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Science/Tech / TechCrunch

Daily Crunch: Googles new Pixel Pass subscription bundles phones and services

Hello friends and welcome to Daily Crunch, bringing you the most important startup, tech and venture capital news in a single package.

20 Oct 2021 3:40 am
Former head of Facebook app Fidji Simo defends company following whistleblower testimony

The former Head of the Facebook app, who reported directly to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Fidji Simo, defended the social network at the start of an interview at the WSJ Tech Live event this afternoon. The exec was there to discuss her new role as Instacart CEO and her vision for the future of food delivery, []

20 Oct 2021 3:19 am
Credo AI launches out of stealth with $5.5 million to help companies with ethical AI

There are many in the world of AI who worry about its implications. One of those people is Navrina Singh, a former product manager for Qualcomm, then Microsoft, who saw firsthand at Microsoft how a Twitter bot it developed in 2016 as an experiment in conversational understanding, was, to quote The Verge, taught to be []

20 Oct 2021 3:02 am
How do you select the right tech stack?

Without a good technical foundation, you may end up accumulating a lot of technical debt.

20 Oct 2021 2:42 am
NASA and Boeing confirm Starliner wont fly until first half of 2022 as valve investigation continues

NASA and Boeing provided an update on the beleaguered Starliner capsule Tuesday, confirming that the earliest the spacecraft will fly will be sometime during the first half of next year. Starliner was grounded in August, after an issue with the oxidizer valves was discovered roughly four and a half hours before launch. The launch was []

20 Oct 2021 2:22 am
Google makes calling businesses less painful with features for seeing wait times, phone tree options and more

Alongside todays release of the new Pixel 6 smartphones, Google has again upgraded one of the devices most basic but often overlooked functions: the ability to make phone calls. In previous years, Google Assistant learned to screen your calls and make your reservations by phone via a technology called Duplex. Last year, it []

20 Oct 2021 2:00 am
Even more reasons you need to be at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021

Were less than two weeks out from TC Sessions: SaaS 2021, a day-long exploration of software-as-a-service. If you want to thrive in this tough, competitive market, join your colleagues and tap into current thinking and future trends. Come to hear, meet and engage with the industrys brightest minds, makers and investors. Expand your knowledgebase, keep []

20 Oct 2021 1:30 am
A massive stalkerware leak puts the phone data of thousands at risk

The private phone data of hundreds of thousands of people are at risk. Call records, text messages, photos, browsing history, precise geolocations and call recordings can all be pulled from a persons phone because of a security issue in widely used consumer-grade spyware. But thats about as much as we can tell you. TechCrunch repeatedly []

20 Oct 2021 1:30 am
Plaid overhauls Plaid Link SDK with simplicity in mind

Since 2015, Plaid has helped developers connect users to banking information using an SDK (software development kit) called Plaid Link. As Plaid describes it in its SDK documentation, The Plaid Link SDK is a quick and secure way to link bank accounts to Plaid in your app. Up until recently, the catch was that []

20 Oct 2021 12:46 am
TechCrunch+ roundup: Automattic TC-1, federal startup grants, getting s*** done day

Our latest longform look at a notable tech company examines Automattic, the leading commercial complement to the open-source WordPress publishing platform.

19 Oct 2021 11:54 pm
Bidens QSBS tax plan would have unintended consequences for startups

Buried in Bidens 2021 tax plan are new amendments to the U.S. Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS) program, which, if passed, will impact early-stage startup employees, founders and investors.

19 Oct 2021 11:50 pm
Snap is launching a global studio to develop branded AR experiences

Snap announced on Tuesday that its launching a global creative studio to help brands develop augmented reality (AR) advertising and experiences. The new studio is called Arcadia and aims to help companies develop experiences that can be used across web platforms and app-based AR environments. The studio will partner with brands and creators to engage []

19 Oct 2021 11:31 pm
Republic may build a secondary exchange for digital securities, fueled by $150 million in new funding

Theres plenty of frustration in the world of startups over when a digital asset does and does not constitute a security in the eyes of the Securities & Exchange Commission. Where many see regulatory murkiness, the five-year-old, New York-based investing platform Republic sees opportunity. Indeed, while many outfits grapple with whether to distance themselves from []

