Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

The VidAngel story seemingly ended in late 2017 when it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But the bad news wasn’t over for streaming service, which promised to edit all of the dirty bits out of other people’s films.

This week a federal jury in California ordered the Provo, Utah-based startup to pay $ 62.4 million to studios over copyright infringement. That amounts to $ 75,000 per film, paid out to studios including Disney and Warner Bros.

“The jury today found that VidAngel acted willfully,” the studios said in a statement issued after the ruling, “and imposed a damages award that sends a clear message to others who would attempt to profit from unlawful infringing conduct at the expense of the creative community.”

VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon is naturally not thrilled with this latest bit of bad news for a site purporting to offer sanitized versions of popular films. The executive promised to fight back with an appeal.

“We disagree with today’s ruling and have not lessened our resolve to save filtering for families one iota,” Harmon said in the company’s own statement. “VidAngel plans to appeal the District Court ruling, and explore options in the bankruptcy court. Our court system has checks and balances, and we are pursuing options on that front as well.”

VidAngel’s primary streaming offering shut down in late 2016, but the startup continues to operate a service for skipping “unacceptable” parts from Netflix and Amazon Prime.


TechCrunch

A couple of years ago London-based startup Zego realised gig-economy workers would need insurance, and went on to raise a very healthy £6 million in Series A funding, led by Balderton Capital. Its first products were pay-as-you-go scooter and car insurance for food delivery workers.

It’s now announced a $ 42million raise in one of the largest funding rounds for a European insurtech start-up, in a Series B investment was led by pan-European investment firm Target Global, specialists in the fintech and mobility space, with other backers including TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus. The proceeds will be used to for Zego’s expansion across Europe and to increase the workforce from 75 to 150.

The raise takes the firm to a Toal of $ 51million in funding, with new investors Latitude joining existing backers Balderton Capital and Tom Stafford of DST Global. The investment comes as the company claims a whopping 900% growth over the past 12 months.

Zego caters to the new mobility services, such as ride-hailing, ride sharing, car rental and scooter sharing and offers a range of policies from minute-by-minute insurance to annual cover, providing more flexibility than traditional insurers, with pricing based on usage data from vehicles.

This means it’s become popular with scooter and car delivery drivers, plus van and taxi fleets. The firm currently insures a third of the UK’s food delivery market, largely through partnerships with Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats.

Sten Saar, CEO and co-founder of Zego, said: “When we built Zego from scratch three years ago, our mission was to transform the insurance sector by creating products which truly reflected the rapidly changing world of transport… The world is becoming more urbanized and because of this, we are moving from traditional ownership of vehicles to shared ‘usership’. This means that the rigid model of insurance that has existed for hundreds of years is no longer fit for purpose.”

Ben Kaminski, Partner of lead investors Target Global, said: “With the growth of new mobility services, Zego identified a major gap in the insurance market and created a unique business model to fill it, which the incumbents will find very difficult to replicate. The potential of this company is almost limitless, and I fully expect to see its UK success mirrored across Europe and beyond in the coming years.”


TechCrunch

Valo Ventures, a new firm focused on social, economic and environmental megatrends, has closed on $ 175 million for its debut venture capital fund.

The effort is led by Scott Tierney, a co-founder of Alphabet’s growth investing unit CapitalG, as well as Mona ElNaggar, a former managing director of TIFF Investment Management and Julia Brady, who previously worked as a director at The Via Agency, a communications workshop.

Google is like being a kid in a candy store,” Tierney tells TechCrunch. “It’s a great place to be. For me, I thought, ‘alright, I’ve been here for seven years, I have this opportunity to create my own fund and be more entrepreneurial and take all the learnings I was fortunate to have inside of Google and apply them.’ ”

Tierney joined Google in 2011 as a director of corporate development after five years as a managing director at Steelpoint Capital Partners. In 2013, he co-founded CapitalG, where he served as a partner for the next two years. He completed his Google stint as a director of corporate development and strategic partnerships at Nest Labs, a title he held until mid-2018.

