Like many podcast startups, Majelan faced some criticism shortly after its launch. Aggregating free podcasts with premium content next to them à la Luminary is a controversial topic in the podcast community. Spotify has been going down the same path, but Spotify is also an order of magnitude bigger than any other podcast startup out there.
Some podcast creators have decided to remove their podcast feeds from Majelan to protest against that business model.
Podcasts remain an open format. Creators can create a feed, users can subscribe to that feed in their favorite podcast app. You don’t have to sign up to a particular service to access a particular podcast — everything is open.
“We have decided to stop aggregating free podcasts — free podcasts mean podcasts, period. For us, podcasts are RSS feeds, it’s an open world,” Perticoz said in a podcast episode. “We need an app that is more focused on payment. We can’t aggregate free podcasts given that our strategy is paid content.”
The result is a more focused service that is going to launch on July 7th in France. After a free trial, you have to subscribe for €5 to €7 per month, depending on the length of your subscription. You can then access a library of premium audio content — Majelan rightfully doesn’t call them podcasts.
“Going forward, we’re going to focus on original content, we’re going to focus 100% on paid content,” Gallet said in the same podcast episode.
And in order to be even more specific, Majelan will focus on personal growth, such as creativity, activism, mindfulness, innovation, entrepreneurship and health. According to the co-founders, some content will be produced in house, some content will be co-produced with other companies, and the startup will also acquire existing podcasts and repackage them for Majelan.
That move has been in the works for a while. The startup pitched it to its board of investors back in December. Premium subscriptions have worked well for movies, TV and music. Now let’s see if subscriptions will also take off with spoken-word audio.
TEL AVIV, Israel, May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Kemtai launched its AI, virtual personal trainer web app today. Home fitness enthusiasts can now improve their exercise form and performance and enjoy a more effective workout with different trainers from all over the world whenever they want.
With some European cities, including Amsterdam slowly getting back to normal life after quarantines and lockdowns, one of the questions popping in everyone’s mind is: ‘how are we going to get around?’ Sitting in a crowded bus, tram or train seems scary, with a deadly virus still on the loose. But everybody in their own cars will clog cities up in no time. Bicycles and e-scooters seem the way to go.
Do follow our special coverage on coronavirus over here.
COVID-19 and the future of mobility
The lockdowns as a result of the spreading of the coronavirus, resulted in empty city centers. It has given legislatures an opportunity to push the reset button and rethink the way their city operates. More and more cities around the world are adapting their infrastructures to cater for individual, sustainable and efficient modes of transport. In the UK, London pledged £2 billion to reduce car traffic and stimulate cycling. Paris is rapidly rolling out temporary cycling lanes that might just be permanent. In Italy, Milan is turning 35 kilometers of its streets from roadways to bicycle paths this summer.
The measures following the COVID-19 outbreak seem to kickstart a worldwide revolution on mobility. And where better to find ideas that are well ahead of the curve, than in the capital of cycling: Amsterdam. We spoke with the local startups including VanMoof, Dott, Felyx and Cargoroo to find out what they are working on and what their future currently holds. And these mobility startups are in the perfect position to shape this future.
VanMoof is trying to keep up with demand
For e-bike manufacturer VanMoof from Amsterdam it’s been pretty much downhill for the past couple of months. In cycling terms, this means everything has been going incredibly fast and unbelievably smooth. Shortly after launching their two new e-bikes, the VanMoof S3 and X3, they announced they raised €12.5 million to scale up their production. “Everything that we expected to happen in the next ten years, suddenly happened in three months”, says co-founder Taco Carlier on the phone.
Like a cyclist speeding down a mountain road, the funding round was closed at breakneck speed. “I think everything was done in about five weeks”, says Carlier. “We weren’t actively looking for new investors. But with COVID-19 currently changing the world, we noticed enormous traction behind our brand. If we wanted to capitalise on that, we needed to invest and scale up our operation.” Admittedly, those five weeks covered only the last track of the funding round. “We’ve had coffee with these investors a couple of times before. If you want to raise this amount of money, starting with no contacts, it’ll take a lot longer. Especially now, when everyone is working from home. You really want to look each other in the eyes, before doing business together.”
