Pluang (https://Pluang.com), a fintech startup that provides digital micro-savings for Indonesians (formerly known as EmasDigi), officially announced today its US$3 million Series A funding led by Go-Ventures. Currently, Pluang has launched one product, its gold savings product, but with this fresh capital, Pluang plans to launch other products, including US dollar savings and fixed return products.
Amongst 167 fintech startups in Indonesia, 38% exist in the payment sector and 31% in lending. Pluang is one of the few fintech companies trying to solve the difficult problem of improving savings in Indonesia, which Pluang believes is important to tackle the problem of financial inclusion in Indonesia.
Through its mobile application, Pluang provides users with the convenience of investing and saving with the most competitive and transparent pricing. At present, Pluang’s gold savings product allows investments starting from 0.01 grams (equivalent to roughly USD$0.50) and users can choose to either pay periodically or in installments. With this product, Pluang hopes to revolutionize gold investing by providing simple and transparent pricing. Additionally, Pluang provides instant liquidity as users can sell back the gold in real time, from denominations of 0.01 grams. Pluang also provides its customers with peace of mind as the gold is kept in a government-backed institution through the official Indonesian commodities exchange.
Pluang’s ultimate mission is to democratize financial products for all Indonesians. The company will use the fresh capital from Go-Ventures to further this mission by improving its application and expanding the reach of its financial products to more users.
Aditya Kumar, Go-Ventures VP of Investments, asserts “Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, and over 50% of that population does not have a bank account. Even fewer have access to formal investment and savings channels.
“We are strong believers in Pluang’s mission to democratize access to financial services in Indonesia. We are impressed by the team’s unique ability to create innovative, and fully compliant micro-savings products for all Indonesians and are excited to be part of Claudia and her team’s journey”
Claudia Kolonas, Founder of Pluang, explains “In terms of investment solutions, Indonesians are underserved, and there is a lack of access to financial products that have people’s interest at heart. Financial solutions that are convenient, safe, reliable and stable remain elusive; and Indonesians often feel like they don’t have a choice. We want to help Indonesian consumers see that better possibilities exist for growing their savings.”
“We believe that Indonesia needs a financial revolution, which will ultimately democratize access to the best financial products. Whether coming from privilege or from the base of the pyramid, everyone deserves access to a better savings product that can bring a brighter future.”
As a new disruptive financial platform, Pluang provides a smarter way to save for Indonesians. With just 3 taps on the phone, users can safely access curated financial products, without having to worry about hidden or exorbitant fees.
With a friendly user interface, Pluang aims to bring the power back into the user’s hands. The company ultimately believes the key to empowerment is to create less intimidating products and build conviction amongst Indonesians that good financial products are not only for the privileged.
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Pluang is a brand owned by PT PG Berjangka, a licensed entity regulated by the BAPPEBTI. Pluang is committed to democratizing investing and savings in Indonesia, and work closely with regulators to achieve this goal.
Go-Ventures is a venture capital fund that aims to invest in early stage companies with demonstrated traction in their target markets. It aims to support, promote and expand technology ecosystems and in turn improve the lives of citizens of emerging markets. The fund is backed by a number of notable private equity firms, venture capital firms, global technology businesses, regional conglomerates, and highly regarded technopreneurs. The fund’s cornerstone investor is Gojek, Indonesia’s leading technology company.
Wirex Launches Enhanced Cryptoback™
Today, payments platform Wirex launched a supercharged update of their revolutionary Cryptoback rewards programme. Customers can now earn up to 1.5% back in Bitcoin on Wirex Visa card purchases.
Released in 2018, Cryptoback was the world’s first rewards programme that paid out 0.5% in cryptocurrency for all in-store spending with the Wirex Visa card. Thanks to the recent launch of the Wirex Token (WXT), customers can now triple the amount of BTC they earn – making investing in cryptocurrency easier than ever before.
