Beauty startup Memebox
is relaunching its United States e-commerce business, about one year after putting it on hold to focus on building a review and community platform
. Beginning today, the company will sell its in-house brands, I Dew care and Nooni, through the site before adding makeup line Pony Effect next month. Memebox, which is based in San Francisco and has raised about $160 million in funding so far, also announced a partnership with beauty retail giant Sephora to launch a new cosmetic line this fall.
The Y Combinator alum’s online retail business has continued operating in Asian markets including South Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Founder and CEO Dino Ha told TechCrunch they decided that increased consumer awareness about Asian beauty brands in the United States meant it was the right time to relaunch there. Memebox’s last round of funding was its Series C in 2016
Continue reading "Korean beauty startup Memebox relaunches its U.S. e-commerce platform and signs Sephora deal"
Amid calls for a boycott and employee dissent
over its cloud-computing deal with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Microsoft
issued a statement
saying that the company “is dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border.” The ICE is currently under fire from both sides of the political spectrum
for separating migrant parents from their children at the United States-Mexico border.
The controversy over Microsoft’s involvement with the ICE
stems from an Authority to Operate (ATO) that the agency granted to Azure Government
earlier this year. In a January blog post, Microsoft said the ATO would help the ICE deliver cloud-based identity and access services and “help employees make more informed decisions faster.” It also said that the use of its government compliant cloud computing software would enable ICE to “process data on edge devices or utilize deep learning capabilities to accelerate
Continue reading "Microsoft says it is “dismayed” by the forced separation of migrant families at the border"
Struggling retail chain GameStop
is discussing a potential buyout with private equity firms, according to Reuters
. The report says that one of the private equity firms is Sycamore Partners and that GameStop
has hired a financial advisor to help with the talks, though there’s no guarantee that a deal will come to fruition.
Founded in 1984 and once a mainstay for gamers, GameStop has struggled to cope with competition from online retailers like Amazon and digital distribution platforms including Steam, even after several attempts to diversify its business model. For example, last fall GameStop announced a used game subscription service, but that was shelved, reportedly because of issues with the chain’s point-of-sale system
. Despite other efforts, including selling secondhand games and devices and the acquisition of novelty maker ThinkGeek in 2015
, the company’s stock
has fallen steadily since November 2013, when it hit $56.53 a share, to $13.
Continue reading "GameStop reportedly discussing buyout with private equity firms"
Modern Health founders Alyson Friedensohn and Erica Johnson
About one year ago, a note from a CEO
thanking his employee for using sick days to take care of her mental health went viral. It was a reminder to Alyson Friedensohn of what she wants to accomplish with Modern Health, the emotional health benefits startup she founded last year with neuroscientist Erica Johnson.
“We want that to be normal. We want the email she sent to be normal, to be able to be that open,” Friedensohn tells TechCrunch.
Modern Health, a Y Combinator alum, announced today that it has raised $2.26 million in seed funding for hiring, accelerating the development of its healthcare platform and growing its network of therapists, coaches and other providers. Offered as a benefit by companies, Modern Health’s services are meant to improve employee well-being and retention rates. The round was led by Afore, with participation
Continue reading "YC alum Modern Health, a startup focused on emotional wellbeing, gets $2.26M seed funding"
’s inter-city carpooling service will resume night operations on a limited basis about a month after a female passenger was allegedly murdered by an unregistered driver
who accessed the platform using his father’s account. Called Didi Hitch, the service will return on June 15 with new safety measures, including one that only allows drivers to serve passengers of the same sex during late night hours. Didi Hitch will also began piloting a new feature later this month called “guardian mode” (not “escort mode” as reported by some publications) that automatically shares ride details with a passenger’s emergency contacts.
The company says Didi Hitch will resume partial nighttime service between the hours of 10PM to 12AM and 5AM to 6AM on June 15, but with what Didi says is a “tentative safety measure.” During those times, drivers will only be able to accept ride requests made by passengers
Continue reading "Didi will resume late night Hitch rides, but only allow drivers to pick up passengers of the same sex"
If you had trouble accessing Netflix
earlier today, you weren’t alone. Netflix tweeted
that it was “aware” of streaming issues, but said soon afterward that they had been resolved.
