Zuli Announces Partnership with Logitech

10647009_951699438190126_5143733810701422901_nThis week, Zuli announced a milestone partnership with Logitech, bringing the reality of a truly smart and intuitive home to the masses a huge step forward.

1978679_951699454856791_3162245700910973479_nZuli’s smartplugs are now integrated into the Logitech Harmony Living Home products.  What this means is that you will be able to simply walk through your home and the connected devices and appliances will respond to your presence and your preferences.  The TV will turn on and tune into ESPN while the lights come up and the heating comes on.  If you move from the living room to the kitchen, the TV programming will pause as the lights go on and the coffee pot begins to percolate.  It sounds futuristic and magical, but it’s possible today with Zuli and Logitech’s family of connected partners.

10648943_10154643220670437_3167909144200208708_oMark de la Vina and I attended the Logitech announcement event this week along with Zuli co-founders Taylor Umphreys and Sid Bhargava (in the photo at the top).  In attendance were members of the press, Logitech partners, and executives.  The event took place in the penthouse of The Battery, a swanky seen-and-be-seen private club in the heart of San Francisco and afforded us some spectacular views and the sun went down (Mark and I are showing the way to the TransAmerica Pyramid).

Don’t forget to pre-order your Zuli Smartplug now, for delivery in early 2015.

Media Highlights:


















FreedomPop launches tablets with phone capability and free LTE data, voice and text

IncomingCall-app-Ipad-Mini-Front-1FreedomPop continues to stir up the market to the benefit of consumers by launching a new line of tablets, including free LTE voice, data and text.  Media scooped up the story, as shown in the line up of stories listed below.  Congrats to the team!

LOS ANGELES, CA – July 30, 2014FreedomPop – the free mobile service company offering free voice, text and data – today announced that it is now offering discounted LTE tablets with free data plus expanding tablet functionality to include phone capabilities: a unique phone number, voice and texting. Specifically, users will be able to associate a unique phone number with any FreedomPop tablet and make free calls and texts. This functionality does not currently exist for tablets offered by large carriers, partially because of the potential to cannibalize high margin phone plans.

“The line between smartphones and tablets continues to blur,” said Steven Sesar, FreedomPop Co-Founder and COO. “As a result, people want to use the device they’re most comfortable with, in a way that is most useful to them. We felt it was important to offer an expanded FreedomPop tablet experience by including telephony, and not just to enable calls but also for using apps like WhatsApp or Uber that require a device phone number to integrate seamlessly.”

Sesar added, “Whether it’s the integration of the ‘internet of things’ or increasing one’s productivity on the road, people are just beginning to tap into the potential of what tablets can do. With this platform becoming increasingly important to customers, they shouldn’t be harnessed by phone carriers’ restrictions.”

At issue for many has been the cost of adding data to a second device like a tablet. Less than 70 percent of new tablets are purchased with LTE. With FreedomPop’s new tablet and data options, consumers now have the luxury of free data plans for both phones and tablets.

In addition to the popular iPad mini and Samsung Tab 3 tablets, users with existing LTE tablets can also move their existing tablets to FreedomPop and get the same 500 MBs of LTE data, 200 voice minutes and 500 texts absolutely free. Users can bring their own iPad or Tab device or purchase one from FreedomPop. The iPad mini will sell for $319 and the Samsung Tab 3 for $199.

These popular LTE tablets join the growing list of mobile phones and devices available to FreedomPop users since its launch, which include the iPhone 5, several of the top-selling Android smartphones and portable Wi-Fi hotspots. To order a smartphone or tablet from FreedomPop and to sign up for service now, go to FreedomPop.com.

About FreedomPop

FreedomPop provides disruptive mobile services so that no one is left off the “connected grid.” Launched in 2012, FreedomPop is rewriting the rules of the telecoms industry and is backed by Mangrove Capital, DCM and Skype Founder Niklas Zennstom’s Atomico. The company offers consumers access to free high-speed Internet and mobile phone services nationwide.


