Top 5 Monuments Architecturaux à Montréal

Vous voulez aller à Montréal et vous vous demandez quoi visiter là-bas? Vous êtes au bon endroit, nous vous parlerons de toutes les attractions! Montréal est l’une des plus anciennes villes canadiennes et abrite de nombreux monuments historiques et architecturaux. Le centre-ville est construit avec des bâtiments respectables du 19ème siècle, ornés de colonnes, de stucs et de portiques. Montréal est parfois appelée Paris canadien. Il y a vraiment beaucoup de rues étroites, complètement atypiques pour les villes du continent Nord-américain.

Comme dans la capitale française, Montréal a aussi son quartier Latin, dont le café est animé par la vie littéraire et musicale. Sauf cela, cette ville est vraiment le capital de divertissements. Il y a ici des vrais casinos qui sont très populaires parmis les touristes. Si vous pensez sérieusement de vous rendre dans l’une des salles de jeux, vous pouvez vous sentir peureusement, surtout si c’est la première fois. Afin d’éviter le stress et pour jouer avec plus de la certitude, nous vous recommandons de visiter le site de casino de Montréal en ligne pour vous familiariser avec son fonctionnement en général. Il faut ajouter que Montréal est l’un des principaux centres culturels du Canada, il abrite de nombreux musées différents, où vous pourrez découvrir l’histoire, la culture et l’art de ce pays.

1. Habitat 67

Habitat 67 a été construit pour l’Exposition universelle de 1967 par Moshe Safdi, un architecte canadien d’origine israélienne. L’immeuble est situé sur la rive du fleuve Saint-Laurent à Montréal, la plus grande ville du Québec au Canada. Le nom de la maison (habitat) se traduit pour une raison par “habitat naturel” : la disposition chaotique des blocs permet d’ajouter des jardins sur les toits à l’espace de vie, de fournir de l’air frais et de la lumière solaire. Habitat 67 était un experiment : l’architecte a étudié la possibilité de construire des logements de qualité dans des zones urbaines densément peuplées et a décidé d’utiliser des blocs modulaires pour réduire les coûts de construction. Habitat 67 a été construit à partir de 354 modules identiques fabriqués en usine (“boîtes”), reliés entre eux par des câbles en acier. Les appartements se différencient par leur forme et leur taille, chaque appartement étant composé de 1 à 4 “boîtes” de 56 m², assemblées en différentes combinaisons.

2. Biosphère de Montréal

La Biosphère de Montréal est un musée insolite, dont l’exposition est consacrée à l’environnement humain et à l’eau dans tous ses états. La structure ressemble à une grosse boule, qui se compose de nombreuses parties reliées entre elles. Chacun d’eux ressemble à un composé moléculaire spécial appartenant à une classe spéciale de formes dites allotropiques de tout carbone connu. Actuellement, ils sont appelés fullerènes, du nom de l’architecte Richard Buckminster Fuller. Une fois qu’il a développé le projet de ce musée étonnant, la taille du musée – la biosphère – fait admirer le plan du concepteur. Le diamètre du dôme, fait d’acier léger mais solide, est de 76 mètres, et la hauteur – jusqu’à 62 mètres ! Le musée de Montréal divise l’espace en sept niveaux. Un escalier roulant de 37 mètres de long permet de déplacer les touristes autour de cette structure étonnante.

3. Centre Commerce Mondial de Montréal

Le Centre Commerce Mondial est un centre commercial populaire situé dans le quartier des affaires de Montréal et possède des qualités architecturales exceptionnelles. Le Centre Commerce Mondial de Montréall a ouvert ses portes en 1992 et a immédiatement gagné la popularité auprès des visiteurs. La conception du bâtiment a été réalisée par le célèbre bureau d’architectes “Arkop”, dont les spécialistes ont donné au centre un aspect très élégant. Dans l’atrium spacieux du bâtiment se trouve une ancienne fontaine, créée par le célèbre sculpteur français Dieudonnus-Bartolomus Gibal. De plus, le centre est décoré d’un morceau massif du célèbre mur de Berlin. Le Centre abrite de nombreux magasins, boutiques et restaurants, attirant des dizaines de milliers de visiteurs. C’est un paradis pour tous les acheteurs. De plus, l’immeuble offre un accès direct à la ville souterraine, un centre commercial unique situé juste sous les rues de Montréal.

