A walk around Station F with Emmanuel Macron

On Thursday evening, the world’s biggest startup campus officially opened. Around 3,000 people are going to work in this huge building. TechCrunch walked around the building with the President of France Emmanuel Macron and other officials.

“We called this building Station F, like Station France, Station Femmes [ed. note: women in French], Station Founders or Station Freyssinet because Freyssinet was a great architect and a great entrepreneur,” French billionaire and Iliad founder Xavier Niel told Macron.

While Station F was originally built in the 1920s by Eugène Freyssinet, it was supposed to be destroyed in 2011. In 2013, Niel had a crazy idea. He thought he would acquire the building, renovate it from the ground up and turn it into a ginormous startup campus — 366,000ft2 or 34,000m2.

A few years later, the massive building is still there, but with thousands of desks, giant walls of glass, bright lights and Mediterranean trees. “It looked nothing like this. It was an abandoned train station with dark ceilings,” Niel said.

Starting on Monday, 1,100 startups are moving in. Many of them get selected by Station F’s partners. There will also be 20 VC firms with a small space there, a post office and a giant restaurant in a few months.

A focus on diversity and foreign talent

After this short introduction, Macron and Niel immediately started talking with some of the entrepreneurs who were there to visit the building with him, starting with Zenly’s co-founder. The Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, France’s digital minister Mounir Mahjoubi, Station F director Roxanne Varza and Brigitte Macron were also here.

Later on, Macron started speaking with an entrepreneur in English. The entrepreneur said that he came to France to start a company through the French Tech Ticket program. Macron mentions the recently launched French Tech Visa, a special visa for entrepreneurs, engineers and investors.

“We call each space like this a village,” Varza tells Macron. “There are around 60 desks per village. And they’ve been specifically designed to foster collaboration.”

Another entrepreneur then greeted Macron in English then started talking in perfect French. Macron asked him if he was French or a foreigner. “I arrived in France to study at [Niel’s coding school] 42. I was studying biology and I moved here after watching your video,” he said.

Niel then joked with Macron, saying that he’s heard there are a few former students from 42 who are now working with Macron at the Elysée.

Varza explained the newly launched Fighters Program. Under-represented founders will be able to get a free desk at Station F. “They will sit next to people in the Founders Program, we wanted to mix them together,” Varza said.

While Station F is already a $205 million investment (€180 million), Niel is also spending another $80 million (€70 million) on a residential building in Ivry-sur-Seine. 600 people will be able to live there. “It’s the same model as 42. We know that parents are not there to help them, we know that housing is an issue for them,” Niel said.

Somebody working for Station F then stopped the president and asked him to record a 10-second video. “We are here today in Paris in Station F. So if you want to invent, invest and develop your startup, you’ll have to come here,” Macron said. After shooting the video he handed back the phone and apologized because he ended up talking for 32 seconds:

The group then headed back to the stage so that Varza, Hidalgo and Macron could give a speech. 2,000 people were waiting to hear the speeches. Macron shook hands, took a few selfies and then went on stage.

Xavier Niel lets others introduce Station F for him

The content of the speeches wasn’t as interesting as the way it was structured. Varza first took the stage and talked about Station F’s partners (Facebook, Zendesk, Vente-Privée, HEC, Microsoft…), people who helped the project in one way or another (Anne Hidalgo, Jean-Louis Missika, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, Station F’s team…). She also said that entrepreneurship should no longer be all white, all male — and Station F is going to contribute to that.

But when she thanked Xavier Niel, the audience went crazy and applauded for a few minutes. It felt like a concert with the audience waiting for the encore.

It’s clear that Niel has become the role model for a generation of young entrepreneurs. He got rich with a telecom company, started a coding school, started a seed fund with Kima Ventures, invested in some of the most famous Silicon Valley companies (Square, Nest, Snap, Airbnb, Uber…), acquired newspapers and spent hundreds of millions of dollars on buildings for startups.

And yet, Niel didn’t speak on stage.

