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.

Accountancy Cloud Q&A: Wesley Rashid, CEO and Co-Founder

FinTech is changing the face of money, but it’s not all about apps, it’s also about some of the oldest financial instruments of the world. Meet Wesley Rashid who is disrupting accountancy.
accountancy

Please tell our readers what The Accountancy Cloud is

We help businesses turn chaos into financial clarity. We offer a robotic accounting service that uses our intuitive API, can connect to financial services clients are already using to offer daily bookkeeping, custom dashboards and unlimited reporting, removing the barriers to financial clarity.

We pair them up with an Accountancy Cloud expert so they get a trusted partner, at every stage of their growth to help them with future planning.

Do you regard yourself as a FinTech company?

The Accountancy Cloud is a tech company solving the problem of accounting, which needs to be solved with next-gen technology.

What problems are you solving for your industry?

Accounting was invented back in medieval venice when Excel and beans were used to count numbers and paperwork was used to record financial transactions. It hasn’t changed all that much today.

We are bringing accounting back into the 21st Century, and into the Cloud then adding gasoline into the Cloud with a box of matches, all so we can create a best in class-super f’charged service that is 7x faster than conventional tools.

What do you think of Tech Nation’s Upscale Program you were previously part of?

Excellent program, there’s nothing quite like it. The quality of the founders and peer to peer learning aspects of the program were really helpful.

Could you tell us about your funding history?

We were/are on the Barclays Techstars accelerator so although Techstars and Barclays are on our cap table, we’ve essentially bootstrapped ourselves to £1 ARR to date.

Are you current looking at raising more money?

Yes we are! Contact me 🙂

You have offices in London and New York, more expansion soon?

Our focus in the next year is on the UK market as we are strongly positioned with a huge commercial opportunity ahead.  Then we’ll see.

What’s next for The Accountancy Cloud?

Fundraising and then growth!

REVIEW: PaMu Slide Mini Bluetooth Earphones

Mini means maximum quality when it comes to PaMu’s Slide earphones.


mini
Mini earphones are probably the most unsociable technologies ever released. People stop talking when they’re listening and that was when wires were hanging from their ears.

Now it’s impossible to see who’s listening to what. Thanks to Bluetooth there are no wires and it just becomes pointless to talk to anybody; they won’t listen to you.

On the plus side, if those people are happy in their otic-channel, watching the world as if that’s the virtually reality and the music going through their ears is the real one, then they might as well do it with the right product that gives excellent quality and happy time.

The PaMu Slide Mini is one such product and it doesn’t cost the earth… well, as far as we know. The price, on the other hand, comes in at an economical $55 from the company’s website. That’s a huge saving of $94 on the previously listed price of $149.

They are extraordinarily comfortable, easy to charge and the box fits into any pocket… let’s say, a MINI pocket, because they’re so small.

For the technically minded, please go and read another blog because we only like specifics on this site; to wit:

– 2 Bluetooth Earbuds
– 1 Dual-Function Portable Charger
– 1 USB Charging Cable
– 6 Ear Tips
– 1 Carry bag

The self-charging box means it only takes five minutes to charge up the Mini Slides for up to an hour and, apparently, even galaxy-famous NBA stars think they’re awesome as well.

After an initial road-test, I handed them over to my teenage son in exchange for washing my car for the next two weekends. He seemed happy with this deal and they are part of his uniform now.

No matter that he doesn’t listen to a word I say anyway. At least, with the PaMu Mini Slides he has an excuse… he’s already in a different universe. I may as well talk to myself.

Q&A: 7BC Venture Capital Founders

Andrew Romans and Hazem Danny Al Nakib are the co-founders of 7BC, a venture capital fund using he power of capital, network and technology to back teams disrupting industries and solving global problems toward a more connected, digitized and automated global economy.

7BC

7BC Co-Founder Hazem Danny Al Nakib is based in London.

Welcome to Mob76 Outlook, please tell our readers about 7BC

We were founded for a number of reasons. The first is that although digital transformation and the sharing economy has taken the world by storm over the past 20 years, it has been incredible at sharing, transferring and transmitting data and information, but not at transmitting and transferring value.

The second reason is that without targeted capital investments into innovations at a protocol level, standard, and infrastructure level that really aims at connecting systems, their resiliency, privacy, security, and capabilities and focusing far too much on applications, the entire objective of the model of what economies and industries will look like is ultimately lost.

The third is that we wanted to take a holistic approach across a broad and yet still focused mandate at a technological layer across AI, FinTech and software infrastructure – particularly within the financial sector where it has welcomed, in parts digital transformation, but is nascent when it comes to actual digitalisation where value itself has become digital.

Across all of this, it becomes clear that we are thinking about what global and local economies will turn into and our focus is on what underpins those futures that prioritise security, resilience and optimise efficiencies. We are interested in broader waves effective the use of data, implementations of digital identity, the creation of new asset classes, and the future models of connectivity.

