Kard is a challenger bank for teens

Meet French startup Kard, a challenger bank that works a lot like N26 or Revolut. But Kard is all about convincing teens that their first bank account is going to be a Kard account — a bit like Step in the U.S.

When I talked with Kard co-founder and CEO Scott Gordon, he kept saying that Kard was a product for the generation Z. While I’m not a fan of that buzzword, it still looks like a well-designed app with some personality.

“Gen Z is a generation that has been forgotten by traditional banks,” Gordon said. “70 percent of their transactions are digital transactions,” he added later. Many teenagers borrow their parents’ card for those expenses.

Kard wants to empower teens with their own bank account, their own IBAN and their own Mastercard debit card. Instead of controlling every expense, parents can just top up the Kard account and let their child spend it however they want — you can top up with a bank transfer or using another card — just like in Revolut. Opening an account is free.

Like other electronic wallet apps, opening a Kard account is much simpler than opening a traditional bank account in France. You can sign up in a few minutes from your phone and confirm your identity later by sending a photo of your ID, etc.

After that, you get an account that you control from a mobile app. You can block and unblock the card, see transactions, send and receive money in real time with other Kard users. It ticks all the right boxes that you’ve come to expect if you have a bank account from a challenger bank.

In a couple of months, you’ll also be able to create money pots, round up your transactions to save some money, donate money to nonprofits, etc.

Kard is also borrowing a few ideas from Venmo. Users will be able to share expenses with their group of friends in the Kard app. Many teens already share a photo of their brand new sneakers on Snapchat for instance. Kard wants you to use their own app for this kind of content.

The startup raised $3.4 million (€3 million) back in January from Kima Ventures, Jean-Pascal Beaufret, Jambu Palaniappan, Francis Nappez, Julien Lemoine, Jason Dorsey and David Amsellem.

While the service is not live yet, you can sign up to the waiting list on the company’s website. Kard’s positioning is interesting. The startup doesn’t need to convince people to open yet another bank account — the company is tapping an endless funnel of new users by focusing on teens.

Like all startups focused on teens, it faces a dilemma. It has to retain its users as their needs become more complex and attract new teens as the product becomes more complex.

Ikea invests in Livspace, a one-stop platform for interior design based in India

Fresh from raising $70 million last year via big names including Goldman Sachs and TPG Growth, Livspace, an India-based startup that offers a one-stop-shop for interior design, has lured yet another marquee investor: Ikea.

The startup said today it has taken an undisclosed investment from Ingka Investments, the VC arm of Ikea parent Ingka Group, which operates 90 percent of Ikea’s retail footprint. Livspace CEO and co-founder Anuj Srivastava declined to provide a figure for the deal, but he told TechCrunch that the stake involved is a minor one while there is no plan to bolt a larger round on to this investment. Deal Street Asia first reported news of the deal.

“There is strong strategic and commercial potential,” Srivastava, a former Googler who started Livspace in 2015, said of the new investor. “This is an opportunity to create the best possible omnichannel experience for consumers.”

India is a tough place for international retail companies but Ikea has made progress in recent times.

The company opened its first India-based store in Hyderabad last year and, having gained FDI approval to operate retails store, it is planning a substantial expansion with at least 25 new stores in the offing.

Livspace, for those unaware of it, runs a service that is aimed at taking the hassle out of interior design. The company’s platform connects homeowners with designers and the supply chain to go through ideas, chose a plan and implement it. That includes, among other things, 3D virtual renders of a renovation, offline meetings at a Livspace design center and, in some cases, customized furnishings. By bringing all parties together, Livspace claims to offer cost savings to consumers as well as higher rates and more efficient use of time for designers.

That model resonates with Ikea (Ingka), according to Srivastava, who said the company sides began talking following the announcement of Livspace’s Series C round last September.

“We’ve felt the natural synergy always existed,” he said. “This is an extremely strong endorsement of our vision.”

Synergies, indeed, although somewhat frustratingly neither party is saying how they will work together going forward. The obvious suggestion would be that Ikea products become available through Livspace, but Srivastava said the specifics are still to be agreed.

Further down the line, though, he admitted that Ikea’s involvement could fuel an international expansion beyond India. Going overseas is something that the company is openly talked up in the past and, with Ikea’s global footprint of 367 stores across 30 markets, the investment from Ingka could give Livspace a running start in new markets.

