Zelensky Must Tell Biden to Stop Nord Stream 2

Nord Stream 2 would be catastrophic for all of Europe.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #energy-and-power, #natural-gas, #nord-stream-2, #pipelines, #poland, #putin-vladimir-v, #russia, #ukraine, #united-states, #zelensky-volodymyr

Netflix begins testing mobile games in its Android app in Poland

Netflix today announced it will begin testing mobile games inside its Android app for its members in Poland. At launch, paying subscribers will be able to try out two games, “Stranger Things: 1984” and “Stranger Things 3” — titles that have been previously available on the Apple App Store, Google Play and, in the case of the newer release, on other platforms including desktop and consoles. While the games are offered to subscribers from within the Netflix mobile app’s center tab, users will still be directed to the Google Play Store to install the game on their devices.

To then play, members will need to confirm their Netflix credentials.

Members can later return to the game at any time by clicking “Play” on the game’s page from inside the Netflix app or by launching it directly from their mobile device.

“It’s still very, very early days and we will be working hard to deliver the best possible experience in the months ahead with our no ads, no in-app purchases approach to gaming,” a Netflix spokesperson said about the launch.

The company has been expanding its investment in gaming for years, seeing the potential for a broader entertainment universe that ties in to its most popular shows. At the E3 gaming conference back in 2019, Netflix detailed a series of gaming integrations across popular platforms like Roblox and Fortnite and its plans to bring new “Stranger Things” games to the market.

On mobile, Netflix has been working with the Allen, Texas-based game studio BonusXP, whose first game for Netflix, “Stranger Things: The Game,” has now been renamed “Stranger Things: 1984” to better differentiate it from others. While that game takes place after season 1 and before season 2, in the “Stranger Things” timeline, the follow-up title, “Stranger Things 3,” is a playable version of the third season of the Netflix series. (So watch out for spoilers!)

Netflix declined to share how popular the games had been in terms of users or installs, while they were publicly available on the app stores.

With the launch of the test in Poland, Netflix says users will need to have a membership to download the titles as they’re now exclusively available to subscribers. However, existing users who already downloaded the game from Google Play in the past will not be impacted. They will be able to play the game as usual or even re-download it from their account library if they used to have it installed. But new players will only be able to get the game from the Netflix app.

The test aims to better understand how mobile gaming will resonate with Netflix members and determine what other improvements Netflix may need to make to the overall functionality, the company said. It chose Poland as the initial test market because it has an active mobile gaming audience, which made it seem like a good fit for this early feedback.

Netflix couldn’t say when it would broaden this test to other countries, beyond “the coming months.”

The streamer recently announced during its second-quarter earnings that it would add mobile games to its offerings, noting that it viewing gaming as “another new content category” for its business, similar to its “expansion into original films, animation and unscripted TV.”

The news followed what had been a sharp slowdown in new customers after the pandemic-fueled boost to streaming. In North America, Netflix in Q2 lost a sizable 430,000 subscribers — its third-ever quarterly decline in a decade. It also issued weaker guidance for the upcoming quarter, forecasting the addition of 3.5 million subscribers when analysts had been looking for 5.9 million. But Netflix downplayed the threat of competition on its slowing growth, instead blaming a lighter content slate, in part due to Covid-related production delays.






#android, #animation, #app-store, #apple-app-store, #apps, #computing, #gaming, #google-play, #google-play-store, #media, #mobile, #mobile-device, #mobile-game, #netflix, #north-america, #operating-systems, #poland, #roblox, #software, #spokesperson, #stranger-things, #texas

European refurbished electronics marketplace Refurbed raises $54M Series B

Refurbed, a European marketplace for refurbished electronics which raised a $17 million Series A round of funding last year has now raised a $54 million Series B funding led by Evli Growth Partners and Almaz Capital.

They are joined by existing investors such as Speedinvest, Bonsai Partners and All Iron Ventures, as well as a group of new backers — Hermes GPE, C4 Ventures, SevenVentures, Alpha Associates, Monkfish Equity (Trivago Founders), Kreos, Expon Capital, Isomer Capital and Creas Impact Fund.

Refurbed is an online marketplace for refurbished electronics that are tested and renewed. These then tend to be 40% cheaper than new, and come with a 12-month warranty included. The company claims that in 2020, it grew by 3x and reached more than €100M in GMV.

Operating in Germany, Austria, Ireland, France, Italy and Poland, the startup plans three other countries by the end of 2021.

Riku Asikainen at Evli Growth Partners said: “We see the huge potential behind the way refurbed contributes to a sustainable, circular economy.”

Peter Windischhofer, co-founder of refurbed, told me: “We are cheaper and have a wider product range, with an emphasis on quality. We focus on selling products that look new, so we end up with happy customers who then recommend us to others. It makes people proud to buy refurbished products.”

The startup has 130 refurbishers selling through its marketplace.

Other Players in this space include Back Market (raised €48M), Swappa (US) and Amazon Renew. Refurbed also competes with Rebuy in Germany, Swapbee in Finland.

#almaz-capital, #amazon, #austria, #c4-ventures, #co-founder, #electronics, #europe, #evli-growth-partners, #finland, #france, #germany, #hermes-gpe, #ireland, #isomer-capital, #italy, #online-marketplace, #poland, #tc, #trivago, #united-states

Untitled Ventures joins the scramble for Russian & Eastern European startups with a $118M warchest

Sorry Mr. Putin, but there’s a race on for Russian and Eastern European founders. And right now, those awful capitalists in the corrupt West are starting to out-gun the opposition! But seriously… only the other day a $100 million fund aimed at Russian speaking entrepreneurs appeared, and others are proliferating.

Now, London-based Untitled Ventures plans to join their fray with a €100 million / $118M for its second fund to invest in “ambitious deep tech startups with eastern European founders.”

Untitled says it is aiming at entrepreneurs who are looking to relocate their business or have already HQ’ed in Western Europe and the USA. That’s alongside all the other existing Western VCs who are – in my experience – always ready and willing to listen to Russian and Eastern European founders, who are often known for their technical prowess.

Untitled is going to be aiming at B2B, AI, agritech, medtech, robotics, and data management startups with proven traction emerging from the Baltics, CEE, and CIS, or those already established in Western Europe

LPs in the fund include Vladimir Vedeenev, a founder of Global Network Management>. Untitled also claims to have Google, Telegram Messenger, Facebook, Twitch, DigitalOcean, IP-Only, CenturyLinks, Vodafone and TelecomItaly as partners.

Oskar Stachowiak, Untitled Ventures Managing Partner, said: “With over 10 unicorns, €1Bn venture funding in 2020 alone, and success stories like Veeam, Semrush, and Wrike, startups emerging from the fast-growing regions are the best choice to focus on early-stage investment for us. Thanks to the strong STEM focus in the education system and about one million high-skilled developers, we have an ample opportunity to find and support the rising stars in the region.”

