TECHCRUNCH: Wiper, a chat application designed to provide users with control over their sent and received messages, recently rolled out support for bitcoin transactions between its users. The tool is simple, allowing individuals to send cryptocurrency to others inside the app’s main chat interface. But CEO Manlio Carrelli told TechCrunch that Wiper was “removed from the iOS App Store in China due to violating that app store’s policies,” and that “Apple [had] explained to [the company] by phone that this violation was related to Wiper enabling bitcoin payments.” (more…)
The article about Honest Dollar (retirement plans for SME employees)
TECHCRUNCH: The Pebble Time Kickstarter gained some momentum thanks to Apple’s special Watch event Monday. The new smartwatch from the smartwatch pioneer was drawing in funding at a rate of around $6,000 per hour on Sunday, March 8, which rose to $10,000 per hour on Monday, March 9 (when the event took place), and capped out at $16,000 per day on average during March 10, the day following Apple’s press presentation.
Pebble CEO and founder Eric Migicovsky told former Y Combinator lead and investor Paul Graham that interest in Apple’s media event had a doubling impact on the rate of its ongoing crowdfunding campaign, but in fact the numbers reveal it more than doubled, and in fact almost tripled in the extended wake of the announcement. (more…)
E27.CO: Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons Ratan Tata has made an undisclosed amount of investment in mobile payments and commerce company Paytm. With this investment, Tata will pick up a small stake in One97 Communications, the company that owns and operates Paytm. He will also take on the role of an advisor at the company.
TECHCRUNCH: Paytm, a India-based mobile payments service operated by (now) Alibaba-backed One97, has introduced a big new feature that lets 25 million users transfer money to bank accounts. Mobile wallets, like that of Paytm, have grown in popular in India, where credit card adoption is low and many services, including online retailers, process a lot of cash-based transactions. (Its billion-plus population is estimated to have just 450 million bank accounts, with many unused.) Wallets are at the intersection of that, providing greater reliability than cash, but without requiring users to get bank accounts.
TECHCRUNCH: The march of consolidation in the world of e-commerce has claimed its latest victim.Balanced, a payments platform for peer-to-peer marketplace businesses, is closing its doors after failing to grow fast enough, or as co-founder Matin Tamizi describes it, “reach the escape velocity necessary to be a large, innovative, independent player in the payments space.” The company, a Y-Combinator alum, has struck a deal with one of its longtime rivals,Stripe, to act as its transition partner for existing customers.
TECHCRUNCH: The Internet of Things promised us a deeper connection with our objects. We would be hugging our toasters, marrying our fridges, and sleeping with our bathroom scales. But nothing out there so far could talk back to us until the Woolet. The Woolet is a wallet that contains a small beacon that connects to your phone. When you leave (or lose) your wallet, the phone will buzz to let you know. More interestingly, the Woolet has a small buzzer built in that will notify you if you leave the house without your phone – a pretty useful feature if your Fitbit keeps making you leave the house. Finally Woolets can send out APB signals that ask other Woolet owners to report its location to you. For example, if you lose it in a crowded space other Woolet owners can pick up its signal and relay its location to you. (more…)
VENTUREBEAT: Square is shutting down Square Order (take-away preorder) to fuel the recently acquired Caviar (allows to order food with delivery), as far as it’s growing rapidly and better illustrates to merchants that the customers are new ones. (We believe, Square Order was not successful because merchants’ customers communicated with Square brand, and merchants were not willing to give away their customer base to Square. Meanwhile a similar service My-Apps.com creates pre-order apps under the merchant’s brand – thus, there is no conflict of interest).
TECHCRUNCH: GSF India, the Bangalore-headquartered accelerator program and angel investment firm, is broadening its scope to cover young startups in India’s internet of things space. The organization has partnered global tech giant Cisco for batch four of its incubator program — and, importantly, extended the deadline for applications until March 17. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Amazon is taking another step into the Internet of Things. TechCrunch has learned, and confirmed, that the e-commerce and cloud services giant has acquired 2lemetry, a startup based out of Denver that has developed an enterprise-focused platform to track and manage IP-enabled machines and other connected devices. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Snapchat, one of the ten most popular instant messengers in the world, has raised $200M from Alibaba Group and Saudi Arabian investor Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal at the valuation of $19B. Alibaba’s only weakness against its traditional rival – Chinese Tencent – is the lack of a strong position in the messaging market. With this investment (as well as the investment of $215M in Tango messenger last year) Alibaba is trying to strengthen its position in the market by diversifying assets and insuring itself against the negative effects of the growing popularity of instant messengers as a means for communication, shopping, financial transactions, etc.
TECHCRUNCH: Mobile payments and retail tech company Square has acquired Kili Technology, a Toronto-based startup specializing in silicon, electronic and software design for improvement payment processing. The newly-acquired company will remain in Toronto, which will now act as a second Canadian office for Square, which had previously opened its country HQ in Waterloo, home of one of the most-respected engineering schools in North America.
