Spotify job listing hints the company’s ‘first physical products’ are coming


Spotify so far has been content to partner far and wide on hardware, via its Spotify Connect platform, which allows anyone building a connected speaker, mobile device or piece of AV equipment to turn their gadget into a Spotify speaker. But a new job listing suggests it will soon build hardware of its own, and it’s looking for people to help make that happen.

The job listing, spotted by The Guardian, seeks an ops manager for “hardware product,” and the first line of the description says outright that “Spotify is on its way to creating its first physical products,” though it doesn’t go into detail bout what those products might be. Chances are good that these will be smart, connected speakers of some kind, however, since it seems like a logical first step into the hardware world for software-focused Spotify.

A dedicated Spotify smart speaker could be a very good thing, especially if it integrates some kind of assistant tech, and could help the streaming leader translate its software success into an ecosystem of products with a bit more range in terms of diversifying their business. The question would be what Spotify could offer that devices from existing partners cannot, and whether Spotify would continue its strategy of embracing such an open ecosystem of hardware partners if it’s also making its own.

Another possibility is that Spotify explore dedicated streaming devices (a low-cost, Spotify-specific iPod-type media player seems like an idea with legs, for instance). But based on this listing, it seems like it’s still early days for any gadget strategy from the streaming music provider.

Featured Image: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock

Tandem launches a credit card that offers cashback and no fees when spending abroad


Tandem, the U.K. challenger bank that recently acquired the banking arm of the famous Harrods department store partly in order to get its banking license back on track, has launched its first banking product: a credit card that offers cashback on every purchase and no exchange fees when spending abroad.

The new card is designed to work with Tandem’s Personal Finance Manager (PFM) app, which you plug into your existing bank accounts and credit cards to get spending insights and set budgeting goals to help you better manage your money.

The challenger bank, like many other consumer-facing fintechs, wants to become your financial control centre from which it can connect to and offer financial services, either products of its own, such as the newly launched Tandem credit card, or through partnerships with other fintech startups or bigger providers. On that note, Tandem says it plans to offer a savings account in the near future.

Specifically, Tandem says its new credit card brings customers a competitive combination of cashback on all purchases (0.5 percent), no overseas transaction fees, a “market leading” exchange rate, and real time updates when you purchase.

It isn’t the only credit card of its ilk in the U.K. — there are a number of cashback-styled credit cards — although Tandem isn’t charging a monthly fee, which is certainly a draw. (Its APR of 18.9 percent isn’t the lowest on the market, however).

It also points to the startup bank’s initital “attack vector” (as Monzo’s Tom Blomfield calls each fintech’s entrance point): come for the cashback credit card and zero fees when spending abroad, and stay for the PFM and soon-to-launch savings deposit accounts.

The latter, of course, means as a licensed bank Tandem can begin lending out a portion of those deposits, which would begin to form the basis of a proven business model.

To that end, Tandem says it chose to launch with a credit card for multiple reasons. A credit card gives customers free protection on purchases over £100, so you’ll get your money back if, for example, a retailer goes bust. “On top of this, everyone needs some extra cash once in a while. Tandem want to be there when you need some money to cover an emergency cost,” says the self-described “Good Bank”.

Adds Ricky Knox, Tandem’s CEO, in a statement: “With our new banking license, our banking app and our new credit card, 2018 is going to be a great year for Tandem. We are looking forward to getting our colourful cards into the hands of customers – I can’t wait to start seeing customers tapping around town”.

Every graphic designer can benefit from taking online courses like these

Image: pixabay

Americans spend nearly 11 hours a day glued to a screen, a recent Nielsen report indicates. It may be spent playing video games, checking social media, streaming shows, or god-forbid, working, but the fact is that the average person devotes almost half a day to the screen. Because of this, companies are continually competing for everyone’s attention. And naturally, these businesses seek the help of competent graphic designers to produce creative that will stand out.

If you’re a creative soul but have a penchant for doing work that actually pays, you might want to consider pursuing a career in graphic design. On top of having innate artistic talent, being a full-fledged designer means you also have to know the tools and tricks of the trade. You need to be well-versed in industry concepts and terminologies as well as top design software. This bundle of online courses dedicated to all things graphic design can help you get there for just $19.

