Upgrade launches checking accounts and debit cards

Fintech startup Upgrade has been positioning itself as a neobank. And yet, the company has mostly been focused on personal loans and more recently credit cards. You couldn’t just replace your bank account with Upgrade. Upgrade is adding two important missing pieces of the puzzle with checking accounts and debit cards.

With today’s launch, Upgrade competes more directly with other challenger banks, such as Chime, N26 and others. You can open a checking account, control it from a mobile app, send and receive money from that account.

There are no monthly fees and no minimum account balance. Under the hood, Cross River Bank provides FDIC-insured checking accounts.

You also get a debit card with your checking account. When it comes to ATM withdrawals, Upgrade will reimburse ATM fees for its most loyal customers up to five times a month. You need to maintain a minimum balance or set up direct payroll deposit for that feature.

Debit card payments on subscriptions and common everyday expenses let you earn 2% cash back. Eligible purchases include convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, food deliveries, etc. Your earn 1% on other debit charges.

Rewards on debit card transactions are somewhat uncommon. Most financial companies focus on credit card rewards as the interchange fees on credit card transactions are much higher. Debit cards don’t generate as much interchange revenue.

“Neobanks in particular cannot pay high rewards (or any rewards at all) on debit cards because the interchange fee is often their only source of revenue,” Upgrade CEO Renaud Laplanche told me in an email.

And interchange fees can add up if you manage to attract millions of customers. According to The Information, Chime generated more than $ 600 million in revenue last year thanks to interchange fees.

The company still plans to generate the vast majority of its revenue from credit products. “Our strategy is to monetize our base through credit,” Laplanche said.

Upgrade also offers a credit card with 1.5% cash back on all purchases. If, for one reason or another, you can’t pay your monthly balance payment, the company helps you combine monthly charges into installment plans that you can pay back over 24 to 60 months. You pay down your balance at a fixed rate with equal monthly payments. Upgrade customers who use the company’s checking account will get lower rates on Upgrade loans.

You can also get a personal loan from Upgrade without a credit card or a checking account. And maybe you’ll end up discovering Upgrade’s other products after signing up to a personal loan.

Image Credits: Upgrade

Startups – TechCrunch

Upgrade Every Work Day with Dell’s Year-End Sales Event

It’s time to refresh your tech for more performance and less downtime during Dell’s Year-End Sales Event, running Dec. 21, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021. Shop these exceptional business solutions at www.Dell.com/StartupNation or speak with an advisor at 855-900-5548 for a custom recommendation.

Mention you are a member of StartupNation and receive up to 45% off, plus your exclusive member savings!

Your Guide to the Season’s Hottest Gifts from Dell: Download Now and Save up to 39% Off

Steps for online savings: 

  1.  Visit www.Dell.com/StartupNation
  2. Click “Get Coupon”
  3. Receive coupon by email and apply in cart
  4. Shop Business Solutions HERE

Savings for StartupNation members:

  • Save an extra 5% on XPS, Vostro and Inspiron
  • Save an extra 10% on Latitude, Precision and OptiPlex
  • Save an extra 10% on Dell-branded accessories, such as monitors and more
  • Save an extra 10% on PowerEdge Servers

For any questions, feel free to reach out to StartupNation’s Account Manager at Megan_Wright@Dell.com.

Dell’s Year-End Sales Event runs Dec. 21, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021.

The post Upgrade Every Work Day with Dell’s Year-End Sales Event appeared first on StartupNation.


Apple’s own M1 chip arrives in new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro & Mac Mini; is it time for entrepreneurs to upgrade?


For the longest time, Apple’s laptops and computers have been running on Intel’s processors. However, back in June this year, the Cupertino-based company announced that it will soon commence manufacturing its own computer processors, like it already did for its iPhones and iPads. This shift was because Intel was facing manufacturing problems and Apple needed to lower its reliance on the chip giant. 

At its latest Apple event, the company introduced the new M1 System on Chip (SoC) with some notable claims and also introduced the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and a new Mac Mini, all powered by the new SoC. 

A glowing black square imprinted with the Apple logo and “M1.”

