Sponsoring fun smart tracker Fizzly’s Crowdfunding campaign could be the smartest bit of shopping you do for the family this Christmas

fizzly1 300x225 Sponsoring fun smart tracker Fizzly’s Crowdfunding campaign could be the smartest bit of shopping you do for the family this Christmas Now that more emphasis than ever before is being placed on “playing smart”, i.e. providing one’s family with gifts that are not just fun to play with, but educational as well, one Italian company has launched a Crowdfunding campaign to raise capital for a product that could provide the perfect solution. Fizzly. The campaign is rewarding pledgers with a special “early bird” price for the product, which will ship in April 2015, but which could well prove worth the wait.

Fizzly is a tiny device, a colourful, wearable smart tracker with a sophisticated movement sensing technology, which taps into the current zeitgeist by cleverly exploiting the public’s fascination with the Internet of Things (IOT). Activated and controlled by any smartphone device or tablet, in theory Fizzly has an almost unlimited number of uses, from interactive game, to fashion accessory, sports and social media tool, to a range of more practical uses.

The device uses Bluetooth Low Energy smart technology which can stream live data from its sensors to any device it is paired with, triggering audio or visual events specified by the user. A button on the device itself adds further versatility, and the battery life, reassuringly for parents tired of malfunctioning electronic goods, lasts for over a year.

Toy and games manufacturers are fond of suggesting that their products potential to entertain is limited only by parent’s or children’s imaginations, but in Fizzly’s case the argument seems a strong one. Suggestions on the Company’s crowdfunding page range from using the trigger to set alarms that respond to actions, such as someone entering the room, swiping the device through the air to change songs playing on an IPhone or tablet, recording and comparing tricks performed on a skateboard, taking action shot selfies, parlour games, air guitar, even attaching to clothes or shoes and recording funky sounds to accompany dance steps or moves.

Fizzly has been developed in Italy by Siena based AIDILAB. The Company is attempting to break into a new, less tech savvy but larger and more fun oriented market, after successfully raising over $640k for their previous product UDOO, a mini PC which can run Android and Linux, intended for software developers and designers, not unlike the highly successful Raspberry Pi developed at Cambridge University in the UK.

Their campaign, which launched 2 weeks ago, has already raised over $25k with 43 more days to go. “Fizzly is aimed at the average Joe, maybe between 20-35, and probably with young children”, says Michelangelo Guarise, Head of Creative at AIDILAB. “It’s an end user product but you can certainly learn from it, in terms of technology and understanding simple coding concepts such as “if this then that”. Our mission is to be continuously interacting and innovating with the product. We are at the starting point but we have no idea where we might end up”.

juggle arcade 300x140 Sponsoring fun smart tracker Fizzly’s Crowdfunding campaign could be the smartest bit of shopping you do for the family this Christmas Give children, or adults for that matter, a smartphone or tablet and you will have trouble getting them off the couch, whereas Fizzly is a far more outdoors oriented product that encourages gamification and friendly competition, with results and scores easily uploaded to social media and shared with friends, but there is much for budding developers to ponder too.

An open source API allows anyone to build projects in a development environment; AIDILAB have already provided a coding library and app store which they plan to expand rapidly with new ideas and uses. With so much discussion about whether learning to code should be added to the school curriculum, Fizzly could give its younger users a valuable head-start in respect of learning the concepts behind much of coding.

Fizzly are making early bird prototype versions of their product available in exchange for donations, for a price that is likely to be far cheaper for what they will eventually retail at. So far, 99 of the 100 single devices on offer have been taken, in exchange for a donation of $35 dollars or more, but there are still hundreds more to claim, for example pledging $69 or more gets you 2 Fizzly’s plus all of the apps currently developed by the team in Siena, a saving of $29 on the retail price. Pledge $173 or more and you’ll receive 4 Fizzly’s with key chains and mounts, and $350 gets you the same plus the full development kit a month earlier than anyone else.

keychain 300x120 Sponsoring fun smart tracker Fizzly’s Crowdfunding campaign could be the smartest bit of shopping you do for the family this Christmas The beauty of Fizzly is that movements are associated to an action or event, so when attached to a keychain, for example, if you are moving and your keys are not, an alarm will be triggered reminding you to go back and get your keys from wherever you have left them.

