DICT announces YouthHack MNL Startup Challenge 2018: High School Edition and it’s Official Jingle

YouthHack Manila together with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) launches the YouthHack MNL Startup Challenge 2018: High School Edition and its official jingle (embedded above).

The Startup Challenge 2018 High School Edition is open to all public and private high school students: Grades 7-12. The competition will have 60 teams of 3-5 members. Interested groups can apply here.

Startup Challenge 2018 High School Edition with the theme of ‘Think Global, Act Local’ is a two-day event with the goal of bringing students into the exciting world of startups and technopreneurship.

It is co-organized by the Department of Information and Communications Technology and YouthHack Manila.

The event aims to empower students to become knowledgeable about the country’s current problems and to come up with innovative ways to solve them.

Students will get to hear from experienced entrepreneurs and investors, and go through workshops in ideation, prototyping, and pitching.

Once the talks and workshops are done, the participants will use their newfound knowledge and skills to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

Lazada offer s Apple products to Southeast Asia customers

Fans of Apple can now buy their favourite Apple products on Lazada, Southeast Asia’s leading eCommerce company.

As an authorised online reseller, Lazada’s customers can choose from a wide range of Apple products including iPhone, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iPad, iPad Pro, Apple TV, Beats by Dr. Dre, and other accessories.

Start shopping this holiday season
Consumers can start browsing this holiday season when the Apple ‘Shop-in-Shop’ on Lazada officially launches today (8th December) in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore. This will be followed by Malaysia on 11th December, and then in Vietnam.

By shopping on Lazada, customers can choose to pay for their Apple devices through Lazada’s 0% financing instalment plans. Exciting surprises also await Lazada customers looking to score savings from deals offered during the finale of Lazada’s Online Revolution shopping event, the 12.12 Final Sale. More details will be announced later.

The “preferred choice” for global brands
Lazada Group Chief Executive Officer Max Bittner said the Apple ‘Shop-in-Shop’ concept is a testament to Lazada’s reputation as the undisputed and trusted online shopping and selling platform in Southeast Asia. “Lazada is the preferred choice for global brands who, like us, want to drive the explosive growth of eCommerce in Southeast Asia,” said Mr. Bittner, adding: “It also underscores our commitment to give consumers better and convenient access to the world’s best brands and products, especially those from Apple.”

Press Realese: Innovation, changing the way HR works

Sprout Solutions underlines the benefits of HR and payroll automation for businesses of all sizes

Taguig City—October 10, 2017 — The recent ‘State of HR in the Philippines’ report published by Sprout Solutions ranked the major pain points Filipino HR (human resource) practitioners face. Garnering the most votes from a thousand participants are recruitment (56.90%), timekeeping (40.30%), and payroll (38.90%). These identified pain points, which can be really tedious and time-consuming, are actual problems for companies operating in the Philippines regardless of its size.

Good news is technology is continuously changing the business landscape. Today, these HR administrative tasks can be automated through cloud-based software solutions that positively impact productivity and efficiency — generally improving a company’s bottom line.

According to Patrick Gentry, CEO and Co-founder of tech startup Sprout Solutions, companies are now recognizing the value of investing in software tools that streamline HR and payroll processes which ultimately, enhance productivity, develop employee-employer relations and meet the changing demands of today’s workplace.

“HR automation is now a huge deal for organizations as it can bring fundamental changes in the roles HR play for business growth. HR professionals can now spend more time establishing insights that provide added value for their workforce as technology gradually eliminates the administrative aspect of their job,” added Gentry.

With the Philippines having a total of thirty-two pay rates including night shift differential, overtime pay, holiday pay, among others, HR and payroll processing can get really complicated. Unfortunately, many business organizations are still doing these tasks manually making them prone to discrepancies, errors and even delays. Such inaccuracies are known to cause mistakes in the salary being paid, often resulting in an unhappy staff and strained relations between employees and employers. Meanwhile, from an operational cost standpoint, these incongruities can also lead to higher expenses.

Aside from that, a number of reports are also required from HR practitioners and/or payroll masters to comply with government mandatories. Filing of forms and getting updated reports from the agencies that monitor and collect employee income taxes and contributions can also get complicated especially for growing businesses.

