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TechCrunch Conversations: Direct listings

Last April, Spotify surprised Wall Street bankers by choosing to go public through a direct listing process rather than through a traditional IPO. Instead of issuing new shares, the company simply sold existing shares held by insiders, employees and investors directly to the market – bypassing the roadshow process and avoiding at least some of Wall Street’s fees. That pattens is set to continue in 2019 as Silicon Valley darlings Slack and Airbnb take the direct listing approach. Have we reach...
Tags: Amazon, TC, Spotify, NYC, Finance, Government, Ipo, Funding, US, Tech, Banking, Policy, Netflix, Pandora, Zynga, Credit Suisse


Following a record year, Illinois startups kick off 2019 on a strong foot

Jason Rowley Contributor Jason Rowley is a venture capital and technology reporter for Crunchbase News. More posts by this contributor Global VC market sees highest-ever concentration of supergiant dollar volume in Q4 2018 SoftBank’s Vision Fund inches closer to $100B Illinois’s startup market in 2018 was very strong, and it’s not slowing down as we settle into 2019. There’s already almost $100 million in new VC funding announced,...
Tags: Startups, TC, Column, Boston, Softbank, Tech, Walmart, Chicago, Venture Capital, SEC, Lincoln, North America, Illinois, Crunchbase, Bringg, Bay Area


Watch builders construct a life-size Chevy truck with 300,000 LEGO bricks

Behold, the LEGO Chevrolet Silverado. The full-size truck is basically a giant ad for Chevy and the new LEGO Movie, which is due out in February. Apparently they have to fight Duplo blocks from outer space. No, seriously, that’s the plot. Anyway, the 2019 Silverado is six-feet tall, weighs 3,307 pounds and took 18 builders 2,000 hours to assemble the 334,544 pieces at a LEGO Master Builders shop in Connecticut. Chevy says it’s the first of its vehicles to be built full-scale in this manner. ...
Tags: TC, Tech, Lego, Chevy, Connecticut Chevy


Welcome to the abnormalization of transportation

Bill Goodwin Contributor Share on Twitter Bill Goodwin is the head of legal policy at Airmap. Tyler Finn Contributor Tyler Finn is the policy manager at Factual. Something odd is in motion in Los Angeles. On a recent day at the office, colleagues debated the merits of the Boring Company’s proposal to alleviate Dodger traffic via levitating tunnel pods. I stepped out for coffe...
Tags: TC, Column, Florida, California, La, Los Angeles, Tech, Arizona, Beverly Hills, Silicon Valley, Department Of Transportation, Megabus, Dot, Cabin, Airmap, Bay Area


Snap’s exec team continues to shrink as more reports of internal drama surface

Days after Snap announced the departure of its CFO, reports have emerged that the company’s HR chief was asked to leave following an internal investigation late last year that had led to the firing of its global security head. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Snap fired global security head Francis Racioppi late last year after an investigation uncovered that he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with an outside contractor he had hired. After the relationship ended, Raciopp...
Tags: TC, Tech, Evan Spiegel, Wall Street Journal, Lucas Matney, Snap, Halbert, Personnel, Jason Halbert, Francis Racioppi, Racioppi


Wine-by-the-glass subscription service Vinebox raises $5.9 million

One SF startup wants you to get home from a day at work and polish off a bottle of wine by yourself. Vinebox isn’t really trying to get you wasted though, these bottles are cute and tiny. The small startup is hoping that they can get consumers into the idea of buying premium quality wine-by-the-glass and they’ve convinced investors there’s something behind this concept as well. The team has just closed a $5.9 million round of funding led by Harbinger Ventures. Co-founders Rachel Vodofsky and Mat...
Tags: TC, France, Tech, Wine, Santa Barbara, Sonoma County, Dukes, Matt Dukes, Vinebox, Harbinger Ventures Co, Rachel Vodofsky


Curious 23andMe twin results show why you should take DNA testing with a grain of salt

