December 8, 2019 News Magazine

Category: Startups


New tweet generator mocks venture capitalists

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

“Airbnb’s unit economics are quite legendary — the S-1 is going to be MOST disrupted FASTEST in the next 3 YEARS? Caps for effect.” Who tweeted that? Initialized Capital’s Garry Tan? Homebrew’s Hunter Walk? Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham? Or perhaps one of the dozens of other venture capitalists active on Twitter . No, it was Parrot.VC, a new Twitter account and website dedicated to making light of VC Twitter. Brother-sister duo Samantha and Nick Loui, the creators of the new tool, fed 65,000 tweets written by some 50 venture capitalists to a machine learning bot. The result is an automated tweet generator ready to spew somewhat nonsensical (or entirely nonsensical) <280-character statements. [gallery ids="1920794,1920795,1920797,1920806"] According to Hacker News, where co-creator Nick Loui shared information about their project, the bot uses predictive text to generate “amazing, new startup advice,” adding “Gavin Belson – hit me up, this is the perfect acquisition for Hooli,..

A look at Latin America’s emerging fintech trends

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

Thiago Paiva Contributor Share on Twitter Thiago is a fintech entrepreneur, investor, and columnist. He is currently a product leader at Oyster, a neobank for SMEs in Latin America. More posts by this contributor The battle to become the Mexican Nubank just started The emergence of super apps in Latin America Although the 2008 global financial crisis sparked the fintech movement, in Latin America, the rise of ecommerce was responsible for the first wave of fintech startups. Because digital payments were key to enabling the growth of ecommerce, investors funded companies like Braspag, PagSeguro, PayU, Mercado Pago and Moip in the early 2000s to take advantage of this opportunity. Payment is still the most relevant segment, with successful cases like Stone and PagSeguro, but after the financial crisis, we started to see the rise of financial technology in lending and neobanking, generating impressive cases ..

Daily Crunch: Imgur launches an app for gaming memes

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. 300M-user Imgur launches Melee, a gaming meme app Melee, the company’s first app beyond its flagship product, lets users subscribe to the games from which they love to get memes and gameplay clips. You also can scroll through a popular post’s feed if you’re curious about unfamiliar games. If you’re worried about the risk that gaming communities might turn toxic, Imgur says Melee has multiple layers of community and staff moderation, will remove obscene content and won’t tolerate bullying. 2. SpaceX nears milestone on key crew launch system test SpaceX is keeping relatively close to schedule on one of the bold timelines pronounced by its CEO Elon Musk. Specifically, the company notes that it has now completed seven system tests of the latest, upgraded version of the parachutes it plans to us..

Einride to launch commercial pilot of driverless electric pods with Coca-Cola European Partners

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

Autonomous robotic road-riding cargo pod startup Einride has signed a new partner for a commercial pilot on Sweden’s roads, which should be a great test of the company’s electric driverless transportation pods. Einride will be providing service for Coca-Cola European Partners, which is the official authorized bottler, distributor, sales and marketing company for Coca-Cola branded products in Sweden. The partnership will see Einride commercially operating its transportation system between Coca-Cola European Partners’ warehouse in Jordbro outside Stockholm, and retailer Axfood’s own distribution hub, transporting Coca-Cola brand products to the retailer ahead of sending them off to local retail locations in Sweden. Coca-Cola European Partners is looking to this partnership as part of its goal to continue to reduce emissions, since Einride’s system could potentially cut CO2 output by as much as 90% compared to current in-use solutions. This pilot is set to take place over the next few y..

Airbnb officially bans all open-invite parties and events

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

One month after Airbnb confirmed plans to verify all of its listings, the home-sharing giant has announced additional efforts to protect its hosts and guests. Airbnb will provide a “clear and actionable enforcement framework” for scenarios, including excessive noise, major cleanliness concerns, as well as unauthorized guests, parking and smoking. The company, expected to go public next year, is also banning all “open-invite” parties and events from locations booked on its platform. Unauthorized parties have long been banned from Airbnb homes. The new policy seeks to halt certain guests from hosting events not approved by hosts, such as a recent Halloween party hosted at a California Airbnb rental in which five people were killed. Finally, Airbnb is launching a new hotline for mayors and city officials to discuss Airbnb’s new policies with the company. “While home sharing is a time-honored tradition in many cultures around the world, the rise of digital platforms like Airbnb has bro..

