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Monthly Archives: January 2020

Making your own cold-pressed juice is easier (and cheaper) than you think



Looking for our picks of all the best juicers? Go here.

Raw. Organic. Superfood. Buzzwords that would have been roasted in an early 2000s episode of Sex and the City have turned into the pillars of modern wellness. The green juice trend is one that has really taken off, and drinks made with nothing but fruits and veggies can be a really good thing — when done right.

For people who don’t buy produce regularly (or who simply don’t want a side salad for every damn meal), juicing is a way to keep up with vitamin intake in a few swigs. Consistent supplement takers might switch their loyalty to raw juice after finding out that their vitamin C capsules probably aren’t doing much. Though juiced fruits and veggies are *not* a meal replacement and can’t take the place of eating a regular old carrot, they’re still a healthy, refreshing drink with less sugar than a smoothie or orange juice from the carton. Read more…

More about Food And Drink, Kitchen, Juicer, Mashable Shopping, and Culture



IMAGE: Amazon


MOST VERSATILE

Omega Slow Juice Extractor (J8006)

Choosing between a juicer and a blender? This Omega can make anything from wheatgrass juice to butter or ice cream.

  • Power: 200-watt motor
  • Slowest speed: 80 RPM


$299.99 from Amazon



IMAGE: Hurom


MOST HIGH-TECH JUICER

Hurom HZ

We stan a juicer with brawn and brains. The Hurom HZ is the slowest on the list, can clean itself, and comes in rose gold.

  • Power: 150-watt motor
  • Slowest speed: 43 RPM


$599 from Hurom



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BEST WIDE-CHUTE SLOW JUICER

Breville Big Squeeze

The locking issues can definitely be overlooked when Breville’s cold press provides such a high yield of gloriously clean juice.

  • Power: 280-watt motor
  • Slowest speed: 80 RPM


$399.95 from Amazon



IMAGE: Amazon


BEST VERTICAL JUICER

Tribest Slowstar

Make perfect cold-pressed juice when you want it, switch to the mincing attachment, or easily store it in the corner.

  • Power: 200-watt motor
  • Slowest speed: 47 RPM


$379.95 from Amazon



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BEST AFFORDABLE OPTION

Aicok Slow Juicer

Juicing newbies will like this budget juicer’s straightforwardness and pros might just be impressed with how well it handles greens.

  • Power: 150-watt motor
  • Slowest speed: 80 RPM




IMAGE: Amazon


BEST CITRUS PRESS

Jamba Juice Citrus Press

Jamba Juice ain’t new to juicing, and now you can achieve that authentic, freshly-squeezed feeling at home.

  • Power: N/A
  • Strongest press force: 550 pounds


$159.99 from Amazon



IMAGE: Amazon


BEST JUICER FOR GREENS ONLY

Original Healthy Juicer (Lexen GP27)

If you’re only in it for the kale, celery, or wheatgrass game, this well-reviewed manual juicer saves serious money.

  • Power: Manual
  • Slowest speed: N/A


$64.95 from Amazon

Latin America Roundup: Loft raises $175M, Softbank invests in Mexico’s Alphacredit and Rappi pulls back



Brazil’s famously-tricky real estate market has long drawn international investors to the region in search of tech solutions. This time, Brazilian startup Loft brought in a $175M Series C from first-time investor in the region, Vulcan Capital (Paul Allen’s investment arm), alongside Andreessen Horowitz. Loft is also a16z’s first and only Brazilian investment. 

Co-founded by serial entrepreneurs and investors, Mate Pencz and Florian Hagenbuch in 2018, Loft uses a proprietary algorithm to process transaction data and provide more transparent pricing for both buyers and sellers. The startup uses two models to help clients sell properties; either Loft will value the apartment for listing on the site, or they will offer to purchase the property from the buyer immediately. Many real estate platforms in the US are shifting toward a similar iBuyer model; however, this system may be even more apt for the Latin American market, where property sales are notoriously untransparent, bureaucratic, and tedious.

