The Internet’s #1 Rated E-commerce News Curation

#161 – Target Prime, Walmart TVs, & OpenAI Text-to-Video

by | Feb 19, 2024 | Recent Newsletters

I touched down in Ecuador last night after an unexpected 10 day visit to the U.S. and am heading back to Cuenca this evening. I arranged my flights yesterday and today so that I could still deliver you today's edition from a hotel room in Quito. Since launching Shopifreaks in January 2021, I've published 161 editions without ever missing a week! That's how much I love you.

Before we get started, I'd also like to give a big welcome to all our new subscribers and a thank you to those who shared my recent LinkedIn post to help this newsletter grow. I'm proud to say we're now sitting at 9,688 subscribers — well on our way to surpassing 10,000!

Success with this newsletter is not all about the number of subscribers, however, growing our readership helps attract new sponsors, which in turn funds our research and content production each week. So thank you for sharing Shopifreaks with your colleagues and helping us grow.

In this week's edition I cover:

  • Target's new Prime-style membership
  • Amazon calling the National Labor Relations Board “unconstitutional”
  • The real reason Walmart wants to buy Vizio's TV business
  • Europe's Digital Services Act going into full effect
  • OpenAI's new text-to-video model overshadowing Google's big AI news
  • X faking Super Bowl ad traffic
  • Mexico fighting back against Amazon and Mercado Libre's market dominance
  • The top 20 fastest growing public e-commerce companies
  • New York City's new maritime shipping hubs
  • Temu's dwindling sales

All this and more in this week's 161st Edition of Shopifreaks. Thanks for subscribing and sharing!

Stat of the Week

65% of executives across North America and Europe believe that B2B e-commerce is broken at their organizations. A study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Zoovu found that B2B buyers now expect B2B experiences to align with the consumer experiences of their personal lives — quick, convenient, and personalized.

1. Target to create a Prime-style premium membership

20% of U.S. adults surveyed said they would drop their Amazon Prime membership if another brand offered equivalent benefits. Well, their wish may come true if Target can deliver with its new premium membership offering.

Internally dubbed “Project Trident” (like the gum), the new membership program, which will be positioned to compete against Amazon Prime and Walmart+, could launch as soon as this year, according to insiders.

Target already has a few membership / loyalty programs:

  • Target Circle – a free loyalty program that gives customers deals and 1% rewards on all purchases + 5% off a single purchase on their birthday.
  • Target RED Card – a Target branded credit card with no annual fees that offers 5% off purchases, an extra 30 day window on returns and exchanges, 2% on dining and gas purchases, and 1% everywhere else.
  • Shipt – Target's $99 unlimited same-day delivery program that fulfills orders from a customer's local Target store, available in major metro areas throughout the U.S.

Although Target has offered these programs for several years, their mistake has been not packaging them into one unified membership offering with a memorable name. That's what Project Trident aims to fix (although please change the name before it launches Target). The new premium membership will combine the perks above, plus potentially more.

One of my 2023 E-commerce Predictions was: 

“Target will launch a Prime competitor. If Target is looking to get serious about e-commerce (which they are), it's time they launch a competing premium membership plan to Amazon Prime and Walmart Plus, or expand their Target Circle program with a paid tier. It would also behoove them to partner with a streaming service like Netflix and/or a gaming platform, mobile service, and other complementary services to offer a bundled subscription that rivals Prime in value.”

Turns out I was a year early for that prediction, but it may be coming to fruition nonetheless.

