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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":"Laura Tyson will be speaking at TC Sessions: Robotics May 11 at UC Berkeley","pubDate":"2018-04-19 16:30:37","link":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/19\/laura-tyson-will-be-speaking-at-tc-sessions-robotics-may-11-at-uc-berkeley\/","guid":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/?p=1624515","author":"Brian Heater","thumbnail":"","description":"We\u2019re less than a month out from TC Sessions: Robotics, and we\u2019ve still got some key names to share with you for the big event. We\u2019ve already announced some of the top names in robotics, including Playground\u2019s Andy Rubin, Boston Dynamics\u2019 Marc Raibert, Ayanna Howard of Zyrobotics, Chris Urmson of Google and U.C. Berkeley professor [\u2026]","content":"\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">We\u2019re less than a month out from <a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/events\/tc-sessions-robotics-2018\/?utm_medium=post09&amp;utm_campaign=robotics_18&amp;utm_source=TC&amp;unii-trigger-open=P89L06&amp;ref=post09\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">TC Sessions: Robotics<\/a>, and we\u2019ve still got some key names to share with you for the big event. We\u2019ve already announced some of the top names in robotics, including Playground\u2019s Andy Rubin, Boston Dynamics\u2019 Marc Raibert, Ayanna Howard of Zyrobotics, Chris Urmson of Google and U.C. Berkeley professor and SuitX founder, Homayoon Kazerooni. <\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">Today we\u2019re excited to add <a href=\"http:\/\/facultybio.haas.berkeley.edu\/faculty-list\/tyson-laura\/\">Laura Tyson<\/a> to the list. Tyson is the Faculty Director, Institute for Business &amp; Social Impact at Berkeley\u2019s Haas Business and Public Policy Group. She has previously served as the Director of the National Economic Council and the Chair of the US President\u2019s Council of Economic Advisers, under President Bill Clinton. <\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">Tyson will be joining us to discuss the impact of AI and automation on economics and the human workforce, along with Fetch Robotics CEO, Melonee Wise and more, in a panel moderated by Ars Technica Editor-At-Large and author of <a href=\"https:\/\/www.tor.com\/2017\/09\/19\/book-reviews-autonomous-by-annalee-newitz\/\"><em>Autonomous<\/em><\/a>, Annalee Newitz.<\/span><\/p>\n<p><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">In addition to all of our great human speakers, we\u2019ve also got some really exciting robotic demos. U.C. Berkeley\u2019s Ken Goldberg will be bringing along Dex-Net. The system utilizes an off-the-shelf industrial robotic gripper designed by ABB. Trained using a deep neural network and 6.7 million data points, the system is able to perform extremely dextrous pick and place functions \u2014 a major hurdle in the world of industrial robotics. <\/span><\/p>\n<p>Dex-Net will be joined by the some of the industry\u2019s most cutting-edge robots, including Boston Dynamics\u2019 SpotMini and Agility Robotics\u2019 bipedal Cassie.<\/p>\n<p><em><a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/events\/tc-sessions-robotics-2018\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">Click here<\/a>\u00a0to see the full agenda, workshop schedule, and check out more speakers.<\/em><\/p>\n<p><em><a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/events\/tc-sessions-robotics-2018\/?utm_medium=post09&amp;utm_campaign=robotics_18&amp;utm_source=TC&amp;unii-trigger-open=P89L06&amp;ref=post09\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"><strong>Buy your ticket today<\/strong><\/a>.<\/em><\/p>\n<p><em>Student tickets are just $45 \u2013 you can book those\u00a0<a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/events\/tc-sessions-robotics-2018\/?utm_medium=post09&amp;utm_campaign=robotics_18&amp;utm_source=TC&amp;unii-trigger-open=RDX4GQ&amp;ref=post09\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\"><strong>here<\/strong><\/a>.<\/em><\/p>\n<p><em>We\u2019re always on the lookout for great sponsors, connect with us\u00a0<a href=\"http:\/\/info.techcrunch.com\/SponsorshipsInterest.html\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">here<\/a> about sponsorship opportunities for this landmark event.<\/em><\/p>\n<p>\u00a0<\/p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Robotics","Dex-Net","laura tyson","tc sessions robotics","TC Sessions: Robotics 2018"]},{"title":"Crypto-collectibles and Kitties marketplace Rare Bits raises $6M","pubDate":"2018-04-19 16:00:41","link":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/19\/rare-bits-crypto-marketplace\/","guid":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/?p=1625150","author":"Josh Constine","thumbnail":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/04\/item-page-cryptokitty.png?w=680","description":"Rare Bits wants to be eBay for the blockchain,\u00a0where you buy, sell, and trade non-fungible crypto-goods. After CryptoKitties raised $12 million from Andreessen Horowitz last month for its digital collectibles game, there\u2019s been an explosion of interest in the space. But without a popular marketplace, it\u2019s hard to find the goods you want at the [\u2026]","content":"\n<p>Rare Bits wants to be eBay for the blockchain,\u00a0where you buy, sell, and trade non-fungible crypto-goods. After <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/cryptokitties\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"cryptokitties\">CryptoKitties <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a> raised $12 million from Andreessen Horowitz last month for its digital collectibles game, there\u2019s been an explosion of interest in the space. But without a popular marketplace, it\u2019s hard to find the goods you want at the right price. Now a team of former Zynga staffers is building out the <a href=\"https:\/\/rarebits.io\/\">Rare Bits<\/a> crypto-collectible auction and commerce site with a $6 million round led by<span class=\"s1\">\u00a0Nabeel Hyatt at Spark Capital, and joined by First Round Capital, David Sacks\u2019 Craft Ventures, and SVAngel.