This is one smart device that every urban home could use


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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Living in a dense urban environment brings many startup-fuelled conveniences, be it near instant delivery of food — or pretty much whatever else you fancy — to a whole range of wheels that can be hopped on (or into) to whisk you around at the tap of an app.

But the biggest problem afflicting city dwellers is not some minor inconvenience. It’s bad, poor, terrible, horrible, unhealthy air. And there’s no app to fix that.

Nor can hardware solve this problem. But smart hardware can at least help.

For about a month I’ve been road-testing a wi-fi connected air purifier made by Swedish company, Blueair. It uses an Hepa filtration system combined with integrated air quality sensors to provide real-time in-app feedback which can be reassuring or alert you to unseen problems.

Flip to the bottom of this article for a speed take or continue reading for the full review

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Uber launches a Jump e-bike pilot in London, one year on from winning taxi license appeal


This post is by Ingrid Lunden from TechCrunch


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After admitting it had to modify some of its Jump electric bikes to fix braking issues — the same problem that had halted Lyft’s e-bike business — Uber is getting back on its bike, so to speak. Almost one year after nearly getting driven off London’s streets completely by losing its taxi operating license, Uber today announced the launch of Jump e-bikes in London. The service is kicking off with a pilot of 350 bikes in the borough of Islington, with plans to expand to more areas of the city in the coming months.

If you are in the catchment, Jump Bikes will now appear as an option in your Uber app alongside UberPool, UberX and public transportation data — which was added three weeks ago.

Pricing for the dockless Jump bikes is modelled on how Jump works in the US: it costs £1 to unlock a bike, and then

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You can do it, robot! Watch the beefy, 4-legged HyQReal pull a plane


This post is by Devin Coldewey from TechCrunch


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It’s not really clear just yet exactly what all these powerful, agile quadrupedal robots people are working on are going to do, exactly, but even so it never gets old watching them do their thing. The latest is an Italian model called HyQReal, which demonstrates its aspiration to winning strongman competitions, among other things, by pulling an airplane behind it.

The video is the debut for HyQReal, which is the successor to HyQ, a much smaller model created years ago by the Italian Institute of Technology, and its close relations. Clearly the market, such as it is, has advanced since then, and discerning customers now want the robot equivalent of a corn-fed linebacker.

That’s certainly how HyQReal seems to be positioned; in its video, the camera lingers lovingly on its bulky titanium haunches and thick camera cage. Its low slung body recalls a bulldog rather than a cheetah or

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Takeaways from KubeCon; the latest on Kubernetes and cloud native development


This post is by Arman Tabatabai from TechCrunch


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Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois and Ron Miller discuss major announcements that came out of the Linux Foundation’s European KubeCon/CloudNativeCon conference and discuss the future of Kubernetes and cloud-native technologies.

Nearly doubling in size year-over-year, this year’s KubeCon conference brought big news and big players, with major announcements coming from some of the world’s largest software vendors including Google, AWS, Microsoft, Red Hat, and more. Frederic and Ron discuss how the Kubernetes project grew to such significant scale and which new initiatives in cloud-native development show the most promise from both a developer and enterprise perspective.

“This ecosystem starts sprawling, and we’ve got everything from security companies to service mesh companies to storage companies. Everybody is here. The whole hall is full of them. Sometimes it’s hard to

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eFounders backs Yousign to build a European eSignature company


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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French startup Yousign is partnering with startup studio eFounders. While eFounders usually builds software-as-a-service startups from scratch, the company is trying something new with this partnership.

eFounders wants to create all the tools you need to make your work more efficient. The startup studio is behind many respectable SaaS successes, such as Front, Aircall or Spendesk. And electronic signatures are a must if you want to speed up your workflow.

Sure, there are a ton of well-established players in the space — DocuSign, SignNow, Adobe Sign, HelloSign, etc. But nobody has really cracked the European market in a similar way.

Yousign has been around for a while in France. When it comes to features, it has everything you’d expect. You can upload a document and set up automated emails and notifications so that everybody signs the document.