Here would be the biggest challenges with Trident: 

  • Unlike Amazon and Walmart, customers don't typically go to Target for the best prices. Usually shopping at Target is about convenience and a pleasant shopping experience over walking into Walmart. However that convenience is negligible online. Unless Target can compete on price with Amazon and Walmart, would customers subscribe to a premium membership and shop at Target over the other two?
  • Unlike Kroger's Boost paid membership program, which offers free same-day or next-day grocery delivery, fuel points on gas, and additional savings on Kroger brands, customers don't typically go to Target for ALL of their grocery shopping needs. It's always been a great place to get staple foods like milk, cereal, and cookies while you're there, but Target's grocery section in even its biggest stores can't replace a Kroger or Walmart as your primary grocery store. So would customers buy enough groceries to warrant another premium membership?
  • Amazon Prime includes Prime Video and Walmart+ includes access to Paramount+ and PlutoTV. What streaming service could Target include — perhaps Netflix or Disney+? Either could be a fit, as Target would be a great retail partner to sell either service's TV and movie merch (which it already does).

If Target wants to compete against Amazon, Walmart, and Kroger with a premium membership program, it's going to have to lean hard into bundles more than any other competing subscription. For example, with a streaming video service, a wireless carrier, pharmaceuticals, electronic device insurance, a food delivery service, and more. It's the only way I see consumers biting off yet another membership.

Project Trident needs to come out the gate swinging when it comes to value, as Target is too late in the subscription game to ease in slowly at this point.

What are your thoughts on a Target premium membership? Would you subscribe? Hit reply and let me know. 

In other Target news this week, the company launched a new low priced private brand called Dealworthy, which includes 400 everyday basics like paper towels, paper plates, body wash, charging cables, and cotton balls. Some products start at less than $1 and most are less than $10, prices which the company hopes will appeal to its current budget-conscious customers and attract new ones to Target.

Who the heck is naming things at Target? Project Trident? Dealworthy? Yikes, guys.

2. Amazon argues that the National Labor Relations Board is unconstitutional

Amazon has become the latest company to argue that the structure of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) violates the U.S. Constitution, following in the footsteps of SpaceX and Trader Joe's.

Amazon claimed in a recent filing that the labor board's case, which accuses the company of illegally retaliating against unionizing workers, should be dismissed because the board itself is unconstitutional.

Okay, Amazon, you've caught my attention. Please let us know how the 88 year old NLRB is unconstitutional…

Amazon says that the NLRB's structure “violates the separation of powers” because administrative law judges and board members are largely insulated from presidential oversight and removal, which impedes the executive power provided in Article II of the Constitution.

Amazon attorneys also argues that NLRB proceedings deny the company a trial by a jury and violate its due-process rights under the Fifth Amendment.

SpaceX and Trader Joe’s made similar arguments about the NLRB last month after being hit with labor law violations. SpaceX said the NLRB was “unlawful” after it accused the company of improperly firing eight employees who wrote an open letter about workplace concerns, and Trader Joe's argued that the agency's structure and administrative law judges were unconstitutional at a hearing in mid-January.

Seth Goldstein, an attorney who represents the Amazon Labor Union and Trader Joe’s United, said the trend was “very frightening.” He said, “Since they can’t defeat successful union organizing, they now want to just destroy the whole process.”

🔥 Partner News

eStreamly announced its expansion into international markets, now empowering businesses around the world to sell live and create shoppable videos to connect with customers. Co-founder & CEO Nicolas Bailliache said, “We've seen skyrocketing demand from retailers looking to strengthen engagement and drive sales through immersive digital experiences. By taking our solution global, we can now help brands worldwide harness the power of livestreaming and video shopping to delight customers no matter where they are.”

3. Walmart might buy Vizio's TV business

Walmart is in talks to buy Vizio's TV business for $2B, but it's not really about the TVs themselves. It's more about what happens on the TVs.

The deal would give Walmart access to the customer data collected by Vizio's smart TV platform, as well as to the revenue stream created by serving up personalized ads and taking a cut of subscription fees.

This would help Walmart compete against Roku, which last year launched its own line of smart TVs, and Amazon, which is steadily building out its lineup of Fire TVs while expanding ads on the TV's operating system.

You can compare the TV wars to the mobile wars that Apple and Google won. Selling the phones themselves hasn't ever been that profitable, but the customer data and revenue from the app marketplaces was worth the squeeze.

