Author: Catherine Shu

HTC says it remains committed to Vive and its own smartphones after $1.1B deal with Google

TECHCRUNCH Mario Queiroz and Rick Osterloh of Google, HTC CEO Cher Wang and CFO Peter Shen at today’s press conference in HTC’s New Taipei City headquarters.Cher Wang and chief financial officer Peter Shen represented HTC at the press event, while Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of hardware at Google, and Mario Queiroz The $1.1 billion cooperation deal announced today between HTC and Google ended months of speculation, but prompted new questions. Chief among them is if the agreement can save HTC, which has struggled with a series of setbacks and lackluster earnings over the past few years, in the...

Read More

ClearMetal gets $9M from Prelude Ventures and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors for its logistics platform

TECHCRUNCH Logistics and supply chain management is a notoriously outdated and labor-intensive process. ClearMetal uses artificial intelligence to help manufacturers and retailers climb out from underneath piles of spreadsheets. Today the San Francisco-based startup announced that it has raised $9 million in Series A funding led by Prelude Ventures and Innovation Endeavors, the venture capital firm founded by Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt. NEA, SAP.io, PSA Unboxed, DCLI and John Urban, a founder of cloud-based supply chain management platform GT Nexus, also participated in the round. Along with a $3 million seed investment raised in February 2016, this brings ClearMetal’s...

Read More

Real-time data analytics startup Incorta raises $15M Series B led by Kleiner Perkins

TECHCRUNCH Incorta, the startup that wants to speed up big data analytics by eliminating the need for data warehouses, has raised a $15 million Series B led by new investor Kleiner Perkins. Existing investors GV and Ron Wohl, former executive vice president of applications development at Oracle, also participated. This takes Incorta’s total funding to $25 million, including a $10 million Series A led by GV in May 2016. Incorta also announced that Kleiner Perkins general partner Ted Schlein will join its board. Instead of relying on data warehouses to gather and prepare data for analysis, Incorta’s Direct Data...

Read More

At long last, Gmail starts converting addresses and contact info into links

TECHCRUNCH Gmail is packed with a lot of time-saving features, like Smart Replies for mobile users. So it’s a bit surprising to realize that Gmail will only now start to automatically convert addresses, phone numbers and contacts into links. The feature begins rolling out today for Gmail and Inbox on Android, iOS and the web. Address links will open Google Maps, clicking on an email address launches a new compose window in your email client and phone numbers dial a new call in Hangouts or your default phone app. As the G Suite team blog puts it, “Gmail users...

Read More

Music video AR app Blin.gy shuts down

TECHCRUNCH Blin.gy, the app that let users insert themselves into their favorite music videos, is shutting down. In a Medium post, co-founder and chief executive officer David Hyman wrote that the startup, which launched as Chosen three years ago and raised at least $10 million, decided to close up shop after a potential acquisition fell through. Chosen started out as a talent competition app that eventually focused mostly on music. Though it had a marketing partnership with Ellen DeGeneres, who promoted the app on her show and also took an equity stake, Chosen struggled to compete with Musical.ly. Earlier...

Read More

SoftBank Group will buy a 5% stake in ZhongAn, China’s first online-only insurance agency

TECHCRUNCH SoftBank Group has agreed to be a cornerstone investor in the initial public offering of ZhongAn, China’s first online-only insurance agency, on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange today. SoftBank Group will buy a 5 percent stake in the company, or about 72 million shares, at the offer price, which is in the range of HKD $53.70 to HKD $59.70 per share. If calculated based on the range’s mid-point price of HKD $56.70, that means SoftBank Group’s stake would be worth about HKD $4.08 billion, or $522 million. Under its agreement with ZhongAn (also called ZA Online), SoftBank Group...

Read More

NYX Cosmetics, known for its “digital-first” marketing strategy, launches an app called Makeup Crew

TECHCRUNCH NYX Cosmetics describes itself as a “digital-first” brand, eschewing traditional ad buys in favor of customer selfies it shares on social media, including an Instagram account with 11.7 million followers. That strategy has paid off: though NYX is often described as a “cult beauty brand,” the Los Angeles-based company joined the big leagues in 2014 when it was acquired by L’Oreal for a reported $500 million. Now NYX is releasing its own app called Makeup Crew. Makeup Crew will sell NYX products, feature “shoppable content,” including video tutorials by customers and beauty bloggers, and let users leave reviews, earn rewards and download stickers. NYX’s inclusive brand philosophy—its marketing features a much more diverse array of people than most other beauty brands, with different races and genders represented—and social media initiatives were considered innovative, but now many competitors have adopted the same strategies to reach younger consumers. “That means we need to continue to innovate and this app is unlike anything else we’ve seen in the market,” says Mehdi Mehdi, NYX’s vice president of digital and e-commerce. “We also feel like the technology is finally available to create an app that integrates all of our key strategies without compr iOS-App-Screen-Shot-View-FINALArtboard 3 iOS-App-Screen-Shot-View-FINALArtboard 2 iOS-App-Screen-Shot-View-FINALArtboard 1 iOS-App-Screen-Shot-View-FINALArtboard 6 iOS-App-Screen-Shot-View-FINALArtboard 5 iOS-App-Screen-Shot-View-FINALArtboard 4 omising on quality, such as shoppable videos and user-generated content.” In order to scale its digital content, NYX...

Read More

SparkLabs Group launches an agricultural tech accelerator called Cultiv8 in Australia

TECHCRUNCH SparkLabs Group, which claims to be the largest startup accelerator group in Asia, is stepping into agricultural tech with a new program created in partnership with the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries. Called SparkLabs Cultiv8 and based in Orange, Australia, the accelerator will start in the second quarter of 2018. Each intake will participate for eight months and include between eight to 12 startups. They will work out of Gate (Global Ag-Tech Ecosystem), a new facility founded by SparkLabs and the NSW Department of Primary Industries, and have access to the latter’s research labs and farms...

Read More

Right Now in Politics