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Ten Key Labs wants to simplify managing equity for startups

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Amar Varma, a three-time entrepreneur and VC, experienced firsthand the challenge of dealing with administering equity stakes within a startup. It’s his belief that many existing solutions — e.g. spreadsheets and even software-as-a-service tools — require founders to handle an outsize amount of the management and accounting work manually, and often end up complicating rather than streamlining back-of-office processes.

So Varma launched Ten Key Labs, a platform that taps AI to try to reduce the burden of managing company equity stakes across platforms. Ten Key Labs can set up approvals and templates in a few clicks, Varma claims, issuing reminders for outstanding actions.

“I saw an opportunity to tap my understanding of what a founder really needs and combine that with the latest in AI to give founders a tool that lets them focus on building their companies by giving back time and easing their mental burden,” Varma told TechCrunch in an email interview.

Using Ten Key Labs, founders can track and organize their startup’s cap table — the table that shows each investors’ equity capital stake in the business — and use predictive tools to model their hiring and financing needs. They can also issue equity, managing the various stakeholders — e.g. employees, employees, investors and board members — and approval workflows in one place.

Ten Key Labs isn’t liberal in its use of AI. But it applies it where it makes sense — as a “co-pilot” for corporate-related tasks, Varma says. For example, the platform can automatically convert stock options in an offer letter approved by a company’s board of directors, which tends to be a source of costly “clean-up” time for lawyers when it comes to financing and exits.

“The challenge is, founders and operators generally don’t fully understand the cost of equity in the allocation equation,” Varma said. “By having a fully transparent and collaborative platform around equity management, the various stakeholders are able to collaborate and understand the impact of their decisions.”

Now, Ten Key Labs has lots of competition in the market for equity management software — incumbents like Shareworks, Carta and AngelList, to name a few. But Varma argues it’s differentiated in several aspects.

For one, Ten Key Labs emphasizes automation and collaboration with outside stakeholders. Beyond this, the platform has built-in safeguards to mitigate the potential for mistakes in cap tables.

“Though sometimes not clear in the moment, errors in the equity allocation are costly,” Varma said. “And there’s increasing scrutiny by regulators to know who the ‘owners’ are in a business.”

Safeguards and automation for cap tables aren’t new concepts, to be fair. And — color me skeptical — but I wonder how well Ten Key Labs’ tech works in practice. Even Carta, one of the more robust equity management solutions out there, has been accused (albeit by a competitor) of introducing errors.

It’s the earliest days for Ten Key Labs — the company just launched a public waitlist for its paid product. But Varma thinks that, with the millions of startups launching globally every year — and $10.5 million in funding from backers including Eniac Ventures, Craft Ventures, Sierra Ventures and several angels — there’s an opportunity for Ten Key Labs to make a dent.

“We understand the importance and the complexities of managing company equity,” Varma continued. “For the past year, we have been working with key design partners to perfect the product use cases, user personas and value proposition of the Mantle platform. We’re now ready to expand.”

With the money it’s raised so far, Varma isn’t planning to expand its ten-person team just yet. But it aims to substantially grow Ten Key Labs’ marketing efforts, focusing on acquiring customers in the startup, accelerator, incubator, legal and VC firm spaces.





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Dinosaur Fossil Sold For ₹373 Crore, Highest Ever Price At New York Auction

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The largest known stegosaurus skeleton has been sold at Sotheby’s auction in New York on Wednesday for an astounding $44.6 million (approximately Rs 373 crore). This sale sets a new record for the highest price ever paid for a dinosaur skeleton at auction.

The skeleton named Apex has been bought by an anonymous buyer who stated, “Apex was born in America and is going to stay in America,” The Guardian reported.

The Stegosaurus fossil. Image: Sotheby’s

Apex, estimated to be around 150 million years old, is considered “among the most complete skeletons ever found.” The dinosaur remains stand 11 feet tall and stretches 27 feet in length, comprising 254 fossil bone elements out of an estimated total of 319.

This sale surpasses the previous record of $31.8 million, set in 2020 for a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton known as “Stan.” Sotheby’s initially estimated Apex would sell for between $4 million and $6 million, but the final bid far exceeded expectations.

One notable aspect of Apex is the absence of combat-related injuries or signs of postmortem scavenging, indicating that the skeleton remained largely undisturbed until its discovery. The bones were exceptionally well-preserved in hard sandstone, which prevented them from becoming distorted over millions of years.

Apex was the centerpiece of Sotheby’s natural history auction, which also featured other fascinating items such as meteorites and paleolithic tools. The auction achieved a total of $45.8 million, making it the highest-grossing natural history auction in history, per The Guardian.