So while Walmart probably doesn't care too much about the slim profit margins from selling the actual Vizio TVs, they desperately want to win more of customers' attention in the home. And owning the operating system and ad platform on your smart TV is a great way to do it, especially given that U.S. adults spend on average 3+ hours a day watching TV.

Additionally, Walmart could leverage its ownership of Vizio to sell ads shown on TVs in stores. And let's not even get started on the possibilities of shoppable TV ads — an area that both Roku and Amazon are actively pursuing.

Walmart and Sam's Club have historically been Vizio's largest retailer, and conversely, Vizio has been the largest television brand sold at Walmart, so the deal makes sense. They practically already are Walmart's in-house TV brand. (Except Walmart actually does have a private-label electronics brand called Onn, which funny enough, runs its TVs on operating systems on Roku and Google TV.)

The discussions between Walmart and Vizio are ongoing, and a deal may not happen, especially in today's Lina Khan anti-acquisition era. However Vizio's share price rose 25% on the news either way.

4. Europe's Digital Services Act goes into full effect

The EU's new rules under the Digital Services Act went into full effect on Saturday for companies of all sizes, setting new legal obligations on thousands of platforms and digital businesses in the region. EU Member States must have empowered their Digital Services Coordinator by then, with the DSA now fully applicable for all entities within its scope (not just for large companies, in which the rules went into effect in August 2023).

Here's a quick recap of what's happening with the DSA: 

  • The DSA is a massive endeavour by the EU to set an online governance framework for platforms and use transparency obligations as a tool to squeeze illegal content and products off the Internet.
  • The laws were originally published in Oct 2022, so companies have had well over a year to get their compliance plan in order.
  • Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Search Engines (VLOSEs), defined as company's with more than 45M active monthly users, will be hit with the bulk of the compliance rules.
  • Micro or small enterprises employing fewer than 50 staff with an annual turnover below €10M are exempt from most of the provisions.
  • Lawmakers are maintaining a “country of origin” principle, which means that DSA oversight on tech giants will come from authorities located in EU countries where the platforms are established.
  • Platforms, marketplaces, and other digital services that fail to comply with the DSA risk penalties of up to 6% of global annual turnover for confirmed breaches.

New rules include things like: 

  • Platforms must provide content reporting tools for users and give people the ability to challenge content moderations decisions, produce transparency reports, and apply business traceability requirements (aka: know your customer rules).
  • Platforms must provide a “statement of reasons” to users every time they make a content moderation decision that affects them, which the EU is collecting in a database. It's already amassed more than 4B statements to date.
  • Platforms must provide information about ads they run and any algorithmic recommender systems they operate.
  • Marketplaces can't circumvent local state rules against buying certain products online (like weapons) if a country has laws in place that prohibit them.
  • Platforms must ensure a high level of privacy, safety, and security for kids and are not permitted to use their data for targeted ads.

Best of luck to all EU companies navigating these new rules. I imagine that there will definitely be a learning curve for both tech companies and Digital Service Coordinators tasked with enforcing the rules, but the end result should be a safer and more transparent Internet for users in the EU.

5. OpenAI couldn't let Google have its 15 minutes of AI fame

Google Bard officially rebranded to Google Gemini and launched a premium / paid version called Gemini Advanced as well as a mobile app. Gemini Advanced is now available as part of the company's new Google One AI Premium Plan for $19.99/mo and claims to be more capable at highly complex tasks like coding, logical reasoning, following nuanced instructions and collaborating on creative projects.

Google also internally launched a large language model named Goose to assist employees with writing code, which they describe as a “descendant of Gemini” that is “trained on the sum total of 25 years of engineering expertise at Google.” Goose can answer questions around Google-specific technologies, write code using internal tech stacks, and support capabilities such as editing code based on natural language prompts.

5 minutes later, not to be outdone by Google, OpenAI unveiled its new text-to-video generation tool called Sora, which it is currently testing in private beta. It's almost as if they had Sora in their back pocket, waiting to pull it out and divert attention away from a Google AI announcement at a moment's notice.

