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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

I Tried to Become a Musician Using Apps and a Light-Up Piano

This musically challenged guinea pig is going to become an artist—or at least record one (sort of) song.
Source: Wired

This 8-Minute Galactic Primer Is the Future of AR Education

Can augmented reality help children with reading skills? Boring math lessons? Chris Milk and the team at Within believes it can.
Source: Wired

Lambda School's For-Profit Plan to Solve Student Debt

The online institution offers a coding education in exchange for a share of post-graduation income. Does this tuition model benefit students—or investors?
Source: Wired

India’s FreshToHome raises $20M to grow its fish, meat, vegetable, and milk e-commerce platform

FreshToHome, a Bangalore-based e-commerce startup that sells fresh vegetable, fish, chicken, and other kinds of meat, has raised $20 million in a new financing round as it looks to expand its footprint in the nation.

The Series B round for the startup was led by Iron Pillar, with Joe Hirao, the founder of Japan’s ZIGExn also participating in it. The startup, which closed its $11 million Series A financing round three months ago, has raised $33 million to date.

FreshToHome sells “100 percentâ€� pure and fresh vegetables and meat in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Pune — the latter two of which it recently entered. It says it does not add any preservative or other chemicals to prolong the lives of the produce. (Typical meat sold by a retail store is riddled with chemicals and could be months old.)

Unlike most other marketplaces, FreshToHome has built its own supply chain network, which gives it better control over quality and delivery of the food items. It uses trains and planes to move inventory, and has become one of the biggest clients of several local airlines.

The startup sources vegetables and fish directly from 1500 fishermen and farmers across 125 coasts in the nation. The startup uses an app to negotiate with farmers and fishermen, as required by the local law.

It continues to expand its control over all the aspects of its business. “Today a large part of our poultry comes from institutional farmers. Now we are going a step ahead and processing the chicken at the slaughtering level ourselves,” Shan Kadavil, CEO of FreshToHome, told TechCrunch in an interview.

FreshToHome is able to deliver the perishables on the same day and as soon as up to two hours, Kadavil said.

The startup also began operations in UAE recently and has opened physical stores in Bangalore and Chennai.

FreshToHome has amassed 650,000 customers — up from 400,000 in late May — in 10 cities in India and recently started to sell milk in Bangalore, another market segment that remains largely unstructured in the nation. Every day it receives 14,000 orders, and processes 20 tons of fresh food.

It recently crossed $30 million in annualized direct to consumer sales, which makes it the largest e-commerce platform serving this category. It is seeing 30% month-to-month growth, said Kadavil, who has previously managed tech support for Support, and India operations for gaming firm Zynga.

And that growth has helped the startup attract some attention. Several major players in the nation, including Amazon India and Flipkart that have recently expanded to include perishable category, has held talks with FreshToHome to acquire some stake in the startup, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

And there is a big opportunity in the space. The cold-chain market of India is estimated to grow to $37 billion in next five years.

In addition to directly procuring its supplies from farmers and fishermen, FreshToHome also serves as a micro-VC, giving them access to some money upfront and resources to produce more from their farms. It also gives them an assurance that it will buy back their produce.

Kadavil founded FreshToHome with Mathew Joseph, a veteran in the industry who has dealt with fish export for more than 30 years. Joseph started India’s first e-commerce venture in fish and meat called SeaToHome in 2012.

FreshToHome will use the fresh capital to expand its network of contract farmers, and add 200 to 300 tons of additional produce each month.

In a prepared statement, Anand Prasanna, Managing Partner of Iron Pillar, for which it is the first investment in food-tech space, said, “FreshToHome’s brand proposition has been to provide 100% fresh food with 0% chemicals — not an easy thing to achieve in India at a large scale. By smartly using big data and machine learning, they have created a sustainable supply chain, which offers a fair price to consumers, fishermen and farmers, for their premium produce… We love companies that solve such hard issues in large market segments in India through unique tech enabled moats!”


Source: TechCrunch

Disney Plus details galore, NASA investigating space crime video – CNET

Today’s tech headlines include Disney Plus dropping details galore and a NASA astronaut is being investigated for committing a crime from the space station
Source: CNET

Note 10 Plus: How the camera's night mode helps Samsung catch up to rival phones – CNET

Commentary: Samsung is on its way to closing the low-light photo gap with the best camera phones.
Source: CNET

The best video doorbells of 2019 – CNET

Searching for a new doorbell? Start here.
Source: CNET

India’s BharatPe raises $50M to help merchants accept digital payments and secure working capital

BharatPe, a New Delhi-based firm that is enabling hundreds of thousands of merchants to start accepting digital payments for the first time each month and also giving them access to working capital, has raised $50 million as it looks to scale its business in the nation.

The Series B round for the one-year old startup was led by San Francisco-headquartered VC firm Ribbit Capital and London-based Steadview Capital, both of which have previously invested in a number of financial services in India.

Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Beenext Capital, and Insight Partners also participated in the round, pushing BharatPe’s all-time raise to $65 million. The new round valued the startup at $225 million, Ashneer Grover, cofounder and CEO of BharatPe, told TechCrunch in an interview.

Google and Amazon, both of which offer payment services in India, were also in advanced stages of talks to fund BharatPe’s Series B financing round, but the startup’s founding team was not keen on diluting their stakes especially in the wake of BharatPe’s recent growth, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

BharatPe operates an eponymous service to help offline merchants accept digital payments. Even as India has already emerged as the second largest internet market with over 500 million users, much of country remains offline. Among those outside of the reach of the internet are merchants running small businesses such as roadside tea stalls.

bharatpe qr

To make these merchants comfortable in accepting digital payments, BharatPe relies on QR codes built as part of government-backed UPI payments infrastructure. “We get them to put up a QR code in their shops, and any customer that uses a UPI-powered payments app — which is now supported by nearly every payments app in India — can pay these shop owners digitally,” said Grover.

Through BharatPe, these merchants also get access to a simplified dashboard on their phones to track the customers who owe them money and get periodic reminders.

BharatPe has amassed more than 1.5 million merchants on its platform. It processes over 21 million transactions a month worth more than $83 million, Grover said.

BharatPe also allows merchants to secure short-term loans. New merchants can secure about $500 for a period of three months from BharatPe. As merchants spend more time on BharatPe, the firm expands the amount to about $2000.

The lending business is crucial to BharatPe. Payment apps make little to no money through making transactions on their platforms. Those processing UPI payments can not even charge a small commission to merchants. “There is no money to be made in doing payments in India,” Grover said. So you charge small interest on loans.

Access to working capital is a major challenge in developed markets such as India. According to a World Bank report, more than 2 billion people globally do not have access to working capital.

Grover said BharatPe aims to use the fund to add about 3.5 million merchants in the next 12 months. The firm has more than 2000 sales people who are adding 400,000 new merchants to BharatPe each month, he said.

Rest of the money will go into financing the loans on the platform and building new solutions. Later today, BharatPe will launch a new service to connect suppliers and merchants through BharatPe so that their accounts are in sync.


Source: TechCrunch

How AT&T and T-Mobile plan to stop robocalls using something called SHAKEN/STIR – CNET

Annoying spam calls won’t trick you as easily with this new form of caller ID.
Source: CNET

See the best cosplay from Disney's D23 Expo – CNET

Loki, Jedi Spidey, Darth Mickey, Indiana Jones. And so many princesses.
Source: CNET

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