South Korea’s agtech startup Greenlabs raises $140M Series C to accelerate global expansion

Greenlabs, a South Korean agtech startup, announced this week it has closed a $140 million Series C led by BlueRun Ventures, with participation from Skylake Incuvest and SK Square.

The startup plans to use the Series C, which brings its total raised to $170 million to date, to expedite its global expansion, make acquisitions and increase its headcount, Charlie Sanghoon Shin, co-founder and CEO of Greenlabs, told TechCrunch. Greenlabs’ pre-money valuation was around $700 million, according to a source familiar with the situation.  

Greenlabs, founded in 2017 by Scott Sungwoo Choi, Shin and Luke Donghyun Ahn, wants to digitize the entire value chain of agriculture space from crop production to distribution with a mission to address the global food supply problem in a sustainable way.

Greenlabs empowers farmers to have better control over their fresh produce and helps enterprises customers have reliable sourcing channels. The startup offers services including “Farm Morning,” an app that aggregates reliable data using AI, giving more than 500,000 farmers insight into crop lifecycle, and “Sinsun Market,” a B2B fresh produce marketplace for over 10,000 enterprise buyers, the company said. It also built smart farming software and hardware for farmers. Smart farming refers to managing farms using technologies like internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence.

To read more click here

Amazon is opening its first physical clothing store

Amazon is opening its first-ever Amazon Style physical clothing store with the promise of a high-tech shopping experience, confirming a rumor from last year. It will offer brands consumers “know and love,” according to Amazon, and an app will let you choose an item, size and color and send it directly to a fitting room or pickup counter. The first store is coming to The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles sometime “later this year,” the company said.

Image Credit: Amazon

Amazon said it will offer “hundreds of brands” chosen by fashion creators and “feedback provided by millions of customers shopping on” It didn’t specify which, but its online store currently carries products from designers like Oscar de la Renta, Altuzarra and La Perla. However, many luxury and high-end brands have resisted listing goods online with Amazon.

Read more here

Dovetail raises $63M to grow its researcher-focused software business

Australian user research software company Dovetail announced today that it has closed a $63 million Series A led by Accel. The company has now raised just over $70 million in total, and it added its new capital at a valuation that it describes as “north” of $700 million.

As you can tell by the numbers, this is no ordinary Series A. Instead, it’s a late-stage investment of sorts by Accel, a venture capital firm that has a history of making large investments into technology companies that have raised little capital or self-funded until they raise, later in life, a large check.

Given that the Dovetail round is not our standard Series A fare, let’s take moment and talk through the deal, starting with the company’s early history and what’s it’s building.

Boostrapping(ish) Dovetail

TechCrunch spoke with Dovetail co-founder and CEO Benjamin Humphrey about the capital raise, turning the clock back to the start of the company itself. Per Humphrey, after a stint in the Bay Area working for a technology company, the New Zealander joined Atlassian in Australia, where he stayed for a multi-year tenure. After that, he co-founded Dovetail without the intention of raising venture capital, instead of planning to build the company along the lines of Buffer and Basecamp, well-known technology firms that have pursued a more self-funded approach to growth.

The company’s focus on building software for the user research market might sound niche, but Dovetail found enough traction in its early days to scale to a team of six with around a half-million dollars in annual revenue under its own power. At that point, however, Humphrey said, venture investors were approaching the firm, so Dovetail raised a modest round of around AUD$5 million back in 2019.

To read more click here

Web3 ‘Proof of attendance’ startup raises $10M to mint shared memories as NFTs

If blockchains are immutable records of our digital history, what kinds of history do we want to inscribe on them? Predictably, most records thus far have been transaction data, but as entrepreneurs expand their ambitions for NFTs, startups are aiming to tie those asset transactions to real-world events and interactions.

