About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.

Crypto takes giant step with new UK property exchange

A new global exchange crypto platform means UK property can now be bought and sold with Bitcoin.


cryptoCrypto is the new Klondyke, Bitcoin a new type of currency and the blockchain a new type of mint… all of which are probably the future of money.

This attitude has been reinforced now that blockchain applications company TrustMe has created a peer-to-peer platform and UK property can become a globally tradable asset.

The company says it is ‘revolutionising the global real estate market’ by allowing the fractional trading of individual properties using ‘asset-backed certificates’ on linked and Bitcoin-denominated global property exchanges.

TrustMe’s Whitepaper allows homeowners to trade shares (‘property certificates’) in their property on an open market as a new type of tradeable asset-class. Clients on the property exchanges will be able to purchase up to 49% of the value of a property or residential home with Bitcoin or fiat currency, while the 51% owner-occupier continues to live in and manage the property.

The first crypto exchange will be rolled-out in London in October, with parallel TrustMe Property Exchanges launching shortly in Toronto and New York. The company will announce other cities over the next three months and will establish regulatory compliance in each region it operates in.

London is the first choice for the location of the initial exchange as it has a buoyant £2 trillion property market and well-established property laws, rights and processes. TrustMe wants to ‘democratise’ ownership by removing the capital threshold that had previously restricted the owning of property to a privileged few.

“The London property market has long been prohibitively expensive and needs to be democratised. Our Property Exchanges will allow existing homeowners to unlock the value of their own house or properties and to use these assets as a form of stored liquid wealth, similar to a 30-90 day bank account, by trading as much or as little of their asset as they wish in an efficient, transparent and auditable manner,” said Antony Abell, Co-Founder & Managing Director of TrustMe.

A blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a permanent digital public ledger of transactions and to share it among a distributed network of computers. It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to add to a record on the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority.

Once a block of data is recorded on the blockchain ledger, it’s extremely difficult to ever change it or to remove it. When someone wants to add to a record, participants in the network run algorithms to evaluate and verify the proposed transaction.

If a majority of nodes agree that the transaction looks valid (that is, identifying information, timing, location etc… matches the blockchain’s history) then the new transaction will be approved and a new block added to the chain.

For those with access it provides a permanent and secure record of ownership of all registered items for all parties who use it and it can provide automated systems to remove significant cost overheads in physical and transactional distribution systems.

58% of UK parents hide online behaviour from their kids

As kids become more tech-literate, a new survey says parents are more worried about their own online posts than what their kids are posting.


parentsParents are good, parents are bad. The woman in the image accompanying this piece probably isn’t bad, but she’s certainly stupid.

So it is with digital personae and online personalities. Parents, especially those who use tech to distract young children, are having to lock down their devices as their children become more tech savvy, a new study by cyber security and online surveillance experts Online Spy Shop reveals.

* 70% of parents scaled back gadget access as kids got older

* 58% of parents cover their online tracks by deleting browser history or locking their kids out of shared devices

* Dads are more likely to hide browsing history from their kids – half have done this at least once

* 28% of parents have changed the passcode on their phone to lock out kids

* 20% of parents say they only locked out their kids to keep something a surprise

The majority (88%) of people who participated in the study said they’ve given their children access to their phone or computer to keep them entertained. But of those, 80% (70% of the total) say they’ve had concerns about their own privacy as their children got older.

On average, dads are more likely to cover their tracks than mums.Two-thirds said they had concealed their online behaviour from their children, compared to 49% of mums.

“Depending on the device, there are ways to restrict access and protect your own privacy without completely locking children out. So it’s not a surprise that some parents are now ‘covering their own tracks’ to keep their kids away from unsuitable content,” said Steve Roberts, Director of Online Spy Shop.

I blame the parents. Sic transit gloria mundi.

European VC fundraising reaches highest level since 2007

Fundraising in Europe is on the up because of its experienced fund managers, developed ecosystem to carry and VC-backed success stories.

fundraisingEuropean venture capital fundraising last year hit €6.4 billion — the highest level since 2007, according to a report from Invest Europe.

Nearly 10% of this capital was from North American institutional investors as Europe’s growing economies, thriving investment ecosystem and the unprecedented rise of its tech industry make it an attractive investment destination, reveals The Acceleration Point: Why Now is the Time for European Venture Capital.

Europe represents the world’s largest single market, with GDP growth of 1.8% at the end of last year according to the European Commission. All economies are seeing growth, boosted by the corporate sector, increasing investments and job creation.

Invest Europe’s data shows VC fund sizes are rising, with 13 funds raising in excess of €100 million last year. This is set to be boosted further this year thanks to a new €400 million European Union-backed fund-of-funds to facilitate more investment from large institutional investors.

“Anyone who has ever played Angry Birds or searched for flights via Skyscanner is benefiting from Europe’s highly talented entrepreneurs — not to mention the fintech and life sciences start-ups leading the way in their sectors. Backed by Europe’s experienced VC fund managers, these companies can rival the best in the world for returns to investors,” said Nenad Marovac, Managing Partner of VC firm DN Capital.

