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July 30, 2016

Student Entrepreneurs: KOMPAS

As the number of people travelling is increasing worldwide, we are looking for a way to understand a city’s history, see its true personality, and understand cultural differences.

Travel platforms are becoming quickly outdated, and many are looking to blogs or personal views as an alternative. As a result, too much time is being wasted searching on where to go, and how to get there. That’s why we’ve creating KOMPAS: the pocket guide to the world’s urban jungles. From a blog that started in Munich, we’re now building travel recommendations based on interests and locations, and we’re using disruptive technologies such as machine learning and narrow intelligence to do [...]

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July 29, 2016

Node has finally grown up

Perhaps it’s that the Qualcomm (Mkt cap $92B) speaker told me about a partnership with United Healthcare (Mkt cap $147B) in which the two were aligning to drive adoption of wearable IoT, or maybe it was Joyent front-and-center as a/the major Node contributor having freshly been acquired by Samsung (Mkt cap $195B), but the overarching theme of NodeSummit this year was most certainly: Node has [finally] grown up. The extended theme was ‘Node.js is ready for primetime’ and ‘every company is a tech company’, and the former is due in large part to massive corporations trying to wrap their head around the latter. Javascript’s client and server [...]

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June 27, 2016

Why disrupting insurance is hard and too few entrepreneurs are addressing the real problem

The insurance industry has been ripe for disruption for years and yet a quick walk around Leadenhall market where brokers bustle about with paper files under their arms reveals nothing has changed in decades.

Why is this?

From one perspective it’s very simple to answer: every player in the insurance market has been enjoying 10-20% net margins for over a century, so why would they want that to change? Lloyds of London tried bringing into their organisation technology innovation with Kinnect in 2002 but after £70m investment and 5 years, it was shut down. Hence, until the rise of fintech, insurance companies felt very [...]

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May 24, 2016

Paper receipts are dead. BillHive has arrived.

BillHive is an app which ensures you never lose a paper receipt again. It allows users to store their receipts directly into their phone at the moment of purchase.  This removes the need to take a picture of the paper receipt or dig through your emails, or more likely junk mail, for the proof of the purchases you’ve made. 

Through the ‘Hive’, which acts as the central repository for receipts customers can access all of their receipts and share them with employers (along with friends and family), thereby aiding the uphill battle with expense reports, while receiving up to date analytics on their spending habits.   

For retailers the benefits include unprecedented marketing [...]

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May 5, 2016

Repairly: phone and tablet repairs that come to you

This is that moment. That moment when your phone has a nervous breakdown and decides to leave you alone. That moment when you realise you have to find someone who can repair it. That moment when you realise you’re freaking busy but you have to take your afternoon to go to Whitechapel or further to repair your phone. That moment. When you realise how annoyed you are… 

But wait, there’s some good news, and it’s called Repairly. 

Founded by two cool Uni classmates, Fraser Williams and Tom Young, this ‘white glove’ sexy and cool service comes to you to pick up your phone-tablet-laptop and bring it back within two hours, all brand new. The idea behind it is simple: make [...]

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May 3, 2016

Be My Eyes

Be My Eyes is an app helping blind people in their everyday life. Through video contact, a blind person can ask a volunteer to help him in his daily basis, from knowing an expiry date to navigating new surroundings. 

“Be My Eyes is connecting people like Uber or AirBnB. It’s a service that connects someone in need and someone willing to help” says the founder, Hans Jørgen Wiberg, himself reached with blindness.

After several years of intense work, the concept won an innovative project award and been outsourced from Denmark to San Francisco to be part of the research program of the Silicon Valley University. The app has become global in 2015 and already counts 25 000 blind [...]

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April 12, 2016

Parse.com is shutting down – what next?

Facebook owner Parse.com announced last month that it’s shutting down, and a thousands of app developers were left wondering what to do next.

Parse is an example of an MBaaS or “Mobile Backend as a Service” which can be a cost-effective way to deliver backend for apps. Typically these solutions offer a free entry-level service, and can scale up as users demand it. This makes them perfect for startup app development.

Of course, “cloud” solutions come with their own risks — one being policy changes or, in this case, a complete shutdown announcement, both of which can leave you with a massive challenge.

Luckily, in this case, it’s [...]

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April 11, 2016

Are we going Full Circle?

The phone rings. It’s 5pm our time, 9am in SF. I pull my mind back from trying to unravel blockchain, and instead try to pick the brains of Albert Periu, Head of Global Capital Markets, Funding Circle. The global leader in online B2B lending. A Stallion Unicorn with one of the biggest horns in town. I want to find out the big picture, to see inside the intention of the company, what’s it all about. What’s their vision? First of all, what do they do?

“We are doing a very old thing – providing small businesses with finance – in a totally new way. We leverage technology and big data to better underwrite loans and automate processes to help more businesses get [...]

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March 31, 2016

Digital Lending. Ok, You’re Fast & Convenient – but Can You Be Trusted?

Life doesn’t stand still, especially not in 2016 when trying to compete in a market like lending. Expectations continue to be raised, and although lenders’ determination to innovate and bring new technology to market may be partly responsible for that rise, this time it’s more to do with behaviour and customer experience than having an app or getting funds over instantly.

By Richard Carter, CEO of Nostrum Group

In December 2015, Nostrum’s Attitudes to Digital Finance Report found that customers increasingly value trust and transparency. With 84% of [...]

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March 31, 2016

Easy as pie: the delivery

It feels like everything is getting easier and quicker, doesn’t it? I mean in term of buying things. I can buy pretty much anything form my desk, and it will appear, as if by magic, the next day, or even the same hour in some instances. The wonder of the internet, right? Actually, only half right.

As the ordering process gets more and more streamlined, something else needs to get more on the ball at the same time. The tricky part.

Yes, even when our mice do the talking, it takes a man in a van to do the walking. As it were. And it’s this delivery/distribution/logistics function that is really the very difficult bit. It’s the bit that involves moving physical [...]

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