VidCon, seed-stage dilution, advertising, privacy, and building a career in design


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The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019

Extra Crunch media columnist Eric Peckham took part in all the craziness that has become VidCon this past week, where 75,000 influencers, YouTubers, advertisers, and more congregate in one place to see how many likes they all can generate (and I guess to discuss business strategy). This year, there were voluminous discussions about the rise of Chinese social media giant ByteDance’s TikTok as well as the future dangers and opportunities of synthetic media — deepfakes and also fictional influencers.

Eric has all the details of what was interesting from the conference in an exclusive conference wrap-up for Extra Crunch.

One of the use cases for synthetic media is the creation of “virtual influencers” — computer-generated characters whose social media accounts engage real people online and gain a large following. This remains a novelty rather than a mainstream trend, but it is on

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Roblox EC-1, immigration requirements doubling, grief in the workplace, and cannabis startups


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The Roblox EC-1

Following in the wake of our deep profiles of Patreon and Niantic, we have our next EC-1 package, this time on children’s gaming platform Roblox . Extra Crunch writer Sherwood Morrison has covered gaming and startups for years, and he got an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the incredibly popular startup with interviews with many of the company’s principals. This is your weekend read.

How Roblox avoided the gaming graveyard and grew into a $2.5B company

In part one of this EC-1, Morrison looks at the origin story of Roblox, which has to be one of the most interesting I have read in some time. Founders Dave Baszucki and Erik Cassel first worked together on a physics simulation engine called Knowledge Revolution before founding Roblox in 2004 (then known as Dynablox).

Since those humble origins 15 years ago, Baszucki and his team have grown the company

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Is blitzscaling killing early employee equity opportunities?


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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Silicon Valley has many dreams. One dream — the Hollywood version anyway — is for a down-and-out founder to begin tinkering and coding in their proverbial garage, eventually building a product that is loved by humans the world over and becoming a startup billionaire in the process.

The more prosaic and common version of that Valley dream though is to join an early-stage company right before its growth kicks into high gear. Sure, those early employees might only have a smidgen of equity, but that equity could be worth a whole heck of a lot if they join the right startup.

Every startup has a window of opportunity, a timeframe in which early employees can join while the stock option strike prices are low and the equity grants are high. Join before the big uptick in valuation, and suddenly what might have been an otherwise nice couple of hundred K

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W(hy)TF are Japan and South Korea in a trade war?


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Another week, another trade war. And unlike most trade wars these days, this one didn’t originate from the confines of the Rose Garden with the Marine One whirlybird in the background. No, like any Ice Bucket Challenge-worthy meme, others are getting in on the trade war bandwagon and making it their own.

Cue Japan and South Korea. The two countries have slipped into their own trade war over the past few weeks, a conflict that now threatens the foundations of Japan’s supplier industry, Samsung Electronics, and global smartphone and computer shipments.

But why a trade conflict? If the U.S./China trade war emanates from the dark recesses of President Trump’s brain, then this new trade war emanates from the dark chapters of Japan and South Korea’s collective and sad history.

One of the saddest of those chapters is the plight of Korean comfort women — women who were

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As FTC cracks down, data ethics is now a strategic business weapon


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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Five billion dollars. That’s the apparent size of Facebook’s latest fine for violating data privacy. 

While many believe the sum is simply a slap on the wrist for a behemoth like Facebook, it’s still the largest amount the Federal Trade Commission has ever levied on a technology company. 

Facebook is clearly still reeling from Cambridge Analytica, after which trust in the company dropped 51%, searches for “delete Facebook” reached 5-year highs, and Facebook’s stock dropped 20%.

While incumbents like Facebook are struggling with their data,

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Cars-as-a-service, Alibaba and ridehailing, mental health, and the future of financial services


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The future of car ownership: Cars-as-a-service

It’s Mobility Day at TechCrunch, and we’re hosting our Sessions event today in beautiful San Jose. That’s why we have a couple of related pieces on mobility at Extra Crunch.

