TechCrunch

2020-09-19 17:06    2020-09-19 19:46

On lying AIs

A yellow-eyed cat tilts its eyes at the camera, gazing up from a grey bedspread. ‘London Trip’, is the AI’s title for this photo-montage ‘Memory’ plucked from the depths of my iPhone camera-roll. It’s selected a sad score of plinking piano and sweeping violin.

This Week in Apps: iOS 14’s surprise arrival, Apple’s app bundle, TikTok & WeChat banned from app st

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

Unity Software has strong opening, gaining 31% after pricing above its raised range

Whoever said you can’t make money playing video games clearly hasn’t taken a look at Unity Software’s stock price. On its first official day of trading, the company rose more than 31%, opening at $75 per share before closing the day at $68.35.

Conan O’Brien on how to embrace an ever-changing media landscape

“Like most of the best things in my life,” Conan O’Brien explains, with a wry smile, “the success of the podcast was a complete surprise.” The answer is a typically self-effacing one from the comedian. Since launching “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” nearly two years ago,

Chamath launches SPAC, SPAC, and SPAC as he SPACs the World with SPACs

SPACs are going to rule the world, or at least, Chamath’s future portfolio. Chamath Palihapitiya, the founder of Social Capital, has already tripled down on SPACs, the so-called “blank check” vehicle that takes private companies and flips them onto the public markets.

Daily Crunch: Partial US TikTok ban is imminent

The Trump administration moves forwards with plans to ban TikTok and WeChat (although TikTok gets a partial extension), Unity goes public and we announce the winner of this year’s Startup Battlefield. This is your Daily Crunch for September 18, 2020. The big story: US TikTok ban is imminent The U.

SaaS Ventures takes the investment road less traveled

Most venture capital firms are based in hubs like Silicon Valley, New York City and Boston. These firms nurture those ecosystems and they’ve done well, but SaaS Ventures decided to go a different route: it went to cities like Chicago, Green Bay, Wisconsin and Lincoln, Nebraska.

Gaming companies are reportedly the next targets in the US government’s Tencent purge

Some of the biggest names in online gaming in the United States have received letters from the U.S. government requesting information about their relationship with the multibillion-dollar Chinese technology company, Tencent, according to reports. Even as the U.S.

Check out this never-before-seen clip from HBO’s The Perfect Weapon

At Disrupt 2020, we got a chance to see some never-before-seen footage from HBO’s upcoming documentary The Perfect Weapon. The documentary, which was executive produced by John Maggio, is based on the book by the same(ish) name written by David Sanger,

Salesforce announces 12,000 new jobs in the next year just weeks after laying off 1000

In a case of bizarre timing, Salesforce announced it was laying off 1000 employees at the end of last month just a day after announcing a monster quarter with over $5 billion in revenue, putting the company on a $20 billion revenue run rate for the first time. The juxtaposition was hard to miss.

And the winner of Startup Battlefield at Disrupt 2020 is… Canix

We started this competition with 20 impressive startups. After five days of fierce pitching in a wholly new virtual Startup Battlefield arena, we have a winner.

Are high churn rates depressing earnings for app developers?

It’s great to improve your subscription app’s retention rates, but don’t do it for the 85/15 split.

MIT engineers develop a totally flat fisheye lens that could make wide-angle cameras easier to produ

Engineers at MIT, in partnership with the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, have devised a way to build a camera lens that avoids the typical spherical curve of ultra-wide-angle glass, while still providing true optical fisheye distortion. The fisheye lens is relatively specialist,

Battery tech superstars JB Straubel of Redwood Materials, Celina Mikolajczak of Panasonic coming to

It was a trickle at first that has evolved into a slow and steady stream. Now, a wave of new electric vehicles is building, promising to deliver an unprecedented number of models to North America, Europe and China over the next two to three years. There might not be a better time to dig into […]

Zoox becomes fourth company to land driverless testing permit in California

Zoox, the automated vehicle technology startup that was acquired by Amazon this year, has been issued a permit from California regulators that will allow it to test driverless vehicles on public roads. The permit is not for all public roads in the state,

Amid layoffs and allegations of fraud, the FBI has arrested NS8’s CEO following its $100+ million su

The tagline from today’s announcement from the United States Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York says it all: “Adam Rogas Allegedly Raised $123 Million from Investors Using Financial Statements that Showed Tens of Millions of Dollars of Revenue and Assets that Did Not Exist”.

The stages of traditional fundraising

What you think when you hear "seed funding" and "A rounds" might be different from what investors think. You both need to be on the same page as you move forward.

