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Five Coolest Things in Business This Week: 03 August 2018

Business · 4 min read

5 Coolest things in business this week

A German startup is making the latest gadgets available to the masses, while motorcycle giant Harley-Davidson is crafting a whole new image. Here is our rundown of the five most exciting ideas coming out of the business world this week.

 

High tech, low cost

Keeping up with the latest in high-tech gadgetry can be an expensive endeavor. A German company, however, seems to have found the solution: Rent instead of own. Grover offers everything from smartphones and computers to cameras and TVs - all for one, three or 12-month rental contracts. The idea is particularly attractive to small businesses because it allows them to provide new employees with laptops and phones without any major upfront costs. The idea has proven popular in Germany - Grover has product deals with major electronics stores like Media Markt and Saturn, and just this week it snagged $37 million in new funding. The company said it plans to use the cash to grow its rental inventory and hopefully expand its services abroad.

AI-powered real estate

There has always been money in real estate, but making a profit is never a sure thing. Now an Israeli startup thinks it has cracked the code with its AI-powered approach to buying and selling property. Skyline AI uses machine learning and a vast wealth of datasets going back 50 years to make financial predictions in the real estate market. Will a property succeed or flop? It’s the kind of tip that investors relish, so it’s no wonder the company landed $18 million in fresh funding this week. Skyline said it hopes to use the investment to expand its tech-driven analysis beyond just the US, and maybe even branch out into realms beyond real estate. 

Predicting your pallet

There is no shortage of exciting new foods to try, but how are you supposed to know what will satisfy your tastebuds? Fret not, an AI-powered startup in India has developed what it calls a “food brain,” which uses science and machine learning to determine what a person will enjoy. On top of that, it can predict broader trends in the food industry. The company, dishq, says its technology can help food producers reduce waste and connect customers with products they will enjoy most. To help take the idea global, dishq announced this week it had secured $400,000 in new funding. “Why shouldn’t everything we eat and drink taste delicious?” asked co-founder and CEO Kishan Vasani.

Harley goes electric

Harley-Davidson grabbed headlines with the news earlier this year that it was departing from its traditional tough-guy biker image by developing its first electric motorcycle. Now the company appears to be doubling down on that move with the announcement this week it was launching a whole range of electric scooters and small motorbikes. The news is part of a broader push to attract younger, city-dwelling and international riders, which includes expanded customer service and new urban retail shops. “Alongside our existing loyal riders, we will lead the next revolution of two-wheeled freedom to inspire future riders who have yet to even think about the thrill of riding,” said CEO Matt Levatich. If Harley can pull it off, they will be an example to businesses around the world that it’s never too late to revamp your image.

Making autonomous aviation personal

Entrepreneur Marc Piette saw a gap in the aviation market when he founded Xwing two years ago - and he went for it. The California-based company, which announced $4 million in new funding this week, is developing technology that can turn small aircraft autonomous. With far fewer aircraft sold each year than cars, for example, “the pace of innovation has been slow and personal aviation remains unaffordable to the public at large,” Piette said. That’s why instead of leaving the innovation to the aviation industry’s biggest players, he wants to show that startups can have an impact by making use of what’s already there: small aircraft that “can uniquely solve transportation problems.”

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