Tech

Cozy is building a personal cloud service that respects your privacy

Meet Cozy, a French startup that wants to completely rethink how cloud services work. The startup first launched a Dropbox-like competitor to store, synchronize and share all your files. Now, the company wants to go one step further and create an ecosystem of open-source services that respect your privacy. When I met with Cozy co-founder and CEO Benjamin André earlier this week, he was fed up with the long-lasting opposition between privacy and convenience. Many people believe that you have to make a choice — you can either give up on your online privacy to access convenient services, or you have to accept that you won’t be as productive because you don’t want to share data with big online tech companies. And yet, chances are that nearly everyone around you has a Google account, or a Faceb...

Brainly acquires Bask to add video to its peer-to-peer learning platform for students

Brainly, the edtech startup founded out of Poland but now with a HQ in New York, has acquired Bask to add video to its peer-to-peer learning platform. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed. However, the acquisition has more than a whiff of acqui-hire to it, with Bask’s co-founder and CEO, Ryan Metzger, and Head of Engineering, Robert Kim, joining the Brainly product and development team. Founded as recently as April 2017 by then 21-year-old college dropout Metzger, Bask is described as a “video learning platform” that enabled short teacher-produced video content to easily be integrated into an array of learning management systems. The idea was to enable students to ask questions outside of office hours, with teachers recording their answer as a 90 second video to make learning more accessib...

Privateer closes $100M round at $600M+ valuation to invest in cannabis startups

It’s high times for the marijuana industry, which has been flourishing in recent years as more regions move to decriminalise the use of it for medical and other purposes. Now, Privateer Holdings, one of the big investors in the space, has raised $100 million to back more cannabis startups and capitalise on that trend. This Series C brings the total raised by Privateer to $200 million since the firm was founded in Seattle in 2010. The company — which in effect operates like a startup itself — said it would not be disclosing its valuation with this round, but in its last round (in 2015) it was valued at over $500 million, and we understand from sources close to the company that is a strong up round — so it is currently valued in the region of over $600 million. It also is choosing not to dis...

Snowflake lands massive $263 million investment on unicorn valuation

Snowflake, the cloud-based data warehouse service, announced an enormous investment round today, pulling in a whopping $263 million on a unicorn valuation of $1.5 billion. The round was led by a trio of big-name Silicon Valley VC firms including existing investors Iconiq Capital and Altimeter Capital and new investor Sequoia Capital. Today’s announcement comes on top of the $100 million round last spring and brings the total raised to $473 million, according to the company. CEO Bob Muglia said that this is probably the final round before a possible IPO. As you would expect though, Muglia wasn’t making any commitments in terms of a timeline. “We have put ourselves on the path to IPO. That’s our mid- to long-term plan. This funding allows us to go directly to IPO and gives us sufficient capi...

StoreHub lands $5.1M help SMEs in Southeast Asia digitize their business

StoreHub, a startup that helps retailers digitize their business, has closed a $5.1 million Series A round led by Vertex Venture to expand in Southeast Asia. The startup was founded in 2014 and it offers point-of-sale technology and digital services to retailers. The idea is to help bring the long tail of less sophisticated physical merchants online to help them digitize their finances and inventory management. StoreHub charges around $39 per month for its POS services — which it sells hardware for — and it is currently present in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines where it claims to work with some 3,200 retail stores. Now it has plans to expand to other markets in Southeast Asia. Nothing is set in stone, but the company is eying Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia among other destination...

Facebook’s least favorite Austrian can now press privacy suit in Vienna

A big blow for Facebook today after Europe’s top court delivered a verdict in a long-running legal challenge that opens the door for plaintiff and privacy campaigner, Max Schrems, to sue Facebook in his home city of Vienna. The company had sought to argue that Schrems’ does not have consumers rights on account of his privacy campaigning activities. But in its judgement today the CJEU rejects that argument, saying Schrems’ campaigning activities do not cancel out his status as a consumer with a private Facebook account. “After throwing dirt at me for three years and circulating that I would try to make a profit from my political activities, it’s maybe the time now for Facebook to apologize,” said Schrems in a statement on the judgement. Facebook has previously tried to argue that Austrian c...

