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The electric aircraft is taking off

Evan Gaj Contributor Evan Gaj is a mechanical engineering graduate from LeHigh University currently on a Fulbright Scholarship in Warsaw studying drones. In 2008, the electric motor vehicle experienced a rebirth triggered by a rise in oil prices. Now in 2018, it is the time for another rebirth — in electrical aviation. Over the decades, advances have been made across the aviation field and on all fronts. In 1986, Burt Rutan made the first non-stop, unrefueled flight around the world. Now, 30 years later another trip around the world was completed, marking the first electrical powered circumnavigation. The lofty journey started in Abu Dhabi and 16 months later landed back where its journey began. This plane, unlike others that have made the journey before, emitted no emissions and burned no...

Sneaker market GOAT hires COO Lizzie Francis and makes a play for women sneaker shoppers

GOAT, the secondary marketplace for sneakers that recently merged with Flight Club, is announcing a new hire. Lizzie Francis will join the company as Chief Operating Officer, coming from Brilliant Ventures where she will remain a managing partner. Francis formerly acted as CMO at Gilt Group and CMO at JustFab.com. She’s been running Brilliant for a couple of years after founding it with Kara Weber. She also serves on the board of Shoes of Prey, a custom shoe company currently aimed at the women’s market. Now she’s taking an ops position at one of the biggest players in the sneaker market. Along with StockX, GOAT has brought a huge amount of access and pricing transparency to resale sneakers, a billion-plus market. GOAT currently has over 7 million members, 300 employees, 100,000 combined s...

Real estate property manager and developer JLL launches a $100 million tech investment fund

The multi-billion dollar real estate developer and property manager JLL is getting into the tech investment game with the launch of a new $100 million fund run by corporate subsidiary JLL Spark. Initially envisioned as a technology-focused business unit of the multinational real estate company, the firm eventually turned to the more traditional venture capital investment model as a way to get more exposure to all of the new technologies that are coming to market, according to JLL SPark’s co-chief executive Mihir Shah. For Shah and his co-founder Yishai Lerner running the real estate company’s investment firm is the first foray by either executive into the world of real estate or property technology. But both men have been working in the startup world of the Bay Area for at over a decade. I...

Scaling startups are setting up secondary hubs in these cities

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor What does it take to be a startup that raises huge sums quickly? Not a minimalist? Startups will gladly store, manage and deliver your items America’s mayors have spent the past nine months tripping over each other to curry favor with Amazon.com in its high-profile search for a second headquarters. More quietly, however, a similar story has been playing out in startup-land. Many of the most valuable venture-backed companies are venturing outside their high-cost headquarters and setting up secondary hubs in smaller cities. Where are they going? Nashville is pretty popular. So is Phoenix. Portland and Raleigh also are seeing some jobs. A number of companies also have a high number of remote offerings, seeking candidates with coveted s...

Location-based virtual reality is increasing its footprint in the U.S.

Earlier this year, in a small, grey-walled storefront inside a very large mall in Torrance, Calif. (just past the AMC Center) , the virtual reality game-maker Survios planted its first flag in the market for location-based gaming. It’s one of several companies (many based in Los Angeles) that are turning the city into a hub for anyone looking to experience the thrill of immersive gaming. While Survios’ offering is more akin to the virtual arcades cropping up in cities across the country and around the world (including Dubai, New York, Seoul, and Tokyo), other companies like the Los Angeles-based Two Bit Circus and Lindon, Utah’s The Void are creating site specific game experiences that promise a different kind of approach to virtual reality. For Survios and other companies that have placed...

Shared housing startups are taking off

Notice any commonalities? Yes, the startups listed are all based in either New York or the San Francisco Bay Area, two metropolises associated with scarce, pricey housing. But while these two metro areas offer the bulk of startups’ living spaces, they’re also operating in other cities, including Los Angeles, Seattle and Pittsburgh. From white picket fences to high-rise partitions The early developers of the U.S. suburban planned communities of the 1950s and 60s weren’t just selling houses. They were selling a vision of the American Dream, complete with quarter-acre lawns, dishwashers and spacious garages. By the same token, today’s shared housing startups are selling another vision. It’s not just about renting a room; it’s also about being part of a community, making friends and exploring ...

New York City report pins millions in rent hikes on Airbnb

A report from the New York City Comptroller’s office asserts that New York residents are paying hundreds of millions in extra rent linked to the effects of Airbnb . Naturally, the company bitterly rejects these findings. The report, which you can read here, is fairly straightforward. It looks at hundreds of neighborhoods and their various demographics and characteristics, along with how much their rents rose over the last ten years or so. It finds that when controlling for other variables, Airbnb contributes to a part of the rise on its own: We find that as the share of units listed on Airbnb goes up by one percentage point, rental rates in the neighborhood go up by 1.58 percent, after controlling for neighborhood level demographic and economic changes. The result is statistically signific...

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 ...

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