The Mayor of Paris talked about what Station F means for Paris. “We wanted Paris to be something else than a museum city,” Hidalgo said.

And finally, Macron took the stage. He started by making a comparison between his own political career and the life of an entrepreneur, saying that people don’t necessarily believe in you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

“The thing that is bringing us together today is that entrepreneurial spirit,” he said. “Many people wanted to tell me what kind of life I should lead, and I decided something else. You don’t want someone else to lead your life for you.”

Macron then talked once again about inequalities, using the same narrative as the one in his speech during VivaTech. According to him, entrepreneurs need to be as inclusive as possible. It should help society as a whole. If the tech community divides the country, it would be a failure.

Station F’s real start

Over the coming days, thousands of people are going to move in here at Station F. While it took years to get there, this is only the very beginning.

It’s hard to know for sure if Station F is going to drastically change the face of the tech ecosystem in Paris. But there’s one thing for sure, it’s a great communication move and it makes France more attractive than ever.

Eventually, Niel wants to create a foundation so that others can invest in Station F. He says that he doesn’t want to make any profit from this venture. But it sure is a great move to convince the startup community that he’s on their side.

  1. Station F – Emmanuel Macron – 13

  2. Station F – Emmanuel Macron – 14

  3. Station F – Emmanuel Macron – 15

Weekly rewind: A new breed of megayacht, the best iPhone photos, AI salvation

A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top 10 tech stories, from how AI could save the world to how an exploding smartphone could come back into the world — it’s all here.

Refurbished Samsung Galaxy Note 7 R: News and rumors

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Samsung, not one to let recalled phones go to waste (even fire-prone ones), may soon sell a refurbished Galaxy Note 7. The smartphone maker announced it is investigating ways to recycle the Galaxy Note 7 in an environmentally conscious way, which may include selling refurbished versions of the previously recalled device.

Most recently, a version called the Galaxy Note 7 FE, or Fandom Edition, has been rumored to launch on July 7.  According to The Wall Street Journal, the device will have different internal components, and will be sold in South Korea. Altering the phone’s internals will help the public overcome fears about device safety, and may also lower the initially expensive price.

Read: Refurbished Samsung Galaxy Note 7 R: News and rumors

Volvo’s driverless-car engineers face a kangaroo conundrum

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Some Volvo engineers developing autonomous-vehicle technology recognized that they needed to test it in a range of conditions. After all, that’s why the likes of Waymo and Uber are trying out their self-driving gear in a number of states across the U.S. — to learn about how it handles different weather conditions, landscapes, road systems, and the like … and that includes handling kangaroos.

Ambitious companies as they are, no doubt these firms plan for their technology to one day go global, allowing drivers everywhere to hang up their car keys, sit back, and enjoy the ride. In that case, they’ll need to head Down Under at some point so they can work out how to get their cars to take evasive action when a kangaroo hops onto the road.

Read: Volvo’s driverless-car engineers face a kangaroo conundrum

Becoming a smart city takes more than sensors and buzzwords

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What is a smart city? Not even the people building them seem to know yet.

“Get 10 people in a room and ask what a smart city is, you’ll get 11 answers,” Bob Bennett, Kansas City, Missouri’s chief innovation officer, told Digital Trends. That might be true, but most involved in smart city projects agree on one thing: No one’s really there yet.

“I think it’s the Wild West at this point, and smart cities mean something different to everybody,” said Jarrett Wendt, executive vice president of strategic innovations at Panasonic.

Read: Becoming a smart city takes more than sensors and buzzwords

Pandora says bye to users in Australia and New Zealand

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Pandora is calling it a day in Australia and New Zealand.

The Oakland, California-based music streaming company will shutter its service  in the two countries — the only markets outside of the U.S. where it operates — in the next few weeks.

A spokesperson for Pandora said it needed to concentrate its efforts on its main block of users, while pointing out that it’s not abandoning all hope of moving back into international markets at a later date.

