Author: Mike Butcher

Open Mineral plans to disrupt commodities trading with blockchain

TECHCRUNCH Commodity trading is a very old industry which focuses on raw materials, like lead or copper, that are worth hundreds of billions. These materials are constantly moving from producers to consumers in a global market worth about $80bn, but it often lacks efficiency and transparency. Meanwhile, intermediaries make a lot of money just by acting as the middlemen. That’s where blockchain could, in theory, be applied, but introducing great transparency. Open Mineral, a physical commodities trading platform, has now closed an investment round ($2.25 million) to do just that. The idea is to increase the efficiency of the market for base and precious metal raw materials using blockchain. Its digital platform, Open Mineral Exchange, will bring together sellers and buyers, mining and metals companies, allowing them to transact directly and securely, without intermediaries. It will also digitize and streamline the complicated and paper-heavy process. These newer trading platforms for physical commodities have been appearing in the last couple of years. Tradecloud, for example, addresses the refined metal market, while Metalshub focuses on ferroalloys. None of the current platforms use blockchain.The Open Mineral model will rely on a success-based fee which will depend on the value/chemical composition of the material and the volume transacted. The platform currently focuses on zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver concentrate markets, but could expand into other concentrates in the future.Open Mineral became the...

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UK’s Open Cosmos raises $7M Series A to democratize satellites

TECHCRUNCH As you can probably imagine, launching satellites is a complicated business. To get into the game, companies must often go to the biggest players, like Nasa. It makes puts the opportunity for small companies to participate in the benefits of satellite usage completely out of reach. Until recently. Mini or nano-satellites are proliferating and so are the startups producing them. But even in this newer scenario, there are many moving parts, from manufacturing to launching, to the systems that might capture the data you want. But an innovative startup thinks it has the solution: create a turnkey, end-to-end...

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Our event on blockchain will feature the CryptoKitties founder

TECHCRUNCH TechCrunch is poised to break through the huge noise surrounding blockchain with a new event. Zug, the Swiss Canton just outside of Zurich, has come to be known as “Crypto Valley” because it’s become a regulatory haven where startups are increasingly filing their Initial Coin Offerings. It’s also turned into a place where Blockchain startups are actually putting people on the ground in order to deal with the fast-moving regulatory environment. But the location matters less than the people we will be assembling to speak at our special TechCrunch Session on Blockchain there. We have some amazing people...

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EU ties pay off, as EIF puts $74M into Dawn Capital’s $232M fund

TECHCRUNCH UK VCs were sent a message today by the EU: Continue to invest in European companies and we’ll invest in you. That at least seems to be the takeaway from the news that Dawn Capital, which has built up a reputation as an investor in early-stage SaaS and Fintech businesses in the UK and Europe, has closed its third fund, Dawn III at $232 million (£165 million), with the help of the European Investment Fund (EIF). The EIF is committing £52 million after previously said it would no longer invest in UK venture capital due to Brexit. But...

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Lyft’s Raj Kapoor joins the TechCrunch Tel Aviv conference on mobility, June 7

TECHCRUNCH The TechCrunch Tel Aviv conference on mobility is in June and we’re excited to announce that Raj Kapoor, the Chief Strategy Officer for Lyft, will be joining as a speaker. TechCrunch Tel Aviv will focus on mobility and all that it implies, such as autonomous vehicles, drones, you name it. As well as being the Chief Strategy Officer, he is also the Head of Business for Lyft’s self-driving division. And he also serves as a board advisor for ClassPass, and a Venture Advisor at Mayfield Fund. Prior to Lyft, Kapoor was a co-founder and CEO of both Snapfish...

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Fantasy sports platforms could have a big future in blockchain

TECHCRUNCH With the number of fantasy sports players in North America heading past 60m, and the industry said to be worth over $7 billion, fantasy sports games are clearly on the rise. On the web, the two biggest players are FanDuel and DraftKings, which between them control 90% of the market. But translating that kind of business into a blockchain world could have even more potential, turning the reward system into a cryptocurrency nirvana. This is the aim of two blockchain-based startups, No Limit Fantasy Sports and MyDFS. Both have differing models, but both are aiming at the incumbents...

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TPH raises a Seed round to ride the vintage clothing wave

TECHCRUNCH A report by US reseller ThredUP estimates that second-hand fashion will soon overtake “fast fashion”, with an expected market worth of $41 billion USD by 2022. According to the site, in 2017 resale equated to six percent of the fashion market, with fast fashion at nine percent. By 2027 however, it’s projected to sit at 11 percent for resale and 10 percent for fast fashion. Why? Because there is a huge glut of clothes in the market, that’s why. You people are just not buying all the clothes that are being made. The trend is starting to affect...

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Interiors marketplace eporta raises $8M, led by Canvas Ventures

TECHCRUNCH In this day and age of higher expectation in offices, sourcing your furniture from Ikea no longer cuts the proverbial mustard. But the furniture industry is notoriously old fashioned, forcing buyers to leaf through hundreds of paper catalogues, most of which are outdated by the time you get around to ordering. The global design and furniture industry is worth $700 billion, and yet most of its processes for customers are stuck in a previous age. Wouldn’t it be better if someone digitised those manufacturer catalogues, and allowed you to order direct, cutting out the middle-men? This is what...

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