Meet TezLab, the Fitbit for Tesla vehicles

Some of the best real-time insights into Tesla and its global fleet of electric vehicles — outside the confines of its Silicon Valley headquarters — might be through the lens of TezLab, a tiny upstart in Brooklyn.

Now, a little more than two years after its founding, TezLab is on the verge of hitting what its founders believe is a tipping point of users, a milestone that could finally trigger a path to monetization. And it’s adding lots of new features to help accelerate that plan.

For the non-Tesla owner, the name TezLab is likely a foreign one. In certain circles though, namely Tesla owners obsessed with understanding how their electric vehicle performs, TezLab is a familiar friend.

Tezlab is a free app that’s like a Fitbit for a Tesla vehicle. Tesla owners who download the app can track their efficiency, total trip miles and use it to control certain functions of the vehicle, such as locking and unlocking the doors and heating and air conditioning. There’s even a gamification piece that lets users earn badges for hitting milestones or completing tasks.

The company has started to add new features as part of a longer term plan aimed at monetization.

One of these features, which crowdsources data like Waze to give insights and ratings on Tesla Supercharger stations, is rolling out now. The video below shows how this supercharger feature will function.

The Waze for supercharger feature is considered “phase one” of the company’s plans to broaden its crowdsourcing and social community.

Origin story

The six-person team behind TezLab was born out of HappyFunCorp, a software engineering shop that builds apps for mobile, web, wearables and Internet of Things devices for clients that include Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, as well as an array of startups.

HFC’s engineers, including co-founders Ben Schippers and William Schenk, were attracted to Tesla largely because of its techcentric approach and one important detail: the Tesla API endpoints are accessible to outsiders.

The Tesla API is technically private. But it exists, allowing Tesla’s own first-party app to communicate with the cars to do things like read battery charge status and lock doors. When reverse-engineered, it’s possible for a third-party app to communicate directly with the API. (Tesla CEO Elon Musk has talked recently about opening up the API to third-party developers)

“Essentially, the plumbing is already built to connect to the server,” Schippers told TechCrunch recently. “This was the catalyst for us.”

A Tesla vehicle buying trend was triggered at HFC. Schippers, Schenk and a number of other software engineers and staffers at HFC bought, and still own, Tesla vehicles like the Model 3. The company’s HFC fund provided the initial $350,000 to build the first version of TezLab.

Repository of data

TezLab hasn’t captured anywhere near every Tesla owner. But Schippers believes they’re getting close to reaching a critical mass of users. More than 200 owners are downloading the app each week, and that rate is accelerating, he said.

TezLab has 16,000 total installs on the Apple App Store and Google Play, according to Sensor Tower . The figures are all unique, new installs. The firm doesn’t count re-installs or downloads to multiple devices belonging to the same user. However, that total install number is likely closer to 18,000 because many are listed under TestFlight, an online service used to test apps.

In comparison, Tesla delivered 245,506 vehicles globally in 2018. TezLab doesn’t expect every Tesla owner to download the app. Instead, Schippers is initially aiming for 10% of owners — a target he believes is within reach — and eventually higher.

Even at its current numbers, TezLab has become a massive repository of Tesla data. The company is storing between 850,000 to 1 million events a day, and that volume is growing. That translates to more than 1 GB of data a day, according to Schippers.

“We now have enough data in our system to start making large assumptions of what the fleet is doing and why,” said Schippers, who is CEO of HappyFunCorp and head of product at TezLab.

tezlab

The data is aggregated and anonymous and isn’t shared publicly. And there are no plans to sell that data.

“I think we can create something really meaningful, without getting into the business of selling data,” Schippers told TechCrunch.

Of course, what Schippers and others at TezLab have built could, theoretically, end overnight if Tesla were to change access.

Tesla could do to us what Facebook did to Zynga, and we don’t want that,” Schippers said.

Tesla declined to comment on this topic.

What TezLab does provide publicly on its website are insights based on that crunched data. For instance, anyone visiting the site can get a breakdown of model ownership, the average trip length and average time between plugging in.