FreedomPop brings free voice, data, and texting to tablets
By Rick Broida

FreedomPop’s free data and voice are now available on tablets
By Jon Fingas

The Next Web
FreedomPop expands its free US mobile service to tablets, landing first on iPad Mini and Samsung Tab 3
By Kaylene hong

FreedomPop Adds iPad mini, Galaxy Tab 3 to Its Lineup
By Ina Fried

FreedomPop brings free calling, texting and data to tablets, will sell the iPad mini, Samsung Tab 3
By Phil Goldstein

FreedomPop brings free voice and data plans to tablets
By Simon Cohen

FreedomPop starts selling tablets with free data and voice plans
By Kevin Fitchard

FreedomPop adds iPad mini, Samsung Tab 3 to its free no-contract plans
By Bryan Wolfe

Cult of Mac
Get totally free talk, text and data on your iPad, thanks to FreedomPop
By John Brownlee

You Can Now Get Totally Free Talk, Text and Data on an iPad
By Eric Limer

9to5 Google/9to5 Mac
FreedomPop brings its free voice, text & data plans to tablets including a $199 Samsung Galaxy Tab 3/#319 iPad mini
By Jordan Kahn

MVNO FreedomPop Adds Tablets With Voice Calling
By Joseph Palenchar

FreedomPop Delivers Free Data for Tablets
By Edwin Kee

FreedomPop offers free data and voice to iPad
By John-Michael Bond

Tom’s Hardware
FreedomPop Brings Free Calling And Data To 4G LTE Tablets
By Seth Colaner

Wireless Week
FreedomPop Selling LTE Tablets with Free Voice, Text, and Unique Numbers
By Ben Munson

FreedomPop adds tablets to its free data, voice, text network
By Brad Linder

Digital Journal
FreedomPop, the free mobile provider, now offers LTE tablets
By James Walker


Dean Karnazes Presents “Silicon Valley’s Tech Secrets to Summer Fitness”

Dean flyerDean Karnazes, named by Time magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World” and Men’s Health Magazine as the “Fittest Man on the Planet” is a world-recognized expert on technology and fitness.  He’s best known for pushing human limits including running 350 continuous miles, without sleep, in three days; winning the Badwater Ultramarathon covering 135 miles in Death Valley in the middle of summer with temps up to 120 degrees; and for completing 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days.

The world-recognized expert on technology and fitness, and member of The North Face ambassador team, will help you look and feel your best by showing you how the latest fitness gadgets and smartphone can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Dean will share his tips and secrets for living healthier using technologies, ranging from free apps to the latest gadgets. 

We’ll have free  technical t-shirts, Clif Bars and ZICO coconut water, and a chance to win a free Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone ($649.99 MSRP), or a Fitbit Flex wireless activity and sleep wristband ($99.95 MSRP).

Following Dean’s presentation, he’ll be on hand to sign autographs and meet attendees.  Full details can be found at Facebook.


Behind-the-scenes with Paofit, the app that makes treadmill running fun and social

Dean Karnazes runs while Marc Hardy of Paofit and Jon Swartz of USA Today look on

Dean Karnazes runs while Marc Hardy of Paofit and Jon Swartz of USA Today look on

Last week we welcomed Marc Hardy, CEO and co-founder of Paofit, to both San Francisco and New York.  We started the week with a demo of the app, which works with your treadmill and lets you run real routes in real locations like the Virgin Money London Marathon, Sequoia National Forest and Bali. The speed of the video matches your running speed as the app uses the accelerometer in your iPad or iPhone to determine how fast you are running.  And because it’s essentially a virtual world, you can even run with friends in real time – you’ll see their avatar in the app! This short video shows nicely how it works.

First up was a demonstration of the app with NY Times best-selling author and ultra-runner, Dean Karnazes, running on a treadmill in SF, and Hugh Brasher, director of the Virgin Money London Marathon running in London.  The two ran together, live, on the London Marathon course and enjoyed a bit of a race along the way.

Here’s the story in USA Today:  Paofit wants to turn dreadmill into treadmil again

Marc also met with reporters in New York, accompanied by our own April Mayrath.  You can catch her in the background on the NY1 News clip as she demonstrates the app on the treadmill.

Download the app now and give it a spin.  It will make dreadmill running, I mean, treadmill running, so much more enjoyable!

