Tech

Travis Kalanick joins medical tech startup’s board of directors

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has joined the board of directors for Kareo, a medical health tech startup, Axios reports. TechCrunch has since confirmed the appointment, along with the addition of Rob Reid to the board. This is Kalanick’s first public appointment since his ouster from Uber in June. Kalanick was an angel investor in Kareo, a company that has raised about $125 million in venture funding. The company is geared toward physicians with independent practices to help with patient communications, payments and marketing. “The company has experienced increasing provider growth in the last year, and the changes in the healthcare sector now underway further accelerate demand for Kareo’s clinical and business management platform,” a Kareo spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We’re the first ...

Uber co-founder Garrett Camp is creating a new cryptocurrency

Garrett Camp, best known for being a co-founder of Uber and founder of the accelerator/venture fund Expa, is launching his own cryptocurrency. The currency is called Eco, and Camp wants it to be a digital global currency that can be used as a payment tool around the world for daily-use transactions. There will be one trillion tokens issued initially, of which 50% will be given away to the first one billion verified humans that sign up. 20% will go to the universities running trusted nodes, 10% will go to advisors, 10% will go to strategic partners, and 10% will go to a newly formed Eco Foundation which will be responsible for creating and maintaining the network. Camp will also donate $10M to seed the foundation with an operating budget. Notably there will be no ICO – which means no money ...

Facebook’s next money-maker: Messenger Broadcasts

Users might hate it, but Facebook is now testing a self-serve sponsored messaging tool for small businesses that aren’t sophisticated enough to build bots. TechCrunch first reported back in November Facebook internally building a prototype of the Messenger Broadcast tool that let companies blast a message to anyone who’s already started a conversation with them. Now Facebook is starting to test the Messenger Broadcast Composer externally, beginning with a small percentage of Pages in the U.S., Mexico and Thailand. Currently, the tool is free to use, but a Messenger spokesperson tells me that’s for a limited time only, and that eventually this will probably become a paid product that charges businesses. Messenger is capping the number of messages businesses can broadcast to deter spam, and ...

Facebook ends its experiment with the alternative “explore” news feed

Facebook is ending its short-lived (and misguided) experiment with the alternative news feed feature called “Explore”. In a blog post today, Facebook head of news feed, Adam Mosseri wrote: We constantly try out new features, design changes and ranking updates to understand how we can make Facebook better for everyone. Some of these changes—like Reactions, Live Video, and GIFs— work well and go on to become globally available. Others don’t and we drop them. Today, we’re ending one of those tests: the Explore Feed. The Explore Feed was a trial response to consistent feedback we received from people over the past year who said they want to see more from friends and family in News Feed. The idea was to create a version of Facebook with two different News Feeds: one as a dedicated place with po...

A new sports startup buys VOD platform Colony

London-based We Are Colony has been acquired by sports media startup Fantastec. Fantastec was founded just last year by Steve Madincea, a sports marketing veteran who created sponsorship agency Prism and continued to run it after selling to ad giant WPP. Fantastec’s goal is to engage sports fans through technology like video on demand, virtual reality, augmented reality and wearables. That covers a lot of possibilities, but the acquisition suggests one way that Fantastec’s strategy might actually play out. Colony was founded by Sarah Tierney (previously founder of Clarity Productions and head of content at edtech VOD platform Twig), and it built a VOD platform for special edition releases of independent films — for example, it helped launch the Star Trek documentary For The Love of Spock. ...

Jaguar reveals the new all-electric I-PACE SUV

Jaguar has finally fully revealed the official I-PACE all-electric SUV, a vehicle with just under 240 miles of range and a 0 to 60 mph time of under five seconds. The car can also charge to 80 percent from empty in 40 minutes using special quick charger hardware, and a 15-minute top-up is good for around 62 miles of additional range. The I-PACE looks like Jaguar’s best attempt to do a Tesla impression in more ways than the electric powertrain, however: The automaker is also promising over-the-air updates for the car, and connected controls that tie in to a mobile app for your phone, including charging status information. OTA is a first for Jaguar with this new EV offering. In the cabin, there are touchscreens for infotainment readout, along with standard physical controls for additional ca...

