Category Archives: Fundings & Exits

Robotics VCs on what’s real, what’s coming, and what to keep in mind

Last week, at TechCrunch’s robotics event at UC Berkeley, we sat down with four VCs who are making a range of bets on robotics companies, from drone technologies to robots whose immediate applications aren’t yet clear. Featuring Peter Barrett of Playground Global, Helen Liang of FoundersX Ventures, Eric Migicovsky of Y Combinator and Andy Wheeler of GV (pictured above), we covered a lot of terrain (no pun intended), including whether last-mile delivery robots make sense and how much robots should be expected to do without human intervention. […]

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Pinterest employee #1 launches blockchain art market MakersPlace

Pinterest is a great place to find digital art but a terrible place to sell it. The fact that anything online is infinitely copyable makes it tough for artists to establish a sense of scarcity necessary for their work to be perceived as valuable. Yash Nelapati saw this struggle up close as Pinterest’s first employee. Now he has started MakersPlace, where creators can generate a blockchain fingerprint for each of their artworks that proves who made it and lets it be sold as part of a limited […]

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Embrace raises $4.5M for its mobile application performance management platform

Embrace, an LA-based startup that offers a mobile-first application performance management platform, today announced that it has raised a $4.5 million funding round led by Pritzker Group Venture Capital. This brings the company’s total funding to $7 million. New investors Greycroft, Miramar Ventures and Vy Captial also participated in this round, as did previous investors Eniac Ventures, The Chernin Group, Techstars Ventures, Tikhon Bernstam of Parse and others. Current Embrace customers include the likes of Home Depot, Headspace, OkCupid, Boxed, Thrive Market and TuneIn. These companies use […]

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Digging into key takeaways from our 2019 Robotics+AI Sessions Event

Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Brian Heater and Lucas Matney shared their key takeaways from our Robotics+AI Sessions event at UC Berkeley last week. The event was filled with panels, demos and intimate discussions with key robotics and deep learning founders, executives and technologists. Brian and Lucas discuss which companies excited them most, as well as which verticals have the most exciting growth prospects in the robotics […]

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India’s Mfine raises $17.2M for its digital healthcare service

Mfine, an India-based startup aiming to broaden access to doctors and healthcare by using the internet, has pulled in a $17.2 million Series B funding round for growth. The company is led by four co-founders from Myntra, the fashion commerce startup acquired by Flipkart in 2014. They include CEO Prasad Kompalli and Ashutosh Lawania who started the business in 2017 and were later joined by Ajit Narayanan and Arjun Choudhary, Myntra’s former CTO and head of growth, respectively. The round is led by Japan’s SBI Investment with […]

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Smartcar accuses $50M-funded rival Otonomo of API plagiarism

Ruthless copying is common in tech. Just ask Snapchat. However, it’s typically more conceptual than literal. But car API startup Smartcar claims that its competitor Otonomo copy-and-pasted Smartcar’s API documentation, allegedly plagiarizing it extensively to the point of including the original’s typos and randomly generated strings of code. It’s published a series of side-by-side screenshots detailing the supposed theft of its intellectual property. Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta says “We do have evidence of several of their employees systemically using our product with behavior indicating they wanted to […]

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Acquisitions, more than IPOs, will create Africa’s early startup successes

Africa has made its global IPO debut. Pan-African e-commerce company Jumia—a $1 billion-valued company—began trading live on the NYSE last week. The stock offering made Jumia the first upstart operating in Africa to list on a major global exchange. This raises expectations for unicorns and IPOs to create the continent’s first wave of startup moguls. But unlike other markets, big public listings and nine-figure valuations could remain rare in Africa. The rise of venture arms and startup acquisitions will factor more prominently than IPOs in creating Africa’s […]

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Astroscreen raises $1M to detect social media manipulation with machine learning

In an era of social media manipulation and disinformation, we could sure use some help from innovative entrepreneurs. Social networks are now critical to how the public consumes and shares the news. But these networks were never built for an informed debate about the news. They were built to reward virality. That means they are open to manipulation for commercial and political gain. Fake social media accounts – bots (automated) and ‘sock-puppets’ (human-run) – can be used in a highly organized way to spread and amplify minor […]

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The different playbooks of D2C brands

Ashwin Ramasamy Contributor Ashwin Ramasamy is the cofounder of PipeCandy that provides algorithm-generated insights and predictions about eCommerce and D2C companies. His company helps investors, banks, tech firms and governments understand the global eCommerce landscape. @Ashwinizer More posts by this contributor Waiting for the right professional network It’s the end of “euphoric times” for custom app developers Over the past half a decade, the tidal wave of niche brands delivering new kinds of products to consumers and doing so online has changed the retail and CPG landscapes […]

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Pinterest prices IPO above range

Pinterest priced shares of its stock, “PINS,” above its anticipated range on Wednesday evening, CNBC reports. The company will sell 75 million shares of Class A common stock at $19 apiece in an offering that will attract $1.4 billion in new capital for the visual search engine. The NYSE-listed business had planned to sell its shares at between $15 to $17 and didn’t increase the size of its planned offering prior to Wednesday’s pricing. Valued at $12.3 billion in 2017, the initial public offering gives Pinterest a fully […]

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