If you’ve ever enthusiastically sent your spit off in the mail, you were probably anxious for whatever unexpected insights the current crop of DNA testing companies would send back. Did your ancestors hang out on the Iberian peninsula? What version of your particular family lore does the science support? Most people who participate in mail-order DNA testing don’t think to question the science behind the results — it’s science after all. But because DNA testing companies lack aggressive oversight...
Tags: Health, TC, Europe, Biology, Dna, Tech, Genetics, Yale, Middle East, Poland, Bio, 23andMe, Ancestry.com, Cbc, Carly, Iberian Peninsula


Curious 23andMe twin results show why you should take DNA testing services with a grain of salt

If you’ve ever enthusiastically sent your spit off in the mail, you were probably anxious for whatever unexpected insights the current crop of DNA testing companies would send back. Did your ancestors hang out on the Iberian peninsula? What version of your particular family lore does the science support? Most people who participate in mail-order DNA testing don’t think to question the science behind the results — it’s science after all. But because DNA testing companies lack aggressive oversight...
Tags: Health, TC, Europe, Biology, Dna, Tech, Genetics, Yale, Middle East, Poland, Bio, 23andMe, Ancestry.com, Cbc, Carly, Iberian Peninsula


Facebook fears no FTC fine

Reports emerged today that the FTC is considering a fine against Facebook that would be the largest ever from the agency. Even if it were ten times the size of the largest, a $22.5 million bill sent to Google in 2012, the company would basically laugh it off. Facebook is made of money. But the FTC may make it provide something it has precious little of these days: accountability. A Washington Post report cites sources inside the agency (currently on hiatus due to the shutdown) saying that ...
Tags: Google, Social, TC, Facebook, Washington Post, Government, Tech, Volkswagen, Ftc


Free to play games rule the entertainment world with $88 billion in revenue

They may be free, but they sure pay. Games with no upfront cost but a plethora of other ways to make money generated a mind-blowing $88 billion in 2018 according to SuperData’s year-end report — leaving traditional games (and indeed movies and TV) in the dust. While it may not come as a surprise that F2P (as free to play is often abbreviated) is big business at the end of 2018, the Year of Fortnite, the sheer size of it can hardly fail to impress. The total gaming market, as this report measures...
Tags: TC, Gaming, Asia, Hbo, China, Tech, Netflix, Tencent, Free To Play, Fortnite


FanDuel co-founder Tom Griffiths just closed a seed round for his decidedly noncontroversial new startup, Hone

Tom Griffiths has founded four companies, two of which “weren’t much to write home about,” he jokes. The third captured the world’s attention: FanDuel, the fantasy sports company that was routinely in the press — not always for desirable reasons — from nearly the day it launched, to its near merger with rival DraftKings, to its ultimate sale last May to the European betting giant Paddy Power Betfair in a deal that reportedly saw FanDuel’s founders, along with its employees, walk away with at t...
Tags: Startups, TC, San Francisco, Tech, Fanduel, Cowboy Ventures, Aileen Lee, Griffiths, Griffith, Harrison Metal, Paddy Power Betfair, Harrison Metal Other, David Rogier, Tom Griffiths, Guild Education, Recent Funding


FanDuel cofounder Tom Griffiths just closed a seed round for his decidedly noncontroversial new startup, Hone

Tom Griffiths has founded four companies, two of which “weren’t much to write home about,” he jokes. The third captured the world’s attention: FanDuel, the fantasy sports company that was routinely in the press — not always for desirable reasons— from nearly the day it launched, to its near merger with rival DraftKings, to its ultimate sale last May to the European betting giant Paddy Power Betfair in a deal that reportedly saw FanDuels’ founders, along with its employees, walk away with at th...
Tags: TC, San Francisco, Tech, Fanduel, Cowboy Ventures, Aileen Lee, Griffiths, Griffith, Harrison Metal, Paddy Power Betfair, Harrison Metal Other, David Rogier, Tom Griffiths, Guild Education, Rachel Carlson, Ventures Entangled Ventures


