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The Startup Alley from this week's TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco
At TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco we always have a huge and varied array of companies presenting. Here's a taster of the Startup Alley from this year, featuring companies from many of the pavilions at the event.
The new electronic police state
Last week the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation entered into a suit on behalf of eleven travelers against the Department of Homeland Security. The plaintiffs claim that warrantless and suspicionless border electronic device searches violate the First and Fourth Amendments. CBP searches of electronic devices are relatively rare, but the number of such searches has been increasing over the last few years.
The abyss of analytics
Of course you want to know as much as you can, in as much detail as possible, about how users use it. More generally, the myth that your analytics data will make you understand how to hockey-stick your users. I'm not saying analytics are completely unimportant. Don't assume that its value is automatic, and just needs to be mined, when all too often it is fool's gold at best.
Automakers accelerate their interest in startups
An analysis of Crunchbase funding data for the 20 largest global automakers finds wide variance in investment sizes, timing and strategic focus. Others have yet to park much capital in startups, illustrating a long-term reticence to engage actively in the venture space. That said, it's no secret that automakers have shown more interest in startups lately. Below, we set out to quantify combined investment by automakers in startups of all stripes, along with acquisitions, with a focus on how individual automakers compare.
Deliveroo raises $385M in new funding, now valued at 'over $2 Billion'
Total funding for the European unicorn now sits at $860 million. Deliveroo says it wants to rapidly expand into new towns, cities and countries. This will allow more people to order great food quickly to their door from their favourite local restaurants, says the company. As Business Insider reports, Deliveroo grew a lot that year, with revenue up 611 per cent to PS129 million. Losses were up too - a 300 per cent increase to PS129 million.
Five billion-dollar businesses for the driverless future
Growing up, I dreamed of owning cars I would be proud to wax, polish, and cruise around my neighborhood. Today, I dread the prospect of being weighed down by a rapidly depreciating hunk of plastic and metal. Millennials share my sentiment toward vehicle ownership, and many of them are embracing the convenience of ride sharing. Their vast network of drivers and colossal cash coffers have allowed them to lock down the industry and squash competitors.
Southeast Asia games firm Sea, formerly Garena, files for $1 billion US IPO
Southeast Asia-based games and e-commerce firm Sea, formerly known as Garena, has officially filed for its much-anticipated US IPO. The company, which is valued at over $3.75 billion, will list on the New York Stock Exchange as 'SE' and is looking to raise $1 billion. Garena is Sea's only revenue-generator since the company is still subsidizing Shopee and AirPlay is available in just three markets.
Beats Studio 3 bring premium noise canceling and battery life at a premium price
Beats had a handful of different sounds on hand to test the Studio 3 ahead of launch. Transcribing audio is a pain in the ass, and the background sound makes it next to impossible to catch everything. With the headphones on and noise canceling fired up, it's easy to remain blissfully oblivious to your surroundings. The adaptive noise cancellation is the latest step for a company that's working toward becoming a more serious headphone brand.
Don't wait for the Apple Watch to dole out medical advice anytime soon
Apple filed for the patent in early 2015 but the USPTO just granted it last month. The first is the way that the FDA classifies medical devices, which involves regulatory hoops that Apple might not want to jump through. The FDA only regulates specialized medical hardware and software, he continues, so if Apple adds hardware specific to glucose monitoring, that would be regulated.
Dispatches on diversity: Uber, sexual harassment and venture capital
2017 has been a bombshell of a year in Silicon Valley, kicking off with former Uber engineer Susan Fowler's allegations of sexual harassment during her time at the company. Some went on to suggest that there need to be more explicit policies in the venture capital world that explicitly prevent harassment. In August, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) introduced a new bill, SB 224, to explicitly prohibit sexual harassment in the venture capital industry.
Twitter is testing a Twitter Lite Android app, first in the Philippines
The social network is testing a Android app for Twitter Lite, a native app version of a mobile web site Twitter launched earlier this year that uses less mobile data to work. The test of the Twitter Lite app in the Google Play Store in the Philippines is another opportunity to increase the availability of Twitter in this market, said a Twitter spokesperson. Twitter Lite helps to overcome these barriers to usage for Twitter in the Philippines.
Uber only has itself to blame for London license loss
The tech industry's over-processed supply of irony might not be enough to service all the ramifications of Uber being stripped of its London license by the city's transport regulator. Uber advocates were immediately scrambling to bust out the reactionary cliches - painting the regulator as anti-innovation and claiming London is now 'closed' for digital business. The deepest irony of all is that Uber can continue to operate in London while it appeals the regulator's decision.
Russia targeted election systems in 21 states, successfully hacking some
On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security notified nearly half of the US states that their election systems were targeted by Russia-affiliated hackers in an attempt to influence the 2016 election. In most of the states targeted, the hackers were engaged in preliminary activities like scanning. In other states hackers attempted to infiltrate systems and failed, but in a small selection of states, with only Illinois confirmed so far, the election systems were compromised successfully.
iPhone 8 teardown reveals few surprises, but more camera details
The always hotly anticipated iFixit teardown of the iPhone 8 has arrived, and while it doesn't harbor much in the way of surprises, there are a few tidbits you may want to know about hiding in there. Basically, the phone is, as you might have expected, very much like an iPhone 7 with a fresh coat of paint. We've already learned that the rear camera is probably the best ever in a phone.
Forget what you've been told about edtech
The tastemaker in this case is an article from David Bainbridge claiming, Edtech is the next fintech. The marker in the article - the one that had investors seeing edtech as a new shiny object - was the valuation of the edtech market at $250 billion. There are people who will add to those amounts the $30 billion the Chinese government announced it will invest in edtech by 2020.
CRISPR breakthrough could drop miscarriage rates
Gene-editing technology CRISPR has revealed a clue in how human embryos begin to develop, possibly reducing the risk of miscarriage in those crucial first few weeks of pregnancy. CRISPR Cas9 can modify or snip out genetic defects thought to contribute to miscarriage but until now it wasn't clear why some embryos continued to form into a fetus and others did not.
Facebook drops no-vote stock plan, Zuck will sell share to fund philanthropy
Mark Zuckerberg has gotten so rich that he can fund his philanthropic foundation without Facebook having to issue a proposed non-voting class of stock that faced shareholder resistance. Today Facebook announced that it's withdrawn its plan to issue no-vote stock and has resolved the shareholder lawsuit seeking to block the corporate governance overhaul. In fact, we now plan to accelerate our work and sell more of those shares sooner Zuckerberg wrote.
How TBH hit #1 by turning anonymity positive
If we're improving the mental health of millions of teens, that's a success to us says Nikita Bier, co-founder of tbh. Tbh writes the prompts for you, and purposefully allows only those that are tough to bend towards bullying. Tbh saves all the answers so at any time you can browse the positivity sent your way. Our goals for anonymity are much different than most apps the ability to say things without repercussions the tbh team explains.
Automated telemedicine is coming, for everyone
By the time they seek help, the condition may have advanced to the point where care is complicated and expensive. GYANT, a San Francisco-based startup, recently launched a free app that can screen patients for the Zika virus, based on symptoms. The $15 process is almost entirely automated, using questions and a picture of the patient. While the automation powering these apps is not yet accurate enough for clinical diagnosis, their power lies in screening.

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