Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Zuora - a model for the bidding Tech Entrepreneur looking to become a Unicorn

Zuora founder and CEO Tien Tzuo. 


Electrical engineering degree from Cornell University, 6 years in sales at Oracle MBA from Stanford, Sales at Salesforce , CMO at Salesforce

2007 Founder of Zuora SAAS for subscriptions 

Facts of Zuora

Turnover - $US250 million, 600 people and is  a unicorn (valued at around $1 billion. ) With a who'se who customer list including Box, News Corp, Fairfax Media and Zendesk.

Tzuo realised that SAAS was the next big thing that would be taking over from the likes of SAP and Oracle there core focus was providing outcomes for clients, without them needing to buy infrastructure.

Major disruption!!

The subscription business model is disrupting every facet of the consumer world, with every single industry feeling the heat. 

Uber, Netflix and Airbnb being major disruptions !

“How are Oracle and SAP going to survive in a world where people are buying less software?”

Research showed that Australia was was number one in adopting subscription models - and focussed energy is setting up shop in Oz! 

 Tzuo sees Sydney or Melbourne as the second English speaking city you would go outside of the USA after London, boding well for a stronger VC community, and points out that Aussie companies are at the leading edge of the global digital transformation - with Telstra and Australian Post major players!

However, it's still really hard for Australian companies to find capital and succeed . But it can be done!!!

Atlassian is a case in point!

Biggest Mistakes

“We  thought customers wouldn’t need help implementing. Like how hard could it be? There’s nothing needed to be installed, it’s all point and click,” Tzuo said.

“But it turned out that it’s all new, the subscription economy business model was all new and there wasn’t a lot of experience inside the companies on how to be successful with these systems. So we gave our software to companies who then struggled to get it set up and how to use it. 

“Now, we sit down with a customer and give them a detailed plan and show how we can go through and implement this plan with them.” 

Focus on the customer 

Ensure you keep customers by continuing to delight them 

“When you see tech companies with scale issues, it’s usually because they focus on gaining new customers,” he said.

“If you’re a social platform, it’s easy to get 1000 customers quickly, but how do you make it truly sustainable and an engine of growth?” 

Inspired by business insider 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Upthere - One home for all your stuff

Upthere Home, the first app for Upthere, is designed to be the one home for all of your photos, videos, music, and documents. Everything is safely and privately stored directly in the Upthere cloud, so you’re not limited by the space on your phone or computer. 

Upthere has raised $77.6m from the likes of  Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Western Digital Capital, FLOODGATE, Elevation Partners, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, GV .

Scopely raises $55m - helping brands build interactive experiences

With the mobile game market expected to grow to $45 billion by 2020, CEO of Scopely Walter Driver said he sees massive opportunity by taking advantage of a new mainstream-gamification of interactive entertainment. He says... "Most brands don't have interactive experiences. We have a sustainable publishing platform to systematically bring mainstream IP (intellectual property) to the audiences that care about them."

"Scopely sees itself as an interactive entertainment network . " 

He has convinced Venture Capital -invest a further $55m in addition to the $43m already invested! Current VC includes Greycroft Partners, Elephant Partners, Sands Capital Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Evolution Media Capital, Take-Two Interactive Software, e.ventures. 

Scopely is a game producer and distributor, focusing on free games - taking market share from Zynga - 

 It has a $200 million annual run rate, with a 600 percent growth rate over the last 10 months. 

The company also announced a new partnership with WWE to launch a free mobile game, "WWE Champions." 

This comes after a string of best-sellers: Last year Scopely released a "Walking Dead" game "Road to Survival," which hit more than 4 million downloads in its first week, 10 million downloads in its first 90 days. 

CEO Walter Driver says that they have built a central business and technology infrastructure to turn brands into IP again and again."

"Road to Survival" is the start-up's sixth consecutive No. 1 selling game. 

Scopely teamed up with Hasbro to release "Yahtzee with Buddies," which is still a top-40 grossing game. Driver projects that the game will generate $650 million in revenue over five years, noting that Scopely is the only game company with two different genre games in the top-grossing charts. 

The company has eight more games in development, four that are expected to launch this year. 

"We're able to have success in many different genres because we're able to work with game studios that have expertise in different genres," said Driver, who says this gives the company the advantage of diversified revenue streams.

