Column

Liquid Telecom goes long on Africa’s startups as future clients

Jake Bright Contributor More posts by this contributor African experiments with drone technologies could leapfrog decades of infrastructure neglect Harley-Davidson is opening a Silicon Valley R&D center to power EV production Digital infrastructure company Liquid Telecom is betting big on African startups  by rolling out multiple sponsorships and free internet across key access points to the continent’s tech entrepreneurs. The Econet Wireless subsidiary also is partnering with local and global players like Afrilabs and Microsoft­­ to create a cross-border commercial network for the continent’s startup community. “We believe startups will be key employers in Africa’s future economy. They’re also our future customers,” Liquid Telecom’s Head of Innovation Partnerships Oswald Jumira told T...

Solving the mystery of sleep

Alice Lloyd George Contributor More posts by this contributor A conversation with Dean Kamen on the myth of “Eureka!” Using drones to build the ambulance fleet of the future Below are excerpts from the most recent episode of the Flux podcast hosted by RRE Ventures principal Alice Lloyd George.  AMLG: Welcome back to the pod. I’m excited to be here with Dr. Assaf Glazer. He is the co-founder and CEO of Nanit a leading human analytics company that uses computer vision to help parents navigate their child’s sleep. Essentially it’s a baby data collector that every sleep-deprived geek parent has dreamed of. A little background on Assaf: He got his Ph.D. at the Technion in Israel and was previously at Applied Materials as well as Wales where he worked on solutions for missile defense systems. Na...

African experiments with drone technologies could leapfrog decades of infrastructure neglect

Jake Bright Contributor More posts by this contributor Harley-Davidson is opening a Silicon Valley R&D center to power EV production With a $10 million round, Nigeria’s Paga plans global expansion Samantha Stein Contributor More posts by this contributor Only 48 hours left to apply for Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 Announcing Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF 2018 A drone revolution is coming to sub-Saharan Africa. Countries across the continent are experimenting with this 21st century technology as a way to leapfrog decades of neglect of 20th century infrastructure. Over the last two years, San Francisco-based startup Zipline launched a national UAV delivery program in East Africa; South Africa passed commercial drone legislation to train and license pilots; and Malawi even opened a...

In VC fund creation, have we passed the peak?

In venture capital, a variant on the Glengarry Glen Ross mandate is most fund managers’ modus operandi: Always. Be. Raising. And it seems like VCs have picked up on that. In the last few months, even casual readers of the tech press would notice many, many stories about VCs raising big new funds. So are venture investors spinning up new funds as often as they did in the past? VCs are certainly raising tons of money, and Crunchbase News reported earlier this week that these huge funds are bending the shape of the VC fundraising curve upward. But is that the full story? Even though 2018 has been a banner year so far for venture fund origination on the highest end of the assets-under-management spectrum, what about the market as a whole? Aggregated venture capital and micro VC fundraising dat...

Everyday home gear made smart

Makula Dunbar Contributor More posts by this contributor Wireless headphones and earbuds to fit your budget Back-to-college tech for minimalists and the over-prepared Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions. If you only have one smart home device, it’s likely something simple and fun like a voice-controlled speaker or color-changing LED light bulb. As you expand your smart home setup, you can begin to swap out gear that isn’t as flashy but you still use everyday. Switching to connected locks, power outlets and smoke alarms are all simple installs that can improve your safety and comfort in your own home. We’ve pulled together some ...

Product Hunt Radio: The rise of voice and the evolution of VC

Ryan Hoover Contributor Rya Hoover is the founder of Product Hunt and host of Product Hunt Radio. After a long hiatus, Product Hunt Radio is back. Every week I’m joined by the founders, investors and makers shaping the future of technology. You’ll hear from people you may recognize and others you should know. Upcoming guests include Andrew Chen, Brian Norgard, Michael Seibel, Garry Tan, Jeff Morris Jr., Patrick Collison, Tiffany Zhong, Sophia Amoruso and many others. In our first episode back, I’m joined by two notable investors, Alexia Bonatsos and Niko Bonatsos. Alexia is the former co-editor-in-chief of TechCrunch and founder of a new venture fund, Dream Machine, where she helps founders “turn science fiction into non-fiction.” Her husband, Niko is managing director at General Catalyst,...

What would a blockchain patent war look like?

