Google Stadia specs: custom AMD chip, 10.7 teraflops beats PS4 Pro and Xbox One X

Google Stadia specs: custom AMD chip, 10.7 teraflops beats PS4 Pro and Xbox One X

The beauty of a cloud gaming service is two-fold: 1) you can theoretically play any game, anywhere you’ve got a good enough internet connection to stream it over the net, and 2) even if you’re playing it on a wimpy smartphone, you can harness the power of a beefy server located in a data center.
But what kind of server matters a whole heck of a lot when it comes to graphical fidelity and keeping the service affordable, given how many players may be using those servers at a given time — and it turns out that Google’s just-announced Stadia cloud gaming service may have struck a balance between power and price by partnering with AMD for a new custom piece of silicon.
According to Google, each Stadia server will contain a custom x86 processor running at 2.7GHz, 16GB of RAM, and most importantly a custom AMD GPU capable of 10.7 teraflops of performance. (They’re running Linux, not Windows, which may matter when Google tries to attract game developers.)
Google wasted no time in comparing that teraflop number against the Xbox and PlayStation competition — where the Xbox One X manages a mere 6.0 teraflops, and the PS4 Pro around 4.2 teraflops.
Not trying to start any gaming forum / Reddit wars or anything
— Chris Welch (@chriswelch) March 19, 2019 Of course, that comparison conveniently omits that today’s top PC gaming graphics cards can easily top 10.7 teraflops, but it’s far closer to a high-end PC than consoles generally come. In fact, AMD already had a GPU with around 10.5 teraflops of single-precision compute and the same 56 compute units: the RX Vega 56 , which launched as a $400 graphics card in 2017.
Note that we’re expecting a PS5 and a next-gen Xbox as soon as next year, whose chips will no doubt be faster.
What does Google’s 10.7 teraflops mean in practice, though? Google says that at launch, you’ll be able to play games at 4K resolution, 60 frames per second with both HDR and surround sound, while simultaneously sharing a 4K, 60 fps stream of your game live to your YouTube followers. And Google says it’ll upgrade that to 8K and 120 fps gameplay in the future, though it’s not clear how far off a future we’re talking about.
Mind you, today’s top PC gaming cards already struggle to play some of the latest games at 4K with max graphical settings, but Google may have a solution for that, too: if you’re only harnessing the power of a single server, you might not see the most beautiful effects like realistic water in your games. But tap into two GPUs, and suddenly things look way better:
Theoretically, game developers could design their games to use many distributed GPUs for more impressive graphics than any single beefy gaming PC would be capable of on its own — but then there’s the economics to think about.
One of the big problems with early cloud gaming services like OnLive and PlayStation Now has been those economics — if each player needs access to a dedicated computer (or more than one!) living in that server farm, can you afford to charge a low enough fee that players will actually be tempted to pay? (PlayStation Now originally had actual PS3 consoles sitting in its server rooms, which wasn’t necessarily cost-effective.)
But Google didn’t address those economics one bit during its presentation today, and didn’t even hint at a price for this service. Hopefully, the AMD deal is a step in the right direction.
What we do know is that Google will have those servers set up at 7,500 different locations around the world, which could help ensure your games don’t lag behind your button presses — traditionally, cloud gaming services can have that problem if the servers are too far from your house.
Update, 4:44 PM ET: While it sounded like Google was using an AMD CPU in addition to the custom AMD GPU, it’s no longer clear that’s the case: Eurogamer says Google wouldn’t talk about the CPU vendor, and the spec sheet we received from Google doesn’t specify.

There’s A Looming Brexit Crisis That Could Deprive You Of Asparagus | HuffPost UK

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Australia Brasil Canada Deutschland España France Ελλάδα (Greece) India Italia 日本 (Japan) 한국 (Korea) Maghreb México Québec (en français) South Africa United Kingdom United States NEWS 18/03/2019 08:53 GMT | Updated 18/03/2019 12:38 GMT There’s A Looming Brexit Crisis That Could Deprive You Of Asparagus The seasonal veg could be staying in the ground this year. 790 James Davey and Kate Holton For almost 100 years, Chris Chinn’s family has farmed asparagus in the rolling hills of the Wye Valley, near the border between England and Wales .
This year, he fears uncertainty around Britain’s departure from the European Union will keep his eastern European workers away and the asparagus will stay in the ground.
Asparagus grown in Britain is feted by chefs as among the world’s best but the seasonal worker shortage threatens the country’s asparagus industry and the viability of Chinn’s Cobrey Farms business.
It is a predicament shared by many British fruit and vegetable farmers, almost totally reliant on seasonal migrant workers from EU member states Romania and Bulgaria taking short-term jobs that British workers do not want.
Reuters Owner of Cobrey Farm Chris Chinn poses for a photograph in an asparagus field, at his farm in Ross-on-Wye. At Chinn’s farm, which turns over more than 10 million pounds a year, the workers pick the premium asparagus spears that can grow up to 20 cm a day by hand. Sometimes they pick them twice a day before dispatching them to customers such as Marks and Spencer and Britain’s biggest supermarket, Tesco .
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW NEWS Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more
Newsletter Please enter a valid email address Thank you for signing up! You should receive an email to confirm your subscription shortly. There was a problem processing your signup; please try again later Facebook Twitter Instagram Podcast Youtube Flipboard “It is incredibly clear cut – there is no UK asparagus on your supermarket shelves without seasonal migrant workers,” Chinn, whose great grandfather started as a tenant farmer in 1925, told Reuters.
“We’re really at the point where we either import the workers or we import the asparagus .”
Britain’s asparagus season is short and early – traditionally running from April 23, known as Saint George’s Day, to Midsummer’s Day in mid-June. It will be the first big test of the 2019 seasonal labour crisis.
Reuters No shows This year Chinn’s team has had to work much harder to recruit Romanians and Bulgarians who are perplexed by the long Brexit process as Prime Minister Theresa May seeks parliament’s approval for a divorce deal with the EU. They are also wary of the welcome they will receive from Britons, who voted in 2016 to leave the EU.
Though Cobrey Farms has signed up 1,200 workers who are due to start arriving at the end of this month, Chinn fears many will not turn up. He does not think he will be able to harvest the entire crop, meaning valuable asparagus will be left in the fields.
“If we’re 20 percent short of people then we will harvest 20 percent less asparagus ,” said Chinn. “UK agriculture’s not a high-margin game, so 20 percent less means we’re in loss-making territory. Fifty percent could sink us.”
Chinn’s concern grew after 20 of the 100 or so workers due to help cultivate the crops in January failed to turn up.
Of 247 workers due to arrive between March 31 and April 6, 125 are yet to book flights, he said. They include 38 who have worked at Cobrey Farms before and stayed in the dozens of static caravans that stand at the foot of the hills on the farm.
Chinn, who voted Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum, said uncertainty over eastern Europeans’ employment rights and how long they can stay, combined with a fall in the value of the pound, meant Germany and the Netherlands were now considered more attractive destinations.
“They go somewhere which is most straightforward and any, even minor, hurdles you put in their way is just nudging them ever closer to going somewhere else,” he said.
With just 11 days to go until Britain is due to leave the EU, the government is yet to agree a withdrawal arrangement or an extension, meaning the risk of a disorderly “no-deal” Brexit cannot be ruled out.
