Posts Tagged ‘Funding’
Boombotix, a startup based out of SF building rugged speakers for active lifestyle use, today launched a new Kickstarter campaign, this time for a new technology it’s building to complement it hardware products. The Boombotix Sync tech manages to synchronize audio from multiple mobile devices over 4G and Wi-Fi, allowing those to output to Bluetooth speakers and have the playback match for surround sound results.
The tech was developed in response to user input – many asked the Mission-bases startup for a way to sync up a number of units for output to multiple endpoints at once. That’s not something that’s possible over Bluetooth, and I’ve seen other Kickstarter projects attempt and fail to make it happen with a custom-coded solution. But Boombotix saw another possible way: Building a protocol that allows multiple apps on multiple devices to playback audio simultaneously, so that more than one speaker can join in on the action. It works a bit like FM radio, Boombotix VP of Product Management Chris McKelroy says, so that more than one user can tune in at once and here the same feed played back at the same time.
It’s not a perfect solution (they’re building in TrueWireless for two speaker, single device connections), but it’s one that will help users reach “critical mass” according to McKleroy, which means a whole team going out for a mountain bike race, or a group of kayakers, for instance, can all bring their speakers and listen along to the same stuff at the same time, as you can see briefly in the video. McKelroy says it’s amazing witnessing huge groups of people riding by, with “Boombots in perfect sync pumping 90+ db.” Also, you can flashmob with this pretty perfectly, if that’s what you’re into.
McKelroy says that this tech is going to be kept proprietary to Boombotix products in the short term, rather than being made an open protocol, for instance.
“we’re planning on keeping this proprietary, focused on creating the best experience for our users as we continue to improve the speed and scale of our syncing technology,” he said. “The next hurdle we face is aligning with key content providers in the music space, to increase the availability of content and enhance the user experience further.”
And this is just the first step in terms of networking hardware. Boombotix is keenly aware that users want to use one device to broadcast to many speakers at once. “A fully networked device ecosystem is paramount to our goals,” he says, and suggests watching for more hardware developments from the startup to help make this a reality in the coming months. For now, the Kickstarter project for the music sync app is seeking $ 15,000 to help finish development, with Boombot speakers available to backers starting at the $ 55 pledge level.
Indiegogo co-founder and CEO Slava Rubin took the stage today at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe 2013, and he shared some interesting stats about the crowdfunding platform’s progress to date, and he specifically addressed some of the company’s international growth. Over the past year, Indiegogo has managed to expand its business 300 percent in Europe over the past year, and international funding now accounts for a full 30 percent of its platform activity.
A lot of the hard work about that came around adding new languages, Rubin said, and then it was also challenging because of the various currencies that had to be incorporated into the platform. Most of the heavy lifting is around working out how to take and receive payments in different countries, Rubin said, and adding a number of new international capabilities in that regard has really helped speed up their growth.
The international growth is actually a core part of Indiegogo’s vision, for an open and democratized future of funding.
“It’s really simple, we want to democratize funding across the world, the only way to do that is to be open,” Rubin said. “To be open is hard [...] The only way to create an open platform is to be totally global, if you only focus on one vertical or one country, you’re only creating liquidity in that space.”
It’s hard because you need to reach as many people as possible, you need to build a product that’s both open to all submissions but also reliable and consistent, and because you have to defend against fraud, which is hugely complicated when you’re trying to be open.
Yet defend against fraud is exactly what Indiegogo has done. The crowdfunding company has faced numerous fraud attempts since 2008, but Rubin says that they’ve had “virtually zero” actually carried out successful. Its net of anti-fraud detection, which includes community monitoring, advanced fraud detection algorithms, and people to track down and follow-up with flagged incidents, is so far pretty bulletproof, Rubin says.
As to what this means in terms of actually delivering funding to project creators, Rubin says that there’s now “millions” being distributed to between 70 and 100 different countries per week. Indiegogo may have strong competition in the form of Kickstarter, but it’s clearly focus on growing internationally quickly and covering as much ground as possible while Kickstarter moves a little more slowly on reaching new countries.
With four days left in its campaign, Pressy — the one-button Android controller that plugs into your headphone jack — is still going strong on Kickstarter. If the gizmo hits $ 650,000 in funding by Monday (it’s currently at $ 622,262), developer Nimrod Back will include a simplified take on …
According to the Financial Times, Britain’s other blockbuster sci-fi series may finally be remade, thanks to Microsoft’s growing interest in television. Blake’s 7, the Terry Nation-created show about a band of renegades fighting for survival, is believed to be part of Xbox Live’s push for original and exclusive TV content to rival both traditional media and services like Netflix. Persons familiar with the matter have claimed that after cable channel SyFy withdrew its funding, Steve Ballmer and former CBS Chief Nancy Tellem opened up Microsoft’s secret checkbook. Naturally, none of the parties are willing to confirm the deal, but that won’t stop us humming the classic series’ theme for the rest of the day.