Jed Grant Contributor Jed Grant has more than 25 years of experience in technology, finance and security. He is the founder and CEO of Peer Mountain, a decentralized P2P ecosystem of trust, and the founder of KYC3, one of the original regtech companies in Luxembourg. Blockchain is perhaps the most hyped technology of the past five years. The technology that allows us to create trustless immutable shared ledgers promises to bring transparency and honesty to commerce by disintermediating and decentralizing functions that rely on trusted third parties today. The promise and the potential are almost as big as the hype. While still the early days, there are several applications that have already launched on blockchains — the first being the Bitcoin cryptocurrency payment protocol. Bitcoin is ju...

Investors are waking up to the emotional struggle of startup founders

Mahendra Ramsinghani Contributor Mahendra Ramsinghani is the founder of Secure Octane, a Silicon Valley-based cybersecurity seed fund. More posts by this contributor Lessons from cybersecurity exits Is Symantec getting ready to buy Splunk? As the Gartner Hype Curve goes, from the peak of inflated expectations to the trough of disillusionment, so goes the founder’s emotional journey. Most founders hit the trough sooner or later, the proverbial nadir of their startup life. The company’s business model undergoes the dreaded pivot. Teams dissipate and the foundation starts to fall apart. Startups die. Investors cut their losses and move on to the rosier pastures of their portfolio. And what is often left is a depressed broken founder, dealing with the consequences of ‘crushing it’. But too oft...

Harley-Davidson is opening a Silicon Valley R&D center to power EV production

Jake Bright Contributor More posts by this contributor South Africa’s Yoco raises $16 million to boost digital services to small businesses African tech leaders Fope Adelowo, Ken Njoroge, Tayo Oviosu to speak at Disrupt SF Harley-Davidson, the American symbol for internal combustion, chrome and steel, is going all in on two-wheeled EVs. The Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer is going electric and coming to Silicon Valley. Harley announced it will open an R&D space in the Bay Area by the end of 2018 to support its commitment to build electric vehicles. “The real reason is talent,” Harley-Davidson’s Group Chief Engineer Vance Strader told TechCrunch. “We’re after people who really have a passion for and understanding of electric vehicles and the systems that make them great. [That] ...

Measuring AI startups by the right yardstick

Ivy Nguyen Contributor More posts by this contributor Finding the Goldilocks zone for applied AI Data is not the new oil Building a B2B AI startup is hard enough between struggling to obtain training data and fighting with major tech companies to secure talent. Building a B2B AI startup held to the well-established software-as-a-service (SaaS) metrics is even harder. While many AI businesses deliver value via software monetized by a recurring subscription like their SaaS counterparts, the similarities between the two types of businesses end there. AI startups are a different animal SaaS products built without data and AI offer generalized solutions to their customers. AI businesses more closely resemble a services business or consultancies because they provide solutions that become tailore...

How to help Californians whose tap water is tainted

David Gorn Contributor David Gorn is a contributing writer for CALMatters and formerly was an editor and reporter for public media, including NPR and its California stations. Karen Lewis knows about water problems. The 67-year-old lives in Compton, where the water coming out of her tap is tinged brown by manganese, a metal similar to iron, from old pipes. The water is supplied by the troubled Sativa Los Angeles County Water District. The district has been plagued by administrative scandal and charges of mismanagement, and it hasn’t been able to generate the money needed to fix the brown water. Lewis has sat through innumerable community meetings and heard years’ worth of explanations, and she’s had enough. “Nothing’s been changed,” she said. “They’re not going to change.” Lewis is one of a...

The collapse of ETH is inevitable

Jeremy Rubin Contributor Jeremy Rubin is currently a technical advisor to Stellar, a Bitcoin Core Contributor, investor and advisor to early-stage crypto startups, starting a company for Bitcoin scalability and privacy solutions, and a freelance consultant for cryptocurrency tech fundamentals and due diligence. Previously, Jeremy also co-founded the MIT Digital Currency Initiative, Scaling Bitcoin Conference series, and MIT Bitcoin $100 Airdrop. Here’s a prediction. ETH — the asset, not the Ethereum Network itself — will go to zero. Those who already think that ETH will not see real adoption — thanks to a failure to scale, to adopt more secure contract authoring practices, or to out-compete its competitors — don’t need to be convinced that a price collapse would follow as a consequence. Bu...