Fintech startup Revolut has two new features this week. First, the company is launching a web app for its regular users — not just business users. Second, in the U.K., Revolut has partnered with Modulr to let you receive your salary a day early.
Revolut has historically focused its efforts on its mobile app. If you have a business account with Revolut, you know that you can see your past transactions and access your account from a regular web browser. But the company’s 13 million customers couldn’t access their account from a computer.
Everyone can now head over to Revolut’s web app and sign in to view their transaction history and cards. From this interface, you can freeze and unfreeze a debit card and control card features. The web app also supports account top-ups using a bank transfer, a card payment or Apple Pay (in Safari).
By default, Revolut sends a push notification so that you can authorize web browser access. But if you’ve lost your phone, you can also choose to receive a security code via email.
You’ll still have to use the mobile app to access some features, but it’s a start.
As for users living in the U.K., Revolut is doubling down on its partnership with Modulr to send your salary a bit early. Salaries made over the Bacs payment scheme will arrive a day earlier than usual — most people are paid using this method in the U.K. This is all about optimizing payment infrastructure, and it could be particularly helpful before a long holiday weekend.
This should also benefit Revolut directly as many users have been using Revolut in addition to a regular bank account. Adding features that make it easier to ditch your bank account could boost the company’s usage numbers. And that could help the company grow its card interchange fees, subscription revenue and other sources of revenue.
Eat Just will start offering lab-grown chicken meat in Singapore after gaining regulatory approval from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). The cell-cultured chicken will eventually be produced under Eat Just’s new GOOD Meat brand through partnerships with local manufacturers and go on sale to restaurants before it is available to consumers.
While there are plenty of other companies working on lab-grown meats using various techniques, Eat Just describes the Singapore government’s review and regulatory approval as a “world first.”
No chickens were killed to obtain the cell line used to produce Eat Just’s cultured meat, global head of communications Andrew Noyes told TechCrunch. Instead, the process starts with cell isolation, where cells are sourced through methods that can include a biopsy from a live animal. After the cells are cultured, they are transferred into a bioreactor, fed with a proprietary mix of proteins, amino acids, minerals, sugars, salts and other nutrients and then harvested after they achieve enough density.
The company said it went through 20 productions runs of cell-cultured chicken in 1,200-liter bioreactors to prove the consistency of its manufacturing process. Eat Just also said no antibiotics were used and that its cultured chicken has an “extremely low and significantly cleaner microbiological content than conventional chicken.”
Noyes said the company is already working with a restaurant to add its GOOD Meat chicken to their menu, and hopes to announce a launch date soon.
In Eat Just’s announcement today, chief executive officer Josh Tetrick said, “Singapore has long been a leader in innovation of all kinds, from information technology to biologics to now leading the world in building a healthier, safer food system.”
The government is currently engaged in an initiative, called “30 by 30,” to produce 30% of the country’s food supply locally by 2030. Spearheaded by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), the initiative was prompted because Singapore currently imports over 90% of its food, which makes it vulnerable to export bans or the logistics issues highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact. As part of “30 by 30,” the SFA and Agency for Science, Technology and Research has made $144 million SGD in research funding available.
Eat Just, whose other products include a plant-based egg substitute, announced last month it is partnering with Proterra Investment Partners Asia to launch a new Asian subsidiary. The partnership includes a factory in Singapore that received support from the government’s Economic Development board.
There are several factors driving demand for cultured meat and plant-based protein in Asian markets. The first is concerns about the safety of meat from slaughterhouses that gained momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic also highlighted vulnerabilities in the production and supply chain that can be potentially be avoided with lab-produced meat and meat alternatives.
We’re excited to announce that Extra Crunch memberships are now available in Israel. That adds to our existing support in:
- United States
- Argentina, Brazil, Mexico
- UK and select European countries
Sign up for Extra Crunch membership here.
Use the code ISRAEL122020 during checkout for an additional 25% off an annual or 2-year plan. The discount code expires on December 11, 2020.
