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Here are 11 of the first services to use Product Hunt’s API

Product Hunt, the increasingly popular website that helps you discover new apps and services, is about to grow its presence on the Web after it began allowing other services to plug into its treasure trove of information.

Founder Ryan Hoover last month announced plans for an API, which allows other developers and software makers to build services that make use of Product Hunt’s data. Now the switch has been hit, letting the first services in.

Here are 11 of the initial group that you can tinker with — many of these previously scraped the site for information, so will perform better using the API:

  • Huntlytics: simple Product Hunt analytics for products
  • Product Hunt Roulette: a StumbleUpon-like discovery service for navigating ProductHunt
  • Producthunter Chrome Extension: serves up the most recent entries in a new tab
  • The News: an iOS app that combines Hacker News, Designer News, and Product Hunt
  • Panda: lets you browse Hacker News, Designer News, Product Hunt, and other resources in a single place
  • The Scoop: like Panda, this brings Hacker News, Designer News, and Product Hunt together in one place
  • Yo PRODUCT HUNTED: sends a Yo update when an entry clocks 150 upvotes
  • Roost for Product Hunt: sends a notification when an entry hits 100 upvotes
  • Product Hunt Alert: sends an SMS if a specific domain is mentioned on Product Hunt
  • HunterData: a Product Hunt leaderboard
  • Spear: Product Hunt command line interface

The API isn’t open to all at this point, but around 300 developers have gotten access. Others who are interested are invited to request early access here.

In his post, Hoover admitted that the move is scary. “I worry people will abuse the site or create something that “steals” engagement… we also lose the ability to measure how people are using Product Hunt,” he wrote, though he recognizes opening up enables huge opportunities since “Product Hunt is all about inspiring creation and entrepreneurship.”

Product Hunt actually hired the developer behind the Chrome Extension — so it’s fair to say that this is a good way to catch the companies eye. The company is planning its first hackathon, which Hoover tells me will take place in the coming weeks. That’s more evidence that the team is passionate about working closely with the developer community.

The company is currently going through the hallowed Y Combinator accelerator program. That, coupled with its intention to work with the developer community and its existing successes, suggests that its service has a bright future.

➤ Product Hunt

Related: The 7 (mostly free) tools Product Hunt used to build its early-stage community

And also: The 7 best Product Hunt lists you didn’t even know existed

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UberPool Lets You Split Uber Fares With Other Passengers Along The Same Route

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In the ongoing war between Uber, Lyft, and all of the other me-too ride-sharing services, competitors are looking for any way they can better utilize their supply of drivers and reduce costs for their riders. Today, Uber is announcing UberPool, a new feature that will let you pick up other riders on the way to your destination and split the bill.

While the feature should do a lot to cut costs for passengers, not everyone will want to ride with a stranger in addition to the driver picking them up; Uber notes that the new feature also serves as a kind of “social experiment.”

Since there’s not much data about how people will react to the new service, Uber isn’t going to release UberPool across every market it serves. The company has begun rolling out a private beta, and starting August 15 a public beta will launch in the San Francisco Bay Area. Uber also notes that the company’s “friends at Google” will be joining the beta as early adopters, as they “share [Uber's] vision of a more energy-efficient world with less traffic congestion and pollution in our cities and are excited to be early adopters of UberPool.” This signals continued cooperation between the companies following Google integrating Uber into Google Maps for iOS and Android.

Getting more riders into a single car to make rides cheaper isn’t exactly a novel idea. In June we covered Hitch, a ride-sharing service whose biggest differentiator from Uber and Lyft was the fact that it tries to use software to maximize the number of passengers in a single car to increase driver utilization and reduce prices for riders.

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Fly Or Die: LG G Watch

Like anything in this world, the LG G Watch has its pros and its cons.

It’s LG’s first venture into smartwatch territory, meaning that the company is just now figuring out its design aesthetic in the space. That said, it looks and feels surprisingly nice, with options for both black and gold.

The G Watch also has pretty solid battery life, despite the fact that its 1.65-inch IPS 280×280 display is always on. However, our own Darrell Etherington reported display issues in his review.

The smartwatch is outfitted with a Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz processor with 512 MB RAM and 4GB of on-board storage.

The question isn’t necessarily over the G Watch. It’s one of many new smartwatches in the market, all the way from the early Pebble to the forthcoming Moto 360. The more important question is whether you want a smartwatch.

At $229, LG’s G Watch might not be the best option out there, especially if you’re willing to wait and see what other companies have in store and how the market reacts to them. If you don’t have time, the G Watch will still make you feel futuristic, according to guest co-host Adam Clark Estes from Gizmodo.

So will the LG G Watch fly or die? Only time can tell.

