June 11, 2019 Off

Providing supplemental educational videos online nets Osmosis $4 million

By Jill T Frey

With over one million YouTube subscribers and 500,000 registered users for its supplemental educational videos, Osmosis, which bills itself as the Khan Academy of healthcare, has raised $4 million in new funding.

The round was led by Felicis Ventures, with participation from previous Osmosis investors including GreycroftCoverysFundRxFigure 8Social Starts, and LearnStart,

“By reimagining medical education, Osmosis is addressing a critical impending global crisis: the need to develop and retrain tens of millions of healthcare professionals over the next decade to meet growing demand,” said Aydin Senkut, founder and managing partner at Felicis Ventures.

Felicis is betting on Osmosis in part because of the increasing demand for healthcare professionals around the world. The company cites statistics claiming that roughly 35 million more healthcare professionals will need to be trained by 2030.

Co-founders Shiv Gaglani and Ryan Haynes met at … Read the rest

June 11, 2019 Off

Have I Been Pwned is looking for a new owner

By Jill T Frey

Troy Hunt has revealed he’s looking for an acquirer for the breach notification service he set up more than five years ago — aka: Have I Been Pwned.

In a blog post discussing the future of the service, Hunt details how traffic to the site has exploded since January when he uploaded a massive 773M record list of breached emails and passwords that could be used for automated unauthorized logins (aka credential stuffing).

“The extra attention HIBP started getting in Jan never returned to 2018 levels, it just kept growing and growing,” he … Read the rest

June 11, 2019 Off

Uber rival Bolt returns to London 21 months after a TfL investigation shut it down

By Jill T Frey

Bolt, the Uber rival formerly known as Taxify, is taking a significant step this week in its effort to build out its transportation-on-demand business across the biggest cities in Europe and Africa, which currently covers 25 million users in 30 countries and 100 cities: it’s finally opening for business again in London, the biggest ride-hailing market in Europe.

“Finally” and “again” are the operative words here: the Tallinn-based company had launched in London as far back as September 2017 — nearly two years ago — only to shut down its services after three days, when Transport for London, the city’s transportation regulator, started to investigate the terms of its license.

It turned out that not all was right in the state of Estonia . To roll out its services more quickly, Taxify (as it was then known) had acquired a London firm with a license valid until … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki addresses hate speech controversy

By Jill T Frey

YouTube chief executive officer Susan Wojcicki is standing by the company’s decision to allow conservative commentator Steven Crowder to remain on the platform. Her comments come one week after an investigation confirmed the right-wing pundit’s treatment of Vox host Carlos Maza was not in violation of its policies, despite Crowder’s consistent use of racist and homophobic slurs. Crowder has more than 3.8 million subscribers.  

“The challenge is when we get an allegation like this we take it very seriously,” Wojcicki told Recode’s Peter Kafka at the Code Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Monday. “We need to enforce those policies consistently because if we were not to enforce them consistently, there would be millions of other people saying what about this video, what about this video, what about this video? If you look at the content on the internet, you look at rap songs, late night talks, a lot of Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Pepe the Frog creator reaches settlement over Infowars usage

By Jill T Frey

Once released, art belongs to the world. No one knows that better than Matt Furie. The Boys Club cartoonist has spent several years grappling with how the internet has coopted Pepe, turning his fun-loving stoner frog into one of the most prominent symbols of the alt-right.

Furie has launched campaigns, including a Kickstarter, aimed at taking back Pepe the Frog. Things finally came to a head when Alex Jones’ Infowars site began selling a poster using the amphibian’s likeness in 2017 and 2018. The case has become an important landmark in the fight for intellectual property online. The math of the issue clearly changes when one begins to profit using that art.

“What we asked for at the beginning of the case is for Infowars to stop selling the poster and to turn over all of their profits,” Furie lawyer Louis Tompros said in a statement. “Anyone who is … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

WarnerMedia is making a ‘Dune’ series for its streaming service

By Jill T Frey

WarnerMedia has placed a straight-to-series order for “Dune: The Sisterhood,” a show based on Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novels and tied to the big-screen “Dune” adaptation coming from Warner Bros. next year.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film’s director Denis Villeneuve will also be helming the show’s pilot, which is being scripted by one of the movie’s writers, Jon Spaihts.

