[Virgin Hyperloop One in The Construction Index] Mass transport for the post-Covid world

Hyperloop is being heralded as the first new form of public transportation in more than a century. Lisa Russell looks at whether Covid-19 might accelerate its adoption.

Read more here.

The post [Virgin Hyperloop One in The Construction Index] Mass transport for the post-Covid world appeared first on OurCrowd.


Kenya nominates Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed for World Trade Organisation DG – Ventures Africa

Kenya nominates Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed for World Trade Organisation DG  Ventures Africa
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Startups Weekly: The world is eating tech

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You could almost hear the internet cracking apart this week as international businesses pulled away from Hong Kong and the US considered a ban on TikTok. Software can no longer eat the entire world like it had attempted last decade. Startups across tech-focused industries face a new reality, where local markets and efforts are more protected and supported by national governments. Every company now has a smaller total addressable market, whether or not it succeeds in it.

Facebook, for example, appears to be getting an influx of creators who are worried about losing TikTok audiences, as Connie Loizos investigated this week. This might mean more users, engagement and ultimately revenue for many consumer startups, and any other companies that rely on paid marketing through Facebook’s valuable channels. But it means fewer platforms to diversify to, in case you don’t want to rely on Facebook so much for your business.

As trade wars look more and more like cold wars, it also means that Facebook itself will have a more limited audience than it once hoped to offer its own advertisers. After deciding to reject requests from Hong Kong-based Chinese law enforcement, it seems to be on the path to getting blocked in Hong Kong like it is on the mainland. But as with other tech companies, it doesn’t really have a choice — the Chinese government has pushed through legal changes in the city that allow it to arrest anyone in the world if it claims they are organizing against it. Compliance with China would bring on government intervention in the US and beyond, among other reasons why doing so is a non-starter. 

This also explains why TikTok itself already pulled out of Hong Kong, despite being owned by mainland China-based Bytedance. The company is still reeling from getting banned in India last week and this maneuver is trying to the subsidiary look more independent. Given that China’s own laws allow its government to access and control private companies, expect many to find that an empty gesture.

Startups should plan for things to get harder in general. See: the next item below.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Student visas have become the next Trump immigration target

International students will not be allowed to stay enrolled at US universities that offer only remote classes this coming academic year, the Trump administration decided this past week. As Natasha Mascarenhas and Zack Whittaker explore, many universities are attempting a hybrid approach that tries to allow some in-person teaching without creating a community health problem.

Without this type of approach, many students could lose their visas. Here’s our resident immigration law expert, Sophie Alcorn, with more details on Extra Crunch:

International students have been allowed to take online classes during the spring and summer due to the COVID-19 crisis, but that will end this fall. The new order will force many international students at schools that are only offering remote online classes to find an “immigration plan B” or depart the U.S. before the fall term to avoid being deported.

At many top universities, international students make up more than 20% of the student body. According to NAFSA, international students contributed $ 41 billion to the U.S. economy and supported or created 458,000 jobs during the 2018-2019 academic year. Apparently, the current administration is continuing to “throw out the baby with the bathwater” when it comes to immigration.

Universities are scrambling as they struggle with this newfound untenable bind. Do they stay online only to keep their students safe and force their international students to leave their homes in this country? Or do they reopen to save their students from deportation, but put their communities’ health at risk?

For students, it means finding another school, scrambling to figure out a way to depart the States (when some home countries will not even allow them to return), or figuring out an “immigration plan B.”

Who knows how many startups will never exist because the right people didn’t happen to be at the right place at the right time together? What everyone does know is that remote-first is here to stay.

No Code goes global

A few tech trends seem unstoppable despite any geopolitics, and one seems to be the universal human goal of making enterprise software suck less. (Okay, nearly universal.) Alex Nichols and Jesse Wedler of CapitalG explain why now is the time for no code software and what the impact will bel, in a very popular article for Extra Crunch this week. Here’s their setup:

First, siloed cloud apps are sprawling out of control. As workflows span an increasing number of tools, they are arguably getting more manual. Business users have been forced to map workflows to the constraints of their software, but it should be the other way around. They need a way to combat this fragmentation with the power to build integrations, automations and applications that naturally align with their optimal workflows.

Second, architecturally, the ubiquity of cloud and APIs enable “modular” software that can be created, connected and deployed quickly at little cost composed of building blocks for specific functions (such as Stripe for payments or Plaid for data connectivity). Both third-party API services and legacy systems leveraging API gateways are dramatically simplifying connectivity. As a result, it’s easier than ever to build complex applications using pre-assembled building blocks. For example, a simple loan approval process could be built in minutes using third-party optical character recognition (a technology to convert images into structured data), connecting to credit bureaus and integrating with internal services all via APIs. This modularity of best-of-breed tools is a game changer for software productivity and a key enabler for no code.

