Startups Weekly: Uber’s headline-grabbing week and sextech at SXSW

I spent the week at SXSW, Austin’s really, really huge technology, music, comedy and film festival. It’s my first year making the trek down here for the event, which I did to interview sextech entrepreneur Lora DiCarlo founder Lora Haddock, whose robotics innovation reward was infamously revoked at this year’s …

Naspers takes full control of Russian classifieds site Avito in $1.16B deal

South African internet conglomerate Naspers is best known for backing Chinese tech giant Tencent, but it also operates a vast network of online classifieds businesses. That network just got a little larger after Naspers took full control of Russia-based Avito through a new $1.16 billion all-cash investment to top up its ownership …

NBA 2K League chief: Global scale will be key to making money in esports

The inaugural season of the NBA 2K League was a success by most measures. When it culminated in August, the esports series had more than 152 million video views across all social media platforms, and the league’s 17 teams had more than 1.8 million combined followers. It helps that this …

Biophilic design the key to improving mental health, productivity and stress levels

An expert panel at this week’s Welcome to the Biophilic Concrete Jungle event in London made the case for incorporating the principles of biophilic design into the workplace, including for health and wellbeing considerations, the promotion of productivity and to address workplace stress and urban disconnection from nature. HOK organised …

Why Warriors’ Andre Iguodala joined African unicorn Jumia’s board of directors

Andre Iguodala, a key member of the Golden State Warriors basketball team, is no stranger to the tech industry. He’s invested in Tristan Walker’s Walker & Company, which has since been acquired by Procter & Gamble, electric scooter startup Lime and many others. Now, he’s joined the board of directors over …

Watch SpaceX’s 60-satellite Starlink launch tonight right here

SpaceX’s launch tonight is being performed for a very important client: itself. Yes, the Falcon 9 that will lift off at 7:30 PM Pacific time is loaded not with government or commercial payloads, but the first of SpaceX’s own Starlink orbital communications satellites. You can watch this first-of-its-kind launch here. …

A third of mid-life workers believe age discrimination in the workplace is an issue

More than a third (37 percent) of employees aged 45 and over believe that age discrimination is an issue where they work, according to new analysis from Aviva. Those aged 55 to 59 feel this most strongly (41 percent). One in five (19 percent) feel younger colleagues are favoured over …

Tesla’s communications chief is leaving the automaker

Dave Arnold, Tesla’s senior director of communications, is leaving the company after two-and-half years, according to sources familiar with the move. Tesla confirmed to TechCrunch that Arnold was leaving in June. “We’d like to thank Dave for his work in support of Tesla’s mission, and we wish him well,” a …

Trump declares national emergency to protect U.S. networks from foreign espionage

President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to “deal with the threat posed by the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology… supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries.” Reports that the President …

Rasa raises $13M led by Accel for its developer-friendly open source approach to chatbots

Conversational AI and the use of chatbots have been through multiple cycles of hype and disillusionment in the tech world. You know the story: first you get a launch from the likes of Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Google or any number of other companies, and then you get the many …

Google’s Translatotron converts one spoken language to another, no text involved

Every day we creep a little closer to Douglas Adams’ famous and prescient babel fish. A new research project from Google takes spoken sentences in one language and outputs spoken words in another — but unlike most translation techniques, it uses no intermediate text, working solely with the audio. This …

Critical items for a builder’s storm-preparedness plan

A builder’s storm-preparedness plan should be completed early in the year and updated during every storm season. A storm-preparedness plan is typically required by project owners and insurance companies in order to reduce discounted rates and other benefits. The plan can become quite complex depending on the type of business …

Fair.com gets $385M led by Softbank to grow its flexible car ownership model globally

California startup Fair.com is aiming to turn the car market on its head by providing price-friendly, easy options for people to lease vehicles instead of buying them, and today it’s taking the latest, big step in that ambition. It has raised a huge Series B funding round of $385 million led …