Reuters Eastern European workers pack asparagus at Cobrey Farm. If Britain agrees on a divorce deal, a transition period will kick in, maintaining freedom of movement until the end of 2020. In the event of no deal, EU citizens arriving after March 29 would need to register to work for more than three months.
Elina Kostadinova, a 28 year-old harvest manager at Cobrey Farms who is from Varna on Bulgaria’s Black Sea, said many workers were worried about coming to Britain because of Brexit.
“They don’t know if they will be welcomed in the country, how long they may be able to stay, how they may be able to travel and what the future may hold,” she said. “It would be wonderful if the UK government could make a decision, so we can relay this message.”
British farms typically pay workers the national minimum wage of 7.83 pounds an hour plus performance-related bonuses.
Chinn said the idea of British workers plugging the gap was fanciful. He does not expect much help from the supermarkets, where sales volumes have already been negotiated for the season and prices have been fixed, barring exceptional circumstances.
Reuters The accommodation area for eastern European workers at Cobrey Farm. Permit trial Britain’s fruit and vegetable sector relies on up to 80,000 seasonal workers from the EU each year. Having previously been inundated with applications, labour agencies say interest dropped off in 2017 and 2018 as workers from Romania and Bulgaria opted to go elsewhere in the EU.
For the last two seasons, Britain has been short by around 10,000 workers, threatening the food supply and forcing farms to pay higher wages and bonuses. At the end of the summer as workers want to leave, farms will offer free accommodation and to pay the cost of flights to try to persuade them to stay on.
Concordia, a labour agency charity that finds EU pickers for British farms, said it now has to work much harder to recruit.
“UK agriculture is definitely entering into a crisis. No labour means no harvesting, which means no fruit and no vegetables on shelves in British supermarkets,” Chief Executive Stephanie Maurel told Reuters.
She was speaking in Moscow after the British government sanctioned a pilot trial for 2,500 workers to enter the country from Russia, Ukraine and Moldova for up to six months over the next two years.
Chinn, who has 3,500 acres of land, wants the government to increase the numbers to 10,000 this summer and over 50,000 in the next couple of years.
“We can’t change this natural cycle of the crop … the crop will come out the ground when it warms up,” he said. “So the key is about not waiting for a total disaster that wipes out large swathes of UK horticulture.”
Related… As Brexit Hangs In The Balance, This Is What Medical Professionals Are Worrying About The Latest Brexit Stockpiling Figures Are Out And Nearly 1 In 5 Of You Are Hoarding Supplies Only 200 People Have Shown Up For Nigel Farage’s Very Wet Brexit March James Davey and Kate Holton Reuters

Here are the 85+ startups that launched today at Y Combinator’s W19 Demo Day 1

Josh Constine Kate Clark Lucas Matney Greg Kumparak 2 days Y Combinator’s incubator classes have gotten huge .
With over 200 companies, the Winter 2019 class is by far YC’s largest yet. Meanwhile, the incubator prepares to shift its headquarters from Mountain View to San Francisco.
It’s so large, in fact, it’s had to change the way it does Demo Day. Rather than all pitches happening on one stage, they were split across two stages (the “Pioneer” and “Mission” stages) running in parallel. So even if you were in the building, you couldn’t see all the pitches in person.
We were there — and as we do with each class, we’ve brought back our notes on everything we saw. Here are the 85+ companies that pitched today, and click here to check out our top 10 picks from Day 1. Come back tomorrow for Day 2!
The top 10 startups from Y Combinator W19 Demo Day 1 Pioneer Stage
Career Karma : Hundreds of millions of people will need to change jobs in the coming years. Career Karma gives them a placement quiz and gets them accepted at coding bootcamps and other training programs that pay the startup $1,000 per student. With income-sharing agreements growing in popularity, plenty of job skill providers will be willing to pay to enroll the highest potential students.
VanGo : An on-demand ride service for getting your kids and teens around. The founders say that, because “moms trust other moms,” 85 percent of drivers on their service are moms and all of them are women. They plan to expand into other verticals to help parents down the road.
Team Mobot : Simulated user interface testing doesn’t catch all the bugs and can be complex for less tech savvy companies to perform. Team Mobot offers a fleet of robots that physically test any app’s UI on real devices to perform QA testing and spot bugs. Team Mobot’s fleet learns over time to increase accuracy, and the startup plans to invade the Internet of Things and medical device verticals next.
Bento Club : Cheaper lunch delivery for office workers. Customers pre-order food from a select set of restaurants, and Bento picks it up and brings all orders to a shared pickup spot within one block of the customer’s office. Thirty-eight percent of customers come from referrals.
Basilica : Most teams trying to build artificial intelligence systems don’t have enough data, and that data can be expensive to collect. Basilica says its transfer learning method allows businesses to create accurate AI with just 1,000 data points instead of 1 million. Basilica generates network effect by using data from across its clients to improve efficiency for each vertical that teams will need to keep up with Google.
Keynua : In Latin America, signing documents requires tedious identity verifications. With Keynua you record a short video to verbally agree to a document, and they use existing records to verify your identity. This team’s previous product (Cinepapaya) was acquired by Fandango in 2016.
Lumos : Doctors use Google 40X more than professional tools for finding medical information, but Google is full of ads and results are meant for patients not doctors. Lumos offers a medical Q&A search engine for doctors who pay $15 per month. A trial at UPenn saw half of the med students using Lumos each day within weeks of launch. Lumos says it has more potential business opportunities based off understanding what studies and info doctors trust, and having access to them at critical decision points during treatment.
Traverse Technologies: Traverse uses software to identify potential sites for wind and hydro power generation. The company then buys and resells those sites. They estimate that a plot that they buy for $750k can be resold for $5 million. The currently have about $50 million worth of letters of intent.
Basement : A social network for your close friends. Feed broadcasting social networks feel impersonal, and inevitably bloat with distant acquaintances you’re shy about sharing with. Basement is designed for college students and grads to just add their best friends. It offers Instagram-style posting tools, but the intimacy leads to comment threads that feel more like WhatsApp chat. Basement will have to get users to break the social contract of courtesy so they don’t friend the wrong people, but has a chance to be where Facebook wants to go.
CosmicJS : A drop-in, easier to manage alternative to WordPress. The company says that KFC, MLB, and Dailymotion are already customers. Currently making roughly $10k in monthly recurring revenue, and they say that’s growing about 15 percent monthly.
Ravn : Looking around corners is one of the most dangerous parts of war for infantry. Ravn builds heads-up displays that let soldiers and law enforcement see around corners thanks to cameras on their gun, drones, or elsewhere. The ability to see the enemy while still being behind cover saves lives, and Ravn already has $490,000 in Navy and Air Force contracts. With a CEO who was a Navy Seal who went on to study computer science plus experts in augmented reality and selling hardware to the Department Of Defense, Ravn could deliver the inevitable future of soldier heads-up displays.
54gene : 54gene aims to be 23andMe for Africa. The company says that competitor data is limited because their users are mostly white. By focusing on Africa, the company can help detect and identify DNA markers that might otherwise go overlooked. Co-founder Abasi Ene-Obong has a PhD in cancer biology from the University of London.
Slapdash : Enterprise apps run slow and it can be tough to find files or messages across them. Slapdash creates a desktop software-speed container in which workers can run all their office software like Slack, Dropbox, Asana, Salesforce, and Google. Users can search across all their apps and be more productive, luring SaaS subscriptions from their employers.
