Is Shopify taking over B2B payments?
What's the best Twitter-clone on the market?
Why do major companies have their eyes set on the EU? Has the US lost its luster?
Is Pinterest about to look like an Amazon product results page?
Why is YouTube's ad revenue declining?
Answers to all these questions and more in this week's 119th Edition of Shopifreaks. Thanks for subscribing and sharing!
PS: You might notice in this edition that for the time being, I got rid of the Weekly Twitter Poll and Recommendations sections. I'm working on streamlining and restructuring the newsletter a little in preparation for upcoming changes.
Stat of the Week 📈
E-commerce in Italy was worth €75.89B in 2022, up 18.6% YoY. However most of that growth was caused by price increases. – According to EcommerceNews.eu
1. Shopify introduces Bill Pay
Shopify introduced a new tool for merchants to manage and pay vendors within the Shopify admin. The new Shopify Bill Pay is powered by Melio, an Israeli-based B2B payments and bill pay service, and is available to US merchants at no additional cost other than payment processing fees on some payment methods.
Through Shopify Bill Pay, merchants can:
- Schedule, pay, and manage B2B payments. These features are par for the course with bill pay services.
- Pay with their preferred method, even if the vendor doesn't accept it. This means that, for example, a merchant can pay with a credit card even if a vendor doesn't accept them (as long as the merchant is willing to pay the “minimal fee” according to Shopify), and then pay the vendor with a check or ACH transfer. This one's quite a novel feature. More on it below.
- E-mail and image-based expense unloading.
- Melio supports payments to 100 countries.
Shopify Bill Pay also integrates with Shopify Balance, a free business account offered by Shopify for merchants, which merchants can use the balance of to pay their bills.
Melio CEO and Co-founder Matan Bar said in a press release, “Shopify Bill Pay will bring a whole new experience to merchants who are overwhelmed by managing their cash flow and inventories, preparing their stock for busy seasons and keeping track of each vendor’s payment requirements.”
It's an interesting but not surprising move by Shopify that makes sense for their business model. Shopify's revenue has been built around controlling customer payments. It only makes sense for them to seek
control influence of a merchant's B2B payments as well.
By offering the ability for merchants to pay vendors with a credit card and subsequently taking a cut of the transaction, Shopify is adding to their revenue in their most favorite way — through payment processing fees.
Through Shopify Payments, Shopify Balance, Shopify Capital, and now Shopify Bill Pay, the company is effectively saying to merchants, “Hey, how about you only pull the money out that you need to live, and the rest you can just keep with Shopify.”
Effectively Shopify wants to have their hand in every part of a merchant's financial transactions and is prioritizing bringing financial services in-house over other features.
Want to turn your Add to Cart button into an external buy button or add a Table of Contents to your blog post? Use a 3rd party app.
Want to send or receive money related to your online business? Think Shopify!
These moves should bode well for the company in the long run and can put them at a tremendous advantage of other e-commerce platforms whose revenue is only derived from subscription fees (as opposed to transaction fees).
Similar to how Amazon's e-commerce business is propped up by its cloud computing division, Shopify's e-commerce platform is effectively propped up by its fintech business.
thousand Twitter alternatives
I feel like not a day goes by that I don't read about another Twitter alternative to enter the market (or at least say they are entering the market soon).
It's hard to keep up with which ones are difficult to use, which ones claim they aren't a Twitter alternative but actually are, and which ones are racist. I've personally tried a few, but all so far turned out to be mostly a group of early adopters having a conversation with strangers about how they weren't on Twitter. Maybe that's changing though.
Harry McCracken of Fast Company famously wrote in February why he wasn't leaving Twitter — yet. (A post which is mysteriously missing from Fast Company's website this morning.) However now he's starting to change his tune a little, and although he says he's still not leaving Twitter, he's gotten, in his words, “more serious about looking for the exit door.”
Here's a summary of Harry's initial observations about six of the most popular Twitter alternatives on the market:
- Mastodon – The most fully realized Twitter alternative. Harry finds the crowd friendly and engaged, but misses having quote tweets and full-text-searching, which are two features that Mastodon's creator thinks are counterproductive and has not implemented. Since Mastodon is decentralized, it doesn't offer a consistent experience, but so far it is Harry's top pick.
- Post – Harry has yet to find a community on Post, which doesn't offer much in the way of tools for finding other users. Many of the people he follows haven't posted in months. However this Twitter alternative seems to be the most serious about being a place for catching up on the news.
