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Engadget

UK closes loophole that allowed using your phone while driving

The UK is about to make it clear that you shouldn’t grab your phone while you’re driving — regardless of what you intend to do. The government is closing a legal loophole (via BBC) that allowed people to pick up their phones while driving as long as they weren’t calling or messaging. When enacted, you’ll have to use hands-free features for just about everything. The lone exception is for contactless payment while you’re stationary, such as paying for a meal at a drive-thru. The law previously only banned “interactive communication.” Effectively, this let people escape punishment by claiming they were browsing the web, taking a selfie or otherwise doing something that didn’t involve chatting with others. Source linkContinue readingUK closes loophole that allowed using your phone while driving

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TechCrunch

M1 Finance closes $45M Series C mere months after it raised its $33M Series B – TechCrunch

The Chicago-based fintech has seen its AUM pass $2B after reaching $1.45B this summer Just months after it announced a $33 million Series B, Chicago-based M1 Finance today disclosed a $45 Series C. The new financing event was led by Left Lane Capital, the same investor that led M1’s Series B. Bear in mind that so-called inside rounds are now a bullish sign in 2020, as opposed to in prior VC eras when they were viewed more cooly. Other M1 investors include Jump Capital, Clocktower Technology Ventures and Chicago Ventures, though only the first two appear to have taken part in this round. Per M1, the Series C comes just 120 days after it raised a Series B. A good question is why M1 has raised more capital, and why Left Lane Capital wanted to lead two rounds for the consumer-focused fintech provider. Going back to our prior coverage, we can figure it out. In February, we reported that M1 Finance had reached the $1 billion assets under management mark, or AUM. The startup combines three different traditional fintech services into one (roboadvising, neobanking and lending), allowing it to price the package aggressively. The model appears to be working. When M1 raised its Series B a few months later in June, it had reached the $1.45 billion AUM, or about 45% growth in just over a quarter. That’s very good. Today, the company announced that it has surpassed the $2 billion AUM mark, up more than 38% in the last four…Continue readingM1 Finance closes $45M Series C mere months after it raised its $33M Series B – TechCrunch

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TechCrunch

Kindred Capital closes £81M second fund to back early-stage European startups – TechCrunch

Kindred Capital, the London-based VC that backs early-stage founders in Europe, has closed its second seed fund at £81 million. That’s only a tad larger than the the firm’s first fund, which invested in 29 companies and was raised in 2018. Portfolio companies from fund one include Five, which is building software for autonomous vehicles; Paddle, the SaaS for software e-commerce; Pollen, the peer-to-peer marketplace for experiences and travel; and Farewill, which lets you create a will online. However, perhaps what really sets Kindred apart from most other seed VCs is its “Equitable Venture”. This sees the founders it backs get carry in the fund, effectively becoming co-owners of Kindred. Once the VC’s LPs have their investment returned, like the firm’s partners, the founders also share any subsequent fund profits, as long as they have passed the vesting period. More broadly, Kindred says the idea is this extra incentive encourages a collective model, in which founders actively help each other achieve their goals. “This has also had a positive impact on deal flow, with entrepreneurs sourcing 38% of Kindred’s dealflow at the top of the funnel,” says the VC. Notably, Kindred projects that around £5 million will be returned to founders from the first find, profit that would otherwise have gone to its own General Partners. Presuming those exits are realised, based on two founders per startup, a quick back of the napkin calculation suggests that’s just over £80,000 each. Meanwhile, Kindred already begun investing from its second fund. It…Continue readingKindred Capital closes £81M second fund to back early-stage European startups – TechCrunch

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Tech Radar

Popular VPN closes critical vulnerability on Linux client

The VPN service Private Internet Access (PIA) has released a new version of its Linux client which fixes a critical vulnerability that could have allowed remote attackers to bypass the software’s kill switch. The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-15590, was discovered by Sick Codes and it affects versions 1.5 through 2.3 of PIA’s Linux client. The client’s kill switch is configured to block all inbound and outbound network traffic when a VPN connection drops. However, privileged applications still have the ability to send and receive network traffic even when the kill switch is turned on if net.ipv4.ip_forward has been enabled in the system kernel parameters. In a vulnerability disclosure on its site, Sick Codes explained that a Docker container running on a host with the VPN turned off and the kill switch turned on can continue using the internet and leak the host IP. This could allow a remote attacker to read sensitive information by intercepting network traffic. Using Docker with a VPN TechRadar Pro reached out to PIA regarding the now patched vulnerability and a spokesperson for the company provided the following statement explaining the issue: “We were contacted in relation to the use of the Docker platform exclusively with the PIA Linux client in July 2020. Docker on Linux had not previously been supported by PIA as the Docker engine runs with root privileges, and we cannot guarantee that the killswitch will protect software that is itself able to control networking. The issue raised solely relates to using the…Continue readingPopular VPN closes critical vulnerability on Linux client