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‘A new mobile expression’: Yo confirms seed-stage funding from Betaworks and Pete Cashmore

Remember Yo? Of course you do. Well, the single-button, zero-character communication tool that hogged headlines for weeks has just announced Pete Cashmore and Betaworks have participated in its $1.5 million seed-stage round.

Betaworks, a seed-stage VC firm and startup studio based out of New York, made a separate announcement earlier today. And it seems that John Borthwick, CEO at Betaworks, has been a big fan of the service for months.

“At the end of May, Matt Hartman invited Or Arbel, the co-founder of Yo, to visit Betaworks, and we started using the Yo app,” he says. “Since then, Yo has become part of our communications flow at Betaworks and in my life. We Yo with co-workers alerting them that a meeting is starting, I Yo with my wife as a hi during a busy day.  I Yo with friends, without any more expectation or need than a Yo back.  I get Yo’s from services that I am interested in tracking without having to download their apps.”

On/Off

It’s the on/off simplicity of Yo and its associated API that seemingly appeals to Betaworks here, with Borthwick noting that more than 2,000 developers have already started working with the API. “It’s a new class of apps…and as always Betaworks is excited and ready to take a plunge into a fundamentally new mobile expression and join the seed round of funding in Yo.”

There are some other big names on board that aren’t being revealed yet, but Mashable founder Pete Cashmore’s involvement is an interesting one too.

While it was already known that Yo had notched up around $1 million in early-stage funding, today officially completes the deal, and bumps that original figure up to $1.5 million. Not bad at all for an app that only lets you say ‘Yo’.

“The value of this round goes far beyond the dollar amount that we received,” explains Yo founder and CEYo (yes, seriously) Or Arbel. “Bringing such incredibly smart, talented, and experienced people into the Yo team at this stage is an incredible advantage that will allow us to accelerate the growth and provide more and better value to our users.”

➤ Yo | Betaworks

Excerpt from: ‘A new mobile expression’: Yo confirms seed-stage funding from Betaworks and Pete Cashmore

Google Previews A ‘Material Design’ Inspired Look For Chrome OS

All of Google’s properties will eventually bear a look inspired by ‘Material Design‘ and Android L, and Chrome OS is part of that sweeping visual overhaul, too. A new preview posted by Google “Happiness Evangelist” François Beaufort today (via 9to5Google) shows a very early design inspired by the card-style multitasking view that made an appearance in Android L, the new Material Design-based update for Google’s mobile OS.

The new look, which clearly lacks polish and yet bears some hallmark resemblance to Google’s other Material Design reimaginings, is actually available already on the prerelease Chromium OS builds, and those keen on getting an early look and not afraid to get their hands a little dirty can follow along with fresh updates to the new look as they happen.

What’s interesting about this new look is that it resembles not only Google’s other efforts around Material Design, but also Apple’s use of Time Machine and Microsoft’s stacked multitasking view introduced in Windows 7. The Cards metaphor is not new by any means, of course, but its use across Google properties looks to be a certainty, although this is a test only and things can definitely change before we see any major alterations committed to the final release of Chrome OS.

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DigitalOcean Closes $10M Equipment Lease From CapX Partners

DigitalOcean today announced that it has secured $10 million in equipment financing from CapX Partners. CapX previously invested in DigitalOcean’s $3.2 million seed round in 2013. The announcement comes on the heels of its huge $37.2 million funding round earlier this year led by Andreessen Horowitz to fuel its fast growth.

We don’t usually hear all that much about equipment financing rounds these days, but that’s probably because most startups these days don’t have all that much equipment that needs financing.

For DigitalOcean, however, getting discounts and lines of credit with Dell and other vendors was very important during its early days because it does actually have to incur quite a bit of cost to keep its co-located data centers running and scale them up as demand grows.

Early on, DigitalOcean often had a hard time coping with the ever-increasing demand and had to limit access to new cloud computing instances on a number of occasions.

“CapX was impressed with the company’s product offering, customer growth, and the trend for small business to move IT needs to the cloud,” said Peter W. Washington, Vice President of CapX Partners, in a statement today. “DigitalOcean’s impressive management team and support from its lead investor, Andreessen Horowitz, convinced CapX to step up its financial commitment to the business. We look forward to growing our relationship with both DigitalOcean and Andreessen Horowitz.”

DigitalOcean COO Karl Alomar said today that, “CapX is providing a meaningful contribution towards our overall syndicated leasing structure and remains one of our key partners in this regard.”

CapX says that in the process of working with the company, it has helped Digital Ocean to “draw down incremental tranches of capital to better match the company’s scaled financing needs.” This “Lease Line of Credit” structure is meant to help the company “manage its capital efficiently during the new shareholder’s investment period,” CapX noted in today’s announcement.

