Naspers announces $300 million initiative to support startups and tech in South Africa

Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor Marieme Diop and Shikoh Gitau to speak at Startup Battlefield Africa Local venture capital fund formation is on the rise in Africa, led by …

Google lays outs narrow “EU election advertiser” policy ahead of 2019 vote

Google has announced its plan for combating election interference in the European Union, ahead of elections next May when up to 350 million voters across the region will vote to elect 705 Members of the European Parliament. In a blog post laying out a narrow approach to democracy-denting disinformation, Google …

Recent departures hint at turmoil at Quartet Health, a mental health startup backed by GV

Backed with nearly $87 million in venture capital funding from GV, Oak HC/FT and F-Prime Capital, Quartet Health was founded in 2014 by Arun Gupta, Steve Shulman and David Wennberg to improve access to behavioral healthcare. Its mission: “enable every person in our society to thrive by building a collaborative behavioral …

In letter to Congress, Apple sends strongest denial over ‘spy chip’ story

Apple has doubled down on its repudiation of Bloomberg’s report last week that claimed its systems had been compromised by Chinese spies. The blockbuster story cited more than a dozen sources claiming that China installed tiny chips on motherboards built by Supermicro, which companies across the U.S. tech industry — including …

Consumers spent $329M on the top 10 subscription video apps last quarter

Last year, the top subscription video apps like Netflix and Hulu raked in a combined $781 million, and that trend is showing no sign of slowing down in 2018. In the third quarter of 2018, U.S. consumers spent an estimated $329 million in the top 10 subscription video-on-demand apps across …

In State Tectonics, an explosive ending for the future of democracy

An omnipotent data infrastructure and knowledge-sharing tech organization has spread across the planet. Global conspiracies to disseminate propaganda and rig elections are ever present. Algorithms determine what people see as objective truth, and terrorist organizations gird to bring down the monopoly on information. Malka Older faces a problem few speculative …

Wreck-It Ralph is getting a warehouse-sized VR Game at Disney parks

For the last year or so, Disney has been dabbling with massive virtual reality experiences that let players strap on a portable VR rig and run around in a warehouse-sized environment. In partnership with TheVOID (part of Disney’s 2017 accelerator class) and Lucasfilm’s ILMxLab, it launched a Star Wars-themed experience, …

China’s hottest news app Jinri Toutiao announces new CEO

You may not have heard of ByteDance, but you probably know its red-hot video app TikTok, which gobbled up Musical.ly in August. The Beijing-based company also runs a popular news aggregator called Jinri Toutiao, which means “today’s headlines” in Chinese, and the app just assigned a new CEO. At a company event …

Google partners with tech retailer b8ta to let people demo smart home products

Try before you buy is the new name of the game. With items costing upwards of $100, people want to know what they’re getting themselves into before they commit to a costly gizmo — at least that’s what Google is betting on right now. Aligned with Google’s Made by Google …

Translating startup-speak for the corporate buyer

Perry Hewitt Contributor Share on Twitter Perry Hewitt works at the intersection of marketing, technology, and mission-driven organizations. Startups salivate at the prospect of entering the enterprise – and for good reason. The enterprise is rife with legacy systems and circuitous processes that frustrate employees and hinder results — and …

European late-stage FinTech startups get a boost with new Corviglia fund

In a boost to late-stage funding for FinTech startups looking to scale-up without having to leave Europe, what claims to be the largest growth equity fund for Fintech in Europe launches today. The Corviglia Capital Fund will be deployed from Luxembourg and has secured $250M as a first closing for …

Dropbox expands Paper into planning tool with timelines

Dropbox has been building out Paper, its document-driven collaboration tool since it was first announced in 2015, slowly but surely layering on more functionality. Today, it added a timeline feature, pushing beyond collaboration into a light-weight project planning tool. Dropbox has been hearing that customers really need a way to plan …

Big tech must not reframe digital ethics in its image

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s visage loomed large over the European parliament this week, both literally and figuratively, as global privacy regulators gathered in Brussels to interrogate the human impacts of technologies that derive their power and persuasiveness from our data. The eponymous social network has been at the center of a …

