Author: Romain Dillet

And the winner of Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF 2017 is… Pi

TECHCRUNCH Next Story Why women are coming forward about harassment and discrimination At the very beginning, there were 22 startups. After three days of incredibly fierce competition, we now have a winner. Startups participating in the Startup Battlefield have all been hand-picked to participate in our highly competitive startup competition. They all presented in front of multiple groups of VCs and tech leaders serving as judges for a chance to win $50,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup. After hours of deliberations, TechCrunch editors pored over the judges’ notes and narrowed the list down to six finalists: Augmedics, colormass, Future Family, Matic, Onēva and Pi. These startups made their way to the finale to demo in front of our final panel of judges, which included: Theresia Gouw (Aspect Ventures), Kirsten Green (Forerunner Ventures), Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures), Ann Miura-Ko (Floodgate), Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch) and Krishna Yeshwant (GV). Applications for the Startup Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin are now open. Please apply if you’d like to participate. And now, meet the Startup Battlefield winner of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2017. Winner: Pi Pi is building a device that can charge multiple devices within about a foot in any direction. It’s not the full-room charging concept that other companies have spent years trying to tackle, but it provides a good bit more flexibility over a pad. Read more about Pi in our separate post. Runner-up:...

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Augmedics is building augmented reality glasses for spinal surgery

TECHCRUNCH Meet Augmedics, an Israeli startup that is working on an augmented reality headsets for surgeons performing spinal surgery. The company is participating in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. Computer assisted surgery systems are nothing new. Plenty of surgeons look at a screen while performing an operation. But Vizor is something new. Instead of making you look away from your patient, the device acts as a heads up display and gives you superpowers. Vizor is a sort of eyewear with clear glasses. But it can also project your patient’s spine in 3D so that you can locate...

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CryptoMove protects sensitive data by fragmenting it and moving it around

TECHCRUNCH CryptoMove thinks that data encryption is not enough. If you want to protect your data against hackers, the startup is using a new strategy by fragmenting your data, encrypting it and moving it around so that it doesn’t stay still on a server somewhere. CryptoMove is participating in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. At the same time, CryptoMove doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. It works with your existing storage architecture and uses existing encryption algorithms. If you’re storing data on your own servers, you can hook them up with CryptoMove. And if you’re using a...

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Apple’s Lisa Jackson says the EPA hasn’t changed, leadership has changed

TECHCRUNCH Apple’s Vice President Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson has a lot to say about the Environmental Protection Agency. She served as the administrator of the EPA during Obama’s first term, and she now thinks Donald Trump’s administration is causing a great threat to the agency. “The Environmental Protection Agency is, to me, an extension of the Department of Defense,” she said. “It protects something really important in this country, which is a huge competitive advantage. We have clean air to breathe, water to drink and land to develop and build on.” “And I just have to say the EPA hasn’t changed. There’s a leadership change, which is beyond politics in my mind. The EPA has been run by Democrats, by Republicans, but has never, in its history that is 40+ years old, been run by someone who seems to be determined to do the one thing that could destroy its credibility, which is not making it transparent.” Jackson didn’t stop there. She also thinks that it’s important to let the EPA do its job and protect everybody’s health. It is not the case right now. “Every EPA administrator has committed to regulate transparently. We don’t have that commitment anymore. It’s not the EPA, it’s that the leadership has decided to move away from the transparency that assures people that their health and their community come first...

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Google’s AI chief thinks reports of the AI apocalypse are greatly exaggerated

TECHCRUNCH John Giannandrea from Google had many great things to say about artificial intelligence at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. In particular, he thinks that people are too scared about general purpose artificial intelligence. A few years ago, Giannandrea compared artificial intelligence to a 4-year-old child. Today, he revised his statement and said that it’s even worse than that. “They’re not nearly as general purpose as a 4-year-old child,” he said. “I think there’s a huge amount of hype around AI right now. There’s a lot of people that are unreasonably concerned around the rise of general AI,” Giannandrea said. “Machine learning and artificial intelligence are extremely important and will revolutionize our industry. What we’re doing is building tools like the Google search engine and making you more productive.” TechCrunch’s moderator Frederic Lardinois went one step further and asked Giannandrea if he was concerned about the AI apocalypse. “I’m definitely not worried about the AI apocalypse,” he said. “I just object to the hype and soundbites that some people are making,” he added later in the interview. Sorry, Elon Musk. I’m definitely not worried about the AI apocalypse — John Giannandrea Many people are also concerned about the fact that Google and other big tech companies are the only ones who can build competitive machine learning-powered products. Companies like Google are sitting on huge piles of data, have the capabilities to...

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Younited Credit raises $47.8 million for its crowdlending platform

TECHCRUNCH French startup Younited Credit is building the biggest crowdlending platform in continental Europe. The company just raised $47.8 million (€40 million) to launch in new countries, work on new product features and more. Younited Credit is currently live in France, Spain and Italy as a consumer-facing product. Consumers can borrow anything between $1,200 and $48,000 (€1,000 and €40,000) without talking to an actual bank. 40 percent of borrowers ask for a small amount between $1,200 and $3,600 (€1,000 and €3,000). On the other side of the equation, other users can lend money, as well as companies, pension funds,...

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Google’s Heather Adkins thinks everybody is going to get hacked and you need to be ready

TECHCRUNCH Google’s Information Security Manager Heather Adkins has a pretty good track record. The company was last hacked in 2009, that’s why Adkins had some good advice for startups in the audience at TechCrunch Disrupt SF. “At some point in the history of your company, you’re probably going to get hacked. The question is not whether or not you’re going to get hacked, but are you ready?” Adkins said. “Are you going to be able to very quickly make decisions about what to do next?” In other words, you need to think about your emergency strategy right now. Think about the ways you can protect your user data so that it’s useless if someone can access it. And one of the reasons why you’re going to get hacked is because most technology companies rely on open source software. Hackers can use this opportunity to find 0-day vulnerabilities. It’s the reason why you should keep all your dependencies patched at all times. “I think it’s the cost of doing business with open source software. The reality is that we have to stay on top of it,” Adkins said. “Even if you’re just two people in a garage, one of you need to be in charge of security, whether it’s part time as an IT person or as a lead software developer.” “Rather than spending tons and tons of money on...

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Alexa Shop Assist wins the Disrupt SF 2017 Hackathon Grand Prize

TECHCRUNCH It’s been a long night at Pier 48 in San Francisco. The building hosted a very special competition — the Disrupt SF Hackathon. Hundreds of engineers and designers got together to come up with something cool, something neat, something awesome. The only condition was that they only had 24 hours to work on their projects. Some of them were participating in our event for the first time, while others were regulars. Some of them slept on the floor in a corner, while others drank too much Red Bull. We could all feel the excitement in the air when...

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