Twitter co-founder Biz Stone’s new and mysterious startup called Jelly still isn’t saying what it’s up to, but it has announced funding. According to details posted to the official company blog this morning, the team has raised a Series A from a notable lineup of investors in a round led by Spark Capital, with additional investment from SV Angel, and a group of angels that includes Square CEO Jack Dorsey;Reid Hoffman; Bono (what!), Evan Williams and Jason Goldman via Obvious; Al Gore; Emmy-winning director Greg Yaitanes; and Afghan entrepreneur Roya Mahboob.
As a part of the funding, Spark General Partner Bijan Sabet now joins Jelly’s board of directors.
The company explains that it chose the angels for their diversity of experience, something that’s important to Jelly’s team as well as to its product, whatever that may be:
“We chose angels like Al Gore, a Partner at KPCB and Chairman and Co-founder of Generation Investment Management, Greg Yaitanes, a Hollywood director, and Roya Mahboob, an entrepreneur doing amazing work for women in Afghanistan partly because they work in divergent fields. Knowledge diversity is something we prize highly and is also something that will be represented in our product.”
The post also revealed that the Jelly product is only in the early prototyping phases right now, which is one reason why the company has yet to reveal product details to the general public.
The additional funding – no amount was provided – will be used for hiring and development, as is par for the course.
Jelly has already been busy on the hiring front as of late however, having recently hired former Twitter engineering manager and Fluther co-founder Ben Finkel as Jelly’s co-founder and CTO, as well as Kevin Thau, the man responsible for Twitter’s new app, Twitter music.
Though details as to what Jelly is up to are scarce, earlier hints seem to point to some sort of “social good” intention with the service, like perhaps offering a way for users to connect to social causes and show off their contributions. Stone recently explained that “People are basically good—when provided a tool that helps them do good in the world, they prove it.”
Philanthropy and volunteering don’t have many central homes on today’s web, as TechCrunch previously noted in a discussion about Jelly’s possible plans – save for something like Causes, which works on top of Facebook’s open graph, having never taken off as a standalone service of its own. In fact, social media-based activism has been under fire for years as being a poor substitute for real-world action. Liking and sharing and posting and re-tweeting does not necessarily have the desired impact on effecting change, though it may raise awareness.
Today’s announcement from Jelly still gives no hints as to how it plans to help people “do good in the world,” only noting that the proliferation of mobile devices is a big factor in its plans. “As mobile devices have taken an increasingly central role in our lives, humanity has grown more connected than ever—herein lies massive opportunity.”
Google on Monday announced a change to how it offers free cloud storage to its users: 15GB will now be shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+. This change will start rolling out over the next couple of weeks.
Previously, Google offered 10GB for Gmail plus another 5GB for Drive and Google+ Photos. Now the company has decided that it makes more sense to unify the free storage across its three services.
As part of the change, Google is tweaking its Drive storage page to show a pie chart that breaks down your storage use across the trio. Here’s how it looks:
As before, you can still upgrade your storage space. Plans range from $4.99 per month for 100GB to $799.99 per month for 16TB.
What is most interesting for Gmail users here is that the 25GB upgrade is no longer the limit. Any additional storage you purchase will also apply to Google’s email service.
The Google Apps story is only slightly different: Google is offering its business customers 30GB of unified storage across Drive and Gmail. Storage will also be shared with photos customers upload to Google+ larger than 2048px, and just as before, files created in Docs, Sheets and Slides don’t count against this storage quota.
Here’s the updated Google Drive storage page for enterprise customers:
Google Apps customers are also no longer limited to 25GB for their inboxes. Once again, additional purchased storage can be shared and used by Gmail.
This unification will help Google market how much storage it offers by default, as well as push its storage plans to existing users. It’s not so much a smart move, as a necessary and obvious one.
Top Image credit: Pawel Kryj
Oh, Flash. Remember when there was still a little reason to believe that it wasn’t a dying medium? When the angry Android masses swore up and down that the absence of Flash would be the death of iOS… only for Adobe to kill their Android effort after just a year?
The shambling corpse of Flash takes another punch to the face today, with game engine Unity announcing plans to drop support.