Inside VSCO, a Gen Z-approved photo-sharing app, with CEO Joel Flory

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

Long before Instagram toyed with removing “likes,” VSCO, an Oakland-based photo-sharing and editing app, built a community devoid of likes, comments and follower counts. Perhaps known to many only because of this year’s “VSCO girl” meme explosion, the company has long been coaxing the creative community to its freemium platform. Turns out, if you can provide the disillusioned teens of Gen Z respite from the horrors of social media — they’ll pay for it. VSCO is on pace to surpass 4 million paying users in 2020, up from 2 million paying users in late 2018, the company said. Approaching $80 million in annual revenue, VSCO charges an annual subscription fee of $19.99 for access to a full-suite of mobile photo-editing tools, exclusive photo filters, tutorials and more. For no cost, users can access a handful of basic VSCO filters, standard editing tools and loads of content published by other users in VSCO’s photo feed. In recent months, the company’s Oakland headquarters has swelled to 1..

Uniform Teeth raises $10 million for its teeth-straightening operations

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

Uniform Teeth, the teeth straightening startup that helped me figure out I needed a root canal, has just raised a $10 million round of funding led by Canaan Partners. This brings Uniform Teeth’s total funding to $14 million. With the new funding, Uniform Teeth plans to open up two more locations, one in Seattle and one in Chicago early next year. Uniform Teeth currently operates two locations in San Francisco. By the end of next year, Uniform Teeth plans to open more locations throughout the U.S. The startup takes a One Medical-like approach in that it provides real, licensed orthodontists to see you and treat your bite. Ahead of the first visit, patients use the Uniform app to take photos of their teeth and their bite. During the initial visit, patients receive a panoramic scan and 3D imaging to confirm what type of work needs to be done. The reason Uniform Teeth requires in-office visits is because 75 percent or more of the cases require additional procedures. “There really is a ..

Figma launches Auto Layout

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

Figma, the design tool maker that has raised nearly $83 million from investors such as Index Ventures, Sequoia, Greylock and Kleiner Perkins, has today announced a new feature called Auto Layout that takes some of the tedious reformatting out of the design process. Designers are all too familiar with the problem of manually sizing content in new components. For example, when a designer creates a new button for a web page, the text within the button has to be manually sized to fit within the button. If the text changes, or the size of the button, everything has to be adjusted accordingly. This problem is exacerbated when there are many instances of a certain component, all of which have to be manually adjusted. Auto Layout functions as a toggle. When it’s on, Figma does all the adjusting for designers, making sure content is centered within components and that the components themselves adjust to fit any new content that might be added. When an item within a frame is re-sized or chang..

Design may be the next entrepreneurial gold rush

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

Ten years ago, the vast majority of designers were working in Adobe Photoshop, a powerful tool with fine-tuned controls for almost every kind of image manipulation one could imagine. But it was a tool built for an analog world focused on photos, flyers and print magazines; there were no collaborative features, and much more importantly for designers, there were no other options. Since then, a handful of major players have stepped up to dominate the market alongside the behemoth, including InVision, Sketch, Figma and Canva. And with the shift in the way designers fit into organizations and the way design fits into business overall, the design ecosystem is following the same path blazed by enterprise SaaS companies in recent years. Undoubtedly, investors are ready to place their bets in design. Seed stage design tools, low code/no code software, and/or collaboration tools are getting $10 on $40m term sheets. Not an isolated case. Shows their bullishness on these spaces. And some F..

Volvo invests in autonomous vehicle operating system startup Apex.AI though its VC arm

December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019

Volvo is making an investment in Palo Alto-based Apex.AI, a startup working on developing a robotic operating system qualified for use in production automobiles. Apex.AI, founded by automated systems engineers Jan Becker and Dejan Pangercic, raised $15.5 million in a Series A last November, and revealed that its focus is on developing an enterprise-focused version of the Robot Operating System open-source middleware. Apex.AI currently lists two products on its home page: Apex.OS and Apex.Autonomy. The former aims to provide a set of simple-to-integrate APIs that can give automakers and others access to fully certified autonomous mobility technology, while the latter is more focused on specific elements and components for those looking to make use of specific elements of autonomous technology, including perception, localization, path planning and more. Volvo Group Venture Capital acting CEO Anna Westerberg, who is also the automaker’s SVP of Connected Solutions, said in a press releas..