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MeetKai – The World’s First AI Concierge



If someone were to tell you that they were going to take on Google or Apple, you’d probably think they were unrealistic, to put it diplomatically. Well, that’s what James Kaplan, founder and CEO of MeetKai, is doing. 

In 2018, it was like, this is crazy. How is everyone satisfied with this trajectory? 

“If you have these pieces of tech where they’re not innovating and they’re stagnating, there’s no reason to believe that all of a sudden we’re going to start innovating.

James Kaplan, Founder and CEO of MeetKai

Kaplan, formerly of the finance world, noticed in ten years of existence that Siri had not changed a bit. She’s still the same awkward, mediocre chatbot we were only mildly impressed with ten years ago. 

I look at that as a good opportunity.

Taking Siri and Alexa On

In 2018, Kaplan and Weili Dai founded MeetKai, the world’s first AI concierge. Imagine Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant weren’t just fancy chatbots. Instead, they were fully interactive AIs capable of guiding you where you wanted to go. Whether that’s to a new restaurant or learning a simple fact. 

Except, they totally aren’t. 

What makes a voice system good is that they use that they allow people to talk in a conversational way. When we use search engines these days, like Google, we have sort of been trained to use text and really to think in terms of keywords.

You can’t just say, you know, ‘what are good Tom Cruise movies that have action, but no romance.’ You have to say ‘Tom Cruise, Action movie.’ And our brains have almost been trained to think like that when we’re using search engines — that we have to think in terms of a way a computer can better understand.

“For voice assistant like you don’t have that anymore. What I always hated was seeing people use like Siri … giving it commands as if they’re barking at it — saying call mom ‘on way’ or text mom ‘on way’.

Kai, that adorable little bird, is joining the club with Siri, Alexa, and whatever Google Assistant is named. Only Kai has newer ideas and a fresh perspective. 

How Does MeetKai Work? 

Kai works like Siri. You open MeetKai up and speak to Kai. Just ask, “Hey Kai, can you find me a good recipe for ‘beef rendang?’” in moments you will be delivered a mouth-watering recipe for the world’s most delicious beef stew. 

Just like Siri, Kai searches for the solutions to your query. Unlike Siri, however, you cannot ask Kai to call anyone or save dates on your calendar. 

We actually don’t do a lot of the things that Siri does because we’re not built into the phone.

“So, what we’re trying to do is push people towards that idea of like at our core, we’re kind of a concierge that makes recommendations.”

Kai is the most adorable hotel concierge you’ll encounter. One that will eventually come to learn and adapt to your own unique personality. 

One of the things that we want to do was to have Kai have a universal personality that would slowly move towards you. 

“I think that would be the idea is that the personality of the app would change as you use it over time into a way that’s sort of like your own ‘mini-me’ is what my co-founder likes to call it.

The idea of MeetKai is to give users a personable AI that they can turn to for recommendations for streaming, recipes, restaurants, news, games, weather, etc. But with a personality far more colorful than Siri’s stale, monotone voice. 

What’s Next For MeetKai?

Kaplan has lofty goals for MeetKai’s success. Besides taking on giants like Google and Apple, Kaplan wants MeetKai to be the resource users turn to – just like they turn to Google now. 

If you think about how often a person uses Google, it’s like three to four times a day. But if you can think of their queries over the course of a month, what percent of them actually end up with web pages versus what they really want? [They want] a piece of content. 

“This is like Google’s real mission, right? Google’s mission is to give you the results before you click off the search page. They don’t want to send traffic [away].

“That’s sort of our goal as well.”

“We want to try to be able to do certain things like Google does, but better. 

“Such that, when users want to find a restaurant, they don’t open up Yelp or Google Maps or anything that they just use us to find it.

“That’s sort of one pathway – it’s ambitious. But it’s something that we think is possible.” 

Big Tech Is Missing The Boat

Giant companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook (ahem, excuse me, Meta) are too caught up in their success to continue innovating. Need proof? Has Apple’s autocorrect gotten better, or worse? Has Siri changed at all? Or is she exactly the same, only less amusing? 

MeetKai is the first company in about ten years to start pushing the limits of technology in an innovative direction. A direction that people are actually interested in. 

Who asked for the metaverse, Mark? 

MeetKai is still new and the AI is still learning. In a tech world where the giants seem to dominate, it’s refreshing to have an adorable little bird guide you to where you want to go.

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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The Shift Towards Banking-As-A-Service



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



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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Crazy Things That Happened in 2021



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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