Author: Mike Butcher

Tune in for the The Duke Of York’s live Pitch @ Palace annual event right here

TECHCRUNCH The Duke Of York’s Pitch@Palace event is are now a regular annual feature fixture in the London startup scene, and TechCrunch is delighted to live stream the pitches of the teams Pitch@Palace has selected from its events throughout the year. Today you can watch the event being broadcast live right here from 17.40 London time or 09.40 SF time. [embedded content] Today is the final event of Pitch@Palace 7.0, following a tour of other cities including Sunderland, Birmingham and Cardiff. All 43 Entrepreneurs Pitched at their Boot Camp at the University of Nottingham where judges selected 12 of...

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Jimmy Wales’ Wikitribune to combat fake news with wiki-powered journalism

TECHCRUNCH With fake news continuing to dominate the discussion about the future of the media and role of social networks in spreading it, many in the tech world have tried to come up with ways to fight this new cancer. Various pronouncements have been mad by Google, Facebook and Twitter about tweaking their algorithms. But it’s hard to get away from the fact that human beings are probably going to have to be involved somewhere along the line. Step forward a new project from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Today he launches a crowd-funding campaign for Wikitribune. This will be...

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How a Berlin startup beat the online giants at image recognition

TECHCRUNCH Can a machine learn aesthetics in a way a human would? Could it then look at a set of photos, and draw on those same aesthetics to reproduce a different set? It’s a big question because it has long-term implications for how AI is going to develop. What are aesthetics anyway? Is it just what you “like”? How does it all work? When you as a human find it hard to express what you like do you think a machine going to find it easy? Above is an image by Pantea Naghavi Anaraki, winner of The Photojournalist category...

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Snap acquires the crucial geofilter patent from Mobli for a record $7.7M

TECHCRUNCH According to Snap’s S-1 Filing for its IPO, of the $400m in revenues the company has, $360 million is made by selling “Geofilters”, or photo filters based on location which advertisers can buy. So owning the patent on that concept would seem pretty crucial. But Snapchat has never had such a patent, until now. Mobli, an Instagram competitor launched 6 years ago which failed to get ahead of its competitor, actually patented the idea of Geo-photo filters in 2012, after launching it the previous year. But according to sources, serial entrepreneur and investor Moshe Hogeg, who co-founded Mobli,...

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The world of Minority Report is about to be unlocked, and the key is inside your phone

TECHCRUNCH Remember that scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise’s character walks into a Gap and an AI voice asks him if he’s still enjoying the trousers he bought last week? That vision was dreamt up by MIT consultants to the film many years ago, and as of today it would be entirely possible to reproduce, given we all now walk around with smartphones which could be alerted in such a manner. There’s just a few snags. GPS, Bluetooth, NFC and Beacons are all technologies which have singularly failed to live up to the hype around hyper-location targeting. My...

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Erdogan’s victory means uncertain times for Turkey’s startups

TECHCRUNCH In 2008 I had the privilege to travel to Istanbul to check out the tech scene.  I’d arranged a tech startups meet-up with Arda Kutsal, a local blogger who’d started Webrazzi, a tech blog. I landed at the airport and caught a taxi to the hotel we’d agreed to meet at, thinking the meet-up would be in the bar. “No sir,” said the lady on reception, “your event is in the ballroom”. So, I trundled by carry-on luggage down the hall until I opened a huge door, only to find around 800 people listening to speeches. From the stage, Arda pointed to me said “Welcome Mike!” into the microphone, whereupon the whole ballroom swung around to see me standing there with my luggage. Now, I’m telling you this story not merely to reminisce, but to illustrate how hungry the tech scene in Turkey was to develop. And develop it did. l In the intervening years Webrazzi has grown to become, ‘effectively’ the TechCrunch of Turkey, operating its own conferences, while others have sprung up. Turkish startups like Trendyol appeared, started by Demet Mutlo, one of the many taking advantage of Turkey’s booming economy. With a population of 80 million, most of them under 30, Turkey looked like it had a bright future. Even as the dark clouds of political unrest started to appear a few years ago, those...

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Developer tools startup Wercker has been acquired by Oracle

TECHCRUNCH Back in 2012 Wercker, a Dutch startup which helps developers test and deploy code at a rapid pace, appeared. It fitted into the space of emerging new platforms that help developers build apps such as CloudBees, CircleCi and newcomers like CloudMunch. After raising a seed round it raised a $4.5 million Series A funding round last year. It’s today been acquired by Oracle for an undisclosed sum, which was clearly attracted by its container-centric and cloud-native automation platform, among others things. Oracle and Wrecker are in alignment in that Oracle is building out its IaaS and PaaS foundation...

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Why go on safari when you can feed an African lion live, via VR

TECHCRUNCH One of the main uses of VR that has emerged since the technology experience a resurgence is the ability to make you empathise with what you are experiencing. This happened to me the first time I ever did VR, when I watched Clouds Over Sidra, a short VR documentary that put you in the shoes of a Syrian refugee girl, living in a camp in Jordan. I don’t mind admitting that it actually made me cry on my video about the film. It’s this empathy effect that new startup Fountain Digital Labs is is trying to tap into...

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