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Daily Crunch: Facebook might remove Like counts

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Now Facebook says it may remove Like counts Instagram is already testing something similar in seven countries, including Canada and Brazil. […]
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Daily Crunch: Facebook might remove Like counts – TechCrunch

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Daily Crunch: Facebook might remove Like counts

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Now Facebook says it may remove Like counts

Instagram is already testing something similar in seven countries, including Canada and Brazil. Instead of showing the total number of Likes for a post, it displays the names of just a few mutual friends who have Liked it.

Jane Manchun Wong spotted Facebook prototyping the hidden Like counts in its Android app. When we asked the company, it confirmed that it’s considering a test to remove Like counts, though this isn’t live for any users yet.

2. WeChat restricts controversial video face-swapping app Zao, citing ‘security risks’

Zao went viral in China this weekend for its realistic face-swapping videos. But following controversy about its user policy, messaging platform WeChat restricted access to the app.

3. OpenGov raises $51M to boost its cloud-based IT services for government and civic organizations

The company was co-founded by Palantir’s Joe Lonsdale to help governments and other civic organizations organize, analyze and present financial data and more, using cloud-based architecture.

GettyImages 981328812

ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 21: YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan speaks onstage during the YouTube Keynote: Building Communities and the Next Generation of Media Companies Panel during VidCon. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for YouTube)

4. YouTube’s Neal Mohan is coming to Disrupt SF

YouTube has found itself front-and-center in the recent debates about free speech, the internet and how the online world is shaping our offline lives, so there will be plenty to talk about when Mohan joins us at Disrupt.

5. Kabbage acquires Radius Intelligence, the marketing tech firm with a database of 20M small businesses

It’s been a tumultuous period for Radius, which announced a merger with its big competitor Leadspace last year, only to quietly cancel the deal three months later. Two months after that, it replaced its longtime CEO.

6. Apple still has work to do on privacy

Natasha Lomas examines whether iPhones are generally superior to Android devices when it comes to security. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. This week’s TechCrunch podcasts

On Equity, Alex and Kate share their thoughts on Peloton’s finances and prospects. And on this week’s Original Content, we review the Netflix series “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.”

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“Whether you’re a city planner, a small business owner, or a software developer, gaining useful insights from data can help make services work better and answer important questions,” writes Miguel Guevara, a product manager in the company’s Privacy and Data Protection Office. “But, without strong privacy protections, you risk losing the trust of your citizens, customers, and users. Differentially-private data analysis is a principled approach that enables organizations to learn from the majority of their data while simultaneously ensuring that those results do not allow any individual’s data to be distinguished or re-identified.”

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As Google notes, the current version of the Apache-licensed C++ library focuses on features that are typically hard to build from scratch and includes many of the standard statistical functions that developers would need (think count, sum, mean, variance, etc.). The company also stresses that the library includes an additional library for “rigorous testing” (because getting differential privacy right is hard), as well as a PostgreSQL extension and a number of recipes to help developers get started.

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These days, people often roll their eyes when they see “Google” and “privacy” in the same sentence. That’s understandable (though I think there is considerable tension inside the company about this, too). In this case, however, this is unquestionably a useful tool for developers that will allow them and the users they serve to build tools that analyze personal data without compromising the privacy of the people whose data they are working with. Typically, building those takes some considerable expertise, to the point where they may either not build them or simply not bother to include these privacy features. With a library like this, they have no excuse not to implement differential privacy.

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Google today released an open-source version of the differential privacy library it uses to power some of its own core products. Developers will be able to take this library and build their own tools that can work with aggregate data without revealing personally identifiable information either inside or outside their companies. “Whether you’re a city […]

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Before he joined TechCrunch in 2012, he founded SiliconFilter and wrote for ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). Frederic covers enterprise, cloud, developer tools, Google, Microsoft, gadgets, transportation and anything else he finds interesting. He owns just over a 50th of a bitcoin.

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Before he joined TechCrunch in 2012, he founded SiliconFilter and wrote for ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). Frederic covers enterprise, cloud, developer tools, Google, Microsoft, gadgets, transportation and anything else he finds interesting. He owns just over a 50th of a bitcoin.

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Signage is displayed at the Google Inc. offices in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2016. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is teaming up with Google to let shoppers order by voice, the latest example of the world’s largest retailer finding a technology partner to catch e-commerce leader Amazon.com Inc. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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unveils a new Fire TV Cube, soundbar and over a dozen Fire TV Edition products”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

At the big European tech trade show, IFA 2019, Amazon today announced more than 20 new Fire TV-branded devices, including a next-generation Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Edition soundbar from Anker — its first foray into Fire TV Edition audio products — and 15 new Fire TV Edition products, including the first OLED Fire TV Edition smart TVs.

n

The announcement represents a significant expansion of Amazon’s Fire TV hardware line and integrations at a time when Roku has gained a lead over Amazon in the U.S., in terms of connected-TV market share, while Fire TV has been claiming the top spot in some European markets and an international lead over Roku.

n

The company today said its Fire TV devices now have more than 37 million monthly active users globally, which is ahead of the 30.5 million Roku reported in Q2. Both companies offer products that may be used by more than one person in a household, of course, but each household only gets counted as one user (or account) as long as they’ve streamed through the platform in the past month. It’s a relatively fair comparison, in other words.

n

Of the new devices, the new Fire TV Cube is one of the more interesting additions to the lineup as it represents the second generation, and a big upgrade, over the existing product. The device offers a hands-free Fire TV experience, and has become the testing ground for many Fire TV software enhancements before they roll out to the wider product lineup.