Of the €4.3 billion total venture capital investment in Europe last year, fund managers invested 44% into companies specialising in information and communications technology. The second highest amount, 27%, went to biotech and healthcare.

Businesses in this sector have a strong track record in Europe, such as Switzerland’s Actelion and Denmark’s Genab with their marketed cardiovascular and cancer products. The remaining capital was invested into companies focused on energy, financial services, consumer products and business services, according to Invest Europe data.

Venture capital-backed companies created in Europe include the Swedish music service Spotify, the UK’s travel comparison site Skyscanner, Denmark’s customer service software maker ZenDesk, Germany’s online sales platform Auto 1 Group, France’s car sharing service Bla Bla Car and Finland’s gaming pioneers Rovio, King and SuperCell.

To download a FREE copy of The Acceleration Point report, visit Invest Europe’s website.

EXCLUSIVE Q&A: Christopher Kahler, CEO Qriously

Qriously was the only data company to predict the Labour surge in the last election, a story that Wired picked up and was one of their best-trafficked stories of the year. Company CEO Chris Kahler explains what happens next.

kahlerWelcome to the Mob76 Outlook audience, Mr Kahler. Tell us more about your company.

We are a research platform to understand and predict human behaviour in real-time, in particular with event-based predictions such as political elections.

The main alternative to our approach is to use traditional polling which is becoming increasingly inaccurate (as evidenced by the recent spate of hilariously wrong predictions).

We are in a state of political tumult and we think accurate polling is an important feedback mechanism for a government to function properly. This applies to readers ‘in tech’ and beyond.

What is currently happening in the world that makes Qriously relevant?

Ummm, the world is totally fucked. Russia, Putin, Trump, China… Name it! It feels like no one knows really what’s going on.

Right now it’s quiet, but the mid-terms in the US next year will be huge and we might be lulled into a false sense of security with Germany. Populism is threatening the EU.

Can’t argue with that summation. So what needs to be done?

Polling is broken but the need for it hasn’t diminished. That means something needs to be done about it if governments want to know what citizens really think.

Research and polling methodology has seen extremely little innovation since the invention of the first online panel. In particular, research methods have barely taken advantage of smartphones although it’s the most universal medium of information creation and communication of all time.

How, specifically, is Qriously helping to solve this problem?

Without diving into too much detail and giving away too much to our competitors, Qriously has developed a methodology that produces more accurate results and up to 10x faster than traditional methods.

The main problem our methodology is solving is that of sample bias: traditional landlines/panels capture an increasingly skewed subset of the population. Our method captures random people in random apps, making them more likely to random people.

So, it’s a mobile-first product?

Yes. We’ve developed a research methodology that replaces ads with surveys in smartphone apps. Instead of building a panel, we use machine learning to create representative samples in real-time.

Sounds simple enough, but describe it to somebody who knows nothing about technology.

Do you know those pesky banner ads you see in some smartphone apps and games? Qriously replaces those with surveys on smartphones that you can answer if you want to.

Because so many people have smartphones nowadays, we can get better data than other methods which use landlines (who has those nowadays anyway?) or online panels which are groups of people that are paid to answer surveys.

The Brexit decision, which you predicted, is making people nervous. Do you intend to stay based in London?

At the moment, yes, we plan to stay in London. Looking at how much work goes into predicting an election or referendum outcome, predicting something much more complicated like the political future of the UK is truly in the realm of pure speculation – we’re not that good yet!

We originally came to London because of access to capital, talent, and a diverse set of markets (important for young startups experimenting with business models). At the moment, those continue to be compelling reasons for us and many other startups to stay. Of these, however, talent is the main concern.

So how did you get this point and where did you start?

In 2010 my co-founders and I built a few simple consumer-facing apps for fun, just to see what would happen. In 2010 many apps weren’t designed really well and searching for apps didn’t work very well (it’s still nowhere near as good as web search).

So we discovered that if you built well-designed apps and gave them really boring descriptive names, you got tons of downloads (in our case, more than 30 million across all the titles we released).

We wanted to find a way to monetise those apps and began experimenting with display ads. However, we didn’t like the way those ads looked in our apps so we decided to do the only logical thing which was to build our own native ad unit. Once we had the unit, we began tinkering with other modes of engagement such as simple questions.

We were blown away by the response rates and once we did some basic data validation we knew this was something special, that we had stumbled across a new way of gathering data that wasn’t possible before. We also had our own user base to test out the technology and iterate quickly.

How much traction in the market do you have?

* Hundreds of clients across a range of industries, including government organisations, hedge funds, and brands.

* Hundreds of millions of answers

* Millions in revenue

Finally, Chris, you’re clearly good at predicting what other people are going to do? What’s next for Qriously?

Up until this point we’ve been busy getting the methodology right and building the technical infrastructure. That’s largely completed so the next area for us to focus on is opening up the predictive power of the data to everyone so we’re building a self-serve platform. We can’t say too much at this point, but we’re really excited to see what happens you open access to the opinions of >1b people all over the world.

That was awesome, Chris Kahler, thanks for sharing your story.

My pleasure, thanks for having me.

Google Circle
Join my Circle on Google+

Plugin by Social Author Bio