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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

We Can Still Avoid a Repeat of Last Year's Deadly Flu Season

It’s peak flu season, and almost 10 million people across the US have already been sickened by the virus.
Source: Wired

Slack Tips and Tricks: Notifications, Channels, Mute, Do Not Disturb

The deluge of notifications. The crowded list of channels. If it’s all too much, follow our guide to Slack happiness.
Source: Wired

Sandbox VR's new Amber Sky 2088 is perfect sci-fi fun – CNET

Blast aliens and save the world in VR as a robot solider.
Source: CNET

2019 Toyota Camry review: A competent and comfortable midsize stalwart – Roadshow

America’s best-selling midsize sedan stays the course.
Source: CNET

Twitter suspends account that shared video of teens and Native American elder – CNET

The account claimed to be owned by a Californian schoolteacher but had a profile picture of a blogger based in Brazil.
Source: CNET

TaxScouts, the UK startup that helps prepare your taxes, picks up £1.2M led by SpeedInvest

TaxScouts, the U.K. “tax preparation” startup founded by TransferWise and Marketinvoice alumni, has created some new paperwork of its own. The London-based company has raised £1.2 million in seed funding.

Leading the new round is SpeedInvest, with participation from Finch Capital and SeedCamp. It adds to £300,000 in pre-seed investment that TaxScouts announced six months ago.

Combining “automation” with a network of human accountants, TaxScouts’ service is designed to support you through your annual tax filing preparation and submission. However, the headline draw is that the company charges a flat fee of £99 if you pay in advance, and promises a turn-around of 1-2 days.

To achieve this, the web app walks you through your tax status, income and expenses without assuming too much prior knowledge. This includes asking you to upload or take a photo of any required documents, such as invoices or dividend certificates. The idea is that all of the admin is captured digitally and packaged up ready for an assigned accountant to check.

Last year, I took the service for a spin, the first time in years that I haven’t left my tax return to the last minute. The accountant assigned to me was helpful and his advice seemed quite good. Most importantly, the communication was speedy, both over text and in a call we needed to have to talk through the pros and cons of two alternative ways to expense a car for work.

Meanwhile, I’m told accountants like the service, too, as it potentially enables small practices to scale and therefore take on more clients. Powering this is TaxScouts’ client management system for accountants, which the startup claims is saving 3-5 days of work per month for its accounting partners.

To that end, TaxScouts says it hopes to quadruple its network of accountant partners by the end of 2019. Its longer term aim is reduce the workload of accountants by 80 percent through further “process automation and digital data processing”.

“With an ever increasing amount of people in the UK experiencing non-standard income and with late fines amounting to billions last tax season alone, the time is better than ever to fundamentally redefine the experience,” says Anthony Danon, Principal at SpeedInvest.

“TaxScouts has built automation that brings simplicity, speed and convenience through a unique approach that creates shared value across taxpayers and accountants. We are excited to be backing such a product-minded team that has led product and engineering in some of U.K.’s best fintech startup stories”.


Source: TechCrunch

Axa Venture Partners raises $150 million early-stage fund

Axa Venture Partners, the venture capital arm of insurance company Axa, is raising an early-stage fund. Today’s new $150 million fund (€130 million) is called AVP Early Stage II.

Previously, Axa Venture Partners had raised a $110 million early-stage fund back in 2015. So far, it has invested in 40 companies, such as Hackajob, K4Connect, Futurae or Zenjob and Happytal.

When it comes to investment strategy, Axa Venture Partners plans to invest in early startups based in Europe, North America and Israel with this new fund. The firm will invest as much as $6 million per company.

Axa Venture Partners also operates a growth fund and invests in other funds through a fund of funds. And the firm has offices in Paris, London, San Francisco and New York.


Source: TechCrunch

Digital Garage teams up with Blockstream to develop blockchain financial services in Japan

The global crypto market may have tanked last year, but notable names have joined forces to develop Bitcoin and blockchain financial services in Japan, which has emerged as one of the world’s most crypto-friendly markets.

Blockstream, a blockchain startup founded by Bitcoin contributors, announced this week that it has launched a joint venture in Japan alongside Digital Garage, an early-stage investor/incubator that’s backed local launches from Twitter, Square and others, and financial services firm Tokyo Tanshi.

Crypto Garage — as the new venture is called — is “is dedicated to building Bitcoin and blockchain solutions for the Japanese institutional market.” The venture was first unveiled last year, and it looks like Blockstream recently came onboard through an undisclosed investment. The startup said it is providing “technical expertise” for the effort.

That’s about all the color on the venture for now, although it has released its first product, “SETTLENET.” That is described as a platform that uses Liquid Network, Blockstream’s blockchain that is designed for exchanges and brokers with a focus on speed and security.

Settlenet — because nobody likes all-caps product names — is said to have already gotten clearance from the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA), which regulates exchanges and crypto projects, and its first launch will be a stablecoin for the Japanese Yen. The goal is very much to arm exchanges with liquidity and, as such, the stablecoin will be tradable for Bitcoin pegged to the Liquid sidechain using atomic swaps.

The companies have collaborated for some time already. An existing investor in Blockstream, Digital Garage has plowed a further $10 million into the business in what is its third investment since 2016. That deal takes Blockstream to around $90 million raised to date.

Tokyo Tanshi, meanwhile, is a brokerage firm that was founded over 100 years ago. It has worked with Digital Garage on crypto projects since last year, when the two companies first announced Crypto Garage and a broader goal to operate blockchain financial services in Japan.

Update: The original version of this story was correct to reflect that Blockstream has raised $90 million to date not $110 million.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.


Source: TechCrunch

Mysterious Planet Nine hiding beyond Neptune might not be a planet at all – CNET

“Planet Nine” is a long-theorized super-Earth at the edges of the solar system. New research suggests it’s not a planet but a gigantic disk of small bodies.
Source: CNET

Super blood wolf moon lunar eclipse dazzles in striking photos – CNET

The moon turned red during a rare eclipse and photographers pro and amateur around the world snapped its portrait.
Source: CNET

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