The team are developing new apps constantly, and having fun doing so. The Company are partnering with local universities as well as ones in Germany and the US, and the feedback has been positive; “one of our strengths is that Fizzly really does do most things you can think of”, says Michelangelo, whereas similar products in the market do maybe one or two things. We believe we have created the most innovative, not to mention best looking product out there. Well, they are Italian, after all!

Maurizio Caporali is the the serial entrepreneur and brains behind the project and he and Michelangelo were recently in London at the Tech Crunch Disrupt festival, showcasing the product. Antonio Rizzo is co-founder and Scientific Coordinator  , and the man you can see presenting the video on the Crowdfunding page.

Fizzly is a refreshingly unpretentious and highly versatile piece of kit that is as complete a representation of what the Internet of Things means and what stage it is at as pretty much any product currently on the market. It can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, provide entertainment without incurring any costs, and be educational too. It’s a very decent bet to surprise family or friends with, just don’t tell them they’ll to wait until April to start playing with it.

Newsy: What’s Jonny Ive on, can we have some? 1st Twitter investor day, Postcard w*nkers and an amazing new app (illepsy)

By Wednesday, November 19, 2014 0 , , , Permalink 0

Poncy Creatives, my ass!

jonny ive Newsy: What’s Jonny Ive on, can we have some? 1st Twitter investor day, Postcard w*nkers and an amazing new app (illepsy) I recently came across a tweet from the “Not Jony Fucking Ive” parody Twitter account, which ran thusly:

“People often ask me, “Would you ever work as a designer for Samsung?”. Considering how they steal all my sh*t, I’d say I already f*cking do!”

It may be crude, but it certainly makes more sense than the average Ive soundbite. Consider this gem from his appearance at the London Design Museum last week, quoted by Matt Warman in the Telegraph (clue, it’s about wearables, apparently):

“Brilliant people have spent the last few centuries dealing with these issues. The parallels with the technologies associated with timekeeping and what we’re facing are really quite uncanny, and this I think is part of our human condition. If you saw one of those clock towers and it has a personal relevancy and it’s very tall and very clever and you go round the corner and it’s completely redundant to you, I do think there is this natural part of our condition that when you see potent phenomenal technology there is somehow this desire to make it smaller – the first thing you do you can put wheels on it and drive around in it – and then you make it cheaper, more accessible and you make it better. That was the transition and it was a multi-century transition from the clock tower to something that ended up eventually on your wrist. So I think what we’re doing maps to this really robust historical precedent.”

Reprinted in full. Answers on a postcard, please?

Uber the Marmite of transportation apps?

taxi driver Newsy: What’s Jonny Ive on, can we have some? 1st Twitter investor day, Postcard w*nkers and an amazing new app (illepsy) The pendulum of public opinion swings against Uber this time. The controversy mongering yet dangerously popular “ride sharing” app, that is basically a freelance taxi company, has probably been the breakout start-up success story of the year, hijacking social media feeds and Tech news headlines, like a, I dunno, amateur driver swerving in front of a hackney cab and nicking all of its customers. Last week, however, Buzzfeed journalist Ben Smith claimed that during a private dinner, Uber Senior executive Emil Michael was overheard recommending the Company spend 1 million dollars to hire a team of researchers to “dig up dirt” on journalists who criticise the service.

Michael suggested this new team should study critics’ “personal lives, your families”, ruthlessly turning the tables on busybody hacks trying to sniff out damaging stories about the Company and its people. Although Uber have moved quickly to deny the story, with both company spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian and Michael himself issuing statements distancing themselves from the comments, these have largely been drowned out by sarcastic cries of “taxi for one!”