Konstantin Siniushin, the Untitled Ventures MP said: “We believe in economic efficiency and at the same time we fulfill a social mission of bringing technological projects with a large scientific component from the economically unstable countries of the former USSR, such as, first of all, Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, but not only in terms of bringing sales to the world market and not only helping them to HQ in Europe so they can get next rounds of investments.”

He added: “We have a great experience accumulated earlier in the first portfolio of the first fund, not just structuring business in such European countries as, for example, Luxembourg, Germany, Great Britain, Portugal, Cyprus and Latvia, but also physically relocating startup teams so that they are perceived already as fully resident in Europe and globally.”

To be fair, it is still harder than it needs to be to create large startups from Eastern Europe, mainly because there is often very little local capital. However, that is changing, with the launch recently of CEE funds such as Vitosha Venture Partners and Launchub Ventures, and the breakout hit from Romania that was UIPath.

The Untitled Ventures team:
• Konstantin Siniushin, a serial tech entrepreneur
• Oskar Stachowiak, experienced fund manager
• Mary Glazkova, PR & Comms veteran
• Anton Antich, early stage investor and an ex VP of Veeam, a Swiss cloud data management company
acquired by Insight Venture Partners for $5bln
• Yulia Druzhnikova, experienced in taking tech companies international
• Mark Cowley, who has worked on private and listed investments within CEE/Russia for over 20 years

Untitled Ventures portfolio highlights – Fund I
Sizolution: AI-driven size prediction engine, based in Germany
Pure app – spontaneous and impersonal dating app, based in Portugal
Fixar Global –  efficient drones for commercial use-cases, based in Latvia,
E-contenta – based in Poland
SuitApp – AI based mix-and-match suggestions for fashion retail, based in Singapore
• Sarafan.tech, AI-driven recognition, based in the USA
Hello, baby – parental assistant, based in the USA
Voximplant – voice, video and messaging cloud communication platform, based in the USA (exited)

#artificial-intelligence, #baltics, #belarus, #corporate-finance, #cyprus, #eastern-europe, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #europe, #facebook, #finance, #founder, #germany, #google, #insight-venture-partners, #latvia, #launchub-ventures, #london, #luxembourg, #managing-partner, #money, #poland, #portugal, #private-equity, #putin, #republicans, #russia, #singapore, #startup-company, #tc, #ukraine, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #veeam, #venture-capital, #vitosha-venture-partners, #vodafone, #vp, #wrike

Powered by local stores, JOKR joins the 15 min grocery race with a $170M Series A

“We are true believers in the fact that the world needs a new Amazon, a better one, a more sustainable one, one that appreciates local areas and products.” It’s quite one thing to claim you are out to replace Amazon (just as its founder goes into space), but Ralf Wenzel, Founder and CEO of JOKR, certainly believes his company might have a shot. And he’s raising plenty of money to aim at that goal.

Today the fast-growing grocery and retail delivery platform has closed a whopping $170 million Series A funding round. The round comes three months after the company started operations in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. JOKR’s team consists of people who created both foodpanda and Delivery Hero, so from the outside at least, they have the chops to build a big business.

The round was led by Led by GGV Capital, Balderton Capital, and Tiger Global Management. It was joined by Activant Capital, Greycroft, Fabrice Grinda’s FJ Labs, as well as Latin America’s tech-specialized VC firms Kaszek and Monashees, as did HV Capital, the first institutional investor.

Based out of New York, where it launched last month JOKR plans to roll out across cities in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. Right now it’s live in nine cities, across Latin American countries, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, as well as Poland and Austria in Europe.

Wenzel said: “The investment we announced today will empower us to continue our expansion at an unprecedented rate as we continue to build JOKR into the premier platform for a new generation of online shopping, with instant delivery, a focus on local product offerings and more sustainable delivery and supply chains. We are proud to be able to partner with such a distinguished group of international tech investors to help us seize the enormous opportunity in front of us.”

JOKR’s pitch is that it enables small local businesses to sell their goods, sourced from other local businesses, via the platform, thus expanding their reach without the need for complex logistics and delivery networks on their own. But that local aspect also builds sustainability into the model.

Hans Tung, Managing Partner at GGV Capital, and newly appointed member of JOKR’s board said: “Ralf has put together an all-star team for food delivery that will transform the retail supply chain. The combination of food delivery experience and the sophisticated data capabilities that optimizes inventory allocation and dispatch, set JOKR apart. We look forward to working with the team on their mission to make retail more instant, more democratic, and more sustainable.”

JOKR is joining other fast-delivery grocery providers like Gorillas and Getir in providing a 15 minute delivery time for supermarket and convenience products, pharmaceuticals, but also ‘exclusive’ local products that are not available in regular supermarkets. Although, so far, it only has an app on Google Play.

Speaking at an interview with me Wenzel said: “We are close to the equivalent of Instacart, strongly grocery focused. Our offering is significantly broader than the ones of Gorillas because we’re not only focusing on convenience and all kinds of different grocery categories, we’re getting closer to a supermarket offering, so the biggest competing element would be the traditional supermarkets, the offline supermarkets, as well as online grocery propositions. We are vertically integrating and hence procuring directly, cutting out middlemen and building our own distribution warehouses.”

#activant-capital, #amazon, #austria, #balderton-capital, #brazil, #ceo, #colombia, #delivery-hero, #distribution, #europe, #food-delivery, #foodpanda, #getir, #ggv-capital, #gorillas, #grocery-store, #hans-tung, #hv-capital, #instacart, #jokr, #latin-america, #managing-partner, #mexico, #new-york, #online-food-ordering, #online-shopping, #peru, #pharmaceuticals, #poland, #premier, #ralf-wenzel, #retailers, #tc, #tiger-global-management, #united-states

Overlooked No More: Eve Adams, Writer Who Gave Lesbians a Voice

Her 1925 book, “Lesbian Love,” is one of the earliest examples of American lesbian literature. She also ran Eve’s Hangout, a literary haunt in Manhattan.

#adams-eve-author, #biographical-information, #books-and-literature, #greenwich-village-manhattan-ny, #holocaust-and-the-nazi-era, #homosexuality-and-bisexuality, #lesbian-love-book, #paris-france, #poland, #women-and-girls, #writing-and-writers

German identity verifier IDnow acquires France’s ARIADNEXT for $59 million, hits M&A road

IDnow, a German-based identity verification startup is acquiring ARIADNEXT, a French equivalent, specializing in remote identity verification and digital identity creation. A price was not released by either party but TechCrunch understands from sources that the deal was approximately $59 million / €50 million. Sources say IDnow is looking to do similar acquisitions.

IDnow says the combined entity will be able to provide a comprehensive identity verification platform, ranging from AI-driven to human-assisted technology and from online to point-of-sale verification options. IDnow offers its services into the UK, French and German, Spain, Poland, Romania, and other international markets, and says it expects to increase revenue 3x in 2021 versus 2019.