A map from Outage.Report
shows that Netflix was down for users around the world, with outages going on for a couple of hours.
TechCrunch has contacted Netflix to ask what caused the issues.
For many architects, the hardest part of their job starts after
they finish designing a building, when the onerous process of code compliance begins. Written to ensure the safety and accessibility of buildings, codes dictate everything from the height and depth of stairs and where railings end, to the amount of floor space in front of toilets and the height of windows. Regulations are constantly updated, which means that even the most diligent team of architects often miss violations, resulting in costly delays. Y Combinator alum UpCodes
wants to help them by using artificial intelligence, including natural language processing, to create what the San Francisco-based startup describes as “the spellcheck for buildings.”
Called UpCodes AI
, the program is a plug-in that scans 3D models created with building information modeling (BIM) data and alerts architects about potential issues. It draws on the same backend as UpCodes’ first product
Continue reading "By automating code compliance, UpCodes AI is “the spellcheck for buildings”"
Foxconn Technology Group says it is investigating a factory it operates that makes Amazon
devices, including Kindles, after an in-depth report by advocacy group China Labor Watch
criticized its “appalling working conditions,” including excessive hours and over-reliance on temporary workers.
“We are carrying out a full investigation of the areas raised by the report, and if found to be true, immediate actions will be taken to bring the operations into compliance with our Code of Conduct,” Taiwan-based Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., told Reuters.
New York-based China Labor Watch says its investigators were sent to the factory, which is located in south central China in Hunan Province’s Hengyang city and also makes Amazon’s Echo Dot Bluetooth speakers and tablets, from August 2017 to April 2018.
During that time, the group says it found that dispatch, or temporary, workers made up more than 40%
Continue reading "After report on “appalling” conditions, Foxconn will investigate plant that makes Amazon devices"
Zebra Medical Vision
, an Israeli medical imaging startup that uses machine and deep learning to build tools for radiologists, has raised a $30 million Series C led by health technology fund aMoon Ventures, with participation from Aurum, Johnson & Johnson Innovation—JJDC Inc. (the conglomerate’s venture capital arm), Intermountain Health and artificial intelligence experts Fei-Fei Li and Richard Socher. Existing investors Khosla Ventures, Nvidia, Marc Benioff, OurCrowd and Dolby Ventures also returned for the round.
Zebra also announced its Textray research today, which it claims is the “most comprehensive AI research conducted on chest X-rays to date.” Textray is being used to develop a new product that has already been trained using almost two million images to identify 40 clinical findings. Scheduled to launch next year, it will help automate the analysis of chest X-rays for radiologists.
Founder and CEO Elad Benjamin, who launched Zebra with Eyal Toledano and
Continue reading "Zebra Medical Vision gets $30M Series C to create AI-based tools for radiologists"
Y Combinator alum Meesho
, one of several “social selling” startups gaining speed in India, will add more features to its e-commerce platform after closing a $11.5 million Series B led by Sequoia India. Existing investors SAIF Partners, Y Combinator and Venture Highway also returned for the round, which brings the Bangalore-based startup’s total funding so far to $15 million. Its last round of funding, a $3.4 million Series A, was announced last October
Like social selling competitors including GlowRoad and Zepo, Meesho’s
model combines dropshipping from its wholesale partners with a comprehensive suite of e-commerce tools and services. This reduces overhead while making it easy for sellers, who Meesho says includes many housewives, students and retirees, to set up an online business through WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media.
Meesho’s tools include an online platform that allows sellers to manage purchases and process payments, as well as
Continue reading "“Social selling” startup Meesho lands $11.5M Series B led by Sequoia India"
is feeling increasing pressure from AMD and Qualcomm and the competition will get even more intense if reports that Apple is working on its own chips
to replace Intel processors in Macs are true. In an interview with Engadget last week before Computex
, Intel’s client computing head Gregory Bryant said that Intel would reveal an even more powerful chip than last year’s showstopper
, the 18-core, 36-thread Intel i9-7980XE.
