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Today — August 21st 2019Your RSS feeds

YC is doubling down on these investment theses in its most recent batch

By Kate Clark

Nearly 200 startups have just graduated from the prestigious San Francisco startup accelerator Y Combinator . The flock of companies are now free to proceed company-building with a fresh $150,000 check and three-months full of tips and tricks from industry experts.

As usual, we sent several reporters to YC’s latest demo day to take notes on each company and pick our favorites. But there were many updates to the YC structure this time around and new trends we spotted from the ground that we’ve yet to share.

CTO and HR demo days

Daily Crunch: DoorDash acquires Scotty Labs

By Anthony Ha

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. DoorDash acquires autonomous driving startup Scotty Labs

DoorDash seems to be very interested in self-driving technology — not only did it acquire Scotty Labs (a startup enabling people to remotely control self-driving cars), it also brought on the two co-founders of Lvl5, which was creating high-resolution maps for autonomous driving.

“We’ll share more updates in the near future but for now, we’re really excited to be part of the amazing DoorDash family and looking forward to building something magical together,” Scotty Labs co-founder Tobenna Arodiogbu wrote on in a blog post.

2. Apple, Google and Mozilla block Kazakhstan’s browser spying tactics

Apple, Google and Mozilla have taken the rare step of blocking an untrusted certificate issued by the Kazakhstan government, which critics say it forced its citizens to install as part of an effort to monitor their internet traffic.

3. The 11 best startups from Y Combinator’s S19 Demo Day 1

We already rounded up all the startups that presented at the accelerator’s Demo Day 1, but now the team has selected their favorites. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

4. MoviePass exposed thousands of unencrypted customer card numbers

An unprotected MoviePass database included both customer cards (those are the debit cards used to purchase movie tickets) and personal credit card numbers.

5. Waymo releases a self-driving open data set for free use by the research community

The data set isn’t for commercial use, but Waymo’s definition of “research” is fairly broad, and includes researchers at other companies as well as academics.

6. PayPal-backed money lender Tala raises $110M to enter India

Tala looks at behavioral data gathered through an Android app to build a customer’s credit profile. The new round values the company at $750 million.

7. Join The New Stack for Pancake & Podcast with Q&A at TC Sessions: Enterprise

Popular enterprise news and research site The New Stack is coming to TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise on September 5 for a special Pancake & Podcast session with live Q&A. (And we’re dead serious about the pancakes.)

Bring your posse to Disrupt SF 2019 with group discounts

By Emma Comeau

Disrupt San Francisco 2019, our flagship event on October 2-4, features three full days of programming, more than 10,000 attendees, over 1,200 exhibiting startups and sponsors — and that’s just for starters. That’s a lot of ground to cover. Here’s a hot tip: take advantage of group discounts, saddle up and bring your whole posse to the show and squeeze out every bit of information, inspiration and opportunity possible.

Spread your crew across Disrupt and get more done. Network til you drop in Startup Alley — using CrunchMatch, our free business match-making platform, to find and schedule meetings with only the best connections for your business. Bear witness to our epic pitch competition, Startup Battlefield — a great place to spot investment-worthy companies.

Attend the many Main Stage panel discussions and interviews with tech titans, up-and-coming founders and startup investors. Check out the conference agenda hereLooking for actionable tips and advice? Head for the Extra Crunch Stage. Yeah, you’ll learn a thing or two.

We offer group discounts for every pass level, to make your posse possible. Here’s what you need to know.

Group Innovator Pass: Buy five or more passes and get a 20% discount. Need 10 or more passes? Email us for a price quote at events@techcrunch.com. An Innovator Pass grants access to the Main Stage, Extra Crunch Stage, Q&As, workshops, CrunchMatch, networking receptions and the TechCrunch Events App, which lets you communicate with other attendees.

Group Founder Pass: Buy two or more passes and you’ll get a 10% discount. Your Founder Pass gets you the same benefits as an Innovator Pass but at an already discounted rate — but you must be a (co)founder of a company (of any size).

Group Investor Pass: Purchase two or more passes to get a 10% discount. An Investor Pass provides the same benefits as an Innovator pass, PLUS access to the Investor Lounge, an invitation to the investor-only reception and two hours of private meeting space.

Group Expo Only Pass: If you want to buy Expo Only passes in bulk (10 or more), email events@techcrunch.com for a price quote. An Expo Only Pass provides access to the Startup Alley expo floor, workshops and a lite version of the TechCrunch Events App.

Group Startup Alley Exhibitor Packages: If you’re interested in purchasing more than one Startup Alley Exhibitor Package, email startupalley@techcrunch.com for more information. This package includes exhibit space for one day, use of the Startup Alley Lounge, access to the media list and two or three Founder Passes, depending on when you book.

Disrupt San Francisco 2019 takes place on October 2-4. Bring your posse and cover more ground, find more opportunity and discover more ways to grow your business. Get your group discounts today. If you’re riding solo, no problemo. Get an early-bird ticket and, depending on the pass level you choose, you can save up to $1,300. Saddle up and ride!

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt San Francisco 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Yesterday — August 20th 2019Your RSS feeds

Summer flash sale: Score 2-for-1 passes to Disrupt Berlin 2019

By Leslie Hitchcock

The dog days of summer are upon us, and even busy startuppers across Europe are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. Down time’s important and so is saving money, so all this week we’re holding a 2-for-1 summer flash sale on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2019.

