TechCrunch

2020-04-03 22:54    2020-04-03 23:06

As tech layoffs surge, some support emerges for those without a job

The massive surge of COVID-19-related layoffs has put tech in a unique position. While the startup world is facing layoffs itself, it is also trying to help get people back to work. Back at the end of 2019,

Zelos is like a cross-game battle pass, rewarding you for completing challenges in games you already

People seem to love the concept of the battle pass. Largely popularized by Fortnite, battle passes reward players for playing well, and playing often. The better you do, the more XP you earn; the more XP you earn, the more stuff (new looks for your character,

ZmURL customizes Zoom link previews with images & event sites

Sick of sharing those generic Zoom video call invites that all look the same? Wish your Zoom link preview’s headline and image actually described your meeting? Want to protect your Zoom calls from trolls by making attendees RSVP to get your link? ZmURL.com has you covered. Launching today,

Google research makes for an effortless robotic dog trot

As capable as robots are, the original animals after which they tend to be designed are always much, much better. That's partly because it's difficult to learn how to walk like a dog directly from a dog — but this research from Google's AI labs make it considerably easier.

Want to survive the downturn? Better build a platform

When you look at the most successful companies in the world, they are almost never just one simple service. Instead, they offer a platform with a range of services and an ability to connect to it to allow external partners and developers to extend the base functionality that the company provides.

Pandemic puts the brakes on micromobility

As of this writing, nearly a million people globally have been infected with the novel coronavirus and 50,322 have died. Healthcare systems are overwhelmed, consumers and profiteers are hoarding supplies and some service workers have launched strikes while many others have been let go.

Zoom will enable waiting rooms by default to stop Zoombombing

Zoom is making some drastic changes to prevent rampant abuse as trolls attack publicly-shared video calls. Starting April 5th, it will require passwords to enter calls via Meeting ID, since these may be guessed or reused. Meanwhile,

Stocks drop as unemployment spikes

Stocks fell in regular trading Friday, as all major American indices fell in the wake of a broadly negative jobs report. With more than 700,000 jobs lost in the March data, unemployment in the United States rose from 3.5% to 4.4%.

The pandemic is already reshaping tech’s misinformation crisis

Since 2016, social media companies have faced an endless barrage of bad press and public criticism for failing to anticipate how their platforms could be used for dark purposes at the scale of populations—undermining democracies around the world, say,

‘Artemis Fowl’ is skipping theaters for Disney+

With movie theaters largely closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney is pushing back its slate of upcoming films. And at least one movie won’t be making it into theaters at all, with “Artemis Fowl” heading straight to streaming instead.

Google rolls back SameSite cookie changes to keep essential online services from breaking

Google today announced that it will temporarily roll back the changes it recently made to how its Chrome browser handles cookies in order to ensure that sites that perform essential services like banking, online grocery,

How Homage is tackling Southeast Asia’s growing eldercare need

The world’s population is aging, but the needs of elderly people are still being underserved. A United Nations report found that older people make up more than one-fifth of the population in 17 countries, and by 2100, a majority of the world’s population, or 61%, will be aged 60 and above.

GM and Honda are co-developing two new electric vehicles due to arrive in 2024

GM and Honda will jointly develop two new electric vehicles slated for 2024, the latest move by the two automakers to deepen their existing partnership. Under the plan, the automakers will focus on their respective areas of expertise.

Insight closes $9.5B fund to help support portfolio companies through the pandemic crunch

We’re now several weeks into what is has become a very big dip for the global economy due to the coronavirus pandemic, but amidst that, we are seeing are some notable pockets of investment activity emerging that will help shape how the future startup landscape will look.

Sleep apnea retrofit designed by doctors and engineers could help address ventilator shortage

The FDA has been working to adapt its policies and restrictions to respond to the growing need for unconventional solutions like shortages of medical equipment needed for treating COVID-19 patients. A group of doctors, engineers and medical researchers from UC Berkeley,

Germany’s Xpension pension platform raises €25M in a Series C growth round

The German pension and insurance industry was a laggard in the world of online a few years ago, but in recent times it has quickly caught up. There’s further evidence of this trend with the news that Xpension (trading as xbAV), an online platform for pensions and life insurance,

Daily Crunch: Google publishes coronavirus mobility reports

Google uses its ad-tracking data to provide a glimpse at how the world is responding to coronavirus, the CDC changes its tune on face masks and Apple accidentally reveals that AirTags are coming. Here’s your Daily Crunch for April 3, 2020. 1. Google is now publishing coronavirus mobility reports,

Emergent BioSolutions gets $14.5M in federal funding to expedite COVID-19 plasma therapy development

Last week, we spoke to the head of Emergent BioSolutions’ Therapeutics Business Unit Dr. Laura Saward about her company’s work developing plasma-based potential treatments for COVID-19. Now, the company announced that it has received $14.

