We’re excited to head to São Paulo, Brazil on November 8 for TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Latin America. Yes, we’re bringing our premier startup pitch competition to Latin America and launching 15 of the hottest startups in the region onstage for the first time. We’ll also be joined by some leading lights of the scene.
Tickets to this event — our first in this part of the world — are free, and you can apply for your tickets right here.
Startup Battlefield consists of three preliminary rounds with 15 teams — five startups per round — which have six minutes to pitch and present a live demo to a panel of expert technologists and VC investors. After each pitch, the judges have six minutes to grill the team with tough questions. This is all after the free pitch-coaching the teams receive from TechCrunch editors.
One startup will emerge as the winner of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield LATAM 2018 — and receive a USD$25,000 cash prize and win a trip for two to compete in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2019 (assuming the company still qualifies to compete at the time).
We still have a few tricks up our sleeves and will be adding some new names to the agenda over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes open. In the meantime, check out these agenda highlights:
9:35 AM – 10:00 AM
A China Twist to Brazil’s Mobility Revolution with Ariel Lambrecht (Yellow), Eduardo Musa (Yellow), Tony Qiu (Didi Chuxing), Hans Tung (GGV Capital)
With Didi Chuxing’s acquisition of car-sharing service 99 and GGV’s investment in scooter / bike mobility startup Yellow, what lessons from China’s mobility revolution will unfold in Brazil?
10:00 AM – 11:05 AM
Startup Battlefield Session 1
TechCrunch’s iconic startup competition is here for the first time in Latin America, as entrepreneurs from around the region pitch expert judges and vie for the Battlefield Cup.
The first preliminary round of five contestants.
11:20 AM – 11:40 AM
Keynote by Konstantinos Papamiltiadis (Facebook)
Facebook’s Director of Platform Partnerships discusses the Facebook developer ecosystem. Sponsored by Facebook.
11:40 AM – 12:40 PM
Startup Battlefield Session 2
The second preliminary round of five contestants.
1:40 PM – 2:40 PM
Startup Battlefield Session 3
The third preliminary round of five contestants.
2:40 PM – 3:00 PM
20 Years Ahead of the Curve with Fabricio Bloisi (Movile)
Movile started with SMS and ringtones in 1998 and evolved into a powerful conglomerate of digital businesses on mobile platforms. Founder Fabricio Bloisi discusses the journey and what’s next.
3:00 PM – 3:20 PM
Keynote by Rodrigo Schmidt (Instagram)
The director of engineering at Instagram discusses the rapid growth and development of the popular photo-sharing app. Sponsored by Facebook.
3:20 PM – 3:45 PM
Venture Investing In Latin America Today with Eric Acher (Monashees),Veronica Allende Serra (Innova Capital ), Hernan Kazah (Kaszek), Fernando Lelo de Larrea (ALLVP)
The pace and scale of venture investing in Latin America is accelerating fast. How will the ecosystem adapt?
4:00 PM – 5:15 PM
Startup Battlefield Final
The final round. One of these five finalists will be the winner of Startup Battlefield.
5:15 PM – 5:35 PM
Nubank Unleashed with Cristina Junqueira (Nubank) and David Velez (Nubank)
With $180 million in fresh capital and a $4 billion valuation, where will Nubank go from here?
5:35 PM – 6:00 PM
New Wave Latin Founders with David Arana (Konfio), Sebastian Mejia (Rappi), Ana McLaren (Enjoie)
The latest generation of tech founders in Latin America may be more disruptive than their predecessors but also face rapidly rising expectations at home and abroad.
Startup Battlefield Closing Awards CeremonyWatch the announcement of the Startup Battlefield winner.
Alphabet’s decision to decline to send its CEO Larry Page to today’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing — to answer questions about what social media platforms are doing to thwart foreign influence operations intended to sow political division in the U.S. — has earned it a stinging rebuke from the committee’s vice chair, Sen. Mark Warner.
“I’m deeply disappointed that Google – one of the most influential digital platforms in the world – chose not to send its own top corporate leadership to engage this committee,” said Warner in his opening remarks, after praising Facebook and Twitter for agreeing to send their COO and CEO respectively.
