Solving the mystery of sleep

Below are excerpts from the most recent episode of the Flux podcast hosted by RRE Ventures principal Alice Lloyd George. 

AMLG: Welcome back to the pod. I’m excited to be here with Dr. Assaf Glazer. He is the co-founder and CEO of Nanit a leading human analytics company that uses computer vision to help parents navigate their child’s sleep.

Essentially it’s a baby data collector that every sleep-deprived geek parent has dreamed of. A little background on Assaf: He got his Ph.D. at the Technion in Israel and was previously at Applied Materials as

Continue reading "Solving the mystery of sleep"

African experiments with drone technologies could leapfrog decades of infrastructure neglect

A drone revolution is coming to sub-Saharan Africa. Countries across the continent are experimenting with this 21st century technology as a way to leapfrog decades of neglect of 20th century infrastructure. Over the last two years, San Francisco-based startup Zipline launched a national UAV delivery program in East Africa; South Africa passed commercial drone legislation to train and license pilots; and Malawi even opened a Drone Test Corridor to African and its global partners.  In
Continue reading "African experiments with drone technologies could leapfrog decades of infrastructure neglect"

Everyday home gear made smart

Editor’s note: This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and TechCrunch may earn affiliate commissions. If you only have one smart home device, it’s likely something simple and fun like a voice-controlled speaker or color-changing LED light bulb. As you expand your smart home setup, you can begin to swap out gear that isn’t as flashy but you still use everyday. Switching to connected locks, power outlets and smoke alarms are all simple installs that can improve your safety and comfort in your own home. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite essentials made smart for anyone looking to upgrade. Smart lock: Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock 2nd Gen
Continue reading "Everyday home gear made smart"

In VC fund creation, have we passed the peak?

In venture capital, a variant on the Glengarry Glen Ross mandate is most fund managers’ modus operandi: Always. Be. Raising. And it seems like VCs have picked up on that. In the last few months, even casual readers of the tech press would notice many, many stories about VCs raising big new funds. So are venture investors spinning up new funds as often as they did in the past? VCs are certainly raising tons of money, and Crunchbase News reported earlier this week that these huge funds are bending the shape of the VC fundraising curve upward. But is that the full story? Even though 2018 has been a banner year
Continue reading "In VC fund creation, have we passed the peak?"

The funding mirage: How to secure international investment from emerging markets

Looking for funding as a startup in Latin America is a lot like looking for a watering hole in the middle of the desert. You know it’s out there, but finding it in time is a life or death situation. Granted, venture capital investment in the region is at an all-time high, with leading firms like Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners having made inaugural investments in markets like Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, respectively. But, at the same time, while startup founders might be tantalized by the news of big investments happening around them, as many of them get closer to the funding stage themselves, they often realize it’s nothing but a mirage. And this isn’t just a problem in Latin
Continue reading "The funding mirage: How to secure international investment from emerging markets"

Business school grads and quants are winning the battle to create the next P&G

These days my Instagram feed feels more like QVC than a social network.

And many of these companies are enjoying tremendous success pitching natural deodorants, unique underwear, creative candles, glam glasses, stunning shoes — all manner of well-crafted microbrands. We’re witnessing a Cambrian explosion of new consumer startups.

For the last couple of years, building a successful startup has seemed as simple as picking an out of favor category like ketchup and turning the most mundane of condiments into a $100M+ exit! Why try to build a robot or AI company when you can just modify and repackage a topping?

But how should founders evaluate the markets for mattresses and men’s health? What heuristics should an investor

Continue reading "Business school grads and quants are winning the battle to create the next P&G"

Product Hunt Radio: The rise of voice and the evolution of VC

After a long hiatus, Product Hunt Radio is back. Every week I’m joined by the founders, investors and makers shaping the future of technology. You’ll hear from people you may recognize and others you should know. Upcoming guests include Andrew Chen, Brian Norgard, Michael Seibel, Garry Tan, Jeff Morris Jr., Patrick Collison, Tiffany Zhong, Sophia Amoruso and many others. In our first episode back, I’m joined by two notable investors, Alexia Bonatsos and Niko Bonatsos. Alexia is the former co-editor-in-chief of TechCrunch and founder of a new venture fund, Dream Machine, where she helps founders “turn science fiction into non-fiction.” Her husband, Niko is managing director at General Catalyst, a leading Silicon Valley venture firm with investments in companies like
Continue reading "Product Hunt Radio: The rise of voice and the evolution of VC"

What would a blockchain patent war look like?