The Valo Ventures partners plan to participate in Series A, B and C deals for startups located in North America and Europe. Specifically, Valo is looking for businesses solving problems within climate change, urbanization, autonomy and mobility. 

The goal is to bring an ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) perspective to venture capital, where investors infrequently take a mission-driven approach to deal-making. To date, Valo Ventures has deployed capital to Landit, a career pathing platform for women, and a stealth startup developing an AI platform for electricity demand and supply forecasting.


TechCrunch

Menlo Park-based Hatch Baby has prided itself on introducing “smart” nursery devices — including Grow, a changing pad with a built-in scale and Rest, a device doubling as a sound machine and night light.

Now, the company is introducing an updated version of Rest with Rest+ as part of an effort to help further establish Hatch Baby in the family sleep space.

The Rest+ device will still have the sound machine, night light and a “time to rise” feature found in the original. But, with feedback from many customers and Amazon reviews, Hatch Baby has now included the addition of an audio monitor and a clock.

The audio monitor is essential for letting parents check in on baby while they sleep without going into the room and potentially waking the baby up.

The clock is also a fantastic addition, in my opinion, especially for those with toddlers who can read numbers. These little people are big enough to get out of their beds but not mature enough to know moms and dads need to sleep at 4 a.m. Often advice passed from parent to parent is to put a clock in the baby room and tell kids not to come out until it shows a certain number.

It also helps establish healthy sleep habits in little ones. Most toddlers (ages one to 3) need about 12 to 14 hours of sleep in a day, spread out between nighttime and naps, according to the National Sleep Foundation. However, as any parent knows, the older a baby gets, the harder it is to get them to want to go to bed.

Rest+ features include:

  • Audio monitor: Parents can now check in on their child in their room without the risk of disrupting their little one’s sleep right from their phone — no extra gadgets necessary.
  • Sound machine: Parents can choose from a range of sound options, from white noise to soft lullabies. They can simply crank up the volume remotely when the dog barks or the neighbors throw a party.
  • Night light: This feature, which stays cool to the touch, provides soft and soothing
    lighting for midnight feeding sessions or bright and reassuring light when the dark feels scary for older kids. Parents and kids can choose from a rainbow of colors to make it their own, but the optional patented toddler-lock setting makes sure that parents are the only ones in control when needed.
  • Time-to-Rise: Green means go! This feature enables parents to teach toddlers and
    preschoolers to stay in bed until it’s time to rise once the light changes color (and enjoy those extra minutes of sleep).
  • Clock: Rest+ features an easy-to-read clock so that parents can stay on track with their busy schedules and can help teach children to read numbers.

Any one of these features could cost parents a good amount of dough when purchased separately. A Phillips Avent audio monitor runs just under $ 100 on Amazon, for example. However, Rest+ is just $ 80 (slightly more than the original $ 60 price tag for the Rest device), for all five features.

Something else that may make the Rest+ attractive to parents — it is WiFi-enabled and portable so you can take it with you when you travel.

Whipping a sound machine, nightlight, audio monitor and clock all into one portable, WiFi-enabled device can also save precious space in the nursery and makes this a must-have item for many parents hoping for just a little bit more sleep.

Hatch Baby co-founder Ann Crady Weiss tells TechCrunch the Rest+ will only be available on the Hatch Baby site and is part of a plan to launch a full line of products aimed at getting parents — and their children — more precious sleep. Though she wouldn’t say what the company was working on next, she did mention we’d hear something about it in the coming months. So stay tuned!


TechCrunch

Another day, another Target checkout outage.

Many took to social media to complain that checkouts at the retail giant went down for a second day in a row. Many stores were only taking cash and gift cards. It comes after Target suffered a global point-of-sale machine outage on Saturday. Checkouts were down for more than two hours.

