Gal Gadot and Chris Pine are back in the first trailer for ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

Despite the financial success of of the goofily likable “Aquaman,” Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is probably still the biggest draw in DC’s Extended Universe. She’s returning to big screens next year in “Wonder Woman 1984”, and Warner Bros released the first trailer over the weekend. As its title suggests, the sequel jumps about 70 years…

French e-grocery app Jow raises $7M additional funding

Jow, the French e-grocery app — which combines recipes, recommendations and online grocery ordering — has raised $7 million in new funding. The round is led by Stride.VC, alongside Caterina Fake and Jyri Engeström from Yes VC, and Shan-Lyn Ma, the co-founder and CEO of Zola. Previous seed backers, DST global partners and eVentures, also…

By Miles, the UK pay-by-mile car insurance app, adds ‘connected car’ policy for Tesla drivers

By Miles, the U.K. pay-by-mile car insurance provider, is launching a “connected car” insurance policy specifically for Tesla drivers. The new insurance product pulls real-time mileage information directly from a car owner’s Tesla account and uses the distance they have driven to price their insurance each month. It claims to be the first car insurance…

Max Q: SpaceX and Rocket Lab launch rockets and X-Wings take flight

Sign up here to receive Max Q weekly in your inbox, starting December 15. This week saw a ton of activity in the space industry, with multiple launches, key preparations for commercial crew missions, robots and much more. Besides all the real space news, there’s also some extreme fan service for Star Wars lovers, courtesy…

Snapchat Cameo edits your face into videos

Snapchat is preparing to launch a big new feature that uses your selfies to replace the faces of people in videos you can then share. It’s essentially a simplified way to Deepfake you into GIFs. Cameos are an alternative to Bitmoji for quickly conveying an emotion, reaction, or silly situation in Snapchat messages. Some French…

The new Mac Pro goes up for order December 10

After more than a year of teasing, Apple finally unveiled the new Mac Pro at WWDC in June. The long wait was finally over — though Apple left out one key detail: when, precisely the high end desktop would arrive, beyond a purposefully vague fall timeframe Earlier this, however, the company began sending out pre-pre-order…

In wake of Shutterstock’s Chinese censorship, American companies need to relearn American values

It’s among the most iconic images of the last few decades — a picture of an unknown man standing before a line of tanks during the protests in 1989 in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. In just one shot, the photographer, Jeff Widener, managed to convey a society struggling between the freedoms of individual citizens and the…

RaySecur, a mailroom security startup, raises $3M in seed funding

Raysecur says at least ten times a day someone sends a suspicious package containing powder, liquid, or some other kind of hazard. The Boston, Mass.-based startup says its desktop-sized 3D real-time scanning technology, dubbed MailSecur, can intercept and detect threats in the mailroom before they ever make it onto the office floor. Mailroom security may…

Original Content podcast: ‘The Crown’ embraces middle age

“The Crown” has returned to Netflix with a new cast — Olivia Colman as a middle-aged Queen Elizabeth, Tobias Menzies as her husband Prince Philip and Helena Bonham Carter as her sister Princess Margaret. Loyal listeners of the Original Content podcast may recall that we reviewed the show’s first two seasons last year. We didn’t…

This Week in Apps: Black Friday’s boost, security news and the year’s biggest apps

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. What are developers talking about? What do app publishers and marketers need to know? How are politics impacting the App Store and app businesses? And which apps…

Real X-Wings took flight at Disney’s new Star Wars ride grand opening thanks to Boeing

Boeing might be taking the last crucial steps to prepare for its first crewed Starliner capsule spaceflight, but it’s also busy turning sci-fi into reality right here on Earth – by helping Disney build X-Wing large-scale starfighters to celebrate the opening of the ‘Rise of the Resistance’ ride at Disney World in Florida. Earlier this…

Startups Weekly: U.S. VCs eye European startups

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about Chinese investor activity in Africa. Before that, I noted Airbnb’s issues. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions…

Reddit links UK-US trade talk leak to Russian influence campaign

Reddit has linked account activity involving the leak and amplification of sensitive UK-US trade talks on its platform during the ongoing UK election campaign to a suspected Russian political influence operation. Or, to put it more plainly, the social network suspects that Russian operatives are behind the leak of sensitive trade data — likely with…

Facebook sells off Oculus Medium to Adobe

Facebook is selling Oculus Medium — a 3D virtual reality sculpting tool for creatives — to Adobe. The team was an expensive effort for Oculus and its sale signifies a broader rethinking within Facebook in what virtual reality projects they tackle in-house. It’s clear that Oculus pumped an awful lot of money into Medium over…

See Atomico’s most senior VCs on stage at Disrupt Berlin

Atomico is among the most widely respected venture firms in Europe, ranking right up there with friendly rivals like Accel London and Index Ventures. It’s also just 13 years old at this point, compared with its more established peers. It’s easy to overlook this, considering the impact the firm has made on the European startup…

Elon Musk found not liable in case brought against him by British diver

After a three-day trial, Elon Musk was found not liable for defamation in a federal court today in Los Angeles, where Musk reportedly owns a cluster of six homes as well as oversees the operations of both SpaceX and Tesla. British diver Vernon Unsworth had brought the suit against Musk in the fall of 2018…

To measure sales efficiency, SaaS startups should use the 4×2

Brian Ascher Contributor Share on Twitter Brian Ascher is a partner at Venrock, where he invests broadly across enterprise and fintech and serves on the boards of several companies, including Personal Capital, 6Sense, Socrates AI, Dynamic Signal, Retail Solutions, SmartBiz Loans, and Inrix. More posts by this contributor Running through walls: 6Sense’s Amanda Kahlow on…

Boeing Starliner crew capsule and Atlas V rocket complete dress rehearsal ahead of test flight

Boeing and launch partner United Launch Alliance (ULA) completed a key step today in pursuit of launching U.S. astronauts aboard their commercial spacecraft. The Boeing CST-100 Starliner crew capsule was atop the ULA Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complext 41 in Florida, with the rocket fully fuelled while the combined…

Bird lays off several Scoot employees

Bird has laid off less than two dozen employees, The San Francisco Chronicle first reported. The layoffs affect employees Bird brought on board as part of its ~$25 million acquisition of Scoot earlier this year. Those affected were salaried employees and/or people with technical backgrounds, according to Bird. “The integration of Bird and Scoot does not…

The inevitable takedown of the female CEO

Sara Mauskopf Contributor Share on Twitter Sara Mauskopf is the CEO and co-founder of Winnie, a marketplace for daycare and preschool helping over 4 million parents across the U.S. Prior to founding Winnie, Sara held product leadership roles at Postmates, Twitter, YouTube and Google. Four years ago when I founded Winnie, I set out to…

Will the 2020s be online advertising’s holistic decade?

Todd Dipaola Contributor Share on Twitter Todd Dipaola founded inMarket to bring the performance and accountability of digital advertising to offline brands. With less than two months left in the decade, advertising is again entering a new phase of rapid expansion with customer experience front and center. The explosion of data and identity management, combined…

Raising VC in Silicon Valley as a female POC

Nathan Beckord Contributor Share on Twitter Nathan Beckord is CEO of Foundersuite.com, a software platform for raising capital and managing investors that has helped entrepreneurs raise over $2 billion since 2016. He is also the host of Foundersuite’s How I Raised It podcast. More posts by this contributor Non-obvious fundraising tips from a Silicon Valley…

Daily Crunch: Uber reveals sexual assault numbers

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. Uber reveals thousands of sexual assault reports last year Uber just released its first-ever safety report, stating that it received 2,936…

Gift Guide: VR gear you won’t feel stupid for buying

Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide! Need help with gift ideas? We’re here to help! We’ll be rolling out gift guides from now through the end of December. You can find our other guides right here. There have been holiday gift guides for VR for the past five years or so, and, for most of…

Report: Magic Leap’s early device sales aren’t looking good

Magic Leap just announced that they’re in the midst of closing a Series E round of funding, but it sounds like they’re going to have to clinch that investment with some pretty troubling sales numbers for their only device on the market. The Information‘s Alex Heath is reporting that Magic Leap managed to sell just…

Dutch startup Meatable is developing lab-grown pork and has $10 million in new financing to do it

Meatable, the Dutch startup developing cruelty-free technologies for manufacturing cultured meat, is pivoting to pork production as a swine flu epidemic ravages one quarter of the world’s pork supply — and has raised $10 million in financing to support its new direction. When the company unveiled its technology last year, it was one of several…

Move over Slack — Space is a new project management platform for developers

While file sharing, time tracking, email integration, Gantt Charts, and budget management are usually some of the most requested features in the average project management platform, we still have a proliferation of tools taking a multiplicity of approaches to the problem of just managing something. Most people in tech are by now familiar with Slack,…

Essential tools for today’s digital nomad

Dave Williams Contributor A serial entrepreneur in the digital marketing, advertising, and ad tech industries, Dave Williams founded and sold 360i, IgnitionOne, BLiNQ Media, and other ventures and is now the CEO and Co-founder of NOMADX, with his base in Lisbon, Portugal. The world isn’t ready for the digital nomad movement. If projections are to…

Canva introduces video editing, has big plans for 2020

Canva, the design company with nearly $250 million in funding, has today announced a variety of new features, including a video editing tool. The company has also announced Canva Apps, which allows developers and customers alike to build on top of Canva. Thus far, Dropbox, Google Drive, PhotoMosh and Instagram are already in the Canva…

Closing the race and gender funding gap

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was a bit different than usual. First, we managed to come close to our old time target (20 minutes) instead of our regular length (30 minutes). And, second, Alex is coming back to TechCrunch starting next…

Reelgood raises $6.75 million for its universal streaming guide

Streaming aggregator Reelgood capitalized on the overabundance of streaming services available today by offering consumers a universal dashboard where you can track what you’re watching and discover your next binge. It then translated the activity from its over 10 million users into data it licenses to major companies, including Roku, Microsoft, smart TV makers, NYPost,…

This Lego Cybertruck is one even Elon can love

Lego already debuted its own take on the divisive Tesla Cybertruck design, but theirs was purely for the lols. This Lego Cybertruck, however, submitted to the official Lego Ideas crowdsourcing website, is actually a remarkably faithful representation, and comes completely with fully articulating tailgate and ‘frunk’ (front truck, for the uninitiated). The design, by Lego…

Rocket Lab launches 10th Electron mission with successful rocket booster re-entry

Rocket Lab launched its 10th Electron spacecraft on Friday morning, successfully delivering payloads for clients Spaceflight and Alba Orbital. The launch company also had an important secondary mission for this launch: Testing out the guidance, control and navigation systems of their first stage rocket recovery system. Rocket Lab announced earlier this year that it would…

Style Theory, a fashion rental startup in Southeast Asia, raises $15 million led by SoftBank Ventures Asia

Style Theory, a platform for renting designer apparel in Indonesia and Singapore, announced today it has raised $15 million in Series B funding. The startup says this is the first closing of the round. It was led by SoftBank Ventures Asia, the early-stage venture arm of SoftBank Group, with participation from other investors including Alpha…

Online used car startup Vroom raises $254M to scale product and engineering hub

There have been a lot of bumps in the road for startups building used-car marketplaces, but now one of the longer-standing of them has closed a major round of funding — a clear sign of the mileage left in this category. Vroom has raised $254 million, a Series H that it plans to use to…

Netflix earmarks $420M to fight Disney in India

Netflix may still not have a million subscribers in India, but it continues to invest big bucks in the nation, where Disney’s Hotstar currently dominates the video streaming market. Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, said on Friday that the company is on track to spend 30,000 million Indian rupees, or $420.5 million, on…

No Libra style digital currencies without rules, say EU finance ministers

European Union finance ministers have agreed a defacto ban on the launch in the region of so-called global ‘stablecoins’ such as Facebook’s planned Libra digital currency until the bloc has a common approach to regulation that can mitigate the risks posed by the technology. In a joint statement the European Council and Commission write that…

Uber’s fatal accident tally shows low rates but excludes key numbers

Uber’s just-released U.S. Safety Report sets forth in some detail the number of fatal accidents, and the good news is that the overall rate per mile is about half the national average. But the report makes some puzzling choices as far as what is included and excluded. To create the report, Uber took its internal…

Uber safety report reveals thousands of sexual assault reports last year

Uber just released its first-ever safety report that covers sexual assault. Let’s jump right in. In 2017, Uber received 2,936 reports pertaining to sexual assault, and received 3,045 in 2018. Despite the increase in raw numbers, Uber saw a 16% decrease in the average incident rate, which it suggests may correlate with the company’s increased…

Why AWS is selling a MIDI keyboard to teach machine learning

Earlier this week, AWS launched DeepComposer, a set of web-based tools for learning about AI to make music and a $99 MIDI keyboard for inputting melodies. That launch created a fair bit of confusion, though, so we sat down with Mike Miller, the director of AWS’s AI Devices group, to talk about where DeepComposer fits…

Scammers peddling Islamophobic clickbait is business as usual at Facebook

A network of scammers used a ring of established right-wing Facebook pages to stoke Islamophobia and make a quick buck in the process, a new report from the Guardian reveals. But it’s less a vast international conspiracy and more simply that Facebook is unable to police its platform to prevent even the most elementary scams…

Review: Driving the track-ready, race-banned McLaren Senna GTR

The McLaren Senna GTR shouldn’t exist. This feat of engineering and design isn’t allowed on public roads. It’s built for the track, but prohibited from competing in motorsports. And yet, the GTR is no outlier at McLaren . It’s part of their Ultimate Series, a portfolio of extreme and distinct hypercars that now serve as…

Elizabeth Warren is reportedly drafting legislation to allow gig workers to unionize

A key ask from gig workers this year has been the right to unionize. Now, Senator (and presidential candidate) Elizabeth Warren is reportedly drafting a bill that would enable gig workers to do just that, CNBC reports. In collaboration with Congressperson David Cicilline, the legislation would also ban “mega mergers” between companies where one has…

Niantic is working with Qualcomm on augmented reality glasses

We’ve known for a while that Pokémon GO creator Niantic feels a bit limited in what it can do with augmented reality today. Between the latency limitations of 4G cellular networks and the need for players to wave a smartphone around to do anything in AR, the tech just isn’t where Niantic wants it to…

NFL-AWS partnership hopes to reduce head injuries with machine learning

Today at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell joined AWS CEO Andy Jassy onstage to announce a new partnership to use machine learning to help reduce head injuries in professional football. “We’re excited to announce a new strategic partnership together, which is going to combine cloud computing, machine learning and data science…

Gift Guide: Gifts for the promising podcaster

Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide! Need help with gift ideas? We’re here to help! We’ll be rolling out gift guides from now through the end of December. You can find our other guides right here. Spotify reportedly spent nearly $500 million on podcasts in 2019. The good news is that the rest of us…

New tweet generator mocks venture capitalists

“Airbnb’s unit economics are quite legendary — the S-1 is going to be MOST disrupted FASTEST in the next 3 YEARS? Caps for effect.” Who tweeted that? Initialized Capital’s Garry Tan? Homebrew’s Hunter Walk? Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham? Or perhaps one of the dozens of other venture capitalists active on Twitter . No, it…

Google’s A.I.-powered voice recorder and transcription app comes to older Pixel phones

Google’s AI-powered voice recorder app introduced at Google’s October hardware event was one of the company’s more impressive demos. The new app taps into advances in AI, speech processing and speech recognition in order to automatically transcribe a voice recording with few mistakes, in real time as the person is speaking. Unfortunately, Google’s Recorder app…

A look at Latin America’s emerging fintech trends

Thiago Paiva Contributor Share on Twitter Thiago is a fintech entrepreneur, investor, and columnist. He is currently a product leader at Oyster, a neobank for SMEs in Latin America. More posts by this contributor The battle to become the Mexican Nubank just started The emergence of super apps in Latin America Although the 2008 global…

Daily Crunch: Imgur launches an app for gaming memes

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. 300M-user Imgur launches Melee, a gaming meme app Melee, the company’s first app beyond its flagship product, lets users subscribe to…

Qualcomm launches the XR2 platform for 5G-connected AR and VR devices

At its Snapdragon Boondoggle Summit in sunny Maui, Hawaii, Qualcomm today announced the launch of its XR2 platform, which it describes as the “world’s first 5G-supported extended reality (XR) platform.” The company’s older XR1 platform, which already powers a number of VR and AR devices, will remain in the market and is now branded as…

Einride to launch commercial pilot of driverless electric pods with Coca-Cola European Partners

Autonomous robotic road-riding cargo pod startup Einride has signed a new partner for a commercial pilot on Sweden’s roads, which should be a great test of the company’s electric driverless transportation pods. Einride will be providing service for Coca-Cola European Partners, which is the official authorized bottler, distributor, sales and marketing company for Coca-Cola branded…

Airbnb officially bans all unauthorized house parties

One month after Airbnb confirmed plans to verify all of its listings, the home-sharing giant has announced additional efforts to protect its hosts and guests. Airbnb will provide “clear and actionable enforcement framework” for scenarios including excessive noise, major cleanliness concerns, as well as unauthorized guests, parking and smoking. The company, expected to go public…

Future iPhones could drop charging ports altogether

Here’s a little early Christmas present for you. Apple analyst extraordinaire Ming-Chi Kuo is out with his latest Apple opus. Per usual, it’s got a lot of fascinating nuggets, this time projecting as far as 2021 in its look at iPhones to come. Let’s skip right to that bit, shall we? It seems that 2021…