19 Oct 2021 11:23 pm
With Real Tone, Pixel 6 aims to improve your portraits, whatever your skin tone

It makes sense that phone manufacturers are paying extra attention to how faces show up in photos, and the new Pixel 6, announced by Google today, introduces a suite of new AI-powered tools to make humans show up better than ever. The two highlights are Face Unblur which helps reduce blur on moving faces []

19 Oct 2021 11:07 pm
Googles Pixel 6 camera smartens up snapshots with AI tools

Googles latest flagship phones have an impressive set of automated, AI-powered tools to help make your photos look better, with smart blurs, object removal, and skin tone exposure. While well have to test them out to see if they work as advertised, they could be useful for everyone from pixel peepers to casual snapshot takers. []

19 Oct 2021 11:06 pm
Googles brand new Android 12 operating system launches today

With Android 12, the worlds most-used mobile operating system continues its steady march of carving out its unique selling points and finding differentiators from Apples iOS. Available for Pixel 3 and beyond, the new OS beefs up some of the strengths in the operating system, while adding some new features along the way. When everyone []

19 Oct 2021 10:59 pm
Google introduces Pixel Pass, an all-in-one subscription combining phones and premium services

Alongside the launch of the new Google Pixel 6 smartphones, the company also introduced a new way to purchase them: Pixel Pass. This all-in-one subscription service allows consumers to purchase a Pixel phone for a low monthly price, rather than paying for it all upfront. The service is available $45 per month for the Pixel []

19 Oct 2021 10:53 pm
With Tensor, Google bets on its own chip design for the Pixel 6

Im not sure theres ever been a phone we knew more about before its official launch than Googles Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. But in a world of samey Android phones, Google made some interesting choices, especially with regards to the chips that power it all. For the first time, Google now offers a []

19 Oct 2021 10:42 pm
YouTube plans week-long live shopping event, following tests of livestream shopping with creators

YouTube announced earlier this year it would begin pilot testing livestream shopping with a handful of select creators. Now, the company is ready for a larger test of its live shopping platform with plans to host a week-long live shopping event, YouTube Holiday Stream and Shop, starting on November 15. The event will allow viewers []

19 Oct 2021 10:30 pm
Google revamps its smartphone line with the Pixel 6

May of 2020 marked the end of an era for the Pixel. Googles team lost a few key players, as it looked forward toward a transformative future. Understandably so. The Pixel has never been bad a phone (though its had some struggles through the years), so much as an unremarkable one. But in an era []

19 Oct 2021 10:30 pm
Mexicos fintech success: How tech is driving the population to banking

Earlier this month, Citibanamex Mexico's second-largest bank announced that it is building new APIs to allow fintech companies real-time access to information like its services and ATM locations.

19 Oct 2021 10:29 pm
CISA, NSA, FBI say BlackMatter ransomware group is targeting the US food industry

A joint advisory issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Agency (NSA) has warned that the BlackMatter ransomware group has targeted multiple organizations deemed critical infrastructure, including two organizations in the U.S. food and agriculture sector. The agencies did not namedid not name []

19 Oct 2021 9:54 pm
Check out the outstanding speakers joining us on TechCrunch Live in November

TechCrunch Live (formerly Extra Crunch Live) has been incredibly educational over the past few months. Weve learned how Rec Rooms pitch landed investment from Sequoia, how Wheel crafted a pitch deck that hooked Tusk Ventures Jordan Nof, how Retail Zipline ticked every box for Emergence Capital and how Coda made their pitch doc sing for []

19 Oct 2021 9:30 pm
How startups are turning data into software gold

Storing great pools of data is an increasingly figured-out challenge. Between public clouds, and data lakes more specifically, you can stick oceans of corporate data in any number of places. But leveraging that data into something useful is another challenge altogether. The analogy that data is this eras oil is at best half-baked. Oil takes []

19 Oct 2021 9:30 pm
Vertical Oceans aims to grow sustainable shrimp in huge aqua towers inside cities

John Diener, the CEO of an aquaculture nutrition and genetics company, would visit hundreds of shrimp farms as part of his job. But gradually he became frustrated by some of the environmentally unsustainable practices used in many locations. One night, his wife bought some frozen shrimp to cook for dinner and he realized the industry []

