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Month: May 2019

Groupon cofounder Eric Lefkofsky just raised another $200 million for his newest company, Tempus

When serial entrepreneur Eric Lefkofsky grows a company, he puts the pedal to the metal. When in 2011 his last company, the Chicago-based coupons site Groupon, raised $950 million from investors, it was the largest amount raised by a start-up, ever. It was just over three years old at the time, and it went public later that same year. Lefkofsky seems to be stealing a page from the same playbook for his newest company Tempus. The Chicago-based genomic testing and data analysis company was founded a little more than three years ago, yet it has already hired nearly 700 employees and raised more than $500 million — including through a new $ 200 million round that values the company at $3.1 billion. According to the Chicago Tribune, that new valuation makes it — as Groupon once was ...

Diving deep into Africa’s blossoming tech scene

Jumia may be the first startup you’ve heard of from Africa. But the e-commerce venture that recently listed on the NYSE is definitely not the first or last word in African tech. The continent has an expansive digital innovation scene, the components of which are intersecting rapidly across Africa’s 54 countries and 1.2 billion people. When measured by monetary values, Africa’s tech ecosystem is tiny by Shenzen or Silicon Valley standards. But when you look at volumes and year over year expansion in VC, startup formation, and tech hubs, it’s one of the fastest growing tech markets in the world. In 2017, the continent also saw the largest global increase in internet users—20 percent. If you’re a VC or founder in London, Bangalore, or San Francisco, you’ll likely interact with some part...

An insider’s look into venture with Andreessen Horowitz’ Scott Kupor

After a decade in the peculiar world of venture capital, Andreessen Horowitz managing director Scott Kupor has seen it all when it comes to the do’s and dont’s for dealing with Valley VCs and company building. In his new book Secrets of Sand Hill Road (available on June 3rd), Scott offers up an updated guide on what VCs actually do, how they think and how founders should engage with them. TechCrunch’s Silicon Valley editor Connie Loizos will be sitting down with Scott for an exclusive conversation on Tuesday, June 4th at 11:00 am PT. Scott, Connie and Extra Crunch members will be digging into the key takeaways from Scott’s book, his experience in the Valley, and the opportunities that excite him most today. Tune in to join the conversation and for the opportunity to ask S...

Touring Factory Berlin, Europe’s ‘largest club for startups’

According to the startups at Factory Berlin, it’s not just another coworking space. After all, the company took its name from Andy Warhol’s famous factory in New York City, and it describes itself as “Europe’s largest club for startups.” Late last year, we toured Factory Berlin’s five-story, 14,000 square meter location in Görlitzer Park. Yes, it’s a building where startups can rent workspace, but as part of the tour, we had a chance to talk to several entrepreneurs, and everyone described it as a real community. “Being part of the community, to us, means not isolating ourselves from the outer world,” said Code University founder Tom Bachem. “Or especially in Berlin, from the great startup ecosystem that we have — but instead, rea...

Security startup Bugcrowd on crowdsourcing bug bounties: ‘Cybersecurity is a people problem’

For a cybersecurity company, Bugcrowd relies much more on people than it does on technology. For as long as humans are writing software, developers and programmers are going to make mistakes, said Casey Ellis, the company’s founder and chief technology officer in an interview TechCrunch from his San Francisco headquarters. “Cybersecurity is fundamentally a people problem,” he said. “Humans are actually the root of the problem,” he said. And when humans made coding mistakes that turn into bugs or vulnerabilities that be exploited, that’s where Bugcrowd comes in — by trying to mitigate the fallout before they can be maliciously exploited. Founded in 2011, Bugcrowd is one of the largest bug bounty and vulnerability disclosure companies on the internet today...

10 Change Recommendations To Meet Business Pressures

Every business professional needs to stay cool under pressure, to be a top performer, and for the sake of their own health. Yet everyone has a melting point – a critical threshold where pressure causes them to respond irrationally. Many people believe their threshold is permanently set by family genetics, or cultural influences, but I believe anyone can train themselves to stay cool. In my role as a business advisor, I’ve seen it happen many times as business leaders mature, and I’ve felt the change in myself over time. I’ve always been looking for the specific behaviors required to make the change, so I was pleased to see some real guidance in a classic book, “The Melting Point,” by Dr. Christian Marcolli, a world-class expert on sustainable high performance. I like his ten behavioral cha...

