How tech can transform your business

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Mashable’s latest #BizChatsTwitter chat, sponsored by HP Matter discussed how tech innovation is disrupting industries and the ways business owners can embrace these changes

Over the course of an hour, @MashBusiness covered an array of topics, from industries with the biggest need for change, to how technology can transform the creation and execution of a business idea.

Several influencers took part in this compelling conversation: Erica Kochi, co-founder & co-leader of UNICEF’s Innovation Unit; Halle Tecco, founder & managing director of Rock Health; Jessica Richman, co-founder of uBiome; Jessica Scorpio, founder of Getaround.com; Mike Karnjanaprakorn, CEO of Skillshare; Paul Menta, co-founder of Dock to Dish; Peter Gerard, director of audience development & content operations at Vimeo; and Susan Feldman, co-founder of One King’s Lane. Read more…

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Pomeranian delivers cutest puppy sneeze of all time

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Big news: Roux the Pomeranian had to sneeze, and it was the cutest puppy sneeze ever.

A few things this puppy sneeze sounds like: an electric toothbrush, a remote control car, a tiny power tool, the sound of all our collective hearts singing.

If only all our sneezes were this adorable. Gesundheit, Roux.

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Tech companies are taking business away from banks

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A handful of payments companies including Square and PayPal are moving beyond their core market in payments to take advantage of an opportunity to help small businesses grow.

Following the 2008 financial crisis, banks severely restricted access to capital, disproportionately affecting fledgling and medium-sized businesses. Annual loan originations to businesses with $1 million or less in revenue fell dramatically between 2007 and 2013. 

For payments companies like Square and PayPal this created an opportunity. They are now offering loans and advances to their small-business clients and charging a fixed fee for the capital advance. It’s a way to develop a new revenue stream and help their merchants grow (which in turn, means more money from credit card transaction fees). In a recent BI Intelligence report, we explain how these digital-lending programs work, how they stack up to alternatives, and why banks should be worried about these programs taking off. 

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Here are some of the key points from the report: 

In full, the report:

To access the full report from BI Intelligence, sign up for a 14-day trial here. Members also gain access to new in-depth reports and hundreds of charts on the digital industry.

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Olympians are training in water rife with fecal bacteria, Brazil’s data shows

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RIO DE JANEIRO — The Brazilian government’s most recent data on water pollution in Rio de Janeiro show that water near where triathletes are preparing to compete this weekend is “unfit” for swimming.

The designation, based on fecal bacteria levels, is available on the website of the Rio de Janeiro environmental agency.

The most recent pollution reading at Copacabana Beach was taken from a sample this past Monday. An Olympic qualifier and Paratriathlon event begin Saturday, and several athletes were already getting into the water Friday morning. Read more…

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Red Bull under fire for featuring racist video showing men in blackface

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Red Bull is in hot water featuring a controversial, overtly racist video from a recent Moscow event on its website.

The highlight reel, filmed at Red Bull’s Flugtag event in Moscow on July 26, opens with two men in blackface and one in a Barack Obama mask chasing a banana in front of a Red Bull banner.

The clip, described as the “best of Moscow Flugtag,” was posted to Red Bull’s Russian language page on July 28, and later to its English page. During event, organized by Red Bull, competitors attempt to fly homemade gliders as far as possible off a ledge. Read more…

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The 19 biggest European tech venture capital firms

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European tech is heating up: In 2014, 13 startups became “unicorns,” with valuations of $1 billion or more. It’s a huge jump from just a year before, which saw the birth of only three of the mythical creatures. 

Fueling this growth is an ambitious collection of European venture capital funds, investing capital into the ecosystem in the hopes of getting in on the ground floor of the next Spotify or Skype — as well as looking at other sectors, including health-tech, energy, and more traditional business.

With the help of venture capital tracking company CB Insights, Business Insider has ranked the biggest European funds raised since 2010, by size.

19. Principia — $200 million

Founded in 2002, Principia is an Italian venture capital firm based in Milan. It focuses on startups and small & medium sized enterprises with turnovers of less than €50 million.

18. Earlybird Venture Capital — $200 million

With its HQ in Berlin and additional offices in Munich and Istanbul, Earlybird invests across multiple stages and has invested in 11 companies in the last 12 months. It also invests in health tech.

Past investments include to-do list app Wunderlist, social analytics company SocialBakers, and EyeEm, a photo-sharing app and community.

17. Glide Healthcare Partners — $200 million

Glide invests in healthcare tech and services, with offices in Boston and the Netherlands. For its tech investments, it looks to invest up to €15 million at a time.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Iranian city flirts with world record heat index of 154 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit

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The Middle East is no stranger to blistering heat. But one city in Iran has challenged the all-time global record high heat index during the past two days, with a heat index of about 154 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, and a staggering 164 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday

The city of Bandar Mahshahr has a population of about 110,000 people. On Thursday, the actual air temperature reached 109 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 degrees Celsius, with a dew point of 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 degrees Celsius. This translated to a heat index of 154 degrees Fahrenheit, or 67.8 degrees Celsius

The heat index, which is how hot the air feels when combining the air temperature and relative humidity, was even higher than this based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) heat index calculator Read more…

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