IMAGE BY Flickr USER Andrew Hart UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0 LICENSE

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Israeli High Tech Gets Aggressive

Editor’s note: Adam Fisher is a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, where he manages the firm’s Herzliya office focused on investments in Israel and Europe.

Israel has always taken a disproportionate share of global media attention. This has long held true in international politics, where Israel would prefer a little less attention, but also in high tech where the media attention on startup success has often been overstated and anecdotal.

For the better part of a decade, Israeli venture returns have been disappointing, frustrating many who were once convinced they had found the next big thing. But more than a decade after the last bubble burst, the Israeli venture capital industry has steadily matured, reaching a turning point over the past year.

The return profile in Israeli high-tech investments is improving remarkably as entrepreneurs build stronger, more ambitious startups with eyes on a much bigger prize and a higher probability of success. The Israeli tech industry may not be advancing at the pace that impatient investors and reporters demand, but the last decade has also proven that Israeli high tech is far from a fleeting trend.

As a fund that has been investing in Israel since 1992, with a dedicated office there since 2007, we at Bessemer see a stark difference today versus what we found in the Israeli startup environment 10 years ago.

Heightened Ambition

Israeli entrepreneurs have always been ambitious, but the maturity of the Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem now gives emerging companies a better chance to deliver on big dreams and therefore a better chance of raising money to pursue them. Today’s crop of entrepreneurs has grown up in the startup ecosystem and seen peers disappointed by selling too early or shutting down only a couple years after raking it in. This means not only more serial entrepreneurs, but more maturity and experience in the first 50 hires these startups make.

The perspective shows. Venture-backed M&A and IPO exits have grown each year since 2011; Waze (Google) was the largest venture-backed M&A deal in 13 years, but so was Intucell (Cisco) when it was acquired earlier 2013 and XtremIO when it sold in 2012.

Wix, which started trading on NASDAQ late last year, was the largest IPO of a venture-backed Israeli start-up ever…and has since been followed by Varonis. But companies such as Mobileye, CyberArk, Outbrain and others will likely file this year if they haven’t filed confidentially already. And I am increasingly confident that in the near future, the first results of a Google search for “Israeli IPO” will yield links related to public offerings rather than the acclaimed Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Israeli high tech

In most cases, these successes come years after rejecting otherwise lucrative offers, with management choosing an independent path despite higher risks. Remaining independent is generally much harder for Israeli startups relative to American peers.

To start, emphasis on cutting-edge tech and strategic partnerships triggers interest at a very early stage, well before a proper business has been built. And because scaling an independent business 6K miles away from the customer base is always daunting for the Israeli founder, accepting an early acquisition offer is often a very rational decision.

Direct Customer Acquisition

Startups become large, independent success stories when they “control their destiny,” which requires owning the distribution channel and, most importantly, owning the customer relationship. Historically, Israeli companies and their venture backers thought it sufficient to be the owner of unique and proprietary IP. For this reason, Israeli startup success typically hinged on building strategic partnerships and OEMs that could bring strong technology to far-away markets at a relatively low cost and low risk. It’s often forgotten, but this is how Checkpoint (Sun), Amdocs (AT&T), and Gilat (GE), became success stories.

Twenty years later, Israeli startups now know that such partnership shortcuts come at a profound cost to the company’s ability to stay independent long-term. Unfortunately, Israeli startups still tend to hire biz dev well ahead of sales, but the successful ones stand out for making every effort to own the means of customer acquisition as well as the resulting relationship.

This industry-wide transition is exemplified by the rise of Internet, SaaS and mobile companies — something once thought unthinkable in Israel. Wix, Waze and Outbrain each devised a method for scalable direct customer acquisition, whether it was through advertising channels, mobile platforms or sales reps. The same is true with many enterprise-focused companies, which increasingly eschew the “white knight” OEM and build an independent go-to-market strategy.

ShakeUp in the VC Landscape

American VCs first entered the Israeli market in the late nineties, focusing primarily on follow-on financings in startups originally funded by local Israeli funds. Over the last five years, the traditional roles of early-stage Israeli funds and later stage American funds have become blurred. Six American VCs with deal-makers residing in Israel, including BVP, are among the most active early stage investors in Israel and at least four newly established Israeli VCs are focused exclusively on later-stage opportunities.

The resulting American imprint at the early stage has been substantial, further fanning the flames of ambition and independence of Israeli entrepreneurs. American investors have brought not only larger checkbooks but a better read of the U.S. market and competitive landscape. American VCs have also introduced a more aggressive set of venture tools aimed at helping Israeli start-ups grow faster including growth equity financings, acquisition strategies and previously shunned founder liquidity. It’s American VC influence that’s behind the direct customer acquisition strategy and the spurning of strategic partnerships.

The Future Is Rosy

Recent high-profile exits have investors once again focused on Israel. Active VCs are reaping the rewards after much patience, and institutional investors – who were heading for the proverbial door – have paused and are taking a second look.

