Maze turns your InVision prototypes into flexible testing tools

Meet Maze, a startup building a user interface testing tool for your app prototypes. Maze is a simple web-based service that lets you turn InVision and Marvel files into UX tests.

While most designers work with InVision and Marvel, it’s hard to turn those designs into a quantitative test. Maze isn’t a video recording tool and doesn’t require you to watch video footage.

It isn’t a new prototyping tool either as the startup wants you to keep using InVision and Marvel. Maze can record a user path from a web browser on desktop or mobile without having to install anything.

After setting up your test, you can share a link with a bunch of users. When you open this link, you get clear instructions telling you what you’re supposed to do (“find the nearest Lebanese restaurant” or “add John as friend” for instance). After each test, Maze automatically shows you the next one so you can keep going.

Developers then get a dashboard with a clear overview of the different tests. You can see the success rate, the time it takes to do something and the screen areas that get a lot of taps. You can also look at individual tests.

You can use Maze for simple A/B tests by sending two different designs to different groups and comparing the results.

Thousands of designers have tried the service so far, including people working for Amazon, Airbnb, Uber and Shopify.

The company has raised a $470,000 pre-seed round with Partech and Seedcamp (£350,000). Maze uses a software-as-a-service approach with a limited free plan and multiple paid subscriptions.

I played with the product for a few minutes and it’s a polished experience. You wouldn’t expect that from such a young startup. While I’m not a designer, I think many designers are probably going to use it regularly.

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‘My Data Request’ lists guides to get data about you

GDPR is right around the corner, so it’s time to prepare your personal data requests. If you live in the European Union, tech companies have to comply with personal data requests after May 25th. And there’s a handy website that helps you do just that.

My Data Request lists dozens of tech companies and tells you how you can contact them. The website also links to the privacy policy of each service and tells you what to do even if you don’t live in the EU.

Some companies, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Tinder and Snapchat have made that easy as they have created a page on their website to download a zip archive with all your personal data.

But it’s worth nothing that your archive doesn’t necessarily include all data about you. For instance, Facebook tracks your web and location history as much as possible. But you won’t find any of that in the archive. The download tool is mostly about getting a copy of your posts, Messenger conversations, photos and more.

For most companies (including Amazon), you’ll have to email them yourself. My Data Request has created handy email templates. You just have to copy the message, put your name and contact information and send the email. The email addresses are listed on My Data Request’s site too.

Some companies make it even harder than that. I haven’t checked all guides, but you have to send a letter to Uber to get your data for instance. For HSBC clients, you have to call the company.

It’s unfortunate that there’s no about page on My Data Request — it’s unclear who’s behind this website. Nevertheless, the website’s privacy policy says that it doesn’t collect any personal data when you interact with the site (but it uses Google Analytics).

You don’t have to connect with third-party APIs or give access to your personal account to request your data. It’s just links and text, and an interactive way to learn about data requests.

‘My Data Request’ lists guides to get data about you

GDPR is right around the corner, so it’s time to prepare your personal data requests. If you live in the European Union, tech companies have to comply with personal data requests after May 25th. And there’s a handy website that helps you do just that.

My Data Request lists dozens of tech companies and tells you how you can contact them. The website also links to the privacy policy of each service and tells you what to do even if you don’t live in the EU.

Some companies, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Tinder and Snapchat have made that easy as they have created a page on their website to download a zip archive with all your personal data.

But it’s worth nothing that your archive doesn’t necessarily include all data about you. For instance, Facebook tracks your web and location history as much as possible. But you won’t find any of that in the archive. The download tool is mostly about getting a copy of your posts, Messenger conversations, photos and more.

For most companies (including Amazon), you’ll have to email them yourself. My Data Request has created handy email templates. You just have to copy the message, put your name and contact information and send the email. The email addresses are listed on My Data Request’s site too.

Some companies make it even harder than that. I haven’t checked all guides, but you have to send a letter to Uber to get your data for instance. For HSBC clients, you have to call the company.