With more than 310 lessons and some 30 hours of training, you’ll get down to the nitty-gritty of graphic design with these courses:

Become a Professional Graphic Designer

This course aims to provide you with the foundational knowledge you need to dive into the world of graphic design. You will discover the principles of visual communication, learn the latest trends in the industry, and gain insight as to how to forge a career as a designer.

Typography From A to Z

Typography plays a vital role in graphic design. In this course, you’ll get acquainted with typography principles in digital and print media, explore different font classifications, and learn typography’s effect on the masses. You’ll also get the chance create text-based logos and designs from scratch.

Getting Started with Dreamweaver CC

If you want to make it as a designer, you will have to master Dreamweaver. With five hours of content, this set of lessons will help you get comfortable with the Dreamweaver interface. You’ll get to explore the software thoroughly, and learn how to build a fully functional web layout from the ground up.

Getting Started with InDesign CC

Now if you’re interested in working in print media, then you’ll have to be a pro at InDesign. This course will help you navigate through the complex interface and teach you how to create and convert appealing layouts and documents.

Getting Started with Illustrator CC

This course will get you to grips with Illustrator, Adobe‘s flagship vector graphics editor. You will learn the different functions of thel commands and tools, as well as how to create and manage your vector artwork. You’ll also be introduced to advanced techniques so you can create more polished designs.

Affinity Designer For Beginners

Affinity Designer is the go-to platform for artists on a budget. In this course, you’ll get familiar with its different tools and learn how to manipulate images and create graphics using the software.

Learn Photoshop CC Essentials

And of course, you’ll get a chance to master Photoshop, the world’s most popular photo editor and design program. With five hours of training, this course will teach you how to use the software for different projects like game animation, logo design, and photography. You’ll also get to work on real designs so you can enhance your portfolio.

The Ultimate Graphic Design Mastery Bundle is usually worth $565, but for a limited time, Mashable readers can get the entire set for only $19.

9 things you need to know about the Russian social media election ads

Russian interference in the U.S. election is no longer just speculation: Special counsel Robert Mueller brought criminal charges against 13 people and three businesses on Feb. 16. His indictment charges the defendants with conducting “information warfare” against the U.S. — predominantly through social media.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google testified before Congress in November on multiple occasions in regards to accounts based in Russia that purchased politically motivated ads leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Since then, social media networks have released some of those ads and shared data on how many users were affected. While the investigation continues into just how much impact those Russian social media election ads may have had, the companies have already uncovered a number of different facts on those ads — here’s what social media users need to know about the data.

Criminal charges have been filed — but the investigation doesn’t say if the fakes made an impact

On Friday, special counsel Mueller filed charges for conspiracy and identify theft, along with failing to register as foreign agents. The charges also include laws that prohibit foreign funds from being used in U.S. elections. According to the charges, the Russian nationals and businesses pretended to be Americans during the 2016 presidential campaign in activities from social media posts to rallies. The indictment also claims that the Internet Research Agency and other Russian-origin posts also discouraged minorities from even going to the polls.

While social media posts that are part of the investigation supported now President Donald Trump, the indictment doesn’t determine if those social media posts made an actual impact on the election, according to USA Today. Along with using bots and stolen identities, the foreign agents also used groups or social media pages, including one pretending to be associated with Black Lives Matter. The investigation also uncovered an email from one of those 13 nationals, Irina Kaverzina, which says, “I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed it was written by their people.”

The interference crosses multiple platforms with a wider reach than first estimated

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube all have data indicating some political ads leading up to the election were purchased by Russian organizations. Facebook ads had the largest audience, with sponsored posts reaching as many as 126 million Americans (based on estimates from November). The Facebook-owned Instagram also had 120,000 posts with Russian links, though it’s unclear how many users saw those posts.

The reach of Russian trolling ads is also much wider than originally thought. Facebook originally said 3,000 ads were purchased by Russian trolls, with a reach of around 10,000, but now that number is 80,000 ads and a 126-million reach, though that new data also encompasses non-paid posts, images, and events.

On Twitter, at least 2,752 accounts and over 36,000 bots sharing political posts were connected to Russia, the platform shared in November. Twitter says, however, that only 0.74 percent of election-related Tweets came from those accounts, getting just 0.33 percent of impressions out of all the political Tweets between September 1 and November 15, 2016.

Google says that one group spent $4,700 on search and display ads during the election, though none of those ads were targeted toward specific states or political interests. YouTube had 1,108 English-language videos from 18 Russian trolling accounts, though not all of those were political and only three percent saw upward of 5,000 views. The company didn’t find any related Google+ ads in English, though there were some written in Russian.