Depending on the amount of WXT held, in-store Wirex card purchases now generate up to 1.5% in Bitcoin. There are three levels of crypto rewards available:
- 500,000 WXT = 1.5% Cryptoback
- 100,000 WXT = 1.0% Cryptoback
- 50,000 WXT = 0.75% Cryptoback
Wirex have calculated that the average UK consumer stands to earn more than £300 in Cryptoback every year, just by using their Wirex Visa card for day-to-day spending. Unlike many other cashback programmes, Wirex doesn’t impose restrictions on what customers can do with their rewards. Cryptoback can be redeemed instantly into their Bitcoin accounts, or quickly and easily exchanged into fiat for spending.
Enhanced Cryptoback is just one of the ways that holding Wirex Tokens allows customers to get even more out of their account. They can also enjoy heavily discounted fees based on the same structure, with access to premium products, merchant offers and airport lounges coming soon. As Wirex co-founder Pavel Matveev explains:
“We created the Wirex Token to be something that provides tangible value and benefits for holders beyond its market trajectory. Enhanced Cryptoback is the perfect example of this, as it allows customers to earn and invest in digital currency with a minimum of fuss. We’re looking forward to introducing even more benefits for WXT holders soon.”
MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab Convenes Top Researchers for Second Annual AI Research Week
The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab (NYSE: IBM) is hosting its second annual AI Research Week, September 16-20, in Cambridge, MA. The five-day conference will explore leading themes in today’s field of AI including neurosymbolic computing and semantic reasoning in machine learning, AI security and safety, inclusive design of AI for all communities, trustworthy and explainable AI, and industry applications of AI.
The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab is a joint research effort to drive fundamental advances in artificial intelligence. Since its founding in 2017, the lab has become an integral component of IBM’s AI Research strategy and is spearheading 48 AI-related research projects.
Dario Gil (Director, IBM Research), joined by top AI researchers:
- Yoshua Bengio (A.M. Turing Award Winner and Pioneer of AI and Deep Learning)
- Josh Tenenbaum (Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT)
- Laura Shulz (Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Primary Investigator of the MIT Early Childhood Cognition Lab)
- Roger Levy (Associate Professor, Dept. of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, Director of the Computational Psycholinguistics Laboratory)
Additional discussions will feature David Cox (IBM Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), Lisa Amini (Director, IBM Research Cambridge), and Antonio Torralba (MIT Director, MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab), addressing key topics including: progress of the MIT-IBM AI Watson Lab to date and future goals; transitioning AI research to industry; and self-supervised learning of AI.
The conference will also showcase research and thought leadership from scientists and students affiliated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the University of California, San Diego; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Boston University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; the University of Montreal; the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and the Cambridge and Boston community.
AI Research Week is a technical conference featuring top AI thought leaders from around the world sharing the latest insights on the field of AI. The five-day gathering will also consist of panels, workshops, networking and mentorship all geared towards forging new ideas and discussion around advancements in AI.
WHEN & WHERE:
September 16-20, 2019, times for events vary. AI Research Week events will be held at MIT and IBM in Cambridge, MA. While many events will occur at the MIT Samberg Conference Center, 50 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02142, it is best to check the schedule for specific event locations and times.
Monday, September 16: Kick-off the week with a poster and networking session where researchers from the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab and IBM’s AI Horizons Network of university collaborators will showcase projects underway that are shaping the future of AI.
The afternoon will feature a round robin event designed to help match various student communities in the Boston area with a mentor, specifically those in Latinx, BlackinAI, Women in Machine Learning, and LGBTQ. This session will include 15 tables, each with a different topic, and mentors from IBM, as well as other speakers from AI Research Week, designed to connect students with a mentor.
Tuesday, September 17: Yoshua Bengio, full professor and head of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), University of Montreal, and Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research, begin the AI Horizons Colloquium with a Welcome Address, followed by a full day of talks and discussion featuring AI experts from academia and industry.
NOTE: The Colloquium (all day) will be livestreamed here.
Other Colloquium speakers include:
- Saska Mojsilovic, head of AI Foundations, IBM Research and Co-Director of IBM Science for Social Good, will discuss how people can begin to trust AI.
- Collin Stult, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and MIT faculty at Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology Cardiologist, will discuss whether useful machine learning will be used clinically in the near future.
