<img width="100" height="70" src="http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/screen-shot-2013-12-11-at-10-09-54.png?w=100&h=70&crop=1" class="attachment-tc-carousel-river-thumb wp-post-image" alt="Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 10.09.54" style="float: left; margin: 0 10px 7px 0;" />Many in the <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/05/google-backed-anti-patent-troll-bill-passes-the-house/">tech world and Washington</a> have railed against the encroaching and limiting effect of patents on innovation, but when the chips are down, IP and patents remain key cornerstones in how tech companies and their founders are making sure they will be able to build their businesses and stick around for the long haul. Tony Fadell, the legendary former hardware supremo at Apple and now CEO and co-founder of new smart home device startup <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nest.com">Nest</a>, today revealed that Nest already had 100 patents granted, with 200 more on file with the USPTO and another 200 ready to file.
December 11th, 2013 06:29 AM
<img width="100" height="70" src="http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/linkedin.jpg?w=100&h=70&crop=1" class="attachment-tc-carousel-river-thumb wp-post-image" alt="linkedin" style="float: left; margin: 0 10px 7px 0;" />The reign of "creative" LinkedIn profiles appears to be over.
The company is releasing its list of the most overused buzzwords in 2013, based on the words that appear most frequently on the professional networking site's profiles. In 2011 and 2012, the most overused word was "creative", but this year "creative" was beaten by "responsible." On one hand, that's less obviously self-defeating than describing yourself as creative. On the other hand, it's more than little ... uninspiring.
December 11th, 2013 03:00 AM
<img width="100" height="70" src="http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/palantir.gif?w=100&h=70&crop=1" class="attachment-tc-carousel-river-thumb wp-post-image" alt="palantir" style="float: left; margin: 0 10px 7px 0;" />Palantir, the big data company that started off with clients like the FBI and CIA before building up a large private-sector roster of customers, just added more funding to its coffers. Last week, the company filed that it was raising $57 million with the SEC. Now that round is coming in at $107.5 million, according to a new amended filing today. Sources close to the company told us that the round valued the company at $9 billion. This is a boost to an earlier $196.5 million round in the fall that valued the company at $6 billion. Strong investor appetite convinced the company to bring in more capital at a 50 percent bump to their overall valuation. Palantir, which expects to see more than $1 billion in contracts next year, sells a big data platform to private-sector and government clients. It helps them make sense from disparate silos of data and point out trends that they would otherwise not see. For example, rescue workers operating in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy used Palantir to manage requests for water, medical supplies, and home repairs. Financial clients tend to use it to look for cybersecurity or fraud threats. While the company was originally founded back in 2004 to take anti-fraud technologies and ideas developed at PayPal and use them to fight terrorism with government agencies, the company is now working with lots of private sector clients. Today, government contracts make up less than 40 percent of the company’s revenues, a source familiar with the company tells me. The company was the brainchild of Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, who recruited current CEO Alex Karp, Joe Lonsdale (who went on to found Asia and Silicon Valley-focused investment firm Formation 8), Stephen Cohen and chief technology officer Nathan Gettings to put together an initial product.
December 10th, 2013 09:51 PM
<img width="100" height="70" src="http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/chronoblade.jpg?w=100&h=70&crop=1" class="attachment-tc-carousel-river-thumb wp-post-image" alt="chronoblade" style="float: left; margin: 0 10px 7px 0;" />nWay, a San Francisco-based gaming startup from an experienced team of MMO-makers, just raised $5 million in funding led by TransLink Capital. They also had participation from several of Silicon Valley’s better known micro-VCs and early-stage funds like Baseline Ventures’ Steven Anderson, Cowboy Ventures’ Aileen Lee and Harrison Metal’s Michael Dearing. Lightspeed Venture Partners’ Jeremy Liew, WI Harper Group, Zhen Fund, Bowana, and XG Ventures also joined the round. Before starting nWay, CEO Taehoon Kim had racked up years of experience through building several gaming companies including one MMO maker called Nurien, that he eventually sold to CJ E&M. They were behind several social dance and fashion show titles. He’s returning to the game-making world with a team that has worked on titles like Grand Theft Auto, Diablo II and Dead Space 2 & 3. “We wanted to basically create what we thought were real games. Some games are very blurry with the line between social networking and gameplay,” he said. The company’s main title ChronoBlade, is a title where a handful of hero characters battle to protect a Multi-verse, or a universe where multiple versions of Earth exist. The enemy army, the Chronarch Imperium, has advanced weaponry that it uses to destroy most worlds’ defenses. Players take on the role of one of four inter-dimensional heroes that have to keep the Chronarch Imperium at bay. Each of course has its own unique skill sets and specialties. Right now, the game is just available on Facebook and on the new Android-based console Ouya. They’ll be launching a multi-player mode in three days. But nWay plans to have it work seamlessly across several platforms including consoles, PCs and mobile devices. Android and iOS should be coming in 2014. But the reason the company has been able to attract investor interest in a tough climate for gaming startups is because of the team’s experience and because they’ve developed some back-end technology that should allow for 60-frame-per-second synchronous multiplayer game play. “We think it will be breakthrough technology for twitch-based games that require low latency,” Kim said. So far, Kim says that tests show players are spending at least 30 minutes on average. They haven’t turned on any monetization features at the moment, as the company is focused on retention rather than revenue at the moment. The two-year-old company has raised about $11 million in total and has 34 employees. Jay Eum, a
December 10th, 2013 07:56 PM
<img width="100" height="70" src="http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/potrero-4x3-med.jpg?w=100&h=70&crop=1" class="attachment-tc-carousel-river-thumb wp-post-image" alt="Potrero 4x3-med" style="float: left; margin: 0 10px 7px 0;" /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.litmotors.com">Lit Motors</a>, the electric car startup that launched last year with its <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/09/10/lit-motors-will-shake-up-the-electric-vehicle-market-with-its-two-wheeled-untippable-c-1/">first vehicle called the C1</a>, has debuted another sleek looking electricity-fueled vehicle called the <a target="_blank" href="http://litmotors.com/kubo/">Kubo</a>.