Signatures are legally binding and Yousign archive your documents. You can also

Continue reading “eFounders backs Yousign to build a European eSignature company”

Beautystack raises £4M seed to help beauty professionals become financially independent


This post is by Steve O'Hear from TechCrunch


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Beautystack, the London startup that’s creating a beauty professional booking app with heavy focus on social, has quietly picked up £4 million in seed funding led by Index Ventures.

The company had previously raised pre-seed funding from LocalGlobe (led by Suzanne Ashman) and counts David Rowan (ex-Wired), Julien Codorniou (Facebook Workplace) and Audrey Gelman (The Wing) as angel investors.

Founded by former salon owner and brand consultant Sharmadean Reid in April 2017 before being joined by co-founders Dan Woodbury and Ken Lalobo, Beautystack is part booking platform for independent beauty professionals and part social app. The idea, Reid tells me, is to “close the loop” on seeing the results of a beauty treatment that you like and being able to book it.

“Girls see millions of images of beauty treatments on social media and have no idea about who did it, how much it cost or what it even

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Revolut launches Group Vaults as an alternative to joint accounts


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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Fintech startup Revolut is making vaults collaborative. You can now create a vault with someone else and use it like a normal vault.

Originally, vaults were an alternative to savings accounts without any interest rate. You could create vault in any currency (including supported cryptocurrencies) and set some money aside. You can round up your expenses and add change to a vault, program regular transfers to your vault or add money whenever you feel like it.

If vaults are like a Word document, group vaults are like a collaborative document in Google Docs. Multiple persons can now interact with a group vault just like a normal vault.

This will be useful for couples who want a sort of joint account without opening a bank account, parents giving some money to their children, roommates creating a common pot to pay for group expenses, friends going on vacation, etc.

Revolut users have

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Documentary series Foundation is back with a season 2


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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Paris startup campus Station F and Le Studio Next have teamed up once again for a second season of Foundation, a documentary series about building a startup. If you liked the first season, you’ll feel right at home.

A video team followed the entrepreneurs working for three startups through their work issues, their personal life and their emotional reactions. You’ll feel like you know them after watching the series.

This year, Foundation focuses on three different startups that try to have a social impact. You’ll meet Jean Guo and Binta Jammeh, co-founders of Konexio, Ruben Hallali, founder of HD Rain and Olivier Jeannel, founder of RogerVoice.

So without further ado, here’s Foundation season 2:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Gender, race and social change in tech; Moira Weigel on the Internet of Women, Part Two


This post is by Arman Tabatabai from TechCrunch


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Tech ethics can mean a lot of different things, but surely one of the most critical, unavoidable, and yet somehow still controversial propositions in the emerging field of ethics in technology is that tech should promote gender equality. But does it? And to the extent it does not, what (and who) needs to change?

In this second of a two-part interview “On The Internet of Women,” Harvard fellow and Logic magazine founder and editor Moira Weigel and I discuss the future of capitalism and its relationship to sex and tech; the place of ambivalence in feminist ethics; and Moira’s personal experiences with #MeToo.

Greg E.: There’s a relationship between technology and feminism, and technology and sexism for that matter. Then there’s a relationship between all of those things and capitalism. One of the underlying themes in your essay “The Internet of Women,” that I thought made it such

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These startups are locating in SF and Africa to win in global fintech


This post is by Jake Bright from TechCrunch


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To become a global fintech player, locate your company in San Francisco and Africa.

That’s the approach of payments company Flutterwave, digital lending startup Mines, and mobile-money venture Chipper Cash—Africa-founded ventures that maintain headquarters in San Francisco and operations in Africa to tap the best of both worlds in VC, developers, clients, and the frontier of digital finance.

This arrangement wasn’t exactly coordinated across the ventures, but TechCrunch coverage picked up the trend and some common motives among these rising fintech firms.

Founded in 2016 by Nigerians Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave has positioned itself as a global B2B payments solutions platform for companies in Africa to pay other companies on the continent and abroad.

Clients can tap its APIs and work with Flutterwave developers to customize payments applications. Existing customers include Uber,  Booking.com and African e-commerce unicorn Jumia.com.

