Facebook announces paid family sick leave and new bereavement benefits for employees

On her personal Facebook account Tuesday, COO Sheryl Sandberg announced an update to the company’s employee benefits, which are newly enhanced to ease the lives of new parents and grieving employees alike.

Sandberg noted that the decision intends to lead the charge for policies that help new parents as well as families that are grieving the loss of a loved one. In the post, Sandberg noted her own experience as a mother and the “nightmare” surrounding the unexpected death of her husband in shaping her perspective.

“Starting today, Facebook employees will have up to 20 days paid leave to grieve an immediate family member, up to 10 days to grieve an extended family member, and will be able to take up to six weeks of paid leave to care for a sick relative,” Sandberg writes. “We’re also introducing paid family sick time – three days to take care of a family member with a short-term illness, like a child with the flu.”

Facebook currently offers four months of paid leave for new parents, moms and dads alike. That puts the company on the leading edge of the curve, given that the U.S. consistently ranks in the bottom by most measures of paid parental leave, though some states are taking measures to change that.

For all of the criticism the industry faces around issues of diversity and inclusion, which it for the most part still hasn’t figured out, tech has blazed some notable trails in employee benefits. Though that might conjure images of nap pods and well-stocked cereal selections, in recent years tech companies have moved to make their full-time worker benefits some of the most robust around. Those same protections rarely extend to contract workers and anyone working that sharing economy hustle, but they’re certainly a solid start.

In 2015, Amazon responded to intense criticism around its implementation of maternity leave (among many other corporate culture red flags) by reworking its policies. A few months later, Netflix introduced unlimited parental leave, though unlimited leave, like unlimited vacation, doesn’t always live up to its name. And of course, Mark Zuckerberg publicly committed to his own company’s parenting policies by taking two months off from running Facebook after the birth of his daughter Max.

For the rest of the context for Facebook’s new policies, Sandberg’s full post is embedded below.

Featured Image: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/07/facebook-parental-leave-bereavement-benefits/?ncid=rss

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub invests $50 million in its first 47 research initiatives

The Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, a non-profit medical research organization started by Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg (and not to be confused with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a limited liability corporation to advance human potential) today announced it would be doling out a total of $50 million to its first cohort of disease investigators.

The Biohub brings together Bay Area universities including the University of California, Berkeley; the University of California, San Francisco; and Stanford. One of the keystones to this collaboration effort is the investigative program.

Forty-seven investigators have been chosen out of 700 faculty members who applied, each receiving up to $1.5 million over the span of five years to go toward their research aims.

Investigators can study anything from organ printing techniques to studying how cells assemble — all with the Biohub’s goal to “cure, prevent or manage all diseases.”

It’s a bold aim. Many research institutes focus on just one disease. Another Silicon Valley initiative, The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, as the name implies, only looks at cancer. Billionaire and former Facebook president Sean Parker, who started his cancer institute with the same name, has a separate initiative for allergy research.

But the Biohub takes the opposite approach. Opening itself to all types of research instead in an effort to make great scientific strides.

“If you go back 100 years from right now and look at the rate of change and what has happened and you extrapolate into the future, you cannot predict the kinds of innovation and inventions and quantum leaps in our ability to cure disease or manage or prevent it,” co-president of the Biohub, Joe DeRisi says.

And while the Biohub isn’t the first to hand out cash to wet lab geeks in hopes of making life-altering discoveries, it’s not like the XPRIZE or some other sort of competition after the selection process is done. In fact, DeRisi tells us there’s much less emphasis on achieving goals and more on finding new insights — including in basic science that does not have to be disease-focused.

He points to discoveries like CRISPR-Cas9 as a prime example of something that comes out of this type of collaboration. “No one would have predicted it would be the actual key technology to most of the bold new innovations in healthcare that are coming down the line,” DeRisi said.

In addition to the investigator program, the Biohub has a few other large-scale initiatives such as the Infectious Disease Initiative to discover new ways to fight dengue fever and Zika outbreaks, as well as the Cell Atlas, a global project to map the cells in the human body in hopes it unlocks certain causes of disease and potentially leads to new therapies.