YourChoice : Male contraceptive pill. With “two of the world’s leading sperm physiologists”, YourChoice says they’ve created a pill thats 100% effective with “no side effects” by targeting the ABHD2 and ANT4 proteins in sperm. They’re also working on a hormone-free contraceptive pill for women.
AccioJob : Only one-third of India’s college graduates get placed in jobs because their schools often only expose them to local recruiters. AccioJob charges colleges $10,000 per year to place their students in jobs, and charges employers per placement. Since it gains student contact info and grades, AccioJob can become the gateway to the best Indian college grads as more students from the country begin to enroll.
CentaurLabs : Hires doctors to label medical imagery datasets at scale, which can then be used to train AI. In the future, they’re aiming to build a diagnosis system to provide second opinions for doctors and patients.
Travelchime : Planning travel requires cobbling together Google Docs, maps, blogs, friend recommendations, inspiration apps, and booking sites. Travelchime combines travel planning tools into a Google Doc-style interface that automatically suggests contextual information and places popular amongst travel writing that it’s indexed. Users can then book from Travelchime, which hopes it can build a more helpful version of TripAdvisor.
Seawise Capital : Trade loans for exporters in India. The founders say they make 10% on every loan, and have taken on $550k in loans in the past 6 weeks. They plan to raise $5 million in debt by Q3 2019, and $25 million in debt by Q1 2020.
PerShop : Shopping online can be frustrating because you’re either hopping between individual brands without comparative pricing, seeing too many irrelevant products on aggregators, or can’t checkout on social apps. PerShop is a personalized shopping site that only recommends you items from your favorite brands, in your size, in your price range. Eventually it plans to sell personalized, targeted e-commerce ads. PerShop gets smarter as people use it to buy or just for entertainment.
Prometheus : Removes CO2 from the air to make gasoline. They say they can make gasoline for about $3.00 per gallon. Whereas past attempts required massive distillation columns, founder Rob McGinnis says he was working with carbon nanotube membranes when he discovered a cheaper way to do it with much less real estate.
Unicorn : Scooter companies that rent by the minute lose 2 percent of their fleet per day to damage and theft, and that means customers don’t have a safe scooter available when they want one. Unicorn rents scooters by the week or month and is already profitable. Vehicles aren’t left outside overnight and spend more time rented, while customers know there’s a scooter available for them without having to buy one outright. Unicorn’s founder started Tile and now he wants to build a better unit economics business than Lime and Bird.
Loonify Space : A bespoke launch system meant specifically for carrying small satellites into orbit. A balloon carries rocket to 35km and launches it mid-air. They have Letters of Intent for 155 satellite launches, worth a total of roughly $77 million. They intend to have their first launch on May 9th.
Supernova : Programming apps based on design mockups can be tough internally, but expensive and hard to maintain if outsourced. Supernova converts designs into production-ready code that follows best practices so it’s easy to update. Supernova’s AI can understand a product’s purpose and distinguish between navigation elements, buttons, and more. As more businesses try to modernize with tech products, Supernova could let them focus on their utility rather than computer science.
Kovi : Provides rental cars for on-demand drivers in Latin America. They currently have around 300 cars on the street, with 3,000 rental requests this year. The company estimates that 70 percent of drivers in Latin America rent/lease their vehicles.
Deel : 20 million international contractors work with US companies but it’s difficult to onboard and train them. Deel handles the contracts, payments, and taxes in one interface to eliminate paperwork and wasted time. Deel charges businesses $10 per contractor per month and a 1% fee on payouts, which earns it an average of $560 per contractor per year. As the globalization megatrend continues, businesses need better remote HR tools.
COUTURME : Custom, AI-designed wedding/formal dresses. The customer inputs their preferences, the software generates options, and the dress is produced and shipped within 30 days. It went live in January, and has been growing at roughly 50% weekly since. Co-founder Yuliya Raquel previously founded plus-size designer fashion company IGIGI.
( Edit note: this post previously said COUTURME was growing at 15% weekly; we misheard. It’s 50% weekly.)
Instapath Inc : Cancer biopsies can take a week to get you your results. Instapath is building a fully-automated pathology lab that can test a tissue sample and provide a diagnosis within five minutes while you’re still at the doctor’s office. This eliminates agonizing waiting periods and can get users treated more quickly. Instapath charges $200 per procedure, has already processed 500 biopsies, and claims to be on the path to FDA clearance in nine months.
Bensen : Bensen wants to replace the drive-thru window by allowing restaurants to receive orders via voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa in the car.. It’ll launch in two restaurant chains later this year, with Letters of Intent from companies with 800 locations. They’ll charge $3,000 per year per location.
Socrates Intelligence : There’s huge demand for reading in China but just one library per 480,000 citizens. Socrates Intelligence is the Netflix-style mailing business for books in China. For $56 per year, users can rent up to three books and get them within 48 hours. The startup already has 10,000 subscribers and plans to go after ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines next to become the ‘rent everything store’ for China.
Overview : Many factories use massive robots to manufacture goods overnight, but there’s not always someone watching. If something goes wrong but goes undetected, the robots can physically destroy themselves. Overview uses cameras and AI to monitor manufacturing robots, shutting them down if something goes wrong.
Sunsama : A task manager that integrates with SaaS tools like Trello, JIRA and Asana to help workers identify and manage the tasks they should be working on a specific day.
Kalshi : Instead of just betting on sports, Kalshi lets anyone bet on anything, like whether Brexit will happen by the end of the month or who will win an Oscar. Users bet against each other so it’s more like a futures market than gambling, and regulators like it since Kalshi doesn’t earn more when users lose. It already has 2 licenses making it legal in 200 countries and is in talks with US regulators to earn 7 percent transaction fees when people bet.
Volk Wireless : Volk is making an Android smartphone with a free data plan, no carrier required. The co-founders say they’re using long-range wireless hardware to share connections and build a network of phones. Co-Founder Greg Hazel was the Chief Architect at Bittorrent, while co-founder Straya Markovic was the lead engineer at mesh messaging platform Firechat.
Nowports : Half of shipping containers are lost or delayed in part because of inefficient routing and tracking. Nowports is the Flexport for Latin America, a freight forwarding business that helps pallets of goods get from factory to truck to boat to warehouse to retailer. Started by a third generation freight forwarder, Nowports could succeed where US companies lack the required local understanding.
Flower Co. : Memberships for cheaper weed sales and delivery. They’re currently selling $200,000 in marijuana per month to 700 members. They charge $100 a year for membership, and take 10% on product sales.
Middesk : It’s difficult to know if a business’ partners have paid their taxes, filed for bankruptcy, or are involved in lawsuits. That leads businesses to write off $120 billion a year in uncollectable bad debt. Middesk does due diligence to sort out good businesses from the bad to provide assurance for B2B deals loans, investments, acquisitions, and more. By giving clients the confidence that they’ll be paid, Middesk could insert itself into a wide array of transactions.
Eclipse Foods : Makes dairy product from plants, which they say are “indistinguishable” from those made from animal products. In their tests, 70% of consumers couldn’t tell the difference between their product and a leading competitor. The co-founders were previously the Director of R&D of Hampton Creek and an innovation specialist at the Good Food Institute (a non-profit focusing on plant-based meat/dairy alternatives).
