Author: Danny Crichton

Oscar and Lemonade founders will join us at Disrupt SF to strategize about the future of insurance innovation

TECHCRUNCH Insurance premiums total more than a trillion dollars in the U.S., and yet, where that money goes is something of a mystery. It certainly doesn’t seem to get invested in the consumer experience, where ancient incumbent companies still process paperwork as if it is the 1800s, and consumers are left wanting for new insurance options that meet their needs. Insurance might well be the last frontier for disruptive innovation, but now, a generation of insurance tech startups is bringing new data models and product experience talent to bear on this sclerotic industry. In the process, they may well...

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Even raises $40m to transform the working class to the savings class

TECHCRUNCH The working class of the United States doesn’t get many breaks these days. It’s not just a function of low pay and long hours, but also the incredible uncertainty of income and expenses that makes surviving week-to-week so challenging. One in five Americans have a negative net wealth, even in an economy where the unemployment rate is the lowest in almost two decades. Banks, meanwhile, are actively dissuading the working class from banking with them, creating a permanent class of unbanked and underbanked citizens. For Jon Schlossberg, CEO and co-founder of Even.com, improving the plight of ordinary Americans...

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Brat raises $30 million to reboot scripted television for the Gen Z crowd

TECHCRUNCH We are in the era of peak TV. Hundreds of expensive, scripted television shows are splayed across streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Netflix itself is now expected to spend $13 billion on original content this year. And yet, these networks can struggle to reach viewers outside of the core adult market. That’s where Brat hopes to make its mark. The LA-based production studio and media company makes scripted dramas such as Chicken Girls on platforms like YouTube targeting a purely teen audience. And unlike Netflix, Brat is built from the ground up to keep production costs...

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Parity’s Jutta Steiner says the future of blockchain is many chains working together

TECHCRUNCH Few debates can get as heated in blockchain circles as the simple question: which chain(s)? Will a single public blockchain such as Ethereum become the one chain to rule us all, or will multiple chains co-exist in the marketplace? For Jutta Steiner, founder and CEO of Parity Technologies, the answer is resoundingly clear: all the chains will need to work together in concert, and she and her team have the answer with a set of tools including PolkaDot and Substrate. Steiner was the debut speaker today at TechCrunch Sessions: Blockchain here in Zug, Switzerland, where a light drizzle...

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China VC has overtaken Silicon Valley, but do aggregate numbers tell the whole story?

TECHCRUNCH The evidence is increasingly clear: 2018 is the year of the Chinese venture deal. With half of the year now complete, China is driving ahead of Silicon Valley and the rest of the United States on venture capital dollars invested into startups, according to a number of data sources including Crunchbase, China Money Network, and Pitchbook. These sorts of top line numbers are always driven by large deals, and the Chinese VC market is no exception. Monster rounds this year have included a $1.9 billion investment from Softbank Vision Fund into Manbang Group, a truck hailing startup formed from the merger of two competitors, Yumanman and Huochebang, as well as Ant Financial, which raised a whopping $14 billion from investors. While China hasn’t overtaken the U.S. in terms of total VC rounds, it has seen spectacular growth in deal volume. Crunchbase’s analysis shows an almost four-fold increase in the number of venture capital rounds completed last quarter in China compared to the same quarter last year. That’s in comparison to a dismal seed funding market in Silicon Valley, where seed volume has dropped off of a cliff over the past few years, down by 60% or more by some estimates. That’s a rather linear look, though, of an industry that is facing extreme flux. Venture capital today is being wholly redefined by new crowdsourcing models and of course,...

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JASK nets $25m from Kleiner to build out autonomous security operations

TECHCRUNCH Cyberthreats are on the rise everywhere. Companies are facing a barrage of attacks from hackers near and far, and their security operations centers are struggling to keep up. They can no longer rely on manual processes to respond to automated attacks, forcing security chiefs to consider new approaches to automating their defenses. That’s where JASK comes in. The startup offers an autonomous security operations platform to respond to this new security environment, and it’s a mission that is finding resonance among investors. After raising a $12 million Series A round led by Dell Technologies Capital last year, the...

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Instead of points, Bumped gives equity in the companies you shop at

TECHCRUNCH What does brand loyalty even mean anymore? App downloads, points, stars, and other complex reward systems have not just spawned their own media empires trying to decipher them, they have failed at their most basic objective: building a stronger bond between a brand and its consumers. Bumped wants to reinvent the loyalty space by giving consumers shares of the companies they shop at. Through Bumped’s app, consumers choose their preferred retailer in different categories (think Lowe’s vs The Home Depot in home improvement), and when they spend money at that store using a linked credit card, Bumped will...

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In Army of None, a field guide to the coming world of autonomous warfare

TECHCRUNCH The Silicon Valley-military industrial complex is increasingly in the crosshairs of artificial intelligence engineers. A few weeks ago, Google was reported to be backing out of a Pentagon contract around Project Maven, which would use image recognition to automatically evaluate photos. Earlier this year, AI researchers around the world joined petitions calling for a boycott of any research that could be used in autonomous warfare. For Paul Scharre, though, such petitions barely touch the deep complexity, nuance, and ambiguity that will make evaluating autonomous weapons a major concern for defense planners this century. In Army of None, Scharre...

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