, can sometimes feel like no one understands what they’re going through. But alas, the Early Stage SF event in April will most certainly prove them wrong. Early Stage will bring…

Hulu to debut new ad formats in 2020 focused on letting users make choices, transact with advertisers

Hulu is preparing to roll out new forms of advertising this year — one which will allow viewers to have more say in the ads that plays, and another that lets the viewer engage with the brand in question, either by getting information sent directly to their mobile phone or by using QR codes. In…

Kadena fulfills hybrid blockchain vision with launch of public chain

For the last few years blockchain startup Kadena, has been working on a vision of bringing blockchain to the enterprise. Today it announced the final piece of that vision with the launch of the Kadena public blockchain. In earlier releases, the company offered the ability to build private blockchains on AWS or Azure. Company co-founder…

Former Docker CEO Steve Singh joins Madrona

Madrona Venture Group announced today that is has hired former Docker CEO Steve Singh as a managing director at the firm. Singh stepped down as CEO of Docker last May and Seattle-based Madrona seems like logical landing spot. He is a long-time resident of Seattle, and has been working behind the scenes with Madrona for…

Customer data platform ActionIQ raises $32M

ActionIQ co-founder and CEO Tasso Argyros knows that there are plenty of companies promising to help businesses use their customer data to deliver personalized experiences — as he put it, “The space has gotten very, very hot over the last couple of years.” But in the face of growing competition, ActionIQ (founded in 2014 and…

Austin-based FlashParking raises $60 million for parking management technology

FlashParking, an Austin-based developer of parking management software and services has raised $60 million in new financing from the private equity investment firm L Catterton. The company’s software, first launched in 2011, provides real-time data and variable pricing options for parking space providers. FlashParking’s chief executive, Juan Rodriguez, envisions his company’s software and services as…

App stores saw record 204 billion app downloads in 2019, consumer spend of $120 billion

Consumers downloaded a record 204 billion apps in 2019, up 6% from 2018 and up 45% since 2016, and spent $120 billion on apps, subscriptions and other in-app spending in the past year. The average mobile user, meanwhile, is spending 3.7 hours per day using apps. This data and more comes from App Annie’s annual…

Google finally brings its security key feature to iPhones

More than half a year after Google said Android phones could be used as a security key, the feature is coming to iPhones. Google said it’ll bring the feature to iPhones in an effort to give at-risk users, like journalist and politicians, access to additional account and security safeguards, effectively removing the need to use…

Verbit raises $31M Series B to expand its transcription and captioning service

Verbit, a Tel Aviv- and New York-based startup that provides AI-assisted transcription and captioning services to professional users, today announced that it has raised a $31 million Series B round led by growth equity firm Stripes. Existing investors Viola Ventures, Vertex Ventures, HV Ventures, Oryzn Capital and ClalTech are also participating in the round, which…

Zinier raises $90M to automate filed service management

Zinier, a startup that is bringing automation to the field service management realm, announced today that it has raised $90 million in fresh funding as it looks to tackle new categories and court more clients. The San Francisco-based startup said its $90 million Series C financing round was led by ICONIQ Capital and saw participation…

Cloudflare is giving away its security tools to US political campaigns

Network security giant Cloudflare said it will provide its security tools and services to U.S. political campaigns for free, as part of its efforts to secure upcoming elections against cyberattacks and election interference. The company said its new Cloudflare for Campaigns offering will include distributed denial-of-service attack mitigation, load balancing for campaign websites, a website…

The crypto rich find security in Anchorage

Not the city, the $57 million-funded cryptocurrency custodian startup. When someone wants to keep tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other coins safe, they put them in Anchorage’s vault. And now they can trade straight from custody so they never have to worry about getting robbed mid-transaction. With backing from…

Submissions for The Europas Tech Startups Awards are now open

Submissions for The Europas Awards 2020 have now opened. We’re back for our 11th year of recognizing the hottest tech startups across the European tech scene, as supported by TechCrunch. The awards evening will be held on 25 June 2020 in London, UK, at the ‘Museum of the Home‘ (formerly known as the Geffrye Museum).…

Felix Capital closes $300M fund to double down on DTC, break into fintech and make late-stage deals

To kick off 2020, one of Europe’s newer — and more successful — investment firms has closed a fresh, oversubscribed fund, one sign that VC in the region will continue to run strong in the year ahead after startups across Europe raised between $35 billion and $36 billion in 2019. Felix Capital, the London VC…

Insurify raises $23M Series A to add new coverage varietals, boost its marketing efforts

The venture-backed insurance world is more than the Lemonades and MetroMiles of the world. There’s more room in the industry for startups to shake things up. One such company, Cambridge-based Insurify, is out today with a new venture round that greatly expands its capital base. The startup, which had accepted just $6.6 million over two…

Grover tops up debt facility to €250M to scale its renting model for consumer electronics

Grover, the Berlin-based startup that offers “pay-as-you-go” subscriptions to the latest consumer tech, including e-scooters, has closed a new “asset-backed” financing deal, topping up an existing debt facility with Varengold Bank to a total of €250 million. The additional capital will fuel the next phase of growth as the German company has entered scale-up territory.…

Dear Spotify, add rabbits to your pet playlists

I there’s one thing I know, it’s that music is the best thing our species has every created. If there are two things I know, it’s the music thing and also that that rabbits aren’t hamsters. Listen, Spotify, I get the whole pet playlists thing. A curated playlist based on your listening preferences and a…

Anyline, the Austrian startup that provides OCR tech, picks up $12M Series A and heads to the US

Anyline, the Vienna-based provider of optical character recognition (OCR) technology that developers use to build OCR functions into their websites and apps, has raised $12 million in Series A funding. The company has also unveiled plans for a U.S. expansion. Leading the round is Berlin-based VC firm Project A, with participation from Anyline’s existing investors,…

Oviva scores $21M Series B to bring its digital diabetes treatment to more of Europe

Oviva, the health tech startup that provides a digital solution for Type 2 diabetes treatment in Europe, has raised $21 million in Series B funding. Leading the round is MTIP, with participation by new investor Earlybird, and existing investors AlbionVC, F-Prime Capital, Eight Roads Ventures and Partech. Oviva says the new capital will be used…

Another women-led venture firm gains momentum, with Uber exec Rachel Holt as cofounder

Last November, Axios reported that New Enterprise Associates partner Dayna Grayson was leaving the storied venture firm after roughly six years to launch her own shop in Washington, D.C. called Construct Capital. Today, we know Grayson has company, no pun intended. Rachel Holt, one of Uber’s first employees and until now its head of new…

Amazon to invest $1 billion to digitize small businesses in India

India welcomed Jeff Bezos this week with an antitrust probe. On top of that, thousands of small merchants who typically compete with one another are gathering in the capital city New Delhi to hold a protest against the alleged predatory practices of the e-commerce giant. But Amazon founder and chief executive’s love for one of…

Obvious Ventures closes an irrationally-sized third fund

Obvious Ventures, the firm co-founded by Medium CEO and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, announced today that it has closed its third fund “OV3” at $271,828,182, a number that the graphing calculator-owning among us may recognize as e or Euler’s number. When asked whether the firm had to return any LP money just so it could…

Paper-rich startup employees look for ‘pre-wealth’ help to lock down stock options

For Silicon Valley’s potential startup millionaires, compensation packages staked on future promises of wealth are where the action is. But what happens when these employees get laid off or have to leave before an exit? When Wouter Witvoet left a startup that he had joined as employee #4, he felt relatively prepared, having set aside…

Hipmunk’s co-founders tried to buy it back before the shutdown

In a little over a week, the travel metasearch engine Hipmunk will shut down. It’s an abrupt and disappointing end for a product acquired by SAP Concur around three and a half years ago. It didn’t have to go this way, though. We’re now hearing that Hipmunk co-founders Adam Goldstein and Reddit CEO Steve Huffman…

GaN chargers are still worth getting excited about

Listen. Chargers aren’t sexy. You know it. I know. Charger companies know it, regardless of what they tell you in their pitch deck. Honestly, you’d be hard-pressed to think of too many electronic accessories less utilitarian. Dongles, maybe? Cord wraps? But I want it known that I’m still capable of being excited about them —…

Don’t be a selfless startup

One of the enduring truths of big companies is that they aren’t innovative. They are “innovative” in the marketing sense, but fail to ever execute on new ideas, particularly when those ideas cannibalize existing products and revenues. So it often takes a real competitor to force these incumbent, legacy businesses to evolve in any meaningful…

Is Instacart’s wider rollout of Pickup an attempt to sidestep labor laws?

Earlier today, Instacart more widely rolled out its Pickup product, which enables customers to retrieve groceries directly from stores. The move comes just a day after Instacart shoppers unveiled their latest action to #DeleteInstacart, another step in the ongoing series of protests against the grocery startup’s wage and tipping practices. Next Monday, Instacart workers are…

Rocket Lab to open a new combined HQ, mission control and production facility in Long Beach

Rocket Lab is expanding its U.S. footprint, alongside the opening of its first launch site on Wallops Island, Va. The rocket launch startup will open a new corporate headquarters in Long Beach, Calif. at a facility that will also provide some production capabilities, and act as its second Mission Control Center, complementing its existing Mission…

Google acquires AppSheet to bring no-code development to Google Cloud

Google announced today that it is buying AppSheet, an eight-year-old no-code mobile-application-building platform. The company had raised more than $17 million on a $60 million valuation, according to PitchBook data. The companies did not share the purchase price. With AppSheet, Google gets a simple way for companies to build mobile apps without having to write…

Four years after being acquired, Hipmunk is shutting down

If you’re still using Hipmunk for trip planning, it’s time to find another site. Sooner than later, really. The Hipmunk team announced this afternoon that it’ll be shutting down in just about a week’s time. Come January 23rd, says the blog post, both the Hipmunk website and app will be shuttered. The team also tweeted:…

Delta Air Lines’ startup partnerships are fueling innovation

For the first time, this year Delta Air Lines had a large presence at CES. The carrier used much of its space to highlight the “parallel reality” screens developed by Misapplied Sciences and Sarcos Robotics, which brought its latest Guardian exoskeleton. At the show, I sat down with COO Gil West, an industry veteran with…

Reading Ted Chiang’s The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate

What would we do if we could visit our own pasts or futures? Are we more likely to change our timelines, or will our timelines actually project themselves back on to us more forcefully? This is the first discussion post of this beta-testing, informal TechCrunch book club, which is starting with the first short story…

Tesla is now selling a t-shirt commemorating Cybertruck shattered window flub

Tesla apparently isn’t afraid to embrace some of its more embarrassing moments when doing so will likely lead to moving lost of mercy – the automaker is now selling a t-shirt emblazoned with a graphic of the shatter incurred in the Cybertruck’s driver side window when the controversial pick-up truck design was officially unveiled at…

Daily Crunch: Visa makes a $5.3 billion acquisition

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Visa is acquiring Plaid for $5.3 billion, 2x its final private valuation You can compare what Plaid does to Stripe —…

Microsoft and NSA say security bug affects millions of Windows 10 computers

Microsoft has released a security patch for a dangerous vulnerability affecting hundreds of millions of computers running Windows 10. The vulnerability is found in a decades-old Windows cryptographic component, known as CryptoAPI. The component has a range of functions, one of which allows developers to digitally sign their software, proving that the software has not…

Kubernetes gets a bug bounty program

The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) today announced its first bug bounty program for Kubernetes, the ubiquitous container orchestration system originally built by Google. To run this program, the CNCF is partnering with Google and HackerOne and bounties will range from $100 to $10,000. Kubernetes already has a Product Security Committee that includes engineers from…

Instagram tests Direct Messaging on web where encryption fails

Instagram will finally let you chat from your web browser, but the launch contradicts Facebook’s plan for end-to-end encryption in all its messaging apps. Today Instagram began testing Direct Messages on the web for a small percentage of users around the globe, a year after TechCrunch reported it was testing web DMs. When fully rolled…

Ubiquity6 launches a studio editor built for the real-world

“The time is over for Unity,” Ubiquity6 CEO Anjney Mdiha says. “It’s just not the future.” Even though 2019 was a rough year for augmented reality startups, Ubiquity6 remains ambitious as one of the better-capitalized players in the space. In 2018, the startup closed $27 million from Benchmark and Index Ventures; they’ve raised $37.5 million…

A look inside Visa’s shareholder presentation for the $5.3B Plaid deal

Fresh off the news yesterday that Visa is buying fintech unicorn Plaid for $5.3 billion, the payments giant is making its case to its shareholders. Given the scale of the deal, and the implied bet that Visa is making on the future of its market, the company prepared a presentation, which means we get to…

Announcing the Agenda for Robotics & AI – March 3 at UC Berkeley

We’re bringing TC Sessions: Robotics + AI back to UC Berkeley on March 3, and we’re excited to announce our jam-packed agenda.  For months we’ve been recruiting speakers from the ranks of the most innovative founders, top technologists and hard-charging VCs working in robotics and AI, and the speaker line-up will capture the remarkable acceleration across…