Platforms are already making changes as a result of the interference

While the impact of the ads isn’t yet fully understood, the ads have already sparked changes that users will begin to see rolling out on social media platforms. Facebook and Twitter will soon start labeling political posts, including who paid for those posts. While ads on TV, radio, and in print are required to have that “paid for by” spiel, ads online and on social media don’t fall under the same regulations. The bi-partisan Honest Ads Act aims to bring online ads up to the same regulations, but it still needs to make it all the way through the law-making process.

While the “paid for by” label will be easy to see, social media companies are also making changes behind the scenes. During its quarterly conference call with investors, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the platform’s efforts to enhance security will cut into the company’s profitability. The company will be doubling the 10,000 employees handling safety and security, along with expanding AI programs for automatically flagging suspicious activity — though that change isn’t just for spotting inauthentic political ads.

Many ads were difficult to pick up as fakes

Many of the ads had few clues indicating that they came from outside the United States. The names used were often misleading, and the largest group behind those ads is simply called the Internet Research Agency. On Twitter, where usernames can be pretty much anything, one account linked to Russian trolls pretended to be Tennessee Republicans and used the handle @Ten_GOP — and even members of the Trump administration retweeted some posts from that account. Twitter user handles among the list of known troll accounts also included regular names and misspellings of celebrities like “ashleysimpsn.”

The investigation leading to the current charges also uncovered an email where one of those 13 nationals, Irina Kaverzina, wrote, “I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed it was written by their people.”

Not all of the ads targeted the 2016 election directly, but they could have had an effect nonetheless. As the New York Times points out, the Internet Research Agency created Back the Badge and Blacktivists, two groups on opposite sides of the issues during the Black Lives Matters movements. These groups weren’t necessarily election-related but could have been designed to spark chaos and unrest, the Times suggests. Others called for immigration reform and support for the second amendment.

Spending wasn’t as high, but reach was still wide

The Internet Research Agency spent $46,000 on Facebook ads, while Trump and Clinton together spent $81 million on the platform. While it’s unclear if other Russian groups were behind some of those other ads, spending by Russian trolls was significantly less than U.S. political groups and candidates.

Advertising reach doesn’t always translate into an exact number of impressions for the same amount spent. When an ad gets more engagements in the form of likes and comments, that ad will reach more people than an ad with the same budget but fewer interactions.

While it may be impossible to determine if ads had a direct effect, they did spark actions in real life

Establishing a number and estimated reach is one thing, but there isn’t a way to determine if (or how many of) those ads actually swayed voters to change their candidate. While the outcome of the Russian interference may never be completely uncovered, some of those ads have already been proven to have led to reactions. Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina shared during the November 1 hearing that ads from the Russian-backed Heart of Texas and United Muslims of America pages sparked a protest in Houston, Texas, with about 12 anti-Muslim protesters and over 50 countering that protest.

Ads are only part of the problem

While ads and sponsored posts are a main focus of the investigation, organic reach played a role as well. The November hearing revealed that Russian-backed Facebook pages used non-paid posts to spread misinformation about a number of hot-topic issues. On Twitter, bots helped spread the reach of organic tweets.

Uncovering, then banning troll accounts isn’t so cut and dried

Social media is often forced into a tight spot between preventing abuse and hindering free speech. RT (formerly called Russia Today), a Russian international TV network with a YouTube channel, is still an active account despite being named the Kremlin’s “principal international propaganda outlet.” Google says RT doesn’t violate any community guidelines and that the content is also available on cable and satellite.

The 80,000 ads Facebook removed were taken down not because of what was in them, but because the account creators misrepresented who they are. After the first presentation to Congress a month ago, Facebook said that its advertising guidelines help prevent abuse without inhibiting free speech.

Spotting abuse on a platform with 2.1 billion monthly active users is also a challenge, as evidenced by more than just political ads but inappropriate ad targeting, which Facebook recently apologized for. Facebook uses a mix of AI algorithms and human reviewers, and says it will be expanding both to improve effectiveness.

There could be more to uncover

While a few dozen Russian-backed ads have already been shared with the public, the House intelligence committee says it is working to release all the findings after removing personal data from them. With the full release of the information yet to come, and social media companies continuing to work on solutions, social media users can expect to see more changes stemming from the investigation as well as legislation like the Honest Ads Act.

