Author: Romain Dillet

OakNorth raises $440 million from SoftBank and Clermont

British startup OakNorth has raised a $440 million funding round from SoftBank’s Vision Fund as well as the Clermont Group. The company is creating a digital bank and focuses on loans for small and medium enterprises and the technology behind those loans. Today’s funding round is the biggest funding round in a European fintech company. OakNorth has raised $848 million in primary funding since its creation. With this funding round, the company plans to double down on what it already does. The company can issue fast and flexible loans to businesses and property developers in the U.K. OakNorth uses...

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The Raspberry Pi store is much cooler than an Apple Store

The Raspberry Pi Foundation just unveiled a brand new project — an actual store. If you live in Cambridge in the U.K., you can now buy a bunch of sweet Raspberry Pis to tinker and develop some cool stuff. The Raspberry Pi has always been about making coding more accessible. And a physical retail space fits the bill. The foundation has developed a lineup of insanely cheap computers with an ARM-based processor, a bunch of ports, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. [embedded content] The latest flagship model, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ costs only $35. But if you want something smaller and cheaper, there are other models for various needs. Maybe you just need a tiny computer for some internet-of-things project. You can opt for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ for $25 in that case. It has a bit less RAM and fewer ports, but it works pretty much like any Raspberry Pi. There’s also power-efficient models that cost less than $10 — the Raspberry Pi Zero models. I never really thought about Raspberry Pi stores. But the introduction video makes a strong case in favor of such a store. The product lineup is getting a bit complicated and it’s always good to be able to talk to someone about your projects. Moreover, the foundation can use this store as a showcase for some cool examples. You can also...

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Update to iOS 12.1.4 to re-enable Group FaceTime

That nasty FaceTime bug is now a thing of the past. You can now download and update your iPhone and iPad to re-enable Group FaceTime again. iOS 12.1.4 is a bug fix release and doesn’t contain any new feature other than this one. Shortly after people found out that you could eavesdrop on somebody’s microphone or camera by starting a fake Group FaceTime call, Apple disabled Group FaceTime altogether. If you’re running iOS 12.1.3 or earlier, you simply can’t start or join a FaceTime call with more than two persons. The company has been working on a fix to...

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Deepomatic raises $6.2 million for its industrial computer vision technology

French startup Deepomatic just raised a new funding round of $5.1 million in equity funding and $1.1 million in debt. Hi Inov is leading the round, with Alven Capital and Bertrand Diard also participating. Deepomatic lets you build your own computer vision applications for your industrial needs. The company gives you all the tools to train a model and connect it to your video feeds. You can then deploy your new shiny service at the edge or on your own infrastructure, wherever you need it. You remain in control of your data. After that, you can integrate that brick with the rest of your infrastructure using API calls. With such a low barrier to entry, it takes you around three months to deploy Deepomatic. And it’s already working quite well for some companies. For instance, Compass Group is using it in some of its cafeterias. Instead of waiting in line for the cashier when your food is getting cold on your tray, you can simply pass your tray in front of a camera. The camera will take a photo of your food and automatically recognize what you got — it works pretty much like Amazon Go. There’s no QR code, no RFID tags. There are 15,000 people using this system every day already. Belron, the company behind Carglass, Autoglass, Safelite and other vehicle glass repair shops, is also using...

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Uber competitor Chauffeur-Privé rebrands to Kapten

French company Chauffeur-Privé is going to expand aggressively over the next couple of years. That’s why the company is changing its name to Kapten — a name that sounds less French. “We wanted to share with you a very important piece of news,” Kapten co-founder and CEO Yan Hascoet said in a press conference. “We changed our name while keeping the same positioning.” Kapten is one of the leading ride-sharing players in France and recently launched in Lisbon (2 million users in France, 80,000 users in Lisbon). The company is going to launch in Geneva next week and London in the coming weeks. By 2020, Kapten should be in 15 major cities. Kapten within Intelligent Apps As a reminder, Daimler AG acquired a majority stake in Chauffeur-Privé/Kapten back in December 2017. Daimler AG and BMW Group later merged their mobility service businesses into a single entity called Intelligent Apps. Kapten confirmed that Intelligent Apps will become Jurbey. Intelligent Apps’ free-floating services, parking services, charging services and itinerary apps will merge to simplify the product offering. But Intelligent Apps’ ride-sharing services (Chauffeur-Privé, mytaxi, Clever Taxi and Beat) won’t merge for now. “It seems obvious that there will be some consolidation in five years in one way or another,” Hascoet said. “But this is not on today’s agenda.” Hascoet thinks that the ride-sharing space is still extremely competitive and there’s room...

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Workwell wants to be the companion app for your office building

French startup Workwell has released a major update to its platform. The company now provides an app to manage as many things related to your office building as possible from your phone. The company started with a sort of intranet replacement. You could book meeting rooms, get a map of the office, contact your coworkers from the app. Workwell now wants to create a more flexible platform that expands beyond your company and beyond a single office building. “The goal is to become the digital layer of every building,” co-founder and CEO Marie Schneegans told me. “We consider Workwell as an infrastructure product for buildings, just like water, electricity and internet. Workwell provides an interface to interact with the building, its services and people.” Instead of a traditional service-based interface, Workwell is now organized by actions. If you want to book something, you tap on the booking button to book a meeting room, a parking spot or a gym class for instance. Similarly, the inbox has been unified to interact with both people and services in a single messaging interface. Each person belongs to multiple circles. For instance, you can be part of a company with multiple offices around the world, part of a building and part of a co-working space. Each entity can have its own sets of services and features. It creates a more cohesive experience for...

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iOS 12.2 beta includes new Animojis and fake 5G logo

Apple has released a new beta version of iOS 12.2 yesterday. While the final version isn’t available just yet, here’s what you should expect: new Animojis and a fake 5G logo if you’re an AT&T customer. If you have an iPhone X, XS, XS Max or XR, you’ll see new animals in the Animoji collection. As 9to5mac spotted, you will be able to record video message and replace your head with a giraffe, an owl, a shark or a warthog. These Animojis will also work during FaceTime calls. Here’s a picture from 9to5mac with the new lineup: More interestingly,...

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Sonos unveils in-ceiling, in-wall and outdoor speakers

Sonos is partnering with Sonance for a new lineup of passive speakers. You can now pre-order in-ceiling, in-wall and outdoor Sonos speakers. These are weird products as you still need to connect those speakers with a Sonos Amp. In other words, you can’t control those speakers from the Sonos app without the Sonos Amp. But if you’re building a house and you want to put Sonos speakers around the house, this lineup is a good way to make sure that everything will be optimized for the Sonos ecosystem. The in-wall and in-ceiling speakers are designed to blend in with your walls. You can even paint on the grilles to make them disappear even more. They’ll start shipping on February 26 and you can pre-order them now — each pair of speakers cost $599. Outdoor speakers also come as a pair. They aren’t available just yet, but they’ll cost $799 a pair whenever they ship. And they should resist to extreme temperatures, water and UV rays. According to the company, you can plug three pairs of speakers to a single Sonos Amp. If you plan on building a giant house, you can still buy multiple Amps and stack them up. Like other Sonos speakers, you can tune them using Trueplay. This process uses your iPhone or iPad microphone to analyze the size of your room and how your furniture affects...

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