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All new Fire TV Cube side

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The updated Fire TV Cube now includes a faster, “hexa-core” processor that’s twice as powerful as the one that shipped in the first-generation device. It provides “instant access” to Dolby Vision and 4K Ultra HD content, Amazon claims, at up to 60 frames per second. The new Cube also includes on-device processing with Local Voice Control, which lets you more quickly execute some of your common voice commands like “Alexa, go home,” or “Alexa, scroll right,” for example. These commands will now execute up to 4 times faster, says Amazon.

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The Fire TV Cube will also ship with far-field voice recognition capabilities with 8 microphones and technology that helps suppress noise, reverberation, content currently playing and even competing speech so Alexa better hears your voice commands even when the TV is on in a room full of people.

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Customers will be able to control their compatible TV, soundbar, A/V receiver, cable or satellite box, as well as other smart home devices by way of the device’s support of multi-directional infrared technology, cloud-based protocols and HDMI CEC, combined with Alexa.u00a0

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“Fire TV Cube was the first hands-free streaming media player powered by Alexa, and since launching last year we have gathered a wealth of feedback from customers about how they use voice in the living room,u201d said Marc Whitten, vice president of Amazon Fire TV, in a statement. “Over the past year, we have continued to expand and advance the Fire TV Cube experience based on this feedback with dozens of new features including Multi-Room Music, Follow-Up Mode, and Alexa Communications. These key learnings carried over and guided the development of the second-generation Fire TV Cube, and we are excited to introduce this new-and-improved experience to customers around the world,” he said.

n

The new Fire TV Cube is available for pre-order in the U.S. for $119.99, in Canada for $149.99, the United Kingdom for u00a3109.99, Germany for u20ac119.99 and Japan for u00a514980. It ships on October 10 in all markets except Japan, where it ships on November 5, instead. And it will be sold in a package with Ring Video Doorbell 2 for $249.99 (or $69 off).

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Fire TV Cube Couch

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Amazon’s Fire TV Edition lineup is expanding, too. This is the licensed version of the Fire TV OS available to other manufacturers for use in their own products.

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The company announced more than 15 new products from brands including Skyworth, Arcelik, TPV, Compal and others.

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In partnership with Dixons Carphone, Amazon is teaming up to launch JVC – Fire TV Edition Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TVs, which are the first Fire TV Edition products in the U.K. They’ll be sold by Currys PC World and online at Amazon.co.uk and are priced at u00a3349 and up.

n

With IMTRON, a company of MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group, Amazon is launching a lineup of Fire TV Edition smart TVs under the private label ok. These will be available in Germany and Austria, as will the 11 Fire TV Edition smart TVs from Grundig, including the first OLED Fire TV Edition television (available in 55u201d and 65u201d models, starting at u20ac1,299.99 for hands-free; or starting at u20ac1,199.99 if not; pictured below).u00a0

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Grundig OLED Fire TV Edition display

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Other more affordable Grundig Fire TV Edition products will be sold on Amazon.de in 32″, 40″, 43″, 49″, 55″ and 65″ variations, starting at u20ac239.99. They’ll also come to retailers, including MediaMarkt, Saturn, Euronics, Expert, EP:, Medimax and others.

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In the U.S., Amazon and Best Buy announced the first 65-inch Toshiba u2013 Fire TV Edition smart TV with Dolby Vision, which will be available for customers in the United States next month for $599.

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Finally, following Roku’s lead into home audio, Amazon also announced the first expansion of Fire TV Edition beyond the TV itself with the launch of the Nebula Soundbar from Anker. (Roku also today launched its own wireless soundbar).

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The new device supports 4K Ultra HD, a unified smart TV user interface, near-field Alexa voice control, Dolby Vision pass-through and more. It also can be added to a multi-room speaker group through the Alexa app, and comes with a 90-day trial to Amazon Music Unlimited.u00a0

n

Nebula Soundbar u2013 Fire TV Edition 4

n

It’s available for pre-order today for $229.99 in the United States, $269.99 in Canada, u00a3179.99 in the United Kingdom, and u20ac209.99 in Germany. It will begin shipping on November 21.

n

The expansion of Fire TV Edition-branded products is also meant to challenge Roku on the success of its Roku TV-branded television sets, which are similarly manufactured by partners but run the Roku OS.

n

In the U.S., Roku OS is the No. 1 licensed TV OS in the U.S. and now powers more than 1 in 3 smart TVs. Amazon today is clearly answering that challenge by focusing on the international markets with a suite of new partners for Fire TV Edition.

