Airbnb, Automattic and Pinterest top rank of most acquisitive unicorns


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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It takes a lot more than a good idea and the right timing to build a billion-dollar company. Talent, focus, operational effectiveness and a healthy dose of luck are all components of a successful tech startup. Many of the most successful (or, at least, highest-valued) tech unicorns today didn’t get there alone.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) can be a major growth vector for rapidly scaling, highly valued technology companies. It’s a topic that we’ve covered off and on since the very first post on Crunchbase News in March 2017. Nearly two years later, we wanted to revisit that first post because things move quickly, and there is a new crop of

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Invest in AI’s ethical future


This post is by David Riggs from TechCrunch


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I spent a recent Saturday morning talking to a group of grade school kids about artificial intelligence. Many of them had never coded before, let alone heard of AI. During the session, one exercise required them to come up with ideas for how the AI they create would be used in the real world. I was struck by the kids’ genuine interest in creating AI solutions that would help people, rather than divide them. I left that classroom with renewed faith in the future of innovation — especially if industry can extend technology-focused career

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What an American artificial intelligence initiative really needs


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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At a high level, the American AI Initiative seems to be headed in the right direction. We absolutely need a holistic approach that considers all the various areas that are critical to building innovative AI solutions. This seems to be an underlying concept of the Initiative, as the executive order places priority on making data available across government agencies, allocating cloud computing resources to support AI R&D and training the workforce. Commitment to AI innovation is critical to maintaining our leadership position in technology with the increasing level of global AI competition.

We know that China, France and the U.K. have

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What business leaders can learn from Jeff Bezos’ leaked texts


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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The ‘below the belt selfie’ media circus surrounding Jeff Bezos has made encrypted communications top of mind among nervous executive handlers. Their assumption is that a product with serious cryptography like Wickr – where I work – or Signal could have helped help Mr. Bezos and Amazon avoid this drama.

It’s a good assumption, but a troubling conclusion.

I worry that moments like these will drag serious

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VCs aren’t falling in love with dating startups


This post is by Joanna Glasner from TechCrunch


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Some 17 years ago, when internet dating was popular but still kind of embarrassing to talk about, I interviewed an author who was particularly bullish on the practice. Millions of people, he said, have found gratifying relationships online. Were it not for the internet, they would probably never have met.

A lot of years have passed since then. Yet thanks to Joe Schwartz, an author of a 20-year-old dating advice book, “gratifying relationship” is still the term that sticks in my mind when contemplating the end-goal of internet dating tools.

Gratifying is a vague term, yet also uniquely accurate. It encompasses everything from the forever love of a soul mate to the temporary fix of a one-night stand. Romantics can talk about true

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Investor momentum builds for construction tech


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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Although it’s not the sexiest of industries, the hefty construction sector in 2018 attracted not only the attention but, more importantly, the dollars of investors.

Historically, the multi-trillion-dollar sector has been slow to adopt new technologies, as builders rely on a variety of disparate systems to manage projects, traditional building methods to construct homes and non-smart materials.

But a wave of startups is looking to capitalize on opportunities within the sector. Companies that have developed software solutions aimed at streamlining processes and increasing efficiencies are increasingly common. Prefab construction has evolved thanks to innovation in that space, and 3D printing technology can create homes in a matter of days.

Investors are taking notice. Funding in U.S.-based construction technology startups

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How to decarbonize America — and the world


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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The Green New Deal has burst onto the American stage, spurring more conversation about – and aspiration for – ambitious climate policy than at any point in at least a decade.

I’m glad to see it. Suddenly, climate is on the agenda, and ambitions for climate policy are higher than perhaps at any point in US history.

The Green New Deal is a resolution right now. It’s a statement of intent. It hasn’t yet progressed to the point of detailed policy proposals or legislation, which means now is the time to help craft its details.

For the last decade I’ve written about and publicly spoken about innovation in clean technology and ways to address climate change. I’ve helped

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BRCK acquires ISPs EveryLayer and Surf to boost Africa’s public Wi-Fi


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Kenyan communications hardware company BRCK has acquired the assets of Nairobi based internet provider Surf and its U.S. parent EveryLayer in a purchase deal of an undisclosed amount announced Friday.

Based in Nairobi, Surf is a hotspot service provider aimed at offering affordable internet to lower income segments. BRCK is a five year old venture that pairs its rugged WiFi routers to internet service packages designed to bring people online in frontier and emerging markets.

With the acquisition, BRCK gains the assets of San Francisco based EveryLayer and its Surf subsidiary, including 1200 hotspots and 200,000 active

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Why your startup may not be as great as everyone says


This post is by David Riggs from TechCrunch


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One of the very first things we ask Israeli entrepreneurs who are hoping to break into the U.S. market is to tell us how their product or service is being received by their target market. What is the feedback? Are potential customers hungry for what the team is selling?

Validation, both of the broader vision and the early product itself, has to be a key focus for any aspiring entrepreneur. Testing your product and getting specific feedback is the only way to know if the company is on the right track or wasting its time chasing down the wrong path. However, even for seasoned founders who understand how vital market validation is to the success of their company, it can be all too easy to get distracted chasing the wrong kind of validation.

Not all validation is

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A new Congress means a new opportunity for consumer privacy protections


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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The 2018 mid-term elections, for the first time in U.S. history, resulted in a Congress that has the look and feel of America…our very diverse America. There are now 102 women serving in Congress and a record number of Members representing all Americans. Our Members now represent the African American, Hispanic, LGBTQ, and interfaith communities.

Thirteen new members are under the age of 35. This evolution of the legislative branch provides an opportunity to represent the best interests of all consumers. In our digital world, what is it that consumers, from each and every community represented by this new diverse Congress, have asked for? Online privacy protections.

