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Epic Games launches a campaign (and lawsuit) against Apple’s App Store

Epic Games is launching an all-out campaign against Apple and its App Store rules. Thursday morning, Epic Games introduced a new payment mechanic through a server side update that allowed gamers to purchase Fortnite’s in-game currency directly, allowing the app to bypass Apple’s in-app purchase framework and the substantial cut that Apple takes. Apple quickly acted in uniformly banning the app from the App Store. Apple soon released a statement: “Epic enabled a feature in its app which was not...
Tags: Apple, TC, Microsoft, Tech, Epic, Tim Cook, App Store, Congressional, App Store Apple, Fortnite, Fortnite Party Royale, Rod Breslau


Five success factors for behavioral health startups

Courtney Chow Contributor Share on Twitter Courtney Chow is an associate with Battery Ventures in San Francisco who focuses on early and growth-stage internet, software and services companies. Justin Da Rosa Contributor Justin Da Rosa is a vice president with Battery Ventures in San Francisco. He focuses on consumer internet, online marketplace and software investments. Telehe...
Tags: Health, Google, Startups, TC, Column, San Francisco, Tech, Smartphone, Meditation, Depression, Hypertension, United States, Healthcare, Venture Capital, Health Insurance, Talkspace


Apple boots Fortnite from the App Store after Epic adds direct payments

After its creator Epic Games implemented a workaround to duck Apple’s hefty developer fees, Fortnite has vanished from the App Store. The popular game’s disappearing act came the same day that Epic added a new direct payment option for in-game currency on mobile, offering an enticing 20% discount for players who pay the company for its virtual V-Bucks rather handing that money to intermediaries Apple or Google. “Currently, when using Apple and Google payment options, Apple and Google collect ...
Tags: Apple, Google, TC, Gaming, Tech, Epic, App Stores, App Store, Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, TechCrunch Apple, Fortnite, Fortnite Party Royale


Impossible Foods gobbles up another $200 million

Impossible Foods has raised $200 million more for its meat replacements. The new round values the company at a Whopper-sized $4 billion valuation, according to the data tracker PrimeUnicorn Index. The new round was led by Coatue, a technology-focused hedge fund, another New York-based hedge fund, XN, also participated in the round. Since its launch the company has raised $1.5 billion from investors including Mirae Asset Global Investments, Temasek. The presence of these new public/private inve...
Tags: TC, New York, US, Tech, Horizon Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Impossible Foods, Jay Brown, Coatue, Patrick O Brown, Mirae Asset Global Investments Temasek


How to get what you want in a term sheet

One of the most exciting moments in the life of every newly christened founder is the sweet relief of seeing a term sheet come in from an investor. After weeks, perhaps months (but hopefully not years!), of work fundraising and pitching, there is nothing like getting that email with a PDF attached to it laying out the terms and conditions of the VC relationship going forward. Of course, that rejoicing dampens quickly as all the specific nuances of the deal suddenly come to the forefront. It’s on...
Tags: Tech, Lior Zorea


Instagram wasn’t removing photos and direct messages off its servers

A security researcher was awarded a $6,000 bug bounty payout after he found Instagram retained photos and private direct messages on its servers long after he deleted them. Independent security researcher Saugat Pokharel found that when he downloaded his data from Instagram, a feature it launched in 2018 to comply with new European data rules, his downloaded data contained photos and private messages with other users that he had previously deleted. It’s not uncommon for companies to store fre...
Tags: Security, Social, Apps, Twitter, Instagram, Privacy, Social Media, Tech, Software, Computing, Operating Systems, Mobile Software, Pokharel, Saugat Pokharel, TechCrunch Pokharel


