Here’s what Google’s $149 Home Hub smart display will reportedly look like

Google is reportedly getting ready to launch some new hardware at its October 9 hardware event and we just learned a lot more about a new product that might be launching.

It was rumored that Google was working on its own Smart Display, now we’ve got images of the Google Home Hub and details about its price tag via a report from AndroidAuthority.

via Android Authority

The device certainly looks like a Google Home product with all the fabric anyone could ask for and then far, far more on top of it.

It’s rocking a 7-inch screen and will cost just $149, which is quite a bit cheaper than the 8-inch Lenovo Smart Display which is currently the cheapest option at $199 while its 10-inch varietal ships for $249 as does the stereo-speakered JBL Link View.

Having played around with Lenovo’s product, Google has some very pretty software for their Smart Displays but there are some strange quirks given that the screen is basically superfluous by design as it can’t ever assumed that the speaker can see the screen when an answer is being given. Google has their work cut out for them, but it might be in their best interest to introduce some light touch interactions that allow you to perform more actions without speaking at all, otherwise the screen is always going to feel a bit misplaced aside from pulling up a YouTube video or watching a slideshow.

What will be interesting to see is what exclusive software wizardry the device has, if anything. The report details that the device will not have a camera like other Smart Displays which is a bit funny given that the whole point of it was to bolster its Duo video call service, which Google seems to realize either isn’t worth the inexpensive components or the potential privacy overhead.

If the rumored price of $149 proves accurate and Google opts for most of the internals that the partner Smart Displays have, this will be a very cool device at a great deal that will not get used very often. It is wildly unclear what the point is of this product vertical, and without breaking it free of its software prison Google seems to be missing a big opportunity that could be fulfilled by whatever the big G’s competitors eventually release.

This report seems pretty solid, but we only have to wait a couple more weeks to see what Google has in store, TechCrunch will be keeping up with the details at the company’s Pixel 3 hardware event on October 9.

Amplify Partners locks in $200 million to transform technical founders into people who can actually lead a startup

Sunil Dhaliwal has had a solid run in his 20 years so far as a VC. Just two years out of Georgetown, Dhaliwal landed at Battery Ventures, a highly regarded venture firm. Fifteen years later, in 2012, he struck out on his own, creating Amplify Partners. It wasn’t so easy at first. His first fund required 18 months of on-again, off-again fundraising before closing with $49.1 million in capital commitments. But things have picked up substantially since. In fact, today, Amplify, once a micro fund, is taking the wraps off a third fund that it just closed with $200 million.

Some early bets made this newest fund much easier to raise than even its second fund, which closed with $125 million in 2015.

In addition to Dhaliwal’s personal track record, which includes leading deals at Battery like Netezza, acquired by IBM, and CipherTrust, acquired by Secure Computing,  Amplify has already seen four of its portfolio companies get acquired, including: the breach-detection software company LightCyber, which sold last year to Palo Alto Networks for $105 million; the sale of Conjur, which made DevOps security software, to publicly traded CyberArk Software last year for $42 million in cash;  the sale of the app development service Buddybuild to Apple (for undisclosed terms); and the sale of AppNeta, an end-user experience performance monitoring startup, to the private equity firm Rubicon Technology Partners.

Two others portfolio companies, which represent the firm’s biggest bets, look like they could eventually translate into even bigger outcomes for the firm: Fastly, which operates a content delivery network to speed up web requests, is already talking about going public, after raising $220 million from investors over the last few years. Meanwhile, DataDog, which offers monitoring and analytics for cloud-based workflows, said five months ago that it had already surpassed $100 million in recurring revenue and that it has been doubling that amount every year so far.

A growing team has also helped. In addition to David Beyer, a cofounder of Chartio who joined as a principal early on and is today a partner with Amplify, the firm features general partner Mike Dauber, who, like Dhaliwal, previously worked at Battery; partner Lenny Pruss, who was previously a principal with Redpoint Ventures; and principals Lisha Li and Sarah Catanzano. Li has a PhD from UC Berkeley and worked previously as a data scientist at both Pinterest and Stitch Fix; Catanzano was previously head of data at Mattermark and, before that, as a data partner at the venture firm Canvas Ventures.

Yet perhaps most helpful, Amplify might argue, is the opportunity it is chasing, which is broadly: distributed computing and developer-centric and data analytics companies, because they increasingly cheaper to launch, and they get their products into the hands of technical buyers faster than ever.

In fact, roughly 80 percent of the teams with which Amplify is working are led by first-time founders, and 90 percent of these are “hyper-technical domain experts” who Amplify aims to help evolve from “technical founders to just founders and CEOs who know how to build out an organization,” says Dhaliwal. Indeed, he says, staking out Amplify’s territory from the get-go has made a big difference in getting the firm connected with the talent it wants to know.

“We work with technical founders on novel applications of computer science at the seed and Series A stages. When you draw a box around that, a lot of people will gladly identify out. Some will say, ‘You really aren’t me.’ But for others who do self-identify, it’s clearly a fit on both sides. We tend to have a deep and powerful connection early on.”

Amplify, which writes checks ranging from $500,000 to upwards of $10 million, has backed roughly 50 companies to date. You can check out its portfolio here.