Read: Pandora says bye to users in Australia and New Zealand

The newest mega-yacht has its own garden (and its own beach!)

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Norwegian company Hareide Design has unveiled a new yacht that makes the common man’s yacht look like a leaky canoe.

The ship is named “108M” after its impressive size: 108 meters, or approximately 350 feet. The concept features a garden, floor-to-ceiling windows in the grand hall, and even its own private beach. The yacht’s design is meant to invoke a seamless indoor to outdoor experience so that passengers can be in touch with nature. It features a classic monohull design, yet it’s quite different from your traditional megayacht, which usually looks more like a luxury hotel than a nature conservatory. But you knew that, right?

Read: The newest mega-yacht has its own garden (and its own beach!)

‘Twin Peaks’ explained: ‘Part 8’ takes an experimental journey through darkness

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One of the great difficulties of writing about Twin Peaks, or even just watching it, is David Lynch’s “18 hour movie” approach to the new season. With most weekly shows, even more serialized productions like Breaking Bad, episodes have a distinct story arc. During the course of our Twin Peaks evaluation and analysis, it’s become clear that each episode is like a chapter of a novel, and without having seen the story from beginning to end, the importance and meaning of each episode can seem inscrutable.

That’s what makes Part 8 so fascinating. If a viewer is hoping for forward movement in Agent Cooper’s story, or ready answers to any of the pestilential questions the show has raised, this episode provides neither. What it does offer is a stunning experiment in form, and perhaps even an origin story for the evils that plague the world of Twin Peaks.

Read: ‘Twin Peaks’ explained: ‘Part 8’ takes an experimental journey through darkness

A new tool will check if you’re vulnerable to the hack that brought down computers across the globe

"Yup, still vulnerable."
“Yup, still vulnerable.”

Image: AMBAR DEL MORAL/MASHABLE

WannaCry paralyzed hospitals. NotPeya crashed banks. But how to know if you’re vulnerable to the stolen National Security Agency exploit that fueled two major cyber attacks and helped bring down computers across the globe?

Thankfully, a new tool has your back. 

After the Shadow Brokers hacking group dumped a cache of stolen NSA exploits in April, the cybersecurity community issued dire warnings that things were about to get really, really bad. But then Microsoft quickly chimed in to note that it had already patched the vulnerabilities in question. 

“We’ve investigated and confirmed that the exploits disclosed by the Shadow Brokers have already been addressed by previous updates to our supported products,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Mashable at the time. “Customers with up-to-date software are already protected.” 

And yet. 

One of the hoarded NSA vulnerabilities, dubbed EternalBlue, allows for the worm-like spread of malware across computer systems. And despite Microsoft’s assurances, it turns out that many people and organizations did not in fact update their computers with the available patch. WannaCry and NotPetya, which made use of EternalBlue, were the result. 

That, in the face of clear warnings and readily available safeguards, people failed to protect themselves is a clear sign that many of those at risk don’t realize the precarious nature of their position. 

Eternal Blues, a vulnerability scanner developed by Elad Erez, aims to change that. 

“The majority of latest WannaCry, NoPetya (Petya, GoldenEye or whatever) victims, are not technical organizations and sometimes just small business who don’t have a security team, or even just an IT team to help them mitigate this,” writes Erez on his blog. “Running NMap, Metasploit [a penetration testing software] (not to mention more commercial products) is something they will never do. I aimed to create a simple ‘one-button’ tool that tells you one thing and one thing only – which systems are vulnerable in your network.”

The message displayed by the not-really ransomware NotPetya.

The message displayed by the not-really ransomware NotPetya.

Image: SYMANTEC

The free software simply checks networks to see if they are still susceptible to EternalBlue.

“[Eternal Blues] helps finding the blind spots in your network, these endpoints that are still vulnerable to EternalBlue,” continues Erez. “Just hit the SCAN button and you will immediately start to get which of your computers are vulnerable and which aren’t. That’s it.”

Importantly, Erez does collect anonymized data on the results of the scan, but he also details a way to disable this information-sharing feature for the extra security conscious. 

