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Meet the Texas startup that wants to decarbonize the chemical industry

Solugen, a startup that has set itself up with no less lofty a goal than the decarbonization of a massive chunk of the petrochemical industry, may be the first legitimate multi-million dollar company to start out in a meth lab. When company co-founders Gaurab Chakrabarti and Sean Hunt began hunting for a lab to test their process for enzymatically m anufacturing hydrogen peroxide they only had a small $10,000 grant from MIT — which was supposed to pay their salaries and cover rent and lab equipm...
Tags: TC, Chemicals, Chemistry, CRISPR, Electricity, Energy Consumption, Engineer, Fifty Years, Founders Fund, Houston, Manufacturing, Messenger, MIT, Oil And Gas, Peter Thiel, Steel


Where did social media go wrong?

For most of my life, the Internet, particularly its social media — BBSes, Usenet, LiveJournal, blogosphere, even MySpace, early Twitter and Facebook — consistently made people happier. But roughly 5 years ago it began to consistently make people more miserable. What changed? I posted that question to Twitter a week ago, and the most notable response was the response that did not exist: not a single person disputed the premise of the question. Yes, Twitter responses are obviously selection bias i...
Tags: Opinion, TC


MoviePass parent’s CEO discusses the service’s rocky year

In the space of a few months, MoviePass went from being the hottest startup on the block to a cautionary tale about growing too big, too fast. By the time the summer of MoviePass came to an end, the company that was going to permanently disrupt the box office was hemorrhaging money. It changed its subscription plans repeatedly, while a service outage found its parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, asking creditors for a $5 million loan. The company’s past year is littered with tales ...
Tags: Entertainment, TC, Moviepass, Ted Farnsworth


It’s not so obvious that this VC firm is focused on impact

Mary Ann Azevedo Contributor Share on Twitter Mary Ann Azevedo covers startups and tech at Crunchbase News. More posts by this contributor With these numbers, it’s no surprise SoftBank is investing in Latin America Two Austin-based VC firms are each raising $100M funds Obvious Ventures was founded in 2014 by Medium CEO and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, along with Vishal Vasishth and James Joaq...
Tags: Column, TC, Venture Capital, Obvious Ventures


The ethics of internet culture: a conversation with Taylor Lorenz

Taylor Lorenz was in high demand this week. As a prolific journalist at The Atlantic and about-to-be member of Harvard’s prestigious Nieman Fellowship for journalism, that’s perhaps not surprising. Nor was this the first time she’s had a bit of a moment: Lorenz has already served as an in-house expert on social media and the internet for several major companies, while having written and edited for publications as diverse as The Daily Beast, The Hill, People, The Daily Mail, and Business Insider,...
Tags: Community, Entertainment, Media, Social, TC, Facebook, Gab, Instagram, Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter, YouTube


Hackers conquer Tesla’s in-car web browser and win a Model 3

A pair of security researchers dominated Pwn2Own, the annual high-profile hacking contest, taking home $375,000 in prizes including a Tesla Model 3 — their reward for successfully exposing a vulnerability in the electric vehicle’s infotainment system. Tesla handed over its new Model 3 sedan to Pwn2Own this year, the first time a car has been included in the competition. Pwn2Own is in its 12th year and run by Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative. ZDI has awarded more than $4 million over the life...
Tags: Automotive, TC, Transportation, Apple, Bounty, Computer Security, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Pwn2own, Software, Tesla, Trend Micro, Vmware, Web browsers


Corporate biotech venture funding rises again

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor 2019 US VC funds take a more boutique approach VCs aren’t falling in love with dating startups Biotech venture funding has been on a tear for the past couple of years, and corporate investors in the space are doing their part to boost the totals. Here at Crunchbase, we’ve put together an index of the largest pharma and biotech companies active in startup investment, along with their...
Tags: Column, TC, Venture Capital, Biotech


Planning for the uncertain future of work

In a recently published, roughly 75-page report, British non-profit organization The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts (RSA) outlined several scenarios for how the UK labor market will be impacted by frontier technologies such as automation, AI, AVs and more. The analysis titled “The Four Futures of Work” was conducted in collaboration with design and consulting firm Arup and was spearheaded by the RSA’s “Future Work Centre”, which focuses on the impact of new technologies on work ...
Tags: Artificial Intelligence, Asia, Europe, Finance, Government, Personnel, Philanthropy, Policy, TC, Automation, China, Climate Change, Energy, Executive, Future Of Work, Global Warming