Freedompop Expands To High-End LTE Phones With Samsung Smartphones And New, Unlimited Everything Plan For $20

S4-White-Frost_SetUp_3_ContactsFreedomPop also launches new OTT (over-the-top) Android app that provides free calls, texts and voicemail to the millions of U.S. Android device users

FreedomPop, America’s free mobile service company, today announced its official shift to Sprint’s LTE network with the launch of its LTE phone lineup including the Samsung Victory, Galaxy S3, and the Galaxy S4. All new LTE devices will come with the same free service that hundreds of thousands of Americans already enjoy, which includes 500 MB of data, 200 voice calls and 500 texts free each month.

In addition, the company also announced the launch of its new “Unlimited Everything” plan for $20 per month providing unlimited talk, text and data. Free tethering will also be included on all new LTE phones so that they can easily and affordably be used as hotspots as well. After 1GB of data has been used for the month, LTE speeds will be limited to 3G speeds.

The company also announced the launch of its free, over-the-top (OTT) communications app on Android. The app allows any android user to take advantage of FreedomPop’s free voice and text services, while providing a new phone number, voice calls and texts – free. It is also the first OTT app that will allow users to port an existing number. Get the new Android app here http://fpop.co/app.

“Now that we have complete access to the most expansive wireless network, we are able to fully upgrade our device portfolio to the high-end smartphones that our customers want,” said Steven Sesar, FreedomPop’s COO.

The high-end Samsung smartphones join the growing list of mobile phones and devices available to FreedomPop users since its launch including the iPhone 5 and a number of other Android smartphones and wifi hotspots. To order one of the newly offered Samsung phones on FreedomPop and to sign up for service now, go to http://www.freedompop.com

Coverage Highlights

Free phone service FreedomPop unveils $20 ‘Unlimited’ plan
By Lance Whitney
May 22, 2014

Sprint MVNO FreedomPop launches $20 LTE plan, adds Samsung phones to lineup
By Phil Goldstein
May 22, 2014

FreedomPop Expands LTE, Adds Unlimited Everything Plan
By Joseph Pelanchar
May 22, 2014

FreedomPop joins the ranks of carriers offering limited “unlimited” data plans
By Kevin Fitchard
May 22, 2014

$20 FreedomPop ‘Unlimited Everything’ plan includes 1GB of Sprint LTE, limits
By Zach Honig
May 22, 2014

The Next Web
FreedomPop approaches 250000 subscribers for its free mobile service
By Josh Ong
May 23, 2014

FreedomPop Adds Three LTE Samsung Phones to Lineup
By Eric Zeman
May 22, 2014

FreedomPop Launches $20 Unlimited Everything Plan, LTE Phones, Android App
By Ben Munson
May 22, 2014

FreedomPop unveils new LTE phones, unlimited mobile plan
By Joan E.
May 22, 2014

You Can Now Get Totally Free Voice, Texts, and Data on a Galaxy S4
By Ashley Feinberg
May 22, 2014

FreedomPop Adds LTE Phones To Arsenal
By Jeff Baumgartner
May 22, 2014

FreedomPop Unveils Free Voice And Text App, New $20 ‘Unlimited’ Plan With Access To Sprint LTE, And More
By Bert King
May 22, 2014

LiveOak Venture Partners Closes Largest Tech Fund in Recent Texas History

Texas’ leading early-stage tech VC, LiveOak Venture Partners, announced this morning that it has closed the largest tech VC fund in recent TX history. As its inaugural fund, the all-senior VC team is aiming to close the disparity between capital availability and level of entrepreneurship in the nation’s second largest tech employment and innovation market.

The firm’s founding partners have a collective 40 years of experience, have created more than $1.5 billion of enterprise value and hail from Austin Ventures – breaking away to focus on one of TX richest resources, early stage tech startups. They are now seeking to create opportunity for TX and Silicon Valley investors by bridging the resource gap between the two.

Here’s a sample of some of the early morning coverage with even more still anticipated.  Congratulations to Consort Partners’ newest client and the team!