n

 

n

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Walmart’s Flipkart is betting heavily on Hindi”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

Flipkart, the largest e-commerce platform in India, said Tuesday it has concluded the roll-out of a range of features to its shopping app in what is its biggest update in recent years.

n

Chief among these new features is access to Flipkart in Hindi language. Prior to the revamp of the app, Flipkart was available only in English, a language spoken by 10% of Indiau2019s 1.3 billion population.

n

Flipkart says it is hoping that the new features, which includes a video streaming service, would help it reach the next 200 million users in India.

n

The major bet on Hindi, a language spoken by more than 500 million people in India, illustrates a growing push from local and international companies operating in the country as they adapt their services and business models to go beyond the urban cities.

n

And thatu2019s where much of the opportunity, which countless startups and companies have trumpeted to investors to successfully raise hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and venture capital in recent years, lies in the nation.

n

“,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

Flipkart, the largest e-commerce platform in India, said Tuesday it has concluded the roll-out of a range of features to its shopping app in what is its biggest update in recent years. Chief among these new features is access to Flipkart in Hindi language. Prior to the revamp of the app, Flipkart was available only […]

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Milkbasket, a Gurugram-based micro-delivery startup, is in talks to close a new financing round as it looks to expand its footprint in the milk, grocery, fruit and vegetable delivery market that has attracted the attention of many in recent months, including Amazon India.

n

The four-year-old startup is in advanced stages of talks with private equity funds to raise more than $50 million, people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. The round, Series C, is likely to close within the next two months, they said. A spokesperson of Milkbasket, which has raised $26 million to date, declined to comment.

n

Milkbasket, which operates in Bangalore, Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad and Hyderabad, allows users to order their daily supplies until midnight and delivers it in the early morning hours. It has also started a subscription service for users who need the same set of items delivered to them everyday.

n

In a recent interviewu00a0with Indian newspaper Economic Times (paywalled), the startup executives said they are not trying to get items instantly to customers but focus on recurring supplies that need to reach people’s doorsteps at certain hours of the day, therebyu00a0mimicking how a traditional milkman and paperboy operate to lower delivery costs.

n

The startup, which focused on just delivering milk in its early years, is increasingly exploring new categories to enter, and might soon begin delivering prescribed medicine in some cities, one of the people said. Milk delivery is now a small portion of the startup’s business.

n

It competes with BigBasket and Grofers, both of which are heavily backed and locked in a fierce battle to gain market share. Many more startups are entering micro-delivery territory. Naspers and Tencent-backed Swiggy launched a new service called u201cGou201d yesterday that will enable people in Bangalore to have anything delivered to them.

n

Google-backed Dunzo is also increasingly gaining popularity and slowly expanding to more cities across India. FreshToHome, a startup that delivers meat and vegetables, recently started to offer milk delivery in select places.

n

Last month, Amazon launched Fresh to offer fresh fruits and vegetables in parts of Bangalore. The company is increasingly expanding its fulfillment centers across the nation to offer its customers a wider selection of items, Siddharth Nambiar, director of Prime Now in India, told TechCrunch in a recent interview.

n

The foods and grocery market is growing in India. According to some estimates, it will reach $869 billion in sales in 2023, with digital-based services seen as an important vector for growth.

n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

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48 hours left on super early-bird savings for Disrupt Berlin 2019″},”content”:{“rendered”:”

Itu2019s time to trot out our fractured German. Why? Because you have only 48 hours left to take advantage of super early-bird pricing on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2019. And that begs the question: Warum mehr bezahlen als nu00f6tig? Why pay more than necessary?

n

Passes at the super early-bird price start at u20ac345 + VAT and, depending on which pass you purchase, you can save up to u20ac600. Donu2019t wait u2014 buy your Disrupt passes by 11:59 p.m. (CEST) on 6 September.

n

Over the course of two programming-packed days, youu2019ll engage with and be inspired by your people u2014 3,000 startuppers from more than 50 countries. Whether youu2019re an investor searching for an exciting startup to add to your portfolio or a founder determined to take your startup to the next level, youu2019ll find plenty of opportunity waiting at Disrupt Berlin.

n

One founder, Luke Heron, the CEO of TestCard, is a Disrupt devotee. As he sees it, attending Disrupt is u201ca no-brainer.u201d After exhibiting in Startup Alley and cultivating solid investor relationships, Heron emailed TechCrunch editors this happy update.

n

u201cWe just closed $1.7m in funding in large part to you and your team. You guys are fantastic u2014 the lifeblood of the startup scene.”

n

On the investor side of the equation, Michael Kocan, a managing partner at Trend Discovery, used CrunchMatch, our free business-matching platform that simplifies networking, to find and connect with early-stage startups.

n

u201cI scheduled more than 35 meetings with startups that I pre-vetted using CrunchMatch, and we made a significant investment in one.u201d

n

Do you want to exhibit your tech and talent in Startup Alley? You have two options. You can purchase a Startup Alley Exhibitor Package, or you can apply to our TC Top Picks program. Apply if your early-stage startup falls into one of these tech categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, SaaS and Social Impact & Education.

