Sep
05
2018
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PoLTE lets you track devices using LTE signal

Meet PoLTE, a Dallas-based startup that wants to make location-tracking more efficient. Thanks to PoLTE’s software solution, logistics and shipment companies can much more easily track packages and goods. The startup is participating in TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF.

If you want to use a connected device to track a package, you currently need a couple of things — a way to determine the location of the package, and a way to transmit this information over the air. The most straightforward way of doing it is by using a GPS chipset combined with a cellular chipset.

Systems-on-chip have made this easier as they usually integrate multiple modules. You can get a GPS signal and wireless capabilities in the same chip. While GPS is insanely accurate, it also requires a ton of battery just to position a device on a map. That’s why devices often triangulate your position using Wi-Fi combined with a database of Wi-Fi networks and their positions.

And yet, using GPS or Wi-Fi as well as an LTE modem doesn’t work if you want to track a container over multiple weeks or months. At some point, your device will run out of battery. Or you’ll have to spend a small fortune to buy a ton of trackers with big batteries.

PoLTE has developed a software solution that lets you turn data from the cell modem into location information. It works with existing modems and only requires a software update. The company has been working with Riot Micro for instance.

Behind the scene PoLTE’s magic happens on their servers. IoT devices don’t need to do any of the computing. They just need to send a tiny sample of LTE signals and PoLTE can figure out the location from their servers. Customers can then get this data using an API.

It only takes 300 bytes of data to get location information with precision of less than a few meters. You don’t need a powerful CPU, Wi-Fi, GPS or Bluetooth.

“We offer 80 percent cost reduction on IoT devices together with longer battery life,” CEO Ed Chao told me.

On the business side, PoLTE is using a software-as-a-service model. You can get started for free if you don’t need a lot of API calls. You then start paying depending on the size of your fleet of devices and the number of location requests.

It doesn’t really matter if the company finds a good business opportunity. PoLTE is a low-level technology company at heart. Its solution is interesting by itself and could help bigger companies that are looking for an efficient location-tracking solution.


Jul
24
2018
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InVision CEO Clark Valberg to talk design at Disrupt SF

To Clark Valberg, the screen is the most important place in the world. And he’s not the only one who thinks so. It isn’t just tech companies spending their money on design. The biggest brands in the world are pouring money into their digital presence, for many, the first step is InVision.

InVision launched back in 2011 with a simple premise: What if, instead of the back-and-forth between designers and engineers and executives, there was a program that let these interested parties collaborate on a prototype?

The first iteration simply let designers build out prototypes, complete with animations and transitions, so that engineers didn’t spend time building things that would only change later.

As that tool grew, InVision realized that it was in conversation with designers across the industry, and that it hadn’t yet fixed one of their biggest pain points. That’s why, in 2017, InVision launched Studio, a design platform that was built specifically for designers building products.

Alongside Studio, InVision also launched its own app store for design programs to loop into the larger InVision platform. And the company also launched a fund to invest in early-stage design companies.

The idea here is to become the Salesforce of the design world, with the entire industry centering around this company and its various offerings.

InVision has raised more than $200 million, and serves 4 million users, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500. We’re absolutely thrilled to have Clark Valberg, InVision cofounder and CEO, join us at Disrupt SF in September.

The full agenda is here. Passes for the show are available at the Early-Bird rate until July 25 here.

Jul
13
2018
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Chad Rigetti to talk quantum computing at Disrupt SF

Even for the long-standing giants of the tech industry, quantum computing is one of the most complicated subjects to tackle. So how does a five-year old startup compete?

Chad Rigetti, the namesake founder of Rigetti Computing, will join us at Disrupt SF 2018 to help us break it all down.

Rigetti’s approach to quantum computing is two-fold: on one front, the company is working on the design and fabrication of its own quantum chips; on the other, the company is opening up access to its early quantum computers for researchers and developers by way of its cloud computing platform, Forest.

Rigetti Computing has raised nearly $70 million to date according to Crunchbase, with investment from some of the biggest names around. Meanwhile, labs around the country are already using Forest to explore the possibilities ahead.

What’s the current state of quantum computing? How do we separate hype from reality? Which fields might quantum computing impact first — and how can those interested in quantum technology make an impact? We’ll talk all this and more at Disrupt SF 2018.

Passes to Disrupt SF are available at the Early Bird rate until July 25 here.

