Category Archives: Talent

HQ Trivia launches HQ Words as reinstalled CEO seeks a game-changer

HQ’s expansion beyond trivia is emerging from beta, but the question is whether it’s different and accessible enough to revive the startup’s growth. HQ Words opens to everyone today with games at 6:30pm PT within the HQ Trivia app after several weeks of closed beta testing of the Wheel Of Fortune-style game. The launch will be the first big move of Rus Yusupov now that he’s been officially renamed CEO a week after the tragic death of fellow co-founder and former CEO Colin Kroll, HQ confirms to […]

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Ex-Googlers meld humans & machines at new cobotics startup Formant

Our distinct skill sets and shortcomings mean people and robots will join forces for the next few decades. Robots are tireless, efficient and reliable, but in a millisecond through intuition and situational awareness, humans can make decisions machine can’t. Until workplace robots are truly autonomous and don’t require any human thinking, we’ll need software to supervise them at scale. Formant comes out of stealth today to “help people speak robot,” says co-founder and CEO Jeff Linnell. “What’s really going to move the needle in the innovation economy is using […]

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Our 3 favorite startups from Morgan Stanley’s 2nd Multicultural Innovation Lab Demo Day 

The Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab, Morgan Stanley’s in-house accelerator focused on companies founded by multicultural and female entrepreneurs, hosted its second Annual Showcase and Demo Day. The event also featured companies from accelerators HearstLab, Newark Venture Partner Labs and PS27 Ventures. (Note: I was formerly employed by Morgan Stanley and have no financial ties.) The showcase represented the culmination of the program’s second year, which followed an initial five-company class that has already seen two acquisitions. Through the six-month program, Morgan Stanley provides early-stage companies with a wide range of […]

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Meet Uber’s newly promoted chief product officer, Manik Gupta

Manik Gupta got his first taste of solving logistics nightmares when, fresh out of college, he was delivering Palm Pilots around Singapore. He’d started a precursor to Groupon called BuyItTogether. “We were a full-stack marketplace where we were also delivering the goods. That’s what caused us to not have good profit margins. Actually, zero profit margins,” he recalls with a laugh. His new gig isn’t earning profits either. Uber lost nearly $1 billion last quarter. But the company sees Gupta’s experience with delivery and maps as crucial […]

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Burgerbot startup Creator hires inventor of Boston Dynamics’ Big Dog

Disney Imagineering animatronics wizard Dr. Martin Buehler is a legend in the robotics world. His work leading development of the galloping Big Dog quadruped at Boston Dynamics both inspired and terrified a new generation of makers. But after playing in the worlds of fantasy and science fiction that consumers can’t buy, Buehler has been poached to work on something much more tangible. In fact, it’s edible. He’s joining burger-making robot startup Creator as VP of engineering. “It was a great experience working on experimental validation [at Boston Dynamics]” […]

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Failed drone startup Airware auctions assets, Delair buys teammates

Airware desperately sought cash for 18 months before running out of money and shutting down last month, leaving about 120 employees without jobs after the startup had burned $118 million in funding. Bandaid strategic investments from construction company Caterpillar and others kept Airware alive as it looked for a $15 million round, according to a former employee. A late pivot from hardware to drone software sales through Caterpillar’s dealers went sour, as Airware lacked the features found in competitors and suffered from slow engineering cycles. “So Caterpillar told […]

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Lime will open brick-and-mortar scooter ‘lifestyle stores’

How can Lime differentiate its scooters and bikes from the piles of Birds and Spins filling Los Angeles sidewalks? Apparently with a physical storefront where it can convince customers of the wonders of on-demand mobility. According to a job listing from Lime seeking a “Retail Store Manager,” the startup plans to open a “lifestyle brand store in Santa Monica”. [Update: Following the publication of this article, Lime responded to our inquiry, telling TechCrunch “In the coming year, Lime will be opening brick & mortar storefronts in major […]

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New York on Tech is helping under-resourced students become future tech leaders

Image: Getty Images/smartboy10/DigitalVision Jessica Santana and Evin Robinson were riding the subway home from a college leadership conference when they realized they were getting off at the same stop.  It turned out, they had grown up in the same neighborhood, no more than 5 blocks apart. Years later, both Santana and Robinson were working six-figure jobs in the tech practices of elite corporations but were disheartened by the homogeneity of their surroundings. The tech industry is the primary generator of new jobs in the US, but the inaccessibility of […]

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Our 3 favorite startups from Urban-X’s 4th demo day

Urban-X, the urban-tech startup accelerator backed by MINI and early-stage urban-tech fund Urban.Us, hosted a demo day today for its fourth cohort of companies at its Brooklyn HQ.  The seven presenting companies offered solutions to issues plaguing modern cities, including toll-road pricing, energy and construction management, and even the inefficiencies of modern cycling helmets. In a day that offered an impressive display of entrepreneurial talent, here are a few of the companies that really stood out to us: Rentlogic In hopes of improving landlord transparency, Rentlogic uses years […]

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uBeam wireless power’s CEO Meredith Perry steps aside amidst B2B pivot

After repeatedly missing self-imposed deadlines for progress on its wireless charging-at-a-distance phone case, uBeam’s CEO Meredith Perry has decided to shift out of the CEO position and into a board member and senior advisor role. She’d founded the company in 2011 from her dorm room and brought in over $40 million in funding by selling a wide range of elite investors on her vision for a cordless future, including Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, CrunchFund (disclosure: started by TechCrunch’s founder), Marissa Mayer and Mark Cuban. Now rather than […]

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