7BC

7BC Co-Founder Andrew Romans is based in Silicon Valley.

Why is the fund called 7BC Venture Capital?

Our name 7BC Venture Capital signals our ability to assist and support our portfolio companies on all 7 continents of the world and experience a journey together with our network where after receiving our capital support they will travel the 7 seas and develop their business with our support on a global basis through expansion and growth.

The number seven suggests our international LP base and other business support networks and is also a lucky number which is important at early stage investing and entrepreneurship. BC stands for borderless continents and borderless capital while spanning many different technologies. We believe that AI, FinTech and software infrastructure will collectively usher in a new era for humankind. Our mission is to fund, develop and support the startups that create the foundation of this new era. The right teams, the right technology, the right capital, and the right business model.

Why are you focusing on AI, software infrastructure and FinTech?

There are disparate alternatives of what the future can look like. However, from a trend standpoint, we know that barriers to entry into the financial sector continue to lower as technology innovations come to the market. As such, the financial sector is becoming more integrated with other sectors and industries within the sharing economy, particularly around healthcare, travel, identity, hospitality and much more.

The second is that we view software infrastructure, and other forms of possibly decentralised technologies as the digital underpinning for applications that are built and that use other technologies such as AI, IoT and others to deliver products, services, and value.

There have been barriers to the successful deployment of many of these technologies and often it comes down to where the data is, how is it being collected, and is it being used well in a connected and secure environment, particularly when it is now more valuable than gold. And secondly, whether the digital representations of physical objects are easily stored, transferred, and transacted in a more transparent, disintermediated, and automatic way.

We find that changing the narrative and focusing on building blocks positions us well from a narrative standpoint to build a robust, disruptive and transformational portfolio of companies with both a unique advantage and a unique selling point and differentiator – Where our portfolio companies work together and are complimentary with each other as well. The future is one that will be even more connected, even more automated, and even more digital, that is all we can be certain of.

At what stage of startup investment do you invest?

The majority of our fund is dedicated to series A and growth stage rounds of early stage businesses at the post-product and post-revenue stage where rapid revenue growth, traction, and expansion are the key performance indicators of the business.

However, we do leave some room for a large number of small ticket capital investments at the seed or pre-series A rounds enabling us to double down in future rounds. Our global network of venture partners and ties to universities, incubators and local ambassadors allow us to support the rights teams early on.

Why is 7BC different to the other funds out there?

Every fund can say why they’re different. Most will say it’s their past performance and current network. We can ‘say’ that, but we can also ‘show’ you. We will continue to show you our network and continue to develop it.

In many cases the network is at our 7BC LP investor, team, VC co-investment / syndication and service provider layers, but our favourite is our own current and former portfolio CEOs and founders supporting our evolving global community, and that brings past performance to current and future financial performance. 

Any advice to startups when the pitch to you?

Really it always comes down to the basics. If the four biggest factors for success in real estate are location, location, location, the biggest factors for success in our lenses are team, team, team, market, technology, traction and who else is supporting this startup? 

Innovations come from having a new technology, at the right time, in the right place with a the right business model. That is what we’re looking for. Where is value not being captured, and where can value be better captured and best delivered?

But with all things, it is a story and depends on the facts of the case at hand – keep it simple, tell your story, have your reason and purpose that drives you and your team, and implement it then demonstrate in your pitch how you’ve been implementing it and what you plan on doing. 

Stick to facts and what is there specifically, what you have accomplished and what you will. As long as that can be shown tangibly and clearly, then you’ll attract the right capital, partners, and team members. Sometimes it is a numbers game, sometimes it’s a bit of your gut and vision, but above all it’s a mixture of demonstrating delivery, having laser sharp focus, being consistent, and being surrounded by the best team in an area of the market that you’ve identified is missing or lacking something. 

We know that our cash cheque is important, but if we can’t see how we can add value in other ways we don’t invest. This often comes down to our experience, advice and network. We believe that is how all early stage investing should be. Good startups will always attract plenty of funders in any boom or bust economy. The best funders need to demonstrate how they will add value and then deliver that value whilst constantly growing their reputation. It’s that simple. Add value or don’t invest. 

Remote Working: How to Be More Productive

Remote working should be be a doddle. Rodney Laws tells us how to make it even easier… and more efficient.

remote

Remote working means we often have to make do without our ‘home’ comforts we take for granted in the office. You’re working without your desktop PC with everything laid out just how you want it, or your desk organized to suit your daily routine. Instead, it’s just you and your laptop, and working on a smaller laptop is a less than perfect situation. 

Workplaces are changing and working from home is a much more common prospect. There are plenty of ways you can work remotely on your laptop and keep your productivity levels high though, here are just a few. 