Seattle’s ExtraHop expects $100M ARR in 2020, IPO the following year

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Today we’re continuing our series on companies that have reached the $100 million annual recurring revenue (ARR) threshold, or are about to. ExtraHop is the company of the day, a Seattle-based firm that deals with…

Tradeshift raises $240M and appears to put its expected IPO on hold — for now

Tradeshift — the startup which set out to disrupt the traditional arena of supply chain payments and marketplaces when it first appeared in 2008 — has today announced a new funding round of $240 million in equity and debt, raised from a combination of existing and new investors. The funding will be used to help…

Google wants to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome within two years

Google today announced its plans to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome within the next two years. The fact that Google will drop support for these cookies, which are typically used to track users across the web, doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise, given Google’s announcements around privacy in Chrome, including its proposed…

Disney+ was the most downloaded app in the U.S. in Q4 2019

U.S. consumers have shown strong interest in Disney’s new family-friendly streaming service, Disney+, according to new data from Sensor Tower, which focused app trends in the final quarter of 2019. Following the app’s mid-November launch in the U.S., Disney+ was downloaded over 30 million times in Q4 2019 — that’s more than double its next…

MicroEJ is taking over IoT on Earth and beyond

The internet of things (IoT) market is expanding at a rate where distinguishing it as a separate category is beginning to seem a bit absurd. Increasingly, new products — and updates of existing ones — are smart and/or connected. One company is changing the fundamental calculus behind this shift by lowering the barrier considerably when…

Google is buying Pointy, a startup that helps brick-and-mortar retailers list products online

Google has been on a long-term mission to build inroads into the world of e-commerce by working more closely with brick-and-mortar retailers, and now it looks like it plans to extend that work a little further. The search giant is acquiring Pointy, a startup out of Dublin, Ireland, which has built hardware and software technology…

Instacart upgrades its pickup service with new features, adds alcohol pickup option

Instacart announced today a series of new features for its Pickup service, as well as the appointment of a new General Manager, Sarah Mastrorocco, to lead the Instacart Pickup product and team. The grocery pickup service has been steadily growing alongside Instacart delivery, having tripled the number of states and doubled the number of grocery…

The robot homecoming is upon us

Robots were everywhere at CES, as has been the case for at least a decade. But there’s a different tenor to the robots shown off at the recent annual consumer tech event: they’re designed for home use, and they’re shipping products, not just concepts intended strictly for trade show glam. Home robots have already had…

Orbex lands TriSept as a customer for rideshare rocket launch mission in 2022

Space launch startup Orbex has secured a customer for its forthcoming Prime space launch vehicle: TriSept, a provider of launch integration services for both commercial and government customers. TriSept has booked the full capacity of a rideshare mission aboard an Orbex Prime rocket to take off sometime in 2022, which should work schedule-wise provided Orbex…

Equinix is acquiring bare metal cloud provider Packet

Equinix announced today that is acquiring bare metal cloud provider Packet. The New York City startup that had raised over $36 million on a $100 million valuation, according to Pitchbook data. Equinix has a set of data centers and co-locations facilities around the world. Companies that may want to have more control over their hardware…

Dating and fertility apps among those snitching to “out of control” adtech, report finds

The latest report to warn that surveillance capitalism is out of control — and ‘free’ digital services can in fact be very costly to people’s privacy and rights — comes courtesy of the Norwegian Consumer Council which has published an analysis of how popular apps are sharing user data with the behavioral ad industry. It suggests…

Spotify and Warner Chappell end dispute in India, sign global licensing deal

Spotify is ending its year-long dispute with Warner Music’s publishing firm. The world’s largest music streaming service said on Tuesday that it has inked a global licensing agreement with Warner Chappell. The announcement today marks the end of their litigation before the Bombay High Court, where Warner Music was seeking an injunction to prevent Spotify from using…

US patents hit record 333,530 granted in 2019; IBM, Samsung (not the FAANGs) lead the pack

We may have moved on from a nearly-daily cycle of news involving tech giants sparring in courts over intellectual property infringement, but patents continue to be a major cornerstone of how companies and people measure their progress and create moats around the work that they have done in hopes of building that into profitable enterprises…

Travel aggregator Omio hops over the pond to launch in North America

Travel aggregator Omio, which operates a multimodal transport planning and booking platform for intercity and long distance tips, has hopped over the pond to launch in North America — its first market outside its home base of Europe. From today, consumers in the U.S. and Canada can use Omio’s website or app to compare prices,…

Comcast launches SportsTech startup accelerator with NASCAR and others

Comcast NBCUniversal believes its can access startup innovation while supporting future Olympic gold-medalists. The American mass media company launched its new SportsTech accelerator today, based in part, on that impetus. TechCrunch attended a briefing with Comcast execs at 30 Rock NYC to learn more about the initiative. The SportsTech accelerator is a partnership across Comcast…

Sony Interactive will skip E3 again this year

Sony Interactive Entertainment will skip E3 again this year and participate instead in “hundreds of consumer events across the globe,” the company told GamesIndustry.biz today. The company, which is preparing to launch the PlayStation 5 before this holiday season, missed the show for the first time last year, after two decades of being one of…

Codagenix raises $20 million for a new flu vaccine and other therapies

Coadagenix, a company developing vaccines and viral therapies for illnesses ranging from the flu and respiratory viruses to dengue fever has raised $20 million in a new round of financing. The company’s new investment round was led by Adjuvant Capital with additional participation from Euclidean Capital and Topspin Partners . Codagenix will use the funds…

Kids with lazy eye can be treated just by letting them watch TV on this special screen

Amblyopia, commonly called lazy eye, is a medical condition that adversely affects the eyesight of millions, but if caught early can be cured altogether — unfortunately this usually means months of wearing an eye patch. NovaSight claims successful treatment with nothing more than an hour a day in front of its special display. The condition…

Oscar Health now has 400,000 members and expects to bring in $2 billion by the end of 2020

Oscar Health, the upstart healthcare insurance company and technology developer, expects to have roughly 400,000 members insured under its healthcare plans, who collectively will bring in roughly $2 billion in revenue for the company by the end of 2020, according to slides of a presentation from the JP Morgan Healthcare conference seen by TechCrunch. Those…

Atrium lays off lawyers, explains pivot to legal tech

$75 million-funded legal services startup Atrium doesn’t want to be the next company to implode as the tech industry tightens its belt and businesses chase margins instead of growth via unsustainable economics. That’s why Atrium is laying off most of its   in-house lawyers. Now, Atrium will focus on its software for startups navigating fundraising, hiring,…

Visa is acquiring Plaid for $5.3 billion, 2x its final private valuation

Visa announced today that it is buying financial services API startup Plaid for $5.3 billion.  Plaid develops financial services APIs. It is akin to what Stripe does for payments, but instead of facilitating payments, it helps developers share banking and other financial information more easily. It’s the kind of service that makes sense for a…

Have we hit peak smartphone?

Last Halloween, we broke down some “good news” from a Canalys report: the smartphone industry saw one-percent year-over-year growth — not exactly the sort of thing that sparks strong consumer confidence. In short, 2019 sucked for smartphones, as did the year before. After what was nearly an ascendant decade, sales petered off globally with few…

Transforming #MeToo into the industry’s first investor clause

Elizabeth Gore Contributor Share on Twitter Elizabeth Gore is co-founder and president of Alice, a free multi-channel platform powered by AI technology that guides business owners by providing access to funding, networks and services. More posts by this contributor What do you call a ‘non-entrepreneur? Cuba’s best hackers 3 industries being disrupted in developing countries…

Google brings IBM Power Systems to its cloud

As Google Cloud looks to convince more enterprises to move to its platform, it needs to be able to give businesses an onramp for their existing legacy infrastructure and workloads that they can’t easily replace or move to the cloud. A lot of those workloads run on IBM Power Systems with their Power processors and…

Another former Kleiner partner launches a fund; this time it’s Lynn Chou O’Keefe with Define Ventures

Kleiner is known for many things. Among them, increasingly, is the growing number of people who’ve logged time at the firm, then struck out on their own to hang their own shingles. The latest among them: Lynne Chou O’Keefe, who joined Kleiner Perkins in 2013 as a partner in its life sciences group, where she…

Wear your helmet, concludes new study showing electronic scooter injuries have nearly tripled in the last four years

Taking a ride on an electronic scooter soon? Wear your helmet! According to a recent study published in JAMA Surgery, not wearing headgear or taking other precautions while riding is increasingly sending young people to the hospital — leading to more than 40,000 broken bones, head wounds and other injuries. Unfortunately, less than 5% of…

Building long-tail success after a breakout game

For many gamers, Pokémon GO was an exciting fad that ate up their summer and was just another chapter in a franchise. A lot of these people would already treat the game like some sort of nostalgic mid-2010s hit, but the game is minting cash from users at a more expansive rate that ever. A…

Disrupting Space: A new event from TechCrunch

Every radical turn in technology history has its great entrepreneur, and for space that person is SpaceX founder Elon Musk. His unswerving conviction that “space must be affordable” led him to disrupt the old-school space launch industry with reusable Falcon 9 boosters, an achievement that has inspired hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors to take up…

Quibi execs Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman explain their big vision

Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Quibi executives — including CEO Meg Whitman and founder/chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg — took the stage in a keynote laying out their vision for the mobile video service. Katzenberg is a longtime Hollywood executive who led Walt Disney Studios during its animation renaissance in the late…

Away co-founder Steph Korey, who allegedly fostered a toxic culture, is back

Away co-founder Steph Korey, the one who stepped down as CEO following reports of her role in creating a toxic culture, is back at the helm of the luggage startup, The New York Times reports. The original plan was for Lululemon COO Stuart Haselden to take over today and, in a way, he will. Though,…

Adobe Experience Manager now offered as cloud-native SaaS application

Adobe announced today that Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is now available as a cloud-native SaaS application. Prior to this, it was available on premises or as a managed service, but it wasn’t pure cloud-native. Obviously being available as a cloud service makes sense for customers, and offers all of the value you would get from…

Tesla surges past $500 on back of analyst upgrade, China momentum

Today in regular trading, shares of American electric car manufacturer Tesla surged past the $500 mark. Tesla, perhaps the most famous electric vehicle company in the world, has had tumultuous last twelve months on the public markets. The company’s shares have traded as low as $176.99 in the past 52 weeks, and, as has high…

Grab ‘em quick: More tickets released for 3rd Annual Winter Party at Galvanize

You better move fast if you want to party with us and 1,000 of your closest startup entrepreneur and investor friends. We just released a fresh round of tickets to our 3rd Annual Winter Party at Galvanize in San Francisco on February 7. Tickets are limited, and they fly off the shelf faster than you…

Casper’s IPO could be a bellwether for unprofitable startups in the post-WeWork era

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Today we’re working to figure something out, namely the tradeoffs that D2C unicorn (and soon to be public company) Casper faces as it seeks to balance growth and profitability. And then we’re going to stack…

Google Cloud launches new solutions for retailers

It’s no secret that the Google Cloud management team has decided to focus its efforts on a select number of enterprise verticals like healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, energy and life sciences. Retail, too, has long been a growth market for the company, especially as Amazon’s competitors are looking to run their services on clouds that…

Samsung acquires TeleWorld Solutions to help build 5G infrastructure

Samsung this morning announced that it has completed the acquisition of TeleWorld Solutions. The Virginia-based telecommunications company provides wireless networking and consulting services. It’s TWS’s 5G solutions that Samsung is clearly the most interested in as part of this deal. The electronics giant says it plans to leverage TWS’s services to help U.S.-based networks build…

Equity Monday: Away’s CEO plans comeback while SaaS valuations rise and epiFI raises

Good morning friends, and welcome back to TechCrunch’s Equity Monday, a short-form audio hit to kickstart your week. Regular Equity episodes still drop Friday morning, so if you’ve listened to the show over the years don’t worry — we’re not changing the main show. (Here’s last week’s episode with Danny Crichton, which was a lot…

Bossa Nova’s inventory robots are rolling out in 1,000 Walmart stores

Bay Area-based Bossa Nova Robotics this morning announced plans to bring its shelf-scanning inventory robot to 1,000 Walmart stores in the U.S. The plan adds an additional 650 locations to the growing army of retail robots, up front its current number of 350. It’s a sizable presence for the startup, which was founded in Pittsburgh…

Zebra’s SmartSight inventory robot keeps an eye on store shelves

How many times have you gone into a store and found the shelves need restocking of the very item you came in for? This is a frequent problem and it’s difficult, especially in larger retail establishments, to keep on top of stocking requirements. Zebra Technologies has a solution: a robot that scans the shelves and…