"We have so much data that it enables us to know which genres are going to be good businesses, and good businesses for a long period of time. We can leverage the data we have — the attributes of users that are most relevant for the game — to figure out how we can market products so they can outperform." 

The top 10 US Startups That Raised over a billion dollars in July

Phish me - $42.5m - cyber security  - 
Lead – Paladin Capital Group, Bessemer Venture Partners- total raised $58m

Slate Science - $45m - digital entertainment - Turner Broadcasting, Advance Publications - total raised $46.1m

Desktop Metal - $53m - 3D printing - Lead – Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures and GE Ventures, Lux Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Stratasys, New Enterprise Associates -  total raised $99.76m

Scopely - $55m - mobile gaming - Lead — Greycroft Partners, Elephant Partners, Sands Capital Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Evolution Media Capital, Take-Two Interactive Software, e.ventures - total raised $98.7m 

Upthere - $77.6m - music and web design .Lead — , Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Western Digital Capital, FLOODGATE, Elevation Partners, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, GV - total raised $77.6

Indigo - $100m - agricultureLead – Alaska Permanent Fund, Flagship Ventures.  total raised $156m

Sprinklr - $105m - advertising social mediaLead – Temasek Holdings, Wellington Management, EDBI- total raised $228m -  total raised $228m

Unity Technologies - $181m - video games and virtual reality - Lead – DFJ Growth, Thrive Capital, Max Levchin, China Investment Corporation, FREES FUND, Sequoia Capital, WestSummit Capital  -  total raised $198m

Zoox - $200m - autonomous vehicles - Lead - Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Lux Capital, Thomas Tull, Blackbird Ventures, AID Partners Capital Holdings - total raised $240m

Vumatel - $250m - Internet - lead Vantage Capital- total raised $250m


Saturday, September 24, 2016

$500k grant for start-up for incubators


The Incubator Support Initiative will help incubators improve their performance and deliver projects targeted at helping start-ups realise their global potential.


The Incubator Support Initiative was announced as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA) in December 2015 and is a new element of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme. The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (the department) is responsible for administering the initiative.


The objective of the Incubator Support Initiative is to assist New and Existing Incubators to:

  • improve the prospects of Australian start-ups achieving commercial success in international markets by delivering a range of activities to Australian start-ups to develop the capabilities required to realise their economic potential in international markets faster than they otherwise would; and
  • develop Australia’s innovation ecosystem including in Australian regions.

The initiative provides funding through two components to deliver Incubator Support projects, both of which require matched funding from applicants.

The first is support for New and Existing Incubators:

  • to help develop new Incubators in regions or sectors with high potential for success in international trade, and
  • to boost the effectiveness of high performing Incubators, including funding support to expand their services and/or develop the innovation ecosystem.

The second is support for Expert-in-Residence:

  • to organise and provide access to top quality research, managerial and technical talent through secondments of national or international expert advisers who will improve the chance of commercial success for start-ups in international markets.


The Incubator Support initiative offers grants:

  • up to $500,000 for the creation of new incubators in regions or business sectors with strong links to international trade and to boost the effectiveness of high performing existing incubators
  • up to $25,000 for incubators to engage experts-in-residence to ensure start-ups have access to top quality research, managerial and technical talent.

Eligible Projects

To be eligible your project must:

  • include eligible activities and expenditure
  • have a total project value of at least $20,000 for New and Existing Incubators grants
  • have a total project value of at least $2,000 for Expert-in-Residence grants

Eligible Applicants

To be eligible for Incubator Support Initiative, applicants must:

  • be an existing Incubator or establishing a new Incubator that can foster and facilitate the development of innovative start-ups focused on international trade; and
  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN); and
  • be one of the following:an entity incorporated in Australia;
  • an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust;
  • a not for profit organisation;
  • a publically funded research organisation (PFRO); or
  • local government.
  • Joint applications from consortia are acceptable, provided you have a lead applicant who is the main driver of the project and is eligible as per the list above.
  • You can apply and be funded for up to two grants at the same time. You can apply for more than two grants only after you have finished one of the funded projects and have provided your final report.