Target said in a statement yesterday that it could “confirm that this was not a data breach or security-related issue” and “no guest information was compromised at any time.” Instead, the company blamed the outage on an “internal technology issue” without disclosing specifics.

The retail giant was forced to pay $ 162 million in expenses related to a data breach in 2013.

Jenna Reck, a spokesperson for Target, said in a statement:

Like many other companies, Target uses NCR as a vendor to help accept payments, and on Sunday afternoon NCR experienced an issue at one of their data centers. While this was not an issue within Target’s technology system, Target was unable to process select card payments at some stores for about 90 minutes. The issue is now resolved and payments are going through normally. Additionally, we can confirm that this was not a security-related issue and no payment information was compromised at any time. Although this was unrelated to Saturday’s issue, we know many guests had a frustrating shopping experience in our stores this weekend. For that, we are truly sorry. We never want to disappoint any guests and we’re working tirelessly to ensure these issues don’t happen again.

Updated with comment from Target.


TechCrunch

Hey, weekend readers. This is Week-in-Review where I get hopped up on caffeine and give a heavy amount of analysis on one story while scouring the rest of the hundreds of stories that emerged on TechCrunch this week to surface my favorites for your reading pleasure.

Last week, I railed on Google’s new Stadia game streaming platform. The injection of competition into the tired PlayStation/Xbox gaming rivalry is certainly welcome, but Google is making such a concerted play into a tight niche that it’s hard to imagine them following through. I got some great emails and DMs with a lot of good back-and-forth, most notably pointing out that I didn’t give Google credit for some of the details they did give on multi-player, I also got some less helpful responses, but hey, I guess I’m the one that asked for the feedback.

On that note, check out my comparison of Stadia with Microsoft’s new xCloud service that they revealed this week.


Alright, onto new things. Actually, let’s dig into my week at the E3 gaming expo. I swear this isn’t only a gaming newsletter, but let’s talk forever franchises…

I spent the past few days on the show floor of the conference checking out what the latest and greatest gaming trends were, what I saw looked pretty familiar though.

Entrenched franchises are a special kind of force in the gaming industry.

Walking around it was wild how so many of these studios are coasting off of 20 or 30-year-old characters and storylines. Sega had a massive booth this year showing off some reskinned Sonic the Hedgehog shit. Watching the Square Enix keynote was a special kind of hell, I admittedly do not have a very religious connection to the studio, but their announcements were all related to reboots, rehashes or remasters. Nintendo, which I dearly love, dug into the success of Breath of the Wild by promising a direct sequel for the title, something that’s a bit unusual for the Zelda series, Jesus, even Animal Crossing is nearly a 20-year franchise at this point! Every large booth dragged gamers’ attention to something derivative.

This obviously isn’t some sort of breaking news, but as the years stretch on from the gaming industry’s conception, it’s fascinating to see how the founding franchises are keeping their shine.

What’s fascinating is how this impacts the boom and bust life cycles of game studios and massive publishers. While larger movie studios need to constantly be vetting new tentpole franchises, once game studios find a hit they join this club of mainstays where the marks of success become more dependent on creative execution rather than creativity itself. This can make life pretty profitable for studios like Rovio that strike gold and can spend a decade milking their former glory and fading out, but it’s still fascinating.

It also makes the introduction of new IP such a nerve-racking, high stakes process. You look at someone like Hideo Kojima and the buzz Sony has been trying to build around Death Stranding and you just realize how insanely complex it is to craft a hit with nothing but marketing and talking head hype. Word of mouth and network effects build these franchises over time, but there’s so much invested beforehand and for new IP, it’s hard to guarantee a winner.

Why does Toy Story fade after a few films but a singular piece of gaming IP can suck hundreds of hours out of a gamer’s life over several releases? I’d imagine being able to hold a role in the progression of a character fosters a closer bond with the user, gameplay can be dozens of hours long but more often than not the storyline is pretty straight-forward leading you to fill in the blanks, which can be powerful. Games are fundamentally more than just stories.