Finally, business leaders are pushing CIOs to evolve their approach to software development to facilitate digital transformation. In prior generations, many CIOs believed that their businesses needed to develop and own the source code for all critical applications. Today, with IT teams severely understaffed and unable to keep up with business needs, CIOs are forced to find alternatives. Driven by the urgent business need and assuaged by the security and reliability of modern cloud architecture, more CIOs have begun considering no code alternatives, which allow source code to be built and hosted in proprietary platforms.

Photo: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Palantir has finally filed to go public

It’s 16 years old, worth $ 26 billion and widely used by private and public entities of all types around the world, but this employer of thousands is counted as a startup tech unicorn, because, well, it was one of the pioneers of growing big, raising bigger, and staying private longer. Aileen Lee even mentioned Palantir as one of the 39 examples that helped inspire the “unicorn” term back in 2013. Now the secretive and sometimes controversial data technology provider is finally going to have its big liquidity event — and is filing confidentially to IPO, which means the finances are still staying pretty secret.

Alex Wilhelm went ahead and pieced together its funding history for Extra Crunch ahead of the action, and concluded that “Palantir seems like the Platonic ideal of a unicorn. It’s older than you’d think, has a history of being hyped, its valuation has stretched far beyond the point where companies used to go public, and it appears to be only recently growing into its valuation.”

It also appears to be one of the unicorns that has seen a lot of upside lately. It has been in the headlines recently for cutting big-data deals with governments for pandemic work, on top of a long-standing relationship with the US military and other arms of the government. As with Lemonade, Accolade and a range of other IPOing tech companies that we have covered in recent weeks, it is presumably in a positive business cycle and primed to take advantage of an already receptive market.

(Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Meaningful change from BLM

In an investor survey for Extra Crunch this week, Megan Rose Dickey checked in with eight Black investors about what they are investing in, in the middle of what feels like a new focus on making the tech industry more representative of the country and the world. Here’s how Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital responded when Megan asked what meaningful change might come from the recent heightened attention on the Black Lives Matter movement.

I happen to be on the more optimistic side of things. I’m not at a hundred percent optimistic, but I’m close to that. I think that there’s an undeniable unflinching resolve right now. I think that if we were to go back to status quo, I would be incredibly surprised. I guess I would not be shocked, unfortunately, but I would be surprised. It would give me pause about the effectiveness of any of the work that we do if this moment fizzles out and doesn’t create change. I do think that there is going to be a shift. I can already feel it. I know that more people who are representative of this country are going to be writing checks, whether through being hired, or taken through the ranks, or starting their own funds, and our own funds. I think there’s more and more capital that’s going to flow to underrepresented founders. That alone, I think, will be a huge shift.

Around TechCrunch

Extra Crunch support expands into Argentina, Brazil and Mexico

Five reasons to attend TC Early Stage online

Hear from James Alonso and Adam Zagaris how to draw up your first contracts at Early Stage

Hear how to manage your enterprise infrastructure from Sam Pullara at TechCrunch Early Stage

Kerry Washington is coming to Disrupt 2020

Amazon’s Alexa heads Toni Reid and Rohit Prasad are coming to Disrupt

Ade Ajao, Maryanna Saenko, Charles Hudson, Ulili Onovakpuri and Melissa Bradley are coming to Disrupt

Minted’s Mariam Naficy will join us at TechCrunch Early Stage

Across the week


14 VCs discuss COVID-19 and London’s future as a tech hub

Societal upheaval during the COVID-19 pandemic underscores need for new AI data regulations

PC shipments rebound slightly following COVID-19-fueled decline

Here’s a list of tech companies that the SBA says took PPP money

Equity Monday: Uber-Postmates is announced, three funding rounds and narrative construction

Regulatory roadblocks are holding back Colombia’s tech and transportation industries

Extra Crunch

In pandemic era, entrepreneurs turn to SPACs, crowdfunding and direct listings

Four views: Is edtech changing how we learn?

VCs are cutting checks remotely, but deal volume could be slowing

GGV’s Jeff Richards: ‘There is a level of resiliency in Silicon Valley that we did not have 10 years ago’

Logistics are key as NYC startup prepares to reopen office


From Alex:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

We wound up having more to talk about than we had time for but we packed as much as we could into 34 minutes. So, climb aboard with DannyNatasha and myself for another episode of Equity.

