Now might be the perfect time to rethink your fundraising approach – TechCrunch

Now might be the perfect time to rethink your fundraising approach – TechCrunch

Many founders will have kicked off the new year with a new fundraising round. According to the data we shared last year, March, October and November were the months when VCs were reviewing the most decks.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has ground to a halt many industries, and there are even warnings that this will affect the next two quarters in regards to fundraising.

We’ve reviewed the data in our 2020 DocSend Startup Index and we’ve begun tracking the Pitch Deck Interest Metric. With San Francisco under a shelter-in-place order and many VCs scrambling to adjust their processes to an all-remote world, we saw pitch deck interest drop 11.6% when compared to the same week in 2019. While there has been a drop in interest so far, there is still a lot of activity, and VCs seem to still be reading pitch decks.

We will be monitoring the Pitch Deck Interest Metric in the coming weeks, but if you’re an early-stage startup and are in the middle of your fundraise, or are about to fundraise, there are some things you can

Google sets aside $800M in ads and loans to help in COVID-19 fight – TechCrunch

Google sets aside $800M in ads and loans to help in COVID-19 fight – TechCrunch

Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced Friday that his company would be donating more than $800 million in ad credits and loans to help government orgs and small businesses respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

The announcement gives a full breakdown of the deployment, the bulk of which is in credits for Google services:

  • Google will be giving $250 million worth of ad grants to more than 100 government orgs across the globe, including the World Health Organization.
  • They will also be seeding $340 million in ad credits to small businesses with accounts that have been active in the past year. The credits are good through the end of the year.
  • They’ll be giving away $20 million worth of Google Cloud credits to academic institutions and researchers that are tackling COVID-19.
  • $200 million will go to an investment fund for nonprofits and financial institutions to provide small businesses with loans.
  • Google further reiterated they will continue to invest in helping suppliers scale up production of face masks and other personal protective equipment.

COVID-19 is a global crisis and big tech companies like Google have strong global networks that are important to leverage. The global economy is undoubtedly being stressed by the pandemic, with small businesses especially being affected, and Google signal-boosting the World Health Organization and other government orgs with information to disseminate is a good move that more companies should follow.

As with any donation from a big tech company, it’s healthy to look at what recipients are getting and what

EPA relaxes enforcement of environmental laws during the COVID-19 outbreak – TechCrunch

EPA relaxes enforcement of environmental laws during the COVID-19 outbreak – TechCrunch

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Thursday that it is temporarily relaxing enforcement of environmental regulations and fines during the COVID-19 outbreak. The “enforcement discretion policy” applies retroactively to March 13, with no end date set yet.

The new policy follows lobbying from industries including oil and gas, which told the Trump administration that relaxed regulations will allow them to more efficiently distribute fuel during the outbreak, but because it is broadly written, it could potentially influence companies’ actions in a large range of industries, including tech.

It may also create new challenges for researchers and scientists, since while the policy is in effect, companies are being asked only to make data from monitoring available to the EPA if requested by the agency.

The EPA said the policy “addresses different categories of noncompliance differently.” For example, the EPA said it will not seek penalties for noncompliance with monitoring and reporting “that are the result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” but that it still expects public water systems to provide safe drinking water.

“EPA is committed to protecting human health and the environment, but recognizes the challenges resulting from efforts to protect workers and the public from COVID-19 may directly impact the ability of regulated facilities to meet all federal regulatory requirements,” said EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler in the agency’s announcement.

The policy places more onus for adhering to environmental regulations on the private sector. Depending on how the policy is carried out and how long it lasts,

Watch ULA’s first dedicated rocket launch for the U.S. Space Force live – TechCrunch

Watch ULA’s first dedicated rocket launch for the U.S. Space Force live – TechCrunch

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) has a mission today, launching a specialized secure communications satellite for the U.S. Space Force. That’s the new space-focused arm of the U.S. military that was officially formed last year in response to what the administration has characterized as a growing need to ensure America’s assets in space are properly defended.

The launch today is set to take off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, with a lift-off time set for 2:57 PM EDT (11:57 AM PDT). The rocket carrying the satellite is an Atlas V, and the mission looks good to proceed as of Thursday morning in terms of both weather and systems checks.

This is the sixth Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite being launched for the military, but the previous five have all been deployed under the U.S. Air Force because the Space Force only came into existence officially last year. The first five satellites were launched between 2010 and 2019, and together all six will form a constellation that provides secure communications capabilities for military operations across air, land and sea.

This will be the 83rd launch of an Atlas V rocket, and the 11th in this particular configuration. The ULA, a joint venture formed by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, currently has a 100 percent mission success rate, with a total of 133 launches under its belt.

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UK researchers develop new low-cost, rapid COVID-19 test that could even be used at home – TechCrunch

UK researchers develop new low-cost, rapid COVID-19 test that could even be used at home – TechCrunch

A new type of test developed by U.K. researchers from the Brunel University London, Lancaster University and the University of Surrey can provide COVID-19 detection in as little as 30 minutes using hand-held hardware that costs as little as £100 (around $120 USD) with individual swab sample kits that cost around $5 per person. The test is based on existing technology that has been used in the Philippines for testing viral spread in chickens, but it’s been adapted by researchers for use with COVID-19 in humans. The team is now working on ramping mass production.

This test would obviously need approval by local health regulatory bodies like the FDA before it goes into active use in any specific geography, but the researchers behind the project are “confident it will respond well,” and say they could even make it available for use “within a few weeks.” The hardware itself is battery-operated and connects to a smartphone application to display diagnostic results and works with nasal or throat swabs, without requiring that samples be round-tripped to a lab.

There are other tests already approved for use that use similar methods for on-site testing, including kits and machines from Cepheid and Mesa Biotech. These require expensive dedicated table-top micro-labs, however, which is installed in dedicated healthcare facilities. This test from U.K. scientists has the advantage of running on inexpensive hardware, with testing capabilities for up to six people at once, which can be deployed in doctor’s offices, hospitals and even potentially workplaces