Ticketfly’s website is offline after a hacker got into its homepage and database


This post is by Taylor Hatmaker from TechCrunch


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Following what it calls a “cyber incident,” the event ticket distributor Ticketfly took its homepage offline on Thursday morning. The company left this message on its website, which remains nonfunctional hours later:

Following a series of recent issues with Ticketfly properties, we’ve determined that Ticketfly has been the target of a cyber incident. Out of an abundance of caution, we have taken all Ticketfly systems temporarily offline as we continue to look into the issue. We are working to bring our systems back online as soon as possible. Please check back later.

For information on specific events please check the social media accounts of the presenting venues/promoters to learn more about availability/status of upcoming shows. In many cases, shows are still happening and tickets may be available at the door.

Before Ticketfly regained control of its site, a hacker calling themselves IsHaKdZ hijacked it to display apparent database files along

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Why SoftBank invested $2.25 billion in Cruise


This post is by Megan Rose Dickey from TechCrunch


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Earlier today, General Motors’ Cruise received a $2.25 billion investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. Once that deal closes, GM will invest another $1.1 billion.

SoftBank landed on Cruise because it’s one of “a handful that in our view have a meaningful opportunity in front of them,” SoftBank Vision Fund Managing Partner Michael Ronen told TechCrunch. Cruise’s integrated play of hardware and software attracted SoftBank, Ronen said, as well as the fact that Cruise’s spirit, creativity and energy “has not been diminished at all.”

These investments are expected to enable Cruise to deploy commercially starting next year. But what’s most important about this investment to Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, he told TechCrunch, is the fact that Cruise — which sold to GM for more than $1 billion in 2016 — now has stock and equity in the company again.

That’s because “we’re in a war right now to attract

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Watch a hard-working robot improvise to climb drawers and cross gaps


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A robot’s got to know its limitations. But that doesn’t mean it has to accept them. This one in particular uses tools to expand its capabilities, commandeering nearby items to construct ramps and bridges. It’s satisfying to watch but, of course, also a little worrying.

This research, from Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania, is essentially about making a robot take stock of its surroundings and recognize something it can use to accomplish a task that it knows it can’t do on its own. It’s actually more like a team of robots, since the parts can detach from one another and accomplish things on their own. But you didn’t come here to debate the multiplicity or unity of modular robotic systems! That’s for the folks at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, where this paper was presented (and Spectrum got the first look).

SMORES-EP is the

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Patient reporting tool from CancerAid now integrates with Epic Systems and Apple HealthKit


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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CancerAid, a self-reporting and symptom monitoring tool for cancer patients, has scored its first major coup in the U.S. healthcare market with its integration into Epic Systems electronic health records at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles and an integration with Apple’s HealthKit.

Cedars, an investor in the company through an accelerator program it ran in conjunction with Techstars, marks the first U.S. hospital system to incorporate CancerAid’s self-reporting information into a dashboard system for doctors.

It’s been a long road for company co-founders Raghav Murali-Ganesh and Nikhil Pooviah, who first met eight years ago at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, a Sydney, Australia cancer treatment center.

Pooviah was a resident working with Murali-Ganesh in radiation oncology, positions the two men occupied for several years before venturing off on their own to launch the service that would become CancerAid.

The company’s initial inspiration came from years spent checking out the

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I would happily ditch the selfie camera for a full-screen phone


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Once a month or so, I’m reminded that my phone has a front-facing camera when I accidentally hit the toggle button, only to be greeted with a closeup image of my own, dumb face.

Honestly, I can’t remember the the last time I used the thing — not intentionally, at least. I tried scrolling through my camera roll to locate the precise moment in which I felt compelled to take a selfie, but ultimately ended up getting tired of the exercise, giving up some time around May of last year.

