Mophie Juice Pack for the HTC One now available

DNP Mophie Juice Pack for the HTC One claims to

If you picked up an HTC One and found that its battery isn’t quite cutting it, Mophie may have a solution for your dilemma. The accessory maker is now offering its popular extended battery line for HTC’s crown jewel. In addition to its slim protective casing, the freshly minted Juice Pack keeps the party going with an embedded 2,500mAh backup cell. Mophie claims that its added pick me up can increase the One’s battery life by two-fold, placing its performance on a par with the marathon-ready RAZR MAXX HD. Available in two colors to match whichever hue you’re sporting, the $100 Juice Pack is a surprisingly attractive backup plan for HTC’s aluminum marvel.

Filed under: Cellphones, Mobile, HTC

Comments

Source: Mophie

ValueClick Founder Brian Coryat Raises $1.5M For Business Listings Startup ‘Local Market Launch'

local market launch

Local Market Launch, a startup that helps companies manage the online presence of local stores, is announcing that it has raised $1.5 million in Series A funding.

The company was founded by Brian Coryat, who previously founded ValueClick, an online ad company that went public in 2000. Coryat told me that he spent much of the past decade working with small businesses, and that Local Market Launch was created to address one of the big issues that he saw during that time — the need to manage the presence of these businesses on the web, both through their own websites and their listings on other properties. There are companies tackling parts of the problem, he said, but it’s a fragmented landscape with tools that aren’t easy to use.

“Our charge is to make businesses findable on all locations, apps, and devices,” Coryat said.

There are three main pieces to the startup’s offerings for multi-lcoation businesses. First, it creates a landing page for each location, and each page is optimized for local search, he said. Second, it promotes those pages by pushing out the information to a number of search portals and channel partners. Third, it offers monitoring tools so businesses can track social media buzz and reviews.

The company launched in 2012, and Coryat said it doesn’t usually work with these businesses directly — instead, its customers are print directories who can sell Local Market Launch as part of their services, as well as certified marketing representatives (basically, agencies who work with these types of businesses).

As for the funding, it comes from Rincon Venture Partners. Combined with seed funding provided by Coryat himself, Local Market Launch has raised a total of $2.7 million.

Rincon general partner John Greathouse told me that his firm likes to work with “serial entrepreneurs in an adjacent space” — in this case, Coryat actually tackled a similar problem with his first company, AAA Internet Promotions. Greathouse also emphasized that Local Market Launch is trying to drive real-world sales: “If you boil it all down, the goal of Local Market Launch is to generate door swings and phone rings.”

I asked Coryat about the competitive landscape, particularly Yext, a company that helps local businesses update their listings across a range of websites. He replied that Yext has “kind of a neat platform,” but he said that for most small businesses, the real-time updating that Yext emphasizes just isn’t as important, and that Yext doesn’t have Local Market Launch’s focus on optimizing for Google.

AT&T opens trade-in program for old smartphones

AT&T is now accepting smartphone trade-ins as vouchers toward new phone purchases on its network, according to a press release from the company in Monday. Customers who bring in old smartphones can receive “at least $100” off of a new smartphone. Even better, the discounts are stackable, even off-contract.

In the event that customers are looking to get a new phone that costs $99.99 or less, a traded-in smartphone will get them that phone for free. Trade-ins can be valued at more than $100 and can be applied immediately to an in-store purchase.

Customers may also opt to trade their phone in online, though they will have to wait four weeks for approval and their “Promotion Card” to come in the mail with the credit. In the press release, AT&T does not explicitly state whether the credits apply only to phones that are purchased on a new two-year contract or whether the credits are able to be applied to off-contract purchases. Still, the language of the press release seems to favor that scenario and an AT&T spokesperson told Ars that the trade-in discounts do stack and do not require a new contract. So if you bust up your current phone but complete a scavenger hunt for five functioning old smartphones, you might save yourself a little money.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Path’s unwanted messaging tactics have users yelling spam

You may recall back in February when Path ran afoul of the FTC for its much-criticized habit of collecting users’ contact information sans permission. The FTC smacked them with a $800,000 fine for what it said was violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act due to the app pulling some information from those under the age of 13. A day shy of 3 months later and the app is in hot water again, this time with its users who say one of Path’s features amounts to spam.

path-app-580x213

Path, which has seen monumental growth, uses a tactic similar those annoying Facebook apps that post things to your Facebook wall and, worse yet, your friends’ walls without your permission, hocking answers or stickers or secrets that are only visible if that friend downloads the app. Such is the way Path has decided to work, selecting all of the user’s contacts by default for a stock message.