Wall Street Journal
LiveOak Venture Partners Closes First Fund To Boost Investments In Texas
By Deb Gage
May 21, 2014

Wall Street Journal
The Daily Startup: Tech Startups Compete to Make You Take Your Medicine
By Zoran Basich
May 21, 2014

Dow Jones Venture Wire
LiveOak Venture Partners Closes First Fund To Boost Investments In Texas
By Deb Gage
May 21, 2014

LiveOak raises more than $100 million to back Texas startups
By Dan Primack
May 21, 2014

Reuters peHub
LiveOak Venture Partners beats targets on debut fund with $109 mln
By Chris Witkowsky
May 21, 2014

Dallas Morning News
Austin-based Live Oak Venture Partners is looking for opportunities in Dallas with its $109 million fund
By Hanah Cho
May 21, 2014

Austin Business Journal
Tech startup specialist LiveOak Venture Partners closes fund, ready to invest
By Christopher Calnan
May 21, 2014

LiveOak Venture Partners raises a $109M fund, deepens Austin’s early stage capital pool
By Michael Carney
May 21, 2014

LiveOak Venture Partners Raises $109M Venture Fund
By Ben Kuo
May 21, 2014

LiveOak Venture Partners closes $109M fund
By Steven Loeb
May 21, 2014

LiveOak Venture Partners beats targets on debut fund with $109 mln
May 21, 2014

Austin-based Live Oak Venture Partners is looking for opportunities in Dallas with its $109 million fund
May 21, 2014

Latest VC News
LiveOak Venture Partners raises a $109M fund, deepens Austin’s early stage capital pool
May 21, 2014



Dictionary.com reveals your city in a word

YWIC Collage image

The team at Dictionary.com wondered whether different cities look up different words and discovered that indeed they do!  Their analytics team looked at the trending data from February to March this year and analzyed the national averages against top looked-up words in specific cities.  You can check out their findings on their blog here - plus several media picked up on the story as well, illustrated in our coverage collage above.

FreedomPop launches the first free voice, text and data service for the iPhone

iphone5_setup2LOS ANGELES, CA – April 29, 2014 – FreedomPop, America’s fastest growing mobile service company, today introduced the first free mobile service plans for the Apple iPhone. FreedomPop, which launched the world’s only free mobile phone service late last year on select Android devices, is now adding the popular iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 models to its growing portfolio of smartphone service plans. The company also announced the launch of its new iOS app, FreedomPop Free Voice and Text, which will provide any iOS device user free voice, text and voicemail.

“With iPhones now making up almost 50 percent of the US smartphone market and their users burdened by expensive service plans, supporting iOS is a top priority for us,” said Steven Sesar, COO of FreedomPop. “Adding the iPhone and launching our iOS app allows us to deliver our free service to a market desperate for a break from high-cost plans.”
Since launching its free mobile service plan, FreedomPop has experienced a momentous response, signing up hundreds of thousands of new customers. The company also offers customers the ability to bring their own device, and is continually adding eligible phones to its device portfolio, including the iPhone 4 and 5 models announced today. FreedomPop will sell the iPhone 5 directly through its website for $349. Customers can bring their existing iPhone 4 device and activate on the website upon signing up for service. Both devices are offered the same low-cost, disruptive pricing plans as its other smartphones. The free plan will include 200 voice minutes, 500 text messages and 500 MBs of data per month. Unlimited voice, text and data plans will start at under $5 per month.
With the launch of its new iOS app, FreedomPop allows any iPhone user stuck in an existing contract to save hundreds of dollars per year by downgrading their voice plans and leveraging FreedomPop’s free voice and text service directly from their existing phone. Today, any iPhone, iPad or iPod user can download FreedomPop’s new communication app, which provides free calls, texts and voicemail. Customers also have the option to port their existing number to FreedomPop or select a new one. For the new iOS app, visit our page on the iTunes store (http://fpop.co/ios).
To order the iPhone 5 or activate your current iPhone 4 on FreedomPop and to sign up for service now, go to www.FreedomPop.com/iphone

Here are some of the articles that appeared around the news:

CNN Money
Virtual operator FreedomPop brings its freemium service to the iPhone
April 29, 2014

WFTV – Clark Howard Show
Smartphone and Data Plan Guide for 2014
By Clark Howard
May 1, 2014


FreedomPop to Sell First Apple Devices, Offering iPhone 5 With Its Free and Low-Cost Plans
By Ina Fried
April 28, 2014

