Who remembers the first time they saw one of those electric scooters or bikes propped up against a bus stop in their city? Nowadays, you can’t walk down a city block without seeing rows of e-scooters, e-bikes, and even mopeds. Needless to say, the micro-mobility trend has not only caught on, but it’s here to stay.
The on-demand model took off as we saw companies like Lime and Bird jump onto the scene. This trend is both an awesome and fun innovation, but soon these companies ran into some problems working with local jurisdictions. Scooters were crowding sidewalks, left in streets, freeways, and even found floating in rivers. These “micro-vehicles” needed a home, so a new opportunity was born.
Lay Down Some Tracks with The GoTrax Traveler
The demand was clearly there, but the pay-as-you-go model had its fair set of problems. That’s when GoTrax realized there was an opportunity.
GoTrax is a relatively new company making strides in the micro-mobility space. They are most commonly known for making an awesome line of inexpensive e-scooters. Now they’re breaking into the e-bike market and the ReadWrite team was lucky enough to take their GoTrax Traveler for a spin. Here’s my review:
Unboxing the GoTrax Traveler
The team here at ReadWrite definitely knows a thing or two about technology — but when it comes to bike mechanics, several people on our team we’re as “green” as they come. Luckily, the GoTrax Traveler was a breeze to assemble.
The box comes with all the tools and parts you’ll need to put the bike together. The instruction manual is fairly straightforward, but take a few pointers to heart from our experience.
First, this is definitely a two-person job. The front wheel is attached towards the end of the assembly process, so you won’t be able to prop the bike up on its kickstand for assembly. We already keep a bike stand inside our office to encourage a healthy lifestyle — so we assembled the bike using that when needed.
When attaching the handlebars, make sure the bars are aligned with the front wheel before tightening down the handlebar. Again you’ll want your assistant mechanic to hold the front wheel in place as the handlebars are aligned and tightened.
Lastly, I had a little trouble fitting the front wheel disc break into the brake pad without causing some friction. After loosening the pad and a few parts of the brake mechanism, everything worked fine—time for the fun part.
GoTrax Traveler Specs
The GoTrax traveler is the newest e-bike model in their 2021 line as of today. The e-bike boasts a 31 mile per charge (31 miles using pedal assist and 20.5 on pure electric) and speeds up to 20mph. Additionally, the GoTrax website lists the following specs:
- 36v 10.4AH Battery
- 500W Motor
- Electronic display with 3 speeds low (8.7mph), medium (14.3 mph), and high (20mph)
- 29″ Air filled tires
- Size – 60.62″ x 9.45″ x 31.89″
- Weight – 58.5lbs (max rider weight – 265 lbs)
The battery can be easily detached from the frame for charging, which takes anywhere from 4-6 hours and can be locked to the frame to avoid any “sticky fingers.” The goal of my test ride was to test these specs to what’s advertised on the GOTRAX site.
But, of course, everyone in the office wanted to watch and then see how this bike compared with their bikes at home. Obviously, many factors make up these numbers, but I did my best to give our readership an idea of what to expect.
We have had a ton of fun on these e-bikes.
Our main bike riders are about 6 ft. 160-180lbs and fit quite comfortably on the bike — but we have two women on the team and they like this size as well.
The seat is adjustable and the ride is more of a “cruiser” feel than a typical road bike. We all liked the bike on the fastest speed setting but can attest to the fact that the other speed settings are a great way to keep things in control.
If you are using pedal assist, use the lowest speed setting as the motor will quickly replace any effort you put into pedaling the bike.
The bike is quite powerful, the 500W motor can quickly get you up to the 20mph top speed quickly and the bike can climb uphill with ease. The ride is very smooth and really fun to ride around city streets, neighborhoods, and the thick tires even allow for some very light off-roading (this is probably not recommended, but we did it anyway).
The battery lasts long enough for several days/or even weeks of short trips and can easily be taken out for a full day of riding. The overall frame feels strong, and the bike should last a long time, assuming the electronics are taken care of. (I wouldn’t leave my bike out in the rain for long, though it might be fine.)
The bottom line is this bike is not only fun but a great option if you’re looking for a fair-priced electric bike. The GoTrax Traveler is currently retailing for $949.99 (at the time of writing this article), which includes a 30-day return policy and 3-5 day free shipping.
The ReadWrite team thoroughly enjoyed this e-bike, and given the 30-day return policy, we’d recommend taking a GoTrax Traveler out for a spin!
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!