Those interested in a full list of the 47 new investigator initiatives can click here to find out more about them.

Featured Image: Peter Barreras/Invision/AP

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/07/the-chan-zuckerberg-biohub-invests-50-million-in-its-first-47-research-initiatives/?ncid=rss

Tinder rival Paktor launches ‘Labs’ division to experiment with the future of social apps

It turns out that Asian dating app Paktor’s quiet acquisition of Down was more than just a one night stand. The deal, which TechCrunch broke news of last week, was part of a number of acquisitions that has led to the creation of Paktor Labs, an experimental division that is led by Down founder Colin Hodge.

Paktor, best known as a Tinder rival in Asia, has been pushing to diversify its business for some time. Speaking when it closed a $32.5 million funding round in October, CEO Joseph Phua told us that he was looking to move into “social entertainment” and tap into consumer media trends such as live streaming. It is retaining the focus on its core Tinder-like swiping app called Paktor, but Labs is how it will look to the future and develop spin-off services.

“It’s an experimental and high-paced lab that works with acquired apps or new projects that have the chance to grow and prove themselves,” Hodge told TechCrunch in an interview. “We want to develop a formula for releasing a social app, and growing it to significant revenue and user activity.”

The current Paktor Labs projects include Down (and sister app Sweet), Taiwan’s Goodnight and Brazil-based Kickoff, each of which are new acquisitions announced today, and one unnamed internal project. Led by Hodge, it is staffed by a team of eight which includes most of those Spanish app Groopify, including its CEO and co-founder Pablo Viguera. Paktor said it acquired Groopify but its product has been shut down.

Hodge revealed that he began collaborating with Paktor back in May 2016 before selling the company and formally coming aboard later in the year. Already, he claimed, Paktor Labs has increased Down’s monthly revenue 24-fold — while he didn’t state a figure for that he said the app was already profitable. Down is Labs’ largest project with over five million downloads to date and around 200,000 monthly active users.

Goodnight, the Taiwanese app that uses voice memos and is focused on finding friends, is another Hodge said has seen the benefit of Labs. Revenue went from nothing to “quite a significant amount,” he said.

Paktor is primarily focused on Southeast Asia, but it also offers services in other parts of Asia, Latin America, Europe and the U.S. via partners and now these acquisitions.

Hodge, who is currently based in Bangkok, Thailand, said Paktor Labs is looking to Southeast Asia for its new app development ideas to keep it “focused on playing to Paktor’s strength.”

Paktor has raised more than $50 million from investors such as Yahoo Japan-affiliate YJ Capital and Singapore’s Vertex Ventures. The four-year-old company claims over 25 million users worldwide across all services and over 120 staff. CEO Phua said the firm was net profitability when it closed the recent round, he said there was plenty of money in the bank since it hadn’t touched its previous $10 million round — now we know where some of those resources have been channeled to.

Featured Image: Amy/Flickr UNDER A CC BY 2.0 LICENSE

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/08/paktor-labs/?ncid=rss

Tenka Labs raises $2.1 million to turn LEGO blocks into kids’ engineering projects

Nate MacDonald and John Schuster spent more than a decade in schools looking to teach students some basic principles of circuitry and engineering — but realized that just giving them a battery and a motor and saying “go” wasn’t enough.

So the two have started Tenka Labs, a new company that designs small blocks that operate as parts of circuits that they can connect to LEGO bricks. There are three units: a battery, a motor and a light, all of which can be connected to build creations like cars — and even a creepy moving stuffed rabbit that MacDonald showed me — in an attempt to teach kids some of the early principles of engineering. The company has raised $2.1 million in seed financing for its launch.

“Students we were teaching about basic circuitry didn’t really understand basic circuitry,” co-founder Nate MacDonald said. “When you got to people soldering, they were just blindly soldering. We wanted to find a product that would help teach them basic circuitry. Eventually as it progressed we kind of had a product. We didn’t want to just go after the teachers, we wanted it to be available for all kids and parents. We took that big concept of the block and two nails and brought it down to this size.”