USA Today
FreedomPop goes to China to upend U.S. smartphone market
By John Shinal
April 28, 2014

USA Today
Smartphone refurbishing is going mainstream
By John Shinal
April 28, 2014

PC Magazine
FreedomPop Adds iPhone to Lineup
By Chloe Albenesius
April 29, 2014

Free iPhone use? FreedomPop proves it’s possible
By Don Reisinger
April 29, 2014

Virtual operator FreedomPop brings its freemium service to the iPhone
By Kevin Fitchard
April 29, 2014

FreedomPop’s free mobile service comes to the iPhone
By Roberto Baldwin
April 28, 2014

FreedomPop Unveils New Free iPhone Voice, Text, and Data Plans
By Alan Henry
April 29, 2014

You can now use the iPhone for free, as long as you don’t mind old gear
By Jon Fingas
April 29, 2014

Get Free Data, Talk and Text When You Buy an iPhone from FreedomPop –
By Bill Snyder
April 29, 2014

FreedomPop announces free voice and data plans for iPhone
By Jason O’Grady
April 29, 2014

Now You Can Get Totally Free Voice, Texts, and Data on Your iPhone
By Jamie Condliffe
April 29, 2014

FreedomPop to sell refurbished LTE iPhone 5 for $349
By Mike Dano
April 28, 2014

FreedomPop to sell refurbished LTE iPhone 5 for $349
By Mike Dano
April 28, 2014

Light Reading
FreedomPop Gets LTE iPhone, Free iOS App
By Dan Jones
April 28, 2014

FreedomPop Extends Free And Low-Cost Service To iPhones
By Joseph Palenchar
April 29, 2014

You can now get completely free calling, texting and data on your iPhone
By Zach Epstein
April 29, 2014

FreedomPop adds iPhone 5, taps into Sprint’s LTE network
By Dan Meyer
April 29, 2014

FreedomPop offering iPhone on free service plan
April 29, 2014

FreedomPop launches refurbished iPhone 5 on its calling plans
By Shane McGlaun
April 29, 2014

Overnight Recap: MacBook Air Price Cut, FreedomPop iPhone, Re/code Event
By J.R. Bookwalter
April 29, 2014

9to5 Mac
FreedomPop now supports iPhone 4/5 on its free wireless plans, launches iOS app for free voice & text
By Jordan Kahn
April 28, 2014

FreedomPop Adds iPhone 5, iPhone 4 To Its Free No-Contract Plans
By Joe White
April 29, 2014

Declara Raises $16M Series A Funding

ramona-portrait-jpg-20140327Congratulations to Ramona Pierson and the team behind Declara on the recent $16M Series A round led by GSV Capital, with participation from Data Collective, Founders Fund, and Catamount Ventures.   In addition, GSV Asset management co-managing partner Mark Flynn joined the board.

Media coverage highlights are listed below.  Well done to all involved!

Declara Raises $16M for Personalized Continuing Education
Liz Gannes
April 23, 2014

Declara Raises $16M at $100M Valuation for Predictive Learning in the Enterprise 
Dow Jones VentureWire
Lizette Chapman
April 23, 2014
(full text below)
Deals of the day: Pure Storage raises $250 million
Fortune/CNN Money
Dan Primack
April 23, 2014

Declara’s social enterprise network is making teams smarter — and now it’s $16M richer
Kia Kokalitcheva
April 23. 2014

Declara raises $16 million in venture funding for personalized learning
San Jose Mercury News
Heather Somerville
April 23, 2014

GSV Capital leads Series A round for personalized learning platform Declara
Reuters/PE Hub
Iris Dorbian
April 23, 2014

Declara raises $16M to apply machine learning personal learning
Derrick Harris
April 23, 2014

Social learning platform Declara raises $16M
Vator News
Steven Loeb
April 23, 2014

Declara Raises $16M For Personalized PD
April 23, 2014

Declara lands $16,000,000 Series A funding
April 23, 2014

Software Company Declara To Expand Its Boise Office
KBSX NPR Boise – news also broadcast
Adam Cotterell
April 23, 2014

Tech firm Declara looking to hire more software developers in Boise
Idaho Business Review
Brad Iverson-Long
April 23, 2014
(full text below)