Chirp debuts a faster, feature-filled Twitter app for Apple Watch

Chirp, a Twitter client preferred by hundreds of thousands of Apple Watch users, is getting its biggest upgrade since its arrival last year. Now redesigned for watchOS 6, the new version of Chirp includes a rebuilt timeline feature that allows you to endlessly scroll through tweets much more quickly than before, along with other enhancements…

AI-enabled assistant robot returning to the Space Station with improved emotional intelligence

The Crew Interactive Mobile Companion (or CIMON for short) recorded a number of firsts on its initial mission to the International Space Station, which took place last November, including becoming the first ever autonomous free-floating robot to operate aboard the station, and the first ever smart astronaut assistant. But CIMON is much more than an…

Inside VSCO, a Gen Z-approved photo-sharing app, with CEO Joel Flory

Long before Instagram toyed with removing “likes,” VSCO, an Oakland-based photo-sharing and editing app, built a community devoid of likes, comments and follower counts. Perhaps known to many only because of this year’s “VSCO girl” meme explosion, the company has long been coaxing the creative community to its freemium platform. Turns out, if you can…

After criticism, Homeland Security drops plans to expand airport face recognition scans to US citizens

Homeland Security has confirmed it will not expand face recognition scans to U.S. citizens arriving and departing the country, days after it emerged the agency proposed making the scans for citizens mandatory. The department, whose responsibility is border protection and immigration checks, said in a government filing that it wanted to “amend the regulations to…

Waymo robotaxi app arrives on the App Store

Hailing one of Waymo’s self-driving minivans is about to get a little easier. One year after launching its Waymo One self-driving car service in the Phoenix area, the company is launching an app on iOS, the latest signal that the company is inching towards large-scale commercial service. Now, Phoenix residents can download the Waymo app to…

SpaceX successfully launches re-used Dragon cargo capsule for its third trip to the Space Station

SpaceX has launched its nineteenth resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on behalf of NASA. The launch took place at 12:29 PM EST (9:29 AM PST) from Cape Canaveral in Florida, with a Falcon 9 blasting off with a Dragon cargo capsule on top carrying around 5,200 lbs of payload destined for the…

Apple says its ultra wideband technology is why newer iPhones appear to share location data, even when the setting is disabled

This week, security reporter Brian Krebs asked why the newest iPhone 11 Pro appeared to be sending out a user’s location even when the user disabled Location Services in their phone’s settings, in conflict with Apple’s privacy policy and the express wishes of the user. Apple told Krebs it was “expected behavior” and that there…

Uniform Teeth raises $10 million for its teeth-straightening operations

Uniform Teeth, the teeth straightening startup that helped me figure out I needed a root canal, has just raised a $10 million round of funding led by Canaan Partners. This brings Uniform Teeth’s total funding to $14 million. With the new funding, Uniform Teeth plans to open up two more locations, one in Seattle and…

Figma launches Auto Layout

Figma, the design tool maker that has raised nearly $83 million from investors such as Index Ventures, Sequoia, Greylock and Kleiner Perkins, has today announced a new feature called Auto Layout that takes some of the tedious reformatting out of the design process. Designers are all too familiar with the problem of manually sizing content…

Spotify Wrapped expands to include your favorite music from the decade, plus podcaster metrics

Spotify’s annual “Wrapped” feature, which allows listeners to look back on their favorite music from the year, is expanding in 2019 to include a whole decade’s worth of favorite tunes, the company announced today. In addition, the feature is for the first time being made available to podcasters, in addition to Spotify users and Spotify…

Design may be the next entrepreneurial gold rush

Ten years ago, the vast majority of designers were working in Adobe Photoshop, a powerful tool with fine-tuned controls for almost every kind of image manipulation one could imagine. But it was a tool built for an analog world focused on photos, flyers and print magazines; there were no collaborative features, and much more importantly…

Justice Dept. charges Russian hacker behind the Dridex malware

U.S. prosecutors have brought computer hacking and fraud charges against a Russian citizen, Maksim Yakubets, who is accused of developing and distributing Dridex, a notorious banking malware used to allegedly steal more than $100 million from hundreds of banks over a multi-year operation. Per the unsealed 10-count indictment, Yakubets is accused of leading and overseeing…

Volvo invests in autonomous vehicle operating system startup Apex.AI though its VC arm

Volvo is making an investment in Palo Alto-based Apex.AI, a startup working on developing a robotic operating system qualified for use in production automobiles. Apex.AI, founded by automated systems engineers Jan Becker and Dejan Pangercic, raised $15.5 million in a Series A last November, and revealed that its focus is on developing an enterprise-focused version…

Apostrophe raises $6 million to let you see a dermatologist from your phone

Ben Holber and Ryan Hambley grew up together. Hambley, the son of a dermatologist, always had clear skin. But Holber struggled with acne from the time he was a teenager. The two saw first-hand the difference it makes to have a dermatologist on demand. Apostrophe was born. Apostrophe, a new startup that makes it easier…

300M-user Imgur launches Melee, a gaming meme app

10 years after debut, 300 million monthly user Imgur is one of the last massively popular yet unpersonalized home pages on the internet. Since everyone sees the same upvoted posts when they open Imgur, it creates a shared experience full of inside jokes and running gags. But while you can switch to a feed of…

GM, LG Chem to invest $2.3 billion in EV battery joint venture

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said Thursday morning that the automaker is forming a joint venture with LG Chem to mass produce battery cells for its electric vehicles, a portfolio that will include a new battery-electric truck coming in the fall of 2021. The two companies said they will invest up to a total…

GV spinout Plexo Capital closes $42.5 million fund

Plexo Capital, the fund founded by former GV Partner Lo Toney, has closed its first fund of $42.5 million. The plan is to invest in both startups and emerging VC funds, with 60% to 65% of the capital going toward venture capital funds as a limited partner, and 35% to 40% going directly to startups,…

SpaceX nears milestone on key crew launch system test

SpaceX is keeping relatively close to schedule on one of the bold timelines pronounced by its CEO Elon Musk – an unusual but welcome twist from the company’s track record of sticking to its predicted timelines. Specifically, SpaceX notes that it has now completed seven system tests of the latest, upgraded version of the parachutes…

Watch SpaceX launch a new ‘robot hotel’ and more to the Space Station live

It’s take two for SpaceX’s CRS-19 mission, the 19th Commercial Resupply Mission (see how that works?) it’s flying under contract with NASA. The goal of these missions is to ferry supplies, experimental materials and other equipment to the International Space Station, where it’ll be unloaded by the astronauts living and working aboard the orbiting research…

Most of the largest US voting districts are vulnerable to email spoofing

Only 5% of the largest voting counties in the U.S. are protected against email impersonation and phishing attacks, seen as a key attack method by hackers who officials say want to disrupt the upcoming presidential election. The findings come less than a year before millions of Americans are set to go to the polls to…

Check out the prizes for TC Hackathon at Disrupt Berlin

We’ve got a packed house for the TC Hackathon that kicks off at Disrupt Berlin 2019 in just six days. We may have limited the number of participants to 500 people, but there’s no limit on the skills, creativity and dogged determination of these coders. Hold up now, there’s still time to save money and buy…

Flipkart leads $60M investment in logistics startup Shadowfax

Walmart’s Flipkart has backed Shadowfax in a new $60 million financing round as the retail giant works to strengthen its logistics network in the nation. Flipkart led the Series D financing round for the four-year-old Bangalore-based startup, Shadowfax co-founder and chief executive Abhishek Bansal told TechCrunch in an interview. Existing investors Eight Roads Ventures, Nokia…

Huawei sues FCC over “unconstitutional” ban the use of federal subsidies to buy its equipment

Huawei said today it is suing the Federal Communications Commission, asking to overturn a ban on carriers from using money from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to buy equipment from Huawei and ZTE. The $8.5 billion USF supports the purchase of equipment to build communications infrastructure, especially in rural communities. Huawei is asking the United…

Apple Music dives deeper into concert streaming with Billie Eilish

As music streaming apps struggle to differentiate, Apple is making concert video a more central part of its strategy with tonight’s big Billie Eilish show at its HQ’s Steve Jobs Theater. The Apple Music Awards concert will be streaming live and then on-demand to Apple Music’s 60 million subscribers. Apple would like to do more…

AWS Outposts begins to take shape to bring the cloud into the data center

When AWS announced Outposts last year, a private cloud hardware stack they install in your data center, there were a lot of unanswered questions. This week at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, the company announced general availability as the vision for this approach began to come clearer. AWS CEO Andy Jassy, speaking at a press…

Brazil’s new fintech startup Cora raised $10 million on the strength of its founding team

It didn’t take much for the founders of Cora, Brazil’s newest startup to tackle some aspect of the broken financial services industry in the country, to raise their first $10 million. Igor Senra and Leo Mendes had worked together before — founding their first online payments company, MOIP, in 2005. That company sold to WireCard…

What we know about Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon 865 and 765 chips

Qualcomm’s holding its big annual get-together this week in Hawaii, portioning off Snapdragon news, piece by piece. Yesterday’s event was the big unveiling of the Snapdragon 865 and 765, the chips that will power most of next year’s premium and mid-tier handsets, respectively. Today, the components came into sharper focus. Expect more from both tomorrow,…

How to build or invest in a startup without paying capital gains tax

Peyton Carr Contributor Share on Twitter Peyton Carr is a Financial Adviser to founders, entrepreneurs and their families, helping them with planning and investing. He is a Managing Director of Keystone Global Partners. More posts by this contributor Make a personal plan for your exit or IPO Founders, entrepreneurs, and tech executives in the know…

The Urban.Us and BMW Mini accelerator focused on urban innovation names its latest cohort

URBAN-X, the accelerator program focused on companies developing technologies to increase the sustainability, resiliency and efficiency of cities, has selected seven companies for its latest cohort. Operating as a partnership between BMW’s Mini brand and the early-stage investment fund Urban.Us since 2017, the accelerator has backed 51 companies, which have raised more than $100 million…

A Sprint contractor left thousands of US cell phone bills on the internet by mistake

A contractor working for cell giant Sprint stored on an unprotected cloud server hundreds of thousands of cell phone bills of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile subscribers. The storage bucket had more than 261,300 documents, the vast majority of which were phone bills belonging to cell subscribers dating as far back as 2015. But the bucket,…

These new data sources are creating high-impact tools for investors

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…

Daily Crunch: Google’s founders step back

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. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is taking over as CEO of Alphabet Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced that Google CEO…

Finally, an official Craigslist app

Fancy websites and services come and go, but Craigslist endures. And now one of its main shortcomings is fixed: there’s an official app. Currently available for iOS and in beta for Android, the app provides a true-to-form Craigslist experience: useful, unfussy and anonymous. There isn’t much to say about the app beyond that it faithfully…

Nintendo’s Switch just had its best sales week in the US

Nintendo today noted that the Switch just had its best-ever sales week in the States. Over the course of Thanksgiving week, the three-year-old console moved more than 830,000 units. That brings the system up to a combined 17.5 million units in the U.S., by Nintendo’s count. It’s pretty impressive momentum for a mature console. Back…

YouTube warns creators of subscriber count declines amid purge of closed accounts

YouTube is warning creators they may see their subscriber numbers decline this week as the result of a purge that will remove closed accounts from YouTube metrics. Closed accounts could refer to those that were willingly shut down by users or those that YouTube shut down for policy violations — like spam or abuse, for…

GitGuardian raises $12M to help developers write more secure code and ‘fix’GitHub leaks

Data breaches that could cause millions of dollars in potential damages have been the bane of the life of many a company. What’s required is a great deal of real-time monitoring. The problem is that this world has become incredibly complex. A SANS Institute survey found half of company data breaches were the result of…

Korean e-commerce leader Coupang hires Alberto Fornaro as its new chief financial officer

Korean e-commerce giant Coupang has a new chief financial officer. The company announced today that it has hired Alberto Fornaro, who previously served the same role at International Gaming Technology (IGT PLC), the multinational gaming machine company. Fornaro succeeds Richard Song, who joined Coupang in 2011 and is retiring. Coupang is Korea’s largest e-commerce platform.…

Instagram finally launches 13+ age checkups

Instagram is done playing dumb about users’ ages. After 9 years, Instagram is finally embracing more responsibility to protect underage kids from the problems with social media. It will now ask new users to input their birthdate and bar users under 13 from joining. However, it won’t be asking existing users their age, so Instagram…

Reddit’s monthly active user base grew 30% to reach 430M in 2019

In a year-end retrospective released this morning, Reddit says its user base grew 30% this year to reach 430 million monthly active users, as of the end of October. Its users also contributed 199 million posts, 1.7 billion comments, and 32 billion upvotes, the company says. Last year, Reddit reported 330 million monthly active users…

Dataiku is now worth $1.4 million following secondary round

Enterprise AI company Dataiku has announced some changes in its capitalization table. CapitalG (formerly Google Capital), Alphabet’s growth equity investment fund, is investing in the startup by buying out some of Serena Capital’s shares. Serena Capital has been an investor in Dataiku since 2014. “Serena was looking for a bit of liquidity. They invested in…

Toyota leads $50 million investment in autonomous shuttle startup May Mobility

May Mobility, a Michigan-based startup that is operating autonomous shuttle services in three U.S. cities, has has raised $50 million in a Series B round led by Toyota Motor Corp. The funding, which comes less than a year after May Mobility raised $22 million, will be used to expand every aspect of the company, including…

Kustomer raises $60M for its omnichannel-based CRM platform

Kustomer, a CRM startup that’s taking on the likes of Zendesk, Salesforce, and many other bigger and older providers, has closed yet another round of funding — no less than its third fundraise of the year — as it continues to double down on its new approach to managing customers in today’s digital world. The…

Delphia wants to turn your data into investment capital through collective action

A lot of companies talk about the value of your data, and about helping you get more control over the information you share, but Toronto-based Delphia is unique in aiming to build a viable, sustainable and scalable way to take a person’s data and turn that into real monetary gain. It’s not aiming to do…

Plex launches a free, ad-supported streaming service in over 200 countries

Plex today is launching its own ad-supported streaming service, a rival to The Roku Channel, Tubi, Crackle, Vudu’s Movies on Us, and others that offer a way to stream movies and TV for free without a subscription. The service will feature several thousand movies and shows from studios like MGM, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution,…

Pandora’s revamped, more personalized app rolls out to all users

Pandora’s redesigned mobile app experience is today available to all users, following a limited rollout that began in October. The update expands on Pandora’s personalization capabilities with the addition of a new “For You” tab offering an entirely unique experience for each Pandora user, along with more station customization features, and other changes. Pandora hopes…

Flow raises $37M to simplify international e-commerce

Flow, a startup that helps brands and retailers build a cross-border e-commerce business, has raised $37 million in Series B funding. CEO Rob Keve said that thanks to the magic of social media and digital marketing, many direct-to-consumer brands are reaching consumers around the world. However, the actual shopping experience for those consumers often leaves…

Android’s ‘Focus Mode’ exits beta, adds new scheduling features

Google is expanding its suite of “Digital Wellbeing” tools for Android devices with a new feature, Focus Mode, launching today. This feature allows users to turn off distractions — like social media updates or email notifications — for a period of time, so you can get things done without interruption. Focus Mode was first announced…

Watch SpaceX launch a twice-flown Dragon capsule to the ISS live

SpaceX is set to launch its 19th Commercial Resupply Mission (CRS) for the International Space Station today, with a liftoff time scheduled for 12:51 PM EST (9:51 AM EST). The launch will take off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and will use a Dragon cargo capsule that SpaceX has already flown twice…

Disrupt Berlin 2019 opens in just one week

Synchronize your watches, dust off your passports and pack your bags, startuppers. Disrupt Berlin 2019 kicks off in just seven short days. Thousands of you — representing more than 50 countries — will arrive in Berlin ready to learn, exhibit, compete and network for two action-packed days. Good news for professional procrastinators and last-minute decisions…

Prolific wants to challenge Amazon’s Mechanical Turk in the online research space

Prolific, a U.K.-based startup that wants to make it easier to conduct online research, has raised $1.2 million in seed funding. The round is co-led by Silicon Valley-based Pioneer Fund, and Altair Capital, with support from various angel investors based in the Bay Area. Prolific is also a graduate of Y Combinator and presented at…

Otta picks up £850,000 seed to match you to relevant jobs

Otta, one of the latest startups aiming to fix what it sees as a broken job search and recruitment market, has picked up £850,000 in seed funding. Backing the young London company is LocalGlobe, along with a number of U.K. angel investors and founders. The latter includes Paul Forster (co-founder of Indeed), Shakil Khan (an…

Meet Europe’s top VCs at Disrupt Berlin

Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms, from Sequoia to Benchmark to Accel, are investing more and more dollars overseas, as more globally-minded unicorns crop up across Europe. As Forbes recently noted, U.S. VCS are “bonkers for European startups,” with “more money … flowing into European tech than ever.” Seems like a great time to sit…

In a first, Amazon launches a battery-powered portable Echo speaker in India

After launching nearly a dozen Echo speaker models in India in two years, Amazon said on Wednesday it is adding a new variant to the mix that addresses one of the most requested features from customers in the nation: Portability. The e-commerce giant today unveiled the Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition, a new variant…

Carbon dioxide emissions are set to hit a record high this year (it’s not fine, but not hopeless)

Carbon dioxide emissions, one of the main contributors to the climate changes bringing extreme weather, rising oceans, and more frequent fires that have killed hundreds of Americans and cost the U.S. billions of dollars, are set to reach another record high in 2019. That’s the word from the Global Carbon Project, an initiative of researchers around…

AWS launches discounted spot capacity for its Fargate container platform

AWS today quietly brought spot capacity to Fargate, its serverless compute engine for containers that supports both the company’s Elastic Container Service and, now, its Elastic Kubernetes service. Like spot instances for the EC2 compute platform, Fargate Spot pricing is significantly cheaper, both for storage and compute, than regular Fargate pricing. In return, though, you…

Progressive VCs and private equity are using tech and analytics to revolutionize investing

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 Finding free money for your social…

This 16-game arcade for AIs tests their playing prowess

Figuring out just what an AI is good at is one of the hardest thing about understanding them. To help determine this, OpenAI has designed a set of games that can help researchers tell whether their machine learning agent is actually learning basic skills or, what is equally likely, has figured out how to rig…

Setting politics aside, Sequoia raises $3.4 billion for US and China investments

Noted Silicon Valley venture capital fund Sequoia Capital has raised nearly $1 billion for later-stage U.S. investments and roughly $2.4 billion for venture and growth deals in China, according to paperwork filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday. The firm, famous for its investments in U.S. companies like Google, Instagram, Dropbox, LinkedIn,…

Fronted, from former Bud, Monzo and Apple employees, wants to make life easier for renters

Fronted, a new London-based startup aiming to make life easier for renters, is breaking cover today. The company, founded by Jamie Campbell, Simon Vans-Colina, and Anthony Mann — former employees at Bud, Monzo and Apple, respectively — will launch early next year with a fintech product to help renters finance their rental deposits. The plan…

Instagram still doesn’t age-check kids. That must change.