Disrupt Berlin takes place on 11-12 December and, depending on the type of pass you buy, our super early-bird pricing can save you up to €600. But now you can double your savings simply by purchasing an Innovator, Founder or Investor pass before our 2-for-1 flash sale ends on August 23 at 11:59 p.m. (CEST). Buy your 2-for-1 passes right here.

Experience all the early-stage startup excitement and opportunity that Disrupt Berlin offers and do it at a huge discount. Join your community — roughly 3,000 attendees from more than 50 countries, including European Union members, Israel, Turkey, Russia, Egypt, India, China and South Korea. Explore hundreds of early-stage startups exhibiting in Startup Alley. Listen to and learn from our roster of speakers — leading founders, technologists, investors and tech icons along with up-and-coming founders.

Be sure to watch — or even better apply to compete in — the Startup Battlefield pitch competition. TechCrunch editors will select some of the best early-stage startups to go head-to-head on the Disrupt Main Stage. Who knows, you might take home the $50,000 top prize or find your next investment opportunity.

More opportunity awaits in the form of TC Top Picks. Apply here to be one of a select few startups to represent these tech categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, CRM/Enterprise and Education. If you’re chosen, you’ll receive a free Startup Alley Exhibitor Package, a VIP experience and a ton of media and investor exposure. What’s more, a TechCrunch editor will interview every TC Top Pick on the Showcase Stage. We’ll record that interview and promote the video across our social media platforms. That video will drive traffic to your site and come in mighty handy as a future talking point with investors.

Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December. Don’t let sleepy summer days distract you from serious summer savings. You have the rest of this week to double your savings on Innovator, Founder or Investor passes. Buy your 2-for-1 passes before our flash sale ends on August 23 at 11:59 p.m. (CEST). We’ll see you in December!

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Before yesterdayYour RSS feeds

Prices for passes to Disrupt SF 2019 increase next week

By Emma Comeau

Is it just us or is the summer disappearing faster than ever? Disrupt San Francisco 2019 is right around the corner (October 2-4) and the great early-bird migration is upon us. Your opportunity to save big bucks disappears on August 30. Depending on which pass you purchase, you can save up to a whopping $1,300. Feather your nest with early-bird savings — buy your pass today.

Now that you have your pass all squared away, get ready to join more than 10,000 ardent startuppers from across the globe, including startups, exhibitors and media. TechCrunch’s flagship Disrupt features three jam-packed days of programming across four unique stages: the Main Stage, the Extra Crunch Stage, the Q&A Stage and the Showcase Stage (located in Startup Alley).

Speaking of Startup Alley, get ready to explore more than 1,200 early-stage startups and sponsor companies. You’ll also find our hand-picked cohort of TC Top Picks camped out in Startup Alley. It’s an unparalleled networking opportunity — you never know who you might meet and where that connection can lead.

Take advantage of CrunchMatch, the free business-matching platform. It simplifies networking and cuts through the noise to help you find, schedule and meet the right people for your business needs.

Don’t miss the Startup Battlefield on the Main Stage. Watch as 15-20 outstanding early-stage startups vie for glory, investor and media love and a $100,000 equity-free cash infusion.

The Main Stage features interviews and panel discussions with tech titans, leading investors, up-and-coming founders and a host of other world-class speakers. Over on the Extra Crunch Stage you’ll find fireside chats, how-to content and actionable tips. Check out the ever-evolving Disrupt SF agenda. In the meantime, here are three sessions to give you an idea of what you’ll experience.

Creating the Means of Production with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (HitRecord)

For far too long, creators have been users of platforms rather than running those platforms. With HitRecord, Joseph Gordon-Levitt changed that. JGL has been head-down and hands-on with HitRecord, and we’ll hear from him about how to put the power back in creators’ hands.

How to Evaluate Talent and Make Decisions with Ray Dalio (Bridgewater)

Ray Dalio knows a thing or two about building successful startups. As founder of the firm Bridgewater, he helped build it into one of the most successful investment companies ever, managing a whopping $150 billion in assets. He recently wrote a book called Principles, and he’s coming to the TechCrunch Disrupt Extra Crunch stage in October to discuss the book and companion mobile app on how building a strong culture can lead to a flourishing startup.

How to Take a Digital Brand Offline with Rich Fulop (Brooklinen), James Reinhart (ThredUp) and Susan Tynan (Framebridge)

E-commerce has fundamentally changed the way we browse and buy physical goods. But even though online sales have taken a huge bite out of brick-and-mortar, it doesn’t mean that digital brands aren’t interested in the prospect of offline channels. Hear from three founders who have taken their own unique approach to launching a store.

Disrupt San Francisco 2019 takes place on October 2-4, but your chance to get the best price disappears on August 30. Don’t wait, buy your early-bird pass today. Now, go enjoy the rest of your summer.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt San Francisco 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Founder how-to content on the Extra Crunch Stage at Disrupt Berlin 2019

By Leslie Hitchcock

Disrupt Berlin 2019, our premier European tech conference, takes place on 11-12 December and draws 3,000 people from more than 50 countries. Every year we work hard to improve our content programming and present it in new and engaging ways to a very savvy startup audience. This year be sure to check out the Extra Crunch Stage for information you can put in place back at the home base.

If you need to buy a super early-bird pass to Disrupt Berlin, why not take care of that essential detail now? Go ahead…we’ll wait.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming. On the Extra Crunch Stage, we’re focusing on the founders, investors and tech leaders who’ve been there, done that, who will provide how-to content, practical tips and actionable advice that founders need to succeed in the European tech landscape.

