Golden Gate Ventures hits first close on new $100M fund for Southeast Asia


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


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One of the fascinating things about watching an emerging startup ecosystem is that it isn’t just companies that are scaling, the very VC firms that feed them are growing themselves, too. That’s perhaps best embodied by Golden Gate Ventures, a Singapore-based firm founded by three Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in 2011 which is about to close a huge new fund for Southeast Asia.

Golden Gate started out with a small seed investment fund before raising a second worth $60 million in 2015. Now it is in the closes stages of finalizing a new $100 million fund, which has completed a first close of over $65 million in commitments, a source with knowledge of discussions told TechCrunch.

A filing lodged with the SEC in June first showed the firm’s intent to raise $100 million. The source told TechCrunch that a number of LPs from Golden Gate’s previous funds have already signed

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Bird’s electric scooters are going international


This post is by Megan Rose Dickey from TechCrunch


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Electric scooter startup Bird, the one worth $2 billion, is going international. This does not come as a surprise given TechCrunch’s June report that Bird was looking to expand to Europe. Today, Bird is launching a pilot program in Paris to see how the electric scooter service operates in a city with more than two million people.

“Paris is very forward-thinking on solving congestion issues and is one of the cities that’s dealing with the most congestion and pollution,” Bird Head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa Patrick Studener told TechCrunch.

Bird is also gearing up to deploy some scooters in Tel Aviv, where the company says it’s chatting with Tel Aviv University and some municipalities about making something work in those areas, Studener said. In Tel Aviv, Bird will charge 5 shekels to start and then 50 agorot per minute.

As Bird expands to international markets, it’s worth

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Uber and Lyft encourage NYC customers to oppose proposed ride-hail cap legislation


This post is by Megan Rose Dickey from TechCrunch


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Uber is making calls to some of its customers in New York City, offering to connect them to local council members to express their opposition to the proposed legislation that would cap the number of ride-hailing drivers in the city, Buzzfeed first reported. Meanwhile, Lyft is also reaching out to its NYC-based riders, asking them to contact their local officials.

For context, the NYC city council is currently considering legislation that would limit the number of ride-hail drivers on the road. Specifically, the proposal wants to place a one-year hold on the issuance of new for-hire vehicle licenses, unless the vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

This legislation would affect Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via — all of which operate ride-hailing services in the city. The deadline to submit an amended version of the proposal is tonight at midnight, so the clock is ticking.

Anyway, some people seem to be a bit

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Four million people are using Apple’s OS betas


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For the past few years, Apple has made early versions of its operating systems available to those willing to brave the bugs. Through its beta software program, anyone willing to deal with spotty battery life or a crash or three could load up pre-release builds of iOS, macOS, watchOS or tvOS.

Ever wonder how many actually take advantage of it?

According to Tim Cook on today’s earnings call, more than four million people are currently running on the betas.

Alas, that’s as detailed as he got. He didn’t break down which platforms had the most beta users (though I’d bet iOS or macOS lead the way), nor what percentage of that beta group was developers (accessing the beta to debug their apps before the update) versus consumers (who just want to poke around the new goods early).

For reference: As of February of 2018, Apple had 1.3 billion

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Apple Pay is finally coming to CVS and 7-Eleven, and will soon expand to Germany


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Longtime Apple Pay holdout CVS will finally be adding support for Apple’s mobile payments platform this fall, along with 7-Eleven, Apple CEO Tim Cook said this afternoon on the company’s earnings call. The news is particularly notable because CVS was one of the first major retailers to snub Apple Pay, choosing instead to launch its own barcode-based mobile payments solution “CVS Pay” back in 2016, following the failure of the retailer-backed Apple Pay rival CurrentC.

CVS Pay had become the first mobile payments solution the pharmacy chain adopted, after having purposefully avoided support for Apple Pay or any other rival NFC (tap to pay) technologies at its register. The company believed there was value in offering its own end-to-end solution to customers that combined both payments and loyalty, it had said.

In addition, CVS had earlier backed an Apple Pay alternative called CurrentC, which was developed by the merchant

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Spotify now offers motion comics starring Archie


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Spotify has been experimenting with incorporating non-musical formats over the last couple of years, including videos and multimedia podcasts. Next up: Motion comics based on new Archie stories.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping track of the comics incarnations of Archie and his friends, the title was recently rebooted by writer Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and artist Fiona Staples (Saga). While I was initially skeptical about the need to mess with the characters’ classic designs, I found the first collection to be a perfectly enjoyable combination of teen comedy and soap opera.

Now, as announced in Nerdist, the first six issues have been transformed by digital comics startup Madefire with music and voice acting.

