Three Belarusian startups win Product Hunt's Golden Kitty Awards
Four Belarusian startups - Dark Reader, OneSoil, RocketBody and Wanna Nails - became finalists of the Golden Kitty Awards 2018 from Product Hunt.
Three of them were recognized as the best apps of the year in their segment.
For the fourth year in a row, Product Hunt has been hosting the Golden Kitty Awards, the world’s best product competition. Three Belarusian startups became winners in their nominations in 2018.
The best in the nomination "AI & Machine Learning Product of the Year" was the startup OneSoil. The guys from OneSoil are developing their platform for smart farming and have already made maps of 60 million fields with recognized crops on it.
The Wanna Nails won in nomination Augmented Reality Product of the Year. As written on official Fb page of Wanna Nails App: "E-commerce application Wanna Nails helps users try-on nail polishes with augmented reality. It is cool and easy to do: you just need to show your hand to the camera of the phone, and you will see more than 100 different colors of nail polishes and shades".
The Rocket Body Startup won in the category Health & Fitness Product of the Year.
Rocket Body developed an app that tells an athlete when is the best time to train. So fitness tracker allows an athlete to increase the effectiveness of training.
What can we do to have our own Amazon and SpaceX in the CIS?
About the crowdfunding campaign for startup school for Russian-speaking entrepreneurs.
The RUSSOL has launched a crowdfunding campaign to create an online startup school for teens. The course program will provide students with step-by-step instructions — from the selection and verification of a business idea to the first sales and fundraising.
Russol is a non-profit online startup school. It promotes the development of entrepreneurship, supports the emergence and strengthening of a real middle class in Russian-speaking countries. The goal of the initiative is to teach young people to think globally, to make them get rid of the fear of mistakes and failures, and, as a result, help to raise world-class entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Jeffrey Bezos or Jack Ma but in Russia and the CIS.
Good education costs good money. This financial barrier prevents thousands of talented children from poor families from becoming entrepreneurs. In addition, there is little really useful open-access content about entrepreneurship. The one that is available is often in a foreign language, and that’s another barrier. The RUSSOL team decided to change this by creating an online startup school in Russian.
10 lectures include practical guidance on how to start a business — from the selection and verification of a business idea and the first sales to attracting investments. The course is based on the experience of businessmen who have grown from scratch such giants of the global market as Airbnb, Uniqlo, and Amazon. It is also added with the experience of RUSSOL team gained from the meetings with the founders and top executives of such "star" companies like Domino’s Pizza or IKEA Centres Russia.
Belarusian startups can win $ 500 thousand investment online
The Swiss company Seedstars has started accepting applications for the largest startup competition in emerging markets. Belarusian projects have the opportunity to participate in the drawing of investments up to $ 500,000.
In 2019, the Seedstars World Competition was first held in Minsk. Of the more than 100 applications, Skinive (Wise AI), the project to create a virtual AI dermatologist, became the winner. In the worldwide final, which took place on April 3 2020 online, the Russian startup StudyFree won.
Dmitry Dosov, ambassador of Seedstars World Competition in Belarus, told about the peculiarities of the Belarusian experience: “Last year we impressed Seedstars and set a regional record for the number of applications submitted. And despite very strong projects, everyone had one problem — the ability to pitch in English to be really breathtaking. Without it, it is difficult to attract an investor, and even more to win in such a difficult international competition. This year we considered our mistakes, and the finalists will be prepared by the Demium Minsk team.”
Due to the current situation in the world, the Seedstars World Competition 2020/21 will be completely online.
In order to get an opportunity for investment and mentoring assistance from Seedstars, Belarusian startups must submit an application on the website in the Minsk event section. At the same time, the following requirements are imposed on projects:
the presence of MVP — a minimally functional product
first sales as proof of its relevance
previous startup investments should not exceed $ 1,000,000.
“You need to try to apply for all startups that fit the criteria. I carefully watched the way of startups that reached regional and global levels — for six months they all attracted funding from investors not linked to Seedstars. Because this contest is really a great opportunity to make yourself known on the world stage and attract smart investments, ”added Dmitry Dosov.
The winner of the competition will receive investments in the amount of $ 500,000, another 10 finalists can expect $ 50,000. All startups that have reached the regional summits will be included into the worldwide expert network of mentors, which will provide a new impetus to the development of the project.
“Our goal is to find and help the most innovative startups from all over the world, giving them investment and entrepreneurial education. We want to give global opportunities to those who don’t have access to resources, increase entrepreneurship in emerging markets and act as a catalyst for local startup ecosystems, ”said Seedstars co-founder Alice de Tonnak.
About the organizer:
Seedstars is a Swiss company that, since 2013, has been organizing an annual startup competition in more than 90 countries in order to identify and invest in the most promising projects in emerging markets.
The Spanish Cubicup startup from Demium incubator allows you to build houses with the click of a button!
Cubicup's goal is to professionalize the building sector and ensure "transparency" in budgets and deadlines.
When you have to face an overhaul in your house/flat, you immediately imagine that the next few months will be a real challenge. You will have to deal with a variety of factors, such as budget coordination, duration of work, conscientious and unscrupulous employees. Startup Cubicup from Demium incubator, has developed its tool, designed for both end-users and professionals in the building sector to minimize costs and loss of nerve cells.
The general director of the company, Gabriel Cambra, explains the need for such a service to come up with the fact that it was necessary to develop a platform for the "professionalization" of reconstruction processes in your house for a long time: it is helpful for homeowners who want to make renovations in "safe, transparent, consultable and high-quality" conditions.
"Speaking frankly, says Cambra, the idea arose because of the true fear of customers to face a lack of transparency in the construction sector." Cubicup formed a full-fledged team that calculated all the possible details that could worry the consumer: from calculating the budget to the repair work calculator, which operates in real-time.
The platform immediately begins to work with the client, through information with an expert who consults and accompanies him throughout the process, helping him in the competent preparation of the project and the selection of qualified specialists.
Also, the director guarantees that the conditions are determined from the very beginning and that they have achieved thanks to the terms established in the professional contract. Moreover, he hastens to assure that payments will always be made through a secure form. Highly qualified employees have a quality mark obtained after accreditation. They get jobs that are consistent with their methods and specialization.
Cubicup is currently developing an additional module to account for expansion and budget changes after the work has begun and, therefore, a digital contract between the two parties has already been agreed.
"At Cubicup, we already have over 100 repair companies and trusted architects. All of them have previously passed quality control, which ensures that they are law firms, that they have all the necessary documentation, and that also have professional experience and feedback from the clients for whom they worked," sums up Gabriel Cambra.
Do you have an empty place? Brickbro will pay for it!
Brickbro is a marketplace born in Demium incubator in Barcelona two years ago.
Brickbro continues to expand steadily. The company closed its financial accounts for 2019 after an operation worth more than ten million euros. Brickbro also completed its final fiscal year with a net profit of two million euros.
Brickbro was created in Demium Barcelona in 2018 and sought to create a real financial asset in the estate market from unused and abandoned commercial premises. Currently, the company has twelve employees spread among the capital of Catalonia and Madrid.
Brickbro began its journey as a crowdfunding platform, but the company has redirected its business model to a loft marketplace, that is, old commercial premises.
A few months ago, the company launched an investment platform where they sell commercial premises that they buy from users. They advertise a place on the platform until it is sold. The average sale period is about thirty days.
The company has possibilities and employees in Barcelona and Madrid for the office segment, as well as plans for investing in the industrial sphere. The founders claim that, depending on the type of premises and its location, they will be able to determine which functions are best suited for a particular place.
The company plans to invest up to 250,000 euros in improving this technology.
Seedstars Summit CEE which brought together over 100 entrepreneurs from 20 countries has started
Seedstars Summit CEE has started today. It is one of the season’s leading regional startups events. Summit has brought together the region’s best startups, investors, industry leaders, and innovative partners from more than 20 countries to help bring changes and sustainable growth in regions.
Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan — November 20, 2019 — The leading startup community in emerging markets and the investor Seedstars officially launched in Nur Sultan. According to the results of the Seedstars World Competition 2019, over 20 the most promising startups from Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia will participate in the summit and present their projects to investors and experts in a particular business field.
The main conference is held at the AIFC FinTech Hub, which brought together 200 key participants from more than 20 countries dealing with relevant fields like Smart Cities, EdTech and AI.
Traditionally, Seedstars Summit runs for three days. On November 20 and 21, on the eve of the main event, an intensive closed bootcamp for startups led by the managing partner of Seedstars Pierre-Alan Masson is held. The participants will learn how to ensure the growth of their companies and scale up their business.
On the second day, the Investor Forum will be held in cooperation with the AIFC FinTech Hub, where more than 20 highly qualified experts and founders of the company, namely Arai Bekembaeva (Bolt), Alena Tkachenko (Nommi), Letizia Monte (Phillips Health Systems), Patrick Bostils (Stage-Co) will hold face-to-face meetings with startups.
In addition, the Forum will be a great opportunity for startups to team up with impact investors such as Nurbek Raev (Whitehill), Amirkhan Omarov (BeInTech Company), Arsalan Alfred Ni (AV Ventures), Elena Boytsun (Luminate), Hambartsum Kakhketsn (SmartGateVC) and others.
After the event, the third and main day (November 22) will be open to everyone who wants to learn the latest technical trends, expand their networks and meet inspiring founders and entrepreneurs.
Espree Devora who is known as “the Girl who Gets it Done” will visit Kazakhstan for the first time to perform the WomenInTech podcast live at the summit. She comes from Los Angeles to talk about women entrepreneurship and their opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
In addition, Jonas Schorr, co-founder of Urban Impact (Germany), Richard Paul Gauthier, global IT director of the Amazon (USA), Ramil Mukhoryapov, co-founder of ChocoFamily (Kazakhstan), Daria Egorina, founder and CEO of CleverBooks (Ireland), and Rudradeb Mitra, Senior Advisor on Artificial Intelligence at EFMA and Leading Product Mentor at Google Developers (Poland), will deliver speeches at the Summit. The summit will end with a press conference and a final cocktail for all participants of the event.
Here is the list of all startups participating in Seedstars World 2019:
The most promising startups will be selected to participate in the Seedstars Summit 2020 in Lausanne, Switzerland, where they will compete for the title of Seedstars Global Winner. The participating teams will be able to present their idea on the main stage along with more than 60 startups from all over the world and win up to $ 500,000 in investment.
Recall that the Skinive startup won the Belarusian stage of Seedstars World 2019. Now they are in Nur Sultan to compete for the finals.
We will be broadcasting the event live from Nur Sultan.
Belarusian startup OYBOX is in the TOP 10 Startup Lab fund
The startup was selected from more than 500 applications and got in the Russian Accelerator Fund.
OYBOX is the Belarusian online service which creates an individual style for its' customers. The startup is going to scale in the markets of Russia and Kazakhstan. OYBOX applied for participation in the accelerator along with the other 500 startups and got access to the three-month acceleration program. The project received investment from the Russian early-stage fund Startup Lab, which helps startups scale up their business and enter new markets. During the program, OYBOX will attract new customers from Russia and Kazakhstan.
OYBOX offers its' customers boxes with clothes, on which a stylist and a neural network work. The neural network provides a selection of clothing items based on a questionnaire of 25 questions about preferences for style, colors, and brands. Then a professional stylist will compose an individual set of wardrobe items based on the appearance and style&colors preferences of the customer. The customer will receive a box with 5 pieces of clothes that can be combined into 6 stylish sets.
Clients also receive a digital guide with shoes and accessories that are suitable for each look, with links so that you can choose items you like and buy them.
The founders are planning to scale to European markets. “Entering a new market is always exciting.” Says Anastasia Slavuta, CEO and OYBOX chief stylist, “But we understand that after the success we got in Belarus, it will not be very difficult to get used to the new market, the main thing now is quickly and effectively solve organizational issues. Hundreds of positive reviews give us faith in the success of the product in any new country, right now we are launching a service in Kazakhstan, and our immediate plans are to enter the European market.”
Personal accounts of users and stylists will soon appear on the website. This solution will simplify the interaction of clients and stylists. For this purpose, Ivan Sukhinin joined the startup, now he is CTO. Ivan is one of the Fiverun founders, a startup at the edge of retail and technologies industries acquired by the US Venture Fund in 2015.
Artist Capital raised $ 100 million to invest in e-sports
Artist Capital Management is going to invest $ 100 million in e-sports through the Esports Edge Fund. It means that according to investors' opinions eSports will soon become even more popular than traditional sports.
The Edge Fund was designed to enable institutional investors to take advantage of some of the potential benefits of eSports investments.
Artist Capital identified three reasons why the fund is interested in investing in competitive gaming. Firstly, it is a large audience (380 million unique viewers in 2018). 79% of viewers under 35 years of age, the audience is global and continues to grow. Secondly, Artist Capital Management believes that eSports revenues — $ 900 million in 2018 — have significant potential for expansion compared to traditional sports leagues. Thirdly, the fund considers the formation of franchised eSports leagues as a key factor for the industry. Franchised eSports leagues like the Activision’s Overwatch League, Riot Games, and the League of Legends Series of North American Championships can attract sponsors and increase the flow of fans and money in the industry.
Josh Dienstag, CEO of Artist Capital Management, compared e-sports to other internet verticals and suggested that a small number of e-sports companies will ultimately receive the lion’s share of industry revenue and market capitalization.