Salesforce announces new tools to boost developer experience on Commerce Cloud

Salesforce announced some new developer tools today, designed to make it easier for programmers to build applications on top of Commerce Cloud in what is known in industry parlance as a “headless” system. What that means is that developers can separate the content from the design and management of the site, allowing companies to change…

India orders investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices by Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart

India ordered a large-scale investigation into Flipkart and Amazon India on Monday after a retail trade group alleged that the e-commerce giants were indulging in anti-competitive practices to gain foothold in the country. Competition Commission of India (CCI), the local antitrust body, highlighted a wide gamut of issues including the arrangements between smartphone vendors and…

ToursByLocals snaps up its first funding, $33M, to link sightseers with guides globally

The tours and experiences market is projected to be worth $183 billion this year, and today a startup that has made inroads into the space through bootstrapping is announcing its first outside investment. ToursByLocals — which sources local guides in some 162 countries, and then helps tourists search and book them for either individual or…

Skyqraft, a startup using AI and drones for electricity power-line inspection, raises $505K

Skyqraft, a Swedish startup using AI and drones for electricity power-line inspection, has picked up $505,000 in early backing. Leading the round is “startup generator” and investor Antler, with participation from a number of angels including Claes Ekström and Tomas Kåberger. Founded in March 2019 and launched that September, Skyqraft provides what it calls “smart”…

Jolt raises $14.1M for its ‘pay-monthly’ business school

Jolt, an education startup that describes itself as an alternative to traditional MBA courses, has raised $14.1 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Balderton Capital, with participation from Hillsven Capital and Octopus Ventures. It brings Jolt’s total funding to $23.3 million in three years. The company plans to use the additional…

Startups Weekly: In a crowded field of unicorns, ClassPass becomes another unicorn

I hope you’ve all had a good week. Normally I’m behind the scenes (where I’m most comfortable), but I’ll be managing the Startups Weekly newsletter until I assign it to someone else. More on that in a few weeks. Want it in your inbox? Sign up here for this and other great newsletters we have…

Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘6 Underground’ is very fun and very dumb

Netflix’s “6 Underground” feels like a movie that belongs on the big screen. Sure, it isn’t part of a giant franchise (yet), and it doesn’t feature any well-known superheroes — but it does star “Deadpool”‘s Ryan Reynolds as a wise-cracking hero who criss-crosses the globe, going from one spectacularly destructive set piece to another. And…

Former Google Pay execs raise $13.2M to build neo-banking platform for millennials in India

Two co-founders of Google Pay in India are building a neo-banking platform in the country — and they have already secured backing from three top VC funds. Sujith Narayanan, a veteran payments executive who co-founded Google Pay in India (formerly known as Google Tez), said on Monday that his startup, epiFi, has raised $13.2 million…

CES was a snoozefest

At a certain point during the last week, I found myself wandering the halls of CES, looking for the gadget that would fix all of my problems. Maybe it’s the modern condition, or just a sign of having been involved in this industry for far too long. Technology, of course, has a long and sometimes…

Identifying opportunities in today’s saturated cybersecurity market

Yoav Leitersdorf is the founder of YL Ventures, a 12-year-old, Mill Valley, California.-based seed-stage venture firm that invests narrowly in Israeli cybersecurity startups and closed its fourth fund with $120 million in capital commitments last summer — a vehicle that brings the capital it now manages to $260 million. The outfit takes a concentrated approach…

China Roundup: WeChat’s new focus on monetization

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. At the beginning of each year, a large crowd of developers, content creators and digitally-savvy business owners gather in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou…

R.I.P. Goofy Times

A strange new sensation has settled across the tech industry, one so foreign, so alien, it’s almost hard to recognize. A sense that some great expectations are being radically revised downwards; that someone has turned down a previously unquenchable money spigot; that unit economics can matter even when you’re in growth mode. Could it be…

Smasung launches the rugged, enterprise-ready Galaxy XCover Pro

We got a bit of a surprise at the end of CES: some hands-on time with Samsung’s latest rugged phone for the enterprise, the Galaxy XCover Pro. The XCover Pro, which is officially launching today, is a mid-range $499 phone for first-line workers like flight attendants, construction workers or nurses. It is meant to be…

Week in Review: The old Vision Fund heave-ho

Hey everyone, welcome back to Week in Review where I dive deep into a bit of news from the week or just share some thoughts and go over some of the more interesting stories of the week. If you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site, you can get this in your inbox here, and follow…

After delays, noise-adapting NuraLoop earbuds are coming soon and sound great

A few buffet mistakes aside, NuraLoop were the biggest disappointment of my 2019 CES. When the headphones showed up at the show as dummy units, it hurt my heart a little. The original Nuraphones made an appearance on my 2017 best of the year list, and the idea of a portable version I could take…

Shapemeasure’s lasers and automation let carpenters measure once and cut never – TechCrunch

It would be nice in construction jobs if everything was perfectly squared off in standard sizes, but it rarely is. Shapemeasure uses a custom-built lidar unit to very precisely measure the dimensions of a project, like stairs or cabinets, including nearly invisible flaws. This information is sent to a robotic lumber processor that creates all…

This Week in Apps: Apple’s record holiday, Pokémon Go’s staying power, a spying tool gets the boot

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 203 billion downloads in 2019 and $119 billion in consumer spending, according to preliminary year-end data…

The electric scooter wars of 2019

Throughout 2019, a number of mobility companies launched in additional markets, while many pulled out of areas that no longer served them. Meanwhile, transportation startups continued to raise more money even as they laid off employees, a sign that industry consolidation has officially begun. In October, Bird raised a $275 million Series D round at…

At CES, companies slowly start to realize that privacy matters

Every year, Consumer Electronics Show attendees receive a branded backpack, but this year’s edition was special; made out of transparent plastic, the bag’s contents were visible without the wearer needing to unzip. It isn’t just a fashion decision. Over the years, security has become more intense and cumbersome, but attendees with transparent backpacks didn’t have…

Feles is making desktop biotech kits for hobbyists and educators – TechCrunch

Most work in biology relies on a handful of common tests and equipment, but you rarely find them outside dedicated labs. Feles wants to make these tests accessible to people who don’t have those resources with its desktop biolab. It has a centrifuge, spectrometer, incubator, thermocycler, refrigerator and more, all in a device the size…

Waymo’s Anca Dragan and Ike Robotics CTO Jur van den Berg are coming to TC Sessions: Robotics + AI

The road to “solving” self-driving cars is riddled with challenges from perception and decision making to figuring out the interaction between human and robots. Today we’re announcing that joining us at TC Sessions: Robotics+AI on March 3 at UC Berkeley are two experts who play important roles in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicle…

In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 followers

David Teten Contributor Share on Twitter David Teten is an advisor to emerging investment managers and a Venture Partner with HOF Capital. He was previously a partner for 8 years with HOF Capital and ff Venture Capital. David writes regularly at teten.com and @dteten. More posts by this contributor These new data sources are creating…

Amazon fires employees for leaking customer email addresses and phone numbers

Amazon has fired a number of employees after they shared customer email address and phone numbers with a third-party “in violation of our policies.” The email to customers sent Friday afternoon, seen by TechCrunch, said an employee was “terminated” for sharing the data, and that the company is supporting law enforcement in their prosecution. Amazon…

Amazon has fired an employee for leaking user email addresses and phone numbers

Amazon has fired an employee after it shared customer email address and phone number with a third-party “in violation of our policies,” according to an email seen by TechCrunch. The email, which was sent to customers on Friday afternoon, said the employee was “terminated” and the company is supporting law enforcement in their prosecution. “No…

A billion medical images are exposed online, as doctors ignore warnings

This story was reported in partnership with health news site The Mighty. Every day, millions of new medical images containing the personal health information of patients are spilling out onto the internet. Hundreds of hospitals, medical offices and imaging centers are running insecure storage systems, allowing anyone with an internet connection and free-to-download software to…

Cross-border investments aren’t dead, they’re getting smarter

Yohei Nakajima Contributor Share on Twitter Yohei Nakajima is an investor at Scrum Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund based in San Francisco, and Senior Vice President at Scrum Studio, helping global corporations connect and work with innovative startups. In recent years, the venture capital and startup worlds have seen a significant shift towards globalization.…

Instagram’s Boomerang evolves with SloMo, Echo, & Duo effects

Nearly five years after launching, Instagram’s back-and-forth video loop maker Boomerang is finally getting a big update. Users around the globe can now  add SlowMo, “Echo” blurring, and “Duo” rapid rewind special effects to their Boomerangs, as well as trim their length. This is the biggest creative upgrade yet for one of mobile’s most popular…

CES takes half-baked stance on cannabis

A cannabis company won a CES award for 2020. Called Keep, the desktop storage device features biometric security to secure cannabis products, and looks good while doing it. The CTA gave them an Innovations Award Nominee in October and then weeks later told the company they were unable to use the word “cannabis” when exhibiting.…

GM to release an electric Hummer pickup, per report

General Motors could be bringing back the Hummer brand. According to this report by The Wall Street Journal, an all-electric Hummer pickup will be sold under the GMC brand and LeBron James is enlisted to help market the vehicle. There are no details about the pickup’s capability, including electric range or seating capacity. The move…

Alphabet’s controversial chief legal officer David Drummond is leaving, saying he has decided to retire

The changing of the guard at Alphabet continues. Roughly one month after Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced they’d be stepping down as the CEO and president of the search giant’s parent company, one of their top lieutenants, Alphabet’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, told employees that he, too, is leaving the company. In…

Rappi and Oyo pare staff as Vision Fund companies trim costs, target profits

This week we’ve covered layoffs at unicorns both inside the Vision Fund and out. This afternoon we add two more to our list: Oyo and Rappi. The staff reductions are surprising — and not. They are surprising, as Oyo (India-based, low-cost hotels) and Rappi (Latin America-focused e-commerce) were bright lights in the Vision Fund’s crown.…

Casper files to go public, shows you can lose money selling mattresses

E-commerce phenom and D2C bright light Casper has filed to go public. The New York-based company that raised nearly $340 million while private, according to Crunchbase data, expects to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “CSPR.” Its S-1 filing includes a $100 million placeholder figure for its possible capital raise.…

A sex tech startup’s triumphant return to CES

When the Lora DiCarlo wagon finally arrives, the rolling glass box’s back door opens and another journalist pops out to get on his way. The sex tech company has a week packed full with 20-minute rolling interviews with a curious tech press. No time to spare; I step up, sit down, and we’re on our…

Cookie consent tools are being used to undermine EU privacy rules, study suggests

Most cookie consent pop-ups served to Internet users in the European Union — ostensibly seeking permission to track people’s web activity — are likely to be flouting regional privacy laws, a new study by researchers at MIT, UCL and Aarhus University suggests. “The results of our empirical survey of CMPs [consent management platforms] today illustrates…

Layoffs at Lime and Getaround herald rise of profit-hungry unicorns

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Positive adjusted EBITDA, or something close to it. That’s the message from scooter unicorn Lime, which announced this week that it was cutting about 14% of…

Sisense CEO Amir Orad explains why he raised $100M

Yesterday, Sisense, a player in the business intelligence space, announced a $100 million investment. As TechCrunch reported, the round pushed the company’s valuation north of the $1 billion mark, making Sisense the world’s newest unicorn. That moniker will last a day, we’re sure. TechCrunch caught up with Sisense CEO Amir Orad and CMO Harry Glaser…

Mozilla says a new Firefox security bug is under active attack

Mozilla has warned Firefox users to update their browser to the latest version after security researchers found a vulnerability that hackers were actively exploiting in “targeted attacks” against users. The vulnerability, found by Chinese security company Qihoo 360, was found in Firefox’s just-in-time compiler. The compiler is tasked with speeding up performance of JavaScript to…

Cherry goes downmarket with its new Viola mechanical keyboard switches

Cherry has long been the de facto standard for mechanical keyboard switches. Since mechanical keyboards are, almost by default, significantly more expensive than membrane or dome-switch keyboards, that has kept the company out a large part of the market. Now, on the last day of CES 2020, the company is launching its new Viola switch,…

Lucky coffee, unicorn stumbles, and Sam Altman’s YC wager

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week we had TechCrunch’s Alex Wilhelm and Danny Crichton on hand to dig into the news, with Chris Gates on the dials and more news than we could possibly cram into 30 minutes. So we went…

DuckDuckGo still critical of Google’s EU Android choice screen auction, after wining a universal slot

Google has announced which search engines have won an auction process it has devised for an Android ‘choice screen’ — as its response to an antitrust intervention by the region’s competition regulator. The prompt is shown to users of Android smartphones in the European Union as they set up a device, asking them to choose…

Just Spices, the German spice mix startup, raises €13M Series B

Just Spices, the German-founded spice mix brand, is disclosing €13 million in Series B funding. The round is led by Five Seasons Ventures and Coefficient Capital, with Bitburger Ventures also joining. A direct to consumer play, Just Spices offers two main product lines: Spice Mixes and “IN MINUTES”. The first consists of various spice blends,…

