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Xiaomi launches smartphone with enormous imaging sensors and Leica optics

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With a limited launch in mainland China today, one glance at the new smartphones from Xiaomi leaves little doubt what the smartphone is all about. A third of the back of the smartphone is dominated by a dome covering a number of cameras with one of the biggest sensors we’ve seen in a smartphone so far – a 1-inch sensor covered with Leica glass. A lot of people – men especially – will tell you that size doesn’t matter. In the case of imaging sensors, that just isn’t the case; the glass in front of lenses can only do so much and perfect glass doesn’t exist. Bigger sensors means higher resolution, yes, but it also means that the sensors have space for  bigger individual pixels. This helps both with the cooling of the sensor and could indicate much better low-light performance. The entire 12S series of smartphones features different imaging systems jointly developed by Xiaomi and Leica. I know that in the process of making fun of Leica recently, I was making fun of Hasselblad for its sm

Crypto platform Vauld suspends withdrawals, trading and deposits amid financial challenges

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Vauld, a Singapore-headquartered crypto lending and exchange startup, has suspended withdrawals, trading and deposits on its eponymous platform with immediate effect as it navigates “financial challenges,” it said Monday. The three-year-old startup — which counts Peter Thiel-backed Valar Ventures, Coinbase Ventures and Pantera Capital among its backers and has raised about $27 million — said it is facing financial challenges amid the market downturn, which it said has prompted customer withdrawals of about $198 million since June 12. Vauld founder and chief executive Darshan Bathija said the startup is exploring restructuring options and has engaged with Kroll for financial advice and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Rajah & Tann for legal advice in India and Singapore. The startup intends to apply to the Singapore courts for a moratorium. “We are confident that, with the advice of our financial and legal advisors, we will be able to reach a solution that will best protect the int

Juragan Material is simplifying Indonesia’s complicated construction supply chain

Indonesia’s construction industry is large and growing quickly , but a lot of supply procurement is still done the old-fashioned way, through phone calls and text messages. Juragan Material wants to make things easier with a B2B marketplace for building materials from curated suppliers. The company announced today it has raised $4 million in seed funding led by Go-Ventures, with participation from Susquehanna International Group (SIG). The new capital will be used for hiring, increasing Juragan Materials’ market share and technological enhancements. Founded in 2021, the company’s marketplace currently has more than 9,000 products and over 180 brands, including structural, architectural, mechanical and electrical products. It is meant for use by contractors and project owners, and helps them source materials more quickly. Before launching Juragan Materials, Tito Putra, CEO and co-founder, was a managing director of a building contractor firm. All the startup’s other founders also

PINA offers wealth management for Indonesia’s growing middle- to upper-class

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Indonesian wealth management app PINA’s founding team While many of Indonesia’s investment apps are focused on hooking first-time investors with low fees and starting deposits, PINA is targeting the middle-to-upper classes with wealth management services. The app announced today that it has raised $3 million in seed funding from AC Ventures, Vibe.VC and Y Combinator, with participation from XA Network. The company was founded in 2021 by Daniel van Leeuwen, the former country marketing head of Grab Indonesia. He is joined by technical co-founder Fajar Kuntoro, who was previously head of tech and engineering at Indonesian digital agency Mirum, Christian Hermawan, founder of Trust Securities and Hendry Chou, previously product design lead at edtech startup Zenius. Van Leeuwen told TechCrunch that PINA was created because of the founders’ own challenges with personal finance. As a result, they wanted to make sure that all Indonesians have access to financial advice, not just people

Despite crypto ban, China’s tech talent rides the global web3 wave

Despite China’s sweeping bans on cryptocurrencies, domestic web3 talent is quietly flourishing, with many venturing beyond the country’s border. From offering crypto derivative products to to making NFT games, Chinese web3 entrepreneurs’ footprint is far-reaching worldwide. We spoke to a dozen Chinese founders and investors to find out how this group is trying to build global web3 businesses while still keeping their roots in China and taking advantage of the home country’s abundant tech talent. Many of them asked for anonymity. Some don’t want to draw the attention of the authorities because there are no clear rules around operating in China and serving overseas users, and others want to avoid being labeled “Chinese” at a time when China’s geopolitical tensions with the West run high. Exploratory state Many believe the current state of the internet, or web2, has become overly dominated by centralized, rent-seeking corporations like Google and Meta. Part of the appeal of web3 is t

Without a clear ask, your pitch deck is useless

You’ve brushed off your Keynote skills, you’re giddy that you’re finally going to be able to start paying yourself a living wage, and you are excited to start pitching your startup’s next round of funding to your investors. It’s heady times, for sure, but hit the other pedal there for a moment, friend — you may be forgetting something. After working with hundreds of founders on raising money — including the fantastically popular Pitch Deck Teardown series here on TechCrunch+ — there’s one slide that almost every founder gets woefully wrong. The slide is often referred to as The Ask . Or, as one investor friend calls it, the “what is my $10 million going to buy me”? slide. TechCrunch+ is having an Independence Day sale! Save 50% on an annual subscription here . (More on TechCrunch+ here if you need it!) The Ask is a sensitive topic to a lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs, which makes sense. Trying to right-size a funding round can be a little overwhelming, and there are a thousan

Equity crowdfunding appears immune to market volatility, on track for its best year yet

Equity crowdfunding — or community raises, as the fundraising platforms involved prefer to call it — has grown steadily over the last few years. Regulations governing the process continue to evolve in the market’s favor, and 2022’s venture funding pullback may be the final piece needed to quiet the fundraising strategy’s naysayers for good. This year looks poised to be monumental for equity crowdfunding, which entails raising capital through specific filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including Reg CF and Reg A , from a mix of investors that don’t have to be accredited. Over the past few years, equity crowdfunding has shed much of the stigma that used to imply that only companies that weren’t good enough for VC raised this way. Some traditional VCs have even scouted on the platforms or encouraged their portfolio companies to pursue the process. But with the fundraising climate now showing cloudy skies, equity crowdfunding is getting ready for a field day.

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