Banks consider Startups as Opportunity rather than Threat?

In the American Banker there was an article with the subject Banks lean on startups to bolster their digital futures. Citigroup and other banks are increasingly looking to startups to help them compete in a world where tech firms such as Google, Apple are becoming potential threats. This is an interesting article where Banks have realised the importance of the disruption scene. We hope more focus is put onto this subject and banks realise the importance of technology. Banks have been cutting their budget on internal Technology teams as they consider it to be a cost center rather than teams to bolster/improve their success in the future.
Lloyds’ Strategy Director has said “Competition from tech firms and startups is ‘opportunity’ rather than threat”. Lloyds have recently been outperforming the other UK banks and seem to be on the right paths. The Director said “there is a lot we can learn from each other” in regards to new competitors. The big four UK banks are going through restructuring. Adopting, improving efficiency and being more innovative are going to be key topics for them.

A good three point guide to Startups can be found in the Entrepreneur in the article with subject “Startups: Don’t Make These 3 Financial Mistakes”

For a good read, LinkedIn has an article with subject 5 Lessons From 30 Days @ LinkedIn. It has 5 key points which we wish everyone in the World would consider whilst working.

Losing a co-founder.. Its better to say No

This weekend started off with Bad News. Losing a Co-founder for the Startup, I was starting. The Co-Founder was unable to commit on the Property Project for this present moment in time. I am going to learn more into the Technical side of our project as previously before I was spending my time on research, design and potential marketing. In regards to the Co-founder, I will give him space, support and time to see if he would be interested in coming back onto the project when the time suits him better. He is a great Asset to have in the team. He is driven and provides ample technical knowledge.
Second Bad News: I was meant to move properties today, but I have been unable to this because a friend, who was meant to help me move cancelled in the last minute. I was not impressed in the manner of how my friend had cancelled and sent a message about prioritising, organising and committing to help out, whilst expressing my disappointment. Hopefully he will think about why I was disappointed and how he can improve the next time he decides to help. Its certainly better to say No or not offer to help, than offer to help and then cancel in the last minute.
Overall a disappointing weekend in terms of the business and personal life but things keep going and Im actually feeling quite calm considering the 2 set backs.

Corruption in Nepal?

Could Donations to Nepal go into the hands of the wrong people?

Nepal Aid Donors may halt fundraising amid fears Government will seize donations reports the Telegraph. Natalia from Iam Adventures Blog had contacted this issue this morning from an article in Direction Kathmandu. What the Government wants is for all the donations to go through the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund. This causes fear of a slow down in the process of helping the public most in need of the aid and if there is corruption, it could cause a black hole in the donations.

If the government do go ahead with this plan and are caught in a corruption scandal, could it quicken the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court (IACC) and if circumstances have it could the Government of Nepal be the first to go on trial?

An article by Judge Mark Wolf on creating an International Anti-Corruption Court can be found in the Washington Post. If there is an International Criminal Court, what are the bottle necks of an Anti-Corruption Court to be formed?

If the process of Aid and Donations are delayed it affects the recovery of Nepal, especially before the dreaded monsoon season. We know from the World Bank the strength of development in Nepal has come from at the community level. The question is why have the government decided to create more work for themselves, a big headache for the International Aid Agencies and a slow down to aid the people who are in most in need?
Its a little weird after Nepal’s elderly Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala, had apparently admitted his government is overwhelmed and needs international aid as written in The Australian, is there someone else in the background advising on the policies?

The next International Anti-Corruption Convention is in Malaysia* from 2nd to 4th September. If the Nepalese Government does not help to improve the process by then, could the Countries providing aid and Aid Agencies raise the issue in the convention? What could the outcome be?

Could the International Media attention on the political instability issues with the current Government in Nepal, help to improve the Government to become more fair and help to push a New Constitution for the Nepalese public? This isn’t to say some people in the Government are not doing a good job, but the current news seems to simply imply they have made bad decisions.

We will see how things start to change with the disaster recovery, as people can learn from their mistakes. One thing, we are worried about is a black market which could be formed due to the government push on the donations going through the government accounts.

On the other hand the Associate Press has reported Nepal’s government is giving out 100,000 rupees ($1,000) to families of each of those killed in Saturday’s earthquake, and another 40,000 rupees ($400) for funeral costs, according to the state-run Radio Nepal. We wonder what the process is of obtaining the fund and when it will be available.

*No comments in regards to 1MDB and Najib Razak*
*ICC (International Criminal Court) is different to ICJ (International Court of Justice) the judicial branch of the UN*
*IACC would most likely be Intergovernmental and complement the national judicial system. The bottle neck could be the poor law and order of Nepal as reported in the World Bank. It could be difficult to complement a poor national judicial system*

Tesla Battery in Homes? Property sector backs Tories.