<\/span><\/p>\n<p>\u201c<span class=\"s1\">Because of the Ethereum ledger, for the first time, users can truly own their digital items\u201d says co-founder Amitt Mahajan. \u201cPreviously in mobile or social games, virtual items earned through play or by spending money were actually owned by the company operating the game. If they shut down their servers, the items would go away and users would be out of luck.\u00a0<\/span><span class=\"s1\">We believe this new asset class represents a paradigm shift in digital property whereby centralized assets will be moved onto decentralized systems\u201d\u00a0<\/span><img class=\"size-large wp-image-1625167 aligncenter\" src=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/04\/item-page-cryptokitty.png?w=680\" alt=\"\" width=\"680\" height=\"575\">For now, Rare Bits isn\u2019t slapping any extra fees on its marketplace, compared to paying 1 percent to 4 percent on other marketplaces like Open Sea and Wyvern Exchange. Instead, if a crypto-item developer charges a fee on secondary sales, say 5 percent, they\u2019ll split that with Rare Bits for arranging the transaction.<\/p>\n<p>Rare Bits lists over 500,000 items from a dozen games, including CryptoPunks, Ether Tulips, CryptoBots, CryptoFighters, Mythereum, and CryptoCelebrities. Users get the benefit of having all their crypto-collectibles in a single wallet. They can see historical pricing before they buy anything thanks to the transparency of the Ethereum ledger, whether they want to \u201cBuy Now\u201d or win an auction. They collectors can also see related items rather than transacting in a vacuum. One item sold for over $10,000, and sales in the 5-10ETH\u00a0range ($555 each today) aren\u2019t uncommon.<\/p>\n<div class=\"yj6qo ajU\">\n<div class=\"ajR\" tabindex=\"0\" role=\"button\" data-tooltip=\"Show trimmed content\" aria-label=\"Show trimmed content\"><\/div>\n<\/div>\n<div class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\">\n<img class=\"wp-image-1625176 size-large\" src=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/04\/team-photo1.jpg?w=680\" alt=\"\" width=\"680\" height=\"383\"><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Rare Bits founders from left: Danny Lee, Payom Dousti, Dave Pekar, and Amitt Mahajan.<\/p>\n<\/div>\n<p>Mahajan, Danny Le, and Dave Pekar all met after selling their gaming startups to Zynga. [Disclosure: I know Pekar from college] Their fourth co-founder Payom Dousti worked at crypto VC fund\u00a0<span>1\/0 Capital and sold his sports analytics startup numberFire to FanDuel. With experience across the gaming, virtual good, and crypto space, Mahajan tells me \u201c<\/span><span class=\"s1\">We thought long and hard about potentially building blockchain-based games ourselves but ultimately decided that there was a larger opportunity in focusing on crypto-based property as a whole.\u201d The Rare Bits exchange launched in February and did over $100,000 in transactions in its first month.<\/span><\/p>\n<p>With some CryptoKitties selling elsewhere for as much as $200,000, investors liked the idea of taking a cut of everyone\u2019s transactions rather than just launching another digital trading card. That led Rare Bits\u00a0to raise a $1 million seed from Macro Ventures and angels like Steve Jang and Robin Chan. As scaling issues threaten to prevent the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains from supporting micropayments and mainstream commerce, new use cases like crypto-collectibles are taking the spotlight.<\/p>\n<p><img class=\"aligncenter size-large wp-image-1625194\" src=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/04\/rare-bits-rankings.png?w=680\" alt=\"\" width=\"680\" height=\"292\"><\/p>\n<p>Now with the $6 million Series A, Rare Bits is bringing in some heavyweight angels from the world of gaming. That includes Emmet Shear and Justin Kan, the co-founders of Twitch. Former Dropbox execs and married couple Ruchi Sanghvi and Aditya Agrawal are also in the round, alongside Greenoaks Captial MD Neil Mehta and Channel Factory CEO Tony Chen.<\/p>\n<p>The team hopes the runway will help it secure partnerships with developers and creatives to publish\u00a0new collectibles for the blockchain that have a home on Rare Bits. \u201c<span class=\"s1\">While today most of these items are items from games and collectibles, we envision that we will see licenses, tickets, rights, even tokenized physical goods represented as digital assets\u201d Mahajan tells us. \u201cPeople are viewing these items as assets that can be invested in instead of liabilities that are one way transfers of value towards the developer, it\u2019s one of the major changes in this ecosystem versus traditional virtual items.\u201d<\/span><\/p>\n<p>Rare Bits will have to deal with the inherent scaling troubles of the Ethereum blockchain it operates on. For now, it\u2019s refunding users the \u201cgas\u201d it costs to execute purchases and sales on its marketplace in a timely manner. Thos range from a few cents to a few dollars depending on network congestion. But Rare Bits could be looking at a steep bill or be forced to push those fees onto users if it gets popular enough.<\/p>\n<p><img class=\"aligncenter size-large wp-image-1625196\" src=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/04\/cryptocelebrities.png?w=680\" alt=\"\" width=\"680\" height=\"393\"><\/p>\n<p>There\u2019s always the danger that CryptoKitties and the like are just the new Beanie Babies \u2014 valued today, but worthless when the fad dies. <a href=\"https:\/\/rarebits.io\/\">Rare Bits<\/a> benefits from getting to follow the trend to whatever crypto-collectible is in vogue, and just has to hope the whole concept doesn\u2019t fade.