Instagram dodges child safety laws. By not asking users their age upon signup, it can feign ignorance about how old they are. That way, it can’t be held liable for $40,000 per violation of the Child Online Privacy Protection Act. The law bans online services from collecting personally identifiable information about kids under 13 without…

Gift Guide: TechCrunch writers recommend their favorite reads from 2019

2019 offered a blistering catalog of books to peruse, on top of the prodigious publishing schedules of the past few years (if you think we are at Peak TV, you might want to check out your local bookstore for a counterpoint). We already checked in with Extra Crunch readers and did a sort of reader’s…

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is taking over as CEO of Alphabet, too

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin just announced that Google CEO Sundar Pichai will be replacing Page as the CEO of parent company Alphabet. In addition, Brin is stepping down from his role as Alphabet’s president. Alphabet first came into existence in 2015 as “a collection of companies” that separates Google from “other bets”…

An investor’s perspective on the current state of the global space startup industry

Investment in space startups is significant and growing, and the opportunities available to commercial players in space exploration, research and industrialization are multiplying. But for non-expert investors and observers, these opportunities can seem obtuse and obscured, buried in technical jargon and a heady amount of hype. That’s a great time to consult with those already…

NASA will launch a ‘robot hotel’ to the Space Station on its next SpaceX resupply mission

NASA is going to be sending something it calls a ‘robot hotel’ to the International Space Station aboard the next commercial resupply mission, which is set to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket this week. The robot hotel is more formally known as the “Robotic Tool Stowage” unit, or the RiTS for short because…

Gift Guide: 12 must-read books for 2019 as recommended by Extra Crunch readers

Books are fundamentally about stories, and 2019 (and really, the past decade) has been the story of technology’s domination of every industry and function of society. Founders and tech executives are more powerful than ever, and how we use that power for good or evil will deeply shape the future of our world. Whether it’s…

OrbitsEdge partners with HPE on orbital datacenter computing and analytics

What kinds of businesses might be able to operate in space? Well, data centers are one potential target you might not have thought of. Space provides an interesting environment for data center operations, including advanced analytics operations and even artificial intelligence, due in part to the excellent cooling conditions and reasonable access to renewable power…

AWS launches new local zone in LA

AWS announced a new local zone today in LA, designed to provide customers in southern California with a set of higher bandwidth, lower latency compute resources. It’s not a coincidence that this area is the epicenter of the entertainment industry. Having a local zone gives LA-area companies, whether that’s related to video processing, gaming, ad…

The remains of India’s first lunar lander have been found on the Moon

India’s Vikram lander was very near making its proud creators the fourth country in history to touch down on the moon — but it was not to be, and the craft was lost. Now India has a bit of closure: The remains of the lander have been located on the Moon’s surface. After the accident,…

Verizon and AWS announce 5G Edge computing partnership

Just as Qualcomm was starting to highlight its 5G plans for the coming years, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg hit the stage at AWS re:Invent to discuss the carrier’s team up with the cloud computing giant. As part of Verizon’s (TechCrunch’s parent company, disclosure, disclosure, disclosure) upcoming focus on 5G edge computing, the carrier will be…

AWS announces new enterprise search tool powered by machine learning

Today at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, the company announced a new search tool called Kendra, which provides natural language search across a variety of content repositories using machine learning. Matt Wood, AWS VP of artificial intelligence, said the new search tool uses machine learning, but doesn’t actually require machine learning expertise of any kind.…

Postscript raises $4.5M to help Shopify shops stay connected with customers over SMS

Back in February, we wrote that Postscript “wants to be the Mailchimp for SMS.” Now they’ve raised $4.5 million to help get it done. This round was led by Accomplice, and backed by Kayak co-founder Paul English, Wufoo co-founder Kevin Hale, Klaviyo co-founder Andrew Bialecki, Drift co-founder Elias Torres, Front co-founder Mathilde Collin and Podium…

SoftBank pours $100M into Mexico’s Konfio

Three months after Goldman Sachs lent $100 million to Mexican fintech Konfio, SoftBank has invested another $100 million into the financial services company. The investment confirms Reuters’ August report that SoftBank was in advanced talks with the startup — now one of the most heavily funded fintechs in Mexico.  SoftBank is continuing to expand its…

Alfred Lin, the Sequoia partner and former Zappos COO, thinks this retail startup could be a generation-defining brand

When the storied venture firm Sequoia likes a deal, it will sometimes not only lead one of its financing rounds but fund it exclusively — no matter how that impacts earlier investors. Given the firm’s powerful brand, it’s hard to complain (too much), even if it means that earlier backers see their stakes diluted. Such…

Does your company cultivate inclusion?

Lauren McCaslin Contributor Share on Twitter Lauren McCaslin is a vulnerability verification specialist with application security leader WhiteHat Security. Each company’s culture is defined by a variety of factors. One major factor is its leadership, and the type of workplace environment they choose to create. For example, are they approachable and encourage collaboration from all…

Qualcomm unveils Snapdragon 865 and 765 platforms

This morning at its annual Snapdragon summit in Hawaii, Qualcomm offered a glimpse at two new Snapdragon chips. You know how this works: the chipmaker offers some insight into the components that will power the vast majority of Android flagships over the course of the coming year. The two headliners for the even are the…

This browser extension unhides Instagram Likes

Instagram is hiding Like counts to make people feel better. But what if you’re curious, competitive, or just petty? Now you can re-embrace the popularity contest by installing the Socialinsider Chrome extension that reveals Instagram Like and comment counts. “The Return Of The Likes” extension overlays the numbers of Likes and comments on the top…

Ford to shut down GoRide Health service and pivot to AV research

Six months ago, Ford laid out an ambitious plan to expand its GoRide Health transportation service with an aim at delivering thousands of rides every day to hospitals, doctor offices and other health care facilities by the end of the year. In a few weeks, the service, which provided transportation for non-emergency care, will no…

AWS’ CodeGuru uses machine learning to automate code reviews

AWS today announced CodeGuru, a new machine learning-based service that automates code reviews based on the data the company has gathered from doing code reviews internally. Developers write the code and simply add CodeGuru to the pull requests. It supports GitHub and CodeCommit, for the time being. The CodeGuru uses its knowledge of reviews from…

AWS AutoPilot gives you more visible AutoML in SageMaker Studio

Today at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, the company announced AutoPilot, a tool that gives you greater visibility in automated machine learning model creation. This is available as part of the new SageMaker Studio also announced today. As AWS CEO Andy Jassy pointed out on stage today, one of the problems with AutoML is that…

AWS launches managed Cassandra services

Today at Amazon re:Invent, Amazon announced a new ability to manage Cassandra databases on AWS. Already used by companies as diverse as Grubhub.com, Netflix, Ooyala, Openwave, Reddit, and Uber, to manage distributed NoSQL databases, that handle large amounts of data across commodity servers,  the new Amazon Managed Apache Cassandra Service, is AWS’ attempt to offer…

Walmart tops Amazon as most-downloaded U.S. Shopping app on Black Friday

Amazon says Cyber Monday 2019 has now become the retailer’s biggest shopping day of all-time, based on the number of items sold worldwide. However, in the U.S., a different trend took shape over the big sales holiday weekend kicked off by Black Friday. This year, Walmart became the No. 1 shopping app in the U.S.…

AWS launches Sagemaker Studio, a web-based IDE for machine learning

At its re:Invent conference, AWS CEO Andy Jassy today announced the launch of SageMaker Studio, a web-based IDO for building and training machine learning workflows. It includes everything a data scientist would need to get started with, including ways to organize notebooks, data sets, code and models, for example. It essentially wants to be a…

Daily Crunch: Cyber Monday is bigger than ever

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. Cyber Monday totalled $9.2B in US online sales, smartphones accounted for a record $3B Cyber Monday — the final day of…

AWS announces UltraWarm tier for Amazon Elasticsearch Service

AWS announced a new tier for Amazon Elasticsearch Service. And it could potentially lead to some cost savings. It is now available in preview. There are now two storage tiers for Amazon Elasticsearch Service — hot and UltraWarm. Hot is still the most effective tier when you care about performance. You can use the hot…

AWS speeds up Redshift queries 10x with AQUA

At its re:Invent conference, AWS CEO Andy Jassy today announced the launch of AQUA (the Advanced Query Accelerator) for Amazon Redshift, the company’s data warehousing service. As Jassy noted in his keynote, it’s hard to scale data warehouses when you want to do analytics over that data. At some point, as your data warehouse or…

AWS announces EKS on Fargate is available

Today at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, the company announced that Elastic Kubernetes Service is available on Fargate. EKS is Amazon’s flavor of Kubernetes. Fargate is a service announced in 2017 that enables you to launch containerized applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. “Starting today, you can start using Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service to…

Amazon Robotics head Tye Brady will be speaking at TC Sessions Robotics+AI 2020 at UC Berkeley

We’re gearing up for another great TC Sessions Robotics+AI March 3 at UC Berkeley, and we’ve got some big names to announce. Last week, it was AI expert Stuart Russell and today we’re pleased to note that we’ll be joined by Amazon Robotics Chief Technologist, Tye Brady. A co-founder of MassRobotics, Brady has held a…

Google Photos adds a chat feature to its app

An argument could be made that Google has over-indulged in its creation of way too many messaging apps in years past. But today’s launch of a new messaging service — this time within the confines of Google Photos — is an integration that actually makes sense. The company is rolling out a way to directly…

AWS announces new ARM-based instances with Graviton2 processors

AWS, the cloud division of Amazon, just announced the next generation of its ARM processors, the Graviton2. This is a custom chip design with a 7nm architecture. It is based on 64-bit ARM Neoverse cores. Compared to first-generation Graviton processors (A1), today’s new chips should deliver up to 7x the performance of A1 instances in…

Non-obvious fundraising tips from a Silicon Valley outsider

Nathan Beckord Contributor Share on Twitter Nathan Beckord is CEO of Foundersuite.com, a software platform for raising capital and managing investors that has helped entrepreneurs raise over $2 billion since 2016. He is also the host of Foundersuite’s How I Raised It podcast. More posts by this contributor Tips From The Startup Fundraising Playbook When…

AWS launches its custom Inferentia inferencing chips

At its re:Invent conference, AWS today announced the launch of its Inferentia chips, which it initially announced last year. These new chips promise to make inferencing, that is, using the machine learning models you pre-trained earlier, significantly faster and cost effective. As AWS CEO Andy Jassy noted, a lot of companies are focussing on custom…

Apple and Google reveal the best apps and games of 2019

Continuing their annual tradition, Apple and Google have released their list of the best apps and games of 2019. Apple, for the first time, held a real-world event to celebrate its winners, where it crowned A.I.-powered camera app, Spectre Camera as its best iPhone app of the year and Sky: Children of the Light as…

Come to Disrupt Berlin if you care about fintech

On December 11 and December 12, some of the brightest mind in fintech are coming to TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin. While we’ll sit down with some of the most famous tech CEOs and investors, the agenda is particularly packed when it comes to fintech. On the main stage, I’ll interview GoCardless CEO Hiroki Takeuchi about…

Rapyd, which offers fintech-as-a-service via a single API, adds $20M more to its coffers at a $1.2B valuation

One of the biggest trends in the world of financial technology has been an ongoing push towards consolidation, where larger fish are snapping up smaller fish (including a proliferation of interesting startups) to get improved economies of scale in a business model where every transaction brings incremental returns. But today, a startup that has built…

Watch Amazon’s AWS re:Invent conference live right here

If you can’t stop dreaming about NoSQL databases, AWS re:Invent is the closest thing to heaven that you’ll find today. At 8 AM PT/11 AM ET/4 PM GMT, some of the brightest minds in cloud computing are going to introduce the upcoming features of AWS. Along with Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, Amazon is building…

Last chance to apply to the Hackathon at Disrupt Berlin

This is it, code jockeys — your last call to grab a seat and compete in the TC Hackathon at Disrupt Berlin 2019 on 11-12 December. We limited participation to 500 people and, with just eight days to go, only a few spots remain. Do you have the skills, stamina and creativity it takes to build a…

Facebook expands its efforts against ad discrimination

Under the terms of a settlement with the ACLU and other civil rights groups earlier this year, Facebook has been taking steps to prevent discriminatory ad targeting. Specifically, the company says ads in the United States that involve housing, employment or credit can no longer be targeted based on age, gender, ZIP code or multicultural affinity.…

Podcorn connects advertisers with podcasters and manages sponsored messages in podcasts

Podcorn, the service that connects brands with podcasters to acquire in-broadcast sponsored time (not pre- or post-roll advertising), is officially launching its services today. The benefit of Podcorn is that we aim to service podcasters of all sizes, many of which don’t currently qualify for traditional advertising but can still bring a lot of value…

Fired Google workers will file federal complaint alleging the company wrongfully terminated them

The four ex-Google employees, also known as the “Thanksgiving Four,” who were fired right before the holiday, are planning to file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. “We look forward to hearing the NLRB’s findings, which we expect will confirm that Google acted unlawfully,” ex-Googlers Laurence Berland, Paul Duke, Rebecca Rivers and Sophie…

Uberflip acquires SnapApp for smarter content targeting

Uberflip is acquiring SnapApp, bringing together two startups that promise to help marketers use their content more effectively. President and Chief Marketing Officer Randy Frisch argued that Uberflip focuses on content experience, not content marketing. In other words, it’s not selling productivity and workflow tools for marketers to write blog posts and create videos. Instead,…

Mozilla launches the next phase of its Firefox Private Network VPN beta

Mozilla today announced that its Firefox Private Network (FPN), which lets you encrypt your Firefox connections, is now in an extended beta after a few months of relatively limited testing in the Firefox Test Pilot program. This beta, however, is only available to users in the U.S. and the free service is restricted to 12…

Salv, the anti-money laundering startup founded by ex-TransferWise employees, picks up $2M seed

Salv, an anti-money laundering (AML) startup founded by former TransferWise and Skype employees, has raised $2 million in seed funding. The round is led by Fly Ventures, alongside Passion Capital and Seedcamp. Angel investors also participating include N26 founder Maximilian Tayenthal (who seems to be doing quite a bit of angel investing), Twilio CTO Ott…

Marvel’s new ‘Black Widow’ trailer teases the spy thriller Natasha Romanoff deserves

Marvel has a trailer out for Black Widow, the story focused on the member of the Avengers team played by Scarlett Johansson. This preview of the movie features a lot of heart-pumping action, and an all-star cast that includes Rachel Weisz, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, and of course, Johansson herself. What we get in this…

Cyber Monday totalled $9.2B in US online sales, smartphones accounted for a record $3B

Cyber Monday — the final day of the extended Thanksgiving weekend that traditionally kicks off holiday season spend — broke another e-commerce record: US shoppers racked up a total of $9.2 billion in online sales, according to figures from Adobe. To put that number into some perspective, at its peak, consumers were spending $11 million…

Xiaomi launches app to offer credit to millennials in India

Xiaomi, the top smartphone vendor in India, today joined a growing wave of fintech startups in the nation that are offering credit to aspirational young professionals and millennials. The Chinese electronics giant said today it is launching Mi Credit, its curated marketplace for digital lending, that offers users credit between Rs 5,000 ($70) and Rs…

US could impose 100% tariffs on French goods following France’s tax on tech giants

While French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump initially reached a deal on France’s tax on tech giants, the U.S. is moving forward with retaliation tariffs that could be as high as 100% on French goods (wine, cheese, handbags…). The United States Trade Representative published a report following an investigation into the French…