Salesforce is building new tower in Dublin and adding hundreds of new jobs

Salesforce put the finishing touches on a tower in San Francisco last year. In October, it announced Salesforce Tower in Atlanta and today it was Dublin’s turn. Everyone gets a tower. Salesforce first opened an office in Dublin back in 2001, and has expanded to 1400 employees today. Today’s announcement represents a significant commitment to expand even further, adding 1500 new jobs over the next five years. The new tower in Dublin is actually going to be a campus made up of 4 interconnecting...
Tags: Startups, TC, Cloud, Enterprise, San Francisco, Atlanta, Ireland, Dublin, Salesforce, IDA Ireland, River Liffey, Salesforce Tower, Martin Shanahan, Net Zero Energy, Ohana Floor


Sony venture arm invests in geocoding startup what3words

Sony’s venture capital arm has invested in what3words, the startup that has divided the entire world into 57 trillion 3-by-3 meter squares and assigned a three-word address to each one. Financial details were not disclosed. The startup’s novel addressing system isn’t the whole story. The ability to integrate what3words into voice assistants is what has piqued the interest and investment from Sony and others. “what3words have solved the considerable problem of entering a precise location into...
Tags: TC, Transportation, Tech, Automotive, Transport, Sony, Automotive Industry, Mercedes Benz, Daimler, TomTom, Cabify, Sony Corporation, What3words, Toshimoto Mitomo


Salesforce is building new tower in Dublin and adding hundreds of jobs

Salesforce put the finishing touches on a tower in San Francisco last year. In October, it announced Salesforce Tower in Atlanta and today it was Dublin’s turn. Everyone gets a tower. Salesforce first opened an office in Dublin back in 2001, and has expanded to 1400 employees today. Today’s announcement represents a significant commitment to expand even further, adding 1500 new jobs over the next five years. The new tower in Dublin is actually going to be a campus made up of 4 interconnecting...
Tags: TC, Cloud, Enterprise, San Francisco, Tech, Atlanta, Ireland, Dublin, Salesforce, IDA Ireland, River Liffey, Salesforce Tower, Net Zero Energy, Ohana Floor, Salesforce Tower Dublin, Salesforce Martin Shanahan


Reserve your demo table today for the TechCrunch Winter Party at Galvanize

There are just three short weeks until Silicon Valley’s startup community takes a night off to relax, connect and get down at the 2nd Annual TechCrunch Winter Party at Galvanize. It’s not just an opportunity to have a great time — although you will. It’s also the chance for promising early-stage startups to strut their stuff. We have a handful of demo tables available, but they won’t last long. Why not book a demo table today? You never know who might attend the party and facilitate your big bre...
Tags: Food, TC, Business, San Francisco, Events, Blogs, Tech, Economy, Aol, Silicon Valley, TechCrunch, Michael Arrington, World Wide Web, Startup Company, Aaron Levie, Dylan Smith


Daily Crunch: Tesla cuts its workforce

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. Tesla to cut workforce by 7 percent and focus on Model 3 production In an email to employees, CEO Elon Musk says the focus must be on delivering “at least the mid-range Model 3 variant in all markets.” He also warns the employees who are not set to be axed that there are “many companies that can offer a ...
Tags: Amazon, TC, Facebook, Microsoft, Satya Nadella, US, Tech, Nike, Tesla, Netflix, Reed Hastings, Matthew Panzarino, Las Vegas Nevada, Redmond, Las Vegas NV, Venetian Las Vegas


Backing Culture Genesis, T.I. launches Tech Cypha, an investment syndicate for tech deals

With an inaugural investment into the Los Angeles-based entertainment startup Culture Genesis, Clifford Harris Jr., who’s better known as “T.I.”, has launched a new syndicated investment vehicle called Tech Cypha. Launched by the music and cultural impresario with more hustle than hustle and his business partner Jason Geter, the new collaborative investment strategy focused on tech startups will allow high net worth individuals to participate in deals. Live streaming studio, Culture Genesis, l...
Tags: Amazon, TC, Business, Entrepreneurship, Jay Z, La, Finance, Los Angeles, Entrepreneur, Tech, Atlanta, Economy, Nas, United States, Venture Capital, Private Equity


