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Buy your tickets to the 3rd Annual TechCrunch Winter Party

We love parties almost as much as we love startups, but we go absolutely bonkers for a hot startup/party mashup. That’s why we’re returning to host our 3rd Annual TechCrunch Winter Party in San Francisco on Friday, February 7. Even better news, party-goers — additional (the second batch) coveted tickets to this wild winter romp are available now. Better get your tickets while you can. Last year’s inaugural event was a huge success, as nearly 1,000 of Silicon Valley’s brightest minds came to relax, connect and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of the startup community — and cast a keen eye over some promising startups. This year’s soiree takes place at Galvanize and features tasty libations, delicious hors d’oeuvres and engaging conversation. That sounds so very civilized, right? Well, d...

MUBI’s production effort nets it a Sundance selection as the company goes cashflow positive

Streaming services are popping up like weeds these days, but MUBI has been at it basically since streaming video first emerged as a business. Founded in 2007, MUBI focuses on curated, independent film from international artists and creators, and the company has recently further differentiated itself from its competitors by becoming a distributor and production house – while also going cash-flow positive-during its most recent quarter. The MUBI story is a rare example of a startup maintaining clear and consistent focus over a long, storied history and achieving sustainable growth in the process. MUBI CEO Efe Cakarel told me at Disrupt Berlin that the company will be cash-flow positive this quarter, and that its revenue has grown at a rate of 72% year-over-year for the past three years runni...

AWS Translate comes to 22 new languages and 6 new regions

AWS seems to be using this week to get some news out ahead of its annual re:Invent developer conference in Las Vegas next week. In addition to new IoT services and updates to its Rekognition AI service, the company also today announced that it is bringing 22 new languages to its AWS Translate service and that it is expanding support for the service to six new regions. The new languages, which are now generally available, are Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Dari, Estonian, Canadian French, Georgian, Hausa, Latvian, Pashto, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Somali, Swahili, Tagalog and Tamil. With these 22 new languages, the service now supports a total of 54 languages and 2,804 language pairs. With this, the service is now available in 17 regions,...

G Suite users get more AI writing help, Google Assistant calendar integration and more

Google is launching a number of updates to its G Suite tools today that, among other things, brings to Google Docs an AI grammar checker, smarter spellchecking and, soon, spelling autocorrect. The company is also launching the ability for G Suite users to use the Google Assistant to read out a calendar schedule and, maybe even more importantly, create, cancel and reschedule events. Google is also adding new accessibility features to the Assistant for use during meetings. In addition, Google yesterday announced that Smart Compose would soon come to G Suite, too. It’s maybe no surprise that Google is adding its new grammar suggestions to Docs. This feature, after all, is something Google has talked about quite a bit in recent months, after it first introduced it back in 2018. Unlike ot...

Pitch on stage at TechCrunch’s Robotics & AI show – March 3 at UCBerkeley

On March 3 next year, TechCrunch will host the fourth annual TC Sessions: Robotics + AI at UC Berkely’s Zellerbach Hall. This time around we’re adding a new twist to the incredible line-up of speakers, breakout sessions and Q&As: It’s a pitch off for early-stage companies in the robotics and AI space. How it works: The night before the event, ten startups, chosen through an online application process, will pitch at a private event with TechCrunch Editors, main stage speakers, and industry experts. A panel of VC judges will select the top 5 teams to then pitch the next day on the main stage at TC Sessions: Robotics + AI the next day. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for founders to get their company in front of the tier one leaders and investors in the industry as well as receive ...

TriNet sent remote workers an email that some thought was a phishing attack

It was the one of the best phishing emails we’ve seen… that wasn’t. Phishing remains one of the most popular attack choices for scammers. Phishing emails are designed to impersonate companies or executives to trick users into turning over sensitive information, typically usernames and passwords, so that scammers can log into online services and steal money or data. But detecting and preventing phishing isn’t just a user problem — it’s a corporate problem too, especially when companies don’t take basic cybersecurity precautions and best practices to hinder scammers from ever getting into a user’s inbox. Enter TriNet, a human resources giant, which this week became the poster child for how how to make a genuine email to its customers look inadvertent...

