Prime Day boosted other large retailers’ sales by 54 says report

Amazon’s Prime Day again broke records this year, but the sales holiday also boosted sales across the broader U.S. e-commerce industry. According to Adobe Analytics data released this morning, larger retailers – meaning those with over a billion in annual revenue – saw a 54 percent increase in sales on Prime Day, compared with an average Tuesday. This is attributed to increased conversions on their own sites, Adobe says.

Though not highlighted in Adobe’s report, Target announced that its one-day sale held on Tuesday was the biggest online shopping day of 2018, in terms of both traffic and sales. “Millions” of guests shopped its site, and “millions” of orders are now being fulfilled, it said. Of note, 90 percent of those online orders are being fulfilled by Target stores – a different model than Amazon.

eBay, however, can’t comment on the results of its Prime Day sale, as it’s scheduled to report earning today. But it had advertised exclusive deals at 80% off of items’ retail prices.

Related to this, app store intelligence firm App Annie reviewed the impact of Prime Day on mobile, as customers downloaded more shopping apps besides just Amazon’s. This led to an increase in app downloads in the “retail” category thanks to rival sales hosted by retailers including Target, eBay, Kohl’s and Macy’s, for example.

App Annie said the Amazon app got a boost starting on Sunday in preparation for Prime Day, causing its ranking to go from #17 to #9 in Overall downloads on iPhone in the U.S.

Not all retailers benefitted from Prime Day, however. Niche retailers, which are those with under $5 million in revenue, saw an 18 percent decrease in their online sales on Prime Day, Adobe said.

Adobe’s data comes from its analysis of one trillion visits to over 4,500 retail sites and 55 million SKUs. Its Adobe Analytics software measures online transactions at 80 of the largest 100 U.S. web retailers.

Prime Day is now seen as the kickoff to back-to-school shopping season. Adobe predicts that July through September will be the fastest growing quarter of 2018 in the U.S. with back-to-school shopping on track to generate $57.79 billion in online revenue.

LEGO made James Bond’s Aston Martin complete with working ejector seat

There’s a new Aston Martin DB5 on the market and it’s everything you’d expect from the vehicle used by James Bond in the movie Goldfinger.

The only drawback: It’s too small to drive.

LEGO has created a replica of the Aston Martin DB5 used by super spy James Bond, but in miniature. The 1964 sports car, which measures in at 13 inches long, is loaded with features, including a detailed interior with a concealable radar tracker and a door compartment with a telephone.

There’s other functioning gadgetry as well, most notably a working ejector seat, a revolving license plate and a bulletproof rear window that can be raised and lowered. There are even wheel-mounted tire scythes and a gearstick that when pulled back reveals front-wing machine guns.

It’s here! The LEGO Creator Expert Aston Martin DB5… clean lines and cool gadgets. #LicenceToBuild

— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) July 18, 2018

The new set, which retails at $149.99, is available to LEGO VIPs starting Wednesday. For now, customers can only buy two of the sets.

Like other LEGO collector sets, this one isn’t geared for kids. The set, which includes more than 1,290 pieces, is designed for people ages 16 and older.

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Apply for TechCrunch Include Office Hours with August Capital

TechCrunch is partnering with August Capital for Include Office Hours on July 27. From 3:30-5:00 pm (before the Summer Party), founders will have the opportunity to get key insight and feedback from Villi Iltchev, Lisa Marrone and Abie Katz. Founders can apply here.

Founded in 2014, the TechCrunch Include program works to leverage the broad network and resources for opportunities for underserved and underrepresented founders in tech. The Include Office Hours program is one such program. Over the course of the year, TechCrunch partners with a VC firm to host private one-on-one meetings between founder and investor. Founders will have 20 minutes to ask for valuable guidance, as well as product and business advice.

Founders from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Underrepresented and underserved founders include, but are not limited to veteran, female, Latino/a, Black, LGBTQ and handicapable founders.

The July Include Office Hours will be hosted by August Capital on July 27 from 3:30-5:00 pm PT. August Capital is a venture fund based in Menlo Park, Calif., primarily investing in early-stage startups. Apply here.

Meet the participating investors:

Villi Iltchev, Partner

Villi Iltchev joined August Capital in 2016. Prior to joining, he was a member of the leadership teams at Box and LifeLock, where he was responsible for driving strategy and inorganic initiatives, including acquisitions and investments.