The blocks operate exactly like you’d expect with units of a circuit — connecting them in sequence gets a different result than connecting them in parallel. They have small pylons on the corners that automatically snap to other units to create a circuit. For now, the company is focusing on those three elements, but it’s natural that some other basic parts would come down the line (like a resister, for example).

circuit cubes walker

The idea here is that Tenka Labs wants to catch students and give them a better foundation before they graduate to something more sophisticated like a protoboard and start building more advanced circuits. MacDonald wants to target both teachers and classrooms — which will likely get some kind of bulk discount — in addition to just parents. For now, everything is sold in kits, like one that uses all three to create a car. The kits retail at around $60.

Each is designed to be just the size of LEGO blocks and snap into various creations beyond the kits that they’re offering. The kits are available for reservation and pre-order right now. “Kids are familiar with it, they’re comfortable with it,” MacDonald said. “Every kid has a pile of LEGOs.”

Schuster also said that the company isn’t necessarily looking to compete against what he calls “screen time,” when a kid might be playing with a smartphone or tablet. But there has to be a place in the day where they’re away from screens and using their imagination to build things, he said.

“We know that we’re not against screen time, I’m not opposed, but there’s a balance,” Schuster said. “But we think with the maker movement there’s a drive toward tactile play, and being able to make mistakes. The awesome thing about making creativity, you’re gonna have 6 kids building 6 different things.”

Tenka Labs is, of course, not alone in trying to build these sort of early engineering training products. There are other companies like LittleBits building similar tools to teach STEM basics to students before they start graduating to more advanced concepts, and that company raised $44.2 million in June on 2015. Schuster wasn’t shy to say that there will definitely be competition going forward, and now the company’s next step is to show off the units at the New York Toy Fair to get things started.

“We want it to be analog, we want this to be something the kids need to learn the basics before they go to a digital product,” Schuster said. “They need to understand motor and gears. We integrate with the most common building block so we can build in three dimensions. We work with kids enough to know that you have to really ramp up the play factor. We want to help them go on this adventure. It’s not, say, ‘hey we’re gonna learn about circuits, you each have to build a car.’”

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/07/tenka-labs-raises-2-1-million-to-turn-legos-into-kids-engineering-projects/?ncid=rss

Creative Commons unveils a new photo search engine with filters, lists & social sharing

Finding free and legal images to accompany your web content has never been difficult, thanks to Creative Commons. The nonprofit organization offers copyright licenses that creators can use to share their work more broadly, while putting them in control of where and how their work can be used, how it should be attributed and more. Now the organization is making it easier to access this content with a new search engine, CC Search, launched into beta this morning.

Larger image search engines, like those from Google and Flickr, have for years offered tools to filter for CC-licensed images, but Creative Commons’ own search tool continues to have a sizable audience of its own. The organization says that nearly 60,000 users search its site every month. But it believed it needed to do better, in terms of making the commons more accessible.

“There is no ‘front door’ to the commons, and the tools people need to curate, share, and remix works aren’t yet available,” writes Ryan Merkley, Creative Commons CEO on the organization’s blog. “We want to make the commons more usable, and this is our next step in that direction.”


While Creative Commons licenses can be used across a variety of media, including video, audio, music and much more, the search engine for now only focuses on images given that they comprise half of the total commons.

The engine pulls in photos from Flickr, 500px, Rijksmuseum, the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art as its initial sources. The latter was added to just today, to coincide with the launch, and brings 200,000 more images to the service.

In total, there are roughly 9,477,000 images available at the time of launch, though the exact figures will vary at times.

In addition to having a more modern look-and-feel, the new CC Search lets you narrow searches by license type, title, creator, tags, collection and type of institution. It also includes social features, letting you make and share lists of favorite images, as well as add tags and favorites to individual items. Plus, you can save your searches for quick access in the future.


The engine also makes it easier to apply the necessary attribution, when available, by offering  pre-formatted copy you can click to copy and paste.