India’s top court rules indefinite internet shutdown in Kashmir unwarranted and amount to abuse of power

India’s top court ruled on Friday that the indefinite shutdown of the internet in Kashmir was unwarranted and demonstrated “abuse of power” by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi -led government. India cut internet access in Kashmir in August last year after revoking the Muslim majority region’s autonomy and statehood. The prolonged shutdown, which the government…

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone backs tutoring platform Scoodle

Scoodle, a U.K.-based startup that, in its own words, wants to help tutors become influencers, is disclosing $760,000 in pre-seed funding. Backing the round is Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, alongside Tiny VC, IFG Ventures and a number of unnamed angels. Scoodle is also the first edtech company to join the University of Oxford’s accelerator, Oxford…

PayU acquires controlling stake in Indian credit business PaySense, to merge it with LazyPay

PayU is acquiring a controlling stake in fintech startup PaySense at a valuation of $185 million and plans to merge it with its credit business LazyPay as the nation’s largest payments processor aggressively expands its financial services offering. The Prosus-owned payments giant said on Friday that it will pump $200 million — $65 million of…

Meet MarsCat, a robot cat with lots of love to give and room to grow

At CES 2020, one of the more well-represented gadget categories was definitely consumer robots – but none was more adorable than MarsCat, a new robo-pet from industrial robot startup Elephant Robotics. This robot pet is a fully autonomous companion that can respond to touch, voice and even play with toys, and it’s hard not to…

SiriusXM and Pandora test bundle discounts

It’s been less than a year since SiriusXM completed its $3.5 billion acquisition of streaming music service Pandora, but the two companies have already leveraged their collective assets to boost each other’s services. For example, SiriusXM talk shows arrived on Pandora as podcasts, while a Pandora-powered station now streams popular songs for both sets of…

How Ring is rethinking privacy and security

Ring is now a major player when it comes to consumer video doorbells, security cameras — and privacy protection. Amazon acquired the company and promotes its devices heavily on its e-commerce websites. Ring has even become a cultural phenomenon with viral videos being shared on social networks and the RingTV section on the company’s website.…

Over two dozen encryption experts call on India to rethink changes to its intermediary liability rules

Security and encryption experts from around the world are joining a number of organizations to call on India to reconsider its proposed amendments to local intermediary liability rules. In an open letter to India’s IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday, 27 security and cryptography experts warned the Indian government that if it goes ahead…

Lime is laying off about 100 people and ceasing operations in 12 markets

Lime is hoping to achieve profitability this year by laying off about 14% of its workforce and ceasing operations in 12 markets, Axios first reported. “Financial independence is our goal for 2020, and we are confident that Lime will be the first next-generation mobility company to reach profitability,” Lime CEO Brad Bao said in a…

Zuckerberg ditches annual challenges to improve 2030

Mark Zuckerberg won’t be spending 2020 focused on wearing ties, learning Mandarin or just fixing Facebook. “Rather than having year-to-year challenges, I’ve tried to think about what I hope the world and my life will look in 2030,” he wrote today on Facebook. As you might have guessed, though, Zuckerberg’s vision for an improved planet…

Congratulations 23andMe users, your genes are finally helping the company make drugs

All of that genetic material that 23andMe has been collecting is finally being used for commercial drug development — specifically dermatological drugs. The company inked an agreement with Spanish pharmaceutical developer Almirall, which concentrates on medical dermatology treatments, for the development of dermatological treatments based on an antibody developed by 23andMe. The monoclonal antibodies that…

OrCam announces new AI-enabled device for hearing impairment

OrCam is expanding its product lineup with new devices that tackle new use cases. OrCam’s best-known device is the OrCam MyEye 2 — a tiny device for people with visual impairment that you clip on your glasses to help you navigate the world around you. At CES, OrCam announced that the MyEye 2 is getting…

Gig economy giants launch efforts to keep workers classified as independent contractors

Now that 2020 has started, Uber, DoorDash and Lyft are taking additional steps to undermine a new California law that would help more gig workers qualify as full-time employees. These moves entail product changes, lawsuits and ramped-up efforts to get a ballot initiative in front of voters that would roll back the new legislation. Let’s…

August Home ditches the bridge and Yale launches a smart lock in Europe

Assa Abloy, the world’s largest lock maker and the parent company of August Home and Yale, announced some new products at CES this week. The company didn’t talk about doorbell cameras at all — it could be related to recent Ring’s controversies. As a well-known brand when it comes to smart lock in the U.S.,…

Brunswick and Sea Ray debut a boat loaded with futuristic features at CES

The automobile industry has experienced considerable change when it comes to powertrain and cabin technology features in the past decade, but what about boats? They’re also getting some cutting-edge upgrades made possible by the same technologies that are improving the power and performance of smartphones, and Sea Ray debuted a new top-end outboard boat at…

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author J.D. Vance has raised $93 million for his own Midwestern venture fund

Underserved areas are becoming hot, hot, hot, from the standpoint of venture capitalists and their own backers. In October, Steve Case’s Revolution announced that a second Rise of the Rest Seed Fund had closed with $150 million in commitments. In November, Drive Capital, a Columbus, Ohio-based venture firm that was started by two former Sequoia…

2019 saw a stampede of fintech unicorns

Dana Stalder Contributor Share on Twitter Dana Stalder is a partner at Matrix Partners, where he invests predominantly in fintech, consumer marketplaces and enterprise software. More posts by this contributor 2019 looks to continue another lights-out year for fintech startups Financial technology startups emerged as serious challengers to financial services in 2017 Jake Jolis Contributor…

Daily Crunch: Twitter will let you limit replies

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Farewell, don’t @ me. Twitter will test a way to let you limit replies to your tweets Twitter users will soon…

Pokémon Sword and Shield are getting downloadable expansions this year

If you’ve already completed your Pokédex and battled your way up to become the Champion of Galar, you might’ve figured you were just about done with Pokémon Sword/Shield. Surprise! More is on the way — for a price, that is. This morning Nintendo announced that it’s working on not one, but two downloadable expansions for…

How some founders are raising capital outside of the VC world

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Today, we’re exploring fundraising from outside the venture world. Founders looking to raise capital to power their growing companies have more options than ever. Traditional bank loans are an option, of course. As is venture…

Deciding how much equity to give your key employees

Lewis Hower Contributor Share on Twitter Lewis Hower connects Silicon Valley Bank and VC/startup communities as a Managing Director with SVB Startup Banking. More posts by this contributor Manage your angel investors, or they’ll manage you Anu Shukla had found the perfect VP of Engineering to help her build her latest startup, a company called…

BuzzFeed hires The Mighty’s Peter Wang as its new CTO

BuzzFeed’s technical team has a new leader — incoming chief technology officer Peter Wang, who’s leaving his role as CTO of healthcare community The Mighty. Wang has plenty of experience in the media industry, having served as CTO at Refinery29 and at Narrativ, a startup that helps publishers make money through commerce. He told me…

Lily AI raises a $12.5M Series A led by Canaan to accelerate its e-commerce recommendation tech

Lily AI, a startup focused on using deep learning to help brands better convert customers through emotionally tailored recommendations, announced this morning that it has raised a $12.5 million Series A led by Canaan Partners. Prior investors NEA, Unshackled and Fernbrook Capital also took part in the funding event. Prior to its Series A, Lily had…

Sisense nabs $100m at a $1B+ valuation for accessible big data business analytics

Sisense, an enterprise startup that that has built a business analytics business out of the premise of making big data as accessible as possible to users — whether it be through graphics on mobile or desktop apps, or spoken through Alexa — is announcing a big round of funding today and a large jump in…

Insight Partners acquires data management company Veeam for $5B

Last year Insight Partners invested $500 million in cloud data management company Veeam. It apparently liked the company so much that today it announced it has acquired the Swiss startup for $5 billion. Veeam helps customers with cloud data backup and disaster recovery. The company, which has been based in Baar, Switzerland, says that it…

How startups fill the gap between revenue and investment

Joe Procopio Contributor Share on Twitter Joe Procopio is a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. Joe is currently building Spiffy, and previously sold Automated Insights, sold ExitEvent and built Intrepid Media. More posts by this contributor How startups fill the gap between revenue and investment How startups close their first big sales I get tons of inbound…

Facebook won’t ban political ads, prefers to keep screwing democracy

It’s 2020 — a key election year in the US — and Facebook is doubling down on its policy of letting people pay it to fuck around with democracy. Despite trenchant criticism — including from US lawmakers accusing Facebook’s CEO to his face of damaging American democracy — the company is digging in, announcing as…

MasterClass co-founder’s new educational startup Outlier raises $11.7M

Outlier.org, a startup that allows students to take online classes for college credit, is announcing that it has raised $11.6 million in Series A funding. GSV Ventures led the round, with participation from Harrison Metal, Tectonic Capital and Jackson Square Ventures. If you add this round to previously undisclosed seed funding led by Harrison Metal,…

Pro-privacy search engine Qwant announces more exec changes — to ‘switch focus to monetization’

More changes have been announced in the senior leadership of French pro-privacy search engine, Qwant. President and co-founder, Eric Leandri (pictured above), will be moving from an operational to a strategic role on January 15, the company said today — while current deputy managing director for sales and marketing, Jean-Claude Ghinozzi, is being promoted to…

Uber is bringing audio recording, irregular ride checks and authentication code safety features to India

Uber said today it is beginning to roll out three safety features in India as the American ride-hailing firm looks to improve its service in one of its most important overseas markets. The new features include an intervention from Uber when there is a long unplanned stop in a ride, and the introduction of a…

Bux acquires ‘social’ cryptocurrency investment platform Blockport

Bux, the Amsterdam-based fintech that wants to make investing more accessible, has acquired the European “social” cryptocurrency investment platform Blockport. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, although Bux says the move paves the way for the company to launch its own branded cryptocurrency investment app. Dubbed “BUX Crypto,” it will be available in the 9…

Together with portfolio company AMP Robotics, Sidewalk Labs launches recycling pilot in Toronto

Nearly a year after China stopped accepting the world’s garbage, cities around the globe are wrestling with what to do with all of their waste.  China’s new policy, which once accepted 70% of municipal solid waste generated around the world, means that cities like New York, London, and Paris need to find a new way…

Going fast: Buy a demo table at TC Sessions: Robotics+AI 2020

Startup founders, set your sites on TC Sessions: Robotics+AI, which takes place on March 3, 2020. This annual day-long event draws the brightest minds and makers from these two industries — 1,500 attendees last year alone. And if you really want to make 2020 a game-changing year, grab yourself a demo table and showcase your…

IAC sells CollegeHumor to executive Sam Reich, resulting in 100+ layoffs

IAC has sold off a majority stake in CH Media, the parent organization behind CollegeHumor . The new owner? CH Media’s chief creative officer Sam Reich. Reich announced the move on Twitter, saying that digital media holding company IAC “made the difficult decision to no longer finance us,” but that it would allow him to…

Twitter is bringing twttr’s experiments in threaded conversations to its main app

At last year’s CES, Twitter introduced its first public prototype app, twttr — dubbed “little T” internally at Twitter. The app allows Twitter to develop and experiment with new features in the public, to see what works and what does not. The app’s main focus, to date, has been on making threaded conversations easier to…

At CES, Schneider Electric unveils its own upgrade to the traditional fusebox

As renewable energy and energy efficiency continue to make gains among cost-conscious consumers, more companies are looking at ways to give customers better ways to manage the electricity coming into their homes. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Schneider Electric unveiled its pitch to homeowners looking for a better power management system with…

Twitter’s new reply blockers could let Trump hide critics

What if politicians could only display Twitter replies from their supporters while stopping everyone else from adding their analysis to the conversation? That’s the risk of Twitter’s upcoming Conversation Participants tool it’s about to start testing that lets you choose if you want replies from everyone, only those your follow or mention, or no one.…

Will online privacy make a comeback in 2020?

