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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

BMW's Self-Driving Cars Get Lidars From Israel's Innoviz

The German automaker struck a deal to purchase lidar laser sensors from the solid state startup.
Source: Wired

IBM blockchain alliance tracks jewelry from the mine to the mall – CNET

TrustChain links suppliers with manufacturing and retail so you can be sure that engagement ring came from where the store says it did.
Source: CNET

No Job for Humans: The Robot Assault on Fukushima

The 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan triggered a devastating catastrophe in one of the country’s largest nuclear power plants. The cleanup will take decades, and it’s no job for humans.
Source: Wired

2018 Lexus LS 500 review – Roadshow

The new LS is a big step forward, but it’s hard to get around its frustrating infotainment system.
Source: CNET

Tech check in the 2018 Lexus LS 500 F Sport video – Roadshow

It might have an infuriating touchpad, but there’s still plenty of tech worth talking about in Lexus’ new flagship sedan.
Source: CNET

Digital banking startup Revolut raises $250M at a valuation of $1.7B

Revolut, the London-based fintech that offers a digital banking account and sprawling set of other financial services, is disclosing that it has raised a whopping $250 million in Series C funding, less than three years since launching.

The new round, which gives the company a $1.7 billion post-money valuation — a five-fold increase in under a year, we’re told — was led by Hong Kong based DST Global, along with a group of new and existing investors that includes Index Ventures, and Ribbit Capital. In case you aren’t keeping up, it brings the total amount raised by Revolut to $340 million in less than 36 months.

To put this into context, TransferWise — London’s undisputed fintech darling and on some features a direct competitor to Revolut — recently announced $280 million in Series D investment, giving the company a reported post-money valuation of $1.6 billion. The difference? It took TransferWise seven years compared to Revolut’s three.

That’s testament to how much value investors are now placing on bank-disrupting fintech or perhaps signs of a fintech bubble. Or both. It is also worth remembering that these are private valuations with neither company yet to float on the public markets, even if TranserWise looks increasingly a candidate to do so.

Meanwhile, Revolut says the new round of funding and surge in valuation follows “incredible growth figures to date,” with the fintech now processing $1.8 billion through the platform each month and signing up between 6,000 and 8,000 new customers every day.

It claims nearly 2 million customers in total, of which 250,000 are daily active users, roughly 400,000 are weekly active users and 900,000 are monthly active users. The company says the target is 100 million customers in the next five years.

For a little more context, TransferWise has 3 million customers. I’m also told U.K. challenger bank Monzo now has 630,000 current account customers, of which 200,000 are daily active users, 360,000 are weekly active users and 500,000 are monthly active users. (In both Revolut and Monzo’s case, active users are defined as making at least one financial transaction.)

With the aim of persuading both consumers and businesses to ditch their traditional bank, Revolut offers most of the features you’d expect of a current account, including physical and virtual debit cards, direct debits and money transfer. Its “attack vector” (to borrow Monzo’s Tom Blomfield’s phrase) was originally low exchange fees when spending in a foreign currency, which undoubtedly fuelled much of the startup’s early growth and mindshare, but new features and products are being added at an increasingly fast pace.

Many of these are through partnerships with other fintech companies, and include travel insurance, phone insurance, credit, savings, and cryptocurrency. The latter looks like riding the hype cycle almost perfectly. Revolut is also applying for a European banking license, which would enable it to begin balance sheet lending, too.

To that end, Revolut says the Series C funding will be used to go beyond Europe and expand worldwide, starting with the U.S., Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia this year. The company also expects to increase its workforce from 350 to around 800 employees in 2018.


Source: TechCrunch

Y Combinator is going after Chinese startups with its first official event in China

High-profile U.S. startup accelerator Y Combinator is making a push to bring more China-based startups into its program after it announced its first official event in the country.

YC has made a push to include startups from outside of North America in recent years. That has seen it bring in companies from the likes of India, Southeast Asia and Africa, but China remains underrepresented. According to YC’s own data, fewer than 10 Chinese companies have passed through its corridors. YC counts over 1,400 graduates.

“Startup School Beijing” is scheduled for May 19 in the Chinese capital at Tsinghua University. The event will be free to attend — though attendees might apply for a ticket — with the goal of showing the benefits of participation in its U.S. program.

To help make its case, the organization has pulled in star graduates like Airbnb and Stripe while its president Sam Altman himself is scheduled to appear.

The event will include sessions with graduates, YC partners and “live on-stage office hours.” That’ll see three companies picked from the audience to get advice and tips from the attending partners, as happens in the program. Sessions will be in both English and Chinese with live translations available.

YC partner Eric Migicovsky, who founded Pebble, is leading the event, which will include the following speakers:

In addition to helping U.S. hardware founders, Migicovsky was brought on specifically to make inroads into China and he is optimistic that there is strong demand.

“We’re hosting Startup School in Beijing to meet local entrepreneurs and start a dialogue about how YC can help,” he told TechCrunch. “The event and the founders we meet will help to inform our strategy going forward. Naturally, we hope to find Chinese startups to apply to our core Y Combinator program in Silicon Valley.”

Migicovsky added that he sees particular value for China-based startups that seek access to global markets for customers, partners, hiring and more.

YC officially announced the event today but the organization’s brand is so strong that word already got out in local media once it began sending out invitations, as our Chinese partner Technode reported.

You can find full details on the Beijing event at conference.startupschool.org.


Source: TechCrunch

Google Doodle honors 'Flying Housewife' Fanny Blankers-Koen – CNET

The 30-year-old mother of two won four gold medals at the 1948 Olympics, the best performance of any athlete at that year’s Games.
Source: CNET

Amazon's Echo Dot for kids, Snapchat launches Snappables video – CNET

Today’s top tech stories include kid-friendly Alexa updates alongside a more rugged Echo Dot case, a report that phonemaker Huawei may be under investigation by the Department of Justice, and Snapchat’s newest AR feature, Snappables.
Source: CNET

Watching cells move through a body in HD – CNET

It’s pretty hard to imagine your body as a collection of cells. Even harder to imagine those cells moving. Now you don’t have to!
Source: CNET

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