Data says there are only two seasons for fundraising and one secret window


This post is by Arman Tabatabai from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




One of the top things that keeps a startup CEO up at night is the worry of running out of money. As a second-time founder and CEO of DocSend, I consider raising money and keeping my startup sufficiently funded a primary responsibility.

If “don’t run out of money” is a universally accepted warning, then the next question becomes when should you raise your next round of funding? There’s a lot to consider in coming up with an answer. If you start

Continue reading “Data says there are only two seasons for fundraising and one secret window”

It isn’t just apps. China’s cinemas broke records during Lunar New Year


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




China celebrated Lunar New Year last week as hundreds of millions of people travelled to their hometowns. While many had longed to see their separated loved ones, others dreaded the weeklong holiday as relatives awkwardly caught up with them with questions like: “Why are you not married? How much do you earn?”

Luckily, there are ways to survive the festive time in this digital age. Smartphone usage during this period has historically surged. Short video app TikTok’s China version Douyin noticeably took off by acquiring 42 million new users over the first week of last year’s holiday, a report from data analytics firm QuestMobile shows. Tencent’s mobile game blockbuster Honor of Kings similarly gained 76 percent DAUs during that time, according to another QuestMobile report.

People also hid away by immersing themselves in the cinema during the Lunar New Year, a movie-going period akin to the American holiday season.

wandering earth 2

Continue reading “It isn’t just apps. China’s cinemas broke records during Lunar New Year”

A government propaganda app is going viral in China


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Besides binge-watching TikTok videos and battling enemies in the magical land of mobile games, many Chinese people may also pass time during the upcoming Lunar New Year on Xuexi Qiangguo, a news and chat app developed by the country’s top ideology officials.

The app managed to top the Chinese App Store between January 22 and 25 before two ByteDance apps pushed it down to the third place this week, download statistics from App Annie shows. At a glance, the news section is almost exclusively about the Communist Party and president Xi Jinping.

xuexi qiangguo

The app is almost exclusively about the Communist Party and president Xi Jinping.

It doubles as an instant messenger, with development support provided by Alibaba’s Dingtalk enterprise communications tool. That means users can log in via their Dingtalk account and chat with their Dingtalk contacts directly over Xuexi Qiangguo. Alibaba explains this is a “regular business collaboration” between Dingtalk’s

xuexi qiangguo
xuexi qiangguo

Continue reading “A government propaganda app is going viral in China”

Another day, another reversal in the stock market


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Signs that the Federal Reserve could hold off on further interest rate hikes coupled with a booming jobs report sent stocks on Wall Street surging to close a volatile first trading week for the New Year.

After yesterday’s Apple-induced slide, and in the face of economic indicators that signaled a potential slowdown in global and domestic growth, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, said that the central bank would be “patient” when it comes to raising interest rates.

That news, coupled with a strong jobs report, sent stocks rocketing up. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 746.9 points, or roughly 3.3 percent, while the Nasdaq shot up 4.3 percent, or 275.4 points.

It wasn’t just the Fed chairman’s observations about the potential for rate hikes in 2019 that had investors buying, but assurances about Powell’s job security in the face of increasing

Continue reading “Another day, another reversal in the stock market”

Apple losses trigger a plunge in U.S. markets


This post is by Jonathan Shieber from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Bad news from Apple and signs of slowing international and domestic growth sent stocks tumbling in Thursday trading on all of the major markets.

Investors erased some $75 billion in value from Apple alone… an amount known technically as a shit ton of money. But stocks were down broadly based on Apple’s news, with the Nasdaq falling 3%, or roughly 202.44 points, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting 660.02 points, or roughly 2.8%.

Apple halted trading yesterday afternoon of its stock to provide lower guidance for upcoming earnings.

Apple’s news from late yesterday that it would miss its earnings estimates by several billion dollars thanks to a collapse of sales in China was the trigger for a broad selloff that erased gains from the last trading sessions before the New Year (which saw the biggest one

Continue reading “Apple losses trigger a plunge in U.S. markets”

Grab raises fundraising target to $5B as Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing war heats up


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab is aiming to start the new year with a bang and an awful lot of bucks. The company, which acquired Uber’s local business earlier this year, is planning to raise as much as $5 billion from its ongoing Series H round, up from an original target of $3 billion, a source with knowledge of the plan told TechCrunch.

Grab declined to comment for this story.

That Series H round has been open since June. Already, it has seen participation from the likes of Toyota, Microsoft, Booking Holdings and Yamaha Motors, which have pushed it close to the original $3 billion target. Prior to raising $150 million from Yamaha, Grab said the round stood at $2.7 billion. While it is true that the company first announced that it was “on track to raise over $3 billion by the end of 2018,” it

Continue reading “Grab raises fundraising target to $5B as Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing war heats up”

New e-commerce restrictions in India just ruined Christmas for Amazon and Walmart


This post is by Jon Russell from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The Indian government is playing the role of festive party pooper for Walmart and Amazon after it announced new regulations that look set to impede the U.S. duo’s efforts to grow their businesses in India.

