European budget airline easyJet is looking to cash in on the “Instagram generation” by giving customers the ability to book their next adventure through images posted to the photo sharing platform. With the new Look&Book feature, users upload a selection of saved Instagram photos from a particular destination and easyJet’s algorithm finds the location and provides ticket options. While the tool offers people the chance to make their travel dreams a reality, it also gives tourism businesses the opportunity to capitalize on Instagram’s main offering: looking at beautiful photos. Booking a vacation through Instagram has never been as simple as purchasing a sweater or watch, but Easyjet’s new tool could change all of that.
Learning English at a young age is crucial for kids growing up outside the Anglosphere, but getting youngsters excited about the process can be difficult. Spanish startup Lingokids uses music and games to teach the language to its students, who are between two and eight years old. Each activity increases with difficulty as the child progresses in skill, which creates a fun and personalized learning experience. Lingokids’ innovative approach to a growing need secured them $7.3 million in funding this week. Some $1.3 million comes from the EU’s Horizon 2020 fund, which is aimed at fostering exciting ideas and groundbreaking research throughout the bloc. Lingokids’ success could serve as an example for other young companies seeking funding from non-traditional sources.
It turns out Disney doesn’t just create fantasy. The entertainment company this week showed off a new invention it has been developing: the painting drone. The flying device uses cameras to detect its surroundings and spray paint in the proper area. Disney says it will be able to paint on a variety of 3D surfaces and textures in a short amount of time. While the drone’s current iteration produces some rather rudimentary art, it could ultimately eliminate the need for scaffolding and ladders when painting hard-to-reach areas, saving businesses a great deal of money and risk.
Africa’s budding entrepreneurs got a boost this week with the opening of the Westerwelle Startup Haus Kigali. Germany’s Westerwelle Foundation, along with the Evonik Stiftung, opened the facility in the Rwandan capital on Monday as part of its effort to foster innovation and economic growth in the region. It is being envisioned as a hub for creative minds to gather and share ideas, equipment and knowledge, particularly in the computing and technology sector. Twenty-two startups, including a motorbike maintenance service and a translation platform, are operating out of the facility, which the Westerwelle Foundation hopes can provide them better access to capital in Germany. Indeed, one renewable energy company housed there has already secured funding from German investors.
Facebook this week announced the launch of Startup Station Singapore, a new incubator program in co-operation with the Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore. The selected start-ups will receive mentoring from industry leaders, specialized training programs, as well as access to co-working spaces. The announcement was made after the opening of Facebook's new office space at Marina One earlier this week. The social media giant is also planning a $1.4 billion data center in the city state, the first of its kind in Asia. The application process is open until December 7th.
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