If the user isn’t paying too much attention during the sign-up process or misunderstands that part, the app will take it upon itself to send a mass message out to the user’s contacts. Such was the case with Stephen Kenwright, who The Verge reports had his contacts mass spammed with a message reading, “Stephen Kenwright has photos to show you on Path. Download the free app:”, followed by a link. Other users have complained about the same problem in recent time.

Utilizing these tactics, it’s not hard to see how Path is raking in a million new users every week, as well as more than a few disgruntled one who uninstall the app after finding out that coworkers and friends were spammed with text messages. Path has a different take on the issue, saying that it isn’t spam, but is instead a feature that helps users get the most from the service by having friends and family sign up. If a user doesn’t want the text messages to be sent out, they must remember to unselect their auto-selected contacts on the sign-up page.

[via The Verge]


Path’s unwanted messaging tactics have users yelling spam is written by Brittany Hillen & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

Former AOL VP becomes new head of CIA tech and science division

The CIA has appointed Dawn Meyerriecks, former AOL Senior Vice President for Product Technology, as its new Chief of Science and Technology. While it seems like a strange move on the CIA’s part, after reading through Meyerricks’s resume, we now understand why she is one of the best candidates. According to Wired, Meyerrick’s is the first internet executive to ever take a top-tiered position in the CIA.

Formera AOl VP becomes new head of CIA tech and science division

Some of the things Meyerriecks has done in the past include working as a Jet Propulsion Lab engineer for NASA, working as a Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Acquisitions and Technology, working as a Chief Technology Officer and Technical Director for the Joint Interoperabillity and Engineering Organization (JIEO), establishing an in-house app market for both spies and analysts, encouraging the U.S. government to use open source software, and much more.

At AOL, Meyerriecks oversaw the relaunch of AOL.com, and also the revamping of AOL Instant Messenger. Meyerriecks stated that the experience that she gained from AOL helped her become a better government tech executive. She said that because of AOL, she learned that it is possible to be innovative without needing to ask for additional funding.

Aside from Meyerriecks’s resume, another reason why the CIA hired her is because it has been trying to improve its position in Silicon Valley. According to Wired, by hiring Meyerrieck, the CIA will be able to boost its position in Silicon Valley and increases its ties to the technology community there. Meanwhile, while the CIA is gaining a new asset, Meyerriecks’s old company AOL is firing a few dozen people.

[via Wired]


Former AOL VP becomes new head of CIA tech and science division is written by Brian Sin & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

Why Apple added debt to its $145 billion cash hoard

Anton TwAng

Apple is making headlines with rumors of a record-sized bond sale.

According to reports, Cupertino is likely taking advantage of historically dirt-cheap interest rates on corporate debt by raising about $17 billion from a series of six types of bond papers.

It’s not the largest non-bank bond sale in history, but it does rank near the top. Automaker General Motors raised $17.5 billion in bond financing a decade ago, for example. Then again, GM’s financing arm, then known as GMAC, sort of made a bank out of the car builder. Pharma giants Abbott Laboratories and Roche Holdings also issued $14.7 billion and $16 billion in bond debt fairly recently. Record-level or not, Apple’s sale certainly ranks right up there with the big boys.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Viddy Co-Founder Chris Ovitz Lands At Mobile Gaming Startup Scopely

chris-ovitz

Viddy co-founder Chris Ovitz has landed at another buzzed-about Los Angeles startup, the mobile gaming platform Scopely. He used to head up business development at the mobile video startup Viddy, which shot up like a star on the Facebook platform and iOS charts only to later to come back down just as dramatically.

At Scopely, he’ll be a vice president of business development, where he’ll work on external opportunities (presumably deals with third-party game makers) to grow the network and the business. Scopely is pursuing a playbook that many other mobile game developers are following. They’re trying to grow the biggest network of gamers possible using apps built both in-house and by outside studios.

With an eight-figure number of monthly actives, Scopely is still smaller than other larger competitors that have publishing programs like Zynga and Sequoia-backed Pocket Gems and the Japanese giants like DeNA and GREE. But they say they’ve been able to get all of their games into the top five free apps on the iOS charts.

After Ovitz left Viddy a few months ago, he and Driver started talking about what was next.

“I’ve had the privilege of watching his entrepreneurial career,” said Scopely CEO Walter Driver. “Honestly, I never thought we’d have a chance to join forces, but we recently started having casual conversations about his future and thought there might be a potential fit.”