19 Oct 2021 9:30 pm
Pilots Jessica McKellar and Indexs Mark Goldberg will outline how to become a unicorn on TechCrunch Live

Pilot, a unicorn fintech company looking to bring bookkeeping into the 21st century, has raised more than $160 million in funding from investors that include Stripe, Sequoia, Index and more. On an upcoming episode of TechCrunch Live, co-founder and CTO Jessica McKellar will sit down with Index Ventures partner Mark Goldberg to discuss how the []

19 Oct 2021 8:38 pm
The Automattic TC-1

Sixteen years in and now valued at $7.5 billion, Automattic has found a multitude of strides, even as it strives to own ever more of the media market.

19 Oct 2021 8:34 pm
How doing everything wrong turned Automattic into a multibillion dollar media powerhouse

Nothing has been automatic about the success of Automattic. Today, for those who havent been paying attention, the company looks a bit like an overnight success story.

19 Oct 2021 8:34 pm
Theres nothing Automattic about balancing commercial growth with an open source developer community

The tech industry has made a full 180-degree turn with regard to open source in the 16 years since Matt Mullenweg founded Automattic, the commercial backer of open source CMS, WordPress.

19 Oct 2021 8:34 pm
Can social and e-commerce transform the future of the open web?

WooCommerce began life as WooThemes, a small design firm that didnt look very different from the many others that created WordPress themes.

19 Oct 2021 8:34 pm
The future of remote work is text

Its impossible to talk about Automattic without talking about remote work. The company is a role model and innovator in this area: It has been entirely remote since 2005, and at 1,700 employees, it has helped prove that a remote workplace culture can succeed at scale. But remote has taken on a different meaning than []

19 Oct 2021 8:34 pm
Chinas changing regulatory environment isnt stopping a venture capital frenzy

Were digging into the data about Q3 2021 venture capital flowing into Chinese startups, with some help from TechBuzzChinas Chinese technology analyst and angel investor, Rui Ma.

19 Oct 2021 8:33 pm
BluePallet raises $5M to take its chemical industry marketplace global

BluePallet, an online marketplace connecting manufacturers with the chemical industry, announced today that it has raised $5 million in a funding round led by Vinmar Ventures, a subsidiary of petrochemical manufacturer Vinmar International. The startup also announced today that it has become the first industrial commerce platform to officially operate on Alibaba.com. This means that []

19 Oct 2021 8:30 pm
Instagram is adding Collabs, new music features for Reels, desktop posting and more

Instagram today announced a number of new features that will roll out this week across both the Instagram Feed and its TikTok competitor, Reels. The creator-focused additions will allow users to collaborate with one another, raise funds and make better use of music on Reels, among other things. The company will also make its Instagram []

19 Oct 2021 8:30 pm
Senate budget committee tells NASA to select two developers for lunar lander program

The Human Landing System saga is far from over. Senators on Monday released a draft version of the appropriation bill that governs NASAs budget for fiscal year 2022, directing the agency to select two teams for the Human Landing System (HLS) program but only giving the agency an additional $100 million to do so. []

19 Oct 2021 8:20 pm
Facebook scales back its crypto ambitions once again

Facebook is launching a small pilot of its cryptocurrency wallet named Novi. A limited number of people in the U.S. and Guatemala can sign up to Novi and start using it. Facebook is a founding member of the Diem Association. Instead of taking advantage of the associations stablecoin (Diem) on the associations blockchain (the Diem []

19 Oct 2021 8:15 pm
Amazon Music Unlimited users can now stream spatial audio on any pair of headphones

Amazon announced that starting today, Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers can stream spatial audio with their current headphones on its Android and iOS apps. The company currently supports two forms of spatial audio: Sonys Reality Audio and Dolby Atmos. Amazon first introduced spatial audio in 2019, but it was limited to a small number of devices. []

19 Oct 2021 8:09 pm
Electric, the IT platform for SMBs, raises $90 million Series D

Electric, the IT infrastructure software for SMBs, has been on a tear lately. The company is today announcing the close of a $90 million Series D financing round. GGV, which is an existing investor, is leading the round, with participation from other existing investors Bessemer, Primary Venture Partners, Greenspring Associates, 01 Advisors, Atreides Management, Vintage []

19 Oct 2021 7:48 pm
Apples new music subscription plan is likely an audacious attempt at improving Siri

Apple had a slew of interesting announcements at its event on Monday. But one that stood out to me and I feel didnt get as much attention is the new pricing tier of Apple Music. A new Voice tier will offer the entire Apple Music library to subscribers at a reduced rate of []

19 Oct 2021 7:46 pm
Getting started with building an audience in the creator economy

How can you anticipate the content people want before they want it? How do you figure out where your audience lives online and what they like? What is a creator, after all?