It’s unfortunate that there’s no about page on My Data Request — it’s unclear who’s behind this website. Nevertheless, the website’s privacy policy says that it doesn’t collect any personal data when you interact with the site (but it uses Google Analytics).

You don’t have to connect with third-party APIs or give access to your personal account to request your data. It’s just links and text, and an interactive way to learn about data requests.

La Belle Vie wants to compete with Amazon Prime Now in Paris

French startup La Belle Vie announced a new funding round of $6.5 million earlier this week (€5.5 million). Julien Mangeard, Thibaut Faurès Fustel de Coulanges, Louis Duclert, Kima Ventures and Shake-Up Factory participated in the founding round.

Online grocery shopping is becoming quite competitive in Paris. You can order groceries from Amazon using Amazon Prime Now. And all the traditional supermarkets are launching or relaunching services to order and receive groceries within a couple of hours — Carrefour Livraison Express, Franprix’s mobile app, etc.

But all those services aren’t necessarily designed for this kind of offering. With Franprix’s app for instance, a rider is going to pick up your groceries in the nearest store and bring them to you. With Amazon Prime Now, Amazon has a big warehouse in the North of Paris filled with Kindles, books and tomatoes.

La Belle Vie wants to focus exclusively on your groceries and optimize all the steps. It starts with a big inventory. La Belle Vie sells you basic groceries, organic stuff, meat, fish and vegetables. Last year, the company acqui-hired 62degrés to sell fresh prepared meals too.

La Belle Vie has developed all its tools from scratch, including its ERP, a warehouse management service and a delivery management service. In 2017, the startup generated $3.5 million in sales (€3 million) in sales.

With this funding round, the company plans to launch a second warehouse in Paris and new cities, starting with Lyon. But the best part is that you can order croissants without going to the boulangerie — finally a croissants-as-a-service startup.

Apple started paying $15 billion European tax fine

It took a couple of years, but Apple has started to pay back illegal tax benefits to the Irish government. The company has paid $1.77 billion (€1.5 billion) into an escrow account designed to hold the fine. Apple has to pay $15 billion in total (€13 billion).

In August 2016, the European Commission said that Apple benefited from illegal tax benefits in Ireland from 2003 to 2014. According to Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Apple managed to lower its effective corporate tax rate thanks to a Double Irish structure.

By creating two different Irish subsidiaries and allocating profit to the right subsidiary, you can end up paying corporate tax on a fraction of your actual profit. Of course, Apple wasn’t the only tech company that optimized its tax structure. And the company also claimed that everything was legal.

The Irish government tried to appeal the decision but the decision remained intact. Ireland had to recover €13 billion starting on January 2017.

But nothing happened.

At some point Vestager got mad again and referred the case to the European Court of Justice. This time, Vestager wasn’t attacking Apple, but Ireland.

It looks like the case is closed now and Apple will slowly pay back the fine over time. Unfortunately, the fine is now more expensive than before because the U.S. dollar has been going down for a couple of years. Apple has hundreds of billions in cash, and a significant portion is overseas.

European governments lobbied to put an end to the Double Irish back in 2014. Apple moved some of its international cash to the tiny island of Jersey around the same time.

European governments are currently discussing a tax reform to tax big tech companies based on actual revenue in each European country. This way, tech companies wouldn’t be able to report profit in just one country with a lower corporate tax rate. But it’s taking longer than expected as some member countries are still dragging their feet.

Meet the judges for the TC Startup Battlefield Europe at VivaTech

VivaTech is right around the corner, and I’m excited to introduce you to the third batch of judges that will come to Paris for TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Europe.

If you haven’t been to TechCrunch Disrupt, the Startup Battlefield is arguably the most interesting part of the show. Before everybody started doing a startup competition, there was the Startup Battlefield. Companies like Dropbox, Fitbit, N26 and Yammer all launched on the TechCrunch stage.

And we’re bringing talented investors and founders to judge the startups. Here’s the third round of judges (see part 1 and part 2).