How the NSA is disrupting foreign hackers targeting COVID-19 vaccine research

The headlines aren’t always kind to the National Security Agency, a spy agency that operates almost entirely in the shadows. But a year ago, the NSA launched its new Cybersecurity Directorate, which in the past year has emerged as one of the more visible divisions of the spy agency. At its core,

Instagram CEO, ACLU slam TikTok and WeChat app bans for putting US freedoms into the balance

As people begin to process the announcement from the U.S. Department of Commerce detailing how it plans, on grounds of national security, to shut down TikTok and WeChat — starting with app downloads and updates for both, plus all of WeChat’s services, on September 20,

Chime adds $485M at a $14.5B valuation, claims EBITDA profitability

In the midst of IPO week we have to add another name to our future debuts’ list, namely Chime, which announced a huge new round of capital today. The $485 million Series F values the consumer fintech giant at $14.5 billion, a huge figure given that Chime was most recently worth $5.

It’s game on as Unity begins trading

Unity Software, which sells a game development toolkit primarily for mobile phone app developers, raised $1.3 billion in its initial public offering. The company, which will begin trading today with the ticker symbol “U”, priced its shares at the top end of its expected range,

Outschool, newly profitable, raises a $45M Series B for virtual small group classes

Outschool, which started in 2015 as a platform for homeschooled students to bolster their extracurricular activities, has dramatically widened its customer base since the coronavirus pandemic began.

NASA to test precision automated landing system designed for the Moon and Mars on upcoming Blue Orig

NASA is going to be testing out a new precision landing system designed for use on the tough terrain of the Moon and Mars for the first time during an upcoming mission of Blue Origin’s New Shepard reusable suborbital rocket.

What makes Checkout.com different from Stripe

While Checkout.com has kept a low profile for many years, the company raised $380 million within a year and reached an impressive valuation of $5.5 billion. It wants to build a one-stop shop for all things related to payments, such as accepting transactions, processing them and detecting fraud.

In its 4th revision to the SEC, Palantir tries to explain what the hell is going on

For a company vaunted for its clandestine government work and strong engineering culture, you can’t help but wonder if the government’s bureaucratic norms and paperwork pushing are starting to flood into the Shire. When most companies go public, they file a Form S-1 with the SEC,

Calling VCs in Zurich & Geneva: Be featured in The Great TechCrunch Survey of European VC

TechCrunch is embarking on a major new project to survey the venture capital investors of Europe, and their cities. Our survey of VCs in Zurich and Geneva will capture how those cities are faring in terms of investment,

3 investors discuss the state of SaaS investing in 2020

Yesterday during Disrupt 2020 I sat down with three investors who know the SaaS startup market very well, hoping to get my head around how hot things are today. Coming on the heels of the epic Snowflake IPO (more to come on that in this weekend’s newsletter), it was a great time for a chat. […]

Steven Yang and Sonny Vu discuss COVID-19’s impact on tech manufacturing

Like most of the rest of the world, COVID-19 hit the manufacturing sector by surprise.

German space agency reveals an autonomous, electric urban mobility prototype for use right here on E

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has debuted a prototype of what it calls ‘U-Shift,’ an urban mobility vehicle designed for multiple uses. U-Shift is a fully electric vehicle, designed for autonomous operation, and could serve in a number of capacities including as an on-demand shuttle, a bus,

TikTok and WeChat will be banned in the U.S. from Sunday

The Commerce Department announced this morning that it will require mobile app stores to remove popular social media apps TikTok and WeChat. New users will not be able to download these apps, and while existing users will still be able to use their existing apps installed on their phones,

VCs have to train themselves to ‘ask the stupid questions’, says Hoxton Ventures’ Hussein Kanji

If venture capitalists could predict the future, why wouldn’t they just start companies themselves? That’s the question Hussein Kanji, founding partner at Hoxton Ventures, asked rhetorically at Disrupt 2020.

China’s vaping giant Relx gears up for US entry

The backlash against vaping in the United States has not deterred a Chinese challenger from entering the world’s largest vaping market. Relx, one of China’s largest e-cigarette companies, is seeking to submit its Premarket Tobacco Product Application to the U.S.

Google pulls India’s Paytm app from Play Store for repeat policy violations

Google has pulled popular Indian financial services app Paytm from the Play Store for violating its gambling policies. Paytm is India’s most valuable startup and claims over 50 million monthly active users. Its marquee app, which competes with Google Pay in India,

Ride-hailing was hit hard by COVID-19. Grab’s Russell Cohen on how the company adapted.

Ride-hailing services around the world have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Grab was no exception. The company is one of the most highly-valued tech startups in Southeast Asia, where it operates in eight countries. Its transport business suffered a sharp decline in March and April,

Apple will launch its online store in India next week

Apple will launch its online store in India on September 23, bringing a range of services directly to customers in the world’s second largest smartphone market for the first time in over 20 years since it began operations in the country. The company,

TikTok’s Chinese rival Kuaishou becomes a popular online bazaar

In China, short video apps aren’t just for mindless time killing. These services are becoming online bazaars where users can examine products, see how they are grown and made, and ask sellers questions during live sessions. Kuaishou, the main rival of TikTok’s Chinese version (Douyin),

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