Malt raises $28.6 million for its freelancer platform

French startup Malt is raising a $28.6 million funding round (€25 million) with Idinvest Partners leading the round and existing investors ISAI and Serena also participating. Overall, the company has raised $36.6 million since its creation (€32 million).

Malt has created a marketplace for engineers working as freelancers and companies. There are currently 100,000 freelancers on the platform and 15,000 companies using Malt regularly.

With today’s funding round, the company wants to grow its platform in other European countries. There are 10,000 freelancers on the platform in Spain, and the company plans to open new markets, starting with Germany and the Netherlands.

The startup thinks that hiring freelancers can be a great alternative to big IT consulting companies. Every time a freelancer accepts a job, clients rate the freelancer. This way, clients can know for sure that somebody is a capable developer.

On the other side, freelancers don’t necessarily have all the connections to find freelancing jobs on their own. Malt can help you work with more companies. The startup also acts as a sort of broker. You no longer have to send emails weeks or even months after completing a job to get your money. Malt takes care of all the pesky admin tasks. Freelancers also get a few deals on benefits, health coverage, etc.

Big French companies, such as Accorhotels, Société Générale and BlaBlaCar use Malt. 75 percent of France’s top 40 public companies in the CAC40 have worked with a Malt freelancer at some point. And if your big company doesn’t know much about data science, devops and other jobs, Malt can help you find freelancers for you.

Qloo acquires cultural recommendation service TasteDive

Qloo announced this morning that it has acquired TasteDive.

The two companies sound pretty similar — according to the announcement, Qloo is “the leading artificial intelligence platform for culture and taste,” while TasteDive is “a cultural recommendation engine and social community.”

What’s the difference? Well TasteDive is a website where you can create a profile, connect with other users and, as you like and dislike things, it will recommend music, movies, TV shows, books and more. Qloo, meanwhile, is trying to understand patterns in consumer taste and then sell that data to marketers.

Or, as Qloo CEO Alex Elias (pictured above) put it in a statement, “TasteDive does for millions of individuals what Qloo has been doing for brands for years – using AI to make better decisions about culture and taste.”

Apparently TasteDive has 4.5 million active users, and it will continue to operate as a separate team and product, with founder Andrei Oghina remaining on-board as CEO. (Elias will become chairman.)

At the same time, the companies say the addition of Qloo technology will allow TasteDive to get smarter and to expand into different categories, while Qloo benefits from TasteDive’s global customer base and its API ecosystem.

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Greater Exposure and Analytics for the DJ Community

DJs set the musical backdrop for a wide variety of events – and play a huge role in whether the experience will be one to remember, or one to forget.

 

But all too often, they don’t have access to the tools needed to optimize their performances.  The DJ schedule is quite often a very busy one, consisting of a diverse spectrum of event types, venues, and audiences – making analysis and and implementing improvements rather tricky.

 

Furthermore, combining this hectic schedule with the hours spent producing music leaves little time for fan engagement and branding.  This not only hurts DJs in the form of smaller crowds, but also leaves fans on the outside looking in when planning a fun evening out.

 

Introducing DaDJ App: a new social platform that’s shedding much-needed light on the wonders of the DJing community.  It combats the common issues that DJs encounter by allowing them to closely interact with their followers without breaking a sweat.

It also brings fans right in the middle of the action like never before – providing them with access to the latest DJ events, allowing them to vote on upcoming tracks, and much more.

 

It’s the DJ/partygoer connection that the nightlife world has been waiting for.  On top of this, the heightened visibility DaDJ App delivers does wonders for branding; and, the event analytics it provides allow for better decision making for the future.

 

A robust social media feature suite stands at the core of what DaDJ App offers – but there’s much more.  Here are a few more of the platform’s top features and benefits:

 

  • Fans to follow DJs and their specific tracks with just a couple quick taps
  • Private messaging functionality between friends on the app
  • DJs can upload tracks right to their page
  • The ability to provide feedback (including voting) on events & tracks
  • Gives promoters and venues another outlet for event promotion

Founded by Joseph Zeiter (a DJ in his own right) back in 2016, the app has released to iOS devices earlier in 2019.  The company now has a direct pipeline into the thriving North American EDM scene thanks to an Instagram account with nearly 6,000 music industry followers.