Ovitz declined to go into a lot of detail about what happened at Viddy, except to say that the company has to be inward-focused right now.

“I obviously got to see the entire spectrum of a startup’s life. It was an incredible learning experience,” he said. “They really need to focus internally on product and technology, so there’s not a lot of business development for me to do there.”

Viddy skyrocketed up the charts as a short video-sharing app last year in the wake of Instagram’s massive $1 billion buy from Facebook. On that momentum and Instagram’s buzz, the startup raised $30 million at a $370 million valuation.

But it and its direct competitor Socialcam started hemorrhaging users after Facebook cut off the viral fuel that was helping both apps up the charts. Socialcam, in contrast to Viddy, took a more conservative route with venture capital, instead leaning on friends and family from Y Combinator for a giant party round. They parlayed that and their momentum into a $60 million sale to Autodesk.

Meanwhile, Viddy’s level of funding has complicated its options. The company recently had layoffs and saw another co-founder and CEO Brett O’Brien leave.

“I’ve been a gamer my whole life,” Ovitz said. “I grew up interning at Activision and tried to started my own gaming company in business school. I’ve always admired Walter as an entrepreneur and I wanted to hop on this rocket ship.”

Scopely has $8.5 million in seed funding from firms like NEA, Anthem Venture Partners, The Chernin Group, Greycroft Partners, Lerer Ventures, The Collaborative Fund, Yahoo’s former CEO Terry Semel, Felicis Ventures’ Aydin Senkut, ShoeDazzle co-founder Brian Lee, Auren Hoffman, Buddy Media CEO Michael Lazerow, TechStars’ David Cohen and David Tisch.

Machinima launch for Xbox 360 has us watching more games than we play

Machinima launches for Xbox 360, has us watching more games than we play

When Microsoft piled on the Xbox media channels last year, we didn’t realize just how long it would take for some of those channels to come to fruition. We’re quite possibly on the cusp of new hardware, and Machinima’s app is just now making its Xbox 360 debut. Still, it might be worth the wait for those who live and breathe gaming even after they’ve set down the gamepad. The app includes the full suite of Machinima channels and their associated videos, ranging from regular shows and specials through to game blooper reels. Machinima is available everywhere Xbox Live is active; if that isn’t enough to tide you over, Microsoft is teasing the reveal of a OneBeat electronic music app next month.

Filed under: Gaming, Home Entertainment, HD, Microsoft

Comments

Source: Major Nelson

App Install Ads Could Be The Growing Cash Calf Of Facebook's Earnings

851558_413917065372879_994832110_n

How do you get hundreds of millions of people to consider downloading your app? One of the only answers is Facebook’s app install ads. With the app stores overrun and every company going mobile, app install ads are Facebook’s big chance to monetize mobile. Companies like 1-800-Flowers and Poshmark say the ads are already a hit, and I think they could be the star of Facebook’s earnings tomorrow.

Putting Needles Atop The Haystack

If you’re unfamiliar, Facebook launched app install ads in October 2012 to let developers pay to promote their apps in the mobile news feed of Facebook’s apps. The ads show the app’s name, a short description, the category of app (i.e. adventure game, ecommerce app), a big image of the app, and an obvious “Install Now” button that opens the app’s page in the Apple App Store or Google Play so it can be quickly downloaded. On iOS, the App Store can even be opened in an overlaid window so users don’t feel like they’ve ditched their friends on Facebook.

Why are these so important? Because app discovery is a mess right now, yet mobile is becoming critical to nearly every business — web giants, mobile-first startups, game developers, name-brand retailers, and with time, even smaller businesses.

Beyond word of mouth, the only reliable way to get an app discovered for free is to climb onto the frequently browsed app store charts…which requires tens of thousands of downloads in the first place. That leads developers to try to buy installs however they can, but often they end up with users that never really use their app. It doesn’t matter how cheap they are to acquire if they don’t generate any return on investment.

A Big Bang That Gets Your Bucks Back

What app makers need are legitimate downloads. Downloads from users that will engage, share with their friends, and pay. Lots and lots of downloads. Few channels are big enough to deliver app discovery at a massive scale. There’s the existing favorite, Google AdWords, which are popular and making Google a ton of money. But increasingly, developers are turning to Facebook’s app install ads. In its last earnings call, Facebook said that since the launch of app install ads, 20% of the top 100 grossing iOS apps are using them.

Today after his talk at TechCrunch Disrupt NY, I asked Facebook’s product director of advertising Gokul Rajaram how mobile install ads are doing. He candidly told me “They’re performing well, and we’re seeing them deliver really high quality users that take actions.”