<\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">\u201cOur ultimate goal is to convince millions of new people to begin owning and transacting crypto-based property\u201d says Mahajan. But the founders will probably be okay regardless. \u201cLike<\/span><span class=\"s1\">\u00a0anyone crazy enough to start a crypto app company this early, we started buying and HODLing BTC and ETH years ago.\u201d<\/span><\/p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Apps","Blockchain","Cryptocurrency","eCommerce","Funding","Gaming","Social","Startups","TC","cryptokitties","Rare Bits"]},{"title":"Walmart launches \u2018Check Out With Me\u2019 for on-the-spot checkouts in hundreds of U.S. stores","pubDate":"2018-04-19 15:37:20","link":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/19\/walmart-launches-check-out-with-me-for-on-the-spot-checkouts-in-hundreds-of-u-s-stores\/","guid":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/?p=1625103","author":"Sarah Perez","thumbnail":"","description":"Walmart announced on Thursday it\u2019s beginning to test new technology that arms store staff with mobile devices for checking out customers from the floor. The devices will first be put into use in Walmart\u2019s \u201cLawn &amp; Garden Centers\u201d in over 350 U.S. stores, where there\u2019s the most need for a mobile checkout experience like this. [\u2026]","content":"\n<p>Walmart <a href=\"https:\/\/news.walmart.com\/2018\/04\/19\/walmart-launches-check-out-with-me-a-new-service-designed-to-save-customers-time\">announced<\/a> on Thursday it\u2019s beginning to test new technology that arms store staff with mobile devices for checking out customers from the floor. The devices will first be put into use in Walmart\u2019s \u201cLawn &amp; Garden Centers\u201d in over 350 U.S. stores, where there\u2019s the most need for a mobile checkout experience like this.<\/p>\n<p>Before, customers shopping for items like mulch, soil or flowers may have had to go inside the physical store to pay for their Lawn &amp; Garden purchases, which was often challenging due to the size and weight of these items. Now, th aey\u2019ll be able to pay on the spot with store staff\u2019s help.<\/p>\n<p>The new service, which Walmart is calling \u201cCheck Out With Me,\u201d involves store employees wearing a small carrying case equipped with a Bluetooth receipt printer. Their cellular device works as the\u00a0barcode scanner and the credit card swiper for the transactions.<\/p>\n<p>Staff assists\u00a0the customers by scanning large items \u2013 like bags of mulch \u2013 while it\u2019s still on the shelf, so customers don\u2019t have to load heavy carts and push them through the store or to one of the Lawn &amp; Garden Center\u2019s fixed checkout stations. They can just carry them straight to their car parked nearby.<\/p>\n<p>The service will help Walmart with its sales that take place outside the Lawn &amp; Garden Center, too.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cDuring the summer, we also sell a lot of items like mulch, live plants, and potting soil outside of the store \u2013 similar to Home Depot or Lowe\u2019s,\u201d a spokesperson said. \u201cThis new option allows people to pay for those items on the spot versus paying in the store then going outside to load the items.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>The retailer says it\u2019s not hiring additional staff for Check Out With Me, but will use existing employees for the service.<\/p>\n<p><\/p>\n<p>This isn\u2019t the first time Walmart has used mobile technology to speed up checkouts. The company also offers Walmart Pay for in-store checkout, which involves scanning a barcode on customers\u2019 phones to pay at the register. And its Sam\u2019s Club warehouse club offers Scan &amp; Go, which lets customers skip the checkout line by scanning items as they shop, then showing their e-receipt at the door on their way out.<\/p>\n<p>Upgrades that make checkout quicker are especially important to retailers today in light of increased competition from Amazon, which has now established a physical presence through Whole Foods, its own bookstores, and its <a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/01\/21\/inside-amazons-surveillance-powered-no-checkout-convenience-store\/\">new Amazon Go stores<\/a>.<\/p>\n<p>In the latter, customers don\u2019t have to check out at all \u2013 cameras, A.I. systems, and sensor technology let them simply grab items and leave. The idea is to offer a faster way for consumers to buy items, while also tying their day-to-day purchases to their Amazon account to get a more holistic view of the shoppers\u2019 habits. Other companies are offering similar systems for other retailers, like <a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/02\/27\/aifi-emerges-from-stealth-with-its-own-take-on-cashier-free-retail-similar-to-amazon-go\/\">AiFi<\/a>, <a href=\"https:\/\/imagr.co\/\">IMAGR<\/a>, and\u00a0<a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2017\/10\/10\/standard-cognition-gets-5m-to-build-a-machine-vision-powered-checkout\/\">Standard Cognition<\/a>. And Walmart has been said to be <a href=\"https:\/\/www.recode.net\/2017\/12\/20\/16693406\/walmart-personal-styling-jet-black-amazon-go-prime-no-checkout-store\">testing<\/a> checkout-free technology as well.<\/p>\n<p>In the meantime, Check Out With Me is available in over 350 U.S. stores, starting today. That\u2019s a small subset of Walmart\u2019s 4,700 U.S. stores, but the company considers the rollout a \u201ctest\u201d for the time being.