Author: Megan Rose Dickey

Snap CFO Tim Stone is resigning

TECHCRUNCH Snap CFO Tim Stone is leaving the company, according to documents Snap filed with the SEC today. “Tim has made a big impact in his short time on our team and we are very grateful for all of his hard work,” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel wrote in a memo, obtained by TechCrunch, to employees. “I know we have all benefitted from his customer focus and the way he has encouraged all of us to operate as owners.” This marks Snap’s second CFO departure in the last twelve months. “Mr. Stone has confirmed that this transition is not related...

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Getaround early investor sues car-sharing startup for $1.79 million

TECHCRUNCH Getaround is getting around the courthouse. One of the car-sharing startup’s early investors, Geoffrey Shmigelsky, is suing the company, alleging fraud and unfair conduct. “Our client supported Getaround and Mr. Zaid from the very start, only to be swindled out of $1.785 million that went straight into the pockets of Mr. Zaid’s family and friends, as we allege,” Gaw | Poe LLP Partner Samuel Song said in a statement. “Our client deserved better than this from a person he had supported and trusted for years, and we’ll do what it takes to get what rightfully belongs to him.” Getaround,...

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Blue Apron is confident it will achieve profitability this quarter

TECHCRUNCH Meal kit company Blue Apron expects to achieve profitability this quarter, the company said ahead of its Q4 2018 and fiscal year 2018 financial results. Blue Apron will release its earnings January 31, but said today that, “based on its current view of the business, Blue Apron plans to reaffirm confidence in achieving profitability” on an adjusted EBITDA basis in Q1 2019, as well as for the entire fiscal year. Blue Apron defines EBITDA as its net earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Simply put, it’s a measure of Blue Apron’s operating profitability as a percentage of...

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Why Google engineers worked full-time to combat sex trafficking

TECHCRUNCH When the government seized classified-ads site Backpage, forcing it to shut down in April, it became a lot harder to find and locate potential victims of sex trafficking. While it was symbolically good that the site, whose CEO later pled guilty to charges of sex trafficking, shut down, it created a significant technical challenge for law enforcement and the organizations trying to help prevent sex-trafficking, Google Senior Software Engineer Sam Ainsley told TechCrunch. “Once Backpage was gone, you were looking at an ecosystem in which all of those previously more centralized advertisements [for those being sex trafficked] are being redistributed on much more websites,” Ainsley said. Ainsley got involved with this work through Google.org’s new fellowship program, which embeds Google engineers inside non-profit organizations on a full-time basis for six months. She did this work at Thorn, a non-profit organization founded by Ashton Kutcher that seeks to protect children from sexual abuse and trafficking. Thorn was the first non-profit to host Google Fellows. When Backpage was up-and-running, Thorn had been indexing the advertisements and then providing them to law enforcement in order to facilitate the recovery of victims. That task became harder once Backpage shut down. While working at Thorn, Ainsley and four other Google engineers set out to help make this information more easily available to law enforcement. WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 15: Ashton Kutcher, Actor and Co-Founder of Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, speaks...

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Ahead of IPO, Airbnb achieves profitability for second year in a row

TECHCRUNCH Airbnb, which is expected to go public this year, announced today a number of milestones. For starters, Airbnb says it was profitable on an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) basis for the second year in a row in 2018. In Q3 2018, Airbnb said it had its strongest quarter ever, where it saw “substantially more” than $1 billion in revenue. The following quarter, Airbnb found a replacement for former CFO Laurence Tosi, who left amid tension between him and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. To lead the home-sharing giant into its next phase, Airbnb brought on...

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23andMe updates its ancestry reports, but they’re still not perfect

TECHCRUNCH 23andMe, co-founded by CEO Anne Wojcicki, has deployed its latest update, featuring interactive ancestry details, cultural insights about food, art, language, and the option to order a physical ancestry book. Starting today, customers will be able to see more granular ancestry results from more than 1,000 regions, as well as 33 population-specific pages about cultural information. Before this update, 23andMe simply said I was 12 percent Brtish and Irish. Now, it’s able to break down where in the U.K. my ancestors likely lived. 23andMe, however, was not able to detect more granular data in Ireland. It was also unable to detect additional evidence in Nigeria, where 23andMe says 25.2 percent of my ancestry comes from. That’s likely because, even though 23andMe has made efforts to grow the number of African and African-American people in its dataset, it’s still lacking. Though, it’s worth noting no ancestry service has it all. “The odds of receiving more granular results from a particular region (in your particular case, Ireland or Nigeria) depends on how much Nigerian DNA someone has and how many individuals are in the 23andMe reference dataset,” 23andMeAncestry Group Product Manager Robin Smith told TechCrunch. “The reference dataset is continuously growing, and customers should be seeing even more refined ancestry results later in the year.” Generally speaking, customers who share exact matches between their DNA and reference individuals from a particular...

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Self-driving car startup Zoox gets a new CEO

TECHCRUNCH Self-driving car startup Zoox has selected its new CEO following the unexpected firing of co-founder and former CEO Tim Kentley-Klay in August. Aicha Evans, Intel’s now-former chief strategy officer, is joining Zoox as CEO and member of the Board of Directors on February 26. “I’m thrilled to join Zoox and challenge the status quo with an autonomous mobility system built from the ground up,” Evans said in a press release. “Mobility is approaching a major inflection point, and Zoox has set itself apart from entrenched players as the only company creating a solution purpose-built to meet the needs of a fully autonomous future. I look forward to helping the company’s exceptionally talented team continue to grow as we unlock more technical and commercial milestones.” Last month, the California Public Utilities Commission today granted Zoox a permit to participate in the state’s Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service pilot. During the testing period, Zoox must have a safety driver behind the wheel and will not be allowed to charge passengers for rides. And, as part of the program, Zoox must provide data and reports to the CPUC regarding any incidents, number of passenger miles traveled and passenger safety protocols. Zoox’s long-term plan is to publicly deploy autonomous vehicles by 2020 in the form of its own ride-hailing service. The cars themselves will be all-electric and fully autonomous. To date, Zoox has raised more than $750 million in...

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A group of Google employees plan to educate people about forced arbitration

TECHCRUNCH A group of Google employees are taking to Twitter and Instagram tomorrow in an attempt to educate the public about forced arbitration, Recode first reported. From 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST, this group will share stories and facts about forced arbitration, as well as interviews from survivors and experts. This comes about one month after this same group of 35 employees banded together to demand Google end forced arbitration as it relates to any case of discrimination. The group also called on other tech workers to join them. Forced arbitration ensures workplace disputes are settled behind closed doors...

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