TECHCRUNCH: The rise of companies like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Ola have put a spotlight on the e-commerce opportunity in India, where the growth of catchy businesses is being fuelled by consumer demand, improving Internet connectivity and generous VC funding. Now, a new startup called Razorpay — part of the current Y Combinator class — is hoping to ride that trend, by giving more startups and larger tech companies in the country the ability to make it easier to integrate payments into their services. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Online lending platform Avant has acquired ReadyForZero, a Y Combinator-backed startup that helps consumers better manage their personal debit and credit using online financial software, the companies are announcing this morning. Financial terms are not being disclosed, but Chicago-based Avant had plenty of funds to play around with, having raised$334 million in equity capital, in addition to nearly a billion in debt.
THE NEXT WEB: While Amazon has worked hard to promote its Android app store, let’s face it: if you’re not on Fire OS, you’ll use the Google Play Store almost all the time. But it looks like Amazon may have a trick up its sleeve to get users onto its marketplace instead. According to a report by TechCrunch, based off apparently leaked documents, an Amazon ‘Unlocked’ subscription will provide a range of apps and related in-app purchases free of additional charge. TechCrunch describes it as Amazon Prime for apps. (more…)
DEALSTREETASIA: Russia’s economic slump is set to boost the fledgling financial services technology (Fintech) startup ecosystem in Singapore and South East Asia. Moscow-based venture capital firm Life.SREDA, that focuses exclusively on investments in Fintech mobile and internet projects, is pivoting to Asia, and moving its corporate headquarters to Singapore, executives aware of the developments told DEALSTREETASIA. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Amazon’s VP and General Manager of Payments, Matt Swann, who most recently oversaw initiatives including Amazon’s Square competitor called Local Register and Amazon Wallet, has left the company, TechCrunch has confirmed. The move comes shortly after Amazon shut down its beta version of Wallet in January amid mediocre reviews, and an increasingly competitive landscape where Apple Pay and Google Wallet now dominate.
TECHCRUNCH: Fundbox, a company that loans businesses money for outstanding invoice payments, has raised $40 million to grow its own business in the trillion-dollar alternative lending market. The Series B round was led by General Catalyst with participation from NyCa Investment Partners and help from existing backers Khosla Ventures, Shlomo Kramer and Blumberg Capital. (more…)
IT WORLD CANADA: Due to skills mismatch, demand-supply imbalances, an aging workforce and other factors, Canada is headed for a major technology talent shortage in the next five years. Canada needs 182,000 people to fill positions for information systems analysts and consultants, computer and network operators, Web technicians, software engineers and others in by 2019, according to an IT labour market report released this week.
TECHCRUNCH: When you chat with friends about settling debts or splitting the bill, Facebook doesn’t want you to have to open another app like PayPal or Venmo to send them money. So today it unveiled a new payments feature for Facebook Messenger that lets you connect your Visa or Mastercard debit card and tap a “$” button to send friends money on iOS, Android, and desktop with zero fees. Facebook Messenger payments will roll out first in the U.S. over the coming months.
E27.CO: Global online ticketing platform Peatix has raised US$5 million in Series B funding led by DG Incubation, the investment subsidiary of Digital Garage. SPH Media Fund, the corporate venture fund of Singapore Press Holdings and Japanese media company Sunny Side Up also invested in this round. Existing investors from the Series A round Fidelity Growth Partners Japan and Draper Nexus also participated in the round. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Rakuten, Japan’s largest online retail firm, has announced that it will soon accept bitcoin across its global marketplaces. The company is putting its investment in Bitnet — a startup that raised $14.5 million last October — to work with this development. Bitnet, which was founded by ex-Visa execs and is rivaled by Coinbase and Bitpay, will initially be integrated into Rakuten’s U.S. marketplace to allow customers to pay in BTC.
FAST COMPANY: Think you’re not creative? The innovation gurus at Ideo beg to differ. The design firm argues that anyone can unleash an inner creative genius through certain methods—the same methods that Ideo uses on its own projects. A new series of online classes calledIdeo U shares those techniques with the world. (more…)
TECHCRUNCH: Thanks to startups like Simple, which was acquired by financial services organization BBVA last year, banking customers got a look at what a modern-day web and mobile banking experience looks like, with features like goal-setting tools, automated categorization of expenditures, real-time notifications of new charges pushed to your mobile phone, the ability to block a lost or stolen card right from the mobile app, and more. Now, a new startup called Bankjoy wants to bring a similar experience to other, smaller banks with a white-labelled product and accompanying API platform that’s initially being aimed at credit unions. (more…)
TECHINASIA: Yesterday at Cebit in Hanover, Alibaba founder Jack Ma took the stage to wax philosophical on entrepreneurship and the future of technology. While he oozed charisma on stage, the real treat came at the end of his address. After noting how online payments can sometimes be troublesome, the founder took out his smartphone and paid for a set of stamps on Alibaba using face-recognition technology (more…)
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.