Previously, Villi was vice president at Salesforce, where he led the strategy and acquisitions team and executed numerous talent, growth and strategic acquisitions. He also led the investments team at Salesforce and was directly responsible for more than 30 strategic investments in leading software companies, including HubSpot, Box, Gusto, Anaplan, MuleSoft, Adaptive Insights, Zapier, Vidyard and many others. Prior to Salesforce, Villi was a member of the Corporate Development team at Hewlett-Packard. He also acted as vice president on the technology investment banking team at Merrill Lynch & Co. where he advised technology companies on strategic and financing projects.

Current August investments: GitLab and SendBird.

Lisa Marrone, Principal

Top VCs Megan Quinn Sarah Tavel and Aileen Lee are coming to Disrupt SF

In many ways, it’s the best of times and the worst of times to be a venture capitalist.

While money continues to flood into Silicon Valley, the math keeps getting harder to square. At what point do rising valuations stop making sense? How much mental bandwidth does one spend on blockchain technologies? Can the world handle another SoftBank megafund?

These are among the many (many) questions we have for a distinguished panel of top investors who are coming together at our giant Disrupt SF show on September 5-7 to discuss what’s happening on the ground, and how they stay above the fray.

Among our guests: Megan Quinn, a general partner with the venture firm Spark Capital, who, over the years, has become as well-known in startup circles for her wit as her insights about company-building. (Among her recent tweets: “Any time a late stage company tells me “… and we’ve never done any marketing!!” it has the opposite of the desired effect. Marketing – whether acquisition, brand, performance, etc – is a core competency at pretty much every [company] of consequence building for the long term.”)

Quinn knows a thing or two about what companies need to grow, having led a number of early-stage and growth consumer investments for Kleiner Perkins prior to joining Spark and, before that, spending years in product development at both Square and Google. She’s also a straight-shooter when it comes to talking trends. Asked about SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund at a smaller event in San Francisco last year, Quinn was candid about the impact it is having on later-stage funds like the one she is leading, readily noting startups that have met with Spark and other firms about a sub-$100 million round before SoftBank has entered the picture “and is like, here’s $200 million!” 

Do these “baby buyouts,” as she’d characterized them at the time, make sense? We’ll ask her!

We’re also excited to welcome Sarah Tavel, a Harvard philosophy major turned longtime venture capitalist whose star in the venture industry has been on the rise for years, first at Bessemer Venture Partners, then Greylock Partners and most recently at Benchmark, the storied venture firm, which convinced Tavel to join

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Hu-manity wants to create a health data marketplace with help from blockchain

Imagine a world where you could sell your medical information to a drug company on your terms for a specific purpose like a drug trial. Then imagine you could restrict the company from using that data for anything else, including selling it to other medical data brokers, and enforcing those ownership rules on the blockchain.

That’s what, a data ownership startup wants to do and they are putting the pieces in place to create a data marketplace. This is not an easy problem to solve, but co-founder and CEO Richie Etwaru, sees it as a crucial cultural shift in how we treat data.

Etwaru, who wrote a book on using the blockchain and smart contracts in a business context called Blockchain Trust Companies, sees the blockchain as just a small piece of a much broader solution. It can provide a rules engine and enforcement mechanism, but he doesn’t see this as the gist of the company at all.

For Etwaru and Hu-manity it’s about viewing your data as your property, and giving you legal control of it. “We’re starting with the idea that your data is your digital property, and we are allowing you to have the equivalent of a title, like you have for your car,” he explained.

You may be wondering how they can bring this notion to business, which after all has been allowed to use your data for some time without your explicit permission, never mind pay you for it under a set of specific contractual terms. To achieve that, Hu-manity wants to create large pools of users that would make it attractive to the data buyers.

“We are pooling large communities together to be able to notify corporations that don’t respect digital data streams of property, because they take a very business centric view of regulations to opt out, then invite them back into a property centric view of data within the new terms and conditions defined by the marketplace,” he said.

They are starting with health data because Etwaru says that this data is often sold for medical studies, whether you know it or not — albeit with PII removed. The other thing besides market pressure, which could drive companies like big pharma to make contracts with individuals to buy their data, is that they get much better data when they understand the whole patient. Even if they could figure out who the patient is, and it’s becoming increasingly possible with digital fingerprinting, they are legally prohibited

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