First, our automotive editor Matt Burns is back with part two of his market map and analysis of the changing nature of how consumers are buying cars these days. Part one looked at how startups like Carvana, Shift, Vroom, and others are trying to disrupt the car dealership’s monopoly on auto sales in the United States.

Now, Burns takes a look at how startups like Fair and premium automakers like Mercedes are disrupting the very notion of owning a car in the first place. Rather than buying a car or leasing one, users with these new services are asked to subscribe to their cars, giving them the flexibility to get a

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The startups creating the future of RegTech and financial services


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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Technology has been used to manage regulatory risk since the advent of the ledger book (or the Bloomberg terminal, depending on your reference point). However, the cost-consciousness internalized by banks during the 2008 financial crisis combined with more robust methods of analyzing large datasets has spurred innovation and increased efficiency by automating tasks that previously required manual reviews and other labor-intensive efforts.

So even if RegTech wasn’t born during the financial crisis, it was probably old enough to drive a car by 2008. The intervening 11 years have seen RegTech’s scope and influence grow.

RegTech startups targeting financial services, or FinServ for short, require very different growth strategies — even compared to other enterprise software companies. From a practical perspective, everything from the

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Colonna call, timing a VC pitch, WeChat, patents, and growth


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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Editor’s Note: Shortened week

Due to the U.S. Independence Day holiday this week on July 4th, Extra Crunch will not be publishing our normal editorial on Thursday and Friday of this week, nor will we send out this EC Roundup newsletter on Saturday. Normal publishing will resume starting next week on Monday.

Conference Call Today with VC and Coach Jerry Colonna

TechCrunch’s Silicon Valley editor Connie Loizos will be conducting an Extra Crunch exclusive live conference call with noted venture capitalist and long-time executive coach Jerry Colonna today at 2pm EST / 11am PST. Dial-in details have been sent to all subscribers.

For those joining, the two will talk about Colonna’s new book Reboot, his other projects, and of course questions from subscribers.

When is the right time to pitch VCs for funding?

DocSend is among the most popular tools used by founders seeking venture capital to send

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Fast Forward raises new war chest to fight Silicon Valley’s inequality machine


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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San Francisco is a city of extremes, with multi-billion dollar glass-cladded obelisks piercing the SoMa sky while thousands of the city’s long-term residents fail to find even the basic rudiments of housing and other social services.

The tech industry has created the world’s greatest inequality machine, solving every one of our problems except the ones like housing affordability, education access, and healthcare availability that might lead to greater agency and equality.

Now though, a growing list of the Valley’s leading companies are engaging with the issues in their own neighborhoods and globally — as are their employees.

Fast Forward, an accelerator of tech non-profits based in SF, announced today that it has raised $5 million in new philanthropic funding from leading companies like Google.org, Twilio.org, Blackrock, the Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Foundation, Okta, PagerDuty, AWS, Github and many more.

Like traditional accelerators such as

Tech nonprofit entrepreneurs in the 2019 cohort

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What’s up with Lidar, crypto mafias, influencer marketing, Shuttl, and assistive tech


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Reminder: Extra Crunch discount on Sessions: Enterprise tickets

Come and watch TechCrunch interview enterprise titans and rising founders at the premier of TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise in San Francisco on September 5th. Join 1000+ enterprise enthusiasts for a day of talks, demos, startups, and networking.

Book your $249 Early Bird tickets today and save an extra 20% as an Extra Crunch annual subscriber. Just contact extracrunch@techcrunch.com to snag your discounted tickets.

Startups at the speed of light: Lidar CEOs put their industry in perspective

Our science and AI correspondent Devin Coldewey has a blockbuster look at the current state of affairs in the lidar industry. What started as those gyrating “spinners” on top of partially autonomous cars has evolved into a variety of mechanisms like metameterials, all the while VCs have dumped hundreds of millions of dollars on to new ventures.

