Author: Anthony Ha

Riley raises $3.1M to help real estate agents rate and respond to their leads

TECHCRUNCH Businesses usually spend lots of time and money trying of attract potential customers. Now a startup called Riley aims to help them prioritize those sales leads. Riley was part of the winter class at Y Combinator. (In fact, CEO Daniel Ahmadizadeh said he and his co-founder Helson Taveras applied several times with different products and ideas before getting in.) The startup is announcing today that it has raised $3.1 million in seed funding. The current version of Riley is focused on real estate agents. If you see an ad or listing for for an agent who’s using Riley and you decide...

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Binded raises another $950K for its copyright-protecting tools

TECHCRUNCH Binded aims to make it easier for photographers to protect their intellectual property by creating a permanent record of their copyright in a public database, namely the blockchain. The startup was previously known as Blockai, but it’s rebranding today — the new name is meant to focus less on technology and instead emphasize the idea of creating a legally binding record. Put another way: As a company and product name, Binded probably sounds more appealing to people who aren’t bitcoin and blockchain nerds. The startup is also announcing that it has raised an additional $950,000 from investors including Mistletoe (led by Taizo Son, founder...

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Flexible retail startup Bulletin raises $2.2M

TECHCRUNCH Bulletin, the startup that describes itself as “WeWork for retail space,” is announcing that it has raised $2.2 million in seed funding. The idea is to give businesses — particularly online brands — access to brick-and-mortar retail space without the cost or commitment of a traditional lease. Those businesses can rent out sections of a Bulletin store on a month-to-month basis. Within that space, they get to decide what products get sold, the pricing and how they’re displayed. The startup currently operates two locations, one each in New York’s Lower East Side and Williamsburg neighborhoods. The Williamsburg location was...

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Robotic toymaker Sphero unveils Ultimate Lightning McQueen — a chatty, smartphone-controlled car

TECHCRUNCH While Sphero has released a whole lineup of robotic, Internet-connected toys, it remains best-known for its BB-8 droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Today it’s launching its next Disney tie-in — Ultimate Lightning McQueen. This is a car that you can control from your iPhone or Android, based on the Owen Wilson-voiced character from Pixar’s Cars franchise. (Cars 3 is coming out on June 16.) Ultimate Lightning McQueen is available today for a price of $299. “As our partnership with Disney has evolved, we’ve been able to start to look at further properties within the Disney portfolio,” explained Product Manager Jenica Watts. (Sphero’s initial connection to Disney was as part of the Disney Accelerator.) “One of the teams had the opportunity to build an amazing, lifelike Lightning McQueen.” The idea of a remote-controlled car from Cars might not seem all that novel, but it looks like Sphero has put a lot of work into bringing the character to life. Probably the first thing you’ll notice is that his front windshield is an LCD screen displaying Lightning’s animated eyes. And he talks, too — Watts said this is the first time a speaker has been built into a Sphero toy, and there’s even an animatronic mouth that moves as he speaks. There’s also a feature that Sphero calls “emotive suspension.” That means Lightning doesn’t just drive around — his left and...

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Crunch Report | Microsoft Announces New Surface Pro

TECHCRUNCH Crunch Report | Microsoft Announces New Surface Pro 10 minutes ago by Anthony Ha Quiqup, a London-based on-demand delivery startup, raises £20M Series B 1 hour ago by Steve O’Hear Uber loses its general counsel for EMEA 2 hours ago by Megan Rose Dickey Watch Alchemist Accelerator’s Demo Day right here 2 hours ago by Samantha Stein Minibrew raises $2.8 million to help you make your own beer 2 hours ago by John Biggs WTF is an ICO? 2 hours ago by Alex Wilhelm 1Password adds a travel mode to frustrate snooping customs agents 3 hours ago by Devin Coldewey Merlon Intelligence raises $7.65 million in seed financing to combat money laundering 4 hours ago by John Mannes The FCC’s case against net neutrality rests on a deliberate misrepresentation of how the internet works 4 hours ago by Devin Coldewey Blispay raises $12 million to help retail customers avoid payments for 6 months 4 hours ago by Katie...

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Embrace.io raises $2.5M to track mobile app performance

TECHCRUNCH Embrace.io says it can help developers understand the performance of their apps — and determine whether things like bugs or slow load times are actually driving users away. The company just announced that it has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Eniac Ventures, with participation from The Chernin Group, Techstars Ventures, BoxGroup and others. CEO Eric Futoran (pictured above with his co-founders Maggie Shih and Fredric Newberg) told me that existing mobile analytics products are built primarily for marketers. So if a developer wants to understand the technical reasons why people are leaving their app, they’re basically “blind to it,” he said,...

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Crunch Report | Ford Names Jim Hackett As New CEO

TECHCRUNCH Crunch Report | Ford Names Jim Hackett As New CEO 10 minutes ago by Anthony Ha Patent trolls take it on the chin in new Supreme Court ruling 21 minutes ago by Connie Loizos Mavin Motion says it can improve app engagement by making marketers more timely 53 minutes ago by Anthony Ha Twitter brings on a new lead for its live video business 1 hour ago by Matthew Lynley Netflix is creating a movie starring Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o, thanks mostly to Twitter 1 hour ago by Megan Rose Dickey Quora tests video answers to steal Q&A from YouTube 3 hours ago by Josh Constine Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown says VCs need to ask harder scientific questions 3 hours ago by Lora Kolodny Instagram Location Stories appear in Explore. Is Story Search coming? 5 hours ago by Josh Constine Toyota pushes into blockchain tech to enable the next generation of cars 5 hours ago by Jonathan Shieber Amazon’s Echo Look companion app goes live 5 hours ago by Sarah...

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Mavin Motion says it can improve app engagement by making marketers more timely

TECHCRUNCH As mobile developers and publishers wrestle with how to keep users engaged with their apps, Mavin Motion co-founder and CEO Shailesh Nalawadi said it’s time for new strategies. The startup started out by building engagement products for mobile apps in India, but today it’s announcing its US launch — as well as a $3 million seed round from Mousse Partners and Montane Ventures. Yes, there are other platforms that can help app makers send push notifications, emails and SMS messages to their users, but Nalawadi said that most app engagement campaigns have “a very long cycle,” where messages are planned out well in...

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