Sora is an AI model that can create realistic video scenes from text instructions. Watch this video of it in action. The video output is super impressive, but I'm curious if the model will allow you to take the same characters and put them into different scenes, or if its abilities aren't as thematic. Either way, Sora can create videos up to 60 seconds long, which means TikTok is about to get really interesting!

OpenAI has not indicated a timeline for when it will be available to the public, but noted that it will be “taking several important safety steps ahead of making Sora available in OpenAI's products” such as combating misinformation, hateful content, and bias within the model.

6. Did X fake its Super Bowl ad traffic?

Last week Super Bowl 2024 shattered records becoming the most-watched television event in U.S. history.

X published its own press release, claiming that the Super Bowl was also one of the biggest events ever on its social media platform, with more than 10B impressions and over 1B video views. But were the numbers it claimed true?

According to data provided by CHEQ, a cybersecurity firm that tracks bots and fake users, a whopping 75.85% of traffic from X to its advertisers' websites during the weekend of the Super Bowl was fake!

CHEQ founder and CEO Guy Tytunovich told Mashable, “I've never seen anything even remotely close to 50%, not to mention 76%. I'm amazed… I've never, ever, ever, ever seen anything even remotely close.”

CHEQ's data is based on 144k visits to its 15k clients' sites that came from X during Super Bowl weekend, from Friday until the end of Super Bowl Sunday.

CHEQ monitors bots and fake users across the Internet to minimize online ad fraud for its clients, which it accomplishes by tracking how visitors from various sources interact with a client's page after they click one of their links. The company said it can also tell when a bot is passing itself off as a real user, such as when a fraudulent user is faking what type of operating system they are using to view a website.

CHEQ also provided data to Mashable pertaining to Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, but no other platform came close to X's nearly 76% fake traffic.

  • Only 2.56% of TikTok's 40M visitors were determined to be fake.
  • 2.01% of Facebook's 8.1M visitors were classified as inauthentic.
  • Instagram only had 0.73% of its 68,700 visits labeled as fake.

These numbers aligned with data CHEQ provided from the entire month of January to compare with Super Bowl weekend numbers.

7. Amazon and Mercado Libre threaten e-commerce competition in Mexico

Mexico's antitrust regulator, Cofece, recommended that the government order Amazon and Mercado Libre to take “corrective measures” to ensure competition in the e-commerce market after determining that the two marketplaces account for 85% of e-commerce sales within the country.

These measures would include giving services providers greater transparency and separating streaming services from marketplace membership within the next six months.

In a preliminary report, Cofece said:

  • The dominance of these networks limit new entrants to the market and pose a “practically insurmountable challenge for the expansion of the smaller players.”
  • Smaller retailers face high investments for the technological tools, operating inventories and advertising needed to compete with these giants.
  • Smaller participants “exert insufficient competitive pressure on Amazon and Mercado Libre” because they lack the number of buyers and sellers needed to compete.

Amazon entered Mexico in 2013 and launched its marketplace there two years later. It did not respond to Reuter's request for a comment.

Mercado Libre entered Mexico in 1999 and has been expanding its financial service offerings ever since. Mercado Libre said it was analyzing Cofece's preliminary report and pledged its cooperation.

8. Top 20 Fastest Growing Public E-commerce Companies

Every year, Insider Monkey ranks the top 20 fastest growing publicly traded e-commerce companies with at least $100M in annual revenue.