“Dune” tells the story of warring noble families against the backdrop of the desert planet Arrakis. Since its publication in 1965, it’s become one of the most famous science fiction novels of all time. It was eventually followed up by five sequels written by Herbert himself, as well as countless prequels and additional sequels from his son Brian and Kevin J. Anderson. It was also turned into a film directed by David Lynch — who was notoriously unhappy with the results — and later into a … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Salesforce’s Tableau acquisition is huge, but not the hugest

By Jill T Frey

When you’re talking about 16 billion smackeroos, it’s easy to get lost in the big number. When Salesforce acquired Tableau this morning for $15.7 billion, while it was among the biggest enterprise deals ever, it certainly wasn’t the largest.

There was widespread speculation that when the new tax laws went into effect in 2017, and large tech companies could repatriate large sums of their money stored offshore, we would start to see a wave of M&A activity, and sure enough that’s happened.

As Box CEO Aaron Levie pointed out on Twitter, it also shows that if you can develop a best-of-breed tool that knocks off the existing dominant tool set, you can build a multibillion-dollar company. We have seen this over and over, maybe not $15 billion companies, but substantial companies with multibillion-dollar price tags.

Read the rest
June 10, 2019 Off

Ubisoft is launching a $15 a month subscription service in September

By Jill T Frey

If you can’t beat ’em, launch your own service. Today at its E3 press event, Ubisoft announced that it will be joining the growing list of companies launching their own streaming service. UPlay+ will be up and running on September 3, priced at a lofty $14.99 a month. Ubisoft is also opening access to preorders this week — and those who get in early will be get the month of September for free.

That price includes access to a library of more than 100 of the publisher’s titles, with more on the way. That includes classics like Prince of Persia, Splinter Cell and Beyond Good & Evil. The list also includes upcoming titles like Watch Dogs: Legion and Ghost Recon Breakpoint, the latter of which will open in beta on September 5, with early access on October 1.

“More players are in the digital ecosystem than ever before, and a … Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Netflix snags Ubisoft’s ‘Tom Clancy’s The Division’ adaptation starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain

By Jill T Frey

Netflix has snagged the distribution rights to Ubisoft’s adaptation of “Tom Clancy’s The Division” starring Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Directed by David Leitch, the new movie will come with a screenplay from Rafe Judkins, who’s also penning and showrunning Amazon’s adaptation of the “Wheel of Time” series.

The story is apparently set in the future when a pandemic virus spread via paper money kills millions across New York City. The heartening Christmastime-set story will focus on an attempt by a group of ragtag civilians who are trained to address catastrophes and attempt to shore up what remains of civilizations against its ruins.

According to Variety, the producers include 87North Productions, Gyllenhaal’s Nine Stories, Chastain’s Freckle Films along with Ubisoft Film and Television.

Video games are another vein that Hollywood is mining for potential tentpole franchises. While their success has been mixed, “Tomb Raider,” “Resident Read the rest

June 10, 2019 Off

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey now offers a way for you to create your own quests

By Jill T Frey

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was definitely my favorite game of 2018, and it’s getting even better thanks to a couple of new updates Ubisoft announced at E3 this year that help make the most out of the game’s incredibly detailed depiction of a mythically massaged Ancient Greek setting.

Starting today via an open beta, players can get in on one of these new features — Story Creator Mode, which is a web-based way for anyone to design, build and share their own in-game story-based quests. That’s right: You’re the myth-maker now, with a quest-building mechanic that lets players choose from six kinds of quest objectives, including assassination of specific targets; rescuing individuals; visiting different locales throughout the world and more. You can write your own dialog, with branches that respond to player choices, and you can add options for in-dialog lying or even let the player go ahead and attack NPCs … Read the rest