Jun
12
2018
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Reid Hoffman to talk ‘blitzscaling’ at Disrupt SF 2018

When it comes to scaling startups, few people are as accomplished or consistently successful as Reid Hoffman .

While the rest of us consider scaling a startup to market domination a daunting task, Hoffman has continued to make it look easy.

In September, Hoffman will join us at TC Disrupt SF to share his strategies on “blitzscaling,” which also happens to be the title of his forthcoming book.

Hoffman started out his Silicon Valley career at PayPal, serving as EVP and a founding board member. In 2003, Hoffman founded LinkedIn from his living room. LinkedIn now has more than 500 million members across 200 countries and territories across the world, effectively becoming a necessity to the professional marketplace.

Hoffman left LinkedIn in 2007, but his contributions to the company certainly helped turn it into the behemoth it is today, going public in 2011 and selling to Microsoft for a whopping $26.2 billion in 2016.

At Disrupt, he’ll outline some of the methodology behind going from startup to scale up that is outlined in his new book, Blitzscaling, co-authored with Chris Yeh:

Blitzscaling is a specific set of practices for igniting and managing dizzying growth; an accelerated path to the stage in a startup’s life-cycle where the most value is created. It prioritizes speed over efficiency in an environment of uncertainty, and allows a company to go from “startup” to “scaleup” at a furious pace that captures the market.

Drawing on their experiences scaling startups into billion-dollar businesses, Hoffman and Yeh offer a framework for blitzscaling that can be replicated in any region or industry. Readers will learn how to design business models that support lightning-fast growth, navigate necessary shifts in strategy at each level of scale, and weather the management challenges that arise as their company grows.

Today, Hoffman leads Greylock Partners’ Discovery Fund, where he invests in seed-stage entrepreneurs and companies. He currently serves on the boards of Airbnb, Convoy, Edmodo and Microsoft. Hoffman’s place in the VC world is a natural continuation of his angel investing. His angel portfolio includes companies like Facebook, Flickr, Last.fm, and Zynga.

Hoffman has also invested in tech that affects positive change, serving on the non-profit boards of Biohub, Kiva, Endeavor, and DoSomething.org.

Blitzscaling marks Hoffman’s third book (others include The Startup of You and The Alliance) and we’re absolutely thrilled to have him teach us a thing or two at Disrupt SF.

Tickets to Disrupt SF are available now right here.

Sep
13
2016
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Myki rolls out a password manager that locks all your info away on your phone

myki Everything is getting hacked to the point that it’s getting kind of ridiculous — and everyone needs to have secure passwords. The trouble, however, is making them tough to crack and also being able to remember them. That’s led to a blossoming ecosystem of password management services like OnePassword. But if you ask Antoine Vincent Jebara and Priscilla Elora Sharuk,… Read More

Sep
13
2016
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Google’s Diane Greene talks AWS and machine learning at TechCrunch Disrupt

disrupt_sf16_diane_greene-3752 Diane Greene, executive vice president of Google Cloud Enterprise, appeared on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco with TechCrunch editor Matt Burns today, and talked about her role running Google’s massive cloud business.
She came on board last year when Google bought her startup, bebop Technologies for $348 million, and she immediately brought with her enterprise… Read More

Sep
13
2016
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Create hassle-free slideshow presentations online with Slides

disrupt_sf16_slides-2724 Meetings are probably never going to die — and, along with that, neither are presentations. But the traditional route for making presentations is getting a little outdated, with tools like PowerPoint getting updated regularly but lacking a certain simplicity to them.
That’s why Owen Bossola and Hakim El Hattab decided to start Slides, an online service for creating, viewing and… Read More

Sep
13
2016
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CEO David Sacks on moving on from Zenefits’ troubled past

disrupt_sf16_david_sacks-3714 Zenefits at one point was one of the fastest growing software companies in the world, rocketing to a $4.5 billion valuation in 18 months. It was on track to generate tens of millions of dollars in annual recurring revenue. Then, everything went south; regulators started investigating the company, and its CEO Parker Conrad was fired from the company earlier this year. In short, it’s been… Read More

Sep
13
2016
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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announces new chief equality officer

marc-benioff Salesforce has taken a leading role on LGBT issues and now it is taking that one step further. The company next week will be announcing its first chief equality officer, who will report directly to CEO Marc Benioff. Benioff speaking on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco with editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino talked about his commitment to helping improve the world. While he has… Read More

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