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10 startups that caught our eye from day 1 of YC Demo Day S18

August 21, 2018 Alex 0

From new wearables that detect breast cancer to creating the industrial supply chain for the meat replacement industry, the latest crop of Y Combinator companies showcased the breadth of entrepreneurial innovation that encapsulates the waning days of 2018. While the entire batch of 63 companies was impressive, a few in particular caught our eye.

So take a look below at our picks for some of the hits from this year’s summer cohort of companies.

Oxygen
Breaking freelancers from the month-to-month boom-and-bust payment cycles that bind them, Oxygen provides working capital loans to freelancers who can go months without getting a paycheck. The company is more than willing to work with a group of borrowers who collectively make $1.4 trillion in 1099 income annually and who are locked out of loans. Oxygen offers flat-fee access to credit and free mobile banking, all while using machine learning to determine credit worthiness. Freelance workers of the world unite, indeed!

Why we liked it: ..

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Say “Aloha”: A closer look at Facebook’s voice ambitions

August 21, 2018 Alex 0

Facebook has been a bit slow to adopt the voice computing revolution. It has no voice assistant, its smart speaker is still in development, and some apps like Instagram aren’t full equipped for audio communication. But much of that is set to change judging by experiments discovered in Facebook’s code, plus new patent filings.

Developing voice functionality could give people more ways to use Facebook in their home or on the go. Its forthcoming Portal smart speaker is reportedly designed for easy video chatting with distant family, including seniors and kids that might have trouble with phones. Improved transcription and speech-to-text-to-speech features could connect Messenger users across input mediums and keep them on the chat app rather than straying back to SMS.

But Facebook’s voice could be drowned out by the din of the crowd if it doesn’t get moving soon. All the major mobile hardware and operating system makers now have their own voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assist..

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From ICO to SEC: Join us for a panel on regulation at TechCrunch Disrupt

August 21, 2018 Alex 0

Capital, crypto, and regulation go together like bread, peanut butter, and jelly. And what better way to make a great sandwich than to bring them all together at TechCrunch Disrupt. I’ll be leading a panel with Avichal Garg of Electric Capital, Arianna Simpson of Autonomous Partners, and Valerie Szczepanik of the SEC in San Francisco.

Garg is a longtime investor and former product head at Facebook. He’s currently at Electric Capital where he’s a managing partner. Simpson is a skilled crypto investor and is currently managing director at Autonomous Partners. Szczepanik has had a long career at the SEC and was recently named Associate Director of the Division of Corporation Finance and Senior Advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation. All three of them will help us navigate the new world of investment we are no all coming to face.

The future of investment is currently up in the air. With the rise of token sales, fundraising seems like a needless task for most founders. But where will t..

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Elkrem is a blockchain dev board for tinkerers

August 21, 2018 Alex 0

Creators of the 1Sheeld, a tool designed to connect smartphones to Arduino boards, have created something even more interesting. Their latest product, the Elkrem, is a smart kit for creating blockchain IoT devices and they have raised $250,000 from Endure Capital and Consensys to build the project.

The founders are Amr Saleh and Islam Mustafa launched the 1Sheeld at TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 and sold tens of thousands of units in 120 countries. Now they’re building a new tool based entirely on blockchain.

“Elkrem is a Blockchain hardware development board. It allows Blockchain developers to integrate Dapps with hardware prototypes in an easy way without having deep knowledge in hardware development, and also allows electrical engineers and hardware developers to connect Blockchain to their hardware projects without having deep knowledge of how the Blockchain works,” said Saleh. “So they both can trigger actuators through smart contracts and log sensors data to smart contracts as well.”..

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Nintendo’s new Labo Vehicle Kit gives you more ways to build your own cardboard toys

August 21, 2018 Alex 0

Nintendo Labo, the system of DIY cardboard accessories for the Switch released this past April, is adding a Vehicle Kit to its current lineup of the Robot Kit and Variety Kit. At a press event in New York today, Nintendo gave us an opportunity to build and play with the new kit, which includes materials to create cardboard controllers for a car, submarine, and plane.

We were given a few minutes to build the controller key, which can be fitted into the car steering wheel; the dials to shift the direction of the submarine fans; and a joystick controller to pilot the plane. Of course, this was just a small taste of how long it actually takes to build these controllers; Nintendo estimates that the entire kit will take two to three hours to…

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