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Zizoo, a booking.com for boats, sails for new markets with $7.4M on board – TechCrunch

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Berlin-based Zizoo — a startup which self describes as booking.com for boats — has nabbed a €6.5 million (~$7.4M) Series A to help more millennials find holiday yachts to mess about taking selfies in.

Zizoo says its Series A — which was led by Revo Capital, with participation from new investors including Coparion, Check24 Ventures and PUSH Ventures — was “significantly oversubscribed”.

Existing investors including MairDumont Ventures, aws Founders Fund, Axel Springer Digital Ventures and Russmedia International also participated in the round.

We first came across Zizoo some three years ago when they won our pitching competition in Budapest.

We’re happy to say they’ve come a long way since, with a team that’s now 60-people strong, and business relationships with ~1,500 charter companies — serving up more than 21,000 boats for rent, across 30 countries, via a search and book platform that caters to a full range of “sailing experiences”, from experienced sailor to novice and, on the pricing front, luxury to budget.

Registered users passed the 100,000 mark this year, according to founder and CEO Anna Banicevic. She also tells us that revenue growth has been 2.5x year-on-year for the past three years.

Commenting on the Series A in a statement, Revo Capital’s managing director Cenk Bayrakdar said: “The yacht charter market is one of the most underserved verticals in the travel industry despite its huge potential. We believe in Zizoo’s successful future as a leading SaaS-enabled marketplace.”

The new funds will be put towards growing the business — including by expanding into new markets; plus product development and recruitment across the board.

Zizoo founder and CEO Anna Banicevic at its Berlin offices

“We’re looking to strengthen our presence in the US, where we’ve seen the biggest YoY growth while also expand our inventory in hot locations such as Greece, Spain and the Caribbean,” says Banicevic on market expansion. “We will also be aggressively pushing markets such as France and Spain where consumers show a growing interest in boat holidays.”

Zizoo is intending to hire 40 more employees over the course of the next year — to meet what it dubs “the booming demand for sailing experiences, especially among millennials”.

So why do millennials love boating holidays so much? Zizoo says the 20-40 age range makes up the “majority” of its customer.

Banicevic reckons the answer is they’re after a slice of ‘affordable luxury’.

“After the recent boom of the cruising industry, millennials are well familiar with the concept of holidays at sea. However, sailing holidays (yachting) are much more fitting to the millennial’s strive for independence, adventure and experiences off the beaten path,” she suggests.

“Yachting is a growing trend no longer reserved for the rich and famous — and millennials want a piece of that. On our platform, users can book a boat holiday for as low as £25 per person per night (this is an example of a sailboat in Croatia).”

On the competition front, she says the main competition is the offline sphere (“where 90% of business is conducted by a few large and many small travel agents”).

But a few rival platforms have emerged “in the last few years” — and here she reckons Zizoo has managed to outgrow the startup competition “thanks to our unique vertically integrated business model, offering suppliers a booking management system and making it easy for the user to book a boat holiday”.

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Apple urges WatchOS update after “actively exploited” flaw

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Apple has released watchOS version 7.6.1, an update the company says is important as it addresses a potential security problem. The update is available for the Apple Watch 3 and later models, with the patch arriving only days after the big 7.6 update was released to the public. Users should update their watches as soon as possible.

READ: Apple Watch Series 6 Review: Six months of Pandemic Intervention

According to Apple, the update addresses “a memory corruption issue” by introducing “improved memory handling.” The problem, the watchOS update notes, could potentially allow an app to “execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges.”

The patch notes go on to explain, “Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”

Overall, this is a minor update for watchOS 7, which first hit Apple Watch devices back in September. If you own a supported Apple Watch model, you can update it by launching the Apple Watch app on iOS and heading into the Software Update menu. You’ll need to charge your watch’s battery before the update will start.

A few days ago, Apple released the macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 update for Mac computers that addresses the same IOMobileFrameBuffer issue. If you own a Mac that runs Big Sur, be sure to intall this update, as well, to help ensure your device’s security.

