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March 24, 2019

Meet the Texas startup that wants to decarbonize the chemical industry

Solugen, a startup that has set itself up with no less lofty a goal than the decarbonization of a massive chunk of the petrochemical industry, may be the first legitimate multi-million dollar company to start out in a meth lab.

When company co-founders Gaurab Chakrabarti and Sean Hunt began hunting for a lab to test their process for enzymatically manufacturing hydrogen peroxide they only had a small $10,000 grant from MIT — which was supposed to pay their salaries and cover rent and lab equipment. 

Chakrabarti, who now jokingly calls himself “the Heisenberg of hydrogen peroxide” says that the lab spaces they looked at initially were all too [...]

 
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March 24, 2019

Where did social media go wrong?

For most of my life, the Internet, particularly its social media — BBSes, Usenet, LiveJournal, blogosphere, even MySpace, early Twitter and Facebook — consistently made people happier. But roughly 5 years ago it began to consistently make people more miserable. What changed?

I posted that question to Twitter a week ago, and the most notable response was the response that did not exist: not a single person disputed the premise of the question. Yes, Twitter responses are obviously selection bias incarnate — but looking at the opprobrium aimed at social media from all sides today, I’d think that if anything it understates the current collective wisdom. [...]

 
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March 24, 2019

It’s not so obvious that this VC firm is focused on impact

Mary Ann Azevedo Contributor Share on Twitter

Mary Ann Azevedo covers startups and tech at Crunchbase News. More posts by this contributor

With these numbers, it’s no surprise SoftBank is investing in Latin America Investor momentum builds for construction tech

Obvious Ventures was founded in 2014 by Medium CEO and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, along with Vishal Vasishth and James Joaquin. Its mission? To invest in startups that make a positive impact on the world.

It’s a bold idea, and in its marketing material, San Francisco-based Obvious specifically states that it “invests only in companies where [...]

 
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March 24, 2019

MoviePass parent’s CEO discusses the service’s rocky year

In the space of a few months, MoviePass went from being the hottest startup on the block to a cautionary tale about growing too big, too fast.

By the time the summer of MoviePass came to an end, the company that was going to permanently disrupt the box office was hemorrhaging money. It changed its subscription plans repeatedly, while a service outage found its parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, asking creditors for a $5 million loan.

The company’s past year is littered with tales of woe, including funding the film “Gotti,” which earned the fabled 0 percent on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. But this week, MoviePass announced a [...]

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