For the past year, Silicon Valley’s geek-chic answer to Martha Stewart, Brit Morin, has been full speed ahead on Brit + Co., her tech-meets-fashion-media-and-lifestyle startup — raising $1.25 million, hiring 10 full-time staff (half of whom are engineers), cranking out two mobile apps, snagging big-name partnerships.
And the launches just keep coming. Last week, the San Francisco-based startup made its first move into the e-commerce space with the launch of Brit Kits, monthly deliveries of boxes full of materials for making the most popular DIY crafts and projects featured on Brit + Co.’s “creative living” editorial site.
In the same vein as Birchbox and the like, Brit Kits will be offered as a monthly subscription service that costs $19.99/month. The contents will vary pretty widely, as Morin says there will be kits “related to everything from home decor to food to fashion.” To get people fully prepped for the wide world of DIY, Brit + Co. is also selling a “starter kit” for $29.99, which contains basic crafting items such as an Xacto knife, a glue gun, and a hole punch.
Brit + Co. has pulled in revenue from day one through brand partnerships and sponsorships from companies such as Uniqlo. But opening up the e-commerce angle represents its first foray into making really scalable direct-to-consumer revenue. From the outset, I think it fills a nice niche in the very hot online subscription commerce sector, as it’s something that could appeal to teenaged girls and middle-aged women alike. It’ll be interesting to see how it grows going forward.
Meanwhile, Morin tells me that there is much “more to come” when it comes to commerce, and Brit + Co.’s expansion in general. Given what she’s built and shipped since launching the company just 10 months ago, I’d wager that there’s reason to believe her.
Last month TechCrunch TV sat down with Morin at Brit + Co.’s San Francisco headquarters, to talk about the company’s recent growth and to check out its newest native iPhone app. You can watch that interview in the video embedded below:
Continue reading here: Brit + Co. Gets Into E-Commerce With ‘Brit Kits’, Monthly Deliveries Of All Things Crafty
When your service goes International, truly International, it’s a very good sign. It seems like those who were carrying around a smartphone at the Olympic games in London chose to use foursquare as their check-in app of choice.
Here’s what the foursquare team shared today:
People from over 120 countries checked in at the Olympics! Top 5: UK, US, Italy, France & Morocco. Start practicing your Bolt poses for Rio!
— foursquare (@foursquare) August 13, 2012
It goes without saying that Twitter and Instagram were hot apps of choice in London, with nearly every athlete who won a medal seeing a jump in followers, but this has to be a nice moment for foursquare.
It’s not a surprise that the UK and US weren the top 5, but I was personally intrigued by the foursquare adoption in Italy, France and Morocco.
Considering that the Olympics were held in multiple stadiums and buildings, foursquare probably snagged a ton of check-ins, especially from repeat users. This is exactly the type of event that caused the company to get hot in the first place, having launched at SXSW in Austin.
Some folks we met in Charlotte had a mission: they wanted to win a contest (sponsored by Red Bull) for the coolest Arduino project in the land. I think they may have nailed it. The project, built by engineers and designers for Edison Nation, turns an ordinary desk into a booze-infused party zone when the clock hits five (or when you slap the Swingline stapler.)
The project has been submitted to the Red Bull website and the guys could use your help getting to the top so they can head out to the 2012 Maker Faire in NYC.
Sadly the Red Bull website is an absolute mess and there is no visible means of voting, but if you figure it out, give these guys a nod. It’s not every day that you see a system that can turn an office into a red-hot, robotic bar.
Read the original here: When The Boss Is Gone, Rock Out With This Automatic Party Desk
Microsoft is on a hot streak. The company has never been cooler, pushing out hot new start screens (both desktop and mobile), excluding early-adopters from major upgrades (pulling a Google), and snagging the up-and-coming Yammer enterprise social network for a cool $1.2 billion. But sometimes people can get carried away.
So is the case with this image of an alleged future Windows Phone keyboard, which curves out of the bottom right-side of the phone into an arc for one-thumb typing. As you can see, the image doesn’t look very well put-together. But WMPowerUser claims that this image was leaked from an internal presentation, so it’s entirely possible that it’s a render.
What really makes me hesitate is that skewed orange text on the top. It’s unclear whether or not WMPowerUser put it there or not, though I’m leaning toward the latter since the blog’s watermark is nice and aligned. At the same time, there’s a bit of evidence to suggest that this type of keyboard has been in the works for a while.
This whiteboard was spotted in a video (below) featuring Dr. Victor Bahl, Director of Mobile Computing Research, Microsoft Research, and shows the words “one-handed input,” “Apollo,” and what appears to be “soft keyboard.”
We’ve seen plenty of cool keyboard innovations of late, particularly RIM’s predictive soft keyboard, but it’s a tough jump for the mind to make. Multiple letters on the same key and the curved nature in general seem weird, but perhaps we just need to see it in action. That is, of course, if it’s even real.
Here is the original post: Leaked Windows Phone Keyboard: Curved For Your Typing Pleasure
Big data is not only hot in the startup world but also in the university. Stanford, with its intimate access to Silicon Valley is most readily associated with the study of big data. But UC Berkeley, the other great university in the Bay Area, is hot on Stanford’s heels in terms of making sense of our new data driven economy. And later this week (May 31-June 1), Berkeley is hosting a conference about big data entitled Data Edge which promises to explore many of the most interesting questions about defining, understanding and extracting value from big data.
Earlier this week, Professor Marti Hearst from Berkeley’s illustrious School of Information came into our San Francisco studio to talk to me about data. Not only did Hearst try to define for me our “age of big data”, but she also discussed what Berkeley is doing to encourage and incubate big data entrepreneurs, particularly in the areas of healthcare and privacy. And, of course, she also told me more about Berkeley’s Data Edge conference, an event that will include speeches from luminaries as distinguished as Google Chief Scientist Hal Varian, Microsoft Senior Researcher Danah Boyd and DJ Patil, Greylock’s Data Scientist in Residence.