Colin Kroll, the 35-year-old co-founder and CEO of the HQ Trivia app, has been found dead of an apparent drug overdose in his apartment, TechCrunch has confirmed.
A spokesman for the NYPD told us that a female called 911 for a wellness check on Kroll’s apartment and he was found dead inside at 08:00 hours today.
The police department said the investigation is ongoing but added that the cause of death is “allegedly a drug overdose”.
“We’re still waiting on the ME’s report to confirm that,” he added.
The story was reported earlier by TMZ — which cites a police source saying cocaine and heroin were believed to be involved.
In a brief statement, HQ said: “We learned today of the passing of our friend and founder, Colin Kroll, and it’s with deep sadness that we say goodbye. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and loved ones during this incredibly difficult time.”
Kroll was only named CEO of the HQ Trivia mobile game show app three months ago, replacing fellow co-founder Rus Yusupov who moved over to serve as chief creative officer.
Prior to taking the CEO role Kroll served as HQ’s CTO. He co-founded the startup in 2015, a few months after moving on from Vine — the Twitter-owned short video format startup which got closed down in 2017.
It’s not clear who will take over the CEO role for HQ Trivia at this stage but Yusupov looks a likely candidate, at least in the interim.
In recent months the startup has been beta testing a follow up mobile game show, called HQ Words. Its original trivia format show airs twice per day and awards winners as much as $100,000 for successfully answering 12 questions.
The app debuted last August and was a viral success. But the question hanging over HQ Trivia and its co-founders has increasingly been how to sustain an early winning streak, once the novelty of the original show ran its course.
As we reported previously, HQ Trivia’s ranking in the app store has been steadily decreasing in recent months.
Kroll started his career as a software engineer at Right Media, which went on to be acquired by Yahoo in 2006. From then until 2011, he led the engineering team in Yahoo’s search and advertising tech group before joining luxury travel site Jetsetter as VP of Product — where he went on to be promoted to CTO.
In 2012 he left to start Vine with co-founders Dominik Hofmann and Yusopov.[ + ]
Google is increasing its efforts in India after it snapped up the team behind popular transportation app “Where is my Train.”
The app claims 10 million registered users and, as the name suggests, it helps commuters track arrivals and departures as well as buying seats. That’s no small job, given that India is estimated to operate some 14,000 trains on a daily basis across the country. The app is for Android, it works offline or with poor connectivity and supports eight languages. It is rivaled by VC-backed companies like RailYatri and iXigo.
There’s no official price for the deal, although India’s Economic Times is reporting that it is in the region of $30-$40 million. The site reported on Google’s interest back in August, when it wrote that other suitors included Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. A Google spokesperson confirmed the deal to TechCrunch, but declined to provide a price.
Sigmoid Labs, the company that develops the train app, was founded by four former TiVo executives in 2013. Economic Times reports that it has around 10 staff. It is unclear how much money it has raised to date.
The company told customers news of the acquisition on its website earlier today.
“We can think of no better place to help us achieve our mission, and we’re excited to join Google to help bring technology and information into more people’s hands,” its founders wrote.
Google said that the Where is my Train team would “continue to build on the current offering,” so it seems that the app won’t be shuttered immediately, at least.
The service’s significant user base would suggest that Google might look to develop and expand its scope to perhaps touch on other areas. Ride-hailing apps, for example, have moved into adjacent spaces, including entertainment, payments and food delivery, to take advantage of their position as daily apps.
That’s all conjecture at this point. But it also stands to reason that Google could fold it into other apps, including Google Maps, although that certainly isn’t the plan at this point.
The deal falls under Google’s “Next Billion User” division, which is developing products and services to help increase internet adoption in emerging markets. To date that has focused strongly on India, where Google has developed data-friendly “lite” versions of popular apps like YouTube, and initiatives like public Wi-Fi for India’s rail network that’s used by more than eight million people.
That scope has also covered services, with Google looking at apps that provide information and utility to Indian consumers. Google launched an on-demand app and a mobile payment service last year, and this year it released a neighborhood Q&A service. The Where is my Train deal certainly fits that strategy, and you’d imagine it’ll become a core part of Google’s consumer-facing product line in India.