As the company adds more features to the app, an understanding of how people use their Tesla vehicles should deepen.

In the background, of course, TezLab knows more than what it shows on its website. It can quickly spot phantom drain issues, if the Tesla API goes offline or chart spikes in charging use. For instance, Tezlab was able to determine that visits to Tesla Supercharger stations were 84% higher on Memorial Day than on an average day in 2019.

The Strava model

Capturing and storing that data is at the core of TezLab’s plan to make money. The app will remain free even as more features are added.

The company plans to follow the business model of the social fitness network Strava,  which is charge for storage, not features. That data could become a lot more valuable to owners as new features are added. TezLab is looking at tracking Autopilot miles and is looking into doing “interesting stuff with Sentry mode,” the security feature now live in Tesla vehicles.

This summer, the app will introduce clubs that Schippers hopes will build up the community. The feature will let Tesla owners join a specific club, say in Norway, Brooklyn or San Francisco. It will be designed so owners can easily find and converse with other owners. And Schippers added, only people who own Tesla are allowed in.

TezLab’s staff puts itself squarely in the “protector of the realm” category when it comes to Tesla. In the end, all of this is to help Tesla succeed, said Schippers.

“We look at what Fitbit did for walking and exercise and motivation,” he said. “And we’ll bring that to the space of electric vehicles.”

NYC’s contactless subway turnstiles open today with Apple, Google, Samsung and Fitbit Pay support

After weeks of sporting “Coming Soon” screens, the New York City MTA’s OMNY pilot finally launched today. The system augments the city’s MetroCard swipes with new contactless screens that work with contactless prepaid credit and debit cards and a variety of different smart devices.

We’ve highlighted the latter already. For starters, the system will work with Apple, Google, Samsung and Fitbit Pay, which means it will be open to a large range of smartphones and wearables.

Contactless cards are those with NFC chips sporting a four-bar wave symbol that are already available from a number of big banks and credit card companies. Per the MTA’s site, the list of partners includes Chase, Visa, Mastercard and American Express, which should cover a majority of card holders, one way or another.

That’s a big no for Diners Club, Japan Credit Bureau and China UnionPay. Also, PIN-protected cards don’t currently work, nor do gift cards and non-reloadable cards. Another important restriction in all of this is the fact that the system is currently limited to single-ride. That means the large number of New Yorkers who currently use daily, weekly and monthly passes to save on the ever-increasing ride prices are SOL for now.

Ride plans will be coming before 2021. The MTA says it also plans to have the system implemented in all subway stations and buses before then. For now it’s currently limited to the 4, 5, 6 line between Grand Central Station in Manhattan and Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, as well as Staten Island buses.

Having demoed the system recently, I attest that it works well on both the iPhone and Apple Watch. It remains to be seen, however, how much of a logjam this technology will create in its first weeks and months. Ultimately, however, it should go a ways toward speeding things up as riders no longer have to fumble for their MetroCard and deal with aging swipe readers.

Fitbit Pay will also work with NYC’s subway turnstiles

When it officially launches on Friday, New York City’s contactless fare pilot will have no shortage of options. Following similar announcements from Google and Apple, Fitbit just announced that its own mobile Pay system will work with the MTA program.

Starting Friday, strap hangers sporting a Fitbit Charge 3 Special Edition, Versa Special Edition or Fitbit Ionic will be able to use their device to tap and pay for a ride at select subway stations and buses. The pilot is rolling out for 4, 5, 6 stops between Manhattan’s Grand Central and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center in Brooklyn, along will all Staten Island buses on the 31st.

The system uses the smartwatch/trackers’ NFC chip for payment. For starters, things will be limited to single ride passes, which is probably a dealbreaker for many locals who rely on day/week/month passes to save a little on the MTA’s constantly increasing prices. The MTA plans to add additional ride options and branch out to all buses and subway stops by 2021.

For now, however, it’s likely concerned with how the new system will impact foot traffic. Seems likely there will be a bit of a logjam as riders figure out the ins and outs — ultimately, however, it may well save passengers time from not having to fumble for their Metrocard.

