Who Cares What I Think (WCWIT) #13 : Launch Ticker Weekend Highlights…

Jason Calacanis’, @jason, just plain excellent record of producing some seriously decent, useful content continues in his tech news feed, “Launch Ticker”. Sign up. This is one of the only newsletters I’ve ever actually read, let alone find incredibly useful, distilled and engrossing enough to quickly shape my macro tech thoughts — daily.

1. “Show Me Everything, Manbang”

Manbang actually means ‘everywhere’ or ‘every direction’ in the native tongue, according to NK News.
North Korea launches on-demand video streaming service, Manbang, according to NK News; will reportedly offer documentaries, English and Russian lessons, and live TV; is classified as Internet Protocol Television — Link

Hopefully, like Franco’s Spain in the 70s, the regime will crumble as more and more NK’eans become aware of the ridiculous, inspiring, grassroots hedonistic frivolity of the freer parts of the world, and decide that they too would like to audition for the Jersey Shore reboot. Sincerely though.

2. Nick Denton Needs to Raise $5M to be Broke

Univision to acquire Gawker Media for $135M, Recode reports; price for all seven Gawker media properties, including Gawker.com; proceeds to go toward Hulk Hogan’s $140M civil suit victory, unless Gawker wins appeal — Link

Woof. I’d say poor guy, but… He did kind of operate a slanderous, manipulative, predatory & mind-numbing publication, so…

3. Nice Guy, Recklessly Absentminded, but Nice

Victim of a crash involving Tesla’s Autopilot says he will not sue the company, reports Bloomberg; admitted he was not paying attention to the road and didn’t have his hands on the wheel; the insurance company may reportedly still pursue legal action — Link

The insurance company is acting like a bunch of jerks, trying to set back autonomous driving on the road to squeeze a few bucks out of Tesla, that their client remitted of any fault, but still, over all, nice to see a dumb driver take the blame, and so publicly. Tesla drivers get points for this.

4. They… They Have All the Money…

Tencent becomes China’s most valuable tech firm with a $247.6B market cap, overtaking Alibaba at $240.8B market cap; follows Tencent’s Q2 report, showing net income of $1.64B; the company also had its fastest revenue in three years, up 52% year-on-year — Link

Wow. Amazing. This is only the beginning of the majority of Earth’s population seizing unique opportunities and strategies in the modern global marketplace as well. Can’t wait to be staggered by what’s next.

5. Sup, baby?

Pregnancy-tracking sensor startup Bloomlife raises $4M seed led by Marc Benioff and Efficient Capacity; adhesive patch for third trimester monitoring tracks contractions, fetal movement and heart rate, more; plans to seek FDA clearance and ultimately predict complications — Link

Getting closer and closer to the era of Patton Oswalt’s so-described baby laser baths. More info, more tech, yas kween.

6. Yeah.. I’m Gonna Need Those TPS Reports in the Minority Report Virtua-World, Yeah…

Starting next year, all new Windows 10 computers will support HoloLens and Windows Holographic apps; will include Holographic Shell, which, along with a headset, allows users to interact with 2D and 3D apps in a virtual environment — Link

Looks rough-hewn, but awesome nonetheless, I almost want to use a thing by Windows for the first time since high school.

7. Fight The Powers That Be!

DoNotPay, a bot best known for automatically fighting parking and speeding tickets, now helps fight homelessness; offers legal advice and drafts letters for emergency housing applications; 19-year-old creator says almost every local UK government has signed up to work with the bot — Link

Yeah, nah. I cannot TELL you how much money this would have saved me in parking trap hotspots in the DC area and the South Bay of SV. Good on them for taking a crack at this problem, anyway. A true passion project, I’m sure.

8. I… Remember this..!

Incentivized social network Tsu shuts down; the company promised to split ad revenue with users based on engagement with posted content, and on how many signups they generated; Tsu attributes the closure to a failed funding round; previously raised $11.5M — Link

I should check if I became a millionaire on there after posting a couple fun memes…

9. The Bounty Hunting Boom

Web and mobile app security company Cobalt Labs raises $1.5M seed led by eLab with participation from Tim Draper; offers tailored security solutions, pen tests and bug bounty programs; clients include Circle and Blockchain.info; raised $2.5M to date — Link

Won’t go bust. This is another great addition to this burgeoning trend. Apple, earlier this month, announced their plans to launch their own technical bug bounty hunting platform, and vLab’s Beta launch has been much anticipated for the entrepreneurial community.

