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Lightspeed just filed for $1.8 billion in new funding, as the race continues

March 27, 2018 Alex 0

Just a day after General Catalyst, the 18-year-old venture firm, revealed plans in an SEC filing to raise a record $1.375 billion in capital to shower on startups, another firm that we’d said was likely to file any second has done just that.

According to a fresh SEC filing, Lightspeed Venture Partners, also 18 years old at this point, is raising a record $1.8 billion in new capital commitments from its investors, just two years after raising what was then a record for the firm: $1.2 billion in funding across two funds (one early stage and the other for “select” companies in its portfolio that had garnered traction).

Still on our watch list: news of bigger-and-better-than-ever funds from other firms that announced their latest funds roughly two years ago, including Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, and Accel Partners.

The supersizing of venture firms isn’t a shock, as we wrote yesterday — though it’s also not necessarily good for returns, as we also noted. Right now, venture firms ..

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Nvidia CEO comments on GPU shortage caused by Ethereum

March 27, 2018 Alex 0

There’s currently a shortage of Nvidia GPUs and Nvidia’s CEO pointed to Ethereum distributed ledgers as the cause. Today at Nvidia’s GTC conference he spoke to a group of journalists following his keynote address and addressed the shortage.

Huang simply stated that Nvidia is not in the business of cryptocurrency or distributed ledgers. As such, he stated he preferred if his company’s GPUs were used the areas Nvidia is targeting though explained why Nvidia’s products are used for crypto mining.

“[Cryptocurrency] is not our business,” he said. “Gaming is growing and workstation is growing because of ray tracing.” He noted that Nvidia’s high performance business is also growing and these are the areas he wished Nvidia could allocate units for.

Huang explained why crypto miners are using Nvidia’s products echoing what he told me in an interview last week.

“We’re sold out of many of our high-end SKUs, and so it’s a real challenge keeping [graphic cards] in the marketplace for games,” he..

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Data is not the new oil

March 27, 2018 Alex 0

It’s easier than ever to build software, which makes it harder than ever to build a defensible software business. So it’s no wonder investors and entrepreneurs are optimistic about the potential of data to form a new competitive advantage. Some have even hailed data as “the new oil.” We invest exclusively in startups leveraging data and AI to solve business problems, so we certainly see the appeal — but the oil analogy is flawed.

In all the enthusiasm for big data, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that all data is not created equal. Startups and large corporations alike boast about the volume of data they’ve amassed, ranging from terabytes of data to quantities surpassing all of the information contained in the Library of Congress. Quantity alone does not make a “data moat.”

Firstly, raw data is not nearly as valuable as data employed to solve a problem. We see this in the public markets: companies that serve as aggregators and merchants of data, such as Nielsen and Acxiom, sustai..

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Nvidia’s Jensen Huang cautions patience in judging Uber AV engineers

March 27, 2018 Alex 0

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang faced a number of questions regarding Uber’s recent self-driving test vehicle accident, in which an SUV equipped with Uber’s autonomous technology struck and killed 49-year old Elaine Herzberg in Tempe, Arizona.

Earlier on Tuesday, Reuters broke the news that Nvidia was suspending its own autonomous testing programs around the world. Huang didn’t address the suspension on stage, but he did express sympathy for the victim during the keynote, which he reiterated during the Q&A.

“First of all, what happened is tragic and sad,” Huang said in response to a question about whether he believes the accident might impact appetite among other companies for developing autonomous technologies. “It also is a reminder of exactly why we’re doing this.”

Huang explained that in fact, as a result of the accident, he actually believes that investment will rise in self-driving system design, specifically because previously companies might have thought they could get away with mea..

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Watch Apple’s iPad education event here

March 27, 2018 Alex 0

Apple didn’t livestream this morning’s education event at Lane Tech High School in Chicago, so reading along live was the next best thing. Thankfully, for those who weren’t crammed into the auditorium seating with the rest of us, the whole shebang is now online and viewable through Apple’s site.

The event was, as expected, focused entirely on Apple’s education play, as the company looks to reassert itself in school in the wake of the massive success of Chromebooks. Tim Cook and company took a deep dive into the software solutions aimed helping teachers streamline the in-class iPad usage, along with the various ways in which mainstream Apple apps like Clips and Garage Band are being used in the class.

And then, of course, there are those new, cheap, iPads.

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Hell is full of subtweets in Afterparty, a game about outdrinking the devil

March 27, 2018 Alex 0

Best friends Milo and Lola are dead. They’ve gone straight to hell, and their only chance to return to Earth is to challenge and beat Satan himself in a drinking contest. It sounds like the setup for the worst hangover of all time, but Night School Studio’s new game, Afterparty, includes one more diabolical layer: Even in hell, everyone uses Twitter. Or, as it’s called in the game, Bicker.

Set to release in 2019 from the creators behind Oxenfree, Afterparty’s underworld is an international mishmash of cultures, myths, and commonly held religious beliefs. “It was important to us that we’re both paying equal amounts of respect and poking equal amounts of fun at all of that, and not really leaning into one particular take,” says co-creator…

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Google buys GIF platform Tenor

March 27, 2018 Alex 0

Google has acquired the GIF platform Tenor for Android, iOS, and desktop, the company announced today. Tenor is going to help Google bring up GIFs inside Google images and other services like Gboard more easily. Notably, Tenor is a GIF platform that Facebook has used in its Messenger service to let users send GIFs more easily. It’s unclear if this acquisition will change that.

A blog post from Google notes that Tenor will remain a separate brand, and the company will help Tenor find more content and API partners. Google’s director of engineering Cathy Edwards wrote in the blog post that users can expect to see a lot more GIFs on Google services going forward and noted that Google images has become more about self-expression in addition…

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Please stop calling dopamine the ‘pleasure chemical’

March 27, 2018 Alex 0

Dopamine is one of the most hyped brain chemicals, supposedly linked to everything from sex to gambling. It’s common to read, as Business Insider claimed last week, that dopamine is “the pleasure chemical” — but that’s not true, and the idea was overturned long ago.

“I have friends who have dopamine tattoos because they think it means pleasure,” says Arif Hamid, a Gray Fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and postdoctoral researcher at Brown University, who studies the role of dopamine in the brain. The truth is, dopamine might make you pursue something, but that doesn’t mean it’s responsible for the pleasure itself.

Business Insider, for example, claims that dopamine regulates pleasure, but that’s not the case. It might…

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