4. Casino de Montréal

Le Casino de Montréal a ouvert ses portes en 1993 et est situé dans l’un des trois bâtiments reliés entre eux, dont deux ont été construits pour l’exposition internationale “Expo67”. Les salles du casino sont équipées de 3200 machines à sous et 115 tables pour les jeux de société et les loteries. Le casino de Montréal est réputé pour son design inhabituel : les plafonds sont assez bas et les fenêtres sont nombreuses. Et les amateurs de détente avec un verre et une cigarette seront déçus, car les deux sont strictement interdits ici. Il y a aussi trois établissements gastronomiques pour les visiteurs du casino : le bistro italien Via Fortuna, le café Le Buffet et le luxueux restaurant L’Entremies. Le casino est ouvert 24h/24 et 7j/7. L’entrée est gratuite. Le stationnement est aussi gratuit pour les visiteurs. Toutes les conditions sont réunies pour les personnes handicapées.

5. Olympic Stadium

Le Stade olympique est le plus grand stade du Canada. C’est la fierté de l’ensemble du Comité olympique depuis 1976. C’est au Stade Olympique que se déroulaient les compétitions d’athlétisme et les matchs de football. Mais le point culminant du stade est la possibilité de concourir ici pour les représentants des sports équestres, pour lesquels des conditions spéciales sont extrêmement nécessaires. Le nom du stade est “The Big O”, parce que son toit est construit en forme de donut – le symbole du Stade Olympique de Montréal. De plus, le bâtiment se distingue également par une énorme tour inclinée de 175 mètres sur le toit. Ce stade est une œuvre d’architecture extraordinaire. Grâce au funiculaire qui monte au sommet de la tour, les visiteurs peuvent profiter d’une belle vue sur le Parc Olympique. Les côtés sud et est du parc offrent une vue magnifique sur le village olympique, le Biodôme et le jardin botanique toujours en fleurs à Montréal. Le stade attire de plus en plus de spectateurs chaque année. Mais jusqu’à présent, aucun concours n’a attiré autant de visiteurs que le groupe Pink Floyd, qui a réuni 78 000 fans le 6 juillet 1977.

Acheter bitcoin directement

Pour acheter et vendre des Bitcoins ou d’autres monnaies cryptographiques sur Bitvavo, vous n’avez pas besoin de logiciel supplémentaire. Vous allez sur le site Web de Bitvavo et si vous n’avez pas de compte, enregistrez-vous et suivez le manuel de Bitvavo sur notre site Web pour acheter du Bitcoin ou une autre devise crypto.

Bitvavo vous donne non seulement la possibilité d’acheter de la monnaie cryptée, mais vous pouvez également utiliser cette plate-forme pour vous débarrasser de votre monnaie cryptée d’une manière simple et conviviale.

Dans quelle mesure Bitvavo est-il fiable et sûr?

Bitvavo offre à l’utilisateur une expérience utilisateur exceptionnelle. De nombreux fournisseurs ont des portefeuilles distincts pour la crypto-monnaie. Bitvavo les gère et les stocke dans un portefeuille hors ligne. Le nom dit tout, portefeuille hors ligne et ne sont donc pas connectés à Internet et ne peuvent pas être piratés. C’est une solution très sûre mais vous devez vous rappeler que vous n’avez pas le contrôle sur la devise cryptographique achetée. Vous n’avez pas la clé dans votre propre portefeuille.

Une autre mesure de sécurité prise par Bitvavo est le fait qu’ils disposent d’une authentification à deux facteurs. Vous en êtes responsable, Bitvavo vous offre la possibilité de l’activer et de l’utiliser pour mieux vous protéger.