<\/p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["eCommerce","commerce","e-commerce","Mobile","mobile devices","sams club","shopping","stores","Walmart"]},{"title":"3D-printing marketplace Shapeways raises a $30 million Series E","pubDate":"2018-04-19 15:34:28","link":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/19\/3d-printing-marketplace-shapeways-raises-a-30-million-series-e\/","guid":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/?p=1625133","author":"Brian Heater","thumbnail":"","description":"Investors, it seems, aren\u2019t entirely soured on the world of 3D printing. The technology is still making progress in the enterprise sector, and Shapeways is certainly continuing to make a case for it in the world of online marketplaces. This morning, the New York-based company announced the closing of a $30 million Series E.\u00a0 The [\u2026]","content":"\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">Investors, it seems, aren\u2019t entirely soured on the world of 3D printing. The technology is still making progress in the enterprise sector, and Shapeways is certainly continuing to make a case for it in the world of online marketplaces. This morning, the New York-based company announced the closing of a $30 million Series E.\u00a0<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">The round, led by<span class=\"Apple-converted-space\">\u00a0<\/span>Lux Capital, puts its total funding north of $100 million. That\u2019s no small chunk of change, particularly as 3D printing has lost much of its luster in the consumer world over the past several years. But the company has been a bit of a quiet success in 3D printing, selling the technology as a service along with an Etsy-like online marketplace, rather than attempting to convince early adopters to spend $500-$1,000 on a desktop machine. <\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">After a long search, the company <a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/02\/21\/3d-printing-marketplace-shapeways-names-a-new-ceo\/\">appointed Gregory Kress<\/a> its new CEO, back in February. At the time, he explained his vision of playing a stronger role in the world of hardware prototyping\/startup incubation. \u201cWe can help them to market it and develop and sustain a small business,\u201d said Kress. \u201cI see Shapeways shifting from delivering one niche of that customer experience to truly helping our creators from almost a platform perspective and allowing us to become a one-stop shop.\u201d<\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">Now flush with extra cash, Shapeways is going to take that expansion further. \u201cThe capital will be used to accelerate company growth and launch additional services to support Shapeways\u2019 overall vision to become the complete end-to-end platform helping creators \u2018design, make, and sell,\u2019 regardless of 3D modeling experience,\u201d the company writes in a press release tied to the funding announcement. <\/span><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><span class=\"s1\">That starts with the introduction of the new Design With Shapeways tool, which is designed to walk creators through the 3D-printing process, starting with a 3D file, 2D drawing or even just an idea. The new Spring &amp; Wonder line, meanwhile, offers a hands-on approach to creating personalized jewelry through the service. <\/span><\/p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Funding","Startups","3d printing","shapeways"]},{"title":"Jaquet Droz is shipping its mechanical signing machine","pubDate":"2018-04-19 15:02:44","link":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/19\/jaquet-droz-is-shipping-its-mechanical-signing-machine\/","guid":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/?p=1625049","author":"John Biggs","thumbnail":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/04\/jaquet-droz_mas_front_650x365.jpg","description":"Watchmaker Jaquet Droz announced its Signing Machine \u2014 a mechanical device that will sign your name for you using a series of miniature gears and springs \u2014 in 2014. Four years later, the company is ready to ship their miraculous contraption just in time for you to ink the deal you\u2019ve made with Cybereus, lord [\u2026]","content":"\n<p>Watchmaker <a href=\"http:\/\/www.jaquet-droz.com\/en\/news\/the-signing-machine-jaquet-droz-the-art-mechanical-astonishment\">Jaquet Droz announced its Signing Machine<\/a> \u2014 a mechanical device that will sign your name for you using a series of miniature gears and springs \u2014 in 2014. Four years later, the company is ready to ship their miraculous contraption just in time for you to ink the deal you\u2019ve made with Cybereus, lord of the digital underworld.<\/p>\n<p>This exquisitely baroque gadget is essentially a little cartridge full of clockwork. You wind it up, stick a pencil in its tiny retractable claw, and let it go. The gears and levers recreate your signature with a series of flowing strokes generated by the movement of the gears.<\/p>\n<p>Droz, an 18th century watchmaker and automaton manufacturer, was famous for his miraculous contraptions, including a Draughtsman and Writer, two human-shaped robots that could draw and write, along with his beautiful <a href=\"http:\/\/www.jaquet-droz.com\/the-bird-repeater\/\">singing birds that used tiny pipes and bellows to recreate birdsong<\/a>.<\/p>\n<p>The Signing Machine is activated after you enter your four-digit code into the the device, and each unit is individually decorated for the owner.<\/p>\n<p>How much does this bit of titanium jimcrackery cost? It starts at $367,500 and goes up depending on your signature. Too much? Just remember: Making deals with the cryptodemons of the digital underworld isn\u2019t cheap. You\u2019ll need something like this oddly tactical piece of metal to truly widen their hooded, red-shining eyes.