As it turns out, Intel’s Computex
keynote today in Taipei, Taiwan focused more on previewing future launches, but Bryant did reveal that later this year, the company will unveil a single-socket processor with a whooping 28-cores that will run at 5 GHz. In comparison, AMD’s Threadripper processor, one of Intel’s closest competitors, has 16-cores and 32 threads.
Bryant said the new chip will debut in the fourth quarter of this year but did not reveal pricing details (for reference,
Continue reading "Intel teases a massive 28-core, single-socket chip that will launch later this year"
event today at Computex in Taipei, Taiwan had three main hooks: health, ergonomics and, most importantly, second screens. The headliner was the premium ZenBook Pro 14 and 15 (pictured above), the latest versions of ASUS’
premium notebook that feature a touchscreen where the touchpad would usually be
Meant to increase the laptops’ multitasking possibilities, the 5.5-inch ScreenPad functions as a second screen for things like messaging or apps including a calculator, a video and music player or calendar. It can also be used as a launchpad for apps on the ZenBook Pro’s main display or serve as a function command screen for Microsoft Office programs.
During his presentation, ASUS global PC and phone marketing senior director Marcel Campos said the ZenBook Pro 15 was designed with three kinds of professionals in mind: video makers, photographers and 3D designers. It has a 15.6-inch 4K UHD NanoEdge display
Continue reading "ASUS’ new ZenBook Pro features a 5.5-inch touchscreen instead of a touchpad"
to a New York Times story
that raises privacy concerns about the company’s device-integrated APIs, saying that it “disagree[s] with the issues they’ve raised about these APIs.”
Headined “Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends,” the New York Times article criticizes the privacy protections of device-integrated APIs, which were launched by Facebook a decade ago. Before app stores became common, the APIs enabled Facebook to strike data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers, including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung, that allowed them to offer Facebook features, such as messaging, address books and the like button, to their users.
But they may have given access to more data than assumed, says the article. New York Times reporters Gabriel J.X. Dance, Nicholas Confessore and Michael LaForgia write that “the partnerships, whose scope has not been previously reported, raise concerns about
Continue reading "Facebook says it “disagrees” with the New York Times’ criticisms of its device-integrated APIs"
, which claims to be the world’s largest Ethereum wallet, will focus on expanding in Asia and the United States after raising a $10 million Series A from IDG Capital, it announced today. The capital will also be used to add new features, including support for Bitcoin, EOS and other blockchains.
imToken is the latest addition to IDG Capital’s cryptocurrency investments, which include Coinbase and Circle. In a press statement, global chairman Hugo Shong said “imToken has developed its product into one of the top crypto asset wallets in the world with such a sound reputation. We believe it will become a significant infrastructure for the tokenization manifesto, benefitting both the crypto economy and blockchain technology. We’re excited to back imToken.”
Founded in 2016 by chief executive officer Ben He and based in Hangzhou, imToken’s core market is currently China. The company supports 30,000 tokens, claims more than
Continue reading "Ethereum wallet imToken raises $10M Series A from IDG to expand in the U.S., Asia and Africa"
Starting in July, Australians will be blocked from ordering items on Amazon’s
United States site. The company said today that shoppers in Australia will be redirected to its local site, Amazon.com.au
, and that its international sites, including Amazon.com, will no longer ship to Australian addresses. The change is in response to a new tax regulation
that goes into effect on July 1 and requires businesses earning more than $75,000 AUD a year to charge Australia’s 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on low value items imported by consumers.
