OutVoice officially launches its freelancer payment tools

OutVoice, a startup that allows editors to pay freelancers with the click of a button, has officially left beta testing and is open to any publication.

The company is also announcing that it has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from content monetization startup Coil.

OutVoice was founded by Matt Saincome and Issa Diao (pictured above). When the product was still in beta last year, Saincome told me it was created to solve “a horrible problem for everyone” involved in publishing freelance work: When he was a freelance writer

Keywee introduces a new Loyalty Score to help publishers reach the most valuable readers

I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but here’s the truth: Not all readers are created equal.

At least, that’s how things look from a user acquisition perspective, where publishers running ad campaigns to reach new readers might end up bringing in a whole bunch of random visitors who are unlikely to ever return their site again.

“It’s less about just getting eyeballs on the content,” said Jared Lansky, chief commercial officer at marketing startup Keywee. “Loyalty is just more valuable for publishers.”

Keywee (<a href="https://techcrunch.com/2015/03/24/keywee-gets-9-1m-from-eric-schmidt-ny-times

Omnius CEO Sofie Quidenus-Wahlforss is joining us at Disrupt Berlin

When you think about artificial intelligence, chances are you think about anthropomorphic robots that can make decisions on their own. But artificial intelligence already has huge impacts in the insurance space. That’s why I’m excited to announce that omni:us founder and CEO Sofie Quidenus-Wahlforss is joining us at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin.

omni:us is an AI-driven service that can process a ton of documents (including documents with handwriting), classify them and extract relevant data. This way, omni:us customers can use the platform for automated claims handling.

The startup doesn’t want to disrupt existing insurance companies. Instead, it is working with some of the biggest insu

Bandit opens a ‘mobile-only’ coffee shop in New York

If you wander into the Bandit coffee shop in Midtown New York, you won’t be able to just walk up to the counter and order something. Instead, you’ll need to download a mobile app.

I experienced it for myself yesterday afternoon, when I — along with several other customers — pulled out my phone, downloaded the Bandit app, then used the app to create a profile, order and pay. A couple of minutes later, a barista called me up to the counter and handed me a pretty good cup of coffee.

In other words, while Starbucks has been experimenting with mobile ordering and payment, Bandit is betting entirely on what co-founder and CEO Max Crowley called a “mobile-only” store.

Obviously, this model can lead to some initial awkwardness, particularly if random passersby don’t understand it. But there are friendly Bandit staff members on-hand to help, and Crowley (who was previously the general manager of

Dream Games raises $7.5M seed to develop ‘high-quality’ puzzle games

Dream Games, a Turkish mobile gaming company founded by former Peak Games employees who worked together on hit puzzle games Toy Blast and Toon Blast, has raised $7.5 million in seed funding.

Leading the round is Makers Fund, with co-investment from London’s Balderton Capital. The funding will be used to increase headcount within the Dream Games team, targeting 20 employees in year one.

The company — which is yet to launch a product — is co-founded by CEO Soner Aydemir, the former Product Director at Peak Gam

Lucence raises $20 million Series A for its non-invasive cancer screening technology

Lucence Diagnostics, a genomic medicine startup that develops non-invasive tests for cancer screening, announced today that it has raised a $20 million Series A led by IHH Healthcare, one of the world’s largest integrated private healthcare groups. Other participants included SGInnovate and returning investors Heliconia Capital (a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings), Lim Kaling and Koh Boon Hwee.

The round will be used for scaling Lucence’s labs, hiring and making its products commercially available to more patients in Asia and North America.

The funding will also support two prospective clinical trials. One will focus on its technology’s sensitivity to actionable variables in late-stage cancer patients, while the other will evaluate its use for early-stage detection in several ty

Playbuzz becomes Ex.co and expands its content marketing platform

Playbuzz, a startup that helps publishers to add things like polls and galleries to their articles, has rebranded itself as Ex.co.

Co-founder and CEO Tom Pachys told me the name stands for “the experience company,” and he said it reflects the company’s broader content marketing ambitions. Ex.co will continue working with news publishers, but Pachys said there’s a bigger market for what the company has built.

“We’re seeing businesses wanting to become publishers in a way, to interact with their users in a way that’s very similar to what a publisher does,” Pachys said.

Playbuzz/Ex.co is hardly the first publishing startup realize that there may be more money in cont

Ubiquity6’s Display.land is part 3D scanner, part social network

The world is being mapped in 3D — one brick, one bench, one building at a time. For things like hyper-accurate augmented reality, autonomous robots and self-driving cars, 2D maps and GPS only get you so far.

Apple is building its map with lasers strapped to the tops of cars. Niantic has talked about building 3D maps of parks and public spaces by way of user-submitted imagery. The Army is making 3D maps with drones.

Ubiquity6, a startup that’s spent much of the last two years quietly chipping away at the challenges of building shared augmented reality experiences, is trying something different

SmartNews raises $92M at a $1.2B valuation

Looks like there’s still money to be made in news aggregation — at least according to the investors backing the news app SmartNews.

The company is announcing the close of a $92 million round of funding at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The funding was led by Japan Post Capital Co. and ACA Investments, with participation from Globis Capital Partners Co., Dentsu, and D.A. Consortium.

This includes the $28 million that SmartNews announced in August, and it brings the startup’s total funding to $182 million.

News aggregation apps seemed to everywhere a few years ago, and while they haven’t exactly disappeared, they didn’t turn into unicorns, with many of them acquired or <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2015/07/20/prismatic-pi

Where top VCs are investing in real estate and proptech (Part 1 of 2)

The multi-trillion dollar global real estate market is getting flipped on its head.

Business model innovation, data accessibility and the proliferation of mobile, SaaS and other cloud-native software have already given rise to a cohort of tech unicorns that sit amongst the world’s most influential real estate companies. Emerging technologies and growing capabilities across machine learning, 5G, IoT and more — coupled with fast-moving regulations and dramatic cost structure changes — have opened up opportunities for the next wave of innovation across a wide set of multi-billion dollar real estate verticals and sub-verticals.

And despite WeWork’s implosion garnering countless headlines in the real estate and technology worlds, venture dollars are continuing to s

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