Bill Gates played Secret Santa to a Michigander, sending 81 pounds of goodies tailored just for her – TechCrunch

Bill Gates played Secret Santa to a Michigander, sending 81 pounds of goodies tailored just for her – TechCrunch

Since roughly 2012, billionaire Bill Gates has been participating in Reddit’s annual Secret Santa gift exchange, which matches Reddit users with internet strangers who give them presents.

He seems to relish the role. For example, in 2017, he was matched with a cat lover, sending off a giant load of feline-themed gifts, including a large stuffed cartoon cat and $750 in donations to her favorite animal charities. Last year, his gift recipient was a self-described miniature horse owner who loves yarn, natural fibers, and card-making. Gates sent him a bounty of yarn, decorating tape, pencils, postcards, sketchbooks, a custom-made blanket for his horse, and a signed copy of a “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” by Hank Green, the man’s favorite author.

This year, the lucky Redditor who found herself on the receiving end of 81 pounds of gifts from Gates was a 33-year-old, Detroit-area marketer who told MarketWatch yesterday, “I always thought it would be super cool to be matched with him some day, but I never really would have expected this to happen to me.”

The woman — whose Reddit profile features a picture of her hugging the “Star Wars” character Chewbacca and that refers to Harry Potter and other books and video games — was also reportedly sent a Harry Potter Santa hat; Lego building sets that include a giant Hogwarts castle; a handmade quilt depicting scenes from Nintendo’s “Legend of Zelda” game series; and “Twin Peaks” memorabilia, including an L.L. Bean jacket worn by one of the crew

What’s worse than Christmas music? Bitcoin Christmas music – TechCrunch

What’s worse than Christmas music? Bitcoin Christmas music – TechCrunch

The holiday season can be a lot. You might need something to make you feel better. This post doesn’t have it. But it does have some pretty terrible bitcoin Christmas music parodies that you can endure!

Enjoy:

In fact, the same account has made a bunch of similar pieces of musical fanfiction, proving the point that bitcoin fans are like other traders, but with fewer friends.

Take one for the road:

Now go get offline and spend time with someone you love.

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As DraftKings finds an exit, a reminder of what could have been – TechCrunch

As DraftKings finds an exit, a reminder of what could have been – TechCrunch

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.

Today the big news that falls into our orbit is about DraftKings, a sports betting service focused on fantasy sports that will go public via a reverse merger. Not too long ago DraftKings and its erstwhile rival FanDuel were ubiquitous on television; now the two are fractions of what they once were.

Let’s chat about what went wrong and what’s next.

The ascent

Both DraftKings and FanDuel raised modest sums until the latter half of 2014.

FanDuel’s Series A was worth just $1.2 million back in 2009. Its $4 million Series B in 2011 almost sounds like a joke. An ensuing 2013 Series C just tipped the scales at just $11 million. Things picked up in Q3 2014.

DraftKing’s story is similar, if slightly more aggressive. A $9.8 million Series A in 2013 was followed by a $24 million Series B that same year. Then in Q3 2014 things started to go faster.

In the third quarter of 2014, FanDuel raised a $70 million Series D. In the same three-month period, DraftKings raised $41 million. The next year, FanDuel raised a $275 million round in July. That same month DraftKings raised $300 million. All of a sudden the companies were unicorns, worth a combined $2.2 billion, post-money.

FanDuel’s funding history (according to Crunchbase data) then slowed, while DraftKings raised another $150 million in 2016

After battery fires, Lyft’s e-bikes are back in San Francisco – TechCrunch

After battery fires, Lyft’s e-bikes are back in San Francisco – TechCrunch

Just in time for Christmas, Lyft has brought back to San Francisco its pedal-assist e-bikes. The plan is to roll out hundreds of bikes each week until it hits 4,000 by the end of April 2020. This comes after Lyft had to pull its e-bikes in light of battery-related fires in July.

“After identifying the root cause of the battery issues, we made the decision to work with a different battery supplier,” Lyft wrote in a blog post last month. “We’re now receiving new batteries, testing them and reassembling ebikes.”

That announcement came along with Lyft reaching a four-year agreement with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to deploy 4,000 of its e-bikes. The resolution was the result of Lyft suing the city of San Francisco, which led to the court ordering Lyft and the SFMTA to negotiate under the “Right of First Offer” provision.

As part of the agreement, Lyft must provide reliable and redundant services, utilize modular design and pay $300,000 in fees to fund the installation of additional bike racks. If Lyft fails to do this, the SFMTA has the right to permit a second operator. For now, JUMP is still permitted to operate its 500 e-bikes, at least until March 1, 2020, as Lyft rolls out its full fleet.

Until March, Lyft will allow Bay Wheels members to access the e-bikes at no additional cost. Additional pricing will go into effect starting March 1, but Lyft says it’s “engaging our community partners and

Fintech’s next decade will look radically different – TechCrunch

Fintech’s next decade will look radically different – TechCrunch

The birth and growth of financial technology developed mostly over the last ten years.

So as we look ahead, what does the next decade have in store? I believe we’re starting to see early signs: in the next ten years, fintech will become portable and ubiquitous as it moves to the background and centralizes into one place where our money is managed for us.

When I started working in fintech in 2012, I had trouble tracking competitive search terms because no one knew what our sector was called. The best-known companies in the space were Paypal and Mint.

Google search volume for “fintech,” 2000 – present.

Fintech has since become a household name, a shift that came with with prodigious growth in investment: from $2 billion in 2010 to over $50 billion in venture capital in 2018 (and on-pace for $30 billion+ this year).

Predictions were made along the way with mixed results — banks will go out of business, banks will catch back up. Big tech will get into consumer finance. Narrow service providers will unbundle all of consumer finance. Banks and big fintechs will gobble up startups and consolidate the sector. Startups will each become their own banks. The fintech ‘bubble’ will