At the moment, The Edge Fund has already invested in 100 Thieves, a lifestyle brand and an e-sports organization from Los Angeles; Washington Esports Ventures, owner of the Washington Justice team at the Overwatch League; and communicating and viewing applications in the ecosystem.
The Edge Fund claimed it plans to work with eSports companies in the long term. The fund also has a flexible mandate and can invest in several stages and both primary and secondary securities.
In July 2019, The Edge Fund led 100 Thieves’ $35 million second round, and Dienstag joined the board of directors of 100 Thieves.
Artist Capital Management also raised $ 35 million of additional capital from its limited partners in the form of separate joint investment tools. The money was directed to further support the portfolio companies of The Edge Fund.
Photo credit: Pixabay
A framework that makes 3D pictures of humanoids dance
What if combine machine learning, audio&speech processing, robotics, and passion for dance?
Four students from the Seoul National University and Delfi University of Technologies created a framework that can generate a flow of three-dimensional human dance poses for music. It consists of three elements: a music feature encoder, a pose generator, and a music genre classifier.
The developers’ team is focused on integrating these components for creating a realistic 3D human dancing move from music, which can be implemented to AI and humanoid robots so it is possible to make a robot dance just by listening to music.
The dance pose generator can synthesize a dance sequence longer than 5,000 pose frames. Watch the full video of a man dancing to Madonna and Billie Eilish here.
Instagram will no longer display likes under the photo. Influencers dissatisfied
This is how Instagram is going to create a safer social network.
CEO Adam Mossery announced that the company is going to expand the function of private likes. Users now will put likes that are invisible to other users.
The function will operate in six countries, including Australia and New Zealand, the United States and Canada.
According to a study conducted among 6,000 children aged 12 to 15 years, those who use social media more actively reported issues such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness. They were also more prone to aggressiveness and a tendency to antisocial behavior than adolescents who avoided social networks.
Many people believe that Instagram encourages users to estimate how many likes each message receives, and users, in turn, compare the number of likes with friends and celebrities.
Tammy Hembrow, a fitness blogger with 9.7 million followers, has her own sports line and fitness app. She also works with brands and advertises them in her feed. She says the changes have not affected the way she does business.
However, not all users rated this Instagram step positively. Nicki Minaj wrote on Twitter that she would no longer use the app.
Influential people who make money on Instagram by partnering with advertisers to promote their products are dissatisfied with canceling their likes. The influential Australian blogger Carmen Huter says that the general rule is that a blogger with 100,000 subscribers could require $1000 for publication, but the amount can vary greatly depending on the level of user engagement. The more likes, comments and publications, the more valuable their influence.
Photo credit: TechCrunch
HomeLight raised $109 million for AI to connect home buyers with real estate agents
The company is valued at $160 million.
Zeev Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Crosslink Capital, and Stereo Capital became investors.
San Francisco-based startup HomeLight is developing artificial intelligence-based software and services for buyers, sellers, and real estate agents.
The fundings will be spent on expanding the platform for matching agents and investors of the company, create new consumer products and expand the coverage of existing instruments.
HomeLight receives income from the final commission of agents in the form of a 25% fee for the attraction. HomeLight algorithms use more than 40 million real estate transactions and more than 1.4 million brokerage profiles to compare agents for several indicators like the number of home agents who are sold a mile from a given property and percentage of properties sold at a specified price.
The artificial intelligence model takes into account such questions as what is the state of a customer’s home and the type of property.
It also provides housing market data for predicting the current value of homes with the highest accuracy. Search results include only agents who have agreed to pay for HomeLight. The company’s base of 449,000 customers has led to more than $ 17 billion in the US real estate market.
Photo: Entrepreneur — VentureBeat
Crunchbase raised $ 30 million
Crunchbase provides users with up-to-date information on startups.
Startups Wikipedia announced a tenfold increase in revenue from the previous round.
The service plans to use investments to scale the business, expand the base of paid subscribers and its product so that it includes more predictable and personalized information for its users through machine learning and other AI-based technologies.
Crunchbase was originally part of Techcrunch. Crowdsourcing information was collected on a separate domain, which includes the time the company was founded by its founders, current leaders, funding rounds, the amount of money that is collected, information about the startup from the media.
Using a number of third-party integrations with companies such as Siftery and SimilarWeb, you can get detailed information about competitors and much more. But this is available only for paid subscribers.
Crunchbase differs from its competitors (CBInsights and Pitchbook) in that it is open to wide access, and not just to people who have paid for a subscription. But in this case, the information is often not complete, for example, the platform does not have enough information about the grades on which the round passed. In closed databases, there is such information.
The free version is similar to Wikipedia, as cross-links work. But initially, the request must be formulated clearly by the name of the startup, because you have to pay for more lengthy formulations.
CEO Jager McConnell said that out of the 55 million people who visit the site each year, the company currently has tens of thousands of subscribers.
Crunchbase subscriptions are priced at $ 29 / number of users per month depending on the size of the company’s contract, which is less than 1% of the number of active users.
Jack Dorsey vs. Mark Zuckerberg: Twitter prohibits political advertising, and Facebook allows
Since November, there will no longer be political advertising on Twitter. Oon Facebook, political advertising will be 0.5% of 2020 revenue.
Dorsey wrote about his decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter all over the world. Twitter CEO believes a political message should be earned, not bought.
Twitter was supported by Democrat spokesman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, while Trump campaign leader Brad Parskal called it a very stupid decision.
Twitter makes little money on political advertising. During the midterm elections of 2018, revenue from such advertising amounted to $3 million, i.e. 0,1%
Facebook CEO Zuckerberg has reinforced his policy of not checking facts on politicians' advertisements.
Facebook exceeded expectations and increased the number of users per month by 2% to 2.45 billion. The resource earned $66 billion over the year, so that next year it could earn $ 330-400 million on political advertising.
Instead of banning political advertising, Zuckerberg spoke in support of increasing transparency about how advertising looks, how much is spent on it and where it is placed.
The ban on political advertising comes into force on November 22, and additional information on politics will appear on November 15. Dorsey emphasized that some political announcements, such as in support of voter registration, would be an exception.
Photo Credit: TechCrunch
Australia wants to use facial recognition on porn users
The Australian government has proposed using technology to verify the age of pornography users.
The Australian Department of Home Affairs proposes to use the document and face verification service not only to fight again cybercrime and identity theft but also to verify the age of users during registration on pornographic and gambling sites.
About 44% of children 9-16 years old claim to have seen sexual content on the Internet.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has announced an investigation into whether age verification measures were adequate when it comes to prohibiting children from accessing adult sites.
A similar program was implemented by the UK government at the end of 2017. The Digital Economy Act has been developed to limit underage users' access to porn sites.
In the UK, the plan was implemented through passport and credit information verification. As an alternative, it was also recommended to obtain an access card for Internet pornography, which users had to buy at local stores.
After widespread complaints, ridicule and delays, the plan was scrapped.
Photo credit: Tech.Co
Aviatrix raised $40M to manage multiple clouds
Investments from CRV came in the C-round of financing series.
Aviatrix is a network security provider for multi-cloud enterprises.
The new capital will be used to scale the startup’s operations in sales, channels, customer support, marketing, and product development.
The startup is developing open-source cloud and border management solutions based on Amazon web services, Google cloud platform, Microsoft Azure and Oracle cloud infrastructure, including transit network, network segmentation, firewall integration, SAML VPN, access to the cloud, filtering, encryption and much more.
Connection states and delay indicators are compared in the management console without code and based on the browser, as well as alerts and displays.
Using AVX Controller Aviatrix, administrators can define tags for specific network ranges and apply security rules and firewall filters based on these tags. Also, they can monitor outbound traffic from the VPC using output filtering and log security policy events in third-party tools such as Splunk, SumoLogic, Syslog, ELK, and Datadog. They can also use Aviatrix troubleshooting tools to automatically detect connectivity problems and generate real-time performance reports.
By some estimates, the multi-cloud management market will grow to $ 7.89 billion by the end of 2024.
Photo credit: Entrepreneur — VentureBeat
Firedome attracted $10M to prevent IoT devices hacking
Total investment has reached $14.5M.
A-Series funding round was held by Two Sigma Ventures, World Trade Ventures, and Silvertech Ventures.
Firedome is a startup from Tel Aviv and New York. It develops cybersecurity solutions. Initially, the product was aimed at ensuring the security of smart home devices.
According to Cisco, billions of devices are expected to be connected to the Internet by 2030 and will become very vulnerable to intrusion and data theft. From 2016 to 2017, Symantec tracked a 600 percent increase in targeted attacks on IoT products.
Firedome’s Endpoint Protection package is designed for a range of different cyber attacks:
denial of service;
intercepting the fleet before remote access;
On the toolbar, response teams can see mapped analytics and analytic data in real-time, as well as deploy zero-day attacks. They can also combine threats and launch remedial actions as needed, detect security alerts, device processes and locations, and update statuses.
The software agent installed on each IoT device is designed to constantly monitor activity and detect anomalies. Due to using a heuristic, reputation, and signature scans along with network traffic checks sent by the AI cloud agent, it is possible to quickly respond to detected attacks and eliminate at least some of them.
Markets and Markets forecasts that the IoT security segment capitalization will reach $35.2 billion by 2023.
Photo credit: Entrepreneur — VentureBeat
Mobile video streaming platform Quibi sold out all ads spots for $ 150M a year before release
This happened even before the official launch which is planned in April 2020.
The streaming service is for mobile devices only.
Advertisers such as Discover, General Mills, T-Mobile, Taco Bell, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, ABInBev, Walmart, Progressive, and Google joined Quibi.
The concept of the service is to provide users with high-quality content, which is presented in the form of short commercials — “quick bites” — and is available for viewing regardless of how you hold the phone.
Advertisers are offered to pre-roll for 6, 10, or 15 seconds before Quibi content streams.
And unlike YouTube, where some ads may be skipped in a few seconds or completely deleted by subscription, Quibi ads will not have a skip button.
Quibi will also experiment with other innovative ad formats.
Besides, Quibi solves one of the problems advertisers face on YouTube when brand messages often run into extremist content. YouTube tried to solve the problem with better control, which led to brands sometimes leaving the hosting.
Therefore, it is not surprising that companies are ready to help promote a potential competitor to YouTube.
In June, Quibi announced that it had already got $ 100 million for ad sales. But even if Quibi had not been sold out, it would still be ready to launch, as an investment of $ 1 billion was received.
Photo Credit: TechCrunch
Databricks attracted $400M
The company's valuation has boosted to $6,2B.
Databricks is a San-Francisco based startup that provides large businesses with tools for analyses, estimation, and manipulation of big databases. The company’s customer list contains brands such as Hotels.com, HP, Shell Energy, Showtime, Riot Games, Zeiss, Cisco, etc.
Databricks is present in the segments of advertising, technology, energy, government, financial services, healthcare, games, science, media, and retail. With the funds attracted the startup is going to increase the number of developers in Amsterdam over the next three years. Other short-term plans include strengthening the company’s operations in the Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America.
The company mainly develops web tools for organizing deep machine learning and graphics processing. Databricks works with over 100 Spark operators to transform and manipulate data and provides automated cluster management and virtual laptops for real-time collaboration programming.
Databricks Data Science workspaces provide environments for running analytic processes and managing machine learning models, complemented by interactive notebooks that support several languages, including R, Python, Scala, Java, and SQL, as well as libraries and environments such as Conda, XGBoost, Google TensorFlow, Keras.
The platform supports such options as co-authorship, commenting and automatic version control, as well as real-time alerts and audit logs for troubleshooting. They can automatically start machine learning pipelines or transfer data to Tableau, Looker, PowerBI, RStudio, SnowFlake, and other platforms.
According to the Market Research Future report, the big data analytics market will be valued at $375 billion by 2023.
Photo credit: Entrepreneur — VentureBeat
Signal AI raised $ 25 million for reputation management automation
The company has raised $ 43 million in total.
Series C financing was led by Redline Capital with the participation of MMC Ventures, GMG Ventures, and Hearst Ventures.
Signal AI is a New York-based startup that uses AI to automate business intelligence tasks and monitor media.
Due to the investment received, Signal AI will be able to accelerate its work scaling in the United States and the Asia-Pacific region.
Signal AI’s revenue grew by 130%, and its customer base doubled due to FleishmanHillard, Deloitte, SSE, Balderton Capital, Amadeus, Thomas Cook Group, White Star Capital, Quilter, TalkTalk, HSBC, and MSL Group.
The results of using Signal AI technology give company leaders absolute clarity about what is happening outside their organization and help them make informed decisions.
Signal AI uses the following machine learning techniques:
natural language processing;
classification of topics, entity recognition, mood analysis; detection of quotes and anomalies;
data visualization for displaying customer demand data;
recognition and marking of objects such as people, places, organizations, companies, and topics (for example, a variety of jobs);
the use of visualization and analysis in real-time to compare the results in various maps, tables, graphs, reports.
Signal AI is used by more than 5 million sources in more than 80 languages daily.
More than 150 employees currently work for Signal AI in offices in London, New York, and Hong Kong.
Photo credit: Entrepreneur — VentureBeat
Ukrainian startup Grammarly Raised $ 90 Million
The startup is estimated at over $ 1 billion. In total, Grammarly has already raised $ 200 million of investments.