The big challenge today though is to move from

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How a martial arts gym trained me to build an inclusive culture


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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A wave of unease immediately swept through my body. Constant puffing and growling echoed around me as heavily-tattooed fighters threw forceful punches into the heavy bags. This was the scene I encountered when I stepped into Five Points Academy, a martial arts fighting gym in New York, for the first time a few years ago. Having grown up in a sheltered environment — the last time I had gotten into a fight was in kindergarten — I wasn’t sure I would fit in.

Emily, one of the instructors, immediately introduced herself and showed me some basic Muay Thai movements. The class focused on pad work, so students

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Vertical market networks, effective startup names, Libra, Carbon, and Sidewalk Labs


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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The next service marketplace wave: Vertical market networks

B2B service marketplaces (think translation as a service) are an extraordinarily lucrative startup category. But despite the incredible potential of these platforms to generate outsized returns, many fail. Why?

Ivan Smolnikov, the CEO and founder of translation service startup Smartcat, investigates why certain marketplaces seem to grow while others stall. His conclusion is that unlocking value for both sides of the marketplace is much more challenging than it appears, and the most successful, next-generation marketplaces are going to come from highly networked, efficient platforms for complex projects targeting specific verticals.

Smolnikov then gives a step-by-step guide to optimizing marketplace growth.

One reason is that several service providers must often work together to complete a single job for a buyer, requiring a complex workflow from end to end. As a result, it’s difficult for marketplaces to not only mediate service delivery

Continue reading “Vertical market networks, effective startup names, Libra, Carbon, and Sidewalk Labs”

Web3 platform 3Box raises seed to bring back control of user data


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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Few debates in technology have been as intense over the past few years as the debate over privacy. As companies like Facebook and Google have swelled with all the minutia of our daily lives — our likes, our searches, our calendar invites — there is increasing awareness of the risks to our privacy as these large data guzzlers suck up our digital selves.

Worse, these companies have used their incumbent network effects to increasingly be the identity layer of the web. From Login with Facebook to being the repository of our data that we shuttle from service to service, it’s increasingly clear that a handful of companies have centralized our data into their own profitable silos.

3Box wants to undo that trend toward identity centralization. Building upon and extending the concepts of the Web3 movement, 3Box offers a decentralized identity cloud storage layer that allows developers to save identity

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Ray Dalio, Niantic, Adobe, Dropbox, remote work, Northzone, and Slack


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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Ray Dalio on the Extra Crunch stage at Disrupt SF 2019

This year at Disrupt SF, we will be hosting a special Extra Crunch stage focused on the issues that confront startup founders in building their companies.

I am pleased to announce that Ray Dalio of Bridgewater fame will be sitting down for a fireside chat on the Extra Crunch stage to discuss his Principles, and how to build a startup culture. Building a strong culture early on is the hallmark of almost all successful startups, and it is great to have such a leading figure to chat on this critical topic.

For tickets and more information, head over to our Disrupt SF event page.

A chat with Niantic CEO John Hanke on the launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Niantic dominated the mobile gaming world with its Pokémon Go augmented reality game. Now, the company is coming

Continue reading “Ray Dalio, Niantic, Adobe, Dropbox, remote work, Northzone, and Slack”

Ray Dalio is coming to Disrupt SF


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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When it comes to the gods of finance, few people reach the stratosphere of Ray Dalio . The founder of Bridgewater, the investment firm that has grown to manage $150 billion in assets, Dalio is one of the most successful financial entrepreneurs of his generation, and indeed, of all time.

While Dalio and Bridgewater are known for their pathbreaking analysis of the world economic machine that have reaped them billions in returns, they aren’t just known for their financial results. Rather, Bridgewater is also widely known for its unique culture shaped over decades of trial and error.

Dalio has made sharing that culture his mission in life, publishing Principles, a book and companion mobile app, to train the next generation of founders, executives and business leaders about how to build a culture that seeks truth and excellence in all of its activities.