Fitbit Pay now also works with transit systems in Chicago, Singapore, Sydney, Taiwan, Vancouver and London.

Fitbit Pay will also work with NYC’s subway turnstiles

When it officially launches on Friday, New York City’s contactless fare pilot will have no shortage of options. Following similar announcements from Google and Apple, Fitbit just announced that its own mobile Pay system will work with the MTA program.

Starting Friday, strap hangers sporting a Fitbit Charge 3 Special Edition, Versa Special Edition or Fitbit Ionic will be able to use their device to tap and pay for a ride at select subway stations and buses. The pilot is rolling out for 4, 5, 6 stops between Manhattan’s Grand Central and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center in Brooklyn, along will all Staten Island buses on the 31st.

The system uses the smartwatch/trackers’ NFC chip for payment. For starters, things will be limited to single ride passes, which is probably a dealbreaker for many locals who rely on day/week/month passes to save a little on the MTA’s constantly increasing prices. The MTA plans to add additional ride options and branch out to all buses and subway stops by 2021.

For now, however, it’s likely concerned with how the new system will impact foot traffic. Seems likely there will be a bit of a logjam as riders figure out the ins and outs — ultimately, however, it may well save passengers time from not having to fumble for their Metrocard.

Fitbit Pay now also works with transit systems in Chicago, Singapore, Sydney, Taiwan, Vancouver and London.

CFIUS Cometh: What this Obscure Agency Does and Why It Matters to Your Fund or Startup

On January 12, 2016, Grindr announced it had sold a 60% controlling stake in the company to Beijing Kunlun Tech, a Chinese gaming firm, valuing the company at $155 million. Champagne bottles were surely popped at the small-ish firm.

Though not at a unicorn-level valuation, the 9-figure exit was still respectable and signaled a bright future for the gay hookup app. Indeed, two years later, Kunlun bought the rest of the firm at more than double the valuation and was planning a public offering for Grindr.

On March 27, 2019, it all fell apart. Kunlun was putting Grindr up for sale instead.

What went wrong? It wasn’t that Grindr’s business ground to a halt. By all accounts, its business seems to actually be growing. The problem was that Kunlun owning Grindr was viewed as a threat to national security. Consequently, CFIUS, or the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States, stepped in to block the transaction.

So what changed? CFIUS was expanded by FIRRMA, or the Foreign Risk Review Modernization Act, in late 2018, which gave it massive new power and scale. Unlike before, FIRRMA gave CFIUS a technology focus. So now CFIUS isn’t just an American problem—it’s an American tech problem. And in the coming years, it will transform venture capital, Chinese involvement in US tech, and maybe even startups as we know it.

Here’s a closer look at how it all fits together.

What is CFIUS?

Image via Getty Images / Busà Photography

CFIUS is the most important agency you’ve never heard of, and until recently it wasn’t even more than a committee. In essence, CFIUS has the ability to stop foreign entities, called “covered entities,” from acquiring companies when it could adversely affect national security—a “covered transaction.”

Once a filing is made, CFIUS investigates the transaction and both parties, which can take over a month in its first pass. From there, the company and CFIUS enter a negotiation to see if they can resolve any issues.

Fitbit beats Q1 revenue expectations as smartwatch growth continues

Fitbit’s financial rebound continued in the first quarter, as the company generated $271.9 million in revenue, beating Wall Street expectations of $259.7 million. The good news is almost exclusively the domain of the company’s increased focus on smartwatches, which grew 117% year over year.

That, in turn, is thanks to this year’s debut of the Versa Lite, a version of Fitbit’s best smartwatch that’s focused on cost, one of the company’s primary selling points against the dominant Apple Watch. It’s a continued payoff of Fitbit’s purchase of Pebble, Vector and Coin — a Hail Mary designed to put the company back on track after initially ceding the smartwatch space to Apple, Samsung, Garmin and the like.

