Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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Elton John invests in Qloo, a startup that analyzes your taste

Jul 12, 4:00AM

Qloo founder Alex Elias Qloo, which bills itself as “the cultural artificial intelligence data platform,” has raised $6.5 million in additional funding from AXA Strategic Ventures and Elton John. Yes, that’s the Elton John who co-wrote and performed “Tiny Dancer” and “Candle in the Wind.” He’s actually not the first big name to back the New York startup — actor… Read More

Crunch Report | Most-Viewed YouTube Video of All Time

Jul 12, 3:00AM

Wiz Khalifa’s music video for “See you again” is the new most-viewed video on YouTube, Elon Musk buys back domain name, Toyota launches an AI fund and Facebook tests display ads in Messenger. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

Vizio files $100M lawsuit against LeEco

Jul 11, 11:26PM

 Last summer LeEco announced it intended to purchase the U.S.-based TV maker Vizio for $2 billion. The deal fell through in March amid myriad problems surrounding LeEco, including a major cash crunch. Allegedly the deal included a $100 million buyer-termination fee and now Vizio has filed suit in a California court to collect payment. Read More

MIT's Daniela Rus is leading a robotics revolution

Jul 11, 11:16PM

 Daniela Rus’s morning is packed. My arrival appears to come as a bit of a surprise. She considers the situation for a moment before inviting me in. Rus has allowed me to sit in for a packed morning of meetings. It’s a generous gesture, but more to the point, it’s the only way to manage some face time with the head of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence… Read More

Trump hotel guests had their credit card information hacked (again)

Jul 11, 11:14PM

 According to a new report from The Washington Post, Trump Hotels has been hacked again. The 14 affected properties include Trump Central Park, Trump Chicago, Trump Las Vegas and Trump DC, with most of the hacks occurring between November 2016 and March 2017. Read More

Logitech picks up gaming hardware maker Astro for $85M

Jul 11, 10:34PM

 Logitech is expanding its territory in the rapidly growing gaming space with the acquisition of Astro Gaming, a younger company known for their high-quality headsets. The price: a highly respectable $85 million. Read More

Echo devices are Amazon Prime Day's best sellers

Jul 11, 10:31PM

 Amazon’s decision to deeply discount its voice-powered Echo devices for Prime Day appears to be paying off for the online retailer. Though Prime Day is still underway this afternoon, Amazon has already sold more Echo devices than it did on Prime Day last year, it says. Read More

Optimizely hires Jay Larson as its new CEO

Jul 11, 10:28PM

Dan Siroker and Jay Larson Co-founder Dan Siroker is stepping down as the CEO of Optimizely. He’s handing the role over to Jay Larson, who was previously CEO at Birst, as well as an executive at Mercury Interactive and Success Factors. Read More

Here's how the Tesla Model 3 changed from prototype to production car

Jul 11, 9:54PM

 Curious about what exactly has changed on the Tesla Model 3 now that we have our first look at the production vehicle? The original prototype was revealed back in May 2016, and it’s changed a bit since that pre-alpha design was shown off to a crowd at Tesla’s Hawthorne Design Studio. Read More

Transfix keeps on truckin', with $42 million in fresh funding led by NEA

Jul 11, 9:41PM

 When we last checked in on Transfix in late 2015, the then two-year-old, 26-person, New York-based transportation startup was determined to use its tech to increasingly match customers needing interstate freight shipping with truck drivers needing to make deliveries. It wanted to cut out wasted travel, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Apparently they have been chugging along. Read More

Bye-bye, Firefly: Waymo retires its autonomous prototype vehicle

Jul 11, 9:14PM

Waymo Firefly and Chrysler Pacifica autonomous vehicles If you were holding out for one of those super-cute autonomous pods from Google’s early days of researching self-driving vehicles, I have bad news. The autonomous division of the company (Waymo) announced that it is retiring the little white vehicles, known as “Firefly” inside the company. That, for those of us who liked the little gumdrop on wheels, is the bad news. Read More

Anna Patterson talks Gradient Ventures, Google's new AI fund

Jul 11, 9:08PM

 It’s been pretty obvious for a few months now, but Google has finally admitted that it’s running its own investment fund targeting machine intelligence startups. The fund will go by the name Gradient Ventures and provide capital, resources and education to AI-first startups. Read More

Marketplace liquidity

Jul 11, 9:00PM

 Liquidity is a crucial metric for all marketplaces. But how can we truly evaluate this liquidity? The three keys to answering this question are density, appropriately balanced demand and supply and category concentration. Read More

Twitter's new CFO is getting $15 million in stock

Jul 11, 8:57PM

 Twitter has announced that it’s hired a new CFO. Ned Segal is joining the company from Intuit, where he was senior vice president of finance. He also has investment banking experience, having spent 16 years at Goldman Sachs. This could come in handy if Twitter decides to sell themselves. (Just saying!) Read More

A group of Twitter users is suing Trump for blocking them

Jul 11, 8:51PM

 In a lawsuit filed today, a small cluster of Twitter users is suing the president for blocking them on the platform. The case, brought forward by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, argues that by blocking the users the Trump administration is in fact suppressing speech. Read More

Facebook's Messenger ads are bad and must be destroyed

Jul 11, 8:32PM

 When Facebook removed messages from the main app, I swore I would never download Messenger. That’s been a pretty easy promise to keep, especially since they introduced the idea of huge ads that take up half your screen while you try to use the service. Today Facebook redesigned them as part of a larger rollout — but fixed none of the reasons these ads are bad and should be destroyed. Read More

LeEco delays payroll until August due to 'financial constraints'

Jul 11, 7:58PM

 Some LeEco employees in China will not get paid until August. According to an official statement provided to TechCrunch, Leshi Holdings, LeEco’s holding company has decided to postpone July’s payroll until August 10th. This is at least the third time this year LeEco has delayed paying some of its workers. Right now, it seems only employees in China will not get a paycheck into August. Read More

There are now more tickets available for the TechCrunch Summer Party at August Capital

Jul 11, 7:08PM

 The TechCrunch Summer Party is a thing of tradition and we hope you can make it out this year. As in years past we’ll gather on the spacious grounds of August Capital in Menlo Park and enjoy an evening of cocktails and the spirit of entrepreneurship. Read More

A.C. Slater hosts ex-reality stars playing competitive Candy Crush. What?

Jul 11, 7:01PM

 A CBS creative team must’ve done a lot of acid while bingeing 90s TV on their smartphones – that’s the only conceivable reason this Candy Crush TV series, hosted by Mario Lopez and featuring contestants pulled from past seasons of Survivor and Big Brother exists. That or CBS looking to learn a few tricks from MTV’s The Challenge, while also picking up some brand… Read More

Toyota launches venture capital fund targeting artificial intelligence startups

Jul 11, 6:55PM

 Toyota is the latest Fortune 500 company to launch an AI focused venture capital fund. The initial early-stage fund will deploy $100 million and operate as a subsidiary of the Toyota Research Institute. The automaker has strategically positioned itself as an ROI rather than strategic-focused fund — meaning that it aims to profit like any other VC firm. Read More

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