Alphabet offered its SVP of global affairs and chief legal officer, Kent Walker, to testify in front of lawmakers but declined to send CEO Page or Google CEO Sundar Pichai .
Committee chairman, Richard Burr, was slightly less stinging in his opening remarks but also professed himself “disappointed that Google decided against sending the right senior level executive”.
“If the answer is regulation let’s have an honest dialogue about what that looks like. If the key is more resources or legislation that facilitates information sharing and government co-operation let’s get it out there,” he concluded. “If it’s national security policies that punish the kind of information and influence operations that we’re talking about this morning to the point that they aren’t even considered in foreign capitals then let’s acknowledge that. But whatever the answer is we’ve got to do this collaboratively and we’ve got to do this now. That’s our responsibility to the American people.”
Warner said committee members have “difficult questions about structural vulnerabilities on a number of Google’s platforms that we will need answered“, calling out a number of Google products by name and identifying abuse associated with those services.
“From Google Search, which continues to have problems surfacing absurd conspiracies….To YouTube, where Russian-backed disinformation agents promoted hundreds of divisive videos….To Gmail, where state-sponsored operatives attempt countless hacking attempts, Google has an immense responsibility in this space. Given its size and influence, I would have thought the leadership at Google would want to demonstrate how seriously it takes these challenges and to lead this important public discussion.”
We’ve reached out to Google for a response.
Warner concluded his opening remarks with some policy suggestions for regulating social media platforms, saying he wanted to get the companies’ constructive thoughts on issues such as whether platforms should identify bots to their users; whether there’s a public interest in ensuring more anonymized data is available to researchers and academics to help identify potential problems and misuse; why terms of service are “so difficult to find and nearly impossible to read; why US lawmakers shouldn’t adopt ideas such as data portability, data minimization, or first party consent — which are already baked into EU privacy law — and what further accountability there should be related to platforms’ “flawed advertising model”.
Update: A Google spokesperson sent us its earlier statement — in which it writes:
Over the last 18 months we’ve met with dozens of Committee Members and briefed major Congressional Committees numerous times on our work to prevent foreign interference in US elections. Our SVP of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer, who reports directly to our CEO and is responsible for our work in this area, will be in Washington, D.C. on September 5, where he will deliver written testimony, brief Members of Congress on our work, and answer any questions they have. We had informed the Senate Intelligence Committee of this in late July and had understood that he would be an appropriate witness for this hearing.
As work in the digital domain becomes increasingly portable, a slew of (mostly young) professionals have taken to the skies and seas to travel the globe while clocking in and collecting their directly deposited paychecks.
These digital nomads now roaming the world may look like they’ve got it made — mid-century modern decorated workspaces dotting the world’s most desirable… Read More
Instagram’s next big Stories feature could let you compliment or trash talk other people’s feed posts, or embed a “see post” button to promote your own. A TechCrunch reader sent us these screenshots of the new feature, which Instagram confirmed to us is appearing to a small subset of users. “We’re always testing ways to make it easier to share any moment with friends on Instagram” a spokesperson wrote. Now those moments can include dunking on people.
Instagram has never had a true “regram” feature with the feed, just slews of unofficial and sometimes scammy apps, but this is perhaps the closest thing. Users often screenshot feed posts and share them in Stories with overlaid commentary, but this limited the cropping and commentary options. Making an official “reshare could unlock all sorts of new user behaviors, from meme curation to burn book shade throwing to social stars teasing their feed posts in their Stories. Brands might love it for using their Stories to cross-promote a big ad campaign. Employing Stories to drive extra Likes and comments to permanent posts could help them gain more visibility in Instagram’s feed ranking algorithm.
Here’s how the feed post to Instagram Stories sharing feature works. You pick any public, permanent Instagram post and tap a button to embed it in your Story. You can tap to change the design to highlight or downplay the post’s author, move and resize it within your Story post, and add commentary or imagery using Instagram’s creative tools. When people view the story, they can tap on the post embed to bring up a “see post” button which opens the permanent feed post.
Users who don’t want their posts to be “quote-Storied” can turn off the option in their settings, and only public posts can be reshared. Facebook says it doesn’t have details about a wider potential rollout beyond the small percentage of users currently with access. But given the popularity of apps like Repost For Instagram, I expect the feature to be popular and eventually open to everyone.