And if you do find that your computer is vulnerable? Make sure you install the Microsoft patch. And, as always, keep your operating system up to date. 

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Verizon is charging for anti-spam features T-Mobile and AT&T give away for free

Verizon today announced a new subscription service designed to cut down on robocalls and other spammy automated messages that plague mobile users each and every day. The service, called Verizon Caller Name ID, comes in the form of an app and it will notify users when an incoming call is likely to be a robocall, spam, or fraudulent. The big catch: unlike competing carriers’ similar features, Verizon wants to charge customers $2.99 per month for Caller Name ID.

This is perplexing for a couple of reasons. For one, you might expect a cell carrier would want to offer this service for free, as a benefit of being a paying subscriber. (One can dream.) The Federal Communications Commission even passed a new rule proposal back in March that is expected to give more call blocking power to carriers to cut down on massive robocall complaints, far and away the number one complaint lodged with the FCC every year. So it’s clear Verizon understands this is a problem, and yet it’s still withholding a remedy behind a $3-per-month paywall.

More important, however, is the fact that competing carriers offer robocall and spam warnings to their subscribers for free. T-Mobile, for instance, even does so on a network level, so you don’t have to download an extraneous app. T-Mobile announced its scam warnings feature back in March for all subscribers of its T-Mobile One plan, with the plan to expand the service to other T-Mobile customers down the line. AT&T also offers something similar, which it launched back in December, for those with postpaid iOS and Android devices. That leaves Verizon as the odd one out, charing for a service it knows rival telecoms happily hand out free of charge.

Crunch Report | Facebook Helps You Find Wi-Fi

Crunch Report | Facebook Helps You Find Wi-Fi

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McClure steps back at 500 Startups after internal sexual misconduct investigation

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Game publisher GameMine inks a $20 million partnership with South Africa’s Vodacom

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Real estate site Redfin files for IPO

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Snapchat bought the AR location intellectual property of startup Drop

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Google.org, BlackRock and others commit $2.2 million to Fast Forward’s nonprofit tech accelerator

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Binary Capital’s investors just accepted Jonathan Teo’s resignation

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Manufacturing civility

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Harver raises $8.1M to replace the tedious trawl through résumés with an AI

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Tintri up slightly after lowering IPO price

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McClure steps back at 500 Startups after internal sexual misconduct investigation


Dave McClure, the founder and public face of 500 Startups — one of the most prolific and best-known accelerator programs for early stage companies — has stepped away from managing the firm he set up and largely built in his own image.

McClure is the latest venture capitalist to be ensnared in the industry’s investigations into alleged sexual misconduct by investors with women that they were supposed to be mentoring or backing financially or simply professionally.

News of McClure’s departure was first reported by The New York Times.

Since revelations of sexual misconduct at the venture capital firm Binary Capital (by its co-founder Justin Caldbeck) first appeared at the Information, basically unraveling the firm, other women entrepreneurs have come forward to share their own stories of harassment (and in some cases, assault).

Chris Sacca, another storied investor whose early bets in companies like Uber have made him a millionaire several times over, was also brought up in The Times’ report. Sacca, who stepped away from investing earlier in the year, issued what amounts to a public apology in a Medium post earlier today for his behavior.

Sacca writes:

…as more and more brave women have come forward to share their own tales and experiences from the hostile environment of the tech world, it has become clear to me there is a much bigger underlying issue in this industry, and I am realizing at times I was a part of that.

Over the last week, I have spoken with friends, friends of friends, heard from people from my past including stories of how I’d behaved, and read incredibly thoughtful and courageous essays. I’ve learned that it’s often the less obvious, yet pervasive and questionable, everyday behaviors of men in our industry that collectively make it inhospitable for women.

Listening to these stories, and being reminded of my past, I now understand I personally contributed to the problem.

I am sorry.

While Sacca has stepped away from investment, his former partner, Matt Mazzeo, had jumped over to Binary Capital and had been planning to join the firm as a partner before allegations there unraveled the firm.

