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Looking to emulate Venmo, JoomPay preps a Euro launch for easy bill splitting and cash payments - techcrunch

Looking to emulate Venmo, JoomPay preps a Euro launch for easy bill splitting and cash payments

JoomPay, a startup with a similar product to PayPayl-owned Venmo in the US, is set to launch in Europe shortly after being granted a Luxembourg Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license. The app allows people to send and receive money with anyone, instantly and for free. “Venmo me” has become a common phrase in the US, […]
techcrunch - 6 minutes ago
New TikTok feature allows users to avoid videos with epileptic seizure triggers - techcrunch

New TikTok feature allows users to avoid videos with epileptic seizure triggers

TikTok announced today it is rolling out a new feature that will allow people with photosensitive epilepsy to automatically skip videos that can trigger seizures. The “Skip All” option will be introduced to all users over the next few weeks and comes a few months after TikTok began automatically warning creators if a video contains […]
techcrunch - 34 minutes ago
Calling VCs in Israel: Be featured in The Great TechCrunch Survey of European VC - techcrunch

Calling VCs in Israel: Be featured in The Great TechCrunch Survey of European VC

TechCrunch is embarking on a major new project to survey the venture capital investors of Europe, and their cities. Our <a href=”https://forms.gle/k4Ji2Ch7zdrn7o2p6”>survey of VCs in Israel will capture how the country is faring, and what changes are being wrought amongst investors by the coronavirus pandemic. (Please note, if you have filled the survey out already, […]
techcrunch - 1 hour ago
Kahoot drops $50M on Drops to add language learning to its gamified education stable - techcrunch

Kahoot drops $50M on Drops to add language learning to its gamified education stable

After raising $215 million from SoftBank to double down on the surge of interest in online learning, Kahoot has made an acquisition to expand the scope of subjects that it covers. The popular startup, which lets people build and share educational games, has picked up Drops, a startup that helps people learn languages by way […]
techcrunch - 2 hours ago
Caura, the app for U.K. car owners, begins offering insurance - techcrunch

Caura, the app for U.K. car owners, begins offering insurance

Caura, the U.K. startup that wants to take the hassle out of car ownership, is launching car insurance — unveiling its insurtech ambitions. Dubbed “Caura Protect,” the new insurance product claims to reduce the cost and time taken to insure a car, building on the app’s existing car management features. Launched earlier this year by […]
techcrunch - 3 hours ago
Google-backed Chinese truck-hailing firm Manbang raises $1.7 billion - techcrunch

Google-backed Chinese truck-hailing firm Manbang raises $1.7 billion

The Chinese Uber for trucks Manbang announced Tuesday that it has raised $1.7 billion in its latest funding round, two years after it hauled in $1.9 billion from investors including SoftBank Group and Alphabet Inc’s venture capital fund CapitalG. The news came fresh off a Wall Street Journal report two weeks ago that Manbang was […]
techcrunch - 5 hours ago
N26 launches mid-tier subscription plan for €4.90 per month - techcrunch

N26 launches mid-tier subscription plan for €4.90 per month

Challenger bank N26 is adding a third subscription product called N26 Smart. N26 Smart is designed to be a mid-tier subscription plan with advanced banking features but without a travel insurance package. In Europe, in addition to the free plan, N26 already provides two subscription tiers called N26 You and N26 Metal. N26 You costs […]
techcrunch - 7 hours ago
Biden-Harris team finally get their transition .gov domain - techcrunch

Biden-Harris team finally get their transition .gov domain

Finally. It only took almost three weeks, but the Biden-Harris transition has officially begun. On Monday, the General Services Administration gave the green light for the Biden-Harris team to transition from political campaign to government administration, allowing the team to receive government resources like office space, but also classified briefings and secure computers. And, with […]
techcrunch - 8 hours ago
Recycling robotics company AMP Robotics could raise up to $70 million sources say - techcrunch

Recycling robotics company AMP Robotics could raise up to $70 million sources say