Quote-Storying could help keep the feed relevant as more users spend their time sharing to the little bubbles that sit above it. And it offers a powerful viral discover mechanism for creators who can now ask fans to quickly reshare their post rather than having to awkwardly screenshot and upload them.
While both Instagram and Snapchat have let people privately send other people’s posts to friends as private messages, Snapchat lacks a way to embed other Stories or Discover content in your Story. Snapchat may have pioneered the Stories format, but Instagram has been rapidly iterating with features like Super Zoom and Highlights to extend its user count lead over the app it cloned.
The move by Instagram further ties together the three parts of its app: the permanent feed, ephemeral Stories, and private Direct messaging. You can imagine someone finding a post in the feed, resharing it their story, then joking about it with friends over Direct. It’s this multi-modal social media usage that turns casual users into loyal, ad revenue-generating ‘Grammers.
What started with an esports team is now quickly becoming an esports empire, backed by some of the biggest names in sports and money managers for entertainment family dynasties and Hollywood power brokers. Vision Esports LP, the esports conglomerate launched by Stratton Sclavos, Rick Fox and Amit Raizada has just closed on a $38 million investment from a host of investors led by the… Read More
In the era of #spirtual and #physical #wellness, everything needs to be Instagrammable, even dietary supplements.
Ritual, a subscription-based service that charges customers $30 per month for shipments of its women’s daily or prenatal vitamins, has effectively tapped into that Instagram crowd. The company admits its social media strategy has been key to harnessing a cult following of wellness enthusiasts. Since it was founded in 2015, the business has sold 1 million bottles of vitamins; today, it’s announcing a $25 million Series B funding led by Lisa Wu at Norwest Venture Partners, with participation from Kirsten Green at Forerunner Ventures and Brian Singerman at Founders Fund.
Wu, as part of the round, will join Ritual’s board of directors.
“We were the first to market in our space to have really built a direct-to-consumer brand in the vitamin supplement industry,” founder and chief executive officer Katerina Schneider told TechCrunch. “For us, that was about having direct touch points with customers online and, for instance, responding to every single question and statement on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with depth and purpose … There’s no comparing our product to any product out there. We have reimagined the formulation.”
The Los Angeles-based company, which launched during TechCrunch Disrupt New York three years ago, brought in a $10 million Series A financing in 2017. Including a seed round, Ritual has raised $41.5 million to date. Schneider declined to disclose its valuation but shared the startup has used the latest investment to make key additions to the management team, including hiring of chief scientific officer Nima Alamdari, a Harvard-trained physiologist, and director of scientific and clinic affairs Mastaneh Sharafi.
Ritual also plans to launch two new products, a postnatal and a post-menopausal vitamin, in 2019: “Our vision is to be that single vitamin that she needs,” Schneider said.
The Ritual team has “reimagined the vitamin from the ground up,” Schneider says, sourcing new and different ingredients to create a best-in-class supplement. To distinguish its product from competitors and justify its $30 per month price tag, Ritual provides absolute transparency of its ingredients and benefits of the vitamins and cites multiple scientific studies on web pages created for each individual ingredient.
Ingredients found in Ritual’s women’s multivitamin.
“Women deserve to know what they are putting in their bodies and why,” Schneider said.
For reference, a container of 150 Walgreens-branded women’s daily multi-vitamin is $11, significantly less than Ritual’s. Care/of, however, another venture-backed vitamin startup, charges $25 per month for packages of its women’s prenatal vitamin.
“If you were to bring together these individual ingredients together it would cost over $200 but because we are direct-to-consumer, we are able to stomach the costs of a product that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible to most women,” Schneider explained. “We are trying to create an iconic brand that is accessible for most women and we believe $30 a month — $1 a day — is an investment in your health and your long term future.”
$30 per month, however, isn’t accessible to most women. It is, however, comparable to other vitamin makers with high-quality ingredients. Ritual’s target audience, women interested in paying for subscription-based vitamins — an item that’s pretty easily accessible at your neighborhood grocery market — are less likely to be deterred by a $360 annual price tag. After all, the service will also send you a calendar invite to remind you to take your vitamins — the grocery market will certainly not provide that level of service.
