Google today announced that it has acquired Zync Render, a service that makes it easier for movie studios to render their visual effects in the cloud. The technology was used to render effects in movies like Star Trek: Into Darkness and Looper, for example. Google will use the technology to make it easier for studios to use its Cloud Platform infrastructure to render their creations. Read More
Much Confusion Surrounds JOBS Act Filings | Hedge Fund AlertSince the JOBS Act took effect in September 2013, managers overseeing 187 funds have filed Form Ds with the SEC declaring their intention to advertise their offerings, according to a Hedge Fund Alert analysis. But the managers of 51 of those vehicles subsequently realized they had filed the forms in error and don’t plan to market to the public. And the Form Ds for at least another eight funds appear to mistakenly make JOBS Act claims.
Congressmen to SEC: Crowdfunding Laws Are Taking Way Too Long To Pass | BetaBeatCongressmen Jared Polis and Darrell Issa, along with the 28 other members of the House Innovation and Entrepreneurship Caucus, have drafted a letter to pressure the SEC into finishing the job. The law already passed in the house and was signed off on by the President, and the caucus is sick of waiting for the SEC to get around to writing out the rules so that the laws can be exercised and enforced.
Founder of Potato Salad Kickstarter Plans Benefit for Homeless | MashableDubbed PotatoStock 2014, the free concert will take place on September 27 in Columbus Ohio and will feature a lineup of local artists and an a yet-to-be-determined national touring act. Brown told Mashable that all concession proceeds will go to a permanent, donor-advised fund at the Columbus Foundation.
Local Lift Is A Kickstarter For Local Businesses | TechCrunchWith Local Lift, these business are able to create a campaign for a project that would benefit their customers or the community at large, as an alternative to taking out a loan for working capital which McClinton says are still just way too expensive for many business owners to consider.
Neil Young’s PonoMusic crowdfunding again, this time offering equity | The GuardianThe new campaign was officially launched today, although it was launched quietly at the start of August. More than $1.4m has already been pledged, with the campaign due to end on 1 September.“We are already seeing that this is a growing trend, where companies who successfully run Kickstarter campaigns then want to give those backers a chance to invest through an equity crowdfunding campaign,” Crowdfunder chief executive Chance Barnett told The Guardian.
Funding Circle Sheds Light on Defaults & Recovery | Crowdfund InsiderFunding Circle, a peer to peer lending platform that strives to operate a highly transparent lending business, recently shared some insight into their defaults and recovery side of their company. Just like any other investment, lending on a P2P platform entails risk. Investors mitigate risk by having a balanced portfolio. Data on P2P lending platforms have shown a higher rate of return for associated risk thus increasing investor interest. Funding Circle is one of the leading P2P platforms in the UK but they also have set up shop in the United States (and are looking to expand into other markets).
I&B Ministry uses crowdsourcing for Independence Day ads | The Hindu Business LineThe Ministry of Information and Broadcasting recently used crowdsourcing to come up with advertisement designs for the 68th Independence Day. The idea behind this exercise was to encourage public participation.The Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity received as many as 1,000 entries from enthusiasts. The entries were judged by an independent selection committee of field experts, artists and academicians. Top three winners bagged an award of Rs 15,000, while seven other designs bagged consolation prices of Rs 3,000 and letter of appreciation from the I & B Ministry.
Amazon, Google, and Crowdsourcing: The Battle for the Last Mile | Logistics ViewpointsBut controlling the last mile is more important than ever. So Amazon is rolling out its own fleet of delivery trucks. These trucks become a true competitor to UPS and FedEx, which will surely miss the Amazon business. For Amazon, it adds control over the last mile, and who is actually delivering the merchandise to customers. It also creates some additional flexibility into delivery timeframes, which can increase customer satisfaction. At the same time, it offers a way to reduce shipping costs, which have been increasingly as a larger percentage of revenue every year since 2009.
The New Sharing Economy: How People Created Their Own Big Business | Wall Street Cheat SheetStill, the sharing economy opens a can of worms that muddies more than just our cultural mores. In San Francisco, for instance, Airbnb has been blamed for exacerbating the city’s housing problems. Services like Lyft, too, have gotten flack from established taxi companies; in some cities these kinds of services have even been banned as a result of lobbying by such traditional tax firms, according to The Economist. Indeed, regulation is a huge issue in the new and seemingly ever-expanding frontier that is the sharing economy.
Next “Sharing Economy” Step: Backhoes on Loan | Next CityAfter interviewing over 30 public works directors in Michigan, he realized that MuniRent had a market. Mid-sized cities need to increase utilization of their heavy duty equipment and smaller cities need easy, rental access to the same. The first cluster of cities using MuniRent started in Mond’s backyard, Washtenaw County, home to Ann Arbor. That Mond says will be the “epicenter” from which he’d like to build out the platform.Read More →
Seed&Spark, the crowdfunding platform focused on films, announced today that it raised $1 million in a seed round.
The round was led by Manitou Ventures; Abigail Disney, Lisa Kleiner-Chanoff, Matthew Mills, Vijay Pandurangan, Deborah Meijer, and others also contributed to the round.
Seed&Spark also announced that Julie Parker Benello, co-founder of Chicken & Egg Pictures and Gamechanger Films and film producer and Veritas Prep cofounder Chad Troutwine have joined the startup’s board of directors.
We wrote about the platform when it was running a self-run crowdfunding campaign last year. As we wrote back then, Seed&Spark has a plethora of unique features that are targeted specifically at filmmakers. For instance, campaign owners can create ‘Wish Lists’ for items that they need money for. That way, backers can see exactly what they’re supporting. If a backer has an item that’s on the wish list, that person can arrange to loan the gadget to the filmmaker.
