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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Galaxy A8S a practice run for Galaxy S10's O-notch screen? It makes sense – CNET

Commentary: Samsung can work out the kinks on a less important phone to ready its flagship Galaxy S10 for the new design.
Source: CNET

L.A. gets more moolah, thanks to Calibrate Ventures and its new, $80 million fund

Two years ago, a couple of VCs from Shea Ventures, a 50-year-old, L.A. -based investment firm, banded together to create a Pasadena, Ca.-based early stage venture firm called Calibrate Ventures.

Investors clearly like what they’re building. Firm founders Kevin Dunlap and Jason Schoettler are today announcing that they have closed their debut effort with $80 million in capital commitments, including from Shea Ventures itself and from Foundry Group, the Boulder, Co.-based venture outfit that began dedicated a portion of its own capital to investing in other early-stage venture funds in 2016. (Both Foundry and the Bay Area-based venture firm True Ventures have been frequent syndicate partners of Dunlap and Schoettler, including during the 15 years the two spent with Shea.)

So what is Calibrate funding, exactly? Well, it has five portfolio companies so far. Three of these are bets on robotics companies, including the Bedford, Ma.-based flexible robot company Soft Robotics. It has also written checks to two software startups, including Broadly, an Oakland, Ca.-based mobile-first chat platform for local businesses. Dunlap says both fit into the firm’s mission of funding companies that augment today’s labor markets, or that enhance human productivity, or that simply offer cheaper, better services, like Dollar Shave Club, which he had backed while at Shea, or the home security company Ring, on whose board Dunlap had sat until the company sold for $1 billion to Amazon earlier this year.

As for the company’s obvious interest in robotics companies specifically, Dunlap says it’s far from a new area of fascination. In fact, Dunlap spent a year as an engineer with Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. He and Schoettler have also been making related bets for years, including investing in Sphero (in their capacity as investors at Shea) and, more recently, under the Calibrate banner, funding Built Robotics, which retrofits construction equipment with the same sensor technology used in autonomous vehicles. As for what types of robotics companies interest them specifically, Dunlap says a company has to have a “subscription or service component to it. We don’t want to be investing in toy robot or a single-use robot and hoping that someone will want to buy version two or three later on.”

Either way, don’t expect to see the firm write too many checks. As Dunlap explains it, the firm, which is investing across the U.S., only plans to make 15 investments altogether with this new fund, investing between $3 million and $6 million into companies that are already seeing early revenue and that might be raising Series A rounds of between $10 million and $20 million.

“It’s important that the two of us do the work and spend time with all the times, and it’s important for us to do the work afterward, too,” Dunlap says, including referring Calibrate’s portfolio companies to potential future investors.

Thankfully, he says, unlike in years long past, that’s not the problem it once was for an L.A.-based firm. “Things have really matured here over the last five or six years,” he says. “Talent has been more of an issue in recent years than funding.” And nature seems to be solving for this, too. “You’re definitely starting to see more people moving here for the better weather and the cost of living. You’re also starting to see people leaving Dollar Shave Club and Snap and Honest Company and, over time, Ring.”

The duo area also bringing plenty of lessons learned to the table, they say, including the importance of “alignment, ad not just with founders but with other investment partners,” says Dunlap. It helps startups navigate around having “too much structure” involved in their financing rounds. It also keeps valuations “appropriate,” he says.

By the way, asked if he is seeing valuations soften at all with the zigs and zags of the public market, Dunlap says he isn’t, not in his part of the world, anyway. “When you’re talking about seed rounds around a concept or an idea, valuations can creep up, and those valuations may be coming down a bit right now.” When you’re instead “having a discussion with a company that has early revenue and metrics that you can point to, I’m not seeing any difference at all.”

Pictured, left to right: Kevin Dunlap and Jason Schoettler. Courtesy of Calibrate Ventures.


Source: TechCrunch

Windows 10 user activity logs are sent to Microsoft despite users opting out

Windows 10 Privacy settings may not be enough to stop PCs from releasing user activity data to Microsoft. Users discovered that opting out of having their data sent to Microsoft does little to prevent it from being released.

The post Windows 10 user activity logs are sent to Microsoft despite users opting out appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Lego's Voltron made us feel like kids again video – CNET

Building the 1.5-foot tall Defender of the Universe wasn’t easy and it took nearly all day, but we had a blast.
Source: CNET

Huawei executive granted $10M bail by Canadian court – CNET

Chinese telecom giant’s CFO awaits a hearing on extradition to the US.
Source: CNET

Huawei CFO accused of fraud is granted $7.5M bail

The Canadian government has granted bail to Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, 10 days after her arrest in Vancouver. The decision concludes a three-day court hearing in which the judge and the public prosecutor debated whether Wanzhou would breach her bail conditions.

Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, has been accused of fraud with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. She was arrested by Canadian officials at the request of the U.S. government on December 1 while changing planes on her way to Mexico. As part of her bail conditions, the court has ordered her to pay C$10 million — about $7.5 million — and await U.S. extradition from her Vancouver home. According to reports, Wanzhou must relinquish her passport, wear an ankle bracelet and remain at home between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The U.S. Department of Justice alleges Wanzhou misled American financial institutions and allowed an unofficial Huawei subsidiary, called SkyCom, to do business in Iran despite U.S. sanctions.

Huawei didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


Source: TechCrunch

Google wants to help you pronounce words like 'onomatopoeia' correctly, report says – CNET

The service is in limited availability now, Android Police reports.
Source: CNET

Could the Galaxy S10 look like this? – CNET

Leaked and renders attempt to paint a picture of Samsung’s 2019 flagship phone.
Source: CNET

Wix launches a new suite of products for support, sales and marketing

Wix is taking a big step beyond website building today with the launch of a suite of products called Ascend.

PR Manager Matt Rosenberg explained that just as Wix was founded with the aim of “demystifying and democratizing how you get online,” Ascend has a similar mission: “You don’t have to be a developer and designer to bring the same thing to business management and marketing.”

Other website builders like Squarespace and Weebly (now owned by Square) have also introduced marketing tools, but Ascend seems like a particularly ambitious expansion, encompassing 20 products in areas like chat, memberships, email marketing and search engine optimization (in some cases, these are existing Wix products being brought under the Ascend umbrella).

For example, Nitzan Achsaf, the company’s vice president and general manager of customer experience, demonstrated how a (fictional) tennis instructor could use the various Ascend products to answer questions from and offer discounts to one customer interested in purchasing a tennis racket, while also interacting with and providing official price quotes to someone else looking to book a birthday party for their child.

“What we’re proud of is, there’s no juggling of vendors or of third-party platforms,” Rosenberg added.

Inbox - Ascend

In fact, all of a business’ interactions with a customer, regardless of channel, are routed into a single inbox, which can be accessed on any device — in the case of the tennis instructor, Achsaf said, “The whole conversation is [conducted via mobile phone] on the court, probably in-between sessions.”

Wix is also developing a workflow editor, so that a business’ website and other channels can respond automatically depending on how customers behave.

Ascend by Wix is available as a separate subscription, with pricing ranging from $9 to $45 per month. Technically, you could use it even if you don’t have a Wix subscription, but Achsaf said, “The tight integration into a Wix website is a very big advantage for our users.”


Source: TechCrunch

2019 BMW 3 Series first drive review: Comeback kid – Roadshow

BMW’s new 3 Series isn’t perfect, but this compact sport sedan is a dynamic return to form.
Source: CNET

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