Bitvavo protège également ses titulaires de compte en cas de faillite. Bitvavo a créé sa propre fondation: Stichting Bitvavo Payments. Toutes les transactions en devises et le total des actifs sous gestion sont organisés par ce tiers et non par la société, Bitvavo B.V., elle-même. Cette conception réfléchie fait de Bitvavo une partie de confiance. Bitvavo est fiable et sûr.

À propos de Bitvavo

Bitvavo est une entreprise jeune et en pleine croissance. Bitvavo a été fondé par de jeunes entrepreneurs passionnés par le marché numérique et par la monnaie numérique. C’est une société néerlandaise basée à Amsterdam. Avec iDeal, vous pouvez déposer vos euros sur votre compte Bitvavo en quelques clics. Vous achetez ainsi la devise cryptographique que vous souhaitez acheter et échanger.

Le dépôt et l’achat de monnaie crypto est très convivial et bien organisé. Parce que c’est une société néerlandaise basée à Amsterdam, vous disposez également d’un service client néerlandais.

Ils n’ont pas de chat en direct et si vous avez des questions, vous pouvez envoyer un email à supper@bitvavo.com. Si vous souhaitez rechercher rapidement quelque chose, vous pouvez toujours consulter la page “Foire aux questions” et la réponse y est souvent déjà.

acheter bitcoin directement

#Africa Nigerian maritime logistics startup MVXchange targets 3 new markets post-funding

Nigerian startup MVXchange plans to expand to Ghana, Senegal and Angola once it raises its seed round, with the long-term plan being to serve the entire African continent.

Launched at the beginning of this year, MVXchange is a tech-driven maritime platform that matches vessel charter requests with available Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs), helping users conveniently charter vessels while reducing man-hours, cutting costs and improving performance.

The startup last month closed a pre-seed funding round worth US$100,000 led by Oui Capital with participation from Neon Ventures, Zircon Marine and other angel investors, in order to scale its technology and acquire more enterprise customers. Tonye Membere-Otaji, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of MVXchange, told Disrupt Africa the company was planning expansion once it raised a seed round, hopefully within the next year.

It has been a long road for MVXchange so far. Membere-Otaji came up with the idea for the business back in 2015, when he was chartering officer at Elshcon, a servicing company for the Nigerian maritime and oil and gas industries.

“My key task was to find vessels as quickly as possible for contracts, but I constantly struggled with it due to the absence of reliable vessel databases or platforms to easily find vessels. The presence of too many intermediaries made the process inefficient and complex,” he said.

Membere-Otaji built a demo, but stopped working on the project due to the sharp decline in the oil price between 2015 and 2017. He returned to it in 2017, and MCXchange is now very focused on that industry.

“We spotted the inefficiencies and delay it took to find vessels. Vessel availability is rarely promoted by owners and the presence of intermediaries between ship owners and charterers led to high day rate of the chartered vessels. This made the entire vessel chartering process disorganised, inefficient and expensive,” Membere-Otaji said.

MCXchange’s attempts to ease the process have met with a positive reception from the market. It has so far received more than 50 charter requests, and had three successful vessel charters and 32 charter days in less than three months.

The startup, which charges a fixed commission on each transaction made through its platform, has found sourcing talent to join its team to be a major challenge, while Membere-Otaji said gaining trust within the industry has also been tough.

“The maritime and oil and gas industries are legacy industries set in their ways. Online adoption by users is tough, but we are progressively gaining the confidence of our users one successful charter at a time,” he said.

These tactics now look set to take MVXchange into new markets within the next year or so as it follows up on its pre-seed raise.

The post Nigerian maritime logistics startup MVXchange targets 3 new markets post-funding appeared first on Disrupt Africa.

from Disrupt Africa http://bit.ly/2XxKs9a

#USA Depop, a social app targeting millennial and Gen Z shoppers, bags $62M, passes 13M users

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The rising popularity of omni-channel commerce — selling to customers wherever they happen to be spending time online — has spawned an army of shopping tools and platforms that are giving legacy retail websites and marketplaces a run for their money. Now, one of the faster growing of these is announcing an impressive round of funding to stay on trend and continue building its business.