<\/p>\n<p><img class=\"breakout aligncenter size-large wp-image-1625053\" src=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/04\/jaquet-droz_mas_front_650x365.jpg\"><\/p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Gadgets","TC","device","Gear","robotics","technology"]},{"title":"MoviePass\u2019s parent company is getting crushed after offering new stock","pubDate":"2018-04-19 14:56:01","link":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/19\/moviepasss-parent-company-is-getting-crushed-after-offering-new-stock\/","guid":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/?p=1625112","author":"Matthew Lynley","thumbnail":"","description":"Helios and Matheson Analytics is looking to push additional capital into its prime and wildly popular asset, MoviePass, by raising money in a new stock sale that appears to be giving Wall Street fits. Looking to raise additional capital, Helios and Matheson said it would sell up to $150 million in a stock sale that [\u2026]","content":"\n<p>Helios and Matheson Analytics is looking to push additional capital into its prime and wildly popular asset, <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/moviepass\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"moviepass\">MoviePass, <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a> by raising money in a new stock sale that appears to be giving Wall Street fits.<\/p>\n<p>Looking to raise additional capital, Helios and Matheson said it would sell up to $150 million in a stock sale that essentially seems geared to fund MoviePass\u2019s expansion. Helios and Matheson is the largest shareholder of MoviePass, which is an increasingly popular service for going to watch movies.\u00a0MoviePass\u2019s parent company saw a sharp decline in its stock price today, with its value dropping around 40% as a result of the announcement.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cHelios and Matheson may use the net proceeds from this offering to increase the Company\u2019s ownership stake in MoviePass or to support the operations of MoviePass and MoviePass Ventures; to satisfy a portion or all of any amounts payable in connection with previously issued convertible notes; and for general corporate purposes and transaction expenses,\u201d the company said in the release. \u201cThe Company may also use the proceeds to make other acquisitions.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>Helios and Matheson recorded a net loss of around $150 million in 2017 (attributed to its acquisition of the majority stake in MoviePass). The company acquired a majority stake in MoviePass toward the end of last year. At the end of 2017, the company had around $25 million in cash and cash equivalents, according to their last annual report.<\/p>\n<p>MoviePass allows users to spend around $10 per month to get one ticket to a movie every day, albeit with some strings attached. But it offers a way for theaters to fill seats and still acquire revenue from concessions and other products while allowing viewers to actually get in the door without paying a steep ticket price that might come with that movie.<\/p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Apps","Mobile","moviepass"]},{"title":"Eventbrite acquires Spanish ticketing platform Ticketea","pubDate":"2018-04-19 14:33:54","link":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/19\/eventbrite-acquires-spanish-ticketing-platform-ticketea\/","guid":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/?p=1625044","author":"Natasha Lomas","thumbnail":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/04\/screen-shot-2018-04-19-at-4-25-20-pm.png","description":"Eventbrite has been shopping again in Europe \u2014 announcing\u00a0today that it\u2019s picked up Spanish ticketing firm, Ticketea. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The Madrid-based events discovery and ticketing platform lets people find and book tickets for a variety of live experiences \u2014 including festivals, concerts and performing arts shows. It focuses on [\u2026]","content":"\n<p><a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/eventbrite\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"eventbrite\">Eventbrite <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a> has been shopping again in Europe \u2014 <a href=\"https:\/\/www.eventbrite.com\/blog\/eventbrite-acquires-ticketea-ds00\/\">announcing<\/a>\u00a0today that it\u2019s picked up Spanish ticketing firm, <a href=\"https:\/\/www.ticketea.com\/\">Ticketea<\/a>. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.<\/p>\n<p>The Madrid-based events discovery and ticketing platform lets people find and book tickets for a variety of live experiences \u2014 including festivals, concerts and performing arts shows. It focuses on Spanish speaking countries and small and mid-sized event organizers.<\/p>\n<p>Eventbrite said the acquisition will help expand its global footprint in music events, including via the Arenal Sound, Vi\u00f1a Rock, Low Festival, and Dreambeach festivals.<\/p>\n<p>It also flagged <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/ticketea\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"ticketea\">Ticketea\u2019s <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a> \u201crobust ecosystem of third-party integrations\u201d \u2014 selling tickets for prominent entertainment events and brands, such as The Billy Elliot Musical, Cirque du Soleil, and Museo Nacional del Prado \u2014 as another attraction.<\/p>\n<p>In a statement on the acquisition Julia Hartz, CEO and co-founder of Eventbrite, lauded Ticketea\u2019s approach to solving the event industry\u2019s challenges \u2014 saying its \u201crobust discovery platform\u201d was of interest, along with the company\u2019s \u201cstrong leadership position\u201d in the southern European market (not just Spain).<\/p>\n<p><img class=\"breakout alignnone wp-image-1625101 size-full\" src=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/04\/screen-shot-2018-04-19-at-4-25-20-pm.png\" alt=\"\" width=\"1140\" height=\"514\"><\/p>\n<p>\u201cThere is incredible synergy between our two companies from a business, platform, and brand perspective,\u201d added Hartz. \u201cWe\u2019re thrilled to welcome their talented team, who shares our core mission of bringing people together through live experiences, to the Eventbrite family.