Cryptocurrencies are booming beyond belief. Bitcoin is up sevenfold, to $2,500, in the last year. Three weeks ago the redoubtable Vinay Gupta, who led Ethereum’s initial release, published an essay entitled “What Does Ether At $100 Mean?” Since then it has doubled. Too many altcoins to name have skyrocketed in value along with the Big Two. ICOs are raking in money hand over fist over bicep. What the hell is going on?
The free and open internet as we know it is at risk.
Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote to initiate a process to repeal the strong net neutrality rules that have been in place since 2015.
These rules protect the internet as an open, decentralized, and level playing field, free from content discrimination. They ensure that you—not your internet service provider (usually your cable or phone company)—control what you can access online.
Microsoft is launching IoT Central today, a new Internet of Things (IoT) service that gives enterprises a fully managed solution for setting up their IoT deployments without needing the in-house expertise necessary for deploying a cloud-based IoT solution from scratch. It’s basically IoT-as-a-Service.
In addition, the company is bringing its Azure Stream Analytics to edge devices, making it easier to provision new IoT devices, and it’s launching a completely new analytics service for time series data.
It looks like we can add another one to the string of IPOs that at least look like they’ve been successful — with Yext, too, popping more than 20% once its shares made their debut this morning.
Shares of Yext went as high as $14 or so after the company gave its final pricing at $11 last night — meaning it raised at least $115.5 million in its IPO.
Amazon is making the technology that makes its Echo line of devices so good at picking up your voice commands available to third-party device makers. That includes the microphone array that helps Echo pick up speech even in a fairly noisy room, as well as Amazon’s own proprietary software for recognizing wake words, reducing background noise and cancelling out echoes in large open rooms.
Yelp this morning announced it has paid $20 million in cash to acquire the Wi-Fi marketing company, Turnstyle Analytics, which offers a service that allows businesses to connect with their customers over a freely provided Wi-fi network. The move, Yelp explains, is aimed at expanding the types of business marketing services Yelp already offers beyond those that are focused on customer acquisition, to also include those that help businesses with customer retention and loyalty.
“Everybody and their mother is out to create their own specialized voice-activated devices,” IBM fellow and CTO for its Watson project Rob High told me during an interview at MWC. IBM, of course, doesn’t offer a direct competitor to Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa, but the company hopes that developers will choose Watson, in all its various guises, to power their AI apps, smart chatbots and similar services.
A new trends report published by the law firm Cooley report suggests that the venture market remains largely healthy for now. In the fourth quarter, for example, Cooley handled 187 “disclosable” (versus stealth) deals that represented more than $2.7 billion of invested capital. That’s 18 percent more deals than it closed in the fourth quarter of 2015 — though the amount of money involved fell 23 percent of the year-earlier period. (VCs were writing smaller checks into a greater number of startups.)
Americans suck at managing their money.
As the country heads into the New Year, it’s clear that more than 57% of us are struggling financially, according to a study from the Center for Financial Services Innovation.
The criminal justice system in our country is broken. Just imagine if technologists put their resources and knowledge toward solving some of our country’s biggest issues, instead of toward the next dating app. Today at South by South Lawn, the White House’s first-ever festival of art, ideas and action, I got a glimpse of what that world might look like.
Apple is about to unveil its lineup of new products tomorrow in San Francisco. Rumor has it that Apple is introducing the iPhone 7, the iPhone 7 Plus and the Apple Watch 2. The company will also talk about iOS 10, macOS Sierra, and potentially maybe the new MacBook Pros. Here’s what to expect.
Like most VCs, we often review dozens of deals each week. We have developed a funnel that enables us to quickly eliminate those that do not fit our general investment criteria (e.g. industry, stage, model).
Congressional gridlock can usually be blamed on stubborn representatives and senators. But a new string of ransomware attacks on the House of Representatives could stall legislation more effectively than party infighting or a filibuster.
In an email provided to TechCrunch, the House technology service desk warned representatives of increased ransomware attacks on the House network. The email warns that attackers are focusing their efforts on third-party email apps, like YahooMail and Gmail, and tells representatives that access to YahooMail will be blocked on House networks.
The field of medicine is in the process of being profoundly transformed by new technologies; much of this transformation comes from exciting advances in genomics.
Although genomics is relatively unknown to the general public, innovations in the field have started to make headlines: Genetic testing startup 23andMe, the “gene editing” technology CRISPR and the ambitious 100,000 Genomes Project have all come into the public eye.
Or things, technically, according to Dixon, who we caught up with yesterday. Among the trends that Dixon is watching closely, he says, are virtual reality, augmented reality, IoT, wearables, drones and cars. (Missing from the list: bitcoin, which has long held Dixon’s fascination but that he refers to as a “long-term project.”)
Not that it’ll be easy to make money off these newer technologies. In fact, Dixon suggests it could be ridiculously challenging, given how quickly Facebook, Google, and Amazon are bringing aboard related talent. Here’s more from yesterday’s interview, edited for length:
A Tel Aviv startup that wants to help farmers produce more food with fewer resources, CropX, has attracted sensor manufacturers Robert Bosch and Flextronics International as strategic backers.
Specifically, Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH and accelerator Flex Lab IX added $1 million in venture funding to the Series A round for CropX, which now totals $10 million.
Microsoft’s recently launched, A.I.-powered bot Tay may have embarrassed the company when Twitter users taught the machine how to be racist, but Microsoft hasn’t given up on the future of bot development. It’s just getting started. At Microsoft’s annual Build conference in San Francisco today, CEO Satya Nadella unveiled the company’s plans to bring the world of bots to “conversational platforms” – meaning not only Skype, but also other communications tools like Slack, Outlook, LINE, and more.
To many startups, search engine optimization (SEO) is a task that sits on their company’s back burner.
With features to launch and customers to support, the idea of spending time fiddling with your title tags can seem like a fool’s errand. That’s especially true when there’s no guarantee that your hard work will result in a single additional visitor from Google. That’s one of the reasons that a recent study ranked SEO as the third most important marketing priority for startups (behind social media and content marketing).
Substantial thought and angst has been expended over the fact that artificial intelligence (AI) is coming to your workplace to take over blue- and white-collar jobs, alike.
But a major risk of AI has been almost entirely ignored: the threat to companies’ intellectual property (IP).
Existing laws are insufficient to protect against the unique threats posed by AI. While I am no fan of over-regulation, now is the time to call for legislative action — before it’s too late.
A robot with a unique personality might sound like an oxymoron. Or science fiction. But that’s the goal of London-based startup Emotech, launching on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt London 2015 today, with a plan to crowdfund its first product, a voice-controlled robot assistant called Olly, early next year.
The bot takes the form of an animated eyeball that is housed in a lamp-shaped cup designed to roll around on your tabletop. So if the thought of a large blinking eyeball that swivels around to look at you when you speak — and talks back — makes you feel at all uneasy, well, this may not be the bot for you.