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Goodly looks to give companies student loan payments as an employee benefit

As employers duke it out over hiring the best possible candidates, especially ones coming out of school, they are starting to get a little bit more creative with their incentive packages — and that includes offering an option for paying down student debt. Goodly is a new startup that’s looking to help those employers offer that as a benefit. Smaller companies without the resources to create complicated incentive packages especially need tools that help shortcut the process of offering those benefits. It’s following a similar playbook of companies looking to make it easier to get the tools they need in place and focus more on the set of products that are going to make it an actually differentiated company. Goodly is launching out of Y Combinator’s summer class this year. &...

Portal offers an easy way to pay creators for their content

Portal founder Jonathan Swerdlin is just the latest media pundit to point to advertising as the root cause of the industry’s problems. But he’s not content to diagnose the illness — he thinks he’s created a cure. “Digital media has become toxic, in part, because of advertising,” Swerdlin said. “The unmet and unarticulated need is a peer-to-peer economy where you’re rewarded for creating value, rather than a quantity model” where a publisher or creator’s main economic incentive is to attract as many eyeballs as possible. Naturally, that’s what Swerdlin is trying to offer in Portal. When you open the app, you follow creators and topics that interest you, then get presented with a feed of videos. During or after the video, you can ti...

Google Maps is no longer #flatearth

Go to Google Maps and zoom out. Halfway out, the map’s perspective changes from a traditional flat map view to an interactive globe. Zoom all the way out and the Earth is presented as a globe with landmasses of the appropriate size. Greenland is no longer the size of Africa and all is right with the world. On flat maps, it’s impossible to represent land mass size on a relative scale. Objects in the north and south become distorted as the the flat map compensates for the flattening of the globe. This is most evident in the commonly used Mercator projections that properly represents the size of land around the equator but super-sizes land in the Arctic and Antarctic. Now, when Google Maps is used on Desktop, users will see the appropriate size of land masses. The update is great ...

Epic Games sidesteps the Play Store with Fortnite for Android launch

Epic Games continues to spread the love… to consumers, at least. Following the launches of Fortnite Battle Royale on iOS earlier this year and Fortnite for the Nintendo Switch earlier this summer, Epic Games is now confirming that the Android version of the game will be available exclusively through the Fortnite website. Users can visit Fortnite.com and download the Fortnite Launcher, which will then allow them to load Fortnite Battle Royale onto their devices. When asked why Epic would choose to distribute the game via their own website instead the more official channel of the Google Play Store, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney told TechCrunch in an email: On open platforms like PC, Mac, and Android, Epic’s goal is to bring its games directly to customers. We believe gamers will benefit f...

Optic wants to help developers drop boilerplate code into their development flow

Stack Overflow and other various sites and tools have made it easy to Google search for solutions — or code snippets — to the easier parts of putting together an app or program for developers, but Aidan Cunniffe wants to take that one automated step further. That’s the premise behind Optic, which gives developers a way to grab very common coding use cases that they can drop right into their code. It works by finding the sort of routine additions developers might need, like how to create a form that will add a user to a database, as well as all the ancillary parts that come with that like tests. Optic works within a developer’s IDE, so they don’t have to look externally for the code they need, which is compiled together from online sources. Right now it works for JavaScrip...

Teamleader, the SaaS platform to help SMEs go digital, scores $22M Series C

Teamleader, the SaaS platform that helps SMEs operate in a more digitally savvy way, has closed $22 million in Series C funding. The round was led by London-based Keen Venture Partners, with participation from PMV and existing investors Fortino Capital and Sage Capital. Claiming to serve nearly 10,000 customers in 6 countries — comprised mostly of small and medium-sized enterprises — Belgium-headquartered Teamleader offers a SaaS-based platform to enable SMEs to digitise their business processes. This includes CRM and sales, project management, time tracking, and invoicing. A more recent aspect — and where Teamleader sees future growth — is the Teamleader Marketplace, which allows customers to integrate their favourite local SaaS tools with Teamleader. This is on tr...