Foursquare buys Placed from Snap Inc. on the heels of $150M in new funding

Foursquare just made its first acquisition. The location tech company has acquired Placed from Snap Inc on the heels of a fresh $150 million investment led by the Raine Group. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Placed founder and CEO David Shim will become President of Foursquare. Placed is the biggest competitor to Foursquare’s Attribution product, which allows brands to track the physical impact (foot traffic to store) of a digital campaign or ad. Up until now, Placed and Attribution by Foursquare combined have measured over $3 billion in ad-to-store visits. Placed launched in 2011 and raised $13.4 million (according to Crunchbase) before being acquired by Snap Inc. in 2017. As part of the deal with Foursquare, the company’s Attribution product will henceforth be known...

The Slack origin story

Let’s rewind a decade. It’s 2009. Vancouver, Canada. Stewart Butterfield, known already for his part in building Flickr, a photo-sharing service acquired by Yahoo in 2005, decided to try his hand — again — at building a game. Flickr had been a failed attempt at a game called Game Neverending followed by a big pivot. This time, Butterfield would make it work. To make his dreams a reality, he joined forces with Flickr’s original chief software architect Cal Henderson, as well as former Flickr employees Eric Costello and Serguei Mourachov, who like himself, had served some time at Yahoo after the acquisition. Together, they would build Tiny Speck, the company behind an artful, non-combat massively multiplayer online game. Years later, Butterfield would pull off a...

Why Dragos’ CEO puts a premium on people not profits

Written in his company’s handbook, there’s one rule for working at Dragos. “Don’t be an asshole.” “The first key to our success is our people and that we hire good people,” said Robert Lee, the company’s founder and chief executive, in an interview with TechCrunch. “I think building a successful team is about having a standard and saying that I expect you all to be adults and not need a million HR policies,” he said. Lee’s management approach revolves around his company’s greatest asset — his staff. With 125 employees, the company has seen rapid growth since its founding in 2016 but puts great importance on maintaining the company’s relaxed but productive culture. Lee said he doesn’t want to change its cult...

Alibaba pumps $100 million into Vmate to grow its video app in India

Chinese tech giant Alibaba is doubling down on India’s burgeoning video market, looking to fight back local rival ByteDance, Google, and Disney to gain its foothold in the nation. The company said today that it is pumping $100 million into Vmate, a three-year-old social video app owned by subsidiary UC Web. Vmate was launched as a video streaming and sharing app in 2016. But in the years since, it has added features such as video downloads and 3-dimensional face emojis to expand its use cases. It has amassed 30 million users globally, and will use the capital to scale its business in India, the company told TechCrunch. Alibaba Group did not respond to TechCrunch’s questions about its ownership of the app. The move comes as Alibaba revives its attempts to take on the growing social vi...

Password manager Dashlane raises $110M in Series D, adds CMO

Password manager maker Dashlane has raised $110 million in its latest round of funding, the company said Thursday. The company said Sequoia Capital led the Series D round, with partner Jim Goetz joining the board. Dashlane also said Lyft executive Joy Howard was appointed as its new chief marketing officer and will start in August. Dashlane said it will invest its latest funds back into its core product and will focus on addressing the needs of its consumer and business customers. Chief executive Emmanuel Schalit said the company is “only scratching the surface” of its security opportunities. “Billions of people and millions of businesses around the world feel the pain of digital identity — from breaches to stolen identities and the nuisance of remembering passwords...

OpenAI’s Sam Altman and Greg Brockman will tell Disrupt about tomorrow’s jobs

OpenAI’s co-founders Greg Brockman and Sam Altman aren’t afraid of Terminator robots. At TechCrunch Disrupt SF in October, they’ll tell our audience why it’s the more subtle repercussions of artificial general intelligence like its impact on employment, cyberwarfare, and concentration of power that shake the duo. But the epic potential for the technology to generate widescale abundance for humanity led Altman to leave his gig as the head of iconic accelerator Y Combinator to become CEO of OpenAI. “I really do believe that the work we’re doing at OpenAI…will not only far eclipse the work I did at YC but the work that anyone in the tech industry does,” Altman said recently. Brockman and Altman will join us on stage at Disrupt to talk about why they&#...

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