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SurveyMonkey has filed confidentially to go public

The IPO window continues to remain open as SurveyMonkey, which last raised money in 2014 at a $2 billion valuation, announced today that it has confidentially filed to go public.

SurveyMonkey can file confidentially with the SEC through the JOBS act signed in 2012, which allows those companies to test the waters before they formally release an S-1. It’s increasingly popular as it allows the companies an opportunity to get a gut check while investors appear to have at least some of an appetite for fresh IPOs, while not having to spill publicly the entire financial guts of the company. SurveyMonkey is also the latest of a wave of enterprise IPOs in the past six months or so. There’s still plenty that can change given that it’s a confidential filing. We won’t know how much money the company wants to raise, what its business even looks like or any of the other granular details of the IPO.

SurveyMonkey gives businesses a way to submit surveys to their customers and try to more seamlessly gather feedback about products, customer service or anything else that a company might be able to measure based on those responses. In an era where tracking all of that data becomes increasingly important thanks to more robust predictive tools and considerably more processing power to make those projections, SurveyMonkey’s data is likely even more valuable than it was when it raised funding in 2014. SurveyMonkey on its own end, too, might be easily able to understand how people are actually rating the companies they work with.

Dropbox and DocuSign are the most recent successful IPOs, both valued at more than $10 billion at this point. But there are companies like Zuora, which went public in April, zScalar and others that have seen significant success after they went public. That means there’s plenty of demand for companies that are about to go public, which is where the saying of the “IPO window being open” comes from.

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‘Gaming disorder’ is officially recognized by the World Health Organization

Honestly, “gaming disorder” sounds like a phrase tossed around by irritated parents and significant others. After much back and forth, however, the term was just granted validity, as the World Health Organization opted to include it in the latest edition of its Internal Classification of Diseases.

The volume, out this week, diagnoses the newly minted disorder with three key telltale signs:

Impaired control over gaming (e.g. onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context) Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences

I can hear the collective sound of many of my friends gulping at the sound of eerily familiar symptoms. Of course, the disorder has been criticized from a number of corners, including health professionals who have written it off as being overly broad and subjective. And, of course, the potential impact greatly differs from person to person and game to game.

The effects as specified above share common ground with other similar addictive activities defined by the WHO, including gambling disorder:

“Disorders due to addictive behaviours are recognizable and clinically significant syndromes associated with distress or interference with personal functions that develop as a result of repetitive rewarding behaviours other than the use of dependence-producing substances,” writes the WHO. “Disorders due to addictive behaviors include gambling disorder and gaming disorder, which may involve both online and offline behaviour.”

In spite of what may appear to be universal symptoms, however, the organization is quick to note that the prevalence of gaming disorder, as defined by the WHO, is actually “very low.” WHO member Dr. Vladimir Poznyak tells CNN, “Millions of gamers around the world, even when it comes to the intense gaming, would never qualify as people suffering from gaming disorder.”

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Bet money on yourself with Proveit the 1-vs-1 trivia app

Pick a category, wager a few dollars and double your money in 60 seconds if you’re smarter and faster than your opponent. Proveit offers a fresh take on trivia and game show apps by letting you win or lose cash on quick 10-question, multiple choice quizzes. Sick of waiting to battle a million people on HQ for a chance at a fraction of the jackpot? Play one-on-one anytime you want or enter into scheduled tournaments with $1,000 or more in prize money, while Proveit takes around 10 percent to 15 percent of the stakes.

“I’d play Jeopardy all the time with my family and wondered ‘why can’t I do this for money?’ ” says co-founder Prem Thomas.

Remarkably, it’s all legal. The Proveit team spent two years getting approved as “skill-based gaming” that exempts it from some laws that have hindered fantasy sports betting apps. And for those at risk of addiction, Proveit offers players and their loved ones a way to cut them off.

The scrappy Florida-based startup has raised $2.3 million so far. With fun games and a snackable format, Proveit lets you enjoy the thrill of betting at a moment’s notice. That could make it a favorite amongst players and investors in a world of mobile games without consequences.

“I could spend $50 for a three-hour experience in a movie theater, or I could spend $2 to enter a Proveit Movies tournament that gives me the opportunity to compete for several thousand dollars in prize money,” says co-founder Nathan Lehoux. “That could pay for a lot of movies tickets!”

