Microbiome therapeutics, Photoshop for augmented reality, and cancer treatments were some of the ideas presented at Day 2 of startup accelerator Y Combinator’s Winter 2018 Demo Day. YC is increasingly using its massive class size (141 startups this time around) to fund especially risky frontier technology and biotech moonshots, while tempering the portfolio with more predictable enterprise companies.
The accelerator still admits many international copycats of U.S. successes, and YC is also repeating itself a bit. The Podcast App pitched the exact same product and strategy as Breaker, which debuted at YC exactly a year ago. But there were plenty of ambitious and unique businesses unveiled today on the Mountain View Computer History Museum stage, and the room was — as always — packed with a who’s who of tech investors.
Check out our coverage of all 64 startups that launched on the record yesterday, plus our picks
Continue reading "These are the 64 startups unveiled at Y Combinator W18 Demo Day 2"
Biotech, robotics, and fintech startups took the spotlight today at prestigious accelerator Y Combinator’s
26th Demo Day. This batch features 141 total companies from 23 countries, with presentations spread over two days. The house was packed at Mountain View’s Computer History Museum with wealthy investors forced to stand in the back or sit on floor. Meanwhile, marijuana soda, wind turbine-cleaning drones, and indestructible panty hose startups demoed their products in the break room and parking lot.
Y Combinator has made progress ramping up diversity in its startup school. 35 percent of this batch’s companies are internationally based, 27 percent have a female founder, and 13 percent have an underrepresented minority founder. The 50-person YC team now includes 18 partners, with Eric Migicovsky of Pebble joining to help out hardware companies and explore the accelerator’s opportunities in China.
The question on everyone’s minds is which startups will join the 15 previous
Continue reading "Here are 64 startups that launched today at Y Combinator’s W18 Demo Day"
“Enjoy a light, social high” says the funky bottle of California Dreamin’ cannabis
-infused sparkling pomegranate juice. Launching today at Y Combinator Demo Day, California Dreamin’ is serving up an alcohol alternative that still gets you lit, but without the same hangover or health issues.
Each bottle contains 10 milligrams of THC — an industry standard dose of the psychoactive chemical in marijuana. The company only uses sativa, the more energizing, euphoric type of pot, compared to the more body relaxing Indica variety. That’s compared to some competing
marijuana beverages with as much as 100mg — enough that a single sip will get you high and bottle will lay out all but the hardiest stoners. “We want it to be a light, head high feel” says Seven Cities Beverage Company aka California Dreamin’ co-founder Amy Ludlum. “We don’t want to give anyone couch lock. We want it to be social.
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next big Stories feature could let you compliment or trash talk other people’s feed posts, or embed a “see post” button to promote your own. A TechCrunch reader sent us these screenshots of the new feature, which Instagram confirmed to us is appearing to a small subset of users. “We’re always testing ways to make it easier to share any moment with friends on Instagram” a spokesperson wrote. Now those moments can include dunking on people.
Instagram has never had a true “regram” feature with the feed, just slews of unofficial
and sometimes scammy apps, but this is perhaps the closest thing. Users often screenshot feed posts and share them in Stories with overlaid commentary, but this limited the cropping and commentary options. Making an official “reshare could unlock all sorts of new user behaviors, from meme curation to burn book shade throwing to social stars teasing their
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is eager to displace YouTube and Patreon in order to become the home of online content creators, so it’s testing a bunch of new ways for them to earn money
and connect with fans. Facebook’s dedicated Creator app that launched in November on iOS will come to Android soon, and it’s also starting a closed beta program where social media stars can work with it to build new features. It’s already cooked up new ones like a leaderboard for each creator’s most engaged fans who earn a special badge next to their comments, as well as a version of its Rights Manager tool for removing or taking over monetization of unofficial copies of their videos.
But most interesting are the new monetization options Facebook is trying out. It will let some users sign-up for a monthly subscription patronage payment to their favorite creators in exchange for exclusive content and
Continue reading "Facebook builds Patreon, Niche clones to lure creators with cash"
is challenging Twitch and YouTube for video game live streaming supremacy with the release of its new Games SDK for PC
. After testing Live streaming from games like Overwatch from developers like Blizzard since 2016
, today Live broadcasting from PC games to the News Feed opens to all developers. And Facebook will let them reward fans who watch by providing in-game items or bonuses. For example, beneath the comments reel, users might see a promotion like “Watch Paladins streams for a chance to earn random loot to use in-game.”
The potential for viral growth and sales could convince tons of game developers to bake in Facebook’s new SDK, while players could use the simple broadcasting feature to reach a big audience — though one not as dedicated to gaming as on other platforms. Viewers might choose to watch on Facebook because they get rewarded there. Facebook meanwhile
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has naively put its faith in humanity and repeatedly been abused, exploited, and proven either negligent or complicit. The company routinely ignores or downplays the worst-case scenarios, idealistically building products without the necessary safeguards, and then drags its feet to admit the extent of the problems.
This approach, willful or not, has led to its latest scandal, where a previously available API for app developers was harnessed by Trump and Brexit Leave campaign technology provider Cambridge Analytica
to pull not just the profile data of 270,000 app users who gave express permission, but of 50 million of those people’s unwitting friends.
Facebook famously changed its motto in 2014 from “Move fast and break things” to “Move fast with stable infra” aka ‘infrastructure’. But all that’s meant is that Facebook’s products function as coded even at enormous scale, not that they’re built any slower or with more caution for how
Continue reading "Facebook and the endless string of worst-case scenarios"