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Study finds most big open-source startups outside Bay Area, many European, and avoiding VC

study finds most big open-source startups outside bay area, many european, and avoiding vc

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Over 90% of the fastest-growing open-source companies in 2020 were founded outside the San Francisco Bay Area, and 12 out of the top 20 originate in Europe, according to a new study. The “ROSS Index”, created by Runa Capital lists the fastest-growing open-source startups with public repositories on Github every quarter.
Interestingly, the company judged to be the fastest-growing on the latest list, Plausible, is an ‘open startup’ (all its metrics are published, including revenues) and states on its website that it is “not interested in raising funds or taking investment. Not from individuals, not from institutions and not from venture capitalists. Our business model has nothing to do with collecting and analyzing huge amounts of personal information from web users and using these behavioral insights to sell advertisements.” It says it builds a self-sustainable “privacy-friendly alternative to very popular and widely used surveillance capitalism web analytics tools”.
Admittedly, ‘Github stars’ are not a totally perfect metric to measure the product-market fit of open-source companies. However, the research shows a possible interesting trend away from the VC-backed startups of the last ten years.
There have been previous attempts to create similar lists. In 2017 Battery Ventures published its own BOSS Index, but the index was …

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Virtual reality takes mound in Japan’s bid for softball gold

virtual reality takes mound in japan’s bid for softball gold

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An underground room fitted with high-tech cameras and artificial turf may seem an unlikely setting to practice softball, but it could be a key to Japan’s defense of the Olympic title it won 12 years ago.
Softball was introduced as a women-only Olympic sport before being dropped from the Olympic program after the 2008 Beijing Games, when Japan won its first gold medal, but will be played next summer at the postponed Tokyo Olympics after being added by the local organizing committee.

Researcher Masumi Yamaguchi takes batting practice at NTT Communication Science Laboratories in Atsugi, eastern Japan, on Oct. 7, 2020, wearing virtual reality goggles. (Kyodo)

Since 2017, the Japan Softball Association has been working with the Kashino Diverse Brain Research Laboratory, affiliated with NTT Communication Science Laboratories, to prepare the national team for its date with Olympic destiny — through virtual reality.
In June last year, national team players visited the lab in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, to have their in-game movement digitized — something that could prove valuable with the novel coronavirus having put international competition on hold.
“We’re using the big space we used to use for other experiments,” said researcher Masumi Yamaguchi, who, with colleague Dan Mikami, accompanied the softball …

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Splunk Debuts Observability Suite, Acquires Pair Of Monitoring Tool Startups

splunk debuts observability suite, acquires pair of monitoring tool startups

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Machine data management platform developer Splunk is doubling down on providing monitoring software for IT and DevOps teams, debuting its new Splunk Observability Suite at the company’s virtual conference Tuesday and announcing the acquisition of two companies whose technology will be incorporated into the new suite.
Splunk has acquired Plumbr, an Estonia-based developer of application performance monitoring (APM) tools, the company announced on the first day of Splunk .conf20, the company’s virtual customer conference. Splunk has also signed a definitive agreement to buy Rigor, an Atlanta-based developer of digital experience monitoring software. Financial details of the acquisitions were not disclosed.
The new Observability Suite, now in beta testing, also incorporates technology from Splunk’s 2019 acquisitions of cloud infrastructure monitoring tech provider SignalFx and application monitoring trace analytics tech startup Omnition.

[Related: Splunk Touts Q2 Cloud Revenue Growth Despite Economic Disruption]

“We are extremely focused on observability – the importance of observability – and ensuring that we have a best-in-class and unique suite around observability,” said Splunk CEO Doug Merritt (pictured) during an online press briefing prior to the start of Splunk.conf20.
Splunk’s core platforms, Splunk Enterprise and Splunk Cloud, are used by businesses to collect, index, search …

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China Focus: Virtual reality getting more real as industry grows

china focus: virtual reality getting more real as industry grows

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by Xinhua writers Zhao Jiasong, Chen Yushan NANCHANG, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) — In a year that seems more “virtual” than ever, with the world struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, China is embracing the booming virtual reality (VR) industry and making it more real in terms of integrating this technology in various fields to envision a better-off and safer society. The 2020 World Conference on VR Industry kicked off on Monday in Nanchang, capital of east China’s Jiangxi Province. The two-day event focused on the key and common problems in VR industry development, discussed industry trends and solutions, and illustrated the latest achievements in the field. This year’s conference has prompted businesses to sign projects with contracted amounts totaling 66.2 billion yuan (about 10 billion U.S. dollars), according to organizers. MORE APPLICATIONS, DEEPER INTEGRATION VR technology has been exposed to the public in more fields in the past years, such as gaming, livestreaming, shopping, and tourism. Besides these familiar life scenarios, it is also integrating with other significant industries. More than 160 exhibitors, including Huawei and Microsoft, have presented their products and projects on VR, AR (augmented reality), and MR (mixed reality) technologies at an expo during the conference. Jiangxi Copper Corporation Limited presented its …

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EdTech startups are disrupting education for global good

edtech startups are disrupting education for global good

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Government bodies trying to alleviate global issues like illiteracy, disease and poverty commonly face daunting statistics, logistic challenges and funding shortages. For example, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization estimates that 617 million children today are not achieving minimum reading and math proficiency.
How can this and other such problems be addressed? Should government organizations let technology startups bring the convenience, accessibility and cost savings they’ve brought to business and consumer domains into the public sector?
Janine Teo (pictured, left), founder and chief executive officer of Solve Education!; Hugo Richard (center), co-founder and CEO of Dystech Australia Pty. Ltd.; and Vincent Quah (right), regional head of education, research, healthcare and not-for-profit, APAC public sector, at Amazon Web Services, spoke with John Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the AWS Public Sector Summit Online event. They discussed how technology can transform education for the better and the AWS EdStart startup accelerator program. (* Disclosure below.)
How tech is increasing worldwide education
Programs that fight major global problems, like poverty or hunger, commonly require careful planning and logistic coordination. However, providing basic education may actually be feasible purely through tech solutions, according to Teo.
“Perhaps I’m …