Wednesday, September 18: The NASA ISS Program Science Office and the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, along with IBM Research, will launch a unique opportunity to learn about the International Space Station. Guests will be able to speak with representatives and researchers about the future of AI intersecting with the future of research in space. The event also includes a competition and special session where researchers and students can pitch “ISS meets AI” project ideas to a panel of space experts from NASA, the ISS, IBM, and MIT.
AI Operations Leader, ThroughPut.AI, chosen to present at the esteemed Plug and Play Japan Summit for IOT and Mobility in Tokyo on September 19th, 2019
ThroughPut Inc., the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Supply Chain pioneer that enables operations to increase output, quality, throughput, profitability and safety through automated bottleneck elimination, today announced their presentation and participation of their COO and CTO at the Plug and Play Japan IoT and Mobility Summit and EXPO in Tokyo, Japan on September 19, 2019. As a Plug and Play portfolio company, ThroughPut has been one of the most active global members of the Plug and Play ecosystem, being awarded to participate in multiple cohorts and events at Plug and Play Sunnyvale, Berlin, Milan, Frankfurt, Cleveland, Japan, and elsewhere, spanning diverse topics including application of AI, Data and Analytics to Industrial Manufacturing, Operations, Supply Chain, Logistics, Transportation, Mobility, Industry 4.0, Oil and Gas, Food and Agriculture, and more.
“As the leading AI platform for Operations using existing data systems, ThroughPut is honored to be an active contributor to the Plug and Play Japan Mobility Batch 3 cohort,” noted Ali Raza, CEO of ThroughPut. “Our executive team is excited to present to over 1,500 Japanese corporate executives, resellers and partnership leaders at the IoT and Mobility Summit next week in Tokyo on September 19th, as well as consequent meetings that week.”
Plug and Play runs 15 industry themes across more than 50 accelerator programs a year in cities across the world. Plug and Play’s Japanese arm has accelerated four leading-edge industry programs, and awarded participation to 69 pioneering technology start-ups and 31 corporate leaders, including MUFG, Tokyu Land, Sompo, Nissan, Hitachi, Panasonic, Fujitsu, Fujikura, DENSO, NipponLife, Dentsu, ADK, Nittsu, Norinchukin Bank, Orix, Macnica, Sumitomo, J-Power, Suzuki, SMFG, NEC Solution Innovators, Aflac, Asahi HD, Coca Cola Japan, AISIN, Kyocera MKI, Tanabe, Toshiba Tec, JXTG Energy and Shimadzu. This year’s Summer / Fall Summit is expected to receive an even greater response from startups and corporations across Japan, Asia and even further overseas.
“We are very excited to continue building upon our strong client and partner relationships in Japan“, responded Seth Page, COO of ThroughPut and eight-time entrepreneur, while adding, “Plug and Play has opened up unique opportunities for collaboration with corporate partners, clients and investors around the world, bringing together the brightest minds in the industry on a single business platform. In Japan, we are showcasing our unique capabilities to a host of reputed industrial and global corporate titans, while also acquiring valuable insights from other fellow global thought leaders through participation in the Japense Mobility program and event. We look forward to continuing business discussions with market leaders in Japan next week and especially at the IOT and Mobility Summit in Tokyo on September 19th, as well as the Smart EXPO in Nagoya on September 18th.”
Bhaskar Ballapragada, CTO of ThroughPut, commented as well, “The time is ripe for industries to leverage the value of Artificial Intelligence on top of the decades of disaggregated data they’ve been collecting in-house. ThroughPut’s ELI Kaizen-AI product gives unprecedented power to a firm’s own operations managers. AI-enabled, data-driven analysis and executable insights to eliminate bottlenecks in real-time now enable the management of seamless operations across their end-to-end supply chains. In our mission to eliminate the $10 Trillion dollars of annual global industrial waste, we are reaching out to as many industries and companies to test for themselves our ELI product and enable them to experience firsthand the power of their own data with AI, and realize the quick ROI that comes with freeing-up working capital from operations by investing in ThroughPut’s ELI.”
SOURCE ThroughPut Inc.
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