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Balderton launches $680M ‘early growth’ fund to lure startups looking for a different kind of capital – TechCrunch

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Investors placing capital in earlier and earlier tech deals has been a historical trend for the last few years, but this strategy was generally reserved for the traditional, ‘high-growth’ VC arena. VCs needed to snag earlier ad earlier deals otherwise they would be diluted at a later stage. But with startups coming up with models which can book revenues faster, they have increasingly less need for the VC deal which typically leaves founders with less control and less equity than the newly-ensconced VC on their board. That said, capital at this early stage for ‘growth-based’ startups was often hard to come by. Thus, the ‘early growth fund’ has been invented to address this issue.

Now, the latest arrival in this arena is Balderton, one of the Europe’s top VC funds, with may uicorns uder its belt.

Balderton has now launched a $680M ‘early growth’ fund to invest in high-potential tech companies, targeting around 15 companies at the early-growth stage, sector agostic.

It plans to invest between $25m and $50m per company through both primary and secondary investments. The fund will be lead by Bernard Liautaud, David Thévenon, and Rana Yared.

Since its founding in 2000, Balderton has raised $4bn to invest in European startups and backed more than 230 companies, primarily at the Series A stage. Its investments include Depop, GoCardless, Infarm, Revolut, THG, Vestiaire Collective, and Zego. The firm’s ‘Liquidity I’ portfolio also includes Darktrace, Flywire, Graphcore, and Truecaller.

Bernard Liautaud, Managing Partner said: “I’ve been an investor at Balderton since 2008, and it has been incredible to see the increasing number of ambitious European founders, and to be able to support them financially through those critical first three to five years with our early stage funds. With this Growth Fund, we can now support them as they scale to become global industry leaders. We predict a $50 billion growth opportunity in Europe in the next three years alone, and we want to be the first choice for those ambitious founders.” 

Rana Yared, General Partner, added: “Our approach for this fund will be ‘one of few’. This means personalised attention from the entire partnership, plus access to Balderton’s leading platform team. We’re looking for fifteen or so really exceptional companies that have the potential to be sector leaders and disrupt global industries.”

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Popular journaling app Day One acquired by Automattic | AppleInsider

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Automattic, the company known for running WordPress.com, has acquired popular iOS and macOS journaling app Day One.

Day One announced the acquisition on its blog Monday, but added that the app will remain largely independent. For example, Day One founder Paul Mayne will continue to lead the team.

“When a small software company is acquired by a larger company, the original team is often swallowed up by the larger company. That’s not the case here. I’ll be remaining at the helm of Day One, leading the same passionate team that has been responsible for the development and design behind the app today,” Mayne wrote.

In the future, Day One will introduce integrations with Tumblr and WordPress.com. Beyond that, Mayne said the app will remain mostly unchanged — including current privacy policy and key features.

“Rest assured there are no current plans to change the privacy of Day One; safely protecting memories and creating a 100% personal space is the foundation upon which this company was built,” Mayne said.

Apple named Day One its Mac App of the Year back in 2012. Over the years, the app has remained a popular App Store fixture and has been consistently updated with new features.

The Day One app is free to download and use, though it offers a $3.99-a-month premium tier that allows offers additional features.

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The evolution of macOS (and Mac OS X)

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Progression of macOS

Image by IDG / Apple

On March 24, 2001, Apple released the first version of its Mac OS X operating system, noteworthy for its UNIX architecture.

To read this article in full, please click here

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Beats Studio Buds are missing some AirPods Pro features and that’s OK

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Today, after more leaks than the Titanic, Apple announced the Beats Studio Buds. They’re earbuds that offer many of the same features of Apple’s existing AirPods Pro. But not all of them.

The new Beats Studio Buds are priced at just $149.99 and come in red, black, and white. AirPods Pro come in any color you want so long as it’s white and at $249, they’re considerably more costly – although the best AirPods Pro deals bring that price down a tad.

So what do you lose when you save that $100? Not as much as you might expect, really. For starters, you get to keep all of the magic audio control features that AirPods Pro brought to the table before AirPods Max arrived. That means Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) technology and Transparency mode are included, for example.

With two distinct listening modes, you are in total control of your sound. Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) continuously blocks unwanted outside noise using a finely-tuned filter that dynamically adapts to your surroundings. When you need to hear the world around you, switch to Transparency mode at the press of a button. The external-facing microphones mix the sounds of your surroundings back in with your music for a natural, ‘open’ listening experience.

You also get a charging case, but it isn’t wireless – so that’s a point for AirPods Pro. There’s more that puts the dub in the AirPods Pro’s court, too. The lack of a W1 or H1 chip means the Beats buds don’t feature instant device switching or iCloud pairing sync, so you’ll be pairing and re-pairing when needed. That alone could be worth the extra $100 to some people.

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But you know who it isn’t worth it to? People using Android phones.

And now it all makes sense.

As much as AirPods Pro do work with Android devices, it’s an experience that’s lacking. You don’t get to control things like what happens when you squeeze the stems – you need an iOS device for that. There’s no Apple app to configure that kind of stuff on Android, but there’s a Beats app that handles the same thing for the Studio Buds.

Android owners never got to benefit from the instant pairing, instant device switching, and multi-device sync via iCloud, either. So why make them pay the extra $100 to not use it? Strip the H1/W1 functionality out and you can offer Studio Buds at a little less than $150 and still offer ANC and Transparency mode. But the reliance on Bluetooth alone doesn’t mean a reduction in sound quality or connection stability, at least from what I’ve been told so far. All in all, Studio Buds seem to be mighty impressive and a great option.

Assuming you don’t want – or can’t enjoy – the niceties of AirPods Pro, that is.

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