n

If youu2019re chosen, youu2019ll win a free Startup Alley Exhibitor Package and bask in the spotlight of VIP treatment, media and investor attention u2014 and youu2019ll be interviewed by a TC editor on the Showcase Stage.

n

Thereu2019s so much more to see at Disrupt Berlin. Startup Battlefield, the TC Hackathon and weu2019re building out a world-class line up of speakers.

n

Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December, and you have just 48 hours left to get the best price possible. Buy your Disrupt passes before the deadline strikes at 11:59 p.m. (CEST) on 6 September. Warum mehr bezahlen als nu00f6tig?

n

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team byu00a0filling out this form.

n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

Itu2019s time to trot out our fractured German. Why? Because you have only 48 hours left to take advantage of super early-bird pricing on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2019. And that begs the question: Warum mehr bezahlen als nu00f6tig? Why pay more than necessary? Passes at the super early-bird price start at u20ac345 + VAT […]

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Leslie currently works as the Director of Events at TechCrunch and Engadget.

nn

Previously at TechCrunch, Leslie was Event Partnerships Manager, working on the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon and Conference as well as various Engadget events. Prior to that, she worked at Investors Title Insurance Company as a Marketing Manager, TechTarget as a Campaign Manager of National Accounts and Marketing Programs Manager.

“,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/v1432489829/cyagk5o7karoa4yo8zpp.jpg”,”twitter”:”lsh”,”_links”:{“self”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/24838891″}],”collection”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”}]}}],”author”:[{“id”:24838891,”name”:”Leslie Hitchcock”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/leslie-hitchcock/”,”slug”:”leslie-hitchcock”,”avatar_urls”:{“24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9be4d34a4bd44cf36767e183b161030e?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9be4d34a4bd44cf36767e183b161030e?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9be4d34a4bd44cf36767e183b161030e?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”},”links”:{“homepage”:”http://about.me/lshitch”,”twitter”:”http://twitter.com/lsh”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/pub/leslie-hitchcock/0/b24/6b2″,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/leslie-hitchcock”},”position”:”Director of Events”,”cbDescription”:”

Leslie currently works as the Director of Events at TechCrunch and Engadget.

nn

Previously at TechCrunch, Leslie was Event Partnerships Manager, working on the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon and Conference as well as various Engadget events. Prior to that, she worked at Investors Title Insurance Company as a Marketing Manager, TechTarget as a Campaign Manager of National Accounts and Marketing Programs Manager.

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is doubling down on these investment theses in its most recent batch”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

Nearly 200 startups have just graduated from the prestigious San Francisco startup accelerator Y Combinator. The flock of companies are now free to proceed company-building with a fresh $150,000 check and three-months full of tips and tricks from industry experts.

n

As usual, we sent several reporters to YC’s latest demo day to take notes on each company and pick our favorites. But there were many updates to the YC structure this time around and new trends we spotted from the ground that we’ve yet to share.

n

CTO and HR demo days

n

“,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

Changes at YC, trends in the startup universe and a breakdown of the accelerator’s latest batch.

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Kate Clark is a reporter at TechCrunch covering startups and venture capital. She’s interested in diversity & inclusion, consumer technology, mobility and more.

nn

She previously covered the venture capital ecosystem for PitchBook News.

nn

A Seattle native, she is a graduate of the University of Washington, where she studied journalism and international studies.

nn

Reach Kate via e-mail at kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.

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Kate Clark is a reporter at TechCrunch covering startups and venture capital. She’s interested in diversity & inclusion, consumer technology, mobility and more.

nn

She previously covered the venture capital ecosystem for PitchBook News.

nn

A Seattle native, she is a graduate of the University of Washington, where she studied journalism and international studies.

nn

Reach Kate via e-mail at kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.

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12 favorite startups from Y Combinator’s S19 Demo Day 2″},”content”:{“rendered”:”

After two days of founders tirelessly pitching, we’ve reached the end of YC’s Summer 2019 Demo Days. TechCrunch witnessed more than 160 on-the-record startup pitches coming out of Y Combinator, spanning healthcare, B2B services, augmented reality and life-extending.

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The full list is worth a gander, you can read about the 84 startups from Day 1 and the 82 companies from Day 2 in the linked posts. You can also check out our votes for the best of the best from day 1.

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After conferring on the dozens of startups we saw yesterday, here are our favorites from the second day of Y Combinator pitches.

