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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Trump reportedly will ban Chinese telecom equipment next week – CNET

The president wants sign an executive order before Mobile World Congress in late February, according to Politico.
Source: CNET

VW has no plans for plug-in hybrids in the US as it focuses on EVs – Roadshow

VW is all-in on battery-electric cars.
Source: CNET

Dirt Rally 2.0 brings VR rally racing to the Oculus Rift – Roadshow

The most realistic way to go rallying without wearing a fire suit.
Source: CNET

Apple turns Ariana Grande and other musicians into Memoji for its latest ads

Just in time for the Grammy Awards, Apple has unveiled three new ads for Apple Music, featuring new singles from Ariana Grande, Khalid and Florida Georgia Line.

In each video, the musicians have been transformed in Memoji (the human-style Animoji variant that was announced last year), which lip synch to their latest songs. The ads probably won’t change any minds when it comes to Memoji and Animoji — but if you like the format, they’re are fun.

Apple actually created similar ads with Animoji lip synching to Childish Gambino and Migos before last year’s Grammys.

As The Verge points out, if you watch to the end of the videos and pay attention to the small print, you’ll notice that these Memoji were “professional animated.” So don’t feel too bad if your lip synching Animoji videos don’t look quite as good.


Source: TechCrunch

Mixtape podcast: Instacart’s apologetic week

It’s that time of the week again when Megan Rose Dickey and I talk about the good and could-be-better tech companies. This week, we talked about Instacart <a href=”https://techcrunch.com/2019/02/05/instacart-faces-class-action-lawsuit-regarding-wages-and-tips/”>getting caught shorting its shoppers out of dough they rightfully deserved. Of course the company apologized for its “misguided” approach. Which at least sounds better than apologizing for getting caught — and getting caught, the company did.

And wouldn’t you know it, scooter drama persists in San Francisco. The city this week shot down an appeal by JUMP to let it deploy its Uber-run scooters. The company it seems could have filed a better application in the first place, so back to the drawing board it goes to try to convince the municipality to relent.

Finally this week we talk about Tyra Banks’s Modelland, a physical space that will open in Santa Monica, California, later this year. It will give visitors an opportunity to experience life in a tech environment. I am intrigued at what this could be.

Click play above to listen to this week’s episode. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, what are you waiting for? Find us on Apple PodcastsStitcherOvercastCastBox or whatever other podcast platform you can find.


Source: TechCrunch

Luxury handbag marketplace Rebag raises $25M to expand to 30 more stores

Rebag, an online resale marketplace for luxury handbags, is getting another infusion of capital as it prepares to expand its offline retail operations. The company this week announced $25 million in Series C funding, in a round led by private equity firm Novator, with participation from existing investors, General Catalyst and FJ Labs.

The round brings Rebag’s total raise to date to $52 million.

Rebag competes with other luxury goods resellers, like TheRealReal, and to some extent with broader resale marketplaces like thredUP or Poshmark, which also attract shoppers looking to buy quality pre-owned items. And it exists in alongside large marketplaces like eBay as well as rental shops like Rent the Runway, which offers an alternative to a site focused only on handbags.

In fact, Rebag founder and CEO Charles Gorra spent a brief period at Rent the Runway, before leaving to start Rebag in 2014. At the time, he said he saw an immediate opportunity to not just rent the items out, but to actually resell them on a secondary market.

Today, Rebag’s shop sells bags from over 50 designer brands, including all the majors like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, and others.

However, in the years following Rebag’s launch, the company has expand its offerings beyond just online resale to include brick-and-mortar retail and, more recently, a service called Rebag Infinity, which allows shoppers to turn in any Rebag handbag purchase within 6 months in exchange to receive a credit of at least 70 percent of the purchase price.

Last year, Rebag made headlines in the fashion world for selling the rare Hermès White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin collectible – typically an over $100,000 bag – for “just” $70,000, to celebrate the opening of its 57th Street and Madison Avenue store, its second Manhattan flagship location.

With the new funding, Rebag will expand its offline footprint, it says. The company currently operates five stores in New York and L.A. but plans to launch 30 more locations in the “medium term.” This will include both standalone storefronts, as well as presences within luxury malls.

It’s common these days for resale marketplaces these days to take their wares to offline shoppers. TheRealReal, Rent the Runway, ThredUP, and others all today offer real world locations, where shoppers can browse in person instead of just online.

Rebag says since it opened its retail stores las year, it moved from being a 100 percent digital operation to 80 percent digital, and 20 percent offline. Its sourcing network also grew to include over 20,000 stylists, partners, shoppers and sales associates.

With the funding, Rebag adds it will also refine its pricing and handbag evaluation tools aimed at standardizing the resale process, something that could represent another business for the brand (or make it attractive to an acquirer.)

“We are a technology company first,” noted founder and CEO Charles Gorra, in a statement. “Our goal is to become the standard for the luxury resale industry, just like Kelley Blue Book is the main resource for the auto industry.”

The company plans also to triple its team of 100, which today includes newer hires CTO Jay Winters (Delivery.com, Goldman Sachs) and CMO Elizabeth Layne (Bonobos, Appear Here).

Rebag doesn’t share its hard numbers about sales, revenues, valuation, customer base or others, but told us it has tripled revenues since its Series B.