- T2 – Currently an invite-only network with one of the most pleasant user interfaces of any Twitter alternative. Harry feels that it's been doing a good job of recommending people to follow. T2 handles verifications for a one-time fee of $5. Fast Company already has an official presence on T2.
- Bluesky – Feels like Twitter did in the early days “before celebrities, trolls, and bots arrived in force”, although the founder himself Jack Dorsey hasn't posted on it in months. Bluesky still has a waitlist, but people have been talking about how nice it is.
- Nostr – Another Jack Dorsey-backed decentralized social networking protocol. Damus is an iPhone app powered by Nostr, which you can use without providing a name, e-mail, or phone number. However Harry finds it “completely impenetrable”, stumbling across a few random people posting about Bitcoin, but that's about it.
- Substack Notes – Much of the constructive discussion of the news that once powered Twitter has shifted to Substack Notes. Harry says, “The fact that Elon Musk appears to be scared of it should tell us something.”
There seems to be a negative correlation between how “nice” a platform is and how many people are on it!
What about Meta's new Twitter-clone?
Not included on Harry's list above (because it's not out yet) is Meta's new decentralized text-based social network, Barcelona App — dubbed “Instagram for your thoughts.”
The app will require you to have an Instagram account to login, and your IG screenname is currently reserved for you.
Barcelona (pronounced “Bar-the-lona“) offers a 500 character limit and caps threads at 100 umm, tweets? Both numbers could change before the app's release on Jan 1st. (Unless TikTok launches a text-based social network first, to which Meta will launch theirs early.)
You might have heard rumors about the project, which was previously called P92, Project 92, and now Barcelona. Whatever it's called, Meta is planning on heavily integrating it with Instagram, allowing users to cross link between profiles and posts.
Daniel Morgan, a senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust, said that he sees a “fresh start” for Meta on the horizon — and P92 “is part of this new chapter.”
3. BigCommerce News (Sponsored)
BigCommerce announced today the next release of B2B Edition, a comprehensive suite of B2B functionalities that enhances the online selling experience for suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers.
This latest release introduces Multi-Storefront (MSF) compatibility, a modernized B2B buyer portal and headless support that brings together next-level B2B features into one solution.
Large B2B brands worldwide now can have more power to modernize B2B ecommerce experiences to meet buyer expectations, drive conversions and build brand loyalty.
B2B Edition’s latest enterprise-grade capabilities include:
- Multi-Storefront Compatibility – brands can easily launch and manage multiple storefronts from a single BigCommerce back-end across brands, geographies, and customer segments, as well as leverage the dynamic buyer portal to provide modernized purchasing experiences that give buyers more control of their online shopping journey.
- Modernized Buyer Portal – the new buyer portal automates administrative processes while streamlining the buyer / merchant relationship to more efficiently manage orders, quotes and workflows to reduce operational burden and influence customer loyalty and conversion.
- Headless Support (Beta) – B2B brands have the advantage of Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless (MACH) architecture and composable elements to create and build agile storefronts that can be continuously improved as the business grows. B2B Edition can integrate into an existing BigCommerce HTML theme or CMS platform using the buyer portal API to further personalize the buyer purchasing experience.
4. Pinterest pinned Amazon Ads
Pinterest and Amazon have entered into a multi-year strategic ad partnership aimed at bringing more brands and relevant products to its platform, marking Pinterest's first partner on third-party ads.
Pinterest for years has worked to connect product inspiration to purchases, but has had an on-again off-again relationship with affiliate links, which is what incentivizes most creators to post product related content.
The new partnership with Amazon removes creators from the equation by allowing Amazon sellers to go directly from Amazon marketplace to Pinterest with ads, while offering customers a more seamless buying experience.
Pinterest noted that the implementation of Amazon ads will take place over multiple quarters, starting later this year. So you won't suddenly be overrun with Amazon ads on the platform tomorrow (like you currently are on Amazon's search results).
Last year in March, I reported that Pinterest began allowing users in the U.S. to complete transactions within the app — a feature they said had been long requested.
Later that year, Pinterest’s co-founder, Ben Silbermann, stepped down from his role as CEO, and was replaced by Bill Ready, a former Google commerce executive who hit the ground running with e-commerce on the platform.
And most recently, Pinterest has brought more to the e-commerce table with the integration of shopping capabilities into its Shuffles collage-making app.
The new partnership with Amazon is a bold move by Pinterest, but one that has the potential to seriously impact their ad revenue. Much of its success will be determined on how the implementation is executed.