Via: The Register
Source: Financial Times
The Ubuntu Edge is an audacious attempt to crowdsource the next smartphone advancement. Canonical, the company behind the Edge and Ubuntu itself is seeking an exorbitant $ 32 million to make it happen, and gave itself only a month to raise those funds. Now, Bloomberg LP has come forward as its first major corporate backer, with a lump $ 80,000 contribution in exchange for 100 Ubuntu Edge devices and enterprise workshops and technical support.
Bloomberg is the first backer at the “Enterprise 100″ campaign backer level, and that’s good news for the Ubuntu Edge, and would smash the initial targets of most hardware crowdfunding campaigns out there on its own, but the Ubuntu Edge isn’t just another crowdfunding campaign. That $ 32 million goal is looking mighty distant, having added only $ 1 million or thereabouts in the past week of its campaign, as noted by The Verge. A single $ 80,000 injection definitely helps things, but it doesn’t put the project on pace to reach $ 32 million by the end of the month, even if Bloomberg or other corporate backers were to plug $ 80,000 into the project daily on top of the current pace.
In fact, even being generous and projecting that Canonical manages to nab an even $ 10 million by this evening (unlikely), that gives it two weeks to raise an additional $ 24 million, which works out to $ 1.7 million per day. That’s a lot, and given that it earned $ 1 million in the past week altogether, not a very realistic expectation.
Bloomberg says in a statement that it’s excited about Canonical’s vision of converged computing with the Edge in particular. ”Ubuntu’s goal to offer a single-device solution for enterprise convergence and mobility is an exciting prospect and one that complements our vision for open development on the mobile platform,” says Bloomberg LP’s Head of Web Architecture Justin Erenkrantz in an official release detailing the news, noting that cross-platform, seamless performance is a chief goal of Bloomberg’s in terms of what it provides for its clients.
Canonical better have some considerable Hail Mary plays up its sleeve if it hopes to make that goal, and LastPass Premium bundled subscriptions and Bloomberg support, nice as they both are, just aren’t going to cut it. We’ll have to see if Canonical’s ambitious vision in this case ends up being an utter daydream, or if there’s some kind of buzzer-beating offensive play left in place to get funding back on track.
San Francisco-based video monitoring hardware and software startup Dropcam today announced the close of a new $ 30 million Series C funding round, led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), and with participation by new investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and existing backers Accel Partners and Menlo Ventures. I spoke to Dropcam CEO Greg Duffy about the funding, which, by his own admission, the company wasn’t in a position to really need. It’s about staying two steps ahead of the game, is what he essentially told me.
Dropcam has raised a total of $ 47.8 million for its connected home monitoring solution, which pairs signature Dropcam HD hardware with a web-based platform for remotely monitoring, recording and playback of live video feeds. It’s ideal for a home or office security solution, with relatively inexpensive setup costs and extensibility, and features like off-site storage that get around limitations with locally-managed installations.
I asked Duffy why raise if Dropcam didn’t need the cash injection, and he said that in part it’s because the funding will help the four-year old company accomplish a lot of its goals for 2014 by the end of this year. It’s about anticipating the market and making sure that Dropcam inures itself against the kind of disruption it has itself accomplished in its chosen market.
“We had actually a ton of inbound interest on this round, and when this started happening I kind of said ‘What would be the amount that I would raise if I were competing against a radical, kind of Dropcam-like competitor? How could I use additional capital to beat them?” he said. “I used this from talking to friend of mine who are also running highly successful companies [...] like Dropbox, for instance, they’re competing against a lot of great companies right now but back when they were going through periods of insane growth that wasn’t the case, and they had to imagine how best to compete with a theoretical Dropbox competitor.”
For Dropcam, that means investing heavily in product pipeline, and one of its key areas of its investment is in computer vision. This is about making the entire platform much more capable of taking advantage of the data it collects, according to Duffy.
“One of the things that we decided to invest a lot in, which has been a big project for us, is the computer vision side of things,” he said. “A lot of these guys [potential Dropcam competitors] are really focused on the hardware, and are offering basically just a camera you can access with your iPhone. You certainly can access Dropcam with your iPhone, but that’s about where the similarities end. We have started a computer vision team here, and since we take in more video than YouTube, we decided it would be a good way to figure out how to use that data to get better video analysis for users.”
Dropcam has been working on their computer vision system for just about a year now, and they plan to start releasing features around it and hiring more engineers to develop on top of it, and they can do both much sooner now than if they’d not taken more money. These are designed to leverage data gathered from Dropcam’s network, while preserving user anonymity and privacy, Duffy said.
There are some 90 million homes in the U.S. without any security system whatsoever. Many of them are renters who don’t want to invest heavily in a place they don’t own, among hundreds of thousands of home owners who are simply priced out. There has never been a convenient, all-in-one system that could offer home security at an affordable rate, much less one you could pick up at the local Best Buy.
But that all changes with Canary, the latest crowd-funding sensation to hit Indiegogo. We caught up with NYC-based founder Adam Sager to discuss the project.
Canary is a little console, slightly smaller than the size of a paper towel roll, that’s packed with a host of sensors, a mic, and an HD camera.
