Author: Jonathan Shieber

Friday Night Lights is on Hulu now. You’re welcome.

TECHCRUNCH Friday Night Lights, the football show that was never just about football (and one of the best shows on television), is now streaming on Hulu. Say goodbye to the weekend is all I’m saying. Hailed as one of the most honest depictions of a functioning adult relationship in its portrayal of the husband and wife duo of “Coach” Eric and Tammy Taylor, Friday Night Lights also worked wonders for showing the life and high school times of teens in a small Texas town. The show is phenomenal. If you haven’t seen it you should, and if you have...

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Can data science save social media?

TECHCRUNCH Bob Ackerman Jr. Contributor Robert Ackerman Jr. is the founder and a managing director of Allegis Capital, an early-stage cybersecurity venture firm, and a founder of DataTribe, a startup “studio” for fledgling cyber startups staffed by former government technology innovators and cybersecurity professionals. More posts by this contributor The Trump team has failed to address the nation’s mounting cybersecurity threats Trump’s cybersecurity executive order is a good first step The unfettered internet is too often used for malicious purposes and is frequently woefully inaccurate. Social media — especially Facebook — has failed miserably at protecting user privacy and...

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Emphasizing social, shareable, and meaningful work, Girlboss launches a new site

TECHCRUNCH Girlboss, the juggernaut business and lifestyle brand launched by serial entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso (the founder of Nasty Gal), has launched a fresh redesign of its website as the company looks to evolve beyond publishing. While publishing will remain a central component of the business that Girlboss is building, Amoruso says that the brand encompasses much more than a content play. “We’re beginning with editorial content and our conferences and what looks like a publishing business, but the future will look like us incorporating our users in a much different capacity,” Amoruso says. In a blog post about the...

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Solar project lending startup Wunder Capital raises $112 million as renewable energy shines

TECHCRUNCH As renewable energy continues to gobble up more and more of the new energy capacity coming online, the solar project lending company Wunder Capital has raised $112 million in primarily debt financing to boost its business. The 90% debt and 10% equity commitment came from the multi-strategy investment firm Cyrus Investments, which has backed renewable energy projects for years through its investment in RePower Group. “The debt component is going to blow out the lending opportunity,” says Wunder chief executive Bryan Birsic. Wunder chose to consolidate the debt and equity round with a single lead investor to simplify...

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Mobile money-saving app Qapital raises $30 million to spend on growth

TECHCRUNCH Qapital, one of a slew of mobile applications trying to make it easier for users to save money (and spend it more wisely), has raised $30 million in fresh financing as it expands beyond savings to offer investment advisory services. Since its launch in the U.S. in 2015, Qapital has amassed roughly 420,000 users that have saved nearly $500 million on the platform, according to the company. But Qapital is more than just a Digit-style savings tool these days. The company has also folded in Qapital Spending through a linked Visa Debit Card that works with money saved...

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With loans of just $10, this startup has built a financial services powerhouse in emerging markets

TECHCRUNCH Peris Kimeli and Betsy Cheruyot were students at Kenyatta University thinking about launching a business when they applied for their first loans from the mobile lending company, Tala. Hoping to get a clothing business off the ground and make some money to live on while going to school, the two young Kenyans downloaded the Tala mobile app, and within minutes received loans totaling about $15. “Between us and poverty, we had about 200 shillings,” Kimeli said of her early days starting their business. “We were like, what are we going to eat? Our parents said, ‘No. We’re not going to send money… You go figure it out’ So we went and we did that.” Kimeli and Cheruyot took that $15 loan and went to Nairobi’s famous secondhand market, Gikomba, where they bought 15 dresses at 100 shillings each and resold them in dorms and hostels for 200 shillings. “Two remained, but we had no problem — since we could keep them, we could wear them. By the end of the month, we had 7000 [shillings],” Kimeli said. “We borrowed again — this time we borrowed 3000 [shillings] — we went out and bought some more dresses, and that’s how we’ve been.” Peris Kimeli and Betsy Cheruyot in Nairobi. Photo courtesy of Tala Similar stories are playing out in cities across the world — in countries like India, Mexico,...

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Thanks to today’s outage, the goobers at the IRS are giving people another day to file their taxes

TECHCRUNCH All of the procrastinating Pollys and Peters who waited til the last minute to file their taxes can breathe a sigh of relief. Thanks to today’s outage of direct payment systems at the Internal Revenue Service, folks are getting another day to get those taxes in. The IRS is now saying that people can submit taxes through the end of the day on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. “This is the busiest tax day of the year, and the IRS apologizes for the inconvenience this system issue caused for taxpayers,” said Acting IRS Commissioner David Kautter. “The IRS appreciates...

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Virtual Instagram celebrity “Lil Miquela” has had her account hacked

TECHCRUNCH The Instagram account for the virtual celebrity known as Lil Miquela has been hacked. The multi-racial fashionista and advocate for multiculturalism, whose account is followed by nearly 1 million people, has had “her” account taken over by another animated Instagram account holder named “Bermuda“. Welcome to the spring of 2018. The hack of the @Lilmiquela account started earlier today, but the Bermuda avatar has long considered Miquela her digital nemesis and has taken steps to hack other of Miquela’s social accounts — like Spotify — before. Because this is the twenty-first century — and given the polarization of...

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