To be eligible you must be able to provide the following:

  • trust deed (where applicable)
  • for New and Existing Incubators applications – evidence from your organisation’s Board (or support from the Chief Executive Officer or director, if there is no Board) that the project is supported, and that the applicant can complete the project and meet the costs of the project not covered by grant funding
  • for Expert-In-Residence applications – resumes outlining the experience and capabilities of the expert/s.


Application open on an ongoing basis.

More Information

Friday, September 23, 2016

Mention of AI gets VCs drooling!

Photo: iStockphoto.
Photo: iStockphoto.

The word on the streets of India’s start-up world is that any mention of artificial intelligence (AI) makes venture capitalists drool. From Sequoia India to Tata Sons Ltd’s chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, reputed investors are adding companies working on AI to their portfolio. This is only to be expected, given that the entire tech world can’t stop talking about how AI, machine learning and neural networks will completely change the world over the next few decades. 

But it’s also a daunting task for Indian companies, given that all the big global players are pouring massive resources into the space. There are several Indian companies that have taken AI out of the lab and found real-world applications for it. 

The screen you can talk to

If you walk into the Nepean Sea Road branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS’) in Mumbai next week and swipe your card, you will see yourself on a large screen that will enable various banking tasks, such as opening a new account or applying for a loan. You can interact with the screen using gestures, swiping your hands right and left to click on buttons and see further options, and you can also talk to the screen. 

As you view the options, the screen will study your face, trying to gauge whether you’re engaged, interested or bored. If it believes you’re interested in car loan options, it will suggest schemes on these. 

All this is powered by Fluid AI, a Mumbai-based start-up founded three years ago by brothers Abhinav and Raghav Aggarwal. Their gesture and speech recognition solution not only lets companies provide customers with novel and intuitive experiences, it also provides the enterprises with better data analytics. 

As you interact with Fluid AI’s solution on the screen, it studies you and your preferences. It then crunches all this data and presents the enterprise with the analysis. 

Apart from RBS, Fluid AI has also built a solution for Axis Bank, which it will launch sometime next month. Auto companies such as Rolls-Royce, Hero and Toyota, as well as mobile service provider Vodafone, are among its customers. 

Fluid AI is also helping enterprises use AI to make real-time decisions based on data. Their AI can trade in the stock market, says Raghav. It learns when to buy and sell a stock based on past data and can then make the actual decisions without human intervention. Similarly, if a mobile phone company wants to know when its customers are thinking of changing their service provider, Fluid AI can learn customer behaviour by analysing data—dropped calls, complaints, poor network areas etc.—and reach a decision on making a particular customer an offer or escalating his complaint at the crucial moment. 

Raghav (left) and Abhinav Aggarwal of Fluid AI. photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint
Raghav (left) and Abhinav Aggarwal of Fluid AI. photo: Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

The Chatbots 

If you search for Niki Bot on the Facebook Messenger app, you’ll be introduced to a virtual assistant that can help you pay your electricity, phone or cable bills or book you a cab. Type in “pay my phone bill” and it will ask for your number, service provider and bill amount. Then, if you have a Paytm account, you can pay your bill right there on Messenger, without being redirected to another app or site. 

Niki Bot is the creation of Niki.ai, an year-old Bengaluru-based start-up that has raised funding from, among others, Ratan Tata and UTV group founder Ronnie Screwvala. Their aim is to allow you to conduct various transactions online—paying bills, booking transport, ordering food, getting chores done—on one platform, while talking to a digital assistant. 

Apart from their Facebook bot, they also have their own app, Niki. On this, you can do everything you can on the Facebook bot, plus book a bus, order a burger from Burger King and get your laundry done. What makes the app “intelligent” is that it will attempt to have a conversation with you, while an app like Zomato would make you go through menus and select things yourself. If you want to order a burger on Niki, for example, you can say “I like chicken”, and it will tell you it has a grill chicken burger combo meal available. When it asks you when you want your laundry picked up, you can say “First thing in the morning”, and it will understand what you mean.

MagicX, a Bengaluru-based start-up that raised funding this year from investors such as Kris Gopalakrishnan, a co-founder and former chief executive officer of Infosys, does almost exactly what Niki does. Its app and Facebook bot are both called MagicX, and the app can communicate in English, Hindi and Kannada—eight more languages are expected to be added soon. The company has the advantage of having previously operated a chat application called Magic Tiger, which had people answering requests over messaging, so it has gained some insight into what customers want from a digital assistant. 