Facebook is secretly building LOL, a cringey teen meme hub

How do you do, fellow kids? After Facebook Watch, Lasso, and IGTV failed to become hits with teens, the company has been quietly developing another youthful video product. Multiple sources confirm that Facebook has spent months building LOL, a special feed of funny videos and GIF-like clips. It’s divided into categories like “For You”, “Animals”, “Fails”, “Pranks” and more with content pulled from News Feed posts by top meme Pages on Facebook. LOL is currently in private beta with around 100 ...
Tags: Social, TC, Facebook, Apps, Teens, US, Tech, Memes, Facebook Video, AS Facebook, Lasso, Facebook Watch, Lifestage, IGTV, Facebook Teens, Facebook LOL


University of Virginia announces $120m gift to fund new data science school

One of America’s oldest universities is launching a school for one of the world’s youngest disciplines. The University of Virginia announced today that it has received a $120 million private donation to endow a new School of Data Science. The donation is the largest in the university’s history, and will create the twelfth school at the university. The donation was offered by the Quantitative Foundation, which is based in UVA’s hometown of Charlottesville. Jaffray Woodriff, the founder and CEO of...
Tags: TC, Facebook, Education, Virginia, America, Tech, Bloomberg, Analytics, Mit, Harvard, University, Data Science, Uva, University Of Virginia, Charlottesville, University Of California San Diego


SaaS stocks are coming back to life

Nasdaq’s BVP Emerging Cloud Index measures the performance of a portfolio of 45 SaaS stocks. Like much of the tech world, and the stock market in general, the final quarter of 2018 was not terribly kind. The good news is that there are signs of life lately. On November 19th, SaaS stocks had a noteworthy bad day. Everything was down, way down. As we reported, some examples included: Salesforce was down 8.7 percent to $121.01. Box was down 6.93 percent to $16.66 Workday was down 7.57 percent to $...
Tags: TC, Cloud, Finance, Tech, SaaS, Salesforce, Stock Market, Jason Lemkin, Jon Shieber, John Dinsdale, Saastr Fund, Cloud Stocks


More scooter dollars, Slack’s revenue projections, and the IPO traffic jam

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. We’re back! After what I think was our first-ever break, Kate Clark and I sat down to dig into the latest startup venture news. There was a lot. We had to skip a few rounds to squeeze the show down to size, but we still hit the biggest stories. First, Lime and Bird are raising again. In Bird’s case, the company is sticking around its last valuation, adding a few...
Tags: Apple, TC, UK, San Francisco, Tech, Ford, Bird, Palantir, Slack, Chariot, Lime, Peloton, Equity podcast, Kate Clark


Zipwhip raises $51.5M for businesses to text customers from any kind of phone line

A surge of audio services using AI are giving voice a boost in customer service, but when it comes to communications in the age of mobile, messaging continues to be a critical platform. Now, a startup called Zipwhip, which provides a platform for businesses to interact with customers by text messages from any business line — landline, VoIP, or toll-free — is announcing funding of $51.5 million to capitalise on that push to bring more text-based messaging into customer service. This round, a Seri...
Tags: Apple, Google, TC, Messenger, US, Tech, Goldman Sachs, North America, Seattle, Microsoft Ventures, RCS, Lauer, ZipWhip, Faebook, John Lauer, Goldman Sachs ' Private Capital Investing


Whyd now helps companies create their custom voice assistant

Y Combinator-backed startup Whyd is pivoting from hardware to software. The startup had been working on a connected speaker with a voice-control interface specifically designed for music. But a couple of years later, it’s clear that subsidized voice assistant devices from Google and Amazon have taken over the market. Whyd is only keeping its own software platform and partnering with other companies. In other words, if you’re working on an app, a website or a skill for the Amazon Echo or Goog...
Tags: Google, Amazon, Startups, TC, Europe, Developer, Tech, France Newsletter, Google Home, Whyd, Gilles Poupardin


Flash, the stealthy e-scooter and ‘micro-mobility’ startup from Delivery Hero founder, raises €55M Series A

