Friday, February 24, 2017

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Tech companies are filing a brief supporting transgender youth in upcoming SCOTUS case

Feb 24, 9:27PM

scales of justice Tech companies are preparing to go to bat for transgender rights when the Supreme Court takes on the issue next month. As Axios reports, led by Apple, a number of prominent companies will file a court brief arguing in favor of the 17-year-old lead plaintiff, transgender Virginia high school student Gavin Grimm. Other companies that will reportedly sign on include Microsoft, Salesforce, IBM… Read More

Facebook's mobile prodigy launches video charades game

Feb 24, 9:13PM

show-tell Michael Sayman was just 17 when Facebook hired him, but he’d already built 5 apps. Now 7 years after his first launch, the Facebook product manager has just released Show & Tell, which turns selfies and visual communication into a game. You’re given an emotion to act out, you send the video to friends, and they try to guess what you’re feeling. “I made 4 Snaps about… Read More

VR social productivity app Bigscreen raises $3M in round led by Andreessen Horowitz

Feb 24, 8:36PM

borderlands While there is much ink spilled over the hunt for VR’s “killer app,” over the past year a number of social apps have emerged out of the VR community that seek to highlight the unparalleled opportunities for collaboration offered by VR. One of the first to balance the potential for fun and productivity is Bigscreen. The company, which has achieved sizable popularity amongst… Read More

FCC prepares to pull broadband privacy rules adopted last year

Feb 24, 7:09PM

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 15: Ajit Pai, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission, testifies during the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday, September 15, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his intention today to block a privacy rule adopted by the Commission late last year. Citing its disharmony with existing FTC rules, Pai intends to prevent its coming into force as planned on March 2. Read More

Self-driving care

Feb 24, 7:00PM

self-driving-car U.S. healthcare might learn a thing or two from the modus operandi of Google’s fleet of autonomous vehicles — the information and skills that self-driving vehicle systems must share represent compelling models and lessons that might be adapted to healthcare. Read More

SoFi confirms $500 million in new funding as it pushes beyond lending

Feb 24, 7:00PM

unicorn-money Online finance startup SoFi got its start refinancing student loans but gradually has been adding other services to members. To expand into new regions and move closer to becoming a full-service financial services company, SoFi has confirmed that it raised an additional $500 million in equity financing led by Silver Lake. Read More

Elon Musk addresses working condition claims in Tesla staff-wide email

Feb 24, 6:08PM

Elon Musk Tesla CEO Elon Musk has shared the results of his own investigation into factory working conditions at the carmaker, following accusations by employee and union advocate Jose Moran made in a Medium post earlier this month. Musk’s lengthy email was sent to all Tesla employees, and addresses all areas of concern raised by Moran, including safety, compensation and work hours. The Tesla CEO… Read More

Weekly Roundup: Uber responds to sexual harassment claim, NASA discovers Earth-like planets

Feb 24, 5:27PM

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Attends The Third Netease Future Technology Conference Tech news was heavy this week. Uber is facing a sexual harassment claim as well as a lawsuit from Google, NASA discovered planets with what could prove to be Earthlike conditions, and more information was revealed about Apple’s new Apple Park campus. These are the top stories of the week. 1. Last week, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler accused the company of sexual harassment and… Read More

While tech giants hire, startups fret — Has Brexit Britain become La La Land?

Feb 24, 4:24PM

LLL d 29 _5194.NEF If you’ve read the latest headlines about Britain’s tech industry, you’d think the country hadn’t been rocked by the greatest political and economic uncertainty since the Second World War. Not only are UK startups raising record amounts of funding year on year, but tech giants like Amazon are investing and doubling down on the UK economy, as if the mood music was… Read More

Communication platform Layer raises $15M and acquires interactive messaging startup Cola

Feb 24, 4:08PM

IMG_9233 Layer, the messaging platform that won TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield back in 2013, is making two big announcement today: It’s raised $15 million in Series B funding, and it’s acquiring another startup, Cola. Layer makes it easy for businesses to add messaging capabilities to their iOS, Android and web products — customers include Trunk Club, Staples and Udacity. In… Read More