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Google lawsuit could have downstream chilling effect on emerging tech startups

google lawsuit could have downstream chilling effect on emerging tech startups

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The U.S. government’s lawsuit filed Tuesday morning alleging violations of antitrust laws by technology giant Google LLC marks a new era of uncertainty for emerging startup companies in Southeast Michigan and beyond. Big tech companies like Google, Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. have grown up largely free from any significant government oversight. However, the prevailing headwinds have been shifting for years, with politicians and all manner of advocacy groups calling for reining in the power and reach of those companies. While the outcome of the lawsuit against Google is unclear and will likely take years to reach any kind of resolution, the writing is on the wall to Erik Gordon, a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business: the days of unbridled growth for technology companies are through. “I think it’s a new world for tech companies,” said Gordon, who focuses on entrepreneurship and technology commercialization, as well as all manner of business finance. “And … most small tech companies dream of being big, powerful tech companies.”The immediate impact of the lawsuit, according to Gordon, will be a chilling effect in which companies like Google will likely halt any acquisition activity of …

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7 investors discuss augmented reality and VR startup opportunities in 2020

7 investors discuss augmented reality and vr startup opportunities in 2020

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For all of the investors preaching that augmented reality technology will likely be the successor to the modern smartphone, today, most venture capitalists are still quite wary to back AR plays.
The reasons are plentiful, but all tend to circle around the idea that it’s too early for software and too expensive to try to take on Apple or Facebook on the hardware front.
Meanwhile, few spaces were frothier in 2016 than virtual reality, but most VCs who gambled on VR following Facebook’s Oculus acquisition failed to strike it rich. In 2020, VR did not get the shelter-in-place usage bump many had hoped for largely due to supply chain issues at Facebook, but VCs hope their new cheaper device will spell good things for the startup ecosystem.
To get a better sense of how VCs are looking at augmented reality and virtual reality in 2020, I reached out to a handful of investors who are keeping a close watch on the industry:

Some investors who are bullish on AR have opted to focus on virtual reality for now, believing that there’s a good amount of crossover between AR and VR software, and that they can make safer bets on VR …

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Equity Shot: The DoJ, Google, and the suit could mean for startups

equity shot: the doj, google, and the suit could mean for startups

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Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.
It’s a big day in tech because the US Federal Government is going after Google on anti-competitive grounds. Sure, the timing appears crassly political and the case is not picking up huge plaudits thus far for its air-tightness, but that doesn’t mean we can ignore it.
So Danny and I got on the horn to chat it up for about 10 minutes to fill you in. For reference, you can read the full filing here, in case you want to get your nails in. It’s not a complicated read. Get in there.
As a pair we dug into what stood out from the suit, what we think about the historical context, and also noodled at the end about what the whole situation could mean for startups; it’s not all good news, but adding lots of competitive space to the market would be a net-good for upstart tech companies in the long-run.
And consumers. Competition is good.
You can read TechCrunch’s early coverage of the suit here, and our look at the market’s reaction here. Let’s …

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Insurtech Vouch Expands Coverage to New York’s Startups

insurtech vouch expands coverage to new york’s startups

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​Vouch Insurance​, a business Insurtech platform for startups, has expanded its coverage into New York, according to a release. Vouch notes that in New York there are over 9,000 startups valued at $147 billion. The New York expansion marks a major milestone in Vouch’s growth, making its services available to 91% of the venture-backed startup market nationwide.
Vouch was founded by Sam Hodges, co-founder of Funding Circle, and Travis Hedge and is backed by Y Combinator, Ribbit Capital, and Index Ventures. Vouch focuses on the startup community as it is an underserved sector of the market that has unique needs.
Vouch says that in addition to nationwide economic challenges including a 40% drop in startup exits across the U.S., New York’s tech companies must navigate the uncertainties of reopening and some of the country’s strictest employment laws.
Hodges commented on the news:
“New York is not just for digital media and Fintech anymore. My experiences working with startups in New York taught me what it takes to thrive in one of the world’s most critical tech hubs, and showed me how New York’s startup diversity is its strength. Our goal is to help New York’s disruptive startups …

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Charting a Changing World One Loss at a Time

charting a changing world one loss at a time

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When Cao Fei’s Beijing studio was demolished in 2015, the artist relocated to the disused Hongxia Theater: a mid-twentieth-century movie palace decorated in the drab style of the Sino-Soviet alliance, in which institutional pea-green tempers propaganda’s fiery red. At the entrance of her solo show at London’s Serpentine Galleries (her first in the UK), the Hongxia lobby was reproduced at full scale, complete with curving welcome desk. In vitrines, Cao Fei presented movie ephemera collected during her research into the history of the studio building over the last five years: a lone film reel, tickets, a cinema membership card. An outmoded ATM has been refitted to screen the artist’s interviews with locals who recount their memories of the old theater. Sited in Jiuxianqiao, among China’s most productive techno-industrial districts, the former theater and present studio is now slated for demolition.

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The exhibition, titled “Blueprints,” featured themes of building, destroying, and rebuilding, whether in reality or virtuality—although such distinctions blur in twenty-first-century China, where cities and technologies expand in tandem at breakneck speed. The centerpiece was the lushly shot, feature-length film Nova (2019), a retro science-fiction movie about a doomed romance between two computer scientists, …

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