TechCrunch

2018-10-19 02:48    2018-10-19 03:33

E-moto startup Alta Motors reportedly powers down

Brisbane, California based e-motorcycle startup Alta Motors has ceased operations, TechCrunch has confirmed.  Earlier today Asphalt and Rubber — and several subsequent outlets — reported the company stopped operating this morning, fired its staff, and may be looking for a buyer.

The space pen became the space pen 50 years ago

Everyone knows about the space pen. NASA spent millions on R&D to create the ultimate pen that would work in zero gravity and the result was this incredible machine. Well, no.

Knotch launches Blueprint to help marketers find the best publishers of sponsored content

When I last wrote about Knotch, the company had just patented its color-based feedback system that helps advertisers measure the effectiveness of their sponsored content. Since then, it’s added a competitive intelligence product and now Blueprint,

Amazon says it will add 1,000 more employees in the UK, bringing the total to 28,500, bucking the Br

A lot of uncertainty hangs over the UK as continues its slow march out of the European Union, but today one of the world’s biggest companies announced plans to expand its presence in the country. Amazon today said it would add another 1,000 workers in the UK,

Disruptive technology and organized religion

At a recent Vatican-sponsored conference, I learned that disruptive technology and organized religion have more in common than not.

6D.ai opens up its beta

After wrestling with the development of a technology that would create a three dimensional map of the physical world for over a decade, the team at 6D.ai is finally ready to open up its toolkit to developers that the company says has done exactly that.

MoviePass is under investigation for securities fraud in New York state

More bad news for MoviePass . At the direction of New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, MoviePass parent company Helios and Matheson is now the subject of a fraud probe in New York state. “We’ve launched a securities fraud investigation into ⁦@MoviePass⁩’ parent company,

Uber is developing an on-demand staffing business

Uber is reportedly developing a short-term staffing business to offer 1099 independent contractors for events and corporate functions, the Financial Times first reported. Dubbed Uber Works, the service would provide waiters, security guards and other temporary staffers to business partners,

Researchers create virtual smells by electrocuting your nose

The IEEE has showcased one of the coolest research projects I’ve seen this month: virtual smells. By stimulating your olfactory nerve with a system that looks like one of those old-fashioned kids electronics kits, they’ve been able to simulate smells. The project is pretty gross.

There’s now proof that quantum computers can outperform classical machines

The hype around quantum computing is real. But to fully realize the promise of quantum computing, it’ll still take a few years of research and scientific breakthroughs. And indeed, it still remains to be seen if quantum computers will ever live up to the hype. Today, though,

Google Maps’ ETA sharing feature hits iOS

If you’re heading out to meet someone, there are plenty of ways to inform them of your location and estimated arrival. Chat apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, LINE, and iMessage, for example, offer location sharing functionality,

Google improves Android App Bundles and makes building Instant Apps easier

Google is launching a number of new features for Android app developers today that will make it easier for them to build smaller apps that download faster and to release instant apps that allow potential users to trial a new app without having to install it. Android App Bundles,

Twilio launches a new SIM card and narrowband dev kit for IoT developers

Twilio is hosting its Signal developer conference in San Francisco this week. Yesterday was all about bots and taking payments over the phone; today is all about IoT. The company is launching two new (but related) products today that will make it easier for IoT developers to connect their devices.

A ton of people don’t know that Facebook owns WhatsApp

Americans looking to reduce their reliance on products from tech’s most alarmingly megalithic companies might be surprised to learn just how far their reach extends. Privacy-minded browser company DuckDuckGo conducted a small study to look into that phenomenon and the results were pretty striking.

Why so many tech companies are creating shows

Editor’s note: Jay Acunzo is the author of the new book Break the Wheel, which explores how the world’s best creators break from conventional thinking to think for themselves. He’s a former digital media strategist at Google, head of content at HubSpot, and VP of brand at the seed VC, NextView.

Apple’s holding another big event October 30

And here you thought hardware season was over. A month and a half after its last major event, Apple’s throwing a big party in Brooklyn on October 30. The event will likely suss out some of the technology that slipped through the cracks back in September, including,

Square unveils the Square Terminal, designed to replace old keypad credit card machines

Square is launching a new piece of hardware today — the Square Terminal. As explained to me by the company’s Head of Hardware Jesse Dorogusker, the Terminal fills a gap the company’s product lineup — unlike the basic card reader,

Embracing multimodality, Uber pioneers ride recommendations

For the first time, Uber will make contextual, personalized suggestions about the best way to get from point A to point B. The startup offers more than just cars now, and it’s starting to understand the tradeoffs between price, speed, convenience, and comfort amidst its multi-modal fleet.

