Subscription boxes have just gotten way out of control



It’s understandable. People like getting mail. But the subscription box industry — those startups that periodically ship a “curated” collection of products to your doorstep — has become insane. Companies pop up almost every week, targeting every imaginable demographic, from stepmoms to rock collectors. Late in November, a company called OuiPlease ($150 for each monthly shipment) introduced a box that offers a “selection of the finest Parisian products,” such as cheap jewelry and chocolate. There’s also HeavenSent ($32.50, monthly), which sends “beautiful Christian inspired” women’s tops, and Dive Bar Shirt Club ($22, monthly), offering T-shirts from “unusual” bars across America. Read more…

More about Retail, Subscriptions, Birchbox, Business, and Startups

Carnival’s Mobile Marketing Platform Gets More Automated

carnival trigger messaging When someone tells me that they’re introducing “trigger messaging” to their product, well, it’s not the most thrilling start to a conversation. But hey, mention automated FaceTime calls from One Direction, and suddenly I’m onboard.
(Not that I’m a huge One Direction fan or anything. It’s not weird that I think this sounds cool, right? Please tell me… Read More

Reddit Announces RedditNotes, A Way To Share Equity With Readers

reddit Reddit, the world’s favorite repository for funny and/or pornographic images (and wide-ranging discussions on almost any topic), has announced a RedditNotes initiative, a method to give equity to the site’s readers using a lottery method. Read More

This Week On The TC Gadgets Podcast: BlackBerry, Bar-Tending Robots, And Drones

gadgets141219 Christmas is around the corner, and thus, this podcast is especially merry.
BlackBerry recently introduced the smartphone of yesterday, in the BlackBerry Classic. We’re also seeing an uptick in bar-tending robot products, which leads us to wonder if there has ever really been a lot of difficulty in making yourself a drink. Read More

Canary Home Security System Has Finally Started Shipping

Screenshot 2014-12-19 13.22.50 Canary, the $250, all-in-one home security system that caught the attention of our hearts and minds back in 2013, has finally started shipping. The device launched on Indiegogo back in July of 2013, with a goal of $100,000. By the time the campaign had ended, Canary had amassed nearly $2 million in pre-orders. After selling around 15,000 units, Canary turned off pre-orders and went head-down… Read More

Rothenberg Ventures Opens Virtual Reality Accelerator Offering 10 Startups $100K And A Clubhouse

Rothenberg Ventures River Experience1 “2015 will be the year of virtual reality” says investor Mike Rothenberg. But fragmentation in the nascent industry means VR hardware, software, and content startups need to team up for demos. So Rothenberg Ventures today launched a VR accelerator called River to provide a shared office and $100,000 investments to 10 startups. The two-year-old fund that’s ranked amongst the… Read More

Uber is trying to patent surge pricing



When Uber Technologies Inc. jacked up prices in Sydney this week to meet the demand of people fleeing a hostage crisis, critics accused the ride-sharing service of price gouging.

The company, though, makes no apologies for what it calls “surge pricing” — and in fact is seeking to patent it.

Uber applied for a U.S. patent last year for “dynamically adjusting prices for service” using mobile devices. The system measures supply (Uber drivers) and demand (passengers hailing rides with smartphones), and prices fares accordingly.

It’s one of at least 13 U.S. patent applications filed by Uber or its founders to give it an edge over potential rivals ahead of a potential initial public offering. So far, Uber hasn’t had any luck. Ten applications were initially rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for “obviousness” or for covering something not eligible for protection. Read more…

More about Uber, Business, Startups, Mobile, and Surge Pricing Raises $700K For Its Social Media Polling Tools

wedgies Polling startup (yes, that’s really its name) is announcing that it has raised $700,000 in seed funding led by Greycroft Partners. Co-founder and CEO Porter Haney told me the company’s goal is to “legitimize web voting,” and its approach is to bring those polls to social media: “Think about what Gallup or SurveyMonkey would look like if they were… Read More

Mobile-First Sales Support Platform Showpad Acquires Storydesk’s Assets

ipad-iphone-apps Off the back of a $8.5 million in new funding, Belgium and San Francisco-based startup Showpad, which provides mobile-first software to help support sales teams, has acquired some of the assets of New York-based Storydesk. Read More

Instagram Is Now Worth $35 Billion

instagram generic Citigroup raised the valuation of Instagram this morning from $19 billion to $35 billion.
The photo-sharing network recently announced it had surpassed 300 million active users, and has taken steps toward cleaning up spam accounts, as well as adding new filters and features. Read More