Basis Set Ventures gets real to get to the heart of AI startups

Lan Xuezhao has spent the last few months pulling together $136 million for her new machine intelligence-focused venture capital fund, Basis Set Ventures. I met Xuezhao for tea on a park bench in Potrero Hill earlier this week to chat about her strategy for the fund. I spend a good portion of my time meeting with investors, but if you don’t know a lot about the scene, Potrero Hill is not a place you go to meet VCs. Hot spots for meetings generally range from opulent coffee shops in San Francisco to…

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Twitch’s new extensions let streamers customize their channel, make money from Amazon sales

Twitch today is introducing a suite of tools called Twitch Extensions that will allow its streamers to customize their channel pages with interactive features, including polls, leaderboards, tickers, schedules, overlays and even virtual pets, among other things. Beyond simply personalizing their channel to make it more engaging to fans, the extensions in some cases will help streamers generate additional revenue. In particular, one extension called “Gear on Amazon” allows Twitch creators to show off their favorite Amazon products. If a viewer clicks through to purchase, the creator will earn a…

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First impressions of Essential’s 360-degree camera attachment

Essential has a unique port around back on its debut Phone, which can handle data and power transfer, and which attaches to accessories via magnets. The first such accessory is Essential’s own 360 camera, which offers you an easy way to capture immersive images and video in a very small package. The Essential 360 camera is much smaller than most other consumer 360 cameras out there, and aims to be something that’s as easy to take with you wherever you go as the phone itself. I got a chance to…

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Facebook’s new Watch video hub rolls out to U.S. users

Facebook’s latest push into video is now live. On Thursday, the new Watch tab popped up for U.S. users as the feature begins its proper roll-out. The Watch tab sits in some premium Facebook real estate, just under the News Feed and Messenger buttons on the main desktop navigation menu. On mobile, the feature hangs out at the bottom of the navigation bar where users can launch it with a single click. The new video portal will curate Facebook-exclusive video content from partners as well as some funded by the company…

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The littleBits Droid Inventor Kit lets you build an R2-D2 of your very own

Ever wanted to build an R2-D2 to call your own? You could drop a few million dollars to get all the screen-used parts/props… Or you could spend a few weeks in the shop bangin’ on scrap metal to build one from scratch. Or you could grab littleBit’s new Droid Inventor Kit and call it a day. It’s pint-sized and not quite as intense as the aforementioned options, but hey — it’s your R2. Unfamiliar with littleBits? It was founded back in 2011, and focuses on introducing kids to electronics and…

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