Day: September 11, 2020

No Mercy: SEC charges rapper T.I. over cryptocurrency scam

No Mercy: SEC charges rapper T.I. over cryptocurrency scam

It would seem T.I. left a paper trail. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday announced charges against the 39-year-old rapper, real name Clifford Joseph Harris, for his alleged role in promoting a fraudulent initial coin offering. Harris, the SEC claims, sold cryptocurrency tokens via his Twitter account and encouraged his followers to invest in the 2017 FLiK ICO — all the while falsely claiming to be a part owner. 

According to the SEC, the ICO was (surprise!) essentially a scam run by film producer Ryan Felton. Felton promised to build “Netflix on the blockchain” (LOL), but never delivered. Instead, Felton allegedly used money from FLiK ICO investors to drive up the price of a second token, SPARK, which Felton also controlled.  Read more…

More about T.I., Cryptocurrency, Initial Coin Offering, Ico, and Tech

7 Signs You Need to Hire A Plumber ASAP

A house is like a working factory. It may not resemble one but if you look closely you can relate to it. There are so many systems working together to keep it a functional house.
Let us have a look in the kitchen.

There are several appliances for heating, cooling, and brewing your food and drinks. Most of these appliances are either connected to water pipes, gas lines, or electricity. Then there is a sink, plumbing fixtures, and its garbage disposal.

A lot of pipes and wires can be seen while others are fixed in the walls. The same is the case with your bathroom and other parts of your home.

It is easy to tell that the plumbing is the central system of your home. You can’t imagine a happy and healthy day without a working plumbing system. If you want to keep your daily routine on its track, it is important to know the warnings signs.

Here is a list of 7 signs you need to hire a plumber as soon as possible.

Burst Or Leaky Pipes

leaking pipes

A burst pipe can flood your house within a few minutes. It can incur water damages worth thousands of dollars. The first step is to find the main water valve and shut it down. Once you have stopped the water flow successfully, it is best to call your nearest plumber to fix it. Smart homeowners understand the importance of immediate action in case of burst pipes or you will be dealing with a mold problem in your house very soon.

Failed Water Heater

Opening your tap to unwind under a hot shower is a moment of relaxation. What if you are hit with stone-cold water? This is a sign of water heater failure. Check the thermostat of the water heater. Is it adjusted at the right temperature setting? Is the water heater working? DIY repair of a water heater is a major risk. Hiring a professional plumber is the safest approach.

No Water In Your House

when to call a plumber no water

Well, having no water in your house is a little less annoying than water flooding your home but you can’t continue to live like that. You have to hire a plumber to check the main water supply. You can check on your water utility for reporting the issue if the plumber is unable to fix the issue.

Water Pressure Is Non-Existent

Low or non-existent water pressure in your house indicates an underlying problem in your plumbing system. It may be a clogged or leaky pipe. If water pressure has declined in a single faucet, simple cleaning of the pipe can fix the issue. Most of the homeowners need professional assistance to fix the issue.

If you have pressure problems in all of your plumbing fixtures, it probably indicates a major leak or clogs. It is important to find a master plumber to fix it because clogs can often lead to burst pipes.

Slow Draining Sinks

The slow draining sink is one of the ugliest sights. You have to look at the toothpaste remains and soap bubbles in your sink long after you are done with brushing your teeth. It is gross.

Simple DIY drain cleaning tricks can be very helpful in removing the drain clogs but, at times, you need professional plumbers to get it running. Make sure to check the competence and reliability of a plumber before letting them in your house.

A Serious Back Flow Issue

Backflow issues are some of the worst plumbing issues. The water going down the drains is not that smelly but when it returns from the main drain, it can be pretty disgusting, not to mention the contamination.

The backflow can soak your investments on the floor furnishings within a few hours. Whether you have carpets, expensive hardwood, or both of them, water can ruin them. Hiring a plumber is the most efficient way to get it over with.

Soggy Basement

What if you find your basement a bit soggy on your last trip? The water in your basement is not something you should ignore. Hire the best plumbing services to get it checked.

The post 7 Signs You Need to Hire A Plumber ASAP appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Skullcandy Crusher Evo review: Like a subwoofer for your head

Skullcandy Crusher Evo review: Like a subwoofer for your head

Skullcandy Crusher Evo wireless headphones
$199
The Good

Huge • thumping bass • Long battery life • Built-in Tile tracking • Unique Personal Sound system

The Bad

Bass slider can drown out sounds • Overall sound quality is just OK

The Bottom Line

Skullcandy’s new bass-heavy headphones mostly deliver the goods, even if more expensive competition provides richer total sound quality.

⚡ Mashable Score
4.0
😎 Cool Factor
4.0
📘Ease of Use
4.0
💪Performance
3.5
💵Bang for the Buck
4.5

Back in high school, I had friends who spent what little money they had tricking out their otherwise modest cars with bass systems that shook you to the bone, regardless of how bad it might have made everything else sound. Skullcandy’s new Crusher Evo over-ear headphones come with a similar philosophy. Read more…

More about Headphones, Audio Electronics, Skullcandy, Tech, and Consumer Tech

Santander spins out its $400M fintech venture capital arm, now called Mouro Capital

Santander, the Spanish multinational banking giant, is announcing that its fintech venture arm is to be spun out and will be managed more autonomously going forward.