Twitter holds first Analysts day as Public Company, tries to head off negative market sentiment with listicle

chickens coming home to roost 300x227 Newsy: What’s Jonny Ive on, can we have some? 1st Twitter investor day, Postcard w*nkers and an amazing new app (illepsy) The phrase “too big to fail” used to be associated with hubristic banks and their cocky, “masters of the universe” employees, but could it have become more applicable to social media giants such as Twitter? One of the most recognised brands on the planet, with a ludicrously massive number of users, but a fairly sketchy idea of how to wring any cash from their service, CEO Dick Costolo must have been feeling a little nervous about answering questions on falling user growth and dwindling management turnover. That is until the humble listicle came to his rescue.

Twitter utilised this nifty boredom dodging device at their first ever analyst day, making a series of promises about changes they would be making to the service, from “instant timeline”, allowing new users to see tweets from more than just their first few followers to make them feel more at home and willing to participate, to content organised around geography and events, and a new video service with “record, edit and share” functionality. In response, Twitter stock rose by 7.5%. So there you have it, founders, next time you have to defend yourself in front of disgruntled investors, you know what to do: “7 gimmicks that will either save my ass or bankrupt me”, “10 things I am working on that explain why I am making such a pigs ear of this presentation”. Because it wouldn’t be great if Twitter sank without trace, right? Myspace, anyone?

Get it all off your chest with a postcard

This week The Times revealed that American businessman Frank Warren has been inviting strangers to send him postcards revealing their innermost secrets, the kind of things you keep even from your loved ones, such as how much you want to throttle them most of the time, for example. Despite an initially reticent response from melancholic vacationers in the UK, now that PostSecret has begun holding events in London, the confessions are coming thick and fast.

Amongst the more outlandish declarations to have been aired, written or scrawled in blood on the back of a cards displaying steam trains or bawdy seaside dioramas, are a university professor declaring “every lecture I have delivered this term I have been stoned”, and a presumably jilted lover admitting “I read the obituaries daily, hoping to see my ex-husband.”

Warren has published 6 books on the subject matter, and suggests there are 2 kind of secrets, “those we keep from ourselves, and those we keep from others”. Deep. So here goes nothing: dear Mr Warren, I look great in high heels and a wig. Actually that’s not a secret, it’s just the truth!

Heart-warming story of the week! Appilepsy, Epilectic fit detection app, launches in 1 week, places 2nd in Tech Crunch Disrupt challenge

appilepsy 300x215 Newsy: What’s Jonny Ive on, can we have some? 1st Twitter investor day, Postcard w*nkers and an amazing new app (illepsy) When Phil Efstathiou pitched a product that had come into being just 2 days previously at last month’s HHH Co-Founder dating meet-up, he couldn’t have known how useful it would prove to be.

Phil is a 1st year Computer Science student at Kings College, London, who once designed a simple game into which he added an algorithm capable of detecting shaking movements, so players taking their frustrations out on their phones would receive a message, “you mad, bro!”

When he got talking to a colleague whose friend suffered from epilepsy, hearing there was very little technology to help them cope when a seizure came upon them, Phil realised he might have serendipitously found a solution.

Phil pitched the idea for Appilepsy, essentially an app to be used with a smartphone or wearable device which can detect shaking brought on by a seizure, and automatically ring or text an emergency contact, report the sufferers location, and find the nearest medical facility, in front of a crowd of 100 or so people at the Hipsters, Hackers and Hustlers Co-founder dating event at Google Campus.

Buoyed by the reception he got, Phil entered the Tech Crunch Disrupt Hackathon several days later, where he and his team placed 2nd overall in a field containing 89 teams, and over 300 participants, a pretty amazing achievement considering the lead time. The judges described Appilepsy as “the kind of hack that is both cool and useful”

The app is already attracting interest from universities and charities keen to help Phil develop the product, and a launch date of April has been mooted, to coincide with the launch of the Apple Watch.