Depop, a London startup that has built an app for individuals to post and sell (and mainly resell) items to groups of followers by way of its own and third-party social feeds, has closed a Series C round of $62 million led by General Atlantic. Previous investors HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Balderton Capital, Creandum, Octopus Ventures, TempoCap and Sebastian Siemiatkowski, founder and CEO of Swedish payments company Klarna all also participated.

The funding will be used in a couple of areas. First, to continue building out the startup’s technology — building in more recommendation and image detection algorithms is one focus.

And second, to expand in the US, which CEO Maria Raga said is on its way to being Depop’s biggest market, with 5 million users currently and projections of that going to 15 million in the next three years.

That’s despite strong competition from other peer-to-peer selling platforms like Vinted, Poshmark, and social platforms that have been doubling down on commerce, like Instagram and Pinterest, but on the other hand the opportunity is big: a recent report from ThredUp, another second-hand clothes sales platform, estimated that the total resale market is expected to more than double in value to $51 billion from $24 billion in the next five years, accounting for 10% of the retail market.

Prior to this, Depop had raised just under $40 million. It’s not disclosing its valuation except to say it’s a definitely upround. “I’m extremely happy,” Raga said when I asked her about it this week.

The rise of the bedroom entrepreneur

The funding comes on the heels of strong growth and strong focus for the startup.

If “social shopping”, “selling to groups of followers”, and the “use of social feeds” (or my headline…) didn’t already give it away, Depop is primarily aimed at millennial and Gen Z consumers. The company said that about 90% of its active users are under the age of 26, and in its home market of the UK it’s seen huge traction with one-third of all 16-24 year-olds registered on Depop.

Its rise has dovetailed with some big changes that the fashion industry has undergone, said Raga. “Our mission is to redefine the fashion industry in the same way that Spotify did with music, or Airbnb did with travel accommodation,” she said.

“The fashion world hasn’t really taken notice” of how things have evolved at the consumer end, she continued, citing concerns with sustainability (and specifically the waste in the fashion industry), how trends are set today (no longer dictated by brands but by individuals), and how anything can be sold by anyone, from anywhere, not just from a store in the mall, or by way of a well-known brand name website. “You can now start a fashion business from your bedroom,” she added.

For this generation of bedroom entrepreneurs, social apps are not a choice, but simply the basis and source of all their online engagement. Depop notes that the average daily user opens the app “several times per day” both to browse things, check up on those that they follow, to message contacts and comment on items, and of course to buy and sell. On average, Depop users collectively follow and message each other 85 million times each month.

This rapid uptake and strong usage of the service has driven it to 13 million users, revenue growth of 100% year-on-year for the past few years, and gross merchandise value of more than $500 million since launch. (Depop takes a 10% cut, which would work out to total revenues of about $50 million for the period.)

When we first wrote about Depop back in 2015 (and even prior to that), the startup and app were primarily aiming to provide a way for users to quickly snap pictures of their own clothes and other already-used items to post them for sale, one of a wave of flea-market-inspired apps that were emerging at that time. (It also had an older age group of users, extending into the mid-thirties.)

Fast forward a few years, and Depop’s growth has been boosted by an altogether different trend: the emergence of people who go to great efforts to buy limited editions of collectable, or just currently very hot, items, and then resell them to other enthusiasts. The products might be lightly used, but more commonly never used, and might include limited edition sneakers, expensive t-shirts released in “drops” by brands themselves, or items from one-off capsule collections.

It may have started as a way of decluttering by shifting unused items of your own, but it’s become a more serious endeavor for some. Raga notes that Depop’s top sellers are known to clear $100,000 annually. “It’s a real business for them,” she said.

And Depop still sells other kinds of goods, too. These pressed-flower phone cases, for example, have seen a huge amount of traction on Twitter as well as in the app itself in the last week:

Alongside its own app and content shared from there to other social platforms, Depop extends the omnichannel approach with a selection of physical stores, too, to showcase selected items.

