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Daily Crunch: Amazon Web Services stumble - techcrunch

Daily Crunch: Amazon Web Services stumble

An Amazon Web Services outage has a wide effect, Salesforce might be buying Slack and Pinterest tests new support for virtual events. This is your Daily Crunch for November 25, 2020. And for those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving: Enjoy! There will be no newsletter tomorrow, and then Darrell Etherington will be filling in for […]
techcrunch - 8 hours ago
Flexible expressions could lift 3D-generated faces out of the uncanny valley - techcrunch

Flexible expressions could lift 3D-generated faces out of the uncanny valley

3D-rendered faces are a big part of any major movie or game now, but the task of capturing and animated them in a natural way can be a tough one. Disney Research is working on ways to smooth out this process, among them a machine learning tool that makes it much easier to generate and […]
techcrunch - 10 hours ago
Remote-controlled delivery carts are now working for the local Los Angeles grocer - techcrunch

Remote-controlled delivery carts are now working for the local Los Angeles grocer

Robots are no longer the high-tech tools reserved for university labs, e-commerce giants and buzzy Silicon Valley startups. The local grocer now has access too. Tortoise, the one-year-old Silicon Valley startup known for its remote repositioning electric scooters, has taken its tech and adapted it to delivery carts. The company recently partnered with online grocery […]
techcrunch - 11 hours ago
France starts collecting tax on tech giants - techcrunch

France starts collecting tax on tech giants

France is going forward with its plan to tax big tech companies. The government has sent out notices to tech giants, as reported by the Financial Times, Reuters and AFP. There could be retaliation tariffs on French goods in the U.S. For the past couple of years, France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has been […]
techcrunch - 13 hours ago
As IBM shifts to hybrid cloud, reports have them laying off 10,000 in EU - techcrunch

As IBM shifts to hybrid cloud, reports have them laying off 10,000 in EU

As IBM makes a broad shift in strategy, Bloomberg reported this morning that the company would be cutting around 10,000 jobs in Europe. This comes on the heels of last month’s announcement that the organization will be spinning out its infrastructure services business next year. While IBM wouldn’t confirm the layoffs, a spokesperson suggested that […]
techcrunch - 13 hours ago
Insurtech’s big year gets bigger as Metromile looks to go public - techcrunch

Insurtech’s big year gets bigger as Metromile looks to go public

In the wake of insurtech unicorn Root’s IPO, it felt safe to say that the big transactions for the insurance technology startup space were done for the year. After all, 2020 had been a big one for the broad category, with insurtech marketplaces raising lots, rental insurance startup Lemonade going public, Root itself debuting even […]
techcrunch - 13 hours ago
Amazon Web Services outage takes a portion of the internet down with it - techcrunch

Amazon Web Services outage takes a portion of the internet down with it

Amazon Web Services is currently having an outage, taking a chunk of the internet down with it. Several AWS services were experiencing problems as of early Wednesday, according to its status page. That means any app, site or service that relies on AWS might also be down, too. (As I found out the hard way […]
techcrunch - 14 hours ago
Slack’s stock climbs on possible Salesforce acquisition - techcrunch

Slack’s stock climbs on possible Salesforce acquisition

News that Salesforce is interested in buying Slack, the popular workplace chat company, sent shares of the smaller firm sharply higher today. Slack shares are up just under 25% at the moment, according to Yahoo Finance data. Slack is worth $36.95 per share as of the time of writing, valuing it at around $20.8 billion. […]
techcrunch - 14 hours ago
Instead of Yule log, watch this interactive dumpster fire because 2020 - techcrunch

Instead of Yule log, watch this interactive dumpster fire because 2020

The holiday seasons is upon us and with that comes stress, anxiety, and the airing of grievances. And this year is worse. Instead of watching a yule log smolder in a warm hearth, we’re all stuck in our homes watching the world burn. Instead of yelling into the void, try this interactive dumpster fire instead. […]
techcrunch - 15 hours ago
Join us for a live Q&A with Sapphire’s Jai Das on Tuesday at 2 pm ET/11 am PT - techcrunch

Join us for a live Q&A with Sapphire’s Jai Das on Tuesday at 2 pm ET/11 am PT

Sure, we’re heading into a holiday weekend here in America, but that doesn’t mean that the good ship TechCrunch is going to slow down. We’re diving right back in next week with another installment in season two of Extra Crunch Live, our regular interview series with startup founders, venture capitalists, and other leaders from the […]
techcrunch - 16 hours ago
Cast.ai nabs $7.7M seed to remove barriers between public clouds - techcrunch

