Startups

Mark Cuban music fest designed for schmoozing while grooving

Mark Cuban, the entrepreneur of "Shark Tank" fame, has invested in Recess, a music festival that encourages college students to party, brainstorm new ideas, and network with companies all at once.

Two Indiana University graduates started the touring festival last year by turning an existing fest of electronic dance music into a way for students to connect with companies. It lands at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., (northeast of Silicon Valley) on Friday, before making its way across the country.

On top of musical acts like Diplo and Sage the Gemini, the event incorporates panels, … Read more

Airbnb co-founder: Firm could expand beyond lodgings

Airbnb, the online service that matches travelers with homeowners or renters who want to share their homes for a period of time, might be expanding.

Speaking to The Next Web in an interview published Tuesday, Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk said his company doesn't believe it's "just in the business of providing accommodation," adding that Airbnb is looking at ways it can provide "more conveniences" to its customers.

Exactly how those "conveniences" will be shared, however, has yet to be determined. Blecharczyk said his company could tie in car service to get folks … Read more

OK, Glass, have an NBA player dunk in my face

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--"This is the real Google," taunted Sacramento Kings guard Orlando Johnson.

Johnson leaned in, dribbling a basketball, ready to explode to the hoop. Only teammates Ray McCallum and Jason Thompson stood in the way. Through the Google Glass I was wearing, I watched Thompson prepare to stop Johnson. From Thompson's exact point of view.

Moments earlier, I'd watched as McCallum had dribbled in, jumped high in the air, and dunked the ball hard. My view? A look at the rim from a couple of feet away, close enough to see the stitches on … Read more

Matterport breathes life into fully immersive 3D models

Picture a 3D virtual representation of your living room, one you can fly over in a top-down view and even move through with the fluidity of a first-person video game. Now imagine having the ability to tinker with that space: Change the paint on your walls, drop in a new couch to see how it fits with the existing furniture, or perform accurate measurements of the room, all on a computer screen.

That's Matterport's vision for the future of 3D modeling, and it extends beyond home renovation. From architecture and construction to real estate and crime scene visualization, … Read more

Canary raises $10 million for app-enabled home security

Canary, a startup that hopes to reproduce with home security the success that Nest had with its app-enabled thermostats and smoke alarms, has raised $10 million in a series-A round of funding.

The funds came from Khosla Ventures, Bobby Yazdani, and seed-round investors including Two Sigma Ventures, Canary said.

The company also raised $2 million through crowdfunding at Indiegogo (it had planned to raise only $100,000, but evidently struck a nerve). The venture capital will mean Canary can hire more staff and push more quickly to develop its hardware and software.

Canary's technology pairs a mobile app with … Read more

Tesla raising nearly $2B for battery-building 'gigafactory'

Tesla is raising up to $1.84 billion dollars to realize its plans of a massive, lithium-ion battery-producing plant -- dubbed the "gigafactory" by CEO Elon Musk -- that will, among other things, help it more quickly and efficiently develop, bring to market, and produce its cheaper third-generation electric car, the company announced Wednesday.

"Tesla intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to accelerate the growth of its business in the US and internationally, for the development and production of its "Gen III" mass market vehicle, the development of the Tesla Gigafactory, and … Read more

Paul Graham steps down as Y-Combinator president

Y-Combinator co-founder Paul Graham announced Friday that he is stepping down from his role as president of the startup incubator.

Taking his place is Y-Combinator partner Sam Altman, who will lead the organization's next batch of entrepreneurs. Graham said he will continue to hold office hours to advise startups, but Altman will take over the day-to-day of running YC. Altman founded Loopt, a mobile location-based application developer that he later sold. He was one of the founders first backed by YC.

"Why the change? Because YC needs to grow, and I'm not the best person to grow … Read more

An e-cigarette packed with Bluetooth? Talk to the hand

The scenario is all too typical -- you're walking down the street puffing on an e-cigarette, just wishing you could use the little metal nicotine stick to make a phone call... How handy would that be?

Well, dreams can come true.

A company called Supersmoker has come up with an e-cigarette it claims is the world's first to double as a Bluetooth headset and device that streams MP3s from a smartphone. That's right, a musical cell phone cigarette.

"Never seen before! An electronic cigarette with Bluetooth functionality," the company writes on its Web site. "… Read more

Military starts testing smart rifles for battlefield use

The US military spends a lot of time and money training world-class snipers, which could be why it's started to look into the use of computerized rifles that can make anybody a sharpshooter.

The Army has announced that it made its first purchase of six high-tech rifle kits from smart rifle-maker Tracking Point. The goal is to "begin exploring purported key target acquisition and aiming technologies," said Alton Stewart, the Army's Program Executive Office spokesman.

For Tracking Point, which typically markets its guns to hunters, the Army's use of its weapons is both a welcome … Read more

Paris taxi drivers strike, but Uber opens second front in the war

PARIS -- Taxi drivers brought gridlock to Paris traffic in a protest Monday, unhappy that rival car services like Uber, AlloCab.com, and SnapCar overturned a new rule that imposed a mandatory 15-minute wait for passengers using them.

But today's disturbances might be just be the first stages of difficulty moving to next-generation transportation, because Uber also has just launched a new ride-sharing service called UberPop. It turns most people with a car and a driver's license into a low-budget car service, similar to what ride-sharing start-up Lyft already offers in 20 US cities.

Monday's taxi protest … Read more