Editors’ Recommendations

Samsung unveils world’s largest SSD with whopping 30TB of storage

Samsung has unveiled the world’s largest solid state drive — an unassuming-looking bit of kit that boasts a whopping 30.72 terabytes of storage. It’s the most storage ever crammed into the 2.5-inch form factor, and is designed for enterprise customers looking to move away from the mechanical parts of your standard disk-based hard drive.

The PM1643, as it’s called, is built from 32 sticks of 1TB NAND flash packages, each of which contains 16 layers of 512Gb V-NAND chips. That’s enough space to hold 5,700 HD movies or roughly 500 days of non-stop video, and offers twice the capacity of the former largest SSD — a 16 terabyte drive also released by Samsung back in March 2016. (Seagate did make a bigger 60 terabyte SSD, but that was in the more spacious 3.5-inch form factor and was only “demonstration technology” that doesn’t seem to have gone on sale.)

The new Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drive offers impressive sequential read and write speeds of up to 2,100MB/s and 1,700 MB/s. That’s about three times as fast as the average SATA SSD you’d find in a consumer desktop or laptop, like Samsung’s own SSD 850 EVO. And the drive is robust too, with Samsung offering a five-year warranty that’s good for one full drive write per day.

When exactly the PM1643 will go on sale and for how much isn’t known, but Samsung says now it’s got this form factor settled it’ll expand its range of SAS SSDs later this year, with 16.36TB, 7.68TB, 3.84TB, 1.92TB, 960GB, and 800GB versions to come. As Samsung executive VP of memory sales Jaesoo Han said in a press statement, the company will “continue to move aggressively in meeting the shifting demand toward SSDs over 10TB.”

Don’t expect to see 30TB SSDs turning up in laptops or desktop PCs anytime soon of course. But new biggest-ever storage components like this are always trailblazers, and create downward pressure on prices in the consumer market. Now if only we could get a terabyte’s worth of storage in our phones.

Tokyo is planning to build the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper

skyscraper

Sumitomo Forestry

The Japanese architectural and construction firm Sumitomo Forestry Co. has announced plans for a 70-story tall skyscraper in Tokyo constructed of wood. Known as the W350 project, the structure will be 1,148 feet tall and will include residential apartments and public spaces on multiple floors, mixed with hotel, office, and retail space.

The Guardian, which dubbed it the “Plyscraper,” noted that the $5.6 billion cost of the project will be nearly twice that of a similar glass-and-steel conventional building. The company says that the cost of the project will decline due to technological advances, as the high-rise is not scheduled for completion until 2041.

In an outline of the project, Sumitomo said the structure would be made of 90 percent wooden materials, with crisscrossing steel braces to better withstand Japan’s high seismic activity.

In 2010, Japan enacted an ordinance requiring construction companies to use wood for public buildings. Sumitomo aims to take that a step further and “Change Cities into Forests” by using materials that are more environmentally friendly.

Wooden high-rise structures are gaining popularity around the world. Portland recently approved construction of the tallest all-wood building in the U.S., an 11-story office and apartment building known as Framework.

Brock Commons, a residential structure at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, is currently the tallest wooden building in the world at 174 feet tall. The building speed was a big factor, John Metras of UBC explained to ArchDaily. “We found that working with wood, we could reduce timelines for construction,” he said. “The assembly of the wood structure went up incredibly quickly, faster than we even expected.”

Vancouver may not hold the record for long, however, as an ambitious new project planned for Chicago is a residential high-rise that’s 800 feet and 80 stories tall.

The W350 project is scheduled for completion to coincide with the company’s 350th anniversary. Balconies on all four sides will help vegetation grow along the outside of the high-rise, all the way to the top floor. The company says the new building will be an example of “urban development that is kind for humans,” with more high-rises constructed from wood and covered with greenery “making over cities as forests.”

Editors’ Recommendations

It’s deja vu as Daimler is hit with claims of cheating emissions tests

daimler mercedes benz all power trains electric mobility plan vehicles 1200x797

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

It’s deja vu all over again as new reports begin to surface that Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, Daimler, may have installed software in its cars to help pass diesel emissions tests. According to German magazine Der Spiegel, U.S. investigators found that Daimler cars were outfitted with “several software functions that helped Daimler cars pass emissions tests.” This software is reportedly quite similar to that used by Volkswagen in the infamous 2015 case, which resulted in serious fines and a number of ongoing lawsuits for the German automaker.

