Welcome to 2019. I caught this earlier in the week and absolutely love the idea.
Startup or Thesis?
The Institute of Information Technology (ITT) in Delhi are allowing PhD students the opportunity to start a business instead of a thesis. They currently have some 25,000 working on their doctorates and their plan is to hive a portion of them off into a separate incubation unit, provide some seed capital, free mentoring, VC connections and accommodation.
Just brilliant. Maybe something we can start nearer to home?
Health Insurance to Banking Discovery Bank has been getting a few headlines this week. Launching in March, Discovery, the parent company of Vitality, will be the world’s first ‘behavioural bank’.
The Group’s CEO, Adrian Gore, says this about the challenger bank:
‘“Our main goal is to improve your financial health by helping change how you work with your money. This is not a skinny fintech play that is an app. It’s a proper capital-heavy bank, which is mobile-led and has a full retail offering.”
The bank’s proposition is that five controllable behaviours are linked to three risks that lead to 80% of the reasons why individuals do not meet their financial obligations; reward customers for their “good behaviours” and you better control the risk.
Discovery plans to attract clients from an existing client base of 300,000 credit card holders and about 1 million Vitality members to its mobile-banking operation.
Flying Police Drone Bikes to…
That’s right, it’s CES time. Again. 180,000 people from 155 countries all visiting 4,500 exhibitors. Fun, but I’d trade it all in a heartbeat for a cabin in Tahoe.
Before I get on to the relevant stuff, a few randoms:
I actually quite like Hyundai’s car, in part for brilliantly crazy innovation but also because it comes out of Hyundai Cradle, the venture arm that invests and partners with innovative startups. Hyundai’s pitching the concept as the future of disaster response, especially when rescue might involve navigating debris fields, as well as a resource for people living with disabilities.
Over the years there have been a few in-vehicle Alexa demos, but this year Qualcomm’s new platform lifted Alexa from an entertainment control system to a core interface for mapping smarts through to vehicle diagnostics.
Owned by Netgear, Arlo’s system detects motion, carbon monoxide, water leaks, temperature changes and and and. Actually, one of those ‘ands’ is that it can play audio when it detects movement. It’ll be like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off all over again. Just with dogs this time.
It’ll be available to buy later 2019 and, if priced correctly, will definitely help accelerate the adoption of this kind of tech.
And Now to Dubai
This week, as part of our Spøtlight series, we caught up with Walid Daniel Dib, who helped launch Addenda, a Dubai-based InsurTech who are in the process of building a life insurance consortium on the blockchain. Originally inspired by B3i, the company announced a seed round at the beginning of December with a view to close out at the end of April.
Okay, enough from me I’m sure. It’s time I headed out for a run to burn off some serious over-eating this Christmas.
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