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{"status":"ok","feed":{"url":"https://techcrunch.com/feed/","title":"TechCrunch","link":"https://techcrunch.com/","author":"","description":"Startup and Technology News","image":"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/cropped-cropped-favicon-gradient.png?w=32"},"items":[{"title":"How [and why] I invest in startups","pubDate":"2018-05-23 21:10:57","link":"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/how-and-why-i-invest-in-startups/","guid":"https://techcrunch.com/?p=1644608","author":"Jonathan Shieber","thumbnail":"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/spiral-road.png","description":"A lot of people ask me how I choose to invest in startups. I'm not proactively funding at different stages. I'm proactively funding brilliant people trying to solve hard problems.","content":"\n<div class=\"article__contributor-byline\">\n\t<div class=\"contributor-byline__contributor\">\n\t\t<div class=\"byline__author\">\n\t\t\t\t\t\t\t<span class=\"byline__author-name\">Ashton Kutcher</span>\n\t\t\t\t\t\t<span class=\"byline__author-title\">Contributor</span>\n\t\t</div>\n\n\t\t\t\t<div class=\"contributor__twitter\">\n\t\t\t<a target=\"_blank\" href=\"https://twitter.com/aplusk\">\n\t\t\t\t\t<svg class=\"icon icon--twitter icon--white\" viewbox=\"0 0 20 20\" version=\"1.1\" aria-labelledby=\"title\"><title>Share on Twitter</title>\n<path d=\"M20,4c-0.7,0.3-1.5,0.6-2.4,0.7c0.9-0.5,1.5-1.4,1.8-2.3c-0.8,0.5-1.7,0.8-2.6,1C16.1,2.5,15,2,13.8,2c-2.3,0-4.1,1.9-4.1,4.2c0,0.3,0,0.7,0.1,1C6.4,7,3.4,5.4,1.4,2.9C1,3.5,0.8,4.1,0.8,4.9c0,1.4,0.7,2.7,1.8,3.5C2,8.4,1.4,8.2,0.8,7.9v0.1c0,2,1.4,3.7,3.3,4.1c-0.4,0.1-0.7,0.2-1.1,0.2c-0.3,0-0.5,0-0.8-0.1c0.5,1.7,2,2.9,3.8,2.9c-1.4,1.1-3.2,2-5.1,2c-0.3,0-0.7,0-1-0.1c1.8,1.2,4,1.7,6.3,1.7c7.5,0,11.7-6.4,11.7-12V6.1C18.8,5.6,19.4,4.8,20,4z\"></path></svg></a>\n\t\t</div>\n\t\t\t</div>\n\n\t\t<div class=\"contributor-byline__bio\">\n\t\t<a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/person/ashton-kutcher/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"person\" data-entity=\"ashton-kutcher\">Ashton Kutcher <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"></span></a> is an actor and investor. He is the co-founder of <a href=\"http://www.sound-ventures.com/\">Sound Ventures</a>.\t</div>\n\t\n\t</div>\n<p><span>A lot of people ask me how I choose to invest in startups.</span></p>\n<p><span>Stage?</span></p>\n<p><span>Revenue metrics?</span></p>\n<p><span>Sector?</span></p>\n<p><b>I\u2019m not proactively funding at different stages. I\u2019m proactively funding brilliant people trying to solve hard problems.</b></p>\n<p><span>Focusing on this simple goal of identifying and enabling amazing entrepreneurs to create a better tomorrow is the crux of my investment strategy.</span></p>\n<h2><span>My startup investment \u201cformula\u201d</span></h2>\n<p><span>A lot of venture funds try to optimize for returns.</span></p>\n<p><span>They run complex ratio economic models to determine what their diluted value will be at the end of the life cycle of the optimal and non-optimal case of every given company.</span></p>\n<p><b>I don\u2019t do that. I just try to fund the best and brightest.</b></p>\n<p><span>I love working with the smartest and brightest people in the world on some of the hardest challenges. And oftentimes I make a return as a result of that.</span></p>\n<p><span>I weigh investments based on two vectors:</span></p>\n<ul>\n<li><b>Return</b></li>\n<li>Happiness</li>\n</ul>\n<p><span>The primary litmus I put on any investment is on behalf of my LPs. Will the capital have a potential of 6-10x returns in 5, 8, 10 years? If not, it\u2019s not going to be worth our time and money.</span></p>\n<p><span>But it\u2019s not the only factor.</span></p>\n<p><span>If we\u2019re happy doing the work that we\u2019re doing on behalf of this company and relatively confident that we can return for our LPs, it\u2019s an investment worth making.</span></p>\n<p><span>It seems counterintuitive, but it actually works \u2014 </span><b>our first fund is showing 8-9x returns</b><span>.</span></p>\n<p><span>I\u2019ve had the experience where I\u2019ve lost all my money. But more often than not, I\u2019ve had the other experience.</span></p>\n<p><span>A lot of companies might not have 100x return, but they have 5-6x return and they\u2019ve solved an important problem. By measuring both the financial return of the investment and the happiness of being a part of that journey, I can holistically gauge the net outcome.</span></p>\n<p><img class=\"breakout alignnone size-full wp-image-1453479\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/spiral-road.png\" alt=\"\" width=\"1024\" height=\"576\"><small><i>Image: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch</i></small></p>\n<h3><span>Know what you don\u2019t know</span></h3>\n<p><span>It\u2019s really easy to box yourself out of really great companies by having mathematical guard rails that don\u2019t necessarily hold up over time.</span></p>\n<p><span>At the time of investment, it can be difficult to anticipate the future products that end up being the largest revenue drivers.</span></p>\n<p><b>If you had the insight to know that the value that they were returning to customers was great enough that eventually they would find a way to monetize it, you would have invested in Facebook.</b></p>\n<p><span>But if you\u2019re operating on a purely mathematical model, you might not have been able to do that.</span></p>\n<p><span>I remember sitting down with one of my mentors around eight years ago.</span></p>\n<p><span>He listed ten companies on a white board and said \u201crank for me from top to bottom which company you think is the most valuable. Now rank for me from top to bottom which company has the most revenue.\u201d</span></p>\n<p><span>I had a mix of ones, fives and sevens; whether I thought they were going up or down the list on both sides.</span></p>\n<p><b>It turns out that the company with the least amount of revenue was the most valuable. And the company with the most amount of revenue was the least valuable.</b></p>\n<div class=\"wp-caption alignnone\">\n<img class=\"breakout size-full wp-image-1590425\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/gettyimages-688899343.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"1024\" height=\"795\"><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Image: Lee Woodgate/Getty Images</p>\n</div>\n<h2><span>What I look for in founders</span></h2>\n<p><span>When I make an investment in a startup company, I plan on the likelihood that I\u2019ll end up working with that person for five to ten years.</span></p>\n<p><span>I don\u2019t have a magic formula, but there are four important factors that must all check out for me to invest in a founder.</span></p>\n<h3><span>1. Domain Expertise</span></h3>\n<p><span>The best founders have some unique insight in the domain where they\u2019re building a company that gives them some edge.</span> <span>I often find that it\u2019s one of three factors:</span></p>\n<ol>\n<li><span>a) \u00a0Deeper understanding of consumer behavior</span></li>\n<li><span>b) \u00a0Historical Insight</span></li>\n<li><span>c) \u00a0Data</span></li>\n</ol>\n<p><span>There\u2019s usually some initial edge that is really clear and that gives you confidence that they have absolute domain expertise for whatever problem they\u2019re trying to solve.</span></p>\n<h3><span>2. Grit</span></h3>\n<p><span>Founders need some capacity of perseverance through really, really tough situations.</span></p>\n<p><span>I\u2019ve never heard a single story of someone building a company where everything went the way they thought it was going to go.</span></p>\n<p><span>And when things don\u2019t go the way that you think that they\u2019re going to go, will you have the capacity and the willingness, and the perseverance to sort of go through it?</span></p>\n<p><span>This one is difficult to assess, and I generally go by gut instinct on meeting with the founder.</span></p>\n<h3><span>3. Purpose</span></h3>\n<p><span>Is whatever they\u2019re building someway connected to a greater purpose in which they\u2019re personally invested?</span></p>\n<p><span>Whatever they\u2019re building has some resonance relative to who they are, </span><i><span>how</span></i><span> they are, and what they believe \u2014 because belief systems don\u2019t go away when you get into trouble or come across a difficult challenge.</span></p>\n<h3><span>4. Charisma</span></h3>\n<p><span>There\u2019s a level of charisma that many great founders have, especially if they want to be the CEO of their company.</span></p>\n<p><span>When I meet with a founder with true charisma, I usually come away feeling like I want to quit my job and go work for them. Because if I don\u2019t get that sense or that feeling that I want to quit everything that I\u2019m doing to go work for them, the best person for the job that they are hiring for isn\u2019t going to have that feeling either.</span></p>\n<p><b>Recruiting is the hardest thing that any CEO has to do.</b></p>\n<p><span>They have to be able to sell themselves, sell their vision, and sell their company. If they don\u2019t have the charisma to sell it to me, I find it hard to believe that they\u2019re going to be able to sell it to somebody else.