Care/of raises $12 million in Series A for its home-delivered customized nutrition packs
From the earliest moments of boot camp, budding soldiers learn about entrepreneurship. They learn how to operate in unknown terrain, how to listen to signals and, perhaps most importantly, how to make things happen with extremely limited time and resources.
Yet, when soldiers return home following a deployment, the transition to civilian life can be jarring. Even with those valuable soft skills, there aren’t many obvious jobs in the private sector for a combat engineer or a fire support specialist. Perhaps even more challenging, according to Josh Carter, is their lack of connections. “The biggest thing that veterans are facing is network — they don’t have a big network,” he said.
Carter is working to change that situation through Patriot Boot Camp, a series of programs under the Techstars banner that gives veterans the tools and connections they need in order to launch a startup. The nonprofit, which was founded by Taylor McLemore, Congressman Jared Polis and Techstars founder David Cohen, hosts multi-day “boot camps” in cities across the country that are designed to quickly immerse participants into the life and thinking of startups. Since its founding in 2012, the program has held nine boot camps in cities like San Antonio, DC and Austin, with its next program in Denver later this year.
Carter’s own experience making the transition from the navy to the private sector is telling. He joined the service when he was 17 in the mid-90s, and over the following three years, traveled to 30 countries. The experience matured him, he explained, and on his return, he joined the telecom industry, starting his career climbing poles and eventually joining Twilio as an escalation manager and early employee. Twilio changed Carter’s life, encouraging him to pursue startups as his own career. “During that time I really got the bug to create something,” he said.
He tried to build his own startup called Brightwork, which was a developer microservices API founded in 2015. The company went through Techstars Chicago, and Carter was hoping to build the kind of company he had seen at Twilio. But growth challenges early on proved insurmountable. “We were really struggling to figure out our target market and struggling to find investors, so it just sort of died,” he told me.
During this period, Carter had been participating in Patriot Boot Camp’s programs, and liked what he saw. Following the dissolution of Brightwork, he eventually joined the program as an executive, first as chief operating officer last November, and then as interim CEO earlier this year when his predecessor, Charlotte Creech, stepped down to join USAA.
Carter has big ambitions for the program. While today the boot camp has been focused on one-two multi-day events per year, he wants to build the program into a full-fledged growth accelerator that would target startups in addition to budding entrepreneurs. He also hopes to increase the number of boot camps per year to three. He’s also investigating raising a fund, now that there is a cohort of more than 750 entrepreneurs who have gone through the program. Ultimately, his goal is to “build better founders” and give them the resources they need for victory.
One aspect of the program that I found interesting is that it isn’t just limited to veterans, but includes military spouses as well. Networks are incredibly important for founders, and Carter points out that spouses have “this special tenacity about them” and need to know “how to build a network quickly in a town where she knows nobody.” They often face just as much challenge in returning to life outside the base as the veteran themselves, and startups could prove to be an important avenue to make that transition.
As its numbers and successes swell, Patriot Boot Camp hopes that it can serve as a beacon for soldiers returning home, telling them that startups aren’t the sort of crazy risk that they first appear. Indeed, after what many of these men and women have just been through, it may not be all that daunting of a next mission after all.
India finally has its answer to Spotify after Reliance Jio merged its music service with Saavn, the startup it acquired earlier this year.
The deal itself isn’t new — it was announced back in March — but it has reached its logical conclusion after two apps were merged to create a single entity, JioSaavn, which is valued at $1 billion. For the first time, India has a credible rival to global names like Spotify and Apple Music through the combination of a venture capital-funded business — Saavn — and good old-fashioned telecom, JioMusic from Reliance’s disruptive Jio operator brand.
This merger deal comes days after reports suggested that Spotify is preparing to (finally) enter the Indian market, a move that has been in the planning for over a year as we have reported.
That would set up an interesting battle between global names Spotify and Apple and local players JioSaavn and Gaana, a project from media firm Times Internet which is also backed by China’s Tencent.
It isn’t uncommon to see international firms compete in Asia — Walmart and Amazon are the two major e-commerce players while Chinese firms Alibaba and Tencent have busily snapped up stakes in promising internet companies for the past couple of years — but that competition has finally come to the streaming space.