For the unfamiliar, Unity is a pretty friggin’ awesome game development engine, used in releases like Rovio’s Bad Piggies, Temple Run 2, and a host of other games. I used it pretty heavily to build my Augmented Reality TARDIS project, as well.
One year ago, Unity began work on a feature that allowed developers to export their Unity projects to a Flash SWF file. While the company plans to keep Flash support around until the next major Unity release, the only work they’ll be putting into it moving forward is bug fixes.
Unity CEO David Helgason has a full post on his reasoning here, but his three-part logic is pretty straight forward:
As you might expect, the comments on the Unity post have turned into a bit of a war zone, with much of the heat thrown by those who somehow haven’t moved on since the summer of 1999.
It’s been fun, Flash. We had some good times on Newgrounds back in the day. You’re still my favorite platform for video playback until HTML5 gets its W3C wings. But it’s sleep time soon, okay?
The 2-minute long compilation doesn’t give too much away, but does give at least some hint as to what to expect – to cut to the chase, it’s a little racy and other-worldly.
Netflix has been focusing more and more on original, exclusive content of late. It launched its first original series, Lillyhammer, back in February 2012. Then earlier this year, House of Cards debuted too, to much critical acclaim. Netflix is also resurrecting Arrested Development this coming May.
Now, a year after it officially confirmed its plans, Netflix is on the cusp of launching its latest big-name original series, an adaptation of Brian McGreevy’s novel of the same name. It will constitute 13, 1-hour episodes which will launch simultaneously.
A big talking point prior to the imminent airing was this teaser which aired earlier this year, showing a quite stunning werewolf transformation.
Meanwhile, check out our interview with director and executive producer Eli Roth, alongside actors Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgard, as they discuss the new horror series.
Fast fashion has become a huge force in retailing, as seen by the increasing ubiquity of stores such as H&M, Forever 21, Zara, TopShop, and the like. But while those companies are clearly dominating High Streets all over the world, their chief focus is in the brick-and-mortar realm, and the web has been an afterthought at best.
A Los Angeles-based startup called DailyLook is setting its sights on being the go-to fast fashion brand based completely on the web — the e-commerce answer to H&M. To do that, the company has raised a healthy $2.5 million seed round from a number of investors including GRP Partners, RRE, SV Angel, Novel TMT Ventures, Matt Coffin, Thomas Mclnerney, and Rachel Zoe.
DailyLook, which carries items from other brands and also produces its own label through relationships with many of the same manufacturers used by the big fast fashion retailers, has been around and quietly building an audience since its bootstrapped launch back in 2011, founder and CEO Brian Ree told me in a recent interview. Through word of mouth, the company, which has a full-time staff of 20, has grown its user base to some 400,000 members that subscribe to its email newsletter.
DailyLook’s first business model was a “flash sale” type deal, with items from one new head-to-toe look sold each day for a limited period of time. Now, DailyLook is de-emphasizing the daily sale angle and shifted its strategy to a more standard e-retail model, offering a variety of clothes and accessories at all times on its site (though certain complete looks are offered at discounted prices for limited times.) Through it all, according to Ree, curation is still a key part of what the site aims to do.
“A lot of the fast fashion brands have gotten so big that their selection is overwhelming for the customer. The store is so huge, there are so many trendy styles, and it’s difficult for the average shopper to put together a beautiful curated outfit,” Ree said. “Our core concept is to be this brand that offers a styling experience, head-to-toe, with all of the actual products you need available right there.”
Right now those styling tips are offered by the site’s staff, which pulls together suggested looks. Another new feature called “Community” lets DailyLook customers share photos of how they wear items bought from the site. Going forward, Ree said, the company plans to build out more personalization technology to help target specific looks and styles to individual customers. Also on deck are plans to expand internationally within the next year.
While a key part of the consumer market seems to be gravitating more toward slightly more expensive, often American-made “investment” type pieces when it comes to clothing and accessories (see Everlane, Shinola, and the like), fast fashion has certainly been in high demand for a number of years now — and realistically, it will probably not slow down any time soon. DailyLook seems to have a smart angle to catch that wave from the web side, and it will be an interesting brand to watch in the months ahead.