The round was led by General Catalyst, which had also participated in the previous round and put $ 110 million.
Grammarly is a Ukrainian tech company that uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to check the spelling. The number of users is about 20 million people.
Grammarly will use the funds received to scale its product and to make it more accessible wherever there is written communication in English.
By the way, the startup also learns the tone detector which is a more complex aspect of language and communication. So, users will get practical recommendations regarding tone adaptation.
It is also planned to expand the office in Kyiv, which will provide jobs for another 130 people.
Photo credit: Pinterest
LinkedIn launches new feature organizing offline meetings
The Events tool will appear in English speaking countries on October 17th.
The feature is currently free for New York and San Francisco and allows users to schedule, announce, and invite people to meetings in real life.
In the menu bar Events, you can create an event yourself, invite others, publish links to sites selling tickets and other detailed information.
LinkedIn commits to use AI to detect fake news and unscrupulous participants who will undergo manual moderation.
Photo Credit: TechCrunch
VC Spearhead will teach startup founders how to be business angels
According to the plan, each founder will be allotted $1 million for investments.
Spearhead Venture Fund is going to raise $ 100 million for this project. The founders of startups in which the fund has already invested will be able to try themselves as business angels and invest 15% of the allotted money in other projects. Another 5% is an investment in the same project on behalf of Spearhead.
Therefore, the fund train startup founders on how to be business angels. It is expected that startups as ecosystem participants better understand the tech industry and the process of business establishing, so they can be the greatest business angels. To date, 35 company founders have completed the program.
Photo Credit: TechCrunch
Indian payment startup Paytm received $ 2billion from investors
By 2023, the entire Indian digital payment market will be valued at $ 1 trillion.
According to Bloomberg, the Indian digital payment company Paytm is close to agreeing to attract new investments worth $ 2 billion from Alibaba Ant Financial and the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group.
It means Paytm’s valuation is around $ 16 billion.
India has become FinTech’s fastest-growing market ahead of China. It is expected that in 2023 the digital payment market in the country will cost about $ 1 trillion even though it is still in its infancy compared with the Chinese industry at $ 5 trillion.
Besides, according to a CB Insights report, India has surpassed China as Asia’s largest technology investment recipient.
Photo credit: technode
SoftBank can acquire WeWork for less than $ 10 billion
Back in January, WeWork was valued at $ 47 billion.
WeWork office leasing company had inflated the valuation before entering the IPO, but due to scandals connected with the leader and business model, the placement was postponed, and the valuation decreased almost 5 times.
The co-founder Adam Neumann resigned last month, and new board members postponed their IPOs, laid off thousands of employees, sold the company’s private jet, and shut down WeGrow, an educational department of WeWork.
The SoftBank financing agreement will give the Japanese company, which is the WeWork’s largest investor, control over the launch of office rent.
Recall that on the eve of the IPO, it turned out that Adam Neumann resold the buildings under construction to his company, while leading a luxurious lifestyle with his wife. According to The Financial Times, WeWork may run out of money by the end of November.
Photo credit: Business Insider
CEO Seedstars entered the top 50 most influential women in Europe in the field of startups and venture capital
Alisée de Tonnac is a Swiss entrepreneur, co-founder, and CEO of Seedstars World, a global startup competition covering over 65 emerging markets.
According to EU-Startups, Alisée de Tonnac entered the top 50 most influential women from the field of startups and venture investments. Initially, there were 250 potential candidates in the list.
Alisée de Tonnac also entered the Social Entrepreneur Forbes 30 under 30, 29 influential women from Refinery29, and became a Wired UK Innovation Fellow.
Alisée de Tonnac was born in France and spent most of her life abroad in Singapore, California, Italy and Switzerland, Brazil, and Cambodia. She graduated from Lausanne Business School and received a master’s degree in international management from the University of Bocconi (Italy) with honors.
Alisée de Tonnac is the CEO of Seedstars World, an international startup competition, and co-founder of Seedstars, which helps grow startup ecosystems in emerging markets.
Photo credit: EU-startups
Clari raised $60 million for tools optimizing AI sales
The total value of the company has increased to $135 million.
Clari develops a comprehensive platform for analytics and forecasting sales. The startup raised $60 million in the D-series under the leadership of Sapphire Ventures.
The startup provides users with a set of tools that aim to increase productivity and reduce customer outflow by analyzing small signals from dozens of different sources. In this way, Clari can automatically identify transaction risks, integrate sales and marketing data from email services, calendars, CRM and messengers.
If compare Clari to competitors, its' main advantage is the ability to predict financial performance based on long-term and short-term historical patterns.
Startup customers are located in 170 countries. Qualtrics, Lenovo, Adobe, Dropbox, Zoom, Medallia, Datadog, Okta, etc. are among them.
Photo credit: Entrepreneur — VentureBeat
AI with X-ray vision like Superman has was developed in MIT
This computer vision recognizes what a person is doing undercover or in the dark.
The researchers created artificial intelligence, which was trained based on a video in normal lighting and the results of radio scanning of the same situations. Images taught AI to recognize objects including humans. Radio emission, able to pass through walls and reflect from a person, gave information about objects hidden in the dark or behind an obstacle. Radio waves have reflection noises from other objects that do not allow using this method alone for computer vision. Therefore, combining two types of recordings in the same situations AI learned to understand the position of a person in the dark, beyond the barriers, and when colors merge.
Unfortunately, the radio waves will not allow you to recognize facial features, however, this solution can already be considered the first step to x-ray vision as Superman has.
Photo credit: technologyreview.com
Belarusian startup Ferret Video spots for GoTech finals
GoTech is one of the largest startup competitions in Eastern Europe.
Ferret Video got in the list of the 15 finalists, a total of 700 applications were submitted.
Finalists enabled to:
Present their projects at an industry pitch session or on the main stage of GoTech Arena;
Schedule meetings with foundations and corporations in the Deal Room;
Compete for prizes and investors' attention;
Be nominated by partners or the GoTech Innovation team and receive tickets to the Startup category forum for free.
Ferret Video is a Belarusian startup that offers customers interactive videos for increasing sales, CTR & VTR. This product turns a real-time video into an interactive game. For example, you can stop such videos and answer questions directly while playing the video, and the owner of the video will see all the answers statistics.
Recall that at the end of September Ferret Video took third place in the Seedstars Minsk 2019 startup competition organized by The Heroes Media.
Photo credit: Ferret Video
Cannabis medical startup raised € 7 million
A Berlin-based startup Demecan has completed a €7 million A-series funding round to expand medical cannabis production and wholesale in Germany.
Demecan is the only German company authorized to produce medical hemp in Germany. The green light was given by the German Federal Institute for Medicines and Medical Devices (BfArM). This means that Demecan will be able to produce at least 2,400 kg of dried cannabis over the next four years.
Demecan is also an importer and wholesaler of medical cannabis. Since the German government allowed the plant to be prescribed for therapeutic purposes in 2017, demand exceeded supply.
Germany currently represents the third largest medical cannabis market in the world and is gradually expanding.
Photo Credit: TechCrunch
NASA shares data about the moon
First of all, it is shared with artists and creators of computer graphics.
NASA has released the CGI Moon Kit. It is a useful dataset that includes images and depth data, making it easy to create a detailed 3D map of the moon.
The CGI Moon Kit is shipped from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, where scientific visualization expert Ernie Wright found that the data he collected for other purposes was popular with 3D artists.
The data came from two instruments in the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbit (LRO). It is a spacecraft that has been moving around the Moon for more than ten years taking photos and measurements all the time. LRO has a high-quality camera on its board which is used to build a precise map of the moon’s surface. The camera can capture only a small part at a time, but it does this all the time and has already covered almost the entire visible area of the moon. Yet some shadow areas cannot be displayed even if passed thousands of times.
To recreate the surface of the moon, making photos is not enough, data on the topology of its surface is also needed. Such data were collected by the LRO laser altimeter.
The CGI Moon Kit is free to download, all resources are available with several options.
Photo Credit: TechCrunch
Bird Scooter Sharing Raised $275 Million
After D-round, the company's value raised to $2.5 billion.
Bird is the fastest company to hit $ 1 billion in a year. In addition to sharing services they offer:
Bird Cruiser. It is a miniature motorcycle with a soft seat, where 2 riders can seat.
Bird Two. It is a $1299 electronic scooter designed with experts leading in the industry of autonomous work.
Both are provided on a monthly rental basis. For $25, Bird offers an unlimited number of trips to customers in particular cities.
One trip will cost $1 per rental plus a fee for every minute of 15-20 cents depending on the city. After the trip, the wheels lock and workers collect and charge the scooters.
Еhe startup managed to expand its network of scooters to more than 120 cities and provide more than 10 million trips in two years since it got funds. But Bird has many competitors, for example, the main competitor is Lime, which has raised $765 million.
CDPQ and Sequoia together contributed $275 million. The startup was funded by the following companies: Accel and B Capital, CRV, Sound Ventures, Greycroft, Craft Ventures, Index Ventures, Valor, Goldcrest Capital.
Photo credit: Entrepreneur — VentureBeat
MyMilk Labs launches home sensor for breast milk analyses
It will provide women with information about the composition of breast milk and what to do about it.
Breast milk does not always come naturally, it is a difficult and complicated process. Also, it changes in the first days and weeks after birth passing from colostrum to mature milk. This often makes parents worry about whether their children get enough nutrition.
MyMilk Labs provides nursing mothers with more information on the composition of milk with the help of Mylee. It is a sensor that scans a few drops of breast milk. All data is displayed in the mobile application.
Mylee scans the electrochemical properties of milk and then compares them with data based on MyMilk Labs studies to calculate where the sample is located in the continuum. The device then informs the mothers whether their milk is deposited or expanded from the birth of the baby.
The first version of the device is currently in beta testing with breastfeeding consultants who used it to scan milk samples from 500 mothers.
MyMilk Labs already has kits for testing breast milk at home. This is a power panel that gives information:
On the content of vitamins B6, B12 and A in milk;
About the percentage of calories and fat;
Nutritional recommendations for mothers.
Another set recognizes the cause of chest pain which is a frequent complaint of nursing mothers. It checks milk for bacterial or fungal infections and advises antibiotics.
Photo Credit: MyMilk
SenSat raised $10 million to develop AI-friendly virtual copies of territories
The money was raised from Chinese technical titan Tencent and Russian Sistema Venture Capital in A-round.
SenSat is a London-based startup specializing in geospatial technology and digitizing real-world locations for infrastructure projects. It helps construction, mining, energy, and other companies to create so-called digital twins of places that fit their projects.
In other words, SenSat transfers the real world into a machine-friendly version suitable for teaching AI systems.
SenSat Mapp cloud platform is used to recreate the real world in digital form by receiving all data sets that are linked through their location:
real-time data generated by wearable devices;
physical sensors connected to ground resources;
3D image data from satellites, lidars, and drones.
As a result, companies can at any time gain access to a virtual dynamic version of a specific location like a construction site and to everything that happens there.
Photo credit: Entrepreneur — VentureBeat
Salesforce Introduced Cloud to prevent climate change
The new platform is called the Sustainability Cloud. It is designed to help enterprises take action to tackle climate change.
The Salesforce Sustainability Cloud is a product for enterprises which controls carbon metering. It will generally accelerate carbon neutrality. In other words, this will allow companies to fully understand their environmental impact. The launch is scheduled for December 2019.
Salesforce argues that the business world has a significant responsibility to tackle climate change, and trends support this view. A survey of executives of large companies showed that they called climate change the main risk for the growth of their business.
Salesforce is one of the largest companies in the field of e-commerce (150,000 customers worldwide), which owns the CRM platform of the same name (20% of the market).
Photo credit: Tech.Co
Robert De Niro is young again due to de-aging technology
AI technology will make the famous actor back to his 20 years in the movie “The Irishman”. The movie tells the story of gangsters and is based on real events. The premiere is set on November 1 and the launch on Netflix is scheduled for November 27th.
The movie tells about the hit man Frank Sheeran, who will be played by De Niro. In the film, the hero is shown at the age of 20 when Sheeran was involved in Europe during the Second World War. Robert De Niro will go through all the life events with his character. Viewers will see Sheeran in his 20s, 40s, 60s, and 80s.
The classic cinematic CGI combined with artificial intelligence similar to that used in creating deepfake videos based on early images of the young De Niro will de-age him in the movie “The Irishman”. According to the actor, for this purpose special points were applied to his face to fix facial expressions.
The movie has an amazing cast: Al Pacino, Anna Paken, Joe Sands, Jesse Plemons, Harvey Keitel, and Ray Romano. “The Irishman” is directed by Martin Scorsese.
Photo credit: BGR
Gatsby raised $ 15 million websites and applications development
Gatsby is a California-based open source website developer and Progressive Web App generator. It received $15 million in A-Series funding under the CRV's leadirship.
Gatsby’s total revenue rose to $20 million after the initial round of $3.8 million in May, 2018. The startap is used by hundreds of brends like IBM, PayPal, Nike, Harry’s, Fabric, Braun, Ideo, Airbnb, and Impossible Foods.
Gatsby co-founder and CEO Kyle Matthews claims that 1% of the 10,000 websites are currently created using this technology.
React. It is the user interface development library maintained by Facebook and the developer community.
Webpack. It is a batch module that converts resources such as HTML, CSS, and images.
