Technology Industry News 3rd-14th September

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Taxify is now launching e-scooters

Estonian transportation company Taxify is releasing a new brand of e-scooters, called Bolt, in Paris. The company has now rolled the scooter sharing service into its mobile app, that has already attracted 10 million users in 25 countries.

The company also plans to release scooters in several other European and Australian cities where their app is already established.

A Bolt scooter ride will cost 15 cents a minute, with a minimum fare of €1.

Uber’s new look

Uber has now updated its website and app with a brand new logo as part of its planned rebrand coming this month.

This change came two days after Uber appointed ex Coca-Cola Rebecca Messina as its Chief Marketing Officer.

Apple releases new products

On September 12th, 2018, Apple released four new products: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and Apple Watch Series 4.

What is the difference between the three iPhones? To put it in basic terms, XS in the normal one, XS Max in the big one, and XR is the cheap one. For the first time ever, Apple has released three different models, three different sizes and nine different colours.

The updated Apple watch has 30% larger screen than the Series 3 watch. The new sensor of electrocardiogram makes it possible to detect hear rhythm and its rate.

Deliveroo’s launch in Taiwan

Deliveroo will enter Taiwan, following its Asian expansion strategy. It will start with Taipei, before heading to other cities. This will be Deliveroo’s fourth market in the Asia-Pacific region, after Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

In a press statement, the CEO Will Shu said “Our launch in Taiwan is also a personal milestone for me, my parents were born in Taiwan and much of my family still lives in Taipei.”

Once Deliveroo launches in Taiwan, it will operate in a total of 13 markets around the world. The company has now raised about $480 million in Series F funding at a valuation of more than $2 billion.


In the news: Outplay Entertainment hires VP Marketing from King

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Luis De La Camara has joined leading mobile game developer Outplay Entertainment as VP Marketing, where he was placed by executive search firm Neon River.

With his deep experience of working within the mobile games sector, and having played a key role in helping to build the success of mobile smash hit Candy Crush Saga whilst at King, Luis will bring an exciting range of skills to Outplay.

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Technology Industry News: 27th-31st August

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New technology product release- a touch tablet that rolls and scrolls

Research scientists have built a prototype touchscreen device which is neither a smartphone nor a tablet, but a combination of both. The product is inspired by ancient papyrus/paper scrolls, and the screen takes a rolled-up, cylindrical form.

The scientists believe that scroll form factor of the product offers a comfortable option for making phone calls too, as the rolled-up scroll can cover your face comfortably.

The advantage of this technology is that it is lightweight as well as being easy to hold with one hand, in contrast to traditional tablet devices, such as iPad. And when its rolled up, it can also fit easily in your pocket.

Apple’s next big event is September 12th

After months of speculation and uncertainty, Apple has just announced that the next event will be held on September 12th, at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino. Although Apple presented some new iPads in Chicago in Match and updated the MacBook Pro line more recently, they haven’t released any hints on future releases. However, the rumours suggest that Apple is going to release three new iPhones, including an upgraded version of the iPhone X, and possibly a new Apple Watch and iPad Pro will be released too.

New food delivery start-up – Foodsby

Foodsby, a VC backed company, has just raised a $13.5 million Series B led by Piper Jaffray Merchant Banking, with participation by Greycroft Partners, Corazon Capital and Rally Ventures. With the new capital, Foodsby plans to expand from 15 to 25 new markets. It has now totally raised $21 million in total.

The company was founded in 2012 and connects employees in office buildings in 15 cities with local restaurants. And this is how it works: a worker uses Foodsby to pre-order a meal from a restaurant in its network, then Foodsby collects all the orders it received, sends them to the restaurants, and the restaurants then make all the deliveries at once.

Their competitive advantage is that they work only with businesses and have the restaurants make the deliveries rather than having its own delivery agents, and therefore the overall cost of running the operation is lower. Deliveries cost $1.99 per person.

Toyota plans to invest $500 million in Uber for self-driving cars

Toyota Motors will invest $500 million in Uber to work together on developing self-driving cars, and joining the highly competitive autonomous driving business. Uber will combine its autonomous driving system with Toyota’s Guardian technology, which offers automated safety features like lane-keeping.

Toyota has invested in research and plans to begin testing self-driving electric cars around 2020.

Google and Xiaomi are planning to invest in ‘Where Is My Train’ app

Where Is My Train is an app that tell you where your train is in real-time, even when you are offline. The app has already been downloaded around 10 million times, which is likely one of the highest figures for apps in this sector. The app is available in 7 regional languages.

Google plans to acquire ‘Where Is My Train’ app for around $30-$40m, while Xiaomi also plans to make a strategic investment in the business.




Technology Industry News: 20-24th August

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Revolut Introduces A Metal Card

On August 22nd 2018, Fintech startup Revolut has launched a new premium card, which gives you a metal card and more benefits compared to Revolut Premium. Now you can claim cash back on spending’s in the fiat currencies: EUR, USD, BTC or ETH, and some cryptocurrencies. You can also get a higher ATM limit and withdraw up to €600/£600 without any fee, whilst premium users can only withdraw up to €400/£400. There is also a concierge service to book hotels, flights or restaurants if you’re a Metal subscriber. Revolut Metal costs €13.99 per month or €135 per year (£12.99 per month or £120 per year).