ALSO SEE: Discovery Alert: Africa’s Oldest Dinosaur Found In Northern Zimbabwe



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Melting Polar Ice Caps Are Making The Days Longer, New Study Finds

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A new research from ETH Zurich indicates that climate change is significantly influencing Earth’s rotation and axis. As polar ice melts and water redistributes towards the equator, the planet’s mass distribution is altered, causing a deceleration in Earth’s rotation and resulting in slightly longer days.

Historically, the primary cause of the gradual lengthening of Earth’s days has been the moon’s tidal friction. However, the researchers discovered that if greenhouse gas emissions persist at their current rate, the impact of climate change could soon surpass the moon’s influence.

The study, led by Professor Benedikt Soja and published in Nature Geoscience and PNAS, draws a parallel between this phenomenon and a figure skater extending their arms to slow their spin. When mass moves away from Earth’s axis, it increases inertia, thus slowing down rotation.

“Human activities are having a more profound effect on our planet than we realize,” Soja stated.

Visual representation of the Artic and the Antarctic. Image: NASA

Additionally, the melting ice sheets are causing shifts in Earth’s rotational axis. By combining physical laws with artificial intelligence, the research team created models to show how interactions within Earth’s core, mantle, and surface influence the axis’s movement.

ALSO SEE: What Is ISRO’s Mission TRISHNA? Here’s All About The Revolutionary Climate Change Monitor

Lead author Mostafa Kiani Shahvandi highlighted that their work provides a comprehensive explanation for long-period polar motion. Their model accurately reconstructed pole movements since 1900 offering predictions for future changes.

“Ongoing climate change could be affecting processes deep inside the Earth and have a greater reach than previously assumed,” Shahvandi said. Although, there shouldn’t be a cause for concern as the changes are very unlikely to pose a risk.

While these changes may seem insignificant in daily life, they hold considerable importance for space navigation. Small deviations in Earth’s rotation can lead to substantial errors over vast distances. Soja stressed that understanding and accounting for these shifts is essential for precise planetary landings.

“We humans have a greater impact on our planet than we realise and this naturally places great responsibility on us for the future of our planet,” the expert said.

ALSO SEE: Scientists Just Spotted Unnerving Melting Beneath The ‘Doomsday Glacier’

(Image: NASA)





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SpaceX Shares Glimpse Of Spacecraft That Will Crash The International Space Station

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SpaceX has been assigned the job to crash the International Space Station (ISS) into the Pacific Ocean in 2030. To get it done, the former will be designing a ‘deorbit vehicle’ that will tug the orbital lab down from its orbit. SpaceX has now shared an illustration of what the said spacecraft will look like.

The picture features the spacecraft which has a similar build like SpaceX’s trademark Dragon capsule. It also has massive solar panels to power the components of the vehicle. According to SpaceX, it will be four times more powerful and have six times the propellant of today’s Dragon spaceceraft.

In a statement in June, NASA said it has awarded the company a contract worth $843 million (excluding launch costs) to design and build the vehicle. The agency plans to retire the station by 2030.

Crashing the ISS will be a lengthy process

During a press conference on July 17, NASA officials shared details about the deorbiting of the space station which will begin when the new spacecraft docks at one of its ports. According to Dana Weigel, ISS program manager, the vehicle will pull the station down 12 to 18 months after it drifts down from its normal orbit.

The official said that astronauts will occupy the station until six months before the station’s reentry and will vacate it after the ISS reaches about 200 kilometres in orbit. It currently circles the Earth at over 400 kilometres.

Sarah Walker, director of Dragon mission management at SpaceX, revealed the key features of the deorbit vehicle. The spacecraft will have an enhanced trunk section that will have additional propulsion tanks along with engines, avionics and power generation purposes, Space.com reported.

ALSO SEE: Astronaut Gives Tour Of The International Space Station In Never Seen Before Video; Watch

The station is currently being managed by five space agencies from the US, Russia, Canada, Japan and Europe. Its replacement will be filled by commercial habitats that will ensure human presence in the low-Earth orbit and continued experiments in microgravity.

Many US companies like Blue Origin and Sierra Space are together building Orbital Reef and Axiom Space is planning to launch the first module of its Axiom Station later this decade. Currently, China is the only country to have its own space station –Tiangong – and Russia is also working toward developing one for itself.

Steve Stich, the manager of the commercial crew program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, reportedly said earlier this year that the ISS wil be “out of the way” only if the commercial ones are successful.

ALSO SEE: SpaceX To Launch Historic Private Mission Polaris Dawn On July 31





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