Author: Jordan Crook

Juul Labs reveals its plan to combat underage vape use

TECHCRUNCH Juul will be removing non-tobacco flavored pods from all stores, including convenience stores and vape shops, according to a new plan the company released today. This comes exactly 60 days after the FDA demanded a more comprehensive plan from big e-cig makers to deal with the growing problem of underage use of these products. Juul’s plan is slightly more aggressive than the plan reportedly outlined the FDA, which demands that all non-tobacco flavored products be removed from convenience stores but allows them to remain on sale at specialty stores like vape shops. Juul currently sells eight different flavors of pods. Pods that don’t come in existing tobacco flavors — Virginia Tobacco, Classic Tobacco, Mint and Menthol — will be removed from all stores effective immediately. In other words, the only place to buy Creme, Fruit, Cucumber and Mango (Juul’s most popular flavor) is on the Juul website. There, the company verifies that customers are 21+ by either cross referencing information, such as DOB and last four digits of social security number, with publicly available data, or asking users to upload a scan of their Driver’s License. Once the FDA has evaluated the situation, Juul will reconsider putting flavors on sale at shops under the condition that those shops follow Juul’s new 21+ restricted distribution policy. That policy includes investing in technology that designates flavored Juul pods as restricted...

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WeWork picks up ANOTHER $3B from SoftBank

TECHCRUNCH WeWork has picked up another $3 billion in financing from SoftBank Corp, not to be confused with SoftBank Vision Fund. The deal comes in the form of a warrant, allowing SoftBank to pay $3 billion for the opportunity to buy shares before September 2019 at a price of $110 or higher, ultimately valuing WeWork at $42 billion minimum. In August, SoftBank Corp invested $1 billion in WeWork in the form of a convertible note. According to the Financial Times, SoftBank will pay WeWork $1.5 billion on January 15, 2019 and another $1.5 billion on April 15. SoftBank is...

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Calm heads to the airport, invests $3 million in XpresSpa

TECHCRUNCH Wellness app Calm has today announced a $3 million equity investment in XpresSpa Group, a fast-spa service you may have noticed in your local airport. Calm sees the investment as a way to expand its offline presence, growing awareness of the app as well as its retail products like Sleep Mist and the Calm Book. Calm subscribers will have access to a variety of in-store benefits and treatments at one of 52 XpresSpa locations in cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. As investor and general interest around mental health and wellness grows, Calm has...

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Chappy, the Bumble-backed dating app for gay men, inks partnership with GLAAD

TECHCRUNCH Chappy, the dating app for gay men, has today announced a partnership with GLAAD. As part of the partnership, Chappy will make a donation to GLAAD for each conversation initiated on the dating app, from now throughout 2019. The company won’t disclose the amount of the donation, but said that it hopes to raise “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Chappy launched in 2017 to give gay men an authentic, discrimination-free way to connect with one another. The app uses a sliding scale to let users indicate what they’re looking for in a relationship, ranging from ‘Cute’ to ‘Sexy.’...

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Sony filed a patent for a touchscreen-equipped PlayStation controller

TECHCRUNCH According to a patent application continuation filed in 2017 and published recently, Sony may have tentative plans to build out a touchscreen-equipped PlayStation controller. Whether the value added from having a touchscreen right on the controller will be worth the added cost is not yet clear. Right now, PlayStation controllers have a touch-enabled center button that allows users to navigate through menus and other activities with a touch-based interface. The center button also lets gamers access more information, such as game stats, when clicked. This patent application also leaves us wondering what type of content might be displayed...

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Everything you missed from the Startup Battlefield Latin America

TECHCRUNCH The tech scene in São Paulo is an absolute delight, and we’re honored to have seen such an amazing turnout at the Startup Battlefield Latin America. In case you missed it, we’ve put together a little recap of the event below. Editor’s Note: We will embed videos from the event as soon as they’re available. A China Twist to Brazil’s Mobility Revolution Featuring Ariel Lambrecht (Yellow), Eduardo Musa (Yellow), Tony Qiu (Didi Chuxing), Hans Tung (GGV) Mobility is a massive challenge for megacities around the world, including Sao Paulo. The first panel of the event featured notable founders...

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YouTube arrives on the Nintendo Switch

TECHCRUNCH Nintendo has sold over 22 million Switch consoles since launch, with plans to sell another 20 million this financial year. That said, Nintendo hasn’t seemed too focused on building out its portfolio of non-gaming apps. Thus far, only Hulu has managed to get aboard the Switch train. But today, YouTube joins the mix. Switch owners can download the YouTube app here. Also of note: the YouTube app on Nintendo Switch supports 360-degree video. Given Nintendo’s portfolio of Switch-compatible games, including Zelda, Super Mario Odyssey, Pokemon, and Fortnite, YouTube’s integration with the console makes sense. Both the Switch and...

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Brooklinen launches a pop-up shop in NYC

TECHCRUNCH Brooklinen, the direct-to-consumer bed linens brand, has today announced the opening of a four-month pop-up shop in NYC. The company has been around for four years thus far, and recently hit $100 million in revenue after raising just $10 million in funding. Part of the company’s success comes down to its attention to detail. The process of shopping for sheets is often difficult for new adults who don’t understand how to weigh quality and price, and usually don’t get much help in stores like Bed Bath & Beyond. Brooklinen isn’t necessarily inexpensive — 270 thread count sheets start...

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