The new name and mission come from TC’s recently launched subscription product. Designed for our most engaged readers, this extra crunchy layer of gated content goes deep on entrepreneurial and startup topics like inclusion and diversity, hiring practices, legal and product decisions, as well as mental health and wellness in high-performance businesses.

Treat yourself to an Innovator, Founder or Investor pass, because that’s the only way you’ll gain access to this Extra Crunchy wisdom. Those same passes also provide access to all the fine content, speakers, panelists, interactive workshops and events that take place on the Main Stage, the Showcase Stage and in the Q&A sessions.

That’s a whole lot to take in, and you’ll be busy indeed as you explore hundreds of early-stage startups exhibiting their tech and talent in Startup Alley. Marvel at the brilliant Startup Battlefield competitors vying for $50,000 as they launch on a global stage. Learn from our roster of speakers, the top players in the startup world — tech titans, leading investors and boundary-pushing founders — as they examine emerging trends and critical challenges.

Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December. Get your super early-bird pass, get Extra Crunchy and get ready to make the most of your time at Disrupt. We’ll see you in Berlin!

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Week in Review: Snapchat beats a dead horse

By Lucas Matney

Hey. This is Week-in-Review, where I give a heavy amount of analysis and/or rambling thoughts on one story while scouring the rest of the hundreds of stories that emerged on TechCrunch this week to surface my favorites for your reading pleasure.

Last week, I talked about how Netflix might have some rough times ahead as Disney barrels towards it.


3d video spectacles 3

The big story

There is plenty to be said about the potential of smart glasses. I write about them at length for TechCrunch and I’ve talked to a lot of founders doing cool stuff. That being said, I don’t have any idea what Snap is doing with the introduction of a third-generation of its Spectacles video sunglasses.

The first-gen were a marketing smash hit, their sales proved to be a major failure for the company which bet big and seemingly walked away with a landfill’s worth of the glasses.

Snap’s latest version of Spectacles were announced in Vogue this week, they are much more expensive at $380 and their main feature is that they have two cameras which capture images in light depth which can lead to these cute little 3D boomerangs. One one hand, it’s nice to see the company showing perseverance with a tough market, on the other it’s kind of funny to see them push the same rock up the hill again.

Snap is having an awesome 2019 after a laughably bad 2018, the stock has recovered from record lows and is trading in its IPO price wheelhouse. It seems like they’re ripe for something new and exciting, not beautiful yet iterative.

The $150 Spectacles 2 are still for sale, though they seem quite a bit dated-looking at this point. Spectacles 3 seem to be geared entirely towards women, and I’m sure they made that call after seeing the active users of previous generations, but given the write-down they took on the first-generation, something tells me that Snap’s continued experimentation here is borne out of some stubbornness form Spiegel and the higher-ups who want the Snap brand to live in a high fashion world and want to be at the forefront of an AR industry that seems to have already moved onto different things.

Send me feedback
on Twitter @lucasmtny or email
lucas@techcrunch.com

On to the rest of the week’s news.

tumblr phone sold

Trends of the week

Here are a few big news items from big companies, with green links to all the sweet, sweet added context:

  • WordPress buys Tumblr for chump change
    Tumblr, a game-changing blogging network that shifted online habits and exited for $1.1 billion just changed hands after Verizon (which owns TechCrunch) unloaded the property for a reported $3 million. Read more about this nightmarish deal here.
  • Trump gives American hardware a holiday season pass on tariffs 
    The ongoing trade war with China generally seems to be rough news for American companies deeply intertwined with the manufacturing centers there, but Trump is giving U.S. companies a Christmas reprieve from the tariffs, allowing certain types of hardware to be exempt from the recent rate increases through December. Read more here.
  • Facebook loses one last acquisition co-founder
    This week, the final remnant of Facebook’s major acquisitions left the company. Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell announced he was leaving. Now, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus are all helmed by Facebook leadership and not a single co-founder from the three companies remains onboard. Read more here.

GAFA Gaffes

How did the top tech companies screw up this week? This clearly needs its own section, in order of badness:

  1. Facebook’s turn in audio transcription debacle:
    [Facebook transcribed users’ audio messages without permission]
  2. Google’s hate speech detection algorithms get critiqued:
    [Racial bias observed in hate speech detection algorithm from Google]
  3. Amazon has a little email mishap:
    [Amazon customers say they received emails for other people’s orders]

Adam Neumann (WeWork) at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017

Extra Crunch

Our premium subscription service had another week of interesting deep dives. My colleague Danny Crichton wrote about the “tech” conundrum that is WeWork and the questions that are still unanswered after the company filed documents this week to go public.

WeWork’s S-1 misses these three key points

…How is margin changing at its older locations? How is margin changing as it opens up in places like India, with very different costs and revenues? How do those margins change over time as a property matures? WeWork spills serious amounts of ink saying that these numbers do get better … without seemingly being willing to actually offer up the numbers themselves…

Here are some of our other top reads this week for premium subscribers. This week, we published a major deep dive into the world’s next music unicorn and we dug deep into marketplace startups.

Sign up for more newsletters in your inbox (including this one) here.

Voyage’s driverless future, ghost work, B2B growth strategies, and Black Hat takeaways

By Danny Crichton

Inside Voyage’s plan to deliver a driverless future

In the autonomous vehicle space, startups have taken radically different strategies to building our AV future. Some companies like Waymo have driven all across different types of environments in order to rack up the datasets that they believe will be needed to effectively maneuver without a human driver.