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In healthcare, better data demands better privacy protections


This post is by David Riggs from TechCrunch


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In August 2016, the Australian government released to the public a data set containing the medical billing history of nearly three million persons: every procedure they had undergone or prescription they had received. Needless to say, their names and all other identifying features had been redacted.

Nevertheless, within a few weeks a group of researchers at the University of Melbourne discovered how easy it was to re-identify the individuals in this ostensibly anonymous data set and extract their medical history. The researchers did this by using information readily available on the internet.

The media coverage of their paper bordered on hysteria; the Australian government was forced to

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Consumer-focused healthcare can save lives by focusing on changing behavior


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Everything we do in the $3 trillion healthcare market today only affects 10% of outcomes to premature death.

You read that right. All of that, for just 10% of outcomes:

That 10% exists for a reason. Genetic predisposition is hard to change. So, unfortunately, are social circumstances and environmental behavior. But that 40% of behavioral patterns — why can’t we tackle that? This is what real prevention would look like: nothing comes even close to mattering as much towards whether you will die prematurely as your behavior does.

We can do better than simply focusing on that small 10% slice of

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Companies raising supergiant VC aren’t getting any younger


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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This week, point-to-point “microtransit” service company Lime announced it raised $310 million in a Series D round, which valued the company at $2.4 billion, post-money. That is pretty impressive for a startup founded just a couple of years ago. Since 2017, Lime has raised more than $765 million in venture funding, which is due in part to the pretty daunting economics of the bike and scooter business. It takes a lot of capital to acquire and deploy that hardware.

Lime isn’t the only company to raise supergiant ($100 million or more) VC rounds right out of the gate. Despite the fact that

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Startup names may have passed peak weirdness


This post is by Joanna Glasner from TechCrunch


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For years, decades even, startup names have been getting weirder. This isn’t a scientific verdict, but it is how things have seemed to someone who spends a lot of hours perusing this stuff.

Startups have had a long run of branding themselves with creative misspellings, animal names. human first names, made-up words, adverbs and other odd collections of letters. It’s gone on so long it now seems normal. Names like Google, Airbnb and Hulu, which sounded strange at first, are now part of our everyday vocabulary.

Over the past few quarters, however, a peculiar thing has been happening: Startup founders are choosing more conventional-sounding names.

“As we reach the edge of strangeness… they’re saying: ‘It’s too weird. I’m uncomfortable,’”

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How to prepare for an investment apocalypse


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Unlike 2000 and 2008, everyone in the startup world is expecting a crash to come at any moment, but few are taking concrete steps to prepare for it.

If you’re running a venture-backed startup, you should probably get on that. First, go read RIP Good Times from Sequoia to get a sense for how bad it can get, quickly. Then take a look at the checklist below. You don’t need to build a bomb shelter, yet, but adopting a bit of the prepper mentality now will pay dividends down the road.

Don’t wait, prepare

The first step in preparing for a coming downturn is making a plan for how you’d

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Autonomous cars are driving the reinvention of IP protection


This post is by David Riggs from TechCrunch


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Early 1900s society struggled to transition from horse-drawn buggies to automobiles. It may seem odd today, but there was a time when there was no concept of “right of way,” speed limits

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Africa Roundup: Zimbabwe’s net blackout, Partech’s $143M fund, Andela’s $100M raise, Flutterwave’s pivot


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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A high court in Zimbabwe ended the government’s restrictions on internet and social media last month.

After days of intermittent blackouts at the order of the country’s Minister of State for National Security, ISPs restored connectivity per a January 21 judicial order.

Similar to net shutdowns around the continent, politics and protests were the catalyst. Shortly after the government announced a dramatic increase in fuel prices on January 12, Zimbabwe’s Congress of Trade Unions called for a national strike.

Web and app blackouts in the southern African country followed demonstrations that broke out in several cities. A government crackdown

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How students are founding, funding and joining startups


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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There has never been a better time to start, join, or fund a startup as a student. 

Young founders who want to start companies while still in school have an increasing number of resources to tap into that exist just for them. Students that want to learn how to build companies can apply to an increasing number of fast-track programs that allow them to gain valuable early stage operating experience. The energy around student entrepreneurship today is incredible. I’ve been immersed in this community as an investor and adviser for some time now, and to say the least, I’m continually blown away by what the next generation of innovators are dreaming up (from Analytical Space’s global data relay service for satellites to Brooklinen’s reinvention of the luxury bed).

The next integration evolution — blockchain


This post is by David Riggs from TechCrunch


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Here is one way to look at distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and blockchain in the context of integration evolution. Over the years, businesses and their systems are getting more integrated, forming industry-specific trustless networks, and blockchain technology is in the foundation of this evolutionary step.

Enterprise integration

Large organizations have a large number of applications running in separate silos that need to share data and functionality in order to operate in a unified and consistent way. The process of linking such applications within a single organization, to enable sharing of data and business processes, is called enterprise application integration (EAI).

Similarly, organizations also need to share data and functionality in

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Healthcare by 2028 will be doctor-directed, patient-owned and powered by visual technologies


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Visual assessment is critical to healthcare – whether that is a doctor peering down your throat as you say “ahhh” or an MRI of your brain. Since the X-ray was invented in 1895, medical imaging has evolved into many modalities that empower clinicians to see into and assess the human body.  Recent advances in visual sensors, computer vision and compute power are currently powering a new wave of innovation in legacy visual technologies(like the X-Ray and MRI) and sparking entirely new realms of medical practice, such as genomics.

Over the next 10 years, healthcare workflows will become mostly digitized, with wide swaths of personal data captured and computer vision, along with artificial

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