Clay Wilkes had already been retired for six years when he launched Galileo Financial Services in 2000.
The serial entrepreneur, who had been an early pioneer in telecommunications technologies (like voice over internet protocols), saw the need for better connectivity between secondary services and financial institutions 19 years ago, just as new digital services around payroll processing, transit vouchers, store cards and other services were launching.
Now the company runs the backend integrations with financial institutions for some of the biggest names in financial technology and has just raised $77 million in financing from Accel Partners.
Not that Galileo necessarily needed the money. The company has been profitable for years since its bootstrapped beginnings and counts fintech giants like Chime Banking, Robinhood, Monzo and TransferWise among its customers. In fact, the debit and credit card service provider will process nearly $26 billion in financing by the end of the year, according to the company.
For financial services companies that are launching these days there are a few ways to get to market quickly. One is to partner with a financial institution that will handle the money for them in accounts that are FDIC assured; the other is to become a financial provider that’s fully regulated themselves.
Most companies have opted for the second route, and when they do, they need to find a way to hook into a bank’s financial system and the payment technologies that form the backbone of transaction processing through the debit and credit cards that a huge portion of the world relies on to buy things.
Accel partner John Locke, who is joining the Galileo board of directors, calls the company almost the flip side of the Braintree and Stripe investments that power transactions for most online merchants.
Rather than focus on the companies that are taking online orders and processing payments, Galileo deals with the consumers who are spending the money and powers the ways in which companies are trying to offer new services to get those consumers to switch from traditional banks to their upstart challengers (ironically still mostly powered by traditional banks).
“Through the API what they’re doing is creating and managing accounts, authorizing merchant transactions, monitoring fraud, initiating disputes and chargebacks, being able to configure products and a wide variety of product,” said Wilkes. “We support [direct deposit accounts] and we do credit products… all of these capabilities are capabilities that fit on our platform.”
Wilkes wouldn’t talk about the company’s valuation except to say that it’s worth “a substantial amount.”
What he will talk about is how Galileo will use the money it has raised. The Salt Lake City-based startup is planning to greatly expand its geographical reach beyond North America. It’s “actively pursuing opportunities in Brazil and Colombia and Argentina,” according to Wilkes. In fact, the company plans to open an office in Mexico City in the coming months to service new Latin American business.
Meanwhile, it already has something of a stranglehold on the market in the United Kingdom. “The top five largest fintechs in the U.K. are all clients today,” Wilkes said.
Unlike other companies in the market that take a fixed percentage of transactions, Galileo charges a variable amount of a few cents for every transaction that it processes to connect a startup with its banking back end.
“We’re in a golden era of fintech innovation and Galileo has quietly built the API infrastructure layer powering the industry’s most innovative products,” said Locke in a statement. “Clay and his team have built a very impressive business with many parallels to companies like Qualtrics and Atlassian: bootstrapping first to build a quiet, profitable powerhouse and now, ready to go big globally. We’re excited to help Clay and team take Galileo to the next level.”
(CNN)When Joevie Alvarado became a teacher, she never expected to teach American students 7,600 miles away.
“For the first year, it’s a little bit of a struggle because I’m the kind of person who misses family that easily,” said Alvarado, who taught for a decade in the Philippines before moving to Arizona. com/cnnnext/dam/assets/191004143748-01-international-teachers-us-shortage-super-169.
(CNN)When Joevie Alvarado became a teacher, she never expected to teach American students 7,600 miles away.
“For the first year, it’s a little bit of a struggle because I’m the kind of person who misses family that easily,” said Alvarado, who taught for a decade in the Philippines before moving to Arizona.
But “in terms of pay, let’s just say my previous pay was multiplied by eight or 10 when I got here,” she said. “So having that kind of pay, it enticed me to be here.”
Some parents may be surprised to learn their children are now being taught by international teachers.
Tom Trigalet, who was principal at Casa Grand Union High School when Alvarado was hired, said there’s not much choice.
“When you really don’t have any other applicants, how are you going to fill those spots?” Trigalet said.
But hiring teachers from overseas is only a temporary fix to a widespread problem.
A nationwide crisis
Across the US, schools are hemorrhaging teachers while fewer college graduates enter the profession.
Arizona alone had 7,000 teacher vacancies going into this year, said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association.
Some of those vacancies are filled by people who don’t have a standard teaching certificate, he said. Others are being plugged by long-term substitutes, contracted agencies or teachers who must add an additional course to their day.
So schools like Casa Grande Union High have hired several Filipino teachers using J-1 visas. Those visas allow teachers to stay in the US for up to five years.
