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GitHub adds 21 new partners to its free Student Developer Pack

GitHub adds 21 new partners to its free Student Developer Pack

August 20, 2019

For a few years now, GitHub has been running a program that gives students around the world free access to GitHub Pro and various free and discounted services from other partners as part of its GitHub Education program. In total, more than 1.5 million students have now signed up for the program, with about 750,000 being currently active. With the new school year about to start, the company today announced that it is doubling the number of partners in the Student Developer Pack program by adding an additional 21 companies to the list.

The new partners cover a wide range of developer tools and services. They range from web design tools like Bootstrap Studio, which actually quietly joined the program over the summer, to the domain registrar .TECH, SSH client Terminus, ConfigCat for feature flag and configuration management and Icons8 for making applications look better.

“Our philosophy when it comes to the pack is that it is about preparing students for all the premier tools they are going to encounter in the workplace,” said Scott Sanicki, the senior program manager for the GitHub Student Developer Pack. That means there can be partners with competing products, too, but as Sanicki noted, GitHub hasn’t seen any pushback from existing partners so far, including Microsoft.

Indeed, over the summer, GitHub’s new owner, Microsoft also added its Azure cloud computing services to the Student Pack. That’s no surprise, but it’s worth noting that AWS, DigitalOcean and Heroku were already part of the pack and offered students free and discounted cloud computing resources. They remain in the program and, as Sanicki told me, it’s part of the company’s promise to remain open, even after having been acquired by Microsoft.

“[GitHub CEO Nat Friedman] was asked directly at the time of the acquisition …

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DigitalOcean launches managed MySQL and Redis database services

DigitalOcean launches managed MySQL and Redis database services

August 20, 2019

Half a year after launching its managed PostgreSQL service, upstart hosting and cloud services platform DigitalOcean today announced the launch of its managed MySQL and Redis database offerings.

Like most of the company’s latest releases, this move exemplifies DigitalOcean’s ambition to move beyond its discount hosting roots to become a more fully fledged cloud provider. Besides the database service and its core hosting products and infrastructure, the company now offers object and block storage and a Kubernetes engine, which itself can be used to run virtually any modern piece of cloud infrastructure. It’s unlikely to catch up with the hyperclouds anytime soon, but it’s good to have a competitor in the market.

“With the additions of MySQL and Redis, DigitalOcean now supports three of the most requested database offerings, making it easier for developers to build and run applications, rather than spending time on complex management,” said Shiven Ramji, DigitalOcean’s senior VP of Product. “The developer is not just the DNA of DigitalOcean, but the reason for much of the company’s success. We must continue to build on this success and support developers with the services they need most on their journey towards simple app development.”

Pricing for the managed database services remains the same, no matter which engine you choose.

The new database services are now available in the company’s New York, Frankfurt and San Francisco data centers. Support for other database engines is also in the works. As the company notes, it selected MySQL and Redis because of popular demand from its developer community, and it will do so for other engines as well. MySQL and Redis were the only services on DigitalOcean’s roadmap for 2019, though, so I don’t expect we’ll see any additional releases before the end of the year.

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H2O.ai announces $72.5M Series D led by Goldman Sachs

H2O.ai announces $72.5M Series D led by Goldman Sachs

August 20, 2019

H2O.ai‘s mission is to democratize AI by providing a set of tools that frees companies from relying on teams of data scientists. Today it got a bushel of money to help. The company announced a $72.5 million Series D round led by Goldman Sachs and Ping An Global Voyager Fund.

Previous investors Wells Fargo, Nvidia and Nexus Venture Partners also participated. Under the terms of the deal, Jade Mandel from Goldman Sachs will be joining the H2O.ai board. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $147 million.

It’s worth noting that Goldman Sachs isn’t just an investor. It’s also a customer. Company CEO and co-founder Sri Ambati says the fact that customers Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs have led the last two rounds is a validation for him and his company. “Customers have risen up from the ranks for two consecutive rounds for us. Last time the Series C was led by Wells Fargo where we were their platform of choice. Today’s round was led by Goldman Sachs, which has been a strong customer for us and strong supporters of our technology,” Ambati told TechCrunch.

The company’s main product, H2O Driverless AI, introduced in 2017, gets its name from the fact it provides a way for people who aren’t AI experts to still take advantage of AI without a team of data scientists. “Driverless AI is automatic machine learning, which brings the power of a world-class data scientists in the hands of everyone. lt builds models automatically using machine learning algorithms of every kind,” Ambati explained.

They introduced a new recipe concept today, which provides all of the AI ingredients and instructions for building models for different business requirements. H2O.ai’s team of data scientists has created and open-sourced 100 recipes for things like credit risk scoring, anomaly detection …

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PressReader aims to add more personalization to its digital news platform by acquiring News360

PressReader aims to add more personalization to its digital news platform by acquiring News360

August 20, 2019

A pair of digital news companies are teaming up, with PressReader acquiring News360.

