Erase All Kittens secures $1 million seed investment

Erase All Kittens is for young players, especially girls, to learn how to code

erase-all-kittensAfter reaching 160,000 players in more than 100 countries, the company has raised a $1 million round led by Twinkl Educational Publishing, with participation from first investor Christian Reyntjens of A Black Square family office, including one of the founders of Shazam.

The funding will be used to develop a more gamified version of Erase All Kittens (EAK) teaching HTML, CSS and Javascript – the languages of all websites and web apps – to kids aged 8-12. It will be launched in July and sold to parents and schools worldwide.

EAK’s research shows that 55% of its players are girls and 95% want to learn more about coding after playing. The existing game is currently free and is being used in over 3,000 schools, with traction having increased by 500% since March 2020.

“We’re designing a coding game that girls genuinely love – one that places a huge emphasis on creativity”, said Dee Saigal, co-founder, CEO and Creative Director.

The female-founded team believe that code education tools for children naturally appeal more to boys because the vast majority have been built by men – with many teaching coding in a similar and instructional way.

They carried out two years of R&D resulting in a game that teaches girls and boys as young as eight years olds transferable digital skills, allowing them to create on the web.

“Girls can see instant results as they code, there are different ways to progress through the game, and learning is seamlessly blended with storytelling,” concludes Saigal.

Senius Q&A: The Future Of Crypto And Privacy DeFi


Welcome to Mob76 and our readers… please tell us about the new venture, Senius and how you’re working with the Sienna Network?

Senius is a core contributor to the Sienna Network, a privacy-first decentralized finance (DeFi) platform built on top of Secret Network, which enables various financial instruments, such as private trading, lending and borrowing.

We’re launching the first products in April and we are currently raising a private sale that has seen terrific interest and we are excited that our vision has been matched by investors of all sizes.

Most of our readers will be familiar with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but what issue are you trying to solve?

Existing DeFi protocols are fundamentally flawed because transactions are not private and future trades can be seen by everyone prior to execution. 

Any transaction can be pre-empted by simply introducing a transaction and paying a higher transaction fee. This is known as front-running and is illegal in the regulated financial system for good reasons. This exploitation has been in its prominence ever since DeFi surfaced and our privacy protocol will prevent that.

Lack of privacy means institutional money will not come into DeFi without a privacy-first solution. These huge institutions don’t want their activities, trading positions and liquidity provision publicly known as it compromises competitiveness.

What are these DeFi products that you speak of?

We are introducing a new interconnected DeFi protocol; a completely private lending, borrowing and, trading experience with great scalability and low transaction fees, and with a bridge for ERC-20 tokens to ensure compatibility with the Ethereum ecosystem,

This makes digital money markets efficient and fungible for everyone, and open for institutional investors. Sienna is aiming to quickly expand to other large blockchain ecosystems as well.

Any reason for naming the company after an Italian city?

Absolutely. Our company was named after the Italian city Siena (Sienna in English), which played a historical role in banking and cryptography almost a millennium ago.

In the 12th Century and as early as 1135, Sienna was an important trade city. To support the trade and economic growth of Sienna, the Bishop of Sienna started to offer loans against collateral and interest to Sienna citizens and the many people who traveled to the city to buy goods and sell their products.

At the same time, the world’s original bankers, the Knights Templar, began a network of money transfer locations so people could deposit money in the Veneto region and travel to Sienna and the port of Venice without the risk of being robbed.

Upon arrival at either destination, merchants could withdraw their money from a Templar location by handing in an encrypted document; a unique kind of encryption that allowed people to travel with a document that could only be decrypted by the Templars. It was one of the world’s first adoptions of finance and cryptography.

What are your ambitions for the company in 2021?

Sienna Network is aiming to become the de facto standard for privacy-first DeFi across multiple blockchains, targeting Ethereum initially, the biggest DeFi ecosystem, followed by other blockchains such as Polkadot, blockchains built with Cosmos (IBC) and many other chains in the near future.

The platform is controlled by SIENNA, the governance token, which is earned by using the Sienna platform via liquidity mining and other initiatives over time, creating a fair distribution for a perfect decentralized future, where SIENNA token holders decide over the entire platform. 

Where can our readers find out more about Sienna?

Yes, we are on all major networks:

🖥 Website
💬 Discord
💬 Telegram
🐦 Twitter 
👥 Reddit 
🗄 LinkedIn 
📰 Blog 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with our readers… good luck with the launch in April

No problem, thanks for inviting me. I look forward to connecting with your readers on the networks above.

===== ENDS ====================

 

Hardware IT disposal underscores security fears

hardwareAnother day, another report and another scathing censure for the security of the IT hardware industry.

According to a survey  of IT Directors carried out by DSA connect, an IT asset disposal company reveals that 8% have taken a hammer to dispose of IT equipment containing electronic data.   

Moreover, some 12% admit to having submerged it in water to try and destroy the hardware and 18% have used drilling to do this.  The most popular method is shredding (90% of IT Directors have used this), followed by data sanitation software (74%).

DSA Connect’s research suggests that one of the reasons for IT Directors to sometimes take such drastic steps is that 82% said they are concerned about the security issues around the disposal of IT hardware.  

Alarmingly, 10% of IT Directors interviewed described their employer’s knowledge of data erasure and disposal or IT hardware as average or poor.  Some 12% who have carried out data erasure on equipment as part of their jobs, did not receive a certificate of proof for the work done.   

When it comes to their employers disposing of IT tech and hardware, 82% of IT Directors say there is a growing focus on CSR issues, and 24% expect the focus here to increase dramatically over the next three year.  Over half (56%) expect a slight increase in focus here. 