Alvarado is one of several Filipino teachers in their fourth year at Casa Grande teaching science — a notoriously hard subject to fill with US teachers.
“People that have math and science degrees can make so much more money in research and in analytics and in other areas that their degree opens doors to,” Thomas said.
“The average starting pay (for teachers) in Arizona is about $36,300.”
While that salary may seem paltry for many Americans, Filipino teachers like Noel Que say their jobs in the US are much more lucrative, allowing them to live better.
“You can buy anything here — not like back home,” said Que, who teaches high school biology and biotechnology at Casa Grande
“We can eat whatever we want. We can buy whatever we want of the salary that we’re getting. … We just need to budget that salary that we’re getting.”
The Casa Grande Union High School District says its international teachers are on the same pay scale as its American-born teachers.
Que, like other Filipino teachers at his school, lives with roommates to cut down on expenses.
While teaching in America has brought financial rewards, there are also emotional costs.
Leaving his family behind
Que said he made the difficult decision to move from the Philippines to Arizona about four years ago.
“The economic condition in the Philippines is very different … it’s not really enough,” he said.
“There is always a trade-off in everything that you want to get. I want this job (for) my family, and then the trade-off of that is I need to leave them there first.”
But ultimately, Que said he made the right decision.
“I’m a family man, so it’s like my responsibility to provide for my family, for my parents, also for my mom most especially,” he said. “Half of my money goes back home and then half stays with me.”
‘We are not just certified, we are very qualified’
Que and Alvarado came to the US through one of several placement agencies that connects foreign teachers with American schools in need.
It’s a booming business. In some cases, Filipino teachers pay an upfront fee, and the agency sets up the online interviews, tests and paperwork.
“The whole process just took two months for us to complete everything,” Alvarado said.
Over the past decade, the number of Filipino teachers coming to the US to teach on J1 visas increased from 21 to almost 800, according to the US State Department.
But why do many Filipino teachers get selected to go to the US?
“Filipinos are very known to be patient and hardworking, and that’s probably one of the reasons why mostly Filipinos are the participants of the J1 (visa) teacher program.,” Alvarado said.
And unlike some teachers in the US who aren’t certified in the subjects they teach, both Alvarado and Que have years of expertise in science.
It’s a win-win scenario, Que said.
“It’s a very good opportunity for the Filipinos to come here in America, to experience the life that we have here rather than the one that is being told to us or the one that we look at (in) the movies,” he said.
“I think it is also beneficial for the state (where) the number of teachers are lacking, especially on subjects like science, math, special education, things like that,” Que said.
“And they look into the Philippines, because many of our teachers are actually qualified on the subjects that they are teaching. … We are not just certified, we are very qualified.”
Learning to adapt in the US
When Que came to America, he experienced culture shock — but in a good way.
“This is the first time that I notice that every person that you will pass by, they will ask you, ‘How are you? Good morning!’ Things like that,” he said.
“I don’t know you, why are you asking me how I am?” he joked. “We’re not used to that back home.”
The cultural differences were obvious in the classroom, too.
“Our students in the Philippines [are] quite different from the students that we have here,” Que said.
In the Philippines, “they are very disciplined in terms of education because they look into education as how they are going to escape poverty,” he said. “Discipline-wise, we don’t really have a problem.”
Alvarado said she also noticed more of an initial challenge when some students pushed back.
“When I came, they were like … ‘Why do (you) have to make us do this, do that?” And I was like, ‘Well my dear, I am here to teach you to make you learn. I am not just here to babysit all of you.’ So that was part of my struggle, classroom management,” Alvarado said.
“But slowly, I get the hang of it, and I was able to adjust it and show that hey, I’m the teacher, not you. What I say, you do,” she said.
Alvarado now makes all her students sign a contract on classroom policies, including cell phone use and requiring everyone be seated and ready to learn before the tardy bell rings.
“You need to get the respect, and once you do that with them, it’s easy to teach American kids,” she said.
Alvarado said she loves hearing students tell her she’s made a positive impact on their lives.
“They come back to you and say, ‘Miss, can you please be in my graduation?’ Or, ‘Miss can you please be in my quinceanera?’ … And I find it so sweet,” Alvarado said.
Inspiring a new generation
Marissa Yap, another Filipino teacher in Arizona, said she also had challenges with some students who weren’t as well behaved as those she taught in the Philippines.
Despite her small frame, she commands attention in the classroom where she teaches chemistry and AP physics.
But the secret to making students behave isn’t just about being strict. It’s also about listening to students.
