LoyalBlocks Lands $9 Million Led By General Catalyst To Scale Out Its Mobile-Based Loyalty Program
LoyalBlocks, a startup that makes a mobile-focused technology platform for brick-and-mortar businesses looking to encourage customer loyalty, has raised $9 million in new funding. The round, which serves as LoyalBlocks' Series A, was led by General Catalyst Partners with participation from Founder Collective and existing investor Gemini Israel Ventures. This brings the total investment into LoyalBlocks to $12.2 million. As part of the funding, General Catalyst's Adam Valkin, who joined General Catalyst from Accel Ventures late last year, will join LoyalBlocks' board. LoyalBlocks, which is headquartered in New York City and has its engineering operations in Israel, says it will use the new funds to further scale out its operations throughout the United States -- at the moment, it's got a solid foothold with over 1500 locations using the platform, CEO Ido Gayer tells me. The company has a full-time staff of 18 that could also grow with the new funds.
Why the 'Star Trek Computer' Will Be Open Source and Apache Licensed
psykocrime writes "The crazy kids at Fogbeam Labs have a new blog post positing that there is a trend towards advanced projects in NLP, Information Retrieval, Big Data and the Semantic Web moving to the Apache Software Foundation. Considering that Apache UIMA is a key component of IBM Watson, is it wrong to believe that the organization behind Hadoop, OpenNLP, Jena, Stanbol, Mahout and Lucene will ultimately be the home of a real 'Star Trek Computer'? Quoting: 'When we talk about how the Star Trek computer had “access to all the data in the known Universe”, what we really mean is that it had access to something like the Semantic Web and the Linked Data cloud. Jena provides a programmatic environment for RDF, RDFS and OWL, SPARQL and includes a rule-based inference engine. ... In addition to supporting the natural language interface with the system, OpenNLP is a powerful library for extracting meaning (semantics) from unstructured data - specifically textual data in an unstructured (or ...
The New “Handmade”
Amid grumblings of a “general fatigue” when it comes to software-based startups, a potentially transformative technology called 3D printing is poised to reach critical mass and mainstream awareness. Today’s news headlines about the technology tend to focus on the extreme possibilities in being able to print objects on demand – from the terrors of things like a homemade 3D-printed gun to heartwarming tales of printed robotic hands for children born without fingers. But the innovation is also powering a revolution of a different kind. An emerging class of creatives are using 3D printing techniques, not to either save or destroy the world and the people in it, but simply create a little beauty along the way. These creatives, makers of the new “handmade” goods, are selling their art in online storefronts like Etsy and Shapeways, as well as within brick-and-mortar stores, and even museums. They range from technically adept programmers who never dabbled in hands-on art involving paint ...
Amtrak Upgrades Wi-Fi
New submitter WillgasM writes "A bit of good news for American travelers, according to the New York Times: 'After years of criticism of the wireless service on its trains, Amtrak announced on Thursday that it had upgraded its cellular-based Wi-Fi using broadband technologies that will improve the speed and reliability of the Internet in its passenger cars.' So far the service has been rolled out on the high-speed Acela lines and a few routes in California, but they hope to have the rest of their trains upgraded by the end of Summer. We're still an order of magnitude away from high-speed rails in other countries, but it's nice to know someone's trying."
Aereo Switches Up Pricing: $8/Month For 20 Hours Of DVR, $12/Month For 60 Hours Starting May 15
Aereo users, listen up. The company that has been bringing you access to 30 over-the-air broadcast channels on the cheap is switching up its pricing structure a bit to make things less complicated. Unfortunately, this switch also makes things slightly more expensive, but still highly competitive in today’s content streaming landscape. Starting on May 15, the original five-tier structure will be boiled down into two options: The base $8/month fee will offer 20 hours of DVR storage, and a $12/month fee will get you 60 hours of DVR storage. Neither service requires a long-term commitment. However, it’s worth noting that the $8/month plan changes the way you can record on Aereo’s DVR service, only letting users record from one channel at a time. At the same time, the $12 plan actually offers more than it used to, bumping up storage from 40 hours to 60 hours. When Aereo first launched, it offered more levels of service, including a $1/day deal. This was a unique option for the service, ...