The startup has up to now taken a very light-touch approach to the many complexities that can come with running an e-commerce business — a luxury that’s come to it partly because its sellers and buyers are all individuals, mostly younger individuals, and, leaning on the social aspect, the expectation that people will generally self-police and do right by each other, or less risk getting publicly called out and lose business as a result.

I think that as it continues to grow, some of that informality might need to shift, or at least be complemented with more structure.

In the area of shipping, buyers generally do not seem to expect the same kind of shipping tracking or delivery professionals appearing at their doors. Sellers handle all the shipping themselves, which sometimes means that if the buyer and seller are in the same city, an in-person delivery of an item is not completely unheard of. Raga notes that in the US the company has now at least introduced pre-paid envelopes to help with returns (not so in the UK).

Payments come by way of PayPal, with no other alternatives at the momen. Depop’s 10% cut on transactions is in addition to PayPal’s fees. But having the Klarna founder as a backer could pave the way for other payment methods coming soon.

One area where Depop is trying to get more focused is in how its activities line up with state laws and regulations.

For example, it currently already proactively looks for and takes down posts offering counterfeit or other illicit goods on the platform, but also relies on people or brands reporting these. (Part of the tech investment into image detection will be to help improve the more automated algorithms, to speed up the rate at which illicit items are removed.)

Then there is the issue of tax. If top sellers are clearing $100,000 annually, there are taxes that will need to be paid. Raga said that right now this is handed off to sellers to manage themselves. Depop does send alerts to sellers but it’s still up to the sellers themselves to organise sales tax and other fees of that kind.

“We are very close to our top sellers,” Raga said. “We’re in contact on a daily basis and we inform of what they have to do. But if they don’t, it’s their responsibility.”

While there is a lot more development to come, the core of the product, the approach Depop is taking, and its success so far have been the winning combination to bring on this investment.

“Technology continues to transform the retail landscape around the world and we are incredibly excited to be investing in Depop as it looks to capture the huge opportunity ahead of it,” said Melis Kahya, General Atlantic Head of Consumer for EMEA, in a statement. “In a short space of time the team has developed a truly differentiated platform and globally relevant offering for the next generation of fashion entrepreneurs and consumers. The organic growth generated in recent years is a testament to the impact they are having and we look forward to working with the team to further accelerate the business.”

from Startups – TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/31fTo5u

#USA Voatz has raised $7 million in Series A funding for its mobile voting technology

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Voatz, the four-year-old, Boston, Ma.-based voting and citizen engagement platform that has been at the center of debate over the merits and dangers of mobile voting, has raised $7 million in Series A funding. The round was co-led by Medici Ventures and Techstars, with participation from Urban Innovation Fund and Oakhouse Partners.

Voatz, which current employs 17 people, is modeled after other software-as-a-service companies but geared toward election jurisdictions, working with state and local governments to conduct elections and provide related election management and cybersecurity services.

As we’d reported back in March, the city of Denver agreed to implement a mobile voting pilot in its May municipal election using Voatz’s technology, an opportunity that was offered exclusively to active-duty military, their eligible dependents and overseas voters using their smartphones.

The company hasn’t yet shared how many people wound up using the platform. As Voatz cofounder and CEO Nimit Sawhney told us late yesterday, “Our most recent election in Denver CO finished last night on June 4th and the post election audit will be beginning shortly.”

Denver was not the company’s first pilot program. Rather, Voatz had conducted more than 30 pilots previously, including two in West Virginia last year that had attracted the financial backing of Tusk Philanthropies, the philanthropic operation of investor and strategist Bradley Tusk.

As for where Voatz will be used next, Sawhney says to “stay tuned. The next phase of our pilot programs will be announced by the relevant jurisdictions a bit later in the summer.”

Voatz has become the best-known mobile voting app, which has also made it the target of some unflattering attention, including last summer, when numerous security experts criticized it roundly in a Vanity Fair piece. One said it was “going to backfire.” Another warned that the “United States needs some form of vetting process for online voting in elections.” A software expert separately called Voatz an “horrifically bad idea.”

Apparently, investors, along with growing number of city and state governments, are still willing to bet that it’s better than what’s currently available.