Rob Moffat, Partner, Balderton Capital

Rob joined Balderton Capital in 2009 and was promoted to partner in 2015. He is currently a board director or observer with five portfolio companies: Carwow, Wooga, Nutmeg, Prodigy Finance, and Patients Know Best.
Other investments he has worked with at Balderton include Qubit, Citymapper, Housetrip, Scoot and Archify. Rob’s focus sector is fintech, in particular insurance and retail financial services. Marketing is a particular area of interest, and Rob is responsible for best practice sharing in marketing across the portfolio. Prior to joining Balderton, Rob worked for Google in London, as a Manager in the European Strategy and Operations team.
He started his career with five years in strategy consulting with Bain, and holds an MBA from INSEAD and a Masters in Statistics from Cambridge.

Marie Ekland, Co-Founder, daphni

Marie Ekeland is co-founder of daphni, a venture capital firm which invests in European tech startups and is supported by an online platform and an international community of experts. She began her career in 1997 at J.P. Morgan in New York as a computer scientist. Since 2000, Marie has been acting as a VC, first at CPR Private Equity, then, from 2005 to 2014 at Elaia Partners, leading investments in Criteo, Edoki Academy, Pandacraft, Teads, Wyplay, and Ykone. In 2012 she co-founded France Digitale, bringing together French VCs & entrepreneurs to make the French digital ecosystem thrive. She serves as a board member for Parrot, Showroomprive. Marie holds an engineering degree in mathematics and computer science from Paris Dauphine University as well as a master’s degree in Economics from the Paris School of Economics.

Antoine Nussenbaum, Partner, Felix Capital

Antoine is a Partner and member of the founding team of Felix Capital. He currently sits on the boards of Heetch, Frichti, Papier, TravelPerk and Urban Massage. He previously was a Partner at Atlas Global, a private equity fund originally part of GLG Partners. Prior to Felix Capital he has worked closely with various early-stage digital startups including Mirakl, Reedsy, 31Dover and actively helped them launch their businesses. He has also been involved since inception with Huckletree, a fast growing coworking operator dedicated to the European digital community which was started by his wife. Antoine moved to London in 2006 when he joined ABN AMRO as an M&A investment banker. Prior to this he was based in Paris and was part of the founding team of NT Valley, a software business dedícated to retail and hospitality industries. A graduate of ESCP European Business School and University Paris Dauphine, Antoine is fluent in English, French and Spanish.

Eileen Burbidge, Partner, Passion Capital

Eileen Burbidge is a Partner at Passion Capital, the pre-eminent early-stage VC fund based in London. She brings extensive operational experience to her investment activities gleaned from business and product roles at Yahoo!, Skype, Apple and elsewhere.
In addition to Passion Capital, Eileen is also the Chair of TechCity UK, which is the British government-backed organisation supporting digital business across the UK. She is also HM Treasury’s Special Envoy for FinTech appointed by then Chancellor George Osborne; Tech Ambassador for the Mayor of London’s office and served on former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Business Advisory Group.
Eileen was made an MBE for services to Business in June 2015 and holds a BSc Engineering degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Liron Azrielant, General Partner, Meron Capital

Liron is a General Partner at Meron Capital and has over 10 years of experience in the investment and tech industries. Liron also manages the Young Venture Capital Forum in Israel – a professional organization connecting over 150 young partners, principals and associates from all VC firms in Israel.

Prior to joining Meron Capital, Liron was a Principal at Blumberg Capital and led Cyber, SaaS, Marketing-tech and Infrastructure IT deals. Prior to that, she was a Strategy and M&A consultant at Bain Capital and PwC’s PE group in New York, where she lead commercial and operational due-diligence projects for the largest private equity firms in the US. Before moving to the US, Liron was a technical Applications Engineer at Agilent Technologies, where she worked with blue-chip clients in Europe, Asia and the US.

Liron has an MBA from MIT-Sloan, an M.Sc. in Computer Science from MIT and a B.Sc. in Math and Physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. At 25, she was the youngest student ever to graduate MIT’s dual MBA / M.Sc. degree program. She started her bachelor’s degree at Talpiot, the elite Israeli Defense Forces program, and completed it while serving full-time as a technology analyst and researcher at the Israeli intelligence unit 8200.

