Series of Tweets Cost Elon Musk Chair Position, Major Fine

As part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla CEO and co-founder Elon Musk has agreed to pay a $20 million fine and step down as chairman of the California-based electric automaker for three years. The SEC accused Musk of securities fraud after he tweeted from his personal Twitter account that he had secured enough funding to take Tesla private. Musk has admitted to no wrong-doing. In addition to Musk’s significant personal fine, Tesla has agreed to develop leadership reforms and pay $20 million for not properly vetting the CEO’s tweets. Continue reading Series of Tweets Cost Elon Musk Chair Position, Major Fine

EU Will Require Streaming Services to Feature Local Content

The EU’s European Commission announced its plans to make Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services operating within the European Union to dedicate at least 30 percent of their catalogs to content produced locally. A final vote approving the new law, described as “a mere formality” by Roberto Viola of the European Commission, is expected in December. The European Union plans to publish a report that details the percentages of European projects that are tied to multiple streaming platforms. Netflix is reportedly already close to the 30 percent quota. Continue reading EU Will Require Streaming Services to Feature Local Content

Venture Reality Fund Reports on Current VR/AR Landscape

The Venture Reality Fund has released its H2 2017 VR Industry Landscape map and report. The organization has generously posted the map, along with maps of the 1H 2017 European Landscape and Q2 2017 AR Industry Landscape. The VR Fund’s latest report highlights more than 450 companies developing infrastructure, tools, platforms, and applications for the VR/AR ecosystem. An interactive table, which VR Fund co-founder Tipatat Chennavasin began building in 2014, provides details of the companies.  Continue reading Venture Reality Fund Reports on Current VR/AR Landscape

Startup Lightform Readies Release of Inexpensive AR Scanner

Augmented reality startup Lightform has come out of the stealth mode it’s been in for three years, announcing a $2.6 million funding round from former Oculus head scientist Steven LaValle, Lux Capital, Seven Seas and NSF. What Lightform has been working on is a device that can scan the environment and create a high-resolution mesh, which it then combines with very precisely targeted digital projections of light. That makes it capable of creating augmented reality in any environment, without the need for a headset. Continue reading Startup Lightform Readies Release of Inexpensive AR Scanner

Magic Leap Patent Reveals Possibilities for Augmented Reality

Magic Leap, the startup that raised $542 million in a funding round led by Google, has filed a patent for “cinematic reality,” in which users will get access to the company’s augmented reality tech through a headset and belt pack. Magic Leap’s system stores content in the cloud, and any augmented reality content can be configured to fit in with the user’s physical environment. The patent lists interesting possible uses for the technology, from grocery shopping and home decor to surgery and hospital stays. Continue reading Magic Leap Patent Reveals Possibilities for Augmented Reality

Vimeo Enters into Deal with Maker Studios for Original Content

Streaming service Vimeo is planning to team up with YouTube network Maker Studios to fund and distribute projects this year that will get exclusive release windows via Vimeo On Demand, the platform’s premium VOD tier. As part of the deal, Vimeo On Demand will be made available to Maker Studios’ 55,000 creators. Disney-owned Maker Studios has started looking into distribution options, including its own Maker.TV player and a new programming partnership with Dish’s soon-to-launch streaming service, Sling TV. Continue reading Vimeo Enters into Deal with Maker Studios for Original Content

Reddit to Thank Active Community Members with Equity Share

Reddit, the self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet,” wants to give something back to its millions of active contributors. In a blog post Friday, Reddit announced its plans to distribute 10 percent of its equity in the form of ‘reddit notes’ to approximately 950,000 users in the fall of 2015. The ‘currency’ can be used to tip, donate, or trade on the Reddit site, although specifics are still being worked out. Reddit plans to use a random lottery for distributing reddit notes to active user accounts. Continue reading Reddit to Thank Active Community Members with Equity Share

Google to Lead Investment in Magic Leap’s ‘Cinematic Reality’