Voatz had previously raised $2.2 million in funding led by the venture arm of Overstock.com.

from Startups – TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/2wDCyzv

#USA The 10 benefits and policies any modern workplace should have

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Want to attract (and retain) top talent, making your company’s workforce more competitive and cutting down on turnover costs to boot? The simplest way to do so starts with the benefits and policies you offer to employees.

We already know that benefits play a major hand in how candidates evaluate a job offer. One recent survey conducted by Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women, in partnership with Extend Fertility, found that 87% of professional women say a benefits package is important or very important to them when interviewing at a company. Respondents stated that the presence (or absence) of certain benefits would impact their likelihood to stay at an employer, too.

So, which specific benefits and policies are the ones that will set your company apart as a modern, desirable workplace? We spoke to experts — from CEOs to heads of HR — to find out exactly what the benefits package of today’s most relevant employers looks like.

1. Summer Fridays

Giving employees a few extra hours to jumpstart their weekend through “Summer Fridays” can lead to a whole spate of positive benefits, including improved morale, focus and engagement at work, according to Brian Kropp, Group Vice-President of HR at Gartner . “Most companies have told us that with this benefit in place, they’ve found employees work harder earlier in the week because they know they have to complete their work before Friday,” Kropp said.

2. Pay transparency

Via Getty Image / abstractdesignlabs

The days of salary and bonus conversations happening only behind closed doors are long gone. Thanks to whisper networks and a growing belief in salary sharing, for many companies, this information is available with or without their consent. Companies who want to appear modern (as well as do the right thing) should embrace this trend through official pay transparency policies.

“Companies that don’t want to appear outdated have written pay, incentive and bonus plans for all employees at all levels so that how pay is calculated is not a mystery,” Sarah Morgan, Senior HR Director of SafeStreets USA, said.

“The compensation is equitable across gender and races so everyone is paid fairly based on the position, experience, skills and responsibilities. Such companies are also open about their pay policies and share general information about how much people are earning at every level. This may be shared as ranges or as specific amounts.”

3. Inclusion initiatives

from Startups – TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/2WjPdle

#USA Unraveling the “Secrets of Sand Hill Road” and the VC thought process, with Andreessen Horowitz’s Scott Kupor

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Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos sat down with Scott Kupor, managing director at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz to dig into his new book Secrets of Sand Hill Road, discuss his advice for new founders dealing with VCs and to pick his brain on the opportunities that excite him most today.

Scott gained inspiration for Secrets of Sand Hill Road after realizing he was hearing the same questions from different entrepreneurs over his decade in venture. The book acts as an updated guide on what VCs actually do, how they think and how founders should engage with them.

Scott offers Connie his take on why, despite the influx of available information on the venture world, founders still view VC as a black box. Connie and Scott go on to shed some light on the venture thought process, discussing how VCs evaluate new founders, new market opportunities, future round potential and how they think about investments that aren’t playing out as expected. 

“[Deciding on the right amount of money to raise] is one of the areas where I think people will rely on convention too much, rather than figuring out what makes sense for them. And what I mean by convention is, they say, “Hey, my friends down the street just raised a $7 million A round, so $7 million must be the right size for an A round.”

The way we try to help entrepreneurs think about it is think about the pitch that you’re going to give at the next round of financing. Let’s say you’re raising a Series A, imagine sitting here 18 or 24 months from now doing the Series B financing, what’s the story you’re going to want to be able to tell the investor then, as to what you accomplished over that last 18 to 24 months?

And then, almost work your way backwards to say, “If that’s the story that I want to tell, and we all agree that’s a compelling story where somebody will come in hopefully, and fund it at a valuation that’s higher to reflect the progress of the business, then let’s work our way back, and say “how do we de risk that?””

Image via Getty Images / Heidi Gutman/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Connie and Scott also dive deeper into Andreessen Horowitz’ investing and post-investing structure, and what the future of the firm and its key investments may look like down the road.

For access to the full transcription and the call audio, and for the opportunity to participate in future conference calls, become a member of Extra Crunch. Learn more and try it for free. 