Loft will use the capital to expand to Rio de Janeiro in Q1 2020 and to Mexico City in Q2, bringing on at least 100 new employees in the process. It also plans to scale its financial products to include mortgages and insurance by the end of the year. 

Alphacredit raises $125M from Softbank

Mexican consumer lending startup Alphacredit became Softbank’s new Mexico bet this month, with a $125M Series B round. Alphacredit uses a programmed deduction system to provide rapid, online loans to individuals and small businesses in Mexico. To date, the startup has granted over $1B in loans to small business clients in Mexico and Colombia, many of whom have never previously had access to financing. 

Alphacredit’s programmed deductions system enables the startup to lower default rates, which in turn lowers interest rates. For over eight years, Alphacredit has encouraged financial inclusion in Mexico and Colombia through technology; this round of investment will enable the platform to consolidate its holding as one of the top lending platforms in the region. The investment is still subject to approval by Mexico’s competition authority, COFECE, which has previously blocked startup deals such as the Cornershop acquisition in 2019. 

Softbank’s biggest bets back off in Latin America

While Softbank is still rapidly deploying its Latin America-focused Innovation Fund, some of its largest companies are stepping on the brakes. In particular, Softbank’s largest LatAm investment, Rappi, recently announced that it would lay off up to 6% of its workforce in an effort to cut costs and focus on their technology. The Colombian unicorn has been expanding at a breakneck pace throughout the region using a blitzscaling technique that has helped it reach nine countries with 5,000 employees in just two years, including Ecuador in November 2019.

Rappi has stated that it will focus on technology and UX in 2020, explaining that the job cuts do not reflect its long-term growth strategy. However, Rappi is also facing legal action for alleged intellectual property theft. Mauricio Paba, José Mendoza, and Jorge Uribe are suing Rappi CEO Simon Borrero and the company for stealing the idea for the Rappi platform while providing consulting for the three founders through his firm, Imaginamos. The case is currently being processed in Colombia and the U.S. 

One of Softbank’s biggest bets in Asia, Oyo Rooms, is facing similar challenges. Just months after announcing their expansion into Mexico, Oyo fired thousands of employees in China and India. Oyo plans to be the largest hotel chain in Mexico by the end of 2020, according to a local spokesperson.

Argentina’s Agrofy breaks regional agtech records

With a $23M Series B from SP Ventures, Fall Line Capital, and Acre Venture Partners, Argentine agricultural supply marketplace Agrofy has raised the region’s largest round for an agtech startup to date. The platform provides transparency and ease for the agricultural industry, where users can buy and everything from tractors to seeds. In four years, Agrofy has established itself as the market leader in agricultural e-commerce; it was also Fall Line Capital’s first investment outside of the U.S.

Agrofy is active in nine countries and receives over five million visits per month, 60% of which come from Brazil. However, the startup faces the challenge of low connectivity in rural areas, where most of its customers live. The investment will go to improving the platform, as well as integrating new payment types directly into the site to help clients process their transactions more smoothly. 

News and Notes: Fanatiz, Pachama, Moons, Didi, and IDB

The Miami-based sports-streaming platform, Fanatiz, raised $10M in a Series A round from 777 Partners in January 2020 after registering 125% user growth since July 2019. Founded by Chilean Matias Rivera, Fanatiz provides legal international streaming of soccer and other sports through a personalized platform so that fans can follow their teams from anywhere in the world. The startup provided the Pope with an account so that he could follow his beloved team, San Lorenzo, from the Vatican. Fanatiz has previously received investment from Magma Partners and participated in 500 Startups’ Miami Scale program.

Conservation-tech startup Pachama raised $4.1M from Silicon Valley investors to continue developing a carbon offset marketplace using drone and LIDAR data. Pachama was founded by Argentine entrepreneur Diego Saez-Gil in 2019 after he noticed the effects of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon. After participating in Y Combinator in 2019, Pachama now has 23 sites in the US and Latin America where scientists are working alongside the startup’s technology to certify forests for carbon sequestration projects. 