Enemy on Board : By combining the excitement of League Of Legends with the strategy of Mafia, Enemy On Board is a game built for the Twitch era. 5 players team up to complete a mission, but 2 of them secretly are trying to sabotage it. The game’s beta launch is scheduled for June, but testers are already averaging 61 minutes per day, and people have spent 2000 hours watching gameplay on Twitch. Through microtransactions, Enemy On Board’s CEO who worked on League Of Legends believes they can build the next blockbuster freemium game.
Modoo Technology : A wearable for monitoring fetal health, measuring heart rate and baby movements. It has been selling in China for $200 since 2017, with $3.4 million in revenue in 2018. The company recently introduced a monthly subscription option for those who don’t want to buy outright.
Our World In Data : World leaders need easy-to-access, understandable data on issues like CO2 emissions or child mortality to make decisions. Our World In Data takes key findings from studies buried in paid journal articles and jargon, and put them on an open access website that has achieved top Google ranking for many queries. It already has 1 million users, and its team from University Of Oxford believes optimizing research data for the web could lead to better global policy.
Encarte : A browser extension bringing one-click checkout to any e-commerce store. Currently supports over 500,000 Shopify stores. It stores your data locally rather than in the cloud, and keeps track of all tracking numbers. They’re also building a “virtual e-commerce credit card” that will offer personalized promotions, amongst other things.
Atomic Alchemy : Radio cardiograms and PET/CT scans require nuclear medicine to visualize abnormalities. But five of the six reactors that generate this nuclear medicine are set to shut down in the next 10 years. Atomic Alchemy builds tiny, privately-owned reactors from off-the-shelf parts in order to generate nuclear medicine. The startup already has letters of intent it estimates are worth $50 million to $100 million, and hopes to be operational by 2024.
Jetpack Aviation : Jetpack is building a flying motorcycle. The company says its jet motorcycle is capable of getting from SF to Mountain View in ten minutes, and fits in a one-car garage. They estimate that their full-scale prototype should be done by the end of the year. They’ve received 9 pre-orders so far, worth about $4.1M in sales. The company’s founders previously built an FAA approved Jetpack called the JB10. We covered Jetpack Aviation on TechCrunch previously here . Mission Stage
Trexo Robotics : Trexo Robotics is developing a solution that gives those diagnosed with cerebral palsy a better solution than a wheelchair. The startup is focused on providing a robotics device for children with the disease, and the company’s first product will be available for $1,000 per month to families. The company says they currently have 5 units deployed and are approved for use in the U.S. and Canada.
Pachama : A verified marketplace for carbon credits focused on protecting and restoring the world’s forests. The startup uses machine learning, satellite imaging, drones and LIDAR to offset carbon emissions. Pachama connects carbon buyers — an organization seeking to offset their carbon emissions — to carbon projects.
Saratoga Energy : Over the course of six years, the company has developed and patented a production process to synthesize carbon nanotubes from CO2. The startup sells the carbon nanotubes, which are stronger and lighter than steel, at lower prices to aerospace, battery, concrete and other manufacturers. At the end of the week, the company will deliver their first batch for testing. Saratoga has raised $2 million in grant funding over the last two years.
Cherry : Cherry is an office perks solution for the modern startup. Rather than giving entire swaths of employees the same benefits, the co-founders want to let people choose their favorite internet services. People will be able to select services through a Slackbot interface and get things like ClassPass and HBO paid for by their company. The company says they have 24 companies in paid pilot programs. We previously covered Cherry on TechCrunch here.
CityFurnish : The provider of a furniture rental marketplace in India, CityFurnish delivers and installs furniture to customers in Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore for a monthly rental fee, offering free relocation and free maintenance services. The company doesn’t require any contracts and says it’s a cheaper option than actually buying furniture. CityFurnish has 10,000 subscribers today, $3 million in ARR and has been profitable for 18 months.
NaturAll Club : NaturAll Club wants you to refrigerate your haircare products. The startup’s products are made from fruit and vegetable pulp and are focused on addressing the needs of women with kinky and curly hair which doesn’t respond too well to harsh chemicals. The team’s first product is made with fresh avocado and did $2 million in sales in 6 months, the company says. While these may sound like Juicero packs for your hair, organic products are the fastest growing product category in beauty and the company’s focus on an underserved audience could help them find a health and beauty niche.
FlockJay : Operates an online sales academy that teaches job seekers from underrepresented backgrounds the skills and training they need to pursue a career in tech sales. The 12-week long bootcamp offers trainees coaching and mentorship. The company has launched its debut cohort with 17 students, 100 percent of which are already in job interviews and 40 percent of which have already secured new careers in the tech industry.
Demodesk : Demodesk is making a screen sharing tool to help companies reshape sales by demoing products directly for customers. What’s unique is that it isn’t your desktop, it’s a virtual machine where your demo presentation can live without potential customers having to wait through lengthy downloads while still being able to collaborate and edit what’s happening in the software.
Ultralight : A cross-platform app development tool used for rendering HTML UI within games and desktop applications. The company’s goal is to replace Chromium by providing a GPU-accelerated proprietary renderer. Ultralight says it will be compatible with most programming languages.
Keeper : Keeper wants to stop 1099 employees from getting ripped off by minutiae of tax forms. The company says that the average contractor overpays $1,249 per year in taxes. Keeper uses machine learning to automatically find tax write-offs inside the bank statements of users. They’re targeting the 50 million contractors in the U.S. to find their market.
Taobotics : A manufacturer of autonomous robots for supermarkets in China to help brands promote and advertise their products in stores. The startup, which employs a team of robotics experts, says people are 7x more likely to purchase a product from a robot than in-store sales help. Taobotics recently closed a Letter of Intent for 1,000 retail robots.
Releaf : Releaf is building machinery to help African food factories operate more efficiently. The startup says that 90 percent of food factories are running under capacity because they can’t pre-process raw materials quickly enough. The startup says their machines quickly pay off for the factories and are already in use.
Synova Life Sciences : Synova Life Sciences is building a medical device that makes it easier to harvest stem cells from a patient’s fat. The company boasts that its device, which uses “modified shock waves”, can get stem cells from fat 30 times faster than current solutions, while yielding twice as many cells. They’ve already done 45 procedures with 14 different doctors.
Dyneti Technologies : Has invented a credit card scanner SDK that uses a smartphone’s camera to help prevent fraud by over 50 percent and improve conversion for businesses by 5 percent. The business was started by a pair of former Uber employees including CEO Julia Zheng, who launched the fraud analytics teams for Account Security and UberEATS. Dyneti’s service is powered by deep learning and works on any card format. In the two months since it launched, the company has signed contracts with Rappi, Gametime and others.
PreFlight : PreFlight is trying to fully automate UI testing and eliminate the need for companies to hire specifically for QA. The company’s Chrome extension can help developers record user actions and run robust testing. After launching just two weeks ago, users have collectively run 55,000 tests with PreFlight.
AmpUp : T he “Airbnb for electric vehicle chargers.” AmpUp, preparing for a world in which the majority of us drive EVs, operates a mobile app that connects a network of thousands of EV chargers and drivers. Using the app, an electric vehicle owner can quickly identify an available and compatible charger and EV charger owners can earn cash sharing their charger at their own price and their own schedule. The service is currently live in the Bay Area.
