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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

India’s Livspace raises $70M for its one-stop-shop for interior design

Livspace, an India-based startup that helps consumers manage home renovations and interior design, has pulled in a $70 million Series C deal that’s led by Goldman Sachs and TPG Growth.

Existing investors Jungle Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Helion Ventures also took part in the round, which takes Livspace total funding to date to over $100 million. The deal follows Goldman’s involvement in fintech startup Jumo’s recent $52 million round, while TPG Growth recently hired former Twitter Asia head Shailesh Rao to lead its business in India and Southeast Asia.

Livspace was founded by former Googler Anuj Srivastava and Ramakant Sharma, who has spent time with Myntra and Jungle Ventures among others, in 2015. The business aims to be a one-stop-shop for home interior design — whether that be renovations or new home design. That makes it an e-commerce business that integrates multiple pieces of the interior ecosystem: consumers, designers and the supply chain.

For that reason, Livspace is an inherently local business. Interior designers need to be local to customers and supply chain partners need to have the capacity to ship to a location, too, but Livspace actually goes beyond that by mapping buildings in a city to enable virtual mockups and 3D models to be rendered to help show a consumer a compelling preview of what their home could look like. The company also operates brick and mortar ‘Design Centers’ where consumers can touch and see materials and furniture, while the centers also operate as a location for designers and consumers to meet up if needed.

The company is currently present in seven cities in India. With this money in the bank, the plan is to expand to reach 13 cities in India by the end of next year but it’s ambitions go beyond its founders’ home country.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Srivastava said that he sees an opportunity to grow the business not just in Asia but also western markets where, to date, there are no integrated solutions such as Livspace.

“The industry has suffered from chaos,” he said. “There’s little to no aggregation on supply and demand, and there is significant opportunity for tech-based platform to unite consumers, agents and the supply chain market.

“We have focused so far on doing one market really, really, well,” he added. “We wanted to make sure you can knock it out of the park first.”

So far so good. Livspace says it is on track to reach $100 million in annualized gross revenue by March 2019. Srivastava said it has outfitted 5,000-6,000 houses so far with 1,200-1,500 projects in its system at any one time.

Consumers, of course, shop around for deals and the completion rate of projects is at around one-third, Srivastava said, with an average of about $15,000 per consumer. Of that, the take rate for Livspace is around 40 percent with seven percent for the designer. The company claims to have around 25,000 designers on the platform but less than 10 percent of all applicants are approved to ensure quality and expertise.

Through Livspace, Srivastava claims designers can massively boost their income, typically by around 2X. He argues that is not only because the rates earned are higher, but also because average project time is reduced from multiple-months to just 12-14 weeks. That means designers can also operate more efficiently.

Financially, Srivastava said he believes the business model itself can scale and that there is clear “path to profitability” particularly if the company can expand internationally.

“We started monetizing in India but we have our eyes set on every single other similar market in the planet. We’ll get there in time,” he said.


Source: TechCrunch

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 meta-review: One $1,200 beast, one case of deja vu – CNET

Analysis: Nvidia’s long-awaited GPUs are here — but they’re maybe not the upgrades you imagined?
Source: CNET

How the HTC Exodus Blockchain Phone Plans to Secure Your Cryptocurrency

HTC starts filling in the details of its so-called blockchain smartphone, expected to launch later this year.
Source: Wired

SparkLabs is launching a cybersecurity and blockchain accelerator program in the US

Investment firm SparkLabs has run accelerator programs across APAC, now it has announced its first that’ll be based on U.S. soil and it’s a cybersecurity and blockchain program that’ll be located in Washington, D.C. from next year.

The program will be led by former Startup Grind COO Brian Park and Mike Bott, who is ex-managing director of The Brandery accelerator. Advisors signed on to work with the batch of companies includes top names like Microsoft’s former chief software architect Ray Ozzie, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, LinkedIn co-founder Eric Ly and Rich DeMillo, who was the first CTO of HP.

Named “SparkLabs Cybersecurity + Blockchain,” the program will kick off with an inaugural batch of companies in March next year, with applications opening accepted from January. SparkLabs co-founder and partner Bernard Moon told TechCrunch in an interview that the plan is to run the program for four months with two intakes per year.

It’ll use SparkLabs’ standard investment approach that sees selected companies offered $50,000 for up to six percent equity. That’s variable on a case-by-case basis — for example for those that have raised significant early funding at a large valuation — but Moon said that the priority for the security and blockchain program is to seek out companies that are bootstrapped or at least have not raised much.

Moon said that the general focus is not on cryptocurrency but instead enterprise-led technologies. So, on the blockchain side, that might mean protocols and other infrastructure layer plays, although Moon said he does believe that there is scope for more consumer companies, too.

SparkLabs has a dedicated blockchain fund — SparkChain Capital — but neither that fund nor its principal, Stellar founder Joyce Kim, is directly involved in the accelerator. That’s very deliberate, Moon said, because SparkLabs wants to grow its network in the blockchain space outside of SparkChain, although he did explain that the program will be “a vetted deal source” for the fund, so graduates could potentially look it to when they want follow-on funding.

