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Online art marketplace Artfinder raises £830k

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Online art marketplace Artfinder successfully completed its Crowdcube campaign, finishing the raise on £834,056 from 1,320 investors in four weeks.

Investors in the crowdfunding round will receive equity in the business, at a valuation of £10 million. The business remains open for further direct investment by interested parties until the end of September.

Artfinder is a VC funded startup, backed by the investors behind Spotify and Zoopla. Investors include Wellington Partners, Oxford Capital, Cambridge Angels, plus private investors in the UK, the US and Switzerland. In August 2019, Artfinder became the art world’s first B Corp, solidifying its commitment to its values to support artists and make art affordable and accessible.

It’s the first time Artfinder has run a crowdfunding campaign, following a period of exponential growth. Artfinder recorded its best sales quarter in its seven year history in Q2, with 120% sales growth and 15% increase in average order value, compared to 2019.

The campaign also shone a light on the B Corp community, as fellow B Corp Callaly successfully raised on the platform at the same time.

The annual Hiscox online art trade report confirms the art market has seen incredible online growth, with Sotheby’s seeing a 131% increase in the number of lots it has sold online so far this year.

Michal Szczesny, Artfinder CEO, says: “We believe that Crowdcube’s focus on the B Corp movement was really powerful in convincing their community of investors and entrepreneurs to invest in Artfinder.

“It is an honour for us to be serving such a great community and also to have so many of our artists and customers on board as our shareholders, engaging all our stakeholders in the business.”

Money raised will be used to deliver faster artist payments, an improved seller and buyer experience on the platform, improved customer service and scaled up customer recruitment to bring art to a wider audience of collectors and help more artists sell. Lead investor, VC firm Wellington Partners, have invested £5m in Artfinder to date.



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My essential Mac apps for working from home , Tech News & Top Stories

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People always go gaga over shiny new gadgets and hardware. However, it is usually the software that ultimately dictates whether there is a good and intuitive user experience.

For that reason, I prefer macOS computers over Windows machines.

My established workflow is just more efficient on a Mac – more so these days when I am working from home.

Even though I have a Windows gaming rig, it is purely for gaming (time to upgrade to Nvidia RTX 3080, by the way). And while I have a company-issued Windows laptop, I use it only to input my articles into the company’s system.

I am a good example that you can run everything on a Mac.

Here are my essential productivity apps for a work-from-home Mac set-up.


1.  iA Writer

$44.98, available on Mac App Store

I don’t use Microsoft Word. Instead, I have been using the writing app Information Architects (iA) Writer for many years to type out my articles, like this one here.

Unlike Word, iA Writer does not have any rulers, formatting bars and other stuff to distract you.

It offers you just a white (or black when in Dark mode) canvas for you to write your articles, craft your reports and code your programs.

It even has a Focus mode that will black out everything else except the sentence or paragraph you are currently working on.

I like the app so much that I also bought the iOS version to use on my iPhone and iPad. It is also available on Windows and Android.


2. Pixelmator Pro

$40.98, available on Mac App Store

If you are tired of Adobe’s subscription model for its Photoshop imaging-editing suite, you should check out Pixelmator Pro.

It might not have an image-browser tool like Bridge that accompanies Photoshop, but Pixelmator Pro has all the image-editing tools you need and more.

One key difference is its use of machine learning (ML) to enhance your photos.

For instance, its ML Enhance feature uses an ML algorithm trained on millions of professional photos to give you automatic enhancement with one click.

But I am especially impressed with its ML Super Resolution feature that allows you to increase the resolution of your existing images, like what you see in movies.

You can zoom in, select ML Super Resolution and witness a pixelated area being filled up with pixels while maintaining the subject matter.


3. Parallels Desktop 16

US$79.99 (S$109) for a yearly subscription

There will be instances when you need to use Windows apps because they are not available on macOS – especially for companies that have proprietary Windows apps.

This is when a virtualisation software like Parallels Desktop 16 (PD16) comes in handy.

With PD16, you do not need to reboot your Mac to run Windows using macOS’ native Boot Camp app. You can start Windows 10 on macOS itself and run Windows apps like a macOS app in the Mac environment.

This latest version offers better performance and faster graphics. It is also optimised for the upcoming macOS 11 Big Sur operating system.

But there is something I like more than the PD16’s virtualisation capability – the accompanying Parallel Toolbox.

Into its fourth version, this suite offers around 30 shortcut tools that will increase your productivity. For instance, it allows you to free memory, start screen recording and easily download a video clip from a browser.


4. Acronis True Image 2021

$82 (standard version for one PC)

The macOS is essentially more secure than the Windows platform by virtue of its small market share. No hacker would want to spend time and effort to target a small portion of the market.

However, that does not mean the macOS is 100 per cent malware-or virus-proof. It still needs to be protected from cyber attacks.

And Acronis True Image 2021 is one of the few security software that is available for macOS. Its Active Protection mode continuously checks every file you open to see if it has malicious elements like ransomware.

It also features anti-virus scan for you to check your Mac any time you like or you can schedule a weekly scan. In addition, it lets you back up your computer to another drive, so you can recover it in the event of hard drive failure.

On the downside, the macOS version does not come with video-conferencing protection to prevent “Zoom-bombing” or illegal entry into your Zoom or WebEx meetings.