Pinterest drops its IPO filing

Pinterest, the nearly decade-old visual search engine, has unveiled its S-1 as it prepares for an initial public offering expected in April. The paperwork emerged just hours after another tech unicorn, Zoom, filed to go public, too. Pinterest, valued at $12.3 billion in 2017, took its first official step toward a 2019 IPO, hiring Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase as lead underwriters for its big offering. Pinterest has raised around $1.5 billion in venture capital funding, listing both ear...
Tags: Fundings & Exits, TC, Venture Capital


Zoom, a profitable unicorn, files to go public

Zoom, the video conferencing startup valued at $1 billion in early 2017, has filed to go public on the Nasdaq as soon as next month. The company joins a growing list of tech unicorns making the leap to the public markets in 2019, but it stands out for one very important reason: It’s actually profitable. Zoom was founded in 2011 by Eric Yuan, a co-founder of WebEx, which sold to Oracle for $3.2 billion in 2007. Before launching Zoom, he spent four years at Cisco as its vice president of engine...
Tags: Fundings & Exits, TC, Venture Capital, Cisco, Cisco Systems, Emergence Capital, Eric Yuan, Goldman Sachs, Jp Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Oracle, Sequoia Capital, Telecommunications, Unicorn, Video, Video Conferencing


Clark, a venture-backed tutoring platform, will now help tutors build their own sites

A couple of years ago, Clark, a New York-based startup, appeared on the scene with tutoring software that aimed to both make it easier for educators to start and manage a tutoring business by handling on its platform all the work that tutors struggle to find time to do, from drumming up students, to managing scheduling and payments, to making it far simpler to communicate with parents. Today the company is announcing a bit of a shift, moving away from simply selling access to its business softwa...
Tags: TC


Our 9 favorite startups from Y Combinator W19 Demo Day 2

Heathcare kiosks, a home-cooked food marketplace, and a way for startups to earn interest on their funding topped our list of high-potential companies from Y Combinator’s Winter 2019 Demo Day 2. 88 startups launched on stage at the lauded accelerator, though some of the best skipped the stage as they’d already raised tons of money. Be sure to check out our write-ups of all 85 startups from day 1 plus our top picks, as well as the full set from day 2. But now, after asking investors and conferrin...
Tags: Apps, Biotech, Food, Funding, GreenTech, Hardware, Health, Logistics, Startups, TC


This is how much money Pinterest execs made last year

Silicon Valley is known for its massive wealth. When these companies file to go public, we all finally get to know how much money these executives take home each year, and the millions they’ll take home after the IPO. In Pinterest’s S-1, which it filed earlier today, we see that co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann earned a salary of $197,100. But that’s actually nothing compared to Pinterest CFO Todd Morgenfeld, who earned a base salary of $360,500 with stock awards worth $22,028,696. It’s sti...
Tags: Finance, TC, Ben Silbermann, IPO, Pinterest


Gates-backed Lumotive upends lidar conventions using metamaterials

Pretty much every self-driving car on the road, not to mention many a robot and drone, uses lidar to sense its surroundings. But useful as lidar is, it also involves physical compromises that limit its capabilities. Lumotive is a new company with funding from Bill Gates and Intellectual Ventures that uses metamaterials to exceed those limits, perhaps setting a new standard for the industry. The company is just now coming out of stealth, but it’s been in the works for a long time. I actually met ...
Tags: Accelerator, Automotive, Gadgets, Hardware, Robotics, Science, TC, Transportation, Autonomous Vehicles, Bill Gates, Intellectual Ventures, Lasers, Lidar, Self-driving Cars


Mailchimp and Shopify break up

Shopify today announced that the Mailchimp app, which let its users use their Shopify data to create targeted email campaigns, for example, is no longer available in its marketplace. The reason for this, Shopify says, is that it “had growing concerns about Mailchimp’s app because of the poor merchant experience and their refusal to respect our Partner Program Agreement.” Clearly, this isn’t the most amicable divorce. “It’s critical for our merchants to have accurate, complete insight into th...
Tags: eCommerce, TC, Cloud Applications, Mailchimp, Publishing, Shopify, Web applications, World Wide Web