There have certainly been misses over the years.
Early India-based pioneer Dhingana was scooped by Rdio back in 2014 having initial shut down its service due to financial issues. Ultimately, though, Rdio itself went bankrupt and was sold to Pandora, leaving both Rdio and Dhingana in the startup graveyard.
Saavn, the early competitor too Dhingana, seemed destined to a similar fate, at least from the outside. But it hit the big time in 2015 when it raised $100 million from Tiger Global, the New York hedge fund that made ambitious bets on a number of India’s most promising internet firms. That gave it the fuel to reach this merger deal with JioMusic.
Unlike Dhingana’s fire sale, Saavn’s executive team continues on under the JioSaavn banner.
The coming-together is certainly a far more solid outcome than the Rdio deal. JioSaavn has some 45 million songs — including a slate of originals started by Saavn — and access to the Jio network, which claims over 250 million subscribers.
JioSaavn is available across iOS, Android, web and Reliance Jio’s own app store
The JioMusic service will be freemium but Jio subscribers will get a 90-day trial of the ad-free ‘Pro’ service. The company maintains five offices — including outposts in Mountain View and New York — with over 200 employees while Reliance has committed to pumping $100 million into the business for “growth and expansion of the platform.”
While it is linked to Reliance and Jio, JioMusic is a private business that counts Reliance as a stakeholder. You’d imagine that remaining private is a major carrot that has kept Saavn founders — Rishi Malhotra, Paramdeep Singh and Vinodh Bhat — part of the business post-merger.
The window certainly seems open for streaming IPOs — Spotify went public this past April through an unconventional listing that valued its business around $30 billion while China’s Tencent Music is in the process of a listing that could raise $1.2 billion and value it around that $30 billion mark, too. JioSaavn might be the next streamer to test the public markets.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to the House yesterday was a mostly bland performance, punctuated by frequent claims not to know or remember certain fundamental aspects of his own business. But he gave a curiously specific and aggressive response to a question from congressman Eliot Engel.
Starting from the premise that Facebook had been “deceived” by other players in the data misuse scandal it’s embroiled in, the congressman wondered whether Facebook intends to sue Cambridge Analytica, professor Aleksandr Kogan and Cambridge University — perhaps for unauthorized access to computer networks or breach of contract?
“It’s something that we’re looking into,” replied Zuckerberg. “We already took action by banning [Kogan] from the platform and we’re going to be doing a full audit to make sure he gets rid of all the data that he has as well.”
But the Facebook founder also seized on the opportunity to indulge in a little suggestive shade throwing which looked very much like an attempt to blame-shift responsibility for the massive data scandal embroiling his company onto, of all things, one of the UK’s most prestigious universities. (Which, full disclosure, is my own alma mater.)
“To your point about Cambridge University what we’ve found now is that there’s a whole program associated with Cambridge University where a number of researchers — not just Aleksandr Kogan, although to our current knowledge he’s the only one who sold the data to Cambridge Analytica — there are a number of the researchers who are building similar apps,” said Zuckerberg.
“So we do need to understand whether there is something bad going on at Cambridge University overall that will require a stronger action from us.”
What’s curious about this response is that Zuckerberg elides to mention how Facebook’s own staff have worked with the program he’s suggesting his company “found now” — as if it had only discovered the existence of the Cambridge University Psychometrics Centre, whose researchers have in fact been working with Facebook data since at least 2007, since the Cambridge Analytica story snowballed into a major public scandal last month.
A Facebook data-related project that the center is involved with, called the myPersonality Project — which started as a student side project of the now deputy director of the Psychometrics Centre, David Stillwell — was essentially the accidental inspiration for Kogan’s thisismydigitallife quiz app, according to testimony given to the UK parliament by former Cambridge Analytica employee Chris Wylie last month.
Here’s how the project is described on the Centre’s website:
myPersonality was a popular Facebook application that allowed users to take real psychometric tests, and allowed us to record (with consent!) their psychological and Facebook profiles. Currently, our database contains more than 6,000,000 test results, together with more than 4,000,000 individual Facebook profiles. Our respondents come from various age groups, backgrounds, and cultures. They are highly motivated to answer honestly and carefully, as the only gratification that they receive for their participation is feedback on their results.
