AirPort Express popping up in some Home apps, raising possibility of AirPlay 2 compatibility

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Reports are circulating that the third generation AirPort Express is popping up for users trying to add a HomeKit accessory in the iOS 11.4 beta, but the appearance is not universal, nor does the networking peripheral actually get added when selected.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

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Bitcoiin founders and brand ambassador Steven Seagal depart after raising over $75 million

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Actor Steven Seagal started supporting the “Bitcoiin” cryptocurrency last year as the new token’s brand ambassador. Now that relationship is over, as Bitcoiin posted a statement today that Seagal and the unnamed founders of the coin were walking away from the project since the token sale has ended.

“From this point on Bitcoiin will function within its ecosystem and become a genuinely anonymous currency with no individual or individuals having control over the entity!” the post declares. Bitcoiin has been a dubious coin since its launch and this mysterious exit, which removes the only recognizable figure associated with the coin — Steven Seagal — doesn’t help. It’s also unknown how much money the ICO raised, although Bitcoiin said it…

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Stock trade app Robinhood raising at $5B+, up 4X in a year

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By adding a cryptocurrency exchange, a web version and stock option trading, Robinhood has managed to quadruple its valuation in a year, according to a source familiar with a new round the startup is raising. Robinhood is closing in on around $ 350 million in Series D funding led by Russian firm DST Global, the source says. That’s just 11 months after Robinhood confirmed TechCrunch’s scoop that the zero-fee stock trading app had raised a $ 110 million Series C at a $ 1.3 billion valuation. The new raise would bring Robinhood to $ 526 million in funding.

Details of the Series D were first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The astronomical value growth shows that investors see Robinhood as a core part of the mobile finance tools upon which the next generation will rely. The startup also just proved its ability to nimbly adapt to trends by building its cryptocurrency trading feature in less than two months to make sure it wouldn’t miss the next big economic shift. One million users waitlisted for access in just the five days after Robinhood Crypto was announced.

The launch completed a trio of product debuts. The mobile app finally launched a website version for tracking and trading stocks without a commission in November. In December it opened options trading, making it a more robust alternative to brokers like E*Trade and Scottrade. They often charge $ 7 or more per stock trade compared to zero with Robinhood, but also give away features that are reserved for Robinhood’s premium Gold subscription tier.

Robinhood won’t say how many people have signed up for its $ 6 to $ 200 per month Gold service that lets people trade on margin, with higher prices netting them more borrowing power. That and earning interest on money stored in Robinhood accounts are the startup’s primary revenue sources.

Rapid product iteration and skyrocketing value surely helped recruit Josh Elman, who Robinhood announced yesterday has joined as VP of product as he transitions to a part-time roll at Greylock Partners. He could help the company build a platform business as a backbone for other fintech apps, they way he helped Facebook build its identity platform.

In effect, Robinhood has figured out how to make stock trading freemium. Rather than charge per trade with bonus features included, Robinhood gives away the bare-bones trades and charges for everything else. That could give it a steady, scalable business model akin to Dropbox, which grew by offering small amounts of free storage and then charging for extras and enterprise accounts. From a start with free trades, Robinhood could blossom into a hub for your mobile finance life.

Mobile – TechCrunch

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TheSkimm is raising $12 million from Google and other investors to build its subscription business

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

TheSkimm co-founders Danielle Weisberg (on the right) and Carly Zakin

The startup has a newsletter with seven million subscribers, but it wants more revenue sources.

TheSkimm started out as a newsletter aimed at millennial women, but its founders have always said they wanted to expand into other product lines.

Now co-founders Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg have more money to make that happen: They have raised a $ 12 million round led by Google Ventures, along with Spanx founder Sara Blakely. Earlier investors, including 21st Century Fox, RRE and Homebrew, are in this round as well. The company has raised $ 28 million since 2012.

Investors the company talked to said Zakin and Weisberg were looking for a $ 100 million valuation; their last round, in September 2016, valued the company at around $ 55 million. The company declined to comment on its current valuation or whether it had sold secondary shares as part of this round.

TheSkimm’s core product is a daily newsletter that boils down world events into breezy, bite-sized chunks — today’s edition, on the U.K. expelling Russian nationals following the assassination of a former spy: “The Kremlin’s prob not stressing about all this.” The company says it now has seven million readers who open the letter at least once a month, with a 30 percent daily open rate.

But theSkimm has always positioned itself as a media brand with aspirations for multiple revenue streams. It has been building some of them in the last few years and now boasts podcasts, an e-commerce business and a subscription calendar app.

The company says it will use some of the money from its new round to build more subscription services — a very 2018 idea in mediaworld — and that it hopes Google Ventures and its Google connections can help it with some of its product plans.

Or, in the words of the company: “We have revolutionized the delivery of news and information to the most coveted demographic and, as we look to grow our membership by expanding our products and services, GV’s expertise and data-driven mindset makes them the ideal partner to aid in our expansion.”