Last year was a landmark for online privacy in many ways, with something of a consensus emerging that consumers deserve protection from the companies that sell their attention and behavior for profit. The debate now is largely around how to regulate platforms, not whether it needs to happen. The consensus among key legislators acknowledges that…

TC Sessions: Mobility 2020: Boris Sofman of Waymo and Nancy Sun of Ike

You have might heard: a mobility revolution is in the making. TechCrunch is here for it — and we’re not just along for the ride. We’re here to uncover new ideas and startups, root out vaporware and dig into the tech and people spurring this change. In short, we’re helping drive the conversation around mobility.…

Paytm targets merchants to fight back Google and Walmart in India’s crowded payments field

Paytm today announced two new features for businesses as the financial services firm looks to expand its reach in the nation that has quickly become one of the world’s most crowded and competitive payments markets. The Noida-headquartered firm, which raised $1 billion in late November, said its app for businesses now features an “all-in-one” QR…

Is Clicbot a spiritual successor to Cozmo? (Mostly no, but maybe a little yes)

Anki’s true legacy in robotics will only be sufficiently determined over the course of a few years. But while the startup’s vision for Cozmo ultimately failed, I suspect we’ll see its take on the category of home robotics leaving a lasting legacy. The Keyi Tech representative I spoke to at CES was quick to deflect…

Grubhub said to explore sale in boon to Uber, DoorDash others

Shares of Chicago-based food delivery service Grubhub are sharply higher in regular trading today after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company has hired external advisers to explore its “strategic” options, inclusive of a possible sale. Investors, heartened by the news, bid its equity up 17% as of the time of writing, valuing the…

Farewell, don’t @ me. Twitter will test a way to let you limit replies to your tweets

Twitter has been on a long-term mission to overhaul have people have conversations on its platform, both to make them easier to follow and more engaging without turning toxic. That strategy is taking another big step forward this year, starting in Q1 with a new way for people to control conversations, by giving them four…

Air taxi company EHang flies autonomously in the U.S. for the first time

Aerial passenger drone startup EHang flew its EHang 216 two-seat self-flying taxi fully autonomously in North Carolina last night, a first for the company both in the U.S. and North America. EHang, which is based in Guangzhou, China, has already demonstrated its vehicle in flight at home and in different parts of Europe and Asia,…

Virgin Galactic’s second commercial tourism spaceship hits key construction milestone

Virgin Galactic’s fleet is expanding, and its second commercial spacecraft just achieved a key milestone in its build process — much faster than the first of its SpaceShipTwo vehicles did. The new SpaceShipTwo, which will join the original (named “VSS Unity”) in providing flights to space for paying tourists, is now supporting its own weight…

Virtual Incision Corporation raises $20 million for its abdominal surgery robot

Over the past several years, surgical has become one of the hottest — and best funded — categories in robotics. That’s thanks, in no small part, to the massive success of companies like Intuitive. Virtual Incision Corporation has also had a pretty solid fundraising streak since its 2006 founding. Today the Lincoln, Neb. startup announced…

Daily Crunch: ClassPass becomes a unicorn

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. ClassPass, finally a unicorn, raises $285 million in new funding ClassPass launched in 2013 to give people an easier way to…

Quibi’s Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman offer a deeper look at the new streaming service

Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman took the stage this morning at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to offer a deeper look into the technology behind the soon-to-launch mobile streaming service. The company had already revealed much about its intentions with Quibi, including how it’s the first streaming service designed exclusively…

Get 90% off an annual DocSend plan with Extra Crunch

Extra Crunch is excited to announce a new community perk from DocSend. Starting today, annual and two-year members of Extra Crunch can get up to 90% off an annual DocSend plan.  DocSend is a secure document-sharing platform that not only lets you share your documents with ease, but it also provides you with real-time actionable…

DoubleVerify launches a new way to measure online ad effectiveness

Until now, DoubleVerify was known for helping advertisers to eliminate fraud and ensure their ads are running in brand-safe environments. This week, at the Consumer Electronics show, it’s launching a new technology to designed to measure whether those ads are actually effective. Chief Marketing Officer Dan Slivjankovski told me that before this, marketers hard to…

Tech layoffs rise as cost-cutting comes into vogue

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Today, we’re taking digging into two trends: recent layoffs at various domestic unicorns and secondly, how those layoffs match a recent uptick in austerity across the technology industry itself. It seems that some belt tightening…

Spotify brings streaming ad insertion technology to podcasts

2019 was a breakout year for Spotify’s podcasting efforts, and now the company is turning up the dial on its ability to monetize this popular form of audio programming. Today, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Spotify is announcing Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI), its new, proprietary podcast ad technology for Spotify Podcast Ads.…

Dear Sophie: what do I need to know about recent changes to the H-1B lottery?

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 Introducing ‘Dear Sophie,’…

Facebook and eBay pledge to do more to tackle trade in fake reviews after pressure from UK regulator

Facebook and eBay have made commitments to do more to stop fake reviews being sold on their platforms after coming under pressure from a UK markets regulator — even as fresh examples of the problem have been found on Facebook-owned Instagram. Last June the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) warned the two platform that they…

As ransomware gets craftier, companies must start thinking creatively

Some say ransomware is in decline. Others say it’s getting craftier. File-encrypting malware, known as ransomware, infects vulnerable computers and scrambles its files, inviting victims to return access to their data once they pay a ransom. Ransomware remains one of the most popular types of malware and is said to be a multi-billion dollar — albeit…

App Store customer spending hit record $1.42B from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Eve

Apple this morning released a year-end retrospective of its Services business, which includes the App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, and new in 2019, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Card. In particular, the company highlighted new holiday 2019 records set on the App Store which sees over a half a billion visits from…

AvePoint lands $200M investment to expand market for Microsoft cloud governance tools

While Microsoft cloud services such as SharePoint, Microsoft Teams and Office 365 are used widely by large organizations, the products don’t come standard with an enterprise-grade control layer. That’s where AvePoint, a Microsoft independent software (ISV), comes in. Today, the company announced a $200 million Series C investment. The round was led by TPG Sixth…

India’s Reliance Jio rolls out Wi-Fi calling feature

Two of the top three telecom operators in India are beginning to address one of the biggest challenges hundreds of millions of their subscribers face in the country each day: poor call quality and abrupt voice drops. Reliance Jio, India’s second largest telecom operator, announced today that it now supports voice and video calling functionality…

ClassPass, finally a unicorn, raises $285 million in new funding

ClassPass has today announced the close of a $285 million Series E funding round led by L Catterton and Apax Digital, with participation from existing investor Temasek. This latest round brings ClassPass’s valuation to $1 billion. We had heard this round was in the works and today it’s been confirmed. ClassPass launched in 2013 to…

What to expect in digital media in 2020

As we start 2020, the media and entertainment sectors are in flux. New technologies are enabling new types of content, streaming platforms in multiple content categories are spending billions in their fight for market share and the interplay between social platforms and media is a central topic of global political debate (to put it lightly).…

Midnite raises $2.5M for its esports betting platform

Midnite, the London-based esports betting startup from the same team behind daily fantasy football app Dribble, has raised just over $2.5 million in funding. The “strategic” investment is led by gaming-focussed venture firm Makers Fund. Previous investors in Midnite include London VC firm Venrex Investment Management, as well as unnamed “founders and executives” from leading…

Impossible adds ‘ground pork’ and ‘sausages’ to its lineup of plant-based foods

Impossible Foods made huge waves in the food industry when it came up with a way of isolating and using “heme” molecules from plants to mimic the blood found in animal meat (also comprised of heme), bringing a new depth of flavor to its vegetarian burger. This week at CES, the company is presenting the…

Huami and Studio take on Peloton with the Amazfit HomeStudio treadmill

Chinese wearable company Huami and fitness startup Studio are teaming up to build a connected treadmill, which they unveiled today as part of Huami’s keynote as CES. The most notable feature of the Amazfit HomeStudio is its lack of a traditional treadmill front. Instead, you control the device using your smartphone, while content is delivered…

Roofstock, which makes it easier to buy a home as an investment property, just raised $50 million in new funding

There are plenty of startups that say they’re making it easier to buy a home. There are fewer startups that are promising to make it easier to buy a home as an income-producing property. Among these is Roofstock, a four-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based online marketplace where buyers and sellers buy and sell rental homes in more…

Getaround is latest Softbank portfolio company to announce layoffs

Silicon Valley’s top valued car rental startup, Getaround, announced layoffs today, making it the latest SoftBank-backed entity of late to pare down its workforce. The Information, which first reported the news, pegs the layoffs at 150 employees, amounting to around a quarter of the company. In the report, CEO Sam Zaid seemed to lay at…

Looking Glass is targeting enterprises and eventually gamers with 8K holographic display

The first thing you need to note when writing about Looking Glass is that it’s incredibly difficult to photograph convincingly. It’s really exactly as you might assume, attempting to capture a 3D image in a 2D photo. The second is that it’s really cool. I don’t want to be the “you gotta see it in…

Los Angeles-based Luxury Presence raised $5.4 million for its real estate marketing services

Real estate is a big business in the sprawling city of Los Angeles and new technology tools to target the industry continue to attract investor attention. The latest of these is Luxury Presence, which pitches digital marketing services to real estate agents and has raked in $5.4 million in financing to support the buildout of…

AutoX and Fiat Chrysler are teaming up on a robotaxi for China

Autonomous vehicle startup AutoX, which is backed by Alibaba, said Tuesday that it is partnering with Fiat Chrysler to roll out a fleet of robotaxis for China and other countries in Asia. A fleet of Chrysler Pacifica vans is going to be in service to the public in China in early 2020, according to AutoX.…

Plex’s secret weapon: cross-media integrations

Plex’s expansion beyond a home media organizer to becoming a centralized platform for all your media, gives the company a distinct advantage. By tying all media together under one roof — streaming music, podcasts, web shows and video of all sorts — Plex is able to add interesting and unique features around personalization and recommendations.…

Going fast: Buy a demo table at TC Sessions: Robotics & AI 2020

Startup founders set your sites on TC Sessions: Robotics & AI, which takes place on March 3, 2020. This annual day-long event draws the brightest minds and makers from these two industries — 1,500 attendees last year alone. And if you really want to make 2020 a game-changing year, grab yourself a demo table and…

Mobileye expands its robotaxi footprint with a new deal in South Korea

Mobileye announced Tuesday an agreement to test and eventually deploy a robotaxi service in Daegu City, South Korea, the latest example of the company’s strategy to expand beyond its traditional business of supplying automakers with computer vision technology that power advanced driver assistance systems. Under the agreement, which was announced at CES 2020, Mobileye will…

Investors and utilities are seeding carbon markets with new startups

While most of the world agrees that carbon dioxide emissions from human activity are creating a climate crisis, there’s little consensus regarding how to address it. One of the solutions that’s both the most obvious and, seemingly, the most difficult for the international community to agree on is establishing a market that would put a…

Sonos sues Google over alleged patent infringement on smart speaker tech

Following what the company described as years of back-and-forth, Sonos has filed suit against Google for alleged patent infringements related to the company’s smart speakers. Sonos said that Amazon was also infringing on their IP, but that they can only afford to take on one tech titan. The lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in…

Join us for the TechCrunch 2020 book club, starting next week

It’s a new year, a new decade, and a renewed opportunity to read great non-fiction and fiction that strikes at the heart of the ambition, power, and challenges of technology and its effect on society at large. That’s why TechCrunch is launching an informal “book club” for our readers, starting next week. The idea is…

Samsung’s Lite devices bring the headphone jack to flagship design (sort of)

Some devices need no explanation. The Galaxy S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite are no such devices. They’re more nebulous, walking an interesting line, between premium and mid-range. They’re a clear attempt by Samsung to change with a smartphone-buying public that has balked at the idea of $1,000+ devices. Samsung announces ‘Lite’ versions of the…

A closer look at Ballie, Samsung’s friendly robotic ball

Okay, I’ve slept on it. I was skeptical at first, but after a good night’s sleep, let’s do this. I want a Ballie. All of the people and the pets in the below video seemed super into it. Where did I sign up? Okay, let me back up a second. I’d like a little hands…

Daily Crunch: Facebook bans deepfakes

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Facebook bans deceptive deepfakes and some misleadingly modified media In a policy update announced late yesterday, Facebook’s Monika Bickert wrote that…

Here’s everything Google announced at CES 2020

Another year, another blast of Google Assistant news on the first official day of CES. Google slimmed things down a touch for CES this year, though they’ve still got a big presence here. While they didn’t build a whole damn amusement park ride this time around, they’ve still got a massive two story booth (complete…

Samsung’s knife-wielding robotic chef is all flash

Last year, we asked whether Samsung was getting serious about robotics. A year later, we’re not any closer to answering the question. This year’s presser played out roughly the same as last on the robotics front — all flash and little productizing to show for it. Meet Ballie, Samsung’s rolling personal assistant that does…stuff Samsung’s…

American Airlines starts trialing Google Nest Hubs as translators in its lounges

Delta is keynoting CES today and launching a slew of updates to its digital services. Its competitors don’t want to be left behind, of course, so it’s probably no surprise that American Airlines also made a small but nifty tech announcement today. In partnership with Google, American will start trialing Google Nest Hubs and the…

Damon Motors targets Tesla owners with its 200 MPH hyper-safe e-moto

Damon Motorcycles doesn’t want to become the Tesla of e-moto companies. But the startup does believe its EV two-wheeler is the first to capture the ethos of Tesla owners. That’s the target market for Damon’s new $24,995 Hypersport, according to CEO Jay Giraud. The Vancouver-based startup unveiled the e-motorcycle today at the Consumer Electronics Show…

