New mobile payments startup Loop has closed on $10 million in Series A funding in what's being described as an "oversubscribed" angel round involving undisclosed investors. The company, which is working to build both smartphone fobs and cases that allow you to pay at point-of-sale by emulating a magstripe credit card swipe, had previously said they were raising the A round from the same group of angels who had invested in the founders' previous companies.
In an exciting development in the London startup race, Barclays today announced an accelerator program powered by Techstars.
congratulations to @techstars @jd @tak_lo and all the barclays folks . Looking forward to it already.
- A New Fintech Accelerator Emerges In London As Techstars Partners With Barclays (jeremiahtillman.wordpress.com)
- A New Fintech Accelerator Emerges In London As Techstars Partners With Barclays (techcrunch.com)
- Techstars London – meet the class of 2013
So last night was my first venture into @techhub world and I was slightly late in arriving for the demo night event #techhubtuesday . That will teach me because there was standing room only. Even if the room looked a little bored and subdued.
First up was not actually a demo but a bit of a weird presentation from the folks at Dotlondon - DotLondon are part of London and partners (which is part of the mayors office) and as part of the re-ordering of all that is Internet there are a number of Icahn controlled top level domains (TLDs) soon to be available. DotLondon own the .london domain name and will be charging around £30-50 for owning a name underneath that TLD. I must admit the concept of a geography based domain when the internet is all about breaking down the borders of commerce is a bit puzzling for me. Unless you have a brand that is so associated with London, I don’t see much point. Perhaps I’ll register pearlyking.london or blackcab.london . Anyway the audience were not really impressed and eagerly awaiting the first pitch.
Appraisly gave a slick but slighty unreadable demo on their performance appraisals in the cloud idea. A simple model of personal goals in companies that have to be linked to business objectives for a firm. They could be disruptive offering the product at FOC for companies with < 10 users or $5 per month for > 10. I liked the fact that they enabled 360 degree review inside & outside the company. I think they’ll have to go some to disrupt the top end of the performance appraisal market – but I really liked the idea.
Boxagon were a platform to share experiences and collections of things that go well together. The whole model relies on users creating collections that others might be interesting in. The example given was when you wanted to learn how to play the guitar you might need a collection of things to get you started. A Guitar, strings, music, plectrums etc. Not sure the audience got the product concept
Fidbacks – a french founded company were looking to leverage your reputation. Gather on a single profile all the ratings, comments and endorsements that you have collected on marketplaces. The concept was an aggregation of your online reputation. Some concern in the room about how they connect to those marketplaces and identity protection. Fidbacks offer an API so other company / websites can consume.
MiThought are hoping to connect innovators by their thoughts and were basically looking for feedback on their idea of being a global online incubator. They launched 2 months ago and was an interesting idea but not a great demo despite a funky animation .
One diary want you to manage your meetings rather than just track them.
- interesting idea to fix the problem of having multiple diaries
- does not replace your diary but overlies it
- passionate demo and very honest (don’t have a business model)
Thatgift were the most amusing presentation of the night from Graham Paterson. Graham admitted he basically did ThatGift in his spare time and was really looking for someone to buy his idea.
The final demo was from @Tigmus that have the ambition to connects music fans with artists. They offer a ticket pledging service for fans and small artists which is essentially crowdsourcing of gigs. Nice idea.
Oh yes – apologies to the survey on tablet guys who also presented – but I had to leave the room.
Since the start of 2012, home automation startups have raised $468M across 56 deals. Surprisingly, most of those have not been the recent flurry of smaller rounds for SmartThings ($12.5 million), Zonoff ($3.8 million) or Revolv ($4 million), but from companies like Alarm.com ($136 million) and Nest ($80 million) raising really large rounds. Check out the CB Insights story for a nifty chart!
For those of you that doubt the future of technology is in innovation outside of the enterprise just read this report.
Well worth 12 minutes of your time listening to the Amazon story and drone surprise.
I’ve just completed the setup, organisation and running of a customer user group for a large (~$1BN) software company. It’s been an interesting experience and as I had very positive feedback on the event from the client and customers I can safely say, “it went well”.
One aspect I was concerned about at the start was my position in the industry, as a recent ex customer of the company that was now paying me to run their user group. How do I retain the trust of the customers and the company? On the positive side I knew my previous positions and experiences allowed me to understand both sides of the customer-user interaction.
It got me thinking about the importance of the user group and the role of customer feedback for product managers in the software industry.
Customer feedback is an important part of product development and the customer feedback loop needs to be very direct when you are dealing in the B2B market (Beyond Mobile’s core business).
Getting this direct feedback can be difficult however and It doesn’t help that the role of the product manager is still not very well understood. One thing I have seen in customers is the marketing team might organise user forums and even set the agenda somewhat in isolation or with feedback from sales teams ensuring a bias towards the sales/marketing teams outcomes.
I started to do a bit of research and enjoyed reading Josh Elman’s article on what a product manager is and is not and also read many of the related articles below. I picked up these 3 simple bullets from that research.
A product manager MUST be responsible for the following;
- Setting a vision
- Getting stuff done
- Generating insights
The customer feedback loop could fall into 1 and 3 of the steps below. All in all, it’s pretty important to do this right. I’ve also written previously about the role of independent research groups in Getting killer product features you always wanted. The more scientific research can complement user groups .
So why? do a lot of product managers outsource the responsibility of user groups to marketing teams?
Put simply my conclusion is time (or lack thereof) . They are time consuming events when done properly. Often a product manager is too busy doing 2) from the list above and only does 1) and 3) when time permits.
Beyond Mobile is here to help and has developed a very simple but effective methodology which is outlined above. Ive now been involved in this at a few different organisation.
There is obviously more to it that 5 simple steps – so why not contact me to find out?
- Presentation: What is Product Management? (sachinrekhi.com)
- Be a Great Product Leader by Adam Nash
- Good product manager, bad product manager by Ben Horowitz
- What distinguishes the Top 1% of Product Managers from the Top 10%? by Ian McAllister
- How to hire a product manager By Ken Norton
- Shared Context in Product Development and the How of “Why” by Satya Patel
- The 3 Skillsets that Make Successful Product Managers by Kinton Kivetsu
HELSINKI (AP) — Engineers who used to work for Nokia are hoping to grab a share of the lucrative and highly competitive smartphone market with a new handset, which is based on the former world No. 1 cellphone maker’s old software and is faintly reminiscent of its recent models.
The Jolla handset’s Sailfish platform has been developed from the MeeGo operating software, Nokia’s last open-source platform which it abandoned in 2011 when it switched over to using Microsoft Corp.’s Windows system.
The sleek 4.5-inch phone, which almost looks like it could be part of Nokia’s Lumia range, features an eight megapixel camera, supports fast 4G Internet connections and includes the well-received Nokia’s HERE mapping services that cover more than 190 countries.
Full article me , courtesy of yahoo.com
The news that Oracle had acquired Bitzer Mobilea provider of mobile applications management solutions, passed relatively quietly on Friday afternoon. The news was partly obscured by some decent IPO performances in the last week (Twitter and Zulily) but also obscured by the expectation in the industry that the acquisition frenzy is about to begin.
There are over 125 Mobile Device management firms in business and with the new class of Mobile application management rising the market for all of these firms does not exist.
Expect to see a lot more acquisitions in the news over the next 4 months, Good perhaps one of the biggest enterprise players that must be being eyed up by large IT product and services companies.