 

Going forward, the goal is to leverage Kickstarter, industry event networking (booth at Collision 2019 in May), and feature additions to reach 10,000 followers this year.

 

Interested in learning more about DaDJ App?  Check out their campaign on Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1717819265/dadj-app – and contribute for a chance at some great rewards.

 

 

Photos: DaDJ App

The post Greater Exposure and Analytics for the DJ Community appeared first on KillerStartups.

Do You Know A “Downer” Who Is Killing Your Business?

stress-downer-depressionA “downer” is defined here as someone who seems to dwell on the negatives of every business challenge, and loves to highlight bad news or potential problems. No matter how smart or experienced this person may otherwise be, things must change or they will kill your startup.

I’m not talking about someone who has an occasional bad day, but rather people who when asked, “How are things?” will proceed to give you a 20-minute dissertation on their latest health symptoms, the latest company problem, and the sad state of the world in general.

This brings down the mood of everyone around them, and often leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. We all know this kind of person, but they never seem to recognize themselves. So here are a few clues that you can look for in yourself, to see if you slipping into this abyss:

  • “It’s just another long day at work.” You can’t remember the last time you were positively excited by something you did at work, or even in your personal life. Your brain has leveled all events and activities into a desert of sand dunes, where just getting from one to another is a struggle, and there is nothing new to see over the next hill.
  • “I’m always tired or stressed out.” You may know this, but you assume that it’s not obvious to anyone else. Yet, think of your own office, you noticed on the first day those people that speak slowly in a low monotone, walk or sit with their head down most of the time, and rarely contribute anything without being asked.
  • “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” This can happen to business executives, once able leaders, who have spent too many years doing the same job. They know their processes and team aren’t perfect, but they no longer notice these imperfections. They are bored, or no longer interested in improvement opportunities.

If you recognize yourself in these points, or you feel yourself slipping in that direction, what can you do to turn yourself around before the company pushes you out, or a competitor pushes your company out? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Get a medical checkup. You may be fighting a health problem that can be easily solved by proper treatment or medication. Even more severe medical problems, like chronic depression, can be mitigated once they are recognized and understood.
  • Change your environment. Ask for a new assignment at work, or look for a new job before you are fired from this one. Make a concerted effort to wake yourself up to the positives, and re-engage in processes that once excited you. Start a log on your efforts and progress. Measurable progress is itself exciting.
  • Ask a mentor for support. Choose a friend or mentor (not your spouse) whom you trust to tell you the truth, and ask for help. Then listen to the recommendations. These people can’t change you, but you can change yourself. Focus on identifying strengths, and capitalizing on them.

Let me assure you, every startup faces more challenges than any other business – unproven product, new processes, new management, and unpredictable customers. This is not the place for downers. If you are a downer, find a new place to work. If you run the startup, and you don’t deal with this issue quickly, your fledgling business is in jeopardy.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking that these points are so obvious that they don’t need to be reiterated here. Yet I still find this to be one of the most common drags on startup productivity, as well as employee satisfaction. Remember that being a downer is not something that someone did to you; it’s something that you did to yourself. Therefore, it’s up to you to fix it.

Marty Zwilling

Best WordPress Security Plugin – (Review Updated for Winter of 2019)

You wouldn’t buy a brick and mortar business without getting a lock for the front door, right? I imagine you’d probably even get an alarm system and install some cameras.

These security measures are taken to prevent break-ins, from losing money, sustaining property damage, or putting sensitive information at risk.

Your internet business is at risk for these very same things. It may even be at greater risk — the Internet makes it possible for cybercriminals to break into your website without having to leave their couch: On average, 18.5 million websites are infected with malware at any given time. The average website gets attacked 44 times per day. Of the roughly 90,000 websites that get hacked each day, 83% of them are using WordPress.

That’s why you need to take as many precautions as possible when it comes to properly securing your website.