The center itself has been active within Cambridge University since 2005, conducting research, teaching and product development in pure and applied psychological assessment — and claiming to have seen “significant growth in the past twelve years as a consequence of the explosion of activity in online communication and social networks”.
And while it’s of course possible that Zuckerberg and his staff might not have been aware of the myPersonality Facebook app project — after all 4M Facebook profiles harvested is rather less than the up to 87M Kogan was able to extract, also apparently without Facebook noticing — what’s rather harder for Zuckerberg to deny knowledge of is the fact his company’s own staff have worked with Cambridge University researchers on projects analyzing Facebook data for psychological profiling purposes for years. Since at least 2015.
In a statement provided to TechCrunch yesterday, the University expressed surprise at Zuckerberg’s remarks to the house.
“We would be surprised if Mr Zuckerberg was only now aware of research at the University of Cambridge looking at what an individual’s Facebook data says about them,” a spokesperson told us. “Our researchers have been publishing such research since 2013 in major peer-reviewed scientific journals, and these studies have been reported widely in international media. These have included one study in 2015 led by Dr Aleksandr Spectre (Kogan) and co-authored by two Facebook employees.”
The two Facebook employees who worked alongside Kogan (who was using the surname Spectre at the time) on that 2015 study — which looked at international friendships as a class marker by examining Facebook users’ friend networks — are named in the paper as Charles Gronin and Pete Fleming.
It’s not clear whether Gronin still works for Facebook. But a LinkedIn search suggests Fleming is now head of research for Facebook-owned Instagram.
We’ve asked Facebook to confirm whether the two researchers are still on its payroll and will update this story with any response.
In its statement, Cambridge University also said it’s still waiting for Facebook to provide it with evidence regarding Kogan’s activities. “We wrote to Facebook on 21 March to ask it to provide evidence to support its allegations about Dr Kogan. We have yet to receive a response,” it told us.
For his part Kogan has maintained he did nothing illegal — telling the Guardian last month that he’s being used as a scapegoat by Facebook.
We’ve asked Facebook to confirm what steps it’s taken so far to investigate Kogan’s actions regarding the Cambridge Analytica misuse of Facebook data — and will update this story with any response.
During his testimony to the House yesterday Zuckerberg was asked by congressman Mike Doyle when exactly Facebook had first learned about Cambridge Analytica using Facebook data — and whether specifically it had learned about it as a result of the December 2015 Guardian article.
In his testimony to the UK parliament last month, Wylie suggested Facebook might have known about the app as early as July 2014 because he said Kogan had told him he’d been in touch with some Facebook engineers to try to resolve problems with the rate that data could be pulled off the platform by his app.
But giving a “yes” response to Doyle, Zuckerberg reiterated Facebook’s claim that the company first learned about the issue at the end of 2015, when the Guardian broke the story.
At another point during this week’s testimony Zuckerberg was also asked whether any Facebook staff had worked alongside Cambridge Analytica when they were embedded with the Trump campaign in 2016. On that he responded that he didn’t know.
Yet another curious aspect to this story is that Facebook hired the co-director of GSR, the company Kogan set up to license data to Cambridge Analytica — as the Guardian reported last month.
According to its report Joseph Chancellor was hired by Facebook, around November 2015, about two months after he had left GSR — citing his LinkedIn profile (which has since been deleted).
Chancellor remains listed as an employee at Facebook research, working on human computer interaction & UX, where his biography confirms he also used to be a researcher at the University of Cambridge…
I am a quantitative social psychologist on the User Experience Research team at Facebook. Before joining Facebook, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge, and I received my Ph.D. in social and personality psychology from the University of California, Riverside. My research examines happiness, emotions, social influences, and positive character traits.
We’ve asked Facebook when exactly it hired Chancellor; for what purposes; and whether it had any concerns about employing someone who had worked for a company that had misused its own users’ data.
At the time of writing the company had not responded to these questions either.
Apple could drop LCDs from the iPhone line next year, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. That interesting — if not altogether surprising — revelation is buried in a piece about a Japan supplier’s struggles in the wake of disappointing iPhone XR sales.
