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Yelp Swings To Profitability In Strong Q2 With $88.8M In Revenue, EPS Of $0.04


Today after the bell Yelp reported its second-quarter financial performance, including revenue of $88.79 million, and a profit of $0.04 per share. The company had net income of $2.7 million in the period, up from a $878,000 loss in the year-ago quarter.

Investors had expected Yelp to lose 3 cents per share on revenue of $86.32 million. The company’s revenue tally for its most recent quarter is up 61 percent on a year-over-year basis.

In its sequentially preceding quarter, Yelp reported $76.4 million in revenue, and a 4 cent per-share loss. Yelp was up just under 9 percent in regular trading. Following its earnings beat, Yelp is up nearly 6 percent in after-hours trading.

The company also reported strong guidance for its third quarter, with revenues forecasted to land in the $98 to $99 million range.

Investors appear enthusiastic with the company’s results. For the first half of 2014, Yelp’s revenues rose 63 percent when compared to the same period of 2013. For a company of Yelp’s age, that’s quick revenue expansion.

Want a vanity metric? Yelp now has 61 million reviews on its service, up 44% year-over-year. The company also reported that it saw its average monthly unique visitors grow 27% compared to the year-ago period. Mobile traffic grew even more.

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MobileIron Pops 7% After Reporting Bigger Than Expected Q2 Revenue Of $31.5M


Today marks MobileIron’s first earnings report as a public company. In the second quarter, the mobile device management company had GAAP revenue of $31.5 million, a per-share loss of $0.66 on a GAAP basis, and $0.52 on a non-GAAP basis.

The market had expected MobileIron to lose $0.70 on revenue of $26.84 million.

MobileIron went public at $9 per share. After cracking the $11 mark, the company has traded under its offering price in recent days. In after-hours trading, following its earnings beat, the company’s shares are up more than 7 percent.

MobileIron’s “Subscription” revenue, a marker that could be linked to the company’s annual recurring revenue, grew to $7.10 million in the period. The company’s full revenue tally was up a modest 25.09 percent from the year-ago quarter.

For the current quarter, MobileIron expects between $31.2 and $33.2 million in GAAP revenue, and total calendar 2014 revenue on a GAAP basis of between $120 million to $130 million.

The company ended the period with more than $155 million in cash, a large chunk of which came from its recent flotation.

In sum, a decent quarter for the company, and one that came in ahead of expectations. Its net loss of $17.11 million in the quarter, up from a year-ago loss of $6.20 million a year ago, however, isn’t as rosy.


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Y Combinator-Backed Kash Lets Retailers Offer Starbucks-Like Mobile Payments While Cutting Out Credit Cards


If you’ve been to a Starbucks in the past year or so, it’s almost guaranteed you’ve seen someone in line pay with their smartphone by opening the Starbucks app and holding a bar code up to a scanner. Kash is hoping to bring the same experience to other retailers and small businesses while cutting out one of their biggest costs: credit card fees.

Users just have to install the Kash app for iOS or Android. Unlike the Starbucks app, which forces you to create an account and enter your credit card information the first time you use it, Kash’s app just shows a green debit card labeled “tap to pay,” and the first purchase is on them. It’s a smart way of jumping straight to the best part of the app experience, even if the card does seem weirdly skeuomorphic in the otherwise flat iOS 7-style interface.

Kash gets around credit cards entirely, letting users pay straight from their checking accounts by entering their online banking log-in info, as you would with an app like Mint. Some people might not be comfortable with that, but Kash promises that it fully covers any fraud that could result from using its app. Since payments are being handled directly, retailers get paid for their sales in a day instead of potentially waiting days or weeks for things to go through traditional processors.

Retailers that sign up for Kash get on-site setup and a free scanner. While Kash doesn’t currently integrate directly with existing point-of-sales systems or any of Square’s fancy tools for retailers, Kash CEO Kaz Nejatian told me in a phone call that retailers it has approached would rather have the separate installation now than wait a few months for those features to be rolled out. Customers seem to be jumping on it as well, as businesses that have signed up so far report that 15-20% of their customers have already tried using Kash to pay.

