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Tango Card raises $35M for its ‘rewards as a service’ gift card aggregation platform

Gift cards today are a $100 billion business annually, and as they continue to grow as a key way for companies to incentivise people in our too-often unengaged digital world, a startup that is helping corral the long tail of retailers, and match that up to the wave of businesses that want to offer the cards — a model that it’s dubbed “rewards as a service” — has raised a substantial round of funding. Tango Card — which brings together some 500 companies’ gift cards so that they can easily be used by companies like Microsoft, Chevron and Marketo to help build out their own schemes for gifting those cards to their employees, customers, or other businesses to in turn offer them to customers — has raised $35 million to expand its business. The round comes from a single investor, FTV Capital, a growth equity firm that has a long track record in taking stakes in e-commerce companies (its portfolio formerly included WePay, which was recently sold to Visa). David Leeds, the founder and CEO of Tango Card, said that Tango is not disclosing its valuation with this round except to note that it is “absolutely an up round”. The company has had an average of 1200 percent revenue growth over the last five years, he said, and it is “nearing profitability”. Tango had only raised $9.5 million previously with other investors including Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors , Allegro , Floodgate and others. The space that Tango Card is working in is akin to what Stripe is doing in payments. All the hard work is behind the scenes and taps into something that companies want or need to do but often find difficult, costly or time consuming to sort out themselves. Tango irons out the work in the backend and presents an easy way of integrating it at the front end by way of an API. In the case of gift cards, a lot of businesses have started to offer these as incentives to employees as a form of spot bonus either for work they have done, or to encourage them to engage with a new health or other initiative that is being run; or gift cards are awarded to customers when they engage in surveys and other interactions that they might not normally opt into. There is a problem for the companies doling out the gift cards, however: browsing a wider list of gift card options, and then selecting the ones that you might want to use in a campaign or service, and then actually having all that work automatically in the campaigns to award those cards, is not that straightforward

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The UK and USA need to extend their “special relationship” to technology development

Matt Hancock Contributor Share on Twitter Matt Hancock is the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and a Member of Parliament for West Suffolk. The UK and the USA have always had an enduring bond, with diplomatic, cultural and economic ties that have remained firm for centuries. We live in an era of profound change, and are living with technologies set to change things ever faster. If Britain and America work together to develop these technologies for the good of mankind, in a way that is open and free, yet also safe and good for our citizens, we can maintain the global lead our nations have enjoyed in the fields of innovation. Over past months we have seen some very significant strides forward in this business relationship. All of the biggest US companies have made decisions to invest in the UK. Apple is developing a new HQ in the iconic Battersea Power Station, close to the new US embassy, while Google is building a billion dollar new HQ in the increasingly fashionable King’s Cross. Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft are all extending their operations, and a multitude of smaller US firms are basing their international headquarters in London. They are all coming here because as we prepare to leave the EU we are building a forward looking Britain that is open to the wider world, and tech is at the heart of this. Similarly, there have been major expansions or new investment from British firms into the US. Jaguar Land Rover, the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer, supports more than 9,000 jobs in the USA and have recently opened their new multimillion-dollar corporate North America HQ in New Jersey.   iProov , a leading British provider of biometric facial verification technology, became the first international company to be awarded a contract from the US Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology  Directorate’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program  last month

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Starting a robotics company out of school? Not so fast, suggest investors

Every once in a while, a college student or recent graduate dares to launch a robotics startup and . . . everything goes as well as could be expected. Such is the case, for example, with Alex Rodrigues and Brandon Moak, two former University of Waterloo students who worked on self-driving technologies together in college and formed their now venture-backed , self-driving truck company, Embark , instead of graduating. (Originally called Varden Labs, the startup’s trip  through Y Combinator undoubtedly helped.) Still, to capture the sustained interest of robotics investors, it helps to either have experience in a particular industry or to pull in someone, quickly, who does. That much was established yesterday at UC Berkeley, when three veteran investors — Renata Quintini of Lux Capital, Rob Coneybeer of Shasta Ventures, and Chris Evdemon of Sinovation Ventures — took the stage of a packed Zellerbach Hall to talk about where they’ve invested previously, and where they are shopping now. Though the three expressed interest in a wide range of technologies and plenty of optimism about what’s to come, each lingered a bit on one point in particular, which was the difficulty robotics founders face who are completely unfamiliar with the particular industry they may hope to reshape with their innovation. You can catch the entire interview below, but we  thought college students — and their professors and mentors — might want to pay particularly close attention to this concern if they’re thinking about hitting up investors in the not-too-distant future. Quintini on how comfortable she and her colleagues at Lux are when it comes to backing recent college graduates: What we care the most about what is your unique insight and what do you know about tackling a certain market or problem that’s not obvious or easy to replicate. In some cases, it’s very fair for someone right out of university who finds a technological breakthrough and .

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Ran Krauss and Yariv Bash, leaders at two of Israel’s hottest drone startups, are joining us in Tel Aviv

Yariv Bash, the chief executive of drone delivery startup Flytrex , wants to make drone delivery “ as easy as using your iPhone “. Flytrex chief executive Yariv Bash Meanwhile, Ran Krauss, the CEO of Airobotics, has helped his startup raise over $70 million for its mission to   bring the autonomous revolution to the drone industry. Both men are leading two Israeli companies at the forefront of innovation in drone technologies and both will be onstage with us in Tel Aviv for our inaugural event in “startup nation”. Bash’s Flytrex claims that it was the first in the world to deploy a fully operational, regulatory approved drone delivery service. Before he began working on the drone business, he led the non-profit Lunar X-Prize entrant SpaceIL. Airobotics chief executive Ran Krauss Since leaving Ben Gurion University, Krauss has founded four companies including Airobotics. Bladeworx was a provider of aerial photography, imaging and processing for unmanned drones, while ParaZero looked at improving automated parachute deployment. His first company, WiSec, provided information for opening Israel’s network of shelters in case of a bomb attack. Early bird tickets are still on sale so don’t miss out on the chance to hear Krauss and Bash discuss what comes next for commercial drones. TechCrunch will focus on these types of technologies and beyond, all of which are compounding to change the mobility industry as we know it.  Reserve your seat on our website now . Aside from signature TechCrunch programming,  our inaugural conference in Tel Aviv  will feature a robust exhibition area where the cream of the startup crop will demo their products. If you’re an early stage startup and you want to get in front of the best of Tel Aviv’s startup community, you should  grab an exhibitor table for just 1700 ILS directly on our website .

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How hypnosis app Mindset used the power of social media to attract 12000 users in two months – SmartCompany.com.au

SmartCompany.com.au How hypnosis app Mindset used the power of social media to attract 12000 users in two months SmartCompany.com.au Australian hypnosis app Mindset has reached a milestone 12,000 users in just over two months, attributing its growth to a strong social presence and a commitment to getting to know its users. Founded by Chris Naoumidis and his brother Alex Naoumidis ...

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