How we scaled our startup by being remote first

Startups are often associated with the benefits and toys provided in their offices. Foosball tables! Free food! Dog friendly! But what if the future of startups was less about physical office space and more about remote-first work environments? What if, in fact, the most compelling aspect of a startup work environment is that the employees don’t have to go to one?

A remote-first company model has been Seeq’s strategy since our founding in 2013. We have raised $35 million and grown to more than 100 employees around the globe. Remote-first is clearly working for us and may be the best model for other software companies as well.

So, who is Seeq and what’s been the key to making the remote-first model work for us?  And why did we do it in the first place?

Seeq is a remote-first startup – i.e. it was founded with the intention of not having a physical headquarters or offices, and still operates that way – that is developing an advanced analytics application that enables process engineers and subject matter experts in oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, utilities, and other process manufacturing industries to investigate and publish insights from the massive amounts of sensor data they generate and store.

To succeed, we needed to build a team quickly with two skill sets: 1) software development expertise, including machine learning, AI, data visualization, open source, agile development processes, cloud, etc. and 2) deep domain expertise in the industries we target.

Which means there is no one location where we can hire all the employees we need: Silicon Valley for software, Houston for oil & gas, New Jersey for fine chemicals, Seattle for cloud expertise, water utilizes across the country, and so forth. But being remote-first gives has made recruiting and hiring these high-demand roles easier much easier than if we were collocated.

Image via Seeq Corporation

Job postings on remote-specific web sites like FlexJobs, and Remote OK typically draw hundreds of applicants in a matter of days. This enables Seeq to hire great employees who might not call Seattle, Houston or Silicon Valley home – and is particularly attractive to employees with location-dependent spouses or employees who simply want to work where they want to live.

But a remote-first strategy and hiring quality employees for the skills you need is not enough: succeeding as a remote-first company requires a plan and execution around the “3 C’s of remote-first”.

The three requirements to remote-first success are the three C’s: communication, commitment and culture.

Source: Tech Crunch

Lyft is adding gender-neutral pronouns to its app

Ahead of LGBTQ Pride Month, Lyft is adding gender-neutral pronouns to its rider app. Now, riders can select from the following:

  • They/them/theirs
  • She/her/hers
  • He/him/his
  • My pronoun isn’t listed
  • Prefer not to say

Drivers will be able to see your preferred pronoun, but they will not be able to share theirs. Moving forward, you can expect Lyft to start addressing you and referring to you by your preferred pronouns.

This helps to create space for those to share their pronouns and normalize the practice. Lyft is also partnering with the National Center for Transgender Equality to support drivers looking to change their names with educational and financial resources.

Source: Tech Crunch

Google Maps adds ability to see speed limits and speed traps in 40+ countries

Google Maps is gaining some features previously exclusive to Google’s navigation app, Waze. The company confirmed it’s rolling out the ability for Google Maps users to see speed limits, speed cameras, and mobile speed cameras in over 40 countries worldwide — an expansion of its earlier launch of these features, which were previously limited to select markets.

The change was noted earlier by ZDNet and, of course, Reddit.

Google confirmed with TechCrunch the full list of supported countries now seeing the speed cameras, which currently includes:

Australia, Brazil, U.S., Canada, U.K., India, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe.

Google had not been quick to integrate Waze’s best features into its own Google Maps app, following its 2013 acquisition of the popular navigation app. Instead, it seems to prefer using Google Maps as a broader platform for helping people find places including — most importantly — nearby businesses and Google advertisers.

Above: Image credit – Android Police

But last year, some people began to spot incident reports as well as crash and speed trap reports appearing in Google Maps. Those features were not broadly rolled out to all users at that time, however.

Now, that’s starting to change.

Google began to roll out the ability for users in more countries to see speed cameras around two weeks ago, we understand. The rollout is taking place on both Android and iOS. But Android users will additionally be able to report mobile speed cameras and stationary cameras, while both iOS and Android users will be able to see those updates during their drive.

The speed limit appears in the bottom corner of the app, while speed traps show up as icons on the roads themselves.

The features will likely appeal to users who want similar functionality as to what’s available today in Waze, but don’t either care for the Waze user interface (which can be overwhelming if you’re not used to it), or the way Waze chooses its routes.

There has been some confusion over where and when these alerts would be available, as Google failed to officially announce the features’ expansion. Adding to the confusion, was the fact that people were seeing the changes appear at different stages of the rollout in different countries around the world.