Facebook’s clients agree. 1-800-Flowers.com’s VP of Mobile and Social Amit Shah tells me  ”Our ability to reach hundreds of millions of US users who are accessing Facebook every day on their mobile devices is phenomenal. Other than Google search ads, there’s not another discovery medium at scale if you want to drive a large number of downloads.”

Mobile-only fashion marketplace app Poshmark’s CEO Manish Chandra concurs, ”We’ve been using mobile install ads since their beta and they’ve been incredibly cost effective. We’ve found no difference in the acquired users, whether from Facebook’s organic shares or mobile install ads, in terms of their engagement and overall behavior, so we’ve been using them as one of the largest sources of user acquisition for Poshmark.” Meanwhile, Canadian ecommerce discounts app Checkout 51 was able to pull in 10,000 installs over two days using app install ads. The cost per install came in at just $0.60.

That low cost, and the quality of users Facebook’s app install ads deliver is crucial because buying installs only makes sense if you earn more on each user you acquire them it cost to rope them in. Facebook’s wealth of targeting data means it can show the ads to people who’ll actually want them and have the device the apps are designed for, so people actually become users with high lifetime value. That’s a big improvement over incentivized install ad networks that give people virtual goods or currency in their favorite games in exchange for downloading new apps. Downloaders often immediately delete these apps despite the developer getting charged for the ads.

1-800-Flowers President Chris McCann tells me “Facebook is putting us into the right context. [The ads] show friends who have Liked or used our app. We think it’s a great discovery/distribution mechanism.” The company is planning a big Facebook mobile app install ad buy this week before Mother’s Day to get people installing the 1-800-Flowers app that lets them easily buy gifts. Instead of using ads to drive people to a one-time purchase, McCann says “If we can get them to download an app, we’re a long term player to them”, and the company might get additional ROI beyond the initial purchase when future holidays roll around.

Tall Money On The Small Screen

Becoming the paid gateway to app install ads is a lucrative business. App stores already have users’ credit card information, and the gratification of a download is instant. That makes conversions easy, and attributing those installs to ads simple. That’s why Twitter recently launched its own app install cards, which makes it quick to download apps people talk about. By using Promoted Tweets to amplify tweets that include links to the app stores, advertisers can essentially run Twitter app install ads.

Competition from other channels recognizing the opportunity, and Facebook’s rates increasing as more developers run install ads are risks. Still, the business is already humming for Facebook, and it’s poised for serious growth as the app ecosystem keeps getting larger and more competitive

That’s great news for Facebook, which needs more ways to monetize its 680 million daily mobile users. In Q4 2012, 23% of the social network’s advertising revenue came from mobile, but at that point mobile app install ads had only just launched.

When Facebook announces its Q1 2013 earnings tomorrow, I expect mobile will have grown to around 32% of ad revenue with app install ads playing a central role to that increase. While brand advertising was the rock of Facebook’s desktop ads business, app install ads could form the base of the mobile ad business it depends on.

Check back tomorrow at 2pm PST for our coverage of Facebook’s Q1 2013 earnings

Anyone Can Become A Content Curator On Wiosio

Guide | woisio

Wiosio is a Turkish company being featured at Disrupt NY’s Startup Alley this year, and it’s a little like what watching television would be like if your friends took over the programming.

At first glance, Wiosio most closely resembles an everyday television programming lineup. There are a number of predefined channels that are organized by category, each of which streams a series of 15 minute “shows” that air one after the other on a 24/7 basis.

And yet, you won’t find any programming from any of the four major TV networks on Wiosio. Nor will you be able locate any shows from any of the major cable networks. Each 15 minute show is in actuality a running playlist of YouTube videos, photo galleries, songs, or blog posts that have been curated and packaged by Wiosio’s users.

Wiosio has a number of channels called “stages”, that are defined by specific arenas of interest and location. For example, you’ll find a “Music” stage for general music related content, and a “New York Music” stage for content specific to the New York music scene. You can also subscribe to the stages that most interest you, and thus create a specific channel that is tailored to the content you’d like to consume.

But what if you want to do more than just consume? If you’re looking to get your own curated content on Wiosio, it’s a fairly simple process.

When you first sign up with Wiosio, you’re given 5,000 Wiosio points that you can use to bid for auctioned spaces of airtime. Airtime on each stage is auctioned off in 15 minute chunks, and the auction runs until the very second that slot of content is scheduled to begin streaming on the stage.