But then, as I walked around and watched gameplay and cinematic trailers, I was left with the takeaway that so much of the dialogue in some of these games is garbage. When are the writers behind the “golden age of TV” going to trickle down into crafting some of these single-player campaigns? But then are more rich and rewarding storylines going to cause these franchises to have shorter shelf lives because we’ll get to know the characters too well? I don’t really know, if you work in the games industry I’d love to pick your brain.

Send me feedback
on Twitter @lucasmtny or email
lucas@techcrunch.com

On to the rest of the week’s news.

(Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Trends of the week

Here are a few big news items from big companies, with green links to all the sweet, sweet added context.

  • Salesforce buys Tableau
    Marc Benioff is known to signal Salesforce’s future via its M&A, so the company’s largest acquisition to date is probably worth taking a closer look at. Read why Salesforce is spending $ 15.7 billion on Seattle-based Tableau.
  • Samsung gets ready to re-release its Foldy phone
    The Galaxy Fold has had a pretty raucous life in the press and it hasn’t even successfully been released yet. Read more about its coming launch.
  • Musk’s Tesla submarine
    It wouldn’t be a Tesla shareholder meeting if some bizarre headlines didn’t surface. Apparently Musk claims that the company has vehicle designs for a submersible Tesla based on the aquatic car from the James Bond movie. Musk said it’s technically possible to make a functioning version, but added, “I think the market for this would be small — small, but enthusiastic.” Read more here.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaving The Merrion Hotel in Dublin

GAFA Gaffes

How did the top tech companies screw up this week? This clearly needs its own section, in order of awfulness:

  1. YouTube CEO serves up an “apology”:
    [YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki addresses hate speech controversy]
  2. Deepf**ked:
    [Facebook will not remove deepfakes of Mark Zuckerberg and others from Instagram]

Extra Crunch

Our premium subscription service had another week of interesting deep dives. TechCrunch’s Sarah Buhr chatted with some venture capitalists that are investing in female fertility startups and tried to get to the bottom of what signals they search for.

What top VCs look for in a women’s fertility startup

“…Longer term, women’s health has a special interest: a new understanding of women’s reproductive health will generate novel insights into other domains, including longevity…”

Here are some of our other top reads this week for premium subscribers. This week TechCrunch writers talked a bit the future of car ownership, and whether people raising venture capital should even bother dealing with associates at the firms…

Want to read some of this stuff, but haven’t signed up? We’ve got a deal going where you can sign up for $ 2 and get two months of Extra Crunch.


TechCrunch

How to make remote work work

TechCrunch columnist Jon Evans has an Extra Crunch-exclusive look on what it takes to get remote work working within an organization. Evans, who has been the remote CTO of technology consulting firm HappyFunCorp for many years, finds that “you need decisive confidence, clear direction, iterative targets, independent responsibilities, asynchronous communications, and cheerful chatter” to build out a harmonious remote work culture.

Decisive confidence. Suppose Vivek in Delhi, Diego in Rio, and Miles in Berlin are all on a project. (An example I’m drawing from my real life.) It’s late your time. You have to make a decision about the direction of their work. If you sleep on it, you’re writing off multiple developer-days of productivity.

Sometimes they have enough responsibilities to have other things to work on. (More on that below.) Sometimes you don’t have to make the decision because they have enough responsibility to do so themselves. (More on that below.) But sometimes you have to make the business-level decision based on scant information. In cases like this, remember the military maxim: “Any decision is better than no decision.”

How to negotiate term sheets with strategic investors

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the rise of hundreds of strategic investors, typically large corporates with venture wings with the mission to invest in the next wave of startups targeting their existing business lines. While many of these funds are structured at least symbolically as traditional venture capital firms, their specific concerns during deal negotiation can be quite different.


TechCrunch

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