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Walmart acquiring Shopify is no longer a laughable idea

Sujay Seetharaman Contributor Sujay Seetharaman is a Customer Success Manager and a Market Analyst at eCommerce market intelligence firm PipeCandy As competition between Walmart and Amazon intensifies, the acquisition of Shopify’s merchant marketplace may be the boost that the Walton family’s juggernaut needs to move ahead. In May this year, Amazon published its small business impact report in which it disclosed that there are 20,000 small and medium sized businesses that make a million dollars or more in sales on its platform Amazon boasts about 5 million third-party sellers on its marketplace today, with an estimated 100,000 sellers hopping onboard every month. At 100,000 sellers a month over the next 5 years, there could be an estimated 11 Million sellers on Amazon’s market...

Arrivo partners with a Chinese state-owned infrastructure developer to commercialize hyperloop tech

Arrivo, the upstart high-speed mass transit technology developer launched by a former co-founder of Hyperloop One, has inked a massive partnership with a Chinese state-owned infrastructure developer to help finance mobility projects around the world. Genertec America, an affiliate of the China National Technical Import and Export Corp., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the General Technology Group Holding Co., has agreed to put up a $1 billion credit line to finance projects anywhere in the world that will use Arrivo’s technology. “Arrivo provides a unique solution for regional mobility and a great complement to high speed rail and airports. We are excited to be an early partner in the deployment of mobility systems utilizing Arrivo’s transformative technology,” said Yalin Li, Preside...

Department of Justice indicts 12 Russian intelligence officers for Clinton email hacks

Just days before President Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Department of Justice has leveled new charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers who allegedly hacked the Democratic National Committee and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton . The charges were released by Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who’s leading the investigation into Russian election tampering because of the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the investigation. In January of last year, the intelligence community issued a joint statement affirming that Russia had indeed tampered with the U.S. presidential elections in 2016. Now the investigation is beginning to release indictments. Three former campaign aides for the president’s campaign have already p...

3D printed guns are now legal… What’s next?

Jon Stokes Contributor More posts by this contributor How President Trump could abuse big data and the surveillance state How Intel missed the iPhone revolution On Tuesday, July 10, the DOJ announced a landmark settlement with Austin-based Defense Distributed, a controversial startup led by a young, charismatic anarchist whom Wired once named one of the 15 most dangerous people in the world. Hyper-loquacious and media-savvy, Cody Wilson is fond of telling any reporter who’ll listen that Defense Distributed’s main product, a gun fabricator called the Ghost Gunner, represents the endgame for gun control, not just in the US but everywhere in the world. With nothing but the Ghost Gunner, an internet connection, and some raw materials, anyone, anywhere can make an unmarked, untraceable gun in t...

A new $124 million for Brazil’s Movile proves that investors still see promise in Latin American tech

Brazil’s macroeconomic picture may be gloomy, but technology investors still see hope in the nation’s burgeoning technology sector — and a recent $124 million financing for the mobile conglomerate Movile is the latest proof that that the pace of investment isn’t slowing down. Brazil was already the hottest spot for technology investment throughout Latin America — with Sao Paulo drawing in the majority of the record-breaking $1 billion in financing that the region’s startups attracted in 2017. And with this latest funding for Movile, led by Naspers, that trend looks likely to continue. Indeed, Naspers investments in Movile (supplemented by co-investors like Innova, which participated in the most recent round) have been one of the driving forces sustaining the Brazilian startup community. In...

Booksy, the worldwide booking system, raises $13.2 million

Booksy, a Poland-based booking application for the beauty business, has raised $13.2 million in a series B effort to drive global growth. The company, founded in 2014 by Stefan Batory and Konrad Howard, is currently seeing 2.5 million bookings per month. The company raised from Piton Capital, OpenOcean, Kulczyk Investments, and Zach Coelius. Batory, an ultramarathoner, also co-founded iTaxi, Poland’s popular taxi hailing app. Booksy came about when he was trying to schedule physiotherapy appointments after long runs. He would come home sore and plan on calling his physiotherapist but it was always too late. “I didn’t want to bother him after I was done with my workout late night, and it was virtually impossible to contact him during day time as his hands were busy massaging people and he d...

Trov launches its on-demand personal property insurance services in the U.S.