Meanwhile, here’s the statement from 500 Startups’ new chief executive, Christine Tsai, about the changes there:

In recent months, we found out that my co-founder Dave McClure had inappropriate interactions with women in the tech community. His behavior was unacceptable and not reflective of 500’s culture and values. I sincerely apologize for the choices he made and the pain and stress they’ve caused people. But apologies aren’t enough without meaningful actions and change.

Because of this, we made the decision a few months ago to change the leadership structure at 500. I took on the role of CEO, which involves directing the Management Team and overall day-to-day operations of 500.

Dave’s role has been limited to fulfilling his obligations to our investors as a General Partner. In addition, he’s been attending counseling to work on changing his perspectives and preventing his previous unacceptable behavior.

The actions we took weren’t easy, but it was critical to us that we uphold our culture and values – even if it meant asking my co-founder to step aside in order for 500 to grow stronger.

That said, I’ll echo what many are already saying. As much as we want to be part of the solution, we clearly have also been part of the problem. Undoubtedly there are ways I could have done more or acted sooner.

The change I want to see is a startup environment where everyone, regardless of gender and background feels welcome and safe. Where sexual harassment or discrimination will not impede great talent from producing great impact.

How do we make this change happen? How can we be that change we want to see?

It starts with me, and the work 500 started on and will continue to do. I am far from perfect, and 500 is far from perfect. But 500 is much more than one person, and we will continue building on our momentum of change. We have a lot of work to do.

Featured Image: Jared Goralnick/Flickr UNDER A CC by-ND 2.0 LICENSE

This girls robotics team from Afghanistan was denied visas for a U.S. competition

A robotics competition team of Afghan girls won’t be able to watch their creation compete in person.

They were recently denied one-week visas to the United States to come to Washington, D.C., for the First Global Challenge, a new robotics competition that focuses on providing clean water.

The team twice traveled the roughly 500-mile distance to the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, for visa interviews, but officials denied them.

“I wanted this to happen badly, I really did,” said First Global President Joe Sestak, a former member of Congress. “These girls are courageous.”

Instead, they’ll watch via Skype as their robot competes against creations from over 100 other nations. 

Event organizers plan to play a short video of the team at Constitution Hall to honor their effort. 

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Team Afghanistan was put together under the umbrella of The Digital Citizen Fund, an organization co-founded by Roya Mahboob, an Afghan entrepreneur and Time 100 alum, who reportedly said the girls spent the whole day crying after they found out they wouldn’t get to go to the United States.  

“We want to make a difference, and most breakthroughs in science, technology, and other industries normally start with the dream of a child to do something great,” Team Afghanistan wrote on its competition page. “We want to be that child and pursue our dreams to make a difference in peoples’ lives.”

“We want to make a difference …”

Sestak said he believes the team got a “fair shot” at getting visas, but he’s not sure why they were denied, and the State Department hasn’t responded to a Mashable request for comment. The Syrian refugee team and a team from Sudan were granted visas. 

The six Afghan girls already had trouble participating in the competition because the materials they needed to build their robot were held up at the airport. 

First Global sent kits full of building materials to each participating team, but Team Afghanistan only got their stuff three weeks ago because officials feared it might wind up in the hands of extremists. Everyone else has been working with their materials since the beginning of March

Still, Sestak and the event organizers are trying to do what they can to make sure the girls are a part of the competition. 

“Everybody will see them on the screen at Constitution Hall, watching their robot, their team, here in America walk up the ramp to represent Afghanistan,” he said. 

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Game publisher GameMine inks a $20 million partnership with South Africa’s Vodacom


On the heels of a $20 million funding round last month, the new game publishing company GameMine has inked its first big deal with a global carrier.

The company has partnered with the South Africa mobile carrier Vodacom Group to bring GameMine’s subscription-based mobile games to the South African market.

More than 175 GameMine titles will be distributed to Vodacom subscribers ad-free and free of charge during a promotional trial period.