Google finishes the install of its private Curie cable, announces Panama branch

Google today announced that it has finished the install and test of its private Curie cable. When it was announced, Curie, which connects the U.S. to Chile, was the company’s third private cable. Since then, it has announced two more, Dunant and Equiano, which will connect the U.S. to Europe and Portugal to South Africa. The 10,500 kilometers long cable will offer a total capacity of 72Tbps and will go online in Q2 of 2020. Right now, Google’s teams are working on connecting the cable to its own network. In addition, Google also today announced that Curie will get a branch to Panama. “Once operational, this branch will enhance connectivity and bandwidth to Central America, and increase our ability to connect to other networks in the region, providing resiliency to our glo...

Banning digital political ads gives extremists a distinct advantage

Jessica Alter Contributor Share on Twitter Jessica Alter is co-founder and chairman of Tech for Campaigns, an organization building the lasting tech and digital arm for Democrats and has helped over 200 campaigns on this front since 2017. Jack Dorsey’s announcement that Twitter will no longer run political ads because “political messages reach should be earned, not bought” has been welcomed as a thoughtful and statesmanlike contrast to Mark Zuckerberg’s and Facebook’s greedy acceptance of “political ads that lie.” While the 240-character policy sounds compelling, it’s both flawed in principle and, I fear, counterproductive in practice.  First: like it or hate it, the U.S. political system is drowning in money. In 2018, a non-presidential year, it is estimated that over $9B was spent on the...

Africa Roundup: Goldman leads $30M Twiga raise, China grows tech influence, Jumia weathers lockup-expiry

Kenya’s Twiga Foods raised a total of $30 million in October from lenders and investors led by Goldman Sachs. This adds to the list of African startups the U.S. financial firm has backed, including e-commerce venture Jumia and South African fintech startup Jumo. Twiga, a B2B food distribution company, will use its funds to set up a distribution center in Nairobi and deepen its conversion to offering supply chain services for both agricultural and FMCG products. The startup is also targeting Pan-African expansion to French speaking West Africa by third quarter 2020, CEO Peter Njonjo told TechCrunch. The venture has moved quickly on diversifying its supply-chain product mix. “We’re not just doing fruits and vegetables…I’d say we’re at 50/50 now between FMCG  and fresh,” said Njonjo. Twiga do...

Airbnb to ban ‘party houses’ in wake of Halloween shooting that left 5 dead

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said Saturday the company will ban “party houses” and take other steps to safeguard hosts and guests after five people died at a Halloween party hosted at California home that was rented on the service. Chesky made the announcement via a series of tweets Saturday. “What happened on Thursday night in Orinda, CA was horrible,” Chesky wrote. “I feel for the families and neighbors impacted by this tragedy — we are working to support them.” Chesky then announced that party houses would be banned and that the company is “redoubling” efforts to combat unauthorized parties. Starting today, we are banning “party houses” and we are redoubling our efforts to combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduc...

HuffPost is reportedly on the auction block

Late last night the Financial Times reported that HuffPost, arguably one of the crown jewels of Verizon Media Group’s remaining network of media properties (which includes TechCrunch), is up for sale. Verizon has been shedding media properties in a retreat from the strategy that it had begun to execute with the acquisition of AOL for $4.4 billion back in 2015. Through the AOL deal, then-chief executive Tim Armstrong became the architect of the telecommunications company’s media and advertising strategy. Armstrong’s vision was to roll up as much online real estate as he could while creating a high technology advertising architecture on the back-end that could better target consumers based on their media consumption (which the telecom company would also own). The idea was t...

Startups Weekly: YC grad Revel’s plan to connect women over 50

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy news pertaining to startups and venture capital. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. I’ve been on a bit of a startup profile kick as of late. Last week, I was tired from Disrupt. Before that, I wrote about up and coming telemedicine company Alpha Medical. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here. Startup Spotlight Y Combinator’s latest batch concluded two months ago, which means my inbox is beginning to fill with pitches from companies ready to talk about the first rounds of fundraising. We’ve profiled many of the c...

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