“It’s not perfect yet from a user standpoint”, Phil says, “we need to rethink certain elements and revisit every stage of the building process, but the goal is to have a fully functioning app on both IOS and Android by early 2015.” Kudos to Phil and his lateral thinking! Read the full story here.

The Haggerston Times Podcast (3)

Listen to this week’s podcast which was recorded yesterday morning in the Perseus suite of the Grange Hotel Holborn; presenter Zoe Cunningham quizzes David Hardman, founder of Launchpad Labs and fresh from last night’s SMARTA awards, and Victoria Albrecht, founder of Crybb, just returned from the Dublin web summit, about some of the hot topics in the Tech news this week . Women in Tech, the Facebook Q&A, the best new apps and start-ups? Sit back, relax, listen, unwind, opine. Or something.

Silicon Round-up: Facebook gets all cosy, are robots taking over? Haggerston Times gets an online store!

paxman2 Silicon Round up: Facebook gets all cosy, are robots taking over? Haggerston Times gets an online store!

In a week that saw former Newsnight anchor Jeremy Paxman unleash an expletive laden assault on Apple, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek declare himself “extremely frustrated” and upset “big time” in a ranting riposte to Taylor Swift’s decision to remove her album from his musical platform, and Blackberry CEO John Chen unceremoniously dump Kim Kardashian as a spokesperson for Blackberry, declaring “I’m not into bringing celebrities on board”, we could be forgiven for thinking that cracks are beginning to emerge in the normally benign and smiling face that the world of technology presents to us, the public. Had somebody been forgetting to apply the usual dollop of moisturising platitudinism to the crow’s feet of disharmony this week?

Facebook Q &A tackles none of the big questions?

Thank goodness then, for Facebook, whose first ever live Q&A with founder Mark Zuckerberg was about as harmless an exercise in well-meaning blandness as you are ever likely to see. Amongst the assembled guests, some flown in especially from technologically deprived areas such as Dakota, Addis Ababa and Leeds, England, cooing over, giggling at and clapping Zuckerberg was an incredible who’s who of senior Facebook staff. Cheryl Sandberg was there, Elliot Schrage, “who runs policy”, Dave Weiner, Chief Financial Officer, and many others besides.

zuckerberg Silicon Round up: Facebook gets all cosy, are robots taking over? Haggerston Times gets an online store!In days gone by having so many of Facebook’s senior management in one room may have felt like a major security risk, akin to a G8 summit taking place in Baghdad with Salman Rushdie as special guest and kicking off with a panel discussion, “so how we gonna get rid of Putin”, but, this video seems to suggest a Town Hall with Zuckerberg and his friends was the most natural thing in the world. “Why-ever didn’t they do this right from the start?” it made us naively wonder. (Answer, because Mark was too busy screwing his business partners and getting high on Acapulco Gold with that bloke from Napster, perhaps?)

Amongst the political hot potatoes Zuckerberg was forced to juggle with were questions like “why do you always wear the same grey T-shirt”, and, “do you really drink Appletini’s like in the film of you?”, which must have really thrown the multi-billionaire, psychological experiment conducting, owner of the world’s biggest spying network.

As sanitised as the broadcast may have been, however, perhaps it taught us all a valuable lesson. Could Zuckerberg really just be a fairly humble, incredibly bright motivator with a brilliant idea and a skilfully handpicked collection of super-qualified advisors? Nah. In the next vid expect to see him behind a desk, stroking a white cat and pointing to a launch button whilst demanding a ransom payment of “one meeellion pounds” and trying to discover the whereabouts of Daniel Craig and the queen.

Robots will save workers an arm and a leg?