That’s the opposite strategy of Voyage, where CEO and founder Oliver Cameron and his team have focused on driving safety in the incredibly constrained context of two retirement communities.

Our transportation editor Kirsten Korosec talked with the company and analyzes their approach in a new profile for Extra Crunch, and also drops some news about a partnership the company has brewing with a major automotive manufacturer.

Cameron, who shies away from discussing timelines, describes the company as inching toward driverless service.

Its self-driving software has now reached maturation in the communities it is testing in, and Voyage is now focusing on validation, according to Cameron.

Voyage has developed a few systems that will help push it closer to a commercial driverless service while maintaining safety, such as a collision mitigation system that it calls Rango, an internal nickname inspired by the 2011 computer-animated Western action-comedy about a chameleon.

This collision mitigation system is designed to be extremely fast-reacting, like a reptile — hence the Rango name. Rango, which has an independent power source and compute system and uses a different approach to perception than the main self-driving system, is designed to react quickly. If needed, it will engage the full force of the brakes.

Startup ads are taking over the subway

Public transit is just swimming in startup ads. From complete Brex takeovers of the San Francisco Caltrain station to the sleep puzzles posted by Casper across the New York City subway, startups have been taking advantage of this unique out-of-home advertising space. What’s the full story though? Our reporter Anthony Ha takes a look at how the subway ad market came to be in the past few years, and what the future holds for other marketers.

Daily Crunch: Cloudflare is going public

By Anthony Ha

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. Cloudflare files for initial public offering

The web infrastructure company has recently found itself at the center of political debates around some of its customers, including social media networks like 8chan and racist media companies like the Daily Stormer. In fact, the company went so far as to cite 8chan as a risk factor in its public offering documents.

Even so, the company will likely be worth billions when it starts trading on the market. And we have to point out that Cloudflare actually made its debut on TechCrunch’s Battlefield stage back in 2010.

2. Apple is suing Corellium

Corellium allows customers to create and interact with virtual iOS devices — a software iPhone, for example, running actual iOS firmware, all within the browser. Apple says this is copyright infringement.

3. YouTube shuts down music companies’ use of manual copyright claims to steal creator revenue

Going forward, copyright owners will no longer be able to monetize creator videos with very short or unintentional uses of music via YouTube’s “Manual Claiming” tool. Instead, they can choose to prevent the other party from monetizing the video, or they can block the content.

sharechat team

4. Twitter leads $100M round in top Indian regional social media platform ShareChat

ShareChat serves 60 million users each month in 15 regional languages — but not English, which the company says is a deliberate choice.

5. Apple, Samsung continue growth as North American wearables market hits $2B

The numbers aren’t exactly earth-shattering, but they show significant growth for a category that felt almost dead in the water a year or two back.

6. Local governments are forcing the scooter industry to grow up fast

For scooter startups, city regulations can make or break their businesses across nearly every aspect of operations, especially in two key areas: ridership growth and the ability to attract investor dollars. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich will join us for TC Sessions: Enterprise on September 5

In a fireside chat, we’ll ask Russinovich about what Microsoft is doing to reduce the complexity of moving legacy systems to the cloud, and how enterprises can maximize their current cloud investments.

Showcase your startup in Startup Alley at Disrupt SF 2019

By Emma Comeau

What’s the lifeblood of any early-stage startup? Money and media coverage. Opportunities to acquire both abound at Disrupt San Francisco 2019, our flagship tech conference that takes place on October 2-4. It’s all about networking and making the right connections to make your startup dreams come true, and there’s no better networking mecca than Startup Alley.

Buy a Startup Alley Exhibitor Package and plant your early-stage startup in the path of more than 10,000 attendees, including leading technologists, investors, 400 accredited media outlets and other leading influencers. The package includes one full exhibit day and three Founder passes.

You’ll have access to three days of Disrupt programming across the Main Stage, the Extra Crunch Stage, the Showcase Stage and the Q&A Stage. You can watch Startup Battlefield, our epic pitch competition, to see who takes home the $100,000 prize. You’ll also receive invitations to VIP events, like a reception with top-tier investors and global media outlets.

You’ll have CrunchMatch at your side to make networking as easy as possible. This free, business match-making platform helps you find and connect with the people who can move your business forward. It matches people based on their mutual business interests, suggests meetings and sends out invitations (which recipients can easily accept or decline). CrunchMatch even lets you reserve dedicated meeting spaces where you can network in comfort.

And how’s this for opportunity? Every early-stage startup that exhibits in Startup Alley is eligible for a chance to win a Wild Card entry to the Startup Battlefield pitch competition. TechCrunch editors will select two standout startups as Wild Card teams to compete for $100,000 in Startup Battlefield.

It might sound like a longshot (and it is), but RecordGram earned a Wild Card spot and went on to become the Startup Battlefield champ at Disrupt NY 2017. Because dreams do come true.

Disrupt San Francisco 2019 takes place on October 2-4. Buy a demo table, exhibit in Startup Alley and network your way to greatness. Come on and show the world what you’ve got.

Is your company interested in sponsoring at Disrupt SF 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

How-to: Exhibit for free in Startup Alley at Disrupt Berlin 2019

By Leslie Hitchcock

We love a good how-to, especially one that saves early-stage startup founders money and positions them for mad success. We’re talking about how to apply to be a TC Top Pick and exhibit at Disrupt Berlin 2019 — for free.