Interestingly, while revenue has been shifting from trackers to smartwatches, the tracker side of things also saw modest year on year gains of 17% (bringing the total number of devices sold up 36% y-o-y), courtesy of the launch of the Inspire, which consolidates several of Fitbit’s trackers into a single line. While the category is generally believed to have plateaued, CEO James Park tells TechCrunch the company is predicting continued growth on that side — albeit at a significantly slower pace than watches.

“We’re continuing to forecast growth in the tracker business, and even faster growth and smartwatch business — but group growth in both segments,” the executive explains.

Forward momentum will require continued innovation on Fitbit’s part, and while Park wouldn’t comment directly on plans to release successors to the standard Versa and Ionic, he says the company has “a pretty predictable spring-fall launch cadence. And it just really depends on where things are in our product roadmap and market conditions.”

Park’s sentiments echoed those of Apple’s on its own earnings call yesterday, as the company increasingly looks to services for revenue growth. In Fitbit’s case, the plan involves a premium offering launching later this year that will straddle the line between its consumer and growing healthcare business.

“At a very high level, the vision for our premium offering is a service that uses and gathers Fitbit data and data from other sources to screen and diagnose different disease and health conditions for users, that analyzes this data to give people richer and deeper insights about their health, and also provides coaching and guidance,” says Park. “Next steps are for people to address their health conditions or to reach their fitness and wellness goals.”

Acting as the data integrator between hospitals and digital health apps brings Redox $33 million

Investors have forked over $33 million in a new round of funding for Redox, hoping that the company can execute on its bid to serve as the link between healthcare providers and the technology companies bringing new digital services to market.

The financing comes just two months after Redox sealed a deal with Microsoft to act as the integration partner connecting Microsoft’s Teams product to electronic health records through the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standard.

Redox sits at a critically important crossroads in the modern healthcare industry. It’s founder, a former employee at the electronic health record software provider Epic, knows more than most about the central position that data occupies in U.S. healthcare at the moment.

What we’re doing we’re building the platform and connector to help health systems integrate with technologies in the cloud,” says chief executive, Luke Bonney. 

Bonney served as a team lead in various divisions at Epic before launching Redox and the Madison, Wis.-based company was crafted with the challenges other vendors faced when trying to integrate with legacy systems like the health record provider.

“The fundamental problem is helping a large health system use a third party tool that they want to use,” says Bonney. And the biggest obstacle is finding a way to organize the data coming from healthcare providers into a format that application developers can work with, he said. 

Investors including RRE Ventures, Intermountain Ventures, .406 Ventures joined new investor Battery Ventures in financing the $33 million round. As part of the deal, Battery Ventures general partner Chelsea Stoner will take a seat on the company’s board.

Application developers pay for the number of integrations they have with a health system, and Redox enables them to connect through a standard application programming interface, according to the company. 

Its approach allows secure messaging across any format associated with an organization’s electronic health record (EHR), the company said. 

Redox works with over 450 healthcare providers and hundreds of application developers, the company said.

High profile healthcare networks that work with the company include AdventHealth, Atrium Health, Brigham & Women’s, Clarify Health, Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger, HCA, Healthgrades, Intermountain Healthcare, Invitae, Fitbit, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Microsoft, Ochsner, OSF HealthCare, PointClickCare, R1, ResMed, Stryker, UCSF, University of Pennsylvania, and WellStar.

 

Ten steps to prepare for an exponential future

If it feels like technological change is happening faster than it used to, that’s because it is.

It took around 12,000 years to move from the agrarian to the industrial revolution but only a couple of hundred years to go from the industrial to the information revolution that’s now propelling us in a short number of decades into the artificial intelligence revolution. Each technological transformation enables the next as the time between these quantum leaps becomes shorter.

That’s why if you are looking backwards to get a sense of how quickly the world around you will change, you won’t realize how quickly our radically different future is approaching. But although this can sometimes feel frightening, there’s a lot we can do now to help make sure we ride this wave of radical change rather than get drowned by it.