The more people upvote your shows when they air, the more Wiosio points you obtain, increasing your influence as a content curator in the Wiosio network.

“You can say that the media manufactures its own stars, news, and facts,” says Mujdat Ayoguz, founder of Woisio, “and imposes them on people.” Ayoguz believes that Woisio is a platform that truly democratizes content curation and distribution.

Wiosio launched in the United States in December, and released their iOS app last Friday in an effort to expand their user base here. According to Wiosio, they’ve already established a presence in Turkey in the “tens of thousands” of users range, and are planning to launch in Latin America very shortly.

Hacker shows how Google Glass could watch its user’s every move

Jay Freeman, an iOS and Android developer known for his popular Cydia app store accessible by jailbroken iPhones, has discovered a scary security flaw in Google Glass. While toying around with the Explorer edition of Google Glass, Freeman discovered that the device’s lack of a PIN code or any other form of authentication could make it easy for hackers to install surveillance malware onto the device.

Hacker shows how Google Glass could watch its user's every move

Unlike a smartphone, which stays in your pocket most of the time, a hacked Google Glass can give hackers access to everything you see and everything you hear. According to Freeman, “The only thing it doesn’t know are your thoughts.” All a hacker needs to do is grab an unattended Google Glass, hook it up to their computer via USB, and enable root access on the device. Freeman says,

“Once the attacker has root on your Glass, they have much more power than if they had access to your phone or even your computer: They have control over a camera and microphone that are attached to your head.”

Not only will hackers be able to see and hear everything around you, they will be able to upload your files and recordings to remote servers. Freeman says that a hacked Google Glass “knows all your passwords” because it sees you typing them in. With a compromised Google Glass, “Nothing is safe.” However, chances are that Google will take note of these security flaws and issue fixes to them before the devices become available to consumers early next year.

On the bright side, the only way hackers can install surveillance malware onto your Google Glass device is if they have physical access to it, meaning it won’t be too common. But nonetheless, Google needs to step up the security on the device. The user’s privacy and security should always be the top priority for any company. Freeman issued a statement to Forbes regarding the entire situation. He says,

“It’s just kind of sloppy and negligent for Google to release a device to a bunch of early adopters that is missing a basic security function and even has a known bug on it that was disclosed eight months ago. Like someone could be inside of [tech pundit and blogger] Robert Scoble’s glass right now.”

[via Forbes]


Hacker shows how Google Glass could watch its user’s every move is written by Brian Sin & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

Hacker shows how Google Glass could watch its user’s every move

Jay Freeman, an iOS and Android developer known for his popular Cydia app store accessible by jailbroken iPhones, has discovered a scary security flaw in Google Glass. While toying around with the Explorer edition of Google Glass, Freeman discovered that the device’s lack of a PIN code or any other form of authentication could make it easy for hackers to install surveillance malware onto the device.

Hacker shows how Google Glass could watch its user's every move

Unlike a smartphone, which stays in your pocket most of the time, a hacked Google Glass can give hackers access to everything you see and everything you hear. According to Freeman, “The only thing it doesn’t know are your thoughts.” All a hacker needs to do is grab an unattended Google Glass, hook it up to their computer via USB, and enable root access on the device. Freeman says,

“Once the attacker has root on your Glass, they have much more power than if they had access to your phone or even your computer: They have control over a camera and microphone that are attached to your head.”

Not only will hackers be able to see and hear everything around you, they will be able to upload your files and recordings to remote servers. Freeman says that a hacked Google Glass “knows all your passwords” because it sees you typing them in. With a compromised Google Glass, “Nothing is safe.” However, chances are that Google will take note of these security flaws and issue fixes to them before the devices become available to consumers early next year.

On the bright side, the only way hackers can install surveillance malware onto your Google Glass device is if they have physical access to it, meaning it won’t be too common. But nonetheless, Google needs to step up the security on the device. The user’s privacy and security should always be the top priority for any company. Freeman issued a statement to Forbes regarding the entire situation. He says,

“It’s just kind of sloppy and negligent for Google to release a device to a bunch of early adopters that is missing a basic security function and even has a known bug on it that was disclosed eight months ago. Like someone could be inside of [tech pundit and blogger] Robert Scoble’s glass right now.”

[via Forbes]


Hacker shows how Google Glass could watch its user’s every move is written by Brian Sin & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

David Tisch Is Bored With His Smartphone's Apps

2013-04-30 00.00.25-1

David Tisch has made quite the name for himself as an investor based in NYC. Most notably, Tisch spent years at TechStars as the Managing Director, and has since left to co-found another investment fund called BoxGroup.