Bustle Digital Group lays off staff of The Outline as part of broader cuts

Bustle Digital Group, owner of a portfolio of digital media properties including Bustle itself, says it laid off two dozen staffers today. That includes eliminating the entire staff of The Outline, a culture site that it acquired a year ago. In a statement,

Join prolific enterprise/SaaS seed investor Jonathan Lehr April 6 at 2pm EDT for a live conference c

It’s a tough fundraising environment out there, but one of the few glimmers of hope lies in the enterprise and SaaS markets. Critical customer problems + recurring revenues is probably where you want to be right now to weather out the storm that’s hitting the startup world these days.

OctoML raises $15M to make optimizing ML models easier

OctoML, a startup founded by the team behind the Apache TVM machine learning compiler stack project, today announced it has raised a $15 million Series A round led by Amplify, with participation from Madrone Ventures, which led its $3.9 million seed round.

NASA details how it plans to establish a sustained human presence on the Moon

NASA’s Artemis program aims to bring humans back to the Moon, with the goal of staying there for good in the interest of pursuing additional science and exploration missions, including to Mars.

27 TV show recommendations from TechCrunch while you’re stuck at home

With shelter-in-place orders worldwide, it’s never been a better time to curl up on the couch and loss oneself in a TV show. That’s what we’re doing. Some TechCrunch staffers are watching perennial favorites like The Wire or The West Wing or Gilmore Girls.

The pendulum will swing away from founder-friendly venture raises

After picking through some COVID-19-focused PitchBook data this morning, it's clear that the era of founder friendly venture terms is heading for a reset.

Valispace raises $2.4M to become the ‘Github for hardware’, joins fight against COVID-19

Hardware engineering is mostly document-based. A typical satellite might be described in several hundred thousand PDF documents, spreadsheets, simulation files and more; all potentially inconsistent between each other. This can lead to costly mistakes.

In the wake of COVID-19, UK puts up £20M in grants to develop resilience tech for critical industrie

Most of the world — despite the canaries in the coal mine — was unprepared to cope with the coronavirus outbreak that’s now besieging us. Now, work is starting to get underway both to help manage what is going on now and better prepare us in the future. In the latest development,

Google is now publishing coronavirus mobility reports, feeding off users’ location history

Google is giving the world a clearer glimpse of exactly how much it knows about people everywhere — using the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to repackage its persistent tracking of where users go and what they do as a public good in the midst of a pandemic. In a blog post today the tech […]

Keeping the score on Zoom

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. How are you holding up? Are you keeping up? And most importantly, are you hydrating yourself? There’s so much news lately that we’re all falling a bit behind, but, hey,

Apple brings its hardware microphone disconnect feature to iPads

Apple has brought its hardware microphone disconnect security feature to its latest iPads. The microphone disconnect security feature aims to make it far more difficult for hackers to use malware or a malicious app to eavesdrop on a device’s surroundings.

Longtime VC Neil Sequeira: funding founders without in-person meetings is ‘quite difficult’

"If you want to be in this industry, because it's a relationship-driven but also a reputation-based business, these aren't the moments to take advantage of people."

SpaceX’s latest Starship prototype fails under pressure testing

The process of designing, testing and building an entirely new spacecraft is definitely a difficult one and bound to encounter some issues. SpaceX’s efforts to build Starship, its massive new fully reusable spaceship, is no exception. The most recent Starship prototype, designated “SN3,

Forward Partners launches Forward Advances, a revenue-based finance solution for startups

Forward Partners, the early-stage venture fund and startup studio, has long offered something a little different to the U.K’s tech startup ecosystem, and today the VC is continuing that trend with the launch of “Forward Advances,

Nordic challenger bank Lunar adds €20M to its Series B

Lunar, the Nordic challenger bank that started out life as a personal finance manager app (PFM) but since acquired a full banking license last year, has extended it Series B round with an additional €20 million in funding. It brings the Series B total to €46 million,

Peloton launches an Android TV app

With gyms across the country closed for business, at-home exercise companies like Peloton have found an unexpected opportunity. As the connected fitness company looks to onboard new customers, they’re also expanding platform support,

CDC is expected to tell Americans to wear cloth masks, save medical masks for health workers

On Thursday, the White House said that it will likely soon adjust previous guidelines that discouraged non-health workers from wearing face masks. The change would be issued as “guidance” from the CDC,

Using AI responsibly to fight the coronavirus pandemic

Even in times of great crisis, we should strive to advance AI for good.

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