Here’s my essential list:

  1. Do what you can to preserve your youth
    Scientists are discovering new ways to slow the biological process of aging. It won’t be too long before doctors start prescribing pills, gene therapies, and other treatments to manage getting old as a partly curable disease. Because most of the terrible afflictions we now fear are correlated with age, medically treating aging will push off the date when we might have otherwise developed cancers, heart disease, dementia, and other killers. To maximally benefit from the new treatments for aging tomorrow, we all, no matter what our current age, need to do what we can to take care of our bodies today. That means exercising around 45 minutes a day, eating a healthy and mostly plant-based diet, trying to sleep at least seven hours a night, avoiding too much sun, not smoking, building and maintaining strong communities and support networks, and living a purposeful life. The healthier you are when the anti-age treatments arrive, the longer you’ll be able to maintain your vitality into your later years.
  2. Quantify and monitor your health
    You can’t monitor what you can’t measure. If you want to maintain optimal health, you need a way to regularly assess if you are on the right track. Monitoring your health through regular broad-spectrum blood and stool tests, constant feedback about your heart rate and sleep patterns from devices like your Apple Watch or Fitbit, having your genome sequenced, getting a full body MRI, and having a regular colonoscopy may seem like overkill to most people. But waiting until you have a symptom to start assessing your health status is like waiting until your car is careening down a hill to check if the brakes are in order. Some smart people worry that this kind of monitoring of “healthy” people will waste money, overwhelm our already overburdened healthcare system, and cause people unnecessary anxiety. But even the healthiest among us are in the early stages of developing one disease or another. Society will inevitably shift from a model of responsive sick care of people already in trouble to the predictive healthcare trying to keep people out of it. Do you want to be a dinosaur-like victim of the old model or a proactive pioneer of the new one?
  3. Freeze your essential biological materials
    Our bodies are a treasure trove of biological materials that could save us in the future, but every morning we still flush gold down the toilet. That gold, our stool, could potentially be frozen so we could repopulate our essential gut bacteria if our microbiome were to take a dangerous hit from antibiotics or illness. Skin cells could be transformed into potentially life-saving stem cells and stored for future use to help rejuvenate various types of aging cells. If our future treatments will be personalized using our own biological materials, but we’ll need to have stored these materials earlier in life to receive the full benefit of these advances. We put money in the bank to ensure our financial security, so why wouldn’t we put some of our biological materials in a bio-bank to have our youngest possible rescue cells waiting for us when we need them and help secure our physiological security?
  4. If you plan on ever having children, freeze your eggs or your sperm
    More people will soon shift from conceiving children through sex to conceiving them through IVF and embryo selection. The preliminary driver of this will be parents’ increasing recognition that they can reduce the roughly 3% chance their future children will be born with dangerous genetic mutations by having their embryos screened in a lab prior to implantation in the mother. This may seem less exciting than making babies in the back seat of a car, but the health and longevity benefits of screening embryos will ultimately overpower conception by sex kind of like how vaccinating our children has (mostly) overpowered the far more natural option of not doing so. If you are likely to conceive via IVF and embryo selection, why not freeze your eggs, sperm, or embryos when you are at your biological peak and when the chance of passing on genetic abnormalities is lower than it may be later in life?
  5. Manage your public identity
    The days of living incognito are over. No matter how aggressively some of us may try to avoid it, our lives leave massive digital footprints that are becoming an essential part of our very identities. The authoritarian government in China is planning to give “social credit“ scores evaluating the digitally monitored behavior of each citizen in a creepy and frightening way. But even in more liberal societies we will all be increasingly judged at work, at home, and in our commercial interactions based on our aggregated digital identities. These identities will be based on what we buy, what we post, what we seek, and how and with whom we interact online. Some societies and individuals are smartly trying to exert a level of control over the collection and use of this personal data, but even this won’t change the new reality that our digital identities will significantly influence what options are available to us in life and represent us after we die. Given this, and perhaps sadly, we all need to protect our privacy but also think of our public selves as brands, managing our digitally recorded activity from early on to present ourselves to the world the way we consciously want the world to know us.
