Archive for April, 2021

Forerunner’s Eurie Kim will share why she invested in Oura on Extra Crunch Live

When it comes to building a successful startup, biotech and hardware happen to be two of the most difficult verticals in the tech industry. But Oura is doing it anyway. The health and fitness tracking ring has been used in a number of studies around COVID-19, and been worn by NBA and WNBA players to help prevent outbreaks in the league. Oura has raised nearly $50 million from investors including Lifeline Ventures, Bold Capital Partners, and Forerunner. So it should come as no surprise that we’re thrilled to have Forerunner’s Eurie Kim and Oura CEO Harpreet Rai join us on a forthcoming episode of Extra Crunch Live. Kim is herself a former entrepreneur and joined Forerunner in 2012. She sits on the boards of companies like The Farmer’s Dog, Curology, Attabotics, Oura Ring, Eclipse, Juni, among others, and found herself on the Midas Brink List in 2020. Rai, for his part, is CEO at Oura, where he leads a team of over 150 employees. Before Oura, Rai was a portfolio manager at Eminence Capital for nine years. On Extra Crunch Live, the duo will talk about how Oura went about raising its $28 million Series B round and why Kim took a bet on the startup. We’ll also ask about tactical advice for founders looking to fundraise and grow their businesses. The Oura Ring is the personal health tracking device to beat in 2020 Anyone can join the live event, which goes down on April 28 at noon PT/3pm ET. REGISTER FOR FREE HERE!  

Apple downplays complaints about App Store scams in antitrust hearing

Apple was questioned on its inability to rein in subscription scammers on its App Store during yesterday’s Senate antitrust hearing. The tech giant has argued that one of the reasons it requires developers to pay App Store commissions is to help Apple fight marketplace fraud and protect consumers. But developers claim Apple is doing very little to stop obvious scams that are now raking in millions and impacting consumer trust in the overall subscription economy, as well as in their own legitimate, subscription-based businesses. One developer in particular, Kosta Eleftheriou, has made it his mission to highlight some of the most egregious scams on the App Store. Functioning as a one-man bunco squad, Eleftheriou regularly tweets out examples of apps that are leveraging fake reviews to promote their harmful businesses. Some of the more notable scams he’s uncovered as of late include a crypto wallet app that scammed a user out of his life savings (~$600,000) in bitcoin; a kids game that actually contained a hidden online casino; and a VPN app scamming users out of $5 million per year. And, of course, there’s the scam that lit the fire in the first place: A competitor to Eleftheriou’s own Apple Watch app that he alleges scammed users out of $2 million per year, after stealing his marketing materials, cloning his app and buying fake reviews to make the scammer’s look like the better choice. Eleftheriou’s tweets have caught the attention of the larger app developer community, who now email him other examples of scams they’ve uncovered. Eleftheriou more recently took his crusade a step further by filing a lawsuit against Apple over the revenue he’s lost to App Store scammers. Though Eleftheriou wasn’t name-checked in yesterday’s antitrust hearing, his work certainly was. In a line of questioning from Georgia’s Senator Jon Ossoff, Apple’s Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer was asked why Apple was not able to locate scams, given that these fraudulent apps are, as Ossoff put it, “trivially easy to identify as scams.” He asked why do we have rely upon “open-source reporting and journalists” to find the app scams — a reference that likely, at least in part, referred to Eleftheriou’s recent activities. Eleftheriou himself has said there’s not much to his efforts. You simply find the apps generating most revenues and then check them for suspicious user reviews and high subscription prices. When you find both, you’ve probably uncovered a scam. Andeer demurred, responding to Ossoff’s questions by saying that Apple has invested “tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars” in hardening and improving the security of its App Store. “Unfortunately, security and fraud is a cat-and-mouse game. Any retailer will tell you that. And so we’re constantly working to improve,” Andeer said. He also claimed Apple was investing in more resources and technologies to catch wrong-doers and noted that the App Store rejected thousands of apps every year for posing a risk to consumers. The exec then warned that if Apple wasn’t the intermediary, the […]