Cast.ai nabs $7.7M seed to remove barriers between public clouds

When you launch an application in the public cloud, you usually put everything on one provider, but what if you could choose the components based on cost and technology and have your database one place and your storage another? That’s what Cast.ai says that it can provide, and today it announced a healthy $7.7 million […]
techcrunch - 16 hours ago
Amazon expands IP Accelerator to Europe after US SMBs register 6,000 trademarks - techcrunch

Amazon expands IP Accelerator to Europe after US SMBs register 6,000 trademarks

As we head into the biggest shopping period of the year — which this year may well have an even stronger online component than usual because of Covid-19 — Amazon has launched its latest effort to combat the sale of counterfeit goods on its site. The e-commerce giant today announced that its free IP Accelerator […]
techcrunch - 18 hours ago
Tiger Global invests in India’s Unacademy at $2 billion valuation - techcrunch

Tiger Global invests in India’s Unacademy at $2 billion valuation

Unacademy, an online learning platform in India, has added two more marquee investors to its cap table. The Bangalore-based startup, which focuses on K-12 online education, said on Wednesday it has raised new funds from Tiger Global Management and Dragoneer Investment Group. The funding round, the size of which was not disclosed, valued the four-and-a-half-year-old […]
techcrunch - 18 hours ago
Coinbase disables margin trading following guidance from Commodity Futures Trading Commission - techcrunch

Coinbase disables margin trading following guidance from Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Just a few months after launching margin trading on Coinbase Pro, the company is disabling the feature. Margin trading lets you trade on leverage. But it works both ways — margin trading lets you multiply your gains and your losses. Starting on November 25, 2pm PT, users won’t be able to place new margin trades. […]
techcrunch - 22 hours ago
WeGift, the ‘incentive marketing’ platform, collects $8M in new funding - techcrunch

WeGift, the ‘incentive marketing’ platform, collects $8M in new funding

WeGift, the London-based startup that has built an “incentive marketing” platform that lets businesses easily issue e-gift cards and other digital rewards to customers, has raised $8 million in new funding. Dubbed a Series A extension, the round is led by AlbionVC. Existing investors including Stride.vc, SAP.iO fund and Unilever Ventures also followed on. Following […]
techcrunch - 22 hours ago
As e-bikes boom, FuroSystems raises its first venture funding round ahead of a new model launch - techcrunch

As e-bikes boom, FuroSystems raises its first venture funding round ahead of a new model launch

With COVID-19 making commuters switch to bikes, and cities wanting cleaner air, the e-bike revolution is only just getting started. Further evidence of this is the news that today British e-bike manufacturer FuroSystems has closed its first institutional venture funding round of £750,000 with participation by TSP Ventures and European impact investment bank, ClearlySo, as […]
techcrunch - 22 hours ago
The FCC rejects ZTE’s petition to stop designating it a “national security threat” - techcrunch

The FCC rejects ZTE’s petition to stop designating it a “national security threat”

The Federal Communications Commission has rejected ZTE’s petition to remove its designation as a “national security threat.” This means that American companies will continue to be barred from using the FCC’s $8.3 billion Universal Service Fund to buy equipment and services from ZTE . The Universal Service Fund includes subsidies to build telecommunication infrastructure across […]
techcrunch - 1 day ago
SpaceX successfully launches a Falcon 9 booster for a record seventh time - techcrunch

SpaceX successfully launches a Falcon 9 booster for a record seventh time

SpaceX has launched yet another Starlink mission, adding 60 more Starlink satellites to its low-Earth orbit constellation. That’s good news for its efforts to blanket the globe in high-speed broadband, and today’s flight is even better news for its equally important ambition of developing more reusable rocket systems, since the first-stage booster that helped launch […]
techcrunch - 1 day ago
Pinterest tests online events with dedicated ‘class communities’ - techcrunch

Pinterest tests online events with dedicated ‘class communities’

Pinterest is getting into online events. The company has been spotted testing a new feature that allows users to sign up for Zoom classes through Pinterest, while creators use Pinterest’s class boards to organize class materials, notes, and other resources, or even connect with attendees through a group chat option. The company confirmed the test […]
techcrunch - 1 day ago
Police case filed against Netflix executives in India over ‘A Suitable Boy’ kissing scene - techcrunch

Police case filed against Netflix executives in India over ‘A Suitable Boy’ kissing scene

Netflix, which has invested more than $500 million to gain a foothold in India in recent years, is slowly finding out just about what all could upset some people in the world’s second-largest internet market: Apparently everything. A police case has been filed this week against two top executives of the American streaming service in […]
techcrunch - 1 day ago
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techcrunch
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the inventory
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techcrunch
Anyscale adds $40M to bring its Ray-based distributed computing tech to the enterprise masses

Anyscale adds $40M to bring its Ray-based distributed computing tech to the enterprise masses

techcrunch - 1 month ago

The world of distributed computing took on a new profile this year when Folding@home, a 20-year-old distributed computing project, found itself picking up thousands of new volunteers to help Covid-19 researchers generate more computing power to fold proteins and run other calculations needed for screening potential drug compounds to fight the novel coronavirus. Today, a startup that is also tapping the potential and opportunity in distributed computing is announcing a round of growth funding to continue its own work.