Blockchain is perhaps the most hyped technology of the past five years. The technology that allows us to create trustless immutable shared ledgers promises to bring transparency and honesty to commerce by disintermediating and decentralizing functions that rely on trusted third parties today. The promise and the potential are almost as big as the hype.

While still the early days, there are several applications that have already launched on blockchains — the first being the Bitcoin cryptocurrency payment protocol. Bitcoin is just a unit of account on blockchain. And more recently, with the implementation of smart contracts, code that is shared across the

Continue reading "What would a blockchain patent war look like?"

Safe artificial intelligence requires cultural intelligence

Knowledge, to paraphrase British journalist Miles Kington, is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing there’s a norm against putting it in a fruit salad.

Any kind of artificial intelligence clearly needs to possess great knowledge. But if we are going to deploy AI agents widely in society at large — on our highways, in our nursing homes and schools, in our
Continue reading "Safe artificial intelligence requires cultural intelligence"

Investors are waking up to the emotional struggle of startup founders

As the Gartner Hype Curve goes, from the peak of inflated expectations to the trough of disillusionment, so goes the founder’s emotional journey.

Most founders hit the trough sooner or later, the proverbial nadir of their startup life.

The company’s business model undergoes the dreaded pivot. Teams dissipate and the foundation starts to fall apart. Startups die. Investors cut their losses and move on to the rosier pastures of their portfolio.

And what is often left is a depressed broken founder, dealing with the consequences of ‘crushing it’. But too often, its the founders psyche that gets crushed. Not much can be done about it but that’s changing.

Gartner Hype Curve: No emotional support needed


Continue reading "Investors are waking up to the emotional struggle of startup founders"

Commons Clause stops open-source abuse

There’s a dark cloud on the horizon. The behavior of cloud infrastructure providers, such as Amazon, threatens the viability of open source.

During 13 years as a venture investor, I have invested in the companies behind many open-source projects:

Open source has served society, and open-source business models have been successful and lucrative. Life was good.

Amazon’s behavior

I admire Amazon’s execution. In the venture business we are used to the large software incumbents (such as IBM, Oracle, HP, Compuware, CA, EMC, VMware, Citrix and others) being

Continue reading "Commons Clause stops open-source abuse"

Harley-Davidson is opening a Silicon Valley R&D center to power EV production

Harley-Davidson, the American symbol for internal combustion, chrome and steel, is going all in on two-wheeled EVs. The Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer is going electric and coming to Silicon Valley. Harley announced it will open an R&D space in the Bay Area by the end of 2018 to support its commitment to build electric vehicles. “The real reason is talent,” Harley-Davidson’s Group Chief Engineer Vance Strader told TechCrunch. “We’re after people who really have a passion for and understanding of electric vehicles and the systems that make them great. [That] sort of culture we’re more likely to get in Silicon Valley:
Continue reading "Harley-Davidson is opening a Silicon Valley R&D center to power EV production"

Latin America is the next stage in the race for dominance in the ride-hailing market

As the number of competitors in the ride-hailing industry dwindles, geographic expansion is emerging as the next proving ground to determine who will be the victor in the ride-hailing market.

The race for control of the industry, which is estimated by Goldman Sachs to grow eightfold to $285 billion by 2030, is escalating with China’s Didi Chuxing already surpassing Uber as the most valuable startup in the world. With a recent valuation of approximately $56 billion, compared to Uber’s $48 billion, Didi is posing a real threat to Uber’s operations and shows no signs of slowing down. Cementing its position as the top ride-hailing service in China, Didi

Continue reading "Latin America is the next stage in the race for dominance in the ride-hailing market"

Measuring AI startups by the right yardstick

Building a B2B AI startup is hard enough between struggling to obtain training data and fighting with major tech companies to secure talent. Building a B2B AI startup held to the well-established software-as-a-service (SaaS) metrics is even harder. While many AI businesses deliver value via software monetized by a recurring subscription like their SaaS counterparts, the similarities between the two types of businesses end there.

