When Apple canceled its AirPower wireless charging pad, the dream of a single wireless charging pad for all of your compatible Apple devices seemed to die with it. I’ve tested several charging pads that have multiple charging coils, but each one of them feels like two individual charging pads that are built next to each other, instead of one cohesive device.
Then I found the $140 Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition, and the single leather pad along with a dedicated charging stand for the Apple Watch looked like something that could almost pull off what AirPower promised (lacking fancy software tricks, of course).
For the past few weeks, I’ve been using the Nomad’s AirPower alternative to charge an iPhone XS Max, AirPods, and Apple Watch Series 4 with cellular and I don’t see myself ever changing.
The Nomad Base Station has a minimal design, with a single power port on the rear, a thin metal base, and a leather pad that sits above the three Qi-compatible charging coils inside the stand. An Apple Watch charger in the back-left corner places your watch upright, so you can tap on your desk or nightstand to use the Apple Watch’s Nightstand mode to check the time and current charge level of your watch.
On the front of the base are three indicator lights; one for each coil. An amber light indicates that a device is charging on that coil, while a white light means charging is complete.
Inside the box is the stand, a power adapter, and international connectors for various plug styles. There’s also a diagram inside the box that shows you where the charging coils are found, and the two different approaches you can take to charge your devices. If I had to nitpick anything about the design, it’s that the power adapter is fairly big. But when you take the fact that three coils and an Apple Watch charger are powered by a single supply, it makes sense.
There are two main orientations for charging a phone on the base station. You can either put your phone across the coil on the right side of the pad or lay your phone across the entirety of the pad, charging from the middle coil. The first orientation comes in handy if you are also charging your AirPods in the wireless charging case. Otherwise, it’s easier to just lay your phone across the entire pad.
The first night I used the Nomad Base Station I thought I had aligned my phone with the pad on the right, only to wake to a phone in the morning that was almost dead. I think I bumped into my dresser and caused it to move out of alignment. However, the next night I placed my iPhone in the same orientation and awoke to a fully charged iPhone.
Each one of the coils inside the stand is 7.5W, which is the maximum speed at which current generation iPhones can wirelessly charge. Unlike similar products that reduce charging speed when multiple devices are charging at the same time, both coils remain at 7.5W in the Nomad Base Station Apple Watch.
Outside of my own negligence, I have yet to experience any issues with my iPhone vibrating itself off the charging pad or even slightly misaligning itself to stop charging.
Initially, I had to double check myself when placing the AirPods case on the pad, however, ensuring that it’s lined up with a coil. Now that I’ve learned the general area, I put very little thought into placing all of my devices on the base station. The addition of the indicator lights in the bottom stand itself, which almost instantly light up when a device is detected, is a nice reassurance that everything is lined up, though.
On the back of the stand, next to the power port, is an ambient light sensor that detects when the indicator lights need to be bright or dim. It’s a subtle feature, but one that keeps the light low enough that it won’t light up your room at night while you try to sleep. I barely noticed the indicator lights from across the room at night, and that’s just the way it should be.
More like an AirPower alternative. AirPower’s promise was the ability to place a device on the pad and not have to worry about coils and lining things up. No matter where you placed it, and no matter where it ended up even after a bump, as long as it’s on the pad, it would charge.
Apple wasn’t able to deliver on that promise, so we’re left with having to worry about coils. And the majority of the time, that’s a non-issue with the Nomad Base Station. I learned where to line up my iPhone and a repeatable area on the pad for the AirPods case after a couple of days.
If you don’t have an Apple Watch or wireless charging AirPods, Nomad does make different configurations of the base station. Prices range from $99 for an Apple Watch-less station that will charge your phone and AirPods, to $59 for a wireless charging stand big enough for only a phone.
The biggest drawback is that Nomad can’t seem to make enough of these right now. When I first reached out to Nomad about a potential review, they were out of stock. As soon as that stock came in, it was gone. As of this review, the company expects to have more in stock on June 20. If you’re keen to get one, I’d order one now on back order and wait for more stock to arrive.