Despite the usefulness of speed-related alerts, Waze remains the more useful navigation platform due to its ability to crowdsource reports of all kinds — including police ahead, crashes, cars pulled over on the side of the road, gas prices, road closures, obstacles in your path like debris, red light cameras, and more.

We understand Google Maps uses a combination of authoritative feeds along with feedback from Google Maps users in order to locate the speed cameras.


Source: Tech Crunch

This robot learns its two-handed moves from human dexterity

If robots are really to help us out around the house or care for our injured and elderly, they’re going to want two hands… at least. But using two hands is harder than we make it look — so this robotic control system learns from humans before attempting to do the same.

The idea behind the research, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, isn’t to build a two-handed robot from scratch, but simply to create a system that understands and executes the same type of manipulations that we humans do without thinking about them.

For instance, when you need to open a jar, you grip it with one hand and move it into position, then tighten that grip as the other hand takes hold of the lid and twists or pops it off. There’s so much going on in this elementary two-handed action that it would be hopeless to ask a robot to do it autonomously right now. But that robot could still have a general idea of why this type of manipulation is done on this occasion, and do what it can to pursue it.

The researchers first had humans wearing a motion capture equipment perform a variety of simulated everyday tasks, like stacking cups, opening containers and pouring out the contents, and picking up items with other things balanced on top. All this data — where the hands go, how they interact, and so on — was chewed up and ruminated on by a machine learning system, which found that people tended to do one of four things with their hands:

  • Self-handover: This is where you pick up an object and put it in the other hand so it’s easier to put it where it’s going, or to free up the first hand to do something else.
  • One hand fixed: An object is held steady by one hand providing a strong, rigid grip, while the other performs an operation on it like removing a lid or stirring the contents.
  • Fixed offset: Both hands work together to pick something up and rotate or move it.
  • One hand seeking: Not actually a two-handed action, but the principle of deliberately keeping one hand out of action while the other finds the object required or performs its own task.

The robot put this knowledge to work not in doing the actions itself — again, these are extremely complex motions that current AIs are incapable of executing — but in its interpretations of movements made by a human controller.

You would think that when a person is remotely controlling a robot, it would just mirror the person’s movements exactly. And in the tests, the robot does so to provide a baseline of how without knowledge about these “bimanual actions,” many of them are simply impossible.

Think of the jar-opening example. We know that when we’re opening the jar, we have to hold one side steady with a stronger grip and may even have to push back with the jar hand against the movement of the opening hand. If you tried to do this remotely with robotic arms, that information is not present any more, and the one hand will likely knock the jar out of the grip of the other, or fail to grip it properly because the other isn’t helping out.

The system created by the researchers recognizes when one of the four actions above is happening, and takes measures to make sure that they’re a success. That means, for instance, being aware of the pressures exerted on each arm by the other when they pick up a bucket together. Or providing extra rigidity to the arm holding an object while the other interacts with the lid. Even when only one hand is being used (“seeking”), the system knows that it can deprioritize the movements of the unused hand and dedicate more resources (be it body movements or computational power) to the working hand.

In videos of demonstrations, it seems clear that this knowledge greatly improves the success rate of the attempts by remote operators to perform a set of tasks meant to simulate preparing a breakfast: cracking (fake) eggs, stirring and shifting things, picking up a tray with glasses on it and keeping it level.

Of course this is all still being done by a human, more or less — but the human’s actions are being augmented and re-interpreted into something more than simple mechanical reproduction.

Doing these tasks autonomously is a long ways off, but research like this forms the foundation for that work. Before a robot can attempt to move like a human, it has to understand not just how humans move, but why they do certain things in certain circumstances, and furthermore what important processes may be hidden from obvious observation — things like planning the hand’s route, choosing a grip location, and so on.

The Madison team was led by Daniel Rakita; their paper describing the system is published in the journal Science Robotics.

Source: Tech Crunch

CrowdStrike sets terms for $378M Nasdaq IPO

CrowdStrike, in preparation for its Nasdaq initial public offering, has inked plans to sell 18 million shares at between $19 and $23 apiece. At a midpoint price, CrowdStrike will raise $378 million at a valuation north of $4 billion.

The company, which develops cloud-native endpoint protection software to prevent cyber breaches, has raised $480 million in venture capital funding to date from Warburg Pincus, which owns a 30.2% pre-IPO stake, Accel (20.2%) and CapitalG (11.1%), according to its IPO prospectus. The business was valued at $3.3 billion with a $200 million January 2018 Series E funding.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based CrowdStrike outlined its IPO plans two weeks ago. The company plans to trade under the ticker symbol “CRWD.”