“I have observed that kids over the world … they have common thing(s). They want to be listened to, and they want to be stay motivated and be interested,” Yap said.
“Some of the kids are actually working (jobs), so in my case like when the student is sleepy, I just talk to her: ‘So, how are you doing? So did you work last night?’ “
The drowsy student responded: “I just arrived at home at 12 a.m.”
That’s when Yap turns the problem into a moment of positive reinforcement:
“So you’re very sleepy, but you’re still doing your work. I really appreciate that,” she told the student.
Since then, “I have (had) no problem with her.”
“Whenever I talk to the kid(s), they feel like a connection that I care for them, and I realize that’s … way back home, also the same time. It’s actually just the same,” Yap said.
“When you talk to the kid and you establish that good relationship, the kids will actually also give you the respect that you deserve.”
Elizabeth Vitela said Yap has made a profound impact on her daughter, Genevieve, who was in Yap’s chemistry class last year. On some days, the teacher stayed late to work with Genevieve until 6 p.m. or later.
“My daughter didn’t know what she wanted to do. Because of (Yap), she’s choosing science as something she wants to do for a career,” Vitela said.
She said Yap “just has the passion and the love to teach kids … to bring something out of them that they didn’t even know they had.”
The clock is ticking
Regardless of how much the Filipino teachers love their students, or how much student and school districts love them, everyone knows their time in the US is limited.
Yap, Alvarado and Que all have less than two years before their visas expire.
“That would probably be a sad day for us,” Yap said. “One kid already told me, ‘Oh, Miss Yap, how long are you going to be here? Are you going to be in my graduation?’ “
Alvarado said some of her students know she has to go back to the Philippines. They make it a point to tell her how grateful they are.
“It makes me feel so good when they would say, ‘Miss I am very happy that you are one of my teachers because I’ve learned a lot from you.’ ” Alvarado said.
“When it comes to that point, when they would say thank you, it’s a reward to myself that I have touched probably some lives of these people. But it’s just so sad that we have to say goodbye.”
Vitela, whose daughter didn’t know what she wanted to do before she met Yap, started crying when she learned the Filipino teachers at Genevieve’s school had to leave in two years.
“I think we need to change that,” Vitela said. “Seriously.”
“Because if you don’t change that … we’re going to be doomed with education here in Arizona.”
Did you miss the deadline to apply for Startup Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin 2019? Well don’t despair, founders. There’s more than one way to place your early-stage startup in front of thousands of influential technologists, investors and global media. Apply to be considered for our TC Top Picks program and the opportunity to exhibit in Startup Alley for free.
Deadline alert: You must apply to be a TC Top Pick by 18 October at 12 p.m. (PT). It’s simple to do and it’s free. Don’t let this opportunity slip through your time-strapped fingers.
TC Top Picks is a pre-conference competition. To be considered, your early-stage startup must fall within one of the following categories: AI/Machine Learning, Biotech/Healthtech, Blockchain, Fintech, Mobility, Privacy/Security, Retail/E-commerce, Robotics/IoT/Hardware, CRM/Enterprise and Education.
Our TechCrunch editors — always on the hunt for the best early-stage startups — will vet each application and select up to five startups in each category. If you’re named a TC Top Pick, you’ll receive a free Startup Alley Exhibitor Package and a VIP experience at Disrupt Berlin.
The exclusive TC Top Pick cadre will exhibit in a prime location within Startup Alley and — thanks to plenty of pre-conference marketing — be on the receiving end of intense investor and media interest. One of the best perks is the live Showcase Stage interview. TechCrunch editors interview each Top Pick to showcase their company and product. We record the interview and promote the video across our social media platforms.
If you’re still kicking yourself for missing the Startup Battlefield deadline, here’s more good news. There’s always the possibility that you’ll compete as a Wild Card. Say what, now?
Out of all the startups exhibiting in Startup Alley, TechCrunch editors will choose one — the Wild Card — to compete in the Startup Battlefield. At Disrupt Berlin 2018, TC editors chose Legacy, and the feisty startup went on to win the Startup Battlefield and the $50,000 prize.
Disrupt Berlin 2019 takes place on 11-12 December, and TC Top Picks is your chance to place your extraordinary startup in front of the people who can move your business forward. If you want to exhibit in Startup Alley for free, do not miss this deadline. Apply to be a TC Top Pick before 18 October at 12 p.m. (PT). We’ll see you in Berlin!
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Mitto, a debit card and app designed for “Generation Z” teens, has raised €2 million in seed funding.
Backing the round is Spanish bank Banco Sabadell via its innovation and venture arm InnoCells, along with Athos Capital and Spanish social media influencers “AuronPlay” and “Wismichu,” among others.