Instagram wasn’t removing photos and direct messages from its servers

A security researcher was awarded a $6,000 bug bounty payout after he found Instagram retained photos and private direct messages on its servers long after he deleted them. Independent security researcher Saugat Pokharel found that when he downloaded his data from Instagram, a feature it launched in 2018 to comply with new European data rules, his downloaded data contained photos and private messages with other users that he had previously deleted. It’s not uncommon for companies to store fre...
Tags: Security, Social, Apps, Twitter, Instagram, Privacy, Social Media, Tech, Software, Computing, Operating Systems, Mobile Software, Pokharel, Saugat Pokharel, TechCrunch Pokharel


Digital imaging pioneer Russell Kirsch dies at 91

Russell Kirsch, whose research going back to the ’50s underlies the entire field of digital imaging, died earlier this week at the age of 91. It’s hard to overstate the impact of his work, which led to the first digitally scanned photo and the creation of what we now think of as pixels. Born to Russian and Hungarian immigrant parents in 1929, Kirsch attended NYU, Harvard and MIT, eventually landing a job at the National Bureau of Standards (later the National Institutes of Science and Technology...
Tags: Photography, Science, Tech, Mit, Artificial Intelligence, Thomas, Walden, NIST, Kirsch, Russell Kirsch, NYU Harvard, SEAC


Despite a difficult Q2 2020, Lyft and Uber reiterate profit promises

Lyft is sticking to its previous target to hit quarterly adjusted profitability by the fourth period of 2021, a milestone it says it can achieve even with fewer rides. The company reiterated its quarterly adjusted profit target timeline — a milestone based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — during its second-quarter earnings call yesterday. Upholding the target in this uncertain era of COVID-19 is newsworthy on its own. But what caught our attention was Lyft’s cl...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Lyft, Uber, Tech, Automotive, Earnings, Mobility, Logan Green, Ride Hailing, EBITDA, Brian Roberts Lyft, COVID-19


Starting with Michigan, Sidewalk Infrastructure is looking to build roads specifically for autonomous cars

Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, which spun out of Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to fund and develop the next generation of infrastructure, has taken the covers off its first big project — the launch of a subsidiary called Cavnue to develop roadways for connected and autonomous vehicles. Starting in Michigan, Cavnue will be working with partners including Ford, GM, Argo AI, Arrival, BMW, Honda, Toyota, TuSimple and Waymo on standards to develop the physical and digital infrastructure needed to move ...
Tags: Google, TC, Transportation, America, Tech, Ford, Bill Ford, Michigan, Autonomous Vehicles, Detroit, University Of Michigan, Ann Arbor, American Center, Corktown, Gary Peters, Washtenaw County


Six Toronto VCs discuss COVID-19 and the post-pandemic era

As North America’s fourth-largest city, Toronto is one of the world’s top startup ecosystems. After spawning companies like Eventbrite and Crowdmark, Ontario’s capital has attracted international talent that complements its homegrown population of entrepreneurs and technical talent. Six investors we surveyed who work and live in the area said they believe Toronto will continue to thrive after the COVID-19 storm passes. Some of them focus exclusively on the region, while others invest elsewhere a...
Tags: Startups, TC, Ecommerce, Advertising Tech, Toronto, Tech, Remote Work, Artificial Intelligence, Canada, United States, SaaS, Gm, Venture Capital, North America, Fintech, Shopify


Mission Bio raises $70 million to help scale its tech for improving the development of targeted cancer therapies

California-based startup Mission Bio has raised a new $70 million Series C funding round, led by Novo Growth and including participating from Soleus Capital and existing investors Mayfield, Cota and Agilent. Mission Bio will use the funding to scale its Tapestri Platform, which uses the company’s work in single-cell multi-omics technology to help optimize clinical trials for targeted, precision cancer therapies. Mission Bio’s single-cell multi-omics platform is unique in the therapeutic industry...
Tags: Health, TC, Science, Biology, California, Drugs, Stanford, Cancer, Articles, Tech, Stem Cells, Biotech, Cancer Research, Crispr, Biotechnology, Life Sciences


