Singtel’s digital ad division Amobee acquires Turn for $310M
 Amobee just announced that it has agreed to acquire adtech company Turn for $310 million. Amobee used to be a mobile ad startup itself, before a 2012 acquisition by Singtel, where it remains a subsidiary. Since then, Singtel and Amobee have continued to make make more acquisitions on the digital ad side, including Gradient X, Adconion and Kontera. Turn, meanwhile, operates both a data… Read More ...
SocialRank Realtime helps marketers get more proactive on social media
 SocialRank co-founder Alex Taub classifies most brand interactions on social media into two broad categories. They’re either broadcasting to all of their followers or, if they’re communicating individually, it’s usually in a reactive way, like responding to a complaint. With the just-launched SocialRank Realtime, Taub and his team are trying to enable something different.… Read More ...
Knotel raises $25M to expand its “headquarters as a service” approach to office space
 Knotel announced today that it has raised $25 million in Series A funding. Founded in 2015, the company offers what co-founder and CEO Amol Sarva described as “headquarters as a service” — a flexible office space that can be customized for each tenant while also growing or shrinking as needed. This might sound like it’s addressing the same need as WeWork and other… Read More ...
Disney has quietly acquired tech and assets of MakieLab, a startup that 3D printed dolls
 MakieLab, a London-based startup that 3D printed and sold custom dolls, has officially shuttered, with a partial exit to Disney. TechCrunch understands that the U.S. entertainment company acquired MakieLab’s tech and assets as early as July last year, a story that I have tried but failed to nail down ever since. Until now, that is. Read More ...
Dick Costolo joins Maybe Capital — a new satirical board game about Valley VC
 As the TV show ‘Silicon Valley‘ has shown, the tech community there is ripe for satire. So it’s not surprising that the next ‘product’ to be born into this satirical ‘vertical’ is a board game where you must go through the sometimes tortuous process of raising money. The Maybe Capital Board Game launched this week on Kickstarter, and its launch… Read More ...
Incubating innovation
 Stanford University is regularly credited for playing a key role in the economic and technological success story that is Silicon Valley. So what should universities elsewhere be doing to emulate that same success? One academic says the schools of the future should be great, big incubators. Read More ...
Terpon is making VR webcams just for live streaming porn
 A Swiss startup, Terpon SA, is making virtual reality webcams specifically for the adult entertainment industry. The cameras aren’t available for purchase, but customers can rent them for about $30 a month, a price that includes around the clock technical support. Terpon Chief Executive Jean Claude Artonne said he wants to empower adult performers around the world to create immersive… Read More ...
Bulletin offers a flexible approach to shared retail space
 In the startup world, opening a real-world, physical store can seem a bit quaint. Who wants to deal with the sky-high rents charged in prime, urban locations, not to mention getting locked into a long-term lease? Well, a Y Combinator-backed company called Bulletin is looking to offer a more flexible experience for brands who want to sell their products in brick-and-mortar stores — COO… Read More ...
Meltwater acquires Oxford Uni spin-out Wrapidity to add AI to media monitoring capabilities
 Meltwater, the self-described ‘media intelligence’ company, has acquired Wrapidity, a U.K.-based AI startup that has built technology to automate the extraction of data from unstructured web-based content. Read More ...
What’s next for books?
 I like Digital Reader editor Nate Hoffelder. He is one of the few bloggers about publishing who doesn’t suck up to the industry nor does he particularly gild the lily. He basically believes that books are great, publishing is probably doomed, and that writing is really important. That’s why I was happy that he surfaced and debunked the claims of Chip McGregor, an agent who… Read More ...
Fluffy dog tails could be the next step in robot-human interaction
 The IEEE unearthed a fascinating 2013 study that showed that a cute dog tail does more than just amuse – it can communicate. The study, created by Ashish Singh and James Young, posited that a Roomba with a tail attached could communicate quickly and easily with a human – a fast, excited wag means things are going OK while a slow side to side shows disdain. “Any current robot… Read More ...
Fluffy dog tails could be the next step in robot-human interaction
 The IEEE unearthed a fascinating 2013 study that showed that a cute dog tail does more than just amuse – it can communicate. The study, created by Ashish Singh and James Young, posited that a Roomba with a tail attached could communicate quickly and easily with a human – a fast, excited wag means things are going OK while a slow side to side shows disdain. “Any current robot… Read More ...
Monzo, a UK digital-only bank, is closing in on new funding led by U.S.-based Thrive Capital
 Monzo, one of a number of new digital only or so-called ‘challenger’ banks in the U.K. aiming to re-invent the current account, is closing in on new Series C funding, which could be announced as early as this week. According to multiple sources, U.S.-based Thrive Capital is leading the round. Read More ...
Co-founder conflict
 Here’s how it felt in the weeks before I resigned from my last startup: I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. Resting pulse at 120. I had reached a point where I couldn’t agree with my co-founder over the future of the company. I had to step away. Every co-founder situation is different, but one common problem revolves around how founders engage in conflict: either not… Read More ...
Ford invests $1 billion in Pittsburgh-based Argo AI to build self-driving cars by 2021
 Ford has invested $1 billion in a joint venture with Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based company with ties to Carnegie Mellon. The goal is to completely outfit Ford vehicles with self-driving technology. Interestingly this isn’t a case of a large company simply hiring talent but the creation of an entirely separate company with an independent equity structure. Ford is the “majority… Read More ...
The value of venture capital investors and the importance of physical infrastructure
 Why is it important to invest via VCs, and do they add value further to the money they invest into a growth business? Furthermore, what role do physical transport links play in terms of business success and innovation in this, the digital age? Read More ...
Blin.gy puts you inside your favorite music video
 A green-screen effect, or chroma keying, is nothing new. But it’s not really consumer technology — mainly because of the need for an actual green screen, a static camera and studio-quality lighting. But being able to have a live video background behind you is cool. Meet Blin.gy, a new app that’s figured out how to achieve a “mobile green-screen effect.” Read More ...
EasilyDo brings its powerful Email app to Android
 EasilyDo’s simply named “Email” application is one of the most popular productivity apps on iOS, because it closely resembles the look-and-feel of Apple’s default Mail app, but comes with more powerful features. Essentially, it feels like you’ve given the Mail app an upgrade. Now EasilyDo’s Email has made its way over to Android, bringing the same core… Read More ...
Listen to Monzo founder on building a ‘smart’ bank, fintech bubble, and turning down acquisition offer
 Yesterday I caught up with Tom Blomfield, co-founder and CEO of digital-only or ‘challenger’ bank Monzo. In our call, we talked about why Blomfield and his 80-plus team are building a new bank, whether or not we are in a fintech bubble, and what he thinks the impact will be of upcoming EU regulation intended to force incumbent banks to open up. Read More ...
Loom helps entrepreneurs lure freelance developers with equity
 According to Loom founder Chase White, there’s a familiar cycle that tech entrepreneurs go through: When they’re first getting started, they sell equity to angel investors, then they use the money to hire developers to actually build the product. At a certain point, White (formerly the co-founder and head of product at Localeur) wondered, “Why not cut out the middleman?”… Read More ...