Sanjiv Kalevar Contributor Sanjiv Kalevar is a vice president at Battery Ventures in Boston. I work as a venture capitalist in a glass-walled office and wear dress shirts to work. But it wasn’t so long ago that I wore an orange neon vest instead. That was when I stocked shelves at a big-box, home-improvement chain.
Identity is prismatic. You show different sides of yourself to different friends in your life. Now Facebook wants to let you share the niches of your interests while stealing thunder from Pinterest’s boards. Facebook is now testing a feature called Sets that lets you select several status updates, photos or videos and share them as
Google today is announcing a number of changes to its Google Play app store, the most notable being a new way to try apps immediately without having to first install them on your mobile device. The new feature takes advantage of “Android Instant Apps” technology – Google’s attempt at bridging the mobile web world with
Snaps has raised $6 million in Series A funding for what it calls its Conversational Marketing Cloud. By that, it’s referring to a suite of tools that allows businesses to promote themselves through messaging. CEO Christian Brucculeri said Snaps is differentiated by its “write once and deploy everywhere approach,” allowing marketers to build things like
As Blue Apron approaches its next earnings report in a couple weeks, the company said Wednesday that it is laying off 6% of its staff as part of “a company-wide realignment of personnel to support its strategic priorities.” Blue Apron was one of the big — and most anticipated — consumer IPOs of the year,
eBay is not having a great afternoon after posting a pretty ho-hum third quarter that fit roughly in line with analyst estimates, but perhaps not seeing the kinds of leaps that Wall Street is looking for heading into the fourth quarter. The company said it added an additional 2 million active buyers and now says
Google wants to make Gmail the place where you check all your email accounts, not just your Google accounts. The company announced this week it’s testing a new version of the Gmail app on iOS that will allow users to add their non-Google accounts, including those from Outlook (including Hotmail or Live), Yahoo, and elsewhere.
It was just a matter of time, really. Motorola’s been teasing Alexa integration since Mobile World Congress in February. Back then, the company previewed a sort of “experimental” Mod for the Moto Z sporting Amazon’s insanely popular smart assistant. The add-on is finally really real and set to start shipping next month. The AI has
Wattpad, the company behind a suite of apps for reading and sharing stories – including a fairly popular “chat fiction” app Tap, a rival to Hooked – is today adding its first ever subscription plan for its flagship application. The option, called Wattpad Premium, will remove the ads from Wattpad’s otherwise free app – a
Sharing your current location with someone is a great way to passive-aggressively explain that you’re on your way when they ask where you are. But it also has other uses, and WhatsApp has now joined rivals Facebook Messenger and iMessage in offering the feature (with its own somewhat unique twist). The new feature will be
Between the release of Windows 10 Fall Creators Edition and the announcement of a new Surface Book, today’s Microsoft news was firmly focused on the desktop. But as the company works to build its future ecosystem, it’s keenly aware that no play in the space is complete without a mobile strategy. What shape that strategy
Apple has now responded to a letter from Senator Franken last month in which he asked the company to provide more information about the incoming Face ID authentication technology which is baked into its top-of-the-range iPhone X, due to go on sale early next month. As we’ve previously reported, Face ID raises a range of
If you’re a pet owner who uses Google Photos, you’ve probably typed in “dog” or “cat” before in order to surface photos of your furry pal – like anytime someone asks you about your pet, for example, which clearly means they would like to see a picture of Mr. Fluffypants. Today, Google is introducing an
We Heart It, an image-sharing site used by 40 million teens as of a couple of years ago, is informing users their personal data may have been compromised. The company was alerted to a possible security breach last week that involved over 8 million accounts, it said on Friday. The breach took place a few
You may remember that last year, Verizon (which owns Oath, which owns TechCrunch) was punished by the FCC for injecting information into its subscribers’ traffic that allowed them to be tracked without their consent. That practice appears to be alive and well despite being disallowed in a ruling last March: companies appear to be able