While one would think that other companies would have taken a lesson from VW’s misstep, it appears that at least one major conglomerate did no such thing. Daimler has been suspected of cheating on U.S. emission tests since at least 2016, when customers filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that their cars had software intended to trick emissions testers. And now, there appears to be more proof behind these claims.

Per reports from newspaper Bild am Sonntag, there are documents showing that American investigators have identified software functions that will switch off emissions cleaning after 26 kilometers (16 miles) of driving, as well as another function that helps a vehicle’s emissions cleaning system recognize whether or not the car is being tested based upon speed and acceleration patterns.

The newspaper also cites damning emails from Daimler engineers that raise questions about the legality of these software functions.

Despite these allegations, Daimler is maintaining that it has done nothing wrong. The company has told Der Spiegel that it will “take all legal means against the allegation of a defeat device.” A spokesperson has also told Reuters that while authorities are aware of the documents published by Bild am Sonntag, “no complaint has been filed.” The spokesperson noted further that “the documents available to Bild have obviously selectively been released in order to harm Daimler and its 290,000 employees.”

 In any case, the automaker says that it is cooperating fully with authorities in the U.S. and has agreed to strict confidentiality terms with the Department of Justice. We will update you with more information as it becomes available.

Editors’ Recommendations

U.S. stays in fifth in global 4G availability rankings, increases in 4G speed

According to OpenSignal’s latest State of LTE report, the country with the best 4G availability is South Korea — yet again. While the U.S. is still in fifth place for availability, it saw an increase in 4G speed.

OpenSignal monitors the performance of mobile networks using crowdsourced data with the OpenSignal app. The app compares the performance of networks in surrounding areas and tests the speed of the mobile connections.

This quarter’s report collected more than 58 billion measurements from more than 4 million devices from October 1 to December 29. The analysis highlights 4G LTE speed, 4G availability, and how other countries ranked in comparison.

While the U.S. hasn’t moved up from the fifth spot, 4G availability has increased in the country since last quarter from 86.94 percent to 90.32 percent. There is now a total of five countries that have 4G availability greater than 90 percent — which means South Korea and Japan are no longer the only ones.

Even though the availability is rising, the LTE speeds have failed to see a significant increase the past few global reports. Countries have been close to hitting the 50 Mbps mark, but seem to hover over 45 Mbps. But there were some notable increases in speed such as in the Netherlands and Spain, along with Canada.

The U.S. has also managed to regain its strength after it saw a major decrease in 4G speeds due to AT&T and Verizon’s reintroduction of unlimited data plans. The decrease was most likely due to network congestion caused by an increase in customers, or data usage from already existing customers — which resulted in the average connection speed for all customers to drop.

In an OpenSignal report from last August, both Verizon’s LTE download connection dropped 12 percent — from 16.9 Mbps to 14.9 Mbps — while AT&T was less extreme at 12.9 Mbps from its previous 13.9 Mbps. But as a whole, the country has gone from 13.98 Mbps in last quarter’s report to 16.31 Mbps, which is a sizable increase.

For now, the best performers in speed are Singapore, Netherlands, and Norway, who range from 41.20 Mbps to 44.31 Mbps. It’s important to note that while the U.S. was one of the first countries to take on 4G, a country’s speed is dependent on a variety of factors — including regulations, the economy, and technology.

Editors’ Recommendations

Welp, Steven Seagal is endorsing a cryptocurrency called ‘Bitcoiin’

Cryptocurrency master Steven Seagal.
Cryptocurrency master Steven Seagal.

Image: Mikhail Japaridze\TASS via Getty Images

Questionable ICOs have left many investors with Exit Wounds, but that hasn’t stopped Steven Seagal from backing one.

The ’90s action star became the worldwide ambassador of a cryptocurrency called Bitcoiin 2nd Generation, news that he confirmed on his Twitter account.

If the double “i” in the name didn’t prompt reluctance, there’s a couple of worrying signs regarding Bitcoiin2Gen.

As noted by Coindesk, the website for Bitcoiin2Gen lists no details about who’s actually behind the cryptocurrency. Its domain was originally registered in 2015 in Panama, but changed hands around Jan. 8. 

