All posts tagged: launches

Rivian launches leasing program for its all-electric R1T pickup in 14 states

Rivian kicked off Monday a limited program that will give customers in select U.S. states the option to lease its all-electric R1T pickup truck. For now, customers living in 14 U.S. states can access the leasing program. The states, which includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida and Texas, were chosen based on factors such as where Rivian customers are located and where leasing is most popular, according to the company. Other qualifying states include Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Rivian spokesperson Rachel Maniago said the company plans to expand its leasing program to include other models and regions over time. Leasing has been one of the most requested financing options, according to the company. Rivian opted to start the program with the R1T, which was the first of its EVs to go into production. With many of Rivian’s supply chain problems now in the rearview mirror, the company has been able to scale production of the R1T and make it more readily available. Leasing could give the R1T another …

Flipboard stops tweeting, launches new podcast about decentralized social apps

Social magazine app Flipboard had already committed to joining the ‘fediverse‘ — the decentralized social web, which includes apps like Mastodon. Now, it’s doubling down on those ambitions with an announcement that it will stop tweeting while also launching a new podcast devoted to exploring the topic of decentralized social media. The company confirmed today that Flipboard will suspend its activity on Twitter/X as it focuses more on the decentralized social web. “While we’ve enjoyed connecting with many of our community members there, we believe it’s vital to align our social presence with platforms that share our values for advancing trusted journalism, expert voices, and quality information,” Flipboard announced in a statement. “This is one of the reasons we’re moving away from Twitter/X and investing our energy in Mastodon and other open social platforms. We will keep our accounts up, and will occasionally use them to retweet our creators and curators, but will not be actively monitoring or posting updates on X.” Flipboard’s community and support teams will be active on Mastodon, in the wake of …

Off/Script launches an app to create and buy AI-designed fashion

Founders of a new community-powered product creation platform, Off/Script, are making a huge bet on AI-designed merchandise. Created by Jonathan Brun and Justine Massicotte, the company today announced the official launch of its mobile app, allowing anyone to conceptualize, share and monetize product mock-ups for a chance to make the concept a reality. Creators can design anything from clothing, high-end handbags and other accessories to decor, furniture, electronics and more. Users vote on their favorites, and the Montreal-based startup leads the funding, manufacturing and shipping for the most popular designs. A product design must have at least 100 votes to be considered, we’re told. Off/Script also evaluates the complexity of the project, cost of production and how much inventory to order based on demand. Off/Script’s generative AI design studio helps anyone produce product mock-ups, regardless of whether they are an expert designer or not. Off/Script’s studio leverages the generative AI model Stable Diffusion, which the company has tailored for poses, variations and scalability. It also uses ControlNet — an open network protocol to control image …

Twitch launches Privacy Center to educate users about their personal data

In the name of transparency and accessibility, Twitch launched its new Privacy Center to educate users, after conducting “extensive research” and finding that many of its users had no idea how their personal data is collected and used. The Privacy Center, which launched on Thursday, breaks down how personal data is collected on Twitch and across the internet, and explains what users’ privacy choices actually mean. Seeking to go “beyond surface level transparency,” the company said in a press release, the Privacy Center is designed to provide “actionable information” about Twitch’s data use — without the “legalese and corporate speak.” “We think that privacy information has it be understandable, otherwise it isn’t really useful. Regardless of intention, if the info isn’t shared in a clear and accessible way, it’s a lot less valuable to the end user, and even less actionable,” Twitch continued. “We weren’t looking to create more work for our community, or provide a complex web to sift through under the guise of ‘transparency.’” Twitch’s user base skews younger; the company reports that …

CreateSafe, the company behind Grimes’ voice cloning tool, launches new AI tools

After a song using AI deepfakes of Drake and the Weeknd’s voices was taken down after becoming a viral hit, Grimes shocked the public when she tweeted that she would split 50% of the revenue with anyone who wanted to use her voice in AI-generated songs. A week later, Grimes debuted Elf.Tech, an open-source AI voice software that allows artists to replicate her voice in their songs and pocket half of the royalties. Despite many musicians feeling threatened by AI, the Canadian electronic artist (and co-parent to children with Elon Musk who has just launched an AI company of his own) is doubling down on her stance regarding the use of AI music tools. Music tech studio CreateSafe, co-founded by Grimes’ manager Daouda Leonard, officially launched today its generative AI-powered platform, Triniti– available on the web as a free open beta. Triniti enables artists to create an AI voice clone, generate text-to-audio samples, ask a chatbot music industry-related questions, monetize creations and manage music IP. Elf.Tech is the prototype of CreateSafe’s Triniti platform. Elf.Tech has …

