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15 December 2017


15 December 2017

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A German company is offering banking geared towards startups, while Apple is doubling down on innovation.


Banking for Startups:

Lav Odorovic got tired of seeing startups and SMEs struggle with their finances. That’s why he decided to help design a focused approach to business banking. The result is Penta, a Berlin-based service for startups that launched this week. Partnering with solarisBank, it offers individual business accounts with specialized apps the company says help users “save time, money and effort.” With a range of services that cater to everything from early-stage startups to established SMEs, Penta can organize accounting, payroll and transferring money. It’s only available in Germany for now, but the company hopes to expand throughout Europe next year.

And Then There Was Light:

Everyone agrees driverless vehicles are just around the corner and one San Francisco startup is trying to make that vision a reality sooner than later. Ouster announced this week it had snagged $27 million in fresh funding, and that its high-end LIDAR sensor has begun shipping to customers. LIDAR uses light to survey and map the environment, and is a key tool in helping driverless cars “see” their surroundings. “I'm incredibly proud of our team for their hard work to produce the most advanced, practical, and scalable LIDAR sensor on the market,” said CEO and co-founder Angus Pacala, who added he hopes the technology can be applied to areas beyond just autonomous cars

1 Million Rides and Growing:

It takes an innovative approach to break into the ever-expanding urban bikeshare market. LimeBike allows riders to find “dockless” bikes using its app, and when their trip is over, leave it parked on sidewalks for future customers. The company, which currently operates in cities across the US, this week celebrated its 1,000,000th ride by announcing it was expanding to Europe. Soon you will see LimeBike’s famous green cycles on the streets of Frankfurt and Zurich, where 30 minutes of riding will cost just 1 euro. “We're looking forward to the next million rides, and to welcoming more new faces on both sides of the Atlantic,” the company said.

Making the Smartphone Smarter:

Apple is often viewed as a pioneer in the realm of smartphone technology, and its latest move appears to be aimed at cementing that status. The tech giant this week announced it was investing $390 million in Finisar, a Texas company that helps to design chips for Apple products that detect proximity and depth. In addition to creating 500 new jobs, the money, which comes out of Apple’s Advance Manufacturing Fund, will help to develop more popular Finisar-driven features like Face ID, Animoji and proximity-sensing AirPod headphones. “We’re excited to continue our innovation with Apple of a technology that has tremendous potential,” said Finisar CEO Jerry S. Rawls.

Paying for Protection:

From elections to Uber rides, fear of hacking reached new heights in 2017. Business is booming in the world of cybersecurity and those with the most money to lose - big banks - are most eager to invest. US startup Menlo Security, which uses a “web isolation” platform to keep company content like emails and documents in a single location that users access remotely, is the latest to benefit. The company announced this week it had raised $40 million in fresh funding. New investors like HSBC and American Express join an already long list of financial giants who have backed Menlo, including JPMorgan Chase.

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