The deal is also one of the most significant to date for a U.S.-based tech firm in India. Facebook, Twitter, Google and even Yahoo have made acquisitions to build teams or acquire talent, but Where is my Train seems significantly more strategic as a product.[ + ]
In its 3,000-square-foot warehouse in San Francisco’s Mission District, Farmstead founders Pradeep Elankumaran and Kevin Li, a pair of former Yahoo product managers, plot the future of grocery shopping.
“Think of us as if Whole Foods was rebuilt from scratch by tech founders,” Elankumaran, Farmstead’s chief executive officer, told TechCrunch. “Of course we do delivery because it’s 2018 and no one wants to go to the store anymore.”
Elankumaran launched San Francisco-based Farmstead in 2016 after Amazon and Instacart’s food delivery services repeatedly disappointed him. The startup leverages artificial intelligence-powered predictive analytics and machine learning to accurately predict supply and demand of its inventory, a move Elankumaran says has helped the company significantly reduce waste, as well as complete deliveries to Bay Area residents in less than an hour.
“I had a lot of trouble getting food delivered consistently,” he said. “My daughter had just turned two and she started drinking a lot of milk and I found myself going to the grocery store three to four times a week to buy the same things.”
“So I posted on Nextdoor asking if anyone was interested in a milk, eggs and bread delivery service and in two days, 200 people said yes.”
Two-plus years later, the company is today announcing an additional seed round of $2.2 million, bringing its total raised to date to $7.5 million. ARTIS Labs, Resolute Ventures and Red Dog Capital participated in the round, along with Y Combinator . Farmstead completed the Silicon Valley accelerator program in 2016 shortly before its initial launch, similar to Instacart, which graduated from Y Combinator in 2012. Elankumaran said the company plans to use the capital to hire aggressively and expand beyond the Bay Area in 2019.
Farmstead’s business may sound a lot like Instacart, a very well-funded grocery delivery service worth an astounding $7.6 billion, but the startup says the differences are notable. Instacart is a tech layer on top of a supermarket that provides delivery, whereas Farmstead is the supermarket and the delivery service. Elankumaran says this — storing groceries in large, centralized warehouses and making the deliveries — is a highly scalable model destined to defeat Instacart.
Resolute Ventures general partner Mike Hirshland said in a statement that Farmstead could “become a monster company.”
“To replace a trip to the grocery store, so many things have to go right, from ordering the right inventory to last-mile delivery. Farmstead has cracked the code on making grocery delivery profitable and rapidly scalable,” he said.
The company has also recently partnered with Udelv, an autonomous vehicle startup, to make deliveries via the company’s modified GEM eL XD electric trucks.[ + ]
A lot of Chinese millennials may be delaying or opting out of childbearing, but those who have committed to parenting often go all out to ensure their children grow up healthy and do well in school.
One company capitalizing on China’s booming mother and infant industry — which is expected to double in market valuation between 2015 and 2018 to top $520 billion, according to consulting firm Roland Berger — is Babytree. The Beijing-based firm started trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
Founded in 2007, Babytree operates an online platform for parents to exchange know-how, shop for baby goods and purchase early education services.
The firm debuted at HK$6.91, or $0.88, compared to its IPO price of HK$6.80. That values Babytree at HK$11.5 billion, or $1.47 billion, well below its May valuation of $2.19 billion after it inked a strategic investment from Alibaba that saw the partners collaborating on multiple fronts, including e-commerce, advertising and paid content.
Babytree, in which Alibaba owns a 9.9 percent stake, was started in 2007 by venture capitalist Shao Yibo — who founded Matrix Partners’ China subsidiary and EachNet, which Ebay bought out in 2003 to take on Alibaba’s Taobao — and former Yahoo and Google executive Wang Huainan.
Babytree’s other major investor is Chinese conglomerate and investment firm Fosun International, which has also backed its smaller competitor Qinbaboao, a social media service for young parents to share photos and knowledge.
The parenting portal reached an average of 175 million monthly active users between July and September, according to its IPO prospectus. Qinbaobao claimed to have more than 70 million registered users when it raised hundreds of millions of RMB in a series C funding round in October.