Despite the name, Bitcoiin2Gen is claimed to be based on Ethereum’s blockchain. 

As per Seagal’s endorsement, it’s offering an affiliate program for an Initial Coin Offering that just so happens to be accompanied with a pyramid chart.

Then there’s its white paper, which is scant on any detail on what it actually does, aside from promising investors high returns.

Perhaps the best part of the whole thing is the press release that accompanies Seagal’s ambassador announcement:

As a Buddhist, Zen teacher, and healer, Steven lives by the principles that the development of the physical self is essential to protect the spiritual man. He believes that what he does in his life is about leading people into contemplation to wake them up and enlighten them in some manner. These are precisely the objectives of the Bitcoiin2Gen to empower the community by providing a decentralized P2P payment system with its own wallet, mining ecosystem and robust blockchain platform without the need of any third party.

Suitably, there was plenty of chatter about Seagal’s latest endeavour.

It’s worth noting that the Securities and Exchanges Commission has warned about celebrity endorsed cryptocurrencies and ICOs, as per a statement in November.

“Celebrities and others are using social media networks to encourage the public to purchase stocks and other investments,” it reads. 

“These endorsements may be unlawful if they do not disclose the nature, source, and amount of any compensation paid, directly or indirectly, by the company in exchange for the endorsement

“Celebrities who endorse an investment often do not have sufficient expertise to ensure that the investment is appropriate and in compliance with federal securities laws. Conduct research before making investments, including in ICOs.”

Not that you needed be told about investing carefully, but alas.

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Homie raises $4M to help London’s ‘Generation Rent’ find their next property


So bad is London’s housing crisis, which sees house prices make homeownership a pipe dream for many, a 2015 report by PWC reckons that by 2025 more than half of under 40 year olds will be living into rental properties.

The answer, of course, is to build more affordable and/or social housing, but that hot political potato is continually kicked to into the long grass and, even at its most optimistic, will take a generation to fix. In other words, so-called ‘Generation Rent’ is real and here to stay.

But one societal crisis is another startup’s opportunity, and we’ve already seen a number of companies crop up to serve the rental needs of Londoners and people living in other housing stock-starved cities.

These include consumer-facing apps like Acasa, which wants to make it easy to move from one houseshare to another, B2B services like the recently troubled Goodlord, which is digitising the rental process on behalf of lettings agencies, and a plethora of online estate agents, such as Open Rent, Home Made and Rentify, that help home owners rent out their property.

Another nascent proptech startup targeting ‘Generation Rent’ is London-based Homie, which might best be described as a concierge-style service that promises to save Londoner’s time, hassle and money when going in search of their next rental property. Today the company is disclosing that it has raised a further $4 million in Seed funding in a round led by Connect Ventures, with participation from Venture Friends, Seedcamp, and The Family. It brings total funding raised to date by Homie to $6 million since being founded in 2016.

Claiming to help renters “find, view and agree the homes they want in as little as three days,” the way Homie works is as follows:

You first enter your home search details and then get assigned your own Homie, a ‘personal agent’ that runs your home search and sends you a curated list of properties that matches your needs. That’s about as #Lazyweb as it comes.

Next up you’re asked to choose your favourites via the web-app and book viewings online at your preferred date and time. The Homie then schedules all viewings with multiple agencies into one tour. They then act as the your agent, accompanying you on a cab journey across London to visit your top ten properties, whilst offering “unbiased advice” on the area.

At this point you are probably wondering how all of this is viable from a unit economics point of view. Founder and CEO Alex Eid tells me Homie generates revenue by acting as a broker between renters and real-estate agents. “We make introductory fees from the agents we place the tenants in. Very much like the Deliveroo model,” he says.

Typical Homie customers are said to be students (“first time renters who don’t understand the real estate market, need to organise the logistics to move in with their friends, and need to find a solution that best fits their limited budget”), young professionals who have limited time to go house hunting, and millennial expats who need help figuring out the best place to live and navigating the market for the best value homes.

“Our direct competition are relocation agents, expensive private agents used by corporates to find accommodation for their employees moving from one city to another. An unaffordable option for most people,” says Eid.

“The main competition however is renters doing it themselves. They have no other option but to search multiple property sites and go through the hassle of contacting real estate agencies one by one to book single viewings. Homie is a first of its kind consumer brand for real estate services; provides a complete and tailored home search across the whole market, property scheduling, transportation and guidance”.