For those who were too busy enjoying the glorious sunshine in London yesterday, you may have missed the headlines about San Francisco’s outright ban of facial recognition tech for security surveillance purposes. The ban was brought on by widespread concern about the expansion of government surveillance and potential issues with profiling bias. While concerns over the increasing amount we are all monitored by technology are entirely justified, it is a little hard to digest the idea of San Francisco, home of social liberty and Silicon Valley, and a hub of surveillance tech, making such a sweeping (and pioneering) decision.
Unsurprisingly, opponents of the ban have been quick to extoll the value of facial recognition, highlighting its growing use in criminal suspect verification and a slowly improving success rate in this regard. Proponents, however, point to China as an example of what could happen if ‘Big Brother’ gets a little too into his steroids. Facial and video recognition is reportedly now used to monitor everything from childhood attentiveness in the classroom to isolating petty thieves in real time. The most dystopic Chinese AI project (that we’re aware of anyway) is a plan to roll out facial recognition system linked to the government database of 1.3 billion (yes, with a B) ID cards. Orwellian, we know. And it’s particularly punchy given the tech itself is still in its relative infancy (yes, your iPhone’s unlocking capabilities really aren’t that impressive). Closer to home, the Met police are currently trialling facial recognition cameras rigged to police vans in East London in order to locate suspects in ongoing criminal investigations. As you can see in the video, it is hitting mixed results!
We’re not sure an outright ban on tech is ever the optimal solution – one to watch in the news and see whether other cities (or states for that matter) follow suit…
This is all about how China uses facial recognition (among other methods) to monitor its population.
If you’re not too busy watching the Game of Thrones finale, and you’re interested in pop culture facial recognition, check out Black Mirror (generally) but specifically “Nosedive” Season 3, Episode 1. Minority Report is also an early 2000’s Tom Cruise classic! Both available on your favourite streaming services.
Here at Work in Startups, we are often asked what types of companies we classify as a startup (and similarly, what it takes to make it onto our site!) In the interest of transparency, we thought we’d expand on how we think a “startup” differs from other labels commonly tossed around, such as “scaleup”, “SME”, […]
Here at Work in Startups, we are often asked what types of companies we classify as a startup (and similarly, what it takes to make it onto our site!) In the interest of transparency, we thought we’d expand on how we think a “startup” differs from other labels commonly tossed around, such as “scaleup”, “SME”, or even “small business”.
Full Disclosure: it is highly subjective! There is no single, universally accepted definition of a startup. It’s a much more broad-reaching term than others you might hear such as ‘unicorn’ (a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion). Confusion is possibly rooted in the rise of companies keen to define themselves as a startup (it’s a sexy tag after all), even when they don’t fulfil many of the characteristics that others would deem essential.
What are the features of a startup
In our humble opinion, these tend to be the two key features that differentiate a startup from any old company:
Growth – is it expanding and growing rapidly, in terms of either customers, new jobs or financials? Yes? Potentially this company is a startup! There’s a relatively widely shared blog post on this which goes into much more detail on why this angle is often considered the most important: http://www.paulgraham.com/growth.html
Innovative – the startup industry has become culturally synonymous with the concept of disruptive business models. For us, a startup needs to offer something fresh!
Often but not always: a tech focus or component, VC funding (or likely potential to receive/qualify for funding in the near future), some element of risk (not a traditional service with hundreds of comparables), interesting employee perks and an “owner culture” (which could mean equity awards readily available to staff).
Meanwhile, these features can help the eagle-eyed spot where a company is on its journey to unicorn status (i.e. when is it likely no longer a startup):
New – the exact age before a company falls into ‘scaleup territory’ is up for debate: some experts set as low as three-years-old as this cap. We modestly say about five-years-old, absolute maximum ten.
Small – headcount (like age) is a nice marker for when a company has graduated to ‘scale-up status.’ We think this happens when you exceed roughly 100-200 members of staff.
Revenue – as with all of the numbers in this list, a revenue of more than £10 million is a rough metric, to give you a general feel. Effectively: no unicorns allowed!
