In: Venture Capital

The 10 things not to do when pitching a venture capitalist
August 11, 2017

There’s a lot in the press these days about the behavior of some venture capitalists toward women entrepreneurs. The industry –…

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How Father.io uses augmented reality to turn the world into a first-person shooter
March 14, 2016

Laser tag is still one of the coolest things ever, but it’s kinda weird for me (a 32-year-old man) and my friends to go to the local Magic Mountain to take on a team of kids celebrating little Gary’s 10th birthday.
This is where Father.io comes in.
Father.io is a new generation of laser tag that uses your smartphone and augmented reality to create what feels like a real-world first-person shooter video game. The company (which shares the Father.io name with the game) has started a crowdfunding project on IndieGogo to raise $50,000 to manufacture the special sensors that connect to the back of your iPhone or Android phone to make the entire game possible.
After launching in late January, the crowdfunding campaign has surpassed $210,000 from 4,523 backers. The game has seemingly caught the attention of so many people because it promises to combine elements from massively multiplayer hits like World of Warcraft with the geo-locational action of developer Niantic Labs’ Ingress. Only you..

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The app inventor’s guide to unlocking investment funds
March 14, 2016

GUEST:
The great thing about ideas is that they don’t cost anything. Today there are more ways than ever to turn your app ideas into something material for close to free, but at the next steps of app entrepreneurship, you’ll need more than pocket change. This article is for app inventors who already have a minimum viable product on hand.
When you’re ready to truly launch your product into the world, you’ll need sufficient capital and a team of people behind you who can help you take it to the next level. This role is often best filled by experienced angel, seed, and venture investors. The key to securing an investor or investors is doing your homework. You’ll need to first take your idea to the people who can push the concept, and you, further. Think of securing funding as looking for a new job, because that’s really what it is. You’re on the hunt for the funds that will make self-employment and professional self-realization possible.
So, where to start? First, ask yourself if you a..

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How Dragon Age’s David Gaider joined the old-school role-playing game renaissance
March 14, 2016

FEATURE:
David Gaider is now part of the renaissance.
The acclaimed writer for the blockbuster Dragon Age role-playing game series left EA-owned studio BioWare in January. It didn’t take long for him to return to his roots — the Infinity Engine, a development tool that helped create some of the greatest RPGs in gaming’s history, which include Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment. These fantasy titles became so renowned that they established a genre of their own: isometric RPGs (named after their pseudo-top/down viewpoint). In February Gaider joined Beamdog, the Canadian studio that put out enhanced versions of the Baldur’s Gate games he worked on years ago, as its creative director.
Above: David Gaider of Beamdog.
And he has done so as the style is enjoying, as Gaider termed it in an email interview, a “renaissance” that started when Obsidian Entertainment accomplished a successful Kickstarter campaign for Pillars of Eternity, an Infinity Engine-style fantasy RPG, in 2012. This le..

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How my Kickstarter blew up my life
March 14, 2016

GUEST:
In October 2014, I raised nearly $150,000 on my first crowdfunding campaign. Three months later, when I was in my final year of college and 21 years old, I wished I’d never heard of Kickstarter. I’d committed the cardinal sin of crowdfunding by shipping a shit product to over 2,500 people who’d backed my campaign.
It’s now March 2016, and my backers are back to being huge supporters. I’ve built a thriving business and somehow managed to graduate from school. I have emerged from the crucible of crowdfunding a vastly improved entrepreneur and (I believe) a better person. The following is my story. I hope it provides lessons for aspiring crowdfunders/entrepreneurs and entertainment for everyone else.
I launched my product’s campaign on a Tuesday night with a $12,000 goal. I woke up the next morning to pledges of $18,000 from hundreds of people around the world I didn’t know. Encouraging comments flooded my inbox. I was immediately hooked on crowdfunding.
I knew nothing about ma..