Proving it as outsiders

St. Petersburg, Fla. isn’t exactly known as an innovation hub. But outside Tampa Bay, far from the distractions, copycatting and astronomical rent of Silicon Valley, the founders of Proveit built something different. “What if people could play trivia for money just like fantasy sports?” Thomas asked his friend Lehoux.

That’s the same pitch that got me interested when Lehoux tracked me down at TechCrunch’s SXSW party earlier this year. Lehoux is a jolly, outgoing fella who became interested in startups while managing some angel investments for a family office. Thomas had worked in banking and health before starting a yoga-inspired sandals brand. Neither had computer sci

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BitTorrent is selling for 140M to Justin Sun and Tron

BitTorrent, an early mover in concept of building a business around decentralised computing architecture to distribute and store data, is being sold for $140 million in cash to Justin Sun and his blockchain media startup Tron, TechCrunch has learned.

Variety yesterday reported that a sale of the company to Sun closed last week, without naming a price, following rumors that circulated for at least a month that the two were in negotiations.

TechCrunch understands that shareholders have now been sent the paperwork to sign off on the deal. Some are, we understand, still disputing the terms because more than one person claims to have made the introduction between Sun and BitTorrent, and the one who facilitated the deal will get an extra payout. A source says it’s unlikely that the disputes will actually kill the acquisition, given how long BitTorrent has been looking for a buyer.

BitTorrent most recently said it has about 170 million users of its products. Currently, these include its main client and BitTorrent Now. The latter is focused on video, music and other creative content. BitTorrent claims that its protocols move as much as 40 percent of the world’s Internet traffic on a typical day.

Tron is one of the new kids on the block in the wide world of blockchain startups. Founded by Sun, who previously had worked for Ripple (a settlement system built on blockchain tech), Tron says its mission is to build “a truly decentralized Internet and its infrastructure,” which has included (no surprises here) the creation of its own cryptocurrency, the TRX. TRX, loosely, appears to be a cryptocoin for the entertainment industry. Tron has plans to use TRX as a way to pay for content on its network, according to this whitepaper.

Tron is also just intended for trading. The company has launched a MainNet distributed ledger for transactions, with its own TRX migrating to the MainNet starting later this week. Tron says that the market cap for all TRX is currently valued at just under $4.6 billion with the value of a single TRX coin $0.045.

Neither Tron, Justin Sun, nor representatives for BitTorrent responded to our requests for comment, so it’s not completely confirmed how Tron plans to use BitTorrent. But one shareholder we spoke to says there are two plans. First, it will be used to “legitimise” Tron’s business, which has met with some controversy: it has been accused of

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SpeakSee makes it simple for a deaf person to join a group conversation

There’s a great deal of activity in the fields of speech recognition and the “Internet of Things,” but one natural application of the two has gone relatively unpursued: helping the deaf and hard of hearing take part in everyday conversations. SpeakSee aims to do this (after crowdfunding, naturally) with a clever hardware design that minimizes setup friction and lets everyone communicate naturally.

It’s meant to be used in situations where someone hard of hearing needs to talk with a handful of others — a meeting, a chat at dinner, asking directions and so on. There are speech-to-text apps out there that can transcribe what someone is saying, but they’re not really suited to the purpose.

“Many deaf people experienced a huge barrier in asking people to download the app and hold the phone close to their mouth. These limitations in the interface meant no one kept using it,” explained SpeakSee CEO and co-founder Jari Hazelebach. “But because we designed our own hardware, we were able to customize it towards the situations it will be used in.”

SpeakSee is simple to use: A set of clip-on microphones live in a little charger case, and when the user wants to have a conversation, they hand those microphones out to whoever will be talking. The case acts as a wireless hub for the mics and relays the audio to the smartphone with which it’s paired. This audio is sent off, transcribed quickly somewhere in the cloud, and displayed on the deaf user’s phone.

Critically, though, each microphone also intelligently and locally accounts for its speaker and background noise.

“Naturally the microphones pick up speech from multiple people,” said Hazelebach. “So we included sensors that tell the microphone what direction the sound is coming from, and the microphones exchange these values. So we can determine which microphone should pick up which person’s speech.”

The result is quickly transcribed speech divided by speaker, delivered quickly and with decent accuracy (there’s always a trade-off between turnaround time and how the process is). And no one has to do anything but wear a mic. (They have a patent pending for this multi-microphone system.)

Hazelebach’s parents are deaf, and he grew up seeing how

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