Weisberg and Zakin appeared at Code Media last month, along with Brit + Co CEO Brit Morin, where they talked about building their brands and businesses. Here’s the video from that session:


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Bird, the dockless scooter-sharing startup, is looking for $100 million just a month after raising money

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The company said it raised $ 15 million last month.

Less than a month after announcing that it had raised money, the electric scooter company Bird is already in the market for another $ 100 million.

Bird is looking to raise funds at about a $ 300 million pre-money valuation, according to people familiar with the round. It’s a reflection of how over the moon investors are about non-automobile transportation within cities.

Update: The company has confirmed that it closed the Series B round co-led by Valor Equity Partners and Index Ventures. With this new influx of cash, the company expects to expand to 50 markets by the end of this year.

Bird announced last month that it had raised $ 15 million in a round led by Craft Ventures, the new investment vehicle from David Sacks. The round probably closed well before then, but it shows that the company is in constant fundraising mode.

The Santa Monica-based company is the latest dockless company meant to solve the so-called “last mile” problem that helps link people to existing public transit systems.

Bird, co-founded by former Uber and Lyft executive Travis VanderZaden, has taken Santa Monica, Calif., by storm — for better or worse. The company, which lets you book an electric scooter via an Uber-like app and drop off the scooter anywhere once you’re done, launched in Santa Monica in September 2017 but has already seen more than 500,000 rides on its platform.

However, the startup is already coming up against regulatory hurdles. In February, Bird was forced to pay $ 300,000 in fines for failing to acquire the proper commercial business licenses and obscuring the public right of way.

The city is also now contemplating passing an ordinance that would result in the seizing of scooters for an impound fee of $ 60 per impound that are left on public roads without city authorization. That means the company could be required to create designated parking destinations by partnering with local businesses — which could hurt the company’s primary value proposition.

TechCrunch first reported the round.


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Apple makes Chinese transfer of iCloud data official, raising privacy concerns

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

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As planned, Apple on Wednesday transferred control of its Chinese iCloud data to a local firm, Guizhou-Cloud Big Data. The move is necessary to comply with local laws, but has drawn criticism for exposing customers to the authoritarian Chinese government.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

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YouTube TV reportedly adding new channels and markets, but also raising its price

YouTube TV Android app

It sounds like some big changes are coming to YouTube TV, and while some are good, others are not so great.

YouTube TV will gain several new channels tomorrow, February 14, according to a BuzzFeed post that has since been deleted. These new channels will include CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TBS, TNT, truth, and Turner Classic Movies.

Also coming to YouTube TV are nationally televised NBA games, the NBA All-Star Weekend, NBA Playoffs, the NBA TV channel, MLB postseason games, and MLB Network. UEFA soccer and PGA Championship golf are coming, too, and NBA League Pass and MLB.TV will be available for an extra fee.

Other good news for YouTube TV is that the service is expanding to 18 new markets. These are said to be Lexington, Dayton, Honolulu, El Paso, Burlington, Plattsburgh, Richmond, Petersburg, Mobile, Syracuse, Champaign, Springfield, Columbia, Charleston, Harlingen, Wichita, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton.

And then there’s the not so great news. YouTube TV will reportedly increase its monthly price on March 13 from $ 35 to $ 40. This pricing will only apply to new subscribers, though, so you should be able to sign up before then and keep your lower price.

YouTube TV is still a growing service in a market with lots of competition, so these new channels and new markets are good to see and are important if YouTube TV wants to compete against the likes of Sling and PlayStation Vue. As for the price increase, no one likes to see the price of a service go up, but at least YouTube TV is adding several new channels and keeping features like six user accounts and unlimited DVR while bumping up its price.

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ZipRecruiter is raising money for the first time in almost four years

The company is raising $ 50 million — and that’s likely just the start.

The job-posting website ZipRecruiter is returning to the fundraising well for the first time since 2014, authorizing a new round of financing that values the company at almost $ 1 billion.

The eight-year-old company is slated to raise around $ 50 million in new capital, according to a fundraising document, and it is in talks to possibly collect even more money beyond that. The current financing authorization would value the company at around $ 930 million, according to the November filing with the state of Delaware that was provided by Lagniappe Labs, creator of the Prime Unicorn Index.

The identity of the funder could not be learned, but it is believed to be a major financial institution as opposed to a venture capital firm. ZipRecruiter declined to comment.

The company was last valued at $ 300 million, according to PitchBook, after accepting $ 63 million in a round led by IVP. The company operated for four years without taking outside funding.

ZipRecruiter faces competition from platforms like Glassdoor, a possible IPO candidate, and Indeed, which has been acquired, but ZipRecruiter claims to have hosted 120 million job seekers. The Santa Monica-based company led by Ian Siegel has close to 1,000 employees.


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