Babytree generates most of its revenues from advertising fees and e-commerce transactions, but Wang the co-founder said recently that paid content is one of the company’s fastest-growing segments. The parenting site posted revenues of 408 million yuan, or $58.6 million, in the first half of 2018, up 12 percent from the same period a year ago. Its adjusted profit increased by 30 percent to 122 million yuan, or $17.6 million, during the same period.[ + ]
Machine learning is everywhere now, including recruiting. Take CV Compiler, a new product by Andrew Stetsenko and Alexandra Dosii. This web app uses machine learning to analyze and repair your technical resume, allowing you to shine to recruiters at Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
The founders are marketing and HR experts who have a combined 15 years of experience in making recruiting smarter. Stetsenko founded Relocate.me and GlossaryTech while Dosii worked at a number of marketing firms before settling on CV Compiler.
The app essentially checks your resume and tells you what to fix and where to submit it. It’s been completely bootstrapped thus far and they’re working on new and improved machine learning algorithms while maintaining a library of common CV fixes.
“There are lots of online resume analysis tools, but these services are too generic, meaning they can be used by multiple professionals and the results are poor and very general. After the feedback is received, users are often forced to buy some extra services,” said Stetsenko. “In contrast, the CV Compiler is designed exclusively for tech professionals. The online review technology scans for keywords from the world of programming and how they are used in the resume, relative to the best practices in the industry.”
The product was born out of Stetsenko’s work at GlossaryTech, a Chrome extension that helps users understand tech terms. He used a great deal of natural language processing and keyword taxonomy in that product and, in turn, moved some of that to his CV service.
“We found that many job applications were being rejected without even an interview, because of the resumes. Apparently, 10 seconds is long enough for a recruiter to eliminate many candidates,” he said.
The service is live now and the team expects the corpus of information to grow and improve over time. Until then, why not let a machine learning robot tell you what you’re doing wrong in trying to get a job? That is, before it replaces you completely.[ + ]
Fortnite, the free multi-player survival game, has earned an astonishing $1 billion from in-game virtual purchases alone. Now, others in the gaming industry are experimenting with how they too can capitalize on new trends in gaming.
Mythical Games, a startup out of stealth today with $16 million in Series A funding, is embracing a future in gaming where user-generated content and intimate ties between players, content creators, brands and developers is the norm. Mythical is using its infusion of venture capital to develop a line of PC, mobile and console games on the EOSIO blockchain, which will also be open to developers to build games with “player-owned economies.”
The company says an announcement regarding its initial lineup of games is on the way.
Mythical is led by a group of gaming industry veterans. Its chief executive officer is John Linden, a former studio head at Activision and president of the Niantic-acquired Seismic Games. The rest of its C-suite includes chief creative officer Jamie Jackson, another former studio head at Activision; chief product officer Stephan Cunningham, a former director of product management at Yahoo; and head of blockchain Rudy Koch, a former senior producer at Blizzard — the Activision subsidiary known for World of Warcraft. Together, the team has worked on games including Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, Marvel Strike Force and Skylanders.
Galaxy Digital’s EOS VC Fund has led the round for Mythical. The $325 million fund, launched earlier this year, is focused on expanding the EOSIO ecosystem via strategic investments in startups building on EOSIO blockchain software. Javelin Venture Partners, Divergence Digital Currency, cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin and others also participated in the round.
It’s no surprise investors are getting excited about the booming gaming business given the success of Epic Games, Twitch, Discord and others in the space.
Epic Games raised a $1.25 billion round late last month thanks to the cultural phenomenon that its game, Fortnite, has become. KKR, Iconiq Capital, Smash Ventures,Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners and others participated in that round. Discord, a chat application for gamers, raised a $50 million financing in April at a $1.65 billion valuation from Benchmark Capital, Greylock Partners, IVP, Spark Capital and Tencent. And Dapper Labs, best known for the blockchain-based game CryptoKitties, even raised a VC round this year — a $15 million financing led by Venrock, with participation from GV and Samsung NEXT.
In total, VCs have invested $1.8 billion in gaming startups this year, per PitchBook.[ + ]
Friends, readers, internet browsers, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Oath, not to praise it.
