Inspirations

  • Cisco strikes again grabbing threat assessment tool Kenna Security as third acquisition this week

    Cisco has been busy on the acquisition front this week, and today the company announced it was buying threat assessment platform Kenna Security, the third company it has purchased this week. The two companies did not disclose the purchase price. With Kenna, Cisco gets a startup that uses machine learning to sort through the massive pile of threat data that comes into a security system on a daily basis and prioritizes the threats most likely to do the most damage. That could be a very useful tool these days when threats abound and it’s not always easy to know where to put your limited security resources. Cisco plans to take that technology and integrate into its SecureX platform. Gee Rittenhouse, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Security Business Group wrote in a blog post announcing the deal with Kenna, that his company is getting a product that brings together Cisco’s existing threat management capabilities with Kenna’s risk-based vulnerability ...

  • Hundreds of SPAC’s waiting in the woods

    Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. The fully-vaxxed and officially fully-immune took over the podcast this week, with Natasha and Danny co-hosting the show while the inimitable Alex is out from Shot #2. Grace and Chris, as always, were behind the scenes making sure we sound pretty and don’t fall down too many punny board game rabbit holes after vacation. Here’s the rundown of what we got into: Crypto crashed –  thanks to either Elon or the guy who created Ethereum and then donated some to relief efforts for COVID-19.  We debated how signal gets lost and rediscovered and lost again in this news cycle, and what that means for anyone in tech trying to get a pulse of. what’s actually happening. One symptom of market craze and disconnected booms? A startup named Caplight that wants more people to buy and sell short positions on private startups.  We then pivoted ...

  • Teach AIs forgetfulness could make them better at their jobs

    While modern machine learning systems act with a semblance of artificial intelligence, the truth is they don’t “understand” any of the data they work with — which in turn means they tend to store even trivial items forever. Facebook researchers have proposed structured forgetfulness as a way for AI to clear the decks a bit, improving their performance and inching that much closer to how a human mind works. The researchers describe the problem by explaining how humans and AI agents might approach a similar problem. Say there are ten doors of various colors. You’re asked to go through the yellow one, you do so and then a few minutes later have forgotten the colors of the other doors — because it was never important that two were red, one plaid, two walnut, etc, only that they weren’t yellow and that the one you chose was. Your brain discarded that information almost immediately. But an AI might very well have kept the colors and locations of the other ni...

  • Echelon exposed riders’ account data, thanks to a leaky API

    Image Credits: Echelon (stock image) Peloton wasn’t the only at-home workout giant exposing private account data. Rival exercise giant Echelon also had a leaky API that let virtually anyone access riders’ account information. Fitness technology company Echelon, like Peloton, offers a range of workout hardware — bikes, rowers, and a treadmill — as a cheaper alternative for members to exercise at home. Its app also lets members join virtual classes without the need for workout equipment. But Jan Masters, a security researcher at Pen Test Partners, found that Echelon’s API allowed him to access the account data — including name, city, age, sex, phone number, weight, birthday, and workout statistics and history — of any other member in a live or pre-recorded class. The API also disclosed some information about members’ workout equipment, such as its serial number. Masters, if you recall, found a similar bug with Peloton’s API, which let him make unauth...

  • Why SPACs aren’t targeting African startups

    One. That’s the number of African tech companies that have gone public on the NYSE in the last 10 years. Two, if you’re counting local exchanges. The former is African-focused e-commerce company Jumia and the latter is Egyptian fintech company Fawry. As a tech company, Fawry’s listing on the Egyptian Stock Exchange is a rarity. Typically, most exchanges in emerging markets like Africa, India, and Latin America are filled with traditional companies in age-old sectors like banking, telecoms, manufacturing, and energy. Unlike Fawry, what you see these days are new-age tech companies from these markets going public abroad, especially in the U.S. Due to the friendly nature of U.S. exchanges such as Nasdaq and the NYSE, and their history building up the FAANG and other multibillion-dollar companies, they have become the top destination for IPO-ready companies in emerging markets.  Last year, the U.S. IPO market was caught in a frenzy with a different way of going public:...