10. On Demand “Mobile” Startup

Tricycle food cart company Wheelys Café (YC S15) raises $830k in equity crowdfunding; sells $5.4k pedal-powered cafes with cooking and food prep equipment, awning, signage; $200 monthly subscription required; plans app for locating Wheelys, placing orders, etc — Link

This is fantastic. I love seeing the swell of B2B startups serving startups, competing to make a legitimate, testable, entrepreneurial path exponentially more accessible, everywhere. I recently heard about a similar startup serving Africa, on a16z.

11. Now there’s some targeted ads that might work on me…

Amazon launches “Featured on Product Hunt” collection in its Launchpad store, which features products from startups; the Product Hunt collection includes categories for electronics, home, toys, body, audio & tv, wireless & accessories — Link

Amazon’s about to learn way more about me than that I like stuff the Dark Knight would own & 90s throwback inflatable furniture…

12. What is Second Date?

The Intercept releases new documents from the Edward Snowden leak, suggesting malware offered by Shadow Brokers is connected to the NSA; the documents reference a program known as SECONDDATE, which was seemingly among the stolen tools; Snowden himself has suggested Russian involvement in the breach — Link

Google won’t tell me what SECONDDATE is.

13. And… How Would One Go About Applying For Such a Process… Personally?

ICANN will gain autonomy from the US government on October 1; rather than a single stakeholder, the DNS body will become accountable to multiple nations and industry bodies; some countries had previously called for the naming system to fall under the purview of the UN — Link

“ICANN is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers. Through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.” That’d better not be fancy tawk for net neutrality…

14. For Some Reason, I Didn’t Think The Singularity Would Look Like This…

McDonald’s pulls its Happy Meal fitness trackers after claims of skin irritation; the Step It band offered simplified activity tracking, such as counting steps and measuring running pace — Link

Come one McDonald’s! Can’t even get my child’s free biometric scanning accelerometer watch right! What year is it?!

15. Sup, Brah, Ja Hear ‘Bout the Fed’s New Interest Rate…. Dudes?

The New York Times will shut down its NYT Now app on August 29; launched in 2014, it was aimed at a younger audience, initially charging $8-a-month; the service went free last year, but only reached 334k users at its peak — Link

Yeah, okay. The concession is applaudable, though, it honestly is a noble undertaking to make the news accessible and engaging to kids — unless the angle was some predatory unselling freemium scam…

Still, the bounty on this problem goes on unclaimed. Unless you count the diaspora of information all millenials are constantly pursuing in and out of the internet, dark net, alternets, and outernet (IRL).

16. Freemium 2.0

Pandora to offer two premium subscription options for on-demand streaming, according to sources for The Wall Street Journal; may go live as soon as next month, though Pandora has not finalized record label agreements; will continue to offer free radio tier — Link

Curious to see what tiered offerings they’re planning. Good to see growth outside the “spam them with ads ’til they’re too mad not to pay us to stop” model.

17. You Fight Fire with Fire, Right?

Google announces Chrome apps will be exclusive to Chrome OS; later this year, the Chrome Web Store will only display newly published apps to Chrome OS users; in early 2018, Chrome apps installed on Windows, Mac and Linux machines will stop working — Link

Looks like Google is taking a page out of Apple’s book & decreeing an impending age of un-interoperability. Great.

18. If You’re Gonna Have a Public Sector, This Seems Like a Decent Way to Go About It…

Bay Area pilot program to subsidize Uber and Lyft rides; one-year test to determine feasibility of replacing some bus lines with car services; Alameda County and Wheels bus service will each contribute $100k; riders will pay $3 to $5 for shared rides in test areas — Link

Rideshare? I’d buy that for a dollar!