We sat the man down backstage at Disrupt today to chat out his thoughts on the NY tech scene, trends he’s excited about and his transition to BoxGroup.

“If you ask anyone whether they’re bored with what’s on their phone, it will always be a unanimous yes,” said Tisch. For him, he sees streams like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are the best forms of entertainment for the average Joe taking a glance at his phone. But there’s room for more, according to Tisch.

In terms of BoxGroup, Tisch seems to enjoy finally being accelerator agnostic, and doesn’t mind companies that never go through an accelerator at all. But how do you get Tisch’s attention?

“Be yourself,” he said. “If you’re trying too hard, but it comes off genuine, that’s ok. If you’re passive and antisocial and awkward, that’s fine. Just be yourself.”

In his perspective, there’s no model to follow because entrepreneurship is about creating your own story. If you try to copy someone else’s story, it won’t ever work out.

If you’re interested in David’s feelings towards the NY tech scene, the engineering talent pool, and the future of entertainment on mobile, be sure to watch the full interview above.

Disrupt NY 2013 Barrels Along For A Second Day

TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 - Day 2

And with the conclusion of the last Battlefield Startup presentation, the second day of TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 has come to a close.

The day kicked off with a talk between noted New York City venture capitalist Fred Wilson and TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, who recently become a VC himself. The two talked Bitcoins and traded VC stories with Wilson giving tips for pitching a venture capitalist. “Leave your backstory at home,” Wilson pleaded. Arrington quickly nodded and agreed.

Mike Abbott then took the stage with Mailbox CEO and co-founder, Gentry Underwood. The two talked about the surprising pains in scaling Underwood’s hot iOS email application. It took engineers 24 hours a day for several weeks to keep up with the initial demand. And then Dropbox scooped up the company.

Google’s Seth Sternberg, Director of Product Management for Google+, and Ardan Arac, Product Manager at Google, used the Disrupt stage to announce new Google + features. Simply put, Google +’s visibility is now supersized in Google Search.

eBay chief John Donahoe explained to Bloomberg’s chief content editor Norm Pearlstine about how the company screens its acquisitions and how he keeps founders from leaving after the acquisition — a trick that many companies fail to execute after buying a startup.

Troy Carter is disrupting the music industry from within. And today he spoke with TechCrunch’s Josh Constine about his secrets regarding managing Lady Gaga’s online presence (she doesn’t use Facebook personally), where celebrities go overboard online, and why he thinks terrestrial radio will be the home of the next big disruption.

When should an entrepreneur raise money, who should they raise from… and, well, should they even raise? These were some of the questions discussed on a panel with TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis at Disrupt NY 2013, which included participation from Mike Abbott of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Aaref Hilaly of Sequoia Capital, AngelList’s Naval Ravikant, and Box Group’s David Tisch.

At TechCrunch Disrupt NY today, VP of Display Advertising Products at Google, Neal Mohan, Facebook Ad Products Director Gokul Rajaram and Twitter Senior Director of Product Revenue Kevin Weil took the stage to talk about the state of digital advertising — and they each had a unique take on the subject.

In a chat with TechCrunch’s Leena Rao, representatives from PayPal, Stripe and Gumroad gave thoughts on the currency that has VCs emptying their bank accounts to invest afresh — Bitcoins, a very popular topic at Disrupt NY 2013.

The afternoon kicked off with a talk between serial-investor Ron Conway, filmmaker/actor Alex Winter and CrunchFund’s MG Siegler to talk about the documentary “Downloaded” about the rise and fall of Napster. Conway said even in 2013, Internet sharing has yet to be solved and that is one of the most disappointing parts of the whole affair.

TechCrunch COO Ned Desmond and CrunchBase’s Matt Kaufman used the TechCrunch Disrupt stage to launch a big expansion of CrunchBase, TechCrunch’s own robust free wiki-style directory of people, technology companies, and investors. The new feature, the CrunchBase Venture Program, is to appeal to venture firms that want to improve CrunchBase’s data set.

The day wrapped with 15 startups launching on the TechCrunch stage. In the Startup Battlefield, thirty companies are competing for the TechCrunch Disrupt Cup and $50,000 in cash — along with a boatload of press attention.

Disrupt NY 2013 oncludes tomorrow with an all-star speaker lineup with the boisterous Rap Genius kicking the day off with a loud start. Then, after a morning of fireside chats and conversations, a Startup Battlefield winner will take home a gigantic check.

Here are the video highlights of the day.