VanMoof set itself some ambitious targets at the beginning of the year. After quadrupling revenue last year, they wanted to continue their growth by doubling it again this year. That was before COVID-19 threw the world, as we know it, upside down. According to Carlier, VanMoof is already on track to beat its own projections. “But it hasn’t been easy. We had events planned in Milan and San Francisco to launch our new bikes. We seriously considered to postpone them, before moving it online. And keeping your level of service up to par is difficult, when customer support is working from home.”
Dott is working with cities and transport operators
VanMoof seems to be uniquely positioned to reap the rewards of the changing mobility landscape in the world. But individual transport comes in many shapes and sizes, of which Dott proves to be a good example. The shared e-scooter startup with a headquarter in Amsterdam is making sure to become a part of this future by doing a couple of things at once, explains Dotts head of marketing Matthieu Faure. “First off we are sharing our aggregated data when relevant to better understand parking and usage.”
“We are also collaborating with cities on creating dedicated parking spots for e-scooters and we are working with other transport operators to avoid public transit congestion.” For example, Dott partnered with the city of Brussels to provide extra scooters at Park + Ride-locations to enter the inner city. It also works with the public transport operator in Paris, which pushes Dott as an alternative for their users.
“We strongly believe shared micro mobility will play a big role in the coming months and years to come,” Faure says of the rapid transformation of infrastructure in many cities. As an individual mode of transport, the shared e-scooters can play an important role there, he thinks. During the lockdown in several countries, Dott stepped up and made their solution available for healthcare workers and supermarket personnel to safely get to work, without sharing public transport with others. Something Dott will keep on doing once lockdowns have ended. Founded in 2018, Dott has raised €50 million funding so far and is operational in Brussels, Paris, Lyon, Munich the Turin.
Faure says, “Since the end of lockdown, we’ve launched new packages to make e-scooters more accessible for regular riders. This is permanent, for all riders. We’re also working on continuing some partnerships with hospitals or other organisations, including providing dedicated Dott scooters to their staff.”
Felyx jumped to delivery
Just like Dott, Felyx also welcomed a new group of users to ease the pains of lockdown. The mobility startup from Amsterdam also offers shared e-scooters, although these are the kind you sit on. This makes them suitable for companies to make deliveries, which is why the startup recently launched Felyx Delivery. It offers small businesses hit by COVID-19 the option to deliver their goods on an e-scooter for a reduced price. “When we heard the government announce their lockdown measurements, we decided to speed up the launch,” says Quinten Selhorst, co-founder of Felyx.
Expanding the user base turned out to be a good idea. According to the startup, dozens of businesses use the delivery service every day. Some of them make up to fifty deliveries a day, which makes the special daily flat rate of €14 per scooter a good deal. “We noticed that when people weren’t allowed to move around so much, the usage of our scooters dropped a little. But it is good to see that mobility is a basic need that people will always continue to use.”
“To quickly launch Felyx Delivery, we had to speed up our tech-development. That meant that the development of other products got postponed a little.” But that doesn’t mean Felyx has stopped expanding their regular product. “We’re always thinking about rolling out in other cities,” says Selhorst. Founded in 2016 by Maarten Poot and Quinten Selhorst, Felyx has secured €3.4 million funding in 2018 and around €10 million in 2019. Their e-scooters are currently available in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Den Haag. Groningen was recently added and across the border you can hop on a Felyx in Brussels. Selhorst is keeping possible new cities close to his chest though.
Cargoroo wants to conquer Europe
Another local mobility startup looking to expand all over Europe is Cargoroo. They offer shared cargo bikes with electric support. The Amsterdam-based startup originally offered their bikes in Den Haag, but expansion to the Belgian town of Leuven is already in the works.