19. See? Taxis Are Doing Fine!

New MA ride-hailing tax funds subsidy for legacy taxi industry; the state will charge ride-hailing companies $0.20 per ride, with $0.05 going to taxi companies, $0.05 going to a state transportation fund, and $0.10 going to cities and towns — Link

The dead dog of the state sponsored taxi and medallion monopoly system, as Danny Devito might put it, is turning into hot soup, in the alley way of the american city.

20. Uber For The Kill

Lyft shuts down Carpool experiment, cites inability to scale supply to meet demand; launched in the Bay Area in Mar, allowed commuters to earn extra money by picking up riders headed in the same direction — Link

Looks like Uber Pool sniped all the would be Lyft users here, with either heaps more cash, momentum, or dev talent. Lyft has actually been gaining impressive traction in NYC recently, so they may still be able to fetch a worthy price for their rumored acquisition.

21. Dibs!

NASA hopes to turn the ISS over to a private company within ten years, reports The Verge; statement came during press conference regarding plans for reaching Mars, which will reportedly also involve cooperation with commercial companies — Link

Amazing. Space de-governance is a great thing. Can’t wait to see Musk and Bezos battle for market share… While I cruise right past ’em with my asteroid… surfing… something — I don’t know, it’s all just so exciting!

22. Yeah, Nice Try, “Hip” Chat…

Atlassian HipChat launches support for group videoconferencing, ahead of competitor Slack; ZDNet notes acquisition of BlueJimp, maker of video chat platform Jitsi, as a major factor in the accelerated rollout — Link

Nah, man. It’s over. Slack won. Maybe pivot completely to video, but… That is an even more crowded market, so… Just nah.

23. Ah Cahm Ahnnn…

Plant-based food startup Hampton Creek faces SEC investigation for buyback scheme; allegedly used undercover contractors to buy large quantities of its product, Just Mayo; has raised $120M to date — Link

More fraud, and from futuristic hippies this time. Ends do not justify means, dudes, means is absolutely everything.

24. Uh… Since When Did We Start Minority Reporting?

Study by the RAND Corporation finds Chicago’s algorithmic policing strategy ineffective; machine-generated lists of potential criminals tend to be of no more use than most wanted lists, and sometimes result in profiling — Link

Yeah, that’s insane. Hopefully that was only being used as a statistical control for hypothetical crime stat bets. VERY not-okay if this is being used for active arrests, etc.

25. These Guys Gave Me Weird Vibes

SF-based seed-stage VC firm Rothenberg Ventures faces possible collapse, according to TechCrunch sources; recently lost a large portion of management; one source claims the departures are linked to an SEC investigation into wire fraud — Link

Biased and uninformed, but a mixer at their space in SOMA led to a pretty uneasy impression of this group, as some questions about the model and past successes were met with noticably vague answers… Let’s see how this one shakes out.

