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After beating the world’s elite Go players, Google’s AlphaGo AI is retiring

Google’s AlphaGo — the AI developed to tackle the world’s most demanding strategy game — is stepping down from competitive matches after defeating the world’s best talent. The latest to succumb is Go’s top-ranked player, Ke Jie, who lost 3-0 in a series hosted in China this week . The AI, developed by London-based DeepMind, which was  acquired by Google for around $500 million in 2014 ,  also overcome a team of five top players  during a we...
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Insurance startup Quilt adds life insurance to its portfolio of products

The startup insurance application processor Quilt has added a life insurance product to its portfolio and has begun pitching its digital enrollment in 37 states across the country. In partnership with Generation Life (a 50-year-old insurance company that was recently acquired by Swiss Re), Quilt is looking to make the process of applying for life insurance easier so that the under-insured population of millennials can have the coverage they...
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DJI’s Cute $499 Spark Drone | Crunch Report

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The FAA gets a case study with a drone crash inside an MLB stadium

PSA, flying you’re drone over a baseball stadium with tens of thousands of fans is a really really bad (and probably illegal) idea. Yesterday someone flew their drone (which appears to be a GoPro Karma) into Petco Park, the stadium belonging to the San Diego Padres, an MLB team. And yes it was during a game, so of course the event was captured on camera. What’s even worse is that after hovering for a few minutes the drone crashed right into...
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Examining the NYC footprints of global tech titans

New York City has emerged as a technology powerhouse over the past few years. The City’s namesake companies like WeWork , Tumblr , and BuzzFeed have catalyzed startup activity and inspired the next-generation of New York natives including Oscar , Warby Parker , Squarespace , Blue Apron , Rent the Runway  — the list goes on. Since 2014, VCs have invested about $1.2 billion  in seed funding in New York-based startups. As New York’s native tec...
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Project recreates cities in rich 3D from images harvested online

People are taking photos and videos all over major cities, all the time, from every angle. Theoretically, with enough of them, you could map every street and building — wait, did I say theoretically? I meant in practice, as the VarCity project has demonstrated with Zurich, Switzerland. This multi-year effort has taken images from numerous online sources — social media, public webcams, transit cameras, aerial shots — and analyzed them to cre...
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Profiting socially on nickels and dimes

Patrick Wallen Contributor Patrick Wallen is a licensed attorney, a Fellow with Rubicon Venture Capital and a startup and VC professional. More posts by this contributor: As the #DeleteUber count increases, Lyft has cleverly seized the opportunity to distinguish itself as a beacon of goodwill. In its most recent attempts to gain public favor, Lyft will soon be taking a stand by pledging fixed commitments to charities when you take a seat as...
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Swiss watch exports dropped for a third year in a row

According to the watch press, this year’s Baselworld in Switzerland was a graveyard. “The Baselworld show, ended March 30, was grim,” said Joe Thompson in Watchtime Magazine, an enthusiast publication. In short, a once might industry is contracting at an alarming rate. A further harbinger of death is far simpler to understand. Swiss exports have fallen for the third year in a row. This hasn’t happened since 1930, in the depths of the Depres...
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Notion Capital outs new $80M ‘growth equity’ fund to invest in enterprise Saas and cloud portfolio

Notion Capital , the London-based VC focussed on enterprise SaaS and cloud startups, is announcing a number of updates today. This includes a new later-stage follow-on fund for existing portfolio companies, and the final closing of its third early-stage fund, which now counts Cisco amongst a number of new U.S-based LPs. The firm has also made two internal promotions, with both Chrys Chrysanthou and Patrick Norris making the step up to Partn...
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Backed by Chinese gov, Silk Ventures is a new $500M fund to invest in European and U.S. ‘scale-ups’

European and U.S.-based tech ‘scale-ups’ with Asia ambitions, rejoice. Outing today is a new $500 million VC fund from Silk Ventures , and backed in part by the Chinese government. It plans to invest across all stages from Series-A upwards, and says that, although it will remain open to tech startups from any sector, a key focus will be “deep tech and science, industry 4.0 technologies, such as Internet of Things and robotics, fintech and m...
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Brazil’s fintech boom offers new vertical opportunities for investors

