Who Cares What I Think (WCWIT) #3 : Launch Ticker Highlights…

Friday, August 5, 2016 — 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.

Here are some highlights from today’s edition, in my very accurately-humble opinion.

*numbers in this article connote no meaning, beyond helping you reference which opinion specifically annoyed you in the comments.

1. You Only LAUNCH Once

Google and Dashlane announce Open YOLO: an API that allows apps to access login credentials stored in various password managers; the YOLO acronym stands for you only login once; support is initially limited to Android, but the open-source project aims to address all operating systems and platforms — Link

So… LastPass for all the password managers? It intrinsically feels unsafe to keep putting more and more eggs in one basket — especially so with information security. On the other hand… YOLO.

2. When it Drizlys, It Pours (ba dum tss)

Alcohol delivery company Drizly raises $15M Series B led by Polaris; provides platform for retailers to offer their own on-demand delivery service; software allows for one-hour deliveries or within two days; live in 23 markets; Drizly also works with suppliers and wholesalers to sell direct; raised $33M to date — Link

I’ve actually used this one on more than a handful of impromptu cocktail parties I’ve thrown together at the very last second & found their UX (and branding) far superior to competitors.

Definitely interested to see what their growth will look like, and if they start segmenting search by both location and, say, quality of product — ie. if I want the best gin, I’d like to search for ESP Gin within a radius, rather than searching store by store for that bittersweet nectar of the gods.

3. Knowledge Is Power

Electronic health records company ElationHealth raises $15M Series B from DFJ, Aberdare, others; online records system stores entire patient history and enables communications between doctors and patients; also simplifies referrals process and centralizes records of visits to different doctors — Link

Yes. More this. If they can find a way to compliantly circumvent the mountains of regulation around patients and doctors having access to medical information, then, my god, power and funding to them.

4. Why these Virtual PAs All Gotta Be Female?

Open-source intelligent personal assistant startup Clinc raises $1.2M seed from Hyde Park, eLab and Cahoots; the startup, founded by AI and systems research professors at University of Michigan, developed Lucinda: a pre-launch digital assistant that can be modified for voice and vision applications in non-profit education, in serving the disabled, more — Link

Is it because of HAL? Is that why we can’t handle a male computer voice, helping us out?

I don’t put much stock into gender discussion (make it not an issue, by not making an issue out of it), but it is getting a little much that from navigation to scheduling meetings to playing Spotify tunes in every room in your house, you can only get a fem-bot at your beck & call.

Come on. Let’s get Alan Rickman or Morgan Freeman or even Gilbert Gottfried giving me directions, or telling me the weather when I ask for it… Who’s with me?

5. iPhone 7 Leak

iPhone 7+ compared to iPhone 6+
Headphone maker Besound leaks iPhone 7 Plus/Pro mockup; Besound claims it’s developing the first Lightning port earbuds for iPhone 7; the dummy phone confirms smart connector points (possibly for docking, accessories), dual-lens camera, dual speakers, lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack; shell is blue; unknown if the color will be available to consumers — Link


A little disappointed that the return to the sharp, extruded, uniquely “apple” edges of the iPhone 6SE isn’t continued here, and they’re pressing forward with the slightly awkward, less ergonomic, just… more android design — irocically biting Samsung’s newfound originality.

Not mad about the innovation towards less phone-holes, even if I have to toss out my headphones for the new ones. Otherwise, stoked to find out why that camera is so wide.

From the VCs…

Hunter Walk publishes “Compensation at Startups”: Homebrew’s guidelines for base salary, equity, negotiation, more; includes best practices for closing candidates; Walk says compensation philosophy should align with company core values — Link
Thoughts from people who‘re right a lot. Check ’em out
Fred Wilson notes that bubbles are a necessary part of any tech cycle; though investors need to be careful in terms of timing investments, bubbles benefit entrepreneurs and consumers; Wilson cites Tom Evslin, who wrote that bubbles provide the funding needed to innovate and to disrupt incumbents — Link

6. Only 90s Kids Will Remember… TV Guide UX?

Apple plans a digital TV guide product that lets users search and discover content in apps, play with one click/tap, according to Recode sources; Apple previously announced its vision for single sign-on to multiple TV apps, and has since approached programmers for metadata — to facilitate a centralized guide — Link

Siri’s new voice commands for the Apple TV should be great, especially if they can avoid the pitfalls of the similar experiment shown on an episode of 30 Rock.

