Author: Matthew Lynley

Microsoft caps off a fine fiscal year seemingly without any major missteps in its last quarter

TECHCRUNCH Microsoft is capping off a rather impressive year without any major missteps in its final report for its performance in its 2018 fiscal year, posting a quarter that seems to have been largely non-offensive to Wall Street. In the past year, Microsoft’s stock has gone up more than 40%. In the past two years, it’s nearly doubled. All of this came after something around a decade of that price not really doing anything as Microsoft initially missed major trends like the shift to mobile and the cloud. But since then, new CEO Satya Nadella has turned that around...

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Standard Cognition raises another $5.5M to create a cashier-less checkout experience

TECHCRUNCH As Amazon looks to increasingly expand its cashier-less grocery stories — called Amazon Go – across different regions, there’s at least one startup hoping to end up everywhere else beyond Amazon’s empire. Standard Cognition aims to help businesses create that kind of checkout experience based on machine vision, using image recognition to figure out that a specific person is picking up and walking out the door with a bag of Cheetos. The company said it’s raised an additional $5.5 million in a round in what the company is calling a seed round extension from CRV. The play here...

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An app that uses AI to help you improve your basketball shot just raised $4 million

TECHCRUNCH Let’s be real: you are most certainly never going to be as good as Steve Nash, Chris Paul, James Harden — or really any professional NBA player. But it probably won’t stop you from trying to practice or model your game around your favorite players, and spend hours upon hours figuring out how to get better. And while there are going to be plenty of attempts to smash image recognition and AI into that problem, a company called NEX Team is hoping to soften the blow a bit by helping casual players figure out their game, rather than trying to be as good as a professional NBA player. Using phone cameras and image recognition on the back end, its primary app HomeCourt will measure a variety of variables like shot trajectory, jump height, and body position, and help understand how to improve a player’s shooting form. It’s not designed to help that player shoot like Ray Allen, but at least start hitting those mid-range jumpers. The company said it’s raised $4 million from Charmides Capital and Mandra Capital, as well as Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, Sam “Trust The Process” Hinkie (sigh), Mark Cuban and Dani Reiss. “We don’t call ourselves a basketball company, we think of ourselves as a mobile AI company,” CEO and co-founder David Lee said. “It happens that basketball is the first sport where we’re applying our tech. When...

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Netflix is falling off a cliff

TECHCRUNCH Netflix didn’t add as many subscribers as a bunch of people on Wall Street that on a quarterly basis govern whether or not it’ll be more valuable than Comcast, and that is probably a bad thing since it’s one of the primary indicators of its future potential for said finance folk. While it’s still adding subscribers (a lot of them), it fell below the forecasts it set for itself during the second quarter. This comes amid a spending spree by the company, which is looking to create a ton of original content in order to attract a wider...

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Emptor looks to help companies more easily find contractors in the area

TECHCRUNCH For any company looking to spin up some kind of operation in a new region, one of the first steps may be finding contractors in the area that can actually get the work started — but, especially as companies drift further from cities, that can increasingly become a nightmare that’s quite familiar to Matt Velker. That led to he and his co-founder starting Emptor, a network to connect companies with local contractors in order to get those local projects off the ground effectively. That can range from actual construction to janitorial work or landscaping. A platform like Emptor...

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Spring Health raises $6M to help employees get access to personalized mental health treatment

TECHCRUNCH In recent months, we’ve seen more and more funding flowing into tools for mental wellness — whether that’s AI-driven tools to help patients find help to meditation apps — and it seems like that trend is starting to pick up even more steam as smaller companies are grabbing the attention of investors. There’s another one picking up funding today in Spring Health, a platform for smaller companies to help their employees get more access to mental health treatment. The startup looks to give employers get access to a simple, effective way to start offering that treatment for their...

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Intelligent recruiting platform Greenhouse picks up another $50M

TECHCRUNCH Finding the right talent is a make-or-break situation for any company — especially smaller ones, which might not have the robust tools (or pocket books) of larger companies like Google that have a complete system in place. Recruiting platform Greenhouse hopes to make that process a little bit easier, and it has caught the attention of investors. The company said it has raised a new $50 million financing round from Riverwood Capital, bringing its total funding to $110 million. Greenhouse definitely isn’t the only company that’s starting to pick up a significant amount of funding recently by trying...

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Pinterest is adding a way for users to collaborate on boards

TECHCRUNCH Pinterest is trying to further tap its popularity as a place to plan events, this time adding ways for users to collaborate across boards that are baked directly into the app. Group boards will have their own designated feed, where users will be able to communicate with others collaborating on that board and also get updates on new member additions or added pins. There are also the other typical social structures you’d expect on an app these days, including @-mentions or liking comments. It’s another step to get people onto Pinterest and sticking around as they look to plan events, and create more ways to make the platform more and more sticky. It’s also another quality-of-life improvement that Pinterest seems to have needed for quite some time. It’s those kinds of events — weddings, parties and others — that propelled Pinterest initially to become one of the larger social networks in the early 2010s. The company late last year said it had more than 200 million monthly active users, which while small compared to the likes of Instagram or Facebook, serves as a hub for a different kind of user behavior than you might find on those other platforms. The majority of the content on Pinterest is high-resolution products from businesses, where people will search for or save those products as they look to plan future life events....

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