</span></p>\n<div class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\">\n<img class=\"breakout size-full wp-image-1612528\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/gettyimages-494774883.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"1024\" height=\"683\"><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Image: Boris Austin / Getty Images</p>\n</div>\n<h2><span>What makes me wary of founders</span></h2>\n<p><span>A founder can do many things to represent themselves poorly, but here are 3:</span></p>\n<h3><span>1. Display questionable principles</span></h3>\n<p><span>I\u2019m a very principle driven person.</span></p>\n<p><span>I have certain litmuses around gender equality, racial equality, and working with good humans. I only want to work with founders and invest in companies that share my principles.</span></p>\n<p><span>I want to be connected and associated with people that represent their brand in a way that I would represent mine.</span></p>\n<p><span>It\u2019s so easy to get distracted by the numbers and models and projections \u2014 and don\u2019t get me wrong, these are important.</span></p>\n<p><b>But also, I\u2019m looking at human beings build businesses.</b><span> I want to work with good people and people that respect other people and people that have good moral fiber</span><b>.</b></p>\n<h3><span>2. Lack domain expertise</span></h3>\n<p><span>If the person doesn\u2019t know their numbers it\u2019s an immediate killer.</span></p>\n<p><span>I often drill down into the domain the founder is working in. There are often brand new, disruptive ideas that I\u2019ve never seen before. It\u2019s easy to get caught up in the excitement of that, but the economics still need to make sense.</span></p>\n<p><span>If someone doesn\u2019t understand the economics and the motivational drivers within a given sector, it becomes rapidly clear whether or not somebody has domain expertise.</span></p>\n<p><span>And if they don\u2019t understand the domain and have a unique insight, they\u2019re probably not going to be able to build something special. </span></p>\n<h3><span>3. Lack of respect for time</span></h3>\n<p><span>The biggest key people often forget when they\u2019re busy trying to sell what they\u2019re doing is a basic, human understanding of other people.</span></p>\n<p><span>Smart people know the right time and </span><a href=\"https://www.atrium.co/blog/how-to-find-meet-investors/\"><span>the right way to connect with someone</span></a><span>.</span></p>\n<p><span>I\u2019ve answered cold emails from people that are really well formulated, thought out, respectful of my time, and respectful of me.</span></p>\n<p><span>I\u2019ve taken elevator pitches from people.</span></p>\n<p><span>I\u2019ve had meetings set up with strangers.</span></p>\n<p><span>If you know somebody hasn\u2019t even sort of taken the time to consider </span><i><span>your</span></i><span> time, they\u2019re probably not going to consider the time of other people. And I think that\u2019s going to negatively affect them and their company.</span></p>\n<p><b>When a founder or company approaches me in a way that\u2019s not considerate and respectful of my time and what I\u2019m interested in, I have a hard time looking past that.</b><br><img class=\"breakout alignnone size-full wp-image-1511272\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/investor-founder-sexual-harassment-policy.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"1024\" height=\"576\"><small><i>Image: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch</i></small></p>\n<h2><span>My role as an investor in the growth of a startup</span></h2>\n<p><span>I believe the job of the investor goes way beyond fueling the company with cash. It\u2019s about fueling the company with expertise, intelligence and connectivity.</span></p>\n<p><span>On paper, growing a startup can roughly be summarized as follows:</span></p>\n<ol>\n<li><b> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Early Stage validation</b></li>\n<li><span> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Have an idea</span></li>\n<li><span> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Crank out an MVP</span></li>\n<li><span> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Get that MVP to customers</span></li>\n<li><b> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Establish feedback loop</b></li>\n<li><span> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Make sure customers appreciate the product</span></li>\n<li><span> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Establish a customer/product development feedback loop so the customer can improve the product</span></li>\n<li><b> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Build a company</b></li>\n<li><span> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Hire to fill initial capacities</span></li>\n<li><span> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Find product market fit</span></li>\n<li><span> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Market product to reach all target consumers</span></li>\n<li><span> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Build teams</span></li>\n<li><b> \u00a0\u00a0\u00a0Raise more money</b></li>\n</ol>\n<p><span>Over the last 12 years of being an investor I\u2019ve seen companies at every one of those life cycles. Each one of those transitions is a different discipline; a different challenge in and of itself.</span></p>\n<p><b>As a founder, I think it\u2019s really important to surround yourself with people that have seen it before, understand it, know what it\u2019s like, and know how to persevere through it.</b></p>\n<p><b>That\u2019s what an investor group does.</b></p>\n<div class=\"wp-caption alignnone\">\n<img class=\"breakout size-full wp-image-1181496\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/growth.jpg\" alt=\"\" width=\"1024\" height=\"725\"><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Image: Shutterstock</p>\n</div>\n<p><span>For example, going from a bootstrap company into a company that can scale is a tricky discipline.</span></p>\n<p><span>A lot of founders make the really early mistake of hiring people just like them, instead of hiring people that bring unique diversity and expertise to their team.</span></p>\n<p><span>And after the initial batch of hires is made, you transition from micromanaging into macromanaging; building startups within your startups, the variable divisions required to properly scale the company.</span></p>\n<p><span>Investors who have helped companies through similar transitions can help you avoid pitfalls associated with these milestones. These are the very pitfalls that often derail early stage companies.</span></p>\n<p><span>Fast forward to the growth stage and fundraising is a monster in and of itself. You have these checkpoints where you\u2019ve got to go and raise additional funding \u2014 and the future of the company relies on executing.</span></p>\n<p><span>And then eventually get to the point where either you\u2019re going public or there\u2019s an acquisition. That\u2019s incredibly tricky and not something that a lot of founders are ready for.</span></p>\n<p><span>Every company\u2019s situation is different.</span></p>\n<p><span>If you\u2019re a small team \u2014 two or three people \u2014 you might look to add ten investors. I recommend building an investment team that has variable experience across different firms and individuals.</span></p>\n<p><b>A lot of founders only target big firms. But you really want to get the person who understands your needs, your challenge and can help guide you through it \u2014 regardless of where they come from.</b></p>\n<h2><span>It all comes back to the purpose and principles</span></h2>\n<p><span>Make no mistake: I have a rigorous process around numbers.</span></p>\n<p><span>Estimated TAM, IRR, NPV \u2014\u00a0we run them all. </span></p>\n<p><b>But when weighed against potential impact for humanity and capability of individuals at the helm, I put slightly more value than most investors. </b></p>\n<p><span>Maybe in the long run, I\u2019ll fall into an even </span><i><span>more</span></i><span> disciplined manner of allocating capital.</span></p>\n<p><span>But for now, I\u2019m just going to keep working with great people on the problems that I want to work on. </span></p>\n<p><span>Find good people solving tough problems and the financials often sort themselves out. </span></p>\n<p><span> \u00a0</span></p>\n<p>This post was <a href=\"https://www.atrium.co/blog/ashton-kutcher-investments/\">originally published on Atrium.