Meaning right now Pinterest only offers its own internal advertising where you can promote pins, and it's very organic to the platform and user experience. Hopefully for the sake of users and for Pinterest, their partnership with Amazon will only permit similar organic-feeling advertisements, as opposed to out-of-place Amazon listings amidst organic Pins. We will see!
5. Shein manufacturing coming to South America
Shein announced that it's localizing its manufacturing in Latin America by creating a hub in Brazil. The company will invest $148.9M in building a new network in the country, partnering with 2,000 manufacturers, and creating 100k new jobs in Latin America.
Shein aims to source 85% of the products it sells in the region locally by 2026, which should help the company shed its reputation for its unsustainable mass manufacturing.
Shein's Latin America Chair Marcelo Claure told Reuters that the company's plan is “basically ship raw material to Brazil and localize our manufacturing in the country.”
He added about cost, “All the savings in transport and logistics will be offset by what I believe will just be a little higher manufacturing cost, so the end result should be exactly the same or lower.”
In comparison, Shein reported to have around 6,000 factories in China as of Jan 2023.
Two weeks ago I reported that Brazil's government is ending a tax exemption on international orders up to $50 as part of its effort to tax purchases from global retail giants like Alibaba, Shein, and Shopee.
The country's revenue service said that the exemption never applied to e-commerce but only to shipments from individual to individual, and had been “widely and fraudulently used for sales made by foreign companies.”
This tax exemption (or lack of) will be a non-factor if the clothes are now manufactured in Brazil, a big advantage for Shein over competitors.
6. YouTube's triple consecutive ad revenue decline
Alphabet reported in its latest earnings that YouTube saw ad revenue fall 2.6% YoY as advertisers pulled back from the platform due to economic uncertainty.
YouTube brought in $6.69B in ad revenue for Q1 2023 versus $6.87B during the same period last year, marking the third quarter in a row that YouTube's ad revenue decreased.
Now let me ask this… Is it “economic uncertainty” or “advertisers shifting budget to TikTok” that's caused the three consecutive declines?
Because TikTok's ad revenue has grown exponentially YoY since 2019:
- 2019: $340M
- 2020: $1.41B
- 2021: $3.88B
- 2022: $11.04B
- 2023: $18.04B (projected)
- 2024: 23.58B (projected)
When looking at TikTok's ad revenue growth, there doesn't seem to be a lot of “economic uncertainty” in the air.
YouTube's downward sliding figures are a cause of concern for content creators, who rely on ad revenue to earn income.
Alphabet offered a few areas of reassurance to creators on their earnings call:
- The number of channels that uploaded to Shorts daily grew over 80% (doesn't help existing creators)
- YouTube rolled out Shorts to Smart TVs in Nov 2022
- Shorts reached 50B daily views in February
- YouTube is ramping up its efforts to make YouTube more shoppable and will be adding shopping to Shorts soon
In other words, YouTube attempted to console creators by saying, “Our transition to becoming TikTok is almost complete.” LOL
Former YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki stepped down from her role in February, taking on an advisory role across Google and Alphabet, and was replaced by Neal Mohan, YouTube's former chief product officer.
7. Join ONDC or else!
India's commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal made it clear at ONDC's Enabling Bharat 2.0 event last week that India will use the “full force of the government” to promote the adoption of ONDC, and cautioned e-commerce giants that failing to join the initiative within the stipulated time frame may result in withdrawal of the offer.
The minister warned that at some stage “we will also have to cut off those who are left behind.”
Additionally, Goyal warned e-commerce platforms that they better bring their MAIN platform to the network, or they'll be removed from ONDC.
“A few days ago, there was a company that had created an ONDC-specific platform. That’s exactly what we don’t want to happen. Be on ONDC through your main platform.”
The goal of ONDC is to offer a greater degree of discoverability, where buyers can discover better pricing and quality across all platforms and sellers, which closed networks cannot offer. However this mission isn't feasible unless a platform brings ALL their products to the table, not just part of their selection.
Goyal went on to say, “The Walmarts and Flipkarts of the world, the Tatas, and Reliances of the world, everybody has a role in making ONDC a success. So, we would like to invite everybody to be part of this journey in a free and fair manner and nobody will be discriminated against. ONDC is open to all for business.”
8. Where will Bed Bath & Beyond shoppers go now?
Surprisingly I learned that Bed Bath & Beyond accounted for 1.4% of overall houseware / home furnishings in the U.S. in 2022. That's more than I would've guessed!
Now that BB&B went bankrupt and is closing down its stores, where will shoppers go for their houseware and home furnishings needs?