PressReader was founded back in 1999 as Newspaper Direct. It now operates a platform that converts newspapers and magazines into digital formats, while offering a $29.99 monthly subscription that provides unlimited access to more than 7,000 of those titles.

News360, meanwhile, is relatively youthful, having been founded in 2010. It has also created a news aggregation app, but the announcement makes it sound like PressReader was particularly interested in the company’s NativeAI technology for analytics and personalization.

In a statement, PressReader CEO Alex Kroogman suggested that News360’s technology will be used to improve PressReader’s consumer experience and publisher tools:

In a world where news fatigue is a real and growing problem, and media literacy a global concern, it’s more important than ever for people to have access to the trusted content they need in an engaging environment. By understanding each person’s interests, and building advanced data science systems around content analytics, we will be able to give our millions of readers the trusted media they want, how they want it, when they want it, and where they want it, while building more audience intelligence into the data that drives our publisher and brand partnerships.

The News360 team will be joining PressReader and working out of the acquiring company’s Vancouver headquarters.

News360 CEO Roman Karachinsky told me via email that the combined company will continue to support the News360 app and “develop it alongside the PressReader apps,” but he added, “In the short-term[,] the team will be focused on adding News360 tech into PressReader, so I wouldn’t expect big changes to the News360 app until we’re done with this.”

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. According to Crunchbase, News360 has raised a total …

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Waymo self-driving cars head to Florida for rainy season

Waymo self-driving cars head to Florida for rainy season

August 20, 2019

Waymo is taking some of its autonomous vehicles to Florida just in time for hurricane season to begin testing in heavy rain.

The move to Florida will focus on testing how its myriad sensors hold up during the region’s rainy season, as well as to collect data. All of the vehicles will be manually driven by trained drivers.

Waymo will bring both of its autonomous vehicles, the Chrysler Pacificas and a Jaguar I-Pace, to Naples and Miami, Fla. for testing, according to a blog posted Tuesday. Miami is one of the wettest cities in the U.S., averaging 61.9 inches of rain annually.

The self-driving car company, which is a business under Alphabet, began testing its autonomous vehicles in and around Mountain View, Calif., before branching out to other cities and weather, including Novi, Mich., Kirkland, Wash. and San Francisco. But the bulk of the company’s activities have been in suburbs of Phoenix and around Mountain View — two places with lots of sun, and even blowing dust, in the case of Phoenix.

Waymo opened a technical center Chandler, Ariz. and started testing there in 2016. Since then, the company has ramped up its testing, and launched an early rider program in April 2017 as a step toward commercial deployment.

The company will spend the next several weeks driving on a closed course in Naples to test its sensor suite , which includes lidar, cameras and radar . Later in the month, Waymo plans to bring its vehicles to public roads in Miami. A few Waymo vehicles will be collecting data on highways between Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers and Miami.

Waymo is hardly the only autonomous vehicle company to take advantage of Florida’s AV-friendly regulations. Ford and Argo AI, the self-driving company it backs, have had a presence in the Miami …

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SpaceX’s spacefaring Tesla Roadster has made a full trip around the Sun

SpaceX’s spacefaring Tesla Roadster has made a full trip around the Sun

August 20, 2019


Somewhere in space, a mannequin wearing a SpaceX spacesuit and driving a cherry red original Tesla Roadster that once belonged to Elon Musk is celebrating its first trip around the Sun. The absurd “Starman” and Roadster combo was launched last year aboard the first Falcon Heavy test flight from Kennedy Space Center, and has now completed a full orbit of the Sun, based on tracking info monitored by the site whereisroadster.com (via Space.com).

The Roadster and its fake driver were selected by SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk as the payload for the Falcon Heavy’s first flight in part because there was more than a decent chance that whatever was sent up on that first trip was going to end up little more than ash or fiery debris, but the launch actually went very smoothly — despite warnings to the contrary by Musk himself.

When it left Earth’s orbit, the Roadster’s radio was playing David Bowie’s “Life on Mars,” set on repeat, and on-boards cameras were broadcasting via internal power (you can check out the recorded version of the live stream below to see how that went).

In case you were wondering about the Roadster’s maintenance information, it’s now out of warranty more than 21,000 times over based on miles traveled, and it’s gone far enough to have traveled the entire world 33.9 times. Take that, range anxiety.

http://imwunl.com

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Yubico launches its dual USB-C and Lightning two-factor security key

Yubico launches its dual USB-C and Lightning two-factor security key

August 20, 2019

Almost two months after it was first announced, Yubico has launched the YubiKey 5Ci, a security key with dual support for iPhones, Macs and other USB-C compatible devices.

Yubico’s newest YubiKey is the latest iteration of its security key built to support a newer range of devices, including Apple’s iPhone, iPad and MacBooks, in a single device. Announced in June, the company said the security keys would cater to cross-platform users — particularly Apple device owners.