Apple M1 SoC: Ahead of the competition

While processors for smartphones have progressed rapidly and are now being built on a 5nm fabrication process, things are different in the computer processor segment. Currently, AMD leads the industry with its 7nm Ryzen 4000 series of chips for laptops and Ryzen 5000 series for desktops. Intel is still stuck at 10nm architecture, while it keeps refining the fabrication process to deliver an uptick in performance.

Amidst the two chip giants, Apple has bagged the title of rolling out the first 5nm SoC. The M1 chip is also uniquely built as it incorporates multiple different chip structures on a single chip, hence an SoC. The DRAM or the memory is also placed within the chip, and so is the GPU, which has been upgraded to be faster and more powerful. 

A graphic details key benefits of the 8-core CPU in M1.

The M1 is an octa-core processor that employs four high performance and four high-efficiency cores. This configuration is similar to the big.LITTLE architecture ARM uses for smartphone processors, and it enables M1 to switch between higher performance when needed and conserve power, when necessary. While Apple made some bold claims regarding the chip’s performance, we can only be sure when some benchmark numbers arrive, and we see it dealing with real-world use cases. 

New MacBook Air at the same old price

The 13-inch MacBook Air has been upgraded with the M1 SoC, which is claimed to help it push further in terms of both performance and battery life. As per Apple, the new MacBook Air is 3.5x faster in computation than the previous generation and is touted to deliver 5x graphical performance. ML or Machine Learning tasks are said to run 9x faster so that “ML-based features like face recognition or object detection can do so in a fraction of the time.”

The M1-powered MacBook Air in rose gold.

In addition to the performance, the MacBook Air is supposed to deliver up to 15 hours of battery backup while browsing the web and up to 18 hours on video playback. The laptop should also be zippier, thanks to flash technology that helps deliver up to 2x faster SSD performance and M1’s storage controller. 

In terms of display, there’s support for P3 wide colour gamut on the retina display. It offers Touch ID for login and the Secure Enclave chip is embedded within the M1 this time. The laptop features two Thunderbolt ports with USB 4 support and there’s a Wi-Fi 6 chip on board for better connectivity. 

The new M1 powered MacBook Air is priced starting at €1129.

New MacBook Pro comes equipped with M1 SoC

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro runs on Big Sur and features a slightly bigger form factor, which should enable the M1 SoC to stretch its legs a bit. As per Apple, the MacBook Pro’s new cooling system is 2.8x faster than the previous generation and it enables delivering 5x GPU performance, up to 11x faster ML processing. All this while being “up to 3x faster than the best-selling Windows laptop in its class.”

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro.

In terms of battery life, the MacBook Pro is touted to deliver up to 7 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 20 hours of video playback. The company says it has upgraded the mics on the laptop as well for clearer calls and audio recordings. The upgraded camera ISP may deliver sharper images and dynamic range during video calls. The laptop also gets two Thunderbolt ports that can output to Apple’s Pro Display XDR in full 6K resolution. 

The new M1 powered MacBook Pro is priced at €1449.

Mac Mini gets a performance bump

Apple also announced a new and upgraded Mac Mini, which now runs on the new M1 SoC. The mini computer should also deliver the same 3x computing and 5x GPU performance over the previous generation. Apple compares the Mac Mini with the best-selling Windows desktop in its price range and claims that “Mac mini is just one-tenth the size, yet delivers up to 5x faster performance.”

The new M1-powered Mac mini.

The new Mac Mini features upgraded thermals to keep it cool while running heavy workloads. Additionally, it also supports up to two displays, including  Apple’s Pro Display XDR in full 6K resolution. There’s also a Wi-Fi 6 chip onboard for better connectivity. 

The Mac Mini is available for €799. All the new Apple M1 powered devices are now available to order from the online Apple Store and the Apple Store app, with deliveries are slated to commence next week. 