Twitter wants help measuring healthy online interactions

Twitter, which some people use to abuse, harass and manipulate others, is soliciting proposals from the public to help the social network capture, measure and evaluate healthy interactions on the platform. This is part of Twitter’s commitment “to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted earlier this morning. Twitter did not “fully predict or understand the real-world consequences” of instant, public and global conversations, Dorsey tweeted. In an effort to combat these unhealthy interactions, he said, Twitter is looking to build a framework to encourage healthy interactions. The idea to measure healthy interactions came from some conversations with team members from nonprofit research organization Cortico. “They ca...

Caterina Fake on turning down VC roles a decade ago: “I just kind of didn’t fit in”

Ten years ago, not long after Yahoo had acquired Flickr, its cofounder, Caterina Fake, bounded up and down Sand Hill Road taking meetings with venture firms that were interested in hiring her. She knew most of them. In fact, she already knew a lot of investors at that point. Flickr was created out of a photo-sharing feature for another product that Fake and cofounder Stewart Butterfield had been working on that she calls “an abysmal failure.” And “when you have a failed pitch,” says Fake, “you meet many more venture capitalists than you really want to.” When Flickr was acquired — as Fake told an audience of founders and investors at a StrictlyVC event earlier this week —  “I figured I’d have a sniff around and see, Is this my world? Would I like it? Is venture for me? I never really consid...

Microsoft advances several of its hosted artificial intelligence algorithms

Microsoft Cognitive Services is home to the company’s hosted artificial intelligence algorithms. Today, the company announced advances to several Cognitive Services tools including Microsoft Custom Vision Service, the Face API and Bing Entity Search . Joseph Sirosh, who leads the Microsoft’s cloud AI efforts, defined Microsoft Cognitive Services in a company blog post announcing the enhancements, as “a collection of cloud-hosted APIs that let developers easily add AI capabilities for vision, speech, language, knowledge and search into applications, across devices and platforms such as iOS, Android and Windows.” These are distinct from other Azure AI services, which are designed for developers who are more hands-on, DIY types. The idea is to put these kinds of advanced artificial intelligen...

The dinner that destroyed Gawker

This is an excerpt from Ryan Holiday’s new book Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, available now. Peter Thiel’s vague idea to do something about Gawker, the site that had outed him as gay in 2007, was concretized into conspiracy on April 6, 2011. It began unremarkably, when Thiel traveled to Germany to speak at a conference and had dinner with a student he’d met on a tour of a university a few years before. Peter arrives, driven in a black S-class Mercedes, the same model he has idling outside with a driver, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, wherever he is in the world. From the hotel emerges a short, fit young man of indiscernible origin. Aside from his Ivy League education, the young man has at this point achieved next to nothing. But Pete...

Dropbox to add native G Suite integration in new partnership with Google

It’s been an eventful week for Dropbox coming off its announcement last Friday that it was finally going public, but that doesn’t mean the business stops. The company announced plans to partner with Google today to bring native G Suite integration to Dropbox storage. The fact is that more than 50 percent of Dropbox users have a G Suite account — which includes GMail along with Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides. To this point, there hasn’t been a way to store these files in Dropbox. That has required a Google Drive account, but customer requirements can sometimes make for strange bedfellows and Dropbox and Google have been working together to bring this integration to fruition because it’s something both companies’ customers have been asking for, Quentin Clark, SVP of Engineering, Produ...

ScopeAI helps companies analyze their customer feedback

If you’re running a company with a lot of customers, it can take time to sort through all that feedback. A startup called ScopeAI is working to make that process a lot easier. The startup is announcing that it’s raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Y Combinator (where it was part of the winter batch last year), Menlo Ventures, Social Capital and Salesforce Ventures, as well as from angel investors like YC CEO Michael Seibel, Lee Linden and Ray Bradford. Co-founder and CEO Natalie Abeysena previously worked as a user experience researcher for Google. She said that when companies grow to the point that they’re receiving hundreds or thousands of customer support messages, they “struggle with doing this manually.” In other words, they usually have to go through and categorize all ...