CCO and co-founder Erik de Winter also mentions Manchester and cities including Berlin and Antwerp that have actively approached them. Recently they saw an opportunity to get a foot between the doors in Amsterdam by offering their cargo bikes as a delivery-vehicle for small businesses. “Entrepreneurs as users were always a part of our business model. Businesses knew how to find us before COVID-19. During these times, we decided to emphasise this in Amsterdam.” Cargoroo was not only available for businesses to make deliveries, their bikes were also used by groups of volunteers, to bring aid to people in need. “Our own team delivered meals in Amsterdam for two Fridays. In the future we will adapt our cargo bikes to make them more suitable for cargo from businesses.”
Currently the crisis around COVID-19 doesn’t seem to affect the Uber of electric cargo bikes too much. According to De Winter, usage is currently up 100% every month, mostly due to the weather getting better. But with the bicycle as the new preferred way to get around for many Europeans, the future might look even brighter for the Amsterdam headquartered startup. “The way we get around is unmistakably changed. Walking and cycling will be the primary means of advised transport. Governments take the opportunity to get their bicycle infrastructure in order. This could be in our advantage.”
Notion, a popular note-taking and wiki-creation app, revamped their personal pricing plans today stripping many of the user limitations from the free tier, bringing it on par with the functionality offered by the $ 5 per month paid plan of yore.
The company’s previous free tier had a fairly low usage limit (1,000 “blocks,” which are Notion’s content units) that ultimately kept users from doing anything too robust without paying up. By completely removing the limit on the amount of text and data you’re able to log, Notion is ensuring that most paid users can get everything they need from a free account.
They’re not completely abandoning premium-tier personal accounts; in fact, all existing paid customers are being transitioned to “Personal Pro” accounts at the same price they were paying before. The new plan, among other features, allows for file uploads larger than 5MB, unlimited guest collaborators and, most interestingly, upcoming access to a long-awaited Notion API that the company says is “coming soon, for real.” In September, Notion announced they were making the app free for students and teachers; now the company is rolling out access to the Personal Pro plan to these users as well.
Users that were tying multiple accounts to a single free account to manage some small shared database will be automatically transitioned to a free trial of the company’s teams product. Once they hit the 1,000 block limit, they’ll have to upgrade to the teams product or figure out a way to make the guest collaboration workflow on the free personal tier meet their needs.
Last month, Notion shared they had closed a new round of funding at a staggering $ 2 billion valuation. It certainly seems they’ve determined their future revenues will rely on expanding their teams product rather than monetizing individual users quite as aggressively. Like many workplace tools companies, Notion has relied somewhat on bottom-up scaling, so it’s likely they saw the opportunity of getting their platform in more users’ personal workflows and transitioning some of them to their teams products as a worthwhile long-term bet.
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There virtually no reason to investigate an old-school conventional company that hires you. Companies such as Apple, Google, and many retail stores are not going available. Almost always, you can assume the checks they pay you will not bounce, you will be paid for your work, etc.
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I am currently using my personal laptop for all work/startup related things and will be incorporating shortly.
Once incorporated I will be continuing to use my personal laptop for work for a period until such a time that a specific work laptop can be purchased via the company.
My question is, do I need to do anything in moving to an incorporated company such as transferring personal laptop to an asset in the company, so as all work-related stuff, particularly IP such as designs etc is then owned by the company, or is there some sort of legal document I should have drafted up to say whilst it is still my personal laptop it is being used for businesses purposes and therefore all IP belongs to the company?
I was admitted to- MIT, Princeton, Yale, and Columbia.
Currently, I am torn between Princeton and MIT. I am planning to pursue computer science, but it isn't an obsession of mine like it probably is for many students at MIT. Although I am strong at math, I feel that I stand out more as an orator and a leader rather than a techie.
My second choice option would probably be Economics/Business double major, which I can only take at MIT (Princeton has no undergrad business).
I aspire to have some sort of leadership or managerial role in the startup world.