“GameMine recognizes the distinct value and importance of South Africa’s thriving mobile carrier market as an appropriate demographic region for our company’s product, as well as an early trend indicator for the African continent’s entire mobile industry,” said Daniel Starr, GameMine’s chief executive in a statement.

The partnership is a validation for GameMine’s subscription-based pitch to wireless carriers. Rather than rely on ad revenues, GameMine goes through wireless carriers like Vodacom to upsell its customers.

The partnership will significantly boost GameMine’s global subscriber base, as well as its exposure within international mobile carrier markets while providing Vodacom’s South African iPhone and Android users with access to GameMine’s best-in-class mobile games, all of which are being provided in a fully unlocked, ad-free manner.

It’s GameMine’s first big deal since Starr launched the company six months ago. The serial entrepreneur has worked at mobile billing companies for the last decade.

Starr’s last business, Principal Media, was a billing service for international mobile billing. That company was sold to an investment firm for roughly $40 million.

Daniel Starr, chief executive, GameMine

For Starr, the move into game publishing came as a result of watching some of the mistakes and observing the friction that exists in making money off of traditional games.

“Once I got deep into the numbers, I said we should be doing gaming,” says Starr. “We got rid of our old company. Sold it quickly for some cash and jumped into gaming full-speed.”

The company charges through the mobile carriers’ billing platform rather than charging a gamer during gameplay.

Rather than relying on a blockbuster model or the traditional tentpole approach that content companies  from game studios to Hollywood studios to record labels have used almost since their inception, GameMine takes more of a “Netflix” approach, Starr says.

GameMine customers aren’t buying into one title, they’re buying a rotating cast of titles that update regularly, are unlocked and ad-free, he said.

“We’re an all-you-can-eat buffet for games,” says Starr. “It’s not, ‘Is steak selling the best, or is chicken selling the best?’ We’re trying to get more people through the buffet,” Starr says.

Leveraging the work he’d done providing billing services to carriers, Starr reached out to carriers and started pitching his game brand.

“The carriers… they want to disintermediate them more than anything you can imagine,” says Starr of the platforms and applications that have been eating into the mobile operators’ revenue. “They’re frustrated that they created these networks and these other companies reap the benefit of the services.”

With the contracts that GameMine is cutting, carriers can take between 5-25 percent of the transaction, depending on the country, Starr said.

Every phone that a carrier ships in the markets within which the company operates will come equipped with GameMine already downloaded, Starr said.

The company’s approach was compelling enough to net it a $20 million investment from the Los Angeles-based investment firm Palisades Venture Capital.

Real estate site Redfin files for IPO


Redfin, the popular real estate listings site, has filed for IPO.

The Seattle-based company unveiled its filing, suggesting that it will raise $100 million, a placeholder that is subject to change.

The timing of the filing implies that Redfin is likely to debut in late July or early August. Because of the JOBS Act, most companies can wait until 15 days before their investor roadshow to reveal their filing. Almost all of them take advantage of this.

This was a long time coming for Redfin, which got its start in 2004. Since then, the company has raised at least $167 million in venture funding. 

Greylock Partners is the largest shareholder with a 12.4 percent stake, followed by Madrona Ventures with 11.4 percent, Tiger Global at 10.5 percent and Draper Fisher Jurvetson at 10.2 percent.

Redfin makes money by taking a 1 to 1.5 percent commission off home sales facilitated by their site. They say this is compared to a 5 to 6 percent industry average, where agent payments can add up.

The company brought in $267.2 million in revenue last year, a significant increase from $187.3 million in 2015 and $125.4 million in 2014. Losses were $78 million for 2016, down from $132.5 million in 2015.

Redfin’s first quarter of 2017 was in the red for $52.8 million, up from the $29.5 million loss in the same quarter of last year. The first quarter of this year was when they began originating and underwriting loans through Redfin Mortgage.

This is a win for the Nasdaq, where the company plans to list under the ticker symbol “RDFN.” Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co. will be leading the offering.