Our TC Top Picks program is what we call a pre-Disrupt competition. If you’re a founder of an early-stage startup this is your chance to win a free Startup Alley Exhibitor Package and a VIP experience in Berlin. How does it all work? Read on!

First, fill out an application if your startup falls into one of these tech categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, CRM/Enterprise and Education.

TechCrunch editors closely vet each application — and these editors have an almost-mystical ability to spot serious success potential. Ultimately, they’ll choose up to five of the best representatives for each category.

A Startup Alley Exhibitor Package includes one exhibit day, three Founder passes, access to the full conference and all programming at the event.

TC Top Picks attract a lot of attention at the show, and it’s a networking wonderland. You’ll meet investors, potential customers and future collaborators who can help you move to the next level. Plus, you’ll be interviewed by a TechCrunch editor live on the Showcase Stage. We’ll record that interview and promote it on our social media platforms. Talk about a great long-term marketing tool.

Take a page from Caleb John’s playbook. Here’s what the CEO of Cedar Robotics said about exhibiting as a TC Top Pick:

“It blew away my expectations. The number of people we met, the connections we made and the amount of media exposure we received is worth its weight in gold.”

And another thing! You — and all the other exhibiting startups — might even win a chance to compete in Startup Battlefield. TechCrunch editors will choose a startup as a Wild Card competitor, and they’ll compete for $50,000. It’s a longshot, but it sure paid off for RecordGram. They won the Wild Card and then won the Battlefield. Can lightning strike twice?

Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December. Don’t miss your opportunity to showcase your outstanding startup in Startup Alley and enjoy a VIP experience — for free. Apply to our TC Top Picks program today.

Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich will join us for TC Sessions: Enterprise on September 5

By Frederic Lardinois

Being the CTO for one of the three major hypercloud providers may seem like enough of a job for most people, but Mark Russinovich, the CTO of Microsoft Azure, has a few other talents in his back pocket. Russinovich, who will join us for a fireside chat at our TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise event in San Francisco on September 5 (p.s. early-bird sale ends Friday), is also an accomplished novelist who has published four novels, all of which center around tech and cybersecurity.

At our event, though, we won’t focus on his literary accomplishments (except for maybe his books about Windows Server) as much as on the trends he’s seeing in enterprise cloud adoption. Microsoft, maybe more so than its competitors, always made enterprise customers and their needs the focus of its cloud initiatives from the outset. Today, as the majority of enterprises is looking to move at least some of their legacy workloads into the cloud, they are often stumped by the sheer complexity of that undertaking.

In our fireside chat, we’ll talk about what Microsoft is doing to reduce this complexity and how enterprises can maximize their current investments into the cloud, both for running new cloud-native applications and for bringing legacy applications into the future. We’ll also talk about new technologies that can make the move to the cloud more attractive to enterprises, including the current buzz around edge computing, IoT, AI and more.

Before joining Microsoft, Russinovich, who has a Ph.D. in computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon, was the co-founder and chief architect of Winternals Software, which Microsoft acquired in 2006. During his time at Winternals, Russinovich discovered the infamous Sony rootkit. Over his 13 years at Microsoft, he moved from Technical Fellow up to the CTO position for Azure, which continues to grow at a rapid clip as it looks to challenge AWS’s leadership in total cloud revenue.

Tomorrow, Friday, August 16 is your last day to save $100 on tickets before prices go up. Book your early-bird tickets now and keep that Benjamin in your pocket.

If you’re an early-stage startup, we only have three demo table packages left! Each demo package comes with four tickets and a great location for your company to get in front of attendees. Book your demo package today before we sell out!

Daily Crunch: Microsoft admits humans can listen to Skype, Cortana audio

By Anthony Ha

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. Microsoft tweaks privacy policy to admit humans can listen to Skype Translator and Cortana audio

The change comes after a recent Motherboard report that contractors were listening to personal Skype conversations and Cortana audio recordings. Microsoft is just the latest tech giant to get called out for failing to make it clear that human contractors could be listening to users’ audio recordings.

When asked about the policy changes, the company said, “We realized, based on questions raised recently, that we could do a better job specifying that humans sometimes review this content.”

2. AT&T and T-Mobile team up to fight scam robocalls

The two companies will today begin to roll out new cross-network call authentication technology based on the STIR/SHAKEN standards — a sort of universal caller ID system designed to stop illegal caller ID spoofing.

3. Amazon launches a new program to donate unsold products from third-party sellers to charity

The program’s launch follows a series of news reports earlier this year, which found that Amazon warehouses routinely trashed millions of unsold items.

Photo: Pivotal

4. VMware says it’s looking to acquire Pivotal

Pivotal is best known for commercializing the open-source Cloud Foundry platform. Its shares have struggled since the company’s IPO in April 2018.

5. UPS takes minority stake in self-driving truck startup TuSimple

TuSimple, which is backed by Nvidia, ZP Capital and Sina Corp., is working on a “full-stack solution,” developing and bringing together all of the technological pieces required for autonomous driving.

6. Racial bias observed in hate speech detection algorithm from Google

Researchers at the University of Washington were interested in the idea that databases of hate speech currently available might have racial biases baked in — like many other data sets that suffered from a lack of inclusive practices during formation.