Online commerce in the country is tipped to surpass $100 billion per year by 2022 up from $35 billion today as more Indians come online, according to a report co-authored by PwC. But 2019 could be a very different year after an update to the country’s policy for foreign direct investment (FDI) appeared to end the practice of discounts, exclusive sales and more.

The three main takeaways from the new policy, which will go live on February 1, are a ban on exclusive sales, the outlawing of retailers selling products on platforms they count as investors, and restrictions on discounts and cashback.

Those first two clauses are pretty clear and will have a significant impact on Amazon

Continue reading “New e-commerce restrictions in India just ruined Christmas for Amazon and Walmart”

The Autoblow A.I. brings machine learning to your lap


This post is by from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Dearest Martha,

I write to you from the cold wastes of Earth on the first day of the New Year, 2023, the third year of war, and so close to your own child’s decanting date that it pains me to think on thee. The machines have been unkind to this planet and I hope you are well situated on Mars where it is safe. The men in the platoon – Dutch, Brooklyn, Dandy, and French – all send a cheerful “Hello.” I think they are jealous that you are human.

I must tell you something, dearest Martha, as I feel I’ve been remiss in maintaining our marriage smart contract. I met here a machine, an Autoblow A.I., with which I had the briefest of dalliances. The robot, made by humans in the last century, approached me in a time of great pain. Zimmerman had just been destroyed

Continue reading “The Autoblow A.I. brings machine learning to your lap”

Hangover Cure Showdown: Gatorade vs Pedialyte


This post is by Thorin Klosowski from Lifehacker


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




How are you feeling today? A little groggy? Nauseous? Have you promised yourself that you’ll never drink again? If that sounds familiar, then you’re probably here hunting for hangover cures. Two popular folk remedies that pretend to have some scientific backing are Pedialyte and Gatorade. Let’s see if they actually work.

Read more…

Microsoft Releases New Windows 10 Mobile Build, Promises Free Upgrades For 8.1 Users In 2016


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




A Windows 10 sign on Microsoft's campus. Two quick hits from the world of Microsoft before you head off and plunge your upper body in eggnog: A new Windows 10 Mobile build is out for users on both the Fast and Slow rings of the Insider program, and, if you are a regular Windows Phone user running 8.1, you won’t get new code until the new year, a retread of prior timing promises.
In sequence, I think. Out today is the… Read More

Garry Tan Says Goodbye to Y Combinator


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




y-combinator-logo Garry Tan is leaving the accelerator and investment firm Y Combinator after a four-year stint with the outfit.
Tan had previously cofounded the easy-to-use blogging service Posterous, which was backed by Y Combinator and acquired by Twitter in 2012. (It was later shuttered.)
Tan joined Y Combinator in 2011 as a designer in residence but was quickly to promoted to partner. He said in… Read More

How Codecademy got so hot, so fast


This post is by Colleen Taylor from GigaOM


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Codecademy is on fire right now. The startup, which teaches users how to program with an interactive and social web application, has garnered more than 1 million users (including bold-faced names such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg) and made learning how to write computer code trendy with its “Code Year” program aimed at the New Year’s resolution crowd. And all this from a startup that’s only five months old, with just five full-time staffers.

I sat down with Codecademy co-founder and CEO Zach Sims to hear about how the company got to this point so quickly, and what’s on deck for the months ahead. Here are a few key takeaways:

Necessity breeds invention

The idea behind Codecademy emerged out of the founding duo’s frustrations with the status quo of learning how to program. Co-founder Ryan Bubinski was already an experienced programmer who spent his weekends and free time during college teaching other students how to build web applications; but Sims was not nearly as familiar with coding. When the two entered Y Combinator’s summer 2011 class together in the hopes of launching a web startup, Sims tried to learn how to code on his own so that he could be of more help on the technical side of whatever business they founded.

“I was watching videos and tutorials and reading books,” Sims said. “But I found I learn best by building things and breaking things, not by just reading something. I wanted something interactive where I could learn in bite-sized pieces, and actually practice what I learned along the way.” So Sims and Bubinski decided to use their time at Y Combinator to build exactly that — and Codecademy was born. The company is now backed with $2.5 million in venture capital from a handful of elite investors including Union Square Ventures, O’Reilly Ventures, SV Angel and Yuri Milner.

Timing is everything

Codecademy’s message — that knowing how to write computer code is becoming just as important as knowing how to read or write — could not have come at a better time. While many sectors of the economy are suffering from layoffs and underemployment, the tech industry is having a full-on hiring crunch. Nearly every tech industry executive I talk to is currently looking to hire as many good engineers as he or she can find. The only problem is that not enough people right now have the programming skills necessary for those jobs.

Screenshot of an introductory Codecademy lesson (click to enlarge)

“Programming is the new literacy,” Sims said. “We’re all walking around with these phones in our pockets, using all these apps, but no one understands how any of it works. There are just not enough engineers, and this is the job of the future.” That Codecademy launched just when this started to become apparent on a larger scale has been key to its early success.