The cybersecurity unicorn follows several other highly valued venture-backed startups to the public markets, including Uber, Lyft, Pinterest, PagerDuty and Zoom. CrowdStrike’s offering will represent only the second cybersecurity IPO in 2019, however. It follows Israel’s Tufin Software Technologies, which went public earlier this year. Last year, for its part, saw the IPOs of Zscaler, Carbon Black and Tenable.

Founded in 2011 by former McAfee executives George Kurtz and Dmitri Alperovitch, CrowdStrike is up against steep competition in the cyber protection space. It’s battling the likes of McAfee, Cylance, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec, Carbon Black and more.

The business’ revenues, fortunately, are growing at an impressive rate, increasing from $53 million in 2017 and $119 million in 2018 to $250 million in the year ending January 31, 2019. In the quarter ending April 30, 2019, its revenues shot up from $47.3 million in 2018 Q1 to between $93.6 million to $95.7 million.

CrowdStrike is also backed by IVP, March Capital Partners, General Atlantic and others.

Source: Tech Crunch

Aptiv’s Karl Iagnemma at TC Sessions: Mobility July 10 in San Jose

Before automakers and giant tech companies kicked off their own autonomous vehicle pilots, a startup called nuTonomy launched a self-driving taxi service in Singapore for the public, not just its test engineers.

The AV industry took notice; and by October 2017 it was snapped up for $450 million by Aptiv, U.S. auto supplier and self-driving software company formerly known as Delphi.

We’re excited to announce that Karl Iagnemma, co-founder of nuTonomy and now president of Aptiv Autonomous Mobility will participate in TechCrunch’s inaugural TC Sessions: Mobility, a one-day event on July 10, 2019 in San Jose, Calif. centered around the future of mobility and transportation.

Iagnemma, who earned his MS and PhD degrees from MIT, co-founded nuTonomy in 2013. The former director of the Robotic Mobility Group at MIT, has filed for, or been issued, 50 patents and published more than 150 technical publications and edited volumes that include books on the DARPA Grand Challenge and Urban Challenge autonomous vehicle competitions.

After Aptiv acquired nuTonomy, Iagnemma became president of Aptiv Autonomous Mobility, which is building advanced safety and automated driving systems. Aptiv recently announced that it’s opening an autonomous mobility center in Shanghai — the fifth market where the company has set up R&D, testing or operational facilities — to focus on the development and eventual deployment of its technology on public roads.

Aptiv has autonomous driving operations in Boston, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh and Singapore.

In short, Iagnemma is an authority on robotics and autonomous vehicles. Iagnemma will join a panel discussion focused on the real-life operations of autonomous vehicles — the where and how it works and what challenges could derail AVs.

If you haven’t noticed, TC Sessions: Mobility has a jam-packed agenda. Some of the biggest names and most exciting startups in the transportation industry are participating; and we have more to announce in the weeks ahead. With early-bird ticket sales ending soon, you’ll want to be sure to grab your tickets after checking out this agenda.

You can expect to hear from and partake in discussions about the future of transportation, the promise and problems of autonomous vehicles, the potential for bikes and scooters, investing in early-stage startups and more.

We’ll be joined by some of the most esteemed and prescient people in the space, including Dmitri Dolgov at WaymoArgo AI Chief Safety Officer Summer Craze Fowler, Nuro co-founder Dave FergusonKarl Iagnemma of Aptiv, Voyage CEO Oliver Cameron and Seleta Reynolds of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. UberElevate, Populus AI, May Mobility, Ford, Fuell, Scoot, Lyft and Jump will also be there.

Early-bird tickets are now on sale — save $100 on tickets before prices go up.

Students, you can grab your tickets for just $45.

Source: Tech Crunch

Bidding for this like-new Enigma Machine starts at $200,000

If you’re feeling flush this week, then perhaps instead of buying a second Bugatti you might consider picking up this lightly used Enigma Machine. These devices, the scourge of the Allies in World War II, are rarely for sale to begin with — and one in such good shape that was actually used in the war is practically unheard of.

The Enigma saga is a fascinating one, though far too long to repeat here — let it suffice to say that these machines created a code that was as close to unbreakable, allowing the Nazis to communicate securely and reliably even with the Allies listening in. But a team of mathematicians and other experts at Bletchley Park in Britain, the most famous of them Alan Turing, managed to crack the Enigma’s code, helping turn the tide of the war. (If you’re interested, a good biography of Turing will of course tell you more, and Simon Singh’s The Code Book tells the story well as part of the history of cryptography.)