</a></p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Column","TC","Venture Capital","ashton kutcher","sound ventures"]},{"title":"Tinder Places tracks your location to help you find matches","pubDate":"2018-05-23 21:00:13","link":"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/tinder-places-tracks-your-location-to-help-you-find-matches/","guid":"https://techcrunch.com/?p=1643409","author":"Sarah Perez","thumbnail":"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/4-5.jpg?w=680","description":"Tinder will now help you find matches with those people you may cross paths with in your day-to-day life. As promised earlier, the company today is announcing the launch of a new location-based feature that will narrow your list of potential dating prospects to those who hit up your same bar for after-work drinks, or [\u2026]","content":"\n<p>Tinder will now help you find matches with those people you may cross paths with in your day-to-day life. As <a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/07/tinder-is-launching-a-new-location-based-feature-set-this-year/\">promised earlier</a>, the company today is announcing the launch of a new location-based feature that will narrow your list of potential dating prospects to those who hit up your same bar for after-work drinks, or who stop by your favorite coffee shop for their daily caffeine fix, or who work out at your same gym.</p>\n<p>Yes, that\u2019s right \u2014 you no longer have to say \u201chello\u201d in real life \u2014 you can match first, <em>then</em> speak.</p>\n<p>This is what it\u2019s come to, friends. Even the \u201cmeet cute\u201d story is now a dating app product.</p>\n<p>The feature, known as Tinder Places, was <a href=\"https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/14/17351562/tinder-location-sharing-places-update-test\">previously spotted</a> during beta tests.</p>\n<p>Starting today, Tinder Places is formally being announced as a public beta test that\u2019s underway in three cities:\u00a0Sydney and Brisbane, Australia and Santiago, Chile. (It was being tested privately in these markets prior to now.) The plan is to collect user feedback from the public trials, and tweak the product before it launches to all users worldwide, the company says.</p>\n<p>The idea of sharing your location with strangers, however,\u00a0<a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/14/tinders-upcoming-location-based-feature-seems-a-bit-creepy/\">is a bit creepy\u00a0</a>\u2014 especially considering that Tinder users are not always respectful. But Tinder believes that the fact it\u2019s showing you people you might actually run into in real life will actually prompt more civility in those initial chats.</p>\n<p>\u201cI do think that \u2014 and this is a personal hypothesis of mine \u2014 if you match with someone who you know goes to the same place as you, I think that will set a very different tone to the conversation than someone who is more or less anonymous as an online match on a dating platform,\u201d says Samantha Stevens, director of Location Products at Tinder, who led the product\u2019s development.</p>\n<p><img class=\"alignnone size-large wp-image-1644724\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/4-5.jpg?w=680\" alt=\"\" width=\"680\" height=\"553\"></p>\n<p>She says the larger idea here is to present users with potential matches who you already have things in common with, as reflected by the places you go.</p>\n<p>\u201cThe places that you go say a lot about who you are as an individual, what you value, your hobbies, your interests,\u201d she continues. \u201cSo being able to match with someone on Tinder who shares those same things with you, we believe creates a more genuine match and a better conversation.\u201d</p>\n<p>That said, not everyone would want strangers on a dating service to know where to find them.</p>\n<p>But Stevens explains Places has a number of safeguards built-in to make users feel more comfortable, and to limit the feature\u2019s ability to be used for stalking.</p>\n<p>\u201cAs a female who designed this feature, I personally made sure that I would feel safe using it,\u201d she says.</p>\n<p><img class=\"alignnone size-large wp-image-1644725\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/1-3.jpg?w=680\" alt=\"\" width=\"680\" height=\"395\"></p>\n<p>For starters, the feature is opt in, not opt out.</p>\n<p>It leverages <a href=\"https://www.mapbox.com/\">Mapbox</a> and\u00a0<a href=\"https://enterprise.foursquare.com/products/pilgrim\">Foursquare\u2019s Pilgrim SDK</a> to identify and categorize places you go, and it only shares those places Foursquare deems \u201csocial.\u201d (Foursquare is able to \u201cwake up\u201d Tinder\u2019s app for background location, in case you\u2019re wondering how this works). Tinder says it will not record places like your house, the office building where you work, banks, doctors\u2019 offices and other venues that are either too personal or not relevant to matching. All this appears in a separate section of the Tinder app\u2019s interface.</p>\n<p>Plus, your place visits aren\u2019t recorded to the app in real-time. Instead, Tinder waits until at least 30 minutes before a place shows up, or even longer. It randomizes the time before someone appears associated with a particular venue in order to limit others\u2019 abilities to deduce people\u2019s routines.</p>\n<p>In addition, users who are participating in Places will get an alert when a new place is added, and can then choose to toggle that place off so it\u2019s not shown right away.</p>\n<p><img class=\"vertical alignnone size-large wp-image-1644722\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/6.jpg?w=435\" alt=\"\" width=\"435\" height=\"680\"></p>\n<p>You also can tell Tinder to never show a particular place again after its first appearance. So, for example, if you never want to meet people at your gym when you\u2019re all hot and sweaty, you can disable that place from ever appearing.</p>\n<p>Your association with a place also deletes from the app after 28 days, not only as a privacy protection, but also because it helps keep data fresh, Stevens says. (After all, just because you went to that hip bar a year ago does not make you a person who goes to hip bars.)</p>\n<p>Of course, a dedicated stalker could make a note of your favorite haunts and attempt to locate you in the real world, but this would require extra effort in terms of writing things down, and trying to determine your patterns. It wouldn\u2019t be impossible to start making some connections, but it would require dedication to the task at hand.</p>\n<p>Despite the safeguards, it\u2019s unclear that the real-world benefit to users is significant enough to opt in to this additional data collection. While there are arguably use cases for matching with those you cross paths with, simply visiting the same coffee shop isn\u2019t necessarily an indicator of a potential for a relationship. That comes down to a lot of other factors \u2014 including, most importantly, that unpredictable chemistry \u2014 something neither Tinder, nor any other dating app, can determine \u2014 and a set of shared values. At best, this \u201cplace data\u201d is a icebreaker.</p>\n<p><img class=\"alignnone size-large wp-image-1644723\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/flow.jpg?w=680\" alt=\"\" width=\"680\" height=\"233\"></p>\n<p>But for Tinder, location data on its users holds far more value.</p>\n<p>The company has no plans to delete its own records of your jaunts around town. You can\u2019t push a button to clear your data, for instance. If you want it gone, you\u2019ll need to delete your Tinder user account entirely, we understand.</p>\n<p>The company says users haven\u2019t asked for this sort of functionality during tests. Rather, they\u2019ve opted in to the feature in full force, with very few qualms about their personal data or its usage, it seems.</p>\n<p>\u201cIn terms of opt-in rates \u2014 and we\u2019ll see how this behaves as we go to a bigger population \u2014 but we\u2019re at like 99 percent,\u201d says Tinder CEO Elie Seidman, who <a href=\"https://www.streetinsider.com/Corporate+News/Match+Group+%28MTCH%29+Names+Elie+Seidman+as+Tinders+new+CEO/13513868.html\">moved over</a> from Match Groups\u2019s OKCupid\u2019s top position to lead Tinder in January. \u201cI don\u2019t know that we\u2019ll see that hold up on a broad population, but I think we could expect this is a 90-plus percent opt-in rate.\u201d</p>\n<p>That seems to contradict the <a href=\"https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/28/technology/social-media-privacy.html\">shift in user sentiment</a> around personal data collection in the wake of the <a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/tag/cambridge-analytica/\">Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal,</a> which has led the world\u2019s largest social network to rethink its practices, and potentially face regulation. The fallout has led to users becoming more cynical and <a href=\"https://www.axios.com/exclusive-poll-facebook-favorability-plunges-1522057235-b1fa31db-e646-4413-a273-95d3387da4f2.html\">wary of social apps</a> asking them to share their data \u2014 and in the case of Tinder, where it\u2019s about \u2014 well, frankly, romance and sex \u2014 one would think users would give \u201copting in\u201d a bit more thought.</p>\n<p>Seidman doesn\u2019t believe there\u2019s much for users to be concerned about, though. That\u2019s because Tinder\u2019s main business isn\u2019t ads \u2014 it\u2019s <a href=\"https://www.reuters.com/article/us-match-group-results/match-group-revenue-soars-as-tinder-attracts-more-subscribers-idUSKBN1FQ33W\">subscriptions</a> to its premium service, he explains.