AMP Robotics, the recycling robotics technology developer backed by investors including Sequoia Capital and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, is close to closing on as much as $70 million in new financing, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the company’s plans. The new financing speaks to AMP Robotics’ continued success in pilot projects and with new […]
techcrunch - 10 hours ago
YC-backed Cashfree raises $35.3 million for its payments platform - techcrunch

YC-backed Cashfree raises $35.3 million for its payments platform

Cashfree, an Indian startup that offers a wide-range of payments services to businesses, has raised $35.3 million in a new financing round as the profitable firm looks to broaden its offering. The Bangalore-based startup’s Series B was led by London-headquartered private equity firm Apis Partners (which invested through its Growth Fund II), with participation from […]
techcrunch - 10 hours ago
AliveCor, which helps its users manage their heart health, scores another FDA approval - techcrunch

AliveCor, which helps its users manage their heart health, scores another FDA approval

Last week, AliveCor, a nine-year-old, 92-person company whose small, personal electrocardiogram devices help users detect atrial fibrillation, bradycardia, and tachycardia from heart rate readings they can take at their own kitchen table, raised $65 million from investors. Today, it’s clearer why investors — who’ve now provided the Mountain View, Ca., company with $169 million altogether […]
techcrunch - 11 hours ago
Trump didn’t concede, but he will move Biden’s transition forward - techcrunch

Trump didn’t concede, but he will move Biden’s transition forward

With an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots, election results took a bit longer this year than usual. But if Americans were expecting an election week, November stretched on into a month of election drama, with President Trump mounting an unprecedented effort to undermine election results and stall the transition process, even as states certified Biden’s […]
techcrunch - 11 hours ago
Daily Crunch: Snapchat adds Spotlight - techcrunch

Daily Crunch: Snapchat adds Spotlight

Snapchat introduces a TikTok-style feed, Amazon Echo Buds add fitness tracking and Vettery acquires Hired. This is your Daily Crunch for November 23, 2020. The big story: Snapchat adds Spotlight Snapchat has introduced a dedicated feed where users can watch short, entertaining videos — pretty similar to TikTok. This comes after the app also added […]
techcrunch - 13 hours ago
Netflix commits $1 billion to make New Mexico home to one of the world’s largest studios - techcrunch

Netflix commits $1 billion to make New Mexico home to one of the world’s largest studios

  Netflix is committing $1 billion in production spend at its ABQ Studios in Albuquerque, New Mexico along with plans to expand those studios, the company said. In an announcement alongside New Mexico’s Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Albuquerque Mayor, Tim Keller, Netflix’s chief executive Ted Sarandos said the company would add 300 acres to […]
techcrunch - 14 hours ago
Will Brazil’s Roaring 20s see the rise of early-stage startups? - techcrunch

Will Brazil’s Roaring 20s see the rise of early-stage startups?

The capital market boom might be temporary, but the emergence of a new economy in Brazil supported by new local investors and new players is a trend that has been building up for some time
techcrunch - 14 hours ago
Vettery acquires Hired to create a ‘unified’ job search platform - techcrunch

Vettery acquires Hired to create a ‘unified’ job search platform

Two large job search and recruiting platforms are coming together, with Vettery acquiring Hired. The news follows a report last week in The Information claiming that Hired had begun to sell off its assets and wind down the company. The report also stated that Hired CEO Mehul Patel “abruptly resigned” via Zoom in early October. […]
techcrunch - 15 hours ago
GM dumps Trump to side with California in emissions rules fight - techcrunch

GM dumps Trump to side with California in emissions rules fight

General Motors is changing sides in a battle over whether states — and specifically California — can set tailpipe emissions regulations and other rules meant to mitigate climate change that are stricter than the federal government. The automaker said Monday it will no longer back the Trump Administration’s lawsuit to prevent California from setting its […]
techcrunch - 15 hours ago
Approaching commercialization for its autonomous radar nav system, Lunewave raises $7 million - techcrunch