Don’t have the “it won’t happen to me” mentality. Nobody is immune to vicious attacks. Even retail giants like Target have had data breaches that affected more than 41 million customers. That one security breach cost the company over $18 million in settlements. Something like this can be extremely damaging to your company’s online reputation.

I could go on and on all day about why your website needs to be secure, but I think I’ve made my point.

So how can you do install the security you need?

To start, WordPress has some built-in security features. It’s also crucial for you to choose a secure web hosting company — with a host like WP Engine a lot of the security features are built into your hosting plan. Beyond these steps, you can take additional measures to beef up your protections with a WordPress security plugin.

There are so many different security plugins available for your website. How can you know which one is the best WordPress security plugin?

Rather than taking weeks to go through and research all of them, you can just review the ones that I’ve listed in this guide. I’ve identified the top five WordPress security plugins of 2019. Use this information to increase your WordPress security and add credibility to your website.

1. Wordfence Security — Firewall & Malware Scan

Wordfence Security

With over two million active installs, Wordfence Security — Firewall & Malware Scan is one of the most popular WordPress security plugins available. It fights spam, malware, and other threats in real time. Unlike other plugins, Wordfence Security offers a dashboard that’s extremely user friendly. You don’t have to be a tech wizard, have a background in IT, or study cybersecurity to use this plugin.

One of my favorite parts of this plugin is the ability to see data about your overall website traffic trends. These reports will show you any attempted hacks on your site. You’ll be able to tell if traffic is coming from humans, Google crawlers, or potentially malicious bots.

Another great feature of this plugin is the country blocking option. You can block attacks that come from specific geographic regions known for high rates of cybercrime.

The free version of Wordfence Security offers plenty of features that will keep your website safe. They definitely give you more out of the box than other free security plugins. You’ll get firewall blocks and brute force attack protection.

Premium pricing starts at $99 per year. The premium version comes with added features like two-factor authentication, direct customer support assistance, and real-time IP blacklisting. The real-time IP blacklist feature blocks requests from any IP address that has attacked another WordPress website that is also using Wordfence Security. When it comes to the safety and security of your website, that’s a pretty good deal in my opinion.

2. Sucuri Security — Auditing, Malware Scanner and Security Hardening

Sucuri Security

The name of this plugin alone shows all of the extensive security features it offers. When you install Sucuri Security, you’ll benefit from things like:

  • Firewall integrity monitoring
  • Malware scanning
  • Blacklist monitoring
  • Security audits
  • Security hardening
  • Notifications
  • Post-hack security procedures
  • Website firewall

All of these features, except for the website firewall, come with the free version of Sucuri Security. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to protect your WordPress website, Sucuri Security is a top choice. For most sites, you don’t necessarily need the website firewall offered in the premium version.

In the event of a hack or attack, Sucuri Security offers actionable steps to help you proceed with repairing any damage. Now, some of you might not love the idea of hearing something like this. But in all reality, it’s nearly impossible for any website to be 100% impenetrable. There is always the chance of something going wrong. When something goes wrong, you’ll instantly receive a notification about it so you can act immediately.

Sucuri Security is upfront about that. They aren’t going to sit there and promise that the plugin is 100% effective. Rather than making false promises, this plugin has added a feature to assist you if your site is compromised in any way. I really like that.

The security hardening provided by Sucuri Security is exceptional. It’s easy to go through and check the status of the different elements of your website to add additional security.

If you have questions, problems, or run into any trouble when you’re using the Sucuri Security plugin, you can reach the customer service team via live chat or email.

3. iThemes Security

iThemes Security

Formerly known as Better WP Security, the iThemes Security plugin is another popular choice for WordPress users. Unlike the other plugins we’ve looked at so far, iThemes Security doesn’t offer as many free benefits, so it’s in your best interest to upgrade to the pro version if you’re going to install this plugin. The free version comes with basic security, but you won’t have access to the pro features, such as:

  • Two-factor authentication
  • Scheduled malware scans
  • Google reCAPTCHA
  • User action logs
  • WordPress security keys
  • Importing and exporting capabilities
  • Dashboard widgets
  • File comparisons
  • Password security and expiration

As you can see from this list, it’s definitely worth upgrading to iThemes Security Pro, which starts at $52 per year.