For $ 200 down, this little guy will connect to the Wifi, sync with your phone, and constantly watch your home. I say watch, and not monitor, because Canary can only see as far as its sensors will allow, whereas most home security systems are wired in to monitor every crack and crevice of a home. Canary can only hear as far as the mic allows, or the camera sees, or the sensors can sense.
However, Sager believes that when you place the Canary in the central part of your home, near the front door perhaps or watching over the living room, that a real threat, like a burglar, will likely set off the Canary no matter where it enters from.
Plus, if you have a larger space or want added security, you can always link more than one Canary (up to four, Sager tells me).
Canary’s sensors include night vision, motion detection, temperature, air quality and humidity, along with a live feed to the HD camera at any given time. The phone will instantly alert the user whenever the home experiences a random change, like a temperature fluctuation or sudden movement.
But Canary is also smart enough to learn your home, sensing the difference between a burglary and a pet. It even understands when regularly scheduled events occur, like the arrival of a nanny or a dog walker at the same time each day, so that you don’t have a panic attack each time Rover needs to take a wizz.
Canary’s distribution model is different from any other home security system in that you will eventually be able to go pick one up at a local electronics store on the cheap. This has never really been available before, and the potential market is huge with 90 million homes completely unprotected and priced out of the alternatives.
Sager admits that margins on the hardware itself won’t be that high, but the plan is to offer value-added services like monitoring (delivered by a TBD third-party) for $ 10/month.
Canary has been on Indiegogo for four days, and has blown far beyond its $ 100k goal to be at $ 550k at the time of writing. It only took a few hours to reach $ 100k, according to Sager.
Ubuntu Edge Smartphone Gets A Pledge Price Drop To Keep The Money Rolling In For That $32M Funding Goal
The Ubuntu Edge is the amazing future space phone of your dreams, which is why UK-based Canonical feels it needs $ 32 million to make the thing. The Ubuntu creator made some good progress in the initial hours of its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, and is now sitting at just over $ 4 million pledged, but to stoke the fire it took back its initial promise to up the entry-level pre-order price of the Edge from $ 600 to $ 830.
The plan at first was to up the price of the Ubuntu-powered superphone, which is somewhere between a grand tech experiment and a reference device, and it aims to be powerful enough to achieve true computing convergence and replace both smartphone and desktop. But the speed of pledges dipping seems to have encouraged Canonical to change its strategy, so it opened up a number of devices at the $ 625 dollar level, and also added $ 675 and $ 725 tiers. Each has 1250 devices total, with the $ 625 units selling out at a pretty fast rate already.
Once those are all gone, of course, it reverts back to the $ 830 level (unless Canonical once again decides to open up more less expensive options). The worry here is that after the initial bump, the Edge will hit a wall and won’t manage the rate of pledges it needs to reach its incredibly ambitious goal in the 29 days remaining in its funding campaign.
Canonical’s goal isn’t completely beyond reach – campaigns on crowdfunding sites including Kickstarter have raised ludicrous amounts of money in less time, like the Pebble, but that only raised $ 10 million in just over a month, and it was actually seeking about a tenth of that. The Edge sounds like it’ll be the best thing you can get in a mobile device when it finally does become a real, actual thing, but that’s not slated to happen until at least May 2014 per Canonical’s shipping schedule.
Crazy high concept device with huge price tag and relatively unknown mobile OS isn’t exactly a recipe for pre-order success, but the Edge is a mobile geek’s dream. The question is, will enough of those dreamers believe hard enough to raise $ 32 million in just under a month? Canonical’s clearly willing to give some ground to make that happen, but just how much it will take isn’t quite clear yet.
In November of 2014, if all goes according to plan, NASA’s Sunjammer will be launched into space. Engineers will pack a waist-high shell with a compact probe and a 13,000 square foot solar sail — the largest ever built. Once in orbit, the sail will unfurl, catch the energy of solar wind — essentially a stream of charged particles — and gently pull the craft towards the Sun.
The Sunjammer will also carry the cremated remains of a few hundred wealthy Earthlings, stowed in metal discs that serve as ballast for the craft and protect it by absorbing solar radiation. Paid submissions of text, photos, sounds, and video from thousands more — profound thoughts, surely, but probably also memes, pet photos and YouTube clips — will fill…
Despite its image as an underdog, Roku knows how to court some heavy hitters in the TV business: on top of a total $ 80 million in previous investments, it just received a $ 60 million boost this week. The new funding round has BSkyB and News Corp returning with checkbooks in hand, but it also includes a fresh contribution from Hearst, which wants Roku’s help in building services for its TV channels. The media hub maker is getting more than partnerships in return, however. It’s using the cash to expand its Roku Ready program, which now includes 24 hardware partners. The company’s Anthony Wood ultimately wants Roku software to be commonplace — it can be an “operating system for televisions,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. While there’s no guarantee that Roku will reach that kind of ubiquity, it may well have the cash to get there.
Via: Chip Chick
Source: Hollywood Reporter