Here’s what I knew when I visited the Museum of Future Experiences: The startup is part of the current batch of companies at Y Combinator, and it’s doing work with virtual reality. Beyond that, I had no idea what to expect. The MoFE is currently located in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. To reach it, I walked through an unmarked door, up a dimly-lit flight of stairs and into a waiting room — where I was greeted by founder and CEO David Askaryan, and then by two men in shiny lab coats, who explained that they would be my guides. Along with two other guests, I was led downstairs, where our guides quizzed us about our hopes and fears. We were told that our answers would reveal the current state of our subconscious, which in turn would shape the content that we were about to see. So my MoFE experience probably won’t match yours, but I’ll try to describe it anyway: In the next room, after I put on a VR headset, I found myself flying around a stark, … [Read more...] about The Museum of Future Experiences offers a spooky, surreal take on VR
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Lyft has hired Karim Bousta, Tesla’s now-former VP of Worldwide Service and Customer Experience, to serve as the transportation company’s VP of driver experience operations. At Lyft, Bousta will be responsible for leading rental program Express Drive, and launching and scaling the next generation of Lyft Hubs, which are Lyft’s driver support centers. He also will be tasked with beefing up driver rewards and incentives. “I am all about the drivers. I want driving with Lyft to be the best and most rewarding experience,” Bousta said in a statement. “We know that the biggest burden of driving is the cost of vehicle maintenance, servicing, and insurance. My goal is to severely reduce or even eliminate that burden and put more money back in our drivers’ pockets.” In May, Lyft committed $100 million to better support its drivers by specifically putting the money toward cheaper oil changes, basic car maintenance, serviced car washes and more. … [Read more...] about Lyft brings on ex-Tesla VP to lead driver experience operations
Starbucks’ mobile ordering app has proven wildly popular for the company, with reports indicating that it had more users than the likes of Apple Pay or Google Pay last year. The convenience is just too alluring. When you’re late for work and forgot to eat, being able to order up a drink and a sandwich with a tap or two and have it ready for pick up by the time you pass the store seems sort of like magic. But how can smaller coffee shops compete? Building and maintaining an app of your own is a massive endeavor — and that’s before you start trying to convince customers to install yet another app. Cloosiv is aiming to take that simplified, tap-of-a-button mobile ordering approach and make it work for local coffee shops by bringing them all to one place. It highlights the nearby coffee shops that are part of the service, presents their menus and lets you tweak your drink to your liking before sending your order on its way. Tipping is handled through the app, and … [Read more...] about Cloosiv gives local coffee shops a mobile ordering experience on par with the mega chains
It’s that time of year, Silicon Valley’s investor technocrati and advice-giving Twitter celebrities descended upon Pier 48 in San Francisco to judge the latest summer batch of Y Combinator startups. TechCrunch was there, as well, and we were tapping away feverishly as co-founders pitched to woo investors. There are 197 companies in total in the summer YC batch, we heard from 84 of them today — in addition to a few off-the-record pitches which we agreed to hold off publicizing as they remain in stealth. We’ll hear from another chunk of them tomorrow, so check back tomorrow for even more startup blurbs. Demo Day used to be the debut for many of these companies, but as Y Combinator’s prestige has grown so has the likelihood that the batch’s best will be closing rounds at outsized valuations before the first pitches have been made. We’ll undoubtedly be reporting on some of these rounds moving forward, but for now here are the 84 companies whose … [Read more...] about All 84 startups from Y Combinator’s S19 Demo Day 1
"Dopamine fasting" may be Silicon Valley's latest wellness trend — but does this sciency-sounding fad actually have evidence to back it up? During a so-called dopamine fast, extreme practitioners abstain from any experience that brings them pleasure, including but not limited to sex, food, exercise, social media, video games and talking, according to Vox. Some people go so far as to avoid making eye contact, chatting with friends or even performing moderately-fast movements, all in an effort to avoid stimulation, the New York Times reported. By taking a break from sins and small pleasures, fasters attempt to "reset" the brain's reward system, a network wired, in part, by a chemical called dopamine. After a fast, they report feeling more focused and finding more joy in the activities they'd avoided, according to Business Insider. Despite its supposed benefits and good intentions, dopamine fasting has stirred up controversy. Dr. Cameron Sepah, a … [Read more...] about Is There Actually Science Behind ‘Dopamine Fasting’?