Before we get into topics, a reminder that if you are signing up for Extra Crunch and want to save some money, the code “equity” is your friend. Alright, let’s get into it:

Whew! Past all that we had some fun, and, hopefully, were of some use. Hugs and chat Monday!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PT and Friday at 6:00 a.m. PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Startups – TechCrunch

Bucharest-based Questo raises €300K to grow its gamified tours fit for a post-COVID world

Today Questo, the platform for city exploration games, raises 300K to help travellers and locals explore destinations by going on tours in game form, called quests. The round was led by Sparking Capital with participation from Early Game Ventures, helping Questo expand into more cities through local storytellers and tour operators.

With Questo, travellers and locals explore destinations by following clues and solving challenges in order to discover new places and stories. Today, the platform is available in 70 cities worldwide, and it’s growing rapidly.

“We’re transforming city exploration into a fun game that’s safe to play on your own. For this, we partner with tour operators and storytellers from all around the world, who are creating their own games. Our model is so scalable that we could launch Questo in every city of the world. And we’ll probably do that,” says Alex Govoreanu, co-founder and CEO.

The Questo platform also comes as a solution for tour operators in a post-COVID world. The resulting gamified tours are safe to explore with, don’t require assistance from a guide, and can be played privately, therefore avoiding large groups. Also, the routes of the quests are designed to help users discover less popular places, while sharing amazing stories crafted by local storytellers.

“Cities are the world’s best playgrounds, but for some reason, most of us are playing indoors. With Questo, we are on a mission to change this by working with tour operators and local storytellers worldwide, who are designing their own quests, each with a unique theme. Imagine exploring London as Sherlock Holmes, Paris as Picasso or Zurich as Einstein” adds Govoreanu.

The funding will be used to continue its partnerships with international tour operators and storytellers, and to further improve the technology to ensure a fun and equally safe city exploration experience for its users. By the end of 2020, Questo aims to become available in 100 cities.

“We are happy to announce a new investment in a talented founding team and an innovative product, which challenges the status-quo of the classic city travelling via a self-guided tour, delivered through an app. Responding to the needs of having an engaging, immersive, private and safe city exploration experience, consumers may explore with Questo app landmarks from all over the world, from Montmartre to Manhattan and from Secret Passage at Chimalistac in Mexico City to the Old Town and Temples of Bangkok”, said Vlad Panait, co-founder and General Partner of Sparking Capital.

In 2019, more than 50,000 people played a city exploration game with Questo, while walking more than 200,000 kilometers. Every game can be purchased inside the Questo apps, the website, and from partners such as TripAdvisor, GetYourGuide or Musement. Currently, the price per game ranges from €10 – €20 per group of up to 4 players.


Have a sustainable mobility startup idea that might change the world? Startup in Residence Amsterdam is looking for you!

The sixth edition of Startup in Residence accelerator programme is back for aspiring entrepreneurs. The government’s startup programme is a six-month venture wherein participating startups receive training, mentorship and resources to test out their ideas directly in the city of Amsterdam. This year’s themes are Sustainability and Mobility, and the deadline to apply for the campaign is August 11, 2020. Those interested can sign up for the programme here.

Further, here’s what you need to know about the programme. Afbeelding met kaart, tekst, teken  Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

Tackle sustainability and mobility issues!

Like every year, the Startup in Residence accelerator programme has announced the key theme for this year’s participants. The programme is aimed at enticing the best startups, scaleups, innovative SMEs, and social entrepreneurs with creative and innovative solutions for the city’s mobility and sustainability issues. Under the two grander themes, solutions are sought for wide-ranging topics such as ’emission-free recreational boats’ and ‘circular renovation’ to ‘inclusive mobility’ and ‘local food logistics’.

Additionally, a “wild card challenge” is also applicable on both themes. With the challenge, an entrepreneur can apply when they have good ideas and solutions but they don’t fit into any above-described issues. One deadline to sign up for the programme is August 11, 2020. 

Opportunities await the winners

The selected startups will get the opportunity to test their product and/or services in Amsterdam. They will also have professional mentors and potential clients guiding them. At the end of the programme, it is the municipality’s intention to become the launching customer of a successful startup or to enter some into some form of cooperation. Additionally, the aim of all Startup in Residence programmes is for the municipality to make public tenders more accessible to smaller parties such as start-ups, scale-ups, and social entrepreneurs.

You can sign up for the programme here.