Mirantis acquires Lens, an IDE for Kubernetes

Mirantis, the company that recently bought Docker’s enterprise business, today announced that it has acquired Lens, a desktop application that the team describes as a Kubernetes integrated development environment. Mirantis previously acquired the team behind the Finnish startup Kontena, the company that originally developed Lens. Lens itself was most recently owned by Lakend Labs, though, which describes itself as “a collective of cloud native compute geeks and technologists” that is “committ...
Tags: Fundings & Exits, Startups, Cloud, Enterprise, Developer, Tech, Ceo, Open Source Software, Computing, Linux, Docker, Api, Free Software, Mirantis, Kubernetes, Adrian


Slack and Atlassian deepen their partnership with deeper integrations

A lot of “partnerships” between tech companies don’t get very far beyond a press release and maybe some half-hearted co-selling attempts. When Atlassian sold its chat services to Slack in 2018, the two companies said they would form a new partnership and with Atlassian leaving the chat space, a lot of people were skeptical about what that would really mean. Since then, things got pretty quiet around the collaboration between the two companies, but today the companies announced some of the dee...
Tags: Cloud, Enterprise, Developer, Tech, Software, Computing, Operating Systems, Stewart Butterfield, Slack, Atlassian, Jira, Hipchat, Brad Armstrong, Bryant Lee Atlassian, Slack Armstrong


Slack and Atlassian strengthen their partnership with deeper integrations

A lot of “partnerships” between tech companies don’t get very far beyond a press release and maybe some half-hearted co-selling attempts. When Atlassian sold its chat services to Slack in 2018, the two companies said they would form a new partnership and with Atlassian leaving the chat space, a lot of people were skeptical about what that would really mean. Since then, things got pretty quiet around the collaboration between the two companies, but today the companies announced some of the dee...
Tags: Cloud, Enterprise, Developer, Tech, Software, Computing, Operating Systems, Stewart Butterfield, Slack, Atlassian, Jira, Hipchat, Brad Armstrong, Bryant Lee Atlassian, Slack Armstrong


Ready, set, network: CrunchMatch is open for Disrupt 2020

We’re so excited about today’s news that we’re stealing , ahem, borrowing boxing announcer Michael Buffer’s famous catchphrase, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” CrunchMatch, our free networking platform is up and ready to help you build your business and expand your empire. Starting today — and for weeks to come — you can find, connect and meet with thousands of Disrupt 2020 attendees from around the world. Bridging the physical distance of a virtual conference requires the best tools possible. We ...
Tags: Startups, Tech, Michael Buffer, CrunchMatch, Disrupt 2020, JC Bodson, Arbitrage Technologies CrunchMatch


AMC will offer 15 cent tickets when it reopens 100+ US theaters on August 20

Like so many industries, the last five months have been absolutely devastating for movie theaters. As far as sheer volumes go, no one has been harder hit than the world’s largest theater chain. AMC has had plans to reopen theaters for some time — but things change, particularly when you’re dealing with something as uncertain and always-evolving as a global pandemic. AMC will close all US theaters for six to 12 weeks This week, the theater juggernaut announced plans to reopen more than 1...
Tags: Christopher Nolan, New York, Entertainment, California, Amc, US, America, Tech, Theaters, Warner Bros, Tenet, Merv, Movie Theaters, Coronavirus, COVID-19


Root AI raises $7.2M seed round to deploy its harvesting robot amid COVID-19-fueled demand

By all accounts, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of robotics and automation by months, if not years. The reasons are fairly clear — robotics don’t call in sick, nor are they disease vectors in the same manner as their human counterparts. As food production and agriculture are looking to be among the biggest winners from the trend, it’s little wonder that Root AI is announcing a new funding round. The Boston-based startup has already been getting a fair bit of press (includi...
Tags: Startups, California, Boston, Tech, Canada, Robotics, Virgo, First Round Capital, Jason Calacanis, Josh Kopelman, Austin McChord, Recent Funding, Josh Lessing, COVID, Root AI