Image credits: Apple

Startups – Silicon Canals

UK startup Paid nabs €2.4 million seed funding to upgrade the enterprise procurement process 

Today, British startup Paid is launching to help enterprises transform supplier management with its next-generation procurement platform. Paid also announces its €2.4 million seed funding round led by top early-stage tech investors Crane Venture Partners, along with participation from Seedcamp, Techstars and notable angel investors, including Angel Invest Ventures’ Jens Lapinski, GoCardless and Nested Founder Matthew Robinson,…

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The post UK startup Paid nabs €2.4 million seed funding to upgrade the enterprise procurement process  first appeared on EU-Startups.


Upgrade adds rewards program to its credit card

Fintech startup Upgrade has been quite successful with its two flagship products — a low-cost credit card and personal loans. The company is making its credit card more attractive by adding rewards.

Upgrade Card consumers will earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases made with the card — there’s no specific category, no partner retailer, no point system. It’s a straightforward, uncapped cash back program.

The company wants to encourage users to pay down their debt. So Upgrade isn’t encouraging you to spend more to earn more. Instead, you receive your rewards when you make your monthly balance payments.

With its credit card, Upgrade is trying to provide a consumer-friendly credit card. And Upgrade CEO Renaud Laplanche believes that it starts with lower rates. Instead of a normal entry rate of 12% to 13%, Upgrade promises an entry rate of 6.99%.

In order to avoid the endless trap of credit card debt, Upgrade combines monthly charges into installment plans that you can pay back over 24 to 60 months. You pay down your balance at a fixed rate with equal monthly payments. Of course, you can also prepay any amount — there’s no penalty.

When you sign up, you get a virtual card immediately and a Visa-branded plastic card a few days later. The company gives you a credit line of $ 500 to $ 2,000.

Over the past three years, Upgrade has issued over $ 3.5 billion in credit. The company is now on a run rate of $ 125 million in annual recurring revenue. It is profitable.

Interestingly, Upgrade describes itself as a neobank. There are many successful neobanks out there — such as Chime, Revolut, N26 and Nubank — but most of them focus on checking accounts and debit cards. They mostly generate revenue from interchange fees on card transactions, premium subscriptions with insurance packages and referral fees.

Upgrade has started with a different product offering focused on credit, which generates a lot of revenue. The company is now working on other banking products so that it can become a true alternative to traditional retail bank accounts. They should launch new products in the coming weeks.

Startups – TechCrunch

Dear Sophie: Any upgrade options for E-2 visa holders interested in changing jobs?

Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column from a practicing attorney that answers immigration questions about working at technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

Extra Crunch members receive access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Dear Sophie:

I’m currently here in the U.S. on an E-2 visa.

My employer, a company based in Slovakia, moved me to the U.S. to help establish our U.S. operations. What are my options if I want to look for other job opportunities here in the U.S. with a different company? Is there a feasible process to upgrade my E-2 visa to another type, like an L? Thank you!

—Restless in Redwood City

Dear Restless,

Thanks for your questions. Nonimmigrant (temporary) visas that allow you to work in the U.S. require an employer to sponsor you for the visa, and those visas remain tied to the employer sponsor and the position for which you were hired. We recently launched the Extraordinary Ability Bootcamp (promo code DEARSOPHIE for 20% off enrollment) — this is a class that can help you strengthen your credentials if you end up pursuing an O-1A visa, which I’ll discuss more about below.

There are a few visa options available if you find a U.S. company willing to sponsor you such as J-1, O-1A and H-1B, and various green card pathways. You had asked about an L Visa, but this would only be an option if you had worked for the new company abroad for at least one year during the past three years. Both the L-1A visa and the L-1B visa enable multinational companies to transfer a manager, executive or specialized knowledge employee from an office abroad to a U.S. office — or to open an office in the U.S. — from an office abroad. The L-1A visa for intracompany executive or manager transferees is similar to the E-2 visa in that both allow the visa holder to come to the U.S. to set up a new office for the sponsoring company.

Startups – TechCrunch

6 must-have gadgets for tech entrepreneurs to upgrade their lifestyle

Productivity is a practice that entrepreneurs need to inculcate from the very beginning. Only then, it becomes a part of your daily life. Moreover, being an entrepreneur, you cannot afford to be sloppy as it impacts your business. With the advancement in technology, there are a slew of gadgets that help busy professionals.