</p>\n<p>\u201cWe\u2019re not using [personal data] to sell advertising,\u201d the exec says. \u201cIf you think about the trade between our members and us \u2014 like, what do you get in exchange for the data? In one place, you get photos of kids, right? And obviously, a lot of ads. And in the other place, you get connected to the most important part of your life. So I think it\u2019s a very different thing,\u201d Seidman says.</p>\n<p>That\u2019s certainly a starry-eyed way of viewing Tinder\u2019s potential, of course.</p>\n<p>One could argue that \u201cphotos of kids\u201d \u2014 meaning your family, your friends and their family, and generally, those broader connections you have through social networks \u2014 are at least equally important to your romantic relationships, if not more valuable. (Especially if you\u2019re just using Tinder for hook-ups).</p>\n<p><img class=\"wp-image-1578117 size-large\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/gettyimages-480813965.jpg?w=680\" alt=\"\" width=\"680\" height=\"453\"></p>\n<p>Tinder claims that it\u2019s not using the location data to target users with its <a href=\"http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/02/03/tinder-swipes-right-programmatic-ads-partnership-with-facebook-audience-network\">in-app ads</a>, but that doesn\u2019t mean the option is off the table forever. Having a massive trove of location data on users could be an advantage there, as well as a way to improve its algorithm, and even potentially to help it expand into real-world events \u2014 something Stevens didn\u2019t rule out, saying if that was something a large number of users demanded, Tinder may consider it.</p>\n<p>Meanwhile, a better matching algorithm would be a significant competitive advantage for Tinder, which is today fending off other newcomers, too, not just the desktop web-era dating sites. It\u2019s\u00a0<a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/16/tinder-owner-match-is-suing-bumble-over-patents/\">embroiled</a> in back-and-forth <a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/28/bumble-is-suing-match-group-for-400m-for-fraudulently-obtaining-trade-secrets/\">lawsuits</a> with top rival Bumble, for example, and even itself is adopting Bumble\u2019s <a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2018/02/14/tinder-to-adopt-bumbles-ladies-first-feature-in-a-future-update/\">\u201cwomen speak first\u201d feature.</a>\u00a0Given that the industry at large has stolen the swipe to match mechanism Tinder popularized, that seems fair enough.</p>\n<p>The new location feature won\u2019t be as easily copied, Seidman believes.</p>\n<p>\u201cThis is the first time, on an experience before people match, where we\u2019ve changed \u2014 in a really fundamental way \u2014 the user interface. Of course, it feels very much like Tinder,\u201d he says. \u201cThere\u2019s a large body of work here and the team has worked for quarters to do this. It\u2019s a product that inherently works better with scale. We\u2019re drawing a smaller circle around the universe,\u201d Seidman adds. \u201cYou need Tinder\u2019s level of scale to make this work.\u201d</p>\n<p>Tinder officially claims \u201ctens of millions\u201d of users worldwide, with estimates putting that figure at more than 50 million.</p>\n<p>The company hasn\u2019t provided a time-table as to when location-based dating will roll out worldwide.</p>\n<p><em>Photo credits: illustration: Bryce Durbin; screenshots: Tinder;\u00a0couple: Philip Lee Harvey/Getty Images</em></p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Apps","TC","dates","dating","Foursquare","Location","Match Group","matches","social","Tinder"]},{"title":"TechCrunch Include Office Hours with Betaworks in New York AND SF","pubDate":"2018-05-23 21:00:04","link":"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/techcrunch-include-office-hours-with-betaworks-in-new-york-and-sf/","guid":"https://techcrunch.com/?p=1644850","author":"Neesha A. Tambe","thumbnail":"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/hartman3.png?w=300","description":"Betaworks is hosting TechCrunch\u2019s\u00a0Include Office Hours\u00a0for the month of May. For the first time ever, Include Office Hours will be bi-coastal \u2014 held in San Francisco and New York on the same day at 2pm local time at each location. On Tuesday, May 29th, partners Peter Rojas and Matt Hartman will be meeting with startup [\u2026]","content":"\n<p>Betaworks is hosting TechCrunch\u2019s\u00a0<a href=\"https://beta.techcrunch.com/include/office-hours/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">Include Office Hours</a>\u00a0for the month of May. For the first time ever, Include Office Hours will be bi-coastal \u2014 held in San Francisco and New York on the same day at 2pm local time at each location. On Tuesday, May 29th, partners Peter Rojas and Matt Hartman will be meeting with startup founders in SF and NYC, respectively. Founders can apply <a href=\"https://beta.techcrunch.com/include/office-hours/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">here</a>.</p>\n<p>TechCrunch started the\u00a0<a href=\"https://beta.techcrunch.com/include/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">Include program</a> in 2014 with the\u00a0aim of utilizing its networks to open opportunities for underrepresented and underserved founders in tech. One of the principal elements of this program is the Include Office Hours program. Throughout the year, TechCrunch joins with partners at various VC firms to connect with founders in private 20-minute meetings. Founders will get critical feedback and advice on various aspects of their business.</p>\n<p>Founders from various backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Underrepresented and underserved founders include, but are not limited to, veteran, female, Latino/a, Black, LGBTQ and handicapable founders.</p>\n<p>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. Apply <a href=\"https://beta.techcrunch.com/include/office-hours/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">here</a>.</p>\n<p><strong>Meet the participating partners:</strong></p>\n<p><strong><a href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/person/matthew-hartman\">Matt Hartman</a>, Partner</strong></p>\n<p><span><img class=\"size-medium wp-image-1644907 alignleft\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/hartman3.png?w=300\" alt=\"\" width=\"300\" height=\"198\">Matt Hartman is a partner at betaworks ventures. Prior to joining betaworks, Matt built ReferBoost (licensed to Apartments.com), and was at Hot Potato (acquired by Facebook). He began his career building the technology platform for Trammell Crow Company (acquired by CBRE) and is the inventor of Patent #8189781 related to the protection of digital images.</span></p>\n<p>Matt studied Cognitive Science and Computer Science at the University of Pennsylvania and holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.</p>\n<p><strong><a href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/person/peter-rojas\">Peter Rojas</a>, Partner</strong></p>\n<p><img class=\"wp-image-1644908 size-medium alignleft\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/peter-rojas-headshot.jpg?w=300\" alt=\"\" width=\"300\" height=\"288\">Peter Rojas is a founding partner at betaworks ventures, a seed-stage venture capital fund based in New York and San Francisco. He also co-founded several startups, including Weblogs Inc. (acquired by AOL in 2005), where he created and was editor-in-chief of both Engadget and Joystiq; Gizmodo (formerly Gawker Media, now part of Univision); music discovery service RCRD LBL; and gdgt, a social commerce platform (acquired by AOL in 2013). Prior to <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/betaworks-ventures/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"betaworks-ventures\">betaworks ventures <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"></span></a> he worked at AOL as VP of Strategy and later as co-director of Alpha, the company\u2019s experimental products group.</p>\n<p>\u00a0</p>\n<p><em>If you are partner/managing director of a firm and are interested in hosting an Include Office Hour, email neesha@techcrunch.com.</em></p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Diversity","TC","betaworks ventures","diversity","gender diversity","Include Office Hours","veterans in tech"]},{"title":"TruStory, a new startup, just raised $3 million to identify ICO scams before they happen","pubDate":"2018-05-23 20:49:52","link":"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/trustory-a-new-startup-just-raised-3-million-to-identify-ico-scams-before-they-happen/","guid":"https://techcrunch.com/?p=1644413","author":"Connie Loizos","thumbnail":"","description":"Investing in initial coin offerings, or ICOs, is a minefield. This isn\u2019t just true for people with absolutely no technical background but also for many investors who may be well-versed in tech but still struggle to understand many projects\u2019 white papers. Enter TruStory, a platform for users to research and validate claims that people make [\u2026]","content":"\n<p>Investing in initial coin offerings, or ICOs, is a minefield. This isn\u2019t just true for people with absolutely no technical background but also for many investors who may be well-versed in tech but still struggle to understand many projects\u2019 white papers.