As a beta, the organization says it’s looking to now gain feedback from users about the new product, which it will use to help guide the next steps, including things like forthcoming features, what media types to support next and which repositories should be added. Creative Commons says it’s already focused on bringing to future CC Search releases the full content of the Europeana collection, a selected subset from DPLA and a larger subset of the Flickr Commons.

Other additions in the works include more tools to customize shared lists, a way to search from your own curated material, the ability for trusted users to push metadata (e.g. tags) back to the larger collection and more advanced search tools, like search by color, drill down into tags and search public lists.

Being able to more easily search the commons has been a focus over the years for smaller services, too, which long ago launched their own dedicated CC search tools, like Compfight or Openphoto, for example. But it makes sense to have an advanced search feature that lives on Creative Commons’ website as well — and one that, in time, will expand beyond just images.

“This is a significant moment for CC, as we’ve always wanted to be able to do more to help people find and use the commons and make connections with each other as they create new things,” noted Merkley, in the announcement.

The beta search engine is available at ccsearch.creativecommons.org.

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/07/creative-commons-unveils-a-new-photo-search-engine-with-filters-lists-social-sharing/?ncid=rss

Chatbooks raises $11.5 million to put photo printing on autopilot

Photo-printing services abound online, from dot-com-era brands like Shutterfly to services launched through the years by Apple, Amazon, Costco and Walgreens. Startups keep cropping up, too — no surprise given the number of photos people take and share these days, thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and social media. Now, one photo-printing startup called Chatbooks has raised $11.5 million in new venture funding to pull ahead of the pack. The round was led by Aries Capital Partners, and brings Chatbooks’ total equity funding to $20 million.

Photo-printing competitors like Blurb, Mpix, Snapfish, Picaboo, Sincerely and Groovebook promise users design tools, premium papers and the ability to send printed photos to loved ones by post. But Chatbooks has focused on taking the work out of designing a nice photo album, holiday cards or other printed matter. Their app lets users create custom photo books, prints or cards from the pictures they’ve already posted to Instagram, Facebook, Google Photos or just stored in albums in their Camera Roll.

Users can opt for a one-off or subscription service that automatically prints their favorites or most-liked photos over a given period in soft or hardcover albums. Over time, Chatbooks has expanded its offering from just albums to include prints and holiday cards. The startup works in partnership with stationers like Rifle Paper Co. to offer some premium products and classic designs.

Chatbooks photo albums.

Chatbooks photo albums.

Married co-founders of Chatbooks Nate and Vanessa Quigley intend to use the capital to develop new products and expand within the U.S. and international markets, they said. The couple was inspired to create Chatbooks when Vanessa Quigley found herself spending entirely too much time picking through digital photos of their seven children to print for various albums or holiday cards.

CEO Nate Quigley said, “Vanessa’s original insight was that there’s something about holding a picture in your hands… Sitting there looking at a photo album with no notifications, no screen light —  it’s like whatever you captured has been made more important because it’s on a page. But it has to be beyond easy to make that happen or else you’re just not going to do it. We say our app was built to ‘help people hold on to what matters most.’”

Because videos and GIFs have become as easy to create and share as photos, Chatbooks plans to use some of its new round of funding to develop products that help users turn their videos into physical assets. What form that will take, exactly, he didn’t specify. Based in Provo, Utah, the company employs about 40 full-time workers today and will also use some of its funding for hiring as-needed labor.

Aries Capital Partners’ investor Andy Dent tells TechCrunch his firm doesn’t usually back consumer tech. It made an exception for Chatbooks because of the app’s broad appeal. He said, “Whether it is grandparents, parents or young college students, everyone takes photos these days. But we take so many photos, we almost can’t enjoy them like we did when we had to take them to the store and develop these rolls of film. Chatbooks brings back that enjoyment without charging users an arm and a leg.”

He expects Chatbooks to maintain its focus on a dead simple user experience, and affordable but high-quality products. He lauded Chatbooks for reeling in users who had never tried photo-printing services before. Almost half of the company’s users fit that description, Quigley confirmed.