Outside of SparkChain Capital, SparkLabs is active in crypto, primarily through its presence in Asia — especially Korea where it operates its first accelerator program. The company is even tokenizing two of its accelerators — a six month IOT-focused initiative in Korean smart city Songdo and Cultiv8, an accelerator for agriculture and food tech in Australia — although Moon said that the project has been delayed but remains on track to happen soon. Investment-wise, it has backed over 10 blockchain companies and a dozen in the cybersecurity space.

The cybersecurity and blockchain program has an interesting story. Park and Bott originally spun out AOL’s Fishbowl Labs accelerator program but after a discussion with Moon for advice, the pair ended up signing up with SparkLabs. That’s a move that Moon believes will help bring a global perspective through SparkLabs’ presence in the rest of the world — it has six other programs globally — and marrying that with what’s happening in the U.S.

“We want to foster and grow a robust ecosystem in both cybersecurity and distributed ledger technologies.  We believe these two verticals are synergetic by nature, but we will seek innovations beyond the overlap,” Park said in a statement

“It’s so early within this space that we are only seeing the Friendsters and MySpaces of the blockchain world.  The next Facebooks and Twitters will be developed over the next several years,” he added.


Source: TechCrunch

Google’s GitHub competitor gets better search tools

Google today announced an update to Cloud Source Repositories, its recently relaunched Git-based source code repository, that brings a significantly better search experience to the service. This new search feature is based on the same tool that Google’s own engineers use day in and day out and it’s now available in the beta release of Cloud Source Repositories.

If you’ve been on the internet for a while, then you probably remember Google Code Search. Code Search allowed you to search through any open-source code on the internet. Sadly, Google shut this down back in 2012. This new feature isn’t quite the same, though. It only allows you to search your own code — or that from other people in your company. It’s just as fast as Google’s own search, though, and allows you to use regular expressions and other advanced search features.

One nifty feature here is that for Java, JavaScript, Go, C++, Python, TypeScript and Proto files, the tools will also return information on whether the match is a class, method, enum or field.

Google argues that searching through code locally is not very efficient and means you are often looking at outdated code.

As Google also notes, you can mirror your code from GitHub and Bitbucket with Cloud Source Repositories. I’m not sure a lot of developers will do this only to get the advanced search tools, but it’s definitely a way for Google to get more users onto its platform, which is a bit of an underdog in an ecosystem that’s dominated by the likes of GitHub.

“One key benefit is that now all owned repositories that are either mirrored or added to Cloud Source Repositories can be searched in a single query,” Cloud Source Repositories product manager Russell Wolf writes in today’s announcement. “This works whether you have a small weekend project or a code base the size of Google’s. And it’s fast: You’ll get the answers you need super quickly—much faster than previous functionality—so you can get back to writing code. And indexing is super fast, too, so the time between new code being added and being available means you’re always searching up-to-date code.”


Source: TechCrunch

Google brings vulnerability scanning to its Cloud Build CI/CD platform

Google today announced an important update to its Cloud Build CI/CD platform that brings vulnerability scanning to all container images built using the service. Container Registry vulnerability scanning, which is now in beta, is meant to ensure that as businesses adopt modern DevOps practices, the container they eventually deploy are free of known vulnerabilities.

As Google rightly notes, the only way to ensure that security protocols are always followed is by automating the process. In this case, all new Cloud Build images are automatically scanned when Cloud Build creates an image and stores it in the Container Registry.

The service uses the standard security databases to find new issues. Currently, the service can identify package vulnerabilities for Ubuntu, Debian, and Alpine, with CentOS and RHEL support coming soon.

When it finds an issue, the service will notify the user, but businesses can also set up automatic rules (using Pub/Sub notifications and Cloud Functions) to take actions automatically. Users also get detailed reports about the severity of the vulnerability, VCSS scores, which packages were affected and whether there’s a fix available already.


Source: TechCrunch

Google’s Cloud Memorystore for Redis is now generally available

After five months in public beta, Google today announced that its Cloud Memorystore for Redis, its fully managed in-memory data store, is now generally available.

The service, which is fully compatible with the Redis protocol, promises to offer sub-millisecond responses for applications that need to use in-memory caching. And because of its compatibility with Redis, developers should be able to easily migrate their applications to this service without making any code changes.

Cloud Memorystore offers two service tiers — a basic one for simple caching and a standard tier for users who need a highly available Redis instance. For the standard tier, Google offers a 99.9 percent availability SLA.

Since it first launched in beta, Google added a few additional capabilities to the service. You can now see your metrics in Stackdriver, for example. Google also added custom IAM roles and improved logging.

As for pricing, Google charges per GB-hour, depending on the service level and capacity you use. You can find the full pricing list here.


Source: TechCrunch

Playstation Classic will help you relive the '90s later this year video – CNET

For $100, you get 20 classic games including Final Fantasy 7 and Tekken 3.
Source: CNET

Amazon might open thousands of its grab-and-go stores over the next three years – CNET

The e-commerce giant is reportedly considering as many as 3,000 Amazon Go stores by 2021.
Source: CNET

Apple Watch Series 4 review in progress: First impressions – CNET

Larger screen, new watch faces and a promise of serious heart rate tech. Here’s why you might consider an upgrade.
Source: CNET

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