POAP, which stands for Proof Of Attendance Protocol, wants to dial deeper into the idea of using NFT’s to create internet communities, with a protocol that helps build more active communities and award individual participation like taking part in an event. POAP is organized around badges as the visual signifier of their protocol. In the real world, a user could scan a QR code to receive an NFT memento that could unlock admission to an online community and earn them future drops.

To read more click here

Microsoft to acquire Activision Blizzard to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device

Legendary games, immersive interactive entertainment and publishing expertise accelerate growth in Microsoft’s Gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud.

REDMOND, Wash. and Santa Monica, Calif. – Jan. 18, 2022 – With three billion people actively playing games today, and fueled by a new generation steeped in the joys of interactive entertainment, gaming is now the largest and fastest-growing form of entertainment. Today, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), a leader in game development and interactive entertainment content publisher. This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft’s gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the metaverse.

Microsoft will acquire Activision Blizzard for $95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion, inclusive of Activision Blizzard’s net cash. When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony. The planned acquisition includes iconic franchises from the Activision, Blizzard and King studios like “Warcraft,” “Diablo,” “Overwatch,” “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush,” in addition to global eSports activities through Major League Gaming. The company has studios around the world with nearly 10,000 employees.

Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”

“Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them,” said Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming. “Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.”

“For more than 30 years our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games,” said Bobby Kotick, CEO, Activision Blizzard. “The combination of Activision Blizzard’s world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft’s technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry.”

Mobile is the largest segment in gaming, with nearly 95% of all players globally enjoying games on mobile. Through great teams and great technology, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will empower players to enjoy the most-immersive franchises, like “Halo” and “Warcraft,” virtually anywhere they want. And with games like “Candy Crush,” Activision Blizzard´s mobile business represents a significant presence and opportunity for Microsoft in this fast-growing segment.

The acquisition also bolsters Microsoft’s Game Pass portfolio with plans to launch Activision Blizzard games into Game Pass, which has reached a new milestone of over 25 million subscribers. With Activision Blizzard’s nearly 400 million monthly active players in 190 countries and three billion-dollar franchises, this acquisition will make Game Pass one of the most compelling and diverse lineups of gaming content in the industry. Upon close, Microsoft will have 30 internal game development studios, along with additional publishing and esports production capabilities.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review and Activision Blizzard’s shareholder approval. The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023 and will be accretive to non-GAAP earnings per share upon close. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both Microsoft and Activision Blizzard.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is serving as financial advisor to Microsoft and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is serving as legal counsel. Allen & Company LLC is acting as financial advisor to Activision Blizzard and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is serving as legal counsel.

Top 10 Tips For Working From Home

It’s Labor Day, and while many U.S. workers are relishing the extra day off, I’m working.


But I’m not complaining. I’m perched in a comfy chair on the porch of a simple cottage overlooking a shimmering pond, a herd of horses, and the hazy-blue-toned Shenandoah Mountains in the distance. The morning mist is cloying and no kidding, in the distance, I can hear a rooster proudly announcing the dawn.

Not a bad place to work. My commute–less than 15 seconds.

I run my own media business, and I choose to make my office wherever my laptop will roam. My life is so much better since I quit working in an office over a decade ago…read more

Usability Testing: Your Questions Answered

23 Fantastic Usability Test Questions To Ask (& 11 You Shouldn’t)

Writing usability test questions sounds easy at first. You just have to ask users what they think about your product, right?

But as you start brainstorming questions, you’ll quickly discover that it’s not so easy after all. For starters, people will interpret your questions differently based on how they’re worded. Plus, writing questions that provide you with objectively useful product insights is challenging. Which users should you ask? What type of product experience do they need? There are so many variables to consider, you can see how creating the right usability test questions takes time.

To help you figure out what types of questions to ask participants, we put together 23 examples of usability test questions you should definitely ask—along with why—as well as 11 you definitely shouldn’t.

Why choosing the right usability test questions matters

It’s one thing to ask the opinion of users—they’re usually willing to share—but it’s another thing entirely to ask questions that get to the heart of their experience.

