Startup Battlefield applications for Disrupt Berlin close this Monday


Ach du lieber, menschen! The application deadline for your chance to compete in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin is this Monday, September 25 at 5 p.m. PT. It’s time to cancel your weekend plans, stop procrastinating, hunker down and get it done.

Only one early-stage startup will walk away from the Battlefield holding a check for $50,000 and the Disrupt Cup. But every participant benefits from the expert coaching advice, exposure to international media and investors and the unparalleled networking connections. Eugenia Kuyda, CEO of Luka, experienced the benefits of competing in Startup Battlefield firsthand.

“Battlefield completely changed the game for Luka; we got a crazy amount of inbound interest from investors and media. It helped us get out of the local…

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Walmart partners with smart lock maker August to test in-home delivery of packages and groceries


Walmart announced today it will begin testing a new service that will allow customers with August smart home devices, like the August doorbell and security cameras, to have their packages delivered inside their home instead of left on the doorstep. This test will also include online grocery orders, which won’t just be placed inside the house like the packages, but will be put away in the fridge and freezer, when appropriate.

The retailer says it will soon start this test in the Silicon Valley area with select customers who have opted into to try the new service.

The customers will utilize an August smart lock to allow delivery drivers a one-time entry into their home. By using these smart home devices, the customer can see the entire delivery process from start to end, beginning…

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East Ventures closes new $30M fund to continue investing in Indonesia


East Ventures is back at it again with another new fund to invest in early-stage companies in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy and the world’s fourth most populous country.

This new $30 million fund is the firm’s sixth to date in Southeast Asia, and remarkably its second in 2017 alone. A $27.5 million fund announced in January was fully deployed in less than a year as outside interest in Southeast Asia blew up in 2017, with Indonesia the focal point for investors like Chinese web giants Alibaba and Tencent.

East Ventures is one of the region’s longest-serving seed investors, having been active since 2010, and it is one of the few to have actually returned funds — the ultimate factor that defines success in VC land.

The data is certainly impressive.

East Ventures…

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Database provider MongoDB has filed to go public


MongoDB, a database software company based in New York, has filed to go public with the Securities and Exchange Commission as it continues to burn a ton of cash despite its revenue almost doubling year-over-year.

The company, which provides open-source database software that became very attractive among early-stage startups, is one of a myriad of companies that have sought to go public by building a business around selling sophisticated tools for that software. The hope is that MongoDB would be able to offer a superior experience for its open-source software and reduce the overall workload for companies that want to deploy its technology. Cloudera also went public earlier this year.

The company brought in $101.4 million in revenue in the most recent year ending January 31, and…

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Baidu announces $1.5B fund to back self-driving car startups


Baidu is putting some serious cash behind its self-driving car push after it announced a $1.5 billion fund that’s focused on backing autonomous driving tech companies.

The Chinese giant, best known for its internet search service and AI technology, has prioritized autonomous vehicles in a major way in recent years so this comes as little surprise. Baidu made its Apollo self-driving car platform freely available to the auto industry earlier this year. That quickly picked up partners and it currently claims around 70, including Hyundai, Bosch, Continental, Nvidia, Microsoft Cloud, Velodyne, TomTom, UCAR and Grab.

Now Baidu — which is testing autonomous vehicles in both China and the U.S. — is doubling down with capital via this new fund, which it said will aim to support…

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Microsoft confirms plans for a new flagship store in Regent Street opposite Apple


Shopping may be turning into an increasingly virtual experience, with people buying goods online and through apps, but there is no denying the power of a physical in-store experience — a lesson that Microsoft is taking to heart. Today the company announced it will be opening a new flagship store in London in Regent Street near Oxford Circus — just a stone’s (or an iPhone’s) throw from the Apple flagship store that saw a huge revamp a year ago.

The area around Oxford Circus, which is at the intersection of Oxford Street and Regent Street, is one of the most high-profile shopping precincts in the world, so having a presence there underscores Microsoft’s strategy to double down on retail.

“We couldn’t be happier to be opening a flagship store in the heart of central…

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Thoughts on Facebook’s 9 plans to curb election interference


Election meddling is Facebook’s next adversary, and it’s got a plan to attack it just like it did with fake news. Solutions to both these scourges come too late to prevent tampering that may have aided Donald Trump winning the presidency — but at least Facebook is owning up to the problem, working with the government and starting to self-regulate. Here’s the nine-point plan Zuckerberg has devised to combat election interference, plus our commentary on each strategy’s potential.

One: Providing Russian-bought ads to Congress – “We are actively working with the US government on its ongoing investigations into Russian interference. We have been investigating this for many months, and for a while we had found no evidence of fake accounts linked to Russia running ads. When…

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Facebook and Twitter play bigger role in Congressional election hacking probe


As congressional investigations into Russia’s role in manipulating the election for President deepens, tech companies are assuming a more central role in the inquiries. Both Twitter and Facebook are stepping up their efforts to cooperate with Congressional investigations into Russian interference with last year’s Presidential election.

For Twitter, that means agreeing to a briefing with the Senate Intelligence Committee chaired by Virginia Democrat Mark Warner next Wednesday on the role foreign agents operating on the company’s social network may have played in influencing the election.

Meanwhile, Facebook has agreed to release the 3,000 ads it had identified as having been purchased by accounts associated with a Russian organization called the Internet Research Agency (and…

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ipsy launches its beauty product e-commerce business Shopper as it hits 3M subscribers


ipsy, a subscription service that delivers a collection of products to its users every month, has spent the last six years building up a community with millions of people obsessed with beauty products. And now that the company has more than 3 million subscribers — with a $10 per month subscription cost — it’s ready to get a little bit more aggressive by getting directly into e-commerce.

CEO Marcelo Camberos said the company is launching Shopper, a way for ipsy’s customers to buy products directly from the site rather than wait for them to show up in their monthly Glam Bag. Now, instead of just waiting for the five beauty products in the mail every month, its users will be able to buy products from a myriad of brands on the site directly — opening up a much wider swath of…

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