I have no use for the front-facing camera. I don’t know, maybe I’m in the minority on this one, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. Every time I see another phone with another notch or hear stories about companies frantically pushing for some workaround, I quietly wonder what it would be like to live in a world where that

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Predicting the Future of Media and Entertainment


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Technology – Visual Capitalist


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View a high resolution version of this graphic
Visualizing the Future of Media and Entertainment

Visualizing the Future of Media and Entertainment

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

Over your lifetime, the consumption of media and entertainment has already changed drastically.

For Boomers and Gen Xers, the shift has been earth-shattering. Both generations will remember a time before mainstream computing when TV was dominated by the Big Three TV networks (NBC, ABC, and CBS), and newspapers and magazines were the main way to stay in touch with what was happening.

Even millennials have seen fundamental shifts in consumption of media. After all, they experienced the rise of social media, online news, streaming, and digital video firsthand. Many of them will remember their college getting access to Facebook for the first time, the death of Napster, and the funny sounds their 28.8k modem made as it struggled to successfully download a single

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Walmart’s new personal shopping service Jetblack launches in New York


This post is by Taylor Hatmaker from TechCrunch


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Walmart’s tech incubator is out with its first experiment. The incubator, known as Store No. 8, just launched Jetblack, a concierge-style service for requesting stuff and getting it really quick. During its pilot period, the project was known as Code Eight.

To shop with Jetblack, first you need an invite. Right now the service is limited to some customers in Manhattan and Brooklyn who are part of an eight month pilot program restricted to buildings with a doorman, though that will soon expand and a waitlist is available now. The service is $50 a month — considerably less than some adjacent competitors while considerably more than Amazon Prime — and promises same-day delivery.

While concierge services like Hello Alfred position themselves as high-end options for people wishing to live more serene lives, Jetblack is focusing on “time-strapped urban parents” seeking “more efficient ways to shop for themselves and their families.

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Teens dump Facebook for YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat


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A Pew survey of teens and the ways they use technology finds that kids have largely ditched Facebook for the visually stimulating alternatives of Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram. Nearly half said they’re online “almost constantly,” which will probably be used as a source of FUD, but really is just fine. Even teens, bless their honest little hearts, have doubts about whether social media is good or evil.

The survey is the first by Pew since 2015, and plenty has changed. The one that has driven the most change seems to be the ubiquity and power of smartphones, which 95 percent of respondents said they had access to. Fewer, especially among lower income families, had laptops and desktops.

This mobile-native cohort has opted for mobile-native content and apps, which means highly visual and easily browsable. That’s much more the style on the top three apps: YouTube takes first place with

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Why now is the time to join Startup Alley at Disrupt SF


This post is by Emma Comeau from TechCrunch


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TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 is coming to Moscone West on September 5-7, and this year will be twice as big and better than ever. We’re looking for startups to be a part of our massive menagerie of innovation, Startup Alley. If you’ve never been to a Disrupt, Startup Alley is where hundreds of early-stage companies (which are pre-series A although, we do make some exceptions) showcase their talent and technology to attendees, investors and members of the press. This year, we’re expecting more than 1,200 startups to be in attendance.

Plus, we have some contests and giveaways just for those who sign up for a Startup Alley Exhibitor Package— yup, you have a chance to snag some free stuff! Who doesn’t want in on that?!

All you have to do is buy a Startup Alley Exhibitor Package for $1,995, and you might get one (or more!) of

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Weights & Biases raises $5M to build development tools for machine learning


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Machine learning is one of those buzzwords that nearly every tech company likes to throw around nowadays — but according to Lukas Biewald, it represents a genuinely new approach to programming.

“Software has eaten a lot of the world, and machine learning is eating software,” Biewald said.

In his view, there are “fundamental” differences between the two approaches: “One important difference is if all you have is the code you used to train the program, you don’t really know what happened … If I had all the code that was used to train a self-driving car algorithm but I don’t have the data, I don’t know what went down.”

Along with Chris Van Pelt, Biewald previously founded CrowdFlower (now known as Figure Eight), which launched nearly a decade ago at the TechCrunch 50 conference, and which has created tools for training artificial intelligence.