Featured Image: Redfin

Placer app finds people to stand in line so you don’t have to

Why it matters to you

If you’re in NYC and don’t have time to stand in lines — let alone ones that wrap around the block — Placer is an app that will find line-sitters for you at popular venues and locations.

When you’re in New York City, lines are inevitable regardless of the location or time of day. They’re also probably the main reason why New Yorkers rely so heavily on door delivery services whether it’s for essentials like food and groceries, or even alcohol. For events where your presence is essential — museum queues, product launches, popular restaurants — Placer is here to help.

Similar to TaskRabbit, this mobile app for iOS and Android eliminates having to stand in line by connecting you with registered line-sitters known as “Placers” — people you pay to stand in line for you. The idea came from the company founders’ trip to Europe when they found themselves standing in lines for up to four hours at a time.

“This wait often led to running out of time to experience everything we wanted while on holidays. In my situation, I was constantly having to send my wife and three kids to go to other places while I waited at the attraction and then would call them to get back in time,” Dan Filmer, founder and CEO of Placer, told Digital Trends.

Launched exclusively in New York City on Thursday, June 29, the app provides you with a feed of popular places around NYC ranging from bakeries to stadiums and most recently, kiosks. Underneath each location is the average wait time and how far away you are in reference to your current location.

Once you find the place you’re looking for, you’ll tap on the image and click on the “I want a placer” icon. You’ll then have to identify how many people your Placer will be standing in line for — adults and children — and the exact time you’d like them to be in line. You can book up to 24 hours in advance if your plans are set ahead of time.

You’ll receive a notification when a Placer is available along with the amount they’re charging to stand in line. The Placers set their own rates based on weather, star rating, and overall experience with the wait time. All payments are made through the app so you don’t have to worry about having to carry cash or using a third-party payment service.

When you find your placer in line, you provide them with a “jump code” to confirm you’ve found the right line-sitter and take your place in line. You can identify them through either their profile picture on the app, wearing purple Placer merchandise, or the outfit they described through communication.

For some, the concept of this app might give you immediate anxiety thinking about the rude stares and eye rolls you might get from people standing in line behind you as you switch spots with your Placer — especially if they’re holding spots for multiple people.

Filmer expressed that as of now, there aren’t any locations that prohibit Placers and assures that it’s actually good for business. Using the platform helps to reduce frustration customers experience with long lines at particular venues and can actually help to get more people through its doors.

“My approach is to let the person in charge of the line — and those waiting in front and behind me — know that I’m a Placer and am waiting in line for someone else and explain how the app works,” Jose Leal, a line-sitter for Placer, told Digital Trends.

When we tried the app out ourselves, the interface was straightforward and simple to use. If you request a Placer for more than one venue or location, it neatly organizes them all in a section called “My Jumps.” You’ll also be able to save potential places for the future and suggest ones for Placer to add in if they aren’t available through the app.

We scrolled through the feed to see all of the places available and came across ones that were known for their long wait time — Shake ShackDŌ Cookie Dough Confections, and Trader Joe’s. Weirdly enough, restaurants way out of our range like the West Coast’s In-N-Out Burger showed up as well.

Searching for places was also a bit difficult because none of the places we typed in showed up automatically. It would show a number of different ones first and we didn’t find the specific restaurant we were looking for until we scrolled further down into the results.

We went with Shake Shack — whose burgers and fries hypnotize people into standing in lines that wrap around the block — and tapped on “I want a placer.” Unfortunately, we didn’t find a placer until a few hours later, only to try it again the next day and find one three within seconds. The placers had rates ranging between $20-$35, which we could then either assign, or decide to wait for a cheaper deal.

Filmer explained that the app’s algorithm works to find you the highest ranked placer closest to the venue or location you’re booking and if they’re not registered within that vicinity, then the platform will continue to search for the best placer. He assured the wait time for placer responses will decrease seeing as how they currently have 500 in NYC, with more signing up each day.