There is hardly anything more frustrating than getting stranded on the side of the road. Now there is a new startup aiming to make life easier when your car breaks down. Dubbed the Uber for towing, Honk Technologies gives customers the ability to track their tow truck in real time using its app and draws from a pool of nearby drivers to reduce waiting times by as much as 50 percent. Insurance companies are lining up to the adopt this innovative approach to fixing a tough situation. This week, Honk announced its $18 million in new funding, which the company said it would use to expand its network of drivers, which is already 75,000 strong. It looks like there is only one thing to do next time you have a breakdown.
These days startups, and tech-related jobs more generally, are increasingly shifting to the remote office setup. That means employees can work from almost anywhere on the planet, which begs the question: Which city is best? This week consulting firm Mercer released its list of the world’s most expensive cities for expats, and tech hubs in Asia dominate the list. Factoring in things like housing, food and entertainment, Hong Kong once again came out on top, followed by Tokyo. Zurich is third, trailed by Asian capitals Singapore and and Seoul. For those looking to save a buck, Berlin came in at 71, with less popular but nonetheless attractive destinations like Buenos Aires (76), Vancouver (109) and Kyiv (173) rounding out the list.
Despite being the leading economic powerhouse in the EU, Germany has long been a nation of cash. A general wariness of straying away from that most traditional form of payment means 80 percent of purchases in the country are made with bills and coins. That is about to change, however, with the news this week that Google launched its mobile Pay service in the country. Consumers and business owners alike could soon be doing away with the inconvenience of making change, as Germany moves in the 21st century world of financial transactions. With Google’s Android mobile operating system enjoying three-quarters of Germany’s market share versus Apple (which has yet to launch its similar pay service in the country), the news is likely to give it a major leg up in the next frontier of contactless payment.
Email has long been and remains a crucial way for companies to connect with their customer base. But data these days moves and changes too quickly for traditional clients like Oracle, Adobe or Salesforce to keep up - that is the idea behind Cordial. The California-based company uses software that employs real-time data to create what it calls a “truly next generation platform” for email marketing. But Cordial’s ambitions extend far beyond that most traditional form of internet communication, they are aiming to build a service that can follow customer behavior across a range of platforms to connect with their users in a new kind of way. The innovative approach to an increasingly old school method of communication this week earned Cordial $15 million in fresh funding.
The latest in technological innovation will be on full display next week at the Make the Future Live festival in London. This musical event, hosted by energy giant Shell, is aiming to showcase cutting edge developments in technology like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, but in a new kind of way. Exhibits will be combined with live music performances, food, science shows and gaming. There will be student competitions geared towards kids, including an auto race using ultra energy efficient vehicles dubbed the Eco Marathon, and adults-only, celebrity-hosted debates on topics like the future of transportation. Festivities kick off on July 5.