Author: Romain Dillet

BlaBlaCar to acquire Ouibus and offer bus service

TECHCRUNCH French startup BlaBlaCar is announcing plans to acquire Ouibus, the bus division of France’s national railway company SNCF. For the first time, BlaBlaCar is moving beyond carpooling and plans to offer both long-distance carpooling rides and bus rides. BlaBlaCar already ran a test with Ouibus for the past six months on popular corridors. It looks like both companies are happy with this test as SNCF is willing to let BlaBlaCar run Ouibus from now on. As part of this deal, BlaBlaCar is announcing a new $114 million investment (€101 million) from SNCF and existing BlaBlaCar investors. I’d guess...

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With the Paris Call, Macron wants to limit cyberattacks

TECHCRUNCH French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech at the Internet Governance Forum at the UNESCO in Paris. While the IGF has been around for a while, it hasn’t been as active as some would have hoped. That’s why the French government is issuing the Paris Call, a short three-page document on cybersecurity. President Macron hopes to foster the IGF and create a subgroup of countries (and companies) that can agree on cybersecurity issues. “Fist, internet works and is here. And even though news bulletins are riddled with cyber incidents, we blindly trust tech tools,” Macron said. And yet,...

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Facebook to let French regulators investigate on moderation processes

TECHCRUNCH Facebook and the French government are going to cooperate to look at Facebook’s efforts when it comes to moderation. French regulators will launch an informal investigation on algorithm-powered and human moderation. Facebook is willing to cooperate and give unprecedented access to its internal processes. This announcement is the result of informal talks between Facebook’s top executives and the French government that started with the Tech for Good Summit back in May. Former British Prime Minister and Facebook Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg unveiled the program during a lunch reception at the Élysée. “It is in...

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Bubble lets you create web applications with no coding experience

TECHCRUNCH Meet Bubble a bootstrapped startup that has been building a powerful service that lets you create a web application even if you don’t know how to code. Many small and big companies rely on Bubble for their website. I have to say I was quite skeptical when I first heard about Bubble. Many startups have already tried to make coding as easy as playing with Lego bricks. But it’s always frustratingly limited. Bubble is more powerful than your average website building service. It recreates all the major pillars of web programming in a visual interface. It starts with a design tab. You start with a blank canvas and you can create web pages by dragging and dropping visual elements on the screen. You can put elements wherever you want, resize maps, text boxes, images and more. You can click on the preview button to see the development version of your time whenever your want. In the second tab, you can create the logic behind your site. It works a bit like Automator on the Mac. You add blocks to create a chronological action. You can set some conditions within each block. In the third tab, you can interact with your database. For instance, you can create a sign up page and store profile information in the database. At any time, you can import and export data. There are...

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Let’s take off with the European Space Agency at Disrupt Berlin

TECHCRUNCH A few years ago, nobody would have bet that space exploration would become so exciting again. But everybody is talking about space again, from Mars to satellites, launchers and observation. That’s why we invited Frank Salzgeber from the European Space Agency to talk at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin. The European Space Agency needs little introduction. It has been one of the earliest and most successful European programs with 22 member states and many key innovations. The agency participates in the International Space Station program, is in charge of unmanned exploration missions on multiple planets and more. The ESA also develops its own launcher with Arianespace and maintains a spaceport at Kourou. Ariane 5 recently celebrated its 100th launch, and I still have vivid memories of the first flight when I was a kid. Ariane 6 is right around the corner with a test flight scheduled for 2020. It’ll be much more efficient than Ariane 5 at half the cost. But Arianespace is still facing competition from smaller launchers, such as the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the Chinese Long March 3B. Now that satellites are getting smaller and smaller, cost is becoming increasingly important compared capacity. And if you think we shouldn’t forget about human space flights, Salzgeber agrees with you. He’s been defending human exploration at the ESA and keeps saying that “a society that stops exploring stops progressing.”...

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Photomath raises $6 million for its math solving app

TECHCRUNCH Photomath just raised a $6 million funding round from Goodwater Capital with Learn Capital also participating. Photomath has created a hugely successful mobile app for iOS and Android with 100 million downloads so far. Photomath first launched at TechCrunch Disrupt London back in 2014. The company was working on text recognition technology. Photomath was just a demo app to promote that technology. But the startup accidentally created a consumer success. The app instantly attracted millions of downloads from many desperate students willing to learn math with their phones. Years later, the app is still one of the most...

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Lydia launches mobile phone insurance

TECHCRUNCH French startup Lydia is launching an insurance product for your mobile phone. For €4.29 per month ($4.89), you can insure your phone from the Lydia app. Lydia is one of the most popular peer-to-peer payment apps in Europe with 1.5 million users. Think about it as a sort of Venmo or Square Cash for Europe. More recently, the company started offering more options to manage your money with a premium subscription and additional features. While Lydia doesn’t want to replace your bank and insurance company, the company is offering an insurance product for the first time. Lydia is...

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Lizzie Chapman to talk about building a fintech startup in India at Disrupt Berlin

TECHCRUNCH Fintech startups are growing rapidly in Europe. But it doesn’t mean that the fintech revolution is limited to Europe. That’s why I’m glad to announce that Lizzie Chapman from ZestMoney is coming to TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin to talk about her unique Indian startup. ZestMoney wants to make it easier to lend money to buy goods online. In the U.S., the vast majority of people have a credit card and a credit score. But India is a different market, and ZestMoney is trying to replace the credit card altogether. When you shop on an e-commerce website in India, such...

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