At Work in Startups, we think that growth (or growth potential) is the most important identifier for startups. While our opinion is based on rather a lot of startup companies and job ads, we wanted to see what our lovely and knowledgeable twitter community thought. Interestingly they had other ideas…
As you can see the results overwhelmingly favoured how recently the company was founded – although it is clear that growth is quite important! This really suggests that checking a variety of metrics (cue our handy-dandy list) is the only way for us to truly hunt the next unicorn!
Note: we include a combination of start up and scale up jobs on our site, as despite the terminology being murky, we tend to find our audience is broadly interested in both. Do feel free to get in touch though if you have any comments on this!
Usual deal here folks! A weekly roundup on an interesting topic. A selection of our favourite startup jobs from your favourite startup job board. What’s new? Well: we’re discussing the interesting developments into how we buy and deliver produce online. Read on! […]
If the growing mountain of ASOS deliveries and returns in our office is anything to go by, the popularity of online shopping is on a constant rise. Though it would seem that the fantastically convenient world of online shopping and delivery is not quite sitting on a bed of roses.
Resolver, a platform to air and (shock!) resolve customer grievances with companies has announced an 84% increase YOY in UK consumer complaints referencing online shopping. Some of the more recurrent problems included (perhaps unsurprisingly) customer service, issues with deliveries, quality control and refunds. So… basically everything that a high street experience could resolve? Meanwhile in their storming expansion through the subcontinent, African delivery giant Jumia have reported similar issues… and some more interesting ones. In a fascinating piece by the FT they explore some region-specific troubles such as distrust of corrupt suppliers, resulting in a pay-on-delivery culture and an (even more) hazardous life for the underlying couriers. Maybe this is something the giants of Alibaba and Facebook can solve as they weigh into the fray – the former is helping pioneer facial recognition tech to the way we buy, while the latter is supposedly about to introduce online marketplace functionality across all three of its major platforms, suggesting that they hope to marry influencer power and personal recommendations from your inner circle (and then take your cash). Time will tell if innovation, technical development and design from the big dogs will unseat the likes of Amazon – who knows if buying a package on Whatsapp will solve any of these issues?
As per, we are giving you this week’s hottest UK startup jobs, although this week we have exclusively London startup jobs. We’ve been talking about the changes to Facebook Dating, Instagram like-hiding and digital detoxes. Check it out! […]
Facebook’s F8 developers’ conference has reignited the discussion about online welfare and wellness in the age of social media (we’re as shocked as you are!)
The debate’s kick-off point was Instagram announcing details of their experiment into ‘Like-hiding’ in the Canadian market. The modified functionality allows users to still view “Likes” if they choose to, but it reduces the prominence of such “validatory” features, (hopefully) keeping eyes on the content itself and boosting user wellness. So you can like that picture of a cat without giving a stuff who else has, or post your own cat and not be reminded that the neighbour’s cat is supposedly three-times more popular! Don’t worry though, your cat’s great…
This move to protect against “toxic envy” was somewhat undermined by Facebook revealing features that could induce “toxic lust.” Of course we’re referring to the new ‘Secret Crushes’ feature added to Facebook Dating, which allows one to covertly mark which of your facebook friends the user would like to… get to know better. Without delving into the value of dating one’s friends, we wonder whether a feature designed to mark physical attractiveness in members of your social network does a great deal to circumvent envy online. Others meanwhile have questioned whether we should even be concerned with toxicity online, and instead just crack on and develop better tools to enjoy it. We’re not overly worried about “Likes” at Work in Startups, being far more concerned with getting the best talent into UK startups… but of course we won’t say no if you follow us on facebook and twitter!
I think we are all in agreement that moving to London can be expensive and stressful, and expensive. We thought it might be helpful to point you in the direction of some of the coolest London startups where their whole bag is making that process easier for you! […]
Top London startups making moving to the city easier
I think we are all in agreement that moving to London can be expensive and stressful, and expensive. We thought it might be helpful to point you in the direction of some of the coolest London startups where their whole bag is making that process easier for you!
