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Snips brings its privacy-focused voice assistant to cars

French startup Snips is announcing two things for its voice assistant SDK. First, the company is showing off an interesting use case in Nuremberg with a Snips-powered voice assistant in a car. Second, you can now build voice assistants in German. Snips isn‘t technically competing with Alexa Voice ServiceorGoogle Assistant SDK as they‘re not designed the same way. Snips Read More

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Google says more than 40 carriers and device manufacturers now support RCS, the next generation of SMS

Rich Communication Services (RCS) is basically the standard for the next generation of text messaging, with apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, LINE and others now offering features that go far beyond the standard SMS-based messaging apps that tend to ship with your phone unless, of course, you are an Apple and iMessage user. Read More

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MyBagCheck lets you drop off your bags anywhere

MyBagCheck is a clever system that ensures that you‘ll be able to spend that extra few hours in a foreign city without having to lug around fifty pounds of Samsonite. The founder, Micah B. Lewis, created the app to allow people who have bags to get those bags picked up and stored during the day, something every traveler would love. The app is self-funded and Lewis spent 60,000 of his Read More

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Airbnb is rolling out a new tier aimed at higher-end travelers

Airbnb today is rolling out a few new additions to their home-booking system, including new tiers that are aimed at higher-end customers called Airbnb Plus and Beyond by Airbnb. The new Airbnb Plus tier has homes that are verified for quality and comfort, rolling out with around 2,000 homes to start that have been inspected against a thorough checklist. The Luxury tier, called Read More

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Stealth space catapult startup SpinLaunch is raising 30M

What if instead of blasting cargo into space on a rocket, we could fling it into space using a catapult? That‘s the big, possibly crazy, possibly genius idea behind SpinLaunch. It was secretly founded in 2014 by Jonathan Yaney, who built solar-powered drone startup Titan Aerospace and sold it to Google. Now TechCrunch has learned from three sources that SpinLaunch is raising a massive Read More

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Honcker raises at least 15M from IAC as it takes on the car-leasing-on-demand market

The car leasing and rental market is forecast to be worth 124 billion in 2022, and today a startup that is hoping to get a piece of that action by making the process of leasing a car easier is announcing a Series A in its effort to get there. Honcker a New York-based startup that acts as an aggregator and search engine for leasing services, and platform for would-be customers to Read More

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Customer service bot startup Agent IQ announces 6.3 million Series A led by Sierra Ventures

If you‘ve tried to deal with a bot before you can speak to a human customer service rep, you know how frustrating that process can sometimes be. Sure, there are basic tasks that can free up a human rep to handle the more difficult matters, but it can be exasperating when there is no easy way to talk to a person. Agent IQ, a startup that has developed customer service bots, acknowledges Read More

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Esports teams need more data about their fans, and FanAI wants to give it to them

It turns out that while e-sports may be growing in popularity, the fans of different video games don‘t spend the same way as fans for traditional sports. To try and figure out ways to part fans from their hard earned money, teams are beginning to turn to the types of data monitoring tools that are used to map and predict customer spending online. Enter FanAI, a Santa Monica, Read More

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UPS is working on a fleet of 50 custom-built electric delivery trucks

UPS will work with partner Workhorse, a battery-electric transportation technology company, to develop and deploy a fleet of 50 custom-built plug-in electric delivery trucks with zero emissions. The goal is to make trucks that cost as much to buy as do traditional fuel-based delivery vehicles -even without taking into account subsidies. The Workhorse designed-vehicles, will be Read More

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Indigo Fair raises 12M to connect wholesalers with smaller retail outlets with a smarter service

Max Rhodes was walking around that weird little parklet in Hayes Valley in San Francisco after taking a break from a five-year stint at Square to figure out what he wanted to do next and he kept seeing Square registers everywhere. It was spotting them over and over again in smaller retail shops dotted throughout the city that made him think about the connections between the average Read More

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Robinhood rolls out zero-fee crypto trading as it hits 4M users

Coinbase has some serious competition. Today Robinhood starts rolling out its no-commission cryptocurrency trading feature in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana and New Hampshire. Users can buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum with no extra fees, and track those and 14 other coins in its sleek app. That‘s compared to paying 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the US on Coinbase. Users can Read More

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SpaceX misses catching Falcon 9 rocket fairing with a giant net on a big ship

SpaceX nearly succeeded in catching the fairing used in its PAZ Falcon 9 mission on Thursday, using a barge called Mr. Steven‘ that uses four giant arms with a net strung between them to secure the used nosecone once it floats back from space. The fairing missed the boat by just a few hundred meters, but did land intact in the water, at least. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk noted that Read More