DigitalCommerce360 surveyed BB&B shoppers and asked where they will go instead. Here's what they said:
- Amazon (68%)
- Target (58%)
- Walmart (48%)
- Home Goods (34%)
- At Home (12%)
- Macy’s (10%)
- Wayfair (5%)
- Crate & Barrel (3%)
- Williams-Sonoma (3%)
- Overstock (2%)
- Nordstrom (2%)
While Bed Bath & Beyond executives were buying back $11.8B in stock and misunderstanding their business model for the past two decades, competitors in every direction were ramping up and are ready to absorb their customers.
- Wayfair is opening stores in the U.S. to give consumers the option to see in-person what they might buy online.
- In 2022, IKEA invested $3B to turn stores across the U.S. and Europe into delivery hubs and support its ecommerce sales.
- In April 2023, IKEA invested $2.2B to expand storefronts and fulfillment networks throughout the U.S.
- Target recently announced its roadmap of investments to spur growth which include offering curb-side returns, expanding Apple and Ulta shop-in-shop to more Target stores, launching or expanding more than 10 owned brands, opening 20 new stores, expanding its sortation center network, and expanding its newly introduced enterprise efficiency efforts.
- Walmart's been adding new e-commerce features left and right, revamped its influencer network, added VR worlds and VR try-on services, offered an internal BNPL payment option, and more.
To be fair though, none of the competitors above have ever offered customers an oversized cardboard 20% off coupon, which elderly shoppers collected like Pokémon cards. BB&B had that going for it.
9. Other e-commerce news of interest
Walmart is giving away 20,000 Walmart+ memberships to mothers who give birth to children in May, in its latest strategy to catch up to Amazon Prime. The $2M giveaway is in partnership with the Pampers Hospital Gift Program, which provides a gift bag for patients who have recently delivered a baby.
Criteo, a commerce media company, entered into the next phase of its integration with Shopify, allowing U.S. merchants to access new self-registration capabilities via the Criteo Commerce Growth Platform. Criteo and Shopify have collaborated since 2018, and last year Criteo saw a 36% YoY increase in the number of new Shopify merchants on its network. Last year Criteo became a Shopify “Certified App Partner” and joined the first-ever Shopify Advertising Technology cohort, and is now awaiting a Shopify Audiences partnership.
Shopify employees are fearful that more layoffs are on the horizon after some in-person events were cancelled ahead of earnings. The company's latest performance reviews are due early next month, and leadership told workers in the fall that it planned to change how it evaluated employees' performance.
Speaking of Shopify employees, a leaked document outlined the company's plan to use targeted “unorthodox” methods to find new hires as the company looks to become more efficient. The document said that Shopify purposely limited the number of positions it plans to hire for the year and that recruiters need to raise the bar for the quality of candidates they bring to the company.
Meta is resuming hiring for select roles this month including in areas like AI, VR, making their ads better, and improving the technology behind their apps, and is also planning on being more selective about their hires The company's first round of 11,000 layoffs took place in November 2022, followed by the second round of 10,000 layoffs in March 2023.
Twitter is planning to enable publishers to charge per-article to bypass paywalls within the app, as opposed to subscribing to various publications. Past experiments have found that this model leads to a net loss for publishers versus the subscription system, although it's never been tried with an existing userbase as large as Twitter's.
Last year I shared an idea of mine for a GoFundMe style news publication paywall system, where an article becomes free to view for everyone once it reaches its revenue goal. I'd be more likely to make a micro-payment to read an article if it meant allowing others to read it as well once it hit its collective paywall goal.
Amazon is expanding its B2B division, Amazon Business, in Europe (which countries tbd), by investing in its logistics to supply European businesses with office supplies in bulk. Amazon Business grew its gross sales in Europe at a compound annual rate of 25% from 2020 to 2022, currently active in Germany, Britain, Italy, Spain, and France.
Temu is also expanding to European markets beginning with France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, and the U.K. Previously Temu has been available to the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, where its GMV grew from $3M in Sep to $192M in January.
The African Development Fund and Smart Africa Alliance have jointly launched a $1.5M project to streamline digital trade and e-commerce policies across 10 African countries. Called the Institutional Support for Digital Payments and e-Commerce Policies for Cross-Border Trade Project (IDECT), the project will evaluate policy gaps in the digital trade and e-commerce ecosystems and implement regional training and capacity-building programs.