Neither Niki.ai nor MagicX are doing anything revolutionary. There are plenty of digital assistants powered by AI being developed around the world, not the least Facebook’s own M, which lets people in the US perform all sorts of tasks, from buying someone a birthday gift to making dinner reservations. However, they can stay ahead of the competition by quickly tying up with as many service providers as possible. So if a company such as Facebook does want a digital assistant that could perform tasks for people in India too, it would be easier for it to simply acquire or ally with Niki or MagicX rather than approach every restaurant, airline and mobile service provider for tie-ups. 

The Niki.ai app in action.
The Niki.ai app in action. 

The E-commerce enablers 

Right now, e-commerce offers convenience and lower prices than physical stores. But the next step is to completely revolutionize shopping by providing truly personalized experiences. What online shopping sites and apps mainly rely on now are tags keyed in by people. If you search for a sari that an app has tagged as Banarasi, you will see ads for Banarasi saris the next time you open it. But the app is not truly learning your taste in clothes. 

This is where Mad Street Den comes in. A two-year-old Chennai-based company, Mad Street Den is specifically targeting online fashion retailers and, through its tool Vue.ai, helps them learn more about their customers and make the experience of shopping more intuitive. Using Mad Street Den’s services, retailers can also allow people to search for garments through images rather than text. 

So, rather than typing in “green sari with sequins suitable for casual and formal functions”, you can just take a photo of a sari that fits that description, and the online shopping app, using Mad Street Den’s AI, will show you similar saris. All the while, the app is learning about your specific tastes and will suggest products based on its assessment. 

Mad Street Den counts online fashion retailers Craftsvilla and Voonik among its clients. Slightly worryingly for the company, though, Flipkart recently discontinued its image search feature, which was powered by Singapore-based ViSenze, citing minimal usage.

Mumbai-based Arya.ai is also hoping to enable companies to use AI, but rather than building tools for them, it has built a programming tool called Braid, released earlier this month, that other companies can use to build neural networks. Companies can then use those neural networks to do everything from automatizing their processes to learning how to recognize photographs. 

For companies such as Mad Street Den and Arya.ai, the competition will be stiff, as some of the biggest tech companies in the world are researching image recognition and analytics. A recent Evans Data Corp. report says that about 60% of software developers in India have been experimenting with AI and machine learning. So we can expect plenty of competition in the space in the next few years. 

Jason Fernandes, founder of tech start-up SmartKlock, contributed to this story.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Melbourne's Whispir raises $11.75m series A

Whispir  seems to be an interesting play

They have just raised $11.75m from VC including Telstra Ventures, NSI Ventures and Rippledot Capital.
This is after Telstra invested $4m and Commercialisation  Australia $2m in 2012.

What does Whispir do?

Whispir facilitates multi-channel engagement with staff and customers using one platform and have coined the term CAaas (communication app as a service) says CEO and founder Jeremy Wells 

What does this mean? 
You can communicate on the channel your customers choose

The Pain
You may need to contact a lot of people, but today you are probably using multiple channels including email, voice, SMS, Instant Messaging, social media and more.
You generally send messages separately on each channel and monitor each one for replies, but that's incredibly time consuming and inefficient.

The Pain Killer 
the Whispir Conversation Platform. 

The Whispir platform is a Cloud-based enterprise service which bundles SMS, voice, web, email, mobile data and social media networks. It is a two-way multi-channel platform, Whispir lets you reach out to customers, staff, or anyone, using their preferred method of communication.
Better still, they can reply to you on whatever channel they want while you have a single, 360⁰ view of all channels. More than just communication, Whispir enables true, two-way conversations.

Investor Shane Chesson from NSI ventures says that  “Whispir underpins dyinamic and powerful multi-channel communication for its clients.” 

It's capital efficient channel model is a smart way to scale says Chesson

Before the series A round, Whispir lifted its sales year-on-year in Singapore by 145%

Competitors in the US included Xmatters, Mir3.com, Everbridge.com, SendWordNow and Varolli.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ripple - leading the charge for Blockchain in C border transactions


 Will blockchain disrupt everyday banking?

Will the hype  live up to the promises to speed up all sorts of financial transactions and record-keeping?

