Startup Watch: About the public failure of facial recognition, Apple Pay in the UAE and airport nap pods
The world of entrepreneurship news is a complex one, with people ever ready to give their two cents on how you should be running your business, pitching your business and what’s trending.
Here’s what we read about the failing iPhone X, Apple Pay in the UAE, IFC supporting innovation in the MENA, and airport nap pods.
When iPhone X’s facial recognition fails: The long anticipated launch of the iPhone X’s facial recognition feature did not exactly go as expected. Craig Federighi, Apple's senior VP of software engineering, demo to unlock the device went less than smooth, when Face ID, the new facial recognition software, failed at recognizing his face. Blaming the room’s darkness, or the guy’s closed eyes were not enough to calm down the crowds. Not a lucky start to market the gadget!
But Apple Pay will roll in the UAE this year: Long awaited Apple Pay, which allows shoppers to pay with their iPhone, will go live in the UAE before the end of 2017. With the support of a number of local banks, both debit and credit card customers of Emirates NBD, Mashreq, HSBC, RakBank, Standard Chartered and Emirates Islamic will have the privilege to turn their phones into paying devices. Users will have to tap their iPhone or Apple Watch on a payment machine. It works for MasterCard and Visa card holders. Reason enough to buy an iPhone?
Walk their talk: Entrepreneurs are always driven by their passion and enthusiasm for their venture, and seek insistently all the potential extra bucks that would boost their project. However, walking in investors’ shoes would put them in those sought-after cash injectors, and would help them understand more about the funding process, and what might trigger the investment appetite. Due diligence, or company valuation, is not only necessary for investors, but is also key for startups to benchmark their concept and concretize their dreams and aspirations.
Wamda of the week: Mix N’ Mentor Beirut: The sixth edition of the event that celebrates entrepreneurship in Beirut, was concluded last Friday at the Beirut Digital District (BDD). Besides bringing together startups, experts, and mentors under one roof, the event pinpointed key concerns that face local startups. It accentuated the importance of partnerships to lead to business success, catering to the right pool of audience, and how to access funding from the right sources.
Your startup name between the ‘dot’ and the ‘com’: Domain names are as essential to brands as their websites or Facebook pages. They reflect the business’ seriousness, credibility, and professionalism. According to Sol Orwell, a serial entrepreneur and the mastermind behind Examine.com, one of the world’s leading authority sites on nutrition and supplementation, if the right domain name is taken, find a new one, and own it, but don’t overpay to get one. Have you ever thought of buying your ‘www’ address while developing your startup?
MENA to get more innovation cash: $1.7 billion will be channeled to the MENA region by the IFC to support innovation, create jobs, and drive economic growth. “Mena is a region full of potential,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC director for the Middle East and North Africa. “But long-standing problems like power shortages, youth unemployment, and restricted access to finance continue to hold back economic growth. To overcome these hurdles, countries need to support the development of their private sectors, which are a potentially bountiful source of jobs and innovation.” Entrepreneurs, this is your green light.
Airplane late? Have a nap: Sleeping pods and capsules will be soon available across various airports in the US, and maybe the world at a later stage, to accommodate unlucky passengers who have to spend few hours at airports. These pods aren’t just horizontal rubber rooms: They have televisions, Wi-Fi, mobile phone chargers, and plugs. This is not solely unleashing a new industry, ‘sleep retail’ that preaches for the rest that travelers seek while on the go, but also questioning a new model of lodging and hospitality.
Bigcoin for bigmac? Cryptocurrencies are to the online world what the dollar is to the real world, and their global acceptance is on a fast-pace rise. They are also sneaking into various industries, not only those e-related. DSPlus, a Siberian company is aiming to introduce bitcoins in exchange of fast food, and it’s cooperating with market leaders such as McDonald’s and Burger King. It is providing customers with loyalty points via blockchain-based tokens, such as Bitcoin, which can be used to buy meals or be redeemed for cash over a mobile app. Around 150,000 Russian customers have started trading loyalty points for cash. Mother Russia!