Before scrolling any further, how many can you guess? I only guessed 5 right. Pitiful! 😂

Without further ado, here's a recap of the list…

  1. PDD Holdings – the parent company of Temu and Pinduoduo.
  2. D-Market Elektronik Hizmetler ve Ticaret – (aka: the first and only European e-commerce company to make the list, this Turkish marketplace saw a 52% annual growth.
  3. LightInTheBox – a Singaporean e-commerce marketplace that only has a market cap of $112M but grew revenue 27.5% last year.
  4. Global-e Online – an Israeli e-commerce platform that helps companies overcome the legal obstacles involved with selling internationally (partially owned by Shopify).
  5. MercadoLibre – one of the largest e-commerce companies in Latin America with an $88B market cap.
  6. Maplebear Inc. – (aka: Instacart) boasts a $27B market cap, though some debate whether it's truly worth that much.
  7. Coupang – one of the biggest and fastest growing e-commerce marketplaces in South Korea.
  8. Liquidity Services, Inc. – an American e-commerce firm that enables businesses to sell their surplus products or assets booked for salvage.
  9. Amazon – ever heard of it? Despite its already dominant market share, Amazon still grew revenue 11.89% last year.
  10. Dada Nexus Limited – a subsidiary of which took heat last month for disclosing that it may have overstated revenue by $140M, which triggered a 46% drop in its share price.
  11. Chewy – the U.S. pet e-commerce retailer that grew revenue by 10% last year, but still saw shares drop 64%.
  12. ThredUp Inc – a U.S. online consignment and thrift store that sells second hand apparel saw a 7.99% increase in revenue last year.
  13. Alibaba – despite stiff competition last year, Alibaba still saw growth of 6.67% due to its cloud business and other sectors.
  14. Sea Limited – one of the biggest Singaporean retailers in the country grew revenue 4.03% last year.
  15. Etsy – I didn't expect to see them on the list, but Etsy's apparently still going strong with revenue, probably from all those seller fee increases.
  16. eBay – another shocker of a U.S. firm to show growth last year, albeit only 3.09%.
  17. ZKH Group Limited – a Chinese retailer that sells office equipment, spare parts, and a range of other products that just recently went public.
  18. – an automotive equipment retailer based in the U.S. that grew 1.82% last year but garnered attention from activist investors.
  19. Solo Brands, Inc. – a Texas based brand that sells a variety of products from stoves to clothing.
  20. Baozun Inc. – a Chinese e-commerce platform that allows companies to open digital storefronts.

Now how about fastest growing e-commerce newsletter? Shopifreaks grew by 900% last year! I began 2023 with just under 1,000 subscribers and today we sit at 9,688 subscribers. Thanks for sharing Shopifreaks with your colleagues and helping us grow.

9. Other e-commerce news of interest

New York City is hoping to ease e-commerce freight congestion within the city by shifting the freight transported by more than 6,200 short-haul trucks to barges that will dock at six new maritime shipping hubs on the city's waterfront. The plan, dubbed Blue Highways, aims to design barge landings and access points where e-bikes and small delivery vehicles can pick up packages for last-mile delivery, which it estimates will eliminate 92M miles of truck travel every year.

Temu sales fell 12.5% MoM in December and 4.8% in January, a sharp drop from the app's growth of more than 50% in mid-2023, according to Bloomberg Second Measure data, while overall U.S. retail sales rose in December. A late-January from Morgan Stanley found that nearly a third of Temu users plan to shop less on the platform over the next three months, ranking only above eBay and Etsy which had weaker outlooks.

China’s consumer prices fell at their fastest pace in 15 years in January, falling 0.8% compared with a year earlier, signaling deeper deflation and weakening consumer demand. China's economy first entered deflation last summer, with prices falling at a faster pace since then.

Factory owners in China are claiming that listing their goods on Alibaba no longer guarantees sales like the old days, and they are now listing their products on rival marketplaces like Pinduoduo,, and Douyin. This new trend is a far cry from the early years when Alibaba's sites were the only option for merchants, leading to factory-lined streets to be named after the company and its founder — like Ali Road and Jack Ma Boulevard.

Waterbucket, a startup that specializes in dynamic creative optimization for e-commerce merchants, was granted a patent for its approach to dynamically adding “As low as” pricing in visual merchandising ads. The technology dynamically inserts BNPL prices into product images and videos to improve click-thrus by enticing consumers with the lower monthly installment price.