As Zume layoffs loom, a look back at SoftBank’s troubled investing year

Changing from the highest-flying conglomerate and most famous capital vehicle to troubled icons of misplaced exuberance, it’s tough to be SoftBank and its Vision Fund today. Despite the occasional good story, it’s been a tough run for the pair. But lost in the continuous drip of bad news concerning the Japanese firm and its globally…

This autonomous security drone is designed to guard your home

One of the new products unveiled at CES this year is a new kind of home security system – one that includes drones to patrol your property, along with sensors designed to mimic garden light and a central processor to bring it all together. Sunflower Labs debuted their new Sunflower Home Awareness System, which includes…

Delta Air Lines bets on AI to help its operations run smoothly in bad weather

Delta Air Lines, in its first-ever keynote at CES, today announced a new AI-driven system that will help it make smarter decisions when the weather turns tough and its finely tuned operations get out of whack. In a first for the passenger airline industry, the company built a full-scale digital simulation of its operations that…

Delta Air Lines shows off its smarter travel app, an exoskeleton and more at CES

Over the course of the last few years, we’ve seen a number of new companies come to CES to brandish their consumer electronics chops as their own industries went through significant disruptions thanks to new technologies. The most obvious example of this is the car industry, which now has a major presence at both CES…

6 VCs explain why seed investors now favor enterprise startups

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Today we’re digging into seed-stage companies, the vanguard of the venture market. In particular, we’re trying to understand why the ratio of seed deals now favor enterprise startups over their consumer-focused brethren. The fact that…

Don’t wait – First ticket release of 2020 for 3rd Annual Winter Party at Galvanize

If you haven’t scored a ticket yet to our 3rd Annual Winter Party at Galvanize, now’s your chance. We just released another batch of tickets to the best Silicon Valley soiree. Shake off your post-holiday doldrums and join the movers and shakers of the startup community at Galvanize in San Francisco on February 7. Last year,…

Ben Horowitz will explain how to create and sustain culture at TC Early Stage SF

The hardest challenges to tackle are usually the most nebulous. Culture, for example, is hard to define, implement, cultivate and evolve… How do you structure culture within a business or organization? Are there steps to follow? Is there a manual? Interestingly enough, there is. What You Do Is Who You Are is the latest book…

Media streamer Plex to add subscription channels, rentals and more

Plex in December launched its own ad-supported streaming service in over 200 countries, where it functions as a competitor to The Roku Channel, Tubi, Crackle and other places that offer free-to-stream content without a subscription. While the company will continue to develop and expand its ad-supported product, it’s also looking ahead to what comes next.…

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule returns from the Space Station loaded with science experiments

SpaceX has successfully completed its 19th commercial resupply (CRS) mission for the International Space Station, with the Dragon cargo spacecraft used for the mission splashing down in the Pacific Ocean early this morning. The Dragon used this time around has also actually made this round trip twice before on previous SpaceX CRS missions, too. The…

Google and ClimaCell team up to launch a new high-resolution weather forecast for India

Weather technology company ClimaCell, which is taking a number of innovative approaches for gathering weather data and building forecasting models, today announced that it is partnering with Google Cloud to launch a new high-resolution forecasting model. The first model will focus on India, with other geographies following soon. ClimaCell and Google will make the forecast…

BMW wants you to lounge during your autonomous ride

At CES today, BMW announced a lot of new tech for its upcoming cars, but it’s also highlighting some of the work it’s doing on creating the right kind of creature comforts for when autonomous driving takes off. Why, after all, wouldn’t you want to lounge in a “luxurious ZeroG Lounger” while your (robot) driver…

BMW launches gaze detection so your car knows what you’re looking at

At its CES press conference, BMW today unveiled its new gaze detection system, which can track what you’re looking at outside of the car and then present relevant information about it. The German automaker is showing off this feature in its i Interaction EASE concept car, which made its debut last October. The idea here…

Arduino launches a new modular platform for IoT development

Arduino, the open-source hardware platform, today announced the launch of a new low-code platform and modular hardware system for IoT development. The idea here is to give small and medium businesses the tools to develop IoT solutions without having to invest in specialized engineering resources. The new hardware, dubbed the Arduino Portenta H7,  features everything…

Satellogic is launch two new Earth observation satellites as it expands operations

Earth observation New Space company Satellogic is expanding its orbital fleet with two new satellites set to launch on January 15 on board a Chinese Long March 2D rocket. The company, which was founded in 2010 and currently operates eight spacecraft in orbit, will be adding two NewSat Mark IV satellites to its in-space assets…

Quibi lands a stop-motion series from ‘Rick & Morty’ creator Justin Roiland

Forthcoming streaming service Quibi has been announcing a steady stream of star-studded shows, and its latest is no exception: Rick & Morty creator Justin Roiland will be co-creating a show called ‘Gloop World’ for the service. Gloop World will be a stop-motion animation, featuring clay models for that classic ‘claymation’ vibe popularized by the iconic…

Razer shows off Sila, the first 5G router built for gaming

Gaming — with its huge demands on bandwidth, graphics and overall processing power — is likely to be one of the big use cases for 5G networking in the future, and today one of the big players in consumer gaming hardware showed off a 5G router that underscores that trend. Razer, the consumer electronics upstart…

Blue Origin officially opens its new HQ and R&D center

Jeff Bezos -founded space technology company Blue Origin officially cut the ribbon to open its new HQ and R&D facility, located in Kent, Washington – close by to Amazon’s own headquarters. The new facility covers 230,000 square feet and sits on a plot of land over 30 acres in size, and will eventually be the…

PopSockets launches a $60 wireless charger that works with its PopGrips

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Popsockets is launching a new must-have item to its lineup of smartphone accessories — and one that solves a significant problem for PopGrip users. The company today is unveiling the PopPower Home wireless charger that allows you to wirelessly charge your supported Apple or Android smartphone by…

Perch, now called Orchard, raises $36M to simplify home buying and selling

Perch, the vertically integrated platform for buying and selling homes, has today announced the close of a $36 million equity round led by Navitas, with participation from existing investor FirstMark Capital, Juxtapose and Accomplice. The company is also announcing that it is rebranding from Perch to Orchard. Orchard launched in September of 2017 with a…

Quantum Machines launches its Quantum Orchestration Platform

Quantum computers are, by default, hybrid machines that combine the exotic properties of the quantum world with a classical computer that, essentially, manages it. A lot of the focus in the industry has gone into the actual quantum processors, but as those machines get more powerful, the classical part — and the process of converting…

Cloudflare acquires stealthy startup S2 Systems, announces Cloudflare for Teams

Cloudflare announced that it has acquired S2 Systems, a browser isolation startup started by former Microsoft execs. The two companies did not reveal the acquisition price. Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO at Cloudflare, says that this acquisition is part of a new suite of products called Cloudflare for Teams, which has been designed to protect…

TiVo announces a $49.99 device that combines streaming and live TV

TiVo is announcing a new device at the Consumer Electronics Show called the TiVo Stream 4K, which CEO Dave Shull described as launching the company “full on into the streaming wars.” Shull said the device is a “tiny little HDMI puck” that’s designed to reach a much broader group than the existing TiVo customer base,…

Why the world must pay attention to the fight against disinformation and fake news in Taiwan

On Saturday, Taiwan will hold its presidential election. This year, the outcome is even more important than usual because it will signal what direction the country’s people want its relationship with China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, to move in. Also crucial are efforts against fake news. Taiwan has one of the worst disinformation…

Facebook bans deceptive deepfakes and some misleadingly modified media

Facebook wants to be the arbiter of truth after all. At least when it comes to intentionally misleading deepfakes and heavily manipulated and/or synthesized media content, such as AI-generated photorealistic human faces that look like real people but aren’t. In a policy update announced late yesterday, the social network’s VP of global policy management, Monika…

Tech-driven change a key priority for new EC president

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has made responding to technology-driven change a key priority for her five year term which began last month, setting it in the same breath as challenges posed by climate change and demographic shifts, tacitly linking all three to a rise in regional unease. Her solution, set out in…

Union Square Ventures leads legal tech startup Juro’s $5M Series A

Juro, a UK startup that’s using machine learning tech and user-centric design to do for contracts what Typeform does for online forms, has caught the eye of Union Square Ventures. The New York-based fund leads a $5 million Series A investment that’s being announced this morning. Also participating in the Series A are existing investors…

GitHub, Mozilla, and Cloudflare appeal India to be transparent about changes in its intermediary liability rules

Microsoft’s GitHub, Mozilla, and Cloudflare have urged India to be transparent about the amendments it is making to an upcoming law that could affect swathes of companies and the way more than half a billion people access information online. In December 2018, the Indian government proposed changes to its intermediary rules (PDF) that would require…

Mercedes-Benz and James Cameron built an Avatar-inspired car perfect for Pandora

Mercedes-Benz channeled the wild and imaginative world of James Cameron’s hit movie Avatar for its latest concept car — an electric autonomous vehicle covered in bionic flaps that aims to show how man and machine can merge and live responsibly in nature. The concept car, appropriately named AVTR for Advanced Vehicle Transformation, was unveiled Monday…

Douyin, TikTok app in China, hits 400 million daily active users

China’s TikTok, which has taken the world by storm, is working its magic in its home nation, too. The Chinese version of TikTok, called Douyin, has amassed 400 million daily active users, parent company ByteDance revealed in its annual report this week (in Chinese). This is an impressive growth for the addictive video app, which had…

SpaceX sets key Crew Dragon in-flight abort test for January 18

SpaceX and NASA have shared an official target launch date for the all-important in-flight abort test of Crew Dragon, their commercial crew spacecraft. The in-flight abort test is a required component before NASA astronauts can climb on board and take their first trip aboard the Crew Dragon. NASA and SpaceX are currently targeting Saturday, January…

Samsung hints at AR ambitions, shows off prototype glasses

What a weird Samsung press conference. The company didn’t waste time on the familiar. Things like Galaxy phones and washing machines got little love on stage tonight. Instead the company was focused on a workout exoskeleton and a friendly robotic call assistant. Meet Ballie, Samsung’s rolling personal assistant that does…stuff And then there’s was AR.…

Samsung’s GEMS exoskeleton is now an ‘immersive workout experience’

Remember the G.E.M.S. (Gait Enhancing and Motivation System) exoskeleton Samsung introduced last year? Plot-twist. It’s a workout device now. One of the weirdest elements of a super weird keynotes was actually a fascinating pivot. I wore a prototype of the device lates year, which offered both walking assistance and resistance. The latter is what’s at…

Homeland Security warns businesses to brace for Iranian cyberattacks

Homeland Security is warning U.S. companies to “consider and assess” the possible impacts and threat of a cyberattack on their businesses following heightened tensions with Iran. It’s the first official guidance published by the government’s dedicated cyber advisory unit, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, just days after the killing of a leading Iranian military…

Eargo’s latest hearing aid improves bandwidth and noise cancelation

Bay-area based medical device startup Eargo just announced its fourth gen product at CES. The Neo HiFi builds on past learnings from the six-year-old company. The improvements are mostly around sound quality, including increased bandwidth and improved wind noise reduction and feedback cancelation. Eargo says all of the above should combine to offer, “a more…

Netflix and Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Goop Lab’ will launch on January 24

“The Goop Show,” an upcoming reality series co-hosted by Gwyneth Paltrow and tied to her lifestyle company Goop, now has a launch date and a trailer. Goop has faced many accusations of promoting and selling pseudoscience — most notoriously, perhaps, in selling jade eggs for vaginas — and it seems like the series is embracing…

Meet Ballie, Samsung’s rolling personal assistant that does…stuff

This time last year, we asked the question: is Samsung getting serious about robotics. I’m not sure we’re that much closer to an answer, but tonight’s CES keynote pointed to a company that clearly wants to convince us of as much. Though much like the demos shown off last year, tonight’s devices were concepts —…

Hyundai is Uber’s newest partner for building flying taxis

A little less than three years after it first announced its vision for adding flying taxi service to its portfolio of offerings, Uber has landed its first auto manufacturing partner on the skyway to making its Air Taxis real. The company announced at the Consumer Electronics Show that it would be working with Hyundai Motor…

SpaceX successfully launches 60 more satellites for its Starlink broadband internet constellation

SpaceX successfully launched its third batch of 60 Starlink satellites – the second designated ‘production’ hardware, after launching an initial group of 60 early in 2019 to test the technology. This group launched aboard a Falcon 9 with a first stage booster that has already seen service in three previous missions, including two in 2019,…

NASA’s planet hunting satellite found another potentially habitable earth-sized planet

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered another earth-sized, potentially habitable planet orbiting around a star in the range of distances where conditions could allow for the presence of liquid water on the planet’s surface. Using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope scientists confirmed the find, called TOI 700 d, according to a statement from NASA’s…

Three years later, Sony is still hitting sales milestones for its VR headset

Sony hasn’t had much to say about their virtual reality platform lately, but the company’s PlayStation VR headset, which was released more than 3 years ago, has still been racking up sales. At the company’s CES press conference this evening, they announced that they have now sold 5 million PS VR units. In regards to…

