VCs serve up a large helping of cash to startups disrupting food

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor US startups off to a strong M&A run in 2018 Scaling startups are setting up secondary hubs in these cities Here is what your daily menu might look like if recently funded startups have their way. You’ll start the day with a nice, lightly caffeinated cup of cheese tea. Chase away your hangover with a cold bottle of liver-boosting supplement. Then slice up a few strawberries, fresh-picked from the corner shipping container. Lunch is full of options. Perhaps a tuna sandwich made with a plant-based, tuna-free fish.…

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Lemonade files lawsuit against wefox for IP infringement

Lemonade, the insurance platform based out of NYC, has filed a lawsuit against German company ONE Insurance, its parent company wefox, and founder Julian Teicke. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court Southern District of NY, alleges that wefox reverse engineered Lemonade to create ONE, infringing Lemonade’s intellectual property, violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and breaching its contractual obligations to Lemonade not to “copy content… to provide any service that is competitive…or to…create derivative works.” In the filing (which you can see on Pacer or here), Lemonade…

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Scooters go mad, Opendoor wants to buy your house, and Meituan’s IPO

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was something of a first for the crew, twice. First, we had two guests on the show, and, also, we only made it through two and a half topics. The former is good, the latter is, well, we’ll see. So, this week Matthew Lynley and I were joined by David Chao, co-founder and general partner at DCM, and Steve Vassallo, a general partner at Foundation Capital. Points to both for being guinea pigs.…

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Cheq raises $5M for a proactive, AI-driven approach to safe ad placement

While brand safety and fraud prevention have been big topics in the online ad industry over the past couple years, Cheq CEO Guy Tytunovich argued that “first generation solutions for ad verification” aren’t good enough. The problem, Tytunovich said, is that existing products use sampling to alert advertisers to issues “after the fact.” Compare this to credit card fraud — if the credit card company only alerted you long after the fraud had occurred, “You’re not going to be happy with that kind of answer.” At Cheq, Tytunovich and his…

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Tainted, crypto-mining containers pulled from Docker Hub

Security companies Fortinet and Kromtech found seventeen tainted Docker containers that were essentially downloadable images containing programs that had been designed to mine cryptocurrencies. Further investigation found that they had been downloaded 5 million times, suggesting that hackers were able to inject commands into insecure containers to download this code into otherwise healthy web applications. The researchers found the containers on Docker Hub, a repository for user images. “Of course, we can safely assume that these had not been deployed manually. In fact, the attack seems to be fully automated.…

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Meet Atoms, the minimalist startup shoes you’ll actually wear

Step aside, Allbirds. Atoms come in quarter-sizes you can mix-and-match. Emerging from stealth today in a TechCrunch exclusive, this shoe startup’s obsession with satisfaction allowed it to replace my Nikes. I’ve spent the last two months wearing Atoms every day. They’re the first sneaker classy-looking enough for semi-formal occasions, but that I can comfortably walk or even hike in for hours. Here’s how Atoms is modernizing the footwear experience: Pick your quarter-size, say 10.25, and Atoms sends you 10s, 10.25s, and 10.5s, plus socks Try them on and pick any…

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Nuzzel unveils NuzzelRank, which scores news sources on ‘authority’

Everyone from Elon Musk to AdBlock Plus wants to tell you which news sources are worth trusting. Now news aggregator Nuzzel is joining in. Specifically, it’s launching NuzzelRank, which founder and CEO Jonathan Abrams described as “our new authority ranking of thousands of top news sources, using signals from top business influencers.” He said it replaces a more “simplistic” ranking system that it was using for its news monitoring and research product Nuzzel Media Intelligence. You may also see NuzzelRank outside the company’s Media Intelligence reports. For one thing, there’s…

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Celebrity funds from Jay Z, Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr. are backing a life insurance startup

Ethos, the company that bills itself as making life insurance accessible, affordable and simple, has officially come out of stealth with an $11.5 million investment led by one of the world’s top venture firms, Sequoia Capital, and additional participation from the family offices of Hollywood’s biggest stars and an NBA all-star. Jay Z’s Roc Nation, and the family funds of Kevin Durant, Robert Downey Jr. and Will Smith, all participated in the new round for Ethos, and Sequoia Partner Roelof Botha is taking a seat on the company’s board. Because…

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VR helps us remember

Researchers at the University of Maryland have found that people remember information better if it is presented in VR vs. on a two dimensional personal computer. This means VR education could be an improvement on tablet or device-based learning. “This data is exciting in that it suggests that immersive environments could offer new pathways for improved outcomes in education and high-proficiency training,” said Amitabh Varshney, dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences at UMD. The study was quite complex and looked at recall in forty subjects who…

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