The robots are coming. But are they? Is that a Sinclair C5 I can see out of the corner of my eye, rapidly running out of battery whilst juddering and banging like its doing a particularly poor taste impression of Stephen Hawking at a drunken party? According to the Times, one in three jobs are at risk of being replaced by a robot in the next 20 years, and, as always, it’s the unskilled workers earning less than £30k who are most at risk.

sinclair c5 Silicon Round up: Facebook gets all cosy, are robots taking over? Haggerston Times gets an online store!We’ve been here before, robots have been replacing humans in the workplace for years, but the word on the street today is that we are rapidly approaching an age that will become known as the “technological singularity”, where tech will be so advanced we will all start to feel like WALLEE the robot from the Pixar film of the same name. But look, do you really think that a low wage worker in Darlington is going to be infuriated about the fact that a hyper efficient C3P0-a-like can panel beat a car door faster than him. Of course he won’t, but he will be worrying about being cheated out of his compensation package by governments or big business, and not given anything useful to do now that he is free to demonstrate that he too has plenty of intellect, and therefore a significant contribution to make to the country’s future. So let’s get ready to help him. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, as they say.

Haggerston Times Store open for business thanks to OneShop.io

Finally, a story to warm the heart of any blogger or website owner. Some ingenious entrepreneurs brought to the UK under the auspices of the UK Department of Trade and Investment’s SIRIUS scheme, which helps recently graduated entrepreneurs study and develop their products in the UK, have devised a piece of software that can install an ecommerce store on your website in under 60 seconds.

At present the project is fairly hush-hush as the founders prepare for launch, and there are one or two big names from the Tech world throwing their weight behind it too, but Haggerston Times has been the lucky beneficiary of their work to date. You will note an extra category in the menu at the top of this page, namely “online store”. Ok, ok, so there is just one book for sale right now (although it’s a rollicking good read and deserves recognition) but very soon I will be able to add products myself with but the click of a mouse!

It really did take 60 seconds to generate the few lines of code that I simply paste into the top of my WordPress theme (it works even easier if you use Tumblr or Blogger) to add my online store, and the best part is I get to keep 10% of every purchase made through this site! This has the potential to rock the blogosphere; we (ahem) know that bloggers are modern day trendsetters, beholden only to their sponsors, or “brand partners”, but now there is an alternative way to monetise; find it, review it, sell it! There are 210 million blogs out there. Brace yourselves for a whole new kind of shopping experience!

Bold Rocket puts it fashion hat on as Cortexica gets on the soapbox

cortexica 300x111 Bold Rocket puts it fashion hat on as Cortexica gets on the soapboxTo those of you, like me, who have been wondering what Bold Rocket, the Capco consultancy spin off with the premises next door to Hoxton Hotel which are the last word in awesomeness, is all about, I think I may finally have stumbled across the answer.

Their stated mission, according to their website (also awesome) is to “make people’s lives a little more wonderful in any way we can”. Kind of like your best mate in a flat share, or an over protective mother? Not quite. But definitely capable of making you tea, draping a cool flannel over your forehead and watching the Eastenders omnibus with you the day after a particularly gruesome night out. On the proviso that you would do the same for them, of course, a kind of hipster pact with the devil. The Satanic Nurses, perhaps.

Or, and this is a little more to the point, they might let you borrow their indoor amphitheatre, invisible to passers-by on Great Eastern Street, but imposing enough to give someone foolish or brave enough to place a soapbox in front of it and start talking to a gathered throng of hip fashionistas about a “powerful, cloud-based visual search platform that leverages visual inference engines and object recognition algorithms”, the willies.

It would have done me, anyway, but I’m not Alex Semenzato, head of Biz/Dev UK/EU at Cortexica, the science / fashion / tech / mobile conglamerate, neither did I found the meet-up group FashTech, as he did, and faced with the kind of 3 pronged fashion version of the Spanish inquisition assault from one audience member, as he was, and with which he coped, to everyone’s amazement and quickly-nipped-in-the-bud sense of schadenfreude, admirably, I would have probably wet my knickers. And given the theme of the evening, Cortexica’s amazing new mobile clothing detection app, someone would probably have taken a photo of me to see if they could find a match for my soiled undies at Macy’s.

fashion 300x176 Bold Rocket puts it fashion hat on as Cortexica gets on the soapboxFashion is cool, everyone knows that. Science can be cool? Bear with me. People using science to make fashion more accessible and particularly outrageous outfits easier to find and purchase, is definitely cool. Wearing said outfits and having to stop every five paces whilst an envious passer-by with a leather fixation photographs your boots? Not so much. These are the challenges that Alex, and Cortexica, are wrestling with.