It’s still a comic book, and you can still see Staples’ gorgeous art, but it’s a story that you hit a “play” button to experience, rather than turning any

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Debunking 8 Myths About AI in the Workplace


This post is by Jeff Desjardins from Technology – Visual Capitalist


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The interplay between technology and work has always been a hot topic.

While technology has typically created more jobs than it has destroyed on a historical basis, this context rarely stops people from believing that things are “different” this time around.

In this case, it’s the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) that is being hotly debated by the media and expert commentators. Although there is no doubt that AI will be a transformative force in business, the recent attention on the subject has also led to many common misconceptions about the technology and its anticipated effects.

Disproving Common Myths About AI

Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur and it helps paint a clearer picture about the nature of AI, while attempting to debunk various myths about AI in the workplace.

Debunking 8 Myths About AI in the Workplace

AI is going to be a seismic shift in business – and it’s expected to create a $15.

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DHS launches a new cyber hub to coordinate against threats to US infrastructure


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Among the many things the current administration has been criticized for is its lack of a unified strategy to combat cyber threats, especially in light of ongoing election interference and psy ops perpetrated by Russia. The Department of Homeland Security is advancing the ball with the creation of the National Risk Management Center, intended on protecting critical infrastructure from attacks and subversion by online adversaries.

The NRMC was announced today at a cyber summit in New York held by the agency, where DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen explained the purpose and justification for this new entity. Remarkably, she directly contradicted the ongoing soft-pedaling by the Executive of Russian operations targeting the country.

“Let me be clear: Our intelligence community had it right. It was the Russians. It was directed from the highest levels. And we cannot and will not allow it to happen again,” she said.

DHS Secretary Nielsen in 2017.

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Apple nears a $1 trillion market cap as it clears another quarter ahead of expectations


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Apple is inching closer and closer to becoming a $1 trillion company today after posting third quarter results that beat out what analysts were expecting and bumping the stock another few percentage points — which, by Apple standards, is tens of billions of dollars.

The company’s stock is up around 2.5% this afternoon after the report, which at a prior market close with a market cap of around $935 billion, is adding nearly another $20-plus billion to its market cap. A few quarters ago we were walking about how Apple was in shooting distance of that $1 trillion mark, but now it seems more and more like Apple will actually hit it. Apple is headed into its most important few quarters as we hit the back half of the year, with its usual new lineup of iPhones and other products and its accompanying critical holiday quarter.

Here’s a quick

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Midterm attackers cited Black Lives Matter in false flag Facebook rally


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Unknown midterm election attackers that Facebook has removed were hosting a political rally next month that they pinned on Black Lives Matter, Antifa and other organizations, according to third-party event websites that scraped the now-removed Facebook events.

Facebook provided an image of the deleted “No Unite The Right 2 – DC” event as part of its announcement today that merely showed its image, title, date, location and that a Page called “Resisters” was one of the hosts of the propaganda event. But a scraped event description TechCrunch discovered on Rallyist provides deeper insight into the disruptive information operation. Facebook won’t name the source of the election interference but said the attackers shared a connection through a single account to the Russian Internet Research Agency responsible for 2016 presidential election interference on Facebook.

“We are calling all anti-fascists and people of good conscience to participate in international days of action August

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TV Time debuts an analytics platform for the streaming era


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TV Time, the consumer app that helps bingers keep track of where they are with favorite shows and socialize with fellow viewers, is today expanding its business with the launch of an analytics platform called TVLytics. The new service will allow creators and distributors to tap into real-time data from across more than 60,000 TV shows. It will also offer other anonymized data collected from viewers, including things like on which platforms viewers watched, their favorite characters, bingeing behavior, viewers’ locations, anticipation from fans for new episodes, social engagement and more.

The data is pulled from the app’s community of around a million daily users from more than 200 countries who check in with the app some 45 million times per month. To date, TV Time has tracked more than 10 billion TV episodes, and has seen 210 million reactions.

TV Time began its life as a source for

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Digital therapeutics are just what the doctor ordered for patients — and for global healthcare systems


This post is by David Riggs from TechCrunch


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It would be hard to argue that digital products have a net-positive impact on our health. Most are designed to provide the same dopamine hit as a slot machine. We all know someone who wasted their youth playing games that were designed to be all-consuming, with the World Health Organization recently going so far as to categorize video game addiction as a mental health disorder.

But this habit-forming power of digital products can be used for therapeutic benefit too, often by changing the behavior that causes disease or ill health. This new range of products is being commonly referred to as digital therapeutics. These apps and services offer evidence-based and personalized behavioral therapy, and

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Can Electronauts help make VR more social?


