Technology

Technology

Travis Kalanick is launching a venture fund

Travis Kalanick, the controversial co-founder and one-time chief executive of Uber is launching a new investment fund called the 10100 Fund. According to an announcement on his Twitter account, the new fund will focus on “large-scale job creation”. Investment areas are to include real estate, e-commerce, and emerging innovations in China and India. It’s the systemization of work that Kalanick had been conducting quietly with boards, non-profits, and through investments in young companies. It’s likely that Kalanick will invest in startups in that magic number between 10 and 100 employees (the magic growth stage for startup companies). We’ve reached out to Kalanick for comment and will update this once we hear back. One user on Twitter pointed out that Kalanick might want to rethink the name...

Technology infrastructure launchpad The Fabric raises $15 million

The Fabric, an early stage investment company developing new infrastructure technologies, has raised $15 million for its third investment vehicle. Announced at the Montgomery Summit in Santa Monica, Calif., the new financing came from Verizon Ventures (the investment arm of TechCrunch’s parent company’s parent company) and March Capital Partners a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm. The Fabric plans to close the new raise with $20 million, which would bring the capital committed to creating early stage cloud infrastructure companies to roughly $41 million. The Fabric is pursuing a long-tested model for company creation which has had a mixed history of success. As the number of networked devices proliferates, investors in The Fabric argue that advanced networking and communications infr...

Get the insider perspective on The Next Stage at Disrupt SF

TechCrunch’s Disrupt events are known for big launch announcements, like the first public rollout of Dag Kittlaus’ Siri-killer Viv, as well as ground-breaking interviews with the top figures in the startup and technology world, like Marc Benioff, Vitalik Buterin, Diane Greene, Ann Wojcicki and hundreds more. Those interviews and TechCrunch’s storied Startup Battlefield devour three days on the Main Stage with hardly a break, which is amazing, but for the TechCrunch editors, still a little disappointing. Why? Because we never have enough time for all the great stories. Disrupt SF 2018 (September 5-7), however, will be different. We are taking full advantage of the event’s new location at Moscone West to introduce The Next Stage, which will double the volume of programming at the show. Just ...

YouTube Studio exiting beta, adds new metrics for impressions, unique viewers

YouTube Studio, the video sharing network’s revamped channel management system, launched into beta last June, will now become the default experience for creators. The company announced today that YouTube Studio will began to reach many creators in the weeks ahead, though the option to switch back to the Classic view will remain available. The public launch is also being accompanied by a handful of new metrics in YouTube Analytics, aimed at helping creators better understand how their videos are performing. This includes Impressions, Impressions click-through rate, and Unique Viewers. The first – an impression – gets counted when a viewer sees a video thumbnail on YouTube. This is like the potential reach, as it’s an opportunity for that viewer to click on the video and watch. The second ne...

Magic Leap raises $461 million in fresh funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Magic Leap still hasn’t released a product, but they’re continuing to raise a lot of cash to get there. The Plantation, Florida-based augmented reality startup announced today that it has raised $461 million from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment arm, The Public Investment Fund. The Saudi Arabian fund contributed $400 million of the raise, with “new investors” fronting the rest, the company said. The additional Series D funding comes after Magic Leap confirmed a $502 million funding round led by Temasek in October. The total Series D funding now stands at $963 million, the company says. Magic Leap has raised more than $2.3 billion in funding. “The Magic Leap team and I are happy to welcome The Public Investment Fund and the other new investors to the Magic Leap family. We ...

S&P Global snares Kensho for $550 million

S&P Global announced today that it will acquire Kensho, a Cambridge, Massachusetts startup that has concentrated on artificial intelligence and analytics for big financial institutions. The total value of the deal is $550 million in a mix of cash and stock. Kensho, which counted S&P Global as a client/partner and an investor, launched in 2013 and has raised $67.5 million, according to Crunchbase. The most recent funding round was in fact led by S&P Global for $50 million in February 2017. They apparently liked Kensho so much, they bought the company. “In just a short amount of time, Kensho’s intuitive platforms, sophisticated algorithms and machine learning capabilities have established a wide following throughout Wall Street and the technology world,” S&P global president ...