Facebook’s newest VR headset, Oculus Quest, ships in the spring for $399

Opening up the Oculus Connect 5 keynote with some announcements, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that its newest headset, called Oculus Quest, will be released in the spring of 2019 at a $399 price point. The standalone VR device will be the first wireless Oculus hardware to sport positional tracking, …

SpankChain spanked

SpankChain, a cryptocurrency aimed at decentralized sex cams, has announced that a hacker stole about $38,000 from their payment channel thanks to a broken smart contract. They wrote: At 6pm PST Saturday, an unknown attacker drained 165.38 ETH (~$38,000) from our payment channel smart contract which also resulted in $4,000 …

Amazon’s Alexa is coming to Sony smart TVs and Lenovo Smart Tabs

Amazon wants Alexa to interact with as many people as possible, including the ability to show them things. And that means freeing the virtual assistant from the confines of Amazon’s screen-supporting smart speaker Echo Show or Fire TV, devices that give Alexa a face (and of course a voice). The …

YouTube CEO says EU’s new copyright legislation threatens jobs, smaller creators

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki published her quarterly letter to creators today, which included very strong language regarding the EU’s controversial copyright reform directive. Specifically, her letter focused on Article 13, the so-called “meme ban” that states that any site with a large amount of user-generated content – like Facebook or YouTube, …

Autonomous shuttle startup May Mobility expands to a third U.S. city

May Mobility launched its first low-speed autonomous shuttle service in Detroit this summer. By March, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company will be operating in at least three U.S. cities. The company, which just announced plans to expand to Columbus, Ohio, is planning to add another route in Grand Rapids, Michigan. …

Chaos engineering service Gremlin raises $18M, launches new resiliency tools

“Slack is down.” It’s a headline we have had blaring at TechCrunch on numerous occasions (mostly because we actually get work done when not distracted by a constant waterfall of GIFs). But Slack is not alone — issues with uptime and reliability plague modern web services, from Alexa to WhatsApp …

CircleCI launches Orbs, a package manager for software delivery automation

DevOps platform CircleCI today announced a new partner program that will open up its platform and allow third-party tools to integrate with it. In addition, the company is also launching Orbs, which it describes as “the world’s first package manager designed specifically for configuration of software delivery automation.” Fresh off …

India’s budget hotel startup OYO raises $1B for international growth

OYO, the India-based startup that operates a network of budget hotels, has pulled in $1 billion in new funding to grow its business in China and expand into other international markets. The majority of the funding — $800 million, to be exact — was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund with participation from Lightspeed, …

Facebook Messenger is building a ‘Watch Videos Together’ feature

Netflix and chill from afar? Facebook Messenger is now internally testing simultaneous co-viewing of videos. That means you and your favorite people could watch a synchronized video over group chat on your respective devices while discussing or joking about it. This “Watch Videos Together” feature could make you spend more …

Mary Meeker is said to be raising up to $1.25 billion for her new growth fund

Mary Meeker, who revealed in September plans to leave Kleiner Perkins after an eight-year run with the venture firm, is reportedly looking to raise up to $1.25 billion for her debut fund. So says Business Insider, citing multiple sources. We’ve reached out to Meeker for more information. As Meeker told …

Twilio launches Autopilot to help developers build better bots

Bots went through the hype cycle faster than a speeding roller coaster, as the promise of chatting with a computer quickly turned sour. Now, Twilio wants to take another stab at this market with the launch of Autopilot, a new developer service for building omnichannel bot experiences. “Omnichannel” is a …

5 apps and services for productivity and wellness

Makula Dunbar Contributor Makula Dunbar is a writer with Wirecutter. More posts by this contributor The best gear for starting a small business The best games and gear for game night Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial …

European Union approves content quota for streaming services

The European Parliament has voted in favor of a new quota for content on streaming services. Services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, will have to make sure that at least 30 percent of their catalogs in Europe come from European countries. Many European countries already have quotas for …