Gatsby generates sites in the form of static files that pre-select resources to reduce page load time, and integrates with more than 120 backends and 1200 plug-ins in 15 leading CMSs (content management systems).
A reliable plug-in mechanism allows developers to extract data directly from SaaS (software as a service) platforms, APIs, databases, file systems, and much more. Besides, Gatsby provides sites with pre-configured templates for various use cases, as well as a curated list of community projects and learning resources such as podcasts and tutorials.
Gatsby offers its cloud service Gatsby Preview, which allows teams to create web applications and websites and see real-time changes. To do this, it generates a shared temporary URL for immediate and discreet viewing of work in progress in Contentful, Sanity, Dato, ContentStack, and Drupal. This costs $50 per month for one site ($600 per year).
By the way, TheHeroes website is also written in Gatsby.
Facebook purchased CTRL-labs startup which creates a bracelet for digitizing movements and brain signals
Facebook does not disclose how much they paid for the startup. But Bloomberg estimates the deal is between $ 0.5–1 billion.
CTRL-labs is a New York-based startup that creates a device that translates the wearer’s motion and nerve impulses into digital signals. Previously, the project attracted $67 million of investment. Startup investors include GV, Lux Capital, Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Spark Capital.
Facebook talked a lot about working on a non-invasive device for brain input. Such device reads a person’s mind and writes a text). CTRL-labs will join the Facebook Reality Labs team, where it is planned to create neural reading technology and its large-scale and rapid implementation in consumer products.
CTRL-labs technology is focused not so much on text input as on muscle movement, in particular, arm movement. The startup’s progress has recently been reflected in a device for developers that connects several types of sensors to accurately determine the position of the user’s hands. The company has already talked about the use case of a device based on AR and VR.
Photo Credit: TechCrunch
The females of the Seedstars community chooses evo wellness club
The female half of the startups qualified for the final of Seedstars Minsk 2019 were provided with the premium services by evo wellness club which also was the partner of the event.
Each of the guests received a welcome box with branded bracelets, t-shirts, and probes of cosmetics by Comfort Zone and Davinas. Also, all guests underwent a Functional workout group and then relaxed at the Stretching & Myofascial release.
According to the guests, evo wellness club is an ideal place where you can restart your body, preparing it for the workweek or the final of the large international competition of startups, which was held on September 22. The comfortable aqua zone and gyms facilitate it like nothing else.
The startup that recognizes skin disease won Seedstars Minsk 2019
Skinive allows you to recognize more than 30 of the most common diseases.
On September 22, in the center of Atlant-M Britain, the final of the Belarusian stage of Seedstars Global was held. 11 startups passed public pitching. The jury chose Skinive (Wise AI) as the winner. The start-up has already created B2B and B2 °C solutions, which need one photo of a single mole or pigment spot to determine whether there is a sign of skin disease.
The winner got the grant for cloud solutions from A1, 10 hours of legal advice from Borovtsov & Salei, club cards from Evo Wellness, certificates from SPA Riviera and a free office layout from Happy Office. Wise AI will represent Belarus at the Seedstars regional summit in Nur Sultan.
10 startups reached the final of Seedstars Minsk 2019
The public pitching in front of 200 leaders of Belarusian companies will take place on September, 22 at the Land Rover Center.
31 startups went through training sessions on September, 20 of them were ready for investments and scaling. Here is the list of finalists:
A winner will be determined during the public pitching. The winner will represent Belarus at the regional summit in Nur Sultan. The winners of the Minsk stage will also receive gifts from partners like a grant for cloud solutions from A1 and many more other prizes.
Seedstars has chosen 31 best startups in Belarus
A1 Belarus, Land Rover, EVO welness club, SPA Riviera, Borovtsov & Salei Law Firm, Happy Office, and Business Incubator became the partners of the Belarusian stage of the competition.
More than 80 projects had applied for the competition. This number is one of the best indicators in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Representatives of the Swiss organizing company Seedstars Global have chosen 31 projects with the greatest prospects of growing into large businesses in the coming years.
On September 22, a public defense of the 10 most prepared startups and an award will take place in a festive atmosphere. You can register as a guest here.
Please note: the number of places is limited.
Seedstars Global is an international startup competition with the main prize of $ 500,000 of funding. The remaining participants gain access to the knowledge base, mentors and investors, which allow accelerating the development of the project.
FarmWise agrobot raised $ 14.5 million
FarmWise gets funding to continue developing its autonomous weeding robot.
These robots look like gigantic logging machines but are actually tools that scan the soil for invasive weeds in crops and gently dig them out.
Only three years have passed from the idea to market readiness. One FarmWise robot can weed crops every day to feed a medium-sized city with a population of about 400 thousand people.
Currently, the company is increasing the scale of application of the patented technology for plant detection as well as improving it. This will help farmers to work with many agricultural crops.
Photo Credit: TechCrunch
Greenlight raised $ 54 million to teach children on financial literacy
Greenlight startup from Atlanta provides a MasterCard debit card for children from 13 years old.
Today Greenlight has announced that $ 54 million were raised in the B-Series investment led by Drive Capital with the participation of JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, TTV Capital, Live Oak Bank, and Relay Ventures.
The startup aims to help children learn financial literacy and get prepared for a healthy financial future. The experience of a child with a card from Greenlight begins with a companion mobile application for Android and iOS. Children can track their expenses, set savings goals, request cash and receive alerts when a parent sends money. They cannot spend money that they do not have.
Parents can manage the card and application from their smartphones, transfer money to their child’s card, and also view the journal of all expenses, savings, donations, and earnings for the current day.
Parents can plan and manage weekly or one-time rewards to encourage children to perform household chores or something else. Both parents and their children can disable the debit card from the application at any time at their discretion.
Photo credits: VentureBeat
Robot Merchandiser by Simbe Robotics Raised $ 26 Million
Autonomous robots will save time for store owners by quickly and accurately inventorying goods on shelves.
Simbe Robotics was founded in 2015 to change the retail industry with the help of robots. The robot machine named Tally has already traveled over 40,000 kilometers in such stores as Schnuck Markets, Giant Eagle, Decathlon Sporting Goods, and Groupe Casino.
Simbe Robotics has now raised $ 26 million in A-series investments. Venrock, Activant Capital, and Valo Ventures have received their share. According to the agreement, SoftBank Robotics America will help Simbe increase the production of Tally to 1,000 units over the next two years.
Simbe’s CEO says the new funds will be spent on business maintaining, including research and development, as well as expanding the design, sales, marketing, and successful customer service teams.
Photo credit: VentureBeat
Color-changing inks created
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Laboratory of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL) have created inks that change color and pattern by reacting to sources of ultraviolet radiation and light.
The ink is called PhotoChromeleon and consists of a mixture of photochromic dyes that can be sprayed or applied to any surface. The tests were carried out on a car, a case for a phone, shoes and a toy chameleon. The process is completely reversible and can be repeated an unlimited number of times.
The project is based on the previous MIT ColorMod project, which used a 3D printer for similar purposes. The inventors were disappointed the results were limited in terms of color schemes and resolution. And PhotoChromeleon allows you to create much more complex designs from zebra skin patterns to colorful flames.
The project is at the verification stage now, but it has already aroused interest among the auto giant Ford.
Photo credit: Digital Trends
Belarusian blogger won NextUp Youtube 2019
ITBeard entered 12 best bloggers that were selected from the 675 most promising bloggers from post-Soviet countries.
YouTube’s NextUp program started following up on talented video bloggers in 2011. New promising authors were selected this season. Bloggers from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan whos channels have from 10 to 100 thousand subscribers submitted applications to participate in the competition.
The main selection criteria were:
production training potential;
capability to develop further on YouTube;
compliance with the core values of the video hosting.
ITBeard is a channel from Belarus which tells about the life of IT-specialists from the inside and help those who wish to swell IT experts ranks.
All NextUp 2019 finalists will spend 5 days learning intensively with a professional film crew, YouTube team experts, invited speakers and top bloggers. Over 8 years, more than 500 authors in 14 countries have completed a similar training course from YouTube.
McDonald's aims to replace cashiers with artificial intelligence
Voice dialogue platform technology for a complex, multilingual, multi-level and multi-element conversational order Apprente will be used for this purpose.
Apprente technology is already being tested in some restaurants. McDonald’s hopes AI paves the way for faster, easier, more accurate order picking at McDrive.
McDonald’s is actively using technologies to increase the income. The company recently invested in Plexure mobile app provider to develop its global app.
Earlier this year a chain of restaurants also acquired Dynamic Yield, an Israeli startup specializing in machine learning that uses decision technology in electronic menus. So, the food you choose can automatically change depending on several factors and focus on cold drinks in hot weather or breakfast in the morning. At rush hour, menus can put forward foods that can be cooked faster thereby easing the work of kitchens.
Dynamic Yield technology is currently deployed in more than 8,000 McDonald’s restaurants throughout the United States. It is planned to be implemented almost everywhere by the end of the year.
Photo credit: Digital Trends
Auto insurance startup Root Insurance estimated at $ 3.65 billion
This figure was achieved after attracting $ 350 million in the E-round.
Startup Root Insurance uses drivers' smartphones to assess their driving style and behavior on the road at specific moments. A driver can choose an insurance policy based on this data. Conscientious drivers save up to 50% on car insurance compared to traditional insurance.
Root Insurance was founded in 2015. It has attracted $ 523 million in investment. This money will help the company expand into 29 US states and enter new markets.
In the first six months of 2019, Root paid more than $ 187 million in insurance premiums, an increase of 824% over the same period in 2018.
Photo Credit: TechCrunch
Hacker startup HackerOne attracted $ 110 million of investments
The company attracted $ 36.4 million in D-Series investments. It has raised $ 110 million in total up to date.
The transaction was carried out by Valor Equity Partners, as well as earlier investors like Benchmark, New Enterprise Associates, Dragoneer Investment Group, and EQT Ventures.
HackerOne is an intermediary between hackers and companies interested in testing their online vulnerabilities. The startup created a bug bounty platform connecting business and security researchers. HackerOne is one of the first companies which embrace and explore hackers as part of its business model.
HackerOne works with more than 1,500 customers including Google, Intel, Airbnb, Alibaba, General Motors, the US Department of Defense, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter, Slack, Adobe, and VKontakte. HackerOne also collaborates with Facebook and its partners on the Libra cryptocurrency project.
The company reports that six hackers on its platform earned $ 1 million each. One of them, a 19-year-old self-taught hacker from Argentina, reported 1670 unique vulnerabilities of Verizon Media, Twitter, WordPress, Automattic.
Private car rental service Getaround raised $200 mln
Getaround enters the unicorns club with about $200 million of attracted investments and a PitchBook valuation of $1.7 billion.
Menlo Ventures, Toyota Motor Corporation, SoftBank and SOSV invested in the startup. Getaround has already raised more than $600 million in total.
Getaround is an online service that allows you to rent cars from private owners, and owners can rent cars out for a fee. The application was created in 2009. Initially, it worked only in America for a price of $5 per hour.
In 2018, the startup entered international markets: France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Belgium, and the UK, where it operates under the Drivy by Getaround brand, and in Norway under the Nabobil brand.
We recall that the startup has two main competitors — Turo and Maven. It is known that Turo has already attracted $437 million of investments.
Photo Credit: TechCrunch
Fashion Trend AI Startup Heuritech attracted $ 4.4 Million
The money came from venture capital funds Elaia and Serena, as well as Jimmy Choo CEO Pierre Denis and Coralie de Fontenay, the former CEO of Cartier France.
Artificial intelligence developed by the Paris-based Heuritech company scans and analyzes large volumes of images and text to understand trends as they appear, change, and disappear.
Since 2013 during the first three years, the startup was looking for ways for using the developed AI and then came across the fashion and luxury market. The company began to work closely with LVMH (the world leader in the luxury industry) and launched a product analytics platform in 2017. As the amount of data developing and processing grew, the startup had also created a platform for predicting trends. This had led them to customers such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Adidas.
Heuritech is a striking example of how AI penetrates a wide range of non-technical industries. Heuritech processes 3 million images and videos daily. It can identify 2,000 details in an image, including patterns, products, shapes, and colors. Developers and marketers get this data and create decisions and predictions about how far a trend can go and who will perceive it.
The Belarusian startup Oyper also created similar artificial intelligence, which recognizes clothes in photos or videos and finds them in online stores. We had a great conversation with the co-founder of this startup on the topic of fashion e-commerce.
A robot snake crawling through the brain blood vessels is created
A robot snake developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will save humanity from strokes.
A magnetically controlled filamentous robot is designed to slide along the complex vascular network of the human brain. It has a nickel-titanium alloy in the center, which is both flexible and resilient. The wire is coated with rubber paste and acts like a magnet.
The institute team showed how the robot reaches a blood clot guided by a large magnet. It is similar to passing the thread through the needle eye.
The aim was to create a new tool that would deliver clot-reducing drugs to brains of patients suffering from aneurysms or strokes. The robot also reduces surgeons overloading, as well as their interaction with the x-ray machine during fluoroscopy.
“Stroke is the number five cause of death and the main cause of disability in the United States, ” said MIT professor of engineering Xuanhe Zhao. “If an acute stroke is treated within the first 90 minutes, patient survival may increase significantly. If we could develop a device to reverse the blockage of blood vessels during this "golden hour", we could avoid permanent brain damage. "
Video credits: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Payment bracelets appeared in Belarus
Priorbank offers its customers such gadgets now.