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The Verge

Google’s Waze lays off 5 percent of its workforce, closes offices in Asia and Latin America

Waze, the Google-owned navigation and mapping service, will lay off 5 percent of its global workforce, or about 30 people out of 555 total employees, the company’s CEO said in an email to employees. Waze will also close several of its offices in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions as it seeks to refocus its business on certain markets. Waze said the layoffs were partly due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has emptied roadways around the world and sent many cities into lockdown. As shelter-in-place and working from home become the new norm, fewer people are using Waze for their daily navigation needs. Fewer eyeballs on the app means less advertising revenue for the company. Waze, which was acquired by Google in 2013 for a reported $1.1 billion, has seen a dip in both monthly active users, or the number of customers using the app each month, and driven kilometers, the metric by which the company measures how far its customers drive while using Waze. Waze has seen a dip in monthly active users and kilometers driven In April, Waze laid out in a blog post just how severely some of those numbers are falling. Globally, Waze customers drove 60 percent fewer miles in March, when lockdowns started going into effect, as compared to February. Italy specifically saw the biggest drop at 90 percent. The US was also down by about 60 percent. But as the pandemic stretched on, those figures got worse. Waze says that at one point during…Continue readingGoogle’s Waze lays off 5 percent of its workforce, closes offices in Asia and Latin America

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VentureBeat

Fable reboot closes out Xbox Games Showcase with cinematic teaser

Fable was one of the biggest games Microsoft showed off at its Xbox Games Showcase today. Developer Playground Games is rebooting the franchise with its own take on the series. Playground is best known for the Forza Horizon games, and now it’s getting a chance to build an open-world adventure. This is a major step for the studio, but this also marks Microsoft’s return to large, narrative role-playing adventures. Like all Xbox Games Studios releases, Microsoft is launching Fable on Xbox Game Pass. This is a return to one of Microsoft’s classic franchises. Fable was an early standout among first-party Microsoft releases on Xbox when it debuted in 2004. Developer Lionhead Studios then created a number of followups. This Fable seems like it is aiming to keep the British tone of the original. The teaser starts with a magical fairy creature and an ethereal voiceover. But then a toad eats the fairy, and the voice says, “Not every story has a happy ending.” It’s clearly still going for the irreverent take that the early games were known for. Source linkContinue readingFable reboot closes out Xbox Games Showcase with cinematic teaser

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TechCrunch

Berlin’s Cavalry Ventures closes €80M, backed by DACH founders and EIF – TechCrunch

Cavalry Ventures, the Berlin-based early-stage venture fund which was the lead inceptor into BRYTER, has closed its second fund of €80M, more than 3.5x the size of its maiden fund. Geared somewhat like a large Angel syndicate, Cavalry’s LPs tend to be active founders and other LPs in early-stage funds in the DACH region, and the fund is best known for its focus on key SaaS and B2B infrastructure startups such as those in HR, sales, PR, fundraising, legal and internationalization. In a statement Stefan Walter, managing partner at Cavalry, said: “Our mantra has always been ‘what’s best for the startup?’. If that is staying on the sidelines and letting you as a founder do your job, that’s what we’re going to do. But if you request our support, you can count on us to be there – any time of the day.” Typically, Cavalry invests alongside angels, both external and from within its network. Among these angels are Martin Henk (Pipedrive), Nico Rosberg (former F1 World Champion), Viktoriya Tigipko (TA Ventures), Myke Naef (Doodle), Emmanuel Thomassin (Delivery Hero), Gero Decker (Signavio), Joshua Cornelius & Mehmet Yilmaz (Freeletics), Tobias Balling (Blinkist) and Felix Jahn (Rocket Internet, McMakler). The Cavalry II fund is the partnership’s first vintage with institutional funds including the European Investment Fund . Cavalry was launched by Rouven Dresselhaus, Claude Ritter and Stefan Walter in 2016 and has since invested in McMakler, Rekki and PlanRadar among others. Source linkContinue readingBerlin’s Cavalry Ventures closes €80M, backed by DACH founders and EIF – TechCrunch

