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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

The World's Recycling Is in Chaos. Here's What Has to Happen

China’s decision to no longer accept the world’s recycled waste has left countries scrambling to adapt. They have a long way to go.
Source: Wired

Apple’s streaming service could feature content from partners

A report from Bloomberg shares some of the details about the long-rumored video streaming service from Apple. The company should unveil this service at a press conference in Cupertino on March 25.

While Apple has been working on a ton of original content for its new streaming service, Bloomberg says that most of them won’t be ready for the launch later this month. Apple will probably share some teasers on stage, but the launch lineup will mostly feature third-party content.

Apple is probably talking with everyone, but many premium cable channels still have to make up their mind about Apple’s streaming service. HBO, Showtime and Starz have to decide whether they want to be part of the launch by Friday.

It’s unclear if Apple is going to feature some or all content from those partners. Many of them already have a streaming service on their own. And you can already access their libraries from the TV app on your Apple TV or iOS device.

Apple could streamline the experience by letting you subscribe to various content bundles in its own streaming service. Amazon already provides something similar with Amazon Prime Video Channels. Netflix and Hulu will likely remain independent services as they compete directly with Apple’s original content effort.

When it comes to Apple’s other announcement, the company should also unveil its Apple News subscription on March 25. Apple acquired Texture last year and has been working on a digital magazine subscription for a while.

Once again, details are still thin for this new service when it comes to pricing, availability outside of the U.S. and content.

Last month, the WSJ reported that Apple has been working with Goldman Sachs on a credit card that would integrate deeply with the Apple Wallet app. Given that Apple’s event is about services, let’s see if the company talks about this new product as well.


Source: TechCrunch

Acko, a digital insurance provider in India, raises another $65M at a $300M valuation

Acko — a startup out of India that has taken on the country’s antiquated insurance industry with a digital-first product for drivers and others in transportation-related scenarios (for example, cancelled ticket insurance) — has raised more funding as it passes 20 million customers on its books. The company has closed a Series C of $65 million from a list of investors that includes not just the co-founder and former CEO of Flipkart, but also its arch-rival, Amazon — speaking to the opportunity in the market as a number of players zero in on services

Binny Bansal, who had been the CEO until November of the e-commerce giant, and Amazon are joined in the round by another strategic investor, Intact Ventures Inc., the corporate venture arm of Canada’s largest property and casualty insurer; along with RPS Ventures (the VC led by Kabir Misra, ex-managing partner at Softbank), Accel, SAIF and TechPro Ventures. Amazon had also led the company’s previous round of funding, a $12 million investment, last year.

Acko now has raised $107 million, and while it is not discussing valuation, a reliable source close to the company said that it is now in the region of $300 million.

Varun Dua, the CEO and founder, had spent 10 years in the insurance industry before founding Acko, most recently building a site aggregating different insurer’s quotes called Coverfox. But when it comes to the companies building the products themselves, he believes that there has been very little innovation in the past 30 years.

Acko has built its business on two fronts up to now. A direct to consumer offering sells automotive insurance both for people insuring for themselves, a business that has now insured some 200,000 cars. It also works with third parties to provide what we described to me as “microinsurance” products around other companies’ services. For example, ticket cancellation insurance, rider protection, and driver protection for about 15 companies at the moment, including Ola, redBus, Zomato, UrbanClap and Amazon.

Amazon may appear a little out of left field in the at list, but Dua said that it’s because of trends specific to the Indian market that the two work together. First, it offers vehicle insurance alongside cars that are sold on the Amazon platform. But beyond that there is the opportunity to build services for what he calls “ecosystem” players in the market, those who provide a wide array of different services, and links to services, to consumers, leveraging their data on consumers to help shape those offers.

“We continue to be impressed by Acko’s focus on data-led innovations in the insurance sector that are solving for important customer needs in this sector. We are always excited to work with companies like Acko that are led by missionary founders and management teams and we remain committed to investing in technology-backed innovations that address real customer problems,” said Amit Agarwal, SVP and Country Head, Amazon India, in a statement on the investment.

While Bansal is recently no longer in an executive role at Flipkart, it’s notable that he is getting involved with Acko at a time when Dua says he would like to be working more with the company, which is also developing an array of services beyond the basic selling of goods to service India’s rapidly growing base on online consumers.

“Technology-led insurance is expected to play a significant role in growth of the underpenetrated insurance sector in India,” said Bansal. “Acko is the pioneer of digital-native insurance and I am delighted to partner in its exciting growth journey.”

Just as Acko partners with companies to provide its insurance, it’s also working with an increasing array of insurers who are looking for better ways to tap consumers in the market.

“We are thrilled to support Acko in its mission to become the leading digital insurer in India.  In addition to their innovative direct-to-consumer strategy, Varun and his team have taken a creative approach by developing impactful distribution partnerships that allow millions of customers to protect assets that are meaningful to them,” said Karim Hirji, Senior Vice-President of Intact Ventures. “We are excited to offer our expertise and partner with a company that shares our vision of creating simple and transparent new-age customer centric insurance products.”

Earlier today, I posted a story about Drivezy and how it was raising a lot of money to double down on building its car-sharing network out of India. One of the gaps in the market for it is that only seven percent of Indians actually own vehicles. Interestingly, that’s a number that Dua thinks is a great start.

“Seven percent is still very large in India given the size of the population,” he said. “It’s the fourth largest auto market in the world, and the auto insurance space is likely to be worth $10 billion usd in the next several years. That’s big size for a company like us.”

 


Source: TechCrunch

Verizon's mobile 5G will launch on April 11 in Chicago, Minneapolis – CNET

The service will cost you an extra $10 a month.
Source: CNET

Facebook Can Make VR Avatars Look—and Move—Exactly Like You

“Codec avatars,” as Facebook researchers call them, are all but indistinguishable from the humans they represent—and may be a staple of our virtual lives sooner than we think.
Source: Wired

Microsoft shows off Project xCloud by playing Forza Horizon 4 on phone – CNET

The demo comes a week before Google is expected to announce its streaming game service.
Source: CNET

Samsung Galaxy S10E review: Galaxy S10E hits the iPhone XR where it hurts – CNET

This value-buy powerhouse does very little wrong.
Source: CNET

Garmin's five new luxury MARQ smartwatches cost $1,500 and up – CNET

The specialized tool watches range from aviator to driving to nautical models. So many luxury watches!
Source: CNET

How to change your smart bulb's color with Google Home – CNET

Change things up with a tap or two.
Source: CNET

Will Machines Be Able to Tell When Patients Are About to Die?

What one experience with palliative care says about the capacity of artificial intelligence to make medical decisions.
Source: Wired

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