The bracelet contains a lessened non-personalized Visa Classic card for contactless payments. It let you pay for purchases, bills in cafes, shops, pharmacies or travel by subway with one touch. Parents can make a bracelet for children.
To make the transactions reliable and safe the bank will use SMS to notify about each operation. Purchases of up to 80 rubles occur instantly and without the additional introduction of a PIN code.
The price of bracelets is 40 rubles.
To purchase a bracelet, you have to leave a request on the bank’s website, choose a color (black, yellow, light green or turquoise) and the nearest bank branch, where you will take it away.
Alibaba founder: “People have to work three days a week, four hours a day”
Artificial intelligence will help them in this.
Co-founder of Alibaba Jack Ma speaking at the World Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Shanghai on the same stage with Elon Musk, concluded: “People will have more time to enjoy what they are humans thanks to artificial intelligence.”
Musk was invited as the creator of OpenAI, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the existential risks of AI. He claims that computers will surpass people "in every way."
Ma’s statement is entirely different from his concept of working from 9 am to 9 pm 6 days a week named “996”. Jack Ma called people who work a lot “blessed”. Among the “blessed” is Elon Musk, who claims to work three times the average workweek.
Photo credit: insights.dice.com
Virus in CamScanner for Android have been detected: remove it immediately
The app has been downloaded over 100 million times.
Google Play along with the Apple App Store are some of the largest trusted places to download free apps. However, the malicious application has hit stores, and this is a serious cyber security issue.
CamScanner started as a completely safe, legal and useful application for scanning documents and creating PDF files using OCR (Optical Character Recognition). “The latest versions of the application came with an advertising library containing a malicious module, ” explains Kaspersky, the head of cybersecurity of the company, whose researchers discovered fraud.
Kaspersky defines this module as Trojan-Dropper.AndroidOS.Necro.n., Which extracts and launches a virus from an encrypted file included in the application’s resources. An infected device can serve as crackers to display ads or even get paid subscriptions, which means stealing money from a mobile device.
Probably, the malicious module was launched recently by unscrupulous advertising partners. The application was removed from Google Play immediately after detection.
Photo credit: Forbes
Senior students will be helped to become Financial Analysts
It is a part of the “Bison Capital”, IPM Business School and the Economic Research Center BEROC collaborative project.
The educational project is called the League of Analysts. It aims to prepare students of profile specializations to work as an investment or
The partners of the educational project are BEROC and IPM Business School, they provided the educational basis to hold classes. Program is
designed for 7 months and includes disciplines such as financial accounting and analysis, the basics of corporate finance and company valuation, financial modeling and many other disciplines.
The training format combines lectures, homework, master classes
Zubr Capital managers and personally Oleg Khusaenov, case championships, business simulations, and thesis project. Program participants will have the opportunity to look at the real business from the inside, chat with top managers of portfolio companies "Bison Capital".
Students of the last and penultimate years of specialized universities can apply for training courses (economic and mathematical specialties Belarusian universities). Personal qualities like leadership, active life position, consistency, analytical skills, thinking outside the box and openness to new knowledge and technologies are also important. Upon selection, the priority will be given to students with knowledge of the English language.
You can apply for training on the website: https://liga.zubrcapital.by/
Admission is carried out on a competitive basis on the results of the interview and performance of test tasks.
New head of NASA: “Pluto is a planet again”
Jim Bridenstine, the head of NASA, said that Pluto could again be considered a planet. This statement is based on the knowledge gained during his high school years.
The International Astronomical Union in 2006 declared Pluto a dwarf planet. Most astronomers who voted for this proposal decided that Pluto and at least 44 other celestial bodies of a similar size located next to our solar system are dwarf planets.
However, according to the newly-made head of NASA, this is not so. Jim Bridenstine is a politician without a degree, a former skeptic about climate change and a current critic of government spending on the climate crisis, a fighter for privatization and space exploration. He was personally appointed to this position by Donald Trump.
Photo credit: Science Friday
AI-facial recognition startup Megvii goes to the Hong Kong exchange
The Chinese unicorn aims to raise from $ 500 million up to $ 1 billion.
Megvii investors include Alibaba, Ant Financial, and Bank of China. As part of the D-series, funding was collected for $ 750 million, which led to a startup valuation of more than $ 4 billion.
Megvii Technology is a startup that, with the help of artificial intelligence, created the Face ++ facial recognition program. The company was founded by three graduates of Tsinghua University in 2011, and is now one of the leading Chinese startups on artificial intelligence, along with competitors SenseTime and Yitu.
Megvii’s decision to list publicly traded companies listed on the stock exchange came amid recession and political unrest in Hong Kong itself. These factors led to the Hang Seng benchmark index decrease in the value, and Alibaba delayed access to the local exchange until the political and economic situation became more favorable.
Megvii does not hide income and loss data. The company’s revenue grew from $ 95 million in 2016 to $ 20 billion in 2018, with an annual growth rate of about 359%. However, between 2016 and 2018, losses increased from $ 480 million to $ 47 billion, and in the first half of 2019, Megvii already lost $ 7.2 billion.
From a macroeconomic point of view, Megvii’s investment risks include restrictions and tariffs on Chinese exports to the United States as part of the ongoing trade war. Megvii is one of the Chinese technology companies that the US government can add to trade blacklists.
Audiobook publishers sued Audible Amazon for speech-to-text feature
It was the Association of American Publishers (AAP) who filed the lawsuit on copyright infringement by Audible.
Audible is Amazon’s largest digital audiobook maker in the world. Audible Captions uses machine learning to convert spoken language from audiobooks to text. The purpose of the function implementation is to allow children to see words while listening, like subtitles in films. The company was planning to launch in partnership with US public schools in September.
The lawsuit states that there are separate licenses for the distribution of regular and audiobooks. Audible acquired licenses for audiobooks, not for textual. In its defense, the company claimed that the text from the audiobooks will be created by artificial intelligence, therefore, it will be different from the printed copy. AAP, however, indicates the lack of permission for such an operation, compensation and quality control of grammar and spelling by copyright holders.
The plaintiffs include seven major publishers and AAP members — Chronicle Books, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster.
Photo credit: The Authors Guild
SpotHero raised $ 50 million to make unused parking spots “visible”
The total amount of funds raised amounted to $118 million.
The Chicago fleet of inventory and parking reservation SpotHero received $50 million in the D-series investment led by Macquarie Capital. Investors trust the company because SpotHero processed transactions for $ 500 million and entered into more than 900 partnership agreements and integrations with Google Assistant, WageWorks, Waze, Hertz, Car2Go, WeWork and Moovit, etc. during the year.
SpotHero was founded in 2011 to show drivers unused and somehow invisible parking spots online, and to reduce the need for building new parking lots in densely populated cities. It currently manages over 7,000 parking lots in 300 cities in the US and Canada and processes millions of orders every month through its website and app.
SpotHero garages are equipped with sensors that allow car operators to automatically book and pay for parking spots.
Software development suite and API HeroConnect simplifies payments and allows transport companies, car manufacturers, car-sharing services, and cities to share parking data.
The startup also took into account the trend of unmanned vehicles integration. In 2019, the company announced that more than 500 parking lots connected to it in Chicago were adapted to accommodate autonomous cars, trucks, and SUVs. The idea is that Uber, Lyft, Waymo and hundreds of other companies will rent spots from SpotHero as needed.
The company aims to process transactions worth $1 billion next year to increase the number of its engineers to 100.
Photo credit: Entrepreneur — VentureBeat.
YouTube will stop targeting ads to children: it will cost $50 million per year
Video hosting announced the cessation of showing ads in videos for kids according to a user's digital profile data.
YouTube had to make this decision: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating a possible violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Act (COPPA). But the platform will still collect personal information about kids, although monetizing of this data will be impossible.
The video will continue to show general ads that won’t be relevant to a child’s interests and browsing history. This will deprive YouTube of approximately $50 million per year.
This may upset those who earn eight-figure sums a year on YouTube. But the update will appeal to parents who worry about their children watching viral videos 50 times a day, helping others earn money.
YouTube aims to increase the time a user spends watching videos, and most often the algorithm achieves this by offering to watch violent videos. Therefore, in March 2019, the French Council of the Muslim Faith decided to sue the platform for its role in distributing videos that incite violence.
in January, YouTube announced the launch of "borderline content" which aimed at eliminating the emergence of various conspiracy theories. Video hosting also decided to prohibited comments on kids videos in February after discovering several aggressive comments on the site.
Photo credit: Tech.Co.
Robotic Food-delivery Startup Raised $40 Million
Although at that moment the delivery was established only in two American universities.
Robots have been delivering food to students at George Mason University and the University of Northern Arizona since 2019. Starship Technologies raised $40 million to expand its services on American university campuses.
The company from San Francisco was founded in 2014, and since then it has already attracted $ 85 million of investments. Today Starship distributes its robots at the University of Pittsburgh and announced the launch at Purdue University after Labor Day (first Monday of September).
Starship CEO Lex Bayer announced that the company will push it harder adding new universities in their clients' list every month until it reaches 100 in 2021. Starship currently has 250 robots, and each new college that collaborates with the company receives another 25-50 robots. It is expected that by the end of the year, the army of Starship will consist of 500 to 1000 robots.
The Starship team has spent 4 years to develop its autonomous driving technology, which is a smaller version of cars. Food delivery robots use sensors, cameras, and radar to navigate the route. Artificial intelligence and predefined locations help bots find out where they are. The Washington Command and Control Center controls robots and can intervene if one encounters a problem, such as being stuck at a construction site.
The cost of food delivery is fixed at $1.99. Starship claimed that since the launch 100,000 deliveries have occurred and about 563,270 kilometers have been covered.
Robotic delivery is now actively developing. Postmates food delivery company debuted in December 2018. Other companies in this area that have developed delivery robots such as Nuro, Kiwibot, and Marble also thrive.
Photo credit: Forbes
UiPath (RO) Raises $ 568 Million D-Round Investment
The Romanian unicorn which automates the work of white-collar workers with the help of robots is estimated at $ 7 billion now.
UiPath is one of Europe’s newest unicorns, based in the capital of Romania. The startup is a key player in the fast-growing industry of robotic process automation (RPA), which uses AI-bots to solve the frequently repeated tasks of the back office: the department of the company engaged in registration, registration, accounting of operations related to the company’s finances.
The company completed the Series-D investment round and raised $ 568 million. Investors expect UiPath to become the world leader in the AI field and value the company at $ 7 billion (in two years, the cost of a startup jumped by 6000% (!)).
UiPath was founded in 2015 based on DeskOver, a 10-year-old software outsourcing company. “Four years ago there were 10 of us in a small apartment. All we had was technology, and we did not know how to sell it, ”says Daniel Dines, CEO & co-founder of UiPath.
According to the Gartner consulting company, RPA revenue in 2018 grew by 63,1%, reaching $846 million and making it the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market. RPA software revenue is expected to reach $1.3 billion in 2019. According to Gartner, the five largest RPA providers control 47% of the market. And with a market share of 13,6% in 2018, UiPath is the leader in this segment.
Photo credit: Sifted
Robo-shorts prototype that makes walking and running easier is introduced
Researchers at Harvard University have developed an exosuit that enables a person to feel lighter by about 5.5-7.5 kg when walking or running.
The weight of exosuit is about 5 kilograms. Engines on the lower back join a man’s hips through a series of drive cables. The system is able to help the gluteus muscles keep their tone. The entire installation is powered by a battery mounted on the waist, which capacity is enough for passing a distance of about 8 kilometers.
Harvard development differs from similar prototypes in that it works in two modes, walking and running. When a person walks, the center of mass moves like an "inverted pendulum," while running makes him move like a "spring." The exosuit system adapts when changing the driving mode.
During testing scientists found that the amount of energy the body spends when walking and running was reduced by 9.3 and 4%, respectively, compared with running without “miracle shorts”.
This prototype has two peculiarities:
The suit is very bulky, especially in the lower back, where it limits the ability to carry a full-sized backpack.
The system is designed only for men and it is still difficult to adapt to individual body shapes and styles of movement.
Now system testing is conducted only in the laboratory, but scientists hope that in the future they will be able to evaluate the device in close to real conditions. Scientists are also developing a suit that weighs 40% less than the existing one. The team hopes to expand the approach to help industry workers performing “physically demanding tasks” as well as people with “walking disorders” and disabilities.
Photo: The Verge
Engineer.ai raised $ 30 million investment, but recently fraud was revealed
It turned out that there are cheap programmers from India who has been developing applications, not artificial intelligence, as the startup claimed.
Service Engineer.ai is a complex constructor that creates a description of the future mobile application for clients, and then the idea comes to life. Using advanced technologies helped the startup to attract investments, the developers said that some of the applications are now created using AI, and in the future, all applications will be developed in this way. In 2018, the founder of Engineer.ai, Sachin Dev Duggal, claimed that artificial intelligence named Natasha generated up to 82% of all code for a mobile application in an hour.
However, in 2019, The Wall Street Journal, referring to the company’s documentation and the testimonies of its former and current employees, accused Engineer.ai that instead of algorithms, the code for customers was written by ordinary developers. Representatives of the startup specified that the algorithms write about 60% of the code, the remainder is created by programmers from India. WSJ sources also say that Engineer.ai did not use AI to automate the creation of applications for more than a year. The development of such technology began only in the summer of 2019.