The risk of exposure should a machine be captured by the Allies meant that German troops were instructed to destroy their Enigma rather than let it be taken. And at the end of the war, Winston Churchill ordered that any surviving Enigmas be destroyed, but many escaped into the hands of private collectors like the person who got this one. It is thought that only a few hundred remain extant, though as with other such infamous artifacts a precise estimate is impossible.

This machine, however, passed through the fires of WWII and survived not only intact but with its original rotors — the interchangeable parts which would spin in a special fashion to irreversibly scramble text — and only one of its interior light bulbs out. The battery’s shot, but that’s to be expected after so long a duration in storage. If you’re waiting on an Enigma in better condition, expect to be waiting a long time.

Naturally this would be of inestimable value to a deep-pocketed collector of such things (let us hope in good taste) or a museum of war or cryptography. The secrets of the Enigma are long since revealed (even replicated in a pocket watch), but the original machines are marvels of ingenuity that may still yield discoveries and provoke wonder.

Bidding for this Enigma starts at $200,000 on Thursday at Nate D Sanders Auctions. That’s some ten times what another machine went for ten years ago, so you can see they’re not getting any less expensive (this one is in better condition, admittedly) — and it seems likely it will fetch far more than the minimum.

Source: Tech Crunch

Indie travel app Lambus makes group trip planning easier

There are plenty of travel apps for researching flights and hotels or generally organizing your trips, but indie German developer Hans Knöchel struggled to find one that could gather all his travel-related information in one place, in addition to allowing a group of friends to collaborate on the trip-planning process. So he built one for himself: Lambus, an app that lets you organize your travel documents, manage expenses, plus collaborate and chat with fellow co-travelers about the trip being planned.

Previously a senior software engineer at Appcelerator in San Jose, Knöchel came up with the idea for Lambus after being on the road a lot himself, and finding existing travel apps lacking.

“When traveling, you either use a manual folder with dozens of pages for all your information — or countless apps to display travel expenses, booking confirmations, and waypoint planning. Alternatives like Google Trips, Sygic and Roadtrippers were always limited to one person and never offered all the features I needed during the trip,” he explains. “This gave me the idea for Lambus: A collaborative platform on which travel groups — in real-time — can display all the properties of the trip in an easy-to-use platform: Waypoints, travel expenses, booking documents, notes, photos and chat,” he says.

The resulting app he refers to as a “Swiss Army Knife” for travel planning.

Like TripIt and others, travel documents can be shared with Lambus by forwarding emails to a unique personal email address. The imported documents — like plane tickets or Airbnb stays will then be made available to all group attendees automatically. This is handy for group trips where often multiple people take turns making the various reservations, but don’t have any easy way to share the information with others beyond forwarding emails or writing down information in a shared online document.

Documents can also be uploaded through an “Import PDF” feature, as an alternative to email sharing. And photos can be added by snapping a picture or importing from the phone’s Camera Roll, as well.

The photo feature is handy for saving those miscellaneous pieces of travel information — like how to access an Airbnb upon arrival, travel directions posted on an event or venue’s website, a helpful online review you saved, and more. It’s also a fast way to import any other information, without having to rely on email or uploads.

In the expenses section, you can keep track of either private or group expenses by entering the amount and what it was for, and, optionally, if it’s been paid.

While largely aimed at group travel because of the collaboration and built-in chat features, the app can be used for solo trips, too.

In testing the app, we found there were a few kinks that still needed to be corrected.

The calendar, for example, didn’t include the days of the week, only the dates — which was unusual. The app also had trouble finding some points of interest — like a convention center, for example, when it was entered directly in the search box. (It came up when we searched for a “nearby place” to an existing waypoint, oddly.) This appears to be a bug.

Some parts of the German app hadn’t been localized to English, either. For instance, when viewing the detail page for a waypoint, the “On My List” section read: “Noch keine Orte in der Nähe geplant.” (Meaning: “No places planned nearby.”) 

More importantly, Lambus didn’t turn imported documents into an easy-to-read itinerary, as TripIt does. The travel plan, instead, included a list of waypoints but not the dates and times, with all the details like flight numbers or hotel reservation numbers. That’s perhaps a deal-breaker in terms of dumping all other travel apps in favor Lambus alone.