Israel has always been of interest to TechCrunch. It’s home to one of the hottest startup scenes in the world with endless successful companies emerging from the region. From 2018 to 2019, over $1.4B in funding went to Israeli cybersecurity startups. Startups like Check Point, CyberX, and Illusive Networks have helped reimagine cybersecurity, while companies like Lemonade have disrupted the insurance industry. Whether it’s robotics or hardware startups, there’s no shortage of diverse interest with Israeli startups.
We’ve also had the pleasure of hosting several in-person events in Tel Aviv over the years, and we’ve loved meeting the talented startup founders and investors in the region. There are a number of reasons to be optimistic about the future of the startup scene here, but the passion and enthusiasm of the founders in Israel is near the top of the list.
Thanks to everyone who voted on where to expand. If you’d like to see Extra Crunch memberships available in your country, let us know here.
Join Extra Crunch by heading here.
What is Extra Crunch?
Extra Crunch is a membership program from TechCrunch that helps you spot technology trends and opportunities, build better startups, and stay connected. It features thousands of articles, including weekly investor surveys, daily private market analysis, and expert interviews on fundraising, growth, monetization, and other work topics.
We’d love to have you join our growing community of founders, investors, and startup teams.
Committing to an annual and two-year plan will save you a few bucks on the membership price and unlock access to TechCrunch event discounts and Partner Perks. Extra Crunch annual membership gets you 20% off tickets to virtual events like TC Sessions: Space. The Partner Perks program features discounts and savings on services from DocSend, Crunchbase, AWS and more.
You can sign up or learn more about Extra Crunch here.
Don’t forget to use the code ISRAEL122020 during checkout for an extra 25% off an annual or 2-year plan. The discount code expires on December 11, 2020.
Back in October Apple announced the MagSafe Duo, a folding travel charger capable of charging both the iPhone and either an Apple Watch or AirPods simultaneously/wirelessly. In an unusual move, the company didn’t specify exactly when it’d start shipping — or even when it’d go up for sale. Some rumors suggested late December, while others were uncertain it would even make it out before the end of the year. When was this thing actually going to be released?
The answer, it seems, is today. The MagSafe Duo just appeared on Apple’s own store and, with delivery estimates as soon as this week, it looks like they’re shipping them immediately.
TechCrunch Editor-In-Chief Matthew Panzarino gave the charger a spin a few weeks ago, calling it “useful, but expensive and underwhelming,” while noting that it feels like something that should cost around $70 rather than $129.
Image Credits: Matthew Panzarino
Adam Nash, a Silicon Valley-born-and-bred operator and investor, is back at it again.
Today, on his personal blog, he announced that he has started a consumer fintech company that has already garnered initial funding from Ribbit Capital, along with other “friends and angels” who appear to have also pitched into the round, including Box CEO Aaron Levie, Mighty Networks founder Gina Bianchini, Superhuman founder Rahul Vohra, and Amy Chang, who sold her startup Accompany to Cisco in 2018.
Nash didn’t reveal many details in the post or later on Twitter, saying he’ll have more to say when the company is closer to launching. All we really know at this point is that he cofounded the company with Alejandro Crosa, an Argentinian software engineer who most recently spent five months at Slack but logged more than three years at both Twitter and LinkedIn before that.
Nash said on Twitter that the two met at LinkedIn, where Nash was himself VP of product management for four years beginning in 2007. It’s a good detail to know, considering that Nash has logged time at a wide variety of tech outfits over the years, making it hard to guess at whom he knows and from where.
A computer science graduate of Stanford, where he later nabbed a master’s degree, Nash began his career interning at NASA, HP, and Trilogy before landing his first big job as a software engineer at Apple in 1996 (when former PepsiCo exec, John Sculley, was briefly running the place).
After moving on to a bubble-era company that no longer exists, Nash tried his hand at VC for the first time, joining Atlas Venture as an associate. To get more operating experience, he then jumped to eBay, where he was a director; LinkedIn, where he met Crosa; then Greylock, where he spent just over a year as an entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) before joining the wealth-management startup Wealthfront as its president and CEO, a job that the company’s original CEO and founder, Andy Rachleff, reclaimed in 2016.