Docbot : An AI-enabled computer vision platform for gastroenterology practices to improve colonoscopy procedures. The service, which integrates with IT systems to make billing and documentation more efficient, tracks withdrawal time, intubation rate, bowel prep and adenoma detection rate. 20 million Americans get colonoscopies every year, though doctors aren’t always able to identify the colon polyps which can cause colon cancer. Docbot detects colon polyps in real-time. The service has been used in more than 2,000 procedures to date.
Edyst : Edyst is an online coding bootcamps geared towards college students in India hoping to find employment. The company guarantees that each student that graduates the course will get at least 5 job interviews. Right now, their course is paid for directly by colleges for students. Eventually, the co-founders believe that the bootcamp will be able to replace lower-tier universities in India.
Okteto : An application development platform for Kubernetes that helps developers to quickly iterate and improve their test decision time by 4x. The founders have decades of experience building application platforms for Docker and other businesses. Okteto’s goal is to become the standard way to develop cloud-based applications for Kubernetes. : A subscription-based podcasting app tackling the podcast monetization problem. Brew costs users $5 per month and helps creators of all levels earn money for their content by paying them on a per listen basis. The startup launched the app last week with exclusive shows from eight creators, including YouTubers Boogie2988 and Jack Vale, who each have millions of followers on YouTube. Brew currently has 200 creators on its waitlist. We previously covered Brew on TechCrunch here .
Sapling Intelligence : Sapling Intelligence wants to be a Grammarly for the enterprise. The company’s deep-learning writing assistant can help messaging stay on-brand with a uniform voice that can be tuned to approach different audiences. Their product is a browser extension that sits on top of products like Zendesk and Salesforce.
Evo.Do : The developer of a codeless test automation tool for the gaming industry and other digital products. The company says its AI-enabled bots are as smart and flexible at identifying bugs in games as a human. The bots are able to find bugs in minutes with no human intervention; one bot works faster and more efficiently than one human tester.
Reelables : Reelables is looking to ensure that enterprise companies lose fewer of their products. The company is building ultra-thin flexible bluetooth trackers that are build into labels that can be affixed to products. The “Tile for enterprise” startup has already launched a pilot program with GE.
Docucharm : The platform, co-founded by former Uber product manager Minh Tri Pham, turns documents into structured data a computer can understand to accurately automate document processing workflows and to take away the need for human data entry. Docucharm’s API can understand various forms of documents (like paystubs, for example) and will extract the necessary information without error. Its customers include tax prep company Tributi and lending businesses Aspire.
Closer Sports : Closer Sports is creating a live-streaming platform for athletes to connect with fans. The co-founders want their product to fill in the shortcomings of ESPN and existing social media services. Unlike Instagram, the startup lets athletes charge for access to their live-streams. The company is kicking things off with UFC fighters and had 500 paid subscribers after launching recently.
Datamode : The startup identifies bugs in businesses’ data pipelines. Debugging is very expensive and time-consuming for data engineering teams. Datamode diagnoses the root cause of pipeline failure showing businesses exactly when it failed and what is broken instantly. Datamode was started by repeat founders, including a co-founder of Movity, which sold to Trulia in 2010.
Schoolable : There are 65 million students in Africa attending private schools, but tuition payments can be a major pain point for parents paying for their child’s education. That’s because tuition payments are often due upfront and it’s more difficult than it should be for schools to keep track of payments. Schoolable is creating an invoicing app that helps ensure parents make payments on time, while also using the app to save directly for tuition.
Vectordash : Dubbing itself the “Netflix for gamers”, Vectordash turns your Macbook Air or other underpowered rig into a formidable machine through their cloud gaming service. Vectordash’s platform allows gamers to play games without rendering them locally, instead utilizing peer-to-peer rendering power via host GPUs. The company is charging $28 per month for the service. We previously covered Vectordash on TechCrunch here.
Doorport : They’ve built a small device that can be added to existing apartment intercom systems, allowing residents to unlock the building’s front door for themselves, guests, and delivery people with an app. Doorport is currently being piloted in San Francisco, Oakland, and New York. The startup is still figuring out exactly how much their product will cost, and are testing different pricing models. We previously covered Doorport on TechCrunch here.
Intact Therapeutics : The makers of smart gels for local drug delivery for gastrointestinal diseases. The company’s gel was created for inflammatory bowel disease but can be used on several other diseases. Intact has already signed a deal with a large pharmaceutical gel maker to develop its products at scale.
Cuanto : Cuanto is building a payment product for Latin American businesses selling their goods on WhatsApp and Instagram, a sales pipeline that 80 percent of businesses there focus on. The company is planning to use the data they yield from sellers to facilitate loans to businesses in Latin America. The startup is already live in 5 countries.
Bottomless : Bottomless automatically restocks your coffee supply using an internet-connected scale which members place under their bag of coffee grounds. Tracking the weight of the bag, Bottomless’ scales determine when customers are low on grounds and ensure a new bag of previously selected freshly roasted coffee is on their doorstep before they run out. The service costs $36 per year. We previously covered Bottomless on TechCrunch here .
Heart Aerospace : The manufacturers of an electric regional airplane, the ES-19, expected to be certified for commercial flights by 2025. The airliners hold 19 passengers. The founder, Anders Forslund, has a Ph.D. in aircraft design and has already signed letters of intent with aerospace companies worth $1.6 billion.
Windsor : Windsor is building a platform that connects a company’s separate application data services. The company connects this data and builds timelines of runtime events, giving customers a closer eye into what is happening on their helping them answer more intimate questions about how their
CareerTu : A WeChat-based online digital marketing school targeting Chinese students living in the U.S. CareerTu wants to help those students who are lacking the necessary skills to succeed in U.S. jobs. In the year since it launched, the startup has brought in $700,000 in revenue from 160,000 users and is profitable. The company plans to expand to support Chinese students based in China.
Convictional : Convictional helps direct-to-consumer companies approach larger retailers more simply. It takes a lot of time for a supplier to build a relationship with a retailer and start selling their products. Convictional wants to speed things up by building a B2B self-service commerce platform that allows retailers to easily approach brands and make orders.
Dockup : Creates on-demand staging environments for engineering teams to save developers’ time. Large companies spend millions to scale staging, including Facebook and Google, while smaller startups are stuck with broken staging. Dockup, which launched this month with four paying customers, will reduce these staging headaches.
Thrive Agric : The company helps smallholder farmers in Nigeria access crowdfunded loans to help grow their crops, as well as help them sell their produce. The company has worked with 14,000 farmers to date, with plans to reach 1,000,000 farmers across Africa by 2022 in what it says is a $54 billion market opportunity.
Skill-lync : Skill-lync is another YC startup looking to approach the fact that Indian college students aren’t getting jobs in the fields they study. The startup is targeting mechanical engineering students with a set of online courses that can make up for outdated college curriculums. The team is already educating 2,800 students and earning $82,000 in monthly revenues.
Rebank : An automation tool for business banking that works with any bank and/or multiple banks at once. Rebank, which claims to have “hacked banking,” has 40 companies currently using the tool to save time. Rebank operates under a subscription model, charging its customers $50 per month for access to its platform.
AXDRAFT : The startup is building software that helps smaller companies automate documents that they’re having to fill out again and again, helping startups spend less time drafting and proofreading routine documents. The company is starting off with a solution for contracts that helps startups fill out the documents quickly and for free while charging $25 to review the contracts and ensure that everything is up to snuff.
