Airbnb To Provide Host Data To New York Attorney General, Hosts To Get Legal Disclosures

airbnbAirbnb has reached an agreement to provide “anonymized” data to the New York Attorney General.  Per the agreement (embedded below), details to be provided by Airbnb include the property addresses of New York listings, with specific apartment numbers omitted, along with details of income generated from those listings.  Upon request, Airbnb must also provide the New York Attorney General with the name, contact information, and taxpayer identification associated with individual listings.  The agreement also requires Airbnb to provide certain legal disclosures to new host listings located in New York.  Airbnb’s troubles in New York continue, as its own hosts could eventually pursue litigation against the share economy company. Continue reading

Airbnb vs. New York: Share Economy Company Not Sharing With State Attorney General

airbnbAirbnb has won a legal battle against the State of New York.  The Supreme Court for New York cancelled the original subpoena by the State Attorney General demanding Airbnb provide information about its New York hosts.  In its decision and order (embedded below), the court disagreed with all of Airbnb’s arguments except the overly broad amount of requested information.  The Attorney General’s office has already announced plans to issue a revised subpoena.  I’ve written three previous posts in the saga of Airbnb vs. New York (post 1, post 2, post 3).  This controversy is just getting started. Continue reading

Firebase Enables App Developers To Store And Synchronize Data In Realtime

firebaseFirebase is a platform for realtime data storage and synchronization across multiple devices.  Apps built with the Firebase API also work offline, with automatic data sync when connectivity is restored.  Firebase is easy to setup and use.  Realtime infrastructure like Firebase is important for building innovative solutions on devices like smartphones and virtual reality.  One example of a Firebase-powered app is Vrban, used for exploring three-dimensional urban environments with Oculus Rift.  Vrban recently won TechCrunch Disrupt (TCD) New York 2014 Hackathon using Firebase, Esri CityEngine, and three.js browser-based 3D graphics. Continue reading

Y Combinator Now Invests $120k Per Startup, Ends YCVC Program

Rich Uncle PennybagsNew investments by Y Combinator will now each receive $120k directly from Y Combinator.  Y Combinator has also ended the YCVC Program.  YCVC was an $80k convertible note investment available to every YC startup beginning with YC W13.  YCVC replaced the Start Fund, which was a $150k convertible note available since YC W11.  The rumor that YCVC would end was initially reported a month ago by Dan Primack on Fortune.com.  I also have written several posts explaining that Y Combinator’s previous investment terms were increasingly irrational. Continue reading

Dropbox Acquires YC Startups Loom And Hackpad

DropboxDropbox has acquired Hackpad and Loom, two startups both from YC W12.  Loom’s team will work on Dropbox Carousel, according to the announcement on Loom’s company blog.  Hackpad will continue to be supported for both existing and new customers, as indicated in Hackpad’s announcement.  These acquisitions are the third and fourth acquisitions of YC-funded startups by Dropbox, which itself has the highest valuation of any company funded by Y Combinator. Continue reading

Authy Is Two-Factor Authentication For Security Beyond Passwords

authyAuthy enables everybody to have the extra security of two-factor authentication instead of just passwords.  Keeping track of websites that offer two-factor authentication is easy with Authy’s free app on iOS AppStore and Google Play for Android.  Developers can add two-factor authentication using Authy’s free platform.  Mainstream news reports like the recent Heartbleed Bug are reminders that passwords themselves don’t provide much security.  Two-factor authentication is simpler than it sounds.  Many popular websites already support two-factor authentication. Continue reading

Smartwatch+ Wins Pebble App Challenge

pebble-app-challenge-winnerSmartwatch+ has won the Pebble App Challenge.  The contest began with 218 contestants.  Public voting resulted in 16 finalist apps.  Finalists competed throughout this week in a series of bracket-based votes by registered Pebble users.  The final match-up was Smartwatch+ against Glance.  All  sixteen finalists each receive a Pebble Steel.  The developer of Smartwatch+, Robert Hesse, also wins the $5,000 prize.  Here’s some details about Smartwatch+.  The Pebble App Challenge also provides some insight into how people actually use smartwatches. Continue reading