Talk about the big news from GDC with TechCrunch writers

The Game Developers Conference concludes today in San Francisco but that doesn’t mean our coverage is over. TechCrunch writer Lucas Matney and Extra Crunch contributor Eric Peckham were at the Moscone Center and got a first-hand glimpse into what is coming up for gamers and developers alike. And at noon PT today they’ll be sharing what they saw with Extra Crunch members on a conference call. First, there can be no discussion about gaming news this week without mentioning Google’s new . As Lucas...
Tags: TC, GDC 2019, Google Stadia


Firefox is now a better iPad browser

Mozilla today announced a new iOS version of Firefox that has been specifically optimized for Apple’s iPad. Given the launch of the new iPad mini this week, that’s impeccable timing. It’s also an admission that building a browser for tablets is different from building a browser for phones, which is what Mozilla mostly focused on in recent years. “We know that iPads aren’t just bigger versions of iPhones,” Mozilla writes in today’s announcement. “You use them differently, you need them for dif...
Tags: Apps, Mobile, TC, Firefox, Firefox Focus, Free Software, iOS, iPad, Mozilla, Software, Tablet Computers, Web browsers


Crunchyroll raises its monthly subscription price to $7.99

Crunchyroll is announcing its first major price increase since the anime streaming service launched in 2006. Prices for its premium subscription will go up in the United States, Great Britain, Australia and the Nordics — in the U.S. and Australia, the monthly price will increase from $6.95 to $7.99 (or $79.99 per year), while British subscribers will see their bill go up from £4.99 to £6.50 (or £64.99 per year). You don’t need to pay to watch Crunchyroll content, but a subscription gives you ...
Tags: TC, AT&T, Crunchyroll, Otter Media, WarnerMedia


Daily Crunch: Facebook admits password security lapse

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. Facebook admits it stored ‘hundreds of millions’ of account passwords in plaintext Prompted by a report by cybersecurity reporter Brian Krebs, Facebook confirmed that it stored “hundreds of millions” of account passwords in plaintext for years. The discovery was made in January, said Facebook’s Pedro C...
Tags: TC, Daily Crunch, Facebook


Respondology helps brands and influencers hide toxic comments

“Don’t read the comments” is one of those cliches that sticks around because it’s still good advice — maybe the best advice. But the team at Respondology is trying to change that. The company started out by helping brands find and respond to messages on social media. Senior Vice President of Sales Aaron Benor explained that in the course of that work, it also built a tool to mitigate “the vitriol, the awful toxicity of online social media.” “We realized that the tool had a lot more legs than we ...
Tags: Startups, TC, Respondology, Social Media


How Salesforce paved the way for the SaaS platform approach

When we think of enterprise SaaS companies today, just about every startup in the space aspires to be a platform. That means they want people using their stack of services to build entirely new applications, either to enhance the base product, or even build entirely independent companies. But when Salesforce launched Force.com, the company’s Platform as a Service in 2007, there wasn’t any model. It turns out that Force.com was actually the culmination of a series of incremental steps after th...
Tags: Cloud, Developer, Enterprise, TC, App Stores, Appexchange, Force.com, Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Salesforce


Indonesia’s Kargo comes out of stealth with $7.6M from Travis Kalanick, Sequoia and others

Travis Kalanick may be busy cooking up a cloud kitchen business, but that hasn’t stopped the former Uber CEO’s VC fund from making its first investment in Southeast Asia. 10100, the firm that Kalanick launched last year for investments in Asia, just took part in a $7.6 million seed round for Kargo, an early-stage ‘Uber for trucks’ startup that is based in Indonesia and — you guessed it — founded by a former Uber Asia executive. Kargo takes some of the concepts behind Uber and applies th...
Tags: Asia, Collaborative Consumption, Funding, Fundings & Exits, TC, Broker, Carsharing, China, Executive, Google, Grab, Hedge Fund, India, Indonesia, Innoven Capital, Internet Access


Keatz, a European ‘cloud kitchen’ startup, raises further €12M

Keatz, one of a growing number of so-called “cloud kitchens” — delivery only restaurant brands running on the rails of Deliveroo and UberEats — has raised €12 million in new funding. Backing the round are existing investors Project A Ventures, Atlantic Labs, UStart, K Fund and JME Ventures, who are joined by RTP Global. It adds to €7 million raised last May and will be used by the Berlin-based company to further expand its roll-out of cloud kitchens across Europe. Launched in Spring 2016, Keatz ...
Tags: Europe, Fundings & Exits, Startups, TC