 


Source: TechCrunch

Extend Fertility banks $15M Series A to help women freeze their eggs

Fertility services are raising venture cash left and right. Last week, it was Dadi, a sperm storage startup that nabbed a $2 million seed round. This week, it’s Extend Fertility, which helps women preserve their fertility through egg freezing.

Headquartered in New York, the business has secured a $15 million Series A investment from Regal Healthcare Capital Partners to expand its fertility services, which also include infertility treatments, such as in vitro and intrauterine insemination. The company has also appointed Anne Hogarty, the former chief business officer at Prelude Fertility and vice president of international business at BuzzFeed, to the role of chief executive officer. Hogarty replaces Extend Fertility co-founder Ilaina Edison, who had held the C-level title since the business launched in 2016. Edison will remain on the startup’s board of directors.

Extend Fertility, in its New York cryopreservation and embryology lab and treatment center, completed 1,000 egg-freezing cycles in 2018.

“A lot of amazing things have happened for women over the last century,” Hogarty told TechCrunch earlier this week. “Now, women are permitted and encouraged to seek higher education, pursue a career, follow their dreams and end up with a partner who’s the right partner, not just any partner. Doing all those things has pushed the window for when women want to start a family from their 20s to their 30s and unfortunately, one thing that has not changed in that time is the biological clock.”

Hogarty explained Extend’s fertility services are more affordable than other options because the service was built specifically with egg freezing in mind, and the company later expanded to offer infertility treatments, whereas other services were established to provide IVF and other infertility treatments and integrated cryopreservation tools later.

We are really purpose-built to be an egg-freezing-first company, where many legacy institutions that were providing infertility services have legacy costs that come with … inefficiencies bred over decades and outmoded technology in their labs that may not be the most efficient and effective,” she said. “We have a state of the art lab with the latest equipment.”

It’s the classic innovator dilemma,” she added. “Infertility services are extraordinarily expensive and reproductive endocrinology is a new area of medicine. There are a lot of people and institutions that have been taking inordinate amounts of money for their infertility services so they weren’t looking to serve this population of women looking to preserve their fertility.”

One egg-freezing cycle with Extend costs women $5,500, and additional cycles come at a sticker price of $4,000. Each cycle includes a fertility assessment, private consultation, anesthesia and any monitoring a patient may need during their cycle. The costs don’t include medication, however. Extend can prescribe medications — which typically cost between $2,000 and $5,000 for fertility patients — but they still need to go through a third party to get their prescriptions filled and paid for. 

For reference, FertilityIQ, an online platform for researching fertility care providers and treatments, says the typical cost per cycle for egg freezing is more than $17,000 in New York City or $15,600 in San Francisco. Most egg-freezing services, including Extend, do not accept insurance, as most insurance providers don’t cover the steep costs of fertility or infertility treatments.

Some companies, however, are beginning to offer benefits that cover these costs. Facebook and Apple, for example, began subsidizing egg-freezing procedures for employees in 2014. Spotify and eBay, for their part, will pay for an unlimited number of IVF cycles.

Hogarty said Extend’s price point makes it one of the lowest-cost players in the market.

“We want as many women as possible to benefit from the advances from egg-freezing technology,” she said.

Extend Fertility, which has previously raised $10 million, plans to use the latest investment to open labs in new markets and expand its infertility services.


Source: TechCrunch

National Enquirer responds to Jeff Bezos’ blackmail claims in nude photo scandal

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos claims The National Enquirer had blackmailed him into dropping an investigation. He alleges that the tabloid tried to tie his hands by threatening to publish his nude photos.

The post National Enquirer responds to Jeff Bezos’ blackmail claims in nude photo scandal appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

AMI defends ‘good faith negotiations’ with Jeff Bezos but will investigate blackmail allegation

It’s the morning after the night before for AMI.

And what a night it was. The company is officially in damage control mode after it released a short statement defending its communication and behavior with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who published evidence of blackmail that used leaked messages and nude photos of the billionaire that AMI had acquired.

AMI today defended its efforts. It claimed it had “acted lawfully” with its reporting of Bezos and that it engaged in “good faith negotiations” with him. Still, despite those claims, it said it has launched an investigation into the incident.

Here’s the statement:

American Media believes fervently that it acted lawfully in the reporting of the story of Mr. Bezos. Further, at the time of the recent allegations made by Mr. Bezos, it was in good faith negotiations to resolve all matters with him. Nonetheless, in light of the nature of the allegations published by Mr. Bezos, the Board has convened and determined that it should promptly and thoroughly investigate the claims. Upon completion of that investigation, the Board will take whatever appropriate action is necessary.

The company, which owns the National Enquirer among other media businesses, was accused of blackmail in an explosive essay that Bezos published on Thursday. In it, the Amazon CEO detailed AMI’s apparent offer of a ‘deal’ that would see it drop the publishing of naked selfies of the billionaire, sent to his new partner, in exchange for The Washington Post — the newspaper he owns — walking back its investigation into AMI’s connections in Saudi Arabia and relationship with President Trump.

This battle isn’t going anyway any time soon — watch this space for more updates.


Source: TechCrunch

Surprisingly, Disney Is Happy With EA's 'Star Wars' Games

Also, ‘Apex Legend’ is selling remarkably fast and there’s, um, a ‘Halo’ theme park coming. Find out more here.
Source: Wired

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