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December 29, 2018

Crawling from the wreckage

Things are tough all over — but especially in the digital media business of 2018.

Probably the most high-profile flameout this year was at Mic, which laid off most of its staff ahead of an acquisition by Bustle. Mic had raised nearly $60 million in funding, with major media organizations like Time Warner and Bertelsmann writing checks for the company’s vision of delivering news to a millennial audience.

But Mic’s issues were just the capstone to a long year of shutdowns and layoffs. Among the headlines:

Vice instituted a hiring freeze with the goal of shrinking headcount by up to 15 percent. Blaming Facebook algorithm changes, LittleThings [...]
 
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December 28, 2018

Venture capital, global expansion, blockchain and drones characterize African tech in 2018

Jake Bright Contributor

Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa. More posts by this contributor

IBM Africa and Hello Tractor pilot AI/blockchain agtech platform Africa Roundup: Terragon’s Asia acquisition, Twiga Foods’ $10M raise, SimbaPay’s China payment service

2018 saw Africa’s tech sector become more dynamic and international. VC firms on the continent multiplied. There were numerous investment rounds. And startups pursued acquisitions and global expansion. Here’s a snapshot of the news that shaped African tech over the last year.  

Surge in VC funds

A notable 2018 [...]

 
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December 26, 2018

The 10 largest US venture rounds of 2018

Three U.S. companies raised more than $1 billion in just one funding round in 2018, a year in which total deal value for U.S. startups is expected to surpass $100 billion for the first time.

For the most part, it was the usual suspects, and yes, SoftBank was an accessory in many of these rounds. Here’s a look at the 10 largest venture rounds of 2018.

Epic Games: $1.25 billion

The video game Fortnite Battle Royale was the star of the year 2018; more than 200 million players worldwide are registered online. (Photo Illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)

Given the absolute phenomenon Fortnite became in just one year [...]

 
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December 25, 2018

We finally started taking screen time seriously in 2018

At the beginning of this year, I was using my iPhone to browse new titles on Amazon when I saw the cover of “How to Break Up With Your Phone” by Catherine Price. I downloaded it on Kindle because I genuinely wanted to reduce my smartphone use, but also because I thought it would be hilarious to read a book about breaking up with your smartphone on my smartphone (stupid, I know). Within a couple of chapters, however, I was motivated enough to download Moment, a screen time tracking app recommended by Price, and re-purchase the book in print.

Early in “How to Break Up With Your Phone,” Price invites her readers to take the Smartphone Compulsion Test, [...]

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