YouTube starts limiting ad targeting and data collection on kids content

YouTube now officially limits the amount of data it and creators can collect on content intended for children, following promises made in November and a costly $170 million FTC fine in September. Considering how lucrative kids’ content is for the company, this could have serious financial ramifications for both it and its biggest creators. The…

Sony just announced a car

Today at CES 2020, Sony unveiled a car. I’m surprised too. There are very few details about the Sony Vision-S sedan at this time. We’ll get more once we can see it on the show floor. According to the press account, Sony partnered with industry leaders to build this prototype, including Bosch, Continental, Genetex, Nvidia,…

Not over it: California officials just sued billionaire Vinod Khosla in a now 12-year-long battle over access to a popular beach

One thing is certain: Vinod Khosla will be remembered in California, if not for his work, then for his now 12-year-old battle to keep private a stretch of beach in front of an 89-acre San Mateo hillside that the billionaire venture capitalist purchased in 2008. It has exhausted colleagues and associates, who have privately complained…

PlayStation 5 announced for holidays 2020

Turns out Sony is still able to pack a surprise or two into its CES press conference. The company just kicked off its event by announcing that the PlayStation 5 will be arriving — this holiday season. Not a lot was revealed about the next-gen console, beyond a few basic features, including 3D audio (because…

Get a load of these Dell PC concepts that you can’t buy

Concept PCs are a lot like concept cars. The idea comes from a decent enough place, but mostly they exist to make you feel bad an inadequate about your current dumb device. It’s a metaphor for life, really. In that spirit, here are a trio of concept PCs that Dell debuted this week at CES.…

Audi AI:ME concept demonstrates innovative safety through lights

The Audi AI:ME is a concept for future urban travel. The little car is autonomous, has a surprisingly spacious interior, and it’s equipped with a host of exterior lights designed to better communicate with the outside world. No, really. There are lights everywhere. [gallery ids="1929915,1929905,1929900,1929895,1929913,1929894,1929914"] The idea is to surround the vehicle with multi-purpose lights.…

Intel and Google plot out closer collaboration around Chromebooks and the future of computing

Intel, the chip-making giant, has been on the road of refocusing its strategy in recent months. While it has sold its mobile chip operation to Apple and is reportedly looking for a buyer for its connected home division, it’s also been going through the difficult task of rethinking how best to tackle the longtime bread and…

Qualcomm unveils its Snapdragon Ride platform for all levels of automated driving

Qualcomm today unveiled a new automotive platform called Snapdragon Ride that’s designed to power all levels of automated driving, from today’s active safety systems in passenger cars to the robotaxis that may someday ply city streets. The scalable platform consists of a Snapdragon Ride system-on-chip, accelerator and autonomous stack. Qualcomm might be best known for…

Study associates frequency, quality of monthly reports with startup success

“Despite a lot of publicity and social media, number of sign-ups were modest,” reads one of the last monthly reports I sent to my VCs before my startup ceased to exist. “After the initial wave, sign-ups have slowed right down to near pre-launch levels. User acquisition is our number-one priority and my biggest headache.” Like,…

Watch Intel’s CES press conference live right here

Intel is holding its CES press conference today at 4 PM Pacific, 7 PM Eastern. The company will talk about what to expect when it comes to CPU innovation. We could also get an early look at the company’s first standalone GPUs. We’ll have a team on the ground, so you should also check out…

The Guild, which turns apartments into short-term rentals, has nabbed $25 million in Series B funding

The Guild, a nearly four-year-old, Austin, Texas-based startup that turns apartments into comfortable short-term accommodations for business and other travelers, has landed $25 million in Series B funding from some of its earlier investors, including Maveron and Convivialite, along with real estate companies like the Nicol Investment Company, which owns some of the buildings in…

Royole looks to move flexible displays beyond the foldable phone

If nothing else, Royole grabbed our attention a couple of years back by bringing the first foldable smartphone to market. There’s something to be said for being first, I suppose. It raised the profile of a largely unknown name in amongst the tech press, even if it didn’t exactly kickstart a form-factor revolution. Among other…

Pollen Robotics is selling a $17,000 robot torso for researchers and startups

CES has never been a great show for serious robotics. It’s not a phenomenon I expect to change at any point in the near future, though things do seem to get slightly better each year. Pollen Robotics is an interesting addition to the mix that largely revolves around things like companion and smart home robotics.…

Toyota is building a tiny utopian prototype city filled with people, robots and AI

Toyota researches and tests robotics, material science, automated driving and alternative fuel technology in labs all around the world. Now the automaker is trying a new and far more ambitious project: build a prototype city on a 175-acre site at the foot of Mount Fugi in Japan, where people will live and work amongst all…

To break away from D2C crowd, SmileDirectClub announces retail partnership with Walmart

Today, SmileDirectClub announced a partnership with Walmart to sell a new line of oral care products, including toothbrushes, teeth whitening treatments, a water flosser and more. For one of the top teledentistry companies, this represents a move to make its business more compelling to customers and investors alike. Following news of the deal this morning,…

Mophie’s newest battery pack ships with jumper cables to start your car

As of this week’s CES, Mophie can add cars to the growing list of things powered with its battery line. It was a matter of time, I suppose. Certainly the company’s not the first to offer this level of charge in a portable power bank, but the new Powerstation Go brings an extra level of…

TCL teases a 5G device, headset and its first foldable at CES

TCL is hardly a household name in the smartphone space. That’s hardly surprising, however, as the Chinese electronics company is better known for sub-brands like Alcatel and BlackBerry (hardware, not software — long story). Late last year, the company began really pushing its branded devices in Europe, a strategy it’s set to expand upon with…

As NIO and Tesla rally, Chinese EV company Lixiang said to file for US IPO

The recovery in value of several high-profile electric car companies could help move yet-private EV manufacturers out of the pit lane and onto the IPO track. On the heels of NIO’s shocking value appreciation after its recent earnings report, and Tesla’s own public market run, China-based Lixiang Automotive is reported to have filed privately for…

The ThinkPad X1 Fold is Lenovo’s first foldable screen PC

I know, I know. Laptops fold. Convertibles fold. I get it, you’re being pedantic. So let’s just move past all of and talk about this funky new thing from Lenovo. The company just announced the ThinkPad X1 Fold — the delivery of the device it teased back in May of last year. The product is…

Qualcomm promises better voice calls over Bluetooth with aptX Voice

Chances are, you phone and carrier now support HD voice quality for those few times you still make a call. Those calls sound significantly better than regular calls, but if you’re using a Bluetooth headset to make those calls, you don’t get any of the benefits of HD voice because those devices don’t support that…

Qualcomm launches a car-to-cloud service for over-the-air updates and telemetrics

Qualcomm today announced its Car-to-Cloud service, which does exactly what the name implies: it helps car companies connect their cars to their clouds. It’s the companies first product that integrates its automotive cockpit platform and Snapdragon automotive platforms with 4G and 5G support. The platform will help automakers keep their cars up to date and…

Antonia Rojas Eing joins ALLVP as the youngest female VC partner in Latin America

Antonia Rojas Eing, the youngest female partner of Latin America’s major VCs, has joined ALLVP as a partner.  Twenty-nine year old Rojas Eing first entered the investment world in Germany (she is half Chilean, half German), but with a real estate angle. “I learned the discipline and analysis needed to make an investment decision, and…

FPV Robotics debuts Waver drone to inspect infrastructure on land, on water, and in the air

Japanese startup FPV Robotics is leveraging drone technology to address a growing global need: inspecting aging infrastructure in an effort to avoid major issues like unexpected bridge collapses. FPV Robotics CEO and founder Masaki Komagata showed me his company’s production Waver drone, which is debuting for the first time ever at CES 2020 in Las…

Echodyne steers its high-tech radar beam on autonomous cars with EchoDrive

Echodyne set the radar industry on its ear when it debuted its pocket-sized yet hyper-capable radar unit for drones and aircraft. But these days all the action is in autonomous vehicles — so they reinvented their technology to make a unique sensor that doesn’t just see things but can communicate intelligently with the AI behind…

Despite JEDI loss, AWS retains dominant market position

AWS took a hard blow last year when it lost the $10 billion, decade-long JEDI cloud contract to rival Microsoft. Yet even without that mega deal for building out the nation’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, the company remains fully in control of the cloud infrastructure market — and it intends to fight that decision. In…

Brilliant adds a dimmer switch and smart plug to its smart home ecosystem

Until now, Brilliant only offered its relatively high-end smart switches with a touchscreen, but at CES this week, the company is expanding its product lineup with a new dimmer switch and smart plug. Both require that you already own at least one Brilliant Control, so these aren’t standalone devices but instead expansions to the Brilliant…

Daily Crunch: Amazon announces new auto partners

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Amazon drives deeper into cars with new Alexa partners, Echo Auto expansion Amazon just announced partnerships with Lamborghini and Rivian, new…

Maxar’s space robotics head Lucy Condakchian is coming to TC Sessions: Robotics+AI

TC Sessions: Robotics+AI is creeping closer by the day and the agenda is packed. Today we’re announcing that Lucy Condakchian, general manager of robotics at Maxar Technologies will be joining us on stage to talk about the company’s work in space, and in particular NASA’s Mars 2020 rover. For decades, Maxar Technologies has been an…

One Medical’s IPO will test the value of tech-enabled startups

Hello and welcome back to our regular moning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Today we’re digging into the One Medial S-1 IPO filing. The company, popular in Silicon Valley and known for an investment from Alphabet, intends to debut this year on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol…

Watch Samsung’s CES press conference live

Samsung’s been…busy. On Friday, the company Announced a pair of “Lite” versions of its flagship devices, targeted at users on a budget. Yesterday, it announced its upcoming Unpacked event (with some help from an early leak), which will see the announcement of its latest flagship. So, what’s left for CES this week? Lots. Samsung contains…

Weber’s new Smart Grilling Hub uses June tech to make everyone a grillmaster

Weber is deepening its partnership with smart cooking startup June, with a new product debuting at CES 2020 today that can turn any grill into a smart grill – and providing expert guidance and grilling advice to even novice home cooks. The new Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub includes a small device with ports for…

‘Alexa, pay for gas’ command to work at over 11,500 Exxon and Mobil stations this year

Pumping gas is not that difficult, but Amazon thinks the process could be even easier by way of a voice command, spoken aloud when you arrive at the pump: “Alexa, pay for gas.” Today, Amazon, alongside ExxonMobil and Fiserv, announced a new voice experience for pumping gas that will roll out to over 11,500 Exxon…

Watch AMD’s CES press conference live right here

AMD is holding its CES press conference today at 2 PM Pacific, 5 PM Eastern. Expect some news when it comes to consumer CPUs (Ryzen), enterprise CPUs (Epyc) as well as ray-tracing enabled GPUs. It should give us some hints about what to expect from the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X as both of…

Come to TechCrunch’s free CES Pitch Night

CES is a magical place full of gizmos, gadgets and communicable diseases. TechCrunch is hosting another pitch-off event this year. Called Pitch Night, select early-stage companies will take the stage and have 60 seconds to present their wares to TechCrunch editorial and industry experts. This event is free. Obtain a ticket here. Want to pitch…

Say hello to Equity Mondays, the newest podcast from TechCrunch

Hello TechCrunch readers and Equity listeners alike. This morning we have something new for you that Chris and I are excited about: We’re doubling the pace that we bring Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, to your phone or computer. Starting this morning and continuing on Monday mornings moving forward, the Equity crew will put together…

Facebook data misuse and voter manipulation back in the frame with latest Cambridge Analytica leaks

More details are emerging about the scale and scope of disgraced data company Cambridge Analytica’s activities in elections around the world — via a cache of internal documents that’s being released by former employee and self-styled whistleblower, Brittany Kaiser. The now shut down data modelling company, which infamously used stolen Facebook data to target voters…

Watch SpaceX launch a new batch of Starlink satellites and become the largest private satellite operator

SpaceX is launching another set of Starlink satellites for its growing constellation, as it prepares to launch broadband internet services for customers on the ground as early as later this year. The launch is set to take off at 9:19 PM EST (6:19 PM PST) on Monday January 6, and the live video stream of…

Asus and Samsung roll out the first Chromebooks with Intel’s Project Athena certification

A year after Intel first announced Project Athena — a set of laptop specifications underpinned by Intel processors to build what Intel believes will be the next generation of computers equipped for 5G, AI-based activities, and more responsive work — hardware makers are starting to roll out the first Chromebooks based on the specs, starting…

Amazon’s Fire TV platform now reaches over 40 million monthly active users, topping Roku

Amazon’s Fire TV platform now has over 40 million users, the company announced today. That’s up from the 34 million it claimed in May 2019 and more than the 32.3 million active accounts Roku reported during its Q3 2019 results this past November. Roku’s “active accounts” figure describes those accounts where users have streamed at…