Featured Image: chatbooks.com

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/07/chatbooks-raises-11-5-million-to-put-photo-printing-on-auto-pilot/?ncid=rss

Waze Carpool completes its Bay Area rollout and adds three new partners

After expanding to the Bay Area in a pilot last September, Waze Carpool is now officially open to all in the nine counties that make up the region, and also in Northern California from Sacramento to Monterey, the company announced. This marks the proper launch for the Google-owned collaborative ride sharing tool, which is not so much a competitor for Google as it is a community-focused effort on actually sharing rides to and from work with people who are driving your way already.

Waze Carpool also has three new partners in its efforts to help address Bay Area traffic congestion, including the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and Kaiser Permanente, all of whom will now contribute to carpool routes that serve areas that include San Francisco hospital campuses where bus and other transit routes don’t normally reach.

UCSF and Kaiser Permanente are hoping that teaming up with Waze for its carpooling services will help it address the issue of traffic and parking shortages at its Mission Bay, Geary and Parnassus companies, according to the company, and Waze Carpool will now be offered as a part of their existing transportation demand management programs, which seek to drive down the number of single-person cars choking up roadways and available parking.

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As it has been since its pilot debut in 2016, Waze Carpool is not seeking to attract professional drivers. Instead, it’s looking to sign up drives via its Waze app, and riders via the Waze Rider app, and it provides a minor payout from riders to drivers – but not more than the current average federal mileage rate. The whole payment structure is designed to help drivers recoup the cost of gas, and perhaps a bit of maintenance, but not much more than that.

Waze doesn’t vet drivers, as a result, and the intent is literally just to facilitate carpooling through a technical solution, since traditional carpooling often fails because of a lack of sustained interest or too much variety in destinations among small groups of friends and coworkers.

New riders get two free rides when they firs sign up for Waze, and thanks to the partnership, anyone who registers with UCSF or Kaiser Permanente work email addresses will also get an addition free ride.

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/07/waze-carpool-completes-its-bay-area-rollout-and-adds-three-new-partners/?ncid=rss

A bill requiring the government to obtain a warrant to search your email just flew through the House

A bill set to update online privacy laws dating back three decades just cruised through the House by unanimous vote for the second time. The bipartisan bill known as the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387), introduced by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis and Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder, would require the government to seek a warrant in order to access the email of American citizens.

As it stands, ambiguity surrounding the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) — a law passed in 1986 — lets the government exercise warrantless searches if emails are more than 180 days old and live on third-party servers.

Last year, the same bill passed in the House before stalling out in the Senate, partly at the hands of Trump-appointed attorney general and then Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama. Last June, Sessions proposed an amendment to the reinvented ECPA that would create exceptions for “emergency disclosures.” That surveillance-friendly loophole was just one of the tweaks that caused the bill to stall out before it could come to a vote.

Following the vote, Google Director of Law Enforcement and Information Security Richard Salgado issued a statement praising the House and urging the Senate to seize the “historic opportunity” for reform:

“The Email Privacy Act updates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require the government to obtain a warrant before it can compel companies like Google to disclose the content of users’ communications. Since 2010, Google has testified before Congress four times in support of this reform, which will protect all users, and we are proud of our efforts…

This Act will fix a constitutional flaw in ECPA, which currently purports to allow the government to compel a provider to disclose email contents in some cases without a warrant, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Email Privacy Act ensures that the content of our emails are protected in the same way that the Fourth Amendment protects the items we store in our homes.

This is consistent with the practice around the country already and what the Constitution requires; the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in 2010 that ECPA is unconstitutional to the extent it permits the government to compel a service provider to disclose to the government a user’s electronic communications content without a warrant. Today’s vote demonstrates that this conviction is widely shared.”

In a statement on the bill, the ACLU’s Neema Singh Guliani also commended the House for once again passing the Email Privacy Act and implored the Senate to do the same:

“Last year, this bills’ progress was derailed by Senate efforts to water down its provisions and attach amendments that would have weakened Americans’ privacy. We urge the Senate to not repeat past mistakes; instead it should act quickly to pass legislation that ensures that Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights are protected in the digital age.”