This post is by Brian Heater from TechCrunch


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Virtual reality is an isolating experience. You power it up, strap the headset on and just sort of drift off into your own world. But maybe that doesn’t have to be the case. Maybe there’s a way to slip into a virtual world and still interact with your surroundings.

Electronauts presents an interesting example. Survios sees the title as a party game — something akin to what Guitar Hero/Rock Band was at the height of their collective powers, when people would set them up in their living room and invite friends over to play.

The new title has one decided advantage over those older games, however: It’s impossible to hit a wrong note. That’s kind of the whole point, in fact. Unlike the gamification of Guitar Hero/Rock Band, Electronauts is more experiential, designed to create remixes of songs on the fly.

I played a near final version of the title

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Test.ai nabs $11M Series A led by Google to put bots to work testing apps


This post is by Lucas Matney from TechCrunch


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For developers, the process of determining whether every new update is going to botch some core functionality can take up a lot of time and resources, and things get far more complicated when you’re managing a multitude of apps.

Test.ai is building a comprehensive system for app testing that relies on bots, not human labor, to see whether an app is ready to start raking in the downloads.

The startup has just closed an $11 million Series A round led by Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund. Also participating in the round were e.ventures, Uncork Capital and Zetta Venture Partners. Test.ai, which was founded in 2015, has raised $17.6 million to date.

“Every advancement in training AI systems enables an advancement in user testing, and test.ai is the leader in AI-powered testing technology. We’re excited to help them supercharge their growth as they test every app in the

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Gusto raises $140 million to go after small business payroll and benefits with more gusto


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


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Gusto, which sells payroll, benefits and human resources management and monitoring services to small businesses, has raised $140 million in its latest round of funding.

The company said it will use the money to add new services to increase payment flexibility for employees. The company launched a new service called Flexible Pay, which gives employees a way to get paid no matter when a company’s pay schedule dictates. It seems sort of like a payday loan, where a percentage of the salary is taken by Gusto for providing money upfront.

The late-stage round was led by T. Rowe Price Associates portfolio, MSD Capital (the family investment fund for Michael Dell), Dragoneer Investment Group and Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund.

Previous investors, including General Catalyst, CapitalG, Kleiner Perkins, 137 Ventures and Emergence Capital, also participated in the round.

The company claims that it processes tens of billions of dollars in payroll

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Facebook really doesn’t want users to go to a fake Unite the Right counter-protest next week


This post is by Taylor Hatmaker from TechCrunch


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According to COO Sheryl Sandberg, getting ahead of an event called “No Unite the Right 2, DC” is the reason behind Facebook’s decision to disclose new platform behavior that closely resembles previous Russian state-sponsored activity meant to sow political discord in the U.S.

“We’re sharing this today because the connection between these actors and the event planned in Washington next week,” Sandberg said, calling the disclosure “early” and noting that the company still does not have all the facts.

A Facebook Page called “Resisters” created the event, set to take place on August 10, as a protest against Unite the Right 2 — a follow-up event to last year’s deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va. that left peaceful counter-protester Heather Heyer dead.

The Page, which Facebook identified as displaying “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” also worked with the admins from five authentic Facebook Pages to co-host the event and arrange transportation and

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Google partners with news orgs to show more data in its search results


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Google today announced that it is working with a number of news organizations to surface more data from their data journalism projects in its search results. The idea here is to make it easier to discover the data that a lot of these organizations produce and then surface it in an easy to read format on the company’s search results pages.

The company is currently working with a few news organizations, including ProPublica, to produce the structured data in the format it needs for its search index. As long as that data is in a table, adding it to the index should be pretty straightforward.

“As a news organization that is focused on having real-world impact, it’s very much in our mission to give people information at the point of need,” said Scott Klein, the deputy managing editor of ProPublica. “If we can make the data we’ve worked hard to collect

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Waymo partners with Phoenix to connect people to public transit


This post is by Kirsten Korosec from TechCrunch


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Waymo, the former Google self-driving project that spun out to become a business under Alphabet, is launching a program in Phoenix next month that will focus on delivering people to bus stops and train and light-rail stations.

The pilot program announced Tuesday is in partnership with Valley Metro, the Phoenix area’s regional public transportation authority.

The announcement gives clarity to the fourth leg in Waymo’s business strategy. The company’s has publicly shared plans to focus on four areas: create a ride-hailing service, develop self-driving trucks for logistics and license its technology to automakers for personally owned vehicles.

But it was the fourth piece — connecting people to public transportation — that was nebulous until now.

The program initially will be offered to employees of Valley Metro. These riders will be able to use the Waymo app to hail a ride in one of the company’s autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to

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