Previously known as Santander Innoventures and first established in 2014, the VC is being re-branded to Mouro Capital. It will continue to be headed up by general partner Manuel Silva Martínez, who joined Innoventures five years ago and has led the fund since 2018, and senior advisor Chris Gottschalk, who joined from Blumberg Capital last year.

Noteworthy, despite its new-founded independence, Santander will remain Mouro Capital’s sole investor/LP, including doubling its current commitment, seeing the VC have $400 million in allotted funds.

However, my understanding is that by being managed autonomously from the multinational bank, Mouro will be able to invest more nimbly, including placing bets adjacent to pure fintech or financial services and in startups that could more directly compete with Santander’s own product lines. It should also help remove any market perception that portfolio companies aren’t independent of the incumbent bank, in terms of future investment or partnerships with Santander competitors.

Meanwhile, Santander Innoventures was an early backer of a number of so-called unicorns (companies valued at more than a billion dollars). They include Ripple, Tradeshift, and Upgrade. It has sees a number of exits, too, including iZettle to PayPal in 2018 for $2 billion, and Kabbage acquired by Amex last month.

“Mouro Capital aims to bring its fintech expertise, global network and strong track-record in successful investments to early and growth stage startups globally. The fund will continue to deploy capital across Europe and the Americas, primarily leading investment rounds with initial investments of up to $15 million and further follow-on reserves,” says Santander.

I put written questions to Mouro Capital general partner Manuel Silva Martínez to find out more. The following Q&A has been lightly edited.

TechCrunch: What does this enable the fund to do that it couldn’t already? Does its independence enable it to be more aggressive with investing in products that could compete directly with Santander’s own services and products? Or it is more about speed in relation to the investment committee making quicker decisions?

Manuel Silva Martínez: Santander InnoVentures was fairly optimized as a corporate venture capital fund in terms of operations and speed of investment. However, the evolution into the Mouro Capital structure allows for extra alignment with entrepreneurs and co-investors (their success being the #1 objective), even faster/nimbler processes, and potentially a bolder investment strategy within the themes and investment policy agreed with our Limited Partner.

Shifting to a separate brand also reduces any potential affiliation that entrepreneurs may fear as potentially conflicting (commercially, IP), further reassured by a cleaner legal separation. On the change of the investment policy point, indeed Mouro will deploy a bolder investment strategy, that may involve investing in perceived competitors (which has been done in the past, e.g. neobank Klar in Mexico, lender Creditas in Brazil, or Curve in the UK), but this still fits into the logic that, if a venture capital affiliated with an industrial player should be a lighthouse for the ‘industry to come’, investing in emerging competitors that may reshape the future/long-term competitive landscape is just as aligned as any other topic.

In addition to that, Mouro will also explore the ‘boundaries’ of financial services, so you can expect to see Mouro invest from time to time in areas such as proptech, mobility, logistics, edtech, etc.

How big is the current team in terms of investment members and other support? And how is this going to change going forward? i.e. further operational/portfolio support or new investment partner members etc.

The current investment team has six members, with the Finance, Legal/Compliance and Communications also internalised (so, extra three people). The team will indeed grow. Still early to say, but we would expect the investment team to add another 3-4 professionals with backgrounds aligned with our values (fintech expertise, entrepreneurial/operational expertise, exposure to specific networks we are interested in, esp. in Europe).

In addition to that, we will be building a ‘business development’ and operations support team to assist our companies with their growth needs and also with building mutually beneficial relationships with Santander and across the portfolio.

Aside from being broadly fintech/financial services focused, perhaps you can share a bit more on the Mouro thesis going forward.

As you say, we take a very broad view to the future of financial services, looking even beyond today’s industry boundaries. We ask ourselves fundamental questions and build strong theses around topics we are passionate about while keeping an open mind to new ideas that challenge our beliefs. In a way, we operate along three horizons that are complementary in addressing different angles of where we see the industry going:

  • In the short term, we invest in technologies that allow incumbents to make the transition into digital throught better processes. Questions like: how can we bring automation and real-time applications into banking infrastructure? How can we build richer data ecosystems? What new client value propositions are emerging in developed and developing markets? How can banking services be delivered through APIs? How can finance be embedded in third-party journeys?
  • There are also companies that have superior capabilities (technology, data science, installed capacity) that, combined with banks or other startups, could build new businesses or re-engineer businesses from scratch. Questions like: how are novel technologies and new engineering paradigms (artificial intelligence, blockchain, quantum computing) changing how banks work? What emerging enterprise software utilities and platforms will be the gateway to tomorrow’s financial services? This is about building new businesses within the status quo of today’s industry by lining up the right resources and players.

  • More for the long term, we also look at how the industry is meant to evolve and reinvent itself, potentially by even transcending itself and crossing over with other industries to create new white-spaces. Questions like: how can industries be more integrated and converge into new white spaces fueled by finance? What is the role of money in a data-rich world?