The startup also says the pandemic has meant usage of its products has gone up 200% more compared to last year as companies switch to digital processes.

Andreas Bodczek, CEO of IDnow said in a statement: “This combination with ARIADNEXT is an important step towards our vision of building the pan-European leader for identity verification-as-a-service solutions. With ARIADNEXT, in addition to our recent acquisition of identity Trust Management AG, IDnow can provide our customers with an even broader suite of products through a single platform with a seamless user experience.”

Guillaume Despagne, President of ARIADNEXT, said: “We are looking forward to joining a team of IDnow’s caliber, combining our experience and skills to work towards our shared vision of providing a pan-European secure and future-proof solution to customers.

IDnow will retain ARIADNEXT’s locations in Rennes, Paris, Madrid, Bucharest, Iasi, and Warsaw, as well as its over 125 employees. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals.

The acquisition means IDNow is now on a par with the other large player in Europe, OnFido. TechCrunch understands the company has done €50m+ revenue this year expect to over-perform its €100m revenue target for 2023.

#articles, #artificial-intelligence, #business, #ceo, #economy, #europe, #german, #idnow, #madrid, #onfido, #paris, #poland, #president, #romania, #spain, #startup-company, #tc, #techcrunch, #united-kingdom, #verification, #warsaw

Catholic Church in Poland Reveals More Abuse Accusations

Church authorities said they had received 368 reports of the sexual abuse, and almost half involved children under 15.

#child-abuse-and-neglect, #poland, #priests, #roman-catholic-church, #sex-crimes

Populist Leaders in Eastern Europe Run Into a Little Problem: Unpopularity

The leaders of Slovenia, Hungary and Poland, who rode to power on waves of anti-elitism anger, face rising opposition over their pandemic responses and heavy-handed policies.

#central-europe, #eastern-europe, #elections, #europe, #fidesz-party, #hungary, #law-and-justice-poland, #poland, #politics-and-government, #slovenia, #slovenian-democratic-party

Cannabis and digital health start-up Sanity Group closes $44.2M Series A led by Redalpine

Berlin-based cannabis and digital health start-up Sanity Group has closed a $44.2M Series A financing round led by Swiss VC Redalpine along with US-based Navy Capital and SOJE Capital. GMPVC also participated in the round. This appears to be the largest round of cannabis funding in Europe to date and brings total investment in Sanity Group to $73M.

The new capital will be used to expand the Group’s medical division in Europe as well as a EU-GMP-compliant research and production facility near Frankfurt.

Previous investors include HV Capital, TQ Ventures, Atlantic Food Labs, Cherry Ventures, Bitburger Ventures, and SevenVentures. In addition, Sanity Group has attracted celebrity angels including music producers will.i.am, Scooter Braun, and actress Alyssa Milano.

Sanity’s cannabis-based platform is for mental health and chronic pain management, allowing the tracking of cannabis-based therapy digitally with a medical device. This tells customers how much of the active ingredient (THC, CBD or other cannabinoids) is being administered. This is then registered in a therapy diary.

Finn Age Hänsel, founder and managing director of Sanity Group said: “A round of this magnitude shows that cannabis is increasingly moving into the mainstream of investor awareness, and represents an important milestone in our business expansion on our way to becoming Europe’s leading cannabis company.”

Over an interview, he added: “So we are fully legal and operated in Germany. We are just about to enter the Czech Republic and Poland. The UK is one of the biggest markets we want to enter going forward because, as you might know, the whole area of medical cannabis is slowly but surely opening all over Europe, with Germany being the largest market, about 80% of all the cannabis cannabinoid-based therapies today. But actually, the UK being the number two, which is a super attractive market for us but we look further into the Czech Republic and Poland, because those are the markets that have opened up from a regulatory perspective, at the most, over the last two years, and then France will open up next year, but that’s basically one after the other.”

Sean Stiefel, CEO at Navy Capital said: “The European cannabis market faces exciting developments in the coming months. Compared to the North American market, Europe is now where we were in the U.S. about four years ago. We want to bring our expertise and experience to the table. For our first investment in Europe, it was important for us to find a team that understands the market and has real industry experts in its ranks.”

#actress, #alyssa-milano, #atlantic-food-labs, #berlin, #cannabis, #canopy-growth, #ceo, #cherry-ventures, #czech-republic, #europe, #european-union, #france, #frankfurt, #germany, #hansel, #hv-capital, #music-producers, #navy-capital, #poland, #scooter-braun, #tc, #united-kingdom, #united-states

Dispute Over a Coal Industry Pits Poland Against Its Neighbors

The Czech Republic has sued Poland over a lignite coal mine it says violates European environmental laws. Poles say it’s crucial for jobs and the local economy.

#coal, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #labor-and-jobs, #mines-and-mining, #poland, #politics-and-government, #walbrzych-poland

Vaccine Mandate Unleashes a Mob in a Small Polish Town

The mayor of a former mining community in Poland received death threats and was compared to a Nazi death camp doctor after trying to make coronavirus shots obligatory for adults.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #poland, #rumors-and-misinformation, #vaccination-and-immunization, #walbrzych-poland

SpotOn raises $125M in a16z-led Series D, triples valuation to $1.875B

Certain industries were hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than others, especially in its early days.

Small businesses, including retailers and restaurants, were negatively impacted by lockdowns and the resulting closures. They had to adapt quickly to survive. If they didn’t use much technology before, they were suddenly being forced to, as so many things shifted to digital last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For companies like SpotOn, it was a pivotal moment. 

The startup, which provides software and payments for restaurants and SMBs, had to step up to help the businesses it serves. Not only for their sake, but its own.

“We really took a hard look at what was happening to our clients. And we realized we needed to pivot, just to be able to support them,” co-CEO and co-founder Matt Hyman recalls. “We had to make a decision because our revenues also were taking a big hit, just like our clients were. Rather than lay off staff or require salary deductions, we stayed true to our core values and just kept plugging away.”

All that “plugging away” has paid off. Today, SpotOn announced it has achieved unicorn status with a $125 million Series D funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).

Existing backers DST Global, 01 Advisors, Dragoneer Investment Group and Franklin Templeton also participated in the financing, in addition to new investor Mubadala Investment Company. 

Notably, the round triples the company’s valuation to $1.875 billion compared to its $625 million valuation at the time of its Series C raise last September. It also marks San Francisco-based SpotOn’s third funding event since March 2020, and brings the startup’s total funding to $328 million since its 2017 inception.

Its efforts have also led to impressive growth for the company, which has seen its revenue triple since February 2020, according to Hyman.

Put simply, SpotOn is taking on the likes of Square in the payments space. But the company says its offering extends beyond traditional payment processing and point-of-sale (POS) software. Its platform aims to give SMBs the ability to run their businesses “from building a brand to taking payments and everything in-between.” SpotOn’s goal is to be a “one-stop shop” by incorporating tools that include things such as custom website development, scheduling software, marketing, appointment scheduling, review management, analytics and digital loyalty.