Trump promotes Michael Kratsios to US Chief Technology Officer

More than two years into the Trump administration, the long vacant post of U.S. Chief Technology Officer will be filled. Bloomberg first reported that today Trump is elevating Michael Kratsios, current deputy U.S. CTO, to the nation’s top tech position. Prior to his experience within the Trump administration, Kratsios served as chief of staff at Peter Thiel’s investment firm Thiel Capital and as chief financial officer at another Thiel project, the hedge fund Clarium Capital. The U.S. CTO role w...
Tags: Government, TC, Peter Thiel, Trump administration


How to develop a brand identity system (like Intercom)

[Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of articles that we’re writing about branding for startups. It’s part of our latest initiative to find the best brand designers and agencies in the world who work with early-stage companies — nominate a talented brand designer you’ve worked with .]   When designer Ryan Hubbard joined Intercom , a SaaS unicorn that makes customer engagement tools, he knew that he would be working at the forefront of brand design. The company’s leadership empo...
Tags: TC, Tech, Dublin, Intercom, Hubbard, Ryan Hubbard, Intercom Brand Studio, Medium Hubbard


Why it’s no surprise that pro rata rights don’t mean what they used to

Yesterday, renowned investor Fred WIlson of Union Square Ventures observed in blog post that fewer founders in today’s go-go market have been honoring what are called pro rata rights, or the right of an earlier investor in a company to maintain the percentage that he or she (or their venture firm) owns as that company matures and takes on more funding. If a company isn’t doing well, investors aren’t necessarily interested in maintaining the same ownership percentage they once enjoyed in a compan...
Tags: TC, Tech, Union Square Ventures, Fred Wilson, Wilson


How to save the third wave of technology from itself

Daniel Wu Contributor Dan Wu is a privacy counsel and legal engineer at Immuta. He holds a JD from Harvard University, and is a PhD candidate for Social Policy and Sociology at The Harvard Kennedy School. As The New York Times recently profiled, new startups are arising to solve the housing crisis. These startups disrupt what ex-AOL CEO Steve Case calls the “Third Wave,” industries with large social impact. Think: housing, healthcare and finance. To survive, t...
Tags: TC, Facebook, Column, Opinion, Startup, Tech, Harvard University, Aol, Citigroup, Brazil, Steve Case, LendingClub, Legaltech, China California, Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, RegTech


Gig workers need health & benefits — Catch is their safety net

One of the hottest Y Combinator startups just raised a big seed round to clean up the mess created by Uber, Postmates, and the gig economy. Catch sells health insurance, retirement savings plans, and tax withholding directly to freelancers, contractors, or anyone uncovered. By building and curating simplified benefits services, Catch can offer a safety net for the future of work. “I n order to stay competitive as a society, we need to address inequality and volatility. We think Catch is th...
Tags: Health, Fundings & Exits, Startups, TC, Mobile, Ecommerce, Apps, Y Combinator, Finance, Collaborative Consumption, Funding, Tech, Earnest, Ira, Payments, Blue Shield


Introducing the Extra Crunch Stage at Disrupt SF 2019

Every year we dig deep to make the next TechCrunch Disrupt bigger, bolder and better than before. Disrupt San Francisco 2019, on October 2-4, is no exception. One of the many upgrades we’re proud to announce is the Extra Crunch Stage. Hold up a second — need a ticket to Disrupt SF 2019? Get one at the super early-bird price before the price increases. OK, moving on. We’re upgrading last year’s Next Stage to the Extra Crunch Stage — named in honor of TC’s recently launched subscription product. D...
Tags: TC, Events, Tech, Extra Crunch, TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2019, Disrupt San Francisco 2019


Aurora’s Sterling Anderson, Uber ATG’s Raquel Urtasun to discuss self-driving cars and AI at TC Sessions

We’re just weeks away from our TC Sessions: Robotics + AI event at UC Berkeley on April 18. Some of the best and brightest minds are joining us for the day-long event, including Marc Raibert, Colin Angle, Melonee Wise and Anthony Levandowski . Last week, we added to the list of marquee guests and announced a panel with roboticist Ken Goldberg, who is chief scientist at Ambidextrous Robotics and William S. Floyd Jr Distinguished Chair in Engineering at UC Berkeley, and Michael I. Jordan, ...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Uber, California, Tech, Tesla, Companies, Mit, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Jordan, University Of California Berkeley, Robotics, Uc-berkeley, Anderson, Michael