Education startup Declara raises $16 million for Asian expansion
Silicon Valley Business Journal
Richard L. Brandt
April 23, 2014

StrictlyVC: April 23, 2014
Connie Loizos
April 23, 2014

Gateway to Innovation, SixThirty winners; Amazon scores HBO: TechFlash 7 things
St. Louis Business Journal
Joe Dwyer
April 23, 2014

Declara raises $16M to apply machine learning personal learning 
CNN Money/Fortune (from GigaOM)
Derrick Harris
April 23, 2014

Declara raises $16 million in venture funding for personalized learning
Inside Bay Area (from San Jose Mercury News)
Heather Somerville
April 23, 2014

Declara raises $16 million in venture funding for personalized learning
Contra Costa Times (from San Jose Mercury News)
Heather Somerville
April 23, 2014

Education startup Declara raises $16 million
Pulse 2.0 (from Re/code)
April 23, 2014

Introducing the Digital Virgin Money London Marathon, brought to you by Paofit

Paofit London 3

The world’s greatest marathon goes digital next year as runners everywhere in the world are invited to line up on a virtual start line at 10:00 on Sunday, April 26, 2015 to run the Digital Virgin Money London Marathon.

The Virgin Money London Marathon, in partnership with Paofit, has created a unique interactive 3D running experience that combines HD video of the famous London course with virtual reality avatars, making the unique experience of running the London Marathon available to treadmill runners everywhere.

“Imagine lining up in Greenwich and hearing the cheers of the crowd as you run past the famous London landmarks of the CuttySark, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace to the finish on The Mall, experiencing the unique atmosphere of the day without ever leaving your home or gym,” says Race Director Hugh Brasher.

Paofit iPad1Participating runners will download the Paofit app to an iPad(iPhone shortly and Android later in the year) and set it on a treadmill.The vibration generated by running on the treadmill makes the course ahead speed up, slow down or come to a complete stop, reflecting the runner’s step count. Runners will see their own running avatar and the avatars of the other participants in real-time and can overtake – or be overtaken – on screen.

Runners using Life Fitness Track+ or Discover console treadmills will experience the treadmill incline as it automatically matches the real terrain of the course on the video.Runners can participate as individuals or as a relay team.

The new technology was demonstrated today (Friday) at the Virgin Money London Marathon Expo in the ExCeL centre as runners tried out the Digital Showcase experience which features four miles of the London course.

“Over the years, nearly two million people have been unable to get a place in London Marathon through our ballot,” says Brasher. “Now, with our digital partners Paofit, we are opening the greatest marathon in the world to treadmill runners, everywhere. We hope it will inspire many more runners to take up the marathon challenge and, by doing so, raise even more money for charitable causes.”

“The Digital Virgin Money London Marathon will make the world’s greatest marathon accessible to people across the world, 365 days of the year,” says Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.

“Paofit is the first and only company to combine HD video of running courses with virtual reality avatars to make treadmill running fun and social,” says Marc Hardy, CEO of Paofit. “We’re excited to be able to give any indoor runner the chance to experience the course, from novice runners to experienced racers.”

To register for the 2015 Digital Virgin Money London Marathon, visit www.digitallondonmarathon.com . Full registration information will be sent out later in the year.

Try it out now! Log on to www.paofit.com to download the app and a free sample of one mile of the Digital Virgin Money London Marathon course.

Runner’s World
Run the Virtual London Marathon
April 11, 2014

BBC Sport
London Marathon launches ‘Digital Marathon’
April 11, 2014

Virtual reality opens London Marathon to all
April 11, 2014

Huffington Post
Now You Can Run the London Marathon From Your Treadmill, Thanks to Virtual Reality
April 11, 2014

Inside the Games
Guaranteed entry for the London Marathon – through virtual reality
April 11, 2014

Runner’s Web
Athletics: Virgin Money London Marathon Goes Digital
April 11, 2014

The Malaysian Insider
Virtual reality opens London Marathon to all
April 11, 2014

‘Virtual reality’ London Marathon coming in 2015
By Stu White
April 12, 2014

MedCity News
Travel the world on a treadmill (and beat the boredom) with a virtual reality exercise app
By Deanna Polgorelc
April 11, 2014