Business messaging service Eko picks up $2M to fuel push into Japan, US and UK

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 Eko Communications, a U.S.-Thailand company that operates a messaging app targeted at businesses, has closed a strategic investment of $2 million to grow in Japan and expand into Europe and the U.S.. The funding was led by Japanese corporate Itochu, which provided $1 million and will partner to help expand sales. Existing backers of the company, which include Gobi Ventures, also took part.… Read More

This algorithm cleverly recreates 3D objects from tiny 2D images

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 With a lifetime of observing the world informing our perceptions, we’re all pretty good at inferring the overall shape of something we only see from the side, or for a brief moment. Computers, however, are just plain bad at it. Fortunately, a clever shortcut created by a Berkeley AI researcher may seriously improve their performance. Read More

After Magic Leap acquisition, Dacuda founder forms PXL Vision

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 Swiss startup Dacuda’s 3D scanning division was acquired by Magic Leap in February, but it seems the company’s founder, Michael Born, is just getting started with computer vision. He and three others who didn’t go over to the much-hyped and intensely secretive AR company have formed a new one: PXL Vision AG, focused on real-time image classification and Read More

Does it really matter how much your startup raises?

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 “How much money does it take to get a startup off the ground?” Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are faced with this question all the time, and the only right answer — it depends — is also the least satisfying. For any particular startup to succeed, it might take a lot of outside funding or very little. It’s contingent on the business a team is trying to build. Read More

Ojo wants to be the electric scooter for commuters, but it’s not there yet

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Commuting in a busy city like San Francisco can be annoying — between all the cars, bikes, Boosted Boards and other electric gizmos zipping and weaving through lanes. The Ojo Electric scooter, while it might help with your personal traffic woes, won’t do much to help reduce the overall annoyance commuters experience. The Ojo is designed to be an alternative mode of transportation… Read More

With SpaceX in the mix, check out all these modern spacesuit designs

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 SpaceX’s new spacesuit design got photographed for the first time today, and it’s a high-fashion option for extra-atmospheric wear. But SpaceX’s suit isn’t the only option for galactic explorers – a lot of new options have been debuted recently, fueled in part by the glut of interest in commercial crewed spaceflight. Not all spacesuits are created equal, or with… Read More

Samsung’s virtual reality strategy has an upgrade problem

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 Today, Samsung showed off its flagship Note 8, the device has a big, beautiful screen, the S Pen and a battery that’s a little bit smaller. The company also announced that there’s a new $130 Gear VR on the way that you’ll have to buy if you want to try Samsung’s brand of VR on the Note 8. What’s new over past models? Not much. Samsung has made several upgrades to… Read More

The top 7 startups from Y Combinator S’17 Demo Day 2

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 Day two of YC S’17 brought us autonomous store checkout, cannabis genomics and at home fertility testing. We whittled down the strong day of pitches to just seven hot companies. These are the startups our writers and the investors we spoke with were most excited about. If you want to check out the full list of startups from day 2 you can read about them here.  Additional reporting by… Read More

This Disney AR app could be a stealth play for smart coloring books

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 In our perambulations through the halls of museums, who hasn’t wanted to give paintings we pass by a little touch-up in a spontaneous act of yellowism? Disney has created an augmented reality app to allow just this, but given the company’s core competencies I can’t help but wonder if the museum use case is just a smokescreen for another: the smartification of millions of… Read More

Only 3 more days to save on Disrupt SF tickets

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 Alright, would-be Disrupt attendees. We gave you an extra week to save $1,000 on Disrupt SF 2017 tickets, but this week we aren’t feeling so generous. You now have just three days left to get an early-bird ticket for $1,995 before prices jump to $2,995 after Friday. Seriously, no more extensions. This is it. This is your only chance. Get your tickets now. Read More

Facebook now lets you take 360 photos in-app, use them as Cover Photos

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 Facebook has been a big supporter of 360-degree photos and video, adding support for the immersive media formats early on Facebook itself. Now, the social tech company is adding support for capturing 360-degree photos right within the Facebook app itself. The 360 photo capability is rolling out across both iOS and Android starting today, and includes the ability to zoom and tag friends.… Read More

Watch the first teasers for Netflix’s ‘Big Mouth’ cartoon series from Nick Kroll

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 NetComedian Nick Kroll has had a fairly successful track record, especially for fans of a certain kind of humor (the kind I like), so it’s exciting that he’s now creating an animated comedy series for Netflix. Kroll himself will voice many of the characters in the show, a coming-of-age tale aimed at adults, but he’s joined by a stocked cast of voice talent including John… Read More

Ollie, a purveyor of ‘human grade’ pet food, just landed $12.6 million in fresh funding

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 Ollie, a two-year-old, New York-based subscription service that sells what it calls human-grade pet food, has raised $12.6 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Canaan Partners, with participation from WME Ventures, Rosecliff Ventures, RiverPark Funds, Correlation Ventures and earlier backers Primary Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures. It brings the company’s… Read More

The Galaxy Note 8’s S Pen has new pen powers, including translation

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 Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 comes with an S Pen, as have previous iterations, but it does a bit more than versions past. The new S Pen’s highlight feature might be its Live Messages ability, which creates shareable animations from handwriting and doodles so you can message and publish them wherever. The Note 8 S Pen also features a translation feature, which means you can highlight… Read More

Astropad’s Luna Display is the portable display solution you’ve always wanted

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 Wireless displays have always had too many compromises to be practically useful for me: Lag, image quality, consistency of connection, on and on. But new hardware from Astropad, the maker of the popular iPad app that you can use to turn your tablet into a drawing tablet, has finally convinced me that high quality, easy and reliable wireless external display tech is within reach, and actually… Read More

Musical.ly’s redesign adds video recommendations, new user profiles

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 Musical.ly, an app best known for its lip-syncing music videos, but which has more recently begun to air shows from Viacom, NBCU and Hearst, is today rolling out an overhaul of its mobile app that will put an increased emphasis on personalization and recommendations. Most notably, the update includes a new “similar musical.lys” feature that uses computer vision to figure out what… Read More

Snapchat likely to begin scripted original content push by end of year

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 Snapchat could start offering original scripted content very soon, according to its content lead Nick Bell (via Variety). Snapchat has already done a lot with creators to build shows, including tie-ins for big broadcast hits like The Voice and The Bachelor, and it’s also working with A&E on reality TV via Second Chance, a dating show featuring exes. This isn’t… Read More

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