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Go board game champion Lee Sedol finally beats Google’s AI
March 14, 2016

SEOUL (by Se Young Lee, Reuters) – South Korean Lee Sedol won his first match against a computer program developed by a Google subsidiary on Sunday in the ancient board game Go, denying a clean sweep for the artificial intelligence in a five-match series.
Lee, one of the world’s top players and a holder of 18 international titles, recovered from three consecutive losses against the AlphaGo program developed by DeepMind.
“This win is invaluable and I would not trade it for anything else in the world,” a jubilant Lee told reporters after the match, thanking fans for their support.
The 33-year-old professional player has admitted to underestimating AlphaGo’s skills but also said the program was not perfect, asking supporters to keep watching the contest.
DeepMind founder Demis Hassabis told reporters the loss was a valuable learning tool and would help identify weaknesses in the program that his team needed to address.
“It’s a real testament to Mr Lee’s incredible fighting spirit and..

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YouTube shows Adblock Plus users an error message instead of ads
March 14, 2016

Do you use YouTube with Adblock Plus? Some users have been getting the following message instead of ads: “An error occurred. Please try again later.”
The error message is only shown for the duration of the ad, meaning Adblock Plus is still technically getting the job done. But ad blocking extensions typically block ads as well as remove them: For banner ads that means gaining back screen real estate on the webpage, while for videos that means the content starts playing right away. Adblock Plus has removed YouTube ads successfully for years, but sometime in the past week something broke down.
In our tests, the problem would only occur on Chrome with Adblock Plus, while Firefox with the extension installed worked just fine. Others have reported that the problem occurs in every browser. The issue also appears to only affect certain Google accounts, so some users have simply changed accounts to avoid the error.

“We’re looking into what the problem might be, but at the moment it would a..

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Stardock’s newest tech will let you mix AMD and Nvidia video cards in a PC
March 14, 2016

EXCLUSIVE:
Stardock is about to revolutionize the video-card market for PCs. Not only will it make high-end gaming more affordable, but it also will put virtual reality within reach of millions of consumers.
In an exclusive interview with GamesBeat, CEO Brad Wardell laid out the PC utility and gaming company’s initiative for this radical idea. It’s a software solution that’s part of DirectX 12, and some might forget that Stardock’s main business is making utilities like Fences for Windows. The solution enables you to use AMD and Nvidia video cards in one PC, and you don’t need cumbersome setups like AMD’s CrossFire or Nvidia’s SLI (which link multiple cards together — but only of the corresponding manufacturer, and the cards must be identical). You just plug into your existing PCIe ports. The company and Microsoft plan to talk about this exciting innovation this week during the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
“We will come up with a cool marketing name for it,” Wardell ..

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Why Europe lags behind the US in VC investment
March 14, 2016

GUEST:
Activity in the USA and Europe firmly dominates the venture capital (VC) industry. Where ‘the Valley’ led the way, start-up ecosystems have sprouted across the whole of Europe. Be it financial technology in London, ecommerce in Berlin or advertising technology in Paris, over the last decade Europe has grown a number of healthy start-up centers encouraging entrepreneurs to take a leap of faith in their ideas and start building a business.
But despite being equal to the US in terms of GDP and possessing a larger population, Europe sits very far behind the US in terms of venture financing.
As Figure 1 shows (based on data from CB Insights Venture report 2014), in 2015, VCs invested 5.4 times more money in the US compared to Europe. VCs also closed more than three times as many deals in the US as in Europe.
Above: Figure 1. Source: CB Insights Venture report 2014
Despite the massive difference in volumes of capital, the last five years have seen larger growth in Europe in terms..

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Facebook arrest foreshadows the global data encryption war
March 14, 2016

ANALYSIS:
On March 1, Brazilian federal police arrested Diego Dzodan for his failure to turn over decrypted WhatsApp messages for a drug investigation. Dzodan is a vice president at Facebook, the parent company of WhatsApp, which offers its customers “end-to-end” encryption of their messages. Though he spent only about 24 hours in jail, Dzodan’s arrrest shows that foreign governments may take measures that are far more direct — and immediate, than those pursued by the FBI in its effort to force Apple to unlock an iPhone.
Above: Senior Facebook executive Diego Dzodan, who was recently released from a Brazilian jail due to a disputed court order demanding data from the company’s WhatsApp messaging service for a confidential drug-trafficking investigation, speaks at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts March 5, 2016.
Image Credit: Reuters/Mary Schwalm What if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had been in Brazil at the moment his company defied a court o..

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