Listening to users — online and off

When Codecademy’s users started getting together offline by scheduling real-life meetups, the company decided to follow them. Last week saw the launch of official Codecademy meetups, and there are now official meetup groups in 171 regional areas worldwide to let people get together in person to discuss their progress learning how to code. Also last week Codecademy launched a Q&A feature within its web product to let people talk to each other via online forums while doing the Codecademy lessons.

Getting bigger, but staying scrappy

For now, Codecademy does not make any revenue, but in the future it could start charging for more advanced lessons and premium services, Sims said. Any revenue generation plans are a bit farther out on the horizon, as right now the company’s focus is on growing its user base and adding new lessons to the core free service. One thing is certain, though: Codecademy has no plans to become an accredited learning institution that charges for a degree.

Sims, who studied Political Science at Columbia University but dropped out several credits shy of graduation, said that Codecademy is founded on the belief that skills are the most important factor in getting good work — not educational credentials. “If you look at a lot of Silicon valley companies, they don’t hire based on a degree. A lot of the best programmers in the industry never even went to college at all,” he said. “Your skills should speak for themselves.” That sounds like a worthwhile lesson in itself.

Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.




Kickstarter finds: Pressure-sensitive iPad stylus, a case that pops, and super simple sound


This post is by from GigaOM


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Kickstarter isn’t slowing down in 2012, but it has a high bar to reach in terms of matching its amazing 2011. Luckily, there are already some amazing new products that prove innovation isn’t in short supply at the crowd-funding site as we head into the new year.

A real pressure-sensitive iPad stylus

The Jaja is like the grail of iPad styluses. Ever since selling my beloved Wacom 12WX because it was, admittedly, too much machine for someone who only occasionally doodles for fun, I’ve been wanting to draw on my iPad with real pressure sensitivity. Pressure sensitivity is what allows digital drawing devices to accurately mimic real-life drawing and painting implements; it allows styluses and drawing tablets to know how hard you’re pressing and alters pen and brush strokes accordingly.

The iPad in its current form doesn’t have any real fine pressure sensitivity to speak of. Sure, it can tell how hard you’re hitting the keys in Garage Band, but that’s a different kind of tech, and nowhere near subtle enough for sophisticated painting applications. The Jaja has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity built-in to its body design (that’s a good number), as well as a speaker, two contextual buttons and a rechargeable battery.

Like the iPen we’ve covered before, it’ll do more than any other stylus out there, but unlike the iPen, it doesn’t require any additional parts. It actually uses high-frequency sound to communicate with the iPad and convey info about contextual clicks or pressure info. That feature will require that apps make use of a special Jaja SDK, but talks with potential partners to do just that are already underway.

The Jaja isn’t yet funded: it’s at just over $9,000 and has a goal of $25,000 with 25 days remaining. Were it possible for me to wish things into existence, however, this stylus would already be in my hands.

The popping and locking iPhone case

The PopSockets looks a bit ridiculous, but its two extendable protrusions aren’t just an aesthetic oddity. They help prop up your iPhone, stick it to surfaces make it easier to hold and provide a simple cable wrap solution.

Whether you think the design is garish or stylish, the PopSockets is highly customizable, will eventually come in a variety of colors and designs, and the popping elements themselves hide away almost completely when not in use. The PopSockets project is nearing its funding goal of $12,000 with 30 days remaining, so it will almost certainly become a reality. You can secure a pre-order for $25, but do yourself a favor and don’t watch creator David Barnett’s Kickstarter promo video.

Small add-on addresses major iPad flaw

I like watching movies on my iPad, but I hate having to cup my hand just right or prop it against a hard surface to try to get sound coming out of the speaker to bounce back at me. Without taking these steps, though, I often find that even at full volume it’s hard to pick out clear dialogue against background noise.

The SoundBender is a small, simple magnetic attachment that clips onto your iPad 2 and provides a backstop against which soundwaves redirect back towards you, the listener. It’s pocketable, one-piece, and even works with plenty of case designs. This project has just started, so it’s still far from its modest $4,500 goal, but a simple $15 pledge secures a pre-order.

I wish the iPad didn’t need something like this, but since it does, this small, unobtrusive solutions seems like the best possible fix.

Got an exciting Kickstarter project? Send it to us for consideration in our regular roundup of promising accessories.

Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.




Where to watch the Rose Parade & Occupy protests online


This post is by from GigaOM


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Just like the party on Times Square, the Rose Parade is an essential part of how we celebrate the beginning of a new year. The Tournament of Roses Parade, which is how it’s officially called, has been happening in early January for more than 120 years. Each year, dozens of floats built entirely out of flowers and other organic material parade down Colorado Avenue in Pasadena, California.

This year, things are going to be a little different though: Not only is the parade happening on January 2nd instead of New Year’s day due to parade rules that don’t allow it to happen on a Sunday; Occupy protesters are planing to use the parade to broadcast their demands to a world-wide audience. There are plans for a human float that will follow the official parade, and protesters will also position themselves along the parade route.

Both the official parade and the surrounding protests will be streamed live online:

And in case you’re wondering who Spencer Mills is – we interviewed him a few months ago:

Related research and analysis from GigaOM Pro:
Subscriber content. Sign up for a free trial.