ВВС: Bitcoin might conjour up visions of dark doings on the Silk Road website and wildly fluctuating value for some – but could it provide a safe haven for the money sent home to loved ones by Africa’s diaspora? Over 30 million Africans live in the diaspora. They sent almost $40bn (£26.5bn) home in 2014, a figure that is likely to grow significantly in the coming years.
TECHCRUNCH: Starbucks’ mobile ordering system, which allows customers to place orders in advance of their visit to the store, pay from their phone, then skip the line when they arrive, is today rolling out to more locations across the Pacific Northwest, including Starbucks’ home base of Seattle. In total, there are now 650 more locations supported in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska, says the company, ahead of the national rollout planned for this year.
PYMNTS: MasterCard and Microsoft have announced a partnership to support Mexico’s economic development. The companies support the foundation of the national economy – micro merchants — with complex projects, innovative technological, communication and payment tools. The partnership is said to be aimed at encouraging the use of electronic payments, as well as legitimacy and formality of technology products and services.
VENTUREBEAT: Less than a week after Kickstarter saw the new Pebble smartwatch smash its previous funding record to smithereens, fellow crowdfunding platform Indiegogo has an all-new record to boast about too. With $5.3 million in the coffers so far and 27 days still remaining, the Flow Hive campaign has now passed the previous record-holder — Hour of Code— which had received some big-name donations from the likes of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg to help increase uptake of computer science in schools.
VENTUREBEAT: Today, Square announced a new program for merchants that protects them when customers dispute purchases. When buyers contest a charge on their credit or debit card, that money is immediately put on hold. That means the merchant loses the money generated from the sale as well as the product or service it sold. Starting today, Square is giving merchants in the U.S. and Canada access to charge-back protection, which will cover the money being held in instances of fraud. Meaning, sellers won’t lose out on sales that are being contested. Square will cover expenses related to sales disputes up to $250 per month.
TECHCRUNCH: Apple CEO Tim Cook offered a quick update this morning on the rapid growth of Apple Pay. Apparently the company’s mobile payment technology is now supported by 2,500 card-issuing banks (up from only six when the product was announced in September), while the number of locations accepting Apple Pay has tripled to nearly 700,000.
E27.CO: The startup aims to make transactions simpler by offering easy multi-currency management. Tofupay is one of the 11 teams chosen to join the blueprint accelerator programme. This international team of five will be working on their not-so-stinky idea, Tofupay, an alternative service to make online payments and transactions easier and more economical.
DIGITAL CURRENCY MAGNATES: Fidor is not your ordinary bank. You can actually sign into your account through Facebook Connect. They have offered a savings account with an interest rate determined by the number of Like’s awarded on the company’s Facebook page. Customers can interact in the Fidor online community with each other and even support staff, should they have inquiries. They also offer P2P loans through crowdfunding and P2P betting. So it’s only natural that they’ll take a liking to P2P currencies. (more…)
FAST COMPANY: Thiago Olson, a 25-year-old founder and CEO of payment company Stratos, is now the focus of attention of the American media because his company has released a plastic card that can replace all bank cards in your wallet. However, Olson is no stranger to media attention: he built a nuclear reactor in his house at age 17.
WIRED: Remeber Coin, the credit card-sized gizmo that promised to streamline your wallet by consolidating all your other, actual credit cards? It raked in approximately a gazillion dollars in pre-orders when it debuted in November 2013, only to become another certified crowdfunding debacle, beset by delays and acrimony. Buyers were initially told it would ship summer 2014; the vast majority are still waiting. If nothing else, the saga proved that there is interest in a wallet-slimming wonder card. Now, those interested have another option to consider. Stratos is more or less the same concept as Coin, just with a slicker design and one other key advantage: Its creators claim it’s actually ready to ship. The question is whether or not it will be relevant once the payment world starts the shift to chip-enhanced cards this fall.
TECHCRUNCH: Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: PayPal, the payments service with 162 million users preparing to separate from e-commerce giant eBay later this year, is announcing an acquisition today to help build out its mobile business targeting physical merchants, and sharpen its focus in competition with other tech payment hopefuls like Apple and Google. It is buying Paydiant, a startup out of Boston that makes mobile wallet technology. That technology, in turn, powers payment apps for large business like Subway, Harris Teeter supermarkets, Capital One bank, and — perhaps most notably — MCX, a merchant-owned network that is developing a payment app called CurrentC.
FAST COMPANY: Kickstarter may have kickstarted the crowdfunding movement, but it did so with arbitrary and capricious rules that embraced some projects while refusing to host others, and limited its own growth. But the company underwent a leadership change in late 2013, and last year reengineered itself as an integral part of the startup hardware boom. It saw two companies that started on its platform, Oculus and SmartThings, get acquired by Facebook and Samsung, for $2 billion and $200 million respectively. And it neared in on $1.5 billion in money pledged to projects.