That, like the details of the alliance, is something that will come later, however.

“The India business is keeping us really, really busy at this time,” said Srivastava on that possibility.

“We’re engaged in exploratory activities but there’s no immediate plan or timeline,” he added as a tease. A new market launch isn’t likely until something like 12-18 months down the line, the Livspace CEO said.

As for whether this deal might be a precursor to an eventual acquisition, such are the synergies, Srivastava said that possibility isn’t being entertained.

“There is no such intention as of now,” he explained. “We continue to have strong interest from financial investors and continue to operate with the intention to stay independent, there’s now even more belief in our platform approach.”

“There is distinctly an investment outlay involved [with] no long term indication of an M&A opportunity,” he added.

The deal is Ikea’s first in India, but it is not the retail giant’s dalliance in startups by any means.

The company previously acquired TaskRabbit in 2017 and it bought a 49 percent stake in U.S-based kitchen service company Traemand with a view to a full acquisition last December. Its investment deals have included taking part in a $31 million Series B for France-based Aledia LED and participation in a $12.4 million round for online food retailer Matsmart. The company has also run social entrepreneurship programs.

Big revenues, huge valuations and major losses: charting the era of the unicorn IPO

We can make charts galore about the tech IPO market. Yet none of them diminish the profound sense that we are in uncharted territory.

Never before have so many companies with such high revenues gone public at such lofty valuations, all while sustaining such massive losses. If you’re a “growth matters most” investor, these are exciting times in IPO-land. If you’re the old-fashioned value type who prefers profits, it may be best to sit out this cycle.

Believers in putting market dominance before profits got their biggest IPO opportunity perhaps ever last week, with Uber’s much-awaited dud of a market debut. With a market cap hovering around $64 billion, Uber is far below the $120 billion it was initially rumored to target. Nonetheless, one could convincingly argue it’s still a rich valuation for a company that just posted a Q1 loss of around $1 billion on $3 billion in revenue.

So how do Uber’s revenues, losses and valuation stack up amidst the recent crop of unicorn IPOs? To put things in context, we assembled a list of 15 tech unicorns that went public over the past three quarters. We compared their valuations, along with revenues and losses for 2018 (in most cases the most recently available data), in the chart below:

 

Put these companies altogether in a pot, and they’d make one enormous, money-losing super-unicorn, with more than $25 billion in annual revenue coupled to more than $6 billion in losses. It’ll be interesting to revisit this list in a few quarters to see if that pattern changes, and profits become more commonplace.

History

It’s easy to draw comparisons to the decades-old dot-com bubble, but this time things are different. During the dot-com bubble, I remember penning this lead sentence:

“If the era of the Internet IPO had a theme song, it might be this: There’s no business like no business.”

That notion made sense for bubble-era companies, which commonly went public a few years after inception, before amassing meaningful revenues.

That tune won’t work this time around. If the era of the unicorn IPO had a theme song, it wouldn’t be nearly as catchy. Maybe something like: “There’s no business like lots of business and lots of losses too.”

I won’t be buying tickets to that musical. But when it comes to buying IPO shares, the unicorn proposition is a bit more appealing than the 2000 cycle. After all, it’s reasonably plausible for a company with dominant market share to tweak its margins over time. It’s a lot harder to grow revenues from nothing to hundreds of millions or billions, particularly if investors grow averse to funding continued losses.

Of course, the dot-com bubble and the unicorn IPO era do share a common theme: Investors are betting on an optimistic vision of future potential. If expectations don’t pan out, expect share prices to follow suit.

Starbucks’ Chinese nemesis surges 20% in public debut

Shares of Luckin Coffee jumped 20% in its first day of trading on the Nasdaq stock market.

After opening at $17.00, shares of the Chinese Starbucks competitor climbed as high as $25.96, or more than 50%, before settling back down to $20.38 at the market’s close. The company has a market cap north of $5 billion after its first day of trading.

The brick-and-mortar coffee chain has achieved major success in China by offering speedy delivery services to Chinese consumers. The company has nearly 2,400 stores compared to Starbucks’ 3,500, but it has plans to more than double that number by the end of the year as it seeks to become the country’s coffee king.