Mobility startup Damon Motors enters e-moto arena with EV debut

Vancouver based mobility startup Damon Motorcycles has entered the EV arena with a preview of its first e-moto, the Hypersport Pro. The seed-stage company had previously focused on creating digital safety technology — like its 360 degree radar detection system — to augment two-wheelers made by other manufacturers. Damon has determined to create its own…

Spam calls grew 18% in 2019

Do you feel you have been receiving more spam calls of late? You are probably not wrong — or alone. The volume of spam calls has grown by 18% globally this year, according to Truecaller. In its annual report published Tuesday, the Stockholm-based firm said users worldwide received 26 billion spam calls between January and…

Portag3 Ventures closes $320 million second fund focused on fintech investment

Canadian venture capital firm Portag3 Ventures has closed a second fund focused on investing in fintech startup, with final commitments from institutional and strategic LPs totally $427 million CAD (around $320 million USD). The fund will before costing on early stage investments, and it’ll look to invest in companies globally, but with a particularly focus…

Xometry acquires European on-demand manufacturing marketplace Shift

Xometry, the U.S.-based marketplace for on-demand manufacturing that raised $55 million in Series D funding this summer, has acquired Munich-based Shift as a path to European expansion. Exact terms of the deal remain undisclosed, although the exit sees at least some of Shift’s investors, such as Cherry Ventures, picking up shares in Xometry . I…

Credit startup Migo expands to Brazil on $20M raise and Africa growth

After growing its lending business in West Africa, emerging markets credit startup Migo is expanding to Brazil on a $20 million Series B funding round led by Valor Group Capital. The San Mateo based company — previously branded Mines.io — provides AI driven products to large firms so those companies can extend credit to underbanked…

Cuvva raises £15M Series A to launch flexible monthly car insurance

Cuvva, the app-based insurance provider that began life offering pay-as-you-go driving cover but has since expanded to also sell travel insurance, has raised £15 million in Series A funding. Backing comes from RTP Global, Breega, and Digital Horizon, joining existing investors LocalGlobe, Techstars Ventures, Tekton and Seedcamp. A number of angels also joined the round,…

Penta, the German business banking challenger, partners with SumUp to target offline businesses

Penta, the Berlin-based business banking challenger that also now operates in Italy, has partnered with BBVA-backed card reader company SumUp in a bid to attract more offline businesses. Up until recently, Penta had been targeting digital businesses, such as startups and e-commerce SMEs, but has since re-positioned itself for wider business banking appeal. By partnering…

Mass media vs. social media

In the waning years of the last millennium, at my university, one of the cause célèbres of the progressive left was a concept known as “Manufacturing Consent,” the title of a book and film, by and starring Noam Chomsky. Its central thesis was that US mass media “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry…

Billie Eilish, Lizzo and Lil Nas X are the winners of the first Apple Music Awards

Apple now has its own music awards, with winners picked by Apple Music’s editorial team or based on streaming data from the service. The first recipient of its top award, Global Artist of the Year, is Billie Eilish. The Apple Music Awards will be streamed live on Dec. 4 at 6:30PM Pacific Standard Time from…

‘Carpentry Compiler’ turns 3D models to instructions on how to build them

Even to an experienced carpenter, it may not be obvious what the best way is to build a structure they’ve designed. A new digital tool, Carpentry Compiler, provides a way forward, converting the shapes of the structure to a step-by-step guide on how to produce them. It could help your next carpentry project get off…

Why Notion is staying small as its valuation gets bigger

Work tools startup Notion, which recently reached a reported $800 million valuation, isn’t on the verge of a big SoftBank round. In fact, COO Akshay Kothari says the startup has “never felt like if we had more money we could grow faster.” The company, centered around an app that helps non-developers build collaboration tools, has…

Atomico Partner Tom Wehmeier reviews ‘The State of European Tech’ 2019 report

Atomico, the European venture capital firm founded by Skype’s Niklas Zennström, has released its latest annual The State of European Tech report, published in partnership with Slush and Orrick. As part of the report, the authors surveyed 5,000 members of the ecosystem — including 1,000 founders — as well as pulling in robust data from…

Kredivo’s parent firm FinAccel raises $90M to expand its credit lending platform in Southeast Asia

Singapore-headquartered FinAccel has secured $90 million in one of the largest funding rounds for a fintech startup in Southeast Asia as it looks to further grow its credit lending app Kredivo and build more financial services. The financing round, dubbed Series C, for the three-and-a-half-year-old startup was jointly led by Asia Growth Fund — a…

Omar Hamoui leaves Sequoia for L.A.-based Mucker Capital as it looks to lead more Series A deals

Mucker Capital, the now eight-year-old, Santa Monica, Calif.-based pre-seed startup accelerator and venture outfit, has brought aboard Omar Hamoui, a partner at Sequoia Capital for the last six-plus years, as its third general partner. Hamoui joins firm co-founders Erik Rannala and William Hsu, along with several other investors on the team who are collectively working…

The tech of giving back: an interview with Salesforce’s Chief Philanthropy Officer

Scott Bade Contributor Share on Twitter Scott Bade is a former speechwriter for Mike Bloomberg and co-author of More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First. More posts by this contributor Omidyar Network CEO opens up about VC-influenced philanthropy How the Valley can get philanthropy right with former Hewlett Foundation president Paul Brest Since…

Finding free money for your social impact startup

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 Use agile budgeting to manage your…

Facebook updates crisis response tools, adds WhatsApp integration

Facebook is expanding Crisis Response, its disaster-reporting and communications feature that’s been used in 300 crises in more than 80 countries. The company today is announcing several new features, including WhatsApp integration, support for first-hand information sharing and an expansion of its “Data for Good” tools for things like better disaster and displacement maps. Crisis…

DHS wants to expand airport face recognition scans to include US citizens

Homeland Security wants to expand facial recognition checks for travelers arriving to and departing from the U.S. to also include citizens, which had previously been exempt from the mandatory checks. In a filing, the department has proposed that all travelers, and not just foreign nationals or visitors, will have to complete a facial recognition check…

Canalys: Chinese cloud infrastructure spending reaches almost $3B a quarter

Canalys released its latest cloud infrastructure spending numbers for China today, and it’s all trending upward. For starters, the market reached $2.9 billion for the quarter, an increase of 60.8%. China now accounts for 10.4% of worldwide cloud spending, meaning it’s second only to the U.S. in overall spending. That is pretty amazing, given that…

The UniFi Dream Machine router is a great entry point for networking nerds

A few weeks ago, Ubiquiti unveiled the UniFi Dream Machine, an all-in-one networking device that for $299 combines a router, a switch with four Ethernet ports and a Wi-Fi access point. It has what Ubiquiti calls an integrated cloud key that lets you control your network. I’ve been using the UniFi Dream Machine on my…

Daily Crunch: Facebook announces photo transfer tool

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 launches a photo portability tool, starting in Ireland Facebook says it will make it easier for users to get their…

CircleCI launches improved AWS support

For about a year now, continuous integration and delivery service CircleCI has offered Orbs, a way to easily reuse commands and integrations with third-party services. Unsurprisingly, some of the most popular Orbs focus on AWS, as that’s where most of the company’s developers are either testing their code or deploying it. Today, right in time…

Twitter launches a Privacy Center to centralize its data protection efforts

Twitter today is launching a new resource that aims to serve as the central place for everything related to the company’s efforts around privacy and data protection, the Twitter Privacy Center. The new site will host information about Twitter’s initiatives, announcements, new privacy products, and other communication about security incidents. Related to these changes, Twitter…

Tuft & Needle exposed thousands of customer shipping labels

Mattress and bedding giant Tuft & Needle left on an unprotected cloud server hundreds of thousands of FedEx shipping labels containing customer names, addresses and phone numbers. More than 236,400 shipping labels were found on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) storage bucket without a password, allowing anyone who knew the easy-to-guess web address access to…

New Amazon tool simplifies delivery of containerized machine learning models

As part of the flurry of announcements coming this week out of AWS re:Invent, Amazon announced the release of Amazon SageMaker Operators for Kubernetes, a way for data scientists and developers to simplify training, tuning and deploying containerized machine learning models. Packaging machine learning models in containers can help put them to work inside organizations…

Fulcrum, which provides freelance placement opportunities for technical projects, raises $1 million

La Jolla, Calif.-based Fulcrum, a job placement company for technical projects, has raised $1 million in a seed round of funding from the local technology investment firm Greatscale Ventures along with several private co-investors, the company said. The company has what it calls a fully compliant service for hiring freelancers onto technical projects that had…

AWS launches Braket, its quantum computing service

While Google, Microsoft, IBM and others have made a lot of noise around their quantum computing efforts in recent months, AWS remained quiet. The company, after all, never had its own quantum research division. Today, though, AWS announced the preview launch of Braket (named after the common notation for quantum states), its own quantum computing…

Diversity-focused VC fund Harlem Capital debuts with $40M

Harlem Capital has upgraded from angel syndicate to full-fledged venture capital fund, closing its debut effort on an oversubscribed $40.3 million. The firm was launched by managing partners Henri Pierre-Jacques and Jarrid Tingle in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood in 2015. The pair have since graduated from Harvard Business School and hired two venture partners,…

Score Cyber Monday savings on TechCrunch Sessions 2020 passes

Have we got a Cyber Monday deal for you. TC Sessions: Robotics+AI (March 3) and TC Sessions: Mobility (May 14) are coming back to California in 2020, with early-bird tickets starting at $275 and $250 respectively. But if you buy your pass today, you’ll save an extra 15% on each event. How sweet is that?…

Researchers find making a sick reef sound like a healthy one could help its recovery

A new study, published in Nature Communications (via Washington Post), found promising early results from an experiment wherein sounds that you’d hear from a healthy reef are played back at a reef that’s dying. It may sound a bit like a bait-and-switch, but previous research has shown that one way to help reefs that are under…

Top Israeli VC talks cybersecurity, diversity and ‘no go’ investments

It’s no secret that Israel is second only to the U.S. for its leading cybersecurity acumen, talent, startups and successful exits. Israel is a powerhouse in both offensive and defensive cyber operations, with cybersecurity giants CyberArk, Check Point, Radware, and Illusive Networks all founded in the country in recent years. For more than two decades…

Cyber Monday on track to deliver $9.4B in U.S. online sales

Cyber Monday online sales are on track to hit $9.4 billion today, a figure that’s up 18.9% year-over-year, and even larger than Black Friday’s record-breaking $7.4 billion in online sales, according to analytics from Adobe. As of 9 AM Eastern on Cyber Monday, U.S. online shoppers had already spent $473 million, Adobe says. Adobe’s forecasts…

The Station: Canoo hits the road, Coup shutters and Samsung shifts

Welcome back to The Station, the go-to newsletter for keeping up-to-date on what the heck is going on in the world of transportation. I’m your host, Kirsten Korosec, senior transportation reporter at TechCrunch. Portions of the newsletter are published as an article on the main site after it has been emailed to subscribers (that’s what…

T-Mobile opens pre-orders on two 5G phones as low-band network goes live

The 5G question has long been carts and horses. The next-generation wireless network has always been an inevitability, of course, but the rollout has always felt a bit piecemeal. T-Mobile, to its credit, is looking to flip the switch all at once (kind of), launching a “nationwide” deployment of 5G to a coverage area it…

Tim Cook, Satya Nadella, Elon Musk, Sundar Pichai and more sign renewed commitment to Paris Agreement

The U.S. government may be in the process of formally withdrawing from the term of the Paris Agreement, an International accord on targets to fight climate change, but major U.S. employers say they’ll stay the course in a new statement jointly signed by a group of around 80 chief executives and U.S. labor organization leaders.…

AWS announces DeepComposer, a machine-learning keyboard for developers

Today, as AWS re:Invent begins, Amazon announced DeepComposer, a machine-learning driven keyboard aimed at developers. “AWS DeepComposer is a 32-key, 2-octave keyboard designed for developers to get hands on with Generative AI, with either pretrained models or your own,” AWS’ Julien Simon wrote in a blog post introducing the company’s latest machine learning hardware. The…

Amazon debuts automatic speech recognition service, Amazon Transcribe Medical

Amazon is expanding its automatic transcription service for AWS, Amazon Transcribe, to include support for medical speech, the company announced this morning at its AWS Re:Invent conference. The new machine-learning powered service, Amazon Transcribe Medical, will allow physicians to quickly dictate their clinical notes and speech into accurate text in real-time, without any human intervention,…

Reinventing the relationship between workers and tech

Rachel Kornberg Contributor Share on Twitter Rachel Korberg is a program officer with the Ford Foundation’s Future of Work(ers) initiative, which seeks to build a more just and inclusive future for workers in our rapidly changing economy. A young father and kitchen worker in Pittsburgh was thrilled to get a job with a big restaurant…

Accel closes new $550M fund for India

Accel, one of the world’s most influential venture capitalist firms, is getting more bullish on India. The Silicon Valley-headquartered firm, which largely focuses on early stage investments, said today it has closed $550 million for its sixth venture fund in India. This is a significant amount of capital for Accel’s efforts in the country, where…

A bug in Microsoft’s login system put users at risk of account hijacks

Microsoft has fixed a vulnerability in its login system, which security researchers say could have been used to trick unsuspecting victims into giving over complete access to their online accounts. The bug allowed attackers to quietly steal account tokens, which websites and apps use to grant users access to their accounts without having them to…

Here’s the math behind Telsa’s dumb Cybertruck vs F-150 tow test

A couple weeks back Tesla unveiled the its first pickup truck, called the Cybertruck. During its unveiling the company showed a butt-to-butt pull-off. Besides being a silly test, this particular demo was flawed in multiple ways, giving the Tesla a major advantage. Here’s the math to prove it. It’s likely Tesla will redo this test…

Lucid Motors breaks ground on its $700 million Arizona factory

Lucid Motors today is breaking ground on its manufacturing facility. Located in Casa Grande, Arizona, the factory will be used to build the Lucid Motor Lucid Air electric sedan. According to the company, production will begin in late 2020. This groundbreaking is the latest step taken by Lucid Motor towards getting the Lucid Air on…

Ikea is helping to redesign simulated Mars habitats

Ikea believes its approach to making small spaces more liveable applies even on other planets: The company has been working with an Earth-based research facility that is meant to mimic what a Mars habitat would be like, according to Fast Company. Originally, Ikea sent a designer to the station to seek out inspiration for creating…

Facebook launches a photo portability tool, starting in Ireland

It’s not friend portability, but Facebook has announced the launch today of a photo transfer tool to enable users of its social network to port their photos directly to Google’s photo storage service, via encrypted transfer. The photo portability feature is initially being offered to Facebook users in Ireland, where the company’s international HQ is…

Cyber Monday Disrupt Berlin special: Get a $200 gift with purchase

The holiday season is officially on, and Disrupt Berlin 2019 opens  its doors in just nine days. We’re ready to celebrate both occasions in festive style with a one-day Cyber Monday special. Buy a pass to Disrupt Berlin* today, 2 December, and you can pick any gift — up to $200 in value — from…

Cellphone plans get up to 40% costlier in India

India has long been a wonderland for cellphone users. At a time when most telecom operators across the globe charge anywhere between $5 to $10 for a gigabyte of mobile data, telcos in India deliver that for just a few cents. Spare another $2 to the same telecom operator, and you get a gigabyte of…

Uncapped raises £10M to offer ‘revenue-based’ finance to growing businesses

Uncapped, a London headquartered and Warsaw-based startup that wants to provide “revenue-based” finance to growing European businesses, is officially launching today and disclosing that it has raised £10 million in funding. The capital is a mixture of equity funding and debt (money it can use for lending), and sees the fintech company backed by Rocket…

Africa Roundup: Nigerian fintech gets $360M, mints unicorn, draws Chinese VC

November 2019 could mark when Nigeria (arguably) became Africa’s unofficial capital for fintech investment and digital finance startups. The month saw $360 million invested in Nigerian focused payment ventures. That is equivalent to roughly one-third of all the startup VC raised for the entire continent in 2018, according to Partech stats. A notable trend-within-the-trend is…

Get personalized expert help for your startup at Disrupt Berlin

Want to get professional feedback about your pitch deck, marketing assets, or immigration issues? Attending Disrupt Berlin? We’ve brought in experts from around Europe (and Silicon Valley) to help you directly. These events were hugely popular when we first did them at Disrupt in San Francisco the other month, so get your submissions in ASAP.…

In “60 Minutes” appearance, YouTube’s CEO offers a master class in moral equivalency

Susan Wojcicki may be one of the most powerful women in Silicon Valley, but she also holds the unenviable role of being ultimately responsible for a lot of garbage that we, along with our parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and children — not to mention billions of strangers — now consume on YouTube. That garbage,…

Now even the FBI is warning about your smart TV’s security

If you just bought a smart TV on Black Friday or plan to buy one for Cyber Monday tomorrow, the FBI wants you to know a few things. Smart TVs are like regular television sets but with an internet connection. With the advent and growth of Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services, most saw internet-connected…

SoFi founder Mike Cagney’s already well-funded new startup is raising another $100 million

Figure Technologies, a nearly two-year-old, San Francisco-based fintech cofounded by Mike Cagney, the founder of the more established fintech company SoFi, is raising a whole lot of money — again. By February of this year, Figure had already raised $120 million in equity funding from a gaggle of investors, including RPM Ventures, partners at DST…

Millions of SMS messages exposed in database security lapse

A massive database storing tens of millions of SMS text messages, most of which were sent by businesses to potential customers, has been found online. The database is run by TrueDialog, a business SMS provider for businesses and higher education providers, which lets companies, colleges, and universities send bulk text messages to their customers and…

