Amazon Prime Video’s Watch Party feature is now available on smart TVs and streaming devices

Amazon Prime Video’s Watch Party feature, which lets you watch a movie or a TV show together with your friends remotely, is now available on smart TVs, streaming devices like Roku, and gaming consoles like Xbox or PlayStation. Before this expansion, the feature was available on desktops, Fire TV devices, and on the Prime Video app on iOS and Android. Now, you can watch titles with your friends through almost all kinds of devices that support Prime Video. Amazon first started testing the Watch Parties feature on Twitch with select streamers. The next year, after the Covid-19 pandemic started, the firm introduced this feature as Watch Party on Amazon Prime Video. In 2021, it extended support for the Watch Party feature to Fire TV devices, so you can enjoy social watching sessions on a big screen. “Prime Video Watch Party gives customers an immersive experience to share with friends, family, and other Prime Video users. A host gets to kick off the party by sharing his or her party li

GetVantage offers revenue-based financing to India’s founders

Some SMEs don’t want to get (or have access to) equity funding, but also want to stay away from high-interest bank loans. That’s the gap that revenue-based financing platforms like GetVantage want to fill. The Mumbai-based startup announced today that it has raised $36 million led by Varanium Nexgen Fintech Fund, DMI Sparkle Fund, along with returning investors Chiratae Ventures and Dream Incubator Japan. Varanium Capital partner Aparajit Bhandarkar will join GetVantage’s board. Other participants included Sony Innovation Fund, InCred Capital and Haldiram’s Family Office. This brings GetVantage’s total raised so far to $40 million, along with a seed round in 2020, the same year it was launched by Bhavik Vasa and Amit Srivastava. GetVantage says it also has several debt lines with non-banking financial companies to help scale its financing platform. Vasa told TechCrunch he co-founded GetVantage after working as chief growth officer at fintech Itzcash. “I came across the ‘ad for equit

Y Combinator announces Launch YC, a way for its portfolio to shout to the public

Y Combinator has announced Launch YC , a platform where people can sort accelerator startups by industry, batch, and launch date to discover new products. The famed accelerator, which has seeded the likes of Instacart, Coinbase, OpenSea, and Dropbox, invites users to vote for newly launched startups “to help them climb up the leaderboard, try out product demos, and learn about the founding team.” In a blog post announcing the news, Y Combinator said that the program has existed for years but only internally for YC founders. Y Combinator is using Launch to target founders, developers, investors, and job-seekers looking for the “Stripes and Airbnbs of the future.” Y Combinator founders, meanwhile, can launch on any day at any time. YC Head of Communications Lindsay Amos saidi that Y founders who are currently participating in an accelerator batch can announce via Launch before Demo Day. To me, it makes the biannual event a more evergreen affair. “​​We did this to solve a problem every

Arzooo raises $70 million to bring ‘best of e-commerce’ to physical stores in India

Arzooo, an Indian startup that is attempting to bring the “best of e-commerce” to physical stores, has raised $70 million in a new financing round as it looks to scale its platform to more cities. SBI Investment and Trifecta Leaders Fund led the Bengaluru-headquartered startup’s Series B funding. Tony Xu, founder of Doordash, Celesta Capital and 3 Lines VC also invested in the new round. Millions of retail stores in India are struggling to compete with larger retail chains and e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart because they don’t offer a wide selection of items and they are unable to provide customers with best prices. Founded by two former Flipkart alums, Arzooo is attempting to solve this by working with big brands to secure large inventories and selling them to retail stores at better prices. The startup, which currently operates in consumer durables and electronics category and provides stores with access to over 10,000 different products, says it works with over 30,000 ret

Mapan’s services helps low-income Indonesians users afford goods and services

Mapan’s team, with CEO Ardelia Apti in the front In Indonesia, arisans are traditionally rotating savings and credit associations (RSCA) that let groups of people, primarily women, save and borrow money together. Mapan digitized that concept, and turned it into a service where users, also mostly women, can use it to pay for goods and services. The company announced today it has raised a Series A of $15 million. The round was co-led by Patamar Capital and PT Astra Digital Internasional, a subsidiary of conglomerate PT Astra International Tbk (also known as Astra International). The round included participation from BRI Ventures, SMDV, Blibli, Prasetia Dwidharma, Flourish Ventures and 500 Global. Mapan says it helps people get access to financial services in a country where 51% of adults are unbanked , or don’t have access to a bank account. Mapan is currently available in Java, Bali, Sumatera, Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi, with plans to expand into the rest of Indonesia. It current

FTC hammers Walmart over years of ‘facilitating’ money transfer scams

The Federal Trade Commission is suing Walmart for sitting by while scammers bilked customers out of more than $197 million, the agency alleged in a statement on Tuesday. It’s seeking a court order that would force Walmart to give money back to customers, on top of civil fines. In a brief response, Walmart described the lawsuit as both “ factually flawed and legally baseless .” Money transfer scams are widespread, and they can involve everything from promises to share an inheritance to lies about a family emergency . They happen just about everywhere, from Zelle , Venmo and Cash App to crypto ATMs and popular dating apps . In this case, the FTC alleges that Walmart “turned a blind eye to fraud” that went down inside its stores. The retail giant offers money transfer services under in-house brand names, such as Walmart2Walmart. Between 2013 and 2018, the FTC claims that Walmart failed to protect its customers in several ways, including by failing to train its staffers and using “

Tesla lays off nearly 200 Autopilot workers, shutters San Mateo office

Tesla has gutted the data annotation team working on Autopilot, laying off nearly 200 employees and shutting down the San Mateo, California office where they worked. The layoffs, first reported by Bloomberg , have been confirmed by sources who talked to TechCrunch on condition of anonymity. The cuts come amid a broader reduction of jobs at Tesla. However, these layoffs targeted personnel once deemed critical to the company’s Autopilot advanced driver assistance system and more notably efforts by CEO Elon Musk to further develop automated driving functions through the $12,000 optional FSD system. Until today, Tesla had hundreds of data annotation employees working on the Autopilot team in San Mateo and Buffalo, New York. The San Mateo office had a headcount of 276, and after laying off 195 staffers from all ranks — supervisors, labelers and data analysts — the team is left with 81 workers, who sources say will be relocated to another office. Most of the workers were in moderately l

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