Use an external mouse and keyboard

Ditching your laptop’s frustrating built-in keyboard and track-pad mouse for an external pairing is a huge quality of life improvement all remote workers can appreciate. The track-pad and keyboard on laptops are generally of lesser quality, especially on compact models. They can’t offer the same level of dexterity, hampering your working experience and forcing you to make compromises. These features may be useful when you’re literally using the laptop on your lap, but they feel unnatural and difficult when working at a desk. 

Invest in a good quality mouse and larger keyboard, they’re much more convenient options for getting substantial work done. Your typing speed will improve and your frustration levels will drop. A key part of successfully working remotely is replicating your most productive working condition, this classic pairing is essential to achieving that. 

Use a second screen

You never know just how important a second screen is until you get one. Just like a mouse and external keyboard, this is a quality of life improver you can’t afford to skip out on. 

Laptop screens are conventionally small and less likely to display all of the information a remote worker needs to see at once. Whatever your profession, chance are you need to keep track of a couple things at once, whether it’s research notes you’re writing from or multiple stats for a report. Jumping between windows and tabs just isn’t conducive to this kind of work. With a second screen, you can just simply turn your head. You’ll notice an immediate change in your productivity levels and find yourself with some extra time left over for other projects. 

If you’re a bit of a technophobe, this StarTech guide teaches you the difference between port styles so you can get your laptop hooked up to a display device without connection headaches. 

Adjust lighting

Just because you’re not working on your usual computer set up doesn’t mean your eyes should suffer. Eye-strain is a common ailment for office workers who spend a lot of time in front of a screen, and how well lit your screen is has a huge effect on that. If you’re working on a screen that’s too bright or too dim you could be hampering your productivity and doing permanent damage to your eyes. 

Before you start working for the day, make sure your screen brightness is adjusted to suit the lighting in the room. You should always aim to work in a well-lit room with plenty of natural light. Compensating for a dark room by turning the brightness up to its maximum will do more harm than good and slow you down in the long run. If you’re worried your battery will suffer from keeping the brightness turned up, make sure you’re working somewhere where you can keep your laptop charging permanently. 

Update all your software

Nothing will bring your productivity coming to a screeching halt faster than a slow laptop burdened with outdated software. To make sure you get as much done away from the office as you would do in it, spend some time the night before making sure all the software on the laptop is up to date and functioning properly. 

At some point, we’ve all told a software update ‘not now’, usually for a couple of months in a row. This is the time to accept that update though and make sure your laptop is in the best condition possible. It’ll save you slapping the poor thing out of frustration next time it freezes during a download. 

Block remote working distractions

Just because you’re working at home or in the hotel doesn’t mean you should be browsing Facebook every 15 minutes. Breaks are important, but distractions aren’t the same as breaks. You’re supposed to look away from the screen!

Set limitations for yourself, or, if you can’t control yourself it might be time to look into apps that block distraction websites, such as the ones listed here. There’s no reason for productivity to drop just because you’re out the office and no one is looking over your shoulder. You’re only giving yourself more work to do later anyway. 

Take a break 

Not the most groundbreaking advice, but it’s just as important to take breaks frequent breaks when working at home as it is in the office. The more breaks you take the less likely to get distracted you become. 

Take some time away from the screen and stand up to stretch your muscles. Take advantage of the fact you’re working remotely with a laptop and move around a bit. You aren’t confined to your desk and can work wherever you want, so work in bed, work in the coffee shop or do a couple of hours outside if you need to. Find what suits you and vary it up. 

Remote work can be exciting, but it comes with its own challenges to remain productive. These features should make it as easy as possible to work to your high standards on your laptop. 

FIVE GOLD GIFTS: 3Doodler Create+ Pen

3Doodler Create+ is an amazing product that turns doodles into real things.

3doodler3Doodler Create+is an excellent 3D printing pen that will appeal to artists, hobbyists and DIY fanatics of all ages.

For those of us with more years under our belt than we care to admit, the idea of a pen and plasticine being able to produce tangible products is as futuristic as it gets and I suggest it won’t be just young people who will be using this magical little device.

I have no real idea of who its competitors may be and how it stands up against them, but this all about instant gratification and 3D printing that turns doodles with a pen into a multi-colored substance of pure fun.

Plug it in, heat it up, load the plastic and with a push of button, users can draw on paper and in 3D with plastic that will harden in seconds. It’s like a Christmas miracle that lasts all year round.

For those who care about such things, it comes in three colors, Marine Blue, Camouflage Green and Artic White, but it doesn’t make much difference. It feels like a fat pencil and is initially unwieldy, but the user quickly gets used to it. What was initially wobbly becomes firm, rather like the plastic that come with it.

There are fast and slow functions and the plastic comes out according to those settings. Beginners should start with the slow function and then move on to the faster button. By double-clicking the buttons makes the plastic come out and after some time, the modus operandi is a doddle for even the youngest doodler.

On a personal level, I don’t think I will ever an expert or feel as if I am one of the founding members of a.new Arts & Crafts movement, but this is a very fun product and one I’m sure to use again.

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