Cymulate snaps up $70M to help cybersecurity teams stress test their networks with attack simulations – TechCrunch
The cost of cybercrime has been growing at an alarming rate of 15% per year, projected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025. To cope with the challenges that this poses, organizations are turning to a growing range of AI-powered tools to supplement their existing security software and the work of their security teams. Today, a startup called Cymulate — which has built a platform to help those teams automatically and continuously stress test their networks against potential attacks with simulations, and provide guidance on how to improve their systems to ward off real attacks — is announcing a significant round of growth funding after seeing strong demand for its tools.
The startup — founded in Tel Aviv, with a second base in New York — has raised $70 million, a Series D that it will be using to continue expanding globally and investing in expanding its technology (both organically and potentially through acquisitions).
Today, Cymulate’s platform covers both on-premise and cloud networks, providing breach and attack simulations for endpoints, email and web gateways and more; automated “red teaming”; and a “purple teaming” facility to create and launch different security breach scenarios for organizations that lack the resources to dedicate people to a live red team — in all, a “holistic” solution for companies looking to make sure they are getting the most out of the network security architecture that they already have in place, in the worlds of Eyal Wachsman, Cymulate’s CEO.
“We are providing our customers with a different approach for how to do cybersecurity and get insights [on] all the products already implemented in a network,” he said in an interview. The resulting platform has found particular traction in the current market climate. Although companies continue to invest in their security architecture, security teams are also feeling the market squeeze, which is impacting IT budgets, and sometimes headcount in an industry that was already facing a shortage of expertise. (Cymulate cites figures from the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology that estimate a shortfall of 2.72 million security professionals in the workforce globally.)
The idea with Cymulate is that it’s built something that helps organizations get the most out of what they already have. “And at the end, we provide our customers the ability to prioritize where they need to invest, in terms of closing gaps in their environment,” Wachsman said.
The round is being led by One Peak, with Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE), Vertex Ventures Israel, Vertex Growth and strategic backer Dell Technologies Capital also participating. (All five also backed Cymulate in its $45 million Series C last year.) Relatively speaking, this is a big round for Cymulate, doubling its total raised to $141 million, and while the startup is not disclosing its valuation, I understand from sources that it is around the $500 million mark.
Wachsman noted that the funding is coming on the heels of a big year for the startup (the irony being that the constantly escalating issue of cybersecurity and growing threat landscape spells good news for companies built to combat that). Revenues have doubled, although it’s not disclosing any numbers today, and the company is now at over 200 employees and works with some 500 paying customers across the enterprise and mid-market, including NTT, Telit, and Euronext, up from 300 customers a year ago.
Wachsman, who co-founded the company with Avihai Ben-Yossef and Eyal Gruner, said he first thought of the idea of building a platform to continuously test an organization’s threat posture in 2016, after years of working in cybersecurity consulting for other companies. He found that no matter how much effort his customers and outside consultants put into architecting security solutions annually or semi-annually, those gains were potentially lost each time a malicious hacker made an unexpected move.
“If the bad guys decided to penetrate the organization, they could, so we needed to find a different approach,” he said. He looked to AI and machine learning for the solution, a complement to everything already in the organization, to build “a machine that allows you to test your security controls and security posture, continuously and on demand, and to get the results immediately… one step before the hackers.”
Last year, Wachsman described Cymulate’s approach to me as “the largest cybersecurity consulting firm without consultants,” but in reality the company does have its own large in-house team of cybersecurity researchers, white-hat hackers who are trying to find new holes — new bugs, zero days and other vulnerabilities — to develop the intelligence that powers Cymulate’s platform.
These insights are then combined with other assets, for example the MITRE ATT&CK framework, a knowledge base of threats, tactics and techniques used by a number of other cybersecurity services, including others building continuous validation services that compete with Cymulate. (Competitors include the likes of FireEye, Palo Alto Networks, Randori, AttackIQ and many more.)
Cymulate’s work comes in the form of network maps that detail a company’s threat profile, with technical recommendations for remediation and mitigations, as well as an executive summary that can be presented to financial teams and management who might be auditing security spend. It also has built tools for running security checks when integrating any services or IT with third parties, for instance in the event of an M&A process or when working in a supply chain.
Today the company focuses on network security, which is big enough in itself but also leaves the door open for Cymulate to acquire companies in other areas like application security — or to build that for itself. “This is something on our roadmap,” said Wachsman.
