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[Ro in TechCrunch] Digital elective care and telemedicine provider Ro raises $200 million at a reported $1.5 billion valuation

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AvidXchange Announces New “Tech Rising” Initiative to Remove Barriers to Technology Education

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AvidXchange, a U.S. fintech that provides accounts payable and automated payment solutions to midsize businesses, announced on Friday it has launched Tech Rising, an initiative spearheaded by the AvidXchange Foundation that aims to remove barriers to technology education and resources for youth and young adults.

According to AvidXchange, the initiative kick starts the AvidXchange Foundation’s strategic focus on bridging the digital divide in Charlotte, North Carolina by providing tools and opportunities to middle and high school students, including the STEAM and essential skills programming necessary to succeed in a digital world.

“Over the next three years, AvidXchange has committed to closing the technology gap in Charlotte by distributing refurbished laptops with internet access to 5,000 students, working with 16,000 students in Title I middle schools to provide STEAM curriculum and helping 8,000 students in Title I high schools develop critical career skills.”

Speaking about the initiative, Michael Praeger, CEO and Co-Founder of AvidXchange, stated that removing barriers to technology education and careers starts as part of a student’s education before submitting a resume or filling out a college application. He further explained:

“Through the AvidXchange Foundation, we are chipping away at the technology barriers to bridge the digital divide and help create economic mobility for youth and young adults in our community.”

Founded in 2015, the AvidXchange Foundation was created in response to helping elementary school students who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. In 2019, the Foundation supported more than 150 philanthropic events.

Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2020/08/165288-avidxchange-announces-new-tech-rising-initiative-to-remove-barriers-to-technology-education/

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Mastercard Announces Global Commercial Partnership With Pollinate

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Mastercard announced on Friday it has formed a global commercial partnership with merchant software platform, Pollinate. Through the collaboration, the duo will reportedly bring the latest technology and data insights to banks serving small and medium businesses around the world. In a statement, the companies shared:

“Both Mastercard and Pollinate recognise the importance of small and medium businesses (SMEs) to communities and economies around the world.  With SMEs accounting for 90% of businesses and 50% of employment worldwide, supporting them is even more crucial after Covid-19. Central to this support is the ability for SMEs to access the digital tools and payment solutions that will enable them to survive and thrive.”

While sharing details about the partnership, Zahir Khoja, Executive Vice President of Merchants Solutions and Partnerships at Mastercard, stated that the work with Pollinate, as well as the wider issuer and acquirer solutions ecosystem, supports Mastercard’s collective goal to offer digital payment solutions for small and medium-size businesses to deliver a seamless experience for their customers in a time of need. Alastair Lukies CBE, Founder & CEO of Pollinate, concluded:

“With SMEs being the cornerstone of the global economy and providing half the world’s jobs, supporting their growth and recovery has never been more important.  Both Pollinate and Mastercard are passionate about working with banks to bring SMEs best in class services. Mastercard has demonstrated a long commitment to SMEs, and we are honored to deepen our partnership.”

The partnership with Mastercard comes less than a year Pollinate launched its platform. As previously reported, Pollinate is led by a team of experienced executives from the payments, technology and loyalty sectors. Pollinate noted that its platform allows a bank to enter acquiring, or transform their existing business without changing their underlying infrastructure.  Banks can offer their merchants digital onboarding, and a portal that acts as a central hub of a merchant’s business. 

Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2020/08/165287-mastercard-announces-global-commercial-partnership-with-pollinate/

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VR Giants’ Co-op Kickstarter Achieves Funding Success

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Solo developer Wolfgang Tschauko has been working on virtual reality (VR) project VR Giants for the past three years, launching a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign in July to help complete it. The Kickstarter has now ended, successfully hitting its goal in the process.

VR Giants

Tschauko aimed to hit €10,000 EUR over the month-long campaign, managing to raise €14,730 with 520 backers supporting the project. That figure also meant VR Giants’ first stretch goal was achieved, adding a winter level with ice/snow-based puzzles.

The main reason for the Kickstarter was to help polish VR Giants by building a team to support the final stages of development. Crucially, that funding goal will be doubled by the Austrian government to aid that process, with the developer looking to improve the visuals and sound.

VR Giants is a cooperative gameplay experience where the VR player takes the role of a stone giant whilst a non-VR player via a monitor controls the diminuative David. The goal is simple, collect a series of coins dotted around each level to open the doorway forward.

VR Giants

The co-op dynamic means that each player has a very specific role to play. David for example has free roam to run around levels, jump gaps and collect the coins. The giant, on the other hand, is fixed to certain locations and can only move between them by David pressing a button. But the giant can’t die, able to grab objects to help its tiny mate navigate the perilous environments.

When previewing VR Giants VRFocus noted: “VR Giants presents a passion project that neatly blurs the lines between VR and non-VR gaming, and while there’s still a way to go it’ll be interesting to see how Tschauko further explores his idea.”

VR Giants supports PC VR headsets like Oculus Rift, Valve Index and HTC Vive with Tschauko estimating a Steam launch to take place in October 2021. As the project continues to develop, VRFocus will keep you updated.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/08/vr-giants-co-op-kickstarter-achieves-funding-success/

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