UPS warned of persistent pressure on parcel volumes, signaling a delayed recovery in volumes for the shipping industry that was expecting some relief by the end of the year. UPS has been managing costs better than FedEx, despite having a unionized workforce, and has benefited from a strong focus on moving high-margin parcels.
Nykaa, an India-based fashion and beauty platform, appointed P. Ganesh as their new CFO and Rajesh Uppalapati as CTO. Ganesh brings 27 years of experience having served a CFO across companies like TAFE Group, Pidilite Industries, and more, and Uppalapati has worked at Amazon for 20 years across different roles, and more recently at Intuit.
Amazon is shutting down its Amazon Halo division, which sells health and sleep trackers, as it kicks off another round of layoffs. It will stop supporting Amazon Halo services from July 31, 2023, and will completely refund Halo device purchases made in the previous 12 months.
Meta launched a new video series that aims to address myths and misconceptions that creators may have about Facebook, and their potential opportunities in the app. At the same time Instagram launched a new prompt to help brands source relevant UGC in the app.
TikTok is currently working with a selected group of creators on a new program that connects brands to influencer content, by enabling participating creators to post videos based on a brand brief. The initiative provides a way for brands to get better, native TikTok content, as well as another monetization pathway for top influencers in the app.
Klarna is redesigning its app, adding a TikTok-esque discovery feed powered by AI, customized shops for social media content creators, and the ability to sell secondhand goods. Klarna said that its new design will help users find items they want by using advanced AI recommendation algorithms, while helping merchants target customers more effectively.
Squarespace's in-house creative team launched its new Australian brand campaign that tells the story of local legend Harry, who swapped his stool at the local pub for a thriving business on Squarespace. The video builds on the company's previous “Everything to Sell Anything” campaigns, aiming to inspire all the local legends to bring their ideas to life with Squarespace.
84 Amazon delivery drivers at a Southern California facility joined the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Teamsters and a third-party delivery contractor reached a tentative agreement that will provide immediate wage increases and substantial hourly raises, along with provisions that address concerns around health and safety standards.
Amazon Robin, a robot that uses AI, computer vision, and machine learning to help employees handle and sort customer packages before shipping, has handled 1B packages throughout warehouses in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Unlike other robotic arms, Robin doesn’t just perform a series of pre-set motions, it responds to its environment in real time, and it knows when it's made a mistake!
Data shows that massive taxpayer-financed subsidies for Amazon in the name of job creation have been ineffective, and the ROI for Amazon subsidies has been dismal. Between 2000 and 2022, Amazon has received more than $5B in subsidies as part of deals with communities to build fulfillment centers. The money would have been better spent on providing local jobs through community improvement projects.
Nigerians who have been blackmailed by loan apps are plotting revenge in Facebook groups to avoid repaying loans from lending platforms after being “debt-shamed” and harassed by the companies. One lender, Soko Loan, went as far as sending messages to everyone in a borrower's contact list, telling them he was wanted for refusing to pay back a $54.29 loan!
PSCU launched a solution that helps credit unions implement BNPL, including the ability for post-purchase credit card transactions to be converted into installment payments. The solution also helps credit unions promote their credit card as the card of choice for its members interested in BNPL.
Klaviyo and Square partnered up to deliver more personalized customer experiences, including the ability for businesses to automatically send messages based on channel engagement, profile, or event data and predictive analytics to reach the right customers at the right time. Last year Shopify made a $100M strategic investment in Klaviyo, making Klaviyo the recommended e-mail solution partner for Shopify Plus.
Reddit hired former Meta exec Jim Squires in a newly created role of EVP of business marketing and growth. With the appointment of Squires, Reddit will be uniting the product and marketing team, responsible for listening to marketer needs and working with engineers to create new ad products, and the business marketing team, which handles outbound efforts. Good luck finding ads that Reddit users like!
Customers are spotting fake reviews on Amazon that were written with ChatGPT or other generative AI tools. In most cases, the dead giveaway was that the reviews started with, “As an AI language model.”
Frasers Group, the parent company of Sports Direct, unveiled plans to grow its presence in Europe with the launch of its BNPL platform, Frasers Plus. CEO Michael Murray said that their sportswear and equpiment operation is the most scalable of the group's retail models, which “doesn't really exist in Europe.”
Twitter is loosening its limits on cannabis industry advertising, now allowing vetted state-legal businesses to show packaged products in their marketing campaigns while allowing ads in new U.S. markets. Certified cannabis advertisers can also continue responsibly linking to their owned and operated web page and e-commerce stores for cannabis-related products and services.