Heather Hurst-McKee, an e-commerce entrepreneur from El Cajon, California, was sued by several former clients who claim to have lost tens of thousands of dollars after purchasing e-commerce stores from her via Biz Buy Sell. Buyers said that Hurst-McKee included Zoom training sessions in the contract to teach the buyers how to run the stores, but then either ghosted them or offered 10-20 minute worthless sessions. The buyers claimed that the purchased stores also made them no money.

YouTuber Matty Benedetto, who publishes the Unnecessary Inventions channel, went viral for creating a 50-foot rug inspired by a long CVS receipt. First he re-created a high-resolution digital version of his most recent CVS receipt, and then found a rug manufacturer in China that could reproduce it. The rug arrived about 3 weeks later and now sits in his studio.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that it's rare for consumers to use BNPL just once and that about 72% of financially stable users and 89% of financially fragile users (those with credit scores below 620) have made multiple BNPL purchases over the past 12 months. The study found that about 60% of financially fragile consumers use the installment options as many as five times per year.

Consumers shopping online after midnight are often making riskier transactions and are more likely to default on their loans, according to Affirm CFO Michael Linford, who said that credit delinquencies spike right around 2am. It's like Ted Mosby's mom used to always say, “Nothing good ever happens after 2am.” Last week Affirm reported that 30-day delinquencies on monthly loans held steady from a year earlier at 2.4%, even as total purchase volumes surged 32% during that time.

AMC notified subscribers of a proposed $8.3M settlement that provides awards to an estimated 6M subscribers of its streaming services in response to allegations that the company illegally shared subscribers' viewing history with Google, Facebook, and X. Sharing that data is in violation of the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits video service providers from sharing “information which identifies a person as having requested or obtained specific video materials or services from a video tape service provider,” originally passed to protect consumers' viewing habits when renting at Blockbuster and other video rental stores. “Uh oh” said every other streaming platform.

Nvidia passed Amazon and Alphabet to become the third most valuable company in the U.S., after seeing its share price grow 221% over the past year due to the surge in demand for its GPUs. The company's market cap is now $1.81T compared to Alphabet's $1.78T and Amazon's $1.76T, trailing just Apple and Microsoft in market cap.

Jitterbit, a cloud-based integration platform that helps e-commerce and SaaS companies automate through pre-built no-code workflows, named Bill Conner as its new President, CEO, and board member, effective immediately. Conner has previously led multiple cybersecurity, SaaS, data networks, and other tech companies including Entrust and SonicWall.

Last week I reported that Shopify was upping the price of its Shopify Plus subscription from $2,000/month to $2,500/month for merchants on a one-year term, and now some are saying that the price hike could have negative effects on app developers and startups building in its ecosystem. If merchants decide to stick with Shopify after the price hike, it means they will likely look to trim costs elsewhere in their stack stack, which could mean churn in the Shopify app ecosystem.

eBay publicly announced that its Monthly Community Chat for sellers has been discontinued as the company moves to occasional, not live chats centered around specific updates or events. Moving forward, eBay will host threads in the Buying & Selling forums, and users will have one week to submit their questions. (Remember eBay, the tighter you grip seller conversation, the more you'll lose control of it.)

In other eBay news, the company told a federal judge last week that it does not sell the items on its platform and therefore the court should dismiss the lawsuit filed against it by the EPA in September over the alleged sale of unlawful pesticides and high-emission car parts. The government argued that eBay is the seller of illegal goods that violate the Clean Air Act and other laws, however, eBay points to Section 230 to say that it shouldn't be responsible for listings published by third parties on its platform.

Online revenue fell 7% YoY in January against a decline of 3.5% last year, according to the IMRG Online Retail Index. Since the high growth rates seen during the pandemic, e-commerce revenue declined 10% YoY in 2022 and 3% YoY in 2023, with IMRG forecasting 0% YoY growth in 2024.