Anyscale, a startup founded by a team out of UC Berkeley who created the Ray open-source Python framework for running distributed computing projects, has raised $40 million.

It plans to use the capital to continue developing Anyscale, a platform built on Ray that will make Ray usable not just by high-level developers and computing specialists, but any technical people who are looking to run projects that require large amounts of computing power.

Ion Stoica, Anyscale’s executive chairman who co-founded the company with Robert Nishihara, Philipp Moritz and Berkeley professor Michael I. Jordan, said in an interview that the company is tapping into a moment spurred not just by the events of 2020 but by the bigger demand from companies — spurred by the growth of cloud computing, major digital transformation of their systems, and a need to go that extra mile to remain competitive. Organizations are becoming more ambitious in their technology strategies and goals, whether they are tech companies or not.

“At a high level, the trend that we see is that all applications are distributed and running on clusters, but building these applications is incredibly hard and requires teams with the right expertise,” said Stoica. “What we are trying to build will make it as easy to build a distributed computing project as it would be to run a program on your laptop. It will mean ordinary developers will be able to build scalable applications just like Google can build today.”

The company’s first build of Anyscale — which will let organizations build multi-cloud applications from a single machine and use serverless architecture that scales up and down to meet application demands – has yet to launch commercially: it is in a private beta and the plan is to launch it fully next year.

There has been interest from financial services, retail, and manufacturing companies, Stoica said, with companies working in design, informatics and medical research (and Covid-19 vaccines) also using the private beta.

The Series B is being led by previous investor NEA, with Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Intel Capital, and Foundation Capital also participating. A16z led the company’s Series A less than a year ago (a $20 million round in December).

Intel, meanwhile, is a strategic investor. Along with other tech giants like Microsoft, Intel is using Ray’s distributing computing model to run projects.

Stoica — who also co-founded Databricks, Conviva and was one of the original developers of Apache Spark — and Nishihara declined to comment in an interview on Anyscale’s valuation, but Stoica confirmed that the round was oversubscribed. The company has now raised just over $60 million.

While the startup continues to build out Anyscale, in the last year it has also been making more headway with Ray, which they also maintain.

At the Ray Summit — Anyscale’s conference for developers run as a virtual event at the end of September —  Anyscale released Ray 1.0, which provides, in addition to a universal serverless compute API, an expanded library to use on Ray 1.0. Nishihara described it as a “huge milestone,” not least because it is one step along the path for the bigger vision they have for Anyscale to be used by non-tech companies for tech work.

A typical example was a recent recommendation algorithm built by Intel for Burger King. “The thing that is hard to do is not making the recommendations but learning from the interactions that users are having, and the choices they are making, and having that experience reflected back very rapidly,” he said. It’s a process that can be done in other ways, but with a far less good user experience due to lags.

This past year Nishihara said that interest in Ray has seen “tremendous growth,” but that it’s hard to say whether that is because of people working from home or just wider computing trends.

“It’s clear if anything that the pandemic is accelerating the transition,” said Stoica. “Ray has good support for the cloud, including Azure, Google Cloud Platform and others, which makes it quite compelling.”

We’ve seen an interesting trend in enterprise IT, where startups are finding an opportunity in the market by making it possible for non-technical organizations to bridge the digital divide, by providing better access to the most technical advances in computing to organizations beyond those that can build and operate such tools themselves. Just as groups like Element AI are working on ways to democratize advances in AI, the same kind of tech built, acquired and used by the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon, so too is Anyscale looking to do the same in enterprise computing.

And the two areas of AI and computing, of course, are interconnected: these days you need vast amounts of computing power to run AI applications, something the average company typically lacks.

The demand for distributed computing continues to increase with the widespread adoption of AI and machine learning in application development, said Pete Sonsini, General Partner at NEA, in a statement. Still, scaling applications on clusters remains extremely challenging. Serverless computing is emerging as the preferred platform for developing distributed applications. Unfortunately, today’s serverless offerings support only a limited set of applications, and most of them are cloud-specificbut not Ray and Anyscale. The companys path thus far bears the hallmarks of a standout technology pioneer, and were thrilled to partner with the team through this next phase bridging their open source and commercial offerings.

sauce: techcrunch
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