7. Inside Voyage’s plan to deliver a driverless future

In two years, Voyage has gone from a tiny self-driving car upstart spun out of Udacity to a company able to operate on 200 miles of roads in retirement communities. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

Meet the TC Top Picks for Disrupt SF 2019

By Priya Gupta

Honestly, the creativity and quality of early-stage startups and their founders never ceases to amaze us. When we issued the call for applications to our TC Top Picks program for Disrupt San Francisco 2019, the response was overwhelming — and the competition was off the hook. Our editors dug in and managed to narrow the field to the startups they felt best represent their specific category. It wasn’t easy, but we’re thrilled with the results and we think you will be, too.

The TC Top Picks program showcases outstanding early-stage startups across these categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, SaaS and Social Impact & Education.

Top Picks founders receive a free Startup Alley exhibitor package, a featured location on the exhibition floor, three free Founder passes and VIP treatment — including invitations to the investor reception. They also receive an interview on the Showcase Stage with a TechCrunch editor — and we’ll promote that video across our social media platforms.

It’s time to announce the early-stage startups we chose as TC Top Picks for Disrupt SF ’19. Can we get a drum roll, please?

AI/Machine Learning

  • Greyparrot: Provides cutting-edge computer vision products and services to enterprises looking for AI partners.
  • Halos: A fully digital consumer insurance platform designed to make insurance useful for every single consumer.
  • Moodbit: People Analytics Technology that analyzes employee emotions and delivers predictive and prescriptive analytics to improve performance.
  • OneClick.ai: Automated Deep Learning AI technology to enable businesses with advanced predictive analysis and decision making.
  • Voxel51: AI for Video: video analytics platform in the cloud and on-premises enabling fast, rich insights from image and video data sets.

Biotech/Healthtech

  • achu health: A predictive health platform that tracks vital patterns to warn you of impending future illnesses.
  • FindAir: An award-winning, smart tool for asthma monitoring. Start using FindAir ONE and take control of your asthma today.
  • MyMilk labs: An m-health device and app for improving breastfeeding via direct breast-milk sensing.
  • Sparkle Innovations: Transforming banana stem agro-waste into all-natural sanitary pads, organic fertilizer and other value added products.
  • Theator: An AI-powered surgical decision support company.

Blockchain

  • Button Wallet: Multi crypto currency wallet with exchange in Telegram.
  • Crypto APIs: SaaS, Blockchain, Crypto.
  • Ember Fund: Mobile app to invest like a cryptocurrency hedge fund.
  • Planet Nine: Building a new digital economy for microtransactions.

Fintech

  • Beam Financial: A best-paying mobile bank account.
  • FineprintF Technologies: Make your purchasing experience transparent with FeeBelly. Instantly catch hidden fees, costly terms and critical details hidden in any document.
  • Mellow: The first-ever personal finance solution made for children and parents.
  • Trio Financial Technologies: World’s simplest way to invest, by letting you earn investment returns on your checking balance.

Mobility

  • AirBie: Smart bike lock for bike-sharing systems.
  • #Fly: An exciting AI startup disrupting the travel market using patent-pending technology.
  • Flugauto: Providing air transportation for industrial applications, and enabling instant access to cargo for everyone, everywhere.
  • SparkCharge: Manufactures and develops charging station for electric vehicles.

Privacy/Security

  • Alcide: Provides a cloud-native security platform from code to production to continuously secure workloads running in Kubernetes.
  • Hacware: Protects employees from getting email hacked.
  • MedStack: Deliver healthcare apps to market 60% faster via cloud hosting with security, HIPAA compliance, pre-written policies + your choice of stack.
  • Moabi: Cybersecurity, firmware, binary analysis, SaaS, IoT, IIoT.
  • Unum ID: Mobile app empowering users to take control over their personal information.

Retail/E-commerce

  • Cloosiv: Order ahead from your favorite local coffee shops, skip the line and earn rewards that save you money at hundreds of locations across the country.
  • Frills: A fun way to add and extend personal content with your friends!
  • Oculogx: Develops AR software on heads-up displays.
  • PadPiper: Find furnished apartments and compatible housemates.

Robotics/IoT/Hardware

  • 4DAGE: Dedicated to the studies and application of artificial intelligence in the field of 3D reconstruction and digitization algorithm.
  • AVA Technologies: Automatically grow year-round herbs, tomatoes and more.
  • ilmatic: Spend your cryptocurrency with a secure hardware wallet.
  • SeeHow: SeeHow is a sports technology company that transforms sports equipment into sensors.
  • Thinker-Tinker: Consumer product, family technology, subscription, edu-tainment.

SaaS

  • Cinchy: The data collaboration platform.
  • Onna Technologies: Dedicated to providing the best enterprise search and archiving experience across all company data sources.
  • Socionado: Matches vetted freelance social media managers to brands.
  • Veamly: Your apps centralized with unified search.
  • Vertoe: An on-demand, short-term luggage storage service.

Social Impact & Education

  • Bidder Construction App: Connects construction workers with construction jobs around them!
  • BlueSmart Technology: Specializing in IoT baby products, their first product, BlueSmart mia, is an award-winning smart baby feeding monitor that fits on any baby bottle.
  • Oya: An evidence-based, interactive platform for parents that allows them to monitor and improve their child’s development.
  • SNAPSHYFT: Mobile platform connecting understaffed food and beverage and hospitality operations with qualified workers, on-demand.

It’s not too late to exhibit your startup at Disrupt. Simply buy a Startup Alley Exhibitor Package and showcase your startup alongside 1,200+ companies and sponsors in Startup Alley. All exhibiting startups have a shot at winning a Wild Card to compete for $100,000 in our famous pitch competition, Startup Battlefield — TechCrunch editors will choose two startups for that thrill ride.