19 Oct 2021 7:39 pm
Instacart acquires Caper AI, a smart cart and instant checkout startup, for $350M, as it moves deeper into physical retail tech

Instacart made its name by providing a way for consumers to bypass shopping in stores in person, by ordering items online and getting them delivered to their homes a business that positively boomed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. But with physical stores still looming large in the world of groceries, Instacart is []

19 Oct 2021 7:30 pm
MagniLearn uses AI to help students learn new languages, raises $2.8M

Theres nothing easy about learning a language, and so its also maybe no surprise that there are plenty of startups that want to make life easier for students. But while some mostly focus on individual learners and bypass the school systems, others are trying to make inroads in schools, too. One of the latest entrants []

19 Oct 2021 7:30 pm
Several People Are Typing is the Slack workspace of your worst nightmares

Now that its October, its officially spooky season. But debut author Calvin Kasulkes novel Several People Are Typing gives us something new to be afraid of what if you got trapped inside of your offices Slack workspace, and Slackbot took over your corporeal form? As Kasulke told TechCrunch, Capitalism is bad and bodies are []

19 Oct 2021 7:00 pm
Revolut increases fair usage caps on free accounts in the US

Fintech startup Revolut wants to foster usage in the U.S. with better free accounts. Like in other markets, Revolut offers both free and paid accounts in the U.S. When you pay for a subscription fee, you get higher fair usage caps and more features, such as insurance coverage and different card designs. With todays change, []

19 Oct 2021 6:32 pm
Orbacam adds music video-making tools to its palm-size musical sequencer

Not content with setting your feet a-tapping with its intuitive music sequencer aimed at amateur music makers, Artiphon today announced an app that adds video-making prowess to the Orbas already impressive feature set. Appealing to your inner Video Jockey, the Orbacam demo video makes it look easy, adding video filters and effects to your visual []

19 Oct 2021 6:32 pm
Figma continues expansion beyond design with updates to FigJam white board tool

In April of this year, collaborative design powerhouse Figma launched a white boarding tool called FigJam. A separate tool and brand from Figma, FigJam allows users to brainstorm and iterate together in an infinite white board experience, complete with voice service to chat it out in the very same tool. For all intents and purposes, []

19 Oct 2021 6:30 pm
SOC Prime lands $11M Series A to become Spotify for cyber threats

SOC Prime, a Boston-based early-stage startup that claims to have built the worlds largest threat detection marketplace, has secured $11 million in Series A funding. The company will use the investment, led by DNX Ventures with participation from Streamlined Ventures and Rembrandt Venture Partners, to scale and accelerate the adoption of its marketplace that allows []

19 Oct 2021 6:30 pm
Mage aims to be the Stripe for AI; raises $6.3M for developer tools to build AI into apps

Product developers want to use AI, but don't always have the right tools to do it without relying on data scientists.

19 Oct 2021 6:30 pm
Wonolo raises $140M for its staffing platform used by 1M laborers and front-line workers

A rush of platforms have been built in the last several years that cater to the needs of knowledge workers, helping them find jobs (and employers find workers), managing the remuneration process regardless of location, and addressing their professional development. But that is not the whole story. Today, a startup called Wonolo that has built []

19 Oct 2021 6:30 pm
Valence raises $7M to secure the business application mesh

Valence, a Tel Aviv-based security startup that aims to help businesses better protect what Valence calls the business application mesh, today announced that it has raised a $7 million seed round, led by YL Ventures. Stonemill Ventures, the St. Louis Cyber Interest Group (STLCIG) and a number of angel investors, including a group of prominent []

19 Oct 2021 6:30 pm