Small businesses won’t pay anything for quite some time, as Kash doesn’t charge any fees on the first $100,000 of payments in processes. This means that bigger retailers using the service will effectively subsidize early usage by local businesses that sign up.

Once you do pass that $100,000 figure, Kash charges a 1% fee on all transactions it processes. That’s both cheaper and less confusing than the per-month, per-swipe, percentage, and other fees that credit card companies can drop on their customers.

With only 5 employees, Kash already has a backlog of retailers and small businesses that have signed up that it plans to get up-and-running over the next few weeks. Nejatian told me that at its current rate, businesses that signed up in the last few days will be set up in about three weeks.

While Kash originally started in Canada, the company moved to San Francisco to join the current Y Combinator batch. In the last few weeks, it’s managed to sign up dozens of retailers for its beta in the city as well as in the East Bay and in the San Jose/Mountain View area.

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PayPal Co-Founder Max Levchin To Speak At Disrupt SF 2014 About His Latest Startup, Affirm


We’re happy to announce that PayPal co-founder, Yahoo board member and self-proclaimed crypto-nerd Max Levchin will be returning to the Disrupt stage in September.

Last year, Levchin spoke with TechCrunch co-editor Alexia Tsotsis about the NSA, lessons he learned from PayPal and his fertility app, Glow, which now is doing rather well. But Levchin just can’t sit still and he’s got a new venture. And, wouldn’t you know, it’s about commerce.

His latest company, Affirm, is a financial company that uses data to solve hard problems in finance, and offers consumer credit at the point of sale. If there’s a service you’ve used on the internet, there’s a good chance Max Levchin has been involved in it. Levchin counts PayPal, Yelp, and Slide among companies he’s helped bring to life either as founder or advisor.

Affirm launched out of the Levchin’s own company building investment vehicle, HVF. Affirm has quietly landed $45 million in debt and equity financing from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Nyca Partners, and Khosla Ventures.

The company’s first product, Split Pay, gives consumers the ability to take out a short-term loan to finance transactions, structuring financing like home and car loans and avoiding the costly and consumer-unfriendly credit card APRs.

Affirm wants to make it as easy to secure financing as it is to post a message on social media. It uses context-driven cues from social networks to determine whether you’d actually make good on a loan before it provides it to you. Affirm isn’t the only outlet trying to revolutionize the loan industry, though, and competition is particularly tough with the likes of Lending Club and others. Can Affirm be successful in this crowded market? They’ve certainly got the right man at the top.

Levchin was one of the original co-founders of PayPal, and served as the company’s CTO until it sold to eBay in 2002. In 2004, he helped start ratings and review service Yelp, where he currently serves as chairman of the board. Levchin also sits on Yahoo’s board. Levchin founded Slide in 2005, a service that enables users to create and personalize widgets and use them on social networks, blogs and desktops. Slide was acquired by Google in 2010 for $228 million.

Levchin is also co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Glow, an app that wants to help women get pregnant through managing their cycle. Glow will even pay for in vitro fertilization for couples for whom the cycle tracking doesn’t work. Tracking ovulation cycles is just one of the many ways Levchin believes we can use technology and data to better enhance our daily lives.

We’re thrilled that Levchin will be joining us at Disrupt, and hope you’ll be there to hear his plans for Affirm and what might come out of HVF next. Early bird tickets for Disrupt are available through September 1st, and if you’re interested in sponsoring the events, sponsorship packages are still available too.

Anthony Domanico contributed to this article.

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Incubated: How The 500 Startups Accelerator Helps Startups Get Noticed


It’s only been around a short three years, but the 500 Startups Accelerator has already cemented its spot as one of the top programs for founders who are looking to improve their products and reach new users. Now graduating more than 100 new companies per year, the program has historically done a great job of including international startups.