Tesla Battery in homes?

As reported in the BBC, Tesla are going for the battery industry in homes. Moixa Technology in the UK have been researching and developing on something similar but with less marketing and smaller team their specifications do not seem to be able to compete against Tesla.
The BBC has reported “lithium ion battery could be superseded within a few years by other technology, like hydrogen fuel cells”. Ceres Power an offspring of Imperial College is a player in the Fuel Cell Market. If fuel cells become more in demand will Tesla start researching and developing into the industry or will they be acquiring?
From a engineering point of view Tesla have helped put focus on the Battery and Renewable industry for homes and I am hoping to see more competition and innovation in this industry.

Property sector backs Tories

Property Week revealed property companies donated £1.28m to the Tories – six times the amount given to Labour. Each sector has their values but its interesting to see the figures, even though its easy to see from history why property companies like the Tories.

Moving homes, Borough Market, Cafe East

Today was a day of packing, followed by a meeting with a friend at Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market, then dinner with a school friend since 13yrs old at Cafe East in Canada Water.

Nepal Lifeline: Food. How Does Natural Disaster Affect the Currency?

Lifeline: Food

World Food Programme plans to provide food for 1.4 million people in urgent need of assistance over the next three months at a cost of US$116.5 million as reported on their site.

Eight million dollars is urgently needed to help disaster-struck Nepalese farmers rapidly recover lost agricultural inputs and resume preparations for the imminent rice sowing season, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has written.

Delivery of food is a major lifeline for the people of Nepal to survive in the short run, and sustainability of agriculture/farming will help the people to survive in the long run.

For those farmers who have lost their livestocks, we wonder how the livestocks will be delivered to them as logistics has been an issue and from which country the animals could come from (most likely neighbours India).

Rice and channa daal have been distributed near New Road by the International Red Cross as seen below in the pictures (from two days ago). We have heard shops and restaurants have started to open in the capital, Kathmandu.

Quick Information in regards to Nepalese Diets:
Dal Bhat Tarkari (Dal – Lentils, Bhat – Rice/Grains, Tarkari – Vegetable Curry) is a popular dish served in the country.
Within each region due to the difference in ethnicity foods are different.
Foods are Asian themes with Tibetan, Indian, Thai origins.

How Does Natural Disaster Affect Currency?

The Econintersect has an interesting article in regards to how Natural Disasters affect the Currency. For the Nepalese Rupee, its currently pegged against the Indian Rupee so a similar scenario to the yen after the Tohoku Earthquake is probably not expected.

How Does Aid Agencies Convert their donations into Local Currency?

Charity Finance Group have an interesting article from Ebury about Best Foreign Exchange practice for Charities and NGO. If anyone has more information I would be interested in getting the information. Are the spread provided by the big FX traders like Citi and Deutsche better for charities and NGOs, do the World Bank or IMF have deposits in different currencies which can be used when there is a natural disaster?

For those whose are interested in extra reading:

Map of reported Nepal Earthquake Death.

Open Letter to The Media, regarding the Nepal Earthquake.

How hundreds of volunteer mappers are helping to keep Nepal earthquake aid from getting lost by Scroll.in.

Nepal Earthquake where to get information?

The biggest issue when a Natural Disaster occurs is there is panic and people stop communicating with each other or false rumours appear from nowhere and there is a breakdown in the efficiency.

A Nepalese company, Sparrowsms has created a site for people to share information on what is happening on the ground. It has sections such as what aid is needed, what help is being offered with a location flag layered on top of google maps for people to see what is happening/reported in the specific region. From my knowledge a few of the organisations are using this tool to make sure issues are communicated so things move more efficiently.
The improvement we see which could be made to the tool is that there isn’t a section for organisation. This means it is difficult to link reports on which organisation is providing what aid at a specific time and to search for what a particular organisation has done/is currently working on.
http://help.sparrowsms.com/

If this information is outdated or there are other tools which organisations are using please contact us.

NB If you are a reader and not volunteering, we would appreciate it if you do not keep pinging the site as you will be taking the bandwidth of the site, and slowing the progress of recovery. We have enclosed a screenshot of the site for the readers, Thank you 🙂

Sparrowsms

From what we know:

Lokesh and Aditya Todi are fund raising on Indiegogo. Lokesh a MBA grad from Yale is on the ground in Nepal, Aditya his brother a Stanford Grad is in Boston helping, they are covered in a CNN Article.

Representing the surfing community Waves for Water are taking “400 clean-­water filtration systems to Nepal which can provide up to 40,000 quake victims with access to clean water, almost immediately”.

We are currently in contact with Natalia from Iam Adventures Blog introduced by a mutual friend. She been on the ground has good contacts with who is looking for help.