December 10th, 2013 07:32 PM
<img width="100" height="70" src="http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/american-giant-extole.jpg?w=100&h=70&crop=1" class="attachment-tc-carousel-river-thumb wp-post-image" alt="american giant extole" style="float: left; margin: 0 10px 7px 0;" />"Referral marketing" startup <a target="_blank" href="http://www.extole.com">Extole</a> is announcing that it has raised $5 million in new funding.
Founded in 2009, <a target="_blank" href="http://extole.com/about/press-and-news/extole-announces-new-ceo-matthew-roche">Extole announced the appointment of new CEO Matt Roche</a> back in April. Since then, the company has also brought on Mark Cyster as CTO and Chris Duskin as vice president of marketing — like Roche, they were formerly executives at Offermatica (which was acquired by Adobe).
December 10th, 2013 06:19 PM
<img width="100" height="70" src="http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/lovely-android.jpg?w=100&h=70&crop=1" class="attachment-tc-carousel-river-thumb wp-post-image" alt="lovely-android" style="float: left; margin: 0 10px 7px 0;" />Few things in life are more frustrating that trying to find a new place to live (especially if you're itching to move to the housing market hellholes that are New York City and San Francisco). It's no wonder then that so many startups -- Trulia, Zillow, Redfin, Apartment List, Rental Engine, Zumper, Nestio, the list goes on -- are trying to make it all just a little bit easier.
Of these myriad startups, apartment-centric <a target="_blank" href="http://www.livelovely.com">Lovely</a> has been especially busy these past few months: it closed a (sadly undisclosed) Series A and snapped up automated rent payment startup Rentmatic to help prove its worth to property owners too. So what was next on their agenda? Getting a new Android app out the door, which the company <a target="_blank" href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.livelovely.android">finally did earlier today</a>.
December 10th, 2013 06:06 PM
As 2013 wraps to an end, Microsoft released its final set of Patch Tuesday fixes, updating its Surface line of tablets at the same time. According to Microsoft, the fixes include 11 bulletins, five of which are marked critical, solving 24 vulnerabilities. That’s quite the raft. Among the patched products are Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, and Exchange. So, more so than in some months, you want to get yourself up to date. Security firm Qualys points out that two zero-day flaws amongst the mix only cause havoc if a company is still using Windows XP, which it estimates that about 15% of enterprises still are. Keep in mind that the end of Windows XP support is rapidly approaching. Qualys correctly wrote today that a company’s “security situation will then become very quickly unmaintainable” if it stays on XP after Microsoft removes support. Microsoft itself would like it very much if folks would stop using Windows XP. The real meat out today is a set of Surface updates, however, which should bring quality of life improvements to owners of Microsoft’s line of tablets. As collated by Mary Jo Foley, here they are: Surface (RT) running either Windows RT 8.0 or Windows RT 8.1: Surface Home Button Driver update to optimize available system memory Surface Type Cover audio device driver update to enhance trackpad sounds for Type Cover 2 Surface 2 running Windows RT 8.1: Fix for screen dimming during CPU intensive operations resolved Decreased charge time for batteries resolved Two-finger trackpad use optimized Update to support additional external displays Skype video quality improved Resolved delay during restart when Bluetooth devices are connected Surface Pro running Windows 8.0: No updates this month (according to Microsoft’s Surface Pro History site) Surface Pro running Windows 8.1: Wi-Fi driver (v14.69.24047.156) update for improved wireless display experience Surface Pro 2 running Windows 8.1: Update for improved system stability, including when minimizing full screen games Updated Wi-Fi driver for improved wireless display and connectivity with wireless access points Improved Surface Cover interaction including power-saving sleep functionality Color fidelity improvements for all applications Optimized two-finger trackpad use Enhanced audio experience when connected to a Display Port 1.2 device That’s no small list of updates. If you lean on Microsoft’s software, you have some patching to do.
December 10th, 2013 05:49 PM