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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

2019 Nissan Altima first drive review: More compelling than ever – Roadshow

Nissan pulls out all the stops for the sixth generation of its midsize sedan.
Source: CNET

San Francisco's Dream of 'Zero Waste' Lands in the Dumpster

The city has reduced its trash more than any other American metropolis. But eliminating all garbage, it turns out, is an impractical goal.
Source: Wired

From 'Forever' to 'Atlanta,' Do Standalone Episodes Hurt or Help Their Shows?

The phenomenon has become more frequent in recent years—but while they’re always enjoyable, they may be undermining the shows they’re part of.
Source: Wired

Why Silicon Valley Should Fear Europe's Competition Chief

In an interview with WIRED’s editor in chief, Margrethe Vestager says Amazon, Apple, Google, and other tech giants can’t use their success to harm rivals.
Source: Wired

Darpa Goes Underground for Its Most Daring Robot Extravaganza Yet

Darpa is calling it the Subterranean Challenge, but you may as well call it the Death to All Robots Challenge.
Source: Wired

Quantum computers could break encryption, so it’s going quantum too

Quantum computers could defeat conventional encryption, but that doesn’t mean our data is doomed. Quantum encryption can be used for defense. We spoke to John Prisco, CEO of Quantum Xchange, about how quantum keys will keep us safe.

The post Quantum computers could break encryption, so it’s going quantum too appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Lending platform Funding Circle raises £300M in London IPO, valuing it at £1.5B, as investor interest cools

Another fintech startup has made the leap into publicly-traded company: Funding Circle, the peer-to-peer lending platform for small and medium businesses that was originally founded in the UK, opened for trading today on the London Stock Exchange. It was a positive, if not stratospheric, debut. Trading under FNIG.L, its stock opened at 460 pence, only a small rise of 4.5 percent on its initial offer price of 440 pence per share. Funding Circle<a href=”https://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/FCH/13808441.html”> raised £300 million ($392 million) in its IPO, but that initial price was at the lower end of the original range of 420-530 pence set by the company.

And to further draw out the trend, the numbers have not been looking that promising as the day has continued : currently the stock is trading at 438.30 pence, below its IPO price.

The float, which accounted for 29.3 percent of Funding Circle’s shares, gives the company a market cap of £1.504 billion (nearly $2 billion in today’s currency) based on the number of shares outstanding. (Fully diluted, including vested and unvested options, the valuation is closer to £1.6 billion.)

“We have always believed Funding Circle would be well-suited to the public markets and today’s milestone is recognition of the strength and global impact of our model,” Samir Desai, CEO and co-founder of Funding Circle, said in a statement. “We look forward to starting this exciting new chapter for the business as we focus on growth across all markets and seek to create a better financial world for small businesses and investors. I am pleased to welcome our new shareholders and I would like to thank my fellow Circlers for all their hard work since we launched. Funding Circle is a very ambitious company and we are excited to continue growing our business over the coming years. The UK is a great place to start and grow a FinTech business and we are proud of today’s accomplishment.”

The IPO train has been moving swiftly through the world of tech this year, but not everyone gets to ride in first class. In that context, Funding Circle’s conservative pricing and performance might be due to a few reasons.

The company chose to list in London, at a time when the country is in a prolonged period of uncertainty over how Brexit — the process of the UK separating itself from the European Union — will play out. That will have an effect on a number of areas, but one in particular will be how money moves in and out of the UK economy; and given that this is part of what sustains the business model of Funding Circle, you can see how this might impact it more acutely.

Secondly, we have had a number of fintech and e-commerce IPOs already this year, and so there is less pent-up demand. Thirdly, lending platforms have had had ups and downs, and while P2P lending has continued to grow as a compelling and competitive alternative to more traditional sources like direct loans from banks, it’s had some volatility. (LendingClub, the first IPO of a P2P lending platform in the US, has never quite recovered from its own difficulties.)

Lastly, Funding Circle itself is seeing revenues growing, but it still operates at a loss. The company said its first-half revenues for the six months that ended in June 2018 were £63 million up from £40.9 million a year before, with loans under management in excess of £2.5 billion. But it also posted a loss of £16.3 million, up from £13.2 million in the same period a year ago.

To shore up investor interest and show commitment from previous investors, Funding Circle said that Heartland A/S, the private holding company of Anders Holch Povlsen (who is a key investor in the company), agreed to purchase 10 percent of the issued ordinary share capital up to a maximum valuation of £1.65 billion. It’s not clear yet how much Heartland ultimately snapped up. Other investors in the company — which had raised about $375 million before going public — have included Index, Accel, Ballie Gifford, DST and Union Square Ventures.

The company also said that it was still getting major commitments for monies that would be loaned through its platform. Most recently, Alcentra, a global asset management firm owned by The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, agreed to lend $1 billion to small businesses the platform in the US.

We’ll update this post throughout the trading day.


Source: TechCrunch

Get your tickets to TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018

 

We absolutely love the thrill that comes from watching innovative tech startups launch their products to the world. It’s even more exciting when they’re competing head-to-head, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen at TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 on December 11 in Lagos, Nigeria.

TechCrunch editors have selected the cream of Sub-Saharan Africa’s crop — the very best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs — to face off in our premier startup-pitch competition. Want to watch it all go down? Spectator tickets cost ₦ 3600 + VAT, and you can buy your tickets right here.

