Rather than delay a product still in testing, Viber has rolled out a new feature called Viber Out to assist in the relief effort in the Philippines.
As the Philippines struggles to rebuild after the Typhoon Haiyan’s devastation, Viber is offering the users of the platform access to the outside world, including family members or friends who may not be using the VoIP platform.
The feature works almost identically to Skype Out, letting Viber users dial non-Viber users’ phone numbers. Viber is not the only service contributing to the relief effort.
CEO Talmon Marco explains to TechCrunch that this will eventually be a premium (paid) feature available to everyone, but to help with the relief effort in the recently devastated Philippines, Viber has made it a free feature available only in the Philippines.
Marco also expressed that this feature was still in development when Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, killing 10,000 and displacing hundreds of thousands.
“Things happen, and since we’re the largest over-the-top provider there, we rushed something to market that isn’t far from readiness, but isn’t fully completed,” said Marco.
Viber is also working on letting non-Viber users outside of the Philippines call local residents who use Viber.
Marco says that Viber is rushing to get this new feature rolled out to everyone as quickly as possible given the updated timeframe. Viber Out will be one of the first revenue-generating features from Viber, including the forthcoming Sticker Market.
CardFlight was founded to enable any developer to create his or her own branded app and take in-person credit card payments from it. To accomplish this, it’s raised $1.6 million in funding as it moves to support more customers with its card reader and mobile SDKs.
The company received $1.6 million in funding that was led by ff Venture Capital, with additional participation from Payment Ventures, Apostolos Apostolakis, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, Plug & Play Ventures, and Great Oaks Venture Capital. Along with the funding, ffVC founding partner John Frankel will join the company’s board.
The team behind loyalty startup LocalBonus launched CardFlight earlier this year as a way to provide small businesses with their own way to build apps that accept in-person credit card payments. Just as Stripe provides an SDK for payments that happen online and through mobile apps, CardFlight provides tools enabling developers to take and process payments. The difference is that CardFlight focuses on the 90 percent of credit card transactions that still happen in the real world.
While other companies like Square and PayPal have provided businesses with the ability to collect payments with mobile credit card readers, businesses are reliant on the provider’s apps to process those payments. CardFlight provides its clients with card readers, and also gives them an SDK to build payment processing into their own branded apps.
CardFlight has SDKs available for both iOS and Android platforms, and connects with 23 different payment processors. The company’s gateway also allows clients to connect apps with their own internal CRM, inventory management, fulfillment, and reporting and analytics tools.
While it’s focused on helping businesses that want to create their own apps, CardFlight has also been used by several vertical solutions providers — that is, third-party developers who build apps for companies that don’t have the technical know-how to do so themselves. That extends the potential reach for CardFlight to provide white-labeled in-person payments for clients.
CardFlight has seen tremendous demand for its service since launch: It has hundreds of app developers signed up on its waiting list, according to CEO Derek Webster. The funding will be used to grow its team — currently at seven employees — to quickly ramp up and support more potential customers.
Growing the team will not only give it the ability to catch more clients, but also will enable it to diversify its own products and to expand its reach into new verticals. While it’s been particularly strong with event organizers like EventFarm, it sees opportunities in a wide range of use cases.
CardFlight connects mobile developers with payment processors. We bring the same developer‐friendly, transparent approach to payment processing as Stripe and Braintree. However, we focus on the ~90% of payment transactions that happen offline. Developers retain full control of their integrated app experience, and use our encrypted mag stripe reader and SDK/API so that they can safely and securely accept card present payments in their apps, with support for their existing merchant account.
Originally posted here: CardFlight, The Stripe For Real-World Payments, Has Raised $1.6 Million From ff Venture Capital
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Boris is a serial entrepreneur. He founded The Next Web, Twitter Counter, InboxPro.com and several other companies.
One of the biggest and most underestimated challenges startups face is finding the right people. The reason for that is that the ‘right’ people don’t simply do what’s needed, but generally impact the course of the company.
Starting entrepreneurs sometimes get the impression that adding people is like adding power to the engines; you’ll go faster. That can happen, but adding new people to your company is more similar to adding parts to an airplane. Some changes slow the plane down, others make it more aerodynamic and make it go faster. Adding a rudder allows it to steer and adding wheels allow it to land. Especially at a smaller company, each new hire has a huge impact on the course of the company.
That means you need to focus on finding people who don’t just do what they are told, but can find out what needs to happen. I remember very well that I had my first job (cleaning toilets, classrooms and repainting the hallways) and my first boss explained to me the difference between people who get somewhere in life and the people who don’t.
I wasn’t doing too good a job and he took me apart and told me there were two ways of looking at any job: You can do it with the least amount of energy, in the shortest time possible, and quickly move on to the next task. If you do it well, nobody should be able to complain, and you do well enough.
That however won’t get you very far in life. What you need to do is make a mental switch and see each job as an opportunity to do the best you can. Here’s an analogy to illustrate what I mean: imagine if someone asked you to use up a gallon of gasoline. Some people would take that gallon, use 80% of it, and consider it a job well done.
Then there are the people who you want to find for your company. They understand that the goal is not to finish that gallon, but to figure out where to go with it. That gallon of gasoline is a means to an end and the right employee will see the opportunity and run with it.
Continue reading here: What would you do with a gallon of gasoline?
Shortly after its announcement event, we’re going hands-on with the new LG G2, a smartphone with a 5.2-inch 1080p display, Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera. But most importantly, it has buttons. On the back.
While it may seem like a sarcastic note, LG believes its button placement is key. After holding the phone ourselves, it doesn’t seem too unnatural a shift. It is not, however, in any way monumental or game-changing — although LG would like you to think it is.
Enough talk, let’s get to the pictures:
The device itself is relatively comfortable to hold, which is a decent achievement considering its size. It has a solid weight to it, and although you might think the buttons on the back would be easily pressed accidentally (while using the phone on a table, for example), this didn’t happen in our early tests.
As far as the interface goes, this follows the usual story: bleeding-edge specs, but LG has no idea what to do with them.
All in all, it’s a decent device — one your parents wouldn’t regret buying without considering the competition — but it’s simply not special, and that’s what LG needs if it wants to stand out against rivals like Samsung and Motorola.
Originally posted here: Hands-on with the LG G2: It’s got buttons on the back