MallforAfrica goes global, Kobo360 and Sokowatch raise VC, France explains its $76M fund

Jake Bright Contributor Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor Harley-Davidson to expand EV lineup, may include scooters, bicycles Sokowatch closes $2 million seed round to modernize Africa’s B2B retail B2B e-commerce company Sokowatch closed a $2 million seed investment led by 4DX Ventures. Others to join the round were Village Global, Lynett Capital, Golden Palm Investments and Outlierz  Ventures. The Kenya-based company aims to shake up the supply chain market for Africa’s informal retailers. Sokowatch’s platform connects Africa’s informal retail stores directly to local and multi-national suppliers — such as Unilever and Proctor and Gamble — by digitizing orders, delivery and payments with the aim of reduc...

Warner Music Group acquires Uproxx

Uproxx Media Group — owner of sites like HitFix, Dime and Uproxx itself — has been acquired. The Uproxx site focuses on entertainment and pop culture news, and was founded back in 2008. It was bought by Woven Digital in 2014, which eventually rebranded as Uproxx. Like many digital media companies, it includes both a publishing arm and a studio that works with marketers to create videos and other branded content. Today, Warner Music Group announced that it’s buying the company and its portfolio of websites (minus BroBible, which will continue to operate independently). The company says Uproxx will still to be run by CEO and Chief Creative Benjamin Blank, along with co-founder and Publisher Jarret Myer, and that the individual sites will still have editorial independence. Back in the 1...

Decentralized exchange Radar Relay raises $10 million

Meet Radar Relay, a cryptocurrency startup that just raised $10 million from Blockchain Capital and other investors. The company is taking advantage of the 0x protocol to change your tokens into other tokens without going through a traditional exchange. Centralized exchanges have been one of the main weaknesses of the cryptocurrency industry for years. A centralized exchange can get hacked or shut down. Malicious users can also hijack your account and transfer all your tokens. “I definitely hope centralized exchanges go burn in hell as much as possible,” Vitalik Buterin said in a recent TechCrunch interview. So what is the solution? Decentralized exchanges that never hold your tokens on their wallets. As TechCrunch’s Josh Constine wrote, 0x is a protocol that makes this possible. 0x connec...

Rent the Runway inks $200 million credit facility with Temasek

Rent the Runway today announced that it has partnered with Temasek for a $200 million credit facility. Founded in 2009, Rent the Runway lets users rent items of clothing for special events or occasions, bringing runway styles to folks without the cash to purchase the clothing outright. Rent the Runway started out by letting users rent their wares for about 10 percent of the item’s price. But in 2017, RTR introduced a subscription model, giving users unlimited rentals for $89/month. The model has already been proven by other businesses. RTR started giving users access to fashion in the same way that Netflix gives users access to video, Spotify gives access to music, or even the way ClassPass gives users access to studio fitness classes. Since the subscription launch, RTR’s subsc...

Stampli raises $6.7 M in Series A funding to streamline invoice management

Stampli, an invoice management platform, announced today the closing of a $6.7 M Series A funding round led by SignalFire, with participation from Bloomberg Beta, Hillsven Capital, and UpWest Labs. If you’ve ever freelanced for a company, you’ll know that the long, instant ramen-filled days between filing an invoice and having it completed can be grueling. Brothers Eyal and Ofer Feldman launched Stampli in 2015 to help solve this problem and bridge the communication gap between accountants, related internal departments and vendors. Aimed at mid to large size companies, to date Stampli has helped a wide range of companies (from fashion to tech) manage over $4 billion in invoices through its AI driven interface. “Invoice management is like an elephant,” co-founder and...

Kinside wants families to make the most of their dependent care flexible spending accounts

Kinside founders Rob Bircher, Shadiah Sigala and Abe Han The cost of childcare is one of the biggest financial burdens American families face. Even dependent care flexible spending accounts, pre-tax benefit accounts meant to reduce caregiving costs, can be an extra stressor because they involve filling out many forms. Kinside, a startup in Y Combinator’s current batch, wants to help by automating the claims process. It also serves as a childcare management tool, letting parents pay their care providers with a Venmo-like feature while making it simpler for companies to offer childcare benefits, like matching costs, that can help attract talented employees. Kinside is still in beta, but it’s already been adopted by several tech companies, including Le Tote. Kinside’s three founders—CEO Shadi...

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