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Launchtrip Lets You Actually Enjoy Your Vacation

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Julian Ing, Founder and CEO of Launchtrip, has a gift for us. After the past two years… hell… after the past ten years, we could all use a vacation. We all need a moment to close our eyes, turn off our brains, lie in the sun, sip champagne, and relaaaaaax. 

Unfortunately, there are logistics to figure out. That’s right. You have to do something before you do nothing

Anything from finding the right accommodations to picking the right restaurant, chasing down invites – which is a pain and sometimes awkward. 

“And then obviously the biggest pain of all, chasing down money, going to your friends, having to collect all that money up. 

“Why has that never changed the last 15 – 20 years?

Enter Launchtrip. 

Julian Ing, Founder and CEO of Launchtrip

Launchtrip is the first travel booking app in the world that actually handles payment processing for groups. So we handle your invites and we do split payments.

“So for example, if you actually did book your next trip with your buddies, let’s say to Vegas, right on Launchtrip, you could pick the hotels. We even recommended really great restaurants. 

“Booking happens right on the app. And once you’re done, all of your friends get an invite to Launchtrip and they download the app, they put down their own credit card. They pay their portions. They are off to the races. 

“Just like that, you never have to chase on an invite or a payment ever again.

Planning A Trip With Friends

If you’ve ever had to organize a group trip with friends it can be a real pain in the tuchus. Let’s say you’re planning a road trip from Philadelphia to Seattle. There are four of you plus one dog and you have one week to complete the trip. Which route do you take? North or south? Where do you stay and when? What do you eat? How much gas and food money do we budget? What are we going to do when we arrive at a stop? 

There’s an incredible amount of logistics to plan. Usually, it falls to one brave soldier to take on the coordinating responsibilities. Some are better at it than others. But, no matter how comfortable you are demanding money and availabilities from people, it can be tiring and discouraging. 

If your friends are difficult (because we all know that Jill is needlessly difficult), it can ruin the excitement of the trip. Preparing for a trip shouldn’t take so much energy and time, but it does. We all want to have a great trip, and proper preparation can help guarantee that. 

Launchtrip takes all the stress and hassle of preparing for a trip and does it for you. Leaving you to place all of your energy in enjoying yourself with your friends. 

You can travel by car, train, walk, bus. It doesn’t matter how you get there. We care a lot about what you do when you do get there. So, if you’re planning a trip, once you’re there, we really do care about it. Our ethos of the company is to really build the best experience we can for our users.

There For You 24/7

Another critical feature of Launchtrip that you won’t find with other travel services is 24/7 customer support. No matter what or when Launchtrip is available to help you out. Even if you’re in the middle of transit, you can reach someone to give you a helping hand. 

We’re really big on SMS text. It allows us to provide 24-7 support to all of our users whenever they need it, right? So whether they’re in the middle of transportation or they’ve ended up looking for accommodations or their lost or available to them [we provide help] 24-7.” 

The idea that it’s too late to get customer service because you’re already “wheels up” dies with Launchtrip. 

Only Up From Here

Launchtrip is just getting started. As the world emerges from a pandemic (or tries to if people would just take the effing vaccine, KAREN!), we will begin to travel again. And we will need help. Because, after all of the everything, we need a vacation. 

Our goal for the remaining part of this year is just to make sure our systems are in place. We can scale customer support is all set up. So, next year is really about growth. We want to … expand our brand, not just in the U.S., not just in Canada, but internationally. 

“We want to expand to at least 70 cities next year globally. We also want to really start scaling our users. We want to hit our one to three million milestone by the middle of next year, and we’re built to do that. 

“But by the end of next year, we’re hoping that travel comes back a little bit bigger and gives us a little bit more support.

This author will definitely be using Launchtrip to get as far away from everything as possible. Momma needs a vacation. STAT.

Chris Blondell is a Philadelphia-based writer and social media strategist with a current focus on tech industry news. He has written about startups and entrepreneurs based in Denver, Seattle, Chicago, New Haven, and more. He has also written content for a true-crime blog, Sword and Scale, and developed social media content for a local spice shop. An occasional comedian, Chris Blondell also spends his time writing humorous content and performing stand-up for local audiences.

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Business

The Shift Towards Banking-As-A-Service

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The changing times and the pandemic have created a significant shift in how we bank. In addition, our expectations from banks have also differed through the years. The digitalization of the financial services industry has furthered the plan to get free access to banking data. This is in connection with the Open Banking initiative and the dramatic rise of fintech companies and neo-banks.

The market space that the traditional banks once dominated has now given new players the opportunities to compete alongside them. Indeed, the commoditization of bank services has inevitably begun.

A void to connect banks and these new players has been filled in the form of banking-as-as-service (or BaaS for short) providers. It’s only logical that a service such as this emerges. It’s the order next in line to streamline the customer experience and provide products that are built to engage the modern world. 

What exactly is banking-as-as-service?

The easiest way to explain what banking-as-as-service is is through a few examples, these are:

  • Bank accounts
  • Lending systems
  • Credit card payments

The digital world is changing the relationships of brands and businesses with their customers. It is rapidly shifting and improving that even non-bank companies have already integrated financial services to their customers. Established companies such as Walmart, Apple, Uber, or Amazon have already been doing this to add value to their products and services.

Why businesses should take the banking-as-as-service opportunity

To those in the know, banking technology is a complex matter. Developing it from the ground up can be laborious and expensive. Add to that the challenge of getting a bank license which turns off those trying to get in that niche. What banking-as-as-service does is to connect businesses with banks that take care of the requirements and provide the technology they need to provide financial services through a slew of digital channels.

This process will make banking services more engaging and less transactional. Businesses can now integrate services throughout the buying journey without redirecting them to a different platform. This means customers will no longer do the rigamarole of going from one channel to another. They will get what they need when and where they need it.