Claiming to plug a gap in existing payment solutions for Generation Z (from 14 years old), Mitto offers a digital wallet and/or physical card for spending online or offline. Parents can send instant money to their children by topping up the wallet, and get an overview of their “purchasing” profile.
In turn, the idea is that children gain a degree of financial independence by using Mitto, as well as a better understanding of their spending habits. More broadly, Mitto says it want to help develop financial literacy amongst Gen Z kids.
“Despite being born digital, Gen Z today don’t have easy access to a tool to use digital money,” says Mitto co-founder Marcos Cuevas. “Mitto is born to fix this by allowing them to own a digital wallet and virtual and physical cards. At the same time, we allow parents to educate and support financially their children in their first steps using a digital financial product.”
Cuevas says that the longer-term mission of Mitto is to deliver the best payment solution experience for Generation Z and to help them understand the impact their spending has on the planet — as lofty as that sounds.
“We are committed to helping this new generation to change their mind about finance, to succeed by giving them the tools to understand their purchasing habits and — in the future — the impact of their decisions in the world, and how they can help to make it more sustainable,” he adds.
To that end, Mitto says the funding will allow it to further invest in its product and partnerships to become “the financial platform of choice” for Generation Z.
The Spanish fintech wants to launch its proposition in other European and LatAm countries where it says demand exists. It claims a waiting list of more than 80,000 users in several countries, and says it currently has 150,000 registered users.
Meanwhile, directly comparable competitors include GoHenry and Osper in the U.K., and Current, Step and Greenlight in the U.S., to name a few.
I crisscrossed a region my own that is mired in a culture of denial and delay. The conversation on the climate crisis has not changed fast enough
Its 96 degrees in downtown Beaufort, North Carolina, a place where I spent much of my childhood. The sidewalk is too hot for dogs to walk on. The iconic wild horses, visible on Shackleford Banks, wade in the marsh, munching cordgrass. Ive been watching the horses since I was in elementary school, and now Im sharing them with my elementary school-aged daughters on summer vacation.
My girls love them, as I did. The legend is that the horses swam to safety from an old Spanish shipwreck. Its moving to watch the small, strong horses grazing on the dunes. For now, theyve survived the latest big hurricane, and theyre free.
The 100 or so wild horses have one square kilometer of high ground on which to weather hurricanes and sea level rise, and a shortage of fresh water endangered by encroaching salt water and storm surge. Some scientists recommend that the Shackleford horses be relocated, although they have been there for centuries.
The story is a familiar one that will be told in a thousand different ways as the atmosphere warms in the years to come: we must think creatively and quickly to save the things we love.
I wrote my Climate Changed column between hurricane seasons, in the wake of Hurricane Florence and before the start of Hurricane Barry. I close the column from Beaufort, a place where Florence brought a record storm surge; it caused $17bn in damage to the state. As my daughters and I drive over the bridge into Morehead City, I see bulldozers still clearing the last of the Channel Marker restaurant, a fixture of Atlantic Beach flooded during Florence.
I thought that Hurricane Florence might serve as a turning point in the conversation about the realities of climate change in a region still mired in a culture of denial and delay. After a year of research and reporting, I am not convinced that the conversation has changed fast enough, if much at all. Here in Beaufort, like Miami and Charleston, I encounter deniers, continued waterfront development, hurricane damage and blistering temperatures.
In May 2019, WIRED joined the One Free Press Coalition, a united group of preeminent editors and publishers using their global reach and social platforms to spotlight journalists under attack worldwide. Today, the coalition is issuing its sixth monthly “10 Most Urgent” list of journalists whose press freedoms are being suppressed or whose cases demand justice.
Paul Chouta, the Cameroon Web reporter who was arrested in May, denied bail, and charged with defamation and spreading false news. His case has been delayed until August 13 and he remains in a maximum-security prison. Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, was arrested on “anti-state” charges and will have been imprisoned for one year on August 27. He has been repeatedly interrogated by police, demanding that he reveal his sources.
Here is the August list, ranked in order of urgency:
Months after his brazen killing, and despite findings from the UN and the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince’s involvement, there has been no independent criminal investigation. Calls for the White House to release intelligence reports have gone unheeded, along with a deadline to reply to Congress as required under the U.S. Global Magnitsky Act.
Azory Gwanda, a freelance journalist investigating mysterious killings in rural Tanzania, has been missing since November 21, 2017, and the government has failed to conduct an investigation or disclose what it knows. On July 10, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said in an interview that Gwanda had “disappeared and died,” but backtracked amid requests for clarification.