Reliefweb which is the largest humanitarian information portal in the world has lots of information in regards to what is currently happening in Nepal. The link we have put in has the Urban Research and Rescue (USAR) snapshot on 29th April 2015.

Isra Aid director was helping out in Gangabu, and now Sindupalchowk.

There have been reports some aid has been forced back from areas such as Sindhupalchowk because people do not have permissions to help in the area (from the Ministry of Home Affair). If this is true there has been a break down in communication and there is room for improvement in efficiency.

One thing we are very worried about is the approach of the Monsoon season (June – August) and the landslides it could cause.

What GDP doesnt tell us.. UK Housing Crisis? RBS :(

New Economics has written an article about What GDP does not tell us. It talks about the further unbalancing in the economy. How households are returning back into debt and how the economy is back in pre 2008 path. 12.3% of the GDP figure was household rent and “imputed rent” greater than any other G7 countries. If people are feeling at unease with the economy this might be because the indicator to a good economy, the GDP, is like the Black-Scholes model, and simply the wrong indicator to use to measure the economy.

There is an article in the Huffington Post about politicians not understanding the housing crisis, and the need to stop rolling out hundreds of “piecemeal schemes” that prop up a broken system. The panelists who discussed about the housing crisis had Richard Lambert, CEO National Landlords Association and David Orr, CEO of the National Housing Federation in the round table. The were further comments in the article made by David Lammy, London Mayor Candidate. It was a really interesting read and we were so intrigued we sent email/messages to the three people mentioned in the article in regards to spare room tenancy. If they are happy with having the comments on the this blog we will put it up but we are really interested in the opinion.

Lastly, can things ever go right at RBS? Bloomberg reported a 1st quarter loss worse than the expectations made by analysts. This is one bank which the UK government really made a mistake with. I really feel for the employees at the bank and hope they are better things to come for them in the future.

Making connections, Hub Westminster, London Coffee Festival

Today I was introduced to Natalia from Iam Adventures Blog, it was really good getting her information and knowledge. Hopefully I can help her out in the near future.

Went to meet up a friend in Hub Westminster for lunch. First time in the space, it was clean, less busy and relaxed compared to Google Campus. It was interesting listening to what my friend was doing. If anyone has information on homeless in County Durham please ping me 🙂

This was followed by London Coffee Festival in Shoreditch, helping out a friend from Trezoro a Royalty App. It was interesting seeing the coffee business owners being mainly Australian/New Zealand. An amazing experience being able to taste the different coffee and see the variety of coffees available. There were juice makers at the event as well, and it was very interesting to find some of the juice makers had coffee shops and grocers as side businesses. Quite a few business I talked to were interestingly from the Notting Hill area.

Overall a busy day, with unfortunately minimal progress on the property site.

 

Nepal Lifeline? Water, Fundraising for Nepal

News for Today:

After Quake, Nepal faces Water and Health Crisis reports Newsweek.
Water is one of the most important thing needed to survive for life. The water source in Kathmandu has not been damaged but the infrastructure/pipping to carry the supply has been damaged. This has led the locals to rely on tankers of water led by the army and most likely brought in from their neighbours in India.

Insight from a Nepalese friend:
Some lucky houses in Kathmandu have wells and with the use of machinery water can be pulled up from the well to a water tank. This water is used in the bathrooms. The water from the wells are usually a bit yellowish and are not used for drinking or cooking.

The water which the government provides through the pipping and taps is collected in a different tank, this is usually boiled and filtered prior to drinking or cooking purposes.

Making sure water is supplied to the survivors should be the highest priority and we hope aid agencies are looking for alternatives to making sure water can be supplied from the water source.

Overseas Aid:

Japan has decided to provide 800 mio USD in emergency fund to Nepal as written by the Embassy of Nepal in the UK.

Fundraising by Companies:

Markit in Singapore are setting up a fund for donations to Nepal.

BNP Paribas worldwide are raising funds via the Rescue and Recover fund which will match every employee’s contribution.

Helping Nepal Embassy in the UK:

Update as of 30th April:
They weren’t the best to talk to in letting us know what they needed in terms of volunteers and organising fundraisers. They did take our number and told us they could call back if they needed volunteers. Will wait and see on wether they call back or not.

29th April
In the morning we called the Nepal Embassy in the UK Disaster Relief inquiry/donation helpline on 020 7043 7497 and asked them if there were any fundraisers in the pipeline to raise donations. We were told at this present moment in time they were not organising one.
Asked them about volunteers and they sounded like they were looking for more volunteers to help the team out during the week.
We will be calling them tomorrow to confirm: 1) in regards to organising a fundraiser and 2) the volunteering opportunity in the Disaster Relief team/ Embassy. If any of the readers are interested please call them direct to get more information.
On the other hand we will try and do our best to update the information after speaking to them tomorrow.