The news, which comes courtesy of people familiar with the matter, makes sense, as prices for the display technology should drop, making it more attainable for more people. Whether Apple is giving up on the budget take on its flagship remains to be seen, but the XR appears not to have gotten the reception the company was banking on.
Apple has downplayed any disappointment, noting that the cheaper handset (starting at $250 less than the XS) has been the “most popular iPhone” since going on sale in October. But handset sales are ebbing across the board — a phenomenon that’s hardly specific to Apple.
Besides, moving to a higher-end technology across the board is just part of the inevitable march of progress, though the company is still expected to release an LCD-sporting successor to the XR later this year. A number of competitors, meanwhile, will be dipping their toes into the foldable display waters in 2019, though that technology isn’t expected to go fully mainstream any time soon.
2020 will also reportedly be the year Apple makes the move to a 5G iPhone.
We’re sentimental softies when it comes to tradition, and one of our favorites is the TechCrunch Summer Party at August Capital. This marks the thirteenth year of this Silicon Valley soiree, and we’d love to see you there. Tickets are released in batches, and the first round is available now on a first-come, first-served basis. They always sell out quickly, so buy your ticket today.
The Summer Party is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy an evening of cocktails and conversation — and to celebrate the spirit of entrepreneurship with your peers on the patio and grounds of August Capital in Menlo Park. Of course, every TechCrunch party holds the potential for networking magic. You never know when you might meet the perfect future investor, acquirer, partner or co-founder.
One legendary example: Our founder, Michael Arrington, used to hold these TechCrunch parties in his Atherton backyard, and it’s where Box founders Aaron Levie and Dylan Smith met one of their first investors, DFJ. Who knows? Come to the party and you just might start your own legend.
Here are the pertinent Summer Party details:
July 27, 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
August Capital in Menlo Park
Ticket price: $95
Are you an early-stage startup?Get a Summer Party demo table and showcase your early-stage startup at this legendary event. Each demo table comes with four (4) attendee tickets. Learn more about demo tables here.
Come for the food, come for the drink, come for the magic. Or hey, come for the door prizes, including TechCrunch swag, Amazon Echos and tickets to Disrupt San Francisco 2018.
The first batch of TechCrunch Summer Party at August Capital tickets are available now, and you can buy yours today. We hope to see you there!
Fortnite Battle Royale has swept the gaming world. Alongside its 125 million users and record-breaking Twitch streams, the game has also drawn many competitive players away from their usual titles to try their hand at Battle Royale.
Today, that competitive play reaches at inflection point. At 4pm ET, Fortnite Battle Royale’s Summer Skirmish will kick off, with $8 million going to tournament winners over the course of the competition, with a whopping $250K going to the winners of today’s tournament.
This isn’t the first competitive Fortnite tournament we’ve seen. Celebrity Twitch streamer Ninja held a charity tournament in April, and Epic held a ProAm tournament combining competitive players and celebs who play Fortnite in June. Plus, sites like UMG and CMG have been holding smaller tournaments since Fortnite first rose to popularity. And then there are $20K Fortnite Friday tournaments for streamers held by UMG.
But today, the ante has most certainly been upped. This will be one of the highest paying Fortnite tournaments to date, and is yet just a small fraction of Epic Games’ promised $100 million prize pool for competitive play this year.
For some context, Dota 2 (previously the biggest competitive esports title out there) had a $25 million payout for the International Championship tournament in 2017, with the winners taking home $10.8 million. Call of Duty, one of the most popular titles over the last decade, is only paying out $1.5 million for its own Champs tournament this summer.
In other words, Fortnite is catching up quickly to the competitive gaming scene, not only in terms of talent but money. Epic Games’ Fortnite pulled in a record-breaking $318 million in June alone. In fact, Battle Royale is generating so much revenue for Epic that the company is now only taking a 12 percent share of earnings from its Unreal Marketplace.
But with that growth comes increased scrutiny. Though the company is passing along its fortunes to developers on the Unreal Engine and competitive players, some have noticed situations in which Epic might have been a bit stingy.
Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) July 13, 2018
The stream for Fortnite Summer Skirmish begins at 4pm ET and is embedded below:
Watch live video from Fortnite on www.twitch.tv