Splitit unveiled its new “super-fast” BNPL payment experience called SplititExpress, pledging an under two seconds checkout while supporting payments via Apple Pay and Google Pay, compared to one to two minutes on average for what they say “even the fastest legacy BNPL’s offer.” One to two minutes feels like a bit of an exaggeration, especially for established customers of a BNPL firm, but I've never used BNPL so maybe I'm wrong.
Meta rolled out new updates for its digital avatars, including an expanded range of body shapes, improved animations, new clothing options, and more. The company hopes these changes will help users feel more attuned to their digital avatars. Just what everyone always wanted — fat avatars! That's what was standing in the way of the Metaverse's success…
Amazon announced a price hike for its Prime customers in India, beginning this month. The monthly and 3-month plans have been increased by up to Rs 120 ($1.47) and Rs 140 ($1.71) respectively, with the monthly plan now costing Rs 299 ($3.66) and the 3-month plan priced at Rs 599 ($7.32).
10. Seed rounds, IPOs, & acquisitions
Lucas, a startup that uses AI to identify revenue and margin headroom, make recommendations for price adjustments and measure the outcomes, raised $2.5M in a round led by Menlo Ventures. The platform's pricing engine takes in retailers' historical sales and inventory data, as well as competitor signals to forecast the sales performance of products at different price points.
Power Commerce Asia, an Indonesia-based omnichannel and supply chain enabler, raised an undisclosed amount in its pre-Series B round led by undisclosed investors. The company will use the secret amount of funds to double down on its PowerBiz platform, an end-to-end omnichannel solution that enables businesses to manage multi-channel sales and logistics.
Omy, a Montreal-based AI beauty lab that combines cosmetic chemistry and AI to offer personalization of its line of vegan skincare products, raised $11M CAD in a Series A round led by Crédit Mutuel Equity. In collaboration with dermatologists, the company developed an AI-powered virtual skin consultant, which is able to conduct consultations with users to to analyze their skin type, textures, skin concerns, and fragrance preference to find the best ingredients for their skin care products.
Beyoung, a Udaipur-based e-commerce startup that offers affordable clothing and accessories, raised $4.89M in an undisclosed funding round from Klub, a revenue-based financier. The company will use the funds to expand its offline presence, marketing, scaling up its technology stack, and logistical development.
Half Helix, a NY-based full service digital marketing agency for e-commerce brands, acquired Able Sense, a Halifax-based e-commerce studio, rounding out its offering to include emerging companies. As a combined company, they plan to refine their existing delivery model, implement best practices, and grow their collective topline revenue.
Elastic Path, a headless commerce system that allows template-less e-commerce to be integrated as middleware into Enterprise ERP systems, acquired Unstack, a no-code visual editor for headless commerce websites. The acquisition provides merchants with a no-code frontend and the ability to launch a revenue-driving composable solution faster than before. (When headless companies merge with frontend builders, do they grow a head?)
Hokodo, a UK-based BNPL firm, raised an undisclosed amount from Citi as part of a Series B funding extension. (What's with all the undisclosed rounds? No reason to be embarrassed. We all know funding dried up!) The fresh funds will support the company's ambition to grow and enter new geographic regions.
European Payments Initiative (EPI), a collaboration of European banks, acquired iDeal, a Dutch payment service, Payconiq, a technology provider of iDeal, and Bancontact, a Belgian payment platform, at an undisclosed price. EPI plans to be the first to launch a peer-to-peer payment service in France and Germany by the end of the year.
Amazon is rumored to potentially be buying hundreds of grocery stores being divested by Kroger and Albertsons, as the two grocery chains attempt to merge. Didn't Kroger and Albertsons say that they need to merge so that they can compete with Amazon? How does divesting 500+ stores to them help with that goal?
Veo Robotics, a Massachusetts-based firm that builds software solutions designed to help humans and robots coexist in a working space, raised $29M in a Series B with participation from Safar Partners, Yamaha Motor Ventures, Google Ventures, Baidu Ventures, and Amazon. Co-founder and CTO Clara Vu said, “The newest generation of intelligent robotic systems work with people, not separately from them. Unlocking this potential requires a new generation of safety systems.”
M3ter, a London-based startup that is building tools to enable software companies to intelligently deploy usage-based pricing scenarios, raised $14M in a Series A round led by Notion Capital. The company will use the funds to double down on new markets like the U.S., and to build more technology for its users.
What'd I miss?
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Paul E. Drecksler
PS:I just got a job in marketing for a cereal company I’ll be Raisin Bran awareness.