Week in Review: Apple’s rebirth as a content company has a forgettable debut

Hey everyone. Thank you for welcoming me into you inboxes yet again. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. After dodging your inboxes for a couple weeks as I ventured off to China for a TechCrunch event in Shenzhen, I am rested up and ready to go. If you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site,…

Black Friday sees record $7.4B in online sales, $2.9B spent using smartphones

Following swiftly on the heels of a Thanksgiving that broke records with $4.2 billion in online sales, Black Friday also hit a new high, although it just fell short of predictions. According to analytics from Adobe, consumers spent $7.4 billion online yesterday buying goods online via computers, tablets and smartphones. The figures were up by…

Ockam raises $3.2 million in seed funding to make it easier for developers to secure and scale their IoT apps

Ockam, a two-year-old, Bay Area-based company that’s selling tools to developers so they can establish an “architecture for trust” within their connected device applications, has raised $3.2 million in seed funding, including from Core Ventures, Okta Ventures, SGH Capital, and Future Ventures. This serverless platform for IoT development is being led by CEO Matthew Gregory…

Storm Ventures just closed its sixth fund with $130 million

Storm Ventures, a now 19-year-old, Sand Hill Road venture firm in Menlo Park, Ca., has closed on $130.4 million, shows a new SEC filing. The outfit began its fundraising late last, according to an earlier filing. It had closed its previous fund with $180 million in 2015. Storm distinguishes itself in numerous ways, including its…

Facebook bowed to a Singapore government order to brand a news post as false

Facebook added a correction notice to a post by a fringe news site that Singapore’s government said contained false information. It’s the first time the government has tried to enforce a new law against ‘fake news’ outside its borders. The post by fringe news site States Times Review (STR), contained “scurrilous accusations” according to the…

Original Content podcast: Reasons to be thankful for streaming and Star Wars

Since it’s a holiday week for those of us in the United States, we’ve put together an (even more) unstructured episode of the Original Content podcast. Among other things, this gives us a chance to update our initial review of “The Mandalorian” by acknowledging the Disney+ show’s breakout character, known unofficially as Baby Yoda —…

This Week in Apps: Apple Arcade updates, TikTok distances itself from China, Kardashians send shady app to No. 1

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. What are developers talking about? What do app publishers and marketers need to know? How are politics impacting the App Store and app businesses? And which…

As the new year beckons European investors start moving into new roles

As the Holiday Season approaches, new jobs for players in the tech ecosystem beckon. And this is no less true for investors. Two notable moves have recently happened that are worthy of note in the European scene. The first is that GR Capital, a pan-European VC, is opening an office in London and has lured…

Startups Weekly: Chinese investors double down on African startups

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about Airbnb’s issues. Before that, I noted Uber’s new “money” team. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and…

Mixcloud data breach exposes over 20 million user records

A data breach at Mixcloud, a U.K.-based audio streaming platform, has left more than 20 million user accounts exposed after the data was put on sale on the dark web. The data breach happened earlier in November, according to a dark web seller who supplied a portion of the data to TechCrunch, allowing us to…

Gift Guide: For the budding video creator

Welcome to the TechCrunch 2019 Gift Guide! We’ll be rolling out one or two gift guides per day leading up to Christmas. Looking for the other guides? You can find them here. If you’re interested in cameras and taking pictures, you should definitely check out our 2019 Photography Gift Guide, but if you’re specifically looking…

Intel says Qualcomm’s business practices drove it out of the modem chip market

It’s not like this wasn’t among the reasons everywhere suspected when Apple suddenly announced it was buying Intel’s modem business, but now the chipmaker has filed a brief in support of the FTC in an ongoing appeal by Qualcomm of a decision made in May. That decision found in favor of the FTC’s allegations that…

Pixpay is a challenger bank for teens focused on pocket money

Meet Pixpay, a French startup that wants to replace cash when you’re handing out pocket money to your kids. Anybody who is older than 10 years old can create a Pixpay account, get a debit card and manage pocket money. Challenger banks are nothing new, but they’re still mostly targeted towards adults. If you want…

24-hour Black Friday Sale: 2-for-1 passes to Disrupt Berlin

Synchronize your watches startup fans, and get ready to score serious savings on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2019. For today only, you can get 2 passes for the price of one. Our Black Friday sale starts now and runs through 11:59pm CET on 29 November. Don’t miss out! Simply purchase a pass to Disrupt Berlin…

Gift Guide: Black Friday tech deals that are actually worth considering

Ah, Black Friday. The day of a zillion “deals” — some good, many bad, most just meant to clear the shelves for next year’s models. Hidden amidst ten thousand “LOWEST PRICE EVER! ONE DAY ONLY!” e-mails, though, are a handful of solid sales on legitimately good stuff. Whether you’re trying to save some coin heading…

2019 Thanksgiving e-commerce sales show 14% rise on 2018, $470M spent so far

With popular social networks seeing some downtime, shops closed, and many people off work today for Thanksgiving, bargain hunters are flocking online to start their holiday shopping. Adobe says that so far some $470 million has been spent online, a rise of 14.5% compared to sales figures from the same time last year, with sales…

Scientists turn undersea fiber optic cables into seismographs

Monitoring seismic activity all over the world is an important task, but one that requires equipment to be at the site it’s measuring — difficult in the middle of the ocean. But new research from Berkeley could turn existing undersea fiber optic cables into a network of seismographs, creating an unprecedented global view of the…

Will the future of work be ethical? Founder perspectives

Greg Epstein Contributor Share on Twitter Greg M. Epstein is the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and MIT, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book Good Without God. Described as a “godfather to the [humanist] movement” by The New York Times Magazine in recognition of his efforts to build inclusive, inspiring, and ethical…

Will the future of work be ethical? Future leader perspectives

Greg Epstein Contributor Share on Twitter Greg M. Epstein is the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and MIT, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book Good Without God. Described as a “godfather to the [humanist] movement” by The New York Times Magazine in recognition of his efforts to build inclusive, inspiring, and ethical…

Will the future of work be ethical? Perspectives from MIT Technology Review

Greg Epstein Contributor Share on Twitter Greg M. Epstein is the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and MIT, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book Good Without God. Described as a “godfather to the [humanist] movement” by The New York Times Magazine in recognition of his efforts to build inclusive, inspiring, and ethical…

Will the future of work be ethical? Academic perspectives

Greg Epstein Contributor Share on Twitter Greg M. Epstein is the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and MIT, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book Good Without God. Described as a “godfather to the [humanist] movement” by The New York Times Magazine in recognition of his efforts to build inclusive, inspiring, and ethical…

Zebra Fuel, the startup that brought fuel directly to your vehicle, is ‘no longer’ delivering in London

Zebra Fuel, the London-based startup that delivered fuel directly to your vehicle — backed by Robin and Saul Klein’s LocalGlobe, Brent Hoberman’s Firstminute Capital and Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman — has told customers it is “no longer” delivering fuel in London. However, it is unclear at this stage if the company has ceased operations entirely.…

Foodvisor raises $4.5 million to track what you eat using AI

French startup Foodvisor has raised a $4.5 million funding round after generating 2 million app downloads. Agrinnovation is leading the round and various business angels are also participating. I covered Foodvisor last month, so I’m not going to describe the app once again. In a few words, the startup uses deep learning to enable image…

Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack Zip and Everyday Backpack V2 are top-notch photo and travel bags

Peak Design has evolved from a crowdfunded upstart into a trusted accessory brand for photographers everywhere, and this week it introduced updates to its ‘Everyday’ line of backpacks and bags. These new and improved designs offer stuff that impresses anyone who was previously a fan of Peak’s work, and should also win the company brand…

Will the future of work be ethical?

Greg Epstein Contributor Share on Twitter Greg M. Epstein is the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and MIT, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book Good Without God. Described as a “godfather to the [humanist] movement” by The New York Times Magazine in recognition of his efforts to build inclusive, inspiring, and ethical…

Forest Admin raises $7 million to help you build admin panels

French startup Forest Admin has raised a $7 million Series A round from Notion Capital and Runa Capital. The company lets you build back end admin panel so that your team can track and manipulate data from a single interface. Forest Admin integrates with your database and third-party services you might already use, such as…

Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger are down for many around the world

If you’re having issues with various Facebook -owned services this morning, you’re very much not alone. There appears to be a major outage impacting Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook itself. Many users are reporting that the apps appear to work but aren’t actually pulling anything new, instead just showing whatever they’ve got cached from before the…

European parliament’s NationBuilder contract under investigation by data regulator

Europe’s lead data regulator has issued its first ever sanction of an EU institution — taking enforcement action against the European parliament over its use of US-based digital campaign company, NationBuilder, to process citizens’ voter data ahead of the spring elections. NationBuilder is a veteran of the digital campaign space — indeed, we first covered…

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is headed to Canada, with in-store pre-orders starting today

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is a very unique smartphone, in more ways than one. The most obvious differentiator is that it folds out to expose a large, continuous 7.3″ display, hiding the seam thanks to a flexible OLED screen. It’s also at the very top end of the smartphone market price-wise, which could explain why…

Nix Pro 2 and Nix Mini color sensors are powerful, easy-to-use additions to any creative pro toolkit

Translating the physical world to the digital has been a challenge, especially when it comes to things like color: Color isn’t actually all that static a thing, and the myriad displays and cameras we use can represent them in very different ways. But new gadgets from startup Nix can help cut through the confusion –…

Bunq launches metal card and plants a tree for every €100 spent

Fintech startup Bunq is launching a metal card called the Green Card. While some banks offer a cashback program with premium cards, Bunq is offering a special kind of “cashback”. For every €100 spent, Bunq plants a tree. The company has partnered with Eden Reforestation Projects to finance reforestation around the globe. Manufacturing a metal…

TikTok apologizes for removing viral video about abuses against Uighurs, blames a “human moderation error”

TikTok has issued a public apology to a teenager who had her account suspended shortly after posting a video that asked viewers to research the persecution of Uighur people and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang. TikTok included a “clarification on the timeline of events,” and said that the viral video was removed four days after…

Vinted, the second-hand clothes marketplace, raises $141M at a $1B+ valuation

The market for second-hand clothes — the “circular economy” as it’s sometimes called — has been on the rise in the last several years, fuelled by economic crunches, a desire to make more responsible and less wasteful fashion choices, and a wave of digital platforms that are bringing the selling and buying of used clothes…

Revolut supports direct debits in the UK

Fintech startup Revolut is adding a key feature for users who want to replace their traditional bank account altogether. You can now pay with GBP direct debits. Revolut already added EUR direct debits last year. While most people use cards to pay for goods and services in the U.K., some businesses require you to pay…

Gift guide: Photography accessories for the shutterbug in your life

Looking for some gift ideas for the photographer in your life? Look no further. Though shooters amateur and professional tend to take care of their own needs pretty well, there are plenty of things you can given them that they’ll appreciate. But you might have to be ready to spend a bit — people don’t…

Top mobility VCs discuss their current investment strategies

The mobility industry is rapidly shifting to readjust for an electric and autonomous future. Automotive companies are increasingly looking outside the manufacturing sector to fuel growth, and companies that used to bank on selling vehicles are now building mobility apps, scooters, and subscription services. Detroit is turning to to Silicon Valley for fresh ideas while…

Simple Contacts has a new service letting users cheaply switch contact lens prescriptions

Simple Contacts has launched a new service letting users try out new contact lenses for as little as $3. The company launched a little over three years ago as a way for contact lens wearers to slash their refill costs, has now expanded into a service that offers users a chance to try out different…

Apple and Google Maps accommodate Russia’s annexation of Crimea

Global politics are difficult to navigate ordinarily, but in times of conflict companies that aim to provide an unbiased service, such as a map or search function, may have to come down on one side or another. Apple just came down at least partly on the side of Russia in its controversial annexation of Crimea…

Gift Guide: Essential security and privacy gifts to help protect your friends and family

There’s no such thing as perfect privacy or security, but there’s a lot you can do to lock down your online life. And the holiday season is a great time to encourage others to do the same. Some people are more likely to take security into their own hands if they’re given a nudge along…

Twitter tests new conversation features from twttr prototype, rollout planned for 2020

Twttr, the prototype app Twitter launched earlier this year, has been testing new ways to display conversations, including through the use of threaded replies and other visual cues. Now, those features have been spotted on Twitter.com, giving the service a message board-like feel where replies are connected to original tweeter and others in a thread…

Twitter to add a way to ‘memorialize’ accounts for deceased users before removing inactive ones

Twitter has changed its tune regarding inactive accounts after receiving a lot of user feedback: It will now be developing a way to “memorialize” user accounts for those who have passed away, before proceeding with a plan it confirmed this week to deactivate accounts that are inactive in order to “present more accurate, credible information”…

Latin America roundup: Neobanks raise $205M+; Softbank backs VTEX

Argentina’s Ualá became the most recent Latin American fintech to receive a growth-stage funding ($150 million) from Asian investors, Tencent and Softbank.  This marks Tencent’s second round of investment in Ualá, the first coming in April 2019. Tencent also invested $180M in Brazil’s leading neobank, Nubank in 2018. With Ualá, Tencent and Softbank will join a…

Box looks to balance growth and profitability as it matures

Prevailing wisdom states that as an enterprise SaaS company evolves, there’s a tendency to sacrifice profitability for growth — understandably so, especially in the early days of the company. At some point, however, a company needs to become profitable. Box has struggled to reach that goal since going public in 2015, but yesterday, it delivered…

This robot scientist has conducted 100,000 experiments in a year

Science is exciting in theory, but it can also be dreadfully dull. Some experiments require hundreds or thousands of repetitions or trials — an excellent opportunity to automate. That’s just what MIT scientists have done, creating a robot that performs a certain experiment, observes the results, and plans a follow-up… and has now done so…

Daily Crunch: Twitter will delete dormant accounts

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. Twitter will free up handles by deleting inactive accounts “As part of our commitment to serve the public conversation, we’re working…

Fabric’s new app helps parents with the hard stuff, including wills, life insurance & shared finances

A new app called Fabric aims to make it simpler for parents to plan for their family’s long-term financial well-being. The goal is to offer parents a one-stop-shop that includes the ability to ability for term life insurance from their phone, create a free will in about five minutes, and collaborate with a spouse or…

Only a few 2020 US presidential candidates are using a basic email security feature

Just one-third of the 2020 U.S. presidential candidates are using an email security feature that could prevent a similar attack that hobbled the Democrats’ during the 2016 election. Out of the 21 presidential candidates in the race according to Reuters, seven Democrats and one Republican candidate are using and enforcing DMARC, an email security protocol…

Rossum raises $4.5M to make OCR-like data entry many times more accurate

Every day, people slog over inputting date from invoices and other forms. So instead of using traditional Optical Character Recognition (OCR) extraction software, you could apply a new form of machine learning to documents to speed up the process. That’s the thinking behind Rossum’s technology, which uses ‘Cognitive Data Capture’ to teach computers to understand…

TechStars’s new CEO on the state of the famed accelerator and what’s next for 2020

Like another famous accelerator program founded around the same time, Techstars has grown considerably since its 2006 launch in Boulder, Colorado. In fact, the brand seems to be in so many places that it’s hard to keep track of its reach, along with its impact. Where is Techstars, exactly? Who funds it? And how many startups…

Alexa is about to be very disappointed

A general lack of judgement has always been one of the strongest appeals of smart assistants. Whatever bad pop song or terrible online video you play for the 10,000th time — they don’t care. They’re simply there to help, judgement free. Amazon, however, has been working on some features behind the scenes to help make…

Here’s what happens when you decide to sell your startup

Joe Procopio Contributor Share on Twitter Joe is a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. Joe is currently building Spiffy, and previously sold Automated Insights, sold ExitEvent, and built Intrepid Media. Find more about Joe at joeprocopio.com or @jproco on Twitter. Are you considering selling your company as a potential exit? Now? A year from now? Five years…

U.S. online shoppers already spent $50B in November, holiday season on track for $143.7B

Facing a shorter holiday shopping season this year, U.S. retailers started rolling out their Black Friday deals earlier than usual. That move has paid off, according to new e-commerce data shared by Adobe Analytics this morning, which found that U.S. consumers have already spent $50.1 billion online between November 1 and November 26, 2019 —…

Xiaomi’s Q3 earnings report shows slowing growth

Xiaomi, the world’s fourth largest smartphone vendor, on Wednesday shared its earnings figures for the quarter that ended in September. While the results fell largely in line with analysts’ expectations, a drastic drop in the company’s growth underscores some of the struggles that handset makers are facing as they shift to services to make up for…

Louis Bacon’s sunset ride may foretell ‘mechanized future’ of data-driven investing

Kevin Walkup Contributor Share on Twitter Kevin Walkup is President and COO of Harmonate, a data services firm serving private funds. The legendary Moore Capital is closing. Its founder, Louis Bacon, is reported to be riding off into the sunset. His name was often mentioned in the same breath as George Soros, Stan Druckenmiller and…

CrunchMatch means efficient networking at Disrupt Berlin

Love it or hate it, networking is a necessary part of business — especially for early-stage startup founders searching for investors, customers and collaborators. When you head to Disrupt Berlin 2019 this December, you can relax a bit because we have a networking tool to help you make the most of two very full days.…

