Postmates Will Bring Delivery Service To London | Crunch Report


Google Ventures rebrands and abandons its
multi-fund model, 3D printed legs help felines, Postmates is launching its London delivery
service, and we’re live from TechCrunch Disrupt in London! It’s Monday December 7th, and this
is Crunch Report.
Disrupt is well underway, but over the weekend, we crowned our first big winner of our Disrupt
Hackathon, which always takes place the Saturday and Sunday before the big event. Here at the
Copper Box Olympic arena, 76 teams of smart folks had a challenge – create a neat, funny
and smart hack in just 24 hours, and then present a demo in one-minute or less… with
the winner getting a $5,000 check (or about £3,250). So… who won? That would be FreeMe,
which lets a woman who is in distress find a help button in the feminine hygiene dispensers
located in a public restroom. Stay with me here, I’m being totally serious. Once the
button’s pushed, it creates a profile for the woman with a photo and metadata (like
what time it is, location, age) with the police.. at the same time, it dispenses a sanitary
pad with an embedded beacon.. a decoy, if you will. When the woman gets near enough
to a police officer, the officer gets an alert with the profile and the message that she
needs their help immediately. Now you might say, if she has access to a public restroom,
she’s probably in public, right? Is this really that necessary? Well, consider something like
a border crossing, where there will be police, and a woman might be traveling against her
will. These situations do come up. And all in just 24 hours. Congratulations FreeMe on
winning the Hackathon. Don’t spend your money all at once.
[ Some good news coming out of Disrupt today
for Londoners who love to eat! Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann said on stage earlier today
that the company’s launching its delivery service in London sometime in the second quarter
of next year, which is just a few months away at this point. As a die-hard Postmates user
I can tell you, it’s wonderful and dangerous. Growing internationally is a natural next
step for Postmates, with competition from other startups like DoorDash and Sprig crowding
the US market already. But as it turns out, the business doesn’t easily scale just anywhere.
Lehmann says both Berlin and Paris are problematic with the company’s current model, and the
only way Postmates would expand into Asian countries would probably be through a partnership.
Here in London, there are also competitors – Deliveroo has a similar business model,
and Uber, which has a food delivery product and is already present in London with its
driver product, which works really well, Uber cars are everywhere. Google Ventures, which is the investment arm
of Google, opened its London office back in July 2014 with an initial $100 million to
invest in startups “across Europe”… however, CEO Bill Maris tells the Financial
Times that the team is now abandoning the idea of running separate funds and will be
pooling its investments into a single global fund starting next year. Google Ventures has
made more than 300 investments since being founded back in 2009…But the European fund
only contributed 6 investments total. Google Ventures hasn’t told us whether or not it
plans to close its London office entirely, but almost all of its London arm portfolio
companies are been in the U.K. — specifically in London itself. Seems like SOMETHING will
change here. Google Ventures is also rebranding as GV, though Maris says this is not because
Google Ventures has any sort of a conflict of interest with Google itself, and adds “There
is not a single case that supports that mythology. The company gets no information from us, we’re
a shareholder just like any other. My interests are aligned with entrepreneurs and the other
shareholders and not Google.” Verizon Wireless, perhaps you’ve heard of
it… has announced it’s turning on Wi-Fi calling for devices starting next week, beginning
with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. However… iPhone users, and non-Samsung Galaxy S6 and
S6 Edge customers have to wait until “early next year” for Wi-Fi calling… this is
according to Verizon’s blog post announcing the feature. Which I must say as an iPhone
owner, Verizon customer and a Verizon employee, is a load of bollocks! Just kidding, who uses
the phone anymore? But seriously, having wifi calling is a cool feature, especially for
video calls, or when the cell connection is sub par. Verizon subscribers will need to
turn on Advanced Calling from the Settings menu and install the latest software update.
AT&T beat Verizon to the punch by a couple months on this one, and both Sprint and T-Mobile
have supported wifi calling for some time. God bless John Biggs for bringing us the heartwarming
stories about pets with 3D printed legs. And Vincent the cat is our latest standout star!
He was born without rear tibias, and found at a campsite. Luckily, a doctor at Iowa State
University built lil Vince a pair of usable legs using 3D modeling and printing… specifically,
Dr. Mary Sarah Bergh used Biomedtrix to build extruded titanium-alloy legs embedded directly
into Vincent’s bones. This way, his bones were able to grow around the metal with modification
opportunities as he grew. Kinda intense, but the story ends well… Vincent is now 3 years
old and a happy little kitty! As Dr. Bergh explains “Even what we’ve learned just
through Vincent’s one case, we’ve actually refined the technique and the implants, so
the next cases we do moving forward will be even more successful.” That’s the report for today. I’m Sarah
Lane. Crunch Report airs every weekday at 7 pm Eastern,
4 pm Pacific, on Techcrunch.com. You can also find us on iTunes, and on YouTube. See you
tomorrow!

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5 thoughts on “Postmates Will Bring Delivery Service To London | Crunch Report

  1. As soon as my contract is up with Verizon Wireless I will be ending my service with them. Both store and online employees have no problem lying directly to you just to make a sale.

    My wife and I just got a two year upgrade for her phone, and at the store was told our billing statement would remain what we were quoted. First month was fine, second month went up $40.00 because they lied directly to both us.

    So Verizon Wireless can kindly fuck off, and I swear I will never use their terrible service again.

    BTW was customer for 10 years with not one missed/late payment, so that is what they think of loyal customers.

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