When the pandemic hit, SpotOn ramped up and rolled out 400 “new product innovations,” Hyman said. It also did things like waive $1.5 million in fees (it’s a SaaS business, so for several months it waived its monthly fee, for example, for its integrated restaurant management system). It also acquired a company, SeatNinja, so that it could expand its offering.

“Because a lot of these businesses had to go digital literally overnight, we built a free website for them all,” Hyman said. SpotOn also did things like offer commission-free online ordering for restaurants and helped retail merchants update their websites for e-commerce. “Obviously these businesses were resilient,” Hyman said. “But such efforts also created a lot of loyalty.” 

Today, more than 30,000 businesses use SpotOn’s platform, according to Hyman, with nearly 8,000 of those signing on this year. The company expects that number to triple by year’s end.

Currently, its customers are split about 60% retail and 40% restaurants, but the restaurant side of its business is growing rapidly, according to Hyman.

The reason for that, the company believes, is while restaurants initially rushed to add online ordering for delivery or curbside pickup, they soon realized they “wanted a more affordable and more integrated solution.”

Image Credits: SpotOn co-founders Zach Hyman, Doron Friedman and Matt Hyman / SpotOn

What makes SpotOn so appealing to its customers, Hyman said, is the fact that it offers an integrated platform so that businesses that use it can save “thousands of dollars” in payments and software fees to multiple, “à la carte” vendors. But it also can integrate with other platforms if needed.

In addition to growing its customer base and revenue, SpotOn has also boosted its headcount to about 1,250 employees (from 850 in March of 2020). Those employees are spread across its offices in San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Mexico City, Mexico and Krakow, Poland.

SpotOn is not currently profitable, which Hyman says is “by choice.”

“We could be cash flow positive technically whenever we choose to be. Right now we’re just so focused on product innovation and talent to exceed the needs of our clients,” he said. “We chose the capital plan so that we could really just double down on what’s working so well.”

The new capital will go toward further accelerating product development and expanding its market presence.

“We’re doubling down on our single integrated restaurant management system,” Hyman said. 

The raise marks the first time that a16z has put money in the startup, although General Partner David George told TechCrunch he was familiar with co-founders Matt Hyman and Zach Hyman through mutual friends.

George estimates that about 80% of restaurants and SMBs use legacy solutions “that are clunky and outdated, and not very customer friendly.” The COVID-19 pandemic has led to more of these businesses seeking digital options.

“We think we’re in the very early days in the transition [to digital], and the opportunity is massive,” he told TechCrunch. “We believe we’re at the tipping point of a big tech replacement cycle for restaurant and small business software, and at the very early stages of this transition to modern cloud-native solutions.”

George was also effusive in his praise for how SpotOn has executed over the past 14 months.

“There are companies that build great products, and companies that can build great sales teams. And there are companies that offer really great customer service,” he said. “It’s rare that you find two of those and extremely rare to find all three of those as we have in SpotOn.”

#advisors, #andreessen-horowitz, #business-software, #chicago, #cloud, #denver, #detroit, #dragoneer-investment-group, #dst-global, #e-commerce, #finance, #fintech, #franklin-templeton, #fundings-exits, #krakow, #mexico, #mexico-city, #mubadala-investment-company, #olo, #payment-processing, #payments, #point-of-sale, #poland, #recent-funding, #saas, #san-francisco, #series-c, #spoton, #startup, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital

6 investors and founders spotlight SaaS, B2B and medtech as Wroclaw’s hot startup sectors

London and Berlin usually top the lists of European startup hubs, but Central and Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia and Poland have claimed a growing portion of the startup pie in the past few years. Looking at Poland in particular, Krakow and Warsaw have blossomed into fertile grounds for entrepreneurs to grow and nurture companies, but they’re not alone.

One of Poland’s oldest and most picturesque cities, Wrocław is an up and coming contender in the startup space, thanks mostly to its academic history and its proximity to Prague, Berlin, and Warsaw. This city of 1.2 million people has a large student population that provides ready talent for the city’s startups. Indeed, since the beginning of the 20th century, this small city has been home to nine Nobel laureates.

Wroclaw has a decent number of startups, according to Startup Wroclaw, across sectors such as e-commerce (Divante, Shoptrotter), digital health (Infermedica, SensDx), software (Tooploox, Droids on Roids), analytics (Piwik Pro), work and HR (Kadromierz, ChallengeRocket), and edtech (Lerni, Flash Robotics).

So to find out what the startup scene in Wroclaw looks like, we spoke with local six investors, executives and founders. In short, the city appears to be strong in areas such as B2B, SaaS, marketplace, B2C, gaming, and medtech.

The country’s capital Warsaw has an angel investment scene, but founders instead often look to Germany for smaller investments because “the distance from Wrocław to Berlin is exactly the same as Wroclaw to Warsaw,” one of the executives said.

However, there is an air of optimism about the future: “We will have more and more global companies grown from the Wrocław’s startup scene as well as global corporations deciding to base their Polish office in the city,” one founder said.

We surveyed:

Alena Hloba, community manager, RST Ventures for Earth

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
We are excited by environmental and sustainability sector, which we invest in. We also see promise in food tech, robotics and industry 4.0 (we have some companies from these industries, too). I think we lack more solutions for nature and environment, and we are trying to fill this gap.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
Most of our portfolio companies: SellIntegro, Z Zieleniaka, ReactivePad, and Prosoma. There are also GlucoActive, LiveChat, Optimatik.

What are the tech investors like in Wroclaw? What’s their focus?
Most of our VCs, in my opinion, are focused on B2B, SaaS or marketplace-like startups. There are many who invest in B2C, gaming, and medical startups.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw, or will they move out? Will others move in?
I think most people are staying, especially the IT companies, because now it doesn’t matter where you are. It’s less probable that people will move to Wrocław unless there are less restrictive conditions to work, as in the neighboring countries.

Who are the key startup people in your city (e.g. investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
We think that we are one of the most active investors in Wrocław, as well as VentureInc, Fidiasz.

Where do you think your city’s tech scene will be in five years?
It will develop more in the direction of sustainability (at least, we believe so). There will for sure be more startups, more investors and more startup organizations (like meetups or community builders).

Can you recommend any companies for our global Startup Battlefield competition?
We recommend us – RST Ventures for Earth as an investor, as well as our portfolio companies – ZEME, Electron Square, SellIntegro, Z Zieleniaka, ReactivePad, Samurai Labs, StethoMe, Prosoma, VersaBox, Plenti, and HerImpact.

Jakub Karkocha, CEO, LightApply

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Wrocław is quickly developing its startup ecosystem. Big companies like Google and Nokia are opening their offices in the city, which helps to educate world-class specialists who are then starting their own projects. An increasing number of events are organised by the city government and startup clusters, which helps to encourage young people to step in the IT world and bring their ideas to the table.

