Big Companies Want To Give Your Tech Start-Up Money…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Two major companies are investing millions of dollars into helping start-ups succeed.

Two big names in the technology industry, website security company Cloudflare and cybersecurity firm Trend Micro, each recently announced the establishment of $100 million funds to invest in tech entrepreneurs and their start-ups. (Sources: VentureBeat and ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

Need cash? Cloudflare is establishing a venture fund that will invest in early-stage businesses that use Cloudflare Apps. Trend Micro is also launching a venture capital unit targeting “start-ups in emerging technology markets, such as the Internet of Things.” The company aims to provide businesses with not only capital, but also access to its technology and its channel of over 28,000 partners.

2 — The global app economy is booming and is worth trillions of dollars.

App Annie has reported that the app economy will grow to a staggering $6.3 trillion by 2021. The app analytics firm also found that “the user base will almost double from 3.4 billion people using apps to 6.3 billion, while the time spent in apps will grow to 3.5 trillion hours in 2021, up from 1.6 trillion in 2016.” (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Apps are a big opportunity for developers, advertisers, ecommerce and payment providers. Oh, and if you specialize in security? Ka-ching!

3 — Unilever is using Artificial Intelligence to screen its potential hires.

Candidates “spend about 20 minutes playing 12 neuroscience-based games on the (HR service provider) Pymetrics platform.” These brain games help Unilever discern who is a good fit for the position, and successful candidates then “move on to an interview via HireVue, where they record responses to preset interview questions.” If a job candidate passes these two steps, the final part of the process is an invitation to a Unilever office to experience a “day-in-the-life scenario.” The games and AI components can be performed on a smartphone or tablet, and Unilever has doubled its number of applicants and has had its “most diverse class to date” after starting the program. (Source: Business Insider)

Why this is important for your business:

Unilever found that the “average time for a candidate to be hired went from four months to four weeks, saving a cumulative 50,000 hours of candidates’ time. Recruiters’ time spent reviewing applications decreased by 75%.” Can your company use this kind of technology to save time, too?

4 —You will soon be able to better analyze how social media responds to your products.

CRM maker Salesforce.com has unveiled a new feature called Einstein Sentiment, which analyzes social media text and reviews and “lets you reach out to the haters with offers or support answers without having to read all those tweets yourself.” (Source: GeekWire)

Why this is important for your business:

Automating your company’s response to your social media detractors (yes, you do have some – we all do) is a great way to provide a fast customer service…and keep your emotions steady!

5 — A connected-car start-up is getting into the car repair business.

Zubie, a car tech company headquartered in Minnesota, currently sells a device that “plugs into a vehicle’s diagnostics port and connects it to the Internet, tracking things like speed and location for nervous parents of teens and business owners operating fleets.” That gadget can also tell drivers why an error code keeps repeating, and now the company has plans to generate quotes for common car problems and match customers with local auto shops through its new deal with San Francisco-based RepairPal. (Source: The Post and Courier)

Why this is important for your business:

Gary Tucker, CEO of Zubie, said, “By connecting your car to the Internet, you create access to all kinds of services you’ve never had before, and many of those services are beginning to emerge now.” What works for cars may work for your products, too.

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