The Y-Combinator backed company is headquartered

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Google’s lead EU regulator opens formal privacy probe of its adtech


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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Google’s lead data regulator in Europe has opened a formal investigation into its processing of personal data in the context of its online Ad Exchange, TechCrunch has learnt.

This follows a privacy complaint pertaining to adtech’s real-timing bidding (RTB) system filed under Europe’s GDPR framework last year.

The statutory inquiry into Google’s adtech that’s being opened by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), cites section 110 of Ireland’s Data Protection Act 2018, which means that the watchdog suspects infringement — and will now investigate its suspicions.

The DPC writes that the inquiry is “to establish whether processing of personal data carried out at each stage of an advertising transaction is in compliance with the relevant provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation, including the lawful basis for processing, the principles of transparency and data minimisation, as well as Google’s retention practices”.

We’ve reached out to Google for comment. Update: 

Continue reading “Google’s lead EU regulator opens formal privacy probe of its adtech”

N26 faces banking regulator order about fraudulent transactions


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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Fintech startup N26 received an order from BaFin, the German banking regulator. According to the regulator, N26 hasn’t been doing enough when it comes to money laundering and terrorist financing. The company has a specific period of time to implement changes and rectify its internal processes.

“Today, BaFin published an order for N26 Bank GmbH. An order is an instruction from them to improve processes within a certain time frame. The order requires us to optimize existing processes to prevent money laundering and increase N26 staffing levels,” the company says in a blog post.

A few articles have highlighted a handful of cases of fraud in recent weeks. Customers tried to use N26 for money-laundering purposes. It took some time before N26 reacted and closed those accounts.

It’s not that surprising given that literally every bank suffers from this issue. For instance, all the big French banks (BNP Paribas, Société

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The Exit: Getaround’s $300M roadtrip


This post is by Lucas Matney from TechCrunch


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In August of last year, Getaround scored $300 million from Softbank. Eight months later they handed that same amount to Drivy, a Parisian peer-to-peer car rental service that was Getaround’s ticket to tapping into European markets.

Both companies shared similar visions for the future of car ownership, they were about the same size, both were flirting with expanding beyond their home market, but only one had the power of the Vision Fund behind it.

The Exit is a new series at TechCrunch. It’s an exit interview of sorts with a VC who was in the right place at the right time but made the right call on an investment that paid off. [Have feedback? Shoot me an email at lucas@techcrunch.com] 

Alven Capital’s Jeremy Uzan

Alven Capital partner Jeremy Uzan first invested in Drivy’s seed round in 2013. Uzan joined Index Ventures co-leading a $2 million round that valued the

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What does ‘regulating Facebook’ mean? Here’s an example


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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Many officials claim that governments should regulate Facebook and other social platforms, but few describe what it actually means. A few days ago, France released a report that outlines what France — and maybe the European Union — plans to do when it comes to content moderation.

It’s an insightful 34-page document with a nuanced take on toxic content and how to deal with it. There are some brand new ideas in the report that are worth exploring. Instead of moderating content directly, the regulator in charge of social networks would tell Facebook and other social networks a list of objectives. For instance, if a racist photo goes viral and is distributed to 5 percent of monthly active users in France, you could consider that the social network has failed to fulfill its obligations.

This isn’t just wishful thinking as the regulator would be able to fine the company up

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Raisin rides into the U.S. with its savings and investment marketplace


This post is by Steve O'Hear from TechCrunch


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Raisin, the pan-European fintech marketplace for savings and investment products, is headed to the U.S., announcing plans to roll out a similar offering across the pond.

The German company, which is backed by the likes of PayPal, Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital and Thrive Capital, wants to bring greater competition and easier savings and deposit account opening to U.S. customers. The deposits market in the U.S. is said to be $12.7 trillion, and yet Raisin claims most Americans could be getting a much better return on their savings.

Despite the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates and most consumers having ample opportunities to optimise their savings in theory, Raisin says shopping around for a competitive savings rate often involves too many hurdles for many American to bother. This includes finding out where good rates are available, assessing the quality of offers and in some

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HolodeckVR raises €3M from Germany’s ProSiebenSat1 to put VR onto dodgems


This post is by Mike Butcher from TechCrunch


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Consumer VR might not have taken off in the mainstream but it’s still fun to use, and it’s even more fun to use in groups. There is more of an arcade renaissance for VR going on right now, as well as location-based multi-user VR experiences.