Sprout Solutions, a provider of locally developed and global-quality HR and payroll software, addresses these major pain points through paradigm-changing solutions tailor-fitted for local enterprises.

The company offers customized solutions for its clients through its two modules: Sprout HR and Sprout Payroll. These programs are world-class software solutions that enable HR professionals to perform crucial tasks, both in payroll and HR, within a single dashboard.

Having all HR data reside on one integrated platform, Sprout makes it easier to track work in progress, daily attendance, leave requests, among others. Their comprehensive payroll system is also able to cut processing time by ninety percent.

Sprout’s cloud-based software tools enable organizations to efficiently comply with government requirements by making mandatory government forms accessible and downloadable (with encoded information) through the payroll module.

The tech startup is known to be the only solutions provider to truly automate complex payroll and timekeeping processes that exist for BPO companies and other time-sensitive industries in the Philippines. It has already earned the trust of more than 200 clients, composed of small businesses and some well-established industry players with thousands of employees and is the first Filipino company to be accepted by Acceleprise, a Silicon Valley enterprise SaaS accelerator. It has since expanded its operations to help businesses grow through its software solutions that address HR and payroll needs.

To know more about Sprout Solutions and its services, visit their website at https://sprout.ph/.

Press Release: Carpooling is getting more convenient as Wunder Carpool introduces big improvements

The world’s leading urban carpooling platform Wunder Carpool has recently rolled out a big update on its app, optimizing the carpooling flow and made creating and finding rides a lot easier.

These changes on the app interface are based on suggestions and feedback it got from its growing community members since it launched in Metro Manila and Cebu last year.

Wunder also launched operations this year in Delhi, Mumbai & Bengaluru.

Wunder’s mobile app connects people commuting in same direction for work and/or home. Car owners share the empty seats in their cars and save money on fuel cost. Passengers get the comfort and convenience of commuting through a private car at a price that is way lower than taxi and often cheaper than public transportation. At the same time, it allows you to choose people you would like to carpool with and it becomes an opportunity to make new friends, network with people in your industry while you commute to work.

Here are the top 7 improvements that every carpooler has been waiting for:

  1. For first time carpoolers, an in-app preview is now available to check out the app’s main features. Newbies can get a virtual walk-through on how the app works before even logging in.
  2. To make carpooling more secure, you are now required to key in their phone number as part of the 2-step user verification process.
  3. Carpoolers can now easily create rides, pick a preferred route and switch role on each ride.
  4. Car-owners are now free to set the fare for each ride shared and can even set it to zero, if they want
  5. Organizing a carpool is now easier with its improved browsing interface & better matching on the map.
  6. The app now has a “My Rides” screen to give a clear overview of all upcoming rides and highlights required actions to manage each organized carpools.
  7. For recurring carpools, a new feature allows to easily create routines and save them the trouble of setting ride requests/ride offers every day.

Founded in 2014 in Germany, Wunder is launching carpooling communities in the world’s most gridlocked cities. It now has more than 700,000 users from India and the Philippines, sharing over 2 million rides.

Press Release: Samsung introduces Galaxy J+ in the Philippines

It’s easy to capture notable everyday moments nowadays, especially with advanced smartphone technology – by simply pointing and clicking. With Samsung, it is essential to capture the entire feeling of the moment, and bring it to life for the world to see.

Built to capture those everyday moments in your life and to enhance them to make them even more extraordinary, Samsung introduces the new Galaxy J7+.

The Galaxy J7+ boasts of a Professional Dual Camera to showcase every single detail of your day. Equipped with two rear cameras––one 13MP sensor with an f/1.7 aperture lens and a 5MP sensor at f/1.9 aperture, both of which are responsible for delivering professional-quality post-shot depth. These dual lenses also equip the Galaxy J7+ with the Live Focus feature which allows you to control the amount of blur in a shot during and after taking a photo. It didn’t go shy with its front shooter, too, with its 16MP f/1.9 selfie camera. With the Galaxy J7+’s dual leans camera, you have no excuse to capture and enhance every moment, may it be with friends, family, or your fur baby!

