Saturday, August 12, 2017

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Crunch Report | Benchmark Sues Travis Kalanick

Aug 12, 3:00AM

Benchmark is sueing Travis Kalanick, SoundCloud gets a cash infusion and Facebook buys Fayteq. All this on Crunch Report. Read More



FCC adds 2 weeks to comment period for the proposal to eliminate net neutrality rules

Aug 12, 12:59AM

 The comment period for the FCC’s proposal to roll back the net neutrality rules established in 2015 was originally August 16 — next Wednesday. But after advocacy organizations asked the agency to add time to the clock in order to look through existing comments, the deadline has been extended (against the strenuous arguments of the broadband industry) by two weeks, to August 30. Read More



Uber board 'disappointed' by Benchmark's lawsuit against former CEO

Aug 11, 11:58PM

 The Uber saga continues, and the board of directors has weighed in on the brewing battle between early investor Benchmark and former CEO Travis Kalanick. In wake of a lawsuit filed by Benchmark against Kalanick, the company’s board has issued a statement urging both parties to resolve their differences so that employees can get back to work and the company can get back to hiring a new CEO. Read More



Machine learning can tell if you're wearing swap-meet Louie

Aug 11, 8:39PM

 A wise man once said “The hat mighta had a L V on the back but at the swap meet that ain’t jack,” and now researchers can ensure that the Louis Vuitton or Prada or Coach you bought is the real deal. The system, which essentially learns the difference between real and fake products over time, uses a small microscope connected to a phone. “The underlying principle of… Read More



Another record low for Snap after 14% drop post-earnings

Aug 11, 8:20PM

 Snap, the Snapchat parent, has had a very difficult ride in the stock market since debuting in March. After pricing its IPO at $17 and then reaching highs of $27, the company has fallen to less than half that. After losing 14 percent of its value in a single day’s trading, Snap closed Friday at $11.83. Read More



The Minifree Libreboot T400 is free as in freedom

Aug 11, 8:18PM

 The Libreboot T400 doesn’t look like much. It’s basically a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad with the traditional Lenovo/IBM pointer nubbin and a small touchpad. It’s a plain black laptop, as familiar as any luggable assigned to a cubicle warrior on the road. But, under the hood, you have a machine that fights for freedom. The T400 runs Libreboot, a free and open BIOS and the… Read More



Snap financial documents confirm its acquisition of social maps app Zenly for $213M

Aug 11, 8:04PM

https://techcrunch.com/2017/06/21/snapchat-buys-zenly/ Snap took a beating yesterday in its Q2 earnings, but in the midst of the disappointing financials and user growth numbers, the company’s 10-Q SEC document filed today also confirms that it purchased social maps app Zenly for $213 million, as TechCrunch first reported. After Snapchat rolled out its location-sharing Snap Map feature in June, many were quick to point out the interface… Read More



Deep learning could discover new plant species hidden in centuries of herbarium data

Aug 11, 7:52PM

 Machine learning techniques excel at doing a good-enough job quickly in situations where there’s lots of data to grind through. It turns out that’s a great fit for backlogs of plant samples at herbariums and other repositories around the world, which have millions of the things waiting to be digitized and identified — including some that may be new to science. Read More



The US Government must work with tech companies if it wants to remain competitive in AI

Aug 11, 7:01PM

 U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is concluding his tech tour of the West Coast today with a visit to Google’s Mountain View campus. Mattis spent time at Amazon and the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, earlier in the week. His key takeaway from all the socializing with tech leaders is that the Department of Defense needs to embrace technology coming out of the private sector… Read More



Uber shareholder group asks Benchmark to step down from board following Kalanick suit

Aug 11, 6:48PM

 In what is rapidly devolving into an all-out brawl on the board of the world’s highest-valued private company, a group of Uber shareholders have asked the venture capital firm Benchmark to step down from the board of directors. This move comes only a day after Benchmark took the aggressive step of filing suit against Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick. Read More



Facebook buys computer vision startup focused on adding objects to video

Aug 11, 6:01PM

 Facebook has acquired a German company called Fayteq that builds software add-ons for video editing that can remove and add whole objects from captured video using computer vision. The acquisition was first reported by a German startup publication (via Variety) and confirmed to TechCrunch, and could be useful as Facebook pursues additional video filter creation technology, both for its live… Read More



Plasticity wants to help chatbots seem less robotic

Aug 11, 6:01PM

 Y Combinator backed Plasticity is tackling the problem of getting software systems to better understand text, using deep learning models trained to understand what they’re reading on Wikipedia articles — and offering an API for developers to enhance their own interfaces. Read More



Weekly Roundup: Travis Kalanick sued by Benchmark, Snap and Blue Apron sink after Q2 earnings

Aug 11, 5:30PM

 From Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick getting sued by his company’s lynchpin investors at Benchmark to Google’s struggles with a recently fired employee over a gender diversity screed that went viral, it’s been a wild week in tech. Meanwhile, Snap and Blue Apron both reported disappointing earnings — something we discuss in this week’s episode of the… Read More



The biggest Call of Duty tournament shines light on growth of esports

Aug 11, 5:20PM

 Esports is becoming a true spectator sport, but will the average Joe one day care about competitive League of Legends or Overwatch or Counter-Sstrike the way they care about watching football on Sundays? A number of factors are at play for esports to garner the same level of popularity as mainstream sports like football, baseball, basketball and fĂștbol everywhere but the U.S., some of which… Read More



Why exhibit in Startup Alley at Disrupt SF?

Aug 11, 5:05PM

 Hey startups! Disrupt San Francisco (September 18-20) is just a few weeks away and registration is open for startups looking to showcase their product or company to thousands of people on the Disrupt floor. Read More



Mighty fills an iPod shuffle-sized hole for Spotify subscribers

Aug 11, 4:59PM

 The company launched a Kickstarter last year with the promise of “streaming music without your phone,” delivering the still-tangible benefits of devoted music hardware for the Spotify generation. The startup built up enough excitement to hit $300k on the crowdfunding site, and the recent end of the iPod shuffle and nano have only furthered that interest among consumers. CEO… Read More



Netflix in talks to retain Marvel and Star Wars movies after 2019

Aug 11, 4:39PM

 Netflix is still in active talks with Marvel over potentially retaining streaming rights to Marvel and Star Wars movies after 2019, which is the date Disney has set for when it’ll remove Disney and Pixar movies from the subscription service in favor of its own in-house Disney streaming offering. We already knew the fate of Disney’s Marvel co-production TV shows, including… Read More



SoundCloud saved by emergency funding as CEO steps aside

Aug 11, 3:50PM

 SoundCloud has just closed the necessary funding round to keep the struggling music service afloat. CEO Alex Ljung will step aside though remain chairman as former Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor replaces him. Mike Weissman will become COO as SoundCloud co-founder and CTO Eric Wahlforss stays as chief product officer. Read More



What was Benchmark thinking?

Aug 11, 3:50PM

 Yesterday, Benchmark, the powerful venture firm and a major Uber shareholder, filed a lawsuit against the company’s recently ousted CEO Travis Kalanick in a remarkable move. The suit seeks to remove Kalanick from the board, while eliminating three additional board positions that it says Kalanick sought (and won) approval for last year, partly by withholding crucial information from… Read More



Sleeperbot is the best place to host your fantasy football league this season

Aug 11, 3:03PM

 Sleeperbot, which has raised about $2M in seed funding from Birchmere VC and Expa, and boasts hundreds of thousands of users, calls itself Slack for sports. It’s essentially an app (and website) that lets sports fans have conversations around different subjects they’re passionate about. These discussions happen in channels – some of which are created by the company and are… Read More




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