The tech startup scene across the African continent continues to evolve rapidly. More than 300 tech hubs build, support and connect startups, mentors and innovators, and VC investment in African startups and accelerators doubled between 2015-2017. It’s exciting growth, and we can’t wait to see this new Startup Battlefield cohort take the stage and show the world what they can do.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Startup Battlefield format, here’s what you can expect. Up to five startups compete in one of three preliminary rounds. Each team has only six minutes to pitch and present a live product demo to a panel of expert judges — consisting of entrepreneurs, technologists and VCs. Following each pitch, the judges put each team through an intense six-minute Q&A.

Five startups will move on to the final round, where they will pitch again — this time to a fresh set of judges — and answer any questions the judges throw at them. All the judges will confer and select one competitor to become the Startup Battlefield champion and earn the title of Sub-Saharan Africa’s best startup.

In addition to serious bragging rights, the winning founders receive US$25,000 in no-equity cash, plus a trip for two to compete in Startup Battlefield in San Francisco at TechCrunch Disrupt 2019 (assuming the company still qualifies to compete at the time).

The competition takes place in front of a large, enthusiastic audience (this is where you come in). It’s nerve-wracking for them, thrilling for you. Even better, it’s a great opportunity for networking and meeting other like-minded entrepreneurs, investors and potential collaborators and customers.

Who knows? It might even inspire you to throw your hat in the ring and compete in the next Startup Battlefield. Or you might just find the perfect investment opportunity. You’ll never know if you don’t go.

Startup Battlefield Africa 2018 takes place on December 11 in Lagos, Nigeria. Don’t miss your chance to attend and experience every heart-pounding moment live and in person. Buy your spectator tickets here.


Source: TechCrunch

First DJI, now Bang & Olufsen gets Line Friends-themed products

Line is a pretty busy company. Beyond a messaging app that claims over 160 million users, the company operates service like music streaming, manga, food delivery, games and it is also venturing into crypto.

The company has long been known for its playful characters — Line Friends — which are a core part of its sticker sets, but now the zany cartoons are making their way to real-life products. Line has its own Echo-style smart speaker, and off the back of its Brown Bear-themed DJI drone, it is announcing a Line Friends Bang & Olufsen speaker.

Like the DJI Spark drone, the Bang & Olufsen speaker takes a well-known and popular product and appends Line’s cartoon characters in the name of sales through cuteness.

The speaker — ‘Beoplay B2 Brown Limited Edition’ — will go on sale from October 4 in Korea, U.S, Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong via Line’s online store and its offline retail outlets. Pricing, it seems, is TBC.

The product may seem frivolous but it plays into a major strategy from Line, which has seen user growth of its core messaging app stagnate over the past 18 months. Line’s Friends characters have long helped it make sales — its sticker packs make over $250 million per year — so it makes sense to monetize them beyond digital sales and into physical products, which includes tie-ins with major consumer brands.

That’s a big part of Line’s success. While growth has topped out, Line is adept at finding new ways to make money from the users it already has. Revenue in its recent Q2 2018 was up 20 percent year-on-year despite monthly active user count falling by five million to reach 164 million in the quarter.


Source: TechCrunch

Last day to apply for TC Top Picks at Disrupt Berlin 2018

This is the day that one of the great early-stage startup opportunities comes to a grinding halt, friends. Today, September 28, is the last day you can apply to be a TC Top Pick at Disrupt Berlin 2018. It’s your last shot to exhibit in Startup Alley for free. Your final chance for incredible access to the kind of influential investors, tech founders and advisors that can change your business trajectory.

Disrupt Berlin 2018 takes place on November 29-30, and if you’re selected as a TC Top Pick by our discerning editors, you’ll receive a FREE Startup Alley Exhibitor Package. Startup Alley is our exhibition floor where hundreds of early-stage startups showcase their latest tech products, platforms, services and talent.

Thousands of attendees stream through the Alley, including tech journalists from hundreds of media outlets, investors searching for the next big thing, developers and entrepreneurs — a veritable who’s who of the startup world. You want to be there, and this is your last chance to get there for free.

Here’s what you get with a Startup Alley Exhibitor Package.

A one-day exhibit space, three Disrupt Berlin Founder passes, CrunchMatch (our free investor-to-startup matching platform), full use of the Startup Alley Exhibitor lounge and access to the Disrupt press list. TC Top Picks also receive a three-minute interview on the Showcase Stage with a TechCrunch editor, and we promote those video interviews across our social media platforms. That kind of media exposure can pay dividends long after Disrupt ends.

Vlad Larin, a co-founder of Zeroqode, was on the receiving end of a TechCrunch video interview at Disrupt Berlin 2017. Here’s his take.

“The Showcase Stage interview was a wonderful experience. The publicity we received brought a lot of people back to our website. We had a huge spike in traffic, and we’re still feeling the positive business effects of that interview.”

If you want to be considered for a TC Top Pick designation, your early-stage startup must fall into one of the following tech categories:

  • AI/Machine Learning
  • Blockchain
  • CRM/Enterprise
  • E-commerce
  • Education
  • Fintech
  • Healthtech/Biotech
  • Hardware, Robotics, IoT
  • Mobility
  • Gaming

TechCrunch editors will review and vet each qualified application thoroughly, and they’ll choose up to five startups to represent each category.

There you have it. Plenty of great reasons to apply to be a TC Pop Pick at Disrupt Berlin 2018. And only a few remaining hours to get the job done. The deadline is today, September 28. Don’t waste this opportunity. Get moving right now!


Source: TechCrunch

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