TechCrunch Include Office Hours with Betaworks in New York AND SF
- On Tuesday, May 29th, partners Peter Rojas and Matt Hartman will be meeting with startup founders in SF and NYC, respectively.
- TechCrunch started the Include program in 2014 with the aim of utilizing its networks to open opportunities for underrepresented and underserved founders in tech.
- Throughout the year, TechCrunch joins with partners at various VC firms to connect with founders in private 20-minute meetings.
- The May Include Office Hours will be hosted by betaworks on May 29th from 2-4pm local time in each city.
- Betaworks is a startup studio and venture capital fund focusing on building and investing in engineering and design driven consumer technology products.
- Peter Rojas is a founding partner at betaworks ventures, a seed-stage venture capital fund based in New York and San Francisco.
- If you are partner/managing director of a firm and are interested in hosting an Include Office Hour, email [email protected]
Empath wins Tech in Asia Singapore 2018 Arena
- Sara Akaoka Badssi from Empath (center) / Photo credit: Henzy David / Tech in Asia
- Japan’s Empath came out on top today at the Tech in Asia Singapore 2018 Arena pitch battle.
- Empath uses AI to identify emotions in the human voice in real time, regardless of language.
- ConscientAI (Sri Lanka), a startup that uses machine learning to provide insights on consumer behavior and trends in sectors like manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and insurance.
- X0pa (Singapore), which employs machine learning and algorithms to produce data-driven insights that help businesses manage their staff better.
- Ocard (Taiwan), a company that built a CRM system and loyalty program that gather customer data and provide targeted marketing for businesses.
- This is part of the coverage of Tech in Asia Singapore 2018, our conference taking place on May 15 and 16.
Jared Kushner's security clearance restored
- The Mueller probe has also hung over Kushner's status in the White House, in part because some of the matters under investigation relate to his role during the campaign and the transition, including contacts with Russians, as well as events that occurred in the early months of the Trump presidency, such as the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
- But Kushner's troubles were compounded at least in part because his initial security clearance application didn't list dozens of foreign contacts that he later included in updated submissions to the FBI.
- He updated the form in the spring, listing about 100 contacts, but did not mention the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting he attended with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Donald Trump Jr., and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Comcast confirms plan to buy 21st Century Fox and control of Hulu
- Comcast today said it is preparing an offer to buy major portions of 21st Century Fox, which would give it majority control of Hulu and other media properties.
- Walt Disney Company already has a $52.4 billion all-stock deal to buy the 21st Century Fox properties.
- Comcast already owns 30 percent of Hulu, so a deal with Fox would give the nation's largest cable company majority control over the online video provider.
- In the US, a Comcast/Fox deal would face scrutiny from the Department of Justice, which is trying to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner Inc. A judge is expected to rule on the AT&T/Time Warner merger by June 12, and Comcast was reportedly waiting for the outcome of that trial before proceeding with a bid for Fox assets.
Trump finally gets chance to ‘do a big number’ on Dodd-Frank in biggest overhaul of bank rules since the crisis
- The U.S. House has approved a sweeping overhaul of bank regulations, sending to President Donald Trump a bill that will give him a chance to make good on his vow to “do a big number” on the Dodd-Frank Act. Lawmakers voted 258-to-159 Tuesday to advance a measure that is the product of years of financial-industry lobbying to soften post-crisis rules and sensitive negotiations on Capitol Hill to attract bipartisan support needed to get it through the narrowly-divided Senate.
- While losing the SIFI label frees them from some stricter oversight and annual stress tests mandated by Dodd-Frank, banks with more than $50 billion in assets are still subject to other rules including the Fed’s annual Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review.
Inside Grapeshot's $325 million decision to sell to Oracle, despite some investors thinking it could have grown into a $1 billion startup
- Sources said the $325 million tag included earn-outs, where the executive team will be paid depending on how the business does in future.
- According to Bautin, the acquisition turns Grapeshot's executive team into millionaires.
- Bautin and his fellow investors at IQ Capital and Albion Capital have seen strong returns on their original investments into Grapeshot.
- Bautin said Grapeshot's acquisition helped IQ Capital's first fund return 2x to its investors.
- IQ led a £1.5 million round into the company in 2009, and by the time Albion and Draper invested in 2014 and 2015, the company was "going like a train", according to Draper Esprit's Stuart Chapman.
- Bautin and Whitby-Smith said Grapeshot had considerable interest from multiple buyers and investors, including private equity firms, but ultimately opted to sell to its longstanding partner Oracle.
Verifly launches a business insurance product for gig economy workers
- Verifly, which was launched in 2016 as an insurance provider for drone pilots, is expanding its services to include pretty much every type of part-time or contract work for the on-demand economy.
- When it launched Verifly offered coverage starting at $1 million for a price of $10 per-hour, per-flight.
- The company is taking the same approach with gig work., Anyone from photographers and DJs to magicians and clowns — along with the legions of part-time handymen and and women out there — can get insured for at least $1 million for just $5 per-hour, per-job.
- While Verifly will insure someone in minutes for $5 per hour, a quick search online shows business insurance prices beginning at $21 per month, with others offering quotes at $30.
Budweiser's parent company is now giving nearly 200,000 employees four months of paid parental leave
- Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's biggest beer company, has set a new global parental leave standard for its nearly-200,000 full-time employees in 52 countries.
- Under the new policy, primary caregivers, who may or may not be the mother, will receive a minimum of 16 weeks of time off at full pay.
- Previously, the Leuven, Belgium-based company's parental leave policy included language about the "birth parent" rather than the "primary caregiver," as it does now.
- AB InBev's new global standard for paid leave is an improvement upon the primary caregiver laws in 33 of its 52 countries, Almeida said.
- While AB InBev's nearly-200,000 full-time employees worldwide fall under the new policy, Almeida said contractors are not required to follow these same policies, and benefits vary worldwide for AB InBev's hourly workforce.
A new eyewear brand is taking on Luxottica with a single wire, some seed funding, and a sustainability story
- A U.K.-based startup has come up with a new design for high-end, direct-to-consumer sunglasses that are original, modular, and virtually indestructible.
- I took a piece of soft wire and created a frame and 3D printed lenses in my studio.
- We’d send money and clothes and tools, and they’d ship back these frames that we’d combine with 3D printed parts, and suddenly we had these glasses that people liked and we started selling them.
- This first collection has seven different lense shapes in two [wire] colors — black and white, so if you want to change your look, you don’t need to buy another frame, just a pair of lenses that you pop on the same wire.
- YN: Before we introduce new Wires, we think there’s a lot we can do, not just with the shapes but with the types of lenses we make.
A startup born at MIT just got $16 million to build better hardware for bike and scooter sharing
- An electric bicycle company out of Cambridge, Massachusetts is breaking into bike-sharing, one of the hottest new areas in tech and venture capital.
- To do it, Superpedestrian has raised $16.5 million in Series B funding from Spark Capital, General Catalyst, China Renaissance director Charles Kim, and Nest cofounder Tony Fadell.
- Now, Superpedestrian wants to take those sensors and the software that powers them, and offer them to bikeshare and other urban mobility companies.
- According to Superpedestrian CEO Assaf Biderman, the company's combination of software and hardware can reduce costs, increase uptime, and basically make the entire bike share business model more efficient.
- But Superpedestrian doesn't want to build an entire bike-sharing service — it wants to provide the hardware and software for those services.
- Superpedestrian has taken $44 million in total funding including previous rounds.