Romero Rodrigues Contributor Romero Rodrigues is a managing partner at Redpoint eVentures , the Brazilian-focused arm of the Silicon Valley venture firm Redpoint. More posts by this contributor: Fintech is booming around the world. Global investments in fintech companies have continued to rise during the last two years. After international financing for fintech startups hit $19 billion in new funding rounds at the end of 2015, the volume cr...
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Emmanuel Macron and how political campaigns will never be the same

Emmanuel Macron has been elected as the president of France. While you’ll be able to read plenty of profiles about him over the next few days, I wanted to use this opportunity to look back at the campaign and how technology has profoundly changed politics. Every major campaign brings its set of changes. Barack Obama used big data and micro-targeting in his 2008 campaign. Then social networks became a great way to address messages to v...
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Crunch Report | Rumors: Amazon’s New Echo Device

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Crunch Report | Go-Jek Raises $1.2 Billion

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VentureFriends closes €20M fund to invest in Greek software startups

A tiny bit more VC money sloshing around Europe. This time it’s the turn of Greece-based VC fund VentureFriends , which is announcing the final closing of a €20 million fund to invest in Greek software and “high tech” startups at the seed stage. The two Partners of the fund are Apostolos Apostolakis and George Dimopoulos, with Stefanos Katsimpas also acting as a senior Associate. Over half the money was raised last year and I’m told Venture...
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Imagining five retro technologies as startup pitches

Silicon Valley is a bubble. Go into any SoMa coffee shop and you’ll hear founders and investors alike singing the praises of Hyperloop and flying cars — sci-fi tropes reincarnated by billionaires with a god complex. This isn’t to say these technologies shouldn’t be pursued, but sometimes it’s healthy to remember that we are effectively  pulling a Facebook Stories on H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. We here at TechCrunch are no strangers to big ...
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Ballz is my new digital enemy and favorite mobile game

I’ve played my fair share of iPhone games, but few have taken over my mind and life like Ballz. From Ketchapp, Ballz is about as simple as it is infuriating. It’s a mix between old-school Pong and Threes. The player starts with a single ball at the bottom of the screen and a number of blocks, each with a number, floating at the top of the screen. Pulling back with a finger and releasing shoots the ball at the desired angle, hitting the bloc...
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Cloudera and Carvana, tech’s next two IPOs, both price at $15 per share

Another day another IPO(s). Due to the recent success of public offerings from companies like Yext , Okta  and Snap  it seems the time is now for startups to go public. And tomorrow we have two IPOs that are weirdly similar when you look at the numbers. Both will offer the same amount of shares for the same price on the same exchange, and even sound alike – Carvana and Cloudera. I wonder who will get to ring the opening bell? Anyways, read ...
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Dropbox is shuttering Hackpad, the collaborative document service it bought in 2014

Cloud sharing giant Dropbox announced this week it will shutter document collaboration service Hackpad, which it acquired way back in 2014 , next month. Unlike the usual (and inevitable) demise of a promising software startup following a corporate acquisition — ahem Microsoft ; on at least two occasions  — Dropbox deserves credit for letting Hackpad live on. Not only did it open source the service  in 2015, allowing its community to build o...
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Dairy might have snuck into Soylent 1.8 powder, prompting recall

Soylent , the meal replacement drink/powder that frees people from the pesky task of eating so they can “use less, do more,” has recalled its Soylent 1.8 powder over the potential presence of dairy. Soylent 1.8 is specifically listed on the company’s website as “lactose-free.” Whoops. The company said in a statement on the FDA website that it is voluntarily recalling 890 boxes of Soylent 1.8 powder after it came to Soylent’s attention that ...
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Online grocery platform Farmdrop raises £7M Series A led by Atomico