Poland is much cheaper in terms of salaries than Western Europe, so many companies from Germany and other countries decide to open their offices here. Wrocław is also quite close to the German border, which is a big plus — it’s well-connected both by road and air.

The biggest weakness of Poland is the mentality of the people. We are just growing our economy after getting full independence. Many older people have a strict understanding of a business and the startup ideas don’t match that. Those people might become investors, but they don’t trust in high-risk investments. We are forced to find investors abroad, which is not always easy.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
Some companies have left the startup phase, but they are still extremely interesting: Brand24, Divante, tensquaregames, Knights of Unity, ZMorph, and Monterail. Among startups, I would list iMieszkaniec, Infermedica, Primetric, PayEye, HerImpact, Droids on Roids, Smartlunch, Clearcode, and LightApply (of course!).

What are the tech investors like in Wroclaw? What’s their focus?
Poland is quite strong when it comes to VCs, and that applies to Wrocław too. We have couple of funds which are actively looking for innovative companies to invest in. As there are some funds from the EU, many VCs are investing in companies that can cover program requirements defined as KIS. It is much harder to find an angel investor in Wrocław — most are based in Warsaw. It is very popular to look for a smaller investment round in Germany, as the distance from Wrocław to Berlin is exactly the same as Wroclaw to Warsaw.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw, or will they move out? Will others move in?
Even before pandemic, suburbs in Wrocław were developing really fast. People were moving to Wrocław to work with LG, Nokia and Google. Good public transportation, small city and cheap apartments were all good reasons to buy your own flat. During the pandemic, people are usually staying home, but there has been no special change in terms of a place to live.

Who are the key startup people in your city (e.g. investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
Tomasz Popów, Piotr Orzechowski, Tomasz Karwatka, Piotr Karwatka, Michał Sadowski.

Where do you think your city’s tech scene will be in five years?
We will have more and more global companies grown from Wrocław’s startup scene as well as global corporations deciding to base their Polish office in the city.

Can you recommend any companies for our global Startup Battlefield competition?
LightApply, Infermedica, and HerImpact.


Kamil Rudnicki, CEO, Timecamp

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
SaaS, remote work.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?

What are the tech investors like in Wroclaw? What’s their focus?
SaaS and health.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw, or will they move out? Will others move in?
Stay but work remotely.


Paweł Łopatka, VP country manager, SoftServe

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
Litteract, Brand24, Woodpecker.

What are the tech investors like in Wroclaw? What’s their focus?
Focus is on early seed startups.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw, or will they move out? Will others move in?
Stay in the city – some will move out to regional areas.

Where do you think your city’s tech scene will be in five years?
Like Berlin :).

Can you recommend any companies for our global Startup Battlefield competition?


Michał Wędzicha, VP, CORE Services

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Software development, software maintenance, team leasing, and IT specialists outsourcing.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?

What are the tech investors like in Wroclaw? What’s their focus?
Investment funds and global players.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw, or will they move out? Will others move in?
Stay in the city.

Where do you think your city’s tech scene will be in five years?
Silicon valley of Poland.


Maciej Wilczyński, CEO, Valueships

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What does it lack?
Software development, project and product management, design, devops. Definitely lack of capital, network and “how-to-scale” skillset.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
I deal mostly with SaaS, so: Brand24, Livechat (unicorn in two to three years), Timecamp, Infermedica (it will be big), and LiveSession,

What are the tech investors like in Wroclaw? What’s their focus?
Preseed/seed, heavily leveraged with public funds.

With the shift to remote working, do you think people will stay in Wroclaw, or will they move out? Will others move in?
They will stay but work remotely.

Who are the key startup people in your city (e.g. investors, founders, lawyers, designers)?
Tomasz Szpikowski, Rafal Sobczak, Tomasz Karwatka, Wojciech Mróz.

Where do you think your city’s tech scene will be in five years?
It will move towards more mature businesses for sure; more software and Industry 4.0 projects.

Can you recommend any companies for our global Startup Battlefield competition?

#ec-investor-survey, #europe, #european-union, #food-tech, #infermedica, #krakow, #piotr-orzechowski, #poland, #private-equity, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital, #warsaw, #wroclaw

Solar roof-tile and energy startup SunRoof closes €4.5M led by Inovo Venture Partners

SunRoof is a European startup that has come up with a clever idea. It has its own roof-tile technology which generates solar power. It then links up those houses, creating a sort of virtual power plant, allowing homeowners to sell surplus energy back to the grid.

It’s now closed a €4.5 million round (Seed extension) led by Inovo Venture Partners, with participation from SMOK Ventures (€2m of which came in the form of convertible notes). Other investors include LT Capital, EIT InnoEnergy, FD Growth Capital and KnowledgeHub. 

Sweden-based SunRoof’s approach is reminiscent of Tesla Energy, with its solar roof tiles, but whereas Tesla runs a closed energy ecosystem, SunRoof plans to work with multiple energy partners.

To achieve this virtual power company, SunRoof CEO and serial entrepreneur Lech Kaniuk (formerly of Delivery Hero, PizzaPortal, and iTaxi), acquired the renewable energy system, Redlogger, in 2020.

SunRoof’s platform consists of 2-in-1 solar roofs and façades that generate electricity without needing traditional photovoltaic modules. Instead, they use monocrystalline solar cells sandwiched between two large sheets of glass which measure 1.7 sq meters. Because the surface area is large and the connections fewer, the roofs are cheaper and faster to build. 

SunRoof give homeowners an energy app to manage the solar, based on Redlogger’s infrastructure

Tesla’s Autobidder is a trading platform that manages the energy from roofs but is a closed ecosystem. SunRoof, by contrast, works with multiple partners.

Kaniuk said: “SunRoof was founded to make the move to renewable energy not only easy, but highly cost-effective without ever having to sacrifice on features or design. We’ve already grown more than 500% year-on-year and will use the latest funding to double down on growth.” 

Michal Rokosz, Partner at Inovo Venture Partners, commented: “The market of solar energy is booming, estimated to reach $334 billion by 2026. Technology of integrated solar roofs is past the inflection point. It is an economical no-brainer for consumers to build new homes using solar solutions. With a more elegant and efficient substitute to a traditional hybrid of rooftops and solar panels, SunRoof clearly stands out and has a chance to be the brand for solar roofs, making clean-tech more appealing to a wider customer-base.”

The team includes co-founder Marek Zmysłowski (ex-(Jumia Travel and HotelOnline.co), former Google executive, Rafal Plutecki, and former Tesla Channel Sales Manager, Robert Bruchner.

There are rollout plans for Sweden, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and the US.

