Niels

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Hamwells raises €1.2 million for the connected e-shower of the future

When you take your next shower, the water flowing from the faucet may just be recycled. That’s the vision fueling Hamwells, a Netherlands-based startup that launched in the Startup Battlefield at Disrupt London 2015.<p>In the Battlefield, the company presented their e-shower with a re-circulation mode …

Startups

Fifty Years — The new Silicon Valley VC that wants to save the world AND make money

<b>“We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium. Synthetic food will, of course, also be used in the future. Nor need the pleasures of the table be banished. That gloomy Utopia of tabloid meals</b> …

Startups

Tech companies and the global rise of e-sports

The latest sports phenomenon sweeping the globe wasn’t represented at the Olympic Games in Rio; it doesn’t require an intense physical training regimen or even traditional sports equipment. We’re talking about e-sports — competitive video gaming — and the opportunities for huge windfalls for …

eSports

Zepp’s newest sensor (slide) tackles soccer

Slowly but surely, the Zepp Labs is taking on every sport known to humankind. And the latest is a biggie. The company is set to start shipping Zepp Play Soccer tomorrow here in the States (hence the name, footy enthusiasts).<p>As with the rest of the Northern California startup’s offerings (which also …

Heek is a chatbot that can build you a website

A startup called Heek wants to make building websites as simple as chatting over text and answering a few questions. Using a conversational interface, the bot asks you questions about yourself, your business and your site, then lets you click to see different designs you can customize to meet your …

b8ta, a physical store for tech gadgets, raises $7 million Series A round

b8ta, the retail store that sells trendy tech gadgets, recently raised a $7 million Series A round led by TriplePoint Capital with participation from Khosla Ventures, Fifth Wall Ventures, Macerich and Eniac Ventures. b8ta also received $8 million in debt funding and previously raised a $4.5 million …

Lydia grabs $7.8 million for its peer-to-peer payment service

French startup Lydia raised $7.8 million (€7 million) from New Alpha AM and Oddo & Cie in order to expand to other European countries. The startup lets you easily pay back your friends without any fee using a mobile app — among other things. Think about it as a sort of Venmo for France.<p>While Lydia …

FinTech

Arduino unleashes a serious Internet of Things system for hardware hackers

Back in the old days hardware manufacturers felt safe in the knowledge that no mere hardware hacker could attempt to recreate their inventions. From Sony to Philips to LG to Samsung, the consumer electronics industry was locked up and no one could crack the case. Until those meddling Arduino kids …

Arduino

Shazam is finally profitable after a billion downloads

Shazam, the mobile and desktop app that acts as a digital ear and song identifier, crossed the 1 billion download mark recently, according to a report from Billboard on Thursday.<p>The London-based company, Shazam Entertainment Ltd., also announced that it has achieved profitability, at long last, …

Profit

California: self-driving cars will not need licensed driver, given federal approval

The department of motor vehicles’ revised regulations, which will face an open hearing this month, allow the public to access driverless cars<p>California’s department of motor vehicles said late on Friday the most advanced self-driving cars will no longer be required to have a licensed driver, if …

Regulation

Orangemonkie makes your Etsy and eBay photos less crap

As any eBay, Etsy or Shopify seller will tell you, if you’re selling stuff online, photography is up there with the top most important parts of your sales listing. And yet, there’s a load of sellers who are great at making doo-dahs, gizmos and wotsits but who post photos that are, frankly, …

Estimote announces the Mirror, a dongle that turns any TV into a smart beacon system

Imagine walking into a store, picking up a pair of shoes, and seeing specs for the kicks appear on a TV next to the display. Or imagine standing in front of an airport departures screen and seeing your flight appear and then a map displaying the best route to your gate. These use cases were …

Internet of Things

OurCrowd raises another $72M to build out its equity crowdfunding platform

OurCrowd, the crowdfunding platform that gives backers equity in the companies they support, today announced that it has raised $72 million in a Series C round of funding, and expects the final figure to be closer to $100 million. Half of the capital will be used to build out its offices globally …

Venture Capital

Accessory for prosthetic limbs lets users interact directly with digital media

When someone has lost a hand, particularly the dominant one, it can be a real challenge to do the simple clicks and drags that all of us take for granted on our desktops and laptops. A German design team has created a device to remedy this, detecting signals from the user’s remaining muscles and …

Prosthetics

The Oculus Touch motion controllers will cost many moneys

Oculus is just months away from releasing the Touch controllers and we now have a better idea of just how much they’ll hurt your wallet.<p>A GAME store display revealed that the launch price of the controllers will be £190 in the U.K. That’s about $212 in the U.S., which is a bit more than many Rift …

