Posts in category Commerce

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Meet the Oasis: Amazon’s $290 Kindle feels more like a book in your hand, ships April 27

Let’s talk about Amazon’s most expensive Kindle yet. The company’s latest reading device, the Oasis is launching in just over two weeks and will cost you $290. That’s about all the news left to reveal, after a series of leaks spoiled Amazon’s surprise (or built up hype, depending on how you look at it). The shape The Oasis’ high price […]

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VCs raised billions in Q1 even as they made fewest investments in 3 years

ANALYSIS: At first blush, a review of venture capital dealmaking during the first quarter of 2016 suggests an industry gone mad. VC firms raised the highest amount of capital raised in more than decade, even as they made the lowest number of investments in three years. What gives? The Q1 2016 Venture Pulse Report issued today by CB Insights […]

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Max Levchin’s Affirm raises $100 million to expand beyond point-of-sale financing

Affirm has raised $100 million in equity funding that the financial technology company will use to develop what it calls “direct-to-consumer” products. The round was led by Founders Fund and includes participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Spark Capital, Khosla Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Jefferies, and others. The company declined to provide its valuation. It’s worth noting […]

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Gartner: Global PC shipments fell 9.6% in Q1 2016, the first quarter below 65 million units since 2007

No surprise here: The PC market started 2016 off poorly. Both Gartner and IDC have noted PC shipments were down globally, again. Gartner estimates worldwide PC shipments fell 9.6 percent to 64.8 million units in Q1 2016. In fact, the firm notes that this is the first quarter to see below 65 million units since […]

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3 key ways to improve your subscriber value (webinar)

VB WEBINAR: Guaranteed residual revenue through subscription models is hugely attractive and highly scalable — but missteps could lead to costly attrition and churn. Join Netflix Head of Payments Luis Vargas to learn how payment models factor into success and how to turn subscribers into the profitable customers you hanker for. Register here for free. Back in the day, a subscription […]

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Twiggle raises $12.5 million to challenge Amazon’s A9 ecommerce search engine

Twiggle isn’t a name you’ll be familiar with, but the Israeli stealth startup has today announced a $12.5 million funding round that should go some way toward putting it on the map. The company was founded in 2013 by a team including Dr. Amir Konigsberg, who previously worked at Google and was formerly managing director at, […]

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Pinterest launches Promoted Pins internationally, starting with the U.K.

Visual bookmarking tool Pinterest is ramping up its ad business this week with the news that it’s finally expanding its Promoted Pins product internationally. First announced back in early 2014, Promoted Pins does exactly what its name suggests by letting businesses pay to have their Pins (products) placed front-and-center in people’s feed — it can […]

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How mobile commerce is changing customer service

GUEST: It’s no secret that mobile is rapidly becoming the end-all-be-all in consumption. In fact, in 2015, nearly half of Google search traffic came from mobile devices. On average, Americans spend about five hours a day on their phones! Forrester calls this the “Mobile Mind Shift” — the expectation that you can get what you want, immediately, […]

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TurboTax is tweaking its mobile app right up until tax day

VB EVENT: Intuit made headlines last month when VentureBeat reported that one million people were using TurboTax on their mobile phones. And now with the U.S. tax filing deadline less than two weeks away, the company is working to simplify the process even further. Speaking today at VentureBeat’s Mobile Summit, Nat Rajesh Natarajan, senior VP for product and engineering at Intuit, the […]

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Machine Zone launches cloud platform to process millions of real-time interactions

EXCLUSIVE: Machine Zone, one of the top-ranked mobile game companies, said it is launching a platform today that lets other companies license its cloud technology to enable many millions of people to communicate and interact in real time. The company, which makes the hugely popular multiplayer Game of War, said it is also renaming itself MZ. MZ consistently […]

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The rise of the blockchain asset class

GUEST: Bitcoin first cracked a $1 billion market cap on March 30, 2013. And by the following month, it had reached $1.504 billion. Meanwhile, the market for additional blockchain assets outside of bitcoin (“non-bitcoin blockchain assets”) was vastly smaller, totaling in at just $92 million on April 28, 2013. Less than three years later —  on […]

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Elon Musk: Tesla Model 3 preorders equalled $7.5 billion worth of sales on day 1

Anticipation for Tesla’s new “affordable” electric car reached fever pitch in the build up to the big unveil yesterday, with 115,000 people having paid $1,000 to get on the list to buy a Model 3 shortly after it was unveiled yesterday. After a full day taking orders, Elon Musk has now revealed that orders totalled […]

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OpenTable challenger Reserve acquires restaurant payment app Dash

Reserve has announced its latest acquisition — Dash — which brings with it the technology for direct integration with Point-of-Sale (POS) systems. This marks the fifth acquisition by the OpenTable rival. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. This news comes on the heels of Reserve’s announcement that it has received a strategic investment from Diageo, the beverage company […]