Luckin’s success doesn’t immediately seem to be thwarting the stock market success of Starbucks, which has had a glowing 2019. The company hit another all-time high Friday, closing out the day at $78.91, up more than 35% from a year ago, giving the Seattle company a market cap of nearly $96 billion.

Starbucks and Luckin Coffee may seem like mortal enemies, but their rivalry is more complicated than one might immediately think. Check out our Extra Crunch deep dive from earlier this week on the Xiamen-based company’s financials.

The misunderstandings of 18-month-old Luckin’s $500M IPO

Tutor House, the UK-based tutoring platform, scores £2M from Fuel Ventures

Tutor House, a U.K.-based startup that operates a marketplace to let parents find an online or in-person tutor for their children, has raises £2 million in funding.

Backing the round, the first for the young company, is Fuel Ventures, the London-based VC and startup builder set up by Mark Pearson of MyVoucherCodes fame. Fuel Ventures recently closed its third fund of £20 million to continue investing in early-stage B2B and B2C marketplaces, platforms and SaaS.

Founded by Ex-teacher Alex Dyer in 2012 — and self-funded until now — Tutor House connects parents and families with tutors either in-person or online. The site enables families to search for tutors across an array of subjects and academic levels, and now claims to be the U.K.’s leading tutoring agency offering private home or remote tuition for all Primary, GCSE, A-Level and University subjects.

“The large number of teachers leaving their profession in addition to ever increasing class sizes mean that the market for private tutoring has expanded significantly,” former psychology teacher and now Tutor House CEO Dyer tells me. “In order to improve the quality of each student’s academic experience, our tutors provide personalised learning plans that will help to boost grades and give learners the best chance of success”.

In addition, Dyer says that Tutor House is the only tutoring platform that interviews all tutors and ensures that they have a full DBS check before going live on the platform. “In an unregulated industry this is very important,” he adds. “We are dedicated to providing each and every student with the best level of service possible”.

Typical Tutor House customers fall into four groups. The first is hands-on parents who want the best for their child regardless of price. The second is parents who see education as important but may have to ask relatives for help with costs. The third is students who can’t access education in a mainstream school due to anxiety or other SEN related issues. “These students often need to retake A-level or GCSE exams due to poor teaching/no teacher,” says Dyer. The final group is university students and adult learners who are investing in their future by taking learning into their own hands.

A classic marketplace play, Tutor House charges tutors a 20 percent commission fee for every booking. However, if a tutor books more than twenty hours a month, the commission is reduced. “We also offer A-Level and Pre-U retake courses, in addition to residential courses and homeschooling,” explains Dyer.

Meanwhile, Tutor House says it will use the investment from Fuel Ventures to expand into other countries, and to create a bespoke school in London for students who need intensive tutoring for exam retakes.

MultiVu raises $7M seed round for its next-gen 3D sensor

MultiVu, a Tel Aviv-based startup that is developing a new 3D imaging solution that only relies on a single sensor and some deep learning smarts, today announced that it has raised a $7 million seed round. The round was led by crowdfunding platform OurCrowd, Cardumen Capital and Hong Kong’s Junson Capital.

Tel Aviv University’s TAU Technology Innovation Momentum Fund supported some of the earlier development of MultiVu’s core technology, which came out of Prof. David Mendlovic’s lab at the university. Mendlovic previously co-founded smartphone camera startup Corephotonics, which was recently acquired by Samsung.

The promise of MultiVu’s sensor is that it can offer 3D imaging with a single-lens camera instead of the usual two-sensor setup. This single sensor can extract depth and color data in a single shot.

This makes for a more compact setup and, by extension, a more affordable solution as it requires fewer components. All of this is powered by the company’s patented light field technology.

Currently, the team is focusing on using the sensor for face authentication in phones and other small devices. That’s obviously a growing market, but there are also plenty of other applications for small 3D sensors, ranging from other security use cases to sensors for self-driving cars.

“The technology, which passed the proof-of-concept stage, will bring 3D Face Authentication and affordable 3D imaging to the mobile, automotive, industrial and medical markets,” MultiVu CEO Doron Nevo said. “We are excited to be given the opportunity to commercialize this technology.”

Right now, though, the team is mostly focusing on bringing its sensor to market. The company will use the new funding for that, as well as new marketing and business development activities.

