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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Tram Bowling Is an Actual Sport. Let's Look at the Physics

Driving a tram into a ball such that it knocks down pins—tram bowling, naturally—raises some physics questions: What does the speed of the ball depend on? What’s its change in momentum?
Source: Wired

Daimler Plans to Make Its Cars Carbon Neutral by 2039

The carmaker’s new climate plan is bold—for a company. But it falls short of recommended emissions cuts and shows the limits of corporate self-policing.
Source: Wired

InnoVen Capital, one of Asia’s most prominent venture debt firms, adds $200M more to its kitty

Founders might not believe it, but managing a venture capital firm isn’t all that dissimilar to a startup. Case in point today: InnoVen Capital, one of Asia’s most prominent venture debt firms, has pulled in $200 million in new money to continue its expansion in the region.

The money comes from InnoVen’s two shareholders — Singapore sovereign fund Temasek and Singapore’s UOB — each of which has added $100 million in additional firepower for the fund, which is popularising debt-based financing within Asia’s startup ecosystems.

The organization came to be in 2015 when Temasek acquired the Indian ‘branch’ of Silicon Valley Bank expressly to offer differentiated financing to startups. The spinout was named InnoVen and it quickly expanded beyond India with the opening of an office in Singapore in 2016 and then an outpost in Beijing in early 2018.

The firm operates without a specific fund size unlike many other investors, but already there are some numbers to indicate its growing role in Asia.

That regional play is still in its early days, but already the business has deployed over $500 million in financing to more than 200 companies, according to Ashish Sharma, the former head of GE Capital India who leads InnoVen’s India business.

The fund operates at Series A and beyond and Sharma told TechCrunch that its investment levels have sped up over the past two to three years, thanks in particular to the addition of offices in Southeast Asia and China.

Recent deals from the fund have included investments in Moglix, Carsome, RedDoorz, Awfis and even a stealthy startup, Indonesia-based logistics venture Kargo which included debt within its first round of funding. Already, the Chinese arm has accrued 30 deals in a little over a year, and some of the biggest names backed across the region include Vision Fund company OYO and Naspers investments Swiggy, which recently raised $1 billion, and Byju’s.

Yet despite InnoVen’s increased profile, there remains confusion on the role of venture debt in Asia. Anecdotally, I’ve heard many misguided opinions from so-called venture capital-focused reporters — and not just in Asia — who see debt-based investment as a ‘last resort’ for companies. Its addition in a round is a tell-tell sign of a struggling business, they claim.

That’s completely wrong, according to InnoVen’s Sharma.

“It doesn’t come in from a position of weakness, that’s a big misconception,” he explained to TechCrunch in an interview. “In fact, venture debt is not available to companies which are in trouble. Most companies that raise venture debt do so from a position of strength.”

“They’ll say ‘We’re raising $100 million, let’s lay in $20 million of venture debt to optimize the dilution,’” Sharma added. “We’ve helped some very large companies use venture debt to get to the next level.”

Ashish Sharma leads InnoVen Capital’s business in India [Image via InnoVen Capital]

Ambitious growth story? Check.

A business that’s misunderstood by many? Check.

Who said running a VC firm isn’t like running a startup?


Source: TechCrunch

Spotify launches the Google Docs of podcasting – CNET

With things like audio editing that’s as simple as rearranging phrases in a transcript, Spotify’s Soundtrap for Storytellers wants to democratize podcasting.
Source: CNET

HP Omen X 2S gaming laptop sports a second screen – CNET

The spring updates to its enthusiast gaming laptops includes a small second touchscreen display for your stream viewing, chats and music.
Source: CNET

Spotify-owned Soundtrap launches a podcast studio in the cloud

In November 2017, Spotify picked up the online music studio Soundtrap as part of its efforts to offer more services to artists on its platform. Now that Spotify has a growing interest in podcasts and the needs of podcast creators, Soundtrap is launching a new product to address that market instead. The company today announced the launch of  Soundtrap for Storytellers, a cloud-based podcast creation platform with a number of advanced features, including the ability to transcribe and edit podcasts, collaborate with others, and more.

Soundtrap isn’t the only podcast creation service Spotify now owns. It also bought the lightweight podcast creation app Anchor in February 2019 as part of its big push into podcasts.

Like Anchor, Soundtrap is focused on making it easier to podcast. But unlike Anchor, which is free, Soundtrap is available by subscription, starting at $14.99 per month (or $11.99 per month, if billed annually).

The pricing represents the differentiated feature set Soundtrap provides. While Anchor offers lightweight podcast creation — it began as a mobile app — it also now provides hosting, distribution, and monetizaton. Soundtrap, meanwhile, is focused on recording, editing and publishing primarily to Spotify.

When Spotify first acquired Soundtrap, it was focused on collaborative music making — now, that same technology is being turned to podcasting.

This includes built-in features like recording, remote multi-track interviewing with video chat, interactive transcripts, full audio production capabilities, SEO optimization and more.

For example, the new service will transcribe the podcast (in English only for the time being) — and this transcript is then published along with the podcast to help optimize its discoverability in online search results. (Coincidentally, Google just announced at its I/O developer conference last week it would now index podcasts in its search results, allowing users to play episodes from the browser or save them for later listening.)

The platform also allows multiple podcasters to talk and record on separate tracks as they work on the same podcast together, by sending a link to join the session to remote guests. This is similar to a number of existing solutions like Zecastr, Ringr, Cleanfeed, Clearcast, and Cast, for instance. Also like some existing solutions, Soundtrap will offer sound effects. And like Simplecast, it offers distribution.

Where the service shines, however, is in its editing studio. Here, you can edit the spoken-word audio file much like you would a text document, which makes things a lot easier. This is one of its unique features — and something that could make it a compelling alternative to existing solutions.

Another part of the service’s value proposition is also that it’s a one-stop shop…of sorts. Today, many podcasters hop from product to product — one to record, one to edit, and another to publish. Soundtrap includes all these options within its platform.

However, one big issue is that Soundtrap only directly publishes to Spotify itself, in addition to feeding the transcript to search engines. To distribute the podcast elsewhere, creators will have to download the mastered podcast they create with Soundtrap, then use another service for distribution.

Given Soundtrap’s higher price point than competitive solutions, that could be a sticking point as it can’t fully replace all aspects of the podcasters’ workflow.

And because Soundtrap is not a hosting solution, podcasters will have to look elsewhere for analytics.

“The Soundtrap team has done a fantastic job with this new product,” said Charlie Hellman, Spotify’s Head of Creator Marketplace, in a statement. “Part of Spotify’s mission is to grow the number of creators able to build podcasts worldwide. Soundtrap for Storytellers gives podcast creators incredible editing capabilities, collaboration in real-time, and the ability to publish their podcast to Spotify,” he added.

Soundtrap’s full suite is available on the desktop, with a subset of its tools available on iOS and Android.

Additional reporting: Chris Gates


Source: TechCrunch

HP Pavilion Gaming 15 laptop continues to blend work and play – CNET

And it’s bringing a 17-inch model and a gaming mouse and mousepad along for the ride, too.
Source: CNET

Google Duplex: What it is and what Google's doing next – CNET

How Google’s AI wants to make your life easier. Here’s what we know.
Source: CNET

HP Omen Photon wireless gaming mouse, Outpost pad promise lights, speed and Qi charging – CNET

Clear desk, full battery, can’t lose.
Source: CNET

Microsoft Wants to Protect Your Identity With Bitcoin

Microsoft announced plans to use the bitcoin blockchain to create a “digital identity” that could be used to access sites and apps across the internet.
Source: Wired

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