Engineer.ai uses AI to:
Recognize natural language queries.
Determine the timing of work & the price for customers.
Using a special decision tree, distribute tasks among developers.
The creation of code is the responsibility of programmers from third world countries. According to Engineer.ai developers, this is happening due to the lack of specialists with extensive experience in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence in the market. The search for highly qualified workers is ongoing.
During its existence, Engineer.ai raised almost 30 million investor dollars (Deepcore is a subsidiary of SoftBank, a venture firm Lakestar, even Facebook and Airbnb sponsored them at the beginning of the journey). Even though the secret became clear, investors remained with the company and were sympathetic to the fact that “the field of artificial intelligence development cannot progress very quickly so far”.
Mercedes plays pink noise in an accident to protect ears
The new PRE-SAFE ® Sound technology protects eardrums, which are also adversely affected by emergencies.
The technology is available for a wide range of Mercedes-Benz models from A- to S-Class and takes passenger safety to the next level.
When the car detects that a crash is unavoidable, PRE-SAFE ® Sound activates the Mercedes sound system and produces a short interference signal, the so-called pink noise. A sound of about 80 decibels is roughly equivalent to the noise level on the side of a busy road. This signal activates the reflex in ears, protecting the eardrum and reducing the impact of loud noise caused by the accident.
PRE-SAFE ® Sound causes the stapedius muscle (located in the middle ear) to contract, weakening the connection between the eardrum and the inner ear for a split second. This causes some sound pressure, which is reflected in the eardrum and is not transmitted completely to the inner ear. This helps reduce hearing damage caused by high acoustic pressure or loud noises.
Angels Band holds a pitch session for VR startups
Register by August, 20.
Angels Band, a famous Belarusian investors group, invites VR-related startups to take part in a specialized pitch session.
The event will be held on August 29 in Europe’s largest virtual reality park TELEPORT VR. It will be visited by more than 100 experienced businessmen, representatives of ambitious startups, popular media, and serious investors.
From 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. there will be a VR Pitch Session: 5 pitches for VR startups, selection within the competition and advice from mentors, experts in VR.
Co-founder of the leading developer of virtual reality products at 4iLab, Mikhail Yurchenko. Topic: “VR is in business! Application, cases, prospects. "
A representative of VRTECH, a leading global developer of VR gaming platforms.
The entertainment program includes:
TELEPORT Park Tour
Game program in VR park: Tournaments in Polygon, VR games.
Registration is open until August 20.
Participation fee: For guests and their children 100 and 20 rubles, respectively.
Park address: Minsk, st. Pritytskogo, 156. GREEN CITY shopping center, right-wing, entrance from the 1st floor.
Photo: Angels Band
Zubr Capital bought a stake in MediaCube
This is the first deal involving an investment fund made under the new Belarusian legislation.
MediaCube will direct investments in the development of an IT ecosystem for creators. According to some reports, the size of the stake ranges from 25-50%, and the transaction amount is from $ 3.5 million to $ 7 million.
MediaCube creates services for creators, among customers — YouTube bloggers, major brands and artists from 64 countries. Among the well-known partners from the CIS are bloggers Vlad Bumaga, Dima Maslennikov, Pleasant Ildar, Yegor Creed and Sergey Lazarev. The total audience of creators working with MediaCube exceeds 200 million people, and revenue for 7 months of 2019 amounted to $ 7 million.
The company is in the Top 25 partner networks of YouTube and has developed several solutions unique to the market:
Express Payments. A service that enables creators to use money even before it is received from a partner.
Stats. It is a system for analytics and effective targeting among 35 million channels, data on which are included in Stats.
MediaCube ID. An authorization and identification system that combines all the statistical and financial information of users and an e-wallet of a creator that can manage funds at any time at its discretion.
Zubr Capital is the first company in Belarus that manages direct investment funds and specializes in investments in capitals of Belarusian companies with their subsequent development.
The size of ZCFI is $ 90 million, its portfolio includes 6 companies: SoftClub, 21vek, av.by, Uniflex, GC Softline (ActivePlatform, ActiveCloud), Target Process. The fund invests $ 3.5-10 million in companies, focusing on IT, retail and high-tech production. The key investors of Zubr are European Bank, FMO and Wargaming.
Viktar Dzyanisevich, investment director of Zubr Capital, emphasized that this is “the first Private Equity transaction in Belarus, which is structured as part of the HTP”. Dzyanisevich also expressed hope that the shared experience of the fund and SBH Law Offices, which structured the deal, would be useful to other players in the local investment ecosystem.
More than half of Google’s traffic doesn’t go to sites
And it is what only concerns desktop browsers. Mobile versions of the search engine give answers at already 62% of requests without sending users to third-party sites.
According to Jumpshot analytics company, in June 2019, 50,3% of Google search queries received zero referrals to sites, since the answers were given through the SERP — Google generated page with the answer as part of its search engine. Search queries with clicks on non-Google sites currently account for only 45,25% of all traffic.
Improving data in SERP pages leads to a steady trend: the percentage of organic traffic going to third-party sites is reducing. At the same time, leaving the user on the search engine page, Google pushes him to click on sponsored links from Google Ads. Over the past three years, such traffic increased from 3,34% to 11,38% only on mobile devices.
This statistic is based on a sample of more than 1 billion search queries made on about 10 million computers and Android smartphones in the United States.
Tumblr sold again: the service is now owned by WordPress
New owners do not currently foresee to place adult content back to the platform.
The Tumblr microblogging platform will be acquired by Automattic Inc, which was at the origin of the WordPress engine. Resale has to do with one-third decreasing traffic that occurred immediately after sexual and pornographic content was banned.
The platform was owned first by Yahoo, then Oath and Verizon Media. Over these years Tumblr has become a popular center for various fandoms (groups of fans who share a common interest in various kinds of franchises). Although many users left Tumblr after imposing restrictions on pornographic content, the most loyal fans remained.
Matt Mullenweng, CEO Automattic Inc, refused to derogate from unpopular politics, considering Tumblr as a supplement to WordPress.
“It’s just fun, ” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.“We’re not going to change any of that.”
The new owners emphasized that they understand what a special place Tumblr has taken in the hearts of users. Automattic shares Tumblr’s concept of creating communities based on common interests and democratic publications so that everyone who has a story can tell it, especially if it comes from unheard people or marginalized segments of society.
Photo: The Verge
Bosch is developing 3D-monitor like in a film about future
And you won’t even need 3D glasses.
Bosch’ new technology enables users to see a three-dimensional image without glasses. It will be useful primarily by drivers.
The German automotive giant has taken into account 2 key factors for the successful implementation of 3D display technology in cars:
A driver does not need glasses to see the 3D effect.
A person does not need to look from a certain position, image is available from all angles.
The main advantage of this display is providing perceptible information at a glance. So the driver’s attention remains exactly where it should be — on the road.
Here’s what Bosch says about the solvable problems:
Ensuring the displaying of important alerts at a time convenient for the driver.
Providing even more accurate 3D images from parking cameras, which will help parking sensors better “feel” space.
During navigation, the driver can be offered a three-dimensional view of where and when to turn. This will eliminate the question whether the next turn is the one you want.
The German company has not yet announced the release of new 3D devices without glasses in cars. But Bosch plans to do this earlier than other manufacturers.
A game developer turned a hand into a key for Tesla Model 3
She implanted a chip from the key card of her Tesla Model 3 in her hand.
The girl posted a video, where RFID-chip was removed from the card using acetone. Than specialists placed it in a biopolymer and “hacked” the girl’s body by injecting the capsule into the forearm. The girl described the whole process at Hackaday.io.
As TechCrunch emphasized, there is no sign in the video how Amie DD opens the car with the integrated chip, so it is not clear whether the experiment was successful. Though she drives her Tesla at the end of the video.
Amie DD is not new to biohacking. Earlier she had implanted an RFID-chip to open the front door. In the beginning, she planned to use it for starting Tesla Model 3. She needed to write a special Java-application to the chip, but the idea failed for Tesla security arrangements.
Telegram will end the flood in chat rooms
The "Slow mode" function will allow administrators to control the conversation participants’ speed.
Telegram’s “Slow Mode” enables administrators to determine how often messages are sent in a group. The new function will save large groups from flood messages and teach users to fit all the essentials in one message. The recess between messages can be set from 30 seconds to an hour.
The messaging platform, which at the beginning of 2018 accounted for more than 200 million active users per month, said the new feature aims to make group conversations “more streamlined” and increase the “value of each message.” Telegram does not force administrators to use this feature always, it can be connected or eliminated at any time. In other words, it will give the participants a sense of "peace of mind," according to the developers of Telegram. This is an important feature for groups, which can consists of up to 200,000 members.
The new update also added the option to send a message without a sound notification on the recipient’s side. You just need to hold the "Send" button. The application’s creators explained: "Your recipient will receive a notification as usual, but his phone will not make a sound, even if the Do Not Disturb mode is turned off."
Other patch features:
Group owners are enabled to assign posts to administrators like “moderator” or “founder”.
Video in the application now displays thumbnails of the preview, that simplifies the search for the right moment.
Like YouTube, Telegram users can now share videos that play directly from a certain timestamp.
Key emoticons are automatically sent by new animated emojis.
Klarna has become the most valuable fintech company in Europe with a valuation of $ 5.5 billion
Swedish payment startup Klarna raised $ 460 million from investors who valued the company at $ 5.5 billion.
The Klarna platform enables people to "shop now and pay later." Buyers can pay the full price within 30 days or in several payments within a few months.
The latest round of financing, conducted by San Francisco-based investment group Dragoneer, will provide Klarna with the capital to scale to the US market. Other investors in this round were Commonwealth Bank of Australia, HMI Capital, and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock. Klarna’s investors also include Snoop Dogg and Sequoia Capital.
The project was launched in the United States four years ago, but due to slow progress in early 2017, the company had to lay off half of its employees. Klarna currently has 3,000 customers in America, including ASOS, Toms, Superdry, Sonos, and rue21. Brands such as H & M and Abercrombie & Fitch are also about to start working with a company that currently processes over a million transactions per day.
Sebastian Siematkowski, co-founder and CEO of Klarna, said: “This is a decisive moment in the history of retail banking. Finally, transparency, technology, and creativity will serve the consumer”
“Privacy train wreck”: great knowledge is a big responsibility, and an app for group dating 3fun screwed it up
Cybersecurity experts have long been paying attention to application vulnerabilities.
3fun used to position itself as a “private space”, but it hardly had can be considered as safe. Data of 1.5 million people was disclosed. Ken Munro, the founder of Pen Test Partners, said it was “probably the worst security for any dating app we’ve ever seen.” The researchers noticed the app was dripping the precise location, photos and other private details of any nearby user.
The app wasn’t secured properly, the researchers discovered they could plug in any coordinates they wanted to fake their location, sharing sensitive information on anyone within any location of their choosing, including government buildings, military bases, and even intelligence agencies.
The TechCrunch experiment found people interested in group sex, in such places like the White House and the CIA.None of the data was encrypted. The researchers called the 3fun a “privacy train wreck.”
The application has positioned itself as "a special place to search for the same perverts." An important fact is that the original Pen Test Partners investigation was deleted for an unknown reason.
Photo by TechCrunch
There are 100 million active users per month at Roblox
The online game development and playing platform increased its audience in 10 times for 3,5 years.
In its blog, Roblox told that the number of active users per month had reached 100 million. 40 million users were involved in game development at the platform. So Roblox got to windward of Minecraft universe, which has 90 million active users per month.
TechCrunch claims active audience accommodated a bit more than 9 million.
“We started ten years ago with 100 players and game creators whose purpose was to reveal our imagination, inspiration, and cooperation”, says David Bazucki, founder and CEO of the company.
Scientists are going to build a garbage processing plant in space
The Gateway Earth Development Group unites scientists from all over the world which intend to turn the problem of garbage producing into a resource. If nothing is done, humanity will face an environmental disaster in 2050.
The Gateway Earth Development Group estimates the amount of garbage in space. There are 22 thousand large objects of garbage and more than a million parts less than 1 centimeter in low Earth orbit. All this can turn into a layer of resistance to the development of not only space science, but also human life on Earth.
Space trash is the traces of spent or lost satellites, rocket wrecks and the pieces of the ISS. Scientists say the ideal solution is not to bring this garbage to Earth and recycle after check but to build an orbital garbage recycling plant. Space drones can collect and deliver it.
At the same time, the newly minted market is estimated at $ 8 billion a year. One of the most notable obstacles is the legal uncontrolled economic activity in low Earth orbit. However, the UN is already working on it.
Clones of 3000 years old sequoia may save our planet from climate disaster
Nonprofit organization Archangel Ancient Tree Archive has already produced so-called “champion-trees”. These trees will be able to absorb up to ⅔ of all carbon that has been outbursting in the atmosphere since 1800.
Experts extracted the genetic material of a 2000-3000 years old sequoia. For a long time, scientists had been trying to make sowing sprouts. During the previous 6 months, 75 sprouts took roots. Now they are going to grow up into huge trees up to 100 meters high, and their diameter might be up to 10 meters.