Mexico’s Moons, an orthodontics startup that provides low-cost invisible aligners, has raised $5M from investors such as Jaguar Ventures, Tuesday Capital, and Foundation Capital and was recently accepted into Y Combinator, bringing the startup to the US. Moons provides a free consultation and 3D scan to patients in Mexico to determine if they are a good fit for the program, then supplies them with a yearlong invisible braces regime for around $1200. With 18 locations in Mexico and two in Colombia, Moons is expanding rapidly across the region, with ambitions for providing low-cost healthcare across several verticals in Latin America. 

Chinese ridehailing startup Didi Chuxing recently launched a sustainable fleet of over 700 electric and hybrid cars for its Mexico City operations. After two years operating in Mexico, Didi announced that it would establish its headquarters in the capital city to manage its new low-emissions fleet. The company will provide financing to help its drivers acquire and use the vehicles, in an effort to reduce Didi’s environmental impact.

The IDB Lab released a report on female entrepreneurs in Latin America, finding that 54% of female founders have raised capital and 80% plan to scale internationally in the next five years. The study, entitled “wX Insights 2020: The Rise of Women STEMpreneurs,” finds that female entrepreneurship is on the rise in Latin America, particularly in the areas of fintech, edtech, healthtech, and biotech. Nonetheless, 59% of the 1,148 women surveyed still see access to capital as the most significant limitation for their companies. However, as women take center-stage in Latin American VC, such as Antonia Rojas Eing joining ALLVP as Partner, we may see funding tilt toward female-founded firms.

This month has set 2020 on a course to continue the strong growth we saw in the Latin American ecosystem in 2019. It is always exciting to see international investors make their first bets in the region, and we expect to continue seeing new VCs entering the region over the coming year.

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Trump to halt immigration from Africa’s top tech hub, Nigeria



The Trump administration announced Friday it would halt immigration from Nigeria,  Africa’s most populous nation with the continent’s largest economy and leading tech hub.

The restrictions would stop short of placing a full travel ban on the country of 200 million, but will suspend U.S. immigrant visas for Nigeria — along with Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar — starting February 21.

That applies to citizens from those countries looking to live permanently in the U.S. The latest restrictions are said not to apply to non-immigrant, temporary visas for tourists, business, and medical visits.

The news was first reported by the Associated Press, after a press briefing by Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. AP reporting said the stated reason for thew new restrictions was that the countries, such as Nigeria, did not meet security standards.

TechCrunch has asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for a clarification on that and full details of the latest restrictions.

The move follows reporting over the last week that the Trump administration was considering adding Nigeria, and several additional African states, to the list of predominantly Muslim countries on its 2017 travel ban. That ban was delayed in the courts until being upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court  in 2018.

Restricting immigration to the U.S. from Nigeria, in particular, could impact commercial tech relations between the two countries.

Nigeria is the U.S.’s second largest African trading partner and the U.S. is the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, according to USTR and State Department briefs.

Increasingly, the nature of the business relationship between the two countries is shifting to tech. Nigeria is steadily becoming Africa’s capital for VC, startups, rising founders and the entry of Silicon Valley companies.

Recent reporting by VC firm Partech shows Nigeria has become the number one country in Africa for VC investment.

Much of that funding is coming from American sources and the U.S. is arguably Nigeria’s strongest partner for tech and Nigeria Silicon Valley’s chosen gateway for expansion in Africa.

There are numerous examples of this new relationship.

Mastercard invested $50 million in Jumia — an e-commerce company headquartered in Nigeria with broader Africa presence — before it became the first tech startup on the continent to IPO on a major exchange, the NYSE, in June.

One of Jumia’s backers, Goldman Sachs, led a $20 million round into Nigerian trucking-logistics startup, Kobo360 in 2019.

Software engineer company Andela, with offices in the U.S. and Lagos, raised $100 million, including from American sources, and employs a 1000 engineers.