Biewald (whom I’ve known since

weights and biases screenshot

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Motiv’s fitness ring can help you find a lost iPhone


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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I was surprisingly impressed when I tested out Motiv’s fitness ring. Honestly, I’m not a ring wearer myself, but it’s nice to see a hardware startup think outside the fitness band — and produce a surprisingly capable product in the process. The company’s also done a pretty decent job continuing to add features to the little wearable.

Back in April, the ring got Alexa functionality and Android support. This week, the company announced some additional features for Amazon’s smart assistant, along with the ability to use the device to locate a lost phone. That last bit is one of the more compelling additions to the ring since launch. If the lost iPhone is within Bluetooth range, a few twists of the ring will set the handset ringing and vibrating until you find the thing.

As for Alexa functionality, users can now ask the assistant for more detailed fitness information,

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To become a public company, start operating like one early on


This post is by David Riggs from TechCrunch


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After their long post-financial-crisis slump, European tech IPOs are starting to rebound. Tech companies raised more money on European public markets between 2015-17 (€5.3 billion) than in the previous seven years combined. With venture capital having boomed in that time, that trend is set to continue: There is a generation of well-funded, fast-growing technology companies now eyeing the public markets as the platform for continued rapid growth. The pipeline is healthy. But what needs to be done to get ready for an IPO and, crucially, what comes next?

Money raised and market opportunity alone do not make for a public-company-in-waiting. You do not transform from a scrappy growth business into a tightly governed, transparent public company overnight. It has to be a gradual evolution, one which requires the right people, structures and mindset to be in place. Companies need to ask themselves not just if they want to pursue

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No-fees mobile bank Chime raises $70M Series C, valuing its business at $500M


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Chime, the San Francisco-based challenger bank known for its consumer-friendly features and lack of fees, has raised $70 million in Series C financing, led by Menlo Ventures. The round, which also included existing investors Forerunner Ventures, Aspect Ventures, Cathay Innovation, Northwestern Mutual and Omidyar Network, brings the company to over $100 million in total funding to date and values the business at around $500 million.

The startup is one of several challenger banks gaining popularity with a younger, millennial audience who sees no need for a bank with physical branches, and who are sick of being penalized by hefty fees for things like overdrafts or dropping below a minimum balance – fees that take advantage of consumers at their most vulnerable points in their financial lives.

As Chime points out, traditional banks charged consumers over $34 billion in fees in 2017. Its service, on the other hand, drops the consumer-facing

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Google’s Area 120 incubator aims to improve your NYC subway commute with Pigeon


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There’s a new app coming out of Google’s Area 120 incubator that could help New York City subway commuters navigate the ever-growing number of delays.

While the Pigeon app is already live on the Apple App store, it currently requires an invite code to access, so I wasn’t able to try it out myself.

However, the Pigeon website describes it as a way for users save their favorite routes, then get recommendations on which route to take on a given day based on delays and crowds reported by other users. It’s almost like a transit-oriented version of Google-owned navigation app Waze.

“After years of living in New York City and commuting on the subway, the Pigeon team knows first-hand that public transit can be frustratingly unpredictable,” the website says. “So when we started this project, we decided to create a product that lets subway riders help each other avoid

Pigeon

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Roblox follows Minecraft into the education market


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Roblox, the massively multiplayer online game favored by the under 13 crowd, is following in Minecraft’s footsteps with a move into the education market. The company this morning announced a new education initiative, Roblox Education, that will offer a free curriculum to educators, along with international summer coding camps, and a free online “Creator Challenge” in partnership with Universal Brand Development, which will see kids building Roblox games inspired by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. 

The gaming company has been around for many years, but only recently reached a critical mass where it was ready to talk about its numbers. Today, Roblox sees over 60 million monthly active users, and its creator community building new worlds for kids to explore has doubled to 2 million this year from the year prior, it said earlier this year.