AWS expands DeepRacer league, announces car updates

Last year at AWS re:invent, the company’s massive customer conference, Amazon launched a new miniature race car and a racing league, all designed to teach developers about machine learning in a fun way. Today, ahead of next week’s re:Invent conference, the company announced some enhancements including an improved car and expanded racing schedule. “We are…

How food media brand Chefclub reached 1 billion organic views per month

Chefclub hasn’t attracted a lot of headlines over the years as it has only raised $3.5 million. But it is slowly building a major media brand on social media platforms as it now competes directly with Tastemade and Tasty. Compared to more traditional recipe websites and brands, Chefclub focuses exclusively on the intersection of food…

Mojichat is partnering with Streamlabs to create customized emotes of streamers

Mojichat, the Los Angeles startup which makes full-body, animated emojis, is launching a partnership with Streamlabs to offer gamers an opportunity to sell customized emojis to fans and potential sponsors. Viewers can create customized Mojichat emotes that can be displayed in chat boxes next to their names, that will appear in-stream if they donate to…

Lego’s take on the Tesla ‘Cybertruck’ comes with innovative roof racks

Lego seems to have been inspired by recent events to bring its own vision fo the truck of the future to the world – behold this bold design statement in all its glory. Clearly, Lego is having a go at Elon Musk and the Tesla Cybertruck that he unveiled last week – which was… divisive…

Former Facebookers take on Facebook

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. We had a lot to get through this week and may have ran over our time a little bit but it was worth it. First, we discussed Weekend Fund’s second effort, a $10 million vehicle targeting early-stage upstarts.…

Trouva, an online marketplace for independent boutiques, raises $22M

Amazon helped pioneer and now dominates the online marketplace business model, where a variety of merchants post items for sale on its platform for billions of consumers to discover and buy them. Today, a London startup that’s taken that idea but is applying it to a far more curated set of retailers and goods has…

Brexit ad blitz data firm paid by Vote Leave broke privacy laws, watchdogs find

A joint investigation by watchdogs in Canada and British Columbia has found that Cambridge Analytica-linked data firm, Aggregate IQ, broke privacy laws in Facebook ad-targeting work it undertook for the official Vote Leave Brexit campaign in the UK’s 2016 EU referendum. A quick reminder: Vote Leave was the official leave campaign in the referendum on the…

Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince is coming to Disrupt Berlin

Back in 2010, the web performance and security company Cloudflare launched in the TechCrunch Disrupt SF Battlefield competition. The company came in second. Earlier this year, Cloudflare IPOed. To talk about this journey, Cloudflare CEO Matt Prince will join us on the main stage at Disrupt Berlin on December 12. He’ll also participate in a…

Indian scooter rental startup Bounce raises $150M

Big bucks are pouring to get you through the chaotic traffic on Indian roads. Bounce, a Bangalore-based startup that operates over 17,000 electric and gasoline scooters in three dozen cities in India, has raised about $150 million as part of an ongoing financing round led by existing investors Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital and Accel Partners…

This debut venture firm, backed by an Argentine conglomerate, is investing $60 million in far-flung U.S. startups

Nico Berardi considers himself to be a citizen of the world, with a penchant for travel and a wide range of interests. Unlike many other VCs, who’ve increasingly specialized as the market has grown more crowded, Berardi is nearly as wide-ranging in his approach to venture capital, too. Somewhat counterintuitively, it’s paying off. At least,…

You can take my Dad’s tweets over my dead body

Editor’s note: Drew is a geek who first worked at AOL when he was 16 years old and went on to become a senior writer at TechCrunch. He is now the VP of Communications for venture equity fund Scaleworks. There are a few ways that people use Twitter, but for the most part the ones who…

Netflix leases New York’s Paris Theatre

Netflix is expanding its theatrical presence by signing a long-term lease for The Paris Theatre, a historic single-screen venue in New York City. This follows reports that Netflix is also working to buy the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles. And while these might seem like odd moves for a streaming company, they may also be…

Report alleges Amazon worked with Indiana to downplay warehouse worker’s death and safety concerns

It’s strange that no matter how hard Amazon denies that its warehouses are terrible, dangerous places to work, the reports to that effect just keep coming out. Not only that, but now a whistleblower alleges the company worked with Indiana officials to erase a workplace safety violation that cost a man his life. Reveal News…

Beer-loving commerce startup TapRm raises $1.5M

Jason Sherman, founder and CEO of TapRm (pronounced “taproom”), says it’s time for beer-lovers to do more of their shopping online. It’s an industry that Sherman knows well, having worked as an attorney at Anheuser Busch and at the alcohol giant’s ZX Ventures incubator. He said it was through the job that he began wondering…

Use agile budgeting to manage your cash

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 If you don’t have an investment…

Gift Guide: STEM toys for your builders-in-training

Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide! Need help with gift ideas? We’re here to help! We’ll be rolling out gift guides from now through the end of December, so check back regularly. We’ve refreshed our annual STEM toy gift guide with the latest wares clamoring to entice and inspire kids with coding tricks and…

Xerox tells HP it will bring takeover bid directly to shareholders

Xerox fired the latest volley in the Xerox -HP merger letter wars today. Xerox CEO John Visentin wrote to the HP board that his company planned to take its $33.5 billion offer directly to HP shareholders. He began his letter with a tone befitting a hostile takeover attempt, stating that their refusal to negotiate defied…

Facebook buys the VR studio behind Beat Saber

Virtual reality doesn’t have many hit games yet, but Facebook is buying the studio behind one of the platform’s biggest titles. Facebook announced today that it will be buying Beat Games, the game studio behind Beat Saber, a rhythm game that’s equal parts Fruit Ninja and Guitar Hero — with light sabers of course. Terms…

Twitter will free up handles by deleting inactive accounts

Those who’ve attempted to snag their preferred Twitter handle know what a pain the process can be. Users can squat on an account for years, holding onto handles in spite of long stretches of inactivity. As spotted by a BBC reporter, Twitter looks to finally be getting proactive about the situation. The service confirmed the…

Ford says it has nothing to prove to Tesla in F-150 vs Cybertruck tow battle

It was the challenge heard around the electric vehicle world. And now it seems, the Ford F-150 versus Tesla Cybertruck tow battle that we were all ready for, probably won’t happen. A quick recap: Tesla CEO Elon Musk poked the figurative Dearborn, Michigan bear in the middle of the company’s Cybertruck unveiling when he played…

We’re democratizing information about startups with Extra Crunch – TechCrunch

https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/tc_ec_promo-45.mp4

Google is giving away 3 months of Disney+ to new Chromebook owners

Google is hoping to juice holiday sales of Chromebooks by tacking on a subscription to the hot new streaming service, Disney+. The company on Monday announced it would give Chromebook buyers three, free months of Disney+ with the purchase of new devices. Specifically, the deal is valid for Chromebooks bought between November 25, 2019 and…

Daily Crunch: Google fires employee activists

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. Google employee activist says she’s been fired Employee activist Rebecca Rivers (who was involved in a campaign pressuring Google to end…

Gift Guide: 10 suitcase-friendly gifts for frequent flyers

Welcome to TechCrunch’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide! Need help with gift ideas? We’re here to help! We’ll be rolling out gift guides from now through the end of December, so check back regularly. Once again, TechCrunch has asked me to put together a list of travel-friendly gadgets, and once again, I find myself between back-to-back…

Disney’s cringe-worthy Baby Yoda merch goes on sale

Who could have guessed an adorable, big-eyed baby Star Wars alien would have generated a ton of demand for toys? Apparently not Disney, which today started to sell merchandise based on The Child from new Disney+ show The Mandalorian, commonly known as “Baby Yoda”. The shirts, bags, mugs, and phone cases all feel…forced, like Disney…

FedEx robot sent packing by NYC

FedEx’s autonomous delivery bot got a cold reception from New York City officials. After the company’s SameDay Bots — named Roxo — popped up on New York City streets last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio and transportation officials delivered a sharp response: Get out. FedEx told TechCrunch that the bots were there for a preview…

Cocoon’s social app for close friends gets VC backing to chase Path’s dream

You may have heard the pitch before, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t homes for your real friends anymore because they’re too big, too commercial and too influencer-y, the result is that your most important relationships have been relegated to the lowest common denominator tool on your phones: your texting app. Cocoon, a startup from a…

Studs aims to modernize the ear piercing experience for Gen Z teens

A startup called Studs wants to reinvent the ear-piercing experience for Generation Z. Today, consumers only have two options to choose from when they want their ears pierced — the traditional “mall piercing” experience that uses piercing guns often wielded by novices, or professional piercing parlors whose wide range of services often means that only…

New Amazon capabilities put machine learning in reach of more developers

Today, Amazon announced a new approach that it says will put machine learning technology in reach of more developers and line of business users. Amazon has been making a flurry of announcements ahead of its re:Invent customer conference next week in Las Vegas. While the company offers plenty of tools for data scientists to build…

Android’s Ambient Mode will soon come to ‘select devices’

You’ve probably heard murmurs about Google’s forthcoming Ambient Mode for Android . The company first announced this feature, which essentially turns an Android device into a smart display while it’s charging, in September. Now, in a Twitter post, Google confirmed that it will launch soon, starting with a number of select devices that run Android…

Leading robotics VCs talk about where they’re investing

The Valley’s affinity for robotics shows no signs of cooling. Technical enhancements through innovations like AI/ML, compute power and big data utilization continue to drive new performance milestones, efficiencies and use cases. Despite the old saying, “hardware is hard,” investment in the robotics space continues to expand. Money is pouring in across robotics’ billion-dollar sub…

NYSE proposes big change to direct listings

The New York Stock Exchange filed paperwork this morning with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to allow companies to raise capital as part of a direct listing. Direct listings are a way for companies to go public by selling existing shares held by insiders, employees and investors directly to the market, rather than the…

Gorgias raises $14M to help e-commerce companies deliver faster (and more lucrative) customer service

Gorgias, a startup offering artificial intelligence tools for customer service and support, is announcing that it has raised $14 million in Series A funding. Co-founder and CEO Romain Lapeyre told me that the startup is taking advantage of a broader shift as brands are looking to sell directly to consumers, rather than going through intermediaries…

Disney+ adds ‘Continue Watching’ feature

The launch of Disney+ has been successful in terms of sign-ups and adoption, but the user experience wasn’t quite up to par with what you get from other streaming services out the gate. Most noticeable was the lack of an easy way to pick up streaming where you left off. But that changes today with…

Instagram founders join $30M raise for Loom work video messenger

Why are we all trapped in enterprise chat apps if we talk 6X faster than we type, and our brain processes visual info 60,000X faster than text? Thanks to Instagram, we’re not as camera-shy anymore. And everyone’s trying to remain in flow instead of being distracted by multi-tasking. That’s why now is the time for…

American Express launches new in-app restaurant reservation booking following its Resy acquisition

Earlier this year, American Express announced it was acquiring Resy, the New York-based restaurant reservation platform whose software was used by 4,000+ restaurants across 10 countries. This week, the company has taken the next step to now integrated Resy’s system within the Amex Mobile App. In a new restaurant booking feature, Resy’s inventory will be…

Tray.io brings in $50M more at a $600M+ valuation for its workflow automation tools

Organizations are always looking for new ways to work more efficiently, but too often the problem is that, in a digital-first environment, they have to get in line to ask their in-house IT experts (or even more expensively, external consultants) to build those solutions for them. To underscore the demand for a better approach, today…

Anti-bot startup Kasada raises $7M in Series A from CIA’s venture fund In-Q-Tel

Kasada, an anti-bot startup we profiled earlier this year, has raised $7 million in its Series A led by In-Q-Tel, the non-profit venture arm of the intelligence community. The Sydney and Chicago-based company helps to fight online bots using its proprietary anti-bot platform Polyform. Bots don’t just pummel websites with junk traffic to try to…

Announcing the complete Disrupt Berlin agenda!

Disrupt Berlin is right around the corner. And there is plenty to look forward to. Join us December 11 and December 12 to hear from industry leaders, investors and bright stars in the startup world. We’ll sit down with CEOs from big-name companies such as UIPath, Samsung, and Naspers, as well as leading investors from…

Amazon launches medication management features for Alexa

As Amazon moves further into the healthcare market, the company today is rolling out a medication management feature for Alexa owners. The feature will allow customers to set up their own medication reminders and request voice refills using their prescription information. At launch, these capabilities are only available to customers of Giant Eagle Pharmacy, a…

Coralogix announces $10M Series A to bring more intelligence to logging

Coralogix, a startup that wants to bring automation and intelligence to logging, announced a $10 million Series A investment today. The round was led by Aleph with participation from StageOne Ventures, Janvest Capital Partners and 2B Angels. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $16.2 million, according to the company. CEO and co-founder Ariel Assaraf…

Vivun snags $3M seed round to bring order to pre-sales

Vivun, a startup that wants to help companies keep better track of pre-sales data announced a $3 million seed round today led by Unusual Ventures, the venture firm run by Harness CEO Jyoti Bansal. Vivun founder and CEO Matt Darrow says that pre-sales team works more closely with the customer than anyone else, delivering demos…

India’s Ola to begin operations in London in ‘coming weeks’

Indian ride-hailing giant Ola said today it will begin operations in London “in the coming weeks,” a day after the local authorities revoked Uber’s license to operate in one of the world’s most lucrative cities. The Indian firm, which entered portions of the UK last year, has started to sign up drivers in London ahead…

NASA’s second free-flying assistant robot gets to work

The International Space Station is crewed by more than astronauts these days – NASA activated a free-floating autonomous robot called ‘Bumble’ earlier this year, and now Bumble has a new companion called Honey. Both are Astrobee robots, cube-like “robotic teammates” for ISS astronauts, which ar designed to help with experiments, day-to-day activities and more. These…

Pricefx scores additional €23M for its cloud-based pricing software

Pricefx, the Munich-founded startup that offers cloud-based pricing software, has raised €23 million in additional funding as part of its earlier Series B round. The new investment is led by Digital+ Partners, the European B2B technology growth investor, and management consulting firm Bain & Company. Talis Capital, Pricefx’s Series A investor, also followed on, while…

Sim Shagaya’s uLesson African edtech startup raises $3.1M

Nigerian founder Sim Shagaya is back with a new startup —  uLesson — that has raised a $3.1 million seed round led by TLcom Capital. The venture is integrating mobile platforms, SD cards, culture-specific curriculum and a network of tutors to bridge educational gaps for secondary school students in Nigeria and broader Africa. Founded in…

New smartphone figures highlight continued struggles to grow market

In some corners, the smartphone market is showing its first signs of life in some time. Recent figures from Canalys indicate a small but notable uptick in the European market as shipments grew 3%, year-over-year in Q3. The analyst firm put global growth at 1% globally in another recent report. Generally, such numbers wouldn’t warrant…

Leavy.co, the app for millennials who want to rent out their room while travelling, discloses $14M funding

Leavy.co, the Paris-born startup that offers a travel app for millennials to help them travel more without getting into further debt, has quietly raised $14 million in funding. The investment — which is pegged as a seed round and actually closed in January! — is led by Dutch investor Prime Ventures, with participation from angel…

India’s electric bike rental startup Yulu inks strategic partnership with Bajaj Auto, raises $8M

Yulu, a Bangalore-based electric bike sharing platform that maintains a partnership with Uber, said today it has won the backing of one of the country’s largest automakers. The two-year-old startup said it has entered into a strategic partnership with Bajaj Auto, which has also funded Yulu’s $8 million Series A financing round. As part of the…

Alibaba’s shares climb almost 8% in their first morning of trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange

Alibaba share price increased as much as 7.7% during its first morning of trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Soon after the market opened, the shares climbed from their listing price of HKD $176 (a 2.9% discount from their closing price on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday) to HKD $189.50. Each of…

Inside the Instagram AI that fills Explore with fresh, juicy content

Instagram has posted an article describing the behind-the-scenes machinery that fills the Explore tab in Instagram with new, interesting stuff every time you open it. It’s a bit technical, so here are five takeaways. Even Instagram and Facebook have limited resources Unlike the feed, which some still would prefer was simply chronological, the Explore tab…

Taiwan’s Appier raises $80M for AI-based marketing technology

Artificial intelligence continues to be the theme of the moment in enterprise software, and today a company out of Asia that has built a suite of AI-powered marketing and ad tools is announcing a round of funding. Appier, a Taipei-based startup that provides an artificial intelligence engine to brands and retailers to help improve customer…

AWS Translate comes to 22 new languages and 6 new regions

AWS seems to be using this week to get some news out ahead of its annual re:Invent developer conference in Las Vegas next week. In addition to new IoT services and updates to its Rekognition AI service, the company also today announced that it is bringing 22 new languages to its AWS Translate service and…

The ACLU wants details about videos of Boston Dynamics robot in police exercises

Back in April at our robotics event at UC Berkeley, Boston Dynamics head Marc Raibert showed off video of the company’s Spot robot in a number of different real world scenarios. Some, like construction and first responders, were familiar to anyone who has been following the company — and automation in general.  Another scenario, which…

NASA’s space pallet concept could land rovers on the moon cheaply and simply

Establishing an enduring presence on the Moon will mean making a lot of landings — and NASA researchers want to make those landings as reliable and cheap as possible. This robotic “pallet lander” concept would be a dead simple (as lunar landers go) way to put up to 300 kilograms of rover and payload onto…