Glide : There has been a pretty major trend towards services that make it easier to build web pages or mobile apps. Glide lets customers easily create well-designed mobile apps from Google Sheets pages. This not only makes it easy to build the pages, but simplifies the skills needed to keep information updated on the site.
Boundary Layer Technologies : High-speed container ships using hydrofoils. The tech-enabled ships allow transit time that is comparable to air travel but much more affordable. The company built its prototype in just 10 weeks at a cost of $150,000 and has a letter of intent from Flexport to build ships that will travel between Los Angeles and Shanghai.

Is NASA’s Golden Age of Space Telescopes Ending?

Share via Print An artist’s rendition of NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, ranked as one of agency’s highest priorities for astrophysics in the 2020s. Credit: Chris Meaney NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Advertisement
The $8.9 billion James Webb Space Telescope may be the last big-budget observatory that NASA launches for a while.
The White House’s proposed 2020 budget cancels the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), a $3.2 billion space mission viewed as a linchpin of astrophysics research through the 2020s and beyond.
And that budget keeps NASA’s astrophysics funding so low over the coming years that the agency won’t be able to develop another ambitious, big-ticket “flagship” observatory for the foreseeable future, experts say.
“If that budget is really the budget, there are not going to be future flagships,” said David Spergel, a Princeton University theoretical astrophysicist, who co-chairs the WFIRST science team.
“We will have JWST—a wonderful observatory—and that’s it,” said Jon Morse, who led NASA’s Astrophysics Division from 2007 to 2011. He now serves as CEO of the BoldlyGo Institute, a nonprofit devoted to developing space-science missions.
JWST, billed as the successor to NASA’s iconic Hubble Space Telescope , is currently scheduled to lift off in May 2021, after multiple delays and significant cost overruns. A bleak budget for astrophysics
The 2020 federal budget proposal, which the White House unveiled last week, allocates $21 billion to NASA —about $500 million less than the space agency is getting this year.
The agency’s science funding was particularly hard-hit, dipping from $6.9 billion this year to $6.3 billion in 2020. Much of the decrease comes in astrophysics, which drops from $1.19 billion to $845 million . (That doesn’t count the $353 million allocated next year to JWST, which has its own funding line.)
Astrophysics funding stays relatively flat in the proposed “out years,” ranging from $902 million to $965 million between 2021 and 2024.
That’s not nearly enough money to maintain a diverse and balanced research portfolio that includes small, medium-class and flagship missions, Morse said.
“By design, in this budget request, you can’t fit a multibillion-dollar observatory into the remaining budget,” he told “That’s why they canceled WFIRST—they took away the money. There’s no money to execute a mission that costs $3 billion over seven or eight years.”
Restoring the flagship capability would require, at a minimum, bumping the 2020 astrophysics budget up by $400 million—the amount “saved” with the cancellation of WFIRST, Morse said. A powerful space observatory
WFIRST was pegged as the highest-priority large space mission in the 2010 astronomy/astrophysics decadal survey . Decadal surveys, which are put together every 10 years by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, serve as research roadmaps for government agencies such as NASA; their recommendations are usually followed.
WFIRST remains on budget and on schedule for its planned 2024 launch, Spergel said. The observatory features a main mirror 7.9 feet (2.4 meters) wide, the same size as Hubble’s. But WFIRST will have a field of view 100 times greater than that of Hubble.
WFIRST will have two science instruments, which will allow the observatory to perform a variety of groundbreaking astronomical investigations. For example, astronomers will use WFIRST to characterize dark energy—the mysterious force behind the universe’s accelerating expansion—as never before, discover thousands of exoplanets and image some alien worlds directly.
The widely surveying WFIRST was also specifically designed to complement JWST, which will investigate narrower slices of sky more deeply, Morse said.
So, axing WFIRST would deal a serious blow to astronomy, astrophysics and the scientific enterprise as a whole, he added. And the step back from big and bold space telescopes that WFIRST’s cancellation seems to portend would also threaten the United States’ position as a space-science leader, both he and Spergel said.
“If we stop doing astrophysics flagships, we stop leading,” Spergel told
That’s because flagships tend to be incredibly productive and influential. Think about Hubble, which launched to Earth orbit in April 1990. The contributions of that famous space telescope are too numerous to rattle off here, but they include helping astronomers discover dark energy and bringing the beauty and mystery of the universe to lay people around the world with the most gorgeous cosmic photos ever taken.
Hubble is still going strong, but it’s been showing some signs of age recently. NASA’s other operational flagship-class space telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory , is also getting long in the tooth; it launched in 1999.
Everyone hopes that JWST will conduct great science for many years to come. But there are no guarantees in that regard, and a bare flagship cupboard after JWST’s 2021 launch is a depressing prospect for both Spergel and Morse.
Morse invoked the current high-energy-physics landscape as a cautionary tale.
The United States had a chance to cement itself as a particle-physics leader for decades to come in the 1990s with the construction of the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) in Texas. But funding for that project was pulled, and Europe ended up taking the mantle in 2010 with the completion of the Large Hadron Collider (which, though extremely capable, is far smaller and less powerful than the SSC was going to be).
“Is that where we’re headed with astrophysics after launching JWST?” Morse said. Not set in stone
But there is still hope for WFIRST, and for future flagships that may follow in its footsteps. The 2020 federal budget request is just that, after all—a request. An enacted budget must have congressional approval, and Congress has stood up for WFIRST before.
Indeed, the White House cut the mission in its 2019 budget request as well, but Congress stepped in and restored funding.
Both Spergel and Morse would love to see history repeat itself.
“Congress has had strong bipartisan support for astrophysics,” Spergel said. “I’m hopeful these cuts in astrophysics will be overturned.”
