Day: October 14, 2020

6 Tips to Stay Sane During Quarantine

An unprecedented global health crisis has forced many countries to implement quarantine and lockdown protocols to contain its spread. Because of this, people are left to stay at home for longer periods of time than they could ever imagine.

Being stuck inside your home doing the same things every day, staring at the same wall day in and day out, can be suffocating. The threat of the virus outside makes you feel anxious and terrified, but the new normal is also causing you immense boredom.

That’s okay, and it’s understandable. Know that feeling bored is a luxury in this trying time. Being bored at home means you’re safe. It’s the best thing you can hope for when millions of people are being affected by the virus outside.

Now, what you can do to curb this boredom, and all the other pressures you feel while isolated at home, is to adapt. Find useful things to make yourself productive, boost your mental health, and help you stay sane, such as the ones below.

Break a sweat

It’s important to remain physically active for metabolic purposes and better mental health. If you used to go to the gym before the virus swept your country, this shouldn’t be a reason for you to stop working on your physique—you can still work out at home.

You can check YouTube for different at-home workout exercises. You can find workouts that don’t require equipment, low impact for beginners, and various activities (e.g., HIIT, barre, yoga, etc.) you can choose from. Alternatively, you can try fitness apps. Staying active not only helps you keep up with your fitness, but it also makes you feel better.

Find a new hobby or expand your interests

to stay sane during quarantine

If your hobbies involve going outside, you might want to check out other pursuits you could do at home. Below are some ideas you can try and see if you’ll get hooked yourself:

  • Coffee home brewing
  • Gardening
  • Sewing
  • Painting
  • Embroidery
  • Repurposing or revamping furniture pieces

On the other hand, you can also expand your interests and skills. Since you have more time to kill at home, you can consider learning a new language, exercising your cooking skills, and upskilling or cross-skilling for your career growth.

Pick up some books

One of the best ways to ease your mind and focus on your time with yourself is by reading. If you still have a few untouched books lying around the house, it’s the perfect time to dust them off and start reading. On the other hand, you can ask your friends or family to hand you a couple of books to read at home.

You can make reading a part of your routine by allotting a couple of hours daily for it. If you want to talk about the books you’ve read, join online book clubs. If there’s none you find interesting, you can always start your own!

Stick to your routine as close as possible

staying sane during quarantine

To help you get a sense of normalcy, try to keep and do your routine pre-pandemic days. Staying at home doing nothing can make you feel lethargic. If you now work from home, get up at the same time pre-quarantine, and take time to get ready for work. If you used to grab some coffee before heading to the office, brew your own cup at home.

Clean up your space

Clutter and unnecessary knick-knacks often cause stress; you just don’t realize it. Keeping things tidy is especially important for your workspace, as it helps boost your productivity and lets you focus better. The last thing you need during this time is more stress at home. Make sure to declutter and keep your place neat as much as possible.

Reframe your mindset

Instead of thinking, “I am stuck at home,” shift your mindset and think about how much time you now have for yourself: “I can finally focus on myself.” Doing something you’ve always wanted to try (e.g., starting a podcast) or you’ve always needed to do but never had the time (e.g., decluttering your wardrobe) during this time can be productive.

This can also lead to shaping a more positive attitude and outlook for the future.

Wrapping it up

Until the world manages to fight the virus and reach a point where it’s safe to gradually go back to normal, the best you can do is make the most of your time at home. Hopefully, the tips above can help you start to organize your day-to-day for the better and inspire you to discover more about yourself.

The post 6 Tips to Stay Sane During Quarantine appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

As investors and founders mature, Vienna emerges as a European startup hub

According to Austrian Startup Monitor, entrepreneurs have founded more than 2,200 startups in Austria since 2008, with the number of tech companies growing 12% per year since then, significantly faster than the 3% growth rate for traditional companies.

Home to roughly 50% of Austria’s startups, Vienna has a plethora of VC, corporate and university investors. Top VCs include 3TS Capital Partners, AC & Friends, Cudos Capital, FSP Ventures, Hansmen Group, i4g Investment, i5invest, LilO Ventures, next.march, primeCROWD, Speedinvest and Venionaire Capital, among others.