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CCI approves merger of Medlife with larger rival PharmEasy, Technology News, ETtech

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Illustration: Rahul Awasthi
Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

India’s competition watchdog has approved the merger of online pharmacy Medlife with larger rival PharmEasy, the first major consolidation play in the sector that has recently seen the entry of deep-pocketed players like Reliance Industries and Amazon.

The deal will see API Holdings, the parent entity of PharmEasy, acquire 100% equity shares of Medlife, filings with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) show. Medlife’s promoters will in return get a 19.95% stake in the combined entity.

ET had first reported on the proposed merger of PharmEasy and Medlife in August, when the two firms had made a joint application to the CCI.

Sources close to the developments had told ET that the valuation of the combined entity would be around $1.2 billion, which would value the stake held by Medlife’s shareholders in API Holdings at around $240 million.

The approval comes a little over a month after Reliance Retail acquired 60% stake in Chennai-based Vitalic, parent company of Netmeds, for approximately Rs 620 crore. Reliance also got 100% ownership of Netmeds’ subsidiaries, Tresara Health, Netmeds Market Place and Dadha Pharma Distribution.

Earlier in August, e-commerce giant Amazon too marked its entry into the e-pharmacy segment, starting deliveries of prescription drugs to customers in Bangalore. The company is working with its largest seller Cloudtail to sell medicines, which will require customers to upload a photo of their prescription in order to get them delivered home.

PharmEasy was valued at around $700 million when it closed a $220 million funding round led by Singapore’s Temasek in November last year. It is as yet unclear if the transaction between Medlife and PharmEasy a purely stock-swap deal.

PharmEasy and Medlife did not respond to ET’s queries till press time on Tuesday.

Ananth Narayanan, who was appointed Medlife CEO in August last year, will stay on as an advisor for some time even after the deal is closed, sources had told ET. Narayanan had also invested in Medlife in his personal capacity and had assumed the position of cofounder as well.



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My essential Mac apps for working from home, Tech News & Top Stories

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People always go gaga over shiny new gadgets and hardware. However, it is usually the software that ultimately dictates whether there is a good and intuitive user experience.

For that reason, I prefer macOS computers over Windows machines.

My established workflow is just more efficient on a Mac – more so these days when I am working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even though I have a Windows gaming rig, it is purely for gaming (time to upgrade to Nvidia RTX 3080, by the way). And while I have a company-issued Windows laptop, I use it only to input my articles into the company’s system. I am a good example that you can run everything on a Mac.

Here are my essential productivity apps for a work-from-home Mac set-up.

iA Writer


PHOTO: INFORMATION ARCHITECTS

$44.98, available on Mac App Store

I don’t use Microsoft Word. Instead, I have been using the writing app Information Architects (iA) Writer for many years to type out my articles, like this one here.

Unlike Word, iA Writer does not have any rulers, formatting bars and other stuff to distract you.

It offers you just a white (or black when in Dark mode) canvas for you to write your articles, craft your reports and code your programs.

It even has a Focus mode that will black out everything else except the sentence or paragraph you are currently working on.

I like the app so much that I also bought the iOS version to use on my iPhone and iPad. It is also available on Windows and Android.

Pixelmator Pro


PHOTO: PIXERLMATOR TEAM

$40.98, available on Mac App Store

If you are tired of Adobe’s subscription model for its Photoshop imaging-editing suite, you should check out Pixelmator Pro.

It might not have an image-browser tool like Bridge that accompanies Photoshop, but Pixelmator Pro has all the image- editing tools you need and more.

One key difference is its use of machine learning (ML) to enhance your photos.

For instance, its ML Enhance feature uses an ML algorithm trained on millions of professional photos to give you automatic enhancement with one click.

But I am especially impressed with its ML Super Resolution feature that allows you to increase the resolution of your existing images, like what you see in movies.

You can zoom in, select ML Super Resolution and witness a pixelated area being filled up with pixels while maintaining the subject matter.

Parallels Desktop 16


PHOTO: PARALLELS INC

US$79.99 (S$109) for a yearly subscription

There will be instances when you need to use Windows apps because they are not available on macOS – especially for companies that have proprietary Windows apps.

This is when a virtualisation software like Parallels Desktop 16 (PD16) comes in handy.

With PD16, you do not need to reboot your Mac to run Windows using macOS’ native Boot Camp app. You can start Windows 10 on macOS itself and run Windows apps like a macOS app in the Mac environment.

This latest version offers better performance and faster graphics. It is also optimised for the upcoming macOS 11 Big Sur operating system.

But there is something I like more than the PD16’s virtualisation capability – the accompanying Parallel Toolbox.

Into its fourth version, this suite offers around 30 shortcut tools that will increase your productivity. For instance, it allows you to free memory, start screen recording and easily download a video clip from a browser.

Acronis True Image 2021


PHOTO: ACRONIS

$82 (standard version for one PC)

The macOS is essentially more secure than the Windows platform by virtue of its small market share. No hacker would want to spend time and effort to target a small portion of the market.

However, that does not mean the macOS is 100 per cent malware- or virus-proof. It still needs to be protected from cyber attacks.

And Acronis True Image 2021 is one of the few security software that is available for macOS. Its Active Protection mode continuously checks every file you open to see if it has malicious elements like ransomware.

It also features anti-virus scan for you to check your Mac any time you like or you can schedule a weekly scan. In addition, it lets you back up your computer to another drive, so you can recover it in the event of hard drive failure.

On the downside, the macOS version does not come with video- conferencing protection to prevent “Zoom-bombing” or illegal entry into your Zoom or WebEx meetings.



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