500 Startups runs four accelerator classes each year, running a 12-week program of about 30 companies in each batch. The program operates as an incubator in which startups all work together within the same office space, with access to staff and mentors to help them grow their business.

The accelerator is particularly strong in helping startups to understand their internal metrics and distribution, helping them to market their products and services more efficiently. And it’s got a strong background in helping companies about design and improving their product.

It’s also been great for international companies, many of which get their first exposure to what it’s like to operate in Silicon Valley. The program helps them to understand their audience from a global perspective, and helps them to figure out the best way to reach users around the world.

To find out more, check out the video above, where I talk to partners, mentors, and some founders who have been through the program.

This is the first of ten episodes for a new TechCrunch TV series called Incubated. We’ll have a new episode after Wednesday afternoon for the next two-and-a-half months, each of which will take a look at what it’s like inside some of the top accelerators in the U.S. Please join us each week to find out how all the different incubators and accelerators help out the startups that participate in them.

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Solving Optimal Health For Google[x] In North Carolina


Cannon Mills was a textile company that stood on the edge of the blue-collar town of Kannapolis, North Carolina for over 100 years. The company employed more than 16,000 town residents at its height, but in 2003 Cannon Mills was forced to shut its doors forever, laying off about a tenth of the town’s entire population, all in one day.

What was once a tragedy for Kannapolis might just hold the key to one day solving diseases like cancer or fibromyalgia… And the town could soon be a big part of Google[x]‘s new project Baseline.

Baseline, the new clinical research study out of Google[x], intends to take a look at 175 healthy people’s molecular structure to determine just what it means to be in a state of perfect health. These volunteers will give up blood, urine and other materials as well as have their entire genome sequenced.

For the past seven years, Duke University has been already gathering those same molecular materials from a quarter of the 44,000 residents in Kannapolis.

Cannon Mills, Co. Plant 1 Kannapolis, NC, Flickr

Financing The Future Of Health

Known as the Murdock Study, the Duke University-led project is sponsored by a 91-year-old eccentric Los Angeles billionaire by the same name, David H. Murdock. This nanogenarian pretty much has cornered the world’s fruit supply.

Murdoch is the chairman of Dole Food Company, the largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. He also just happens to be obsessed with life extension research. Murdock came in and bought Cannon Mills at auction seven years ago, pulled in the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, and turned Kannapolis into a $1 billion mecca for biotech.

Word is that Murdock’s a bit of a brash eccentric, eating mainly fruits and vegetables and racing 35 year olds up the stairs. He demolished the old mill and erected the 350 acre North Carolina Research Campus in its place. The mural of a giant fruit basket and an eagle adorn the front of campus in his honor. The eagle is said to be him, soaring free through the air.

Fruit basket mural in the NCRC rotunda in honor of David H. Murdock, Flickr

Murdock gave $35 million of his own money to kick off research efforts for this study back in 2007. Now a 40,000-square foot biobank hosts the genetic materials from nearly 11,000 of the town residents who’ve opted into the Murdock study so far.

The new lab employs just 600 workers, though according to campus development over 5,000 townsfolk will eventually be employed there as well. Most of the workers currently at the facility hold doctorate degrees.

Meanwhile, a majority of the residents who were laid off at the mill back in 2003 were in their late 40’s and had little more than a high school education. They ended up taking jobs at the town’s then newly built Wal-Mart.

Regardless of Murdock’s quirks, the town seems pretty grateful for his contributions. Both the Kannapolis website ThinkKannopolis and the mayor pay major homage to the research campus. And just ask those scientists on the research study and you get the sense Murdock’s money saved the town.

Residents get paid $30 to $250 and up to participate in the study. It’s not enough to live on, but it’s something for a former textile town with a majority of workers now earning their living in social assistance and retail services and 10.5% of the per capita population living below the poverty line.

While Baseline has just started its search for the perfect human subjects, the Murdock study has been gathering three tablespoons of blood and urine, family medical histories, and DNA from each participant for closer to a decade now.