A tree like this during its lifecycle may absorb up to 250 tons of carbon, it is 250 times more than a usual tree. According to “Science” magazine estimation, 1 billion hectares sown with cloned sequoias may absorb ⅔ of all harmful emissions which have been outbursting into the atmosphere since 1800.
Photo: Archangel Ancient Tree Archive
6nomads (RU) found a way to hire a technical experts for $475
Russian startup solves the problem of other early-stage startups and decreases in 10 times the cost of hiring specialists.
To get access to the application, your startup must be under 2 years old and the total amount of the investments attracted must not exceed $1 million. The free version will be available after registration on the website and application to Early Stage.
The hiring process consists of a few intervals, each of them lasts for 2 weeks. During every interval, 6 candidates apply for a position. In the end, a startup can hire an appropriate employee. The commission of 6nomads is in the size of $475. The founder Denis Shershnev claims that this method of hiring specialists is faster and 10 times cheaper than traditional methods.
Babylon Health (UK) may raise up to $1 billion of investments in the 3rd round
The startup of the odious Iranian-British entrepreneur Ali Parsa may raise up to $1 billion of investments in the third round. So, Babylon Health will become another European “unicorn”.
Insiders from two funds told about the readiness to expand their shares in the startup: the Saudi The Public Investment Fund and the Russian Vostok New Ventures. At the same time, the latter already owns 10% in the startup.
Babylon Health was founded in 2013 as an application for patients who wants to get an online consultation with a doctor. A few years later the company created a chat-bot on the base of the data collected and integrated it to the popular messengers. This bot automatized answers to the most frequent questions. Babylon Health raised over €85 million in 2016-2016 after 2 investment rounds.
Seedstars Is Coming To Find The Best Startup In Belarus
On September, 22th, around twenty of Belarus’s best seed-stage startups will participate in a bootcamp and compete to represent the country at the global Seedstars Summit in Switzerland and win up to USD 500,000 in equity investments and other prizes.
Minsk, Belarus, July, 29 — Seedstars World, the largest early-stage startup competition for emerging markets and fast-growing startup scenes, is coming to Belarus for the first time. With the support of the local partner The Heroes Media, Seedstars will be holding a dynamic Investment Readiness Bootcamp on September, 20th followed by a closed selection panel with investors on September, 22th.
The companies invited to the training session and to privately pitch at the Seedstars Minsk event must have raised less than USD 500k in funding and built a minimum viable product, ideally with existing traction. The Seedstars team is searching for one additional criterion: potential for regional and global scalability.
Besides representing Belarus at the Seedstars Regional Summit, the winner will get a chance to win an all-inclusive trip to Switzerland, to compete at the Seedstars Summit for the title of Seedstars Global Winner and up to USD 500,000 in equity investments and other prizes.
Seedstars will also award at least 1-month access to the Investment Readiness Program to the finalists invited to pitch locally. It is a non-time bound and data-driven acceleration program focused in boosting tech startups looking to get ready for fundraising. Seedstars connects the entrepreneurs to global experts and mentors, emerging market-specific training materials based on best practices and access to the Seedstars Global investor network.
The applications are open until September, 8 and startups are invited to apply at ssw19-minsk. After careful screening, the Seedstars team will shortlist around ten of the best seed-stage startups to participate in training and 1:1 meetings with investors on September, 20th.
“At Seedstars, we believe talent and good ideas are everywhere. We see ourselves as a platform connecting investors to the next generation of startup entrepreneurs in places where normally people wouldn’t think startup ecosystem have such traction, growth and buzz. We are very excited to be in Belarus, highlighting such a bustling entrepreneurship ecosystem and we are here to witness the reality”, explains Agahuseyn Ahmadov, Regional Manager for CEE & Central Asia at Seedstars, “We are also experts in identifying which are the ones to pull through and how. We’re impressed by what we have seen in the region so far and cannot wait to add startups from Belarus on our map.”
In order to provide local entrepreneurs with this opportunity and aiming to deliver the best possible event, Seedstars is closely working with Dmitry Dosov, CEO at The Heroes Media, who is representing the initiative throughout the year. “Here at The Heroes Media, we help valuable ideas to make a way from a concept to MVP and global scaling. During the last 12 months with the help of our tech partner Humansee Labs we upheld 25 American and European startups which attracted about $10 millions of investments in total. It is a fact that here in Belarus our people have plenty of bright ideas and our country is certainly going to make a startup breakthrough. We want our partnership with Seedstars to be a gift to local startups, as soon as it is the perfect opportunity to declare themselves to the whole world and get awesome insights as well as build a network during the bootcamp”, explains Dmitry Dosov.
"They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds." — Mexican proverb.
Seedstars is a Swiss-based private group of companies with a mission to impact people’s lives in emerging markets through technology and entrepreneurship. The groups’ activities cover over 80 emerging ecosystems through a variety of events such as the Seedstars World Competition, acceleration programs, physical hubs called Seedspace, venture capital investments and company building activities.
ABOUT SEEDSTARS WORLD COMPETITION
Seedstars World is the world’s largest startup competition in emerging markets. For the past six years, Seedstars Teams travel around for a 9-month world tour and scout for the best early-stage startups in 80+ countries, organizing 100+ events. One winner is selected to represent each country visited, and is invited to attend one of the 5 Regional Summits, reuniting all local winners of each region to network with regional investors, mentors and corporates. Local winners are also awarded the chance to represent their countries at the Seedstars Summit, the competition’s final happening in Switzerland, where startups compete for up to $500,000 in investment. The Seedstars Summit is the flagship event of Seedstars, filled with breakout sessions, panel discussions, specialized workshops and the best minds from emerging markets.
ABOUT THE HEROES MEDIA
The Heroes Media is a global digital platform which aims to enhance entrepreneurs to expand their business reaching new heights. We also strive to unite the IT community making enthusiastic and engaged people build network and share experience. We also intend to help local startups ecosystem grow up and make a breakthrough in tech. Over 50 worldwide startups were launched with our support and expertise. There are more than 20 countries in our list of partnerships and communities, and we plan to scale our platform up worldwide to inspire and unite entrepreneurs and tech devotees from all over the world.
The first in Europe AR-monument opened in Minsk
The first in Europe monument in augmented reality appeared in the center of Minsk. It is dedicated to Belarusian IT specialists.
To see the art installation, you have to download the application Minsk Monument AR and use it in the area of the 80-centimeter cube near Komsomolskaya str., 12.
The opening ceremony with the cutting of the network cable and the street party was held on July 25, on the eve of the System Administrator Day. Thus, hoster.by, which is the cloud provider, technical administrator of the Belarusian domains and a resident of the HTP, congratulated all the system administrators of the country on the holiday.
What does a Belarusian sysadmin look like in augmented reality? “He’s wise like an owl and stern like the admin who reinstalled your Windows in the early 2000s. He holds the mouse tenaciously and looks ten steps ahead. The night is his time. At night, he builds networks, and in the daytime we call it the Internet”, the creators of the monument say, pointing to a human figure with an owl head.
The art object was created on the Unity platform used to develop two- and three-dimensional applications and games. The Vuforia tool helped to place the monument into virtual reality — it significantly expands the fleet of devices which let you see the installation.
Social chat app Capture: borderless communication
Capture will help users to find relevant content and events, and users will be able to find an appropriate community for discussion according to their interests or even location.
It is supposed that a user will start a conversation at any moment he needs. The app is like a real-time forum — it is not about postponing, Capture was created to unite people by their interests and to let them discuss anything they’d like to.
The app will recommend chat-rooms based on different indicators, so you’ll have to permit Capture to explore your data.
Capture founders are convinced that smartphones and artificial intelligence will empower people talking about anything in that simple way just as taking pictures on a mobile camera.
The app is not created by beginners — the Capture’s founders Aram Hardy and Alexey Moiseenkov took part in Prisma development (tens of millions of users downloaded Prisma in 2016).
This is what helped the new application to attract $1 million of investments. This money accelerated the launch of Capture, which is now available only for iOS — the release of the Android version is scheduled for September.
Gucci launched AR application based on technology Wannaby (BY)
Underlying the whole thing is tech supplied by Wannaby, a Belarus-based startup on a mission to build AR commerce experiences.
Underlying the whole thing is tech supplied by Wannaby, a Belarus-based startup on a mission to build AR commerce experiences.
The app is made possible by on-device and real-time machine learning algorithms that suss out the position of the shoes in space while accounting for color, texture, and lighting variations, plus a fully equipped printing studio that Wannaby uses to create 3D sneaker models. The end result is foot-tracking tech that’s robust enough to adapt to different camera angles and follow footsteps as feet move and rotate.
Within the free Gucci app, users pick the Ace sneakers of their choice and point their phone’s camera at their feet, after which they’re prompted to try the shoes on virtually. A built-in photo feature lets them capture themselves “wearing” the models that speak to them and share their snaps via text, email, or social media.
Watch and listen: MailChimp has launched streaming service. Make and share: Open Mic on The Heroes
In addition to being a mailing service, MailChimp has become a collection of original content with an
entrepreneurial spirit. And The Heroes becomes a platform for publication of your content.
It can be said that the boundaries between media, companies and ordinary people are erased forever. In
a world where everyone can now become media, anything is possible. Especially if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, a healthy share of adventurism, a desire to share information and at least a few hours to develop your own brand.
The MailChimp mailing service launched its own streaming service. The service’s motto is “A collection of original content with an entrepreneurial spirit.” The service’s menu includes podcasts, documentaries and feature series.
Available for viewing and listening right now:
A podcast about determination.
A documentary series about very unexpected business lessons.
A documentary series about the “photojournal that changed photography” in a separate US region.
A mockumentary about the exhibition business.
A documentary series about people who work outside the office.
The Heroes also decided to keep up. We are announcing a real opportunity for entrepreneurs and companies who want to loudly declare themselves, to take advantage of the opportunity that our platform offers, and publish their own content on it.
To do so, just follow the link and fill out a Google form. The editors of The Heroes will contact you for
further details if necessary.
WHY WRITE CASE STUDIES?
Writing articles in the form of a case study will allow you to:
show potential customers your approach to work;
indicate the niches in which you are successful;
demonstrate the results obtained in your projects;
explain what you can do — with examples and in plain language.
DON’T KNOW HOW TO WRITE A CASE STUDY?
It’s simple — describe your story using the universal I.A.R. formula, as in Issues → Actions → Results, where issues are those circumstances that led to a problem requiring urgent solution.
It is important to describe the problem in a way that will make the reader actually feel your pain; actions
are the set out in plain language sequence of steps you took to solve the problem; and the results can
be numbers, overcoming difficulties and, as a result, conclusions and new experience.
And remember that case studies are stories told from the first person in the “before/after” format.
If there is nothing to write a case study about. Many representatives of businesses believe that they
have no cases. But often people don’t notice that they did something really cool. You can always describe well-established processes or talk about the introduction of new cool features. The main thing
is to show real benefits for the community.
REQUIREMENTS TO CASE STUDIES
The text for TheHeroes must be unique → not published earlier on another resource. Share a link to GoogleDocs with us allowing to comment on the text. Reposting is welcome (in your blog or on another site that allows it) but not earlier than the publication
Share a link to GoogleDocs with us allowing to comment on the text. Reposting is welcome (in your blog
or on another site that allows it) but not earlier than the publication on The Heroes. On average, we
review applications for an article within 1-2 days. In case the material has to be finalized, the publication
time is postponed up to 21 days, depending on how long the revision takes.
If you already have the idea for publication, but the text is not ready yet, write a cover letter to
email@example.com, and we will put it in the publication plan.
ONCE AGAIN BRIEFLY:
Write according to the formula: Issues → Actions → Results.
When describing the task, formulate so that it hurts.
State ways of solving the problem step by step.
Write in simple words, make the text shorter. Re-read and simplify again.
Pay attention to headlines. Let the reader understand your story only from them.
No need for many results, 1-5 is enough, 7 conclusions maximum.
A case study is always about “before/after.”
The results don’t have to be in numerical terms, sometimes the conclusion and what you have learned.
Examples and community benefits are important.
Use the tips and fill out the template Google form following the link.
Belarus is the country of the month on MCID Washington. The Heroes CEO is directly related to this
CEO of The Heroes Irina Dubovik became the heroine of the April column “Country of the Month” on the MCID Washington page
In 2018, Irina participated in the international program IVLP (The International Visitor Leadership Program) with topic “Women and Entrepreneurship”. Project participants visited Washington, Kansas City, Missouri, Denver, Colorado, Salt Lake City, Utah, and New York. In these cities, they were introduced to examples of entrepreneurship in the United States, experience in creating new jobs and overcoming social barriers. The organizers paid special attention to companies open and managed by women.
Assessing my experience of working with IVLP, Irina noted that it was useful for her from personal and professional sides: “The program allowed me to explore the business ecosystem from different perspectives: cultural, professional, social, economic and others.”
The main event of the project for her personally was a visit to Salt Lake City, Utah. In this part of the program, special attention was paid to the development and financing of start-ups, public-private partnerships, state support, and the experience of local self-government of women entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The Heroes CEO’s Irina Dubovik
According to Irina, Utah can be compared to the “hidden” Silicon Valley because of the huge opportunities it provides for the conduct and development of business. “In my opinion, Utah is very similar to my home country Belarus and its capital Minsk. Utah has an interesting and, in many ways, similar to the Belarus business model of development. Especially now, after the adoption of a new decree on the Belarus High-Tech Park (Decree No. 8). ”
After IVLP, Irina organized several presentations for the Belarusian business community to share her experience and discuss how the knowledge gained can be used by other people. Inspired by the IVLP program, she launched a number of projects in Belarus, including a startup ecosystem map, an accelerator for startups and entrepreneurs, a profile /workbook for startups.
