Category Archives: Entertainment

Y Combinator bets on the booming podcast industry

Podcasts are exploding in popularity and Y Combinator, the startup accelerator known for its long list of unicorn graduates, is throwing its support behind a business tackling the podcast monetization problem. Among its latest and largest-ever cohort is Brew, a subscription-based app complete with original content. Though Brew’s founders, Jijo Sunny, Madhavan Ramakrishnan, Aleesha John and Joseph Sunny, call Brew the “Netflix for podcasts,” the app differs from Luminary, which made headlines with the same tagline and a $100 million round earlier this month. Luminary, which hasn’t […]

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Here’s a sneak peek at HBO’s Elizabeth Holmes documentary, The Inventor

The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos has inspired quite a bit of content, including a NYT Best Seller, an ABC podcast, a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence and now an HBO documentary directed by “Going Clear” director, Alex Gibney. The documentary is called “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.” The tech world was shocked when the WSJ broke the news that Theranos, the biotech startup founded by Elizabeth Holmes, wasn’t what it appeared to be. Promising to revolutionize healthcare, Theranos wanted to accomplish the impossible […]

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Digital publisher Serial Box raises $4.5M

Serial Box, a startup bringing back the tradition of serialized fiction, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding. The company actually disclosed the funding last week, when announcing a partnership to produce stories about Marvel characters, but it’s sharing more details about the round — namely, the fact that it was led by Boat Rocker Media, with participation from Forerunner Ventures, 2929 Entertainment co-founder Todd Wagner and Japanese business intelligence and media firm Uzabase. “We carefully chose trusted partners for this round of investment,” said co-founder and […]

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Camelot lets Twitch and YouTube audiences pay for what they want to see

As the streaming world continues to grow, startups are looking to take advantage of the opportunity and grab a slice of the pie, and indeed create new revenue models around it entirely.  Camelot, a YC-backed startup, is one of them. Camelot allows viewers to place bounties on their favorite streamers, putting a monetary value on the things they want to see on stream. This could include in-game challenges like “win with no armor,” as well as stream bounties like “Play Apex” or “add a heartbeat monitor to […]

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Glossier launches its first spin-off brand, a line of Instagram-friendly ‘dialed-up’ beauty extras

Glossier, known for its line of understated makeup products and a cult-following of millennial Instagrammers, is getting colorful with the launch of its first spin-off brand, Glossier Play. The company — led by founder and chief executive officer Emily Weiss, who built the nearly $400 million business from a makeup blog called Into The Gloss — has raised a total of $92 million in venture capital funding from top-tier consumer investors Forerunner Ventures, Index Ventures and IVP. Stitch Fix founder Katrina Lake and Forerunner founder and general […]

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Dipsea raises $5.5M for short-form, sexy audio stories

A new wave of female-led businesses want to help women get off. Dipsea, an app-based platform for short-form erotic audio stories, is the latest to grab funding from venture capital investors. The female-founded San Francisco-headquartered startup, which officially launched in December, has raised $5.5 million in a round led by Bedrock Capital and Thrive Capital. The funding comes amid a notable explosion in interest and investment in audio content consumption and creation, as well as an uptick in AirPod sales, easily removable wireless earbuds that encourage listeners […]

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Podcasting startup WaitWhat raises $4.3M as interest in audio content explodes

WaitWhat, the digital content production engine behind LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale podcast, has secured a $4.3 million Series A investment led by Cue Ball Capital and Burda Principal Investments. Launched in January 2017, WaitWhat will use the cash to create additional media properties across a variety of mediums, including podcasts. Investors are gravitating toward podcast startups as consumer interest in original audio content skyrockets. Podcasting, though an infantile industry that hit just $314 million in revenue in 2017, is maturing, raking in venture capital rounds […]

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Apple acquires talking Barbie voicetech startup PullString

Apple has just bought up the talent it needs to make talking toys a part of Siri, HomePod, and its voice strategy. Apple has acquired PullString, also known as ToyTalk, according to Axios’ Dan Primack and Ina Fried. TechCrunch has received confirmation of the acquistion from sources with knowledge of the deal. The startup makes voice experience design tools, artificial intelligence to power those experiences, and toys like talking Barbie and Thomas The Tank Engine toys in partnership with Mattel. Founded in 2011 by former Pixar executives, PullString went […]

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Startups Weekly: Even Gwyneth Paltrow had a hard time raising VC

I spent the week in Malibu attending Upfront Ventures’ annual Upfront Summit, which brings together the likes of Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC’s elite for a two-day networking session of sorts. Cameron Diaz was there for some reason, and Natalie Portman made an appearance. Stacey Abrams had a powerful Q&A session with Lisa Borders, the president and CEO of Time’s Up. Of course, Gwyneth Paltrow was there to talk up Goop, her venture-funded commerce and content engine. “I had no idea what I was getting into […]

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s artist-collaboration platform HitRecord raises $6.4M

In the early 2000s, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt was frustrated with the roles he was being offered. Instead of starring in critically acclaimed indies, he was typecast as “the funny kid on TV” due to roles like Tommy from “3rd Rock from the Sun.” So like anyone who matured alongside the internet, he created a website where he could ideate, produce and share his work. More than 10 years later, he wants to turn that pet project, called HitRecord, into a full-fledged technology company. Onstage at Upfront Venture’s […]

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