Some see these startups as not yet polished enough to warrant attention, but they do themselves a disservice. Israeli high tech has matured to a point where we will continue to see a steady stream of large M&A exits and IPOs for years to come. Israel is the only real technology rival to the Silicon Valley, and the Valley know this well. Just as political observers no longer view Israel as the underdog, few tech giants and investors are willing to underestimate the potential of an Israeli startup.

IMAGE BY Shutterstock USER JCELv (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)

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Apple’s Smartwatch Said To Debut In October With A 2.5-Inch Screen And Wireless Charging

Apple will reportedly launch its smartwatch as early as October, after kicking off production in July, according to a new report from Reuters. The smartwatch will have a 2.5-inch screen, according to the news organization’s sources, which will arch up from the band and be “slightly rectangular,” and it’ll feature touchscreen controls and wireless charging.

Apple is planning on shipping 50 million of these in the first year of its availability, Reuters adds, and Taiwan’s Quanta computers will be mass producing the device for the Cupertino-based iPhone-maker. It’s currently under trial production, the company’s sources add, and it contains a pulse sensor (likely an optical one similar to that found on the Gear 2), plus a display supplied by LG for this first test batch.

The report is yet another claim by a reliable news organization that says we’ll see Apple’s foray into smartwatches launch in October. A report from Japanese business newspaper Nikkei earlier this month said that Apple would launch the device in October, too, and also claimed it would pack a curved OLED display (which could account for the arcing described in this product) and health-tracking capabilities.

Generally speaking, once Apple ramps up its production on new large-scale runs of upcoming products, the details begin to leak to major news organizations through suppliers in rapid succession. There are always a flood of these kinds of reports ahead of a new iPhone launch, for instance. That, combined with the increasing agreement of the details contained within the reports, is a good sign that the information they present is reliable.

Apple introducing a rectangular display in its smartwatch could mean we’ll see something more akin to the FuelBand-esque concepts being thrown around, but it’s still too early to tell what this might look like based on available information. It sounds like it will almost certainly plug into Health, Apple’s new fitness and wellness-tracking app coming in iOS 8 in the fall.

Link: Apple’s Smartwatch Said To Debut In October With A 2.5-Inch Screen And Wireless Charging

Adobe’s Creative Cloud experiences extended worldwide outage

Adobe reports that its Creative Cloud online service, which powers access to some 16 creative applications including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and their helper resources, is not accessible online anywhere in the world.

Adobe said in a statement:

Adobe login is currently offline, impacting access to some Adobe services. We apologize for the disruption. We have identified the cause and are working to restore the service as quickly as possible. We will share updates on Twitter at @AdobeCare.

The company has been tracking the outage on its Creative Cloud System Status page. The first issues cropped up as early as Wednesday afternoon.

We’ll keep this post updated as Adobe brings the service back online.

Image credit: Ian Usher / Flickr

Google updates Nik analog effects photo plug-in

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Version One Ventures Founding Partner Boris Wertz Joins Andreessen Horowitz

One of (if not the) most well-respected fixtures in the Canadian venture capital scene has joined Andreessen Horowitz as a board partner, as Boris Wertz adds the Valley-based firm to his resume. Wertz has made a name for himself as a shrew early stage investor with his own Version One Ventures early stage fund, which he operates from his home base in Vancouver.

Wertz’s portfolio includes social publishing platform Wattpad, men’s subscription clothing startup Frank & Oak, crowdfunding platform Indiegogo and VC investment scouting platform Mattermark, to name just a few. He doesn’t limit his investment expertise to Canadian companies, but it is a space he knows well, and that makes him a very interesting addition to the roster at a16z.

As a board partner, he’s not a full-time partner, but will instead operate as a scout for a16z, highlighting great companies for the firm to look at and bringing them into deals he may have been looking at as potential targets for his own investment vehicle. He’ll also act as a16z’s representative on the boards of some startups that the firm puts funds behind.

Andreessen Horowitz has posted a Q&A with Wertz on their blog to celebrate his arrival at the firm, and this exchange about the startup world beyond SV probably best illustrates what he might bring to the Menlo Park institution:

a16z: How does being in Canada give you a different perspective?

BW: I wouldn’t say it’s Canada, as much as being outside of Silicon Valley. I think there is Silicon Valley, and then there are smaller ecosystems in places like New York, Toronto, , Seattle and other places. Compared to Silicon Valley, they all lack consistency of deal flow. That said, great companies do get built outside of Silicon Valley, and there are great opportunities. And this is the interesting thing, when you find an entrepreneur outside of the Valley usually they have this extra passion for what they are building because in some ways they have to work much harder to pull it off. They know it’s hard to raise money. They know it’s even harder to build a company. Yet they are still doing it.

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