\u201d<\/p>\n<p><a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/person\/javier-andres\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"person\" data-entity=\"javier-andres\">Javier Andres, <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a> co-founder and CEO of Ticketea, is joining Eventbrite as country director for Spain and Portugal.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cWe have been building a significant market presence in Spain for nearly a decade. It\u2019s exciting to be recognized by the global leader in event technology as they invest more heavily in our growing market,\u201d he said in a supporting statement.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cWe look forward to extending the impact of both our team and technology far beyond country borders, to the more than 180 countries and territories where their powerful platform gives rise to millions of events today.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>According to <a href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/ticketea#section-overview\">Crunchbase<\/a>\u00a0Ticketea has raised just $5.7M since being founded, all the way back in 2009, so its investors \u2014 which include Madrid-based VC firm <a href=\"http:\/\/seayaventures.com\/\">Seaya Ventures<\/a> \u2014 are likely to be patting themselves on the back about a nice little return on their investment.<\/p>\n<p>Ticketea is not the only European ticket firm that Eventbrite has bagged in recent years.\u00a0<a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2017\/01\/31\/eventbrite-buys-ticketscript-a-self-service-ticket-platform-for-music-events\/\">Last year<\/a> the billion-dollar event-management platform also acquired\u00a0<a href=\"http:\/\/ticketscript.com\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener\">Ticketscript<\/a>, a ticketing startup based out of Amsterdam.<\/p>\n<p>In 2017 it also splurged on US-based <a href=\"https:\/\/www.eventbrite.com.au\/pressreleases\/eventbrite-acquires-nvite-648\/\">Nivite<\/a>, and <a href=\"https:\/\/www.eventbrite.com\/blog\/eventbrite-and-ticketfly-ds00\/\">Ticketfly<\/a>\u00a0\u2014 picking the latter up from Pandora, and shelling out $200M.<\/p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["eCommerce","Europe","Fundings &amp; Exits","eventbrite","events","javier andres","madrid","seaya ventures","spain","ticketea","ticketing"]},{"title":"Rylo brings some new software tricks to their not-a-360 camera","pubDate":"2018-04-19 14:18:14","link":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/19\/rylo-brings-some-new-software-tricks-to-their-not-a-360-camera\/","guid":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/?p=1624991","author":"Lucas Matney","thumbnail":"","description":"Rylo wants people to use 360 cameras to capture everything around them, then use software to determine what exactly they want after the fact. Today, the startup is adding a new feature to the app, a new feature to the camera and a new camera effect to keep things interesting on the company\u2019s 360 camera [\u2026]","content":"\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/www.rylo.com\/\">Rylo<\/a> wants people to use 360 cameras to capture everything around them, then use software to determine what exactly they want after the fact. Today, the startup is adding a new feature to the app, a new feature to the camera and a new camera effect to keep things interesting on the company\u2019s 360 camera that\u2019s not really a 360 camera.<\/p>\n<p>When it comes to functioning like an action camera, there are a few things 360 cams really aren\u2019t suited for. For instance, when you\u2019ve chest-mounted the camera, you can fairly expect that about half of its footage is not going to come out very well. For such situations, <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/rylo\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"rylo\">Rylo <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a> is building a 180-degree mode for its camera. The company said that mode will offer \u201c<span>increased resolution and better image quality.\u201d<\/span><\/p>\n<div class=\"embed-vimeo embed breakout embed--video\"><\/div>\n<p>Indeed, 180-degree video has earned a few headlines since YouTube introduced a <a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2017\/06\/22\/youtube-chops-360-video-in-half-with-new-vr180-format\/\">VR180<\/a> mode last year with the goal of making an immersive format that did more without forcing creators to reinvent all of the workflows. While Rylo\u2019s single lens take will not be able to do so in 3D, the company\u2019s focus is still more on punching out a traditional letterbox format rather than building content ripe for viewings on VR headsets.<\/p>\n<p>For the camera\u2019s time-lapse mode, Rylo is also going to be adding a cool new \u201cmotion blur\u201d effect that seems pretty apt for creating the perfect montage.<\/p>\n<div class=\"embed-vimeo embed breakout embed--video\"><\/div>\n<p>Another feature coming to the Rylo will be Bluetooth remote capture. This is a fairly expected feature for a 360 camera, and will allow you to start and stop recording from your app over Bluetooth. What\u2019s more useful is that users will also be able to switch modes so they can switch to snapping photos or dive into the new 180 mode without physically tapping on the camera itself.<\/p>\n<p dir=\"ltr\">These aren\u2019t the biggest feature upgrades in the world, but count them as continued refinements to one of more interesting spherical cameras out there. These updates go live today on the company\u2019s Android and iOS apps.