We’re exploring the future of SaaS at Disrupt this year

It’s been a wild year for modern software companies, often called software-as-service (SaaS) firms due to how they deliver their product. From a strong start to the year, to a rapid devaluation in the face of a global pandemic, and a return-to-form after it became clear that software wasn’t a category that a consumer recession would harm. Indeed, SaaS and other cloud companies have seen their valuations reach new heights in 2020, pushing the larger stock market up as their own worth soared. Thes...
Tags: TC, Tech, Bessemer Venture Partners, Onofrio, Maha Ibrahim, Canaan Partners, David Ulevitch, Mary D Onofrio, Maha Ibrahim Andreessen Horowitz


Cube closes $5M Seed round to scale its financial planning software

This morning Cube announced that it has closed a Seed round worth just over $5 million. The software startup, focused on financial planning and analysis (FP&A) work, raised $3.8 million of the total recently, with remaining $1.25 million having come in an earlier Pre-Seed round. Christina Ross, Cube’s CEO and founder, told TechCrunch that she started raising the most recent tranche of capital in March, winding up with a few term sheets within a few weeks. Eventually the startup picked Bonfire Ve...
Tags: Fundings & Exits, Startups, Ge, New York City, Tech, Deloitte, North America, Ross, Cube, Criteo, Eyeview, Bonfire Ventures, Brett Queener, Christina Ross Cube, Carta Bill, Quickbooks CRM


Waymo COO Tekedra Mawakana is coming to TC Sessions: Mobility 2020

In the past two years, Waymo has scaled up a robotaxi service in the Phoenix area, locked in or expanded partnerships with Volvo and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, acquired at least one company, launched a lidar business and ramped up testing of its automated trucks. Standing at the frontline of this change — and Waymo’s future — is Tekedra Mawakana, the company’s chief operating officer. In October, Mawakana will join our virtual stage at TC Sessions: Mobility. The virtual event, which will high...
Tags: Startups, TC, Transportation, Events, Tech, Automotive, Volvo, Fiat Chrysler, Phoenix, Executive Committee, Waymo, Tekedra Mawakana, Mawakana, Tc Sessions Mobility, COO Mawakana, eBay Yahoo AOL


A stampede of unicorn news

With a hot IPO market and a world accelerating its shift to digital technologies amidst a pandemic, it’s a busy time for late-stage startups. Happily, the current moment is generating a wave of leaks and news. So much so, it’s actually been pretty hard to keep up. In honor of the somewhat crazy week we’ve had, I’ve compiled the biggest and best bits of unicorn news, with two final items concerning companies that are not quite unicorns. Our goal is to get caught up so we can start next week suffi...
Tags: Tech, Airbnb, Exchange, Ron, Ron Miller, The Exchange, Amit Bendov, Parsable


Twitter pledges to dial up efforts to combat election misinformation

In the latest sign of US platforms bracing for the 2020 US presidential election in November, Twitter has said it will step up efforts to prevent its service from being used to target voters with false information around election participation. Earlier today Facebook announced the launch of a voting hub aimed at combating election misinformation on its platform by gathering together genuine election resources. Twitter is spinning a bolder message — saying its aim is to “empower every eligi...
Tags: Security, Social, Facebook, Twitter, Elections, Voting, US, Tech, United States, President, Presidential Election, Civic Technology, Trump, Reuters, Donald J Trump, NASS


Extra Crunch Live: Join Eric Hippeau for a live Q&A today at 11am PT/2pm ET

While you may have heard this phrase several hundred too many times this year, it remains true: These are unprecedented times. At least a dozen industries are in a state of flux, and only time (a relatively short amount of time) will tell if they can evolve quickly enough to stay in the game. A few of those industries include media, direct-to-consumer retail, travel and hospitality. With the pace of change up dramatically, it can be difficult to make heads or tails of these respective markets an...
Tags: Startups, TC, Buzzfeed, Funding, Tech, Huffington Post, Lerer Hippeau, Eric Hippeau, Ziff Davis, Hippeau, Extra Crunch Live, Marriott International Lerer Hippeau, Axios BuzzFeed Genius Chartbeat


