Faddish mobile apps and instant 20-something billionaires have become the public face of Silicon Valley’s latest boom. But some in the tech industry have ambitious ideas that could have a far more profound impact on the world.
In the latest Weekend FT magazine, we report on some of the ideas that will shape the future. Also: our take on life on the front lines of the tech boom, including what it’s really like to run a start-up (hint: it’s not all stock options and free food).
Spanish bank BBVA has struck up a partnership with payments start-up Dwolla as the Spanish group continues trying to figure out how to integrate new digital technology into its core banking business.
The number of California residents whose personal data was stolen by hackers jumped six-fold between 2012 and last year, with nearly half of California’s residents affected by one of the year’s many data breaches, according to a new report by the state’s attorney general.
The New York Times Company and Axel Springer are hoping that a little-known Dutch start-up called Blendle may hold the key to making money from news online.
The two media groups have paid a combined €3m to acquire a 23 per cent stake in Blendle, which was founded last year and styles itself as the “iTunes for journalism”.
Blendle was launched in the Netherlands in April and sells individual articles from a number of newspapers and magazines to internet users through its website and app. On average an article costs 20 cents. The pricing per article is set by the publishers and revenues are split 70:30 between the publisher and Blendle. If a reader doesn’t like an article, they can ask for a refund. Read more
London’s burgeoning fintech scene is about to get a bit bigger as a US start-up with a board of former Wall Street chief executives starts expanding internationally.
Orchard, a online direct lending platform, just raised $12m in venture funding with plans to open an office in London to tap into the UK’s growing demand, and government support, for direct lending.
Television’s $70bn advertising business isn’t dead yet. So says John Wren, chief executive of Omnicom, one of the world’s biggest advertising companies.
But Mr Wren’s message on Tuesday may be cold comfort to network executives who are seeing digital outlets grab more money once firmly earmarked for broadcast and cable.
“I believe that trend will continue. I don’t think TV’s dead,” Mr Wren told investors on Omnicom’s earnings call on Tuesday. He is the latest industry executive to acknowledge that the digital ad business is getting a boost from the proliferation of online content and from the valuable targeting data held by companies like Facebook. Read more
The Silicon Valley crowd loves Nest’s $250 thermostats and $99 smoke alarms. But while its $3.2bn acquisition by Google confirmed Nest as a defining company of the smart home, for many its designer appliances might seem a little on the pricey side.
Enter Leeo, a new smart-home company that wants to be the Nest for the rest of us. Read more
Barely two months after Apple admitted it was storing users’ data online in mainland China, reports emerged that hackers have tried breaking into its iCloud data.
Apple representatives in China declined to comment on the reports of the hacking attack, which were posted on GreatFire.org, a group that conducts research on Chinese internet censorship.
The revelations, if true, would be little surprise to China observers. But it would be a comeuppance for Apple whose decision to store users’ data in mainland servers underlined the tenuous balance that foreign tech companies must strike between commitment to customer security and the realities of the Chinese market. Read more