Algerian in UK faces deportation if startup fails

AlgerianSetting up a startup is never an easy venture, but 27-year-old Algerian entrepreneur Mehdi Meghzifene faces a different type of challenge.

He faces deportation from the UK and five years prison in Algeria if his ‘tree water’ company, Sibberi is not a financial success and does not fulfil the criteria of his UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa.

The big print stipulated on his visa obtained in March 2015 from the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) division of the Home Office, Mehdi must be employing at least 10 people and his company must be a financial success before March 2018. If not, the in order for him to receive Permanent Leave to Remain in the UK will expire and he could be deported.

Mehdi, who studied for a MSc in Mathematical Finance at Imperial College London, worked for two years at Goldman Sachs in the Investment Banking Division before set up Sibberi with co-founder Clara Vaisse.

Mehdi and his family fled a civil war when he was nine years old for a better life in Austria. Consequently that means he has avoided compulsory military service at 18 years of age in Algeria and could face a five-year prison sentence if forced to return.

“I have to make Sibberi a success at all costs and I have no other option than for it be a success. There’s no going back. It’s very fortunate that Tree Water is really trending at the moment, surpassing sugary and calorific Coconut water,” said Mehdi.

Sibberi is a tree water company dedicated to bringing nutritious health foods to the UK market. Founded in 2015 bthe company won the Unilever Food for the Future Award and is one of the Virgin Media Business VOOM 2016 Finalists.

Inspired by tales of the health-giving properties of birch sap, Sibberi’s co-founders Clara Vaisse and Mehdi Meghzifene embarked on a quest which lead them across Estonia and Latvia to find the pure, unsweetened sap then unavailable in UK stores.

“The moment we tasted fresh birch sap, used by Latvian farmers to make birch sap wine, we knew we wanted to share this ingredient with UK consumers. As we travelled through the rural villages and wild forests of Estonia and Latvia, tasting fresh spring birch sap, Sibberi was born”, said co-founder Vaisse.

The pressure for Mehdi is now on, he deserves as much support as possible.

150-WORD BOOK REVIEW: Rise Of The Machines – Thomas Rid

Rise Of The Machines is not an easy read, but one that is worth all the effort it takes.

machinesThe theme of Rid’s book can be illustrated by US countercultural writer Richard Brautigan who wrote about humans being looked after by ‘machines of loving grace’.

Rid refers to Brautigan’s words of loving grace towards machines and to a lot of things besides. He tracks the theory of cybernetics, a control theory of machine and man, from its post-World War II origins through the myths and realities of its evolution.

Nicely written in spite of its complicated premise, Rise Of The Machines is a weighty read, but a very useful reference book to anybody interested in our possible or impossible futures.

The previously unwritten story of Russia’s cyberattack against US institutions in 1999 may be an act of war that may yet determine a probable future, and not a optimistic one at all.

Uber and Hotels.com sign up on travelling

Hotels.com customers can now ride to their hotel at the touch of a button

hotels.comHotels.com has integrated Uber into its mobile app, enabling customers to book an Uber to take them directly to their hotel at the touch of a button.

This integration is powered by Button, the app discovery platform, so customers using the Hotels.com Android app can now book an Uber in 30 different languages and in all countries that Uber operates in.

Customers staying at any of the properties available through Hotels.com will see an Uber Button appear in their app on the day their hotel stay begins, both on the homepage and in the reservation section. When a user taps the ‘Ride there with Uber’ button, their current location and hotel address is automatically pre-populated within Uber’s application, making the entire experience seamless.

Hotels.com is a leading lodging expert and its best-in-class mobile app has more than 50 million downloads. Dan Craig, Senior Director of Mobile for Hotels.com brand explained.

“Like us, Uber are technology leaders in their field and together we’re making it easy for travelers to get to their hotel in a hassle-free way, so they can start their trip sooner. We’re always looking for ways to enhance our in-stay mobile offering”, he said.

Button is the marketplace behind the integration and offers a simple and efficient way to scalably build partnerships on mobile; that add complementary services and drive revenue, all with a great user experience.

Video visits on the up as DAD raises £2 million

DAD, an operator in the ‘advice economy’ has secured £2 million in seed funding from HomeServe to launch its video visit service.


DADDAD is a company that connects consumers with an expert in domestic maintenance who provides DIY tips and expert advice to help fix anything from a dodgy door handle to a broken boiler.

This means that consumers no longer have to endure expensive call-outs or wait for plumbers, electricians and handymen to turn up at their home. Now they can simply download the app and hit call to start a ‘video visit’ and speak with an expert in home repairs who can help them fix or diagnose the problem.

The company has secured £2 million in funding from HomeServe to expand its services. Calls cost £10 from any smartphone calling from the UK with no time limit put on the call.

“My Dad has always been my go-to person for practical advice around the home. The idea for DAD came a couple of years ago when I was trying to change a bathroom tap. Having swapped the old tap for a new one, I turned the water back on and instantly everything was soaked.

“My Dad was away travelling, enjoying his retirement, so I called him on FaceTime and he guided me through what to do. I realised that if I found myself in such a DIY disaster others would too, so I started DAD,” said Ben Wynn, Founder and CEO, DAD.

The experts have a lifetime of experience and are vetted by the DAD team. They work in three-hour shifts and can be anyone from a retired tradesman who wants to work a couple of hours a day to an ex-service engineer or skilled handyman who prefers a flexible working week.

The company believes that what people usually think is broken can often be fixed with the help of an expert via a video visit. The proof of concept stage showed that 60% of all problems can be solved over the phone. The other 40% were fixed via a home visit from a qualified and vetted partner.

FIVE SUMMER GIFTS: Primus Trail running shoes

A family business and a ‘cobbler’s dream’ are changing the way we wear all our shoes.


PrimusI’ve been wearing the Primus Trail, build and designed by Vivobarefoot, for the past month and they not only been excellent, they have changed my whole attitude to running.

That’s because I hate running and have always been more of a swimmer. Moreover, running shoes have always made me feel a little sick because of their terrible design and an attitude that the less of a shoe we wear the better. In the UK, as soon as it’s March I put on Birkenstocks and wear them until the winter calls.

So, Vivobarefoot interested me because I like barefoot running (if I HAVE to do it) and I like barefoot everything, be it walking or football. I saw their video, which had the feel of the artisan and the perfectionist about it and how their shoes were designed with the bare foot as the template.

It works for me. They look and feel good and when I run in them I feel a little more in tune with nature every time I put my foot down. Naturally, as a man over the age of 30, I can only wear these shoes with shorts or tracksuit pants. If I tried them with jeans I would look very sad, so I don’t do that.

At £90, the price is competitive and they feel as if they will last a long time, which is how sensible people think whenever they’re buying clothes or shoes. So, I’ve named them as my first Summer Gift of 2016. Even though I still hate running.