</p>\n<p>Enter TruStory, a platform for users to research and validate claims that people make online, whether in a blog post, white paper, website or social media post. The young company\u2019s aim is to \u201cbring authenticity back into the digital and decentralized world.\u201d</p>\n<p>It\u2019s a huge and growing opportunity. Though regulators around the world are <a href=\"https://www.ccn.com/sec-chair-jay-clayton-applauds-operation-crypto-sweeps-crackdown-on-cryptocurrency-fraud-ico-scams/\">cracking down</a> on cryptocurrency fraud, the number of ICOs has skyrocketed and the funds raised through the mechanism are increasing. According to data collected last month by CoinDesk, ICOs raised <a href=\"https://www.coindesk.com/6-3-billion-2018-ico-funding-already-outpaced-2017/\">$6.3 billion</a> in the first three months of 2018; that\u2019s 118 percent more than projects managed to raise by way of ICOs in all of 2017.</p>\n<p>It\u2019s not just blockchain-startups that are carrying out ICOs, either. Many other types of companies are trying to use them \u2014 and many of them are frauds.\u00a0Just last week, The Wall Street Journal published an\u00a0<a href=\"https://www.wsj.com/articles/buyer-beware-hundreds-of-bitcoin-wannabes-show-hallmarks-of-fraud-1526573115\">analysis of 1,450 cryptocurrency offerings</a>, in which the outlet found \u201c271 with red flags that include plagiarized investor documents, promises of guaranteed returns and missing or fake executive teams.\u201d</p>\n<p>Separating the wheat from the chaff is a tall order, but investors are willing to bet that TruStory can do the sorting.\u00a0The outfit just raised $3 million in seed funding led by <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/true-ventures/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"true-ventures\">True Ventures <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"></span></a> with participation from Pantera Capital, Kindred Ventures, Homebrew, Coinbase Ventures, Wonder Ventures, Abstract Ventures and former TechCrunch co-editor Alexia Tsotsis through her new fund Dream Machine.</p>\n<p>The round also attracted checks from numerous notable individual investors, including Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, entrepreneur and investor Scott Belsky and former Twitter M&amp;A executive <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/person/jessica-verrilli/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"person\" data-entity=\"jessica-verrilli\">Jessica Verrilli, <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"></span></a> who <a href=\"https://www.recode.net/2018/5/1/17306082/jessica-verrilli-gv-twitter-investor\">recently joined</a> GV as a general partner.</p>\n<p>All are betting on TruStory\u2019s founder,\u00a0Preethi Kasireddy, and it\u2019s easy to imagine why, given her trajectory so far. A USC grad who studied industrial and systems engineering, Kasireddy took a job as a banking analyst with Goldman Sachs after graduating, learning how tech company financials work. After less than a year, Kasireddy was searching out a new role as an engineer but a cold call from Andreessen Horowitz led instead to a role on its deals group, where she learned from the firm\u2019s general partners, as well as developed a fascination with everything blockchain related.</p>\n<p>In fact, several years after Andreessen Horowitz wrote an <a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2013/12/12/coinbase-raises-25m-from-andreessen-horowitz-to-build-its-bitcoin-wallet-and-merchant-services/\">early check</a> to Coinbase, Kasireddy left the firm to work for the digital currency exchange as a self-taught software engineer. There, she says, she architected and implemented the front-end interfaces and APIs required for the integration of Ethereum onto the Coinbase brokerage platform, among other things.</p>\n<p>Then she left, again. \u201cI just started to teach myself how to write code that runs on Ethereum. I was contributing to different blockchain projects and just listening, and learning, and observing.\u201d She was also taking note of the growing number of false claims that people were making while raising millions of dollars in the process.</p>\n<p>How TruStory will more effectively verify the veracity of these claims isn\u2019t something that Kasireddy is interested in discussing publicly in great detail. (\u201cThe space is rampant with people copying other people\u2019s ideas.\u201d)</p>\n<p>What she can say is that it will use the wisdom of crowds \u2014 including scientists and researchers whom she is currently lining up \u2014 to evaluate whether a project or person is legitimate. They won\u2019t be doing this out of their own beneficence. When someone successfully validates a claim or else identifies aspects of an offering that doesn\u2019t make sense, she or he will \u201cearn tokens and reputation and influence\u201d for their efforts, Kasireddy explains.</p>\n<p>If they\u2019re dishonest, they\u2019ll lose on all three fronts. (The tokens are generated using the protocol itself, she says.)</p>\n<p>Eventually, says Kasireddy, the platform will be used to validate far more than white papers. \u201cWe\u2019re starting with crypto market and claims being made in white papers and websites and building a network to help investors and researchers who need this information to make the right decisions.\u201d But there are \u201cother ways to use the same incentive design to validate other claims,\u201d she says.</p>\n<p>There will also be opportunities for people to buy tokens to have projects vetted, she adds, saying to \u201cthink about Facebook or Twitter\u201d where there are plenty of claims of dubious origin that stakeholders might want to see either validated or debunked.</p>\n<p>Asked when TruStory will actively start reviewing what\u2019s out there already, Kasireddy suggests the outfit isn\u2019t ready for prime time quite yet. TruStory is currently run solely by Kasireddy, who is in the process of bringing aboard a couple of operations people and a few key engineers. But she says that unlike many other founders in today\u2019s market \u2014 including those who\u2019ve raised venture capital \u2014 she\u2019s not interested in orchestrating an ICO to supercharge her company or her hiring plans.</p>\n<p>\u201cWe\u2019ll fund ourselves through the development of our tokens, and we expect the tokens eventually to fund the business.</p>\n<p>\u201cIt\u2019s about getting those token economics to work,\u201d she says. \u201cAnd then the engine starts up.\u201d</p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Community","Cryptocurrency","TC","Homebrew","Initial Coin Offerings","Jessica Verrilli","pantera capital","True Ventures","TruStory"]},{"title":"Uber\u2019s raising up to $600M in a secondary round at $62B valuation, Q1 sales grew to $2.5B","pubDate":"2018-05-23 20:35:44","link":"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/uber-q1-2018/","guid":"https://techcrunch.com/?p=1644738","author":"Megan Rose Dickey","thumbnail":"","description":"Uber\u2019s CEO is in Paris this week meeting with the French president to talk tech in Europe and\u00a0expanding its insurance coverage in the region, but back in the U.S. the company is moving ahead on another kind of expansion. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Uber is raising another secondary round of funding of up [\u2026]","content":"\n<p><a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/uber/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"uber\">Uber\u2019s <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"></span></a> CEO is in Paris this week meeting with the French president to talk tech in Europe and\u00a0<a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/uber-expands-its-accident-insurance-across-europe/\">expanding its insurance</a> coverage in the region, but back in the U.S. the company is moving ahead on another kind of expansion.</p>\n<p>TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Uber is raising another secondary round of funding of up to $600 million, on a valuation of $62 billion. The fundraising development comes at the same time that Uber is also releasing its Q1 financials \u2014 which indicate that the company pulled in $2.5 billion in net revenues, with a net loss of $601 million, and negative EBIDTA of $304 million on a pro forma basis.</p>\n<p><span>Raising between $400 million and $600 million on a valuation of $62 billion (at $40 per share) would indicate that while Uber is recovering from the drop in valuation from its </span><a href=\"https://beta.techcrunch.com/2017/12/28/softbanks-big-investment-in-uber-comes-to-a-close/?_ga=2.174367522.1680618499.1527084534-1960936357.1517502256\">last round with SoftBank at the end of 2017</a>\u00a0\u2014\u00a0<span>another round with <a href=\"http://techcrunch.com/2017/11/27/softbank-makes-offer-for-uber-shares-at-30-discount/\">secondary components</a> that valued the company at $48 billion \u2014 it\u2019s still not back up (or higher than) its loftiest valuation of $69 billion.\u00a0</span></p>\n<p>From what we understand, investors participating in the offering, which has yet to close, include Coatue, Altimeter and TPG. Uber employees with at least 1,000 shares can also participate in the financing. According to the terms of offer, no one can sell more than $10 million worth of shares.