LIX prepares to launch smaller, lighter alternative to current 3D pens on the market

LIXpenOne of the most exciting technological advances in recent years, with little question, has been the development of 3-D printing. However, one of the main issues, as with most cutting-edge technology, is that the earliest versions are too expensive for most people to justify buying. 3D printers can be purchased, but not cheaply and you will need to maintain it. The creation of the “3D pen” represents a possible game-changer as it provides the average consumer with a tool that will allow them to get in on the trend without having to break the bank.

The LIX pen, which is being marketed as the smallest 3D pen out there, allows users to plug into their laptop (through the USB port) and begin creating various pieces of art. At 16.5cm long and 1.4 in circumference (at its thickest), it is not significantly larger than your average pen and provides a pen that you could reasonably carry around in your pocket.

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Homey takes over your living room with voice-activated tech hub

homey-hubWe are able to control our environment with less and less effort. Some might argue that people are becoming increasingly lazy, but many just enjoy the convenience. Despite the plethora of “smart” devices available to us, however, difference in manufacturers means it is difficult to control them all from one phone or tablet. Dutch-founded Athom‘s Homey project, fresh off of a successful Kickstarter campaign, looks to change that with a orb that they are promoting as the voice-activated hub that will enable you to control your home. The company set 100K Euro as their goal, but managed to more than double it, taking home 203K Euro from 996 backers.

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iskn provides fresh take on tablet-based graphic design

iskn-sketch-screenFor many professionals, the iPad holds seemingly limitless possibilities as a work tool and it is no different for graphic designers and artists. Paris-based iskn, which launched last year, has taken to Kickstarter to fund an iPad cover and pen that overs a unique spin on the tablet-based graphic design. It has proven to be a popular concept, too, as the company currently claims 4K users and they raised almost 10 times their original goal of $35K, taking home $346K from 2,395 backers.

The iSketchNote is an iPad cover that allows users to create designs and have them appear on the tablet in real-time. The cover, which opens like a book, contains a spot on the left side for your iPad and then a sensor-based “slate” on the right.

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Facebook to double staff in Dubai to catch up with increasingly mobile Arab youth

arab-genc-youthArab youth promises a lot for the global tech companies with its fast growing population spanning a vast area in the Middle East and North Africa. It’s definitely the case for Facebook whose user base has almost reached the saturation in the west. Fully aware of the potential, the social network is now doubling its staff and resources in its Dubai office to cater better to its upcoming young clientele in the region.

Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, told Arabian Business that the company aims to boost Facebook’s popularity among one of the fastest growing populations in the world, and therefore, is expanding the size of its regional headquarters in Dubai. She said the enlargement includes new senior management as well.

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Enevo closes $8M funding, eyes Middle Eastern and African markets

enevo-screenSmart waste management startup Enevo announced today that it has raised $8 million of international funding to further improve its sensor-based waste collection system and expand to global markets. The round includes Earlybird, Lifeline Ventures, Finnish Industry Investment, Draper Associates and Risto Siilasmaa, among others.

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TriggMine helps B2C sites convert abandoned shopping carts into sales

For an owner of an e-commerce store, one of the most frustrating aspects of running the company must be abandoned carts. You attracts the customer, they find an item they want, they go to buy it, and then, for whatever reason, they decide that they are not committed to the purchase and abandon the process, possibly permanently.

There are services in the American and UK markets, such as Listrak, Triggered Messaging, and dotmailer, but the Ukrainian and Russian markets are not as saturated. Ukraine-based TriggMine has thus emerged to try and capture the business of Russian-speaking customers. 

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Social-media influencer network Brandnew raises $1.9 million from the city of Berlin and from private investors

BrandNewio-logoBerlin-based Brandnew, which connects “top influencers” on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest to deliver native ads, announces that they have obtained $1.1 million in a grant from the city of Berlin and $845K from a network of investors that includes PubliGroupe, Berlin Ventures, and Lukas Kircher.

The company says that this funding will be directed towards developing their technology, implementing new market strategies, and developing new brand partnerships. Brandnew already partners with companies like Coca Cola, Adidas, Ford, L’Oreal, and Uber and says that they current have more than 800 profiles in their “influencer network.”

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Popular VPN service ZenMate announces iOS and Android apps

zenmate-appsZenMate, a popular VPN service which has gained huge traction especially in MENA’s web censoring countries, has finally released its mobile apps for Android and iOS. The privacy tool that encrypts data traffic passing through your browsers has also announced it has now more than 4 million users globally.

The company offers a freemium package which is limited to 500MB of mobile data traffic a month. New subscribers will be able to try the Premium package free for a week, which, in addition to IP and location hiding provided by the freemium, offers unlimited data traffic, data compression and a firewall for harmful sites.

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Smart-home startup Tado finalizes its Kickstarter bid with huge success

tado-screenMunich-based Tado is one company hoping to bring homes into the future with apps for controlling your heater and AC unit. It is not new on the scene, having been founded in 2011 and already releasing their heating app in May 2013. They started out focusing on the German, Austrian, and Swiss markets, but expanded to the UK the following year and went global after that. But what is interesting is that, despite solid financial backing, the company has just recently, and very successfully,  completed Kickstarter campaign to fund their latest project, an app that allows users to control their AC with their phones.

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Transportation search service GoEuro announces that it has raised $27 million in Series A

goeuro-screenGoEuro, a service that allows users to find car rentals, flights, and rail tickets, announces that they have raked in $27 million in a Series A round from New Enterprise Associates and current backers Battery Ventures, Hasso Plattner Ventures, and Lakestar, who all increased their investment in the company.

GoEuro, which launched in March 2012, kicked off its funding back in March 2013 with $4 million from Hasso and Battery and then followed that up with an undisclosed amount from Lakestar in January of this year.

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