Dalio will be joining us for a fireside

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Transitioning from engineering to product with Adobe’s Anjul Bhambhri


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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Many roles inside of startups and tech companies are clear: marketers market, salespeople sell, engineers engineer. Then there are the roles like “product manager” that seem obvious on the surface (product managers “product,” right?) but in reality are very fuzzy roles that can be highly variable across different companies.

A few weeks ago, TechCrunch editor Jordan Crook interviewed J Crowley, who is head of product for Airbnb Lux and was formerly at Foursquare. Crowley came up in the consumer product world without a technical background, and he spoke to overcoming some of his own insecurities to become a leading product thinker in the Valley.

This week, I wanted to offer another perspective on product from Anjul Bhambhri, who is Vice President, Platform Engineering at Adobe, where she and her team conceived Adobe’s

Continue reading “Transitioning from engineering to product with Adobe’s Anjul Bhambhri”

Transitioning from engineering to product with Adobe’s Anjul Bhambhri


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Many roles inside of startups and tech companies are clear: marketers market, salespeople sell, engineers engineer. Then there are the roles like “product manager” that seem obvious on the surface (product managers “product,” right?) but in reality are very fuzzy roles that can be highly variable across different companies.

A few weeks ago, TechCrunch editor Jordan Crook interviewed J Crowley, who is head of product for Airbnb Lux and was formerly at Foursquare. Crowley came up in the consumer product world without a technical background, and he spoke to overcoming some of his own insecurities to become a leading product thinker in the Valley.

This week, I wanted to offer another perspective on product from Anjul Bhambhri, who is Vice President, Platform Engineering at Adobe, where she and her team conceived Adobe’s

Continue reading “Transitioning from engineering to product with Adobe’s Anjul Bhambhri”

Machine learning for everyone startup Intersect Labs launches platform for data analysis


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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Machine learning is the holy grail of data analysis, but unfortunately, that holy grail oftentimes requires a PhD in Computer Science just to get started. Despite the incredible attention that machine learning and artificial intelligence get from the press, the reality is that there is a massive gap between the needs of companies to solve business challenges and the availability of talent for building incisive models.

YC-backed Intersect Labs is looking to solve that gap by making machine learning much more widely accessible to the business analyst community. Through its platform, which is being launched fully publicly, business analysts can upload their data, and Intersect will automatically identify the right machine learning models to apply to the dataset and optimize the parameters of those models.

The company was founded by Ankit Gordhandas and Aaron Fried in August of last year. In his previous job, Gordhandas deployed machine learning models to

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Founder salaries, diversity tactics, fintech roboadvisors, and startups improving mental health


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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Startup founders need to decide how much salary is enough

One of the great things about running your own startup is that you have the independence to make critical business decisions, but those decisions can get very complicated when you are the direct beneficiary.

When it comes to ethics and optics, few early decisions are as impactful as setting your own salary. Founders have a right — as with any employee of a company — to a full salary, but how much is too little, and how much is too much? Ron Miller interviewed a number of VCs and founders about how they approached this question.

Ed Sim, founder at Boldstart, an early stage enterprise startup investor in NYC says as an early check writer, he doesn’t want to see founders living high on the hog, but at the same time, they need enough money to live on,

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Two Sigma leads $12m series A for expert knowledge network NewtonX


This post is by Danny Crichton from TechCrunch


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Knowledge is the fuel of business. Every decision requires a full understanding of the data underlying it, and that means reaching out not only to an organization’s own staff for insight, but also to experts in the wider world. Management consultants, research agencies, and data providers make hundreds of billions of dollars per year attempting to answer key questions for business executives.

Sometimes they are successful, but many times, finding the right expert can be vexing. For the most important decisions, having multiple experts or even hundreds of experts provide their opinion might be critical to success.

Germain Chastel and Sascha Eder know the problem well. Former McKinsey consultants, they worked with some of the top technology companies in the Valley attempting to answer their questions — but oftentimes struggled to do so given the unique problems that confront those organizations. “We realized it was really hard to find experts

Continue reading “Two Sigma leads $12m series A for expert knowledge network NewtonX”