//

The Daily Roundup for 04.30.2013

DNP The Daily RoundUp

You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.

Comments

ShipHawk Aims To Be The Only Retail Shipping Solution You Ever Need

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 5.07.09 PM

TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 Startup Alley audience choice for day two is ShipHawk, a Santa Barbara-based shipping startup that launched this week at the conference. ShipHawk, co-founded by Jeremy Bodenhamer and Aaron Freeman, is a fully-featured online shipping platform that takes care of everything from providing shipping estimates to handling package pickup, delivery, packing, insurance and more for both residential and commercial addresses, for small and medium-sized businesses.

While the key difference that ShipHawk has from other shipping services is that it provides estimates without having to see items packed beforehand, it also adds to the experience by allowing customers located anywhere to organize pick up and delivery from other locations, so that a client based in SF can ship an item from New York, without doing so much as cutting a piece of packing tape. And the process is made much more transparent, including packing (boxes, materials) and transport.

The company works like any other retail shipping operation, and charges the same as you’d find at any of those. It makes a referral-type commission from the businesses that actually handle fulfillment, including UPS and FedEx, as well as insurance companies and agencies that handle the packing. Right now, Bodenhamer says that they make their revenue strictly by collecting the finder’s fee for referring customers to the services of other companies, but they’re already talking to VP-level execs at FedEx about fostering a deeper partnership.

Both Bodenhamer and Freeman have previous experience in the shipping and logistics worlds. Freeman has 10 years experience in shipping, and Bodenhamer’s business recently acquired Freeman’s retail shipping store in Santa Barbara.

“We got together after I bought the business and we said ‘What’s broken around retail shipping?’ and we came with an idea to solve the problem,” Bodenhamer said. That involved looking at pain points for customers, which included the process mentioned above around assessing the price of a shipping job up front, and around getting the package to a shipper quickly and easily without having to resort to using yet another service provider.



ShipHawk has around $500,000 in seed funding so far, mostly secured from friends and families, as well as some independent angels and investment firms. Thus far, the focus has been on getting help to make sure the platform addresses the needs of actual users, Bodenhamer says.

“We have a network locally of people who are advising us and helping us to formulate the whole plan,” he said. “We believe strongly that this has the potential to grow into a household name-type business, just like Expedia or Kayak. So just like when you need a plane ticket, you don’t go to American Airlines, you go to Expedia.com, when you want to ship something you won’t go to FedEx.com, you’ll go to ShipHawk.”

At first, ShipHawk will be serving the Southern California area, with plans to expand across the U.S. after that. It’s a good idea to start local with a business like this that involves quite a lot of logistics, and coordinating with local companies and resources. It’ll also offer a “ship free” promotion that rewards people for recommending their friends, the same way that Dropbox has done to ramp up user acquisition as it expands.

UQ Life Is A Gaming Platform For Personalized Self Discovery, Learning, And Development

TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 - Day 2

UQ Life was founded to create a smart platform for self-discovery and personal development, and it’s designed to help kids learn through collaborative games. Today, as part of TechCrunch Disrupt NY’s Startup Battlefield, the company launched with a couple of apps for child learning and development by personalizing games to match individual skill sets.

According to founder and CEO Maureen Dunne, these games are created to improve and reinforce skill development, especially in areas such as math and science. But the platform can also be used for games that help kids develop social skills.

Founder Dunne is a data scientist and educational program director, working with children to improve their learning and development. She’s spent the last several years studying developmental science and cognitive science, and hopes to apply some of that expertise to the collaborative gaming space.

There are a few advantages to using the UQ Life platform. For one thing, the platform provides users with built-in, closed social features that can be used so that students can collaborate with family members, teachers and tutors.

It allows them to co-participate in games for coaching and mentoring children. Parents act as administrators and decide who gets invited and is approved to join in gameplay. In addition to providing opportunities for mentoring, Dunne says that the social aspect also can help bring families closer together. Like for instance, by enabling grandparents to participate in the games.

Games are also multi-platform, which means that kids can play them on any number of devices — whether they be PCs, tablets, or mobile phones. The adults that participate with them can as well. So a kid can be playing on a tablet, while their grandparents are on a desktop at their homes.

In addition to the collaboration and mentoring aspects, UQ Life’s platform is also designed to enable more personalized skill development. While we usually think of recommendation engines that provide content that we would prefer based on past videos we’ve viewed or content we’ve listened to.

But UQ uses personalization technology to better understand students’ specific skill sets, as well as their needs. By doing so, it helps them develop new skills in a more targeted fashion. It’s that technology that is at the center of what UQ has built and how its platform differentiates itself from others.