Funding Roundup

42 Deals: $903,280,000
— Manufacturing — 
5 Deals: $224,900,000
 — Mobile — 
3 Deals: $198,400,000
 — Biotech/Health — 
7 Deals: $143,000,000
 — Enterprise — 
11 Deals: $117,530,000
 — Data/Storage — 
5 Deals: $93,300,000
 — Consumer Internet — 
5 Deals: $62,200,000
 — Cybersecurity — 
2 Deals: $29,000,000
 — Fintech — 
4 Deals: $24,950,000
 — Gaming — 
1 Deal: $10,000,000
Funding by Category
Funding by Week
Number of Deals by Week
— Manufacturing —
Velodyne, manufactures LiDAR sensors for self-driving cars: $150M undisclosed from Ford, Baidu.
 — Ecobee, builds smart thermostats: $35M undisclosed from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Thomvest, and Relay Ventures.
 — Tsinova, develops smart bicycles: $23M Series B from Tsinghua.
 — Pixelligent, develops materials for solid state lighting and displays: $10.4M undisclosed from The Abell Foundation, The Bunting Family Office, David Testa.
 — VUV Analytics, develops gas chromatography and streaming gas detectors: $6.5M Series B from New Science Ventures.
— Mobile —
Hike, encrypted messaging platform for India: $175MSeries D from Tencent.
 — CellSavers, mobile repair platform: $15M Series A from Carmel Ventures.
 — EasyVista, mobile-based service management platform:$8.4M undisclosed from Isatis Capital, Alto Invest, Conversion Venture Capital.
— Biotech/Health —
Tioma, develops anti-CD47 antibodies to treat cancer:$86M Series A from RiverVest Venture Partners, Novo Ventures, Roche Venture Fund, et al.
 — Avelas Biosciences, develops cancer illuminator AVB-620:$20M Series C from Pharmstandard International.
 — Rotation Medical, develops tech to treat rotator cuff disease: $12M Series B from New Enterprise Associates, Pappas Ventures.
 — ReVision Optics, develops presbyopia-correcting corneal inlay implant: $10M Credit Facility from Square 1 Bank.
 — Histogen, develops regenerative medicine: $6M Series D from Pineworld Capital Ltd.
 — Happify, platform for well-being/mindfulness solutions:$5M undisclosed from Marketplace Fund II, Hills Capital.
 — Bloomlife, pregnancy-tracking wearable: $4M Seed from Marc Benioff, Efficient Capacity.
— Enterprise —
Galvanize, education and workspace networking platform:$45M Series B from ABS Capital Partners.
 — Degreed, learning and skills verification platform: $25MSeries B from Jump Capital, Signal Peak Ventures, et al.
 — ReviMedia, lead generation platform for marketing:$12.5M undisclosed from NewSpring Growth Capital.
 — Vettery, online tech talent marketplace: $9M Series A from Greycroft Partners & Raine Ventures.
 — NextHealth Technologies, identifies high-cost health care patients: $8.5M Series A from Norwest Venture Partners.
 — Pymetrics, neuroscience-based hiring platform: $6.13MSeries A from BBG Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Mercer, et al.
 — ZeroCater, office-catering platform: $4.1M Series A from Romulus Capital.
 — Arcadia Power, clean-energy platform for households:$3.5M undisclosed from BoxGroup, Wonder Ventures.
 — Dexter, chatbot-building platform: $2.3M undisclosed from Rakuten Ventures, Social Starts, Betaworks.
 — Virtuous Software, provides CRM software for nonprofits:$1.5M Seed from Access Ventures.
— Data/Storage —
Rubrik, cloud data management platform: $61M Series C from Khosla Ventures.
 — EventBoard, cloud analytics platform for business: $13.5MSeries B from Nokia Growth Partners.
 — Heap, analyzes app and web interactions: $11M Series A from New Enterprise Associates.
 — HeavenHR, cloud-based HR management platform:$6.7M Series A from Target Globa, Open Ocean.
 — SmartFile, enterprise file management and sharing platform: $1.1M undisclosed from VisionTech Angels.
— Consumer Internet —
Outfittery, curated shopping service for men’s clothing:$22M undisclosed from Octopus Ventures.
 — FloSports, online sports network: $21.2M undisclosed from DCM Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media.
 — Dreamlines, cruise-booking platform: $15.8M undisclosed from Holtzbrinck Ventures, Target Global, Hasso Plattner Ventures, et al.
 — MightyTV, movie and TV show discovery app: $2M Seed from Canaan Partners, Spark Capital.
 — Simbi, skills and services bartering platform: $1.2M Seed from Greylock Discovery, Crunchfund, Ranch Ventures et al.
— Cybersecurity —
ID Experts, software and services for firms’ cybersecurity:$27.5M from Peloton Equity, Trident Capital Cybersecurity, BlueCross BlueShield, et al.
 — Cobalt Labs, crowdsourced agile application security solution: $1.5M Seed from eLab Ventures.
— Fintech —
Nymbus, full-stack platform for financial institutions: $12Mundisclosed from Vensure Enterprises.
 — Stash, investing platform for millennials: $9.25M Series A from Goodwater Capital.
 — Camino Financial, loan platform for Hispanic-owned small businesses: $2M undisclosed from Collaborative Fund, Hunt Holdings LP.
 — Instavest, social media platform for investment: $1.7MSeed from Y Combinator, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, Cherubic Ventures, et al.
— Gaming —
Firefly Games, develops games based on Hollywood IP:$10M undisclosed from China Construction Bank.
If we missed anything, post a comment on our public sheetor email fundings@launch.co.

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