Their latest product is called “Find Similar”, and, in case you haven’t found this article wordy enough already, try this out for size: “The visual search matching technology includes a unique, paralleled probabilistic computation, which enables our image search system to learn over time – just like the human brain. Leveraging machine learning, Cortexica’s “wavelet transforms” mimic the spatial computation performed by biological neurons in the primary visual cortex of the human brain on a large, machine- learning scale.”

Ok, ok, here’s what it does: “The software enables you to take a picture of a fashion item and find the exact or most similar item within an existing database.” Same website, different jargon. 5 years ago it wouldn’t have seemed possible, but Alex proclaimed from what, it was later confirmed, really was an actual soapbox (for those of you unfamiliar with the term, imagine a wooden crate about 9 inches high designed to house a “substance used with water for washing and cleaning, made of a compound of natural oils or fats with sodium hydroxide or another strong alkali, and typically having perfume and colouring added”), that it had come to pass. The future is already upon us. Like it, snap it buy it. Take it back if it doesn’t fit. Or just looked better on the person you saw wearing it.

bold rocket Bold Rocket puts it fashion hat on as Cortexica gets on the soapboxThis is the future of fashion, Alex told us, and when “Find Similar” cannot find an exact match, it will search through the database of whichever fashion outlet which has been wise enough to purchase this technology and incorporate it into their app, and find the closest matching article of clothing. Ruddy genius. Built by boffins at Imperial College London, developed in the US of A, and brought to you by Alex via a soapbox at Bold Rocket. In Shoreditch. Natch.

So what, I hear you ask dear reader, did the audience think of this “unique, paralleled probabilistic computation”. They obviously thought it was great, in the same way that Dr Spock is great, or a picture of a kitten standing on an automatic hoover wearing a shark costume is great, except for that, being sophisticated fashionistas themselves, they did at least try to apply the cooling flannel of faint praise to the product. Did it really work? Does it do Hollister (it doesn’t, because Macy’s don’t stock Hollister), how long does it take (a couple of seconds), is it, is it wicked, do you really like it (you do).

This is the most fun I’ve had sitting, or standing (but not bending) in a long, long time. The fashion world! It’s ahead of its time. Actually, I should qualify that. Cortexica is ahead of its time, the fashion world is dashing down the catwalk, tripping on its heels and grabbing Brooklyn Beckham’s coat tails in a desperate attempt to keep up!

At least that’s what I got out of the evening. If you want someone sensible’s opinion, contact Alex, @Alexsemenzato. Or Bold Rocket. Or the guys at Imperial leather College. I was just having a soaper time!

The SEO secrets every business should know

seo secrets 300x167 The SEO secrets every business should knowSearch Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most misunderstood marketing mediums out there. There are so many different approaches, depending on what results you want from your website. Every business today, no matter what sector, has an online presence, and research has suggested that 81% of businesses consider blogging, a recent and effective SEO strategy, to be an important part of their marketing strategy. Why? Because on average, a company that blogs will have nearly 450% more indexed pages than a Company which doesn’t. And the more indexed pages Google records, the more leads the website will generate.

Right place, right time, right people: from BarChick to Funding Matchmaker, Daisy Blount is set to become the newest member of the I.T Crowd

match capital 300x200 Right place, right time, right people: from BarChick to Funding Matchmaker, Daisy Blount is set to become the newest member of the I.T CrowdI must admit, when writing this piece I had to fight the urge to fill it full of bad puns, for Daisy Blount is the PR machine with the super-famous family member, who is putting the petal to the metal, moving to pastures new, and promoting a blooming great new product that helps entrepreneurs find the investor that is right for them. A star in the making, to put it Bluntly.