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After two days of founders tirelessly pitching, we’ve reached the end of YC’s Summer 2019 Demo Days. TechCrunch witnessed more than 160 on-the-record startup pitches coming out of Y Combinator, spanning healthcare, B2B services, augmented reality and life-extending. The full list is worth a gander, you can read about the 84 startups from Day 1 […]

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Lucas Matney is a reporter at TechCrunch and has been covering emerging technologies and startups since 2015. He lives in San Francisco and can be reached via email at lucas@techcrunch.com

“,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/h5eslbyb5f1hwstm1wrt”,”twitter”:”lucasmtny”,”_links”:{“self”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/89192944″}],”collection”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”}]}},{“id”:133574213,”name”:”Kate Clark”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/kate-clark/”,”slug”:”kate-clark”,”avatar_urls”:{“24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/b3c493a500cfa371f64f24efe2712a63?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/b3c493a500cfa371f64f24efe2712a63?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/b3c493a500cfa371f64f24efe2712a63?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”},”links”:{“twitter”:”https://twitter.com/kateclarktweets”,”linkedin”:”https://www.linkedin.com/in/katelynmayclark/”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/kate-clark”},”position”:”Writer”,”cbDescription”:”

Kate Clark is a reporter at TechCrunch covering startups and venture capital. She’s interested in diversity & inclusion, consumer technology, mobility and more.

nn

She previously covered the venture capital ecosystem for PitchBook News.

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A Seattle native, she is a graduate of the University of Washington, where she studied journalism and international studies.

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Reach Kate via e-mail at kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.

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Megan Rose Dickey is a senior reporter at TechCrunch focused on diversity, inclusion and social justice. She also covers transportation and the on-demand economy.

nn

She previously spent two years at Business Insider covering tech startups focused on the shared economy, IoT and music industry.

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She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2011 with a degree in Broadcast and Digital Journalism.

“,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/v1476472700/amx5oywdjjgelykqbmk0.jpg”,”twitter”:”meganrosedickey”,”_links”:{“self”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/9528656″}],”collection”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”}]}},{“id”:23450179,”name”:”Anna Escher”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/anna-escher/”,”slug”:”anna-escher”,”avatar_urls”:{“24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/d05e13c21f96d9b303b2b6001ef12dfd?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/d05e13c21f96d9b303b2b6001ef12dfd?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/d05e13c21f96d9b303b2b6001ef12dfd?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”},”links”:{“twitter”:”https://twitter.com/annaescher”,”linkedin”:”https://www.linkedin.com/pub/anna-escher/47/963/108″,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/anna-escher”},”position”:”Audience Development Manager”,”cbDescription”:”

Anna Escher manages Audience Development at TechCrunch.

“,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/lyfr7m0cx4dnzkn5rrte”,”twitter”:”annaescher”,”_links”:{“self”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/23450179″}],”collection”:[{“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”}]}},{“id”:5188242,”name”:”Greg Kumparak”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/greg-kumparak/”,”slug”:”greg-kumparak”,”avatar_urls”:{“24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9b107c9f9a43a21d8c93fcdefcc97dcd?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9b107c9f9a43a21d8c93fcdefcc97dcd?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9b107c9f9a43a21d8c93fcdefcc97dcd?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”},”links”:{“homepage”:”http://www.kumparak.com”,”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/grg”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/greg-kumparak”},”position”:”Editor”,”cbDescription”:”

Greg Kumparak is an editor at TechCrunch.

nn

Greg started at TechCrunch in May of 2008. He led TechCrunch’s sister site MobileCrunch as editor until AOL acquired the company in 2010, at which point the editors of TechCrunch’s four main sites (TechCrunch, CrunchGear, MobileCrunch, TechCrunch UK) merged the sites under one domain.

nn

Best known for his gadget coverage, Kumparak has broken hundreds of stories within the space u2014 unearthing details on everything from abandoned Samsung smartphone prototypes to new Apple devices. He’s also one of the Internet’s most prolific “live bloggers”, having reported from the scene at dozens of international events for live audiences in the hundreds of thousands.

nn

He was one of the earliest writers to highlight and report on a number of companies that have since become “unicorns” (reaching a valuation of $1B or more), including Zenefits and Twilio.

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Kumparak is a frequent guest on TechCrunch’s Gadget, Apple, and Android podcasts, and often appears on stage as an interviewer or judge at TechCrunch’s meetups and Disrupt conferences.

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In 2012, Greg was featured on the BBC, Wired, Mashable, Engadget and many other outlets for a side project he called the “tARdis”, or the Augmented Reality TARDIS. By combining augmented reality with a handmade physical model, Greg was able to replicate the otherwise physically impossible “bigger on the inside” visual effect that commonly appears on television’s Doctor Who series.

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Lucas Matney is a reporter at TechCrunch and has been covering emerging technologies and startups since 2015. He lives in San Francisco and can be reached via email at lucas@techcrunch.com

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should B2B startups think about growth? Not like B2C”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

Over the years, weu2019ve seen a lot of B2B companies apply ineffective demand generation strategies to their startup. If youu2019re a B2B founder trying to grow your business, this guide is for you.

