Wattpad Disrupts Hollywood Status Quo as New IP Incubator

Wattpad, a digital literature app with social networking, draws 65 million unique monthly visitors with a core readership of 13- to 35-year-olds, who spend about 20 billion combined minutes per month on the site. The site is home to user-generated stories and fan fiction in a wide range of genres, including sci-fi, young adult, horror and poetry. Wattpad also debuted Wattpad Studios two years ago, a “one-stop shop” for new intellectual properties in Hollywood, such as “The Kissing Booth,” a story turned into a Netflix movie. Continue reading Wattpad Disrupts Hollywood Status Quo as New IP Incubator

Snap Launches an Accelerator Program With Focus on Mobile

Snap Inc. is launching an accelerator named “Yellow” with hopes of finding the next big media business. This fall, the accelerator will invest $150,000 in 10 startups or creators looking to develop media projects for mobile devices. Snap plans to take a small equity stake in those selected to receive the funding. The startups will also get mentorship from Snap execs, access to professional networking events, the opportunity to distribute content on Snapchat, and office space in Venice, California where Snap is based. CEO Evan Spiegel is expected to be involved in mentorship and the selection process. Continue reading Snap Launches an Accelerator Program With Focus on Mobile

Walmart Acquires VR Startup With Eye on Future of Shopping

Walmart’s tech incubator, Store No. 8 recently purchased Spatialand, a small virtual reality startup that specializes in software tools designed for transforming existing media content into immersive experiences. The acquisition is part of Walmart’s plans to create future shopping experiences for store locations and websites. Spatialand founder Kim Cooper and 10 employees will join Walmart; Store No. 8 principal Katie Finnegan will serve as interim CEO. Financial terms were not revealed. Continue reading Walmart Acquires VR Startup With Eye on Future of Shopping

Google Develops AI That Can Detect Hateful Internet Speech

Google technology incubator Jigsaw has released software designed to help Web publishers moderate the unruly comments on their sites. The software is called Perspective and it is available free of charge to publishers that apply for access. Jigsaw used machine learning to help train Perspective to identify toxic comments. Each comment is assigned a score, so that human moderators or even readers can filter out responses that score above a certain toxicity level. Perspective is part of Jigsaw’s Conversation AI initiative. The team wants to help foster more civil discourse and eradicate Internet trolls.  Continue reading Google Develops AI That Can Detect Hateful Internet Speech

Nasdaq Launches an Entrepreneurial Center to Foster Startups

Nasdaq OMX, which owns the NASDAQ stock market, is trying to bolster its tech offerings by nurturing startups through its new Entrepreneurial Center. This 13,000-square-foot space in San Francisco is designed to help young companies grow and find a community. In the future, Nasdaq may be able to profit from some of these startups when they go public. Currently, Nasdaq faces stiff competition from the New York Stock Exchange in attracting tech companies to the stock market. Continue reading Nasdaq Launches an Entrepreneurial Center to Foster Startups

Social Network Attempts to Recapture Early Spirit of Facebook

In response to the evolving user base of popular social networks such as Facebook, a new venture called Blend hopes to return social media to a younger crowd with its app designed exclusively for undergraduate students. San Jose, CA-based Blend currently enables users to share photos and win gift cards, but has plans to become more of a social network with interactive features like commenting. Founded in May 2013, Blend has nine employees, including its three young co-founders. Continue reading Social Network Attempts to Recapture Early Spirit of Facebook

NBCUniversal Opens Tech Center with Focus on Collaboration

NBCUniversal announced the launch of its 63,000-square-foot NBCUniversal Technology Center in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. The $17 million facility will serve as the new center for the company’s core technology team and home for its new Media Labs operation, which plans to work with academic research groups, startups and venture capital firms. The facility’s Technology Show Lab will provide the opportunity for employees and outside partners to collaborate on new products and technology innovation. Continue reading NBCUniversal Opens Tech Center with Focus on Collaboration

Google Goes Public with “Ingress” Augmented Reality Game

After a year in beta testing, the augmented-reality game “Ingress” is now available to the public for download on Android mobile devices worldwide. The game, which was created by Google through its Niantic Labs internal incubator, hosted 14 worldwide events over the weekend before launching. More than one million people have downloaded “Ingress,” and its creators are looking to expand with advertising and turning it into a platform anyone can use to build their own game. Continue reading Google Goes Public with “Ingress” Augmented Reality Game

Microsoft Pays Startups to Create Software Using Kinect

Microsoft is introducing a company-funded incubator program in China for outside developers to build projects based on its popular Kinect technology, hoping to fuel innovation beyond gaming and into industries like healthcare and retail. Last year in Seattle, Microsoft gave select startups $20,000 each to create software, of which it requires no ownership stakes or intellectual property rights and has no veto power. Continue reading Microsoft Pays Startups to Create Software Using Kinect