Interested to see their competing suggestion-oriented menu — as the UX from Amazon to Netflix to Hulu can be oddly cumbersome and frustrating.

7. You won’t believe this Facebook decision…

Facebook announces News Feed update that reduces clickbait headlines and links; previously reduced clickbait by rejecting articles that garnered clicks but instantly lost user interest; new update checks for phrases associated with headlines that mislead or withhold information; rolling out in coming weeks — Link

Yeah, punishing content that gets interaction was definitely not the move here. Ideally NLP will be able to ID headlines that withhold info, or are ridiculously misleading. Until then, check out clickbait-killing vigilante, @HuffPoSpoilers, for the next best thing.

8. Bye, Felicia.

US district judge dismisses racketeering claims in counterfeit goods suit against Alibaba; Gucci and other luxury brands accuse Alibaba of promoting the sale of knock-off items; apparel and accessories company Kering SA alleged Alibaba and 14 other companies colluded to drive counterfeit sales; judge found no evidence of such activity — Link

Good. Get more on the marketplace & create a competitive difference between brands and products. Marketplace sites & their owners really should not be prosecuted for the alleged crimes of their hosted sellers either. There, I said it.

9. Eh?

The FCC makes its iCanConnect program permanent, expands rules for hearing aid-compatible tech; iCanConnect provides $10M per year to companies providing communications tech for the deaf and blind; low-income users receive products for free; new carrier and device OEM rules target 100 percent hearing aid compatibility in eight years — Link

Well, if we’re going to have collective spend, I’m ecstatic to see it go towards marketable innovation — especially those that provide a more even playing field of options for all. Let’s quit it with the wars already & put those lost trillions into something you can sustain a nation and build a future on.

There I Said It II, Electric Boogaloo.

10. More Better, More Faster

Average US fixed broadband speeds passed 50Mbps for the first time in the first half of the year, according to Speedtest; average download was 54.97Mbps, up 42 percent YoY; average upload was 18.88Mbps, up 51 percent YoY; based on 59.9M user speed tests; average mobile download speeds were up 33 percent; average mobile upload speeds up 28 percent; based on 13.1M user tests — Link

Awesome. Before you know it, we can get that last 3% of USers still on dial up onto some of that main line, hi-fi, wifi, lifi that the rest of us can sometimes get to work.

Funding Roundup : 14 Deals : $204,600,000

YieldBot, consumer-intent marketplace, $35M Series C from Staley Capital
. — FormLabs, develops 3D printers, $35M Series B from Foundry Group.
 — Torax Medical, develops products to treat sphincter disorders, $25M Series E from Johnson & Johnson Innovation.
 — Kentik Technologies, provides visualizations of network data, $23M Series B from Third Point Ventures.
 — Drizly, online alcohol marketplace, $15M Series B from Polaris Partners.
 — DynamicAction, provides analytics for retail merchandising, $15M undisclosed from Accenture.
 — Elation Health, connects patients to service providers,$15M Series B from DFJ.
 — Sedona Systems, control platform for ISPs, $13.6M Series B from Intel Capital.
 — AirHelp, helps passengers get compensation from airlines,$12M from Khosla Ventures, Evan Williams, et al.
 — RiskSense, SaaS platform to evaluate digital vulnerability,$7M from undisclosed from Paladin Capital Group.
 — Owlchemy Labs, develops VR content and software, $5MSeries A from Qualcomm Ventures.
 — SiteZeus, location intelligence platform, $1.5Mundisclosed from Chuck Cooper.
 — Vault RMS, monitors data on toxins exposed to firefighters, $1.3M from Bill Miller of Legg Mason, Keshif Ventures.
 — Clinic, open-source intelligent assistance, $1.2Mundisclosed from eLab.
Total funding, week to date: $508,225,000
Total funding, month to date: $508,225,000
If we missed anything, post a comment on our public sheet or email fundings@launch.co

Again, definitely, definitely subscribe to J-Cal’s Launch Ticker for more information, less uninformed exposition, updated daily @https://www.launchticker.com/

Tweet me at @ElizabethHunker to yell praise / threats / dadaist riffs at me on this post, or life in general.

Like what you read? Give Elizabeth S Hunker a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.