Ripple, a key name in this digital currency ra space, focussing solely on one off cross border payments, last week announced a $55 million Series B round (totalling $93m to date 

In addition, Ripple has signed partnerships with the likes of Standard Chartered, BMO Financial Group, and Shanghai Huarui Bank

Chris Larsen, Ripples CEO, explains how the banks are using Blockchain to move money and integrate it into day to day banking

Examples of Ripple used by banks 

- carrying out foreign exchange transactions on Ripple instead of the SWIFT network, 

- facilitating escrow arrangements between corporate customers. 

- making low value payments to contractors  in other countries - making the process cheap and fast . Ripple can make it easy for Facebook and Uber and Amazon to make payments to developers in real time.

- It’s online and completely global.”

Blockchain lets companies transfer and record assets using the Internet, to disrupt back-end financial services.

What's stopping you from being a "Blockchain bank" ? Do you need a licence?can accountants and lawyers provide these type of services?

Blockchain Company Chain,  is working with banks to replace financial messaging systems, and R3 is helping a consortium of banks build a tamper-proof private ledger to record their transactions.

It seems as ripple, chain and r3 are specialising in one section of the Blockchain world.

The Series B funding round was led by SBI Holdings, including participation from Standard Chartered, Accenture Ventures, and SCB Digital Ventures, the venture arm of Siam Commercial Bank. 

Existing Ripple investors include GV (Google Ventures), Andreessen Horowitz, IDG Capital Partners, and Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures. 

Other banks using  Ripple are Westpac, National Australia Bank (NAB), Mizuho Financial Group (MHFG), and Siam Commercial Bank.

The price of Ripple (which is also a digital currency in its own right) shot up about 25% on Thursday morning in response to the news.

Question? How does Ripple compete with Bitcoin

Can a non- bank use Ripple? Does one need a licence. 

Can the banking world be disrupted by allowing accountants and lawyers facilitate this service?

Interesting times!!!


Sunday, September 18, 2016

The. Zuckerberg Way

The biggest risk is to not take a risk
Done I'd better than perfect
Move fast and break things
Code with arguments
Build something for the long term.... Anything else is a distraction 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Growing Up - 8 observations I’ve learned from going 0 to 1 million in a startup

Find your core user(s) 

Whether you’re building enterprise software or a consumer app, your core user/early adopters will be your ultimate customer, this will be the foundation you build your idea off of. Your absolute top priority has to be finding that user that understands it’s early software and is signing up for the potential of what your idea can evolve to. Our first client and core user, Asco Aerospace, was found by pitching the idea at a school event, we developed an extremely close relationship that allowed us to receive constant feedback and use Asco as a platform to continually improve the system,  

Creating initial Revenue will seem like a daunting task 

 Once you have at least built a minimum viable product that is market ready, the initial fear will kick in on how generate revenue, I once attended a startup conference and met a company in the same space that was generating 20K a month in revenue, while we were generating $100 a month. At that point, 20K seemed like a near impossible task. At every beginning point of a start-up’s life cycle, you will experience this fear and it will take all the courage you have to overcome this mental block. 

The early stage is the most magical 

 the truth is, you will constantly face stress, tension, resistance, and pressure from the day you pronounce you’re building a startup. It’s when the seed you have planted is about to breakthrough the soil. It's been said that a start-up is incredibly fun and stressful at the same time. However, at the early stage you have unlimited agility, unbridled creativity, and infinite possibilities to build your vision. The act of taking a step towards building something unique, building an idea from its embryonic state to being able to touch and interact with in the real world will be more fulfilling than any success you have from this point on. Be comfortable with the unknown, this is the realm that really allows you to live in the moment and experience the true magic, mystery, infinite possibilities of life. This is the time when "Luck" happens by randomness, intention, creativity, and inspiration all working synchronously.   

