The Last Week In Digital - May 27th 2016

Apple show an interest in cars, AirBnB challenged and Microsoft lay a cable


Apple show interest in electric cars

In the less substantiated news of the week, Reuters are reporting that Apple is ‘investigating how to charge electric cars, talking to charging station companies and hiring engineers with expertise in the area.’ Silicon Valley has been buzzing with the expectation of an electric car made by the tech giant for a year now.

The interest comes as Apple looks for new revenue streams, and any commitment to electric cars from Tim Cook’s behemoth would give the industry a serious boost. The charger shortfall is one of the key hurdles for electric vehicles to overcome if they are to ever see widespread adoption, and competition between Apple and Tesla is just what the industry needs. Again, none of the claims have been ratified and Apple has declined to comment. The rumblings are there, though, and we can all agree that the interest from major companies in electric vehicles is an exciting thing from both a sustainability and technology standpoint.

Leak reveals Snapchat’s financial details

Snapchat’s $1.8 billion funding round has made the headlines this week, giving it a valuation of just under $18 billion, but TechCrunch’s findings reveal more about the company’s finances and user base. Found in a leaked pitch deck, TechCrunch are reporting that quarterly revenue has jumped from $4 million at the beginning of 2015 to $33 million at the end. The daily active user count jumped from 50 million in March 2014 to 110 million in December 2015, thanks to new features and an upgraded chat experience.

With Snapchat claiming that video views on its platform have grown 350% in the last year, the company’s monetization strategy is built on solid foundations. Sponsored filters and stories, as well as its ‘Discover’ feature, have given the Snapchat the revenue to match its sky-high popularity among teens, in particular.

GoDaddy launches app for rating startup concepts

Online dating might not be the obvious thing to marry business advice with, but GoDaddy’s Flare takes heavy influence from Tinder. Users can submit business ideas to be rated by the community, who swipe ideas left or right, à la tinder. If the idea garners significant enough interest based on its swipes, users can then submit more detailed feedback.

As VentureBeat highlight, the app has obvious benefits for entrepreneurs, but what of the people doing the swiping? GoDaddy hope users will be drawn in by the opportunity to ‘become advisors to great ideas and play an active role throughout its journey.’ If Flare can get the userbase GoDaddy hope it will, the concept is an interesting one. How many ideas never got off the ground because their incubator was unsure about how it would be received?

Microsoft and Facebook are building a cross-Atlantic cable

Two of tech’s biggest incumbents are working together to build a subsea cable, spanning the entire atlantic ocean and connecting Virginia to Bilbao in Spain. The project, called the MAREA cable, is set for completion in October 2017 and will allow them to ‘meet the growing customer demand for high speed, reliable connections for cloud and online services for Microsoft, Facebook and their customers.’ The companies haven’t disclosed quite how much the project is costing, but both giants will benefit from the increased capacity.

Airbnb competitor Overnight launches

Overnight is the startup looking to challenge Airbnb’s complete dominance of the short term accommodation industry. Combining the peer-to-peer room lending of Airbnb with the last minute nature of HotelTonight, Overnight allows users to request a room and be responded to within a minute on average.

The hosts verify the traveler privately, and the company claim that their prices are, in LA, 23% cheaper than those on HotelTonight. With $2.3 million in seed funding, the app is expanding into other US cities, with hosts in 40 countries around the world, according to TechCrunch. The app’s success will rest on their users being comfortable with the spontaneity it necessitates, something the company seems to acknowledge with their motto ‘In Spontaneity We Trust’. 

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