The local ecosystem benefits from several initiatives, including the Social Impact Awards, Vienna Startup Awards, Design Week, Climate KIC Stage, Innovation Incubation Center and INiTS Accelerator. The well-run Pioneers Festival contributed massively to the ecosystem for several years after a certain TechCrunch editor-at-large gave the organizers an excuse to expand on a simple TechCrunch meetup. But the festival was shuttered last year after its sale to a local accelerator meant that the event itself ran out of steam. Perhaps it was just as well, given this year’s pandemic.

State support for startups is also there. The Austrian government created a comprehensive startup program in 2016 to make the country more attractive to startups setting up there.

Standout exits include fitness app maker Runtastic, acquired by Adidas for $240 million in 2015, as well as listings marketplace Shpock, which was acquired by Norwegian publishing conglomerate Schibsted in 2015. Other notable startups originally from Vienna include mySugr, wikifolio, kompany and Codeship.

There have been jitters on the way, however. The Austrian Private Equity and Venture Capital Organization’s 2019 report found that Austria’s startups saw €237.6 million invested in 2018, but, this number fell 8.2% to €218 million in 2019; the number of deals exceeding €500,000 also dipped by 8.7%. Foreign funding also slowed in 2019 after a few years of a bull run — between 40% and 63% of deals sized €0.25-€1.99 million were significantly funded by foreign investors in 2018.

Despite the decline, local investors have started to pick up the slack, boosting the number of funding rounds over €5 million to 12 deals in 2019 from 11 in 2018. In both years, all but one of those deals drew a substantial part of the funding round from foreign investors.

We expect more to emerge from Vienna’s tech scene in the future. The Pioneers Festival (RIP) proved that Vienna is a fascinating bridge between Western European capital and entrepreneurial culture, and East European entrepreneurs and talent, which it will no doubt continue to benefit from in years to come. But — just as will happen with Lisbon this year and the loss of Web Summit — the loss of a major conference in Vienna to shine a light on the city and ecosystem, combined with the pandemic, may have cooling effects for the next couple of years.


Notable Vienna startups:

  • Newsadoo: Uses artificial intelligence to personalize news.
  • Cashpresso: Links customers, merchants and banks to offer consumer financing options.
  • Jobrocker: An online job search portal that connects applicants’ CVs with job openings.
  • Storyblok: A headless content management system.
  • Byrd: First-mile shipping service that allows customers to ship items hassle-free.
  • Music Traveler: A marketplace that centralizes spaces with musical instruments and equipment.
  • PAYUCA: Provides flexible access to parking spaces in private office and residential buildings.
  • Refurbed: Fast-growing marketplace for refurbished electronics, across the German-speaking world.
  • Presono: A web platform for creating, managing and showing presentations in companies.
  • Blockpit: Develops software for portfolio tracking, tax calculation and compliance reporting of transactions for cryptocurrencies and crypto assets.
  • Robo Wunderkind: A robot for kids to build and program.
  • Medicus: Converts health data with their cryptic numbers and medical language into an easy-to-understand visual experience.
  • Cybershoes: VR accessory that allows you to walk through your favorite VR games.

Here’s who we interviewed:

Eva Arh, principal, Capital 300

What trends are you most excited about investing in, generally?
B2B software, robotics, no/low-code automation, AI-enabled vertical solutions, e-health, companies enabling others to hire and engage talent remotely.

What’s your latest, most exciting investment?
Lokalise.

Are there startups that you wish you would see in the industry but don’t? What are some overlooked opportunities right now?
Companies that enable others to manage and automate billing even further (e.g., per API call), next-gen video conferencing, solutions guiding women through menopause, providing solutions that help companies to offer mental health services to distributed teams, bringing cloud kitchens to the next level (not running central kitchens).

What are you looking for in your next investment, in general?
As always, ambitious, smart, hard-working teams eager to build a category leader in a huge market.

What other types of products/services are you wary or concerned about?
Concerned about solutions that leverage behavioral data to influence people for the sake of optimizing profit, overload of sales and marketing tech, overload of chatbot providers. [It is] hard to compete with players that have benefited from huge network effects such as food delivery.