Facebook opened an innovation lab in Nigeria in 2018 called NG_Hub and Google launched its own developer space in Lagos last week.

Nigerian tech is also home to a growing number of startups with operations in the U.S. countries. Nigerian fintech company Flutterwave, whose clients range from Uber to Cardi B, is headquartered in San Francisco, with operations in Lagos. The company maintains a developer team across both countries for its B2B payments platform that helps American companies operating in Africa get paid.

MallforAfrica — a Nigerian e-commerce company that enables partners such as Macy’s, Best Buy and Auto Parts Warehouse to sell in Africa — is led by Chris Folayan,  a Nigerian who studied and worked in the U.S. The company now employs Nigerians in Lagos and Americans at its Portland processing plant.

Africa’s leading VOD startup, iROKOtv maintains a New York office that lends to production of the Nigerian (aka Nollywood) content it creates and streams globally.

Similar to Trump’s first travel ban, the latest restrictions on Nigeria may end up in courts, which could cause a delay in implementation.

More immediately, Trump administration’s latest moves could put a damper on its own executive branch initiatives with Nigeria. Just today the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy —who was appointed by President Trump — posted a tweet welcoming Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama to the State Department Hosted Nigeria Bicentennial, planned to start Monday.

The theme listed for the event: “Innovation and Ingenuity, which reflects the entrepreneurial, inventive, and industrious spirit shared by the Nigerian and American people.”

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'Fast and Furious 9' trailer spotlights sibling rivalry with John Cena



Almost two decades after the original The Fast and the Furious film, the franchise’s crew reunited for one of two upcoming films to be directed by Fast and Furious veteran director, Justin Lin.

In the teaser trailer released on Jan. 28, audiences saw Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) in action, this time as a father. In addition to his newfound familial ties, it seems that Dom has finally met his match. The full trailer further reveals that Torretto crosses paths with a longtime rival — and estranged brother — Jakob (John Cena). 

Fast and Furious 9 premieres in theaters on May 22, 2020. Read more…

More about Vin Diesel, Fast And Furious, Ludacris, Michelle Rodriguez, and Entertainment

Excitement for 'Mulan' builds in sneak peak for upcoming trailer



Blink and you’ll miss it! To build hype for what seems to be a second full trailer for Mulan, Walt Disney Studios released a rhythmic and suspenseful sneak peak, complete with action shots and Mulan dodging multiple arrows in slow motion. 

The second full trailer will air online on February 2 to coincide with Superbowl LIV, which sees the San Francisco 49s duke it out with the Kansas City Chiefs. Get ready!

Mulan premieres in theaters on March 27, 2020. Read more…

More about Disney, Mulan, Live Action, Entertainment, and Streaming Services

Best back-up cameras for your car



Were you looking for the best dash cams instead? Go here.

If you’re less than gifted when it comes to parking, or want to peer into a precarious blind spot, a backup or rear view camera is a great addition to your car or truck (and much cheaper than buying a new auto that has one built in).

Since May 2018, new cars sold in the US have to have backup cameras built in under a federal regulation, to help drivers avoid accidents in which pedestrians are run over because a driver can’t see them when they are reversing. While older cars don’t need to be retrofitted with a camera, they are handy and can be super affordable too.  Read more…

More about Tech, Automotive, Mashable Shopping, Car Accessories, and Tech



IMAGE: Amazon


EASIEST TO INSTALL

Yada Digital 4.3-inch Wireless Monitor

A great kit for anyone who wants a good all-around cam that’s super easy to install.

  • Video quality: 720p
  • Screen size: 4.3 inches
  • Viewing angle: 110 degrees
  • Special features: Weatherproof, night vision, parking assist


$139.99 from Amazon



IMAGE: Amazon


BUDGET PICK

LeeKooLuu Backup Camera and Monitor Kit

A cheap and cheerful option that offers all the features you need, but it might take a while to install.

