Tag Archives: Apple

Apple acquires Israeli startup RealFace

Apple bought Israeli startup RealFace, which specializes in technologies related to face recognition. Thanks to that, in the new iPhone Apple may use phone-unlock-system based on the appearance of the owner.RealFace is a company from Tel Aviv, which was founded in 2014. The startup page does not work anymore, but the promotional materials said that the company has developed a very unique face recognition technology which integrates artificial intelligence and human perception moves to digital processes. It is suggested that Apple paid for RealFace at least $ 2 million. Some may associate RealFace with the application Pickeez, which is based on advanced algorithms for facial recognition and helps users choose their best photos for publication on social networking profiles.

iPhone 8, except that it will be a very unique smartphone, could be the first Apple phone with implemented new solutions for AR. Probably at the top there would be a new laser sensor able to recognize the user. So it will be another solution, beside the Touch ID, to secure data stored on your phone. Everything will become clear in September. Besides, Apple invests a lot of money in the extended reality and some observers even suggest that within 2-3 years Apple becomes a giant of AR market.

“Google tax law” in Russia

IT companies operating on the Russian market have started to pay VAT on the sale of electronic services in the Federation since 1st of January 2017. The rate is 18%. The relevant law, called in Russia “Google tax” was signed by Vladimir Putin at the beginning of July 2016.

The new rules apply to companies offering internet right to use their programs, including computer games and databases, and domains; providing services of advertisements placing; as well as selling electronic versions of books, music, video, etc. This applies, among others, to companies such as: Apple, Google, Microsoft and Uber.

Under the new law, foreign IT companies are becoming VAT payers. For their purpose, the Russian tax authorities will launch this year a special on-line service “Tax office”. It will cover the whole process of taxation from application to the tax office, by making a declaration and control of the settlement by the tax authorities. If any company fails to comply with the new regulations, it will be punished for illegal activity.

Foreign companies had already reacted to the new legislation by increases in prices of their services. The first, at the beginning of December 2016, was the US Google. It informed its Russian clients that file storage service Google Disc would become more expensive due to new tax regulations. Uber moved on its drivers the duty to pay taxes on provided services. The company announced that it does not intend to raise prices because of the new law and its drivers can count on subsequent reimbursement. Nevertheless, some Russian Uber drivers started to give up work. The US startup is trying to catch up the local leader in the market of private transportation, Yandex Taxi. Currently there are in Russia about 3,000 Uber cars, and Yandex Taxi has 15,000 cars. New tax regulations may enlarge this gap.

In the initial version of the Law on VAT for the IT industry, it covered Russian companies too. Yet, it met with great criticism from native industry. The arguments convinced the Kremlin and therefore the law covers only foreign providers of services via Internet. This is to convince Russian IT companies to leave tax havens and register their business in Russia.

Seven Polish startups that succeed abroad

The Polish market of startups becomes more and more notices and has a vision of going beyond its native backyard. The number of Polish startups situates itself at the level of 2.4 thousand of entities. Their activities are focused primarily on software production for mobile applications industry, e-commerce and online services. Many entrepreneurs seek foreign investors and business angels. Few, however, have been successful on an international scale. Here are a few of these, which have succeeded:

 1. Ivona

This is a speech synthesizer, which originally was to serve the blind and partially sighted. Soon, however, it also become a tool for news reading and support for call centers and hotlines. Ivona stands out in that it has a natural, warm voice and is devoiced of a flattened voice effect alike Darth Vader mask. Before, Ivona got acquired by Amazon in 2013, it had won many awards and distinctions. Ivona speaks 17 languages in 44 different voices.

 2. Brand24

The company is involved in monitoring the Internet and social media. Its tool collects all mentions feed of products, brands and other keywords from websites, forum discussions and social media. It helps to spot problematic issues before they escalate to protect your company image.  The tool is used by: IKEA, the History Channel, H & M and… the White House. Brand24 belongs to a group LARQ, which is listed on the stock exchange. Last year, the company’s revenue increased by 88%.

  1. LiveChat

The company focuses on actions in the model of software as a service. It opened a branch in the USA. Nearly 80% of the more than 10,000 customers are foreign companies and corporations, such as: Bosch, LG, Samsung, Orange, Adobe, Pizza Hut, Ryanair and Stanford University. The most known product is LiveChat – software for sales, consulting, customer service and website support.

 4. Estimote

The company produces beacons – sensors for precise geolocation, mainly indoors. These solutions uses in its stores, for example, Apple. In 2013, Estimote acquired $ 3,1 million of funding, and in 2016 it acquired $ 10,7 million.

  1. Brainly

It’s a website where students ask questions about specific homework assignments and wait for response from other students or experts in the field. Currently, the service has more than 60 million users and 80% of them use Brainly every month. In May 2016 the company received a $ 15 million funding from Naspers. Earlier, in two rounds of investment, it had managed to collect $ 9.5 million.

  1. Codility

The software allows to quickly assess technical skills of candidates to work in IT. In 2009, the it won the competition for start-ups organized by Seedcamp in London. Today Codility can boast a list of nearly 1100 clients, among them: Amazon, PayPal, eBay, Samsung, Nokia, Harvard University.

 7. Booksy

This is a tool for businesses, service providers and their customers, which allows you to quickly and easily sign up on the calendar, for example to the hairdresser or beautician. Instead a phone-call, you need just a few clicks in the application, which means that a visit can be arranged even in the middle of the night. So far, the company has managed to acquire a total of $ 4 million funding  in two rounds of investment. Booksy operates in over 80 countries around the world.