3. Juan Pardinas (Mexico): Mexican newspaper editor targeted with death threats for criticizing new president.
Mexican media organizations and journalists have recently reported a sharp increase in threats and online harassment over critical reporting of the López Obrador administration. Juan Pardinas, the editor-in-chief of Mexican newspaper Reforma, received a barrage of online harassment and threats after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized the newspaper in April. López Obrador acknowledged the threats against Pardinas and said that his government had offered protective measures to the journalist.
Cameroon Web reporter Paul Chouta was arrested in May, denied bail, and charged with defamation and spreading false news. Chouta’s editor said he suspects the case was in retaliation for critical reporting. His case has been delayed until August 13 and he remains in a maximum-security prison.
Award-winning journalist Azimjon Askarov, who is an ethnic Uzbek, has spent nine years in prison on trumped-up charges for his reporting on human rights violations. Despite persistent international condemnation and calls for his release, a Kyrgyz court that had reviewed his case in light of new legislation ruled to uphold his life sentence on July 30.
A commentator for opposition newspaper Özgür Düşünce and Can Erzincan TV, Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak was arrested in 2016 and sentenced in February 2018 to life without parole for trying to overturn the constitution through her journalism. In a separate trial in January, she was sentenced to an additional five years for revealing state secrets. In Turkey, which has been the top jailer of journalists three years in a row, life sentences without parole equate to 30 years in solitary confinement, with limited visits.
7. Marzieh Amiri (Iran): Imprisoned journalist denied healthcare after for covering May Day demonstrations.
Iranian authorities arrested Marzieh Amiri, an economics reporter at Tehran-based newspaper Shargh Daily, as she covered May Day demonstrations, and her family has had limited contact with her since. Authorities have accused Amiri of committing crimes against national security without giving further details.
Jones Abiri, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Weekly Source, is behind bars on charges under Nigeria’s cybercrimes act, anti-sabotage act, and terrorism prevention act for crimes allegedly carried out in 2016. The charges are the same ones that a court threw out after he was held without access to his family or a lawyer from 2016 to 2018.
9. Aasif Sultan (India): Journalist imprisoned one year without due process for covering conflict.
Aasif Sultan, a reporter for Kashmir Narrator, will have been imprisoned one year on August 27, arrested in 2018 and months later charged with “complicity” in “harboring known terrorists.” He has been repeatedly interrogated and asked to reveal his sources by police. Sultan continues to be denied due process, with ongoing delays in his hearings.
Truong Duy Nhat, a Vietnamese reporter with Radio Free Asia, went missing in January in Bangkok, Thailand, where he had applied for refugee status. In March, his daughter learned he was jailed without charge in a Hanoi detention center. Nhat was previously sentenced to two years in prison in 2013 in connection to his critical reporting on the government.
According to CPJ research, the killers go unpunished in nine out of every 10 journalists murdered.
The One Free Press Coalition contains 33 prominent international members including: AméricaEconomía; The Associated Press; Bloomberg News; The Boston Globe; BuzzFeed; CNN Money Switzerland; Corriere Della Sera; De Standaard; Deutsche Welle; Estadão; EURACTIV; The Financial Times; Forbes; Fortune; HuffPost; India Today; Insider Inc.; Le Temps; Middle East Broadcasting Networks; Office of Cuba Broadcasting; Quartz; Radio Free Asia; Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; Republik; Reuters; The Straits Times; Süddeutsche Zeitung; TIME; TV Azteca; Voice of America; The Washington Post; WIRED; and Yahoo News.
One Free Press Coalition partners with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) to identify the most-urgent cases for the list, which is updated and published on the first day of every month. News organizations throughout the world can join the Coalition by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The extreme heat is particularly unusual because it is not an El Nio year the phenomenon usually associated with prolonged temperature surges. Instead, scientists say it is driven to a large extent by carbon emissions from car exhausts, power plant chimneys, burning forests and other human sources.
How much these factors loaded the dice in the two- to three-day heatwave during the last week of July was the subject of an attribution study by a consortium of meteorologists and climatologists at the UK Met Office, Oxford University and other prominent European institutions.
It found that the extreme heat in France and the Netherlands, where temperatures peaked above 40C, was made at least 10 times and possibly more than 100 times more likely by climate change. In the UK, which set a record of 38.7C on 25 July, the human impact on the climate made the high temperatures at least two to three times more probable.
There was considerable variation from place to place, but in all the studied locations the scientists said it would have been 1.5C to 3C cooler without climate change.