And statistics show that it is working. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services are steadily climbing at a rate of 39% per year for approximately 10 million Britons making their online purchases. 

What now for traditional banks?

Since traditional banks have little appetite for risks, they weren’t built to handle the demands for embedded finance. BaaS companies make it faster and easier for fintechs and other companies to increase their offerings by embedding digital banking services directly into the purchase. Instead of seeing this as competition, traditional banks should collaborate with BaaS to benefit from this embedding.

What can Banking-as-a-service do?

With the help of banking-as-a-service, new players in the finance industry will have the capability of targeting niche communities and coming up with slimmer product sets. Also, the solutions that BaaS offers can give valuable insights to businesses on how they can improve their products or services. They will have the much-needed data to learn about industry trends, saving and spending behaviors, and general engagement with their offerings.

All these means that businesses can have more information on how they can improve the overall customer experience. This also means companies can deliver products and services that are more targeted towards the right customers. The possibilities that banking-as-a-service offers are endless in terms of innovation in the banking and financial services market.

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Playrcart Gives You What You Want – Immediately

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We’ve all watched ads and immediately thought, “I want that. Right now.” Some of us wish we could jump right into the TV and into that sexy Ford F-Series quicker than we can have a second thought. But how many of us have gone to make a purchase only to be discouraged by the needlessly complicated payment process? “Too many,” says UK-based startup Playrcart

We believe this is the future of advertising.” 

Founder Glen Dormieux, along with CTO, Richard Mason, created Playrcart born of that very frustration.

What we’re seeing right now is fairly traditional – they’re doing the same thing time and time again.

Currently, when viewing an ad, you have to go through several pages in order to complete a purchase. How many sales are lost in that time-consuming process? “Too many!” say business owners in a Mr. Krabs-esque demeanor. 

How Does Playrcart Work?

Playrcart has designed its platform to convert digital assets into instant transactions within the ad itself. How is that possible? Technology, stupid. 

You can actually make the transaction go directly within the asset itself. So you engage with the ads, you interact with the purchase within the ad without ever leaving that same piece of content.

It effectively dilutes numerous clicks that you normally have to navigate through. The average of reduction clicks is about 75 percent.

With Playrcart, you can watch the trailer for a new Spider-man movie and buy tickets before it’s even completed. You can schedule a test drive in the Ford F-Series as you’re watching a professional drive it on a closed course. 

Consumers will now have the option to purchase something when their emotional response to an ad is at its peak. You can see an ad for a major event and as you’re riding that emotional wave you click and purchase tickets. As the ad concludes, you can emotionally conclude with it – satisfied. 

You can see Playrcart’s technology in action here

Playrcart is capitalizing on our instant gratification society, and they’re doing it with modesty and innovative advances in technology. 

We want to hit them instantly while you’ve got their attention.

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Business

Crazy Things That Happened in 2021

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Although 2021 would probably go down in history as one of the craziest years in recent times, 2021 is looking like it’s catching up. Here are a few of the crazy things that happened this year:

Capitol Hill Riot (January)

Early January saw a massive riot happen at the US Capitol. Former President Trump was charged with incitement in his impeachment trial in the Senate. This resulted in a mob that was pro-Trump, breaking into the building. This forced members of Congress to evacuate and left five dead.

Battle of the Billionaires (January)

Elon Musk has surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world. This, thanks to the increase in Tesla’s share price giving him a net worth of more than $185 billion. Bezos was the holder of this title but went down with his $184 billion worth.

Trump Impeachment (January)

A call for Former President Trump’s impeachment happened twice this year. Some Democrats and members of the progressive group, The Squad, called for his impeachment. This, after his supporters stormed the US Capitol.

Frigid Weather in Texas (February)

Brutal winter storms ravaged Texas for more than seven days. It caused unprecedented devastation that claimed the lives of at least 26 people.

The Grammys Breaking Records (March)

Records were broken in this year’s Grammys, with Beyonce winning more awards than any in the award-giving body’s history. Along with Megan Thee Stallion, they became the first female artists to win best rap performance, breaking records. BTS also made Grammy history by being the first foreign act to perform solo and the first KPop group to be nominated.

The Free Britney Movement (April)

Pop icon Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship by her father since 2008. In April this year, the hashtag #freebritney gained traction as fans cried for the singer to be free from the legal binding. 

The Friends Reunion (May)

Not really a follow-up to the lives of the Friends character, but a reunion in which the main cast members reminisced about the good ol’ times. The fans were treated to a recreation of the set along with some table reads from scenes that were rehashed. 

Bitcoin Price Plunge (May)

After hitting a record high of $64,829 in mid-April, Bitcoin prices plunged to around $30,000 at one point. All this is in connection with Elon Musk’s Tesla’s suspension of purchase with the cryptocurrency, citing environmental concerns over the mining process.

The End for Keeping Up With The Kardashians (June)

The month of June saw the end of the reality TV show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. After 20 seasons on the air, the show ends with a two-part reunion special. However, this isn’t the end for the Kardashians-Jenner, as they will star anew in a Hulu reality series later this year.

On another note, the year also saw the divorce of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West after six years of marriage.

All Eyes on Simone Biles (July)

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics was held in 2021 due to the pandemic. And on this one, all eyes were on Simone Biles as she has proven that she’s not superhuman after all. The celebrated gymnast withdrew from the team gymnastics finals citing the “twisties” and her efforts to focus on her mental health.

Facebook Name Change (October)

From Facebook to Meta, the rebranding was announced in October in an attempt to own the metaverse. The company says that the new name is reflective of their ambitions that go beyond being a social media platform. CEO Mark Zuckerberg considers the move as a nod to the metaverse, the concept of a three-dimensional version of the internet.

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