That’s the premise behind Munich-based HolodeckVR which is using proprietary tech to blend radio frequency, IR tracking and on-device IMUs to bring multi-user positionally tracked VR to mobile headsets.

How would you like to do VR in a big group, and on fairground dodgems/bumper cars? That’s the kind of this startup is cooking up.

As a spin-off from the prestigious Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Ciruits IIS, it uses its own technology which allows its visitors to experience virtual reality in groups of up to 20 people and move around in an empty space of 10x20m, all just wearing VR goggles.

Holodeck says it can be

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Seraphim Space Camp launches its latest mission, with 7 SpaceTech startups


This post is by Mike Butcher from TechCrunch


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U.K. space accelerator Seraphim Space Camp appeared last year as the first ever UK SpaceTech accelerator and being, frankly, the only accelerator of its type, it has quickly shored-up a number of partnership links and hoovered up many of the startups in the… space.

As is traditional with accelerators, it’s unveiled its latest cohort of startups.

The “Mission 3” accelerator programme, consists of seven new startups and will be a nine-week programme, culminating in an Investor Day. The first two cohorts (16 companies) have, says Seraphim, now collectively raised or had offers of around £20m in private investment and grants over the last nine months and have created 58 job opportunities since completing the programme.

The initiative has a number of high profile partners such as MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Lab (Dstl), unmanned aircraft systems company AeroVironment, ground station services provider Kongsberg Satellite Services and leading satellite provided

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Kard is a challenger bank for teens


This post is by Romain Dillet from TechCrunch


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Meet French startup Kard, a challenger bank that works a lot like N26 or Revolut. But Kard is all about convincing teens that their first bank account is going to be a Kard account — a bit like Step in the U.S.

When I talked with Kard co-founder and CEO Scott Gordon, he kept saying that Kard was a product for the generation Z. While I’m not a fan of that buzzword, it still looks like a well-designed app with some personality.

“Gen Z is a generation that has been forgotten by traditional banks,” Gordon said. “70 percent of their transactions are digital transactions,” he added later. Many teenagers borrow their parents’ card for those expenses.

Kard wants to empower teens with their own bank account, their own IBAN and their own Mastercard debit card. Instead of controlling every expense, parents can just top up the Kard account and

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Facebook still a great place to amplify pre-election junk news, EU study finds


This post is by Natasha Lomas from TechCrunch


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A study carried out by academics at Oxford University to investigate how junk news is being shared on social media in Europe ahead of regional elections this month has found individual stories shared on Facebook’s platform can still hugely outperform the most important and professionally produced news stories, drawing as much as 4x the volume of Facebook shares, likes, and comments.

The study, conducted for the Oxford Internet Institute’s (OII) Computational Propaganda Project, is intended to respond to widespread concern about the spread of online political disinformation on EU elections which take place later this month, by examining pre-election chatter on Facebook and Twitter in English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Swedish.

Junk news in this context refers to content produced by known sources of political misinformation — aka outlets that are systematically producing and spreading “ideologically extreme, misleading, and factually incorrect information” — with the researchers comparing

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Talk key takeaways from KubeCon 2019 with TechCrunch writers


This post is by Arman Tabatabai from TechCrunch


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The Linux Foundation’s annual KubeCon conference is going down at the Fira Gran Via exhibition center in Barcelona, Spain this week and TechCrunch is on the scene covering all the latest announcements.

The KubeCon/CloudNativeCon conference is the world’s largest gathering for the topics of Kubernetes, DevOps and cloud-native applications. TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois and Ron Miller will be on the ground at the event. Wednesday at 9:00 am PT, Frederic and Ron will be sharing with Extra Crunch members via a conference call what they saw and what it all means.

Tune in to dig into what happened onstage and off and ask Frederic and Ron any and all things Kubernetes, open-source development or dev tools.

To listen to this and all future conference calls, become a member of Extra Crunch. Learn more and try it for free.