These security keys are small enough to sit on a keyring. When you want to log in to an online account, you plug in the key to your device and it authenticates you. Your Gmail, Twitter and Facebook account all support these plug-in devices as a second-factor of authentication after your username and password — a far stronger mechanism than the simple code sent to your phone.

Security keys offer almost unbeatable security and can protect against a variety of threats, including nation-state attackers.

Jerrod Chong, Yubico’s chief solutions officer, said the new key would fill a “critical gap in the mobile authentication ecosystem,” particularly given how users are increasingly spending their time across a multitude of mobile devices.

The new key works with a range of apps, including password managers like 1Password and LastPass, and web browsers like Brave, which support security key authentication.

http://imwunl.com

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Reputation.com nabs $30M more to help enterprises manage their profiles online

Reputation.com nabs $30M more to help enterprises manage their profiles online

August 20, 2019

In these days where endorsements from influential personalities online can make or break a product, a startup that’s built a business to help companies harness all the long-tail firepower they can muster to get their name out there in a good way has raised some funding to expand deeper into feedback and other experience territory. Reputation.com, which works with big enterprises in areas like automotive and healthcare to help improve their visibility online and provide more accurate reports to the businesses about how their brands are perceived by customers and others, has raised $30 million in equity financing, money that CEO Joe Fuca said the company will use to continue to expand its tech platform to source more feedback and to future-proof it for further global expansion.

The funding — led by Ascension Ventures, with participation also from new backers Akkadian Ventures, Industry Ventures and River City Ventures and returning investors Kleiner Perkins, August Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Heritage Group and Icon Ventures — is the second round Reputation.com has raised since its pivot away from services aimed at individuals. Fuca said the company’s valuation is tripling with this round, and while he wouldn’t go into the details from what I understand from sources (which is supported by data in PitchBook), it had been around $120-130 million in its last round, making it now valued at between $360-390 million now.

Part of the reason that the company’s valuation has tripled is because of its growth. The company doesn’t disclose many customer names (for possibly obvious reasons) but said that three of the top five automotive OEMs and as well as over 10,000 auto dealerships in the U.S. use it, with those numbers now also growing in Europe. Among healthcare providers, it now has 250 customers — including three …

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Revenue-based investing: A new option for founders who care about control

Revenue-based investing: A new option for founders who care about control

August 19, 2019

Does the traditional VC financing model make sense for all companies? Absolutely not. VC Josh Kopelman makes the analogy of jet fuel vs. motorcycle fuel. VCs sell jet fuel which works well for jets; motorcycles are more common but need a different type of fuel.

A new wave of Revenue-Based Investors are emerging who are using creative investing structures with some of the upside of traditional VC, but some of the downside protection of debt. I’ve been a traditional equity VC for 8 years, and I’m now researching new business models in venture capital.

I believe that Revenue-Based Investing (“RBI”) VCs are on the forefront of what will become a major segment of the venture ecosystem. Though RBI will displace some traditional equity VC, its much bigger impact will be to expand the pool of capital available for early-stage entrepreneurs.

This guest post was written by David Teten, Venture Partner, HOF Capital. You can follow him at teten.com and @dteten. This is part of an ongoing series on Revenue-Based Investing VC that will hit on:

So what is Revenue-Based Investing? 

RBI structures have been used for …

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LA-based Brainbase raises $3 million for its intellectual property licensing management tech

LA-based Brainbase raises $3 million for its intellectual property licensing management tech

August 19, 2019

It’s been nearly a century since Walt Disney first introduced Mickey Mouse to the world. In the ensuing decades, Disney, and the mythmakers of Hollywood have churned out storytelling franchises that are worth billions.

But the ways in which many of these mythmaking houses have kept track on the various characters they’ve come up with, and the partners they work with to have those characters live on in different forms, has been almost as antiquated as Steamboat Willie’s original 1928 animation.

Seeing an opportunity to give Hollywood’s licensing back-end an upgrade Nate Cavanaugh, Karl Johan Vallner and Nikolai Tolkatshjov, formed Brainbase in 2016.

The company, which raised $3 million from Struck Capital last month, sells an intellectual property licensing management tool and operates a marketplace where would-be vendors can meet license holders to pitch ideas on new products using intellectual property.

The financing also included investments from Tectonic Capital, Bonfire Ventures, Sterling Road and Watertower Ventures.

“Intellectual property licensing is fundamentally broken with the space dominated by a few players all dependent on legacy or homegrown infrastructure. In an environment where new brands are constantly emerging, the pervasiveness of social media enables them to become recognized on the world stage overnight” said Adam B. Struck, founder and managing partner of Struck Capital

Clients for the service already include Sanrio, which owns the “Hello Kitty brand. 

The company also recently made a couple of senior leadership hires which should help grow the business. Andrea Adelson, the former senior vice president of licensing at Fremantle — the production company and distributor of game shows like Family Feud, The Price Is Right and American Idol, is joining as the head of growth, and Ted Larkins, a former senior vice president and general manager of licensing agency CPLG North America has …

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