“Our findings shows a real concern amongst IT Directors about the disposal of IT hardware and data.  They are right to be worried because if they get this wrong they could face a huge fine and damage to their reputation,” said Harry Benham, Chairman of DSA Connect.

There are also a number of companies claiming to be professionals in erasing data and IT destruction, but they are not, and they can leave their clients exposed and liable for the mistakes they make.”

Many businesses often find themselves with redundant IT and telecoms equipment. This could be due to periodic equipment refreshes, downsizing or office relocations and closures.

Recovering redundant equipment from across the UK, DSA Connect provides a secure IT asset disposal service utilising a methodology created in partnership with the Ministry of Defence.

DSA Connect’s end of life service allows for the complete removal and data eradication of IT equipment and, depending on the quantity and type of equipment for disposal, DSA Connect offers a rebate of up to 60% on all re-saleable assets. 

DSA Connect commissioned the market research company Pure Profile to interview 50 IT Directors in October 2020.

PeoplePerHour supports freelancers with pandemic insurance

peopleperhourNew research from freelance marketplace PeoplePerHour suggests that up to two-thirds of the UK’s 1.6 million freelancers have been unable to claim financial support during the Covid pandemic.

Of those surveyed, 65% said they did not qualify for the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Currently, freelancers and the self-employed have no entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay, which means many are left without any income should they contract the virus. Unsurprisingly, the survey also found that the vast majority (89%) of respondents are concerned about the loss of income that might result.

In light of the challenges freelancers face, the company has partnered with insurtech Indeez to create#CoviSure – the first insurance package for independent workers who are unable to work due to Coronavirus.

It is being rolled out across the UK and France for £3.99 a month (€4.99 a month in France).  #CoviSure will ensure freelancers are financially protected, mitigating income loss and providing peace of mind for independent workers while they take time to rest and recover.

The package underwritten by Chubb insurance will be rolled out across the UK and France for £3.99 a month (€4.99 a month in France).  #CoviSure will ensure freelancers are financially protected, mitigating income loss and providing peace of mind for independent workers while they take time to rest and recover.

“The Government has done its best to look after as many people as possible during this difficult time, but some have unfortunately fallen through the cracks. Freelancers are particularly at risk and so we felt obligated to do something about it,” said Xenios Thrasyvoulou, Founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour.

The income protection policy  will pay out if a freelancer is unable to work due to hospitalisation or if they have to self-isolate following a positive PCR test for Covid-19. The product is also available directly on the Indeez platform.

Subscription to the 3-month protection offers a lump sum benefit of up to £1,000/€1,000 in the event of an inability to work due to contracting Coronavirus.

For more information about #CoviSure, please visit #CoviSure

 

 

In-Play Report from Admix Says Ads Will Rock 2021

in-play

In-play advertising pioneer Admix has released a revealing report showing the state of in-play ads that are transforming the advertising industry under lockdown and beyond.

In-play is disrupting traditional advertising models within games where ad units can be displayed directly within a game’s environment. From billboards in endless runners to large screens in stadiums, in-play’s non-intrusive nature is adding to the gaming experience, not detracting from it.

In the report, premium mobile game developers ranging from industry titans to emerging studios such as Peaksel have all reported an increased interest in the in-play advertising model.

To find out more about in-play advertising or to read the full report, please click here.

The total surveyed partners combined have amassed billions of downloads across all games and more than three billion downloads across Android and iOS. The sample included 80 respondents including eight from Pocket Gamer’s list of Top 50 Global Studios.

Extra revenue

New privacy regulations, mainly spearheaded by Apple removing the IDFA, have created huge uncertainty with publishers. Without the IDFA, the lack of attribution measurements could result in a drop in CPMs, which publishers rely on to monetise.

As a result, publishers have been looking at alternative solutions to mitigate a potential revenue drop. In-play advertising emerges as a top contender for additional revenue, providing brand spend less susceptible to be affected by the lack of IDFA.

Player first

Another quality of in-play and gamer-first advertising is an uninterrupted and undisturbed experience for gamers. When questioning respondents on how their players have reacted to in-play ads, a majority said that players are entirely unaffected would have been a positive result.

In reality, 93% of players felt no negative impact of in-play ads in their games, and more than a third of players loved having them in the game. This is a fundamental change as more games adopt this ad format globally.

Hypercasual games leading the trend

The nature of ad placements appearing in game scenes goes across all genres, not least sports and racing games environments where ad placements are especially natural and non-intrusive.

But there is more. The fastest-growing developer segment globally is most interested in the in-play model. The format is a revenue-generating way for studios to increase their impressions per session in a player-friendly way, which integrates perfectly with hypercasual’s typical monetisation strategy.

Most exciting ad format of 2021

This report also looks forward to the future of in-play, asking a variety of questions about how developers intend to use it. Almost every developer questioned reported that they plan to use more in-play ads (94%) with no developers planning to use fewer.

The most powerful result for in-play, however, came from asking developers what format they’re most excited about in 2021. In-Play was the winner, with rewarded video coming in second, and interstitial video following with a distant third.

“It’s fantastic to see such an epic shift in attention and positive sentiment to our new revenue stream. We have spent the last few years developing the technology to scale and support this new monetisation format, and now it’s really starting to pay off for our developers,” said Sam Huber, Admix CEO.

The report follows Admix’s impressive start to 2021 making two key hires from Google and Spotify to expand its operations in the US and Europe while Forbes recently invited Huber to join the Forbes Council as a thought-leader on games and Advertising.