A consolidation in the advance movie ticketing space is happening today, with Fandango’s announcement that it’s acquiring rival MovieTickets.com for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which is expected to close before year-end, will help Fandango expand its international footprint, particularly in Latin America, as well as bring new cinemas to its ticketing platform. Headquartered in
iOS and Samsung’s U.S. market share is now tied, following growth for Apple’s smartphone OS over the three months ending in August, based on new data from Kantar Wordpanel, which tracks smartphone market share by way of sales data. According to its analysis, iOS is up 3.7 percentage points year-over-year, to achieve 35 percent market
Omnyway announced today that it has raised $12.75 million in Series A funding. Previously known as OmnyPay, Omnyway has built technology around what it calls “augmented digital commerce” — basically, helping retailers stay connected to consumers through their mobile phone during the in-store shopping process. That includes loyalty programs, coupons and what CEO Ashok Narasimhan
No one’s posting to Facebook Stories. Only eight of my 2,800 friends have Stories up right now, and three came from the new “cross-post from Instagram Stories” feature. Maybe younger or international demographics are, but I’d bet they’re too wrapped up in Snapchat and Instagram. It’s slow adoption for a feature cloned from Snapchat that’s
ARKit, Apple’s augmented reality framework that CEO Tim Cook recently likened to being as “dramatic” a development as the App Store itself, has now been installed more than 3 million times worldwide through a host of ARKit-powered apps and games, according to a new report out today from Sensor Tower. The app store intelligence firm
In the music streaming era, access to data is king. Artists want to know how their music is being discovered, who’s listening, where, how many have streamed their release and what else their fans are into, among other things. Today, Spotify is releasing an app for artists that aims to answer these questions, while also
Mobile shopping is on the rise, with U.S. consumers now spending nearly 50 minutes in shopping apps per month, or 10 hours per year, according to a new report out this morning from App Annie. Digital-first shopping apps, like those from Amazon, Etsy, Wish and others, are also growing more quickly in terms of total
When we last saw Zenefits, the company essentially handed off one of its initial core selling points — insurance brokerage — to partners. Since that rebrand rolled out, Zenefits seems to be following the sort of drip-drip-drip of updates that many startups trying to create a sort of “home” for a core employee experience utilize.
Your Facebook profile used to be the online version of “you”. But over the past year, Bitmoji has usurped Facebook to become the preferred way to share your identity over the web. The Facebook profile assembles a collection of text and real-world photos into a fixed set of poses, making it more of a snapshot
Twitter is today releasing a new feature called “Happening Now” aimed to make its service more accessible to newcomers by highlighting groups of tweets about a topic, beginning with sports, before expanding to other areas like entertainment and breaking news. If this sounds similar to Twitter’s existing Moments feature….well, it is. Moments, too, offers a
After raising upwards of $100,000 via a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, the team at Iconfactory has brought back one of the more popular third-party Twitter clients, Twitterrific for Mac. Effectively abandoned years ago when Iconfactory shifted its focus to mobile, the Kickstarter was meant to establish demand for a Mac app ahead of devoting
“So much of it is stranger than fiction. It’s a great story, I knew that if I didn’t write the book, someone else would and I’d regret it,” says Billy Gallagher, author of “How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story.” The book, which starts pre-sales today and debuts on February 13th, follows
Wells Fargo’s ATMs are getting an upgrade. The bank announced today that more than 40 percent – or over 5,000 of its ATMs – will now allow customers to perform transactions without having to pull out their bank card. Instead, users can take advantage of NFC – aka the “tap and pay” technology that powers
Snapchat is introducing a new feature that will transform the experience of using the apps at a fundamental level. They’re called ‘Context Cards,’ and they’re new ways to find out more info about any Snap shared by users, providing access to things like restaurant reviews, reservations, Uber and Lyft ride hailing, contact information and ore.
Who loves a good niche? We sure as hell do. And we also love niche products that address those niche problems — especially tech niches. So here we are, with Today in Good Niche Things. This time it’s a small little thing on the internet that sends you a rejection letter from Y Combinator before