Usability testing is a form of research that helps you understand your users on a deeper level, their needs and expectations, and how they use your app or website.

Usability tests help you:

  • Learn more about how users feel about your website or app. You’ll be able to determine whether these platforms offer value, are effective at helping users complete tasks, and more.
  • Uncover how much users know your website or app. You’ll learn whether users use your platform the way you intend them to or if they’ve found workarounds because the platform isn’t intuitive.
  • Determine what issues users are encountering. You’ll get a better understanding of what frustrates users and what stops them from using your website or app more than they already do.
  • Design better workflows that get users to a solution faster. Based on the insights, you’ll be able to make changes to your website or app that improve the user experience.

Before you ask your first question, you have to define the objective of the usability test. For example, decide if you want to learn about a particular workflow or how easy it is to use your app, or about how you’ve formatted and laid out information. A clear objective, that’s set early on, helps you create the right types of questions.

Your usability test questions have to be specific, relevant, thought-provoking, clear and concise, and guide the conversation vs. lead it. This is easier said than done. These questions have to also get to the heart of why users use your products the way they do. Not all users are conscious of the ‘why’ behind their actions, so your questions have to help them talk through their usage patterns.

In addition, your usability test can also include an exercise component where users log onto your app or website and talk through what they’re doing. As they navigate the system, observe their actions and ask thoughtful follow-up questions as to why they complete certain tasks the way they do. Their responses will give you deeper insights into how well users understand your products and their pain points.

Without this approach, the data you collect won’t always match your objective or give you insights that you can use.

To help guide usability testing, there are four types of usability test questions:

  1. Screening questions
  2. Pre-test questions
  3. In-test questions
  4. Post-test questions

We’ll look at examples of usability test questions for each of these shortly, but before we do, keep in mind that in order to stimulate conversation and get meaningful feedback, include a mix of open-ended questions with follow-ups and multiple-choice questions. The more details you capture, the better.

Screening questions

At this stage of your usability test, you have to decide on what types of users to include in the process. Depending on the objective of the test, create a list of criteria of what defines an ideal participant. Do you want new users who’ve just started using your platform, or do you want power users with extensive experience?

Defining your ideal participants ensures that the data you collect comes from users most likely to give valid and relevant insights.

1. How old are you?

If part of your call for participants includes asking them their age range, use this screening question to verify that they are, in fact, within the desired range.

Confirming age is important because depending on the kind of usability testing you’re doing, participants in the wrong age range could skew your results. Since these results aren’t an accurate depiction of the user experience, they can’t be used in your analysis.

2. What’s your income level?

If your app includes payment tiers or you…read more

Exploring Intuitive UX Design

What is Intuitive Design?

There is no widely agreed-upon definition of the term “intuitive design.” Rather, intuitive design is used informally to describe designs that are easy to use. So, when a user is able to understand and use a design immediately—that is, without consciously thinking about how to do it—we describe the design as “intuitive.”

While there is no standard definition, some research groups have worked towards building a clearer understanding of the term “intuitive design.” Members of the interdisciplinary research group Intuitive Use of User Interfaces argue that intuition is not a feature of design—instead, intuitive use is a characteristic of the interaction process between a specific user and the design. So, if we are to evaluate whether a design is intuitive, we must also think about who will use the design.

Users will feel that a design is intuitive when it is based on principles from other domains that are well known to them. Designs can therefore provide experiences that seem intuitive to some users but not to others. The aforementioned research group offers the following definition of intuitive use: “A technical system is—in a specific context of a user goal—intuitively usable to the degree the user is able to interact with it effectively by applying knowledge unconsciously.” Here is where the designer’s carefully derived knowledge of the target audience for an item comes into play. By capitalizing on what principles are likely to be present due to the target audience’s culture, industry background, etc., a designer can deliver a product or service that users can take to without having to hesitate and wonder how they can execute an action…read more