  6. Learn the language of code
    Our lives will be increasingly manipulated by algorithms few of us understand. Most people who were once good at finding their way now just use their GPS-guided smart phones to get where they need to go. As algorithms touching many different aspects of our lives get better, we will increasingly rely on them to make plans, purchasing decisions, and even significant life choices for us. Pretty much every job we might do and many other aspects of our lives will be guided by artificial intelligence and big data analytics. Fully understanding every detail of how each of these algorithms function may be impossible, but we’ll be even more at their mercy if we don’t each acquire at least a rudimentary understanding of what code is and how it works. If you can read one book about code, that’s a start. Learning the fundamental of coding will do even more to help you navigate the fast arriving algorithmic world.
  7. Become multicultural
    Pretty much wherever you were in the 18th century, you needed to understand Europe to operate effectively because European power then defined so many parts of the world. The same was true for understanding United States in the 20th century understanding America was imperative for most people living outside of the United States because US actions influenced so many aspects of their lives. For many people living in 20th century America, understanding the rest of the world was merely interesting. As China rises and Global power decentralizes in the 21st-century, we’ll all need to learn more about China, India, and other new power, population, and culture centers than ever before. This won’t just help you become a more well-rounded person, it will give you a far greater chance of success in most anything you’ll be doing. Although machine translation will make communicating across languages pretty seamless, you’ll need a cultural fluidity and fluency to succeed in the 21st century world. The good news is that people motivated to learn about other groups and societies now have more resources than ever before to do so. If you want to be ready for our multicultural, multinational future, you’d better start doing all you can to learn about other cultures and societies now.
  8. Become an obsessive learner
    Technological change has been a constant throughout human history, but the pace of change is today accelerating far more rapidly than ever before. As innovations across the spectrum of science and technology empower, inspire, and reinforce each other, multiple technological transformations are converging into a revolutionary whole far greater than the sum of its parts. This unprecedented rate of change will mean that much of your knowledge will start becoming obsolete as soon as you acquire it. To keep up in your career and life, you’ll need to dedicate yourself to a lifetime of never ending, aggressive, continuous, and creativity-driven learning. The only skill worth having in an exponential world will be knowing how to learn and a passion for doing it. Call me an old-fashioned futurist, but this learning process must include reading lots of books to help you understand where we have come from and how the disparate pieces of information fit together to create a larger story. This type of knowledge will be an essential foundation of the wisdom we’ll each and all need to navigate our fast-changing world.
  9. Invest in physical community
    We humans are social species. A primary reason we rose to the top of the food chain and built civilization is that our brains are optimized for collaborating with those around us. When we bond with our partners and friends, we realize one of our essential cord needs as humans. That’s why people in solitary confinement tend to go a bit crazy. But although our progression from feeling our sense of connection, belonging, and community has expanded from the level of clan to village to city to country to, in some ways, the world, we are still not virtual beings. We may get a little dopamine hit whenever someone likes our tweet or Facebook post, but most of us still need a connected physical community around us in order to be happy and to realize our best potential. With all of the virtual options that will surround us – chatbots engaging us in witty repartee, virtual assistants managing our schedules, and even friends messaging from faraway lands among them – our virtual future must remain grounded in our physical world. To build your essential community of flesh and blood people, you must invest in deep and meaningful relationships with the people physically around you.
  10.   Don’t get stuck in today The olden days were, at least in most peoples’ minds, always better. We used to have better values, a better work ethic, better communities. We used to walk to school uphill in both directions! But while we do need to hold on to the best of the past, we also need to march boldly into the future. Because the coming world will feel like science fiction, will all need to be like science fiction writers  imagining the world ahead and positioning ourselves to shape it for the better. The technologies of the future will be radically new but we’ll need to draw on the best of our ancient value systems to use them wisely. The exponential future is coming faster than most of us appreciate or are ready for. Like it or not, we are now all futurists.