“We are pleased to invest in the future of 3D sensor technologies and believe that MultiVu will penetrate markets, which until now could not take advantage of costly 3D imaging solutions,” said OurCrowd Senior Investment Partner Eli Nir. “We are proud to be investing in a third company founded by Prof. David Mendlovic (who just recently sold CorePhotonics to Samsung), managed by CEO Doron Nevo – a serial entrepreneur with proven successes and a superb team they have gathered around them.”

Getting to Know More About Creative Writing Classes

We often hear people expressing their doubts and reservations about formal education for being successful in their career. The reality is that while a degree could certainly help, it may not be right to insist that it is absolutely necessary. There are thousands of men and women who have achieved a high degree of success in their lives without having gone through formal education beyond a point. There are many champion writers who have not even completed high school and there are many who never even went to college in Boston.

Hence, we might be wondering as to what sets them apart from the rest of the crowd. The answer will not be too difficult to guess and fathom. While higher education formalizes the learning process, it would be pertinent to mention here that only those who are imaginative, creative and willing to think out of the box can be successful. Dreams and burning passion to achieve something in life is the biggest driving force. As far as successful writers are concerned, they are good at imagining things and creating situations and writings based on such images. While some are born with these attributes, others may have to acquire them externally. This is where the role of creative writing schools could play a big role. Let us try and learn more about them over the next few lines.

 They Let Your Imagination Run Free

 When you research and choose a decent creative writing school or class, the first few days are spent asking you to write a few words on your own. This is often referred to as free writing. This could help you to think and then transmit your thoughts into writing. It will help many of us to come out of our shell and get out of the ironed cage that we often tend to put ourselves in. Once free writing becomes a habit and once you are able to do it freely, it will only be a matter of time before you are able to express your thought lucidly, simply and in a manner that is understood by others.

It Exercises The Mind And The Brain

 The mind is a powerhouse of capacity and unfortunately, most of us use only a third of the capacity of our brain during our lives. Hence, if you wish to make your brain work faster, think more logically and rationally, there is a need to understand the importance of giving exercises to it. it is the same that we do with our bodies. Exercise in the form of writing and thinking beyond the obvious could help quite a bit in our careers. For improving our writing skills and for giving the right exercise to our mind, there are reasons to believe that many of the creative writing schools certainly have a big role to play.

 You Get A Mentor

 There is no doubt that there is no one better than a mentor and it applies to all aspects of life. It would be pertinent to mention here that many of these creative writing schools help hone the skills and handhold the students, irrespective of their age, background, gender, and other such attributes.

Contact US:

Montserrat College of Art

Address: 23 Essex St
Beverly, MA
Phone: (978) 921-4242

Tips To Choose The Right Plastic Surgeons

If you are from Oklahoma and are on the look for the top plastic surgeons in OKC, then you will find this article interesting and of utility to you. While there are a growing and continuous demand for plastic surgeons for different types of surgeries and procedures, you have to spend some time and hire the right person. This will take time and effort because of a number of reasons. To begin with, lack of knowledge could be one of the main reasons and secondly, there are dozens of such plastic surgeons and this does not make the job any easier. We are therefore listing down a few important points that one should bear in mind before choosing the plastic surgeon for cosmetic surgery and other such procedures.

 Are They Certified And Affiliated

 This is one of the most important points to be kept in mind when hiring these professionals. You must ensure that the plastic surgeons are affiliated to the best of the country’s associations and groups such as The American Society Of Plastic Surgeons or The American Academy Of Dermatology. This will make them reliable and trustworthy because these memberships are given only to the right surgeons with the right experience and expertise.

 The Quality Of The Clinic

 This is one of the most important points to be kept in mind while availing the services of these professionals.  They must possess a modern clinic with the best of facilities and the right infrastructure coupled with quality people to take care of the patients. It must have an outpatient and inpatient department with the right facilities for surgery and recoupment.

 Ask The Right Questions

With so many choices available, you must ask the right questions to them before availing their services. You must be sure that they have qualified plastic surgeons ready to do the job for you. Their track record must be proven and they must be ready to offer both readymade and customized services taking into account the exact needs and requirements of the customers.