The April 2019 Top Five:
BySTORED –Before you move into London (and get your dream job in a London startup), you might be worried about packing the kitchen sink. BySTORED have a cool online platform to help store your belongings in secure facilities in the city, so you can ship your gear in on the day that works for you, then collect it from nearer your new place when you get the keys. The portal is really easy to use and it is a very convenient service for any busy professional!
Goodlord – have a really interesting platform that makes it easier to manage the pre-tenancy process, while improving the experience of managing your landlords (or your tenants if you’re the one renting a place out). Check out their list of hundreds of affiliated agencies (all over the UK) and start browsing!
Reposit –On a similar vein, Reposit is a cool alternative to standard tenancy deposits offering benefits for both agencies and tenants. For tenants, you pay a small fee instead of a tenancy deposit, and can keep a track of the status of your deposit via the easy-to-use platform.
Acasa –This is becoming a must-have in London if you have housemates. It allows you to manage and split all your house bills on one app! Gone are the days of a “gas person” and “electricity person”! It’s very easy to use and puts an end to silly money fights.
Housekeep –Keeping your house clean when living a busy life in the city is not the easiest, hence why many of us choose to have a regular cleaner. But if you can’t find one particular individual to be your “regular”, then why not draw from a pool of vetted professionals. Simply use Housekeep’s easy online booking to get a quote, choose a timeslot, manage your cleaning schedule and pay. Simple!
As you can see there are some really awesome startups in our network that can make moving into a new house and easy process. However, you may be wondering where the fantastic selection of startup jobs is, some good news: many of these five have live roles on our site, check it out!
As usual, we are providing our weekly rundown of cool startup jobs, with just a hint of interesting industry news. We’ve been really interested in the some “seemingly counterproductive” business model tacts from your favourite dating and social giants! Read on! […]
You may have been lucky (unlucky?) enough to have received a rather slick email announcing the Hinge dating app redesign last week. It heralded a new UI and business model: Hinge officially want you to delete Hinge… after finding the love of your life, of course! The “app designed to be deleted” may seem a little counterproductive on the face of it, but it’s a marketing plug that seems to be making some headway. Twitter has also been embodying the adage of “doing more with less” as they eked out promising advertising sales in Q1 despite a drop in their overall user count. No matter what Donald Trump may have to say on the topic, it would appear Twitter’s efforts to clean up their act have gone over well with consumers, or “Daily Active Users” to use the parlance. This model of appealing to a smaller, loyal client base by clamping down on internet nastiness seems to have also struck a cord with Apple. CEO Tim Cook not only introduced a range of features to promote “digital wellness” at the WWDC, but also heavily advocated switching off push notifications. Effectively: aiming to get people off their iPhones.
Call it being a responsible internet citizen or creative frugality, the bottom line is the same; less is more when it comes to tech strategy in 2019!
With seemingly every journalist covering the heart-wrenching destruction of Notre Dame Cathedral this week. We were inspired by the great-and-the-good pledging €600m collectively (so far) to the rebuilding effort – we’re really seeing the power of destructive… disruptive philanthropy. As always with the Weekly Brief, we bring you a roundup of an interesting news topic AND some of the hottest startup jobs of the week. […]
With seemingly every journalist covering the heart-wrenching destruction of Notre Dame Cathedral this week. We were inspired by the great-and-the-good pledging €600m collectively (so far) to the rebuilding effort – we’re really seeing the power of destructive… disruptive philanthropy.
It isn’t just French billionaires who are prepared to splash the cash, as all eyes are on the soft-hearted and deep-pocketed in China. The country has a complex history with charitable giving, but reports like that of the UBS suggest it is once more a la mode in the East to give (as an individual or as an organisation). Jumping across the pacific, some of our favourites in the tech world have certainly embraced the trend of philanthropic giving; Salesforce are repositioning their business model with the pseudo-acquisition of salesforce.org to fully embed their non-profit vertical. TED, are following a different approach, showcasing the talent of others in the sector with their Audacious Project. They released the participants in this year’s entrance – with projects covering everything from online sex abuse to climate change. Whatever your cause, there’s room (and money) in the industry for you! Should you want to hire for that disruptive new ‘chari-tech’, or simply want to make your billion in a UK startup so you can get giving… you know where to find us!