TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield is coming soon to Beirut, São Paolo and Lagos

Everyone knows there are thriving startup communities outside of obvious hubs, like San Francisco, Berlin, Bangalore and Beijing, but they don’t always get the support they deserve. Last year, TechCrunch took a major page from its playbook, the Startup Battlefield competition, and staged the event in Nairobi, Kenya to find the best early stage startup in Sub-Saharan Africa, and also to Sydney, Australia, to find the same for Australia and New Zealand. Both were successes, thanks to talented founders and the hard traveling TechCrunch team. And now we’re pleased to announce that we’re stepping up our commitment to emerging ecosystems. TechCrunch is once again teaming up with Facebook, our partner for last year’s Nairobi event, to bring the Startup Battlefield to three major cities representing regions with vital, emerging startup communities. In Beirut, TechCrunch’s editors will strive to find the best early stage startup in the Middle East
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GitHub’s epic exit, Domo’s dicey math, and Dataminr’s big raise

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This time ’round we had Connie and Alex on hand with Brian Ascher, a longtime partner with Venrock down in Palo Alto, Ca. It was a surprisingly busy week, so we had our work cut out us. Without further ado:

It turns out TechCrunch writers have really strong opinions about Apple’s new Walkie-Talkie feature

Apple today said it is rolling out a walkie-talkie like feature for the Apple Watch, which is something that seems a really long time coming but just never made it until 2018 when the Apple Watch was out for many years and is on its third iteration. The new watch has a cellular connection, which seems like a good enough time to add walkie talkie features (or maybe they were waiting for that red dial to make it feel cool). You talk into your watch inspector gadget style, which seems like a final actualization of our childhood dreams and ignite a hope that the future may finally be here. Or not. But what was actually a little more surprising was the alarmingly lively discussion that took place following the announcement, as well as the very strong opinions some TechCrunch writers have about the walkie talkie app and its storied
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Equity podcast: More funding for scooters, Cruise gets a boost, and Chinese IPOs

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was fun. Back in the studio, Connie Loizos, Matthew Lynley, your humble servant, and Ramneek Gupta, managing director of Citi Ventures was with us to provide the venture perspective. As you can probably guess, we got a bit stuck in Bird’s nest, trying to vet why the young company is hoping to punch its unicorn card in nigh-record time. The firm’s potential new $150 million round may make it a unicorn, but Lime is in the chase, and the firm’s economics are still not fully understood. What did we agree on in the end? Scooters are fun, and Lynley said a swear. Moving ahead, SoftBank’s Vision Fund is cutting another check, this time to General Motors. Yes, the galactic slushfund is dropping up to
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Equity podcast: Circle raises $110, VCs hunt liquidity, and the Vision Fund’s possible twin

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. Today Matthew Lynley, Connie Loizos and I were joined by Semil Shah, the founder of seed-stage fund Haystack and venture partner at Lightspeed. This week, we stuck to our roots: big rounds, venture capital liquidity thirst, one IPO, two Vision Funds, and three scooter jokes. Maybe more than three, but who is counting. First up we took on Circle’s new $110 million round, working to understand why the firm is raising new capital at such a huge valuation (~$3 billion!). Also in play: Circle’s new lead investor isn’t a venture capital shop, making the monetary infusion all the more interesting. (Oh, and here’s more on the Basis stable coin we brought up.) Next, we chatted through NEA’s plan to raise a fresh $1 billion to buy
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Ariella Grinberg from General Motors joins un in Tel Aviv

This year’s TechCrunch event in Tel Aviv is all about mobility and everything around it, from autonomous vehicles, to sensors, drones and security. And that’s including traditional car manufacturers in our agenda was important. I’m happy to announce that Ariella Grinberg from General Motors is going to join us at our event. Ariella Grinberg in Innovation Manager for GM’s Advanced Technical Center in Israel. She’s the proof that car manufacturers have to work with talented Israeli teams when it comes to smart mobility. General Motors has been working hard on autonomous vehicles, electric and connected cars, as well as cybersecurity issues. This radical shift is arguably GM’s biggest challenge to date. Newcomers and small startups have the potential to disrupt the car industry and generate more value than established companies like GM. It’s going to be interesting to hear Ariella Grinberg detail her work at GM and the company’s overall strategy
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Everledger’s Kemp and Omise’s Hasegawa join TC Blockchain

Blockchain technology and the decentralizing effects of distributed ledgers have enormous amounts of potential and may mean the Internet will never be the same again. The fact that one could eventually run vast applications without any servers is equally transformational. But it’s still very much a wild west out there in terms of ascertaining who is working on ‘the real deal’. The blockchain world is currently weighed down with the expectations of dubious crypto-currency speculators and sky-high ICOs and hacks that are interfering with a frank conversation about the future. Which is why TechCrunch has decided to throw its hat into the ring and try to bring together the leading players in the space for a frank discussion and inquiry into this next phase in Zug, Switzerland, this July. At TC Sessions: Blockchain 2018, TechCrunch’s editors will bring together top figures in the blockchain technology world to discuss how and
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Welcome to the new TechCrunch

It’s been five years since we last refreshed our site, during which time the web has evolved considerably. And we have too, so much so that we outgrew our site. As a high traffic outlet supporting editorial efforts, events, networking and resources with a three-person engineering team, we did our best to build on what […]

Need a post on Harvard.edu about your ICO? $500, please

 In the endless hunt to gain credibility for token products, founders are resorting to some shady – and ridiculous – tactics. After researching the weird world of pay-for-play recently and taking part in this expose on the space, I stumbled on another corner of the Internet that is a bit disturbing. It seems the habit of trying to bribe writers for big sites and providing access… Read More

Final round of tickets released for TechCrunch’s Winter Party

 We’re just about a week away from hosting our inaugural Winter Party at Galvanize. If you haven’t been able to grab a ticket yet, today is your lucky day. We’ve released our final round of tickets to TechCrunch’s first-ever Winter Party, so do yourself a solid and pick yours up so you can join in the fun on Friday, February 23. Read More

Cybex starts selling its $330, app-enabled car seat made for safety geeks

 Normally, I wouldn’t be writing about a car seat for for TechCrunch but as I’ve been in the market for such an item lately (and have been hit up for all things baby tech as my due date nears) the high-tech Cybex Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0 stood out. Cybex is manufactured in Germany and is a mostly European brand that’s gaining momentum in the U.S. market. Its newest carseat… Read More

Watch the trailer for season five of Silicon Valley

 Silicon Valley is about to come back for a fifth season and things are about to change, according to this trailer. The fifth season will also apparently feature “The Tech Awards,” which appears to be the show’s take on the Crunchies — TechCrunch’s long-running award show for the tech industry. Read More