#automotive-industry, #co-founder, #delivery-hero, #electricity, #energy, #europe, #executive, #germany, #google, #italy, #partner, #poland, #renewable-energy, #smok-ventures, #solar-cell, #solar-energy, #spain, #sweden, #switzerland, #tc, #united-states

Supreme Court to Rule on Whether C.I.A. Black Sites Are State Secrets

A Guantánamo detainee is seeking information from two former government contractors in connection with a Polish criminal inquiry into a facility there.

#appeals-courts-us, #central-intelligence-agency, #classified-information-and-state-secrets, #decisions-and-verdicts, #detainees, #european-court-of-human-rights, #guantanamo-bay-naval-base-cuba, #interrogations, #jessen-bruce, #mitchell-james-e, #poland, #supreme-court-us, #torture, #united-states-politics-and-government, #zubaydah-abu

My Grandparents’ Immigration Lies Shaped My Father’s View of Justice

Years after fleeing Europe, my father saw himself in the Dreamers of today.

#asylum-right-of, #austria, #germany, #gerson-allan, #immigration-and-emigration, #jews-and-judaism, #kirkpatrick-jeane-j, #poland, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #russia, #world-war-ii-1939-45

In Poland, an L.G.B.T.Q. Migration As Homophobia Deepens

An escalation in verbal attacks by the Polish government, with the support of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the threat of physical violence on the streets of many cities, has triggered an exodus of gay people.

#hate-crimes, #homosexuality-and-bisexuality, #kaczynski-jaroslaw, #poland, #same-sex-marriage-civil-unions-and-domestic-partnerships, #spain, #transgender-and-transsexuals

After Going ‘Free of L.G.B.T.,’ a Polish Town Pays a Price

Krasnik voted to be “free of L.G.B.T.” two years ago to satisfy conservative voters. Now, the mayor regrets the move, which has led to censure from other European countries and put funding at risk.

#discrimination, #homosexuality-and-bisexuality, #law-and-justice-poland, #poland, #politics-and-government

In New Holocaust Survivor Testimony, Hate Speech Is a Dangerous Seed

A new campaign called #ItStartedWithWords features short videos from Holocaust survivors on the origins of World War II and offers a timely message amid an outbreak of anti-Asian hate.

#conference-on-jewish-material-claims-against-germany, #germany, #holocaust-and-the-nazi-era, #poland, #state-department, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity, #world-war-ii-1939-45

20,000 White Crosses: Marking Covid’s Toll in Central and Eastern Europe

The crosses painted on a Prague street highlight a stark death toll in the Czech Republic as the coronavirus sweeps across the region.

#central-europe, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #czech-republic, #eastern-europe, #hungary, #poland, #shutdowns-institutional, #vaccination-and-immunization

Europe Lifts Vaccine Suspension as Virus Surge Brings New Lockdowns

France, Germany and other countries resumed use of the AstraZeneca shots after concerns about side effects, but the pace of inoculation remained too slow to blunt the latest wave of infection.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #easter-and-holy-week, #europe, #italy, #lithuania, #paris-france, #poland, #politics-and-government, #spain, #united-states

The Nazi-Fighting Women of the Jewish Resistance

They went undercover, smuggled revolvers in teddy bears and were bearers of the truth. Why hadn’t I heard their stories?

#holocaust-and-the-nazi-era, #jews-and-judaism, #poland, #warsaw-poland, #women-and-girls, #world-war-ii-1939-45

A Quest to Reclaim a Family Home Unearths a Past Buried by the Holocaust

In “Plunder,” a memoir by Menachem Kaiser, the author tries to repossess a building owned by his grandfather before the war and discovers a history he knew nothing about.

#books-and-literature, #holocaust-and-the-nazi-era, #jews-and-judaism, #kaiser-menachem, #plunder-a-memoir-of-family-property-and-nazi-treasure-book, #poland, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity

Aleksander Doba, Who Kayaked Across the Atlantic, Dies at 74

He hungered to paddle across an ocean so vast it seemed infinite. He did it three times, setting records and becoming a national hero in Poland.

#atlantic-ocean, #deaths-obituaries, #doba-alexsander-1946-2021, #kayaks, #oceans-and-seas, #poland, #records-and-achievements

Polish Court Orders Scholars to Apologize Over Holocaust Study

In a partial victory for nationalists, a libel case ended with two scholars ordered to make a public apology for saying a wartime Polish mayor was complicit in Nazi crimes, but not to pay damages.

#holocaust-and-the-nazi-era, #jews-and-judaism, #libel-and-slander, #poland, #research, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity

A Massacre in a Forest Becomes a Test of Poland’s Pushback on Wartime Blame

Two researchers are on trial for writing that a Polish mayor was complicit in a massacre. Critics say the government is trying to emphasize Polish suffering in World War II and downplay complicity in Nazi crimes.

#holocaust-and-the-nazi-era, #law-and-justice-poland, #libel-and-slander, #poland, #politics-and-government, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity, #world-war-ii-1939-45

The Brain Within the Brain of a Rising Tennis Queen

Iga Swiatek of Poland came out of nowhere to win the French Open in October. A sports psychologist was with her all the way.

#anxiety-and-stress, #australian-open-tennis, #melbourne-australia, #poland, #swiatek-iga-2001

Protesters in Poland Vow to Fight Abortion Ban

Women’s rights advocates and thousands of their allies vowed to continue fighting a near-total ban on abortions that came into effect on Wednesday.

#abortion, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #europe, #law-and-justice-poland, #poland, #politics-and-government, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

Poland Imposes Near-Total Ban on Abortion

A contentious ruling in Poland, which spurred thousands of women and their allies to protest, came into legal force on Wednesday.

#abortion, #europe, #poland, #pregnancy-and-childbirth, #women-and-girls

Booksy raises $70M war chest to acquire salon appointment apps, expand internationally

Beauty and wellness appointment booking apps have proliferated of the last few years, but it appears the race is still on as today one of the leaders, Booksy, raises $70 million in a Series C round led by Cat Rock Capital, with participation from Sprints Capital. 

The round was also joined by OpenOcean, Piton Capital, VNV Global, Enern, Kai Hansen, Zach Coelius and Manta Ray Ventures, and takes the total raised by the firm to $119 million. The funding will be used for expansion plans across North America, expanding to new verticals, and acquiring complementary businesses.

The Booksy app is used by customers to book and pay for beauty appointments with local businesses. Salons, nail bars and barbershops can manage the bookings, payments, and customer base via the accompanying Booksy Biz app. The platform also allows salons to sell other products via Booksy E-Commerce, which acts as a marketplace allowing customers to discover and book other local stylists, nail technicians etc.

Booksy was founded by Polish entrepreneurs Stefan Batory (CEO) and Konrad Howard. Allowing customers to schedule their best appointment time means that 38% of customers end up booking after-hours and increasing their appointment frequency by 20%, says the company. The startup launched in 2014 but is now in the US (its largest market), UK, Poland, Spain, Brazil, and South Africa. It claims to be the number-one beauty booking app in each country, with “13 million” consumers on the app.