Despite its quirks, the concept here is solid and the app is nicely designed with a bright and clean look-and-feel. The app is only a couple of months old, so given a little more time, attention, and a few more releases, it has the potential to become a seriously useful travel tool for group trip planning.

The name, “Lambus,” is an odd choice, we have to also note.

Knöechel says he was searching for a word that was easy to pronounce in many different languages, and settled on this — a domain name he already owned.

While Knöechel is the sole founder, Lambus is a team of seven including mainly university friends, he says. The startup is seed-funded by the Ministry of Economics in Germany (~120k€), and eventually has plans to generate affiliate revenue by offering hotel, flight, Airbnb and activity bookings in-app.

Lambus is live on iOS and Google Play.

Source: Tech Crunch

Upsie nabs $5M to build a direct-to-consumer warranty service

Warranties for purchased products is a $40 billion annual market. But in their current form, they are considered by some to be one of the bigger scams in the world of retail because they cost so much and often return too little.

Now there is an alternative emerging. A startup out of Minneapolis, Minn. called Upsie has decided to wage war on the old warranty, with more reasonable pricing (typically 70% lower than what the retailer offers) and a much more modern approach to selling and managing the warranty.

Its bet is that lower prices, and more flexible options for ordering, tracking and claiming against warranties, will drive more users to its service and take some business away from the retailers that largely dominate the market today. Today it’s announcing that it has raised $5 million led by True Ventures to build out that busines in the US. Techstars Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, Syndicate Fund, M25, and angel investor Marc Belton also participated.

If you’ve ever purchased an expensive consumer electronics product, you’ll know the problem that Upsie is tackling: warranties can cost a lot, and in many cases you’re not sure what you might even be getting out of it. And if you do find yourself in the unfortunate predicament of needing to claim, you may find the process a little less than efficient but hopefully not as bad as this:

“If you buy a product worth $900 dollars, a warranty might cost an extra $130, but that warranty might cost only $10 from the insurance company,” said Clarence Bethea, the CEO and founder of Upsie.

When an expensive purchase like a consumer electronics product breaks down, the buyer needs to pay out big money for repairs or replacements, and that worry drives many of those customers to pay a big sum for the guarantee that someone else will cover those liabilities.

The operative words in that last paragraph are “big sum”: a warranty can represent peace of mind, and sometimes actually help in those cases where something relatively new does break down, but one of the big issues is the mark-up that providers put on a service that preys on the fear of needing it — in some cases a warranty can cost as much as 900 percent more than the policy would cost if it were purchased directly from an insurance provider.

Bethea used to be a consultant to big box retailers and in the work he did, he realised quickly that the retailers were taking advantage of consumers when they were selling warranties on top of products. “Consumers don’t know what the warranties actually cost,” he said. “That’s what pushed me into this.”

Upsie gives consumers the option to purchase warranties up to 60 days after the sale (or 45 for smartphones). The product itself needs a minimum 90-day warranty from the manufacturers themselves, and the Upsie warranty does not kick in until 30 days after its purchased — the idea being that it picks up right after the manufacturer warranty ends.

The warranties can be purchased online or through an app and they apply currently to around 15 different categories and hundreds of electric goods covering areas like computers, wearables, phones, TVs, small and large appliances and outdoor tools. The Upsie app in itself is like your warranty file in your filing cabinet, except much simpler and lighter and less cluttered: it stores receipts, lets you scan sku’s to register the goods and more to make it easier. Then after a user purchases the warranty, it can be managed and claims can be filed by way of Upsie’s app.

The basic idea behind Upsie is reminiscent of the direct-to-consumer brands that have grown in popularity over the last several years.

Just as these have leveraged the web, mobile apps and more recently social media to build direct relationships with consumers, Upsie is also bypassing retailers and hoping that consumers will consider their cheaper alternatives, which in actuality have been negotiated with the same warranty service providers that the retailers use. It currently works with Centricity, and the plan is to expand it to a wider range over time.

Other companies have built businesses in the area of providing warranty services outside of what retailers offer, such as SquareTrade, which was acquired by AllState, and Asurion. Puneet Agarwal, a partner at True Ventures, believes that it stands out.

“Upsie is the only consumer facing brand in the space whereas everyone else is more of a back end provider,” he said. “Their subscriber growth and engagement are tremendous and the end consumer identifies with them. Because of their direct consumer focus, they also offer a level of pricing, convenience, and customer service the industry has not seen.” He added that the “big ambition” is “to make the idea of ‘upsie-ing’ a product as part of the the everyday lexicon of the consumer.”

