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Casper opens a storefront for $25 naps

Casper is opening a storefront designed specifically for sleepy New Yorkers in need of a nap. In The Dreamery, you can reserve nooks for 45 minutes at a time, at a cost of $25 per session. These nooks are basically giant wooden “O”s with curtains and soundproofed backing, and of course they’re stocked with Casper beds. It’s easy to dismiss or giggle about a nap store, but it seems a lot less funny when it’s a warm afternoon and you’re having trouble keeping your eyes open at work. In fact, I will happily confess to taking advantage of the TechCrunch New York couch after a big lunch, or after a morning that started stupidly early thanks to deadlines and embargoes. The Dreamery, of course, is a lot fancier than the office couch, as I discovered when I drop...

Dirt Protocol raises $3M for a decentralized, blockchain-based approach to information vetting

The team at Dirt Protocol is using blockchain technology to create a new approach to verify information. The startup doesn’t plan to launch its platform until later this year, but it announced today that it has raised $3 million in seed funding from General Catalyst, Greylock, Lightspeed, Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group, SV Angel, Avichal Garg, Elad Gil, Fred Ehrsam Linda Xi and others. Founder Yin Wu previously created lockscreen startup Echo (acquired by Microsoft in 2015) and laundry startup Prim. She told me that after becoming interested in the cryptocurrency industry, she was concerned about the fear, uncertainty and doubt around coin offerings — after all, we’ve covered several ICOs where companies appear to have disappeared with people’s money. “The ...

Come see Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi at TC Disrupt

In the days of Uber 1.0, the ethos seemed to be about doing all the wrong things. Now, with former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi at the helm, Uber is clearly on its way to becoming a sort of Expedia for transportation. Though, Khosrowshahi has previously likened Uber’s business to aligning more with the idea of an Amazon for transportation. At TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco in September, Khosrowshahi will join me to discuss Uber’s big plan to own the entire transportation experience for people, the highs and lows of his first year on the job, Uber’s upcoming initial public offering and much more. Under Khosrowshahi’s leadership, Uber officially became a multi-modal transportation platform with its acquisition of JUMP Bikes for about $200 million, the launch of Ube...

Real estate platform Nestio raises $4.5 million

Real estate platform Nestio is getting new funding as it continues to expand its footprint beyond New York City into other large U.S. markets. The startup’s software gives real estate owners and managers a hub to handle things like leasing and marketing. The round, which they announced today, was led by Camber Creek and Trinity Ventures, with participation from other real estate firms, including Rudin Ventures, Currency M, The Durst Organization, LeFrak Ventures and Torch Venture Capital. The startup has raised around $16 million to date. Nestio is building up its unit count in new markets, including Boston, Chicago, Houston and Dallas, and is seeking to expand operations with existing customers in NYC. The startup says that it’s grown the amount of units on its platform by 250...

Alan introduces Alan Blue, a high-end health insurance product

French startup Alan has been mostly focused on its main health insurance product — a standard package for companies of all sizes and shapes. The company is launching a second offering on this market with Alan Blue. Companies can now choose between two levels of insurance — Alan Green and Alan Blue. Alan Green is the existing health insurance product with a new name. It still costs the same and offers the same level of coverage. Alan Blue is a higher-end product with better coverage for companies who want to retain talent using better benefits. French employees automatically get basic coverage from the national healthcare system. But companies also need to provide a health insurance from a private company to pay for part of the health expenses. It’s a hybrid system with a strong legal ...

Facial recognition startup Kairos acquires Emotion Reader

Kairos, the face recognition technology used for brand marketing, has announced the acquisition of EmotionReader. EmotionReader is an Limerick, Ireland-based startup that uses algorithms to analyze facial expressions around video content. The startup allows brands and marketers to measure viewers emotional response to video, analyze viewer response via an analytics dashboard, and make different decisions around media spend based on viewer response. The acquisition makes sense considering that Kairos core business is focused on facial identification for enterprise clients. Knowing who someone is, paired with how they feel about your content, is a powerful tool for brands and marketers. The idea for Kairos started when founder Brian Brackeen was making HR time-clocking systems for Apple. Peo...

Timehop admits that additional personal data was compromised in breach

Timehop is admitting that additional personal information was compromised in a data breach on July 4. The company first acknowledged the breach on Sunday, saying that users’ names, email addresses and phone numbers had been compromised. Today it said it that additional information, including date of birth and gender, was also taken. To understand what happened, and what Timehop is doing to fix things, I spoke to CEO Matt Raoul, COO Rick Webb and the security consultant that the company hired to manage its response. (The security consultant agreed to be interviewed on-the-record on the condition that they not be named.) To be clear, Timehop isn’t saying that there was a separate breach of its data. Instead, the team has discovered that more data was taken in the already-announce...

Pinterest is adding a way for users to collaborate on boards

Pinterest is trying to further tap its popularity as a place to plan events, this time adding ways for users to collaborate across boards that are baked directly into the app. Group boards will have their own designated feed, where users will be able to communicate with others collaborating on that board and also get updates on new member additions or added pins. There are also the other typical social structures you’d expect on an app these days, including @-mentions or liking comments. It’s another step to get people onto Pinterest and sticking around as they look to plan events, and create more ways to make the platform more and more sticky. It’s also another quality-of-life improvement that Pinterest seems to have needed for quite some time. It’s those kinds of ...

Next Insurance, an insurtech targeting small businesses, scores $83M Series B led by Redpoint

Next Insurance, the Israeli digital insurance startup that helps small businesses get cover, has raised a significant new funding round, adding another $83 million to its balance sheet. The Series B round is led by Silicon Valley’s Redpoint Ventures, and will be used by the company to continue expanding across the U.S., where it now operates as a full service insurance carrier. It will also increase headcount in both its Israel and U.S. offices. Founded in 2016 with the aim of becoming a one-stop insurance shop for micro and small business insurance needs, Next Insurance designs insurance plans for business sectors that are often overlooked by more general insurers. Small business owners often rely on price comparison websites to figure out what kind of coverage they need and where t...

Xara Cloud is an easy to use design tool to help businesses create better looking content

Xara is on a mission to help businesses create better looking content, and in turn save us all from having to consume visually unappealing marketing and comms material. The German startup has developed Xara Cloud, a design tool that resides in the cloud and attempts to bridge the gap between professional design and business content created by non-design professionals. Specifically, Xara Cloud consists of a drag and drop browser-based editor that lets you create designs using text, shapes, icons, charts and imported images, but with a few extra tricks up its sleeve. These include the ability to use off-the-shelf professionally created colour schemes or have the software create a new colour scheme based on an image, such as your company logo, that you’ve uploaded. As you’d expect...

Aurora Labs raises $8.4 million to bring its self-healing software to cars

Aurora Labs, a company that has created predictive tools that will automatically fix problems with software in cars, has raised $8.4 million in a Series A round of financing led by Fraser McCombs Capital. Previous investor MizMaa Ventures also joined the round. The Tel Aviv-based company just came out of stealth a few months ago. Aurora Labs plans to use the additional funds to expand its presence beyond its new offices in Munich, Germany and Tel Aviv headquarters. The company has 17 employees and plans to add a handful more by the end of the year, as well as open sales offices in Detroit and San Francisco, CEO and co-founder of Aurora Labs Zohar Fox told TechCrunch. Vehicles today have millions of lines of code. As the automotive industry becomes increasingly reliant on software, the risk...

Late payments: Here’s how you can say goodbye to chasing customers

As a small business owner, you don’t have time to waste chasing up customers on unpaid invoices. This guide offers a solution to overcome late payment and cashflow issues…… Source: Startups

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