InDrive launches ventures and M&A arm to invest $100M in startups across emerging markets

InDrive, a global mobility and urban services platform, has launched a new venture and merger & acquisition division named New Ventures to allocate up to $100 million in investments to startups within emerging markets. The mobility platform, recognized as the world’s second-largest ridesharing app and taxi app based on global downloads, specifies that these startups should operate in regions such as Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia, per its website. Through New Ventures, InDrive says it’ll help these startups “scale internationally while challenging injustice globally.” In addition to its core investment criteria, New Ventures emphasizes that its portfolio startups operate in the post-seed/Series A stage and demonstrate substantial year-over-year growth exceeding 2-3x. The venture arm also underscores the significance of healthy economics and cash flow in its portfolio companies, showcasing efficiency across LTV, CAC, and retention metrics. InDrive says its New Ventures unit will help its portfolio and acquired companies scale quickly across its main ride-hailing platform, gaining access to the company’s go-to-market know-how, technology and over 200 million …

Royal Mail launches Christmas punctuality bonus as losses soar | Royal Mail

Royal Mail has launched a bonus scheme worth up to £500 a worker in an attempt to meet delivery targets over Christmas, as its owner’s losses more than doubled in its first half. Some employees could earn up to £500 extra for “hitting local and national quality targets”, in what Royal Mail’s renamed parent company, International Distributions Services (IDS), described as a “one-off quality incentive scheme” to try to avoid a repeat of last Christmas, when days of strikes disrupted deliveries. The worker discontent has meant that Royal Mail’s performance has slumped. The regulator, Ofcom, on Monday fined it £5.6m for missing targets for punctual deliveries of letters by a wide margin: only 74% of first-class letters arrived on time in the 2022-23 financial year, far below its statutory target of 93%. Royal Mail has been plagued by poor performance for several years, as it tries to adjust to declining letter volumes and tries to refocus on delivering parcels for online shopping, as well as dealing with industrial action. Revenues at Royal Mail dropped by …

Microsoft launches a deepfakes creator at Ignite 2023 event

One of the more unexpected products to launch out of the Microsoft Ignite 2023 event is a tool that can create a photorealistic avatar of a person and animate that avatar saying things that the person didn’t necessarily say. Called Azure AI Speech text to speech avatar, the new feature, available in public preview as of today, lets users generate videos of an avatar speaking by uploading images of a person they wish the avatar to resemble and writing a script. Microsoft’s tool trains a model to drive the animation, while a separate text-to-speech model — either prebuilt or trained on the person’s voice — “reads” the script aloud. “With text to speech avatar, users can more efficiently create video … to build training videos, product introductions, customer testimonials [and so on] simply with text input,” writes Microsoft in a blog post. “You can use the avatar to build conversational agents, virtual assistants, chatbots and more.” Avatars can speak in multiple languages. And, for chatbot scenarios, they can tap AI models like OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 to respond …

Strava launches Flyover, an aerial 3D video recap of all your GPS activities

Strava is introducing a new feature called Flyover, which allows users to replay their activities via a 3D video map. Flyover is powered by Fatmap, a 3D mapping platform that Strava acquired earlier this year. The feature is available to premium Strava subscribers only, and is accessible by clicking on an individual GPS-powered activity, then hitting the little “flyover” button on the bottom right. It also works with all historical activities saved to a user’s profile. Strava’s Flyover Image Credits: Strava It’s worth noting that a third-party app called Relive once offered something similar to this, funnelling in data from your Strava or Garmin profiles to serve up 3D animated videos — however, Strava cut-off support for Relive several years ago. Strava first teased Flyover earlier this year, and the company has been slowly rolling the feature out to Android users for a couple of months already, with today signalling its official “launch.” However, iOS users will have to wait a while longer, with plans to expand the feature to iPhone by the end of …