The most important differentiator for Seed&Spark when compared to other crowdfunding portals, though, is the site’s ‘Cinema,’ which serves as a distribution platform for the crowdfunded films. While it may not yet be a household name, it can still provide exposure for the directors and actors. With the number of brands jumping into the video streaming space, films in the Cinema could attract a lot of interest from the likes of Amazon, Yahoo!, or Netflix. Indeed, that’s already beginning to happen.
This summer, Seed&Spark inked a partnership with Amex NOW, which gives films the “opportunity for an in-home theatrical release of their film.” With a fresh injection of cash, the team behind Seed&Spark can focus more of its efforts on cultivating more such partnerships. That’s something CEO Emily Best said she wants to do, in order “to put truly independent content in front of the widest possible audiences and make sure the creators benefit.”Read More →
Whenever you think of startups, you very likely think of young people brimming with ideas sitting in garages and dorm rooms and solving problems with technology. We are conditioned in a way to consider the idea even over the person who came up with it, but after listening to entrepreneurs, I’ve come to learn, it’s not about the quality of the product idea or even the founders… Read More
TechCrunch has learned that Apple has made another acquisition, one that it is using to boost its e-books effort and “beat Amazon at its own game.” It has bought BookLamp, a startup based out of Boise, Idaho, that developed big data-style book analytics services. A second source says Apple bought BookLamp’s employees and technology for a price that was “higher than… Read More
The week of 7/12 – 7/18 was a busy one for TechCrunch. Here’s the best of the best from this week. Priya Haji was an inspirational and positive presence in the technology and business worlds, and she will be greatly missed. Chicago-based entrepreneur Cheryl Dahle established a crowdfunding campaign on Fundly to help support Haji’s young children. Read “Tech… Read More
A few months ago, Google acquired the up-and-coming cloud monitoring service Stackdriver with the intent to integrate it into its own cloud tools. It didn’t take the company all that long to make use of Stackdriver’s expertise, because it launched its first product based on the company’s technology at its I/O developer conference today. Read More
Parking space apps driven out of San Francisco, and that’s a good thing | GigaOMWhy just drive away from a great parking spot when you could auction it off? It came as news to me, but people are already doing this in San Francisco thanks to iPhone apps like MonkeyParking and Parkmodo, which let you sell your parking spot to the highest bidder.The fun appears to be at an end, however, as San Francisco’s top lawyer has sent out a cease-and-desist telling MonkeyParking to stop renting out city property without permission.
Website targets unemployed looking to become self employed | News10There are a lot of task rabbits who have turned this service into a full-time job, and there’s really no limit to how much money one can earn.For those looking to find an economical solution to their chores, TaskRabbit can provide a solution as prices are based on bidding, rather than fixed amounts.
Southeast Asia’s Sharing Economy Start-Ups May Produce The Next Airbnb or Uber | ForbesWhile the sharing economy is still young in Southeast Asia, a Nielsen consumer report released end-May suggested that consumers in the region are opening up to the idea. It placed Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand among the top five markets globally that were prepared to participate in the share economy.
The Sharing Economy and the Mystery of the Mystery of Inequality | TruthOutMy cab driver was complaining about all of these expenses because he has to compete against two ride services, Uber and Lyft, that have largely escaped the same set of regulations. These companies and their drivers are not subjected to the same set of rules that are imposed on traditional cab services. This has put my cab driver and others like him at an enormous disadvantage, and made Uber the latest Wall Street wonder with an implicit market capitalization of $17 billion.
Maker Of $99 Lightbulbs, LIFX Gets $12M Series A From Sequoia Following Huge Crowdfund Campaign | ForbesThe success of the crowdfunding campaign brought LIFX to the attention of Silicon Valley’s firms, who saw it as positive proof of a growing market. “It wouldn’t have happened without the Kickstarter,” says CEO Phil Bosua. However, some backers who’d invested early in LIFX were disappointed when they saw the bulbs being sold on Amazon and Best Buy before they’d received theirs. The shipping trouble was down to hold ups at the factory says Bosua, who was under contract to ship to big retailers by a certain date.
PropFunds Launches New Approach to Real Estate Crowdfunding | Crowdfund InsiderA team of seasoned, long-term investment advisors with a combined total of more than 150 years of experience in the real estate industry today announced the creation of PropFund L.P., a firm focused on purchasing, owning and operating commercial and residential real estate investment properties. Headed by CEO and founder James Aldrich, PropFunds is differentiating itself as a sound, reliable alternative for investors in the real estate crowdfunding marketplace.
Crowdfunding firm Patreon turns to VCs for $15m funding round | The GuardianUS crowdfunding startup Patreon has raised $15m (£8.8m) of Series A funding from backers including venture capital firm Index Ventures, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and former PayPal president David Marcus.The company was founded in 2013 as a way to help YouTube stars augment their income from advertising on Google’s video service with direct donations from fans. It has since attracted more than 25,000 musicians, authors, filmmakers, journalists and other creators to use its platform.
Harvard prof opts to crowdsource research | Journal GazetteChristensen and co-author Derek van Bever instead crowdsourced 150 graduates of the school to better explain how companies are timidly investing their money instead of betting on market-creating innovations.“I can’t imagine that the academic method is a better method than what we’re using from here on. It’s a great system,” Christensen said.Read More →
With the introduction of the Firefly and Dynamic Perspective SDKs, mobile app developers who have grown tired of iterating on activities like messaging, photo-sharing, socializing and more now have new ways to differentiate themselves from a growing number of app store competitors. With Amazon’s newly opened up visual recognition technology, developers will not only be able to make… Read More