Here’s the top tech news for Tuesday:
1. The three big banks that shunned Apple Pay have developed their own app. CBA, Westpac and NAB have launched Beem, which is not a credit card payment system but rather an app that allows instant peer-to-peer payments – like when friends want to split a restaurant bill or fix someone up for paying for entertainment tickets. The free iOS and Android software will be available later in the year and can be used by customers of any bank. Read more here.
2. The consumer watchdog has joined calls to let the NBN out of its debt obligations. The ACCC’s draft report into the communications industry urged the government to consider, at least temporarily, not forcing the NBN to return a profit – so that it, retailers and ultimately consumers could receive better performing broadband at a lower price. The report argues the NBN is performing a social service by subsidising broadband rollout to uneconomic remote areas. Read more here.
3. An artificial intelligence company that detects dealer errors in casinos just raised $21.5 million. ASX-listed BrainChip will use the funds to push its new capabilities in stock market forecasting, speech and image recognition, and autonomous driving. Read more.
4. An Australian energy tech startup just raised $23 million. ASX-listed Buddy Platform clinched the capital raise yesterday as it’s set to announce a 100-country distribution deal for its energy monitoring system for commercial buildings. Read more here.
5. Freelancer’s court case against a former employee continues. The AFR reported the startup’s founder, Matt Barrie, was asked during cross-examination why he promoted former executive Matt O’Kane then sacked him for underperformance. O’Kane is suing both Freelancer and Barrie for unfair dismissal, which he alleges came about after he complained of a physically and verbally abusive colleague.
Bonus: A bushfire in California has destroyed historical documents about the establishment of perhaps the first tech startup in Silicon Valley. ITPro UK reports Hewlett-Packard’s physical archive in Santa Rosa burned down over the weekend, and the lost artefacts include letters between William Hewlett and David Packard.