Extra Crunch Live: Join Eric Hippeau for a live Q&A right now

While you may have heard this phrase several hundred too many times this year, it remains true: These are unprecedented times. At least a dozen industries are in a state of flux, and only time (a relatively short amount of time) will tell if they can evolve quickly enough to stay in the game. A few of those industries include media, direct-to-consumer retail, travel and hospitality. With the pace of change up dramatically, it can be difficult to make heads or tails of these respective markets an...
Tags: Startups, TC, Buzzfeed, Funding, Tech, Huffington Post, Lerer Hippeau, Eric Hippeau, Ziff Davis, Hippeau, Extra Crunch Live, Marriott International Lerer Hippeau, Axios BuzzFeed Genius Chartbeat


The Wear OS fall update promises better performance, simplified pairing and more

Google today announced a few new features Wear OS we can expect from the next over-the-air update, which is slated to arrive this fall. The focus here, Google says, is on fundamentals and that includes improved performance, for example, with up to 20% speed improvements for app startup times, for example. The company also said it would improve the pairing process and that we’ll see UI improvements with “more intuitive controls for managing different watch modes and workouts.” What exactly that w...
Tags: Google, TC, Wearables, Tech


Apple said to soon offer subscription bundles combining multiple of its services

Apple is reportedly getting ready to launch new bundles of its various subscription services, according to Bloomberg. The bundled services packages, said to be potentially called ‘Apple One,’ will include Apple services including Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, Apple News+ and iCloud in a number of different tiered offerings, all for one fee lower that would be lower than subscribing to each individually. Bloomberg says that these could launch as early as October, which is when the new ...
Tags: Iphone, Apple, Ios, Amazon, TC, Apps, Tech, Bloomberg, Apple TV, Itunes, Computing, Icloud, Apple Music, Subscription Services, Webmail, Apple Inc


TikTok rival Likee reaches 150M monthly users worldwide

As TikTok’s fate remains in flux, its smaller rival Likee has been making waves around the world, garnering 150 million monthly active users as of this June. That’s according to the earnings report of Chinese internet company Joyy, the owner of Likee. For comparison, TikTok recorded about 200 million daily active users in early 2020, an investor with knowledge told TechCrunch. That means its MAU will be much bigger, and TikTok has seen explosive growth since the COVID-19 outbreak that kept pe...
Tags: Asia, Hollywood, Entertainment, Indonesia, China, Russia, Singapore, India, Tech, Earnings, Vine, Yy, Dubsmash, Ken, Li, Apptopia


Bracing for election day, Facebook rolls out voting resources to U.S. users

Eager to avoid a repeat of its disastrous role as a super-spreader of misinformation during the 2016 election cycle, Facebook is getting its ducks in a row. Following an announcement earlier this summer, the company is now launching a voting information hub that will centralize election resources for U.S. users and ideally inoculate at least some of them against the platform’s ongoing misinformation epidemic. The voting information center will appear in the menu on both Facebook and Instagram...
Tags: Social, TC, Facebook, Instagram, Tech, Trump, Wikimedia Foundation, Naomi Gleit, 2020 Election, Gleit, Election Integrity, Facebook Newsroom, Election Interference


Bracing for election day, Facebook rolls out voting resources to US users

Eager to avoid a repeat of its disastrous role as a super-spreader of misinformation during the 2016 election cycle, Facebook is getting its ducks in a row. Following an announcement earlier this summer, the company is now launching a voting information hub that will centralize election resources for U.S. users and ideally inoculate at least some of them against the platform’s ongoing misinformation epidemic. The voting information center will appear in the menu on both Facebook and Instagram...
Tags: Social, TC, Facebook, Instagram, US, Tech, Trump, Wikimedia Foundation, Facebook Facebook, Naomi Gleit, 2020 Election, Gleit, Election Integrity, Facebook Newsroom, Election Interference