Team is the life and death of a start-up 

I'm sure you have ubiquitously read that team is an important factor of a startup whether it is through other blogs, articles, or even investors grilling you on your team. Team is always accentuated because it is the absolute most imperative task you will take on in a start-up. Team is everything, especially early on, when they will be the closest people you spend countless hours with. Building the right team doesn't mean accumulating experience but also chemistry, personality, habits, and personal intentions are important factors. One poisonous team member can create a negative ripple effect far greater than a positive one. One example is we brought on someone for a marketing position, he was a diligent and focused worker but his negative attitude can be felt by the entire team. After two weeks, the negative attitude caught wildfire and the entire culture and environment shifted. Another great example is the 13,000 factory workers at the Zuffenhausen site for Porsche. After Porsche announced the Mission E concept car, an all-electric car with the intention to be sold to the masses, the factory workers who will be producing this car agreed to take a pay cut in order to greenlight the car into production. This allowed Porsche to save hundreds of millions of dollars in order to upgrade the factory and employees even agreed to work more hours. It's perfect example of how a team must work together to achieve a goal that's bigger than themselves.  

Inbound Marketing is extremely powerful 

Starting off with 0 sign-ups a month to getting hundreds is a surreal experience for a start-up. The most important thing I learned is you need to make a web presence, it's not about having a "salespeople" making calls or knocking on doors. In order to grow efficiently and as fast a possible is to direct traffic to your website. We hired a young marketer with minimal experience but had the right creative chemistry and the "growth hacker" mentality. Some of his initiatives was to revamp the entire blog and produce quality content.   

Growth and Change can happen at a breakneck speed 

It's eccentric to see how fast a start-up's culture, environment, and team can change as you start to establish as a company. When you start generating revenue, creating an online presence, and gaining investors on board, dramatic shifts begin to happen from the inner core to the lithosphere of the start-up. This is the phase of growing-up, voices that were once prominent will be diluted, the music that was once the driving sound of the office is overtaken by silence, and accountability has increased. It's the natural evolution of building a company, you now need to have scalable processes, key metrics, and every idea needs to be validated by data. It is important to find a balance of a dynamic, positive culture and creating a productive work environment, if either shifts to one extreme then there will be critical problems to the health of the company.   

Processes are key, strive to build a machine 

When you first begin to build a product, you will introduce very raw practices and hack it together. This methodology works, and I personally believe it is the absolute best way to learn and grow your startup. Consider it your block of stone before you sculpt it into your own Michelangelo's David. Essentially, as you grow, you want to take raw processes and refine them into an automated machine. This will not only significantly increase efficiency, but also enable you to project and measure growth.  

Innovation and product  

One rule that should always be set in stone is never compromise the product. Live, breathe, eat, sleep your product. This is your masterpiece, your work of art you want the world to share and interact with. Have a balance of your curating your own experience and listening to your userbase to create the absolute best product. Build the best product in your industry and people will take notice. Research, analyze, observe the best and make it even better.

Live Beacon Sends Web Content and Notifications to Nearby Phones

article by Michael Guta of small business trends

When beacons were first introduced, the application of the technology had great potential, but the adoption rate hasn’t met that expectation. James Grant, Founder of Live Beacon wants to change all that with a device that can be easily deployed out of the box.

What is a Beacon?

A beacon is a small devices that uses Bluetooth Low Energy to transmit signals on to smart mobile devices, such as smartphones. The app on the phone picks up the signal, understands the position of the consumer on micro-local scale and delivers hyper-contextual content based on the location.
Once the application on the consumer’s smartphone detects the Beacon, it can communicate the data to its server to trigger an action.

Why is Live Beacon Different?

In an email interview with Small Business Trends, Grant said one of the biggest challenges companies faced with beacons is  they underestimated the complexity of connecting the physical and digital worlds.
Live Beacon was designed to simplify the deployment of beacons, and it does this without a single line of code. It lets you send location-specific information from your web page, video or web app up to 30 meters (100 feet) using the free Live Beacon app and cloud portal.
Live Beacon Demonstration
Once you deploy the beacons, iOS and Android smartphones receive notifications when they are within the range of a beacon.
Grant said, “Building a ‘ground up’ iBeacon experience is a huge undertaking and a massive distraction from their core business.” And this is where he thinks Live Beacon will succeed where others have had a hard time.
He went on to say, “There’s also a disconnect between beacon hardware manufacturers and software providers, which makes things difficult. We believe the hardware and software should be developed together (much like Apple’s philosophy with the iPhone and iOS). By offering a single universal product to all of our customers, we’re able to offer it at a much lower cost and continuously improve it for everyone (as opposed to hitting the reset switch with each new project).