Nash didn’t disappear from the scene. Instead, he rejoined Greylock as an EIR for another year before joining Dropbox shortly after it went public in 2018 as its VP of product and growth, leaving that post back in February to start his own thing, he said at the time.
That Nash would start a fintech company specifically isn’t surprising, considering his involvement with Wealthfront, as well as some of the personal investments he has made in recent years.
In 2018, for example, he wrote a check to LearnLux, a five-year-old, Boston-based educational startup that helps employees better understand their 401k, health savings accounts, and stock options. He is also an investor in Human Interest, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that offers automated, paperless 401(k) plans.
Nash is also riding a very big wave. According to Pitchbook, consumer fintech is on pace to attract a record amount of venture funding in 2020, at least in North America and Europe.
We’ll let you know more about what Nash is building as soon as he’s ready to share more. The little that Nash is saying publicly for now is that he and Crosa believe there is “still a lot more to do in consumer fintech, and that through software we can help bring purpose to the way people approach their financial lives.”
Massachusetts lawmakers have voted to pass a new police reform bill that will ban police departments and public agencies from using facial recognition technology across the state.
The bill was passed by both the state’s House and Senate on Tuesday, a day after senior lawmakers announced an agreement that ended months of deadlock.
The police reform bill also bans the use of chokeholds and rubber bullets, and limits the use of chemical agents like tear gas, and also allows police officers to intervene to prevent the use of excessive and unreasonable force. But the bill does not remove qualified immunity for police, a controversial measure that shields serving police from legal action for misconduct, following objections from police groups.
Lawmakers brought the bill to the state legislature in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, since charged with his murder.
Critics have for years complained that facial recognition technology is flawed, biased and disproportionately misidentifies people and communities of color. But the bill grants police an exception to run facial recognition searches against the state’s driver license database with a warrant. In granting that exception, the state will have to publish annual transparency figures on the number of searches made by officers.
The Massachusetts Senate voted 28-12 to pass, and the House voted 92-67. The bill will now be sent to Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker for his signature.
Kade Crockford, who leads the Technology for Liberty program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, praised the bill’s passing.
“No one should have to fear the government tracking and identifying their face wherever they go, or facing wrongful arrest because of biased, error-prone technology,” said Crockford. In the last year, the ACLU of Massachusetts has worked with community organizations and legislators across the state to ban face surveillance in seven municipalities, from Boston to Springfield. We commend the legislature for advancing a bill to protect all Massachusetts residents from unregulated face surveillance technology.”
In the absence of privacy legislation from the federal government, laws curtailing the use of facial recognition are popping up on a state and city level. The patchwork nature of that legislation means that state and city laws have room to experiment, creating an array of blueprints for future laws that can be replicated elsewhere.
Portland, Oregon passed a broad ban on facial recognition tech this September. The ban, one of the most aggressive in the nation, blocks city bureaus from using the technology but will also prohibit private companies from deploying facial recognition systems in public spaces. Months of clashes between protesters and aggressive law enforcement in that city raised the stakes on Portland’s ban.
Earlier bans in Oakland, San Francisco and Boston focused on forbidding their city governments from using the technology but, like Massachusetts, stopped short of limiting its use by private companies. San Francisco’s ban passed in May of last year, making the international tech hub the first major city to ban the use of facial recognition by city agencies and police departments.
At the same time that cities across the U.S. are acting to limit the creep of biometric surveillance, those same systems are spreading at the federal level. In August, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) signed a contract for access to a facial recognition database created by Clearview AI, a deeply controversial company that scrapes facial images from online sources, including social media sites.
While most activism against facial recognition only pertains to local issues, at least one state law has proven powerful enough to make waves on a national scale. In Illinois, the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) has ensnared major tech companies including Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet for training facial recognition systems on Illinois residents without permission.
Updated with comment from the ACLU of Massachusetts.