Volkswagen's e-Golf gets a range boost to 125 miles for 2017

Feb 24, 3:38PM

e-golf_3578 The e-Golf, Volkswagen’s electric version of its popular compact car, officially gets around 50 percent more range this year than it did in the previous model. That means it now has an EPA rating of 125 miles on a single charge (via Autoblog), compared to 83 miles before. The 125-mile range is still a far cry from the Chevy Bolt’s industry-leading EV range, but the e-Golf is not… Read More

Today is the last day to save $1,200 on Disrupt NY Tickets

Feb 24, 3:00PM

disruptny_skyline-crop If you’re looking to attend the hottest startup show in the Big Apple, you’re going to want to act fast. Today is the final day to get extra early-bird Disrupt tickets for just $1,795 apiece, a full $1,200 off the final retail price. You can get your tickets here. Go on, we’ll wait. Still need convincing? Here’s why you are definitely going to want to be at this… Read More

Embark's self-driving truck is ready to assist human drivers

Feb 24, 1:00PM

nevada-1-8 Self-driving trucking startup Embark is revealing its tech for the first time, showing off a competitor for Uber’s Otto that uses neural networks and deep learning to teach trucks how to drive themselves through their own processes of practice and trial and error. Embark’s trucks are also approved to test on Nevada roads, hence the desert scenery you see in the video above, and in… Read More

Uber female engineers to Travis: 'there's a systemic problem with sexism here'

Feb 24, 11:07AM

kalanick13 Following accusations of sexism being ingrained into the culture of ride-hailing company Uber, after a female ex-employ detailed her experience in a blog post earlier this week, CEO Travis Kalanick held a meeting yesterday with a group of 100+ Uber female engineers to listen to their concerns — and was told in clear terms the company has a systemic problem with sexism. Read More

Here are the startups pitching at the MWC TechCrunch Meetup next week

Feb 24, 10:47AM

sagrada familia barcelona TechCrunch is holding a Mini-Meetup during Mobile World Congress, on Tuesday Feb. 28. We will hold a “Pitch-Off” of startups at the event. Tickets are sold out but you can go on the waiting list here. You can apply to pitch your Barcelona-based startup here. We’ve selected nine great startups to explain to our panel of VCs and TechCrunch editors in 60 seconds or less why… Read More

Shine gives up on mobile network ad-block threats, wants to play nice

Feb 24, 8:00AM

rainbow-missiles So much for sticking “nuclear weapons” in carriers’ dumb pipes. Shine, last year’s enfant terrible of mobile ad blocking is pivoting (again!) — in both tone of voice and business model. It’s also rebranding to, er, Rainbow. Read More

Stayzilla, India's Airbnb for homestays, closes its service

Feb 24, 7:52AM

screenshot-2017-02-24-14-37-54 Stayzilla, an Airbnb for homestays in India, is closing down its service. The company was founded six years ago and had raised $34 million from investors, including a $20 million Series B in 2015. Now is the time to pause and “reboot” however, CEO and co-founder Yogendra Vasupal explained in a blog post. The company reached a network of over 50,000 accommodation options across… Read More

Rocket Internet's Zalora is retreating from two more countries in Asia

Feb 24, 6:03AM

zalora Zalora, the Rocket Internet-backed online fashion store, is continuing its retreat from Asia. The firm sold off its businesses in Vietnam and Thailand last year, and now it is withdrawing from the Philippines and Indonesia. Yesterday it transpired that Zalora sold 49 percent of its Philippines-based operations to local real estate firm Ayala, as E27 reported, but it is in the process of… Read More

RCS, Google's answer to iMessage, expands to 27 more carriers and OEMs

Feb 24, 5:50AM

qqhmuifuvts89t45mkhogxxmq60lmcr8aq6l-onm2snzo8c0mhmg5p5kudt9ygrwsgsu_ws2048 While messaging apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat and WeChat rake in ever more users, features and relationships with key brands, and Apple’s iMessage continues to play strong with iPhone users, Google today announced a big step forward in its own strategy to bring a native, enhanced, native messaging service to more Android devices — a play for Google to help carriers… Read More

Crunch Report | DeviantArt Acquired by Wix

Feb 24, 4:00AM

DeviantArt gets acquired by Wix, AirMap raises $26 million, Airbnb buys Tilt, Google releases perspective for comment toxicity rating and more. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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