Author: Catherine Shu

Taiwan-based media startup The News Lens raises Series C for its international growth plans

TECHCRUNCH The News Lens launched in 2013 as an independent news site for Taiwanese readers disenchanted with the country’s tabloid-ridden media. Now it has 9 million monthly unique readers, offices in Taipei and Hong Kong and just announced it has raised a Series C. The Taipei-based startup did not disclose the exact amount of the round, but founder and CEO Joey Chung told TechCrunch it’s between $3 million to $4 million. The round includes participation from Dorcas, Hazel Asset Management, Walden International and returning investor North Base Media. Individual investors in the round include Steve Chen, co-founder and former chief technology officer of YouTube, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and Charles Huang, the co-creator of Guitar Hero. At the very beginning, The News Lens was a Facebook page that shared news and analysis before launching its eponymous site with original content and videos. Now the startup envisions its future as a media group, with several brands. Earlier this year, The News Lens acquired two Taiwanese content producers, tech news site Inside and sports site Sports Vision, which still operate as separate brands. The News Lens’ two other verticals are its flagship news site, which now has Chinese-language editions for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, as well as an English version for international readers, and ELD, which covers lifestyle and fashion. The News Lens will use some of its new...

Read More

Korean beauty startup Memebox relaunches its U.S. e-commerce platform and signs Sephora deal

TECHCRUNCH Beauty startup Memebox is relaunching its United States e-commerce business, about one year after putting it on hold to focus on building a review and community platform. Beginning today, the company will sell its in-house brands, I Dew care and Nooni, through the site before adding makeup line Pony Effect next month. Memebox, which is based in San Francisco and has raised about $160 million in funding so far, also announced a partnership with beauty retail giant Sephora to launch a new cosmetic line this fall. The Y Combinator alum’s online retail business has continued operating in Asian...

Read More

Microsoft says it is “dismayed” by the forced separation of migrant families at the border

TECHCRUNCH Amid calls for a boycott and employee dissent over its cloud-computing deal with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Microsoft issued a statement saying that the company “is dismayed by the forcible separation of children from their families at the border.” The ICE is currently under fire from both sides of the political spectrum for separating migrant parents from their children at the United States-Mexico border. The controversy over Microsoft’s involvement with the ICE stems from an Authority to Operate (ATO) that the agency granted to Azure Government earlier this year. In a January blog post, Microsoft said the ATO...

Read More

GameStop reportedly discussing buyout with private equity firms

TECHCRUNCH Struggling retail chain GameStop is discussing a potential buyout with private equity firms, according to Reuters. The report says that one of the private equity firms is Sycamore Partners and that GameStop has hired a financial advisor to help with the talks, though there’s no guarantee that a deal will come to fruition. Founded in 1984 and once a mainstay for gamers, GameStop has struggled to cope with competition from online retailers like Amazon and digital distribution platforms including Steam, even after several attempts to diversify its business model. For example, last fall GameStop announced a used game...

Read More

YC alum Modern Health, a startup focused on emotional wellbeing, gets $2.26M seed funding

TECHCRUNCH Modern Health founders Alyson Friedensohn and Erica Johnson About one year ago, a note from a CEO thanking his employee for using sick days to take care of her mental health went viral. It was a reminder to Alyson Friedensohn of what she wants to accomplish with Modern Health, the emotional health benefits startup she founded last year with neuroscientist Erica Johnson. “We want that to be normal. We want the email she sent to be normal, to be able to be that open,” Friedensohn tells TechCrunch. Modern Health, a Y Combinator alum, announced today that it has...

Read More

Didi will resume late night Hitch rides, but only allow drivers to pick up passengers of the same sex

TECHCRUNCH Didi Chuxing’s inter-city carpooling service will resume night operations on a limited basis about a month after a female passenger was allegedly murdered by an unregistered driver who accessed the platform using his father’s account. Called Didi Hitch, the service will return on June 15 with new safety measures, including one that only allows drivers to serve passengers of the same sex during late night hours. Didi Hitch will also began piloting a new feature later this month called “guardian mode” (not “escort mode” as reported by some publications) that automatically shares ride details with a passenger’s emergency...

Read More

Yes, Netflix was down, but it’s back up again

TECHCRUNCH If you had trouble accessing Netflix earlier today, you weren’t alone. Netflix tweeted that it was “aware” of streaming issues, but said soon afterward that they had been resolved. We are aware of members having trouble streaming on all devices. We are investigating the issue and appreciate your patience. — Netflix CS (@Netflixhelps) June 11, 2018 The streaming issues we reported earlier have now been resolved. Thank you for your patience, and as always, happy streaming! — Netflix CS (@Netflixhelps) June 11, 2018 A map from Outage.Report shows that Netflix was down for users around the world, with outages going on for a couple of hours. Outage.Report map TechCrunch has contacted Netflix to ask what caused the...

Read More

By automating code compliance, UpCodes AI is “the spellcheck for buildings”

TECHCRUNCH For many architects, the hardest part of their job starts after they finish designing a building, when the onerous process of code compliance begins. Written to ensure the safety and accessibility of buildings, codes dictate everything from the height and depth of stairs and where railings end, to the amount of floor space in front of toilets and the height of windows. Regulations are constantly updated, which means that even the most diligent team of architects often miss violations, resulting in costly delays. Y Combinator alum UpCodes wants to help them by using artificial intelligence, including natural language processing,...

Read More

Right Now in Politics