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Azimo Q&A: ‘In Five Years There Won’t Be Any Western Union Agents’

Azimo Q&A: ‘In Five Years There Won’t Be Any Western Union Agents’

Sending money overseas is big business, and it's just the latest industry to grab the attention of startups looking to make it leaner, more efficient and cheaper for users. Azimo is one of those startups, and the UK-based company has set its sights on Germany. Some 11 million German migrants send home €16 billion Euros in remittance every year, but Germany has the highest fees for money transfer in all of Europe. Azimo is taking on the giants of the industry like Western Union and MoneyGram in a market whch is worth an estimated €101 billion in Europe alone. It recently announced its expansion into Germany at rates which it claims will be 85 percent cheaper than the established players. Azimo alredy had a German connection in the form of seed funding from E.Ventures. Silicon Allee sat down with Michael Kent, CEO and co-founder of Azimo, at the recent NOAH conference in London. Read More »

Bootstrapping Business: Grow Your Company Without VC Funding

Bootstrapping Business: Grow Your Company Without VC Funding

In my 30 plus years of business, I’ve been an executive, advisor or investor in over two dozen companies. Some have been VC funded, some were angel funded, some were family funded, and some were classic one customer, 18-hour workday, sleeping in the office, eating top ramen, worrying about every paycheck, bootstrapped endeavors. From this experience, if I have any advice for young entrepreneurs, it would be to not take VC funding unless it’s absolutely necessary. When I say absolutely necessary I’m talking about startups building rocket ships or semi-conductors needing a new fab plant. I’m certainly not talking about a software-as-a-service company with a business efficiency tool. VC funding can make founders lazy, meaning loss of drive and focus. Read More »

Task Outsourcing Platform Geoffrey Goes Live Across Germany

Task Outsourcing Platform Geoffrey Goes Live Across Germany

Most startups in Berlin are high tech - but not all of them. We wrote about Geoffrey (then known as AskGeoffrey, and pronounced “Jeff•ree”) earlier this year, and the service is now available to anyone in Germany. Geoffrey works for you: scheduling doctor's appointments, researching an upcoming trip, calling your landlord to discuss home repairs, etc. And it’s not just an army of AI-learned machines doing technological backflips in nanoseconds. Geoffrey is powered by real, local and bilingual people. Read More »

Pavel Durov’s Telegram the Latest Move in the Race Against Surveilance

Pavel Durov’s Telegram the Latest Move in the Race Against Surveilance

Pavel Durov, one of the creators of the 'Russian Facebook', VK, made a surprise appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt on Monday to talk about his latest project, the non-profit Telegram. It's a messaging app with a focus on security, and as such incorporates end-to-end encryption and even self-destructing messages. And Durov – no stranger to finding himself out of favour with the Russian authorities – is hoping it will enable people to communicate more securely than they do now. Speaking on stage at the conference at Arena Berlin, he said that the advantage of such encryption is that the keys are created on the devices themselves, thus they don't have anything to show to the authorities. Read More »

Helping Startups Break Out of the Glass Box with the LNdS

Helping Startups Break Out of the Glass Box with the LNdS

The shoulder bag, the facial hair, the hat, and of course the Club Mate – this was most definitely a hipster. Not that uncommon a sight in Friedrichshain in the shadow of the Oberbaumbruecke, of course, but this was a hipster with a difference; a hipster in a glass box. His presence adjacent to the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall was intended to act as a metaphor for the opening up startups to the rest of the city. The Lange Nacht der Startups is aimed at doing exactly that – and Dr. Heinrich Arnold, head of innovation and corporate research at Deutsche Telekom, which is organising Saturday's event together with Amazon WebServices and other partners, believes it can also provide a serious boost the city's young tech companies. Read More »

Rocket Joins the March of Mobile in Latin America with Linio App

Rocket Joins the March of Mobile in Latin America with Linio App

Most people agree that the rise and rise of mobile is inevitable, and that's not only true for mature markets. Certainly Rocket Internet agrees, with the Berlin-based startup conveyer belt seeing its Latin American e-commerce concern Linio launch its first shopping app. The free Android app will be available in Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela, and is hoping to cash in on an important trend in the continent's fast-growing e-commerce space – according to a World Bank study, Latin America already has more mobile phones than it does people. Read More »

Aging2.0 – a global network of startups using smart tech to revolutionise the ageing process

Aging2.0 – a global network of startups using smart tech to revolutionise the ageing process

Digital natives, generation Facebook, the “net” generation – these terms are used with abandon to describe Generation Y, the age group that currently ranges from early teens to early thirties. These are the people who grew up with the internet, who could illegally download before they reached high school and who are also typically the Read More »

Rocket Internet’s Easy Taxi tackles Africa

Rocket Internet’s Easy Taxi tackles Africa

Continuing its rapid expansion, Rocket Internet-backed taxi-ordering app Easy Taxi, which was first launched in Brazil, has announced that business operations are starting in Nigeria today – its first market in Africa. The news comes only a couple of weeks after it launched its Pakistani version in beta in the city of Lahore. “In 2011, Easy Read More »

From Baby Monitors to IM Translation: SBC 13 Participants Chosen

From Baby Monitors to IM Translation: SBC 13 Participants Chosen

After two days of intense mentoring and pitching, 20 startups were whittled down to 11 in the latest selection process for Startupbootcamp Berlin. They will now go on to the three-month accelerator program starting next month to develop their ideas, business models and products. And they represent quite a range of ideas, as well; from unborn baby monitoring and film location discovery to messasge translation and a universal inbox. Read More »

Slovakian Startup Excalibur Wins €500k Telekom Innovation Contest

Slovakian Startup Excalibur Wins €500k Telekom Innovation Contest

A Slovakian startup which turns your mobile phone into a universal authentication system has won the Telekom Innovation Contest – and with it up to €500,000 of Deutsche Telekom resources to develop the product. Excalibur saw off 11 other teams – including three from Germany – having emerged out of a total of 444 entries from 45 countries. Its founders' argument that the trust between a customer and their telco could be leveraged to allow multiple layers of authentication with phones won over the international jury at the DT building at Ernst-Reuter-Platz on Monday. Read More »

News of the World: Hy! Berlin Returns with a Whirlwind of Announcements

News of the World: Hy! Berlin Returns with a Whirlwind of Announcements

It was all going off at the third hy! Berlin event on Sunday evening – a series of entrepreneurs and investors took to the stage at Radialsystem V to make announcements; from a new fund at the German Media Pool to €10 million in investment for a member of the HitFox group, via the launch of a hardware startup accelerator and the return of The Kernel. The second half of the live show saw Austrian tracking app Locca scoop the €30,000 in cash from hub:raum as winners of the startup competition, seeing off some stiff competition in doing so from the likes of Petcube. Read More »

Eventbrite Founders Q&A: ‘Oliver Samwer Lives, Breathes & Sleeps Growth’

Eventbrite Founders Q&A: ‘Oliver Samwer Lives, Breathes & Sleeps Growth’

Berlin's startup scene is all about the events – that's why it has been such a fertile market for Eventbrite, the Silicon Valley-based company which has embarked on an aggressive path to conquer the world of ticketing. After seeing some serious organic growth in the German capital, the company launched its own presence here. That was backed up recently with the visit of two of Eventbrite's three co-founders, husband and wife team Kevin and Julia Hartz (CEO and president respectively). They sat down to speak to Silicon Allee about where the company is headed after its notable latest round of funding, and what it's like to have Oliver Samwer as an investor. Read More »

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