HandUp wants to solve homelessness and make money doing it
Rose Broome was walking on a cold night in San Francisco when she noticed a homeless woman living on the street. She thought, there must be a service to help people in need get crucial items like food and personal hygiene products, with some amount of transparency. When she couldn't find one, she fo...
Tesla promises autopilot in 3
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced a plan for a car with autopilot, capable driving itself 90% of the time. Google has led the way, driving fully autonomous cars over 300,000 miles and lobbying to get them street legal in California, Nevada and Florida (for testing). Jason reviews driver-assistance technology already in place and and in the pipeline. Predictions: in the next couple of decades, very few people will own cars, and those that do will share them. Driverless Uber vehicles will shuttle people around cities. If you own a car, it will drop you at your destination then go park itself. Meet George Jetson.
Why Dwolla lets you transfer
Dwolla got its start from a simple idea: that credit card fees are too expensive for merchants and consumers. CEO and cofounder Ben Milne took his frustration really far, building an entirely new payment network to get around credit cards and PayPal. Rather than charge a percentage, Dwolla is free for transactions under $10 and just 25 cents for anything over that amount. Over a billion dollars has changed hands through Dwolla in 2013 alone, and the company has the backing of top investors including Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Plus, why it's keeping its headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.
Twitter to IPO, new iPhones
Twitter filed its IPO paperwork, confidentially. Jason predicts its market cap will be $16 billion on the day it goes public. Meantime, Apple released the iPhone 5s + 5c. Not cheap enough for China, but certainly stirred up the blogosphere with some colorful plastic cases and classic Apple flash. For Launch of the Week: Disrupt's Startup Battlefield winner Layer, call and messaging stack for app developers; finalist Soil IQ which takes water and temperature measurements in farms; Kickstarter success Haptix, a 3D camera that turns any flat surface into multitouch, to control nearby screens. Ben Parr of DominateFund and tech journalist Jessica Lessin join us for This Week in Startups' weekly news roundtable.
Apple iPhone 5s & 5c:
Entrepreneur and angel investor Jason Calacanis predicts that while the iPhone 5s + 5c will be hits, Apple is two years behind with the high/low end model strategy. The company could boost its smartphone market share by 10%. However, it should have used its cash reserves to add new products, including different screen sizes. Samsung has made big inroads in the meantime with slick and affordable hardware, and increasing the reputation and massive use of Google's Android software.
Ram Ramkumar of Swell (Pandora
If you're watching or listening to this show, chances are you're podcast obsessed. Just like Pandora made it easy to curate your personal radio stations, Swell scours the web for the best podcasts, brings them together into one beautifully designed package (iOS only for now), and learns from your preferences. CEO and cofounder GD (Ram) Ramkumar joins us in advance of his appearance at LAUNCH Mobile & Wearables. Plus: Shark Tank with Dale Partridge of Sevenly, and Hassan Wardani of just-launched Thrillseeker Adventures. And Jason answers your questions about getting noticed from outside Silicon Valley, and the value of an MBA.
Smart watch mania, Path goes
Samsung got into the smart watch ring this week, announcing the Galaxy Gear, which will be available in early October. That announcement was expected, but Qualcomm also launched its smart watch, called Toq (rhymes with "walk"). For the Launch of the Week: we look at brand new iPhone app Oyster, called "Netflix for books" by Forbes; Path's new $15 a year premium version; and Mailpile, an open source, encrypted email service beating its goal on Indiegogo. Molly Wood of CNET and Dave Mathews of mobile software development startup NewAer join us for the This Week in Startups weekly news roundtable.
Advice to the next Microsoft
LAUNCH Ticker News Flash brought to you by Bing! Microsoft will get great handsets for its $7 billion purchase of Nokia. Now what it needs are the great apps, and ecosystems to draw users to Windows Phone and Microsoft's mobile space. With $68 million in total cash, and a $264 market cap, Jason Calacanis suggests that Microsoft take a page from Marissa Mayer's book. Buy tons of apps, develop them in Android and iOS, and start rolling out features on Windows first. Use those great teams (and all that cash) to build the business.
The 6 Biggest Mistakes Founders
Jerry Colonna knows the high highs and low lows that confront entrepreneurs. As a VC, he gave Jason his first job, and saw the successful exits of an array of dotcom startups, including Geocities. After the bubble burst, followed shortly after by 9/11, Jerry entered a deep depression. He left the VC world, and now coaches founders and CEOs. Some common themes? Loneliness, fights with cofounders, troubled relationships. Want to keep a level head? We asked him to share the top five mistakes founders make, and how to avoid them. He even gave us a bonus answer! Watch this great episode for his sage advice.
From Samsung Galaxy Gear to
LAUNCH Ticker News Flash brought to you by Bing! Samsung is set to announce its smart watch, likely called Galaxy Gear, Sept 4 in Berlin. Meanwhile, Apple is said to be working on an iWatch with a late 2014 release date. Jason predicts that 1 in 10 iPhone users will buy an iWatch. Plus, how a smart watch will stack up to Google Glass.
Daphne Koller - Cofounder, Coursera
Online learning, in the form of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, has become a massive business. At the university level, there's EdX, Udacity, and of course, Coursera. One of Coursera's cofounders, Daphne Koller, is a computer scientist at Stanford, who until recently, was best known for her research on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Coursera, however, is about human learning. The platform makes classes at the nation's top universities available online, to anyone, for free. Students can earn certificates, and the company is working toward translating those certificates into course credit, that can be transferred into degree-seeking programs. In the meantime, with keyboard biometrics and detailed logging of each click, Coursera plans to use its troves of data to better understand how people learn. Within 5 years, Koller says, Coursera will have the curriculum of a medium to large university. From LAUNCH Education & Kids, check out this fantastic interview.