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Technology Pioneers: Nikola Tesla

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Nicola Tesla is one of the most influential technologists of all time, who was a true visionary and far ahead of many of his contemporaries in the field of scientific development.

Some of Tesla’s major contributions to science include:

  • Alternating Current – his inventions made AC applicable for widespread use, helping to electrify the world, making the energy grid possible. Without energy grids, the modern world would be unrecognisable compared to its current form.
  • Radio technology – in 1898, Tesla showed an invention called “teleautomaton“, which was a boat controlled by radio waves. He controlled the battery-operated boat, whilst operating the propeller and lights through the radio waves. This invention was big in three different areas: advancements in radio technology that would later be used for everything from mobile phones through to TV remote controls. Secondly, the boat was one of the earliest robots, as it was a mechanical object that could be controlled without a human physically touching it. Thirdly, the combination of robotics and radio control technology makes Tesla’s boat the great-grandfather of drones. Tesla was one of the key scientists behind the advances in wireless communications, and he would become first to transmit radio signals over long distances.
  • The Induction Motor – which is still used today in everyday products like vacuums, blow dryers, and power tools.
  • Hydroelectric power – The Niagara Falls Commission was looking for a company to build a hydroelectric plant that would harness the mighty power of the falls for years, and with Tesla’s help, built one of the very first hydroelectric power plants.
  • Neon Lamps – Tesla advanced both fluorescent and neon lighting. He saw an opportunity and experimented with running electrical particles through gases, developing four different types of lighting. At Chicago World’s Fair, Tesla had neon signs that were unique designs and written words. The idea gained popularity and now, neon lights and signs, light up major cities around the world.
  • The Tesla Coil – was a key invention that enabled Tesla to experiment with, and better understand, the nature of electricity and wireless communications.

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Technology Industry Moves: Summer 2018

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Technology Industry Moves Summer 2018

PE backed train ticket provider The Trainline has appointed James Moore as General Manager UK. James is the former GM for Amazon Tickets and Senior Director Global Marketing for eBay.

Oath, the digital content business that owns AOL and Yahoo’s content businesses, has appointed Anna Watkins as Managing Director UK. Anna is the former CEO of Mofilm and the former Managing Director of Guardian Labs.

Online property investment platform Property Partner has appointed Marshall King as CEO. Marshall was the former CEO Europe for TPG-backed Searchflow.

Leading online fashion business Yoox has appointed Giueseppe Tamola as Global Brand and Marketing Director. Giuseppe is the former country manager for Spain, Italy and Poland with Zalando.

VC backed online property marketplace Uniplaces has appointed Cyril Jessua as CEO. Cyril is the former MD France for Groupon and CEO of OPnGO.

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Jolanta Senkova joins Neon River as a Consultant

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Jolanta is a Consultant at Neon River who specialises in working with CEOs, executives and entrepreneurs to help them build world class management teams. Jolanta has particular experience of working with high growth technology and services companies across Europe and is an expert in identifying and qualifying talent for entrepreneurial technology companies.

Jolanta holds a BA in International Relations from King’s College London and a MA in Political Analysis of Russia and Eastern Europe from University College London.

Peter Franks, Founder and Partner at Neon River commented, “We are delighted to have Jolanta working with us, her intelligence, communication skills and international experience will be invaluable in helping us to grow and deliver for our clients.”

The UK has by far the most mature e-commerce market in Europe

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Surprisingly, the UK consumer spends much more online than their French or German counterparts, despite the UK economy being similar in size to France and considerably smaller than Germany:

The UK spends a much higher proportion of GDP on e-commerce compared to France and Germany. Perhaps more surprisingly, French consumers spend more on e-commerce than Germany.

This data provides a good illustration of how the UK internet industry is the most mature in Europe, and disproportionately large compared to other European economies.

There are no doubt many complex causes for this. Many US companies have chosen to create their headquarters out of the UK for a combination of reasons; easier cultural assimilation, and perhaps also the perception of a relatively pro-business regulatory approach compared to often more tax-heavy continental European political regimes.

Furthermore, the UK has achieved notable success in a range of subsectors – such as online retail with ASOS and Net-a-Porter achieving international success, fintech with pioneering companies like TransferWise and WorldRemit, online gambling with powerhouses like Betfair, Bet365 and PartyGaming (historically), mobile games with the likes of King having substantial UK operations, online travel (e.g. has a strong UK heritage, Skyscanner) and many other sectors.

Because the UK was one of the first internet ecosystems to emerge in Europe, this has also created some economies of scale; because there were other internet companies in London, it made hiring a CTO, or CMO or CPO much easier as there was a ready made talent pool to dip into. Try and set up a new internet business or country operation in a more emerging market, and you might well find obtaining strong talent much more difficult.

Perhaps there are also cultural elements at work here – maybe us Brits just prefer online shopping more as an experience compared to other countries, who may have more affection for physical retail.

There is a very real sense in which the French and German internet markets are relatively immature and smaller than they should be, despite notable successes such as Zalando or Leboncoin. This should create huge opportunities to take successful business models that have worked well elsewhere and extend them to those markets. French and German internet businesses looking to expand will often have to look abroad for talent, as there is often insufficient talent (particularly in functions like engineering and product) in the local market.

For us at Neon River, this means that our work is increasingly international – whether that is working with clients outside the UK – or looking to relocate candidates from abroad to mitigate for a lack of local talent in a particular market.