News 16.02.2021

Need to Know

Varo targets America’s lack of financial inclusion, a community-centric job search platform and why remote employees are working longer hours.

Varo diversifies digital banking for the everyman

A Bank For All Of Us by Varo, US

San Francisco – Varo is relaunching its digital banking service with a new campaign that aims to communicate its values as an inclusive bank.

Dubbed A Bank for All of Us, the campaign is aimed at modern Americans and acknowledges the lack of visibility and accessibility inherent in financial services. With the aim to break down barriers in the sector, it is set to appear on tv, radio and out of home across the US. To better represent America’s diverse communities, the ad features a re-imagined $20 note replacing US leaders with a range of everyday consumers’ faces.

‘The Varo experience starts with inclusion – and our new campaign seeks to showcase people and communities that are often under-represented in financial services,' says Halle Hutchison, chief brand officer at Varo.

While many global consumers remain excluded from traditional financial services, there is an opportunity for brands to offer alternative products that enable banking for the unbanked.

Animal-free ice cream for East Asian diners

Igloo Dessert Bar and Perfect Day, Hong Kong Igloo Dessert Bar and Perfect Day, Hong Kong
Igloo Dessert Bar and Perfect Day, Hong Kong Igloo Dessert Bar and Perfect Day, Hong Kong

Hong Kong – US food technology firm Perfect Day has partnered with Hong Kong’s Igloo Dessert Bar to launch Asia's first animal-free dairy ice cream.

Using real dairy proteins created with fermentation, the partnership brings Perfect Day's existing protein innovations to a new market in Hong Kong. This means the ice cream is molecularly identical to the traditionally milk-based dessert, but is healthier and more sustainable. By using this process both parties claim the ice cream to be lactose-free, hormone-free and vegan-friendly. The resulting Ice Age! range features eight new flavours – some inspired by Asian tastes such as red date and mandarin pineapple.

‘I was really excited to learn that Perfect Day uses technology to produce such an innovative whey protein that can provide consumers with a healthy and delicious choice,’ says Larvina Wong, founder of Igloo Dessert Bar. ‘If we can find a way to enjoy ice cream with a lower impact on the environment, this should truly make us happy.’

Using plant-based proteins in place of animal products can offer consumers a healthier and more sustainable alternative to dairy foods. For more on the growth of dairy alternatives in Asia, read our China Dairy Market.

UCandu democratises job hunting

UCandu, US UCandu, US

US – UCandu is a new job-hunting app and online platform offering support and community to people searching for employment.

The platform, still in beta mode, allows users to track their progress with job applications and better manage their search for new opportunities. Taking a community-based approach, UCandu also encourages users to give advice, share job leads and provide general motivation to each other. UCandu is taking a human-centric approach by providing a space for people to connect over shared experiences.

Its founders also hope to instill a sense of empowerment to job-seekers using UCandu, especially considering the impact of the pandemic on recruitment opportunities. ‘My vision for the members of this community and the people using the app is to build power for job-seekers,' says Cat Bradley, co-founder of UCandu.

In education, Alumni Incubators have stepped in to nurture the next generation of creative talent. But as career prospects and the workplace face continued disruption in the inter-Covid period, there is also a need to support job-seekers.

Stat: Remote employees are working longer hours

Data from cybersecurity firm NordVPN Teams via Bloomberg reveals that remote employees are working longer hours than before Covid-19.

Based on time spent logged in to business virtual private networks (VPNs), remote workers in Europe are working up to 11 hours a day. In The Netherlands, remote employees are working 10% longer now than pre-Covid, with many working until 8:00pm. Meanwhile, in the UK, employees are working 25% longer hours than they were before any national lockdowns. Globally, there is no significant drop in business VPN use during lunch hours, which may indicate many employees are taking shorter lunch breaks.

As new daily schedules blur the boundaries between work and leisure time, employers should be aware of the impacts on increasingly remote workforces. To better reap the positive effects of flexible working, read our interview with the author of Flex.

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