Inspirations

  • Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick are again Prime Day’s best selling devices

    Amazon Prime members again snapped up loss leaders like the Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with Alexa Remote on the first day of Amazon Prime Day 2019, which has now been stretched out to a 48-hour sale. This is the third year in a row that the entry-level Alexa smart speaker, the Echo Dot, has been a Prime Day bestseller. The Fire TV Stick was a top seller last year, too, and sold well in years past — including in 2016, when it emerged at the overall best-selling device globally on Prime Day. Amazon never provides hard numbers on Prime Day sales, but claims “millions” of these devices — the Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick combined — were sold on Monday to customers worldwide during the first day of Prime Day 2019. Last year, Amazon claimed customers bought “millions” of Fire TV Stick devices alone, for comparison’s sake. The retailer also said this morning that U.S. shoppers saved “millions” on Prime Day sales on Monday. This includes...

  • Quirk wants to make cognitive behavioral therapy more accessible

    Quirk, a YC-backed company, is looking to bring cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to more people suffering from anxiety or depression. CBT aims to lessen or stop harmful behavior by changing the way people think, stopping them from falling into established patterns of negatively distorting their reality to justify or account for unhelpful habits. “CBT has 40 years of research behind it,” says CEO and founder Evan Conrad. “I’ve had severe panic attacks my whole life and saw different therapists who tried what I now know is CBT. I assumed it was a pseudo science. It wasn’t until 10 months ago that I re-discovered CBT on my own and learned about its efficacy. It’s the gold standard.” The app helps users practice one of the most common exercises in CBT: the triple-column technique. Here’s how it works: Users jump into the app whenever they have anxiety or a depressive thought to record it. They then identify any distortions that apply to tha...

  • Aavgo security lapse exposed hotel bookings

    A security lapse at a hotel management startup has exposed hotel bookings and guests’ personal information. The security lapse was resolved Monday after TechCrunch reached out to Aavgo, a hospitality tech company based in San Francisco, which secured a server it had left online without a password. The server was open for three weeks — long enough for security researcher Daniel Brown to find the database. He shared his findings exclusively with TechCrunch, then published them. Aavgo bills itself as a way for hotels to organize their operations by using several connected apps — one for use by guests using tablets installed in their hotel rooms for entertainment, ordering room service and checking out, and another for staff to communicate with each other, file maintenance tickets and manage housekeeping. Several large hotel chains, including Holiday Inn Express and Zenique Hotels, use Aavgo’s technology in their properties. The database contained daily updating logs of the...

  • Apply to TC Top Picks before the deadline & exhibit free at Disrupt SF 2019

    Does your company have what it takes to be part of an elite cadre of early-stage startups and exhibit for free at Disrupt San Francisco 2019? There’s only one way to know for sure, but time is running out. Apply to be a TC Top Pick now — before the application window closes for good at 5:00 p.m. (PT) on July 19. Why should you apply? For starters, it doesn’t cost anything, and all TC Top Picks receive a free Startup Alley Exhibition Package good for one full day of exhibiting in Startup Alley, the heart of every Disrupt. It’s the intersection of tech present and tech future — where more than 1,200 pre-Series A startups and sponsors exhibit their products, platforms and services. It’s a breeding ground of opportunity, and you never know who you might meet and where that connection might lead. TechCrunch editors vet all applications and choose up to five startups in each of these (and only these) tech categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, ...

  • Mercari’s new Instant Pay feature transfers verified sellers’ balances to their debit cards within minutes

    For online sellers, waiting three to five days for e-commerce platforms to transfer their balance is one of their biggest pain points. Mercari is going after rivals with its new Instant Pay feature, which deposits money in a few minutes. Once sellers are verified, they can instantly transfer up to $500 per month of their Mercari balance to a debit card for a $2 processing fee. Bradford Williams, Mercari’s head of communications, told TechCrunch in an email that the new feature is a first for peer-to-peer selling apps. “Uber and Lyft made instant payments table stakes for U.S. drivers; we’re extending that to casual sellers. Mercari U.S. is focused on casual sellers (versus power sellers); therefore, we’d like to attract sellers from all marketplaces/platforms,” he said. “Frankly, we see our biggest opportunity in influencing U.S. consumer behavior versus taking share incrementally from established competitors.” To use Instant Pay, sellers need a debit card and to registe...