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TechCrunch

Dish closes Boost Mobile purchase, following T-Mobile/Sprint merger – TechCrunch

T-Mobile today announced that it has closed a deal that divests Sprint’s pre-paid businesses, including Boost and Virgin Mobile. The news finds Dish entering the wireless carrier game in earnest, courtesy of the $1.4 billion deal. The whole thing was, of course, a key part of T-Mobile’s bid to merge with Sprint. It was a relatively small concession to those worried that such a deal would decrease competitiveness in the market, as the number of major U.S. carriers shrunk from four down to three. The $26 billion T-Mobile/Sprint deal was finally completed April of this year, and has already resulted in hundreds of lost jobs, as reported on last month by TechCrunch. The deal gives Dish a nice head start in the pre-paid phone game, with north of nine million customers and access to T-Mobile’s wireless network for the next seven years. It also finds current Dish’s COO John Swieringa stepping in to lead the new subsidiary. Oh, and there’s a new Boost logo, too, seen below, Dish See? It’s basically the old Boost Mobile logo, but with the little Dish wireless symbols in the middle, to really show you who’s boss. Dish used the opportunity to announce a new plan for Boost users with 15GB of data for $45, and has already begun switching consumers with compatible devices over to the new T-Mobile-backed network. Source linkContinue readingDish closes Boost Mobile purchase, following T-Mobile/Sprint merger – TechCrunch

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Tech Radar

Google Meet is officially getting blur and backgrounds, closes gap on Zoom and Teams

Probably one of the most frequently requested features for regular users of Google Meet, the company’s popular video conferencing software, is the ability to blur out call backgrounds and add in custom versions. Microsoft Teams and Zoom already offer this feature, and we can now confirm Google is planning to introduce it soon on both mobile and desktop. Tucked away in a document that sets out upcoming G Suite releases are the following two entries: “Background blur and replace (for mobile)” and “Background blur and replace (for desktop)”. The feature is described as the ability to “blur the background or replace it with an image or video on desktop.” However, it’s worth noting the document is subject to a few caveats. New items are added roughly every three months and newly introduced features are removed, and the list of releases is not an official commitment and is subject to change without notice. Finally, the listed releases are not “guaranteed to become generally available and may be modified from their current form”. Other features are likely to be rolled out at the same time, as Meet takes over from its predecessor Hangouts for good. Also in the same development bucket are meeting moderation controls, the ability to dial out to an international phone number from a Meet video call, cloud-based noise cancellation, breakout rooms and the integration of Google’s digital whiteboard. Google Meet is simple to use and offers a growing list of features for millions of workers that have had…Continue readingGoogle Meet is officially getting blur and backgrounds, closes gap on Zoom and Teams

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TechCrunch

Security decoy startup CounterCraft closes $5M Series A – TechCrunch

Spain-based CounterCraft, which builds b2b tools for gathering counterintelligence on evolving security threats, has closed a $5M Series A. The all cash round is led by Adara Ventures, with eCAPITAL and Red Eléctrica Group joining as new investors, and with participation from existing backers including Evolution Equity, ORZA, and Wayra. CounterCraft was founded back in 2015 with the aim of helping security chiefs take a more proactive defense stance. The founders went through Telefonica’s Wayra Madrid accelerator — and went on to raise a $1.1M seed round, back in 2016. While its early focus was on the European market, the startup has expanded to serve clients across Western Europe and North America — with particular focus on national defense and intelligence departments, major financial institutions, and large enterprises. We understand they have 20 customers at this stage. The new funding will be used to build out CounterCraft’s business in the US, per Adara Ventures . Commenting on the Series A in a statement, Alberto Gomez, managing partner at the VC firm said: “We continue to be inspired by the combination of engineering ability and vision that CounterCraft has shown in defining a new category of defensive tool that responds to the current threat landscape. Nothing else we have seen effectively uses a Know-Your-Attacker stance to turn the tables on threat actors. We are now excited about CounterCraft’s prospects for expanding its presence with sophisticated, large clients in the U.S. and European markets.” CounterCraft’s core product is what it bills as a…Continue readingSecurity decoy startup CounterCraft closes $5M Series A – TechCrunch