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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

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

Megvii, the Chinese startup unicorn known for facial recognition tech, files to go public in Hong Kong

Megvii Technology, the Beijing-based artificial intelligence startup known in particular for its facial recognition brand Face++, has filed for a public listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Its prospectus did not disclose share pricing or when the IPO will take place, but Reuters reports that the company plans to raise between $500 million and $1 billion and list in the fourth quarter of this year. Megvii’s investors include Alibaba, Ant Financial and the Bank of China. Its last funding round was a Series D of $750 million announced in May that reportedly brought its valuation to more than $4 billion.

Founded by three Tsinghua University graduates in 2011, Megvii is among China’s leading AI startups, with its peers (and rivals) including SenseTime and Yitu. Its clients include Alibaba, Ant Financial, Lenovo, China Mobile and Chinese government entities.

The company’s decision to list in Hong Kong comes against the backdrop of an economic recession and political unrest, including pro-democracy demonstrations, factors that have contributed to a slump in the value of the benchmark Hang Seng index. Last month, Alibaba reportedly decided to postpone its Hong Kong listing until the political and economic environment becomes more favorable.

Megvii’s prospectus discloses both rapid growth in revenue and widening losses, which the company attributes to changes in the fair value of its preferred shares and investment in research and development. Its revenue grew from 67.8 million RMB in 2016 to 1.42 billion RMB in 2018, representing a compound annual growth rate of about 359%. In the first six months of 2019, it made 948.9 million RMB. Between 2016 and 2018, however, its losses increased from 342.8 million RMB to 3.35 billion RMB, and in the first half of this year, Megvii has already lost 5.2 billion RMB.

Investment risks listed by Megvii include high R&D costs, the U.S.-China trade war and negative publicity over facial recognition technology. Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch published a report that linked Face++ to a mobile app used by Chinese police and officials for mass surveillance of Uighurs in Xinjiang, but it later added a correction that said Megvii’s technology had not been used in the app. Megvii’s prospectus alluded to the report, saying that in spite of the correction, the report “still caused significant damages to our reputation which are difficult to completely mitigate.�

The company also said that despite internal measures to prevent misuse of Megvii’s tech, it cannot assure investors that those measures “will always be effective,� and that AI technology’s risks and challenges include “misuse by third parties for inappropriate purposes, for purposes breaching public confidence or even violate applicable laws and regulations in China and other jurisdictions, bias applications or mass surveillance, that could affect user perception, public opinions and their adoption.�

From a macroeconomic perspective, Megvii’s investment risks include the restrictions and tariffs placed on Chinese exports to the U.S. as part of the ongoing trade war. It also cited reports that Megvii is among the Chinese tech companies the U.S. government may add to trade blacklists. “Although we are not aware of, nor have we received any notification, that we have been added as a target of any such restrictions as of the date this Document, the existence of such media reports itself has already damaged our reputation and diverted our management’s attention,� the prospectus said. “Whether or not we will be included as a target for economic and trade restrictions is beyond our control.�


Source: TechCrunch

Microsoft opens Chromium Edge bug bounty program with rewards up to $30,000

Microsoft’s bug bounty program is seeking vulnerabilities not found in any other browser based on the same engine.
Source: Digital trends

Así funciona la 'sextorsión', el nuevo y lucrativo ciberdelito de moda

El envío de ‘spam’ chantajeando a la víctima con difundir datos privados e información sexual comprometida es cada vez más popular. Una investigación ha analizado varias de estas campañas y sus conclusiones no son nada positivas: se trata de un crimen muy lucrativo y que irá a más
Source: MIT

"Temo a la muerte pero temo más convertirme en un ser decrépito"

El médico y experto en ética Ezequiel Emanuel fue el principal ideólogo del ‘Obamacare’ y hace cinco años anunció que cuando cumpla 75, dejará de someterse a tratamientos médicos. El experto critica a quienes pretenden alargar la vida sin tener en cuenta si será una vida de calidad o significativa
Source: MIT

Note 10 Plus camera night mode helps Samsung catch up to rival phones – CNET

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

Nathan Fillion may be joining James Gunn's The Suicide Squad – CNET

The actor and the director are good friends, but there’s no official confirmation. Yet.
Source: CNET

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