Viber is launching Viber Communities, group chats for up to 1B users

 Messaging apps have seen a surge of popularity in recent years as people seek ways to communicate more directly than on social networks. But they also have been adding large group chat options into the mix, to give a more social experience on those messaging platforms. Now messaging app Viber is introducing the biggest group ...

Amazon Prime Video will now show pay-per-view UFC fights

 If you’re a UFC fan you’ll now have another place to watch fights — Amazon Prime Video. The online retailers just announced that starting with UFC 222 on March 3rd, all pay-per-view UFC fights will be available to buy and watch on Amazon prime. Fights can be preordered and also purchased up to four hours ...

Virtualitics grabs another $7M in funding to drive its VR data visualization platform

 After raising $4.4 million last March, Virtualitics has closed a $7 million Series B round led by Centricus with participation from The VR Fund. The startup is building a sort of “Excel for VR,” that lets people see data in a more immersive and collaborative way. Read More Source: TechCrunch

Going public pits Spotify’s suggestions against everyone

 The secret to Spotify’s public market debut is actually an acquisition it made in 2014. The Echo Nest was powering music recommendations for Beats Music, Rdio, Vevo and iHeartRadio before Spotify pulled it out from under them by buying it for a reported $100 million — 90 percent in Spotify equity. That deal paid off big ...

The mystery of the public marketplace

 The two most highly valued private tech companies (outside of China) are Uber and Airbnb. Both also happen to be marketplace businesses, and their success has helped encourage a rush of VC investment in similar business models over the past several years. But despite all this investment, public comps for marketplaces remain far thinner than ...

See you tonight in New York

 A reminder that I’m going to have Paul Vigna and Michael Casey, authors of The Truth Machine, onstage with me tonight at Knotel, a co-working and event space in Manhattan. I’ll see you there tonight. RSVPs are closed. It starts at 7pm and will feature a 35-minute talk with two of the top writers in crypto. ...

There’s always a bigger fish

 Hall One at Mobile World Congress — a single space more massive than most conference centers in major cities — contained only a few displays. Although a quarter of the room housed small phone and mobile manufacturers, Huawei controlled the rest, creating a walled-off compound patrolled by women in folk costumes from many lands. The ...

LittleThings blames its shutdown on Facebook algorithm change

 A recent Facebook algorithm change seems to have claimed a high-profile casualty: LittleThings, a digital publisher focused on inspirational and how-to content for women, which shut down yesterday. I wrote about the company at the beginning of 2016, when it raised debt funding from City National Bank. At the time, it seemed to be flying ...

Spotify plays the long game with Family and Student Plans even as revenue per user drops

 Spotify’s “Family Plan,” a variation of which launched in 2014, as well as its “Student Plan” appear to be driving a significant portion of the company’s growth and improving retention, as the company points to it multiple times in its filing for a direct listing on public markets today. Read More Source: TechCrunch

Here’s what Spotify shares will be worth when they start trading

 Spotify has finally filed to go public. But unlike most tech offerings, Spotify won’t be raising any money by issuing new shares. Instead they’ll just allow existing shares owned by investors and employees to be traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. No IPO means there are no investment banks to underwrite and price ...