Roku TV adds 15 more brand partners plus a new “Roku TV Ready” program

Amazon’s Fire TV isn’t the only connected TV platform aiming to reach more screens by way of new partnerships. While Amazon today announced plans to bring Fire TV to more places — including cars and cable boxes — its chief competitor, Roku, shared this morning it’s adding 15 global brands as licensee partners for Roku…

Amazon drives deeper into cars with new Alexa partners, Echo Auto expansion

Amazon is no longer content trying to dominate the home. The ecommerce giant made several announcements Monday ahead of CES 2020 that target the car, including partnerships with Lamborghini and Rivian, new auto-specific skills for its Alexa voice assistant, a market expansion for its Echo Auto device and a plan to bring its latest Fire…

Pax unveils a vape that increases transparency around cannabis consumption

The new Pax Era Pro vaporizer packs a host of improvements and brings increased transparency to the user. Pop in a pod, and the smartphone companion app displays a wealth of information generally unavailable to the average user. The idea is to provide more peace of mind about what’s in each pod and this system…

Amazon-backed Rivian will integrate Alexa into its electric pickup and SUV

Rivian will integrate Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa into the R1T pickup and R1S SUV, the company’s first electric vehicles that are set to debut at the end of the year. Rivian said Monday it plans to also extend the Alexa integration to 100,000 electric delivery trucks that Amazon has ordered from the automaker. The electric…

Fire TV Edition expands to more soundbars, plus cars, cable boxes and more

Amazon’s Fire TV Edition, the version of Fire TV that now powers over 150 Fire TV Edition smart TVs as a competitor to Roku TV, is expanding to more devices besides just the television. Today, Amazon announced a new Fire TV Edition that’s capable of powering soundbars and being integrated into autos, plus versions designed…

Ring revamps lighting lineup with solar panels and indoor lightbulb

Ring is slowly expanding to Philips Hue’s territory by releasing its first traditional connected lightbulb that works both indoor and outdoor. The Amazon-owned company is also revamping outdoor lights with new models that have a solar panel so that you don’t have to recharge the battery. While Ring is mostly known for its security cameras,…

BigID bags another $50M round as data privacy laws proliferate

Almost exactly 4 months to the day after BigID announced a $50 million Series C, the company was back today with another $50 million round. The Series D came entirely from Tiger Global Management. The company has raised a total of $144 million. What warrants $100 million in interest from investors in just four months…

Twitter offers more support to researchers — to ‘keep us accountable’

Twitter has kicked off the New Year by taking the wraps off a new hub for academic researchers to more easily access information and support around its APIs — saying the move is in response to feedback from the research community. The new page — which it’s called ‘Twitter data for academic researchers’ — can…

HTC had a terrible 2019

HTC can’t seem to catch a break. The once-king-of-the-hill smartphone vendor, which had a terrible 2018, continued to bleed last year, according to financial disclosures it made on Monday. HTC reported revenue of 10,015 TWD ($333 million) in 2019, down 57.8% from 23,741 TWD ($789 million) it posted the year before, and whopping 87% below over…

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin backs ‘startup generator’ Antler

Antler, the self-described “global startup generator” and early stage venture capital firm, has raised an additional $50 million for its funds in Amsterdam, London, New York, Stockholm, Sydney, Nairobi and Singapore. Notable new investors include Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Elaine Saverin; investor and philanthropist Christen Sveeas (via Kistefos); Canica International; and the innovative Japanese…

Watch LG’s CES press conference live right here

LG is opening the show with its CES press conference. Many consumer electronics companies are going to show us their new and shiny products all day long. And LG is starting at 8 AM Pacific, 11 AM Eastern, 2 PM in London. You can expect new TVs (4K? 8K? The sky is the limit), new…

Into Africa: tech leaders weigh in on Jack Dorsey’s planned move to the continent

It’s not every day that the CEO of a large Silicon Valley tech company decides to relocate to a different part of the world in order to learn more about it — particularly a frequently maligned and often overlooked by big-business part. But Jack Dorsey, the American tech entrepreneur who co-founded and leads not one,…

Agility’s two-legged robot Digit is for sale and Ford is the first customer

Agility Robotics is putting Digit — a two-legged robot that can lift 40 pound packages — on the market. And Ford Motor is the first customer. Ford, which has been involved in a research project with the robotics startup since last year, said Sunday night ahead of CES 2020 in Las Vegas that it will…

Amazon partners with India’s second largest retailer to sell its goods online

Amazon is deepening its relationship with India’s second largest retail chain, Future Retail, as the e-commerce giant widens its footprint in one of its key overseas markets. The two said on Monday that they have entered into a long-term business agreement to expand the reach of Future Retail’s stores through Amazon India marketplace. As part…

Here’s how Bosch engineers transformed the regular ol’ sun visor

While vehicles have become increasingly more advanced, the sun visor has stayed almost the same for more than nine decades. And yet, it remains a problematic feature that can obscure a driver’s field of view, especially at dusk and dawn. Three Bosch engineers have come up with a novel way to solve that problem by…

You can buy Lovot’s undying robotic love for $3,000

How much would you shell out for the lifelong love of a robot pal? Honestly, $3,000 seems like a downright deal, all said. Japanese robotic startup Groove X returned to CES to show of Lovot, and the surprisingly advanced robot can still pull in a pretty sizable crowd amongst tech enthusiasts, a few years in.…

Netatmo enters the smart door lock space with programmable NFC keys

Netatmo, the French startup that got acquired by Legrand, is announcing a new device at CES, the Netatmo Smart Door Lock. You can install it as a replacement to any cylinder door lock, which are more common in Europe than U.S.-style deadbolts. Compared to many smart door locks, Netatmo isn’t as heavy-handed as other solutions…

Nvidia’s new 360Hz G-Sync displays are tailor-made for esports

Nvidia has developed new technology that enables 360Hz refresh rates on PC displays, achieving unprecedented responsiveness that’s perfectly suited to esports, where any advances in terms of refresh speeds can translate to improved performance during play. Nvidia’s new G-sync tech that delivers the 360Hz refresh speeds will be coming to market first through a partnership…

A year after being banned, Lora DiCarlo returns to CES with new sex toys

It’s amazing what can happen in just one year. After being banned from the Consumer Electronics Show last year, sex tech startup Lora DiCarlo is debuting two new sex toys on the show floor. Even more, both of these new products, Baci and Onda, have received an CES Honoree Innovation award. All three of Lora…

This brain-training wearable promises better sleep

CES 2020 is the year of sleep tech. I called it a few months ago, and now that the announcements are starting to trickle out, I’m re-staking that claim. Technology has played an important role in completely destroying my sleep cycle.. Yet somehow, it appears to be my only hope of saving it. URGONight seems…

Muse’s innovative meditation headband gets a softer, sleepier version

Maybe you remember the Muse Softband from last year’s CES. Honestly, probably you don’t. I do, but only because A. I was there and B. I actually really liked the company’s regular version. I’m still pretty skeptical about the concept of using meditation to jumpstart mindfulness, but the Muse 2 makes a compelling case for…

Waverly Labs’ new wearable translater arrives in April at $200

There are a lot of companies trying to do this. And understandably so. It’s a really cool thing to do — and if someone can really crack it, there’s a lot of money to be made. For a years now, Waverly Labs has been among the more interesting startups in the real-time translation space —…

Withings says its latest watch can detect sleep apnea

Sure to be the next big battlefield for wrist-worn wearables, Withings today announced sleep apnea detection for its latest smartwatch. The company notes in press materials for the newly announced ScanWatch, that eight out of 10 people with the serious sleeping condition aren’t aware that they have it. It’s not a full-fledged medical device, of…

HP will start integrating Tile tracking into laptops

Here’s one those “why didn’t they do this sooner” deals. HP just announced at CES that it will be the first PC company to integrate Tile’s tracking technology directly into its laptops. The company’s Elite Dragonfly line will be the first get the technology, with a model dropping some point during Q1 of this year.…

Byton is launching an app developer program for its M-Byte electric SUV

China-based electric car startup Byton might be best known for its massive 48-inch wraparound digital dashboard screen in its upcoming M-Byte SUV as well as a host of other screens sprinkled throughout the vehicle. Those screens might get all the attention, but they are merely the delivery mechanism or “stage” for what Byton hopes will…

Byton enlists ViacomCBS, Accuweather, Xperi and more to take on Tesla’s in-car entertainment

Byton is starting to amass key partners such as global media giant ViacomCBS to bring video content as well as information and other services to the eye-popping 48-inch wraparound digital dashboard screen in its upcoming electric M-Byte SUV. The China-based electric car startup is calling its dashboard screen the “Byton Stage” and the plan to…

A look back at 10 years of CES

So, here we are on the eve of CES 2020 — the supersized buffet of an annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, where we not only get a sneak peek of what to expect from tech companies this year, but also to take the pulse of how people are responding to what’s out there.…

Original Content podcast: We choose our favorite streaming shows from 2019

For our first episode of 2020, the hosts of the Original Content podcast look back at the past year in streaming and each rank our five favorite titles. While our week-to-week reviews haven’t been particularly strict about the definition of “original content,” these top fives are really, truly limited to shows and movies (mostly shows) that…

This matcha maker is (most likely) coming soon to a coworking space near you

Over the past few years, matcha has become a kind of unavoidable phenomenon in cities like New York and L.A. The finely ground green tea powder is everywhere from coffee shops to bodegas to standalone stores. And it’s about to make its way to your startup/coworking space kitchen. At CES tonight, World Match Inc. took…

Arlo adds a big passive-aggressive floodlight to its camera so that you can scare your neighbors

Arlo, the security camera makers that spun out of Netgear, has announced a new device at CES in Las Vegas. The Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight, as the name suggests, looks a lot like the existing Arlo Pro 3. But instead of the tiny integrated spotlight, it features a gigantic LED-enabled floodlight. The new device features…

Software and the war against complexity

Look around: what is happening? Australia, AI, Ghosn, Google, Suleimani, Starlink, Trump, TikTok. The world is an eruptive flux of frequently toxic emergent behavior, and every unexpected event is laced with subtle interconnected nuances. Stephen Hawking predicted this would be “the century of complexity.” He was talking about theoretical physics, but he was dead right…

CrowdStrike’s CEO on how to IPO, direct listings and what’s ahead for SaaS startups

A few days before Christmas, TechCrunch caught up with CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz to chat about his company’s public offering, direct listings and his expectations for the 2020 IPO market. We also spoke about CrowdStrike’s product niche — endpoint security — and a bit more on why he views his company as the Salesforce of…

The future (and past) of mobile gaming

The summer of 2008 changed everything. Apple’s launch of the App Store a year after the release of the iPhone was a watershed moment not only in the business of technology, but in every aspect of humanity. Nearly every industry can look back at data before July 2008 and after and see how rapidly and…

CES awards cannabis company then bans it from mentioning cannabis when exhibiting

Keep Labs won an Innovation Award Honoree award for CES 2020 but is banned from saying the word “cannabis” on the CES show floor. Weeks later, the CTA, the trade group behind CES, told Keep Labs it could only exhibit if the company’s signage, marketing materials, and the product is free from cannabis product and…

China Roundup: TikTok receives most government requests from India and US

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. This week, TikTok, currently the world’s hottest social media app, welcomed the new decade by publishing its first transparency report as it encounters rising scrutiny from…

Week in Review: Selling out in the Instagram age

Hey everyone, happy 2020. Welcome back to Week in Review where I dive deep into a bit of news from the week or just share some thoughts and go over some of the more interesting stories of the week. If you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site, you can get this in your inbox here,…

Samsung confirms February 11 event for its next flagship launch

The Saturday night before CES seems like a less than ideal time to drop some big smartphone news — but it appears Samsung’s hand was forced on this one. Granted, the smartphone giant has never been great about keeping big news under wraps, but this morning’s early release of a promo video through its official…

2020 will be a challenging year for challenger banks

Over the past year, startup banks have proven that they have a shot at disrupting retail banking. These challengers have amassed a war chest of funding, announced some ambitious international expansion plans and attracted millions of customers. And yet, building a bank has proven to be even harder than building a startup in general. Retail…

A venture firm that invests ‘from Park City to Kansas City’ just closed its third fund

Sometimes, in venture capital, it pays to specialize. The latest indicator is a Kansas City, Mo.-based venture firm that’s focused on seed-stage startups that are based anywhere from “Park City to Kansas City.” According to an SEC filing, it just closed on $16.4 million in capital commitments. It’s the third fund for the outfit, Royal…

Samsung’s latest flagship and foldable appear set for a Feb 11 announcement

Odds are Samsung didn’t plan to leak news about its upcoming handsets the weekend before CES. But honestly, who knows at this point? A little early publicity never hurt. This one comes courtesy of a teaser video that got teased a little earlier than planned by way of the company’s official Vimeo channel. The leak…