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Ford names Kumar Galhotra president of Ford North America

Ford today announced key changes in the company‘s leadership ranks after yesterday‘s abrupt departure of Raj Nair, former Ford President of North America. Kumar Galhorta will take over Nair‘s position effective on March 1. In this post he will be responsible for all of Ford‘s North American business and report to Jim Farley, Ford EVP and president of Global Read More

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The beauty company Glossier just closed on a whopping 52 million in fresh funding

Glossier, the nearly four-year-old, direct-to-consumer beauty company, has landed 52 million in Series C funding in what it describes as a heavily oversubscribed round that brings its total funding to 86 million. The financing was led by earlier investors IVP and Index Ventures. The New York-based company which evolved out of the popular blog Into the Gloss by founder and CEO Emily Read More

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Product Hunt launches no-spam tech news digest app Sip

We didn‘t want to create another app thirsty for attention writes Product Hunt CEO Ryan Hoover. So instead of a constant stream of fresh stories and alerts, Product Hunt today is releasing what‘s essentially a tech industry newsletter in iOS and Android form. Sip distills the day‘s big headlines into a set of Twitter Moments-esque slideshows delivered via Read More

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Proven wants to sell AI distilled custom skincare

YC-backed startup Provenwants to make it suck less for women to find skincare that works for them. The co-founders are taking what they describe as a rational, logic-based approach to figuring out which ingredients might be most appropriate for each individual. Read More

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SpaceX successfully launches Falcon 9 carrying Starlink demo satellites

SpaceX has successfully launched a Falcon 9 from SLC-4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base today, its first launch since its successful Falcon Heavy test earlier this month. The launch took off early Wednesday morning, after being rescheduled a couple of times from an initial target of this past weekend. The launch was primarily designed to bring the PAZ satellite to orbit (which was deployed as Read More

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The ICO immaturity problem

I‘ve been following startups - I define startups as small businesses with a global scale - for almost two decades. In that time I‘ve watched them morph from unfunded pet projects by random geniuses into what amounts to an entire sub-economy dedicated to the creation, funding, and sale of these pet projects. Remember: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter were Read More

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Sports stars, franchises and Hollywood agencies are betting 38 million on an esports revolution

What started with an esports team is now quickly becoming an esports empire, backed by some of the biggest names in sports and money managers for entertainment family dynasties and Hollywood power brokers. Vision Esports LP, the esports conglomerate launched by Stratton Sclavos, Rick Fox and Amit Raizada has just closed on a 38 million investment from a host of investors led by the Read More

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Teampay raises 4m so you don‘t have to steal your CEO‘s credit card anymore

Few problems are as much of a headache for the modern corporate worker as buying things on the company‘s dime. Companies are loathe to hand out credit cards to everyone in the building, but they also want their employees to do your job without having to fill out six forms in triplicate to requisition a pencil. They also want to control spending and track who bought that 2,000 bottle Read More

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Intel lays out its 5G plans ahead of Mobile World Congress

The big story at last year‘s Mobile World Congress was 5G. This time out, however, we can expect a lot around 5G. And as for next year‘s show? Well, then we‘ll finally start talking about some 5G. Mobile infrastructure is a hard thing to make sexy, but it is, indeed, the future, and you can anticipate a lot more talk around the technology at next week‘s big show in Read More

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Feature Labs launches out of MIT to accelerate the development of machine learning algorithms

Feature Labs, a startup with roots in research begun at MIT, officially launched today with a set of tools to help data scientists build machine learning algorithms more quickly. Co-founder and CEO Max Kantor says the company has developed a way to automate feature engineering, which is often a time consuming and manual process for data scientists. Feature Labs helps Read More

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Anchor‘s new app offers everything you need to podcast

Broadcasting app Anchor, which helps anyone record and share audio, is relaunching its app today with a new focus on serving the larger podcaster community. While in the past, Anchor was carving out a niche for itself in the short-form, social audio space, the new version - Anchor 3.0 - aims to be everything you need to record, edit, host, publish, and distribute a podcast of Read More

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Watch SpaceX launch its first broadband internet satellites to space live here

SpaceX is making a second attempt to launch its PAZ mission today, which includes the PAZ satellite from client Hisdesat, and is set for launch during an instantaneous window at 6:17 AM PST, or 9:17 AM EST. The mission was scrubbed on Wednesday due to high upper level winds, and reset for this morning. The Hisdesat payload is a satellite with radar instrumentation on board, with a planned Read More

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