Author: Romain Dillet

Revolut launches a premium subscription and starts raising a new round

Fintech startup Revolut has been a free service and this isn’t going to change. But the company is going to add a premium tier with more features for £6.99/€8.50/$8.50 per month in 42 European countries. If you sign up to the new “Premium Account,” you’ll receive a MasterCard with a new design. There are three different options and I love pink so I think they look quite good. But the card is just the visible element. Premium accounts get unlimited interbank foreign exchange when you spend, transfer and exchange money with your Revolut account. Free users can send, spend and exchange up to £5,000/€6,000/$6,000 (or equivalent) per month. After that there’s a 0.5 percent fee. Revolut is going after recurring Transferwise customers who transfer big amounts of money to another bank account. If you transfer or spend more than £6,400 per month, then it becomes more interesting to get a Premium account over a standard one. It’s not for everyone, but expats with a comfortable salary could be interested. Premium users can also withdraw £400/€400 (or equivalent) per month for free instead of £200/€200. There’s a 2 percent fee on ATM withdrawals after those limits. In addition to those better fees, premium users get global medical insurance, free card replacements and better support. The company promises that there will be more features in the future. In other news, Revolut...

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WikiLeaks releases new CIA documents describing Mac exploits

Next Story Years after crashing on Travis Kalanick’s couch, this Italian founder has raised $18 million for his startup WikiLeaks just shared a few new documents as part of the CIA Vault 7 data dump. These documents describe hacking methods used by the agency to access Apple devices and upload data. Most of today’s exploits are related to the Mac platform. It’s interesting to see the CIA’s old hacking techniques. It’s unclear if some of them still work today. Sonic Screwdriver v1.0 This 2012 hack is quite neat as it uses a peripheral device to infect your Mac. In particular,...

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Zendesk is also partnering with startup megacampus Station F

Station F is going to be the world’s biggest startup campus. A thousand startups are going to work in this huge building. And Station F wants to partner with the biggest tech companies, such as Zendesk, so that young startups don’t even have to pay to be there. “By now, everybody knows where we are. We are at Station F, the world’s biggest startup campus. We will have a thousand startups surrounded by VCs, tech companies and experts,” Station F director Roxanne Varza said. “We’re talking with the best [tech companies] from all around the world and bringing them here.” So what does it mean, bringing Zendesk to Station F? First, Station F will be able to use Zendesk as their customer support tool for free. Second, the company’s team in Paris is going to relocate to Station F (that’s 10 people or so). Finally, Zendesk is going to have its own tiny incubator with 47 desks inside Station F. Startups will be able to work there for free. Zendesk already announced a couple of startups that are going to work from its mezzanine inside Station F — SnapCall and Ottspot. Everything seems clear now. While you can pay around €195 per desk per month to enter Station F’s Founders Program, the campus would rather create a community with big tech companies and small tech companies working under the...

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Akeneo grabs $13 million for its CRM of products

French startup Akeneo just raised a $13 million Series B round led by Partech Ventures, with existing investor Alven Capital also participating. Akeneo is a product information management (PIM) service to manage all information about your products in your stores, online and in your good-old paper catalogs. At heart Akeneo is an open source PIM application — 40,000 people downloaded Akeneo so far. Everybody can grab it for free and implement it for their own company. You feed it data from Excel spreadsheets or your ERP, then you can manage and enrich this data in Akeneo. Finally, all this...

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On mentorship and finding your way around

When my Dad switched on the big light, closed the office door and pulled out a notepad and a pencil, I groaned a little as I knew I was going to be stuck in there for at least half an hour, listening to him. He knew a lot about computer science as he had been a computer engineer for so long that he first started developing with a pen and paper. His code would then be stored on punched cards and fed into giant computers. It was always the exact same routine. I’d ask him tech questions and his eyes would light up. What is an IP address? Object-oriented programming? A DNS? Ajax? A SQL database? A DDoS attack? Somehow, he always ended up drawing circles, rectangles and arrows to explain how things communicated with each other. I don’t think it was the easiest way to explain technical concepts, but it worked really well with me. Listening He taught me everything about public and private keys, hash values and certificates more than ten years ago, way before people started talking about end-to-end encryption messaging. He used to say that privacy was more important than convenience. When Google launched Gmail in 2004, he said that I should assume that the NSA could read everything I wrote in Gmail, way before it became true and Edward Snowden revealed it. All my...

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Apple plans to invest $500 million for new research centers in China

Apple is trying to tap into local talent by building new research centers around the world. As spotted by MacRumors, the company just announced on its Chinese website that it is going to build two new R&D centers in Shanghai and Suzhou. This is going to be a significant investment as Apple plans to spend 3.5 billion yuan, or a little bit more than $500 million. The company already announced research centers in Beijing and Shenzhen, so there will be four centers in China in total. Apple also has teams in France, Israel, the U.K., Japan and Sweden. Apple said that some of those engineers will work on supply chain improvements. Most of Apple’s products are manufactured in China. And some of the best electronics engineers in the world who can help you ship tens of millions of devices a year also live in China. It could be easier to work on proprietary Chinese protocols with a local team in China as well. Apple needs to make sure that its devices work on all Chinese networks. So it seems logical that Apple would go beyond partnering with local firms in China by creating its own research centers. This way, Apple has a foot on the ground and gets the best of both worlds. As a side effect, Apple shows that it is willing to invest in the Chinese economy. It’s...

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Nintendo could double production of the Switch

If you launch a new console with a massively successful game like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it’s not that hard to sell your console. This is exactly what is happening with the Nintendo Switch as Nintendo is ramping up production for the next 12 months. Nintendo already said that the company was planning to sell 2 million consoles for the month of March. According to SuperData, the company has already sold 1.5 million units with a couple of weeks to spare. It looks like Nintendo will easily beat its launch target. In fact, it has become quite hard to buy a Switch. Many stores are waiting for the next batch as they already sold everything. You can still buy it in France on Amazon, but it seems like an exception. According to the WSJ, Nintendo is going to produce 16 million units over the next 12 months. The company previously expected to produce 8 million Switches. It doesn’t mean that Nintendo is going to sell them all, but it’s a positive sign. The company only sold 13.56 million Wii U in more than four years. The Switch has a bright future, and it shows that having a successful launch is key when it comes to putting a new console on the market. If you manage to sell a good amount of consoles in the first few months, then...

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Apple is opening new stores in Downtown Miami, Cologne and Nanjing

While Apple’s retail team is currently remodeling all its stores, the company is also opening brand new stores around the world. Apple is opening a flagship store in Downtown Miami, a new store in a historic building in Cologne and a third store in Nanjing. Last weekend, Apple reopened the 35th remodeled store across 18 different states. “Almost 50 percent of the stores in the U.S. were built before the iPhone,” Apple Senior Market Director Enrique Atienza told me. Today we re-opened the beautiful Apple St. Johns Town Center in Florida — the 35th store we’ve updated to our latest design in the US. pic.twitter.com/B69Tvy4TSf — Angela Ahrendts (@AngelaAhrendts) March 11, 2017 For instance, in Indianapolis, here’s a comparison of the old store and the new store in the same mall but in another location (I’m going to miss those fake cardboard iPod Nano models): keystone_remodel_0010 Keystone Crossing_20160916_PS_Hero Models_Crop The Apple Brickell City Centre store in Miami will share the same aesthetic and features as the company’s other flagship stores, such as the Apple Union Square store in San Francisco. “This is the first store in downtown Miami. Normally, Miami is all about the beach and the periphery. In the last few years, downtown Miami has seen this kind of renaissance,” Atienza said. So there will be a large forum with a video wall. You’ll find the avenues with...

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