How much are you focused on investing in your local ecosystem versus other startup hubs (or everywhere) in general? More than 50%? Less?
We focus on German-speaking areas and Central Eastern Europe. Opportunistically we would also invest outside of the region, still in Europe.

Which industries in your city and region seem well-positioned to thrive, or not, long term? What are companies you are excited about (your portfolio or not), which founders?
Austria — no specific industry focus within software. However, well-positioned in the biotech space, CEE — given the strong presence of IT outsourcing companies, the region is well-positioned to build solutions in the business-process automation, dev tool space. Storyblok (our portfolio). Others to watch: Anyline, Adverity, Bitpanda, PlanRadar, Refurbed.

How should investors in other cities think about the overall investment climate and opportunities in your city?
Regarding Vienna — we are seeing the first generation of entrepreneurs building global companies. Their and their team experience will be at utmost value creating a new wave of tech companies that compete on a global level.

Do you expect to see a surge in more founders coming from geographies outside major cities in the years to come, with startup hubs losing people due to the pandemic and lingering concerns, plus the attraction of remote work?
Yes, we already see this — exciting companies coming out of small cities in Poland, Germany, etc. and companies going remote.

Which industry segments that you invest in look weaker or more exposed to potential shifts in consumer and business behavior because of COVID-19? What are the opportunities startups may be able to tap into during these unprecedented times?
Telemedicine, online education has been accelerated. We see a shift that otherwise would have taken years, especially in the relatively conservative German-speaking area. As mentioned previously, mental health solutions, hiring and employing remotely are some of the opportunities highlighted by COVID-19. Companies that are heavily exposed are those that have been serving the long tail of companies, small merchants, and local businesses that were closed down or experienced much less traffic in past months and hence are extremely sensitive around their cost base, discontinuing services that are not 110% essential.

How has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy? What are the biggest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What is your advice to startups in your portfolio right now?
We have always been very selective and focused, partnering up three to four times a year. We continue at the same pace. The companies that perform well despite COVID-19 are still in a strong position for attracting external capital. Of course, we help our portfolio to secure a runway and have a discussion how/whether the situation has impacted their offering/GTM. Some companies have to rethink their value proposition, some rethink their target groups either to make up for slower sales cycles or on the other hand to leverage and benefit from the current situation.

Are you seeing “green shoots” regarding revenue growth, retention or other momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?
Yes, we see that Lokalise is growing heavily with the current customer base as their customers expand to new markets, likely to make up for slower revenue growth in their existing markets. We see that Nethone (fraud prevention) is able to double down on e-commerce. Online fraud and online transactions are skyrocketing as people spend much more time online. (On the other hand, their airline customers of course show a different trajectory.)

What is a moment that has given you hope in the last month or so? This can be professional, personal or a mix of the two.
It is inspiring to see how founders go through the current situation, act instead of reacting, especially in those countries where there is less government support incentives in place. Personally, I am also happy to see that people use the work from home time to rethink and introduce healthier habits.

Any other thoughts you want to share with TechCrunch readers?
As the world has gone online and the location matters much less, there is an opportunity to distribute the created value and wealth more evenly — be it a company founded in a “non-tech-hub” location or be it talent hired remotely.

Triller follows TikTok in banning QAnon conspiracy content

Triller follows TikTok in banning QAnon conspiracy content

Triller, the short-form video app aggressively competing for a piece of TikTok’s pie, has belatedly followed its rival in attempting to ban content relating to the QAnon conspiracy theory.

According to a report by Insider, the company has said it will not allow QAnon content going forward, and hashtags #QAnon and #QAnonBeliever have been disabled on the app. Mashable confirmed that while those tag searches appear empty, other hashtags popular with the theory’s adherents, including #q, #WWG1WGA and other workaround tags, were still surfacing QAnon content.

QAnon is a cultish, baseless conspiracy theory whose followers believe that President Trump is actually a leader in a secret war against a worldwide cabal of celebrities and politicians who engage in human trafficking, as claimed by a series of anonymous posts on messageboards including 4chan and 8kun. The FBI considers the “movement” to be a domestic terrorism threatRead more…

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