Monthly Archives: November 2018

And the winner of Startup Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin 2018 is… Legacy

At the very beginning, there were 13 startups. After two days of incredibly fierce competition, we now have a winner. Startups participating in the Startup Battlefield have all been hand-picked to participate in our highly competitive startup competition. They all presented in front of multiple groups of VCs and tech leaders serving as judges for a chance to win $50,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup. After hours of deliberations, TechCrunch editors pored over the judges’ notes and narrowed the list down to five finalists: Imago AI, Kalepso, […]

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N26 says it now has more than 2M customers

N26 announced today that it now has more than 2 million customers — up from 1.5 million in October. The German fintech startup’s CEO Valentin Stalf was interviewed onstage at Disrupt Berlin with Tandem CEO Ricky Knox, where they discussed the growth of what are sometimes called challenger banks or neobanks — new banks that are taking on the incumbents by focusing on digital tools. Stalf said N26 is seeing more than €1.5 billion in transactions each month, with €1 billion in deposits. He also discussed the […]

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Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled to pay SEC fines for flogging garbage ICOs

Floyd Mayweather Jr. and DJ Khaled have agreed to “pay disgorgement, penalties and interest” for failing to disclose promotional payments from three ICOs including Centra Tech. Mayweather received $100,000 from Centra Tech while Khaled got $50,000 from the failed ICO. The SEC cited Khaled and Mayweather’s social media feeds, noting they touted securities for pay without disclosing their affiliation with the companies. Mayweather, you’ll recall, appeared on Instagram with a whole lot of cash while Khaled called Centra Tech a “Game changer.” “You can call me Floyd […]

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Insurance startup Bright Health raises $200M at ~$950M valuation

A flurry of digital-first insurers are betting they can surpass industry incumbents with a little help from technology and a lot of help from venture capitalists. The latest to land a massive check is Bright Health, a Minneapolis-headquartered provider of affordable individual, family and Medicare Advantage healthcare plans in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, New York City, Ohio and Tennessee. The company, founded by the former chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Bob Sheehy; Kyle Rolfing, the former CEO of UnitedHealth-acquired Definity Health; and Tom Valdivia, another former Definity Health executive, has brought in a $200 million […]

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Meet the five Startup Battlefield finalists at Disrupt Berlin 2018

Thirteen companies took the stage today at Disrupt Berlin, delivering six-minute pitches and demos, then answering free-for-all questions from expert judges. Now that the judges have given us their feedback, we’ve chosen five finalists. These finalists will all take the stage again tomorrow afternoon to present in front of a new set of judges, who will have time to ask more in-depth questions. Then one winner will be chosen to take home the Disrupt Cup — not to mention $50,000, equity-free. Here are the finalists. The competition […]

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Lyft’s pink-wheeled shareable bikes will be available to rent soon

Lyft has finally given us a glimpse of its forthcoming line of shareable bikes, which the ridesharing company says will be available to rent within its mobile app in select cities “soon.” The news comes as the $15 billion company announces the final close of its acquisition of Motivate, the New York City-based mobility startup that owns a number of bike-rental services, like Citi Bike, Ford GoBike, Divvy, Blue Bikes and Capital Bikeshare. The transaction was reportedly worth some $250 million. Lyft brought in $600 million in […]

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Legacy freezes your sperm so you don’t have to

Legacy is tackling an interesting problem: the reduction of sperm motility as we age. By freezing our sperm, this Swiss-based company promises to keep our boys safe and potent as we get older, a consideration that many find vital as we marry and have kids later. Legacy, which exhibited in Startup Alley at Disrupt Berlin 2018, was chosen as the wildcard company to present its services onstage during Startup Battlefield. How does it work? Well, the company delivers a system for grabbing sperm. The material is kept […]

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Koo! is a social network for short-form podcasts

Alexandre Meregan says that music, and audio in general, has always been core to his life. But one day on his five-minute commute to work, trying to listen to a podcast for the first time, he realized that by the time he arrived at work he had only heard an introduction and a commercial jingle. He immediately went to work on Koo!, a short-form podcast app aimed at young people. Koo! lets users record up to one minute of audio, add “sound stickers” like a drum roll […]

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Rlay offers a blockchain-powered platform to help companies build better crowdsourced data sets

The team behind Rlay believes that blockchain technology can play a crucial role in helping businesses crowdsource their data-gathering tasks. Founder Michael Hirn said this is a problem he encountered while working with Sunstone Capital to develop a more quantitative approach to venture capital, which meant pulling startup data from a wide variety of online sources. It ended up being an incredibly time-consuming process, and he said, “90 percent of the time was spent cleaning the data and acquiring the data.” CTO Max Goisser argued that this […]

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Agtech startup Imago AI is using computer vision to boost crop yields

Presenting onstage today in the 2018 TC Disrupt Berlin Battlefield is Indian agtech startup Imago AI, which is applying AI to help feed the world’s growing population by increasing crop yields and reducing food waste. As startup missions go, it’s an impressively ambitious one. The team, which is based out of Gurgaon near New Delhi, is using computer vision and machine learning technology to fully automate the laborious task of measuring crop output and quality — speeding up what can be a very manual and time-consuming process […]

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