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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

The Urban.Us and BMW Mini accelerator focused on urban innovation names its latest cohort

URBAN-X,  the accelerator program focused on companies developing technologies to increase the sustainability, resiliency, and efficiency of cities, has selected seven companies for its latest cohort.

Operating as a partnership between BMW’s Mini brand and the early-stage investment fund Urban.us since 2017, the accelerator has backed 51 companies which have raised over $100 million in the three years since its initial launch.

“Mini aims to inspire entrepreneurship, design and collaboration with innovative minds, and this ambition comes to life through URBAN-X,� said Esther Bahne, Mini Head of Brand Strategy & Innovation.

Co-investors who have come in to invest behind the accelerator include: Fred Wilson, Brad Burnham, Edgar Bronfman Jr., BMW i Ventures, Draper Associates, Fontinalis Partners, Ekistic Ventures, Wireframe Ventures, Fifth Wall Ventures, Samsung NEXT, Story Ventures, Kairos, UL Ventures, Mark Cuban, Point 72 Ventures and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.

Some of the largest investments to date have been in companies like Blueprint Power, which raised $4 million for its technology which provides energy efficiency and demand response tools connecting real estate portfolios to the power grid; Roadbotics, a roadway monitoring to optimize maintenance spending for cities, utilities and construction firms, which raised $11.4 million; and Versatile Natures, which provides safety and budget management tools for construction sites.

The latest companies to be accepted into the accelerator are:

  • ChargeLab: an electric vehicle charging management service for businesses, utilities, individuals,  and governments

  • CoInspect: a service that automates the entire food safety & quality management workflow for restaurants and food processing facilities.

  • Eva: a provider of charging stations for healthcare and emergency responders operating cargo drones and associated vertical take off vehicles.

  • Firmus: a machine learning-based software toolkit to expedite the construction design review process.

  • Hades: the developer of software to evaluate sewer and flood prevention infrastructure.

  • Metalmark: a new materials developer for highly efficient catalytic decomposition of air pollutants.

  • UsurpPower: the creator of a marketplace for sustainable finance for renewable power generation.

“URBAN-X, Urban Us and MINI are deeply committed to advancing the low carbon, resilient, high density future of our cities through technology, investment and mentorship,â€� said Shaun Abrahamson, URBAN-X Investment Committee and Managing Partner at Urban.Us, in a statement. “Startups are critical to playing an outsized role in reimagining the core sectors of our cities — like transportation, real estate and energy — and we’re thrilled to invest in this new class of creative and entrepreneurial minds.â€�


Source: TechCrunch

A Once-a-Month Birth Control Pill, an Arctic Warning, and More News

Catch up on the most important news from today in two minutes or less.
Source: Wired

NASA finally closes in on touchdown spot on messy, rocky asteroid Bennu – CNET

The Osiris-Rex team even asked citizen scientists for help finding the perfect landing site on the asteroid strewn with giant boulders.
Source: CNET

Galaxy S11: 5 features we may get from Qualcomm's new tech – CNET

With the Snapdragon 865 chip inside, Samsung’s new flagship phone will be one of the first with these new features.
Source: CNET

A Sprint contractor left thousands of US cell phone bills on the internet by mistake

A contractor working for cell giant Sprint stored on an unprotected cloud server hundreds of thousands of cell phone bills of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile subscribers.

The storage bucket had more than 261,300 documents, the vast majority of which were phone bills belonging to cell subscribers dating as far back as 2015. But the bucket, hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), was not protected with a password, allowing anyone to access the data inside.

It’s not known how long the bucket was exposed.

The bills — which contained names, addresses and phone numbers, and many included call histories — were collected as part of an offer to allow cell subscribers to switch to Sprint, according to Sprint-branded documents found on the server. The documents explained how the cell giant would pay for the subscriber’s early termination fee to break their current cell service contract, a common sales tactic used by cell providers.

In some cases we found other sensitive documents, such as a bank statement, and a screenshot of a web page that had subscribers’ online usernames, passwords and account PINs — which in combination could allow access to a customer’s account.

U.K.-based penetration testing company Fidus Information Security found the exposed data, but it wasn’t immediately clear who owned the bucket. Fidus disclosed the security lapse to Amazon, which informed the customer of the exposure — without naming them. The bucket was subsequently shut down.

A Verizon and AT&T phone bill from two customers. (Image: supplied)

A T-Mobile bill found on the exposed servers. A handful of Sprint bills were also found. (Image: supplied)

After a brief review of the cache, we found one document that said, simply, “TEST.” When we ran the file through a metadata checker, it revealed the name of the person who created the document — an account executive at Deardorff Communications, the marketing agency tasked with the Sprint promotion.

When reached, Jeff Deardorff, president of Deardorff Communications, confirmed his company owned the bucket and that access was restricted earlier on Wednesday.

“I have launched an internal investigation to determine the root cause of this issue, and we are also reviewing our policies and procedures to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” he told TechCrunch in an email.

Given the exposed information involved customers of the big four cell giants, we contacted each company. AT&T did not comment, and T-Mobile did not respond to a request for comment. Verizon spokesperson Richard Young said the company was “currently reviewing” the matter and would have details “as soon as it’s available.” (TechCrunch is owned by Verizon.)

When reached, a spokesperson for Sprint would not disclose the nature of its relationship with Deardorff nor would they comment on the record at the time of writing.

It’s not known why the data was exposed in the first place. It’s not uncommon for AWS storage buckets to be misconfigured by being set to “public” and not “private.”

“The uptrend we’re seeing in sensitive data being publicly accessible is concerning, despite Amazon releasing tools to help combat this,” said Harriet Lester, director of research and development at Fidus. “This scenario was slightly different to usual as it was tricky to identify the owner of the bucket, but thankfully the security team at AWS were able to pass the report on to the owner within hours and public access was shut down soon after.”

We asked Deardorff if his company plans to inform those whose information was exposed by the security lapse. We did not immediately receive a response.

Read more:


Source: TechCrunch

Lyft sued by 20 more women who allege sexual assault by its drivers – CNET

At least 55 women have now filed or joined lawsuits against the ride-hailing service, alleging it hasn’t done enough to protect passengers from predators.
Source: CNET

Nvidia RTX 2080 Super vs. RTX 2080 vs. RTX 2070 Super

When it comes to picking a super high-end graphics card, Nvidia is really the only option. But which one of its cards should you pick? You’ll need to consider the RTX 2080 Super vs. RTX 2080 vs. RTX 2070 Super.
Source: Digital trends

Star Wars Battlefront II: Celebration adds Rise of Skywalker characters – CNET

Even BB-8 will join in the action.
Source: CNET

How much is .org domain business worth? $1.13 billion – CNET

The Internet Society wants to fund an endowment with the money, and Ethos Capital promises not to jack up .org prices.
Source: CNET

WIRED Book of the Month: *Dead Astronauts* by Jeff VanderMeer

Dispensing thoroughly with sense, the king of the New Weird takes us on his strangest journey yet.
Source: Wired

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