Virtual Reality

Need Some AI? Yeah, There’s a Marketplace for That

Diego Oppenheimer is worried that the Googles and the Facebooks will dominate the world of artificial intelligence.<p>It's a legitimate worry. Elon Musk …

Machine learning's next trick is generating videos from photos

MIT researchers create neural net to 'predict' what happens next in stills<p>Show a human any photograph and they’ll able to predict what happens next with pretty decent accuracy. The woman riding her bike will keep on moving. The dog will catch the frisbee. The man is going to have a pratfall. And so …

Machine Learning

John Sculley’s Zeta Interactive nabs $45M, gears up for more acquisitions, IPO

When it comes to funding for startups, marketing tech is seeing a boom at the moment, and one company that is reaping the fruits of that is Zeta Interactive. The marketing technology company — co-founded by the ex-CEO of Apple and Pepsi John Sculley and David Steinberg (who is the CEO) and valued …

Venture Capital

Apple, Samsung only ones making money from smartphones

A recent study shows that Apple and Samsung are the only company making any money from smartphone sales.<p>Cannaccord Genuity recently compiled operating margins for all major smartphone OEMs, and compared them to the company’s mobile device margins. What is discovered is that Apple is the most …

All 44 startups that launched at Y Combinator S16 Demo Day 1

Farm drones, autonomous security guards and next-generation tampons were among the products presented at today’s Y Combinator startup accelerator Summer 2016 Demo Day 1. You can check out write-ups of all 44 below. And here are TechCrunch’s picks for “The top 7 startups from YC Demo Day 1”, plus …

Startups

A new AI is detecting depression using Instagram

A new AI programme has been developed to attempt to accurately detect signs of depression using <i>Instagram</i> photos.<p>The study, carried out by researchers …

Ford and Baidu put $150M behind LiDAR for self-driving cars

Carmakers continue to look to the Valley for help paving the way for the future of cars – Ford has teamed up with Baidu to jointly invest $150 million in Velodyne, a company making LiDAR sensors in California’s technology hotspot. The money will help Velodyne quickly ramp up efforts to make its …

Autonomous Cars

Elon Musk is working on a roof made of solar panels

Elon Musk's fondness for ambitious, out-of-left-field ideas isn't restricted to electric cars or rockets. During SolarCity's latest earnings call, the entrepreneur revealed that his energy-focused company is developing a "solar roof" -- not a roof with solar panels on it, a roof <i>made out of</i> solar …

Music video app Triller becomes a social network

Mobile app Triller isn’t just a simple way to make music videos anymore — it recently added social features that allow users to follow other users and explore their videos.<p>I should probably back up a second and explain what Triller is. It’s an iPhone and Android app that allows you to create a …

triller

Why this former Google and Amazoner decided to ditch big company life to join a mattress startup

He's an alum of Black & Decker, Amazon, and most recently Google, where he worked on its Express team, overseeing the launch of its same-day delivery service to seven different metropolitan areas.<p>But when the mattress startup Casper — comparatively tiny at 100 employees and $100 million in sales …

The new Glif smartphone mount is the smartest of its kind

Launched just 18 months after Kickstarter itself, the original Glif was an early beacon of what was to come for the crowdfunding platform, with an innovative tripod mount for smartphones unlike any other. Studio Neat has taken its sweet time to launch the sequel, but the new Glif was worth the …

Crowd Funding

Peter Thiel-backed banking startup Number26 rebrands as N26 and becomes an official bank

Number26, a Peter Thiel-backed mobile banking startup that’s setting out to create the bank account of the future, has finally received its banking license, giving the company full regulatory approval to operate across the European Union under its own steam. The company has also announced that it’s …

Pinterest’s commerce head explains how A.I. and machine learning will transform shopping

Aunkur Arya, Braintree’s mobile general manager, and Michael Yamartino, Pinterest’s head of commerce, took the stage at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat 2016 event to talk about machine learning, artificial intelligence, and how the two concepts are transforming commerce.<p>You can watch the full discussion …

MIT brings us one step closer to robotic modular furniture

We've all dreamed of living in a space where the bed tucks away and a wall opens to reveal a TV, or a table rises out of the floor as the seating moves towards the sides of the room. It's not quite there yet, but Ori -- a play on the word "Origami" -- is getting close.<p>Designed by Ori founder Hasier …

Furniture

'Pokémon Go' Delayed in Japan Due to Leaked McDonald's Sponsorship Details

Niantic has decided to postpone the launch of <i>Pokémon Go</i> in Japan today, due to an unexpected email leak that revealed details about the company's rumored sponsor partnership with food chain McDonald's. A source close to the company confirmed the delay to <i>TechCrunch</i>, referring to a specific email …