With Sessions out of the way, the Email Privacy Act may find less friction in the Senate — but in 2017’s uncertain political climate, that doesn’t exactly have digital privacy advocates resting easy.

Featured Image: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/06/email-privacy-act-passes-house-2017/?ncid=rss

FBI axes FOIA requests by email, so dust off your fax machine

As tech-savvy government efforts like 18F and the USDS take technological strides forward, other parts of the government are abandoning modern technology altogether.

Starting next month, the FBI will no longer accept Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by email. In lieu of its popular email service, the FBI suggests sending a fax or snail mail, a procedural change that has more to do with obstructing the law than a dearth of resources.

As the Daily Dot‘s Dell Cameron reports, the FBI will allow a small portion of FOIA requests via a new web portal, but the filer must first provide a phone number, mailing address and other personal details as well as signing off on the following terms of service agreement.



The terms state that anyone making a FOIA request online is now “limited to making one request per day and one request per submission,” language that does not immediately appear to be supported by law. Then again, the FBI’s established use of outdated technology for FOIA requests does not necessarily sit well with its requirement to show that a search was “reasonably calculated to discover the requested documents,” as is required by law.

Some of the portal’s phrasing is murky at best, but then again, so are many things about the government’s FOIA implementation. While not difficult, exactly, the formalized nature of FOIA can be intimidating for anyone new to the process. For publications with the resources to do so, it’s not uncommon to sue in order to obtain FOIA documents that the government refuses to hand over.

To make the whole thing more accessible—and to promote the freedom of information more broadly—a popular service called MuckRock offers forms and online tracking for anyone using FOIA to request documents in the public record. The spirit of the FBI’s FOIA shift runs exactly counter to MuckRock’s mission, and the mission of so many FOIA filers who seek to emancipate information that rightfully belongs to the public.

The Freedom of Information Act might not be sexy in acronym form, but some of the revelations that it ushers out of the shadows turn out to be total bombshells. Even if you’ve never heard of FOIA, you’ve almost certainly followed a major headline that began as a humble FOIA request. For journalists, FOIA is the most powerful transparency tool around, allowing reporters who know where to look access to deep slices of government documentation that would otherwise remain behind the curtain.

The FBI is only one of many government bodies providing FOIA resistance, but it’s a big one. Notably, the CIA is among the other agencies that do not accept standard digital FOIA requests in spite of having the resources to do so. Given its track record and ongoing controversy, the FBI’s decision to revert to archaic technology is troubling, but for dogged FOIA filers, another layer of strategic obfuscation is just business as usual.

Featured Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/06/fbi-foia-fax-march-2017/?ncid=rss

And the winners of the 10th Annual Crunchies are…

It’s that time of year again. Silicon Valley has exchanged its standard hoodie-based uniform for something a bit more festive and has made its way over to the War Memorial Opera House to celebrate the 10th Annual Crunchies. Like last year’s show, tonight’s host is comedian and actress Chelsea Peretti.

After an open nomination process, the members of our Crunchies board voted for the finalists over the last few weeks and tonight we’ll announce the winners.

There are 11 awards up for grabs tonight. Those range from “VC of the Year” and “Angel of the Year” to awards for “Best Technology,” “Founder of the Year,” and “Best Startup.” The TechCrunch Include Award for “an organization or individual that has advanced inclusion in tech” also returns for the second year in a row. New this year is an award for best startup video.

The show starts at 8pm Pacific and for those of you who couldn’t make it, we’ll keep a running tab of all the winners in the list below.

We will update this post throughout the evening.

Congratulations to all our winners!

VC of the Year

An investor whose bets on founders and companies have borne fruit this year

Kirsten Green, Forerunner Ventures (winner)
Kirsten is the founder of Forerunner Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm. With nearly two decades of investment experience, Kirsten combines an experience and thesis-driven approach with a consumer centric view, to identify visionary entrepreneurs and compelling brand platforms. Through her work at Forerunner, she has raised in excess of $100M and partnered with some of the most promising companies in the current evolution of commerce/retailing.