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Battle of Supremes: How ‘legal fakes’ are challenging a $1B brand – CNN (0 visits)

Battle of Supremes: How ‘legal fakes’ are challenging a $1B brand Published 18th March 2019 Written by Jacopo Prisco , CNN Video by John General, CNN When Samsung revealed , in late 2018, that it was collaborating with cult US streetwear brand Supreme, it came as quite the surprise. The announcement was made during the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy A8s smartphone in Beijing, where logos of the Korean tech giant and the New York skate brand unexpectedly shared a huge screen. Two men, introduced as Supreme executives, unveiled ambitious plans for their company in China, including an inaugural event at Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena and a seven-story flagship store in the capital. Headlines soon followed. But there was a problem: It wasn’t Supreme. Not the New York-based one, at least. It was, instead, an entity known as Supreme Italia. With roots in Italy, the label is run through a limited company in the UK and has opened four physical stores in Spain. Adut Akech: The South Sudanese refugee making fashion history Supreme New York quickly denounced the brand as a “counterfeit organization.” Samsung initially stuck to its guns, however. In a since-deleted post on Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo, the tech firm said it always knew it was working with Supreme Italia, which, it said, was the legitimate owner of the Supreme trademark in China. Shortly after, Samsung said it was reconsidering the collaboration and eventually canceled it entirely. But Supreme Italia, which denies being a counterfeit operation, was already planning to expand into China and beyond. Birth of a cult brand Supreme started as a humble Lower Manhattan skate store, opened by British-American entrepreneur James Jebbia in 1994. It has since grown into one of the most sought-after brands in fashion, boasting collaborations with the likes of Louis Vuitton , Lacoste, Nike and Timberland. The label is valued at more than $1 billion, after private equity firm The Carlyle Group acquired a 50% stake for $500 million in 2017. A Louis Vuitton trunk with the Supreme logo. Credit: Chesnot/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images Jebbia has rewritten the rules for streetwear brands in the process, building Supreme’s fame through social media hype and scarcity. Its clothes can only be bought online or through a network of just 11 stores worldwide: one each in LA, Paris and London, two in New York and six in Japan. It was in Japan that Supreme perfected a sales tactic known as the “drop” — releasing a limited quantity of new clothes on a weekly basis, rather than an entire new collection every season. The strategy, now widely replicated by traditional fashion brands, prompted long lines at Supreme’s stores and fueled online resale marketplaces where prices skyrocketed. South Korean men lead the world’s male beauty market. Will the West ever follow suit? “Over time, it really became a huge frenzy,” said David Fischer, founder of streetwear and lifestyle website Highsnobiety. “It became a huge event, where Supreme fans from around the world would line up in front of Supreme stores to get a hold of the latest product … It’s not only about standing in line to buy a new product. It’s just as much about being there with a community that you’re a part of.” Supreme’s most valuable asset is arguably its simple logo, a red rectangle marked with the word “Supreme,” which fashion platform Lyst crowned the industry’s most powerful logo in 2018. It can turn almost anything into a collector’s item. Supreme’s latest collection includes a branded water gun, a coffee maker, a drum kit, a snorkeling mask and even Band-Aids. When the New York Post ran a Supreme cover ad in August 2018, newsstands sold out of the paper by early morning; Supreme New York MetroCards from 2017 are currently listed on eBay for $500. But there are weaknesses in Supreme’s all-powerful logo and brand that Supreme Italia has used to its advantage. 1/9 The Spring-Summer 19 collection from Supreme New York includes many off-kilter collector’s items, such as Band-Aids. Credit: A difficult one to trademark The color and typeface of Supreme’s logo — red, with white lettering in a font called Futura Heavy Oblique — is precisely the same combination used by conceptual artist Barbara Kruger since the 1980s. The Supreme logo had been hastily designed to stamp on T-shirts when the first store opened in 1994, and it was, by the company’s own admission , directly influenced by Kruger’s work. Three years later, the brand even reproduced Kruger’s 1987 “Untitled (I shop therefore I am)” work — a consumerist take on Descartes’ 17th century maxim, “I think therefore I am” — on a T-shirt , substituting the titular phrase with the word “Supreme.” Shannon Finney/Getty Images North America/Getty Images In fact, the company has a long history toying with other brands’ designs without permission. Almost two decades before its 2017 collaboration with Louis Vuitton, Supreme received a cease-and-desist letter from the French fashion house for using its iconic monogram print on a series of products, including skateboards, which were then recalled . The seductive power of uniforms and cult dress codes But the label has now itself become the target of imitation. In 2009, Jebbia told Interview magazine that “Supreme wasn’t meant to be a brand … It’s a good name, but it’s a difficult one to trademark.” Chapter 4, the company that does business as Supreme, did not obtain a successful registration of its trademark in the US until 2012. Nearly a year later, the firm filed a $10 million trademark lawsuit against streetwear brand Married to the Mob, after it used a parody “Supreme Bitch” logo on some of its products. The parties settled out of court. Kruger, however, has never sued Supreme (“I don’t own a font,” she told The Cut in 2017). But the irony that her anti-consumerist art is being used to sell clothing is not lost on her. In 2017, the artist staged a live performance called “Untitled (The Drop)” which featured a shop full of Supreme-esque merchandise branded with phrases like “Don’t be a jerk” and “Want it. Buy it. Forget it.” A Supreme by any other name In 2017, the company was busy defending itself from more than just mockery. Supreme is now one of the most counterfeited brands in the world and its fakes are among the most searched for . The case of Supreme Italia, however, is more complex, with the brand often referred to as what trademark lawyers call a “legal fake.” “It’s a practice that involves registering a trademark in a certain country before the original owner of that trademark has a chance to do so,” explained Alessandro Balduzzi, a trademark lawyer at Studio Legale Costa Creta – Bugnion in Italy. Giovanni Casucci, a lawyer for Chapter 4 who’s litigating the ongoing case in Italy, questions the very premise of the term: “I find it very funny because it’s an oxymoron, a completely self-contradictory definition. You can not be legal if you’re fake,” he said in a phone interview. Casucci instead draws a parallel between Supreme Italia’s actions and cybersquatting, the practice of registering domain names similar or identical to popular brand names, with the intent of later selling them at a profit. “It’s a phenomenon that was highly criticized 20 years ago and now it’s clearly an evident abuse,” he said. Supreme Italia claims to have started out in 2012, but it first made its mark on social media in 2016 during Pitti Uomo, an international menswear fair held in Florence, Italy. Images from the event showed the brand’s hoodies and T-shirts bearing large versions of the famous red logo. Chapter 4 took notice. In 2017, it sued Supreme Italia, or, more precisely, the two companies behind it: an Italian company that produced and sold the clothes online and in shops under license, and a UK private limited company called International Brand Firm (IBF), which had registered and licensed the trademark in Italy and other countries. IBF is essentially the business behind the Supreme Italia brand and its ramifications. The high court in Milan ruled in Chapter 4’s favor twice, in January and April 2017, issuing an injunction that made Supreme Italia’s operations in Italy effectively illegal. A definitive ruling could take years to emerge, however. Supreme Italia’s lawyers have already appealed once (and lost) and they plan to appeal again. Simona Lavagnini, a lawyer at LGV Avvocati in Milan who’s litigating the case in Italy for IBF, told CNN the case could ultimately reach the country’s Supreme Court. Gray leap forward: Xi Jinping shows natural hair color in a rare move for Chinese politics To be effective, a so-called “legal fake” must register a trademark before the original brand does. But IBF did not file for a trademark with Italian authorities until Nov. 18, 2015, more than a month after Chapter 4. This is one of the reasons why the court sided with the original Supreme. “Another reason was unfair competition,” said Balduzzi, “Because not only was (Supreme Italia) producing clothing using a trademark that they did not own, but they were also acting on the market as if they were the legitimate owners of the brand.” Despite this, Lavagnini maintains that Supreme Italia is “not a copy,” claiming that when IBF filed its trademark, Chapter 4’s existing registration did not yet appear in online searches. She also believes that the word “Supreme” is too generic to be trademarked in the first place. “Our claim is that Supreme is a word (typically) used to refer to the quality of a