</p>\n<p>That general upward trend is also being reflected in Uber\u2019s financials.</p>\n<p>An investor presentation that was shared with TechCrunch indicated that the company\u2019s $2.5 billion in net revenues was a\u00a0seven percent quarter over quarter increase, and a 67 percent increase year over year. Uber\u2019s $304 million losses, meanwhile, were about half the amount they were last year: in Q1 2017, Uber\u2019s adjusted losses were $597 million. Gross bookings \u2014 the total taken for all of Uber\u2019s transportation services \u2014 was $11.3 billion in Q1, a 55 percent increase compared to $7.5 billion a year ago. At the end of Q1, Uber had $6.3 billion in gross cash.</p>\n<p><span>GAAP numbers indicated net revenues of $2.6 billion with a GAAP profit nearly as big: $2.456 billion. \u201cWe had $3 billion of income on a GAAP basis because of the \u2018gain\u2019 from the Yandex and Grab deals,\u201d a spokesperson said. \u201cThat\u2019s why we prefer to focus on EBITDA as the best number to show our underlying business in the quarter.\u201d</span></p>\n<p>\u201cWe are off to a terrific start in 2018, with our rides business beating internal plan and continuing to grow at healthy rates, while we significantly reduce our losses and maintain our leadership position around the world,\u201d Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. \u201cGiven the size of the opportunity ahead of us and our goal of making Uber a true mobility platform, we plan to reinvest any over-performance even more aggressively this year, both in our core business as well as in big bets like Uber Eats globally.\u201d</p>\n<p>In other words, that could mean losses might get worse in the short-term as Uber continues to invest money in businesses like Eats and JUMP, <a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/09/uber-acquires-bike-share-startup-jump/\">the bike-share service it acquired for about $200 million earlier this year</a>\u00a0to expand them into more markets. As with many tech companies, Uber appears to be focused more on growth than profitability, even as it eyes up an IPO, possibly as soon as next year.</p>\n<p>Uber has raised <a href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/uber\">over $21 billion</a> in funding to date.</p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Recent Funding","Startups","TC","Transportation","Q1","Uber"]},{"title":"Elon Musk has a very bad idea for a website rating journalists","pubDate":"2018-05-23 20:08:15","link":"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/elon-musk-has-a-very-bad-idea-for-a-website-rating-journalists/","guid":"https://techcrunch.com/?p=1644881","author":"Devin Coldewey","thumbnail":"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/muskyelp.png","description":"Elon Musk has, as I imagine he often does during meetings or long car rides, come up with an idea for a new thing. Unlike the HyperLoop, which was cool, and various space-related ideas, which we know he's at least partly expert about, this one is just plain bad. It's basically Yelp But For Journalism.","content":"\n<p><a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/person/elon-musk/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"person\" data-entity=\"elon-musk\">Elon Musk <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"></span></a> has, as I imagine he often does during meetings or long car rides, come up with an idea for a new thing. Unlike the Hyperloop, which was cool, and various space-related ideas, which we know he\u2019s at least partly expert about, this one is just plain bad. It\u2019s basically Yelp But For Journalism.</p>\n<div class=\"embed breakout\">\n<blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-width=\"550\" data-dnt=\"true\">\n<p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\">Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article &amp; track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor &amp; publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda \u2026</p>\n<p>\u2014 Elon Musk (@elonmusk) <a href=\"https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/999367582271422464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\">May 23, 2018</a></p>\n</blockquote>\n<p></p>\n</div>\n<p>He may as well have said, I found this great can marked \u201cworms\u201d and I\u2019m going to open it, or, I\u2019ve determined a new method for herding cats.</p>\n<p>The idea of holding publications and people accountable is great. Unfortunately it is the kind of problem that does not yield to even the best of intentions and smart engineering, because it is quickly complicated by the ethical, procedural and practical questions of crowdsourcing \u201cthe truth.\u201d</p>\n<p>He agreed with another <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/twitter/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"twitter\">Twitter <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"></span></a> user, whose comment is indistinguishable from sarcasm:</p>\n<p><img class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-1644891\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/muskyelp.png\" alt=\"\" width=\"704\" height=\"427\"></p>\n<p>My guess is Musk does not often use Yelp, and has never operated a small business like a restaurant or salon.</p>\n<p>Especially in today\u2019s fiercely divided internet landscape, there is no reliable metric for truth or accountability. Some will say The New York Times is the most trusted newspaper in America \u2014 others will call it a debased rag with a liberal agenda. Individual stories will receive the same treatment, with some disputing what they believe are biases and others disputing those same things as totally factual.</p>\n<p>And while the truth lies somewhere in-between these extremes, it is unlikely to be the mathematical mean of them. The \u201cwisdom of the crowd,\u201d so often evoked but so seldom demonstrated, cannot depend on an equal number of people being totally wrong in opposite ways, producing a sort of stable system of bias.</p>\n<p>The forces at work here \u2014 psychological, political, sociological, institutional \u2014 are subtle and incalculable.</p>\n<div class=\"embed breakout\">\n<blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-width=\"550\" data-dnt=\"true\">\n<p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\">Enough of the public does care about the truth. I have faith in the people.</p>\n<p>\u2014 Elon Musk (@elonmusk) <a href=\"https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/999369022280843264?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\">May 23, 2018</a></p>\n</blockquote>\n<p></p>\n</div>\n<p>The origins of this faith, and of the idea that there is somehow a quorum of truth-seekers in this age of deception, are unclear.</p>\n<p>Facebook\u2019s attempts to crowdsource the legitimacy of news stories has had mixed results, and the predictable outcome is, of course, that people simply report as false news with which they disagree. Independent adjudicators are needed, and Facebook has fired and hired them by the hundreds, yet to arrive at some system that produces results worth talking about.</p>\n<p>Fact-checking sites perform an invaluable service, but they are labor-intensive, not a self-regulating system like what Musk proposes. Such systems are inevitably and notoriously ruled by chaos, vote brigades, bots, infiltrators, agents provocateur and so on.</p>\n<div class=\"embed breakout\">\n<blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-width=\"550\" data-dnt=\"true\">\n<p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\">Not only needs to be botproof, but seek &amp; unmask anyone operating a disinformation bot army</p>\n<p>\u2014 Elon Musk (@elonmusk) <a href=\"https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/999368393420488704?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\">May 23, 2018</a></p>\n</blockquote>\n<p></p>\n</div>\n<p>Easier said than done \u2014 in fact, often said and never done, for years and years and years, by some of the smartest people in the industry. It\u2019s not to say it is impossible, but Musk\u2019s glib positivity and ignorance or dismissal of a decade and more of efforts on this front are not inspiring. (Nate Silver, for one, <a href=\"https://twitter.com/NateSilver538/status/999369190116085761\">is furious</a>.)</p>\n<p>Likely as a demonstration of his \u201cfaith in the people,\u201d if there are any on bot-ridden Twitter, he has put the idea up for public evaluation.</p>\n<div class=\"embed breakout\">\n<blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-width=\"550\" data-dnt=\"true\">\n<p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\">Create a media credibility rating site (that also flags propaganda botnets)</p>\n<p>\u2014 Elon Musk (@elonmusk) <a href=\"https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/999374720368689153?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\">May 23, 2018</a></p>\n</blockquote>\n<p></p>\n</div>\n<p>Currently the vote is about 90 percent yes. It\u2019s hard to explain how dumb this is. Yet like most efforts it will be instructive, both to others attempting to tame the zeitgeist, and hopefully to Musk.