Connie Loizos: Hi, everyone. It’s time to kick off today’s call with Scott Kupor, a managing partner at the venture firm, Andreessen Horowitz, and more recently, the author of the book, Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It. Thank you so much for making time for us today.

Scott, I’m still in the process of reading the book, but I have to say, much like your colleague, Ben Horowitz’s book, and this is really true, I’m really enjoying it.

Scott Kupor: Well, thank you.

Connie: It doesn’t really feel remotely like work, which I find to be true with the vast majority of business books.

Scott: Well, I appreciate that. I had great help from Ben [Horowitz] in terms of inspiration from his book. So I’m glad to hear that. Thank you very much.

from Startups – TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/31nE0Ei

#USA Step raises $22.5M led by Stripe to build no-fee banking services for teens

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The smartphone revolution has well and truly disrupted the world of banking. A wide range of startups have cropped up that have completely removed the need to make visits to physical branches to open accounts, make deposits, pay for things, and ask for loans: you can now do all of these on the go by way of a simple tap on an app.

Now, in the latest development, a new startup is leveraging that progress to create a new service targeting one of the most avid demographics when it comes to smartphone usage. Step, which builds mobile-based banking services for teenagers, is today announcing a round of $22.5 million led by Stripe.

“Schools don’t teach kids about money,” CJ MacDonald, the CEO and co-founder, said in an interview. “We want to be their first bank accounts with spending cards, but we also want to teach financial literacy and responsibility. Banks don’t tailor to this, and we want to be a solution teaching the next generation of adults to be more responsible with money in the cashless era. It was easy with cash to go to the mall but now everyone is using their phone for Uber and more.” (MacDonald has a track record in mobile commerce applications: his previous startup, mobile loyalty card app Gyft, got acquired by First Data.)

Step’s first market will be the US, where it’s estimated that there are just under 50 million teenagers in the population.

MacDonald said the aim with the funding will be to use it to bring Step’s first product — banking accounts with payment cards attached — to market, in partnership with Mastercard and Evolve.

Step actually launched in January this year (when its card partner was actually Visa) but only to unveil a waitlist. Since then, it has amassed 500,000 names of interested would-be users — likely one reason why it attracted this funding, and the attention of a pretty high-profile set of investors, including several who know a thing or two about the youth market.

In addition to Stripe, the round includes Will Smith’s Dreamers fund, Nas, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Wndrco, Ronnie Lott, Matt Rutler, Kevin Gould, and Moat founders Noah and Jonah Goodhart. Previous investors Crosslink Capital, Collaborative Fund and Sesame Ventures also participated. (It’s raised just under $30 million to date. Valuation is not being disclosed.)

Step is not wading into unchartered territory by building a banking service targeting teens. Banks have been offering people the ability to open accounts for their kids under the umbrella of their accounts for many years. And other startups that have built banking services for this age group, who already have products out in the market, include teen debit card and bank app Current, and Greenlight, which makes a debit card for kids. (And that’s before you consider the likes of Chime, which don’t target teens specifically but might be used by them.)

And nor will Step be the last: there have also been rumors that Amazon has been working on its own service offering bank accounts to teens.

MacDonald said there are differences between what Step and these others are offering. First and foremost, its primary point of engagement is the teenager him/herself, with the aim being to give the account holder full autonomy (or at least the feeling of it: parents can still monitor and put controls on an under-18 account, as well as pay funds into it).

To that end, Step has been marketing directly to its future users, doing viral things like incentivizing sign-ups by giving users a dollar towards their bank accounts (when they come online) for each person that gets referred and also signs up using a person’s code. Teenagers under 18 will even be able to sign up for accounts without parental or guardian consent — although these accounts with be very limited in their functionality.

Another key difference will be the business model around which Step is built. As with any company that provides card services, Step gets a cut from card transactions, but unlike others in this space (and unlike most banks), Step is launching with a no-fee model for the basic account. This is because the idea will be to grow with the users, and over time to offer them services that will collect fees, when they are needed.

“As teens grow up we want to grow with them,” MacDonald said. “We will start offering products when they go to college, for example lending money to get books or computers.”