Batory said in a statement: “Like with many sectors negatively hit by the pandemic, it’s been a turbulent time for the beauty and wellness industry but we’re confident in its ability to come back from this, so it’s fantastic to see our latest group of investors share our optimism and vision. This latest round of funding enables us to reach even more salons and service providers across the US, and in all the regions we operate, which in turn helps them reach more customers.” 

Alex Captain, founder and managing partner at Cat Rock Capital, said: “We are incredibly excited to invest in Booksy as it builds the leading global software platform for digitizing the beauty and wellness industry around the world.”

Booksy certainly seems to have cracked the international expansion game ahead of most competitors, which tend to stay more local to their countries of origin such as Treatwell, Styleseat, Vagaro and Mindbody. The opportunity for Booksy is to now use its war cast to roll-up other local players.

It has already acquired rival Lavito in 2018 and, more recently, merged with Versum in December 2020 allowing it to enter Mexico.

#brazil, #ceo, #cloud-applications, #e-commerce, #europe, #managing-partner, #manta-ray-ventures, #mexico, #mindbody, #north-america, #piton-capital, #poland, #polis, #software-platform, #south-africa, #spain, #sprints-capital, #tc, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #zach-coelius

How 8 Countries Have Tried to Keep Artists Afloat During Panemic

Governments around the world have tried to support the arts during the pandemic, some more generously than others.

#austria, #brazil, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #culture-arts, #france, #germany, #great-britain, #new-zealand, #poland, #south-africa, #south-korea, #stimulus-economic, #unemployment

On Factory Floors, a Chime and Flashing Light to Maintain Distance

Businesses like Henkel, a big German chemical company, are trying wearable sensors to prevent virus outbreaks among workers.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #factories-and-manufacturing, #germany, #henkel-kgaa, #kinexon, #national-basketball-assn, #poland, #sensors, #wearable-computing

Poland’s GeneMe secures €5.2M seed funding for its rapid COVID-19 test

GeneMe, Poland-based biotechnology company with a COVID-19 test, has secured a €5.2M round of seed funding led by Robin Tombs, co-Founder of Yoti and previously of Gamesys, and other angel investors.

The startup has developed and patented a universal protein (polymerase) for RT-LAMP testing, which allows the production of highly accurate, rapid, molecular genetic COVID tests. It has three molecular NAAT COVID-19 tests: FRANKD, SAVD, and ICED. FRANKD is CE IVD-approved and FDA EUA-applied, and its solution is already utilized in over twenty countries. FRANKD has been identified, through official research made by the Scottish government, as the most accurate, rapid COVID-19 test on the market. The FRANKD solution has already been used by Heathrow Airport, Virgin Atlantic and TV show Britain’s Got Talent.

Dawid Nidzworski, CEO of GeneMe said: “We’re interested not only in health issues, but also in genetic predispositions, such as talents, sports abilities, learning problems, or caffeine metabolism. In the future, everyone will be able to conduct genetic analysis at home.”

Robin Tombs, Co-Founder of Yoti said: “GeneMe’s innovative approach will be highly disruptive over coming years, enabling more regular testing at point of care at much lower cost.”

GeneMe is a spin-oout from The Institute of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine (IBMM), an independent biomedical research institution.

Recently, the company announced a partnership with U.S.-based BIOLYPH, the world leader in lyophilization services, to scale up FRANKD and SAVD significantly.

GeneMe’s patented technology simplifies the entire testing procedure compared to standard laboratory-based RT-PCR tests. RT-LAMP tests are more effective, which means results can be trusted. GeneMe’s testing technology can also be assembled at point-of-care, which makes it possible to integrate highly accurate testing stations at places of work and in locations with high throughput, such as international borders.

The global COVID-19 diagnostics market size is estimated at $84.4B in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1% from 2021 to 2027 (Grand View Research).

#biology, #biotechnology, #ceo, #co-founder, #europe, #fda, #poland, #tc, #united-kingdom, #virgin-atlantic, #yoti

Brainly raises $80M as its platform for crowdsourced homework help balloons to 350M users

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a major upswing in virtual learning — where some schools have gone (and stayed) remote, and others have incorporated significantly stronger online components, in order to help communities maintain more social distancing. That has in turn led to a surge in the usage of tools to help home learners do their work better, and today, one of them is announcing a growth round that speaks to the opportunity in that market.

Brainly, a startup from Poland that has built a popular network for students and their parents to engage with each other for advice and help with homework questions, has raised $80 million, a series D that it will be using both to continue building out the tools that it offers to students as well as to hone in on expansion in some key emerging markets such as Indonesia and Brazil. The news comes on the heels of dramatic growth for the company, which has seen its user base grow from 150 million users in 2019 to 350 million today.

The funding is being led by previous backer Learn Capital, with past investors Prosus Ventures, Runa Capital, MantaRay, and General Catalyst Partners also participating. The company has now raised some $150 million and while it’s not disclosing valuation, CEO and co-founder Michał Borkowski confirmed it is “definitely” an upround for the company. For more context, Pitchbook estimates that the company was valued at $180 million in its last round, a Series C of $30 million in 2019.

That C round was raised specifically to help Brainly grow in the U.S. It currently has some 30 million users in that market, and it happens to be the only one in which Brainly is monetising users. Everywhere else, Brainly is currently free to use. (In the U.S. there are also some formidable competitors, like Chegg, which has strong traction in the market of helping students with homework.)

“Brainly has become one of the world’s largest learning communities, achieving significant organic growth in over 35 countries,” said Vinit Sukhija, Partner at Learn Capital, in a statement.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, Brainly was finding an audience with students — primarily those aged 13-19, said Borkowski — who were turning to the service to connect with people who could help them with homework when they found themselves at an impasse with, say, a math problem or getting to grips with the sequence of events that led to the revolutions of 1848. The platform is open-ended and is a little like a Quora for homework, in that people can find and answer questions they are interested in, as well as ask questions themselves.

That platform, however, took on a whole new dimension of importance with the shift to virtual learning, Borkowski said.

“In the western world, online education wasn’t a big investment area [pre-Covid] and that has changed a lot, with huge adoption by students, parents and teachers,” he said. “But that big transition, switching from offline to online, has left kids struggling because teachers have so much more to do, so they can’t engage in the same way.”

So with “homework” becoming “all work”, that has effectively led to needing more help than ever with home studies. And while many parents have tried to get more involved to make up the difference, “having parents as teachers has been hard,” he added. They may have been taught differently from how their kids are learning, or they don’t remember or know answers.

One thing that Brainly started to see, he said, was that with the pandemic more parents started using the app alongside students, either to work out answers together or to get the help themselves before helping their kids, with a number of these being from parents of kids younger than 13. He said that 15-20% of all new registrations currently are coming from parents.

Brainly up to now has been mainly focused on how to build out more tools for the students — and now parents — that use it, and has so far been about organic growth for those communities.