  • Video quality: 720p
  • Screen size: 4.3 inches
  • Viewing angle: 170 degrees
  • Special features: Night vision, front view camera


$39.99 from Amazon



IMAGE: Amazon


BEST FOR GARMIN FANS

Garmin BC 40

A feature-filled option for people who already have a Garmin and are looking for a super easy installation.

  • Video quality: 720p
  • Screen size: n/a
  • Viewing angle: 150 degrees
  • Special features: Completely wireless, weatherproof, voice commands


$130 from Amazon



IMAGE: Amazon


BEST SUPER CHEAP OPTION

eRapta ERT01

Tunnels into your on-board system to everything you need for super cheap, just be prepared to spend some time installing it.

  • Video quality: Sharp (though no specifics are listed)
  • Screen size: n/a
  • Viewing angle: 149 degrees
  • Special features: Waterproof, night vision


$21.99 from Amazon



IMAGE: Amazon


BEST OVERALL CHOICE

ToGuard 7-inch Backup Camera

More than a simple rear view camera, it acts more like a dash cam and is packed with features, but is tricky to install.

  • Video quality: 480p
  • Screen size: 7 inches
  • Viewing angle: 120 degrees
  • Special features: Dual cam views, loop recording, touchscreen, motion detecting, parking monitoring


$59.99 from Amazon



IMAGE: Amazon


BEST REARVIEW MIRROR DASH CAM

Auto-Vox T1400

This display will fit onto your rearview mirror incredibly neatly and the kit offers lots of features with relatively easy installation.

  • Video quality: 720p
  • Screen size: 4.3 inches
  • Viewing angle: 170 degrees
  • Special features: Wireless, waterproof, night vision


$141.99 from Amazon



IMAGE: Mashable


BEST HIGH-END OPTION

Auto-Vox X1 Mirror Dash Cam

A top pick for people who love big screens and lots of features, but it’s redundant for those who already have a dash cam.

  • Video quality: 720p
  • Screen size: 9.88 inches
  • Viewing angle: 140 degrees
  • Special features: Touch screen, night vision, loop recording, parking monitoring, GPS tagging


Carriers ‘violated federal law’ by selling your location data, FCC tells Congress



More than a year and a half after wireless carriers were caught red-handed selling the real-time location data of their customers to anyone willing to pay for it, the FCC has determined that they committed a crime. An official documentation of exactly how these companies violated the law is forthcoming.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai shared his finding in a letter to Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees the agency. Rep. Pallone has been active on this and prodded the FCC for updates late last year, prompting today’s letter. (I expect a comment from his office shortly and will add it when they respond.)

“I wish to inform you that the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has completed its extensive investigation and that it has concluded that one or more wireless carriers apparently violated federal law,” Pai wrote.

Extensive it must have been, since we first heard of this egregious breach of privacy in May of 2018, when multiple reports showed that every major carrier (including TechCrunch’s parent company Verizon) was selling precise location data wholesale to resellers who then either resold it or gave it away. It took nearly a year for the carriers to follow through on their promises to stop the practice. And now, 18 months later, we get the first real indication that regulators took notice.

“It’s a shame that it took so long for the FCC to reach a conclusion that was so obvious,” said Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement issued alongside the Chairman’s letter. She has repeatedly brought up the issue in the interim, seemingly baffled that such a large-scale and obvious violation was going almost completely unacknowledged by the agency.

Commissioner Brendan Starks echoed her sentiment in his own statement: “These pay-to-track schemes violated consumers’ privacy rights and endangered to their safety. I’m glad we may finally act on these egregious allegations. My question is: what took so long?”

Chairman Pai’s letter explains that “in the coming days” he will be proposing a “Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture,” or several of them. This complicated-sounding document is basically the official declaration, with evidence and legal standing, that someone has violated FCC rules and may be subject to a “forfeiture,” essentially a fine.

Right now that is all the information anyone has, including the other Commissioners, but the arrival of the notice will no doubt make things much clearer — and may help show exactly how seriously the agency took this problem and when it began to take action.

Disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by Verizon Media, a subsidiary of Verizon Wireless, but this has no effect on our coverage.

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