<\/p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Hardware","TC","action camera","rylo"]},{"title":"eBay\u2019s mobile app can now fill out your listings for you","pubDate":"2018-04-19 14:16:21","link":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/19\/ebays-mobile-app-can-now-fill-out-your-listings-for-you\/","guid":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/?p=1625074","author":"Sarah Perez","thumbnail":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/04\/ebaysellingflow.jpg?w=680","description":"Ebay is rolling out an app update designed to make it easier to list items for sale on its online marketplace. Instead of filling out detailed forms on your mobile phone\u2019s small screen, you can now scan the barcode on the item in question or type a description, choose the item\u2019s condition, then click \u201clist [\u2026]","content":"\n<p><a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/ebay\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"ebay\">Ebay <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a> is<a href=\"https:\/\/www.ebayinc.com\/stories\/news\/ebays-app-update-helps-sellers-list-in-under-one-minute-with-just-two-steps\/\"> rolling out an app update<\/a> designed to make it easier to list items for sale on its online marketplace. Instead of filling out detailed forms on your mobile phone\u2019s small screen, you can now scan the barcode on the item in question or type a description, choose the item\u2019s condition, then click \u201clist your item\u201d to make the listing go live on eBay\u2019s site.<\/p>\n<p>After scanning or entering the description, eBay\u2019s <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/app-4\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"app-4\">app <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a> will do a one-to-one match to its catalog to help to fill in the necessary information for that product. It will also offer sellers a pre-populated stock photo, eBay\u2019s price recommendation, and its shipping recommendations,<\/p>\n<p>The change is meant to reduce the number of steps it takes to list to a matter of seconds. And if the process is less cumbersome, eBay hopes more people will choose to sell on eBay as opposed to the growing number of resale apps like OfferUp or LetGo, which are currently ranking higher than eBay on Apple\u2019s App Store.<\/p>\n<p>Facebook\u2019s <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/marketplace\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"marketplace\">Marketplace <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a> has also likely had some impact on eBay\u2019s sales, especially in terms of local sales.<\/p>\n<p>Despite the increased competition, eBay is still seeing more than 13.4 million listings added to its site every week from the eBay <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/mobile-366\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"mobile-366\">mobile <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a> app alone.<\/p>\n<p>\u00a0<\/p>\n<p>The app\u2019s newfound ability to quickly list the item uses technology like structured data and predictive analytics to pre-populate listings with the information required, instead of relying on sellers to type it in themselves.<\/p>\n<p><img class=\"alignnone size-large wp-image-1625085\" src=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2018\/04\/ebaysellingflow.jpg?w=680\" alt=\"\" width=\"680\" height=\"374\"><\/p>\n<p>This use of technology is something the company believes is a competitive advantage over newcomers to the space, in addition to its ability to provide access to millions of shoppers around the world.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cAt eBay, we\u2019re dedicated to delivering a seamless and efficient selling experience for both first-time and seasoned sellers alike,\u201d says Kelly Vincent, eBay\u2019s VP of Consumer Selling Product &amp; Engineering, in a statement about the app\u2019s revamp.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cThis latest update continues to leverage eBay\u2019s structured data, which helps catalogue the 1.1+ billion items on the platform, to instantaneously populate product details, pricing and shipping information in the listing flow. Not only does the catalogue facilitate a superior listing experience, it enables buyers to easily find the great deals offered by our sellers,\u201d she added.<\/p>\n<p>Vincent also noted that eBay\u2019s use of structured data and other new technology will make its way to other products and features this year, but didn\u2019t say what those may be. However, the focus for now seems to be enabling sellers.<\/p>\n<p>Ebay\u2019s updated app with the barcode scanning feature for listings is rolling out now on both iOS and Android.<\/p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Apps","eCommerce","App","e-commerce","eBay","marketplace","Mobile","shopping"]},{"title":"Oculus implements its own GDPR-compliant privacy controls","pubDate":"2018-04-19 14:00:51","link":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/19\/oculus-implements-its-own-gdpr-compliant-privacy-controls\/","guid":"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/?p=1624993","author":"Lucas Matney","thumbnail":"","description":"While Facebook is still struggling to regain user trust following a data fiasco that ultimately brought Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress, the company still has plenty to do to ready itself for GDPR and appease EU lawmakers. This includes making sure that everything is up to snuff at its virtual reality company, Oculus [\u2026]","content":"\n<p>While <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/facebook\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"facebook\">Facebook <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a> is still struggling to regain user trust following a data fiasco that ultimately brought Zuckerberg to testify in front of Congress, the company still has plenty to do to ready itself for GDPR and appease EU lawmakers. This includes making sure that everything is up to snuff at its virtual reality company, <a class=\"crunchbase-link\" href=\"https:\/\/www.crunchbase.com\/organization\/oculus-vr\/\" target=\"_blank\" data-type=\"organization\" data-entity=\"oculus-vr\">Oculus <span class=\"crunchbase-tooltip-indicator\"><\/span><\/a>.