You also must ask questions about their ability to offer the best possible services post-surgeries because this is as important as the surgery itself. You also must check on the qualifications of these professionals. The facility must have certified personnel to take care of anesthesia and other such requirements. The surgeons must be ready to take questions and must be willing to reply to them in a very clear manner. They should be in a position to instill confidence in the patients about their qualifications, experience, expertise, and facilities.

 Price Is A Factor

 Yes, finally, price is an important factor that one has to bear in mind. While the overall costs of plastic surgery have come down, they still continue to be quite high. Hence, you must do your research and choose the best possible option in terms of cost. However, at the same time, you must be sure that you do not compromise on quality under any circumstances. It is a process that will take time but is it worth it because of the complexities and risks associated with a procedure that might go wrong.

 Contact US:

Sawan Surgical Aesthetics
Address:209 Lilac Dr #200, Oklahoma City, OK
Phone: (405) 285-7660

Why The Need For Lead Filtering

We might have come across quite a few articles that refer to the dangers associated with lead poisoning. The problem with lead poisoning is that it does not happen overnight or it does not come to the notice of the people in a day or two. It builds its presence in the body over a period of time and the damages to the internal organs happen gradually and over a period of time. While lead could be damaging to the entire body, its impact is very badly felt on certain vital organs like the liver, kidney, and brain. Children, in particular, could be the victims of lead poisoning. While lead-based toys are often considered to be the victim, contaminated water is perhaps one of the major sources of lead poisoning. It could lead to muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, fatigue and kidney damage. According to experts, zero levels of lead are considered to be the safest as far as drinking water is concerned. Hence, there is a need to find out ways and means by which one can keep the entire family free from the negative impact of lead poisoning. We are restricting ourselves to lead poisoning from the water.

 

Stick To The Action Level

 

There is no doubt that water filters are the best way by which you can keep the water free from lead poisoning. Hence, you must go by the USEPA standards and the same are accepted worldwide. According to this standard 15 micrograms per liter is the maximum permissible limit of lead in municipal water supplies. However, when the water is filtered again, the level of lead in the water could come down even further and reach zero if the quality of the water filter is of the best standards.

 

Take Care Of The Plumbing Works

 

It would also be pertinent to mention here that one of the biggest sources of lead poisoning is from the plumbing and piping networks. Even a few decades ago, lead and iron pipes were used to carry water from various originating sources to the homes and taps of the users. The taps were also made out of the lead and other such materials. This has been reduced now quite significantly even though some regions and areas continue to use this as a plumbing alternative. This should be stopped soonest possible. Piping and plumbing should be manufactured from polyurethane and other similar materials where the levels of lead and iron are almost zero. Hence, this is one of the most important factors that one should keep into account when choosing the right materials for plumbing.

 

Rusty Lead Pipe

 

Many homes have rusty lead pipes and these could have been built some decades back. Continuing with these rusted piping and plumbing systems is certainly a recipe for disaster. This is because the rusted particles are a rich source of harmful lead and it could cause a lot of damage to the entire body and it will happen over a period of time.

 

Therefore, when looking for clean drinking water, you must try and do away with lead as much as possible and try and keep it at zero level because of obvious reasons.

Contact US:

Nephros Inc.

Address:380 Lackawanna Pl
South Orange, NJ
Phone: (201) 343-5202

Talking the future of media with Northzone’s Pär-Jörgen Pärson

We live in the subscription streaming era of media. Across film, TV, music, and audiobooks, subscription streaming platforms now shape the market. Gaming and podcasting could be next. Where are the startup opportunities in this shift, and in the next shift that will occur?

I sat down with Pär-Jörgen “PJ” Pärson, a partner at European venture firm Northzone, to discuss this at SLUSH this past winter. Pärson – a Swede who now runs Northzone’s office in NYC – led the top early-stage investor in Spotify and led the $35 million Series C in $45/month sports streaming service fuboTV (which has roughly 250,000 subscribers).

In the transcript below, we dive into the core investment thesis that has guided him for 20 years, how he went from running a fish distribution to running a VC firm, his best practices for effective board meetings and VC-entrepreneur relationships, and his assessment of the big social platforms, AR/VR, voice interfaces, blockchain, and the frontier of media. It has been edited for length and clarity.

From Fish to VC

Eric Peckham:

Northzone isn’t your first VC firm — Back in 1998, you created Cell Ventures, which was more of a holding company or studio model. What was your playbook then?