Stripe’s investment for now appears to be mainly a financial one in terms of the services that will be coming in the first wave of Step’s rollout this year. Behind the scenes, it’s actually strategic, too: the company has been quietly building interesting inroads into developing services for card issuers, alongside the services for merchants that you might already know. That’s included the acquisition of Touchtech earlier this year.

Step’s service will be very dependent on building out, and using, robust APIs to let parents and companies pay into their accounts, and for people to be able to use their Step accounts to pay for things, and part of that will involve using and implementing card issuing APIs.

“We are working with Stripe on its issuing API and on developing the issuing side of its business,” MacDonald said. “That is something that we are excited about.” More generally, he said their goals are aligned. “They want to grow the GDP of the internet and grow businesses online. Part of what we are trying to do is to make young people participate responsibly in the online economy, and I think that mission is in line with Stripe’s.” (Stripe declined to provide a comment for this story.)

The bigger opportunity also seems to be that much larger and more incumbent organizations will tap into what Step is building so that it can make sure to remain relevant and a part of whatever shape financial services take for so-called “generation alpha.”

“Today’s young people are digitally savvy, having grown up with technology as a mainstay in their day-to-day lives. As a result, we also need to ensure that they become familiar with the unique aspects of digital payments including providing education about the various finance and payment products available,” said Sherri Haymond, EVP Digital Partnerships, North America for Mastercard, in a statement. “Step has taken a thoughtful approach to developing an offering for teens and families that provides that first step in educating and acclimating today’s youth to help them gain confidence and awareness around their finances.”

from Startups – TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/2wEaagv

#USA Legacy, a sperm testing and freezing service, raises $1.5M

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Femtech is having a banner year, largely as a result of a massive uptick in venture capital financings for women’s fertility businesses. Men’s health companies, however, are having a moment too.

Legacy, a male fertility startup that won TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield competition at Disrupt Berlin 2018, is today announcing a $1.5 million seed round led by Bain Capital Ventures. The news follows an announcement from Dadi, a sperm storage business that closed on $2 million in capital commitments from London-based seed fund firstminute capital and New York-based Third Kind Venture Capital four months ago.

Founder and chief executive officer Khaleed Kteily tells TechCrunch that Legacy, which is based out of the Harvard Innovation Labs in Boston, will use the capital to expand its sperm analysis, improvement and cryogenic storage services.

Like the genetic testing business 23andMe, Legacy sends a collection kit directly to the homes of its customers, allowing them to masturbate and collect a sperm sample in the comfort of their own homes. Once the sample is mailed back to Legacy, the company tests the sperm collection’s mobility and morphology (the size and shape of the sperm), to identify the highest quality sperm to freeze. Legacy also sends men a sperm report, with an overall assessment of sperm health and lifestyle recommendations included.

“If it literally just entails masturbating at home to be able to preserve your ability to have a child for the rest of your life, we think that’s something everyone is going to be doing,” Kteily said. “What we are doing really comes down to changing the way people think about fertility. We have this view that fertility is a women’s issue but that’s just biologically wrong.”

Founded in January 2018, the company was created as a result of personal experience, as is often the case with fertility startups and healthtech companies more generally. Kteily, a former healthcare consultant, was dealing with a friend who was looking for sperm storage solutions while facing a cancer diagnosis and he himself had personally gone through the process of freezing his sperm only to realize how terrible it is.

“It was the singular most awkward experience of my life and I just kept thinking there’s got to be a better way to do this,” he said.

The long-term goal is to leverage its growing collection of data, which is end-to-end encrypted and HIPAA-compliant, to become a research center for male fertility. That, Kteily admits, will take many years and more capital (they are expecting to begin fundraising again very soon), but they aren’t in a rush.

“You can’t start a fertility company with the intention of just getting a profit in the next few years, you can’t cut corners or risk shutting down in the next few years,” he said. “We aren’t in it for a quick break. It’s not about moving fast and breaking things. It’s about moving as fast as possible without breaking anything.”

from Startups – TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/2MwQQwC