The subsidiary brands that companies own live after them;
Their terrible rebranding is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Oath . The new Verizon chief executive,
Hans Vestberg, told you Oath was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous ambition,
And grievously hath Oath answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Vestberg and the rest of Verizon’s leadership —
Come I to speak in Oath’s funeral.
It was TechCrunch’s parent company, distant and somewhat comical to me:
But Vestberg says it was ambitious;
And Vestberg is an honourable man.
Oath did merge Yahoo and AOL under one brand
Whose ad networks and media outlets (like TechCrunch and HuffPo) did the Verizon coffers fill:
Did this in Oath seem ambitious?
When that the Go90 staff have cried, Oath hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Vestberg says it was ambitious;
And Vestberg is an honourable man.
Y’all saw that when the merger was first proposed
I said it was a really bad idea,
But my parent company didn’t listen to me: was this ambition?
Yet Vestberg says Oath was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I write not to disprove what Verizon issued in a press release,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
Y’all thought the branding was terrible, not without cause:
So don’t let us stop you now from mocking it.
O judgment! You were lost when branding was left to brutish beasts,
And men with no reason. Bear with me;
My LOLZ are in the coffin there with Oath,
And I must pause till I can stop cackling.
Anyway, Oath is now going to be Verizon Media Group/Oath as part of a corporate restructuring undertaken by Verizon’s CEO, Vestberg. The company is going to operate under three different business units — a Consumer Group, led by Ronan Dunne, a current executive vice president of Verizon and president of Verizon Wireless; a Business Group, led by Tami Erwin, currently executive vice president of wireless operations — which will focus on government, small and medium businesses, large business customers, and operate the company’s telematics arm; and a Media Group / Oath, which will be led by Guru Gowrappan, currently Oath’s chief executive.
Wed, 24 Oct 2018 05:37:07 +0000
Oath is dead. Long live Verizon Media Group/Oath
One of the largest consumer internet hacks has bred one of the largest class action settlements after Yahoo agreed to pay $50 million to victims of a security breach that’s said to have affected up to 200 million U.S. consumers and some three billion email accounts worldwide.
In what appears to be the closing move to the two-year-old lawsuit, Yahoo — which is now part of Verizon’s Oath business [which is the parent company of TechCrunch] — has proposed to pay $50 million in compensation to an estimated 200 million users in the U.S. and Israel, according to a court filing.
In addition, the company will cover up to $35 million in lawyer fees related to the case and provide affected users in the U.S. with credit monitoring services for two years via AllClear, a package that would retail for around $350. There are also compensation options for small business and individuals to claim costs for losses associated with the hacks. That could include identity theft, delayed tax refunds and any other issues related to data lost at the hands of the breaches. Finally, those who paid for premium Yahoo email services are eligible for a 25 percent refund.
The deal is subject to final approval from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California at a hearing slated for November 29.
Because Yahoo is now part of Oath, the costs will be split 50-50 between Oath and Altaba, the holding company that owns what is left of Yahoo following the acquisition. Altaba last month revealed it had agreed to pay $47 million to settle three legal cases related to the landmark security breach.
Yahoo estimates that three billion accounts were impacted by a series of breaches that began in 2013. The intrusion is believed to have been a state-sponsored attack by Russia, although no strong evidence has been provided to support that claim.
The incident wasn’t reported publicly until 2016, just months after Verizon announced that it would acquire Yahoo’s core business in a $4.8 billion deal.
At the time, Yahoo estimated that the incident had affected “at least” 500 million users, but it later emerged that data on all of Yahoo’s three billion users had been swiped. A second attack a year later stole information that included email and passwords belonging to 500 million Yahoo account holders. Unsurprisingly, the huge attacks saw Verizon negotiate a $350 million discount on the deal.[ + ]
Farewell, Yahoo Messenger. Hello, Yahoo Together? Yep, Yahoo is returning to the messaging space today after closing its older app due to lack of use. Designed for group chats between family, friends, clubs and others, Yahoo Together tries to differentiate itself from others through its ability to organize group conversations into separate topics, similar to the IRC model, and its ability to send smart reminders about upcoming events.
The app, previously codenamed Squirrel while in beta, was built by the Communications Team at Yahoo – the same folks who previously worked on Yahoo Messenger. However, Yahoo Together was built on a new messaging platform, we understand, though it still leverages some existing technology from Yahoo Messenger.