Google may lead Andreessen Horowitz and other investors in a $500 million round of funding for Florida-based hardware and software maker Magic Leap, according to sources. The company is working on a new 3D experience that is more advanced than current virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. Magic Leap has released very few details about its “cinematic reality” tech, but it is most likely going to involve super high-resolution 3D images projected from special glasses. Continue reading Google to Lead Investment in Magic Leap’s ‘Cinematic Reality’

Rockbot: Universal Music Invests in Social Jukebox Service

Universal Music Group, largest of the major music labels, just closed an investment deal with Rockbot, a virtual jukebox service that provides music to bars, restaurants and other locations. Through Rockbot, businesses can play licensed music while customers use a mobile app to check in and interact with the songs. One perk is the ability for customers to vote on which music will be played. Rockbot expects to use the new funding to expand its reach throughout the U.S. Continue reading Rockbot: Universal Music Invests in Social Jukebox Service

VocalIQ and GM to Make Vehicle Voice Control More Intuitive

VocalIQ, a UK-based company that works on software to enable voice control of devices, is collaborating with General Motors to take vehicle voice control to the next level. The intuitive system would learn the driver’s vocabulary and intentions to create more precise responses, without the need for specific wording. The dialogue management system would be integrated into the car’s dashboard navigation. GM’s Israel-based Advanced Technical Center is overseeing the development. Continue reading VocalIQ and GM to Make Vehicle Voice Control More Intuitive

Adtile Plans New App-Style Store for Interactive Mobile Ads

Adtile, a startup that promotes interactive mobile advertising, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding, with plans to introduce an app-style store for mobile ads. Adtile’s Motion Ads format encourages users to play with ads by shaking and turning their phones. The result could be spilling a virtual coffee cup, for example, that then displays a list of nearby stores. Building these ads can be an extensive process, so the store plans to sell pre-designed and pre-coded Motion Ads. Continue reading Adtile Plans New App-Style Store for Interactive Mobile Ads

YouTube in Talks to Acquire Video Game Streaming Site Twitch

Google-owned YouTube is reportedly in active discussions to purchase live video-game streaming service Twitch. While Variety indicates a deal has already been reached for more than $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal more conservatively reports that the two companies are in talks, but in the early stages of a potential deal. Twitch was launched in 2011 by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, the co-founders of Justin.tv, which was one of the first sites to live-stream user-generated video. Continue reading YouTube in Talks to Acquire Video Game Streaming Site Twitch

Creative District: Technicolor Launches Pro Networking Site

Similar to how business networking site LinkedIn services the needs of recruiters, professionals and job seekers, Technicolor has launched a social network called Creative District that is geared toward media producers and creatives. The platform is designed to help film and media creators collaborate and share resources, and find work and funding. Creative District operates as a startup, while Technicolor serves as the network’s sole investor. Continue reading Creative District: Technicolor Launches Pro Networking Site

Twitter Acquires Gnip, Could Provide More Data to Advertisers

Twitter has agreed to purchase data partner Gnip, in a move that could lead to an expanded role by Twitter in analyzing tweets for businesses that are seeking new insights from social media. While financial terms of the deal have yet to be released, Gnip has reportedly raised $6.6 million in funding. Twitter also announced that it has hired Daniel Graf as its new product chief. Graf, an expert in mobile apps, most recently served as a director at Google where he oversaw Google Maps. Continue reading Twitter Acquires Gnip, Could Provide More Data to Advertisers

Notable Cable Industry Vets Raise $21 Million for Layer3 TV

IP video startup Layer3 TV announced that it has raised $21 million in Series A funding. The company, staffed by cable industry veterans, describes itself as “a next-generation cable provider” combining “the best of television, social media, and digital life.” Executives include CEO Jeff Binder (founder of VOD company Broadbus Technologies), CTO David Fellows (formerly of Comcast and AT&T Broadband), and Chuck Hasek as head of video technology (formerly principal architect of video systems at Time Warner Cable). Continue reading Notable Cable Industry Vets Raise $21 Million for Layer3 TV

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