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Rule #1: B2B is not B2C. We are often dealing with considered purchases, multiple stakeholders, long decision cycles, and massive LTVs. These unique attributes matter when developing a growth strategy. Weu2019ll share B2B best practices weu2019ve employed while working with awesome B2B companies like Zenefits, Crunchbase, Segment, OnDeck, Yelp, Kabbage, Farmers Business Network, and many more. Topics covered include:

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  • Descriptions of growth stages you can use to determine your companyu2019s status
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  • Tactics for each stage with specific examples
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  • Which advertising channels work best
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  • Optimization of your ad copy to maximize CTR and conversions
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  • Optimization of your sales funnel
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  • Measuring the ROI of your advertising spend
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We often crack growth for companies that didnu2019t think it was possible, based on their prior experience with agencies and/or internal resources. There are many misconceptions out there about B2B growth, rooted in the misapplication of B2C strategies and leading to poor performance. Study the differences and youu2019ll develop a filter for all the advice you get thatu2019s good for one context (ex: B2C) but bad for another (ex: B2B). This guide will get you off on the right foot.

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Table of Contents

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  • What growth stage is your B2B startup?
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  • How do you find B2B customers?
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  • When do you use which channels?
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  • What kind of marketing messaging should you use?
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  • How do you build your sales funnel?
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  • How should you calculate and use the ROI of your marketing budget?
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  • In summary
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What growth stage is your B2B startup?

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The best growth strategy for your company ultimately depends on whether youu2019re in an incubation, iteration, or scale stage. One of the most common mistakes we see is a company acting like theyu2019re in the scale phase when theyu2019re actually in the iteration phase. As a result, many of them end up developing inefficient growth strategies that lead to exorbitant monthly ad spends, extraneous acquisition channels, hiring (and later firing) ineffective team members, and de-emphasizing critical customer feedback. There is often an intense pressure to grow, but believing your own hype before itu2019s real can kill early-stage ventures. Hereu2019s a breakdown of each stage:

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designer key details 22

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Incubation is when you are building your minimum viable product (MVP). This should be done in close partnership with potential customers to ensure you are solving a real problem with a credible solution. Typically a founder is a voice of the customer, as someone who experienced the problem and sought out the solution s/he is now building. Other times, founders enter a new space and build a panel of prospective buyers to participate in the product development process. The endpoint of this phase is a working MVP.

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Iteration is when you have customers using your MVP and you are rapidly improving the product. Success at this stage is rooted in customer insights – both qualitative and quantitative – not marketing excellence. Itu2019s valuable to include in this iterative process customers with whom the founder(s) have no prior relationship. You want to test the productu2019s appeal, not friendsu2019 willingness to help you out. We want a customer set that is an accurate sample of a much larger population you will later sell to. The endpoint of the iteration phase is product/market fit.

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Scale is when you have product/market fit and are trying to grow your customer base. The goal of this phase is to build a portfolio of tactics that maximize market penetration with minimal – or at least profitable – cost. Success is rooted in growing lifetime value through retention and margin, maximizing funnel conversion to efficiently convert leads to customers, and finding repeatable tactics to drive prospective buyersu2019 awareness and consideration of your product. The endpoint of this phase is ultimately market saturation, leading to the incubation and iteration of new features, customer segments, and geographies.
n

n

How do you find B2B customers?u00a0

n

Hereu2019s a list of B2B customer acquisition tactics we commonly employ and recommend. Later in this article, weu2019ll connect each channel to the growth stage itu2019s best used in. This list is generally sorted by early stage to later stage:

n

1. Leverage your network. This is particularly valuable for founders who are building a product based on their own past experience.

n

    n

  • Reach out to old colleagues you know have the same problem you had (and are solving).
  • n

  • Leverage the startup ecosystem. If your startup is in YCombinator, for instance, other companies in your batch may be prospects, along with alumni who will take your call simply because of your affiliation.
  • n

  • Example: If youu2019re building an app for marketers, ask past marketing colleagues youu2019ve worked with to try out your product is a no brainer.
  • n

n

“,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

Over the years, weu2019ve seen a lot of B2B companies apply ineffective demand generation strategies to their startup. If youu2019re a B2B founder trying to grow your business, this guide is for you…

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secret of content marketing: avoid high bounce rates”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

Advice on content marketing always talks about getting people to your blog.

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But, what about once theyu2019re there u2014 how do you get them to then buy from you?

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Thatu2019s the conversion half of content marketing, and thatu2019s what Iu2019ll cover: converting your readers into paying customers.

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First, they read. Then, they buy.

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When visitors arrive on your blog, three things should happen:

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  1. First, they must start reading u2014 instead of bouncing.
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  3. Next, keep should keep reading until at least halfway through.
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  5. Finally, they should be enticed to read more or convert: sign up, subscribe, purchase, etc.
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Demand Curveu2019s data shows that when readers complete this full chain of events u2014 as opposed to skipping step #2 u2014 theyu2019re more likely to ultimately buy from you.

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Why? People trust your brand more after theyu2019ve consumed your content and deemed you to be high quality and authoritative.

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Weu2019ve optimized tens of millions of blog impressions, and we have three novel insights to share in this post. Each will hopefully help compel readers to stick around and buy.

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Letu2019s conquer high bounce rates u2014 the bane of content marketers.

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Entice visitors to start reading

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First, some obvious advice: Getting visitors to read begins with having a strong intro.

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A good intro buys goodwill with readers so they keep reading u2014 and tolerate your boring parts.

