new york

The makers of the virtual influencer, Lil Miquela, snag real money from Silicon Valley

Brud, the actual company behind one of Instagram’s most popular virtual influencers (it’s a thing), has raised millions of dollars from Silicon Valley investors because this is 2018 and everything is awful. Last week, the Los Angeles-based startup led by Trevor McFedries, outed itself as the collective consciousness behind the virtual celebrity Lil Miquela and her less well known contemporaries Blawko22 and BermudaisBae in a choreographed melodrama worthy of Los Angeles’ best reality television. The subject of numerous glowing profiles in online and print fashion and lifestyle magazines (including, most recently, in High Snobiety), Lil Miquela’s stardom (and her fellow avatars) fascinated because the characters’ creators coyly toed the line around “her” self-awareness and their own. In the...

See you on Monday for some crypto talk

I’ll be helping build a larger meetup focused on pre-ICO companies in New York on April 23 and I’d love to see you there. It will be held at Knotel on April 23 at 7pm and will feature a pitch-off with eight startups — I will write about the best ones — and two panels with some yet-unnamed stars in the space. I’d love to see you there, so please sign up here. The team is charging for tickets so we can get some beers and pizza for the attendees. I am looking to fill out a panel so if you’d like to join me on stage and have done extensive ICO work email me at john@techcrunch .com. The event will be held at 551 Fifth Avenue on the 9th Floor and you can sign up to pitch here. I’ll have more information as we get closer to the event. I’m notifying companies today if they will pitch.

New York’s programming ed tech startup, General Assembly, sells to Adecco for $413 million

The European human resources services company Adecco Group said that is acquiring the New York-based, programming, design, and management training startup General Assembly for $413 million. With the acquisition, Adecco adds to its ability to provide job training and re-skilling services for businesses. It’s proof that General Assembly’s own business has come a long way since its early days as a startup offering continuing education or training programs for new entrants into the tech-enabled white collar workforce. General Assembly was worth $440 million after its last, $70 million investment round, according to a report in Axios, which means that early stage investors will see a nice return on their investment while many later stage backers — including Wellington Management and Fresco Capi...

Uber to pay $3M to settle driver service fees class action in NY

Uber has agreed to pay $3M to settle a proposed class action lawsuit brought by 2,421 drivers in New York who had accused the ride-sharing giant of docking excessive fees from their fares. The preliminary settlement was filed with on Monday with the federal court in Brooklyn, according to Reuters. The original suit was filed in the court in January 2016, and covers Uber drivers who have used the Uber app to arrange rides in New York since December 29, 2009. The drivers had accused Uber of breach of contract by including NY state sales tax and a state workers compensation fund surcharge, called the “Black Car Fund” fee, when it calculated their service fees — thereby increasing how much they were being charged. The drivers also accused Uber of false advertising by offering guaranteed compen...

These Are Some Of The Worst Beaches In America

With the United States being home to some incredible beaches (think Florida and Hawaii) it can be easy to forget that not every beach is pristinely perfect. Check out the top five beaches below that you will want to skip on your next family vacation. Manhattan Beach, New York Source 1 When has New York ever been known for their beaches? This Yelp reviewer did not hold back when describing the condition of the beach saying, “Trashy beach, meaning lots of trash on the beach — broken glass, plastic bags, chicken bones and wrappers of all sorts — and it makes its way into the water, everyone! Do you want to swim in trash? Some people don’t mind, but I do.” Take our advice and stick to the the city if you’re planning a trip in the future. Catch a show on Broadway, enjoy a stroll around Central ...

New York City moves to establish algorithm-monitoring task force

New York City may soon gain a task force dedicated to monitoring the fairness of algorithms used by municipal agencies. Formed from experts in automated systems and representatives of groups affected by those systems, it would be responsible for closely examining algorithms in use by the city and making recommendations on how to improve accountability and avoid bias. The bill, which doesn’t have a fancy name, has been approved by the city council and is on the Mayor’s desk for signing. The New York division of the ACLU has argued in favor of it. Say, for instance, an “automated decision system” (as the law calls them) determines to a certain extent who’s eligible for bail. It may be that biases inherent to the training data that produced this system tend to result in one group being unjust...

Delta Makes an Emergency Landing for a Bathroom Run

During what should have been a three-hour flight to Seattle from New York City, pilots on flight 453 had to make a surprise landing in Montana. The emergency at hand? Several passengers needed a bathroom, asap. “All toilets were full and passengers needed to ‘go really bad,’” the Delta report read. The plane took a sharp left and headed to Billings Logan International Airport because, of course, there are no rest stops in the sky. After landing at the airport, passengers discovered the only situation worse than a line at the bathroom is not being able to even get in the line. Source 1 There were no available gates which caused the plane to have to wait in the cargo area. After explaining that passengers needed to go —YES, it is an emergency— grounds crew rolled over a stairway and escorted...