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Home24 raises $22.7 million for its online furniture retail service

Berlin-based, Rocket Internet-backed online furniture retailer Home24 has raised €20 million (about $22.7 million) and reinforced its management team to get to profitability and to try and take on IKEA in Europe (via Reuters). The fresh capital comes from both existing and new investors, the company said in a statement. Christoph Cordes and Marc Appelhoff, respectively […]

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Material Wrld raises $9 million to sell used luxury items online

New York-based Material Wrld provides a high-end marketplace for used clothes. Launched in 2012, the company provides marketplace for luxury fashion items aimed at women looking to update what’s inside their closets according to events and seasonal changes. The company announced on Wednesday that it has secured $9 million from Start Today and Nissay Capital in a series B round. Start […]

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Luminaries to debate distribution trends at Mobile Summit

VB EVENT: At our Mobile Summit event next week, we’ve invited a terrific group of executives to the scenic resort of Cavallo Point in Sausalito. They represent a who’s who of the mobile giants, including Google, Uber, Amazon, Pinterest, Machine Zone, GrubHub, Pandora, Tinder, Yahoo, Adobe, Runtastic, AOL, Zynga, Pocket Gems, LinkedIn, Yelp, and many more. We’re trying something […]

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Machine Zone’s Gabe Leydon freaked out East Coast media, now will speak at SF Mobile Summit

VB EVENT: Within two years, a relatively unknown company called Machine Zone has exploded to become one of the largest mobile gaming companies in the world, all on the back of a single successful mobile game, Game of War. The company’s CEO, Gabe Leydon, has since become one of the sharpest critics of the multi-billion dollar ad industry. […]

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Braintree follows Square with a tool that integrates payment processing in apps

Braintree has introduced a way for merchants to incorporate the payment processing service directly into their sites, apps, and products. Called Braintree Auth, it manages payments on ecommerce stores and can access transaction data for analysis or accounting purposes. It’s currently available by invite only in the U.S. This release comes less than 24 hours […]

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Inside sales companies have raised only $150 million this year and may soon face consolidation

With seven transactions totaling $150 million, including the $90 million financing for new unicorn Anaplan, the first two months of 2016 have been quiet on the funding front for inside sales. The future will tell us if it is a reflection of the overall technology slowdown, or if we have reached an investment peak that precedes industry consolidation. […]

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Google now shows swipeable image ads when you search for cars

Google has released what it calls “Model Automotive Ads,” a new ad format that brings up slick swipeable images of cars when consumers search on Google for particular models. The auto industry is just the latest to be aggressively targeted by Google, as the company faces heightened competition from Facebook in attracting advertisers. Just three […]

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KLM now uses Facebook Messenger for boarding passes, flight info, and customer service

Facebook and KLM airlines have formally announced a partnership that will allow KLM customers to receive flight confirmations, boarding cards, reminders, flight status updates, and ask questions directly through the Facebook Messenger app. At its F8 developer conference last year, the social networking giant first unveiled plans to expand Messenger beyond a simple messaging app […]

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Square’s new platform lets sellers build customized apps on top of its payment service

Square has started to think beyond what it can do in the commerce space. During the company’s Q4 2015 earnings call, CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged that his company wouldn’t be able to build everything, “so we opened up a bunch of APIs, and in that marketplace, for third-parties to actually build functionality and services that […]

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Invoca lands $30M to help marketers make sense of 73 billion phone calls

Despite a slight decline over the last four years, research by Deloitte tells us that 75 percent of smartphone users still make phone calls, and BIA/Kelsey estimates that mobile search will generate 73 billion calls to businesses in 2018, up from 30 billion in 2013. So with a solution to help marketers understand why customers […]

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Google Domains moves to a ‘.Google’ domain

The mighty Google has made an ever-so-subtle change to its domain-name buying service Google Domains — it’s now hosted on its very own “.Google” top-level domain (TLD). Anyone visiting “” or “” from now on will be redirected to “” The Internet has been opened to countless more TLDs beyond the likes of .com, .net, […]

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Facebook Messenger is reportedly taking on Apple Pay and Samsung Pay

Facebook may be looking to get into the digital wallet game, according to source code uncovered by The Information. Some of the commands discovered in the latest version of Facebook’s Messanger app include “pay in person”, “pay directly in Messenger when you pick up the item” and “no cash needed”. The company declined to comment, […]

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Learn how to monetize your app with ads, commerce, and subscriptions at Mobile Summit

VB EVENT: Mobile commerce is exploding, with researchers at Gartner and Forrester predicting the market to reach $1 trillion in the U.S. alone within the next decade, from around $100 billion today. Seeing that opportunity, companies with mobile apps are trying to ride that wave early and stake out their share of the growing pie. For some companies, the goal is to […]

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