For added fun, entertainment, and excitement, the Galaxy J7+ also comes with the new built-in Galaxy stamps and stickers in its Mobile Photobooth that would let you decorate and enhance your photos to really bring out the fun! The assortment of colorful stickers and stamps, as well as filters, will let you add a touch of personalization, playfulness, and more color to your photos. With the fun Mobile Photobooth coupled with the Galaxy J7+’s Professional Dual Camera capable of shooting in low-light, each moment is preserved in pro-quality.

Beyond delivering hours of entertainment and fun with its 3,000mAh battery, the Galaxy J7+ enhances your life by providing an all-around reliable and powerful performance, thanks to its 2.39GHz Octa-Core processor for seamless, high-speed multitasking and a 4GB RAM and memory expandable up to 256GB for all the apps you enjoy.

“For those who want to experience the dual camera features of the flagship Galaxy Note8, the Galaxy J7+ offers the same premium and powerful experience. Its features let people enhance every moment of the day by expanding what a smartphone camera can do. The Galaxy J7+ is the best in its segment with flagship features and value for money,” said Nio Judalena, Head of Marketing for Mobile Communications Business, SEPCO.

Indeed, the Samsung Galaxy J7+ is exactly what you need to enhance every moment of everyday. The Samsung Galaxy J7+ will be available for P19,990 starting on October 14 at all Samsung Experience Stores and dealers nationwide. You can avail it at 0% interest for 9 month on Home Credit, or 0% interest for 12 months through credit cards. Log on to www.samsung.com/ph for more information.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ Specs;

  • 5.5″ Full HD Super AMOLED Display, 1080 x 1920 resolution
  • 2.3GHz Quad Core Cortex-A53 + 1.6GHz Quad Core Cortex-A53
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 32 GB Storage expandable up to 256GB via microSD
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat with TouchWiz
  • Dual-rear Camera:
    • 13MP sensor, f/1.7 aperture
    • 5MP sensor, f/1.9 aperture
    • Auto Focus,OIS, LED Flash
  • Front Camera: 16.0 MP, f/1.9 with flash
  • Dual Nano-SIM
  • Micro USB 2.0
  • GPS, Glonass
  • 3.5mm Earphone jack
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4+5GHz, Wi-Fi Direct
  • Bluetooth v4.2
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor
  • Dimension: 152.4mm x 74.7mm x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 180 g
  • 3000 mAh battery
  • Color: Black, Gray and Gold

UTRUST Poised to Take the Blockchain Payments Industry in Asia

Press release regarding UTRUST and its first round of public ICO.

UTRUST Poised to Take the Blockchain Payments Industry in Asia

Blockchain payment platform UTRUST is going where no other of its kind has gone before. Leveraging a team of experts from various consumer and corporate business, financial, legal, and technical fields, it is building a groundbreaking service that promises to change the way the world uses cryptocurrency. By adopting a familiar experience combined with safety features that render payment fraud obsolete, UTRUST is building the payments platform of the future.

Many have hailed crypto coins as the currency of the next generation. One of their main selling points is their decentralized and secure blockchain-based origins. This solves many of the problems inherent in today’s fiat currencies and bank-based payment structures. However, cryptocurrency is still relatively unheard of in the Philippines and most of Asia, owing to the complications arising in their use.

UTRUST seeks to change this. The service is the ideal entry-point to increase the adoption of cryptocurrencies in emerging markets, by serving as a bridge between crypto and fiat users. Buyers will able to purchase any product using their favorite coin, without the extra hassle of converting to fiat first. The platform automatically does this, and delivers the payment in fiat money to the seller. This simple process makes UTRUST the PayPal of digital currencies.

However, the service really shines in its cutting-edge security features. Imagine being able to shop online with complete peace of mind, knowing you cannot be defrauded. Users can use UTRUST to pay for their purchases — the payment is kept safe in the service’s centralized escrow system, and is only delivered to the merchant upon receipt of the goods. In the unlikely case that a dispute arises, UTRUST’s dedicated resolution team takes action and resolves it within a fixed timeframe. No more waiting for weeks to get your funds back!