Argentine fintech Ualá raises $150M led by Tencent and SoftBank

Ualá, an Argentine personal finance management app, has raised a $150 million Series C led by Tencent and SoftBank’s Latin America-focused Innovation Fund. Ualá is a mobile banking app and lending platform with services similar to Revolut, Monzo and Nubank. However Ualá has no intention of actually becoming a bank itself.  Founder and CEO Pierpaolo…

The herd sours on unprofitable unicorns again

David Friend Contributor Share on Twitter David Friend is the CEO of cloud storage company Wasabi, and co-founder of cyber security company Carbonite, recently bought for $1.4 billion. Wasabi is his sixth startup. There has been a mountain of press lately about how investors are souring on unprofitable unicorns. We’ve seen this movie before; for…

AI expert Stuart Russell to join TC’s Robotics+AI 2020 at UC Berkeley

Computer scientists agree that artificial intelligence will have a stunning impact on the future of humanity. And more often than not, futurists depict a dystopian outcome – a world where we are at best subservient to machines and at worst exterminated by them. Computer scientist Stuart Russell, one of the world’s top experts on AI…

Google employee activist says she’s been fired

Google has terminated Rebecca Rivers, an employee activist the company put on indefinite administrative leave this month, Rivers tweeted this afternoon. Google declined to comment but confirmed an internal note published by Bloomberg, which said Google fired a total of four employees for repeatedly violating its data-security policies. Earlier this month, Google put Rivers and…

Ford VP challenges Tesla to a fair F-150 vs Cybertruck tow battle

Elon Musk took a big swipe at Ford during the unveiling of the Cybertruck. Mid-presentation, he played a video of a Cybertruck pulling an F-150 in what was pitched as a head-to-head contest. Many have questioned if it was a fair fight (I don’t think it was)… including Sundeep Madra, VP of Ford X, the…

Baby Yoda memes return as Giphy stops pulling content over copyright concerns

Almost as soon as “Baby Yoda” (or “Yoda Baby”?) debuted on the wildly popular new Disney Plus series “The Mandalorian,” a thousand internet memes bloomed in its wake. Yet, nearly as quickly as the image took hold everywhere online, it was mysteriously pulled — as if a thousand bounty hunters all got the same tracking…

Elon Musk says sledgehammering Cybertruck led to the onstage window failure

After pounding the side of his new Cybertruck with a sledgehammer with not a mark left behind, Elon Musk turned his focus to the “Tesla Armor Glass”. As we all saw, the glass did not fare so well. A toss of a steel ball into the window caused it to splinter, catching everyone on stage…

What the partnership at Trinity Ventures sees for the road ahead in 2020

Over the years, Trinity Ventures has racked up many exits for its limited partners. Through deals in consumer brands like Starbucks and Zulily and enterprise companies like TubeMogul and New Relic, the Menlo Park-based fund has found repeated success, but as it retrenches with a pared-down investment team and a much smaller new fund, Trinity’s…

New Amazon tool helps machine learning models identify unique objects

Amazon announced a new capability today called Amazon Rekognition Custom Labels to help customers train machine learning models to understand a set of objects when there is a limited set of information. Typically, machine learning models have to work on large data sets to learn something like what’s a picture of a dog, as opposed…

CBS All Access launches kids’ programming, soon to include Nickelodeon shows

CBS’s over-the-top streaming service, CBS All Access, is the latest to counter the threat from Disney+ by investing in children’s programming. Today, the company is launching a kids’ programming lineup including original shows and other library content. Plus, in one of the first major content integrations ahead of the ViacomCBS merger, the CBS streaming service…

Apple releases holiday ad

Apple has released its annual holiday ad, just in time for Thanksgiving. Named “The Surprise,” the ad focuses on two young girls who spend a lot of time playing with an iPad. The ad focuses on a family that travels across the country to visit the mother’s father. Like many families, the parents hand them…

In wake of Sprint/T-Mobile deal, Ryan Reynolds has an announcement

In other news, Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds has invested an undisclosed amount in a company selling prepaid phone plans called Mint Mobile. It all sounds like a weird sponsored Instagram post, but a source tells TechCrunch that Reynolds now owns more than 25% of the company with this recent investment. What he invested is thoroughly…

AWS expands its IoT services, brings Alexa to devices with only 1MB of RAM

AWS today announced a number of IoT-related updates that, for the most part, aim to make getting started with its IoT services easier, especially for companies that are trying to deploy a large fleet of devices. The marquee announcement, however, is about the Alexa Voice Service, which makes Amazon’s Alex voice assistant available to hardware…

Daily Crunch: Uber faces legal battle in London

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. Uber has again been denied licence renewal in London over safety risks With Uber’s two-month license extension in London coming to…

Omni storage & rentals fails, shutters, sells engineers to Coinbase

$35 million-funded Omni is packing up and shutting down after struggling to make the economics of equipment rentals and physical on-demand storage work out. It’s another victim of a venture capital-subsidized business offering a convenient service at an unsustainable price. The startup fought for a second wind after selling off its physical storage operations to…

Coup shuts down its electric moped scooter service

Coup, an electric moped scooter-sharing service that operates in Berlin, Paris and Berlin, has announced in an email that it is going to shut down in all three cities. On Twitter, the company says that operating the service is “economically unsustainable” in the long term. “We plan to discontinue our service in Berlin and Tübingen…

Peak Design’s new bags and backpacks improve on the originals and add new options

SF-based Peak Design hasn’t really changed much about its now-classic Everyday bags over the years, and they’ve regularly received plenty of praise and good reviews so that makes sense. Today, however, Peak is launching the ‘V2’ collection of its entire Everyday line, including smart revisions of some of its best equipment, and all-new designs for…

Weekend Fund raises $10M for second early-stage fund

Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover has raised another $10 million to invest in nascent upstarts via Weekend Fund. The news represents the firm’s second fundraise after a $3 million debut angel fund that closed in 2017. Hoover, an investor in Girlboss, audio social media platform TTYL and mobile application performance software company Headspin, founded Product Hunt…

Devialet partners with Huawei for new speaker

Huawei and Devialet have unveiled a new speaker specifically designed for the Chinese market, the Huawei Sound X. French startup Devialet has been looking at ways to license its technology and patents to consumer electronics manufacturers, such as Sky, Iliad, Altice USA and Renault. While Devialet only sells very premium speakers under its own brand,…

Facebook Viewpoints pays users for well-being surveys & tasks

Facebook is launching a new market research, task, and product testing program that lets users earn money. Starting today, people in the US who are over 18 can download Viewpoints and participate in a well-being survey so Facebook can learn to “limit the negative impacts of social media and enhance the benefits.” Other opportunities include completing…

Cloud video collaboration platform Frame.io raises $50 million, heads to Hollywood

New York-based Frame.io, a video review and collaboration platform now used by over a million customers, has raised $50 million in Series C funding to further expand its investment in cloud-based video workflows. The round was led by Insight Partners, and included participation from existing investors Accel, FirstMark, SignalFire, and Shasta Ventures. Itai Tsiddon, co-founder…

Co-founder ‘couples therapy’ helps avoid company-killing pitfalls

Keegan Walden Contributor Keegan Walden, Ph.D, is the Co-founder & COO of Torch, a leadership development software platform. He is also a psychologist with a B.A. from Yale University and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. My co-founder and I go to couples therapy. Our partnership is not romantic — we’re both married to other people…

European smartphone shipments grew in Q3, driven by Samsung

Europe bucked global smartphone stagnation in the third quarter, marking an 8% year over year growth in device shipments. That number, provided by Canalys, puts the region at the top of smartphone growth figures, beating out Asia/Pacific’s six percent. Once again, Samsung was the biggest winner here. The Korean manufacturer saw a healthy 26%, year…

Engineer.ai launches its Builder Now platform for rapid app prototyping and building

Engineer.ai combines AI with crowdsourced teams of designers and developers to build bespoke digital products faster that it would take to create a team.At least that’s what they say. Last year it raised one of Europe’s largest Series A investments at $29.5 million, led by Lakestar and Jungle Ventures, with participation from SoftBank’s DeepCore. So…

Nike is latest retailer to offer 3% cash back to Apple Card users

Nike is the latest company to offer 3% cash back to Apple Card users, when they make an Apple Pay purchase using the card across Nike’s retail platforms, including its stores, Nike.com, SNKRS, Nike Training Club, Nike Running Club and on the Nike app. The addition is one of what’s still a small number of…

Dating.com acquires Dil Mil app for South Asian expats as dating apps consolidate

Following the recent news about the Badoo and Bumble and Badoo exit there is more consolidation in the dating app space. It seems many dating apps are running for the exits ahead of the launch of dating on Facebook. The Dating.com Group – an investment of SDVentures – has acquired Dil Mil, a San Francisco-based dating app for expats from…

Gloria brings international soccer scouting into the 21st century

Lionel Messi, who’s still arguably the greatest soccer player in the world, signed his first contract with FC Barcelona when he was thirteen years old. Although he grew up in a small town in central Argentina, he had captured the attention of some of the world’s most famous soccer teams when he was only eleven…

Artiphon launches a Kickstarter campaign for its new musical device Orba

Artiphon, the startup that previously raised more than $1 million on Kickstarter for a device called the Instrument 1, has launched a new campaign for its latest invention, Orba. Co-founder and CEO Mike Butera said the Instrument 1 and Orba share “the same DNA,” namely his vision to help music-making become more accessible to everyone,…

eBay to sell ticket marketplace StubHub to viagogo for $4.05 billion

eBay this morning announced it’s selling its ticket marketplace StubHub to Swiss ticket reseller viagogo for a cash price of $4.05 billion. The deal will merge StubHub U.S.-based marketplace with viagogo, which serves a worldwide audience as a ticket marketplace for live, sport, music, and entertainment events for fans in Europe, Asia, Australia, and Latin…

Vistaprint left a customer service database unprotected, exposing calls, chats and emails

A security researcher has found an exposed database on the internet belonging to online printing giant Vistaprint. Security researcher Oliver Hough discovered the unencrypted database last week. There was no password on the database, allowing anyone to access the data inside. The database was first detected by exposed device and database search engine Shodan on…

Lime is launching electric scooters in Cape Town

Lime will become the first major micromobility operator to launch scooters in Africa. Early next year, Lime will roll out electric scooters in Cape Town, South Africa. Unlike its model in the U.S. and Europe where it deploys scooters on public sidewalks, Lime will deploy its initial fleet of scooters at privately-owned locations throughout the…

Amazon-backed Shuttl raises $18M to expand its app-based bus aggregator in India

Shuttl, a startup that runs an app-based bus aggregator service in India, said on Monday that it has raised $18 million in a new financing round as it looks to scale its business in the country. Toyota Tsusho Corporate and SPARX Group, through its Mirai Creation Fund II, funded Shuttl’s Series C financing round, the four-year-old…

HP rejects Xerox again, but leaves door open for negotiation

In a letter released this morning from the HP, Inc. board of directors to Xerox, Corp, the company summarily rejected Xerox’s latest take-over offer, saying it significantly undervalues the company. At the same time, it left the door open for further negotiation. In the letter, HP made it clear, it is not desperate for a…

Rocket Lab readies Electron for the first launch with rocket recovery systems on board

Rocket Lab is getting ready to fly its tenth mission, which the first official launch window during which it could happen set for this week on November 29. Aside from being a milestone 10th mission (dubbed ‘Running Out of Fingers,’ ha), this will be the first time that Rocket Lab includes technology designed to help…

Explore hundreds of startups exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019

Seventeen, lieblings. That’s how many days stand between you and Disrupt Berlin 2019, which takes place on 11-12 December. Here’s a pro tip for savvy investors. Use this time to jumpstart your networking strategy and make the most of your two days at Disrupt. How? We have a plan for that. More on that in…

Scribd raises $58M for subscription e-books and audiobooks

Scribd has raised $58 million in new funding led by growth firm Spectrum Equity. The company first launched as a document-sharing service in 2007 before creating an e-book subscription in 2013. It now offers access to a library of e-books, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines for $8.99 per month. (Access is unlimited for most subscribers, but…

Anti-money laundering software startup TookiTaki raises $11.7 million in additional Series A funding

TookiTaki, a startup that develops machine learning-based financial compliance software, announced today it has raised a $11.7 million in additional Series A funding, led by Viola Fintech and SIG Asia Investment, with participation from Normura Holdings. Existing investors Illuminate Financial, Jungle Ventures and SEEDs Capital also returned for the extension, which brings TookiTaki’s total Series…

Uber has again been denied licence renewal in London over safety risks

Two months after being given a two-month reprieve on its licence to operate in London, Uber has once again been denied a full renewal by the city’s transport regulator — which said today that it had found a “pattern of failures” which put “passenger safety and security at risk”. Uber has confirmed it will appeal…

Uber details aerial ride-hailing platform – TechCrunch

Over the last couple of days at the Uber Elevate summit in Los Angeles, Uber has unveiled a number of partners and design concepts for uberAIR, the company’s planned aerial ride-hailing network. Its goal is to start testing these flights in 2020 in the Dallas…

Detectify raises additional €21M for its ethical hacker network

Detectify, the Sweden born cybersecurity startup that offers a website vulnerability scanner powered by the crowd, has raised €21 million in further funding. Leading the round is London-based VC firm Balderton Capital, with participation from existing investors Paua Ventures, Inventure and Insight Partners. Detectify says the new funding will be used to continue to hire…

Leaked Chinese government documents detail how tech is used to escalate the persecution of Uighurs

In less than two weeks, two major reports have been published that contain leaked Chinese government documents about the persecution of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China. Details include the extent to which technology enables mass surveillance, making it possible to track the daily lives of people at unprecedented scale. The first was a…

Max Q: NASA signs up new Moon delivery companies

Sign up here to receive Max Q weekly in your inbox, starting December 15. There were lot of highlights in the space industry this past week (even though a rocket launch that was supposed to happened is now pushed to Monday). The biggest news for commercial space might just be that NASA signed on five…

India’s financial services firm Paytm raises $1B

Paytm said on Monday it has raised $1 billion in a new financing round as the Noida-headquartered firm, which once dominated the local mobile payments market, attempts to fight back giants Google, Walmart’s PhonePe, and Facebook. The company said the new financing round was led by U.S. asset manager T Rowe Price. Existing investors Ant…

Hulu is down, and nobody’s sure why

Hulu is currently down. We’re not sure why, and neither does Hulu. A stream of tweets complaining about the outage surfaced Sunday morning on the U.S. east coast, but it seems like a global outage. In response, Hulu’s Twitter support didn’t seem to know either, instead telling frustrated users that it’s looking into it. Fantastic.…

Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘Rhythm + Flow’ tweaks the music competition formula

“Rhythm + Flow” is Netflix’s take on a reality TV staple — the music competition show. With Cardi B, Chance the Rapper and Tip “T.I.” Harris on-board as judges, the series searches for the next big hip-hop star. In some ways, “Rhythm + Flow” sticks to the formula popularized by “American Idol,” “The Voice” and…

Reasons to be climate cheerful (ish)

The International Energy Agency published its annual World Energy Outlook ten days ago. In this era of climate crisis, that outlook includes, as you would expect, stern warnings of catastrophic warming. But it also includes interesting nuggets of hope and optimism — and they aren’t alone. Global warming is a slow-motion in-progress planetary train-wreck, true;…

Tesla Cybertruck reservations hit 146,000

Tesla has received 146,000 reservations to order the Tesla Cybertruck, pulling in some $14.6 million in deposits just two days after the company’s CEO Elon Musk unveiled the futuristic and angled vehicle. Reservations require a $100 refundable deposit. How many of those deposits will convert to actual orders for the truck, which is currently priced…

China Roundup: Y Combinator’s short-lived China dream

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. Last week, we looked at how Alibaba and Tencent fared in the last quarter; the talk in Silicon Valley and Beijing this week is on…

This Week in Apps: Honey’s $4B exit, a new plan for iOS 14, Apple’s new developer resource

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. What are developers talking about? What do app publishers and marketers need to know? How are politics impacting the App Store and app businesses? And which…

Code and compete in the TC Hackathon at Disrupt Berlin

We’re in the home stretch to the TC Hackathon going down at Disrupt Berlin 2019 on 11-12 December. If you have what it takes to compete against some of the best hackers, developers, engineers and code poets, apply to the TechCrunch Hackathon now. We have fewer than 50 seats left, and they’ll be gone before you can…

More than 1 million T-Mobile customers exposed by breach

T-Mobile has confirmed a data breach affecting more than a million of its customers, whose personal data (but no financial or password data) was exposed to a malicious actor. The company alerted the affected customers but did not provide many details in its official account of the hack. The company said in its disclosure to…

Maryanna Saenko and Steve Jurvetson of Future Ventures talk SpaceX, the Boring Company, and . . . ayahuasca

Last week, at a StrictlyVC event in San Francisco, we sat down with Maryanna Saenko and Steve Jurvetson, investors who came together to create the investment outfit Future Ventures roughly one year ago. It was their first public appearance together since announcing their $200 million fund, and we started by asking Jurvetson about his high-profile…

Inside Prosus Ventures’ $4.5 billion bet on India

Prosus Ventures last week filed a hostile offer for British food delivery startup Just Eat, an attempt to defeat a unanimous rejection from its board and simultaneously fend off a bid from rival Takeaway. The giant Naspers spinoff said it was willing to pay as much as $6.3 billion in cash to lure Just Eat,…