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There are three components to a good intro:

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  1. Have a hook. Read about hooks here.
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  3. Skip self-evident fluff. Read about succinctness here.
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  5. Tease your subtopics to reassure visitors they landed in the right place.
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The webu2019s biggest blogs include tables of contents at the top of their posts to reassure readers. It not only benefits SEO, it also improves read-through rates.

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GettyImages 913560720

Image via Getty Images / z_wei

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Keep them reading once theyu2019ve started

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Once visitors begin reading, you have three tactics to retain them:

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  1. Drop-off optimization.
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  3. A/B testing.
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  5. Exit rate analysis.
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This is how weu2019ll improve our read-through and conversion rates.

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Drop-off optimization

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Sometimes, when I write a post on Julian.com, I find few people actually finish reading it. They get halfway through then bounce.

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I discover this by looking at my scroll-depth maps using Hotjar.com. These show me how far down a page an average reader gets. Then I pair that data with the average time spent on the page, which I get from Google Analytics.

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Whenever I notice poor read completion rates, I spend ten minutes optimizing my content:

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  1. I refer to the heatmaps to see which sections caused people to stop reading.
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  3. Then I rewrite those offending sections to be more enticing.
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This routinely achieves 1.5-2x boosts in read-through rates, which can lead to a similar boost in conversion.

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You see, I never just publish a blog post then move on.

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I treat my posts the same way I treat every other marketing asset: I measure and iterate.

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For some reason, even professional content marketers publish their posts then simply move on. Thatu2019s crazy. Not spending 10 minutes optimizing can be the difference between people devouring your post or not being able to get halfway through.

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Specifically, hereu2019s the process for rewriting a postu2019s drop-off points to get readers to continue reading.

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How to perform drop-off optimization

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Screenshot 2019 08 06 20.34.53

Image via Julian Shapiro / Julian.com

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First, record a scroll heatmap of your blog post. Any heatmap tool will do. I use Hotjar.com.

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Next, whenever you see, say, 80% of readers getting midway into your post but only a fraction then make it to the end, you know you have a problem in the back half of your post: itu2019s verbose, uninsightful, or off-topic.

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Your job is to find these drop-off points then rewrite the offending content using four techniques:

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  • Brevity: Make the section more concise: Cut the filler and switch to a bullet list like the one youu2019re reading now. Or, delete the section altogether if itu2019s not interesting.
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  • Inject insights: Perhaps your content is self-evident and boring. Rewrite it with novel and surprising thoughts.
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  • Make headlines enticing: Make the next sectionu2019s headline more enticing. Perhaps readers bounce because they see that the next sectionu2019s title is boring or irrelevant. For example, instead of titling your next section u201cWrapping up,u201d re-write it into something more eyebrow-raising like, u201cWhat you still donu2019t know.u201d
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  • Cliffhangers: End sections with a statement like u201cEverything I just told you is true, but thereu2019s a big exception.u201d Then withhold the exception until the next section. Keep them reading.
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Once youu2019ve ironed out drop-off points, perhaps 35% of your readers finish the post instead of 15%. This reliably works, and itu2019s the highest-leverage way to achieve conversion improvements on your posts.

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This is so self-evident yet no one does it for some reason.

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And weu2019re only just starting. Thereu2019s another, more effective technique for optimizing your content: A/B testing paragraphs. Whereas drop-off optimization irons out the kinks in your article, A/B testing is how you take your read-through rates to a new tier.

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Before we begin, follow along

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As we explore the tactics below, youu2019re welcome to visit two blogs that incorporate these techniques:

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If you need a primer on SEO before continuing, see my other TechCrunch article on the topic here and this orientation here.

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A/B testing content

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A/B testing is the process of creating a variation of existing content to see if it will increase conversion.

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You want to A/B test the three highest-leverage components of every post:

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“,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

Advice on content marketing always talks about getting people to your blog. But, what about once theyu2019re there u2014 how do you get them to then buy from you?

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Image via Getty Images / ojogabonitoo

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a Swedish saxophonist built Kobalt, the worldu2019s next music unicorn”},”content”:{“rendered”:”

You may not have heard of Kobalt before, but you probably engage with the music it oversees every day, if not almost every hour. Combining a technology platform to better track ownership rights and royalties of songs with a new approach to representing musicians in their careers, Kobalt has risen from the ashes of the 2000 dot-com bubble to become a major player in the streaming music era. It is the leading alternative to incumbent music publishers (who represent songwriters) and is building a new model record label for the growing u201cmiddle classu2019 of musicians around the world who are stars within niche audiences.

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Having predicted musicu2019s digital upheaval early, Kobalt has taken off as streaming music has gone mainstream across the US, Europe, and East Asia. In the final quarter of last year, it represented the artists behind 38 of the top 100 songs on U.S. radio.

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Along the way, it has secured more than $200 million in venture funding from investors like GV, Balderton, and Michael Dell, and its valuation was last pegged at $800 million. It confirmed in April that it is raising another $100 million to boot. Kobalt Music Group now employs over 700 people in 14 offices, and GV partner Avid Larizadeh Duggan even left her firm to become Kobaltu2019s COO.