Google launches compose actions to streamline access to SaaS apps in GMail

Lately, Google has been all about shaving time off your everyday activities when sending emails. First they came out with smart responses that let you choose among several (sometimes) logical responses to the email. Next was type ahead,

Future Family raises $10M to make fertility treatments more affordable

Future Family, a startup which helps families more easily afford fertility services like IVF and egg freezing, has raised $10 million in a Series A round. Just weeks back, Future Family switched up its offerings to feel less like a loan, and more like a monthly subscription.

Call for social media adtech to be probed by UK competition watchdog

A British Conservative politician,

Alexa’s new Whisper Mode goes live

At Amazon’s Alexa event last month in Seattle, the company teased a new feature soon coming to its voice assistant: the ability to whisper. The company demonstrated how whispering a request – like “play a lullaby” – to Alexa would trigger the voice assistant to respond in kind. Today,

YouTube partners with Eventbrite to sell concert tickets on music videos

YouTube is extending its ticketing initiative, already live with Ticketmaster, with the new addition of Eventbrite. The partnership, which was announced this morning, will see Eventbrite listings for live music performances across the U.S. when watching YouTube Official Artist Channels.

Amplifyher Ventures launches to fund startups led by women

Amplifyher Ventures is a new firm looking to invest in female founders. Amplifyher was created by Tricia Black, Facebook’s former vice president of advertising sales. Since her time at Facebook (where she was the seventh employee), Black has been angel investing,

Atlassian launches the new Jira Software Cloud

Atlassian previewed the next generation of its hosted Jira Software project tracking tool earlier this year. Today, it’s available to all Jira users. To build the new Jira, Atlassian redesigned both the back-end stack and rethought the user experience from the ground up. That’s not an easy change,

Spotify’s Premium app gets a big makeover

Spotify has given its app a big makeover, with a focus on making the experience better for its paying subscribers. The company has simplified the app’s navigation by reducing the numbers of buttons and has revamped its Search page, which now incorporates elements previously found in “Browse,

Document editor Coda adds third-party integrations with G Suite, Slack, Twilio and more

Coda, the smart collaborative document editor that breaks down the barriers between documents, spreadsheets, databases and presentations, is today launching one of its most important updates since its launch in 2017. With this update,

Daivergent connects people on the autism spectrum with jobs in data management

Great startups normally come from a personal place. Byran Dai’s new company, Daivergent, is no different. Founded in December 2017, Daivergent looks to connect enterprise clients with folks on the autism spectrum who will help complete tasks in AI/ML data management. Dai’s younger brother, Brandon,

Sam’s Club to offer same-day grocery delivery via Instacart at over half its stores by month end

Fresh off its $600 million round of new funding, grocery delivery service Instacart is expanding its relationship with Walmart, the companies announced this morning. The two first joined up in February to offer same-day grocery delivery at select Sam’s Clubs locations in the U.S. Today,

Proxxi saves workers from getting electrocuted

There are some gadgets that are nice to have – iPhones, sous vide wands – and some gadgets that you must have. Proxxi fits in the latter camp. Proxxi is an always-on sensor that buzzes when it gets too close to high voltage electricity.

Seva snares $2.4M seed investment to find info across cloud services

Seva, a New York City startup, that wants to help customers find content wherever it lives across SaaS products, announced a $2.4 million seed round today. Avalon Ventures led the round with participation from Studio VC and Datadog founder and CEO Olivier Pomel.

Sick of managing your Airbnb? Vacasa raises $64M to do it for you

Airbnbing can be a ton of work. Between key pickups, tidying, and maintenance emergencies, renting out your place isn’t such a passive revenue source. But Vacasa equips owners with full-service vacation home management, including listings on top rental platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway,

Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global is teaming up with Zenefits

Thrive has partnered with Zenefits to expand the reach of its wellness content.

Take a video tour of Facebook’s election security war room

Beneath an American flag, 20 people packed tight into a beige conference room are Facebook’s, and so too the Internet’s, first line of defence for democracy. This is Facebook election security war room.

Banksy’s rigged art frame was supposed to shred the whole thing

In the connected future will anyone truly own any thing? Banksy’s artworld shocker performance piece, earlier this month, when a canvas of his went under the hammer at Sothebys in London, suggests not. Immediately the Girl with Balloon canvas sold — for a cool ~$1.1M (£860,

Emma, the money management app, rolls out cryptocurrency support

Emma, the U.K. money management app (or self-described “financial advocate”), is launching a cryptocurrency feature by integrating with a plethora of exchanges so that you can easily track your cryptocurrency balances.

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