Xiaomi beats Samsung to top spot in India’s smartphone market

Xiaomi couldn’t have wished for better timing of two reports that claim it has toppled Samsung to become India’s top-selling smartphone company. The Chinese firm, which is reportedly on a roadshow ahead of an IPO that could value it as high as $100 billion, is said to have beaten Samsung’s sales efforts in India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market behind China, according to new data from Canalys and Counterpoint. Data from both analyst houses gave Xiaomi a narrow lead over Samsung in the final quarter of 2017, with 27 percent and 25 percent, respectively, according to Canalys — and 25 percent versus 23 percent, according to Counterpoint. Counterpoint included year-long figures, which conclude that Samsung (24 percent) is ahead of Xiaomi (19 percent) over the longer timeframe. A g...

LG’s mobile business is still making big losses

LG’s smartphone business still continues to lose money at an alarming rate. The Korean firm cut its losses in its Q4 2017 financial period to minus RKW 213.2 billion ($192.33 million), up from KRW 375.3 billion ($331.37 million) in the previous quarter, but there’s is no sign that things will drastically change anytime soon. LG Mobile has posted just one quarter of profitability over the last two years, that was a small $3.2 million profit Q1 2017, the first quarter of sales of its G6 flagship. Previous to that, you have to go way back to Q1 2015 to find a positive quarter for its mobile division. That mobile division wrapped up its financial year with total sales of KRW 11.67 trillion ($10.52 billion) which is down slightly from 11.71 billion for 2016. That is an improvement on 2016, whic...

Tryb Group raises $30M to develop fintech platforms for Southeast Asia

Tryb Group, a Singapore-based organization focused on fintech services in Southeast Asia, has landed a $30 million investment from Makara Capital. The investment comes from Makara’s $770 million joint fund with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), which is focused on finding valuable IP in the tech and startup space. TechCrunch understands that Tryb is talking to a range of other investors with a view to closing the round with at least $20 million in additional capital. Tryb is focused on fintech in Southeast Asia, but, unlike most startups in the region, it operates like an umbrella company by taking stakes in promising businesses and buying up others via acquisitions. The firm started out acting as a VC, but Tryb CEO Markus Gnirck explained to TechCrunch that it decided ...

Crunch Report | Fiverr acquires And Co

Crunch Report | Fiverr acquires And Co 10 minutes ago by Khaled “Tito” Hamze Reddit adds 2-factor authentication for all 3 hours ago by Devin Coldewey AT&T’s ‘Internet Bill of Rights’ idea is just a power play against Google and Facebook 3 hours ago by Devin Coldewey European VC firm DN Capital closes new €200M fund to invest at seed and Series A stage 4 hours ago by Steve O’Hear 50 Cent realizes he’s a Bitcoin millionaire thanks to sales of a 2014 album 4 hours ago by Taylor Hatmaker Stressing aptitude over achievement, Strive Talent pitches a new way to hire 4 hours ago by Jonathan Shieber Logan Paul returns to YouTube with a video about suicide prevention 5 hours ago by Jordan Crook Snapchat VP of Product Tom Conrad will disappear from tech 6 hours ago by Josh Cons...

Reddit adds 2-factor authentication for all

Reddit has finally joined other major web properties in adding two-factor authentication for all users. It’s been available for mods and some testers for a while, but this is the first time the vast multitudes of redditors will have access to it. Turn it on and you’ll have to enter a six-digit code sent to your phone whenever you have a new login attempt. You’ll need Google Authenticator, Authy, or any TOTP-supporting auth app — texting codes is no longer recommended (and really, it was always a bad idea). There’s not much to setting it up: go into the password/email area of the site’s preferences once you’ve logged in on a desktop browser. Enable two-factor authentication and follow the instructions. Now, this may be a problem for power users, who might have trouble switching between the ...

AT&T’s ‘Internet Bill of Rights’ idea is just a power play against Google and Facebook

AT&T has placed a few full-page ads explaining that it is pro-net neutrality, it has always been pro-net neutrality and that Congress once and for all should enshrine net neutrality principles in law. No, it’s not opposite day. This is a clever play by AT&T aimed not at protecting users, but kneecapping edge providers like Facebook and Google. It’s like the fox calling for a henhouse bill of rights. First, the idea that AT&T is in favor of net neutrality — the net neutrality we all had and enjoyed — is laughable. The company fought tooth and nail against the 2015 rules while they were being prepared, fought them while they were in force and fought for their rollback and replacement with the new, weaker ones. It fought against municipal broadband, pushed the limits of what const...