Chinese spy defects to Australia, alleging election interference and cybercrimes

A purported agent of the Chinese intelligence service is seeking asylum in Australia, bringing with him explosive allegations of widespread interference in political affairs in that country, Taiwan and elsewhere. He claims also to have run a cyberterrorism campaign against supporters of Hong Kong independence. Wang “William” Liqiang indicated to Australian news outlet The Age…

Facebook prototypes Favorites for close friends microsharing

Facebook is building its own version of Instagram Close Friends, the company confirms to TechCrunch. There are a lot people that don’t share on Facebook because it can feel risky or awkward as its definition of “friends” has swelled to include family, work colleagues and distant acquaintances. No one wants their boss or grandma seeing…

Making sense of a multi-cloud, hybrid world at KubeCon

More than 12,000 attendees gathered this week in San Diego to discuss all things containers, Kubernetes and cloud-native at KubeCon. Kubernetes, the container orchestration tool, turned five this year, and the technology appears to be reaching a maturity phase where it accelerates beyond early adopters to reach a more mainstream group of larger business users.…

Microsoft adds Māori to translator as New Zealand pushes to revitalize the language

The benefits of machine translation are easy to see and experience for ourselves, but those practical applications are only one part of what makes the technology valuable. Microsoft and the government of New Zealand are demonstrating the potential of translation tech to help preserve and hopefully breathe new life into the Māori language. Te reo…

Direct mail still works if you avoid common mistakes

Julian Shapiro Contributor Share on Twitter Julian Shapiro is the founder of BellCurve.com, the growth marketing team that trains startups in advanced growth, helps you hire senior growth marketers, and finds you vetted growth agencies. He also writes at Julian.com. More posts by this contributor Turning Google traffic into leads, and what’s new in SEO…

FCC bans spending on Huawei, ZTE and other ‘national security threats’

The FCC has finally put the seal of approval on its plan to cut funding going to equipment from companies it deems a “national security threat,” currently an exclusive club of two: Huawei and ZTE. No money from the FCC’s $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund, used to subsidize purchases to support the rollout of communications…

Tesla’s Cybertruck will have a solar charging option, says Musk

  Tesla revealed its Cybertruck pickup last night, a SciFi-tastic wedge built from the same steel alloy that SpaceX is using for its Starship spaceship. Elon Musk spent about twenty minutes showing off the truck, with demos ranging from a game of tug-of-war against an F-150, to racing a Porsche, to a window strength test that…

Daily Crunch: Tesla unveils its futuristic Cybertruck

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. Behold, the Tesla Cybertruck is here Elon Musk has unveiled a vehicle that looks like it was ripped straight out of…

Startups face the same phishing risks as big corporations

This week, we reported on TechCrunch how thousands of remote employees with health and workplace benefits through human resources giant TriNet received emails that looked like a near-perfect phishing attempt. One recipient was so skeptical, they shared the email with TechCrunch so we could verify its authenticity. The message checked every suspicious box. In fact,…

VTEX, an e-commerce platform used by Walmart, raises $140M led by SoftBank’s LatAm fund

E-commerce now accounts for 14% of all retail sales, and its growth has led to a rise in the fortunes of startups that build tools to enable businesses to sell online. In the latest development, a company called VTEX — which originally got its start in Latin America helping companies like Walmart expand their business…

Airbnb COO Belinda Johnson is leaving the company next year

Airbnb COO Belinda Johnson notified employees of her impending departure next March, CNBC first reported. Airbnb has since confirmed the news, saying Johnson will remain involved with the company on its board of directors. Her last day as COO will be March 1, 2020. News of Johnson stepping down comes as Airbnb gears up to…

Here’s why the Tesla Cybertruck has its crazy look

Elon Musk revealed the Cybertruck last night, saying it looks like nothing else on the market. That’s true, but the Cybertruck shares several key features with an unlikely pickup — the first-generation Honda Ridgeline. Both the Cybertruck and Honda Ridgeline are built differently from standard pickups. They employ a unibody design, much like what’s used…

Hyundai and Seoul set to test self-driving cars on city roads starting next month

Hyundai has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city of Seoul to begin testing six autonomous vehicles on roads in the Gangnam district beginning next month, BusinessKorea reports. The arrangement specifics that six vehicles will begin testing on 23 roads in December, and then looking ahead to 2021, there will be as many…

Cloud Foundry’s Kubernetes bet with Project Eirini hits 1.0

Cloud Foundry, the open-source platform-as-a-service that, with the help of lots of commercial backers, is currently in use by the majority of Fortune 500 companies, launched well before containers, and especially the Kubernetes orchestrator, were a thing. Instead, the project built its own container service, but the rise of Kubernetes obviously created a lot of…

We have five questions about Tesla’s Cybertruck

Tesla just unveiled its first pickup truck, and the Cybertruck gets a lot of things right. The look is polarizing, but from a truck perspective, it’s capable, practical, and relatively affordable compared to other pickups. Of course, all those qualifiers come with an asterisk. Tesla didn’t say when it will hit the market and past…

Don’t miss out: Exhibit in Startup Alley at Disrupt Berlin 2019

Heiliger Strohsack — holy smokes! In just a few weeks, thousands of attendees will arrive in Germany for Disrupt Berlin 2019, the premiere international tech conference focused on early-stage startups. Talk about an opportunity to expose your fledgling startup to savvy investors, hungry media and a host of successful tech entrepreneurs and potential customers —…

Equity Dive: Poshmark’s origin story with co-founder & CEO Manish Chandra

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. We have something a bit different for you this week. Equity co-host Kate Clark recently sat down with Manish Chandra, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Poshmark, and one of his earliest investors, NFX managing partner James…

Tesla all-electric ATV makes a surprise debut at Cybertruck event

Tesla CEO Elon Musk definitely didn’t have the most issue-free presentation during last night’s Cybertruck unveil, but he did pull off a pretty impressive ‘one more thing moment’ – revealing a surprise all-electric all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that Tesla created to pair with its futuristic pickup. The Tesla electric ATV didn’t get a lot of time…

Tesla’s Cybertruck is made of the same stainless steel alloy that SpaceX is using for Starship

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the much-anticipated Cybertruck electric pickup in LA on Thursday, and the vehicle is obviously getting a lot of attention for its eye-catching and unique design. It looks more like a rover designed for space exploration than a truck – and analogy in this case is particularly fitting, because the Cybertruck…

Pitch OUT of Palace — Duke of York steps down from Pitch@Palace as event goes independent

Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, is to completely step down from his role as head of the Pitch@Palace initiative he set up at Buckingham Palace to showcase entrepreneurs, and the operation will be relaunched as ‘Pitch’ without any royal involvement, according to a well-placed source close. Despite indications on Thursday that the Duke had…

Watch Sacha Baron Cohen skewer Zuckerberg’s “twisted logic” on hate speech and fakes

Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen has waded into the debate about social media regulation. In an award-acceptance speech to the Anti Defamation League yesterday the creator of Ali G and Borat delivered a precision takedown of what he called Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s “bullshit” arguments against regulating his platform. The speech is well worth watching in…

Bellman wants to simplify property management for residential buildings

Meet Bellman, a new French startup that wants to improve residential building management using technology and a fair amount of human interactions. The startup has been co-founded by Antonio Pinto, who previously co-founded TV Time. “I know this space quite well because I’m the son of a caretaker so I grew up in the caretaker’s…

What we learned on our Tesla Cybertruck ride

After Elon Musk had left the stage Thursday evening, the crowd — still excited and a little stunned from the Tesla Cybertrunk reveal — converged to the back doors that led outside where a gigantic queue quickly formed. Media got their own area, the VIPs another, and finally, the other invited guests were in the…

India’s Razorpay launches corporate credit cards, current accounts support in major neo banking push

India’s RazorPay, one of the largest payments processing firms in the country, today announced a range of new services aimed at startups, businesses, merchants and freelancers as the Bangalore-based firm expands the reach of its financial platform in the nation. The startup, which raised $75 million from Ribbit Capital and others in June this year,…

Tesla accidentally busted two windows on the Cybertruck while demonstrating how tough they are

Well, I don’t think that was supposed to happen. In what was one of the more surreal product launches I’ve seen, Tesla debuted its $39,900 Cybertruck pickup tonight. After running through some specs and hitting the truck’s door with a sledge hammer, Elon asked an on-stage companion to demonstrate the strength of the Tesla “Armor…

Behold, the Tesla Cybertruck is here

Elon Musk revealed Thursday evening the Tesla Cybertruck, a futuristic vehicle that seemed stripped straight out of a post-apocalyptic era movie. The Tesla Cybertruck, which Musk unveiled in dramatic fashion and to the hoots and hollers of invited guests at the Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, California, is made of cold-rolled steel, armored glass that…

Austin-based Next Coast Ventures just closed its second fund with $130 million

It’s November. We’re eleven years into a bull run. And a protracted trade war with China — not to mention the impeachment proceedings — are causing some nervousness about what next year will hold. Little wonder that venture firms, which have been writing checks faster than ever in recent years, are also stocking up on…

Another US court says police cannot force suspects to turn over their passwords

The highest court in Pennsylvania has ruled that the state’s law enforcement cannot force suspects to turn over their passwords that would unlock their devices. The state’s Supreme Court said compelling a password from a suspect is a violation of the Fifth Amendment, a constitutional protection that protects suspects from self-incrimination. It’s not an surprising…

Twitter will finally let you turn on two-factor authentication without giving it a phone number

Two-factor authentication is good! SMS-based two-factor authentication? Not the best option. After countless tales of people having their phone numbers and inbound SMS hijacked by way of SIM swapping, it’s clear that SMS just isn’t the right solution for sending people secondary login codes. And yet, for many years, it’s been the mandatory go-to on…

Y Combinator abruptly shutters YC China

Prolific startup accelerator Y Combinator has abandoned plans to establish a branch of the program in China. The company cites a general change in strategy, but a deafening silence on the complexity and controversy of working with China right now suggests there’s more at play. In a short blog post, YC leadership explained that “as…

OutVoice officially launches its freelancer payment tools

OutVoice, a startup that allows editors to pay freelancers with the click of a button, has officially left beta testing and is open to any publication. The company is also announcing that it has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from content monetization startup Coil. OutVoice was founded by Matt Saincome and Issa Diao…

Alphabet’s X details a garbage-sorting bot that’s part of its plan to make robots an everyday thing

Alphabet subsidiary X, which is the former Google X, focuses exclusively on ambitious “moonshots,” or applications of tech you might expect are science fiction, not a real product in development. Like a robot that can sort through office trash. X does a lot of its work more quietly than other Alphabet companies — until it’s…

Google employees will rally in protest of alleged worker retaliation

Google is under fire again for its treatment of employees. Tomorrow, a group of Google employees is holding a rally and press conference to speak out against the company’s decision to place two employees on indefinite administrative leave. Earlier this month, Google fired one employee and put two, Laurence Berland and Rebecca Rivers, on leave…

Netgear’s Meural Canvas II is a better version of the best home gadget for photographers

Netgear has released the first updated Canvas digital art from from Meural since acquiring the company last September, and the next-generation connected frame comes with some decent quality-of-life improvements as well as a new, additional size. It’s not a dramatic change from the original Meural Canvas, but it means that a product that was already…

Morgan Stanley’s ‘Teflon banker’ talks direct listings (and much more)

After landing a seemingly endless string of coveted deals for his bank, Morgan Stanley, Michael Grimes has been dubbed “Wall Street’s Silicon Valley whisperer.” Morgan Stanley has served as the lead underwriter for Facebook, Spotify and Slack. Grimes, a banker for 32 years — 25 of them with Morgan Stanley — has also played a…

Camp Grounded Digital Detox returns after founder’s death

Summer camp for adults and beloved tech-free weekend getaway Camp Grounded ground to a halt in 2017. Its big-hearted founder Levi Felix who’d espoused the joys of trading screens for nature walks was tragically killed by brain cancer at just age 32. Left in his wake was mourning community who’d lost their digital detox rally…

The Flux Beamo is a $1500 laser cutter with simple but powerful software

Laser cutters are in a fun place right now. Gone are the days when the cheapest machines were tens of thousands of dollars, and when the “compact” models were roughly the size of a freezer. They’ve gotten affordable enough, and small enough, that a DIY home hobbyist can add it to their toolset without taking…

Keywee introduces a new Loyalty Score to help publishers reach the most valuable readers

I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but here’s the truth: Not all readers are created equal. At least, that’s how things look from a user acquisition perspective, where publishers running ad campaigns to reach new readers might end up bringing in a whole bunch of random visitors who are unlikely to ever return their…

Linear lines up $4.2M led by Sequoia to build a better platform for software developer collaboration

Software will eat the world, as the saying goes, but in doing so, some developers are likely to get a little indigestion. That is to say, building products requires working with disparate and distributed teams, and while developers may have an ever-growing array of algorithms, APIs and technology at their disposal to do this, ironically…

MIT researchers develop a much better way to optimize the control of soft robots

MIT researchers have developed a new way to optimize how soft robots perform specific tasks – a huge challenge when it comes to soft robotics in particular, because robots with flexible bodies can basically move in an infinite number of ways at any given moment, so programming them to do something in the best way…

Define and manage growth on your own terms

Tim Hsia & Neil Devani Contributor Share on Twitter Tim Hsia is the CEO of Media Mobilize and a Venture Partner at Digital Garage. Neil Devani is an angel investor and venture capitalist focused on companies solving hard problems. More posts by this contributor The first hires are the hardest Getting press for your startup:…

The top 1% of app store publishers drive 80% of new downloads

The current app store ecosystem doesn’t favor the indie developer. According to new data from Sensor Tower, the top 1% of publishers globally accounted for a whopping 80% of the total 29.6 billion app downloads in the third quarter of 2019. That means just 20%, or 6 billion, downloads are left for the rest of…

GM will bring an electric truck to market in 2021

GM CEO Mary Barra said Thursday that the automaker will bring its first electric truck to market in the fall of 2021. The comments were made Thursday during GM’s investor day. Later this evening, Tesla, which also plans to start selling an electric truck in 2021, will reveal its “cybertruck” at an event in Hawthorne,…

Toyota’s first plug-in hybrid RAV4 piles on the power and fuel efficiency

Toyota gave its first plug-in hybrid RAV4 more than just a plug. It piled on the power as well. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime, which was unveiled this week at the LA Auto Show, will be achieve two seemingly conflicting goals. The vehicle will be its most fuel efficient and one of its most powerful.…

Valve’s flagship Half-Life VR game will land in March of 2020

As expected, Valve just dropped some details about Half-Life: Alyx, the flagship VR game it teased earlier this week. Here’s what we know so far: It’s scheduled for release in March of 2020 Players will take on the role of Alyx, wearing a pair of “gravity gloves” that allow you to grab things otherwise out…

Congress extends NSA call records collection powers to March

In passing a short-term funding bill to avoid a U.S. government shutdown, Congress has also extended the government’s legal powers allowing it to collect daily millions of Americans’ call records. Buried in a funding bill passed by the House this week was a clause that extended the government’s so-called Section 215 powers, which allow the…

Daily Crunch: PayPal acquires Honey

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. PayPal to acquire shopping and rewards platform Honey for $4B Currently, Honey’s 17 million monthly active users take advantage of its…

BMW locks up 10.2 billion euro battery order ahead of EV onslaught

BMW announced Thursday it will spend more than 10 billion euros ($11.07 billion) on battery cells from Chinese battery cell manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Co and Samsung SDI. The deal comes just days after BMW unveiled its first purely electric premium mid-size sedan called the i4. The all-electric sedan, which won’t be available until 2021, is powered…

Splice teaches AI to sell Similar Sounds as users double

Splice is blowing up like a hit song. The audio sample marketplace has doubled revenue and user count in a year, and now reaches 3 million musicians. 70% of those visit weekly to hunt down the freshest and trendiest sounds that give their tracks that special something, and many pay $7.99 for unlimited access. But…

Facebook Dating now integrates with Instagram and Facebook Stories

Facebook Dating, an opt-in feature of the main Facebook app, will begin to tap into the content users are already creating across both Facebook and Instagram to enhance its service. Today, Facebook Dating users will be able to add their Facebook or Instagram Stories to Facebook Dating, in order to share their everyday moments with…

Google will now pay up to $1.5 million for very specific Android exploits

When Google first introduced its bug bounty program for Android, the biggest reward you could get for finding and reporting a potential exploit was $38,000. The cap grew over time, as Android grew in popularity, more security researchers got on board, and more vulnerabilities were unearthed. This morning, Google is bumping its top reward up…

YouTube to update harassment and gaming policies, clarify changes to kids content

In YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki quarterly letter, released today, the exec addresses a number of changes to YouTube policies, including the recent FTC-mandated rules for kids content that have alternately confused and infuriated video creators, as well as forthcoming policies around harassment and gaming videos, among other things. On the latter, Wojcicki said the company…

Reserve your demo table at TC Sessions: Robotics & AI 2020

Robotics and AI is the hottest scientific mashup since The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper met Amy Farrah Fowler. If you play a role in these world-changing technologies, join us at TC Sessions: Robotics & AI on March 3, 2020 at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall. What could be better than spending an entire day focused…

MontyCloud raises $2.85 million for its cloud management platform

For enterprises that want to move to the cloud, that actual move is often hard enough, but in the long run, being able to manage the lifecycle of their cloud deployments is just as important. MontyCloud, which focuses on these kinds of Day-2 operations, today announced that it has raised a $2.85 million seed round…