Home-based entrepreneurs will also benefit by adopting the system. Aside from lower selling fees and faster approval speeds, merchants no longer need to fear the threat of chargebacks. By tapping into the fiat financial system, utilizing an intuitive interface, and building trust between buyers and sellers, UTRUST makes transitioning into cryptocurrencies a breeze.

Nuno Correia, CEO, said: “UTRUST sees the potential of cryptocurrencies and digital technology to transform financial services provision in both developed and developing markets. The potential gains are particularly exciting in emerging markets where mobile phone penetration could recreate the role physical banking infrastructure plays in developed markets.”

The service helps its users break away from the clunky banking infrastructure completely by using their mobile phones as financial hubs. Imagine being able to pay anything through your phone, without a bank account — purchases, mortgages, loans, and more. In a country whose mobile phones far outnumber its own population, UTRUST can change the way Filipinos think of finance.

UTRUST will launch its first round of public ICO on September 20th (2PM GMT). There will be a total of 7 rounds, aimed at bringing UTRUST to $50M in funding. The funds will be used to develop features and establish partnerships, as well as to create the UTRUST Token — an Ethereum based coin whose value is directly linked to the platform’s projected growth.

To learn more about UTRUST’s ICO, visit: https://utrust.io/ico

Appier Announces Series C Investment Round with SoftBank Group, LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, EDBI and AMTD Group

Press release from Appier regarding the $33 million Series C investment from SoftBank Group, LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, EDBI and AMTD Group.

Appier Announces Series C Investment Round with SoftBank Group, LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, EDBI and AMTD Group

New Investments will Spur Appier’s Artificial Intelligence Innovations for Enterprises

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media OutReach – August 30, 2017 – Appier, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company, announced that it has secured Series C investment of USD$33 million from SoftBank Group Corp., LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, Singapore-based EDBI and Hong Kong-based AMTD Group. This brings the total amount of investment in the company to over USD$82 million.

Chih-Han Yu, CEO and co-founder, Appier

Appier believes AI can help enterprises deal with today’s rapidly changing business environment, helping them process enormous amounts of data to identify patterns and make intelligent decisions. The additional funds will enable Appier to expand its portfolio of AI solutions and build more functionality for enterprises who want to take advantage of recent advances in AI technology.

The new investment will also enable Appier to continue to hire global talent as it extends its engineering and artificial intelligence research capabilities beyond Taiwan, to markets such as Singapore. The company also plans to expand its presence in the many markets in which it currently operates.

“Appier believes artificial intelligence can solve many challenges faced by today’s enterprise. Our platforms have helped our customers succeed in digital advertising and marketing, and we are now looking to bring AI to other parts of the enterprise. We are looking forward to partnering with our Series C investors as we embark on our next stage of growth,” said Chih-Han Yu, CEO and co-founder of Appier.

Appier’s first product, the CrossX Programmatic Platform, brought AI into digital marketing. Its second, Aixon, is a data intelligence platform that allows business users at a variety of enterprises to discover new customers, enrich their understanding of their customer base, and make predictions using AI. The company has doubled revenues over the three quarters since it closed Series B2 in November 2016.

“AI, combined with Big Data, IoT and other disruptive technologies, is going to create an impact on the world that will be bigger than the Industrial Revolution. We are already starting to see AI generate benefits in many parts of our lives and believe it also has a great role to play within the enterprise. Appier’s approach to AI for the enterprise is unique and we look forward to partnering with them as they build exciting new AI solutions for business,” said Ren Tanaka, Corporate Officer and Deputy Head of Business Unit at SoftBank Group Corp.

“Taiwan is one of the key markets for LINE, and our investment in Appier marks our commitment to invest in this market and support local startups to expand globally. We are excited to partner with Appier to explore more AI and advertising technology opportunities in our key markets,” said In Joon Hwang, CFO of LINE Corporation

“Appier has enabled a growing number of brands to develop consumer-adaptive marketing solutions for the digitally savvy Asian market. We look forward to working with Appier as they apply their AI technology to other exciting areas such as predictive analytics for real-time business decision-making. Appier’s development activities also synergizes well with Singapore’s AI.SG initiative to power, build and augment the local AI capabilities and ecosystem,” said Ms Chu Swee Yeok, CEO and President of EDBI.