Trov, the on-demand personal property insurance service, is launching in the U.S., the company announced today. Trov’s first port of call in the U.S. will be Arizona. The service is already available to customers in the UK and Australia who have signed up to insure items one million times since the company first launched its business. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on how many individuals have signed up for the service or how much they’ve spent on the policies. Munich Re is serving as Trov’s underwriting partner in the U.S. (and the rest of the world) and the company said it would look to roll out across the rest of the country over the course of the year. As part of the rollout, Trov is introducing a new service that will cut a customer’s premium payment as the object ...

Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 accepted into YC, raises $1.2 million

Jake Bright Contributor More posts by this contributor Breaking down France’s new $76M Africa startup fund Africa Roundup: African startup investments turn to fintech this winter season When Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 interviewed for Y-Combinator’s 2018 cohort a question stood out to founder Obi Ozor. “‘What’s holding you back from becoming a Unicorn?’ they asked. My answer was simple: ‘working capital,’” said Ozor. Kobo360 was accepted into YC’s 2018 class and gained some working capital in the form of $1.2M in pre-seed funding round led by Western Technology Investment announced this week. Lagos based Verod Capital Management also joined to support Kobo360. The startup — with an Uber -like app that connects Nigerian truckers to companies with freight needs — will use the funds to...

Big tech companies are looking at Hollywood as the next stage in their play for the cloud

This week, both Microsoft and Google made moves to woo Hollywood to their cloud computing platforms in the latest act of the unfolding drama over who will win the multi-billion dollar business of the entertainment industry as it moves to the cloud. Google raised the curtain with a splashy announcement that they’d be setting up their fifth cloud region in the U.S. in Los Angeles. Keeping the focus squarely on tools for artists and designers the company talked up its tools like Zync Render, which Google acquired back in 2014, and Anvato, a video streaming and monetization platform it acquired in 2016. While Google just launched its LA hub, Microsoft has operated a cloud region in Southern California for a while, and started wooing Hollywood last year at the National Association of Broadcaste...

Social SafeGuard scores $11M to sell alerts for brand-damaging fakes

Social SafeGuard, a 2014-founded U.S. startup which sells security services to enterprises aimed at mitigating a range of digital risks that lie outside the corporate firewall, has closed an $11 million Series B funding round, from AllegisCyber and NightDragon Security. It’s hoping to ride the surge in awareness around social media fakery — putting the new funding towards sales and marketing, plus some product dev. “As one of the few dedicated cybersecurity venture firms, we know how big this challenge has become for today’s security executives,” said Spencer Tall, MD of AllegisCyber, in a supporting statement. Tall is joining the Social SafeGuard board. “This is no longer a fringe need that can be ignored or deferred. Digital risk protection should be on the shortlist of corporate securit...

After twenty years of Salesforce, what Marc Benioff got right and wrong about the cloud

Grant Miller Contributor As we enter the 20th year of Salesforce, there’s an interesting opportunity to reflect back on the change that Marc Benioff created with the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model for enterprise software with his launch of Salesforce.com. This model has been validated by the annual revenue stream of SaaS companies, which is fast approaching $100 billion by most estimates, and it will likely continue to transform many slower-moving industries for years to come. However, for the cornerstone market in IT — large enterprise-software deals — SaaS represents less than 25 percent of total revenue, according to most market estimates. This split is even evident in the most recent high profile “SaaS” acquisition of GitHub by Microsoft, with over 50 percent of GitHub’s revenue co...

Celebrity funds from Jay Z, Will Smith and Robert Downey Jr. are backing a life insurance startup

Ethos, the company that bills itself as making life insurance accessible, affordable and simple, has officially come out of stealth with an $11.5 million investment led by on of the world’s top venture firms, Sequoia Capital, and additional participation from the family offices of Hollywood’s biggest stars and an NBA all-star. Jay Z’s Roc Nation, the family funds of Kevin Durant, Robert Downey Jr. and Will Smith all participated in the new round for Ethos, and Sequoia Partner Roelof Botha is taking a seat on the company’s board. Because nothing says star power like a life insurance startup. The life insurance market is one that’s been attracting interest from venture investors for a little over a year now. Companies like England’s Anorak, HealthIQ, Ladder, Mira Financial, France’s Alan, wh...

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