IBM’s PAIRS Geoscope helps developers wrangle geospatial data

IBM today announced PAIRS Geoscope, a new experimental cloud-based service that makes it easier for developers to work with large amounts of geospatial data from across a wide variety of sources. The service handles ingesting, integrating and managing the data and allows developers to focus on their queries. Indeed, it’s the part of the service that handles the data ingesting and indexing that sets PAIRS Geoscope apart from other big data analytics services. It can take in anything from geotagged IoT data from sensors to weather data, census data, aerial imagery and even tweets or news data from the Google-backed GDELT Project. If you are interested in how IBM does this, you’re in luck, because the team recently published a paper that goes into more detail about how this integration engine...

Google is bringing messaging to its Tez payment app in India

Messaging and payments continue to converge in India after Google added chat features to its Tez payment app in India. The move follows the introduction of peer-to-peer payments inside WhatsApp in India, its largest country worldwide with over 200 million users, last month and it now allows users of Tez to communicate directly with contacts via the app. Google told Gadgets 365 that the feature is rolling out among users so not all of them may have it yet. Google launched Tez last year and it claims to have more than 15 million registered users. The app started out as a plain peer-to-peer transfer service, but it recently added the (useful) capability of paying bills such as gas and water and TV/internet services. Paytm, India’s leading mobile wallet service, has also bridged the messaging-...

Condé Nast Traveler revamps its website and unveils 20 new city guides

Travel websites get redesigned all the time, but you just need to visit the homepage to tell that the team at Condé Nast Traveler has something different in mind. Instead of a standard river of articles, or a menu for navigating to different sections and travel destinations, there’s just a declaration in large text: “To all the rulebenders, wanderlusters, and amrchair travelers.” Scroll down a bit and you’ll start seeing links to some of the most noteworthy content, including a list of the best hotels in the world, and several different city guides, but it’s spaced out much more luxuriously than a normal front page, and with cheekier headlines: “Don’t worry, it’s a grid” (New York City), “Look right, not left” (London) and so on. Of course, many readers won’t visit the front page at all. I...

Tinkerer Jonathan Zufi talks about design and Escape From New York

This week on Technotopia I talked to Jonathan Zufi, creator of the LifeClock One, a replica of the watch worn by Snake Pliskin in Escape From New York. Zufi loves design and his insight on what makes something a timeless classic – even when it comes to computer hardware – is fascinating. Zufi is also the author of Iconic, a book that details Apple products from the earliest days to the latest models. It’s a beautiful book and the photos are amazing. It’s well worth a read if you’re into design, hardware, or Apple. Technotopia is a podcast by John Biggs about a better future. You can subscribe in Stitcher, RSS, or iTunes and listen the MP3 here.

Coinbase is launching its own cryptocurrency index fund

When you’re the runaway leader in a growing industry, you typically have two opinions: A) Stay in your lane and let other companies pop up to solve the industry’s problems, or B) Try to offer as many products as possible and own the entire customer experience from A-Z (no Amazon pun intended). If there’s any doubt which option Coinbase is gunning for, that’s now gone. The digital currency giant just announced they’re expanding in yet another direction by launching a passively managed cryptocurrency index fund. The fund will have a $10,000 minimum and charge a 2 percent annual management fee with no performance fee, which is rare for most traditional investment funds, but luckily is becoming the norm for crypto-specific passive investment vehicles. The Index Fund is the first investment veh...

23andMe gets FDA green light for cancer risk test

Genetic testing powerhouse 23andMe announced today that it’s officially received the FDA go-ahead to launch a direct-to-consumer testing kit for genes linked to various forms of cancer. The forthcoming kit, which will be made available without a prescription, tests for BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are linked to higher risk of ovarian, break and prostate cancer. “Being the first and only direct-to-consumer genetics company to receive FDA authorization to test for cancer risk without a prescription is a major milestone for 23andMe and for the consumer,” the company’s CEO Anne Wojcicki said in a release tied to the announcement. “We believe it’s important for consumers to have direct and affordable access to this potentially life-saving information. We will continue pioneering a path for greater ac...