Gadgets for entrepreneurs

With these gadgets, entrepreneurs can work smarter and save time. Also, there is no denying that these gadgets will help upgrade their life and business.

Harman Kardon Citation Oasis

Harman Kardon Citation Oasis resembles Amazon Echo Dot. It comes with inbuilt wireless charging that the Amazon counterpart misses out. The Citation Oasis is a smart speaker with an LED click, Google Assistant and wireless charging and can last up to 8 hours. This smart speaker also features WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity and can playback tunes via Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast.

Click here to buy Harman Kardon Citation Oasis

Suunto 7

Suunto 7 is touted to be the best smartwatch from the company ever. This is the first Wear OS smartwatch from the sports brand and features a Snapdragon 3100’s Sports Mode that will increase the battery life while tracking activities. This smartwatch comes with 70 dedicated sports tracking modes including unique activities such as skiing and surfing. Also, it is water-resistant with 50 metres and comes with various strap options including textile, leather and silicone bands.

Click here to buy Suunto 7

Anker PowerCore 20100

Anker PowerCore 20100 is easily portable with a lightweight form factor and a compact design. This power bank comes with Anker’s renowned PowerIQ and VoltageBoost that deliver high-speed charge to a range of devices. Also, it is made using premium materials. In a single cycle, this 20000mAh battery can charge 7 smartphones and 2 iPad Mini.

Click here to buy Anker PowerCore 20100

Wocket Smart Wallet

Wocket is the world’s first smart wallet, which is the next evolution in the smart devices segment following smartphones and smartwatches. Wocket is designed to protect your identity and replace all the cards in your wallet sans a smartphone or internet connection. The Wocket Smart Wallet utilises a combination of biometric voice security and a PIN code for authentication. You need not carry all your cards as it will scan each card and pull up the information whenever you want. The Wocket Smart Wallet can store up to 10,000 cards into a single device.

Click here to buy Wocket Smart Wallet

Livescribe Echo SmartPen

Livescribe is a household name in the smartpen industry. The Livescribe Echo SmartPen has all the elements that such a device should have. It can record what you write, replay meetings and lectures with a single tap. And, it can save all the notes and audio recordings to your computer along with a free companion software available for Windows and Mac. With 2GB of storage space, this smart pen can save up to 200 hours of audio or thousands of pages of notes. The smart pen needs Livescribe dot paper to work.and this is a regular paper printed with a unique pattern of microdots to capture what you write.

Click here to buy Livescribe Echo SmartPen

Plantronics ML15 Wireless Bluetooth Headset

As an entrepreneur, you might have to make a lot of phone calls and holding your phone next to your ear could be annoying. This is where the Plantronics ML15 Wireless Bluetooth headset comes to help as it frees you from the wires. You can wear this small earpiece and pair it with your smartphone to make making and answering calls simple. This headset makes it easy to stay connected and answer calls without being stuck in your desk.

Click here to buy Plantronics ML15 Wireless Bluetooth Headset

Stock photo from Foxy burrow/Shutterstock

Disclaimer: We may earn an affiliate commission through links.

The post 6 must-have gadgets for tech entrepreneurs to upgrade their lifestyle appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Black App Founder Provides Upgrade to Personal Safety and Security From Your Phone – Blackchronicle

Black App Founder Provides Upgrade to Personal Safety and Security From Your Phone  Blackchronicle
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Black App Founder Provides Upgrade to Personal Safety and Security From Your Phone – Black Enterprise

Black App Founder Provides Upgrade to Personal Safety and Security From Your Phone  Black Enterprise
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

[OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved in Bloomberg] Israel’s Belated Communications Upgrade Gains Urgency Amid Virus

Moving quickly is crucial, said Jon Medved, chief executive officer of online investor OurCrowd. “Just as a country should not neglect investments in ports, airports, railways, roads and energy production, neither should any country — especially those aspiring to tech leadership — neglect investments in high speed fiber optics and 5G networks,” Medved said.

Read more here.

The post [OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved in Bloomberg] Israel’s Belated Communications Upgrade Gains Urgency Amid Virus appeared first on OurCrowd.