<\/p>\n<p>The VR company announced today that it will begin rolling out changes, including a user-facing Privacy Center, an updated Terms of Service with a Code of Conduct to ensure that VR users operate in a safe environment.<\/p>\n<div class=\"embed breakout\">\n<blockquote class=\"wp-embedded-content\" data-secret=\"b7icZUehRM\"><p><a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/17\/facebook-gdpr-changes\/\">A flaw-by-flaw guide to Facebook\u2019s new GDPR privacy changes<\/a><\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p><\/p>\n<\/div>\n<p>The Oculus \u201cMy Privacy Center\u201d feature will launch next month on May 20, and will allow users to take a look at the data that Oculus has on them while managing preferences. Users notably won\u2019t be able to see anonymized data that Oculus collects, which includes the in-VR movements that users make with their headsets and controllers. Data also not available for download includes stuff that\u2019s only stored on your device and data like your credit card info that they keep stored securely.<\/p>\n<p>The Code of Conduct forbids users from accessing or promoting sexually explicit content, using hateful or racially offensive language, promoting illegal activities, or harassing other users. Here\u2019s the full thing:<\/p>\n<ul class=\"_3e2_ _1ewa _1g4e\">\n<li>\n<blockquote><p>You may not use or promote sexually explicit, abusive or obscene content.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<\/li>\n<li>\n<blockquote><p>You may not use or promote language or content that would qualify as hateful or racially offensive. We don\u2019t allow content that attacks people based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, diseases or disability.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<\/li>\n<li>\n<blockquote><p>You may not harass, bully, threaten other users, or encourage other users to do so.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<\/li>\n<li>\n<blockquote><p>You may not encourage, celebrate or promote real-world violence.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<\/li>\n<li>\n<blockquote><p>You may not encourage or promote illegal activity.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<\/li>\n<li>\n<blockquote><p>You may not impersonate an Oculus employee, partner, representative, other real person or encourage other users to do so.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<\/li>\n<\/ul>\n<p>Today, the company posted a <a href=\"https:\/\/www.oculus.com\/blog\/important-oculus-privacy-updates\/\">blog<\/a> seeking to answer a few questions ahead of launching the new ToS tomorrow.<\/p>\n<p>On the user privacy front, few things have made Oculus users more antsy than the belief that the company was using the rich data it gathered, including data related to how users physically moved their bodes while inside VR, to help Facebook target advertisements to users. In the company\u2019s blog post discussing these changes, they deny this outright early-on.<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>We don\u2019t share data with Facebook that would allow third parties to target advertisements based on your use of the\u00a0<span class=\"lG\">Oculus<\/span>\u00a0Platform.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>While this hardly stresses a long-term commitment to carrying this out, for the time being, advertisers won\u2019t get data related to user\u2019s VR habits while they\u2019re using Oculus platforms. This may not necessarily be the case with VR efforts built wholly beneath the Facebook platform like their social app Spaces.<\/p>\n<p>How and why Oculus collects this movement data in the first place was also addressed, with the company stressing that this data is now de-identified and can not be associated with user accounts.<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>We collect the necessary movement and environment data required to deliver an immersive\u00a0<span class=\"lG\">VR<\/span>\u00a0experience that is safe, comfortable, and seamless across apps. This could include the gestures you make with controllers or changes in your orientation, as well as the Guardian\u00a0play space boundaries you provide us with. For example, in an app that lets you view 360\u00b0 videos, the app needs to know which direction you\u2019re facing in order to ensure the best possible viewing experience. Once this data is processed for its express purpose (ie: to make the app work), it\u2019s de-identified in our systems and not associated with your account.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>While the value of Facebook\u2019s user data has been abundantly clear, Oculus is far more focused on ensuring that people actually start using VR in the first place, rather than quickly building out a virtual reality ads business. As such, their updated Terms of Service is likely to be less controversial than what\u2019s found in <a href=\"https:\/\/techcrunch.com\/2018\/04\/17\/facebook-gdpr-changes\/\">Facebook\u2019s implementation of GDPR-compliant policies<\/a>.<\/p>\n<p>Nevertheless, for a parent company that has repeatedly had to put to rest that it\u2019s not listening to users via their device\u2019s microphones, a platform ripe for dystopia like VR is undoubtedly going to gather more user paranoia as it grows in popularity, and thus more need for the company to transparently communicate what data it does and does not collect. And while it\u2019s easy to see why certain permissions might be needed for an app to function, the important thing is ensuring that parties with access aren\u2019t abusing their access.<\/p>\n<p>The company\u2019s \u201cMy Privacy Center\u201d sounds like a government-mandated step in the right direction, but as always, it\u2019s best to be skeptical and see where it moves from here.<\/p>\n","enclosure":{},"categories":["Virtual Reality","Facebook","Oculus"]}]};