Jonathan Groff sings insanely sweet voice memos for kids as Kristoff from ‘Frozen’

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RIP my ovaries: Jonathan Groff, who when he’s not hunting serial killers on Netflix is the voice of Kristoff in Frozen (and the upcoming Frozen 2), made an adorable present for Jimmy Fallon’s kids on The Tonight Show.

“It’s hard, when you meet a kid, to say ‘I’m Kristoff in Frozen,'” Groff explained. “They’re like ‘You’re not blond, you’re not a cartoon, I don’t know what you’re talking about.'”

So he makes voice memos for kids as a treat, and while it’s Fallon’s two daughters who got a personalised (and cleared-by-Disney) recording of ruminant lullaby “Reindeers Are Better Than People”, we get to see the face he makes when he does the voice of Sven the reindeer, so we all win. (The bit starts at 2 minutes in. You’re welcome.) Read more…

More about Frozen, Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Frozen 2, Jonathan Groff, and Entertainment

A look at Senior Planet, a tech-themed community center that helps seniors and entrepreneurs over 65 use technology to work and make money (Lauren Smiley/MIT Technology Review)


Lauren Smiley / MIT Technology Review:

A look at Senior Planet, a tech-themed community center that helps seniors and entrepreneurs over 65 use technology to work and make money  —  Inside Senior Planet, the tech-savviest retirement community on earth.  —  “All these microaggressions people talk about?”  Tom Kamber says.

YC-backed startup Binks can ship custom-made clothing to Indian women in just three days

Binks is a custom clothing startup created after co-founder and CEO Aamna Khan realized how frustrating it is to find well-fitting women’s workwear in Indian cities. Currently participating in Y Combinator’s accelerator program, Binks solves the problem by using computer vision and machine learning to provide customers with clothing sewn to their measurements, shipped in just three days.

Khan says shopping online is often difficult because a standardized Indian sizing chart hasn’t been developed yet. Clothing companies use a mix of U.S. and European size charts, often resulting in inaccurate sizing (Khan tells TechCrunch that the return rate for apparel ordered online in India can be as high as 30% to 40%, mostly because of fit issues). In big cities like Bangalore, where the company is based, there are a lot of tailors, but getting clothing fitted and sewn is a time-consuming process.

“The tailoring market has not moved with the times, so the experience of getting something tailored is the same as it was 10 years ago. You have to buy fabric, give your measurements to the tailor, then there are usually a couple of fittings, and all of this means physically visiting the shop,” Khan says. “It’s very tedious for Indian women who are leading a busy life but still want well-fitting clothes.”

Many Indian customers buy readymade clothes and have them altered by a tailor or accept that if they order clothing online, a lot of it will need to be returned or exchanged. Companies that figure out a better way to sell clothing to women, however, stand to profit a lot. The women’s apparel market in India is worth $30 billion already and expected to grow quickly, becoming bigger than the men’s apparel market by 2025, according to research by Avendus Capital.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Adora Cheung, Binks’ Y Combinator partner, said “Indian fashion commerce looks very similar to the US today, with its high return rates and dead stock. Thanks to the inexpensive tailoring market in its backyard, India can look really different and we’re excited about that.”

Binks' website

Binks’ website

To order custom clothes, customers pick a style on Binks’ site (the average price of a garment is about USD $30) and fill out a form that includes questions about their height and bra size, what brands of tops and pants fit them best and what sizes from those brands they usually wear. Customers are also prompted to upload a full-length photos of themselves taken from the front and side. Then a Binks consultant calls to discuss customizations before the order is finalized.

Binks uses computer vision to read body measurements, and combines them with the customer’s answers to customize clothing patterns. Orders are currently made by a single tailoring unit in Bangalore, but Binks’ plan is to automate patternmaking, since many tailors still draft patterns by hand, so the company can maintain a standardized process for sizing and quality control as it scales up.

Binks is run by Khan, an experienced product manager, and co-founder Raj Vardhan, a data scientist. The two spent three years working together at online payments company Simpl before leaving to found the startup. After hosting physical pop-up stores in Bangalore, the company started taking online orders in June and since then sales have doubled month over month, with 30% of customers placing a second order within the first month and a return rate of less than 1%, Khan says.

Binks takes a similar approach to RedThread, an American startup that also uses body scanning technology and algorithms to make customizing clothing more efficient. For the Indian market, Khan says Binks faces several specific challenges. For example, even though the National Institute of Fashion Technology is currently conducting a survey to create a standardized clothing chart for India, it won’t be ready for several years, so there isn’t an existing dataset of Indian women’s measurements to train Binks’ algorithms on. Brands use a mix of American and European standard sizing charts and many Indian women prefer looser clothing, making it even more difficult to accurately describe a garment’s fit online.

As more customers place order, that will help make Binks’ technology more accurate, Khan says. The next step is developing technology to streamline the tailoring process.

“We plan to make it super accurate and then at the next level scale it. We want to organize the dressmaking process in a way that has not been done using technology,” says Khan. “We want to automate it so that once a customer has selected a product, a pattern is produced and cutting is automated, so this reduces the turnaround time.”

Only 24 hours left to apply to Hardware Battlefield at TC Shenzhen

Holy hardware, startup founders! You have only 24 hours left to apply to the Hardware Battlefield at TC Shenzhen on November 11-12. This hardware-only pitch competition, cousin to TechCrunch’s world-renown Startup Battlefield, is a real game-changer. Got hardware? Want to launch on a world stage? Do. Not. Delay. Apply to compete in TC Hardware Battlefield 2019 before 11:59pm on August 14th.

What’s in it for you? Excellent question. If you’re selected to compete, you’ll join a cadre of outstanding early-stage hardware startup to vie for a $25,000 prize along with global media and investor exposure. Come to Shenzhen, show the world your innovative hardware and take your startup to the next level.

We partnered with China’s TechNode, to produce this Hardware Battlefield during the larger TechCrunch Shenzhen show happening November 9-12. We’ll consider your startup if you meet these simple basic requirements.

  • Submit your application by on August 14
  • You must have a minimally viable product to demo onstage
  • Your product has received little if any, press coverage to date
  • Your product must be a hardware device or component

TechCrunch editors will closely vet qualified applications and select approximately 15 startups to compete. If you make the cut, get ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work. You’ll receive six weeks of free pitch coaching from our Battlefield editorial team. When it comes time to step onto the stage and deliver your pitch, you’ll be calm, cool and on point.

Every team gets six minutes to pitch in front of a panel of judges comprised of expert VCs, founders and technologists. They’ll hit you up with a tough Q&A and if you make the first cut, you’ll repeat the process all over again to a fresh set of judges.

Only one startup will be hailed the Hardware Battlefield champion, but the intense investor and media attention can change the lives of any or all competitors. Oh, and here’s another perk. All participants join the ranks of the Startup Battlefield elite. Our Battlefield alumni community currently numbers 857 companies that have accumulated $8.9 billion in funding and 110 exits. Just think of the potential networking opportunities.

Hardware Battlefield at TC Shenzhen takes place on November 11-12, but the application window closes at on August 14. Join us in China’s hardware heartland and launch your startup to the world. Apply to compete right now.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Hardware Battlefield TC Shenzhen? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Roku’s free TV channels now include Fubo Sports and USA Today

Good news if you are interested in The Roku Channel. It just became more enticing. Roku has added five live and linear networks to its free channels, including the Fubo Sports Network. The live network gives you event coverage, sports talk and sports-related entertainment. It might help you to catch up on your favorite leagues […]

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