While much of what the app offers – the ability to chat, share photos, GIFs, links, and reactions – isn’t unique to the messaging space, Yahoo hopes people will appreciate the organizational capabilities in Yahoo Together.
“In many apps, you have a set of people, and then a single thread,” explains Michael Albers, Oath VP and Head of Communications Products. (Oath also owns TechCrunch, but we were not given access to the beta version for testing, we should note. Corporate synergies, hooray!)
“What’s unique to Yahoo Together is that it allows you to create long running groups, but create an infinite amount of separate topics to organize conversations, and where helpful, limit access to some of those topics to a subset of the group,” he says.
This, along with support for file attachments and a more robust search interface than Messenger, makes Yahoo Together feel more like a hybrid of consumer group chat and a tool that could fit more into the productivity space, like Skype or Slack. But unlike Skype or Slack, it doesn’t have support for calls, and the topic-based chats aren’t designed the same way.
It does use the hash symbol for its side conversations, which people may recognize from Slack. But the pound sign was actually adopted for use within IRC networks decades ago to label channels, and Yahoo credits IRC for the idea, in this case.
These topic-based chats aren’t just new chat rooms you set up by adding people you know from your contacts, but rather function as subsets to a main group chat.
You don’t have to add everyone from the main group chat to the topic-based sidechat, either. This makes it easier for people to keep up with just the conversations they need to be involved in – like a surprise party for mom or dad, or those they care about – like a sports team’s practice schedule – as opposed to scrolling through long message threads.
During the beta, Albers says Yahoo Together saw five times the number of messages per day, compared with Yahoo Messenger, which the team felt was a promising metric.
Following today’s launch, the team plans to roll out more features as the app continues to evolve.
“Our focus is to create the best product for our audiences and the opportunity with consumer productivity in a group messaging context,” says Albers. “We believe this is where this app sets us apart from others in the space, by focusing on the consumer needs to engage with their communities,” he adds.
It’s unclear how much attention Yahoo Together will receive, as Yahoo previously experimented with a group money pool app, Tanda, which was shut down only months after launch. It’s also very difficult to break into the messaging space today, in a market that’s dominated by major apps like Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, and others.
Yahoo also didn’t clarify its user acquisition strategy, when asked, beyond touting the app’s feature set as how it plans to grow its user base. It’s not clear, then, if Yahoo will target user acquisition in emerging markets like India, or if it’s hoping to actually grow a base here in the U.S.
Sat, 29 Sep 2018 22:15:43 +0000
Yahoo returns to messaging with IRC-inspired Yahoo Together
Dressed in a Naruto t-shirt and a hat emblazoned with the phrase “lone wolf,” Ne-Yo slouches over in a chair inside a Holberton School classroom. The Grammy-winning recording artist is struggling to remember the name of “that actor,” the one who’s had a successful career in both the entertainment industry and tech investing.
“I learned about all the things he was doing and I thought it was great for him,” Ne-Yo told TechCrunch. “But I didn’t really know what my place in tech would be.”
It turns out “that actor” is Ashton Kutcher, widely known in Hollywood and beyond for his role in several blockbusters and the TV sitcom That ’70s Show, and respected in Silicon Valley for his investments via Sound Ventures and A-Grade in Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, Bird and several others.
Ne-Yo, for his part, is known for a string of R&B hits including So Sick, One in a Million and Because of You. His latest album, Good Man, came out in June.
Ne-Yo, like Kutcher, is interested in pursuing a side gig in investing but he doesn’t want to waste time chasing down the next big thing. His goal, he explained, is to use his wealth to encourage people like him to view software engineering and other technical careers as viable options.
“Little black kids growing up don’t say things like ‘I want to be a coder when I grow up,’ because it’s not real to them, they don’t see people that look like me doing it,” Ne-Yo said. “But tech is changing the world, like literally by the day, by the second, so I feel like it just makes the most sense to have it accessible to everyone.”
