Momo, Vietnam’s top payment app, lands big Series C investment led by Warburg Pincus

Fintech in Southeast Asia continues to pique the attention of global investors. Alibaba, Tencent and others have jumped into the region and deployed hundreds of millions of dollars, and now Warburg Pincus is joining them. The U.S-headquartered PE firm has led a Series C investment in Vietnam’s Momo, which claims to be the country’s largest mobile […]

Former Facebook engineer picks up $15M for AI platform Spell

In 2016, Serkan Piantino packed up his desk at Facebook with hopes to move on to something new. The former Director of Engineering for Faceboook AI Research had every intention to keep working on AI, but quickly realized a huge issue. Unless you’re under the umbrella of one of these big tech companies like Facebook, […]

Facebook poaches Google’s AR/VR engineering lead to take over Portal team

Facebook is bringing on the engineering lead for Google’s entire AR/VR team to tackle Portal hardware. Ryan Cairns comes aboard after 12 years at Google, where he was most recently the engineering lead for a team of more than 500 people tackling AR/VR at the big G, including Daydream, Lens and ARCore, according to his LinkedIn. […]

Wrest control from a snooping smart speaker with this teachable “parasite”

What do you get when you put one Internet connected device on top of another? A little more control than you otherwise would in the case of Alias the “teachable ‘parasite’” — an IoT project smart speaker topper made by two designers, Bjørn Karmann and Tore Knudsen. The Raspberry Pi-powered, fungus-inspired blob’s mission is to […]

Apple HomePod comes to China at $400 amid iPhone sales woes

Apple is finally launching HomePod in China, but the timing is tricky as the premium device will have to wrestle with local competitors and a slowing economy. The firm said over the weekend that its smart speaker will be available in Mainland China and Hong Kong starting January 18, adding to a list of countries where […]

Put Alexa and a JBL speaker in your ceiling with this clever LED downlight

This light makes the smart home even more accessible. Installed as any other ceiling downlight, the June AI downlight features Amazon Alexa through integrated JBL speakers. There’s a light in there, too. The idea is great: make the smart home invisible. Instead of having an Amazon Echo sitting on a table, this device sits in […]

LinkedIn now requires phone number verification for all users in China

LinkedIn’s China site looks and functions just like LinkedIn everywhere else, except now it asks users in the country to verify their identities through phone numbers. The American company is requiring both new and existing users with a Chinese IP address to link mobile phone numbers to their accounts, TechCrunch noticed this week. LinkedIn had […]

Report: Self-driving car startup Aurora is raising capital at a $2B valuation

Early last year, LinkedIn co-founder and prolific venture capital investor Reid Hoffman called Chris Urmson “the Henry Ford of autonomous vehicles (AV).” The vote of confidence and big check from Hoffman, coupled with a team of deeply knowledgable AV entrepreneurs, has catapulted his company, Aurora Innovation, squarely into “unicorn” territory. Aurora, the developer of a full-stack […]

Lenovo is building an $80 Google Assistant clock for your nightstand

If you like the idea of Amazon’s Echo Spot — that is, a tiny voice-powered assistant on your nightstand, complete with a full-color display — but are more into Google Assistant than Alexa, your options have thus far been a bit limited. You could put your phone on a dock, but that’s not quite the […]

Google Assistant will soon be able to translate conversations on-the-fly with ‘Interpreter Mode’

Google Assistant has long been able to do quick, one-off translations — just say something like “Hey Google, how do I say ‘birthday’ in French?” That doesn’t help much with actual conversations between people who speak different languages. For that, Google is building what they call “Interpreter Mode.” If you speak English and want to […]