Disrupt San Francisco 2019 takes place on October 2-4 at Moscone Center North. Get your early-bird tickets here. Come join us and discover new opportunities. We can’t wait to see you there!

Apply to the TC Hackathon at Disrupt Berlin 2019

By Leslie Hitchcock

Hey hackathon fans, get ready to pack your bags and book your tickets to Berlin. That’s right, baby, the TC Hackathon returns to Disrupt Berlin 2019 on 11-12 December. We’re looking for creative code warriors of every stripe to compete in a grueling, exhilarating marathon that will test your physical, mental and technical limits.

It won’t cost you a thing to apply or to participate. Heck, we even give you a free Innovator pass to attend. Don’t wait on this opportunity — we’re limiting participation to 500 hackers. Apply to the TC Disrupt Berlin Hackathon 2019, compete against some of the best coders and makers in the world and let your freaky hack flag fly.

TechCrunch vets all applicants and if you make the cut, you’ll join a team (or bring one of your own) and spend the next 36 hours designing, coding and creating something new and amazing.

Curious about these sponsored contests? We’ll roll out specifics on sponsors, challenges and prizes over the next few weeks. In the meantime, check out the sponsored contests, prizes and winners from last year’s Disrupt SF 2018 Hackathon. That’ll give you a sense of the kind of projects to expect.

Once the hack clock runs out and you’ve submitted your creation, a team of experts will judge all completed projects in a science-fair style format and select 10 finalists. On day two, those 10 teams will have two minutes to present and pitch their project on the Extra Crunch Stage. No pressure…just kidding. Lots of pressure.

Sponsors will announce the winners of their individual challenges — which come with cash prizes and other incentives. Then TechCrunch will select the best overall hack — and award that team a $5,000 cash prize.

And don’t worry — we’ll keep you fed, watered and caffeinated throughout the event. You’re gonna need all the energy you can muster.

Competing in the TC Hackathon is fast-paced, exhausting and fun. It’s also a great way to network, impress potential employers or meet your next collaborator. Space is limited and seats will go quickly, so apply to the TC Hackathon at Disrupt Berlin 2019 on 11-12 December. Show us your hack!

Kobalt, Apple and smartwatches, Hadoop, customer support, and social work and AI

By Danny Crichton

The Kobalt EC-1: How a Swedish saxophonist built Kobalt, the world’s next music unicorn

My favorite pieces we host on Extra Crunch are our EC-1 series of in-depth profiles and analyses of high-flying, fascinating startups. We launched Extra Crunch with a multi-part series on Patreon, and then we covered augmented reality and Pokémon Go creator Niantic and gaming platform Roblox.

This week, Extra Crunch media columnist Eric Peckham launched the first part of his three-part EC-1 series looking at music “operating system” startup Kobalt. Kobalt is not perhaps a popular household name like Roblox, but it’s influence is heard pretty much every single time you listen to music. Kobalt is upending the traditional infrastructure to track music plays to capture royalties for artists, an industry that today still involves people literally walking into bars and writing down what’s playing. From that base, Kobalt wants to expand into services to empower the next-generation of stars and mid-market talent.

What I loved about this story is that not only is Kobalt completely rebuilding an otherwise stagnant industry, but its founder and CEO is also such a dynamic individual. Willard Ahdritz was a former saxophonist whose band was essentially abandoned by their music label — even while that label wouldn’t give up the economics that would allow the band to continue (some founders may have similar experiences with their venture investors). Ahdritz would eventually start his own music label called Telegram, and a bit later started Kobalt to solve the problems he kept running into on the music publishing side.

It’s been almost two decades, but today, Kobalt offers a suite of technologies and services and has its crosshairs on the big three labels — Universal, Sony, and Warner. It’s also raised a boatload of venture capital and is closing in on a unicorn valuation. Read the full story, learn more about this analytically fascinating business, and get ready for parts two and three coming soon.

Refer a friend to Extra Crunch

Daily Crunch: Uber reports big losses and slowing growth

By Anthony Ha

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. Uber lost more than $5B last quarter

Uber reported earnings for the second time as a public company, posting its largest-ever quarterly loss. And while revenue grew 14% year-over-year, that also sparked concerns over (relatively) slow growth.

The company’s stock took a nose-dive of 11% in after-hours trading following the news.

2. HarmonyOS is Huawei’s Android alternative for smartphones and smart home devices

After months of conflicting statements from executives, Huawei has officially unveiled HarmonyOS, a distributed operating system developed to power smartphones, laptops and smart home devices as the company attempts to reduce its reliance on American firms.

3. Apple expands its bug bounty, increases maximum payout to $1M

Apple is finally giving security researchers something they’ve wanted for years: a macOS bug bounty.

GettyImages 142420587 1

Hustle and bustle of Indian roads around monument of Charminar in Hyderabad, India.

4. India’s Lendingkart raises $30M to help small businesses access working capital

Lendingkart Finance has issued over 60,000 loans to more than 55,000 small and medium-sized enterprises in 1,300 cities across India. The startup says it will use the fresh capital to widen its lending range and find new clients.

5. This startup is helping food app delivery workers start their own damn delivery companies

Dumpling’s goal is to turn today’s delivery workers into “solopreneurs” who build their own book of clients and keep much more of the money.

