Meet Spot, a beautifully designed mobile app to control your cryptocurrencies. Spot looks like a portfolio-tracking app. But the company has built a strong foundation to add more features in the coming months. Spot wants to be your unique gateway to the world of cryptocurrencies.
“Spot’s vision isn’t to build a portfolio tracker — we went a bit overboard with this feature,” co-founder and CEO Edouard Steegmann told me. “Eventually, we want to become the app to manage all your cryptos, a sort of Revolut but with a crypto DNA.”
When you first install the app, you can connect it to your existing wallets by adding public addresses. Even if you store your tokens on a hardware wallet, Spot can read the public details of your wallet to show them in the app.
“We have our own nodes on Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Stellar and others to recover the amount on your wallet,” Steegmann said. Data is also cross-checked with third-party services to make sure that everything is fine.
Spot also lets you connect to an exchange account using API keys. Right now, the app supports Binance, Kraken, Bitfinex and Poloniex, but the company already plans to add more exchanges.
The app then gives you a detailed overview of your holdings across all services and wallets. You can see detailed charts, and discover which token is performing better than the rest. It’s also one of the most well-designed mobile apps I’ve seen this year — the animations and interactions are gorgeous.
But Spot doesn’t rely on an API to get pricing information for each token. “We’ve rebuilt CoinMarketCap from the ground up, and we’re one of the few companies that have done it,” Steegmann said. The company stores pricing information for dozens of tokens across 150 exchanges. That’s a lot of pairings.
If you tap on the Spot logo at the top of the app, you can see the maximum value of your portfolio if you cash out on exchanges with the highest prices for your tokens. The company makes sure that there’s enough volume to show you coherent prices.
Spot thinks that controlling your own data is too important to rely on API calls. When you have your own data, you don’t have any API rate limits, you don’t have a major dependency and you can scale more calmly.
Up next, you’ll be able to trade directly in the app. The company isn’t going to build its own exchange, but you can expect to buy and sell tokens on a third-party exchange without having to visit the website.
“We think that many things will be tokenized and that there’s no user-friendly interface to transfer, receive, buy and sell,” Steegmann said.
The company raised a $1.2 million round (€1.056 million to be exact) from Kima Ventures and business angels, including Eric Larchevêque and Thomas France from Ledger, Jean-Daniel Guyot, Thibaud Elzière, Eduardo Ronzano, Nicolas Steegmann, Sébastien Lucas and Nicolas Debock.
Disclosure: I own small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.
Apple announces its best apps of 2020 – TechCrunch
Apple releases its annual best apps list, a self-driving truck startup raises $350 million and the BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine gets emergency approval in the United Kingdom. This is your Daily Crunch for December 2, 2020.
The big story: Apple announces its best apps of 2020
There were different winners — all selected by App Store editors — for different devices. Home workout app Wakeout! was named the iPhone App of the Year, Disney+ was the Apple TV App of the Year and the productivity app Fantastical was the Mac App of the Year. As for the iPad App of the Year, it went to perhaps the most obvious choice: Zoom.
As far as user popularity goes, Apple said that Zoom was the biggest free iPhone app, followed by TikTok and Disney+ (which must qualify as free on a technicality), while the most popular free iPhone game was Among Us.
The tech giants
Loon’s stratospheric balloons are now teaching themselves to fly better thanks to Google AI — Alphabet’s Loon has been using algorithmic processes to optimize the flight of its stratospheric balloons for years, but the company is now deploying a new navigation system.
Apple’s MagSafe Duo charger is now available — The MagSafe Duo appeared yesterday on Apple’s own store and has delivery estimates as soon as this week.
Google says its News Showcase will add free access to paywalled stories — So far, Google News Showcase has launched in countries including Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, France, U.K. and Australia.
Startups, funding and venture capital
Self-driving trucks startup TuSimple raises $350M from US rail, retail and freight giants — TuSimple was one of the first autonomous trucking startups to emerge in what has become a small-yet-bustling industry.
Virta Health’s behavioral diabetes treatment service is now worth over $1B — Virta aims to reverse the presence of type 2 diabetes and other chronic metabolic conditions by changing a user’s diet and exercise.
Space Perspective raises $7M for its plan to ferry tourists to the edge of space — Spaceship Neptune is designed to carry up to eight passengers on a six-hour journey that will include two hours spent at the upper edge of Earth’s atmosphere.
Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch
From surviving to thriving as a hardware startup — Six strategies from Minut CEO Nils Mattisson.