The Heroes mission is to develop Belarus entrepreneurship and IT ecosystem.
IVLP — the main program of professional exchange of the US State Department. Through short-term visits to the United States, leaders in various fields will personally get to know this country and develop strong relationships with their American counterparts. Over the 21 years of the program, over 200 former and current heads of state, 1,500 ministers, and thousands of leaders from the private and public sectors participated in it.
We are updating the Belarus startup ecosystem map! Apply for publication, it's for free
Deadline for applications — May 31
Did you know that the Belarus startup ecosystem has a detailed map? It highlights the main opportunities for startups on four stages — idea, prototype / market entry, rollout, growth / scaling. No need to google where to go for developing a prototype, networking or entering a new market: map developers have already googled and presented this information in a visual form.
Belarus startup ecosystem is developing, and the map needs to be updated. Do you think that your organization (of any form of ownership, size and profile) should be on this map? Fill out the registration form and submit an application for publication. This is a simple and effective way to express yourself in the Belarusian and foreign markets.
Application deadline is May 31st.
The first version of the map can be downloaded by the link. The updated version will also be available in Russian and English versions.
The pitch in front of the president. Lukashenko visited the HTP and promised further support for the IT sector
About 20 Belarusian startups told the president about their products
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko examined the exposition of the inventions of leading HTP resident companies, BelTA informs. The head of state got acquainted with the results of the work of residents of the park on the development of digital technologies for agriculture, health care, education, finance, transport, trade, ecology, robotics, lasers, optics, and microelectronics.
Among other things, inventions in the field of robotics interested the head of state. Recently, the world price for such devices has fallen significantly, and now, robots can already be in demand in various fields, including industry, medicine, agriculture and even catering. The president assumed that the presented invention could be in demand in the domestic automotive industry. “The era of robots is coming, no matter if someone likes it or not, ” the head of state said.
Alexander Lukashenko was told about blockchain technologies that began developing in Belarus after the adoption of Decree No. 8 “On the development of the digital economy”. In January, a cryptocurrency exchange was launched, the tools of which are very much in demand. Among other things, they greatly facilitate the process of attracting investment. The President noted that, by signing the appropriate regulatory framework, he acted on the principle that the country would at least not lose anything from these decisions. “We will move on, ” he said.
CEO of The Heroes Irina Dubovik (center)
The head of state got acquainted with the development of EPAM Systems, a global IT corporation that has Belarusian roots. It ranks among the top 100 global custom software developers. The company’s global revenue in 2018 exceeded $1.8 billion. Its shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The market capitalization exceeds $9 billion. The total staff of the company exceeds 30,000 people, with the core of EPAM in the HTP. Alexander Lukashenko was told in detail about some of the company’s unique inventions that have already been used, for example, in healthcare.
Speaking about the future prospects for the development of the company’s activities in Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko said: “Let’s agree. You don’t need to look for points of contact with state structures. You can consider First Deputy Prime Minister as your assistant. If you need something, no problem. Don’t even look for those contacts. If there are any obstacles, don’t hesitate, just say so.”
Lukashenko stressed that the state will provide support for this area: “We will do this, this is my function. I will never let anyone offend you. I will only support and assist as much as possible.”
505 residents in the HTP. What are the new 56 companies doing and where are they from?
The HTP Supervisory Board registered 56 new residents
The new residents of the Park are working in various fields, reports the HTP. Bright Solutions creates software solutions for the automation of housing and energy. The Regula company develops and manufactures devices for the recognition, reading and subsequent control of the authenticity of protected documents. OMP System implements software at industrial enterprises. Pavaga Gaming is preparing eSports teams.
New residents have arrived who work in different regions of Belarus — Vitebsk, Gomel, Mogilev, Grodno, Polotsk, and Rogachev.
The Vizart company from Grodno creates software for visualization of interiors using solutions in the field of computer vision and augmented reality. A resident from Vitebsk, GoodSoft is developing a set of software modules for the automation of pharmaceutical enterprises and laboratories. The Etna-Bel company from Mogilev is working on a securities market management system.
Companies with foreign investment have also entered the High-Tech Park. Lifetech develops digital products for the Turkcell group of companies — the Turkish mobile communications giant. The ArasCorp Software Development Center has been registered — a global software company from the United States that creates systems for managing complex production processes. Some companies came from Singapore, France, and the Netherlands.
The new residents work in the areas of machine learning, computer vision, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, financial technology, industry, education, telemedicine, biotechnology, mining, e-commerce, video games, and eSports.
About 20 residents are focused on creating their own products. 4 companies (currently having an HTP resident status) have expanded their types of activities.
4 companies were denied registration as residents. 5 companies have lost their resident status. Now there are 505 companies in the High-Tech Park.
Startup March in Belarus – fundraising, investment, Red Dot Award
What was interesting in March 2019 in the Belarussian startup ecosystem
Teslasuit and the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2019
The Teslasuit VR startup received the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2019 in the Best of the Best nomination for its VR suit. Red Dot Award: Product Design is one of the world’s largest design competitions that has been around for 60 years. This year, 5500+ products from 55 countries participated in the competition. Only 1,5% of the objects entered received Red Dot: Best of the Best.
Teslasuit is a full-body suit that allows you to interact with virtual reality objects. Teslasuit’s tactile technology conveys the feeling of touches, light and heavy impacts, rain and wind. The suit maintains temperature control and imports biometrics.
“Developing smart clothing that links the human body to the digital world is more difficult than just wrapping electronics in a tight gadget. The biggest challenge was to make the interaction between the computer and the human body comfortable and safe, ” says Igor Buturlya, head of design at Teslasuit.
Blinger and $500,000 investment
The customer service through social networks and messengers Blinger raised $500,000, with a company valuation of $5 million. The startup attracted investment from the Admitad Invest fund that had already invested $150,000 in Blinger in 2016. Then the company was estimated at $1 million.
According to Evgeny Besschastny, Blinger CEO, the investment will be used to develop tools with artificial intelligence for the partial automation of customer support in large companies.
Blinger is an omnichannel platform for customer support. Companies can quickly respond to messages from online chats, social networks, instant messengers and email in a single interface. Blinger’s customers include Tinkoff Bank, Ozon, Mail.ru Group, and Yandex.
MolaMola and the first investments for a startup
What to do if the 3 °F (friends, family, fools) are exhausted, and for some reason, it’s impossible to attract business angels? The first fundraising tool finally appeared in Belarus — the MolaMola service.
It is developed on the basis of the Ulej crowdfunding platform, but fundraising has two fundamental differences from crowdfunding. Firstly, you will receive all the money collected, even if it’s only 1% of the stated amount. Secondly, you have no obligations to the backers — they support your undertaking disinterestedly.
For now, only private individuals can create and support campaigns by transferring and accepting money on the cards of Belarusian banks. The minimum transfer amount is 10 BYN. The total commission of the service and the bank is 6%, but not less than 1.1 BYN per transaction.
The National Bank will shift part of the work on artificial intelligence. Here’s how banks are already using AI
"It is more convenient, easier, and cheaper"
The National Bank of Belarus plans to use artificial intelligence to collect and analyze data on information failures. It is reported by dev.by with reference to the deputy head of the Head Department of the payment system and digital technologies of the National Bank, Tatyana Ruskevich.
According to the expert, the National Bank is exploring the possibilities of replacing human labor with machine labor. “This is more convenient, easier, and cheaper. We are currently working on a project that concerns the collection and processing of data on information failures in the ATM network, the terminal network, and banks. We’re identifying the information necessary to collect and process, in order to quickly receive data and respond. We will develop a technical project and announce a competition in order to find out who will help us develop everything later.”
Banks have been using artificial intelligence for years. One of the key areas of its application is credit scoring. A neural network will determine the risks of non-repayment of the loan, the optimal time and amount of the loan better than any analyst.
For example, in Sberbank, artificial intelligence makes decisions about granting a loan for 98% of applications. According to German Gref, risks are analyzed on the basis of the user’s “digital trace”. A person can make a “trace” of 500 MB on the Internet every day — from this information, a digital “person” is composed, which exactly repeats the personality of a real person. We can talk only about private individuals, though. A live analyst still better evaluates applications from legal entities.
The neural network functioning as a collector is another promising direction for AI. A robot can make more calls than a person, and it will never start shouting or insulting. As a result, the neural network does the job better than the operator by 20-24%.
AI recognition of faces and voices, automation of routine processes, advising clients on major issues — all this is already done in banks by artificial intelligence.
The Autonomous Next research company predicts that banks around the world will reduce costs using AI technology by 22% by the year 2030. The total savings could reach $1 trillion.
6 IT companies with offices in Belarus entered the top 100 best outsourcers of the world
Dev.by: Six companies with software development offices in Belarus are in The Best of the Global Outsourcing 100 companies in the world, compiled by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP).
Top 100 best outsourcing companies include following companies with Belarusian offices: Bell Integrator, Ciklum, EPAM, IBA Group, Intetics and Itransition.
Dev.by asked Intetics Inc. how the rating was made. The Association did not accept new applications, but made a list of companies that repeatedly became participants in annual ratings “Best of The Global Outsourcing 100” over the course of all 10 years.
IT industry of Eastern Europe in facts and numbers
AVentures Capital, Aventis Capital and Capital Times investment funds in partnership with Intellias published a large-scale study of the IT industry in 4 Eastern European countries. The Belarusian portal dev.by thoroughly [studied](https://dev.by/news/issledovanie-it-rynka-belarusi) the report.
The report covers the IT sector of Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Romania. According to experts who conducted the study, these countries have formed a cluster, which is one of the top 5 global software development centers and competes with such giants as development centers in India and China.
Authors refer to data from the World Bank, the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus, the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus, HTP, Ernst & Young, dev.by, jobs.tut.by.
Highlights of the report:
• The software development market in Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Romania grows 4-5 times faster than globally.
• US and EU are the main customers.
• Total IT Exports generated by Belarus, Poland, Ukraine, Romania is $ 13 billion. It’s share is 5% of world supplies.
Each country is presented in the report separately.
IT Belarus in numbers:
• The average annual growth rate of IT sector revenue (2011–2015) was about 16 percent.
• The share of the working population employed in ICT is 2.2 percent.
• The share of the sector in GDP is 7.7 percent.
• 105 thousand IT professionals.
• The annual number of graduates in technical sciences (STEM) is 16 thousand.
• The annual revenue of 77 IT companies with a staff of more than 50 people considered in the report is $ 750 million.
• More than 50 international R&D centers of IT companies.
• The volume of exports of IT services per capita — $ 108. For comparison, in the USA this indicator is $ 58, in India — $ 40, in China — $ 20.
• Most IT professionals work in outsourcing (60.5 percent of IT professionals)
Belarus ranked 1st among CIS countries in the ICT development rating for 2017.
In the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking, Belarus rose to 38th place, in 2010 it was 58th only.
According to the World Bank, Belarus is among the top 10 countries in the world in conducting business-friendly reforms.
The portrait of IT ecosystem with the largest players.
Most IT professionals work in outsourcing
Most IT professionals work in outsourcing — 60.5 percent. Of these, 40.3 percent — in companies with more than 500 employees, 22.3 percent — with 51-200 employees and 17.4 percent — 201-500 employees.
Product companies employ 39.5 percent of Belarusian IT specialists, with the majority (37 percent) in companies with 51 to 200 employees, 23 percent in companies with 11–50 employees, and 20 percent in more than 500 person.
85% of software development is located in Minsk. Other development centers are Grodno, Brest and Gomel.
• HTP is the largest cluster of IT companies in Belarus. About 85 percent of the companies registered in the HTP are located in Minsk.
• EPAM Systems has opened a scientific and educational laboratory on the basis of Brest State University in Brest.
• MSQRD was established in Grodno.
HTP in numbers
The HTP provides its residents with special business conditions. At the end of 2018, the High Technologies Park had 494 residents with more than 35 thousand employees.
41 percent of companies are supported by Belarusian investors, 24 percent are joint ventures, and 35 percent are funded entirely from abroad.
91.9 percent of software produced in the Park is exported: of this, 49.1 percent comes to European countries, 44 percent comes from the US and Canada, and 4.1 percent goes to Russia and the CIS.
• Among the trend technologies and tools are blockchain projects, AR and VR, Swift (among iOS developers), BitBucket and GitLab.
Labor market of the IT industry in Belarus
• In the 3rd quarter of 2018, the IT industry ranked third in the number of vacancies: it accounted for 11 percent of open positions. On average, 2.5 applications were submitted for one vacancy — this trend has remained unchanged over the past year.
• Most of the job offers were received by software developers — almost 70 percent, 7.6 percent of vacancies accounted for QA-engineers, 6.4 percent — for project managers and 2.9 percent — for business analysts.
• Most often, the required work experience is from 1 to 3 years (51 percent of vacancies) and from 3 to 6 years (34 percent). In 13 percent of cases, companies were willing to accept employees with no work experience.
• In terms of qualifications, mid-level specialists (56.2 percent) were in the highest demand.