During this time, the cost of DNA sequencing has dramatically decreased — sequencing one person’s genome used to cost $100,000 but now it’s more like $1000. At the same time, labs now have access to software algorithms and more computational power, while molecular measurement tools now give deeper insight into what is going on internally.

The majority of all its human samples still sit neatly side-by-side at the Kannapolis campus, waiting for a potential discovery into optimal human health.

Google’s Ambitious Plan To Personalize Medicine

Meanwhile, back at Google, Andrew Conrad leads the Google[x] Life Sciences team. He actually helped set up the Murdock study in 2005 and is now heading up Baseline. He’s been consulting heavily with both Duke and Stanford Medical Schools during the initial pilot phase of the program.

Grand biomarker studies have been done before, but Baseline’s focus is on detecting changes at the molecular level before there’s a full-blown disease.

“It may sound counter-intuitive, but by studying health, we might someday be better able to understand disease,” says Conrad. “This research could give us clues about how the human body stays healthy or becomes sick, which could in turn unlock insights into how diseases could be better detected or treated.”

The personalized medicine market is already at $232 billion and is expected to grow 11 percent annually, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers research. That market includes a $42 billion chunk in gene-based therapies by 2015.

Google[x]‘s plans for Baseline to go a step further and carve out a spot in personalized medicine that predicts and corrects any unhealthy changes in the human body before it happens.

Google says the information from Baseline will be completely anonymous. However, it will sequence each volunteer’s entire genome, which could theoretically be traced back to any subject even without matching the subject’s name and other information.

Meanwhile, the Murdock study only sequences the genome of centenarians for now. The purpose is to discover why this small portion of the population tends to live so much longer than everyone else. Murdock, by the way, plans to live to 125 himself.

North Carolina Research Campus on the site of the old Cannon Mills, Flickr

Baseline’s Kannapolis Connection

The Google[x] Baseline project came knocking at Duke University’s door at just the right moment, according to Dr. Rob Califf. He’s the head of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute and is heavily involved in the Murdock study. He’s also listed on Google[x]‘s Baseline consulting team.

“We were able to get the funds from Murdock to start us out right. Now this project with Google opens wide the doors of possibilities,” says Califf.

It’s still early days for Baseline, but Califf confirmed the Murdock study and its participants will fold into the Google[x] research at some point. He says combining forces will speed the pace of clinical research and enable the development of new tests and techniques for detecting and preventing diseases like cancer.

The 175 chosen members in the initial Baseline study are surely aware of how their data may be used, but the residents of Kannapolis were most likely unaware what those three tablespoons of blood and urine would be a part of this research. They definitely didn’t think it would ever reach the halls of Google.

Califf is upfront about the potential for abuse of this info, particularly if it’s used for insurance or employment purposes. But he says it’s different when it’s for science and potentially eradicating diseases like cancer. He mentions campus researchers will be sure to do their part to inform the town of Kannapolis just what their information will be used for in the coming months and years of the project.

Though nothing is set in stone on when or how things will move forward, Califf marks November as the possible time frame for his team to roll up their sleeves and get to work with all those Kannapolis samples. They’ll then be able to determine which subjects fit whichever category they are looking for, run some tests, and then send the data along to the folks at Google[x].

DNA Painting credit: Micah Baldwin Flickr/CC

Article source:’s Contactless Ultrasound Transfer Tech Aims To Best NFC


Israeli startup is working on a universal alternative to NFC that relies on high pitched soundwaves to perform a contactless handshake.

Now NFC has its fans (and fanboys) — but it also has major detractors. Apple for one has so far continued to eschew adding the contactless transfer tech into its mobile devices.

But the fact you need a dedicated chip at all to fire this contactless medium up is arguably the problem. NFC’s requirement of needing a large enough user-base to make the tech useful has generally hampered adoption of both chips and NFC-enabled services, such as contactless payments, since there’s no critical mass of users to generate significant momentum.

Which is where’s alternative aims to step in. The startup is building a technology based on using ultrasound as the contactless layer. It thus only requires devices to have a microphone and speakers to make use of the tech. In other words: no NFC chip required.