A roundup of recent unicorn news — So much for a December news slowdown.
(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)
The U.K. approves the BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use — The U.K. is the first country to approve the vaccine for widespread use.
Discovery will launch its own streaming service on January 4 — Discovery is the latest media company to launch a standalone streaming service, and the latest to adopt the simple naming strategy of just adding a plus sign.
Gift Guide: The best books for 2020 recommended by VCs and TechCrunch writers (Part 1) — Includes lots of good books for tech and business readers, plus my recommendation for the non-new, non-tech, yet extremely good novel “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.”
The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.
Wellory raises $4.5M for its ‘anti-diet’ nutrition app – TechCrunch
Wellory, a startup that bills itself as taking an “anti-diet approach” to nutrition and wellness, is announcing that it has raised $4.2 million in funding.
The round was led by Story Ventures, with participation from Harlem Capital, Tinder co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen, Ground Up Ventures, NBA Player Wayne Ellington, Hannah Bronfman and others.
Wellory founder and CEO Emily Hochman (who was previously the head of customer success at WayUp) told me that she struggled with dieting in college, to the point where she was risking chronic illness and infertility. As a result, she became determined to gain a better understanding of nutrition and her own health, eventually studying and becoming a certified health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Hochman said that through Wellory, she wants to offer that same understanding to others, which she said has created a “managed marketplace” matching users with a licensed nutritionist, registered dietitian or certified health coach. Those coaches create a personalized plan for losing weight or achieving other health goals, then continue to provide feedback as users share photos of each meal and additional health data.
For example, she said that a customer who had just given birth and was interested in postpartum weight loss would get matched with a coach who specializes in that area.
“The thing that is so important is that we build personalized plans,” she added. “We don’t have anything that says, ‘At Wellory, we do these 10 things and that’s a standard diet.’ We’re actually going to help you learn how to make smart and healthy decisions.”
Wellory officially launched in September, but Hochman said some beta testers have been using the service for nine, 10 or 11 months. She said early customers include people who are interested in weight loss, those who need nutrition advice due to chronic illness and “optimizers” who simply want to make sure they’re eating as healthily as possible.
She also noted that although customers usually sign up with a specific goal in mind, “once they hit their goal, because the power of a strong relationship, they say, ‘I don’t want to go back to where I was, let’s keep building, let’s make sure I can sustain this.’”
The app is available on iOS and Android and currently costs $59.99 per month. Hochman plans to introduce additional pricing tiers. and she said the funding will allow Wellory to expand the technology and marketing teams, and to explore new partnerships.
“As a data technology investor, we get approached by different types of wearable or diagnostic companies nearly every week,” said Jake Yormak of Story Ventures in a statement. “We love the category but what we saw in Wellory was a way to put a human coach at the center of understanding this health data. With nutrition as the wedge, Wellory has built a trusted relationship with people who affirmatively want to better understand and improve their wellbeing.”
Ivanti has acquired security firms MobileIron and Pulse Secure – TechCrunch
IT security software company Ivanti has acquired two security companies: enterprise mobile security firm MobileIron, and corporate virtual network provider Pulse Secure.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ivanti said it bought MobileIron for $872 million in stock, with 91% of the shareholders voting in favor of the deal; and acquired Pulse Secure from its parent company Siris Capital Group, but did not disclose the buying price.
The deals have now closed.
Ivanti was founded in 2017 after Clearlake Capital, which owned Heat Software, bought Landesk from private equity firm Thoma Bravo, and merged the two companies to form Ivanti. The combined company, headquartered in Salt Lake City, focuses largely on enterprise IT security, including endpoint, asset, and supply chain management. Since its founding, Ivanti went on to acquire several other companies, including U.K.-based Concorde Solutions and RES Software.
If MobileIron and Pulse Secure seem familiar, both companies have faced their fair share of headlines this year after hackers began exploiting vulnerabilities found in their technologies.
Just last month, the U.K. government’s National Cyber Security Center published an alert that warned of a remotely executable bug in MobileIron, patched in June, allowing hackers to break into enterprise networks. U.S. Homeland Security’s cybersecurity advisory unit CISA said that the bug was being actively used by advanced persistent threat (APT) groups, typically associated with state-backed hackers.
Meanwhile, CISA also warned that Pulse Secure was one of several corporate VPN providers with vulnerabilities that have since become a favorite among hackers, particularly ransomware actors, who abuse the bugs to gain access to a network and deploy the file-encrypting ransomware.
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