Aydin Senkut, Felicis Ventures (runner-up)

Byron Deeter, Bessemer Venture Partners

Stuart Peterson, ARTIS Ventures

Tony Florence, NEA

Angel Investor of the Year

A breakout portfolio

Naval Ravikant (winner)

The CEO and co-founder of AngelList also sits on the board of Uber and Twitter and has made 88 personal investments since 2007. Ravikant is someone many in the tech community look to as a leader and go to for investment advice and remains an active angel investor.


Troy Carter (runner-up)

Carine Magescas

Eric Paley

Fabrice Grinda

Hardware of the Year

Breakout hardware product of the year

Snapchat Spectacles (winner)

No gadget made a splash in 2016 the way that Snapchat Spectacles did. The technology itself isn’t revolutionary, but the recording sunglasses have made a mark on the marketing world, building a huge amount of hype around the city-by-city Snapbot launches.


Bevel Trimmer (runner-up)

Doppler Labs Here One

June Oven

Markforged Mark Two

TechCrunch Include Award

An organization or individual that has advanced inclusion in tech

Project Include (winner)
Diversity in tech is a topic that makes a lot of people uncomfortable. The goal of Project Include is to make the the conversation a lot easier to have. Led by Erica Joy Baker, bethanye McKinney Blount, Tracy Chou, Laura I. Gómez, Y-Vonne Hutchinson, Freada Kapor Klein, Ellen Pao and Susan Wu, Project Include provides tools for tech CEOs to help foster working environments of inclusion for underrepresented groups.


Tony Prophet, Salesforce (runner-up)

Change Catalyst


Mission Bit

Best Technology

An exceptional recent technological achievement

CRISPR- Cas9 (winner)

CRISPR (pronounced crisper) stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. Not only does it have the potential to radically change the genetic code of all of humanity but could also fundamentally affect our health care, food system, farming and even the manufacturing and production industries.


Tesla Solar Roof (runner-up)

Blue Origin

Facebook solar plane

SpaceX Falcon 9 Landing

Social Impact

Excelling in using technology to advance social impact

Kapor Center for Social Impact (winner)

The Kapor Center for Social Impact aims to make the tech ecosystem more diverse and inclusive through community engagement, financial investment in underrepresented founders and STEM education for underserved kids.


Signal Protocol (runner-up)

A Vision for Black Lives

Oakland Digital

We The Protesters

Best App

A recent standout that has earned a place on your home screen

Pokémon GO (winner)

In the last year, no app has made quite as big of a splash as Niantic’s Pokémon GO. Kids and adults alike flocked to the app, which was the fastest-growing mobile game in history. Plus, Pokémon GO was the fastest game to ever hit $500 million in revenue.


Musical.ly (runner-up)




Founder of the Year

A founder that has made a statement in leadership or execution this year

Jeff Lawson, Twilio (winner)

Twilio’s CEO and founder Jeff Lawson has not only grown Twilio to a market cap of $2.5+ billion, but he publicly launched the company at a time when tech companies were hesitant to IPO in the midst of a semi-turbulent market. In fact, he did it the day before the Brexit vote.


Tristan Walker, Walker & Company (runner-up)

Jessica O. Matthews, Uncharted Play

Morgan DeBaun, Blavity

Ryan Petersen, Flexport

Best Startup Video

Best launch or explanatory video

Snapchat Spectacles (winner)

Slack (runner-up)




Hot New Startup

A startup founded or publicly launched this year

Otto (winner)

Otto is an autonomous startup focused on the development of self-driving technology for trucks. The company works on technology that enables drivers to let their truck steer by itself on certain parts of the highway. Otto also provides solutions that can be fitted onto trucks, thus supporting drivers to have safer journeys, take small naps, and even have lunch while the vehicle is self-steering.


Prelude Fertility (runner-up)




Best Startup

Slack (winner)

Aside from that odd, full-page ad in The New York Times, Slack has had a shining year. In 2016 alone, Slack launched a beautiful new NYC office to tackle search and intelligence, and the company finally launched threaded messages, which makes all of us winners.


Stripe (runner-up)




Link : https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/06/and-the-winners-of-the-10th-annual-crunchies-are/?ncid=rss