The system does not send the actual data a user wants to transfer via this sonic medium, but uses ultrasound to identify and authenticate a transfer device (or devices) so that a verified exchange can then take place in the cloud.

“The Prontoly solution leverages preexisting device hardware, namely standard microphone and speaker. With that we employ a timebase onetime password (TOTP) handshake between devices on the client level which is then correlated via our authentication server,” explains co-founder and CEO Nick Pappo.

“These TOTPs are the only thing exchanged over the ultrasonic sound wavelength (encrypted of course), no identifying or transaction data is ever transmitted via this medium. Once we have authenticated a transaction request between devices we push to clearance via the application selected processor.” has filed patents around filtering its ultrasound signal pattern out of background noise so it can function in noisy environments. Having a unique ultrasound pattern as its signal also means it can avoid potential clashes with — or interference from — other radio technologies, says Pappo. And even other ultrasound techs (which are, in any case, not yet in common use in the consumer electronics tech space).

That said, is not the only company looking at this technology. At Google I/O earlier this summer Mountain View revealed it’s working on an ultrasound ID tech for its Chromecast device — which will allow multiple mobile users to sling stuff to the same TV screen via Chromecast without having to log onto a Wi-Fi network.

Google nabbed the ultrasound password tech from a Disrupt 2013 SF startup called SlickLogin by acquiring that company earlier this year.

That’s a neat looking use-case for sure, but Google is — currently at least — focused on one device and one use-case (logins). Whereas’s system aims to be cross platform and device agnostic — so will be able to work with Android, iOS, Windows… whatever, assuming the device in question has a microphone and speaker.

It’s also targeting multiple applications for the tech — aiming to support whatever implementations and use-cases its b2b customers want to use its contactless identification/authentication layer for. offers access to its tech via an SDK.

“Comparing what we have and (what we know about) Google latest announcements regarding Ultrasonic, they are concentrating on Login. For us Login is just another use case of many: Payment, Point of Sale, Smart TV, Access points. In each one of those and others, we have on going activities,” says Pappo.

Another advantage (vs NFC) is that ultrasound also doesn’t require proximity to function. The tech can be tuned to work only in close proximity, but can also function over longer ranges. “One example of a technical challenge we overcame was the issue of proximity tuning,” adds Pappo. “We have some customers who require 20cm range and some with 5m range.”

Plus, unlike NFC, it can be used to broadcast a signal to multiple devices — as in a Chromecast-esque smart TV scenario.

Pappo says he has been working on developing the technology since 2012, founding the company itself back in April 2013 — helped by the proceeds from a prior startup exit. itself has raised some $600,000 so far, in pre-seed and seed funding, with investment coming from angels including Jeff Pulver, and seed funding from the hiCenter incubator and the Chief Scientist of Israel.

The startup in the process of raising a Series A, with the aim of closing the round by the end of the year, according to Pappo.

At present, has multiple customers trialling the technology for different use-cases. While it’s not naming these customers yet, it says they include an Israeli bank wanting to use it for a contactless ATM for cash withdrawals; an Israeli card issuer aiming to use it for SME P2P payments (similar to a mobile payment dongle but without any dongle being required); a European bank wanting to offer a contactless ecommerce checkout process; and a wireless charging company wanting to do subscriber authentication using ultrasound.

Pappo adds that he expects the first in the wild deployment of the tech “within weeks”, via a device maker. Other deployments should surface in the wild in Q3 and Q4 this year, he adds.

In terms of business model, is targeting payment scenarios for b2b monetization — working with large banks and the like — and aiming to take a flat fee per payment transaction processed via its tech.

“We will work with financial institutes and credit card issuers, working on really customized use-cases with them,” says Pappo. “We want to have at least ten big financial customers like that in one year.”

It also intends to monetize its SDK via a freemium model, so that developers can integrate it for free but have to start paying per user, after a certain usage threshold is reached.

[Image by Tess Watson via Flickr]

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