Roblox gets kids coding by hooking them on the game itself when they’re

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Come mix your realities at our AR/VR event in LA in October


This post is by Matthew Panzarino from TechCrunch


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TechCrunch is hosting one of our single-topic Sessions events centered on AR/VR and mixed reality in Los Angeles on October 18th at UCLA’s Royce Hall. We’re going to be doing some very cool stuff that we’re not quite ready to talk about, but at the core we’re looking to have incredible discussions with the best and brightest in reality creation.

The goal is to get folks into one room to see some demos, hear some talks and take part in a salon of sorts about the state of AR/VR. We’ll talk shop, philosophy, hardware, software and inclusion.

As someone who has logged hundreds of hours in a headset, reported on the space and been an advocate of what augmented and virtual realities could do for us, I’m pretty excited. I’ll be programming the event personally, along with our crack reporter in the space, Lucas Matney. The show promises to be

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Steve Case and JD Vance are speaking at Disrupt SF on startup opportunities outside of Silicon Valley


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We’re excited to announce Steve Case and JD Vance will sit down for a fireside chat at Disrupt SF this September. There’s plenty to talk about, too, including the pair’s latest venture: A massive $150 million seed fund backed by an impressive group of investors that are targeted at startups outside of Silicon Valley.

As The New York Times put it after the fund’s announcement, the complete list of investors in the Rise of the Rest fund “may be the greatest concentration of American wealth and power in one investment fund.” It includes among others Jeff Bezos, Eric Schmidt, John Doerr, Jim Breyer, Dan Gilbert and members of the Walton, Koch and Pritzker families.

This fund is core to what Case and Vance are championing at Revolution . The Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm primarily backs companies outside of major tech hubs. At Disrupt New York in May, Case told the

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The Microsoft Launcher for Android now lets you track your kids’ whereabouts


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Microsoft is launching an update to its Android launcher today that gives parents the ability to track their kids’ location. This is one out of a number of parent- and kid-focused announcements the company made today. Others include the ability to block sites in Microsoft Edge on Android and the launch of MSN Kids, a new curated news website for children.

At the core of these new features are Microsoft’s family group settings that already allowed you to do things like track a child’s activity on Windows 10 and Xbox One devices or limit screen time in general.

“As a mother to a young and curious daughter, I deeply understand the need for tools to help balance the use of technology in the home as well as out of the home,” writes Shilpa Ranganathan, the General Manager of Microsoft’s Mobile Experiences group, in today’s announcement. “It’s especially near and

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Spotify’s CEO says company botched ‘hateful conduct’ policy roll out


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Two weeks after his company attempted to impose a policy targeted at curbing “hate content and hateful conduct,” Spotify’s CEO admitted the company mishandled its roll out.

During an interview at this week’s Code Conference, Daniel Ek told the crowd, “The whole goal with this was to make sure that we didn’t have hate speech on the service. It was never about punishing one individual artist, or even naming one individual artist as well.”

The policy, introduced on May 10, pulled certain artists from Spotify’s curated content streams over bad conduct in their personal lives. Pushback on the policy was almost instantaneous, and reports surfaced last week that Spotify was rethinking its approach. In particular, rapper XXXTencion, who was one of two artists single out by the service (along with R. Kelly), was reportedly going to be added back to Spotify’s popular Rap Caviar playlist at some

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Klaxoon gets $50M to try to make boring meetings more interactive and productive


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If you’ve ever been in a pointless meeting at work, odds are you’ve spent part of the time responding to messages or just putzing around on the Internet — but Klaxoon hopes to convert that into something a bit more productive with more interactive meetings.

The French startup today said it’s raised $50 million in a new financing round led by Idinvest Partners, with early round investors BPI, Sofiouest, Arkea and White Star Capital Fund also participating. The company offers a suite of tools designed to make those meetings more engaging and generally just cut down on useless meetings with a room of bored and generally unengaged people that might be better off working away at their desk or even taking other meetings. The company has raised about $55.6 million in total.

The whole point of Klaxoon is to make meetings more engaging, and there are a couple ways to

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