Misfits Market started offering e-commerce fulfillment services to companies that sell perishable products directly to consumers. The online grocer is leveraging its five temperature-controlled warehouses and in-house delivery network to provide the new service, known as Fulfilled by Misfits.

Some layoffs to report this week… Nike is laying off more than 1,600 employees, or about 2% of its workforce, following its December announcement of a cost-savings plan. Instacart is laying off 250 workers as part of a restructuring program it says will help “flatten the organization” to focus on core initiatives. Cisco is laying off 4,250 employees globally, which represents about 5% of its workforce. And Mozilla is laying off around 60 employees as it scales back its investment in products like its VPN, Relay, and Online Footprint Scrubber.

40% of Gen Z consumers surveyed said they are tired of hearing about Amazon and are actively trying to shop less on the marketplace, with 60% believing Amazon is too powerful. One-fifth of adults said they would drop their Amazon Prime membership if another brand offered equivalent benefits.

Speaking of Amazon, the company said that it surpassed $8B in cumulative exports from India last year, up from $5B in 2022, and is set to achieve its ambitious target of $20B in exports by 2025. The news comes shortly after Walmart said that it surpassed $30B in sourcing from India in over two decades and is now targeting $10B annually by 2027.

Wix is launching Wix Capital Accelerator Program, designed to recruit Israel-based pre-seed and seed-stage companies that are creating disruptive business platforms, tools, and management solutions for SMBs. “Hello, uh, we're building a Shopify app…”

10. Seed rounds, IPOs, & acquisitions

Qoo10, a Southeast Asian e-commerce platform, acquired Wish from the shopping platform's parent company ContextLogic for $173M. Wish has been struggling for years, most recently reporting a 52% YoY decrease in revenue on top of a 66% drop a year earlier.

smartBeemo, a Miami-based startup that's developing learning tools to empower Hispanic-American and Latin Americans to build e-commerce businesses, raised $6M in a pre-Series A round led by Redwood Ventures, New Ventures, and Simma Capital. The platform will use the funds to further develop its platform, expand throughout Latin America, and open an office in China.

Go Autonomous, a Danish B2B e-commerce platform that turns unstructured transactional data into actionable information, raised $10.3M in a Series A round led by Octopus Ventures and Ridge Ventures. The company will use the funds to accelerate its product adoption in Europe and the UK and begin laying the groundwork for expansion into the U.S.

Credit Agricole Consumer Finance, a French bank with historical ties to farming, acquired Pledg, a BNPL firm that serves financial institutions wishing to launch their own SaaS payment facilities solutions. Pledg currently has over 200 partners and generated around €220M during 2023, and the acquisition will help Credit Agricole consolidate their split payment activities.

Jeff Bezos sold another $2B worth of Amazon stock last week, bringing his total amount sold to around $6B this month and shrinking his stake in the company by about 2%. In a prior filing, Bezos proposed the sale of 50M Amazon shares, worth around $8.4M, which means he's probably not done unloading shares this month.

Meta issued an apology to advertisers following an Ads Delivery outage that resulted in campaigns overspending by thousands and promised to refund the affected advertisers within 4-8 weeks. Meta confirmed that services are now restored and expressed regret for any inconvenience caused to advertisers — but not enough regret to issue refunds any faster.

Bob W (which stands for “Best of Both Worlds”), a Finland-based marketplace for premium short-term apartment rentals in Europe, raised €40M in a Series B round led by Evli Growth Partners. Unlike Airbnb, which allows anyone to list a spare room, Bob W pitches itself as a “full-stock hospitality operator and brand,” which means that it manages and operates the apartments itself through leasing and management agreements, and it takes care of the whole experience.

Metalbook, an India-based B2B e-commerce platform focused on the global metal supply chain, raised $15M in a Series A round led by Rigel Capital. The company claimed to be profitable and cater to over 1,000 subscribers across 450 markets. Wow that's like more than 2 subscribers per market.

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Paul E. Drecksler
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PS: Why was the math book so sad? It had too many problems.