PS If anyone has spare stationary which are in decent condition, the person in the Disaster Relief team sounded like they needed supplies. After confirming with them on the 020 number, please could you send them over to the Embassy. Thank you

Whats happening with UK Immigration? UK property bubble?

UK News:

Welcome to Britain thanks for the hard work now get lost reports Bloomberg. This was an interesting article of a mixed Japanese/Australian family giving up hopes on the immigration system in the UK and deciding to go back to Japan. Whats interesting is what would have happened if the Japanese wife in the article had given up her Japanese citizenship in return for an Australian citizenship (as Japanese citizen is not allowed dual nationality and Australia is a part of the commonwealth). If there are any Immigration lawyers reading the article I would be interested in your input.
On the other hand, would be interested in the breakdown of how many of the 123,000 EU immigrants and 143,000 non EU immigrants are in Financial jobs or Entrepreneurial jobs.
The other stat which would be interesting to see is how many of those are High-Net-Worth-Individual (HNWI) and how many of those HNWI have had to leave the UK.
This leads onto the next topic which is Average UK house price hits record high above £190k as annual property inflation picks up again reported in This is Money. Homeownership in the UK has gone down since 2007, so who are the buyers who are increasing the demand in the market if ownership has gone down? Wonder what percentage of HNWI from outside the UK has property in the UK and the break down of the number of property they have.

My question: “Is the UK Property Bubble going to burst after the elections?”

Today:

Brainstormed through names for the business we are in the process of creating. Thinking of using a foreign word in at least one of the words to make the name a bit more unique.
Met up with a fellow startup tribe member at Taylor St Baristas and chatted about his idea and my idea. It was the first time at the cafe. It was pretty good. I don’t think the beans for my Americano were Central American, felt more South American.
Evening Wednesday meet up with the Startup Tribe. It was really good to see everyone’s idea coming together and a few products in the pipeline of being manufactured. We had a special guest Emma Jones. Really interesting experiences and perspective, really like the disclaimer she said at the middle of the talk saying she was providing her opinion which may differ from others due to experiences. There isn’t one right answer to being a successful entrepreneur after all.

Nepal News, Lifeline: Electricity , Overseas aid

News for Today:

Nepal Death toll could rise to 10,000 reports the Huffington Post. Heavy rain is not helping with the rescue and recovery process.
IHS a US Consultancy group has predicted the reconstruction cost could be as high as $5bio exceeding 20% of GDP as reported in IBT. The reconstruction is where international aid will be required and we would be grateful if readers could donate a few bucks to charity, more the merrier.

Lifeline: Electricity

Reports from the ground have messaged saying electricity has been back for today.
Background in regards to power in Nepal. Due to the common nature of power shortages in Nepal, quite a few houses are equipped with solar panels which connect to an inverter battery. Once the battery is charged, it can distribute electricity, but some houses have big batteries meaning solar power is not enough to fully charge the battery and electricity is required. What this means is if electricity is not present it takes a long time for batteries to recharge. From my understanding the batteries and solar panels may not have a smart, charge/discharge system, so power can not be used whilst the battery is being charged. My business partner’s batteries lasted three days meaning they have been very lucky to get electricity back for now.

Help from overseas:

Rumours are that there could be a movement by the Voluntary Architects’ Network lead by Shigeru Ban to establishing a medical center using membrane materials in Nepal. Most likely a smaller scale project compared to the paper tube structure of a Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch after the quake in 2011 in New Zealand.

UK housing Crisis, Lesson of the day

UK News:

Guardian has reported UK housing crisis is in breach of UN human rights. The next party in charge will really need to put their focus on the current housing issue. The upwards movement in term of cost has to be offset by higher pay/higher benefits or a regulation in the housing market to stop the cost of housing from spiralling. From the looks of things a regulation might be easier to incorporate by the government. The downside is a third of MPs are landowners so if a regulation to cap the cost of housing from spiralling could be shooting oneself in the foot. It will be a challenging decision which ever way.

Today:

Talked to a family friend, whose a professor at Cambridge. He used to be in Banking prior to setting up a business, then decided education was more his paths. It was good to get an insight of his past experiences and being told what I should consider in my new ventures.
Helped to setup a journalist friend’s development website on WordPress. Kualo has good instructions to follow to manipulate the host file so the domain name is linked to an IP before going to the internet to look it up.
Will be catching up with my lifestyle course team this evening online. It will be nice to unwind as the past few days with the Startup tribe and business generation has been pretty busy.

Lesson of the day: Focus and learn but its important to relax.