Fresh Milk Software creation Flobot is a market leading product that has brought the power of digital to the Field Services industry. So why is it giving its founder a headache?

flboot rounded 235x300 Fresh Milk Software creation Flobot is a market leading product that has brought the power of digital to the Field Services industry. So why is it giving its founder a headache?Robert Barney is experiencing the kind of dilemma that only a successful business person could imagine having. Robert has worked for himself ever since he set up a small property maintenance company in Clapham back in 2007. His business grew fast and after 1 year he was managing more than 50 contractors; sending them out to jobs in people’s homes, paying them, and handling the accountancy and regulatory side of affairs.

Profile: Heart Aflutter Bridal Boutique: A dress to die for!

heart aflutter logo1 300x179 Profile: Heart Aflutter Bridal Boutique: A dress to die for!As Heart Aflutter Bridal Boutique launches in Hackney; founder Cecilia Di Vita invites us in to talk shop

There are more “places to be seen” in London than almost any other city in the world. Ok, so thanks to Sex and The City New York may always be regarded as the chicest, most fashionable destination on the planet, but London surely comes a close second, and currently it is Hackney’s turn to bask in the glory of being the place wives drag their complaining husbands to for their weekly shopping fixes, and the place hipsters are populating and popularising, by, well, being hipsters and making outrageous and influential fashion statements.

From a fashion perspective, it’s the perfect marriage of the rich and the cool, and what does every great marriage need? A wedding dress of course. I meet Cecilia Di Vita, Italian, an ex-translator, 3 years married and now the Director of her own boutique Wedding Dress and Wedding accessories shop at Netil House, next to London Fields park, and just round the corner from the ever popular and trendy Broadway Market.

Swedish creative agency Acne set to launch Curater: a digital canvas streaming art to your home

curater2 300x276 Swedish creative agency Acne set to launch Curater: a digital canvas streaming art to your homeJust about everybody displays pieces of artwork in their homes, and just about everybody benefits from using technology in their homes too. Tech, and art, are two twin facets of modern living which are naturally harmonious because one helps to bring us physical comfort and convenience, and the other emotional nourishment and well-being. The lines between the two have often become blurred; most notably through innovative design, helping to bring the abstract qualities of art into the realm of the everyday.

Start-up Funding Club to launch 2015 fund backing a minimum of 12 SEIS eligible early stage businesses

startup funding 300x232 Start up Funding Club to launch 2015 fund backing a minimum of 12 SEIS eligible early stage businessesStephen Page’s Start up Funding Club, the Seed Investment Enterprise Scheme (SEIS) funding specialists, have announced the launch of their 2015 fund, following on from the success of the 2014 version, which invested in 15 early stage companies and is currently valued at 106% of cost, with no failures among the companies chosen for investment.

4 Start-ups on life inside the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator program

Microsoft ventures 4 Start ups on life inside the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator programSome say it’s tough at the top, some say lonely. Others think it’s the only place to be. Two weeks ago the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Program hosted an evening at their busy Whitechapel offices that offered attendees a chance to get up close and personal with 4 of the companies currently completing the 12 week programme, to find out more about how Microsoft work, and what they can bring to the process of building a sustainable business in the blink of an eyelid. The mantra at MSVA is “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about”; if that sounds like you, and you want access to some of the best mentors in the business, an intensive program of learning, and a chance to pitch to some top VCs, read about 4 companies who are currently living the dream:

Silicon round-up: It’s just a ride! The old social media double whammy

rollercoaster1 300x225 Silicon round up: It’s just a ride! The old social media double whammyRecently there has been a lot of discussion in Tech and investment circles over the use of personal data. The more sinister side of the big data debate revolves around the reasons why entrepreneurs and developers are building so many charming, sexy and colourful new lifestyle apps. Is it because these mini-algorithms help us to solve our first world problems, making our lives more efficient and productive, and allowing us more time to focus on what’s really important, or are these really flimsy and transient devices whose real purpose is to rob us of our personal data and sell it on to marketers and advertisers. In short, has our friend the lifestyle app suddenly gone all Trojan horse on us?