What Can You Do with Live Beacon?

The possibilities are limitless, because the technology is highly flexible and users can develop many different type of use cases for virtually any location.
According to Live Beacon, these are some of the ways in which businesses can deploy the devices.
  • Build a digital loyalty and reward system so they don’t have carry a card or clip coupons when they enter your business. A simple tap at the register with their phone and they can get their discount.
  • Replace brochures, pamphlets and other printed materials with beacons that transmit online content. This not only saves you money in printing costs, but it quickly lets you update the content so you won’t have outdated information on old brochures.
  • Create multimedia tours for different attractions in your city by placing beacons near points of interest.
  • Gamify the world with activities that keep participants active and entertained.
  • Simplify and automate access to smart connected devices in your home or place of business.
  • Make menus and specials available in front of restaurants.
For small businesses with brick and mortar stores, Live Beacon offers another way to connect digitally with their customers outside of a website or social media. And with the complexities of the older beacons no longer a factor, you can now add and remove content at will to let your customers know your latest offerings as they walk by your place of business.
Grant concluded by saying, “Live Beacon is easiest and best way for small businesses to deliver location-specific information to their customers. With Live Beacon you can use your existing online content and be up-and-running in a matter of hours.”
Live Beacon will be launching a Kickstarter campaign in the very near future, but you can visit their website today.

Images: Live Beacon

Friday, September 16, 2016

So what is Blockchain?

Blockchain is set to disrupt the financial industry.....
Some of the banks exploring blockchain
“If you asked 10 people in this room what a blockchain is you'll get 10 different answers and I think that's why it's at the peak of the hype cycle… we need to understand it, we need to come to shared agreement of what is it and what are we going to do about it,” he told the conference.

SO what is "BLOCKCHAIN?"

Instead of one central database of who owns what, blockchain allows for a network of identical, linked databases that talk to each other and are updated simultaneously. Simon Taylor, VP Blockchain R+D at Barclays, said blockchain is best viewed as a reconciliation technology, rather than a payment technology.Below is a great video on how Bitcoin (the first application of Blockchain works 
from http://www.bpaybanter.com.au/news-views/will-blockchain-destroy-the-banking-industry-or-be
Here is a cool video ( I think its gone viral) that explains what Blockchain is 

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has concluded that blockchain technology "will fundamentally alter the way financial institutions do business around the world" after a year-long study of the emerging technology.

"It represents a fundamental threat which could disrupt almost every process in financial services" says Bank of New York Mellon head of EMEA Innovation Centre. 

“Banking processes in place for 100 years-plus will be massively disrupted,” UBS’s Bussmann said

"Twenty-five global banks, including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank, are now working together through the R3 distributed ledger initiative, which is developing a framework for using blockchain technology in markets"

Blockchain technology could potentially underpin a global market infrastructure, built on an open protocol, for money and financial assets. 

Blockchain can drive simplicity and efficiency in financial services and will redraw processes and disrupt orthodoxies that are foundational to today’s business models.

Blockchain will become the beating heart of the finance industry. "It will build innovative solutions across the industry, becoming ever more integrated into the structure of financial services, as mainframes, messaging services, and electronic trading did before it."

To make a change or add onto the blockchain the majority of members of the network must sign off on it. This cuts out the need for middle men in transactions, because the fact that everyone signs off means trust is built into the system.

By cutting out middle men, cost is reduced. The process also reduces error.

The technology could be used to record anything that involves transactions. Applications are being developed for everything from share records to art and diamonds.

Banks and financial institutions have been going crazy for blockchain technology over the last year and a half. Institutions are spending heavily on proof of concepts using the technology, issuing countless white papers, and joining industry-wide bodies to figure out how to use the protocol.

WEF says 80% of banks will start blockchain projects by 2017 and $1.4 billion has been invested into the technology over the past three years. 90 central banks are looking at the technology.

WEF identifies six "key value drivers", which are basically reasons why everyone is so enthusiastic about it. They are: 

  • operational simplification, 
  • regulatory efficiency improvement, 
  • counterparty risk reduction, near real-time settlement.
  • clearing and settlement time reduction, 
  • liquidity and capital improvement and 
  • fraud minimization. and 
  • lower direct transaction costs