The intensifying battle for Africa’s burgeoning tech landscape

Monique Maddy Contributor Monique Maddy has spent her career as a technology entrepreneur working in emerging markets, including Africa, Asia and Latin America. She is currently founder and CEO of Ezuza, a mobile payments company located in Mexico. Long gone are the days when Africa was disparagingly regarded as the White Man’s Burden. Today, Africa is the continent with the youngest demographic in the world, on the brink of a technical…

The Dropbox IPO filing is here

It’s official, the Dropbox IPO filing is here. Going public is a huge milestone for Dropbox and has been one of the most anticipated tech IPOs for several years now. The cloud storage company has been around since 2007 and has raised over $600 million in funding. We knew that it had already filed confidentially, but the company has now unveiled its filing, meaning the actual IPO is likely very…

Eden acquires OrgOrg, a social network for office managers

Eden, the office management and tech support platform, has today announced the acquisition of OrgOrg, a social network for office managers to recommend, discuss, and review vendors and products. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Eden founder and CEO Joe DuBey explained to TechCrunch that a growing number of on-boarding clients said that they had originally heard about Eden from other office managers on the OrgOrg platform. In…

Ledger is working on new native apps for its cryptocurrency hardware wallet

French startup Ledger is making some of the most secure cryptocurrency hardware wallets out there. But the company’s apps aren’t that great. That’s why the company announced that Ledger has been working on brand new native apps for all desktop and mobile platforms. Right now, Ledger relies on Google Chrome for its desktop apps. At some point, Google wanted to promote web apps and give them access to special APIs…

Microsoft and Xiaomi to collaborate on AI, cloud computing and hardware

After Microsoft signed a deal to test Windows 10 on Xiaomi devices in 2015 and then Xiaomi bought a trove of patents to help run other Microsoft services on its devices in 2016, today the two companies announced another chapter in its collaboration. Xiaomi and Microsoft have signed a Strategic Framework Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work more closely in the areas of cloud computing, AI (including Microsoft’s Cortana business) and…

Tesla wants to install chargers at the office

Tesla expects to sell 100,000 electric vehicles in 2018. But electric vehicles don’t make much sense unless chargers are easily accessible and convenient. That’s why Tesla is introducing the Workplace Charging program. It will allow offices and business to apply for a Wall Connector to be installed in the company garage or parking lot. And, except for the actual electricity used by employees charging their Teslas, the Wall Connector and…

Archos announces a cryptocurrency hardware wallet (yes, Archos)

Remember Archos? Yes, that Archos, the company that made portable multimedia players (PMPs) with below average touch screen ten years ago. The company is still around, selling cheap Android phones, cheap tablets, cheap drones and more. And yet, for the first time in many years, I’m excited by an Archos product again. The company announced (via Next INpact) a cryptocurrency hardware wallet ahead of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona —…

Momo buys Tantan, China’s Tinder, for $600M as Chinese social networks consolidate

WeChat is far and away the biggest messaging platform in China at the moment, and that is helping to drive a push among the smaller players to get together for better scale. Today, Momo, the Chinese location-based social networking app that has more recently made a big push into dating services and is traded on Nasdaq with a market cap of around $6 billion, announced that it has acquired Tantan, China’s…

Teampay raises $4m so you don’t have to steal your CEO’s credit card anymore

Few problems are as much of a headache for the modern corporate worker as buying things on the company’s dime. Companies are loathe to hand out credit cards to everyone in the building, but they also want their employees to do your job without having to fill out six forms in triplicate to requisition a pencil. They also want to control spending and track who bought that $2,000 bottle of…

Feature Labs launches out of MIT to accelerate the development of machine learning algorithms

Feature Labs, a startup with roots in research begun at MIT, officially launched today with a set of tools to help data scientists build machine learning algorithms more quickly. Co-founder and CEO Max Kanter says the company has developed a way to automate “feature engineering,” which is often a time consuming and manual process for data scientists. “Feature Labs helps companies identify, implement, and most importantly deploy impactful machine learning…