Snapchat will power Stories & ads in other apps

Snapchat’s found an answer to the revenue problem stemming from its halted growth: it will show its ads in other apps with the launch of Snapchat Ad Kit and the Snapchat Audience Network. And rather than watching as other apps spin up their own knock-off versions of its camera and Stories, it will let apps like Tinder and Houseparty host Stories inside their own products that users can share to from the Snapchat camera with Stories Kit. They’ll both be launching later this year, and developers interested in monetization and engagement help can apply for access.

Snapchat debuted the big new additions to its Snap Kit at its first-ever press event in Los Angeles, the Snap Partner Summit where it also announced a new augmented reality utility platform called Scan, and its new multiplayer games platform. Over 200 apps have already integrated the privacy-safe Snap Kit that lets users login to other apps with Snapchat, bring their Bitmoji, view Our Stories content, and share stickers back to Snapchat.

But later this year, developers will be able to earn money off of Snap Kit with Ad Kit. Developers will integrate Snapchat’s SDK, and then Snap’s advertisers will be able to extend their ad buys to reach both Snapchat users and non-users in other apps. Snapchat will split the ad revenue with developers, but refused to hint at what the divide will be, as it’s still gauging developer interest. The move is straight out of Facebook’s playbook, essentially copying the functionality and name of Facebook’s Audience Network.

There are still big questions about exactly how Snapchat will reach and track ad views of non-users, and how it will be able to provide brands with the analytics they need while maintaining user privacy. But simply by making Snapchat’s somewhat proprietary vertical vdieo ad units reusable elsewhere, it could prove it has a scale to be worth advertisers’ time. The lack of scale has often scared buyers away from Snapchat. But now Snap CEO Evan Spiegel says that “In the United States, Snapchat now reaches nearly 75 percent of all 13-34 year-olds, and we reach 90 percent of 13-24 year-olds. In fact, we reach more 13-24 year-olds than Facebook or Instagram in the United States, the UK, France, Canada, and Australia.”

To keep those users engaged even outside of Snapchat, it’s adding App Stories through Story Kit. Snapchat users will see an option to share to integrated apps after they create a photo or video. Those Stories will then appear in custom places in other apps. You’ll see Snaps injected alongside people’s photos when you’re browsing potential matches in Tinder. You can see what friends on group chat social network Houseparty are doing when they not on the app. And you can see video recommendations from explorers on AdventureAide.

For now, Snapchat won’t run ads between Stories in other apps, but that’s always a possibility. We’ll have to see how long it takes Instagram and Facebook to try to copy Stories Kit and distribute its own to other apps.

Snap also has some other fun new integrations and big name partnerships. Bitmoji Kit will bring your personalized avatar off your phone and onto FitBit’s smart watches and Venmo transactions. Netflix will let you share preview images (but not trailers) from its shows to your Snapchat Story. A new publisher sharing button for the web will let you share articles from the Washington Post and others to your Story.

By colonizing other apps with its experience, Snapchat decreases the need for them to copy it. Instead they get the original, and a lot less development work. And the platform makes your Snapchat account more valuable around the web. These integrations might not grow Snapchat too much, but it could help it keep its existing users happy and squeeze more cash out of them.

Sixteen percent of U.S. adults own a smartwatch

The latest figures out of NPD show a continued uptick in smartwatch sales, here in the States. The category has been a rare bright spot in an overall flagging wearable space, and the new numbers show gains pretty much across the board. In fact, the study puts smartwatch ownership at 16 percent among U.S. adults as of December — that figure is up from 12 percent a year prior.

Unsurprisingly, it’s a younger demo driving that growth — specifically 18-34-year-olds, where smartwatch ownership is around 23 percent. Of course, Apple and the like have been looking to increase purchases with the older crowd, courtesy of more serious health feature like last year’s addition of an ECG meter.

Apple, Samsung and Fitbit continue to dominate the market, making up 88 percent of the nearly $5 billion in sales tallied for the year ending in November. But companies like Fossil and Garmin made some marketshare gains. Google, naturally, will be looking to make a larger dent in the market, with its recent purchase of Fossil IP. Wear OS’s growth has been pretty flat, but that could change in 2019 with the rumored arrival of the Pixel Watch.