However, there is clearly scope to expand that to more educational stakeholders to better organise what kind of questions are answered and how. Borkowski said that the company has indeed been approached by educators, those building curriculums and others so that answers might tie in better with the kinds of questions that they are most likely to ask of students, although for now the company “wants to keep the focus on students and parents getting stuck.”

In terms of future products, Brainly is looking at ways of bringing in more tutoring, video and AI into the mix. The AI aspect is very interesting and will in fact tie in to wider curriculum coverage based on more localised needs. For example, if you ask for help with a particular kind of quadratic equation technique, you can then be served lots of same practice questions to help better learn and apply what you’ve just been learning, and you might even then get suggested related topics that will appear alongside that in a wider mathematics examination. And, you might be offered the chance to meet with a tutor for further help.

Tutoring, he said, is something that Brainly has already been quietly piloting and has run some 150,000 sessions to date. Having such a large user base, Borkowski said, helps the startup run services at scale while still effectively keeping them in test mode.

“It will be about looking at what students are studying and how to map that to the curriculum in the country, and what we can do to help with that.” Borkowski said. “But it will require a heavy lift and and machine learning to pinpoint students” for it to work properly, which is one reason it has yet to roll it out more comprehensively, he added.

Tutoring and more personalization are not the only areas where Brainly is actively testing out new services. The company is also creating more space for adding in video to demonstrate different techniques (which I suspect is especially good for something like mathematics, but equally helpful for, say, an art technique).

There are “thousands per week” being added already, but as with tutoring “that, for us, is a testing stage,” added Borkowski. There should be more coming in Q1 about new products, he said.

#articles, #artificial-intelligence, #brainly, #brazil, #e-commerce, #education, #europe, #funding, #gamification, #general-catalyst, #general-catalyst-partners, #homework, #indonesia, #machine-learning, #online-education, #poland, #prosus-ventures, #quora, #runa-capital, #subscription-services, #tc, #united-states

E.U. Agrees to Cut Emissions by 2030 in New Climate Deal

The agreement calls for European Union countries to cut their collective greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels, a more substantial reduction than previously proposed.

#brussels-belgium, #europe, #european-commission, #european-parliament, #european-union, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #poland, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change

E.U. Insists on Rule of Law in Emerging Deal With Hungary and Poland

Leaders will meet Thursday to work out a compromise with the two holdouts, who have vetoed the bloc’s budget and stimulus plans over threats that they will lose access to funds.

#budgets-and-budgeting, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #democracy-theory-and-philosophy, #european-commission, #european-union, #hungary, #orban-viktor, #poland, #politics-and-government, #stimulus-economic

In Poland, Protests Over Abortion Ban Could Revolutionize Politics

The government’s conservative social policies, closely tied to the Catholic Church, have met with a backlash from women hoping to change a political culture that developed after Communism fell.

#abortion, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #kaczynski-jaroslaw, #law-and-legislation, #poland, #politics-and-government, #women-and-girls

The E.U. Puts Its Foot Down on the Rule of Law

While the leaders of Hungary and Poland resist.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #european-union, #fidesz-party, #hungary, #kaczynski-jaroslaw, #law-and-justice-poland, #merkel-angela, #orban-viktor, #poland, #politics-and-government

Hungary, Poland Threaten E.U. Stimulus Over Rule of Law Links

The two illiberal governments, having been enabled by the bloc’s leaders and evaded punishment, now hold a 1.8 trillion euro package hostage.

#budgets-and-budgeting, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #europe, #european-commission, #european-parliament, #european-union, #hungary, #legislatures-and-parliaments, #merkel-angela, #morawiecki-mateusz, #orban-viktor, #poland, #politics-and-government, #stimulus-economic

The Apocalyptic Politics of the Populist Right

By refusing to concede, Trump has sent a message to his fellow strongmen that this is a fight for survival.

#duda-andrzej-1972, #hungary, #orban-viktor, #poland, #presidential-election-of-2020, #right-wing-extremism-and-alt-right, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

European Union Tries to Counter Anti-L.G.B.T.Q. Wave in Hungary and Poland

The bloc is trying to stop the Eastern European member nations from advancing discriminatory measures, but its legal powers are limited.

#discrimination, #european-union, #hate-crimes, #homosexuality-and-bisexuality, #hungary, #poland, #politics-and-government, #transgender-and-transsexuals, #womens-rights

Poland Delays a Near-Total Ban on Abortion

The move came after two weeks of protests that were the most intense in the country since the 1989 collapse of communism.

#abortion, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #law-and-legislation, #poland, #pregnancy-and-childbirth, #women-and-girls

Women Converge on Warsaw, Largest Protests in Poland in Decades

Outraged by a court decision to ban nearly all abortions, hundreds of thousands have taken part in demonstrations over the past week. The action in Warsaw on Friday was expected to be the biggest so far.

#abortion, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #duda-andrzej-1972, #europe, #european-union, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #kaczynski-jaroslaw, #law-and-justice-poland, #morawiecki-mateusz, #poland, #politics-and-government, #roman-catholic-church, #tvp-polish-television, #warsaw-poland, #women-and-girls

Taco Hemingway Agonizes About His Role in Poland’s Culture Wars

Taco Hemingway became one of his country’s biggest rappers with tracks about partying. This summer, his focus changed and so did the kind of attention he got.

#content-type-personal-profile, #poland, #politics-and-government, #polskie-tango-song, #rap-and-hip-hop, #szczesniak-filip-taco-hemingway, #warsaw-poland

Protests in Poland Over Abortion Law Continue for Sixth Day

The leader of Poland’s ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, accused demonstrators of seeking the destruction of the nation and appealed to supporters to “defend Poland.”

#abortion, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #legislatures-and-parliaments, #poland, #warsaw-poland, #women-and-girls

Why a New Abortion Ban in Poland is Causing a Furor

The ruling party has tried and failed in the Parliament to restrict abortion. Now the courts it controls have done it, instead, sparking the biggest protests since the government came to power.

#abortion, #churches-buildings, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #duda-andrzej-1972, #law-and-justice-poland, #poland, #roman-catholic-church, #womens-rights

President Andrzej Duda of Poland Tests Positive for Coronavirus

A spokesman said the head of state was feeling well despite a positive test result. A second political leader is also in isolation after he came in contact with an infected person.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #duda-andrzej-1972, #poland

After Fleeing Poland, an Antiracism Activist Finds Refuge in Norway

A decision to grant asylum on political grounds highlights growing concerns over democratic backsliding in Poland.

#asylum-right-of, #gawel-rafal, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #law-and-justice-poland, #norway, #poland

World War II-Era ‘Earthquake Bomb’ Explodes in Polish Waters

Polish Navy divers tried to remotely neutralize a six-ton “Tallboy” dropped by the British, but the bomb had no intention of going quietly.

#bombs-and-explosives, #defense-and-military-forces, #poland, #royal-air-force, #world-war-ii-1939-45