</p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Opinion","Social","Elon Musk","Twitter"]},{"title":"GUN raises more than $1.5M for its decentralized database system","pubDate":"2018-05-23 19:25:34","link":"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/gun-raises-more-than-1-5m-for-its-decentralized-database-system/","guid":"https://techcrunch.com/?p=1644564","author":"Frederic Lardinois","thumbnail":"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/multi-model.gif","description":"GUN is an open-source decentralized database service that allows developers to build fast peer-to-peer applications that will work, even when their users are offline. The company behind the project (which should probably change its name and logo\u2026) today announced that it has raised just over $1.5 million in a seed round led by Draper Associates. [\u2026]","content":"\n<p><a href=\"https://gun.eco/#step1\">GUN</a> is an open-source decentralized database service that allows developers to build fast peer-to-peer applications that will work, even when their users are offline. The company behind the project (which should probably change its name and logo\u2026) today announced that it has raised just over $1.5 million in a seed round led by Draper Associates. Other investors include Salesforce\u2019s Marc Benioff through Aloha Angels, as well as Boost VC, CRCM and other angel investors.</p>\n<p>As <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/gun-2/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"gun-2\">GUN <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"></span></a> founder Mark Nadal told me, it\u2019s been about four years since he started working on this problem, mostly because he saw the database behind his early projects as a single point of failure. When the database goes down, most online services will die with it, after all. So the idea behind GUN is to offer a decentralized database system that offers real-time updates with eventual consistency. You can use GUN to build a peer-to-peer database or opt for a multi-master setup. In this scheme, a cloud-based server simply becomes another peer in the network (though one with more resources and reliability than a user\u2019s browser). GUN users get tools for conflict resolution and other core features out of the box and the data is automatically distributed between peers. When users go offline, data is cached locally and then merged back into this database once they come online.</p>\n<p><img class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-1644594\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/multi-model.gif\" alt=\"\" width=\"478\" height=\"235\"></p>\n<p>Nadal built the first prototype of GUN back in 2014, based on a mix of Firebase, MySQL, MongoDB and Cassandra. That was obviously a bit of a hack, but it gained him some traction among developers and enough momentum to carry the idea forward.</p>\n<p>Today, the system has been used to build everything from a <a href=\"https://notabug.io/\">decentralized version of Reddit</a> (which isn\u2019t currently working) that can handle a few million uniques per month and a similarly <a href=\"https://d.tube/\">decentralized YouTube clone</a>.</p>\n<p>Nadal also argues that his system has major speed advantages over some of the incumbents. \u201cFrom our initial tests we find that for caching, our product is 28 times faster than Redis, MongoDB and others. Now we are looking for partnerships with companies pioneering technology in gaming, IoT, VR and distributed machine learning,\u201d he said.</p>\n<p>The Dutch Navy is already using it for some IoT services on its ships and a number of other groups are using it for their AI/ML services. Because its use cases are similar to that of many blockchain projects, Nadal is also looking at how he can target some of those developers to take a closer look at GUN.</p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Cloud","Developer","Recent Funding","Startups","TC","database","draper","funding","gun"]},{"title":"It\u2019s unconstitutional for Trump to block people on Twitter","pubDate":"2018-05-23 19:00:30","link":"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/its-unconstitutional-for-trump-to-block-people-on-twitter/","guid":"https://techcrunch.com/?p=1644835","author":"Devin Coldewey","thumbnail":"","description":"A uniquely 21st-century constitutional question received a satisfying answer today from a federal judge: President Trump cannot block people on Twitter, as it constitutes a violation of their First Amendment rights. The court also ruled he must unblock all previously blocked users. \"No government official is above the law,\" the judge concluded.","content":"\n<p>A uniquely 21st-century constitutional question <a href=\"https://knightcolumbia.org/news/federal-court-rules-president-trumps-blocking-twitter-critics-violates-first-amendment\">received a satisfying answer today</a> from a federal judge: President Trump cannot block people on <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/twitter/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"twitter\">Twitter, <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"></span></a> as it constitutes a violation of their First Amendment rights. The court also ruled he must unblock all previously blocked users. \u201cNo government official is above the law,\u201d the judge concluded.</p>\n<p>The question was brought as part of a <a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/11/blocked-twitter-users-sue-trump/\">suit brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute</a>, which alleged that the official presidential Twitter feed amounts to a public forum, and that the government barring individuals from participating in it amounted to limiting their right to free speech.</p>\n<p>After consideration, New York Southern District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald determined that this is indeed the case:</p>\n<blockquote><p>We hold that portions of the @realDonaldTrump account \u2014 the \u201cinteractive space\u201d where Twitter users may directly engage with the content of the President\u2019s tweets \u2014 are properly analyzed under the \u201cpublic forum\u201d doctrines set forth by the Supreme Court, that such space is a designated public forum, and that the blocking of the plaintiffs based on their political speech constitutes viewpoint discrimination that violates the First Amendment.</p></blockquote>\n<p>The president\u2019s side argued that Trump has his own rights, and that in this case the choice not to engage with certain people on Twitter is among them. These are both true, Judge Buchwald found, but that doesn\u2019t mean blocking is okay.</p>\n<div class=\"embed breakout\">\n<blockquote class=\"wp-embedded-content\" data-secret=\"dtKOXWxSu3\"><p><a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/11/blocked-twitter-users-sue-trump/\">A group of Twitter users is suing Trump for blocking them</a></p></blockquote>\n<p></p>\n</div>\n<p>There is nothing wrong with a government official exercising their First Amendment rights by ignoring someone. And indeed that is what the \u201cmute\u201d function on Twitter is equivalent to. No harm is done to either party by the president choosing not to respond, and so he is free to do so.</p>\n<p>But to block someone both prevents that person from seeing tweets and from responding to them, preventing them from even accessing a public forum. As the decision puts it:</p>\n<blockquote>\n<div>We reject the defendants\u2019 contentions that the First Amendment does not apply in this case and that the President\u2019s personal First Amendment interests supersede those of plaintiffs\u2026</div>\n<div></div>\n<p>While we must recognize, and are sensitive to, the President\u2019s personal First Amendment rights, he cannot exercise those rights in a way that infringes the corresponding First Amendment rights of those who have criticized him.</p>\n</blockquote>\n<p>The court also examined the evidence and found that despite the Executive\u2019s arguments that his Twitter accounts are, for various reasons, in part private and not subject to rules limiting government spaces, the president\u2019s Twitter is definitively a public forum, meeting the criteria set out some time back by the Supreme Court.</p>\n<p>At this point in time President Trump has by definition performed unconstitutional acts, but the court was not convinced that any serious legal remedy needs to be applied. And not because the Executive side of the case said it was monstrous of the Judicial to <a href=\"https://knightcolumbia.org/news/yes-president-trump-courts-can-order-you-follow-law\">dare to tell it what to do</a>:</p>\n<blockquote><p>While we find entirely unpersuasive the Government\u2019s parade of horribles regarding the judicial interference in executive affairs presented by an injunction directing the President to comply with constitutional restrictions\u2026\u00a0declaratory relief is likely to achieve the same purpose.</p></blockquote>\n<p>By this the judge means that while the court would be legally in the clear if it issued an official order binding the Executive, but that there\u2019s no reason to do so. Instead, merely declaring that the president has violated the rules of the Constitution should be more than enough to compel his team to take the appropriate action.