Image credits: Shutterstock

This article is produced in collaboration with StartupAmsterdam. Read more about our partnering opportunities.

The post Have a sustainable mobility startup idea that might change the world? Startup in Residence Amsterdam is looking for you! appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Programmer looking to the future in startup world

I’m a programmer

More recently I’ve been doing UX and UI and product management (managing teams of developers).

I feel like programming as a job isnt going away, but I question whether it will continue to pay what it does ($ 80-$ 150+ usd per as a freelancer).

I feel like these gold rush days will be done in 24-48 months.

So I’m wondering what’s next and how can I get ahead before all ya coders are making $ 20/hr.

What can a well rounded coder (6-7 years full stack) with extensive startup experience and even additional management/ui/design/ux experience parlay into?

Is there anything somebody like me could do at VC firm without being a partner/investor?

Should I try to scale to an agency? Let other do the coding?

Just crawl my way up to product manager/CTO/management roles?

I’d like to start preparing for this future over he next 2-5 years.

submitted by /u/JustLookingAroundFor
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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

[DailyPay in PR Newswire] DailyPay Taps David Dyar to Lead Engineering and Accelerate Adoption in a Post-Covid World

DailyPay the leading provider of the daily pay benefit, today named David Dyar as Senior Vice President, Engineering. Dyar will lead DailyPay’s technology efforts that include software engineering, development operations and quality assurance.

Read more here.

The post [DailyPay in PR Newswire] DailyPay Taps David Dyar to Lead Engineering and Accelerate Adoption in a Post-Covid World appeared first on OurCrowd.


[DailyPay in PR Newswire] DailyPay Taps David Dyar to Lead Engineering and Accelerate Adoption in a Post-Covid World

DailyPay the leading provider of the daily pay benefit, today named David Dyar as Senior Vice President, Engineering. Dyar will lead DailyPay’s technology efforts that include software engineering, development operations and quality assurance.

Read more here.

The post [DailyPay in PR Newswire] DailyPay Taps David Dyar to Lead Engineering and Accelerate Adoption in a Post-Covid World appeared first on OurCrowd.


Belgium-based e-peas nabs €8 million to make the world run battery-free

Belgian startup e-peas, a supplier of advanced energy harvesting solutions, has just completed its latest funding round of €8 million. The funding round was led by Partech and Airbus Ventures, with KBC Focus Fund, W.IN.G, Noshaq Ventures, LeanSquare, Nivelinvest and Vives also contributing.

In the future, society will need to shift towards energy sources that have less ecological impact. Tens of billions of connected IoT and edge computing devices are now starting to be deployed and activity will keep on ramping up in the decades ahead. Reliance on disposable batteries in this context is simply impractical – with heavy network maintenance costs being incurred (as depleted batteries will need replacing periodically), along with huge damage to the environment.

e-peas (2014) is uniquely positioned within this sector, serving as a one stop shop for customers’ energy harvesting requirements and enabling their hardware to be powered indefinitely. The company is successfully addressing opportunities in industrial, home/building automation, agriculture, health monitoring, smart metering and other sectors. Over the last 3 years, it has been continually broadening the scope of its Ambient Energy Manager (AEM) product line. This now covers solar, thermal, vibration and RF methods for extracting energy from IoT devices’ surroundings – thereby making them completely energy autonomous. The imminent introduction of ultra-low power processing and sensing solutions will bolster the e-peas portfolio still further.

With ever increasing demand for its ground-breaking technology, a rapidly expanding sales pipeline to attend to, plus exciting innovations under development, the startup is on a roll. It will use the funds to also open new offices worldwide, to strengthen its commercial presence.

Romain Lavault, General Partner at Partech commented: “Since our initial investment in 2017, we have been incredibly impressed by how Geoffroy and Julien have transformed a small R&D company into a recognized leader in low power IoT and edge computing with prestigious clients around the world. Geoffroy and Julien have also put the company in scale-up mode with the arrival of very experienced talents like Jean-Paul Bardyn and Christian Ferrier, have quadrupled the size of the team, and have developed an active commercial pipeline worth 500M$ over 3 continents. We are proud to be supporting e-peas again on their journey to make the world run battery-free.”

Matthieu Repellin, Investment Manager at Airbus Ventures also commented: “With its exceptional low-power ICs, e-peas is a key attractive partner for all those considering the design and deployment of energy-efficient autonomous devices at scale. e-peas has been a model in terms of execution and reliability. We are thrilled to continue supporting this outstanding European team through its fast-accelerating journey.”