Called the “Amazon tax,” the new policy was introduced following concerns about the impact of Amazon and other large overseas e-commerce businesses on Australian retailers, who have to apply GST to all products they sell. A loophole in tax regulations, however, means that the GST is currently applied only to items purchased from overseas retailers if they are
Continue reading "Australians will no longer be able to order from Amazon’s American site"
SQream CEO and co-founder Ami Gal
, the GPU database developer, will deepen its focus on China after raising a $26.4 million Series B led by Alibaba Group. The round also included investors Hanaco Venture Capital, Sistema.vc, World Trade Ventures, Paradiso Ventures, Glory Ventures and Silvertech Ventures.
The startup describes the funding, which brings its total raised to a little over $40 million, as a strategic investment from Alibaba. Earlier this year, SQream and Alibaba Cloud announced a new agreement that will give Alibaba Cloud users access to the GPU database starting in October.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Chaoqun Zhan, director of Alibaba Database Business, said “Alibaba Cloud and SQream announced a collaboration in February and this investment deepens our relationship, and together we aim to provide the best cloud solutions to all kinds of businesses to enable their success in this digital age.”
Continue reading "Alibaba Group leads $26.4M Series B in GPU database provider SQream"
sedan running on Autopilot mode collided with a parked vehicle belonging to the Laguna Beach Police Department today. No one was in the police car and the Tesla driver had only minor injuries, reports the Los Angeles Times, but the police car was “totaled,” Laguna Beach police sergeant Jim Cota told the newspaper.
Cota also said that a year ago, there had been another incident involving a Tesla colliding with a semi-truck in the same area. “Why do these vehicles keep doing that?” he told the LA Times. “We’re just lucky that people aren’t getting injured.”
Alibaba Group announced
today that it has agreed to sell several of the healthcare categories on Tmall, its B2C shopping platform, to digital healthcare subsidiary Alibaba Health Information Technology. In exchange, Alibaba Group will receive $10.6 billion HKD (about $1.35 billion) in newly issued shares of Alibaba Health and increase its equity stake in the company, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, from 48.1% to 56.2%.
If you have followed Alibaba Group for a while and this news is giving you a feeling of déjà vu, there’s a reason why. In April 2015, Alibaba Group made a similar announcement
, saying that it had agreed to integrate Tmall’s pharmacy business into Alibaba Health in exchange for a majority stake.
The next year, however, Alibaba Health disclosed
to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it had let the proposed deal lapse because of regulatory
Continue reading "Alibaba Group agrees to sell several Tmall healthcare categories to subsidiary Alibaba Health"
just launched a family version of its Premium service. For $14.99 a month, up to six users can access Premium features (the individual version costs $9.99 a month). The new subscription option was added with little fanfare and spotted earlier today by Android Police
This better positions Pandora
to compete with Spotify Premium and Apple Music, at least from a pricing perspective. Both of those services also offer family plans covering up to six people for $14.99 a month. An annual subscription to Pandora’s Premium Family is also available for $164.98 a year.
In addition to other Premium features, Premium Family includes a personalized playlist called Our Soundtrack that selects a mix of songs based on every family member’s listening habits. Pandora just finished rolling out personalized playlists last week
, which it announced earlier this year in a bid to take on one of
Continue reading "Pandora now offers a Premium Family plan for $14.99 a month"
Created to help app developers find and fix bugs more efficiently, Sentry
announced today that it has raised a $16 million Series B led by returning investors NEA and Accel. Both firms participated in Sentry’s Series A round two years ago
Co-founder and CEO David Cramer tells TechCrunch that the new round puts Sentry’s post-money valuation at around $100 million. The company recently launched Sentry 9, which, like its other software, is open source. Sentry 9 lets app developers integrate error remediation into their workflows by automatically notifying the developers responsible for that part of the code, letting them filter by environment to hone in on the issue, and manage collaboration among different teams. This reduces the amount of time it takes to fix bugs from “five hours to five minutes,” Sentry claims.
The company will “double down on developers and their adjacent roles,” in particular product teams, Cramer says.
Continue reading "Sentry raises $16M Series B from NEA and Accel to help developers squash bugs more quickly"