As Facebook prepares to launch its new cryptocurrency Libra in 2020, it’s putting the pieces in place to help it run. In one of the latest developments, it has acquired Servicefriend, a startup that built bots — chat clients for messaging apps based on artificial intelligence — to help customer service teams, TechCrunch has confirmed. […]

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a 35-year-old billionaire who keeps refusing to sit in front of international parliamentarians to answer questions about his ad business’ impact on democracy and human rights around the world, has a new piece of accountability theatre to sell you: An “Oversight Board“. Not of Facebook’s business itself. Though you’d be forgiven […]

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Alchemist Accelerator, a startup incubator which focuses on enterprise companies, held a demo day yesterday for its 22nd batch. Each company got 5 minutes to tell a theater full of investors who they are, what they’re building, and why they might be the best to build it. We saw companies working on everything from industrial […]

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Aicha Evans, CEO of self-driving startup Zoox, is joining us at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco in just two short weeks. Evans came on board to Zoox earlier this year following the unexpected firing of co-founder and former CEO Tim Kentley-Klay in August. At the time of the announcement, Zoox co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson told […]

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In this week's newsletter: Airbnb, WeWork and Postmates prep IPOs.

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Back in January, Blackstone — the investment firm whose assets under management surpassed a jaw-dropping half a trillion dollars earlier this year — quietly began piecing together a new, growth equity platform called Blackstone Growth, or BXG. Step one was hiring away Jon Korngold from General Atlantic, where he’d spent the previous 18 years, including […]

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Yesterday, software development tool maker Chef found itself in the middle of a firestorm after a Tweet called them out for doing business with DHS/ICE. Eventually it led to an influential open-source developer removing a couple of key pieces of software from the project, bringing down some parts of Chef’s commercial business. Chef intends to […]

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We’re going to try something new at Disrupt this year, based on the great response we’ve been getting to our startup how-to coverage. We’re going to put service provider experts on our Q&A stage, where you can talk to them directly in-person about key topics like growth, fundraising and recruiting. To help kick off this […]

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Matchstick Ventures, a seed-stage firm that says it invests in “rapidly growing, yet underserved startup ecosystems,” announced this week that it has raised $30 million for its second fund. That’s a lot more money than the firm’s $5 million seed round. This time, Matchstick says it will write initial checks of around $500,000, and in […]

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The FAA has warned against equipping your drone with weapons such as flamethrowers and handguns. But can a nail gun really be considered a weapon — that is, outside of Quake? Let's hope not, because roboticists at the University of Michigan have made a roofing drone that uses that tool to autonomously nail shingles into place.

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John Maeda has been a professor at the MIT Media Lab, president of the Rhode Island School of Design, designer partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins and most recently served as the head of computational design and inclusion at Automattic. So perhaps it’s no surprise that he made another big leap with his latest job, […]

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Less than 24 hours after YouTube announced that it would be changing its creator verification process, CEO Susan Wojcicki admitted that the news hasn’t gone over very well. “To our creators & users – I’m sorry for the frustration & hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification,” Wojcicki tweeted. “While trying to […]

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Security is in everything, it’s everywhere and it’s everyone’s responsibility. What part are you playing? At TechCrunch Disrupt SF on October 2-4, we’re proud to have onstage some of the smartest security executives and highest-ranking officials ready to talk shop. Security will be front and center of Disrupt SF, with our panels and experts ready […]

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It’s been another hard week at MIT. Our campus has been divided by revelations of inappropriate fundraising, coverups, and the harboring of far too many tech geniuses who seemingly put their own interests and careers over the safety of women, among other marginalized groups. As a chaplain to students and faculty at the Institute, but […]

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On Sundays in October, Tinder is launching in its dating app an “interactive adventure” called “Swipe Night” that will present a narrative where users make a series of choices in order to proceed. This sort of choose-your-own-adventure format has been more recently popularized by Netflix and others as a new way to engage with digital […]

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