6. The smartwatch category is growing, as Apple remains dominant

The good news for smartwatches is that the category continues to grow — but the numbers start to look less rosy when you take Apple out of the equation. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. Quantum computing is coming to TC Sessions: Enterprise on Sept. 5

Joining us onstage will be Microsoft’s Krysta Svore, who leads the company’s quantum efforts; IBM’s Jay Gambetta, the principal theoretical scientist behind IBM’s quantum computing effort; and Jim Clarke, the director of quantum hardware at Intel Labs.

Startups seek sperm… and venture capital backing

By Kate Clark

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week we were helmed by Kate Clark and Alex Wilhelm, but those of you who love the show having guests on, don’t despair. As we explain at the top, there’s a lot of folks coming on the show soon, many of whom you know by name.

But that’s to come, and we had a lot to chat through this week. Including, right from the jump, the latest gyrations in the stock market. Earlier this week tech stocks, and especially cloud and SaaS stocks, took a nosedive. Sentiment swung around later in the week when markets caught their breath and Lyft’s earnings went well. But the movement in highly valued SaaS companies caught our eye. Perhaps if the market finally does correct, we’ll see growth stakes take the worst of it.

But it wasn’t all bad news on the show; a new app that raised $5 million caught Kate’s attention. It’s called Squad and it’s now backed by First Round Capital, the seed fund behind the likes of Uber . You can read Kate’s interview with the founder, Esther Crawford, here.

Next, we turned to two startups that are focused on male reproductive health. While we’ve covered startups focused on fertility, this is the first time we’ve delved into male-focused services that are designed to help men take part in conception. The news here is Dadi has raised another $5 million in venture capital funding. Legacy, the other male fertility company we discussed, is taking part in Y Combinator’s summer batch right now.

On the IPO-ish beat, we talked about Postmates, which has a new stadium partnership, and, more importantly, permission to use cute robots to deliver things in San Francisco. After hearing for years about how small, rolling robots will handle last-mile deliveries, we’re excited for them to actually make it to market. In our view, technology of this sort won’t eliminate the need for human workers at on-demand shops, though they may replace some routine runs. Bring on the burrito robots.

We closed on Airbnb’s purchase of Urbandoor, yet another acquisition from the popular home-sharing company that will eventually go public. It has to, right? Perhaps Urbandoor will help unlock new revenues in the corporate travel space before we see an S-1. After all, Airbnb wants to debut with plenty of growth under its belt to help it meet valuation expectations. Adding revenue to its core business could be a good way to ensure that there’s new top-line to report.

More to come, including something special next week!

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.

Daily Crunch: Samsung unveils the Galaxy Note 10

By Anthony Ha

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. This is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 and 10+

The landscape has changed dramatically since the Galaxy Note was first unveiled in 2011, with Samsung pulling the rest of the industry into a world of bigger screens.

Now, the question is how to make the latest updates compelling. With the Note 10 and 10+ (available August 23 at a starting price of $950), Samsung is splitting the line into two distinct devices, and it’s getting rid of the headphone jack.

2. Google launches ‘Live View’ AR walking directions for Google Maps

The Live View feature isn’t designed with the idea that you’ll hold up your phone continually as you walk. Instead, in provides quick, easy and super-useful orientation by showing you arrows and big, readable street markers overlaid on the real scene in front of you.

3. Lyft’s stock is a roller coaster after its Q2 earnings release

Despite big losses, what made Wall Street happy was Lyft’s optimism for Q3, as well as the full-year 2019.

Netflix app icon iOS

Photo: TechCrunch

4. Netflix signs multi-year deal with ‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal is worth $200 million. This follows expensive Netflix pacts with other high-profile showrunners, including Ryan Murphy ($300 million) and Shonda Rhimes ($100 million).

5. Instagram ad partner secretly sucked up and tracked millions of users’ locations and stories

Hyp3r, an apparently trusted marketing partner of Facebook and Instagram, has been secretly collecting and storing location and other data on millions of users, violating the policies of the social networks, according to Business Insider.

6. Sperm storage startups are raising millions

Both Dadi and Legacy recently raised funding, hoping to leverage venture capital dollars to become the dominant men’s fertility brand.

7. How to fundraise in August

Danny Crichton argues that although August is generally considered a black hole for VC, using it effectively for fundraising is perhaps the single most important factor for success in the coming season. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson joins Disrupt SF to talk about US crewed spaceflight

By Darrell Etherington

The space race is back on, but this time it’s closer to home: A number of U.S. companies are vying to become the first to return Americans to crewed launches, after an eight-year hiatus marked by the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. Lockheed Martin is one of that very small group, through its partnership with Boeing on the United Launch Alliance, and through its development of the Orion crew capsule, which ticked off an important checkbox in July when it was confirmed complete and ready for mission prep.

Lockheed Martin is at the center of it all, no matter which way you slice it, and that’s why it’s great news that CEO Marillyn Hewson will join us at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2019 in San Francisco to talk all about her company’s work with NASA, their progress on bringing back America’s crewed launch capabilities and their designs on the Moon and beyond.

Even after Orion flies with astronauts aboard for the first time, which is currently set to happen sometime next year, Lockheed Martin has yet more ambitious plans — including developing an “early Gateway” to precede the full-scale Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway that NASA aims to install orbiting the Moon to provide a more permanent base of operations for long-term lunar operations.

Lockheed Martin has been in the space business since the 1950s, but private and commercial interest in space has changed a lot in the ensuing years. We’ll talk about what the growing commercial interest in low-Earth orbit and beyond, and the increasing number of launch and service providers, means for Lockheed and its evolution.

Disrupt SF runs October 2 to October 4 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Tickets are available at an early-bird rate here.

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