Technology

Technology

SparkLabs is launching a cybersecurity and blockchain accelerator program in the US

Investment firm SparkLabs has run accelerator programs across APAC, now it has announced its first that’ll be based on U.S. soil and it’s a cybersecurity and blockchain program that’ll be located in Washington, D.C. from next year. The program will be led by former Startup Grind COO Brian Park and Mike Bott, who is ex-managing director of The Brandery accelerator. Advisors signed on to work with the batch of companies includes top names like Microsoft’s former chief software architect Ray Ozzie, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, LinkedIn co-founder Eric Ly and Rich DeMillo, who was the first CTO of HP. Named “SparkLabs Cybersecurity + Blockchain,” the program will kick off with an inaugural batch of companies in March next year, with applications opening accepted from January. SparkLabs co-fou...

India’s Livspace raises $70M for its one-stop-shop for interior design

Livspace, an India-based startup that helps consumers manage home renovations and interior design, has pulled in a $70 million Series C deal that’s led by Goldman Sachs and TPG Growth. Existing investors Jungle Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Helion Ventures also took part in the round, which takes Livspace total funding to date to around $97 million. The deal follows Goldman’s involvement in fintech startup Jumo’s recent $52 million round, while TPG Growth recently hired former Twitter Asia head Shailesh Rao to lead its business in India and Southeast Asia. Livspace was founded by former Googler Anuj Srivastava and Ramakant Sharma, who has spent time with Myntra and Jungle Ventures among others, in 2015. The business aims to be a one-stop-shop for home interior design — whether t...

Lyft now integrates public transit info in app

Lyft has officially entered the public transit space with the launch of Nearby Transit, a feature currently available just in Santa Monica, Calif. This comes just a couple of days after Lyft deployed electric scooters in the city. Today, Lyft customers in Santa Monica will see the Nearby Transit option, which includes route information and schedules for the Big Blue Bus, LA Metro and Metrolink. The feature is in partnership with Trafi, a transit information platform. “Building on the launch of Lyft Scooters in Santa Monica this week, it’s another step toward providing effective, equitable, and sustainable transportation to our communities, and towards creating a more seamless and connected transportation network,” the company posted on its blog. Lyft has also brought on Lilly Shoup, former...

18 new details about Elon Musk’s redesigned, moon-bound ‘Big F*ing Rocket’

Although the spotlight at this week’s SpaceX event was squarely on Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa — the first paying passenger for the company’s nascent space tourism business — Elon Musk also revealed a wealth of new details about the BFR and just how this enormous rocket and spacecraft will get to the moon and back. In a lengthy (one might even say rambling, in the true Musk style) presentation, we were treated to cinematic and technical views of the planned rocket, which is already under construction and could take flight as early as a couple years from now — and Musk then candidly held forth on numerous topics in a lengthy Q&A period. As a result we learned quite a bit about this newly redesigned craft-in-progress. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Hope you like pictures of s...

Twilio is working toward a 50% female workforce by 2023

Diversity fatigue is a real thing, but that’s not news to Twilio Global Head of Culture & Inclusion LaFawn Davis. What that does mean for her, however, is less talk and more action. Since coming on board as Twilio’s diversity and inclusion leader about one and half years ago, Davis has been focused on creating a global approach, rather than one that is just U.S.-centric. That strategy is based on three pillars, Davis told TechCrunch. Those are having an equitable approach (i.e. hiring people without traditional backgrounds), equal promise (unbiased recruiting process, equal pay and promotion opportunities) and creating a sense of belonging. As part of that, Twilio is unveiling its first diversity report today and publicly setting a five-year goal to hit specific diversity targets. “We ...

Einstein Voice gives Salesforce users gift of gab

Salespeople usually spend their days talking. They are on the phone and in meetings, but when it comes to updating Salesforce, they are back at the keyboard again typing notes and milestones, or searching for metrics about their performance. Today, Salesforce decided to change that by introducing Einstein Voice, a bit of AI magic that allows salespeople to talk to the program instead of typing. In a world where Amazon Alexa and Siri make talking to our devices more commonplace in our non-work lives, it makes sense that companies are trying to bring that same kind of interaction to work. In this case, you can conversationally enter information about a meeting, get daily briefings about key information on your day’s meetings (particularly nice for salespeople who spend their day in the car) ...

Daimler pours millions into electric bus company Proterra

Proterra has raised $155 million in a funding round co-led by Daimler and Tao Capital Partner, a deal that could transform the school bus market in North America. Until now, Proterra has focused on producing electric buses for municipal, federal and commercial transit agencies. The company has developed a line of electric buses that can travel 350 miles on a single charge, enough range to last entire day. Proterra has sold hundreds of its all-electric buses as cities try to reduce tailpipe emissions. This latest investment comes with a catch: Proterra will work with Daimler to possibly electrify the company’s Thomas Built Buses division, which manufactures a line of school buses. The two companies didn’t provide a lot of detail on when electric school buses might come to market. For now, t...

IBM launches cloud tool to detect AI bias and explain automated decisions

IBM has launched a software service that scans AI systems as they work in order to detect bias and provide explanations for the automated decisions being made — a degree of transparency that may be necessary for compliance purposes not just a company’s own due diligence. The new trust and transparency system runs on the IBM cloud and works with models built from what IBM bills as a wide variety of popular machine learning frameworks and AI-build environments — including its own Watson tech, as well as Tensorflow, SparkML, AWS SageMaker, and AzureML. It says the service can be customized to specific organizational needs via programming to take account of the “unique decision factors of any business workflow”. The fully automated SaaS explains decision-making and detects bias in AI models at...

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...

Google will match up to $1M in donations for Hurricane Florence relief

As cities in Hurricane Florence’s path deal with its aftermath, Google will match up to $1 million in donations to help with relief efforts. The disaster’s death toll is currently 35 people and about 343,000 people in North Carolina are without electricity. The hurricane caused widespread flooding and property damage throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Google drew attention to its Hurricane Florence donation campaign with a banner that appeared on top of Gmail for some users. Google has matched donations for other disasters before, including Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey last year. It’s also raised money for humanitarian efforts crises, like a 2015 matching program for up to $5.5 million in donations to provide aid to refugees in Europe. For that campaign, it temp...

Google launches new AI initiatives in Japan

It’s no surprise that Google used its Cloud Next 2018 event in Tokyo today — one of a number of international Cloud Next events that follow its flagship San Francisco conference — to announce a couple of new initiatives that specifically focus on the Japanese market. These announcements include a couple of basic updates like translating its Machine Learning with TensorFlow on Google Cloud Platform Coursera specialization, its Associate Cloud Engineer certification and fifty of its hands-on Qwiklabs into Japanese. In addition, Google is also launching an Advanced Solutions Lab in Tokyo as well. Previously Google opened similar labs in Dublin, Ireland, as well as Sunnyvale and New York. These labs offer a wide range of machine learning-centric training options, collaborative workspaces for t...

Google’s Work Insights helps businesses better understand how they work

At an event in Tokyo, Google today announced the launch of Work Insights, a new tool that gives businesses more insights into how their employees use the company’s G Suite productivity tools and how teams collaborate using those tools. In addition, Google is also launching its investigation tool for helping business better secure their data in G Suite into general availability. “Work Insights is a tool built specifically to help businesses measure and understand the impact of digital transformation within their organizations, driven by G Suite,” Reena Nadkarni, a group product manager for G Suite, explains in today’s announcement. Data is aggregated at the team level (where a team needs to have 10 people or more) to help businesses understand how their employees are adapting G Suite apps. ...