Proven wants to sell AI distilled custom skincare

YC-backed startup Proven wants to make it suck less for women to find skincare that works for them. The co-founders are taking what they describe as a “rational, logic-based” approach to figuring out which ingredients might be most appropriate for each individual. As a TC Disrupt battlefield founder once memorably put it during her on-stage pitch, the beauty industry makes a whole lot of money from a whole lot of BS. And…

Split raises $17M for its product experimentation platform

Split announced this morning that it’s raised $17 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Accel Partners and new investor Harmony Partners. Split has now raised a total of $26.8 million. The startup allows companies to test out new features and deliver them in a targeted way to select groups of users. Co-founder and CEO Adil Aijaz said the key components…

Robinhood rolls out zero-fee crypto trading as it hits 4M users

Coinbase has some serious competition. Today, Robinhood starts rolling out its no-commission cryptocurrency trading feature in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana and New Hampshire. Users there can buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum with no extra fees, and everyone can track those and 14 other coins in its sleek app. That’s compared to paying 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the U.S. on Coinbase. Users can sign up on the Robinhood…

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel got a $637 million bonus last year

Snap’s stock investors haven’t made much money since the company went public last year, but CEO Evan Spiegel still got a hefty payday. According to an SEC filing, he was granted an RSU of 37,447,817, which vested at the time of the IPO. In other words, that was worth nearly $636.6 million. His salary for the year was $98,078, and he had over $1 million in other benefits, so all…

Customer service bot startup Agent IQ announces $6.3 million Series A led by Sierra Ventures

If you’ve tried to deal with a bot before you can speak to a human customer service rep, you know how frustrating that process can sometimes be. Sure, there are basic tasks that can free up a human rep to handle the more difficult matters, but it can be exasperating when there is no easy way to talk to a person. Agent IQ, a startup that has developed customer service…

Airbnb is rolling out a new tier aimed at higher-end travelers

Airbnb today is rolling out a few new additions to their home-booking system, including new tiers that are aimed at higher-end customers, called Airbnb Plus and Beyond by Airbnb. The new Airbnb Plus tier has homes that are verified for “quality and comfort,” rolling out with around 2,000 homes to start that have been inspected against a thorough checklist. The luxury tier, called Beyond by Airbnb, is built around whole…

Snap stock falls as Kylie tweets, but banker ratings are in the mix too

At this point, if you haven’t accepted the celebrity influence of the Kardashian/Jenner machine, you probably haven’t been paying attention to pop culture at large. Snap is definitely paying attention. Yesterday, Kylie Jenner tweeted a pretty brutal takedown of Snapchat with the nonchalance that only a celebrity who has mastered social media better than most can do. sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me……

Bump is a peer-to-peer marketplace for streetwear

As the streetwear and sneaker industry continues to explode in popularity we’re seeing more and more startups popping up to service the industry, all from slightly different angles. Meet Bump, a peer-to-peer take on a streetwear marketplace. Founded six months ago in the U.K and now part of Y Combinator’s Winter ’18 batch, the startup already has over 200,000 users buying and selling limited edition streetwear from brands like Supreme…

Robinhood rolls out zero-fee crypto trading as it hits 4M users

Coinbase has some serious competition. Today, Robinhood starts rolling out its no-commission cryptocurrency trading feature in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana and New Hampshire. Users there can buy and sell Bitcoin and Ethereum with no extra fees, and everyone can track those and 14 other coins in its sleek app. That’s compared to paying 1.5 to 4 percent fees in the U.S. on Coinbase. Users can sign up on the Robinhood…

Facebook says it’s clarifying its ad metrics

Facebook is looking to clean up and clarify the way advertisers measure their campaign performance. Over the past couple of years, the company has had to acknowledge multiple mistakes in its ad metrics. Last fall, researchers even pointed out that Facebook’s purported reach was greater than the US Census population in every state. So making these kinds of tweaks (and taking other steps to increase transparency) could help restore advertisers’…