Flash, the stealthy mobility startup from Delivery Hero and Team Europe founder Lukasz Gadowski, is de-cloaking today, with news that the Berlin-based company has raised a whopping €55 million in Series A funding. Despite rumours that multiple VC firms would be involved, the bulk of the new funding comes from Target Global via its mobility fund, which led this round and was already an existing backer of Flash. Others participating in Flash’s Series A include Idinvest Partners, Signals Venture...
Tags: Fundings & Exits, Startups, TC, Transportation, Facebook, Europe, China, Berlin, Tech, Spain, Mexico City, Portugal, Switzerland, Bird, Accel, Atomico


SimplyCook dishes up £4.5M Series A for its subscription-based flavourings and recipe service

SimplyCook, the recipe kit service that focuses on flavour ingredients, has closed £4.5 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Octopus Investments. Unlike other recipe or meal kits, such as HelloFresh, Gousto and Marley Spoon, U.K.-based SimplyCook doesn’t send all of the fresh ingredients required to turn its recipes into food on your table. Instead, the subscription service consists of recipe cards and what SimplyCook calls “ingredients kits,” which are herbs, spices, sauces and o...
Tags: Fundings & Exits, Startups, TC, Europe, UK, Tech, Schwartz, U K, SimplyCook, Marley Spoon U K, Oli Ashness, Dolmio Knorr, Graze Notably HelloFresh


AR startup Meta’s assets sold to a mystery ‘known name’ that will support existing headsets

Augmented reality technology enables us to see things in places where they may not actually exist. And sometimes, that paradigm might also apply to augmented reality startups themselves. Meta, the AR startup that was incubated at Y-Combinator and became the first to ship a set of “end-to-end” AR glasses (including hardware, software, direct tracking optics and SDK) to the market, raising a lot of money and high hopes in the process — only to crash, in recent weeks, into insolvency as it ran both...
Tags: TC, China, US, Tech, Ces, Silicon Valley, Las Vegas, Meta, Magic Leap, Lenovo, Sdk, Blippar, Gribetz, Meron Gribetz Meta, Tencent Dolby Comcast


Coinstar machines will start selling Bitcoin at the grocery store

You know those machines at the grocery store that transform your gallon jugs worth of change into more usable currency? They’re about to start selling Bitcoin . To make this impulse shopping dream come true, Coinstar, the company behind those ubiquitous change-counting kiosks, has partnered with Coinme, a startup that operates a small network of cryptocurrency-dispensing ATMs around the country. “Coinstar is always looking for new ways to offer value to our consumers when they visit our kio...
Tags: TC, California, Tech, Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency, Digital Currencies, Texas Washington, Bitcoin ATM, Coinstar, Coinme, Jim Gaherity


Google remains the top open-source contributor to CNCF projects

According to the latest data from Stackalytics, a project founded by Mirantis and hosted by the OpenStack Foundation that visualizes a company’s contribution to open-source projects, Google remains the dominant force in the CNCF open-source ecosystem. Indeed, according to this data, Google is responsible for almost 53 percent of all code commits to CNCF projects. Red Hat, the second biggest contributor, is far behind, with 7.4 percent. The CNCF is the home of Kubernetes, the extremely popular...
Tags: Google, TC, Open Source, Developer, Cloud Computing, Tech, Openstack, Soundcloud, Mirantis, Kubernetes, Jaeger, OpenStack Foundation, GRPC, CNCF, Boris Renski, Stackalytics


Tesla will end its buyer referral program for ‘adding too much cost’

At the end of the month, Tesla will end a long-running referral program that offered incentives for existing Tesla owners to help drive sales. In its recent iterations, the referral system gifted new buyers who found their way to a Tesla through a friend with six months of free charging at Supercharger stations. Most recently, the referring friend would become eligible for a set of characteristically outlandish prizes, from launching a chosen photo into deep space orbit to a VIP invite to one...
Tags: TC, Elon Musk, Tech, Tesla, Automotive, Tesla Motors, Musk