Lynda Weinman - Cofounder &
Lynda Weinman bought the domain lynda.com in the mid 90s, when she was teaching herself web design. Fast forward through writing how-to books, and a classroom education program in Ojai, California. Today Lynda.com is an online resource with video-based courses, millions of registered users, and over $100m in late stage investment. The videos aren't free, but Lynda has never raised prices above $25 per month. And the company has been profitable every year. From her garage to a 12 acre campus with a 100 person sales team, Weinman shared her journey at LAUNCH Education & Kids.
Mitch Kapor - Founder of
Mitch Kapor fell in love with computers in 1966, even before they were using binary. He developed some of the first spreadsheet software, Lotus 1-2-3, became friends with Steve Jobs, went on to help found the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and now funds startups that work to fill critical gaps in society. In a conversation from LAUNCH Education & Kids, Kapor reflects on half a century in tech, the role tech leaders play in a era of NSA intervention, and the value proposition of college.
Tobias Lutke - Founder &
Shopify wants to make ecommerce simple and cheap. In the early 2000s, founder Tobi Lutke was trying to sell snowboards online, but the barriers to entry were enormous. He created his own cloud-based software, and like a lot of entrepreneurs, ended up abandoning his original snowboard shop idea. He now has 60,000 companies that use Shopify as the backbone for their online retail operations. From Shopify's base in Ottawa, Canada, Jason talks to Tobi about the future of retail, why BestBuy will die, and his ambition to become one-stop-shopping for every interesting product, the stuff that doesn't come with a barcode. Plus, the story of his stunt recruitment day at IBM, as they announced layoffs at their Ottawa facility.
Yelp surges up 23% after
Yelp closed at $51.51 Thursday, up 23%, and nearly double its IPO price after better-than-expected earnings. Jason discusses its strong mobile showing, and how Facebook’s successful turnaround in ad revenue is rubbing off on other mobile-heavy products. Jason predicts that the road forward for Yelp will include: going head to head with restaurant-booker OpenTable, getting [...]
Brian Wong - Founder &
Brian Wong, in many ways, is like other entrepreneurs: ahead of the curve. Really far ahead. Wong graduated from college at 18, and moved from his hometown of Vancouver to the Bay Area, where he got a job at Digg. At the same time, he was getting his own forward-looking business together. Kiip (pronounced "keep") builds rewards into mobile apps. Brands like Disney, Amazon, and Pepsi partner with Kiip, so when users complete a puzzle, or a rate a show, they gain access to discounts and other rewards. In an age when everyone's trying to make money from mobile, Wong shares his story. Plus, what it was like trying to get with college girls as a 14 year-old freshman.
Chromecast, Nexus 7, Launch of
Google had two big product launches this week: an upgraded Nexus 7, with a mega high resolution screen. And the instantly popular, $35 HDMI dongle they call Chromecast, which turns your tablet, laptop, or smartphone into a remote to project videos, photos, and more onto your TV. What will the next iPhone look like, and how effective will iOS7 be? From Kite to combat mosquitos, Tile to find your keys, or BarEye to order drinks from your phone, the panel votes on the launch of the week. Ryan Block, VP of Product for AOL, and Slate tech columnist Farhad Manjoo join us in a special roundtable from WeWork Golden Gate in San Francisco. Plus, from electric supercharger stations, to scanned mail, to groceries delivered to your doorstep, Jason, Ryan, and Farhad share their favorite services of the moment.
Alex Hawkinson - Founder &
The Internet of Things concept has been around a long time. But with a central communication hub, open-source platform for developing apps, and devices that communicate with that network, SmartThings is making it a reality. Founder Alex Hawkinson explains how, we could arrive home, have the garage open, lights come on, and get alerts about everything from plumbing problems to an opened gun case, right on our smart phones. Plus, how he raised over $1 million on Kickstarter.
Beachmint, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo
It was a huge week for earnings, and a disappointing one for Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. Google backed away from its nearly-$,1000 share price. Microsoft shares sank on a $900m writedown of its Surface tablet. And at Yahoo, despite page view gains, revenue was down. Meantime, Tumblr is putting porn in the search ghetto. The NSA disclosed it looks up to "3 hops" away from a suspected terrorist. And straight hookup app Tindr launched for Android. Sarah Lacy of PandoDaily and Rafat Ali of travel news startup Skift join us for TWiST's news roundtable.
Yves Behar - Co-Founder of
A good product needs great design, as Yves Behar knows all too well. The August smart lock is just his latest in a long line of projects. He designed One Laptop per Child's XO Laptop, Jawbone's iconic bluetooth headset, and the dance party-starting Jambox. This is must-watch on the huge role that design plays in your company, your product, and innovation.
NSA, Dropbox, Zynga, SEC, Yelp
Tyler Crowley is back from Sweden! He joined Dalton Caldwell, CEO of App.net, and Jason to discuss Microsoft's reorg, Yelps' new delivery service, Dropbox's move to become your always-on hard drive, why Facebook Graph Search & other FB products suck, the SEC allowing startups to say they're raising money, the latest on NSA leaks & more.
Max Haot - Co-Founder and
Live-streaming events has gotten easier thanks to hardware and software solutions from companies like New York-based Livestream, which Max Haot co-founded in 2007. He and Jason discussed the old-school TriCaster vs Livestream's box, how YouTube's move into live-streaming worked out for them, why we haven't seen a 24/7 live internet broadcaster yet, how Livestream is working with local TV news stations, when we'll be able to broadcast directly from DSLRs and more.