Farmdrop , a farmer-friendly online grocery platform based in the U.K., has raised £7 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Atomico, the London VC fund founded by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström. Originally launched in 2014 as a ‘click and collect’ service that let you order groceries online direct from farmer-producers and pick up your order at a local collection point, the company has since pivoted to door-to-door delivery b...
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HBO’s “Silicon Valley” cast hints about upcoming season

They’re back! HBO’s “Silicon Valley” is set to return to television, with the fourth season debuting this Sunday. We had a chance to watch the first two episodes at the premiere and can confirm that they’re very funny (and filled with TechCrunch references). We also sat down for a video with the stars of the show, and got a few hints about what to expect this year. “ Richard branches out on his own outside of Pied Piper and pivots on his ow...
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With revenue of $29.8 billion, Verizon’s first quarter earnings fall short of analyst expectations

Verizon just released its first quarter earnings results , with adjusted earnings per share of 95 cents on revenue of $29.8 billion. Revenue (minus divestitures and acquisitions) is down 4.5 percent from the first quarter of 2016. The numbers also fall short of what analysts had been predicting : EPS of 96 cents per share on revenue of $30.5 billion. Verizon says there was a net decline of 307,000 wireless postpaid connections in the past q...
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Crunch Report | Facebook Launches Camera Effects Platform

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Alibaba’s Ant Financial may have won the bidding war for MoneyGram after upping its offer to $1.2B

Ant Financial , the Alibaba affiliate company focused on financial services, appears to have finally won its battle with Euronet to acquire MoneyGram , the U.S.-based cross-border payments service, after it increased its bid to $1.2 billion. The firm initially bid $880 million for MoneyGram back in January, but now it has increased its offer from $13.25 per share for NASDAQ-listed MoneyGram to $18.00 following a counter bid from Euronet lod...
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A new on-demand battle is speeding toward the US, and VCs are seeing dollar signs

While Uber’s woes take center stage in the U.S., a different on-demand battle that’s been playing out in China is coming to the states. The battle isn’t over car sharing. It’s not over bus sharing, either, though that, too, is a growing focus for investors and automotive companies that are desperate to understand how cities and transportation are changing. This clash is over the latest wrinkle in urban bike-sharing – dockless bike sharing. ...
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TechCrunch is hosting our first event in Shenzhen this June!

Four years after we made our TechCrunch China events a twice-annual affair in Beijing and Shanghai, we are very proud to announce that we will host the event in Shenzhen, known as ‘The Silicon Valley For Hardware,’ for the very first time this coming June!! This is hugely exciting for us and our China partner Technode . We’ve done one-day events in the city in the past, but this marks the first time that we’ve brought one of our largest sho...
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In Portland, Uber launches initiative to add electric vehicles to its fleet

With a new electric vehicle initiative, Uber is finally speaking Portland’s language. The company shares a rocky history  with the famously green city , but that won’t stop Portland from becoming the first U.S. market where Uber will push a set benchmarks for electrifying its fleet. For the Portland version of  Uber Electric , a program that the company  rolled out to London  last year, the ride-hailing company will team up with  Drive Oreg...
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Yext is set to raise $115.5M in its IPO after final pricing

Yext today said it would price its initial public offering at $11 , meaning the company will raise around $115.5 million in its IPO as it sets up for a debut tomorrow. Yext will be the second enterprise company in the past week alone that will make its public debut tomorrow following this pricing. With Snap’s IPO seen as successful, as well as tech IPOs in general looking good so far, it seems like Yext may be able to capitalize on the appe...
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Nintendo reveals Joy-Con battery grips and new color, standalone Switch dock

Nintendo will offer a special battery grip accessory for its Joy-Con controller accessory, which will be offered in sets of two and add more life to the already considerable 20-hour runtime of the Joy-Cons using their built-in power. Nintendo is also going to add a new color option for Joy-Cons, a Neon Yellow that will make sure everyone knows you’re using a Switch and can’t possibly look away from watching you do it. The new Neon Yellow Jo...
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