If potential M&A leads to more fundraising for Cymulate, it helps that the startup is in one of the handful of categories that are going to continue to see a lot of attention from investors.
“Cybersecurity is clearly an area that we think will benefit from the current macroeconomic environment, versus maybe some of the more capital-intensive businesses like consumer internet or food delivery,” said David Klein, a managing partner at One Peak. Within that, he added, “The best companies [are those] that are mission critical for their customers… Those will continue to attract very good multiples.”
Open-source password manager Bitwarden raises $100M – TechCrunch
Bitwarden, an open-source password manager for enterprises and consumers, has raised $100 million in a round of funding led by PSG, with participation form Battery Ventures.
Founded initially back in 2015, Santa Barbara, California-based Bitwarden operates in a space that includes well-known incumbents including 1Password, which recently hit a $6.8 billion valuation off the back of a $620 million fundraise, and Lastpass, which was recently spun out as an independent company again two years after landing in the hands of private equity firms.
In a nutshell, Bitwarden and its ilk make it easier for people to generate secure passwords automatically, and store all their unique passwords and sensitive information such as credit card data in a secure digital vault, saving them from reusing the same insecure password across all their online accounts.
Bitwarden’s big differentiator, of course, lies in the fact that it’s built atop an open-source codebase, which for super security-conscious individuals and businesses is a good thing — they can fully inspect the inner-workings of the platform. Moreover, people can contribute back to the codebase and expedite development of new features.
On top of a basic free service, Bitwarden ships a bunch of paid-for premium features and services, including advanced enterprise features like single sign-on (SSO) integrations and identity management.
It’s worth noting that today’s “minority growth investment” represents Bitwarden’s first substantial external funding in its seven year history, though we’re told that it did raise a small undisclosed series A round back in 2019. Its latest cash injection is indicative of how the world has changed in the intervening years. The rise of remote work, with people increasingly meshing personal and work accounts on the same devices, means the same password is used across different services. And such poor password and credential hygiene puts businesses at great risk.
Additionally, growing competition and investments in the management space means that Bitwarden can’t rest on its laurels — it needs to expand, and that is what its funds will be used for. Indeed, Bitwarden has confirmed plans to extend its offering into several aligned security and privacy verticals, including secrets management — something that 1Password expanded into last year via its SecretHub acquisition.
“The timing of the investment is ideal, as we expand into opportunities in developer secrets, passwordless technologies, and authentication,” Bitwarden CEO Michael Crandell noted in a press release. “Most importantly, we aim to continue to serve all Bitwarden users for the long haul.”
downgrade the ‘middle-men’ resellers – TechCrunch
As well as the traditional carbon offset resellers and exchanges such as Climate Partner or Climate Impact X the tech space has also produced a few, including Patch (US-based, raised $26.5M) and Lune (UK-based, raised $4M).
Now, Ceezer, a B2B marketplace for carbon credits, has closed a €4.2M round, led by Carbon Removal Partners with participation of impact-VC Norrsken VC and with existing investor Picus Capital.
Ceezer ’s pitch is that companies have to deal with a lot of complexity when considering how they address carbon removal and reduction associated with their businesses. Whie they can buy offsetting credits, the market remains pretty ‘wild-west’, and has multiple competing standards running in parallel. For instance, the price range of $5 to $500 per ton is clearly all over the place, and sometimes carbon offset resellers make buyers pay high prices for low-quality carbon credits, pulling in extra revenues from a very opaque market.
The startup’s offering is for corporates to integrate both carbon removal and avoidance credits in one package. It does this by mining the offsetting market for lots of data points, enabling carbon offset sellers to reach buyers without having to use these middle-men resellers.
The startup claims that sellers no longer waste time and money on bespoke contracts with corporates but instead use Ceezer’s legal framework for all transactions. Simultaneously, buyers can access credits at a primary market level, maximizing the effect of the dollars they spend on carbon offsets.
Ceezer says it now has over 50 corporate customers and has 200,000 tons of carbon credits to sell across a variety of categories. and will use the funds to expand its impact and sourcing team, the idea being to make carbon removal technologies more accessible to corporate buyers, plus widen the product offering for credit sellers and buyers.
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