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Huawei P50 and P50 Pro pack Dual-Matrix cameras for high-end photography

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Following multiple leaks, Huawei has officially unveiled its P50 and P50 Pro smartphones. The new mobile series expands Huawei’s P Series lineup, offering consumers a high-end mobile photography experience in a sleek package. The new P50 offerings include the company’s XD Fusion Pro Image Engine alongside Huawei XD Optics and True-Chrome Shot.

Huawei puts the emphasis on the P50 Series phones’ camera capabilities, noting that the new lineup ushers in its new Dual-Matrix Camera design boasting “true to life” image quality. This is the first P Series model to feature “computational capabilities,” according to Huawei, which work at the software level to fix any optical errors introduced into the images.

Huawei claims this computational system can exceed what is possible from optical design alone, offering up to 25-percent more image detail compared to a similar setup lacking the restoration tech. Beyond that, the P50 models build upon the photo engine introduced with the P40 series, instead offering the XD Fusion Pro Image Engine with new Super HDR tech, a Super Color Filter system, and the True-Chroma Image Engine.

Among other things, Huawei boasts the P50 Pro’s camera offers what it claims is unprecedented zoom capability with a 200x range. The company says that images captured at up to 100x are “incredibly clear,” while images up to 200x still retain ample detail. Users also get ultra-wide-angle shots with a lens equivalent of 13mm, plus a macro photography capability that can focus as close as 2.5cm to an object.

As far as image recording is concerned, the P50 smartphones support up to 4K capture with full focal range support. The phones pack a new AIS Pro image stabilization system that helps keep videos clear, particularly when the user has zoomed in on a subject.

As expected, the new phones feature Huawei’s HarmonyOS 2 software launched in early June. The P50 Pro model, the most notable of the two handsets, features a 6.6-inch OLED display with up to a 120Hz refresh rate, 2700 x 1228 resolution, and 450ppi. Other features include the Snapdragon 888 4G, 8GB of memory, 256GB storage, a 13MP front-facing camera, 4360mAh battery, SuperCharge support, and an IP68 rating.

The P50 series marks Huawei’s first flagship launch featuring its HarmonyOS mobile operating system. Because of US sanctions against the company, the P50 and P50 Pro lack Google services and apps. Likewise, Huawei doesn’t include 5G support for either model, with the company’s CEO Richard Yu citing the US sanctions as the reason for this decision.

Huawei will begin selling the P50 Series in China with a starting price of around $900. It’s unclear whether the company will ever launch the phones in other markets, however.

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New Galaxy Z Flip 3 case leak shows wild, wonderful foldable future

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 leaked today in the form of a set of official Samsung protective cases. Normally this would not be a major news event, but the style and color schemes delivered with these bits of hardware have caught our attention in ways that achieve more than the average case. What better way to accentuate the unique nature of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, with its foldable display panel, than to deliver cases that wouldn’t otherwise function on a device with a more traditional form?

With the cases leaked by 91mobiles today, we see leather, clear, and silicone cases. We see spaces left open for the back or out-facing cameras, LED flash, and touchscreen. We see a keychain style hook, a fabric pull with a euro punch style hook, and we see colors that should match the first wave of Galaxy Z Flip 3 devices very nicely.

Samsung’s not one to shy away from bright colors and deep contrast in device casings or official protective cases for devices. If you’re going to pay hundreds of dollars for a smart device you’ll use every day of your life for the next several years, you’re going to want that device to be distinctive in its outward appearance, yes?

The cases shown in leaks today cover Blue, Purple, Yellow (dark yellow, almost mustard yellow), black, and possibly gold. There’s also the clear (transparent) option – as is generally the case with cases.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is expected to be fitted with a 1.9-inch display on its back (near the back-facing or out-facing camera array). It’s expected to have a 6.7-inch display inside that folds in the middle. The external camera are both tipped to be 12MP, while the inside (front-facing) camera is tipped to be 10MP.

These specifications are very similar to what’s expected of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, with its 3x 12MP cameras on the back side and 10MP front-facing camera (with another 4MP camera inside). Both devices are rumored to be released with IPX8 resistance to water.

These devices and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Watch 4 will likely appear at the next Samsung event. The Samsung Unpacked event of which we speak is set to take place on August 11, 2021. The release date for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 will very likely be mid to late August, 2021.

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