Deliveroo employees are getting shares, riders are getting nothing

Food delivery startup Deliveroo is feeling generous today. The company is handing out equity to all full-time staff members. In other words, 2,000 employees are going to receive the equivalent of $13.5 million in Deliveroo shares.

“Our phenomenal growth and success has been made possible thanks to the hard work, commitment and passion of the people who make this company what it is,” co-founder and CEO Will Shu told Reuters. “And that deserves recognition which is why I want all employees to be owners in Deliveroo and to have a real stake in the company’s future as we expand and grow.”

This is a great way to prove that you care about your employees. And yet, there are a few caveats.

First, the company is currently worth over $2 billion. In total, Deliveroo is just handing out 0.675 percent of the company to its employees. I’m sure plenty of early employees already have equity.

But those who joined more recently aren’t likely to get rich over this — it represents a $6,750 equity bonus per employee on average. And shares usually vest after a certain amount of time.

Second, this is the perfect example of the gig economy. In addition to the usual benefits, full-time employees are getting rewarded once again. If you’re a self-employed rider, Deliveroo doesn’t want to thank you.

Arguably, Deliveroo still thinks that riders are disposable. They might be the ones who pick up food in restaurants and hand it to customers, but they will never be full-time employees.

Sure, Deliveroo and Uber Eats are now providing free accident insurance coverage, but it mostly covers hospital bills. Riders have been asking for better rights, and this insurance package is just a good way to ease the pressure.

Working with contractors at scale is the backbone of Uber, Deliveroo and many other on-demand startups. This way, startups don’t have to pay the minimum wage or expensive benefits. Startups can also terminate their relationships with their ‘partners’ without any consequence.

It’s a great way to pressure your contractors in working more for less money. And today’s move by Deliveroo is further proof that riders are just an afterthought.

Google Assistant is coming to Google Maps

Google wants to bundle its voice assistant into every device and app. And it’s true that it makes sense to integrate Google Assistant in Google Maps. It’ll be available on iOS and Android this summer.

At Google I/O, director of Google Assistant Lilian Rincon showed a demo of Google Maps with Google Assistant. Let’s say you’re driving and you’re using Google Maps for directions. You can ask Google Assistant to share your ETA without touching your phone.

You can also control the music with your voice for instance. Rincon even played music on YouTube, but without the video element of course. It lets you access YouTube’s extensive music library while driving.

If you’re using a newer car with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you’ve already been using voice assistants in your car. But many users rely exclusively on their phone. That’s why it makes sense to integrate Google Assistant in Google Maps directly.

It’s also a great way to promote Google Assistant to users who are not familiar with it yet. That could be an issue as Google Assistant asks for a ton of data when you first set it up. It forces you to share your location history, web history and app activity. Basically you let Google access everything you do with your phone.

Watch Google I/O keynote live right here

How did you find Microsoft Build yesterday? We don’t really have time for your answer because Google I/O is already here! Google is kicking off its annual developer conference today. As usual, there will be a consumer keynote with major new products in the morning, and a developer-centric keynote in the afternoon.

The conference starts at 10 AM Pacific Time (1 PM on the East Cost, 6 PM in London, 7 PM in Paris) and you can watch the live stream right here on this page.

Rumor has it that Google is about to share more details about Android P, the next major release of its Android platform. But you can also expect some Google Assistant and Google Home news, some virtual reality news and maybe even some Wear OS news. We have a team on the ground ready to cover the event, so don’t forget to read TechCrunch to get our take on today’s news.

Watch the Microsoft Build 2018 keynote live right here

Microsoft is holding its annual Build developer conference this week and the company is kicking off the event with its inaugural keynote this morning. You can watch the live stream right here.

The keynote is scheduled to start at 8:30 am on the West Coast, 11:30 am on the East Coast, 4:30 pm in London and 5:30 pm in Paris.

This is a developer conference, so you shouldn’t expect new hardware devices. Build is usually focused on all things Windows 10, Azure and beyond. It’s a great way to see where Microsoft is heading. We have a team on the ground, so you can follow all of our coverage on TechCrunch.