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ByteDance’s Pico debuts its Quest rival, but challenges remain

When ByteDance bought the Chinese VR headset maker Pico a year ago, the message it sent was clear: it was betting that the immersive device would be where future generations spend most of their time consuming digital content. It’s a marriage reminiscent of Meta’s acquisition of Oculus back in 2014, except the world is now in a different place with technological advances that make VR headsets cheaper, less laggy, and more comfortable to wear. The TikTok parent has long aimed to compete in a market dominated by Oculus’s VR devices for consumers. When Meta launched Quest 2 in 2020, ByteDance worked on a confidential internal project to develop AR glasses, The Information reported . Pico’s product launch this week is a further indication of its ambition to challenge Quest, which has enjoyed roughly two-thirds of the global AR and VR market for the past two years. The Pico 4, which starts at €429 (around $420 thanks to a strong dollar) for 128GB and ships to Europe, Japan, and South Ko

Everstores, an Open Store-style D2C Shopify aggregator out of Europe, emerges from stealth with €18 million

A wave of Amazon-merchant aggregator startups, floating close to $15 billion in funding, have rushed in, rolled up, and rushed out of the e-commerce market in the last several years. Now, a new tide, and new take on the model, appears to be rising. Today, a Berlin startup called Everstores — which seeks out, buys and consolidates Shopify-based direct-to-consumer businesses, says that it has raised €18 million ($17.5 million at today’s rates) in funding, money that it will be using to continue investing in its data science and operational tools; and to buy up and consolidate D2C brands. In stealth, it has picked up three businesses, and — according to co-CEO Kristoffer Herskind (who co-founded the business with two others, Carlos Lopez as co-CTO and CTO Kirill Martynov) — some 100 million data points from the further 500 Shopify-powered D2C brands that have signed up as potential acquisition candidates. Now, armed with €8 million in equity and €10 million debt, the plan is to boost t

TestGrid is a “one-stop shop” for testing apps at scale

Created by developer who needed to test apps at scale, TestGrid is an on-demand platform that lets users run tests on websites and apps across browsers, operating systems. The startup, which is launching today and can be used on premise or in the cloud, alleviates the hassle of finding and scaling physical and cloud infrastructure for testing. Its clients range in size from startups to Fortune 500 companies, and come from a wide variety of sectors, like banking, financial services and insurance, e-commerce, manufacturing, logistics and healthcare.   TestGrid was created in 2016 as a scriptless automation tool, and then over the next five years its team, led by founder and CEO Harry Rao, fleshed it out with a real device cloud, end-to-end testing platform and test management, to create a “one-stop shop for all testing needs.” It now has over 20,000 on its public cloud, which offers 200 minutes of testing time per month for free, as well as 50 enterprise customers ranging in size from

Uniswap Labs eyes over $100 million in new funding

Uniswap Labs is in early stages of putting together a new round, according to four sources familiar with the matter, as the parent firm of the popular eponymous decentralized protocol gears up to broaden its offerings. The startup is engaging with a number of investors including Polychain and one of Singapore’s sovereign funds to raise an equity round of $100 million to $200 million at a valuation of about $1 billion, two of the sources said, who like others requested anonymity sharing private information. The deliberations of the round haven’t reached final stages, so terms of the deal may change, the sources cautioned. Uniswap Labs declined to comment, whereas Polychain did not return a request for comment Thursday. The new funding is indicative of Uniswap’s ambitious plans to expand its offerings. The decentralized exchange commands 64% of all DEX volumes, according to DeFi Llama . And the exchange protocol’s token has a market cap of nearly $5 billion despite the market downturn

Amazon launches live commerce in India

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Amazon has launched live commerce in India, broadening its offerings in the key overseas market where it has deployed over $6.5 billion to win customers . The company on Friday quietly rolled out the new service, called Amazon Live, bringing an army of creators to host livestreams and talk about a range of products. Their fans can follow them on the app, learn more about the products, and easily identify and purchase the items shown in the videos. On an FAQ page, Amazon has identified the influencer program as an extension of its Amazon Associates (affiliate) program. The company requires these influencers to have an account with YouTube, Instagram, TikTok or Facebook to qualify. Image credits: TechCrunch Amazon Live is currently hosting livestreams across several categories including electronics, fashion and beauty, and home on the app. The videos are averaging 50 to 1,000 simultaneous views. (More to follow.) Amazon launches live commerce in India by Manish Singh originally

Why this Blizzard vet thinks the next killer web3 game will come from China

This year, around 3.2 billion people — or about 40% of the world’s population — will play games, with total spending nearing $200 billion, estimates industry researcher Newzoo . The purveyors of web3 want a slice of this gargantuan market. Criticisms of the first generation of crypto games, dominated by the play-to-earn model, have already been well documented, so the question for developers now is what decentralized games should look like. Back in July, I wrote that veterans from the gaming industry overwhelmingly agree blockchain games should be fun to play and offer a sustainable financial model, both of which are missing in play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity. When it comes to genres, many of them believe massively multiplayer online (MMO) games have the chance to onboard the masses into web3. The genre, which has given rise to epic titles with flourishing virtual economies like World of Warcraft and EVE Online, could benefit from having in-game assets as blockchain-based toke

Meta urged to pay reparations for Facebook’s role in Rohingya genocide

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Meta is facing a fresh call to pay reparations to the Rohingya people for Facebook’s role in inciting ethnic violence in Myanmar. A new report by Amnesty International — providing what it calls a “first-of-its kind, in-depth human rights analysis” of the role played by Meta (aka Facebook) in the atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya in 2017 — has found the tech giant’s contribution to the genocide was not merely that of “a passive and neutral platform” which responded inadequately to a major crisis, as the company has sought to claim, but rather that Facebook’s core business model — behavioral ads — was responsible for actively egging on the hatred for profit. “Meta’s content-shaping algorithms proactively amplified and promoted content on the Facebook platform which incited violence, hatred, and discrimination against the Rohingya,” Amnesty concludes, pointing the finger of blame at its tracking-based business model — aka “invasive profiling and targeted advertising” — which

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