Startups Weekly: The scooter cash desert

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s noteworthy venture capital deals, funds and trends. Before I dive into this week’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I noted my key takeaways from Recode + Vox’s Code Conference. Before that, I explored the bull […]

A chat with Niantic CEO John Hanke on the launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

Just shy of three years ago, Pokémon GO took over the world. Players filled the sidewalks, and crowds of trainers flooded parks and landmarks. Anywhere you looked, people were throwing Pokéballs and chasing Snorlax. As the game grew, so did the company behind it. Niantic had started its life as an experimental “lab” within Google […]

Minecraft Earth makes the whole real world your very own blocky realm

When your game tops 100 million players, your thoughts naturally turn to doubling that number. That’s the case with the creators, or rather stewards, of Minecraft at Microsoft, where the game has become a product category unto itself. And now it is making its biggest leap yet — to a real-world augmented reality game in […]

Final Niantic EC-1 lessons, F8 call, Slack, WeWork and TED

Live Conference Call: Josh Constine and Frederic Lardinois talk all things F8 in just a bit Facebook’s annual F8 conference is in full swing, with major redesigns of the company’s apps and all sorts of news trickling out of San Jose. We have Josh Constine and Frederic Lardinois on the ground talking to everyone, and […]

Nine lessons on how Niantic reached a $4B valuation

We’ve captured much of Niantic’s ongoing story in the first three parts of our EC-1, from its beginnings as an “entrepreneurial lab” within Google, to its spin-out as an independent company and the launch of Pokémon GO, to its ongoing focus on becoming a platform for others to build augmented reality products upon. It’s not […]

Harry Potter, the Platform, and the Future of Niantic

What is Niantic? If they recognize the name, most people would rightly tell you it’s a company that makes mobile games, like Pokémon GO, or Ingress, or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. But no one at Niantic really seems to box it up as a mobile gaming company. Making these games is a big part of […]

The definitive Niantic reading guide

An annotated list to everything written on Niantic to accompany our EC-1 Arman Tabatabai 13 hours In just a few years, Niantic has evolved from internal side project into an independent industry trailblazer. Having reached tremendous scale in such a short period of time, Niantic acts as a poignant crash course for founders and company […]

EC Weekly: Gaming, crypto, shipping and the multiple future strategies of tech

Niantic EC-1 Illustration by Nigel Sussman Greg Kumparak published the first part of his planned four part EC-1 series on Niantic yesterday, focusing on the founding story of the AR/gaming unicorn from Keyhole and Google Earth to a complicated spinout from Alphabet. Lots of great nuggets on how companies get formed and built, but one […]

Niantic’s Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is a sorcerous smorgasbord for the Pokémon GO generation

Niantic’s follow-up to the absurdly popular Pokémon GO, the long-awaited Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, has one major drawback: unlike its predecessor, you can’t explain it in a single sentence. There’s so much to do in this game that it may repel some casual players — but while its depths of systems and collectibles may be […]

Pokémon GO creator Niantic closes $190M funding round

Mobile AR gaming startup Niantic has closed a $190 million round of funding according to newly filed SEC docs. The filing comes after a WSJ report last month suggested the company was in the process of closing a $200 million raise from investors, including IVP, aXiomatic Gaming and Samsung, at a $3.9 billion valuation. The […]