With iThemes Security, users will automatically be banned after attempting too many invalid logins, which will help prevent a brute force attack on your site.

There is also a scanning feature that will identify any potential vulnerabilities for an attack. Once those areas have been identified, the plugin shows you how to repair the problems in a matter of seconds. iThemes Security even helps strengthen the security of your server. The plugin forces SSL for admin pages, posts, and other pages on supporting servers. The plugin will hide the most common WordPress security vulnerabilities that are usually targeted by hackers. You’ll receive a notification via email anytime there is a problem or potential security threat on your WordPress site.

This plugin fully integrates with your WordPress dashboard as well, which is a nice touch. It doesn’t feel like it’s intrusive, and you don’t need to navigate to any third-party platforms to add security to your site. iThemes Security also offers extensive video tutorials, which I found to be extremely helpful.

4. All In One WP Security & Firewall

All In One WP Security & Firewall

All In One WP Security & Firewall is packed with free features. The interface is extremely easy to use, and you don’t need to be a technology or security expert to figure things out.

One of the reasons why this plugin made my list is because of the visual elements on the dashboard. You can get reports with graphs that explain all of the metrics related to your website’s security. Furthermore, the plugin tells you which actions you can take to improve the security of your WordPress website.

Each security feature is segmented into three categories:

  • Basic
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

You have the ability to apply certain firewall rules progressively in a way that won’t hinder the functionality of your website. As a result, the speed of your website won’t be slowed at all.

The plugin scans your WordPress website for vulnerabilities. After these vulnerabilities have been checked, the plugin will assist you in implementing changes to enhance your security. Everything is measured by a grading system. The grades are based on different levels of security for each element on your website.

Another top feature offered by All In One WP Security & Firewall is spam security for your comments section. Getting lots of comments on your blog posts or other website pages can be extremely beneficial for SEO purposes, but not if those comments are spam. Instead of manually checking all of your comments and deleting spam on your own, this plugin can do the work for you. It automatically detects IP addresses that are known for producing spam and blocks them from commenting. If certain addresses have exceeded a specific number of spam comments, they will even be blocked from accessing your site altogether.

I haven’t even mentioned the best part of all. This plugin is free. That’s right, 100% free. Unlike free versions of other plugins, All In One WP Security & Firewall doesn’t withhold top features and pitch upsells. It’s completely free to all WordPress users.

5. BulletProof Security

BulletProof Security

The BulletProof Security WordPress plugin isn’t necessarily as popular as some of the other plugins out there, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it as a top choice for your website.

It claims that in the last seven years, none of the 45,000 websites that installed BulletProof Security Pro have been hacked. Impressive, though this number has some contingencies and doesn’t account for things like server hacks.

This plugin is extremely easy to install and get up and running in just a couple of clicks. The free version of BulletProof Security gives you access to features like:

  • Security logs
  • Security monitoring
  • Malware scans
  • Database backups
  • Database restores
  • Anti-spam tools
  • Anti-hacking tools

I really like BulletProof Security’s maintenance mode. It will keep your site secure while you’re going through front-end as well as back-end updates and maintenance, times when your site would normally be more vulnerable to hacks or breaches.

While the installation and setup wizard is easy for anyone to do, overall I’d say this security plugin is geared more toward advanced WordPress developers. BulletProof Security allows you to customize so many different security settings. So, I’d say start with that version before you decide if you want to upgrade. That will at least give you a feel of the interface and navigation. If you go with the paid version, BulletProof Security offers a 30-day guarantee, so there’s no risk there either.

Conclusion

What’s the best WordPress security plugin?

It’s tough to name one as the definitive best, but I’ve been able to narrow down the top five for you to consider in 2019. It all depends on what you’re looking for.

Some of these plugins have more advanced features than others, which aren’t always necessary for all websites. Some plugins are easier for beginners, while others are better for advanced developers.

Do you want a free WordPress security plugin? Or do you want a pro version with annual charges?

All of this needs to be taken into consideration when you’re picking the best security plugin for your website. I’m confident you’ll find what you need on the list above.