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How did a Swedish saxophonist from the 1980s transform into a leading entrepreneur in musicu2019s digital transformation? Why are top technology VCs pouring money into a company that represents a roster of musicians? And how has the rise of music streaming created an opening for Kobalt to architect a new approach to the way the industry works?

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Gaining an understanding of Kobalt and its future prospects is a vehicle for understanding the massive change underway across the global music industry right now and the opportunities that is and isnu2019t creating for entrepreneurs.

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This article is Part 1 of the Kobalt EC-1, focused on the companyu2019s origin story and growth. Part 2 will look at the companyu2019s journey to create a new model for representing songwriters and tracking their ownership interests through the complex world of music royalties. Part 3 will look at Kobaltu2019s thesis about the rise of a massive new middle class of popular musicians and the record label alternative it is scaling to serve them.

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Table of Contents

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Early lessons on the tough road of entrepreneurship

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image3

Image via Kobalt Music

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Itu2019s tough to imagine a worse year to launch a music company than 2000. Willard Ahdritz, a Swede living in London, left his corporate consulting job and sold his home for u00a3200,000 to fully commit to his idea of a startup collecting royalties for musicians. In hindsight, his timing was less than impeccable: he launched Kobalt just as Napster and music piracy exploded onto the mainstream and mere months before the dot-com crash would wipe out much of the technology industry.

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The situation was dire, and even his main seed investor told him he was doomed once the market crashed. u201cEating an egg and ham sandwich…have you heard this saying? The chicken is contributing but the pig is committed,u201d Ahdritz said when we first spoke this past April (he has an endless supply of sayings). u201cI believe in that u2014 to lose is not an option.u201d

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Entrepreneurial hardship though is something that Ahdritz had early experience with. Born in u00d6rebro, a city of 100,000 people in the middle of Sweden, Ahdritz spent a lot of time as a kid playing in the woods, while holding dual interests in music and engineering. The intersection of those two converged in the synthesizer revolution of early electronic music, and he was fascinated by bands like Kraftwerk.

n

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You may not have heard of Kobalt before, but you probably engage with the music it oversees every day, if not almost every hour. Combining a technology platform to better track ownership rights and royalties of songs with a new approach to representing musicians in their careers, Kobalt has risen from the ashes of the […]

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Great Article!
nMight want to look at:
n– While the label did released them from their contract u2014 often labels stop supporting an artist but donu2019t free them to work with a new partner u2014 his band soon dissolved.

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– (His co-founder cold Telegram to Warner Music Sweden two years later.)

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Image: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

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The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

n

1. Now Facebook says it may remove Like counts

n

Instagram is already testing something similar in seven countries, including Canada and Brazil. Instead of showing the total number of Likes for a post, it displays the names of just a few mutual friends who have Liked it.

n

Jane Manchun Wong spotted Facebook prototyping the hidden Like counts in its Android app. When we asked the company, it confirmed that itu2019s considering a test to remove Like counts, though this isn’t live for any users yet.

n

2. WeChat restricts controversial video face-swapping app Zao, citing ‘security risks’

n

Zao went viral in China this weekend for its realistic face-swapping videos. But following controversy about its user policy, messaging platform WeChat restricted access to the app.

n

3. OpenGov raises $51M to boost its cloud-based IT services for government and civic organizations

n

The company was co-founded by Palantiru2019s Joe Lonsdale to help governments and other civic organizations organize, analyze and present financial data and more, using cloud-based architecture.

n

GettyImages 981328812

ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 21: YouTube Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan speaks onstage during the YouTube Keynote: Building Communities and the Next Generation of Media Companies Panel during VidCon. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for YouTube)

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4. YouTubeu2019s Neal Mohan is coming to Disrupt SF

n

YouTube has found itself front-and-center in the recent debates about free speech, the internet and how the online world is shaping our offline lives, so there will be plenty to talk about when Mohan joins us at Disrupt.

n

5. Kabbage acquires Radius Intelligence, the marketing tech firm with a database of 20M small businesses

n

It’s been a tumultuous period for Radius, which announced a merger with its big competitor Leadspace last year, only to quietly cancel the deal three months later. Two months after that, it replaced its longtime CEO.

n

6. Apple still has work to do on privacy

n

Natasha Lomas examines whether iPhones are generally superior to Android devices when it comes to security. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

n

7. This week’s TechCrunch podcasts

n

On Equity, Alex and Kate share their thoughts on Peloton’s finances and prospects. And on this week’s Original Content, we review the Netflix series “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.”

n

n”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:{“rendered”:”

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here. 1. Now Facebook says it may remove Like counts Instagram is already testing something similar in seven countries, including Canada and Brazil. […]

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Anthony Ha is a senior writer at TechCrunch, where he covers media and advertising and co-hosts the Original Content podcast. Previously, he worked as a tech writer at Adweek, a senior editor at the tech blog VentureBeat, and a local government reporter at the Hollister Free Lance. He lives in New York City.

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