At its base level, the games built on the UQ platform will provide basic educational tools to first-time users. As with any technology of its kind, the more a user interacts with it, and the more users there are on the application, the bigger the data set and the better it will be at personalization.

The team has already built a few applications for the platform, including an interactive story with six mini-games, as well as a couple of other games and toolsets for collaborative activities. But the ultimate goal is to make its platform available to third-party developers to build their own personalized skill development apps.

In fact, while the UQ Life platform is currently focused on childhood education, it can also be used in other vertical markets beyond childhood educational games. For instance, Dunne said that the same kind of personalized skill-development technology could be applied to job training or therapy.

UQ Life has raised $1.4 million in seed funding from a syndicate of institutional investors, as well as a couple of angels. The company has six full-time employees and is based in San Francisco.

Judge Q&A

Q: What’s the difference between your platform or another gaming platform?

A: It works on all devices. A big part of it is bringing together a community to support child development.

Q: Is this algorithmic, or how do you help, with experts?

A: Every aspect of the design is based on translational research and the way we structure the data is to really help a particular skill set.

Q: This feels very top-down.

A: We’re releasing our own games, but this was a platform built from the ground up to add features that aren’t available now.

Q: You could work with third party developers to get them to use your platform.

A: We’ll work with developers to make sure that they take advantage of the features we built into the platform.

Google Glass how-to video shows users how to get started

Google released an official how-to video for its upcoming, game-changing product, Google Glass. The video shows users how to get started with Google Glass, and how navigate around their new gadget. The interface is similar to Google Now, with all of the important information you need being available to you within just one swipe. Google Glass won’t be available to consumers until sometime early next year, but that won’t stop Google from increasing the hype of its product.

New Google Glass video shows users how to get started

In the video, the main emphasis is on Google Glass’s touch pad. There you can swipe left to see future events, such as lunch dates, flights, weather, and more. Swiping right will let you see past events, like your friend’s status updates and picture uploads. By tapping on the touch pad, you can view more information on a card. You can swipe down to return to your timeline. To share photos, just scroll to a photo and tap your touch pad. Your friends list will then pop up, where you can navigate and choose which friend to share your photo with.

Recently, the specs for Google Glass were revealed. It appears to be running a dual-core OMAP 4430 CPU, contain 1GB of RAM (with only around 682MB available to users), and run Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. Other leaked specs suggest that the device will also have 16GB of built-in storage and a 5MP camera capable of recording 720p HD videos. The specs resemble that of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

More news regarding Google Glass will be released in the coming weeks before the Google I/O event being held from May 15th to May 17th. There Google will talk up developers and show off even more features for Glass. Consumers will have to wait a little less than a year before they can purchase Google Glass, but on the bright side, by then there should be a huge list of apps available for the device thanks to developers. Be sure to check in with SlashGear May 15th – May 17th, where we’ll be covering Google I/O live.


Google Glass how-to video shows users how to get started is written by Brian Sin & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 – 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

Path app spamming users' contacts with texts, robocalls

The social messaging app Path recently announced that it’s gaining a million users each week, but it may be using some spam-like methods to achieve that growth. Several users — and several Engadget staffers — have reported that the app has been sending smartphone contacts unwanted text messages, a problem that was first pinpointed several months ago. Contacts on the receiving end have seen messages stating that a friend wants to share photos with them, with a prompt to sign up for Path’s service. According to a source who spoke with The Verge, Path has also triggered robocalls to contact lists — even after uninstalling the app. Last year, the company came under fire for collecting contact info sans users’ consent– leading to an $800,000 settlement with the FTC — and we imagine this new privacy snafu won’t be without consequences, either.

Filed under: Software, Mobile

Comments

Via: The Verge

Path app spamming users' contacts with texts, robocalls

The social messaging app Path recently announced that it’s gaining a million users each week, but it may be using some spam-like methods to achieve that growth. Several users — and several Engadget staffers — have reported that the app has been sending smartphone contacts unwanted text messages, a problem that was first pinpointed several months ago. Contacts on the receiving end have seen messages stating that a friend wants to share photos with them, with a prompt to sign up for Path’s service. According to a source who spoke with The Verge, Path has also triggered robocalls to contact lists — even after uninstalling the app. Last year, the company came under fire for collecting contact info sans users’ consent– leading to an $800,000 settlement with the FTC — and we imagine this new privacy snafu won’t be without consequences, either.

Filed under: Software, Mobile

Comments

Via: The Verge