AI startups are a different animal

SaaS products built without data and AI offer generalized solutions to their customers. AI businesses more closely resemble a services business or consultancies because they provide solutions that become tailored to that customer’s specific needs. Like services providers or consultants, an AI product improves

Continue reading "Measuring AI startups by the right yardstick"

Is China’s digital silk road going to pave over Silicon Valley?

Over the past 20 years, China has now grown into one of the largest consumer technology markets, with thousands of startups and funding rivaling Silicon Valley. In 2018, Chinese entrepreneurs are seeking to expand their businesses beyond borders, establish international operations, and become global companies by listing on exchanges including the NASDAQ and NYSE. More than ever Chinese entrepreneurs are confident in their ability to create a unicorn thanks to China’s digital transformation and its leading innovations in international markets.

Digital transformation through new native apps and services make scaling easier

Despite the talent war between China and the U.S. and large growing domestic markets, Chinese chief executives dream of successfully entering the U.S. Market. There is now global competition to attract Chinese startups to list on exchanges around the world. With a growing
Continue reading "Is China’s digital silk road going to pave over Silicon Valley?"

With a $10 million round, Nigeria’s Paga plans global expansion

Nigerian digital payments startup Paga is gearing up for an international expansion with $10 million in funding let by the Global Innovation Fund. 

The company is planning to release its payments product in Ethiopia, Mexico, and the Philippines—CEO Tayo Oviosu told TechCrunch at Disrupt San Francisco.

Paga looks to go head to head with regional and global payment players, such as PayPal, Alipay, and Safaricom’s M-Pesa, according to Oviosu.

“We are not only in a position to compete with them, we’re going beyond them,” he  said of Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile money product. “Our goal is to

Continue reading "With a $10 million round, Nigeria’s Paga plans global expansion"

South Africa’s Yoco raises $16 million to boost digital services to small businesses

South African startup Yoco has raised $16 million in a new round of funding to expand its payment management and audit services for small and medium sized businesses as it angles to be one of Africa’s billion dollar businesses.

To get there the company that “builds tools and services to help SMEs get paid and manage their business” plans to tap $20 billion in commercial activity that the company’s co-founder and chief executive, Katlego Maphai estimates is waiting to move from cash payments to digital offerings.

Yoco’s already posted significant numbers for its business connecting small companies to digital

Continue reading "South Africa’s Yoco raises $16 million to boost digital services to small businesses"

What incubators and tech ecosystems can offer health startups

Access to connections with industry and market know-how is critical for ventures looking to scale beyond a Series A funding round. Startups operating in the health and life sciences space — where innovations may take years to see the light of day — commonly require support navigating a heightened regulatory environment and evolving end-user or beneficiary expectations. Young healthcare companies also need reliable sources of ecosystem knowledge as they enter crowded markets with powerful incumbents and attempt to court potential partners. That’s why the need for more specialized incubators to develop capabilities, talent and opportunities for deeply technical fields, like healthcare, which improve lives and help solve the world’s toughest problems, will persist.

Bring innovation under one roof — literally or digitally

Achieving results with the incubator model of innovation depends on

Continue reading "What incubators and tech ecosystems can offer health startups"

How to help Californians whose tap water is tainted?

Karen Lewis knows about water problems. The 67-year-old lives in Compton, where the water coming out of her tap is tinged brown by manganese, a metal similar to iron, from old pipes. The water is supplied by the troubled Sativa Los Angeles County Water District. The district has been plagued by administrative scandal and charges of mismanagement, and it hasn’t been able to generate the money needed to fix the brown water. Lewis has sat through innumerable community meetings and heard years’ worth of explanations, and she’s had enough. “Nothing’s been changed,” she said. “They’re not going to change.” Lewis is one of an estimated 360,000 Californians who can’t safely drink the water that flows to their homes. It’s
Continue reading "How to help Californians whose tap water is tainted?"

The collapse of ETH is inevitable

Here’s a prediction. ETH — the asset, not the Ethereum Network itself — will go to zero. Those who already think that ETH will not see real adoption — thanks to a failure to scale, to adopt more secure contract authoring practices, or to out-compete its competitors — don’t need to be convinced that a price collapse would follow as a consequence. But, if one believes that Ethereum will succeed beyond anyone’s wildest dreams as a platform then the proposition that ETH (as a
Continue reading "The collapse of ETH is inevitable"