Downtown launches in Palo Alto

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Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 4.20.37 PMWith today’s launch of Downtown, Palo Alto residents will be able to purchase goods from a curated list of high quality local stores. Their purchases can be delivered for free or picked up the same day.

Local shopping can be frustrating and time consuming. Avoiding the travel and the point of sale has been a primary driver of online ecommerce growth. Local retailers have suffered a decline in sales to cloud based vendors as a result. But Downtown plans to change all that.

The two decades long decline of the high street, due to too little innovation discovery and purchasing of goods is set to end.

Downtown simplifies commerce by offering customers a curated list of high quality local stores. Ordering is as simple as just 2 taps from their mobile device. They can pick their purchase up at the store, or get same day delivery for free. The chosen stores now have the ability make their top items mobile and available.

Downtown has built an app for the store to manage their inventory and an app for the consumer to discover, purchase and take delivery. Pricing can benefit from demand knowledge, extending dynamic pricing to the high street for the first time.

The Downtown team is design-driven and strongly believes in a curated shops approach to create a truly great shopping experience.

Co-founder Phillip Buckendorf said:

Most of the existing e-commerce solutions have their roots in a website driven experience. We have built a mobile-first experience that takes into account the opportunities smart mobile devices provide. We have made it available to both merchants and customers.

Today, Downtown is announcing the roll-out of its first city – Palo Alto – featuring a great mix of local stores including Alegio Chocolate and big brand retailers like Keen Garage.

Downtown’s launch is its first move in making local stores mobile, and providing consumers with the ease of shopping of Amazon, together with same day delivery of pick up – customers can now make purchases efficiently and seamlessly without physically being in the store.

Downtown also announced its seed round of funding led by Archimedes Labs – investors in Quixey,, QFactor and others. Archimedes Labs founder Keith Teare said:

We invested in Downtown before Christmas and are announcing it today. We will also participate in their current round. Downtown is not a local delivery business or a local payment platform for brick and mortar shopping, Nor is it a local version of Amazon. It is all of those and then some. Once the high street becomes shoppable from home, the small guy makes a come-back. Phillip and his team have a great vision and the ability to execute. We expect great things.

DownTown is available now in the iOS App Store.

Chance by – new version goes live.

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Chance by is the first app to be produced by the new ( 2014 Inc).

After a successful launch on 1 January the app has had tens of thousands of downloads, has a highly engaged user base with average session times above 15 minutes, and is truly global, having established users in more than 100 countries. Almost 2 million messages have been exchanged in the first 3 weeks.

Here are a few screen dumps from Google Analytics that show the initial launch statistics.

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QFactor raises $6.5m Series A

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TechCrunch is reportingScreen Shot 2013-10-29 at 9.20.08 AM that one of the Archimedes LAbs portfolio companies – QFactor – has raised a $6.5m round of financing from Sigma Prime Ventures and Venrock.

I first met Subhash Roy in March 2012. He was a former associate of Archimedes CEO Kambiz Hooshmand. Subhash had licensed and developed a new algorithm that on the face of it was like magic. It could enable a bad wireless connection to perform almost perfectly, thus re-invigorating unused bandwidth. We helped with product planning and positioning and are now happy investors in Subhash’s company. Congrats to the entire team.

xTV launches Network Builder and receives funding

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We are excited to be partnering with xTV as the first investor in their new funding.

xTV is a business to business platform enabling any owner of video assets to create their own branded TV Network, with an always on, 24/7 presence. The Network leverages both on-demand and live programming by integrating YouTube and other video sources, Ustream, LiveStream and other live sources, and feeds, such as a Twitter feed. The end result is a Computer, Big Screen or mobile viewing experience. A mobile device also has “second screen” capabilities.

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xTV has set up several experimental networks, including one for TechCrunch TV (which I originally set up). I have to say that the ability to watch TCTV on a big screen (say in a lobby) or at home whilst working, makes me see a lot more of the content that I otherwise would. It also screams out for more real time content from TCTV. I can’t wait for the editors to make video production a matter of reflex every time they write a story. Perhaps interviewing the person via Skype along with their written notes. A regular news show would also sit well with me.

As we move to a world of connected TV’s, set top boxes and other “Over the Top” delivery mechanisms, those who invest in video content, especially live content available on-demand too, will reap the rewards as audiences grow and distribution expands. xTv is a great set of tools to begin the work of moving into this space. It adds brand coherence to otherwise dispersed video assets, whilst improving discoverability, watchability and engagement.

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You can check out the experimental Networks at

Or tune into TechCrunch TV at

Archimedes Labs leads Weendy funding

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Palo Alto, CA, 1pm, 14 February 2013

Happy Valentines Day everybody. If you are thinking of going Wind Surfing with a loved one, or perhaps Skiing, Kiting, Surfing, Snow Boarding. In fact any sport where the weather is key. Then you need Weendy. It is in the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store.

The founders – Katerina Stroponiati and Yiannis Varelas – are Greek. Try saying “Windy” with a Greek accent and you get Weendy. A nice touch :-).

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As they say on their web site:

“Find and share the best wind, wave and snow conditions with friends and people nearby with the same interests.”

It speaks for itself. And tens of thousands of beta users agree.

Today TechCrunch and the Wall Street Journal announced that Archimedes Labs had led the seed funding of Weendy. We are excited to be in business with the Company. Lets go Weendy!