Last year, Ne-Yo finally made the leap into venture capital investing: his first deal, an investment in Holberton School, a two-year coding academy founded by Julien Barbier and Sylvain Kalache that trains full-stack engineers. The singer returned to San Francisco earlier this month for the grand opening of Holberton’s remodeled headquarters on Mission Street in the city’s SoMa neighborhood.[gallery ids="1722954,1722952,1722953,1722955"]
Holberton, a proposed alternative to a computer science degree, is free to students until they graduate and land a job, at which point they are asked to pay 17 percent of their salaries during their first three years in the workforce.
It has a different teaching philosophy than your average coding academy or four-year university. It relies on project-based and peer learning, i.e. students helping and teaching each other; there are no formal teachers or lecturers. The concept appears to be working. Holberton says their former students are now employed at Apple, NASA, LinkedIn, Facebook, Dropbox and Tesla.
Ne-Yo participated in Holberton’s $2.3 million round in February 2017 alongside Reach Capital and Insight Venture Partners co-founder Jerry Murdock, as well as Trinity Ventures, the VC firm that introduced Ne-Yo to the edtech startup. Holberton has since raised an additional $8 million from existing and new investors like daphni, Omidyar Network, Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang and Slideshare co-founder Jonathan Boutelle.
Holberton has used that capital to expand beyond the Bay Area. A school in New Haven, Conn., where the company hopes to reach students who can’t afford to live in tech’s hubs, is in development.
The startup’s emphasis on diversity is what attracted Ne-Yo to the project and why he signed on as a member of the board of trustees. More than half of Holberton’s students are people of color and 35 percent are women. Since Ne-Yo got involved, the number of African American applicants has doubled from roughly 5 percent to 11.5 percent.
“I didn’t really know what my place in tech would be.”
“When it was brought to my attention, I was like ‘ok, this is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed,'” he said. “It makes no sense that this thing that affects us all isn’t available to us all. If you don’t have the money or you don’t have the schooling, it’s not available to you, however, it’s affecting their lives the same way it’s affecting the rich guys’ lives.”
Holberton’s founders joked with TechCrunch that Ne-Yo has actually been more supportive and helpful in the last year than many of the venture capitalists who back Holberton. He’s very “hands-on,” they said. Despite the fact that he’s balancing a successful music career and doesn’t exactly have a lot of free time, he’s made sure to attend events at Holberton, like the recent grand opening, and will Skype with students occasionally.
“I wanted it to be grassroots and authentic.”
Ne-Yo was very careful to explain that he didn’t put money in Holberton for the good optics.
“This isn’t something I just wanted to put my name on,” he said. “I wanted to make sure [the founders] knew this was something I was going to be serious about and not just do the celebrity thing. I wanted it to be grassroots and authentic so we dropped whatever we were doing and came down, met these guys, hung out with the students and hung out at the school to see what it’s really about.”
What’s next for Ne-Yo? A career in venture capital, perhaps? He’s definitely interested and will be making more investments soon, but a full pivot into VC is unlikely.
At the end of the day, Silicon Valley doesn’t need more people with fat wallets and a hankering for the billionaire lifestyle. What it needs are people who have the money and resources necessary to bolster the right businesses and who care enough to prioritize diversity and inclusivity over yet another payday.
“Not to toot the horn or brag, but I’m not missing any meals,” Ne-Yo said. “So, if I’m going to do it, let it mean something.”[ + ]
In a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the former web giant turned investment company said it has agreed to end litigation for $47 million, which the company said will “mark a significant milestone” in cleaning up its remaining liabilities.
The deal is subject to court approval, which attorneys for both sides asked the court to approve the deal within 45 days, according to a filing submitted Friday.
In case you missed it, Yahoo had two data breaches — one in mid-2013, where data on all of the company’s three billion users was stolen, and another breach a year later of 500 million accounts, including email addresses and passwords. The company blamed the attack on state-sponsored hackers, without citing any evidence or pointing any fingers.
Muddying the waters, the breach was discovered during Verizon’s bid to acquire the web giant and its assets for $4.83 billion. Verizon dropped its offer price by some $350 million after the scope of the breach was fully realized, and created Oath. (Disclosure: TechCrunch is also owned by Oath.)
Earlier this year, a federal judge said victims of the breach could sue Yahoo, despite Verizon’s best efforts to dismiss the claims.
A spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.[ + ]