Bethea said that one of the big early challenges was convincing insurance companies that D2C was a viable idea — which dissipated as insurance companies, like all brands and B2B2C businesses, began to consider the plethora of ways that people are buying goods today, which increasingly extend well outside the realm of just retailers.

The other challenge that is still one that Upsie will continue to work to surmount as it continues growing is convincing consumers to change their behavior. “Initially it was about convincing the industry that this is a market,” he said. “Today it’s awareness and giving consumers another option. ‘I didn’t know I could leave the register and purchase a plan afterwards’ is what we want people to be thinking.”

So far, the results have been pretty positive. Since exiting beta in 2016, Bethea said that the company has grown 300 percent each year. Services are live only in the US, and while it works towards expanding to international markets, it will also be adding auto warranties to its plans next.

Living outside of Silicon Valley as I do, companies that are outliers from the normal pattern that often list the same litany of credentials (including but not limited to grads from Stanford or MIT, possible stint at YC, office in San Francisco, past history at other tech companies), but are still thriving, do tend to catch my eye. Upsie, with its roots in the Midwest and an African American founder (also not very common at the typical SV startup), and tackling something that is fundamentally broken but not flashy, ticks some of those boxes.

Turns out that True sees and wants to seek out more of this, too.

“Great companies are being built everywhere,” said Agarwal. “More and more of the companies we invest in are outside of the Valley or are building teams outside of the Valley and we encourage it. It can be a tremendous competitive advantage both from a talent and cost perspective. We have had great success investing in places like Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Wisconsin, Washington, even recently in Africa, and now in Minnesota with Upsie. I still do see a lot of bias from investors not wanting to invest outside of the Valley. There is no question they will miss out not because of high prices in the Valley but because of the opportunity.”

Source: Tech Crunch

Mobility startups: apply for a free Startup Alley spot as a TC Top Pick

We’re hunting for bold, boundary-breaking founders of early-stage mobility startups to apply to our TC Top Picks program at Disrupt San Francisco 2019. “Bold and boundary-breaking” pretty much describes the current tech revolution taking place in mobility and transportation — one that Henry Ford and the Wright brothers could never have imagined.

Top Pick designees receive a VIP Disrupt experience. It starts with a free Startup Alley Exhibition package which, among other things, includes a full day exhibiting in Startup Alley. Top Picks attract a lot of media and investor interest, and they also receive invitations to special events at Disrupt SF — like the investor reception.

One special perk lasts long after the show ends. Each Top Pick will be interviewed by one of our TechCrunch editors live on the Showcase Stage, and we promote that interview across all our social media platforms.

Here’s what one co-founder had to say about his TC Top Pick experience.

Israeli-based CAARESYS earned a TC Top Pick designation in the mobility category at Disrupt SF 2018. The startup’s vehicle monitoring system uses low-emission radio frequency radar and contactless biometrics to track the body location and physical state — respiration rate, heart rate and heart-rate variability — of each passenger in the car.

According to Konstantin Berezin, the company’s COO and co-founder, the connections they made as a TC Top Pick at Disrupt SF resulted in projects with three OEM and Tier 1 companies. The company is currently in the integration phase with auto manufacturers to get the systems into cars by 2021.

“We also followed up with a potential customer we met at Disrupt and, as a result of that meeting, we signed a memorandum of understanding to partner on a mutual project,” said Berezin. “I can’t disclose the name just yet, but we’re very excited. Being a TC Top Pick really put us on the map.”

Berezin also enjoyed the Showcase stage interview, which has become a very useful marketing tool for his company.

“The interview was terrific, and TechCrunch did a very professional job shooting and editing the video,” said Berezin. “Sending our video to current and potential customers gives us prestige and a certain cool factor. We love it!”

Our TC Top Picks program won’t cost you a thing to apply or to participate. The application is dead simple. Being selected is not. TechCrunch editors vet the applications and choose up to five outstanding early-stage startups for each of these categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/eCommerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, SaaS and Social Impact & Education.

Only bold, boundary-breaking mobility startups need apply to our TC Top Picks program at Disrupt San Francisco 2019 on October 2-4. Come and show the world your plan to create the future.

While you’re applying to be a TC Top Pick, why not apply to compete in Startup Battlefield, too? Our epic startup pitch competition carries a $100,000 equity-free cash prize.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt SF 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Source: Tech Crunch