Approaching commercialization for its autonomous radar nav system, Lunewave raises $7 million

Lunewave, the Arizona-based startup developing a novel technology for radars for autonomous vehicles, has raised $7 million in financing as it gets ready for the commercial rollout of its systems. The company’s latest financing came from Proeza entures, Blue 9 Capital, Tsingyuan Ventures and Intact Ventures, the company said. With the latest funding Lunewave will […]
techcrunch - 15 hours ago
Amazon’s Echo Buds get new fitness tracking features - techcrunch

Amazon’s Echo Buds get new fitness tracking features

I wasn’t super impressed when I reviewed the Echo Buds around this time last year, but Amazon’s first shot at Alexa-powered fully wireless earbuds was passable. And while they’ve already been on the market for a while now, the company’s continuing to deliver some key updates, including today’s addition of new fitness features. Say “Alexa, […]
techcrunch - 16 hours ago
7 things we just learned about Sequoia’s European expansion plans - techcrunch

7 things we just learned about Sequoia’s European expansion plans

Sequoia Capital, the renowned Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has backed companies like Apple, Google, Dropbox, Airbnb and Stripe, recently disclosed that it had opened its first office in Europe. To staff up, it hired partner Luciana Lixandru away from rival Accel Partners. Even without an official European presence, Sequoia has quietly operated in […]
techcrunch - 16 hours ago
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techcrunch
Kea raises $10M to build AI that helps restaurants answer the phone

Kea raises $10M to build AI that helps restaurants answer the phone

techcrunch - 3 days ago

Kea is a new startup giving restaurants an opportunity to upgrade one of the more old-fashioned ways that they take orders over the phone.

Today, Kea is announcing that it has raised a $10 million Series A led by Marbruck, with participation from Streamlined Ventures, Xfund, Heartland Ventures, DEEPCORE, Barrel Ventures and AVG Funds, as well as angel investors Raj Kapoor (chief strategy officer at Lyft), Craig Flom (who was on the founding team at Panera Bread), Wingstop franchisee Tony Lam and Five Guys franchisee Jonathan Kelly.

Founder and CEO Adam Ahmad said that with restaurants perpetually understaffed, they usually don’t have someone who can devote their attention to answering the phone. (Many of you, after all, are probably pretty familiar with the experience of calling a restaurant and being immediately placed on hold.)

At the same time, he suggested it remains an important ordering channel especially during the pandemic, as takeout and delivery has become the biggest source of revenue for many restaurants. The New Yorker’s Helen Rosner put it succinctly when she suggested that anyone who wants to support restaurants should “pick up the damn phone.

Similarly, Ahmad said that for restaurants, paying substantial third-party ordering fees on all of their orders is “not a sustainable long-term strategy.” So Kea is offering technology that should help restaurants handle more orders over the phone, creating what Ahmad called a “virtual cashier” who can do the initial intake with customers, process most routine orders and bring in a human employee when needed.

The idea of an automated voice assistant may bring back unpleasant memories of trying to call your bank or another Byzantine customer service department. But Ahmad said that while most existing phone systems are “not smart,” Kea’s AI is very different, because it’s just focused on restaurant ordering.

“Were doing a very closed domain,” he said. “In the pizza world, there are only a couple thousand permutations. We’re not innovating for the whole dictionary it’s a constrained model, it’s a menu.”

In fact, the Kea team gave me a number to dial where I could try the system out for myself. It was a pretty straightforward and easy process, where I provided my address and then the details of my pizza order. And again, you can transfer to a human employee at any time. (In fact, I was accidentally transferred during my demo, leading me to quickly hang up in embarrassment.)

Kea is already live in more than 250 restaurants including Papa Johns, Donatos and Primanti Brothers, and it says it’s saving them an average of 10 hours of labor per week, with a 23% increase in average order size. With the new funding, Ahmad’s goal is to bring Kea to 1,000 restaurants across 37 states in 2021.

sauce: techcrunch
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