Author: Jordan Crook

Nintendo is offering an exclusive Fortnite bundle with the Switch

TECHCRUNCH Fortnite has taken the world by storm. In fact, the game is so popular that Epic has released versions for PC, Xbox, PS4, iOS, Android and the Nintendo Switch, making the game about as accessible as possible. The popularity of the game stems from the general popularity of the Battle Royale genre and popular streamers like Ninja, who have made the game so much fun to watch. But it also comes from the fun, and often fleeting, skins, dances and pick axes the game offers in its Item Shop. On October 5th, folks interested in the Switch can...

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Framer X design tool steps in the ring with InVision, Adobe, and Sketch

TECHCRUNCH Design tools are becoming increasingly important to just about every brand out there. Today, a new entrant joins the race. Framer X, a revamped version of three-year-old Framer, was founded by Koen Bok and Jorn van Dijk after the duo sold design software Sofa to Facebook in 2011. Framer X is a rich, React-based design tool that lets any designer draw out their interface components and instantly send them over to the engineering team for collaboration. The key here is reusability and fidelity. With Framer X, engineers can send over existing components that are in production and let...

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Blippar picks up $37 million hoping to become profitable in the next year

TECHCRUNCH Blippar, the AR startup that launched in 2011, has today announced the close of a $37 million financing led by Candy Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures. The company started out by offering AR experiences for brand marketers through publishers and other real-world products, letting users unlock AR content by scanning a tag called a “Blipp”. Blippar then transitioned to a number of different AR products, but took a particular focus on computer vision, launching a consumer-facing visual search engine that would let users identify cars, plants, and other real-world objects. Most recently, Blippar has introduced an indoor positioning system that lets commercial real estate owners implement AR mapping and other content from within their buildings. The AR industry has been in a state of evolution for the past few years, and Blippar has constantly reshifted and re-positioned to try and take advantage of the blossoming market. Unfortunately, several pivots have put the company in a tough spot financially. BI reports that Blippar posted revenue of £8.5 million ($11.2 million) in the 16-month period up to March 31 2016, with losses of £24 million ($31.5 million). These latest rounds have essentially let Blippar keep the lights on while trying to pick up the pace on revenues. The company says that this latest round is meant to fuel the company’s race to reach profitability in the next 12 months. Blippar has...

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PlayVS taps League of Legends in launch of high school esports platform

TECHCRUNCH PlayVS, the startup bringing an e-sports infrastructure to the high school level, has today announced that it will partner with Riot’s League of Legends for its beta season. High school students across five states, including Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, will be able to sign up to play for their school in Season Zero, which begins in October 2018. Around 200 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada are offering esports scholarships, but without any infrastructure around high school esports, those recruiters are left at the mercy of the publishers and a grueling tournament schedule....

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Apple introduces the iPhone XS

TECHCRUNCH Another year, another set of brand spankin’ new iPhones. But this year, little has been left to the imagination as leaks have continued to spring up over the course of the past few months. Today, however, the new iPhone becomes official. Apple has introduced a new models of the premium iPhone, the iPhone XS, which comes in three finishes, gold, silver and space grey. So let’s take a look at the details. Developing… Please...

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The clock is ticking for e-cig companies to block underage users

TECHCRUNCH The FDA is giving makers of e-cigarettes sixty days to come up with a more effective, forceful plan to combat underage use of the products. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb is yet again moving the goal posts for e-cig companies. He now considers underage use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) an epidemic, forcing the government to make a choice that we all knew was coming: save the smokers or save the kids? “I believe in the power of American ingenuity to solve a lot of problems, including this one,” said Gottlieb in a statement. “I’m deeply disturbed...

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Instacart brings on Mark Schaaf as Chief Technology Officer

TECHCRUNCH Instacart has brought on Mark Schaaf as Chief Technology Officer. Schaaf previously held positions at AdMob, which was acquired by Google in 2009 for $750 million. From there, he went on to build and lead a team at Google within the mobile display ad business. In 2015, Schaaf left Google to join Thumbtack as CTO. Schaaf has been working on marketplace businesses since 2006, and explained that Instacart represents a particularly interesting marketplace to continue scaling. “Thumbtack is a more consumer-focused marketplace with local service professionals and consumers, but Instacart gets even more complex,” said Schaaf. “It’s a...

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Juul Labs files lawsuit against 30 counterfeiters

TECHCRUNCH Juul Labs has filed trademark claims against 30 entities in China for selling counterfeit Juul products on eBay. The complaint was filed in late August, and today the company announced that the Federal Court in the Eastern District of Virginia has granted a temporary restraining order and frozen the PayPal accounts of the entities selling counterfeit Juul devices and products. The Juul e-cig has grown in popularity at a rapid clip since 2015, currently owning more than 70 percent of the market based on revenue. Most obviously, that growth has come along with regulatory hurdles from the FDA, including an investigation launched in April around underage use. But just like any other growing startup, Juul Labs is also dealing with copycats. On the one hand, Juul says these counterfeit e-cigs and pods were not quality tested the same way as Juul, posing a safety threat to those that purchased. On the other, these products circumvented the age verification process which Juul uses (21+ on its own website), according to the company. Age verification is particularly important to Juul right now. The company has built out a rather impressive distribution network with vape shops, convenience stores, and other shops, which has been lucrative for growth. However, it has forced the startup to sacrifice some level of control over who can purchase the product. In April, the FDA launched an...

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