product, like ‘super,’ extra,’ or ‘extraordinary,'” she said in a phone interview. “‘Super’ is actually the root of supreme, and is considered by Italian case law to be a classic case of descriptive trademark, which cannot be registered but must be free for all competitors on the market.” However, these claims were rejected by the Milan court. The judges ruled that Chapter 4’s Supreme brand was sufficiently well-known in Italy to acquire a “secondary meaning” and be considered a de facto trademark, even in the absence of advertising or physical stores. Better luck in Spain A similar legal case has also occurred in October 2018 in Spain, where IBF registered another trademark: Supreme Spain. But here, things unfolded quite differently . A court in Barcelona ruled in favor of IBF, because, in this instance, it had registered its trademark before Chapter 4. Chapter 4 used the “secondary meaning” argument that had proven successful in Italy, but in Spain it didn’t work. As trademark lawyer Balduzzi explained: “The burden of proof can be very high and it is difficult to overcome.” The decision has since been appealed, and another ruling is expected in the next two months, according to Casucci. As a result, Supreme Spain continues to operate its own website , which sells around 100 items of clothing, as well as accessories, and offers shipping to around 40 European countries. Perhaps more notably, it also owns four physical stores , in Madrid, Barcelona, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca. The logo is different — black text on yellow, with the word “Spain” at the bottom — but the clothes still feature the classic red box design, among other familiar variations. “The fact is, there is no distribution of the physical products in Italy or Spain,” argued IBF attorney Lavagnini referring to Supreme New York products. “There are a few shops in some privileged European countries like the UK and France, then there is a website where it is theoretically possible to acquire the products, but they immediately sell out … And then the only way to buy the product is to go to these resellers websites where the products are sold at much higher prices.” IBF’s official Instagram account claims “We are against the illegal and immoral practice of reselling.” The color purple: How an accidental discovery changed fashion forever Chapter 4’s attorney Casucci dismisses this as “the frivolous argument of a free rider. They are not Robin Hood.” He acknowledges that the Supreme Spain operation is legitimate, but adds “my impression is there’s a typical case of undue profit off the reputation of another brand.” IBF has scooped Supreme trademarks in a number of other territories. Listings on trademark website TMView show that the company has filed registrations in 67 countries, mostly in Europe and Africa, as well as China. IBF is “working with the Supreme trademark in nearly 90 countries,” the company’s PR representative Anna Boccoli told CNN. Casucci believes that IBF’s approach is in bad faith and in violation of the Paris Convention, one of the first intellectual property treaties ever signed, which protects “well-known marks” in 177 countries even in the absence of local presence. A shopper wears a Supreme/Louis Vuitton hoodie outside a Louis Vuitton store in Miami. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America/Getty Images A search on the World Intellectual Property Organization’s website returns 28 entries filed by IBF that relate to the word Supreme. They include variations such as Supreme Sailing, Supreme Underwear, Supreme Toyschool, Supreme Home, Supreme Sport, Supreme Optical Wear and Supreme Skate Snow Wear. According to Casucci, this volume of registrations could have cost “dozens if not hundreds of thousands of euros” and can only have been motivated by “an expectation to steal some markets or at least to enter in a parallel way in those markets.” The man behind Supreme Italia The man behind Supreme Italia, IBF director Michele Di Pierro, declined CNN’s request for interview. He is, according to his PR representative Anna Boccoli, a private man who avoids the spotlight. In a phone interview, Boccoli said that Di Pierro — whom she claims to have known for many years — is the talk of Barletta, his home town in southern Italy, due to the fact that his brand is “worth what it’s worth internationally.” According to publicly available filings , IBF reported sales of around £514,000 ($682,000) in 2017, up from £173,000 ($230,000) the year before. The legendary American car that vanished for 30 years Boccoli described Di Pierro as “an energetic man who follows his instinct,” adding that he frequently travels to China. He also produces clothes for other fashion brands, which Boccoli said he “has regularly acquired.” Among these she says are Airwalk, VisionStreetWear and Pan Am, which were presented at Pitti Uomo in early 2019. The idea for Supreme Italia came about in 2012 and began with a batch of test T-shirts, according to Boccoli. The plan was “spontaneous,” she said, and Di Pierro “did not want to make an Italian copy, but rather his own project.” Prior to the Milan court ruling, Supreme Italia distributed its products to 1,000 stores in Italy, although it had none of its own, Boccoli said. On the expansion into China, Boccoli said that IBF’s local distributor, which brokered the canceled Samsung deal directly, plans to open 60 stores in the country over the next two years. In fact, it opened an IBF-licensed Supreme store in Shanghai in early March, she confirmed, with a second one opening soon. In a written statement sent to CNN after our phone interview, Casucci said “Chapter 4/Supreme has taken action in China against the counterfeit organization IBF/Supreme Italia and their Chinese partners and landlords with regards to their store opening. IBF impersonates Supreme, sells counterfeit goods and misleads law enforcement, reporters, and even companies like Samsung who have not undertaken full diligence on this counterfeit operation.” Boccoli also claimed that more IBF-licensed stores will be opening in countries worldwide, beginning with Serbia, Belarus, Cyprus, Portugal and the Gulf states. How do the clothes compare? To compare IBF’s creations with those of the original Supreme, CNN recently ordered three items from Supreme Spain: a black hoodie with a large printed red box logo, a “SupremeKids” T-shirt featuring what appeared to be Mickey Mouse’s ears and hands, and a men’s T-shirt with an embroidered logo. The two orders — which were shipped from Italy and Spain — were delivered to London via courier within a few days. They did not include any printed invoice or return label. There are differences between these garments and the originals, according to Yuri Mishka, a moderator of one of Italy’s main Facebook reselling communities (which is affiliated with neither Supreme New York nor Supreme Italia). The black hoodie’s logo is much larger than that of the classic Supreme item it resembles, and is printed rather than embroidered. Conversely, the men’s T-shirt, has an embroidered logo rather than the original’s printed one. The “SupremeKids” T-shirt appears to reference a 2009 collaboration between Supreme and Disney, although with a significantly altered design that does not show Mickey Mouse in his entirety. 1/4 CNN purchased this Supreme Spain hoodie online in mid-February 2019. Credit: Sarah Tilotta Luigi Goglia, another lawyer for IBF, said that Supreme Spain’s business “is not just legitimate, but more than legitimate” pointing out that the design of the clothes “is totally different, it’s another concept of fashion.” Waiting game: An extended look at how we queue The care labels all claim that the items are made in Italy, and all bear a yellow “Supreme Spain” logo alongside references to IBF’s trademark registrations, a hologram with a serial number and the flags of 50 countries, including territories where IBF has registered Supreme trademarks. IBF confirmed that Supreme Spain manufactures clothing in Italy and accessories in China, whereas original Supreme products are manufactured primarily in the US and Canada. The prices also differ. An original Supreme logo hoodie retails for $148 but can fetch upwards of $450 on the resale market, according to Mishka, while the Supreme Spain one cost 71.20 euros (about $80). Left: a Supreme New York hoodie from online reseller StockX. Right: a hoodie for sale on Supreme Spain’s website. Credit: StockX/Supreme Spain/John General A loss in Europe Citing its trademark registrations in Italy and Spain, IBF has claimed another victory against Chapter 4: In April 2018, the European Union Intellectual Property Office opposed Chapter 4’s application for a trademark in Europe from a year earlier. Chapter 4 has since appealed and a decision is still under examination. Amalia Ulman’s Instagram performance exposed the flaws in selfie culture If the decision is overturned, Supreme’s trademark registration would cover the whole European Union, saving the company time and effort to apply separately in each country. But despite what will likely be a heated battle, Casucci does not believe that IBF has significantly impacted Chapter 4’s business as of yet. “It’s not a threat, frankly speaking, at all … It’s just really an annoying thing, something that cannot be tolerated, because in some markets, the less informed ones, there’s a risk that some consumer will be misled into buying this product thinking it’s the original. “And that is a fraud — against the consumer, not against Supreme and Chapter 4.” Samsung did not respond to CNN’s request for comment on this story. Best Lifestyle & Leisure

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