</p>\n<p>Specifically, Trump and (it is implied but not stated specifically) all public officials are to unblock any blocked users on Twitter and never hit that block button again:</p>\n<blockquote><p>No government official is above the law and because all government officials are presumed to follow the law once the judiciary has said what the law is, we must assume that the President and Scavino will remedy the blocking we have held to be unconstitutional.</p></blockquote>\n<p>No timeline is set but it\u2019s clear that the Executive is on warning. <a href=\"https://knightcolumbia.org/sites/default/files/content/Cases/Wikimedia/2018.05.23%20Order%20on%20motions%20for%20summary%20judgment.pdf\">You can read the full decision here</a>.</p>\n<p>\u201cWe\u2019re pleased with the court\u2019s decision, which reflects a careful application of core First Amendment principles to government censorship on a new communications platform,\u201d said executive director of the Knight Institute, Jameel Jaffer, <a href=\"https://knightcolumbia.org/news/federal-court-rules-president-trumps-blocking-twitter-critics-violates-first-amendment\">in a press release</a>.</p>\n<p>This also sets an interesting precedent as regarding other social networks; in fact, the Institute is currently representing a user in a similar complaint involving Facebook, but it is too early to draw any conclusions. The repercussions of this decision are likewise impossible to predict at this time, including whether and how other officials, such as senators and governors, are also bound by these rules. Legal scholars and political agents will almost certainly weigh in on the issue heavily over the coming weeks.</p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Government","Social","trump","Twitter"]},{"title":"Spotify launches \u2018The Game Plan,\u2019 a 10-part educational video series for artists","pubDate":"2018-05-23 18:32:13","link":"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/spotify-launches-the-game-plan-a-10-part-educational-video-series-for-artists/","guid":"https://techcrunch.com/?p=1644826","author":"Sarah Perez","thumbnail":"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/screen-shot-2018-05-23-at-2-15-02-pm.png?w=680","description":"On the same day that Spotify\u2019s class-action settlement with musicians\u00a0gets final approval, the company is making a big push to encourage artists to participate on its streaming service \u2013 in this case, by offering them a host of educational material to help them get started. The streaming service today is launching its own video series [\u2026]","content":"\n<p>On the same day that <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/spotify/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"spotify\">Spotify\u2019s <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"></span></a> class-action settlement with musicians\u00a0<a href=\"http://variety.com/2018/digital/news/spotifys-class-action-settlement-approved-1202819791/\">gets final approval</a>, the company is making a big push to encourage artists to participate on its streaming service \u2013 in this case, by offering them a host of educational material to help them get started. The streaming service today is launching its own video series dubbed <a href=\"https://artists.spotify.com/videos/the-game-plan\"><em>The Game Plan</em></a>, which instructs artists on how to get started using \u201c<a href=\"https://artists.spotify.com/\">Spotify for Artists</a>,\u201d and the other steps they have to take to make their music available for streaming.</p>\n<p>The series includes short videos like: <em>Getting Your Music Up; What Is Spotify for Artists?; Releasing Music; Building Your Artist Profile; Understanding Your Audience; How to Read Your Data; Engaging Your Audience; The Follow Button, Promoting Your Work, </em>and<em> Building Your Team.</em></p>\n<p>In the videos, Spotify attempts to demystify the world of streaming with tips about things like when is the best time to release music, how and why to use listening data, how to upload your music, when to hire a lawyer (irony alert), and more.</p>\n<p>The series will also feature interviews with experts, including Spotify staff, industry vets, and artists themselves, including\u00a0Rick Ross, Little Dragon, Mike Posner, and V\u00e9rit\u00e9.</p>\n<p><img class=\"alignnone size-large wp-image-1644832\" src=\"https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/screen-shot-2018-05-23-at-2-15-02-pm.png?w=680\" alt=\"\" width=\"680\" height=\"557\"></p>\n<p>The idea is that, by sharing this knowledge with the wider community, Spotify will be able to help artists build their careers, the company explains. Naturally, it wants them to build those careers and invest in learning Spotify\u2019s tools \u2013 not those from its rivals.</p>\n<p>\u201cFrom successful musicians, to employees who are industry experts, the Spotify community has a wealth of music industry knowledge,\u201d said Charlie Hellman, Head of Creator Marketplace, Spotify, in a statement about the launch. \u201cWe want to equip artists at all stages of their career with that powerful knowledge, and make it as accessible as possible.\u201d</p>\n<p>The video series\u2019 debut comes at a time when there\u2019s increased competition for Spotify, including from the <a href=\"https://youtube.googleblog.com/2018/05/youtube-music-starts-rolling-out-today.html\">just now launched YouTube Music streaming service,</a>\u00a0which takes direct aim at Spotify with a similar price point and the addition of music videos, including harder-to-find performances that are often just on YouTube. Plus, Apple\u2019s new <a href=\"https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/25/business/media/apple-hollywood-streaming.html\">Netflix-like streaming service</a> is rumored to be launching next year <a href=\"http://variety.com/2017/digital/news/apple-projected-to-spend-4-2-billion-on-original-content-by-2022-1202622459/\">as a bundle with Apple Music</a>.</p>\n<p><em>The Game Plan</em> begins as a 10-part video series, but Spotify says there\u2019s more to come in the future.</p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Media","Spotify"]},{"title":"Uber is done testing self-driving cars in Arizona","pubDate":"2018-05-23 18:31:03","link":"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/23/uber-is-done-testing-self-driving-cars-in-arizona/","guid":"https://techcrunch.com/?p=1644840","author":"Megan Rose Dickey","thumbnail":"","description":"Uber, which had already pulled its autonomous cars off the road following a fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona, is officially calling it quits in the state of Arizona, The Wall Street Journal first reported, citing an internal memo from Uber Advanced Technologies Group lead Eric Meyhofer. As part of the wind-down, Uber has let go [\u2026]","content":"\n<p><a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/uber/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"uber\">Uber, <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"></span></a> which had already pulled its autonomous cars off the road following a fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona, is officially calling it quits in the state of Arizona, <a href=\"https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-shuts-down-arizona-self-driving-vehicle-operations-1527096020\">The Wall Street Journal first reported, </a>citing an internal memo from Uber Advanced Technologies Group lead Eric Meyhofer.</p>\n<p>As part of the wind-down, Uber has let go 300 of its test drivers. This comes after the state of Arizona in March\u00a0<a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/26/uber-blocked-from-testing-self-driving-cars-on-arizona-roads/\">officially barred Uber from testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads</a>.</p>\n<p>\u201cWe\u2019re committed to self-driving technology, and we look forward to returning to public roads in the near future,\u201d an Uber spokesperson said in a statement. \u201cIn the meantime, we remain focused on our top-to-bottom safety review, having brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture.\u201d</p>\n<p>Uber is hoping to have its self-driving cars performing tests on public roads again within the next few months, <a href=\"https://techcrunch.com/2018/05/09/uber-says-its-self-driving-cars-could-return-in-next-few-months/\">Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at an Uber conference earlier this month</a>. Once the National Transportation Safety Board completes its investigation of the Tempe crash, Uber plans to continue testing in San Francisco, Toronto and Pittsburgh. But if Uber wants to continue its tests in California, it will need to apply for a new permit, as well as \u201caddress any follow-up analysis or investigations from the recent crash in Arizona,\u201d DMV Deputy Director/Chief Counsel Brian Soublet wrote in a letter to Uber in March. Uber may also need to set up a meeting with the DMV.</p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Automotive","Transportation","autonomous driving","self-driving cars","Uber"]}]};