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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

The Developers Keeping Hong Kong’s Spirit Alive Through Games

After coming under attack, some of the city’s pro-democracy protesters have taken the fight for freedom from the street to video games.
Source: Wired

Side raises $150M at $1B valuation to help real estate agents go it alone

Side, a real estate technology company that works to turn agents and independent brokerages into boutique brands and businesses, announced Monday that it has raised $150 million in Series D funding.

Coatue Management led the round, which brings San Francisco-based Side’s valuation to $1 billion and total funding raised to over $200 million since its 2017 inception. Existing backers Matrix Partners, Trinity Ventures and Sapphire Ventures also participated in the new financing.

The round is notable in that the amount raised is significantly higher than the $35 million Side raised in a Series C round in November 2019. Valuation too increased nearly 7x compared to the $150 million valuation at the time of its Series C. Sapphire Ventures led that investment and managing director Paul Levine, who was previously president and COO of Trulia (through its IPO and multibillion-dollar acquisition by Zillow), joined the company’s board of directors at that time.

The startup pulled in between $30 million and $50 million in revenue in 2020, and expects to double revenue this year. In 2019, Side represented over $5 billion in annual home sales across all of its partners. Today, the company’s community of agent partners represents over $15 billion in annual production volume.

Side was founded by Guy Gal, Edward Wu and Hilary Saunders on the premise that most real estate agents are “underserved and underappreciated” by traditional brokerage models.

CEO Gal said existing brokerages are designed to support “average” agents and as such, the top-producing agents end up having to do “all of the heavy lifting.”

Side’s white label model works with agents and teams by exclusively marketing their boutique brand, while also providing the required technology and support needed on the back end. The goal is to help partner agents “predictably grow” their businesses and improve their productivity.

“The way to think about Side is the way you think about what Shopify does for e-commerce…When partnering with Side, top-producing agents, teams and independent brokerages, for the first time in history, gain full ownership of their own brand and business without having to operate a brokerage,” Gal said. “When you spend years solving the problems of this very specific community of agents, you are able to use software to drive enormous efficiency for them in a way that has never been done before.”

Existing brokerages, he argues, actively discourage agents from becoming top producers and teams, because agents who serve fewer clients can be forced into paying much higher commission fees on every transaction, which means the incentives between brokerages and top agents and teams are misaligned.

“Top producers want to grow and differentiate, and brokerages want them to do less business at higher fees and be one more of the same under the same brand,” Gal said. “Side, rather than discouraging and competing with top producing agents and teams, enables them to grow and scale their own business and brand.”

Today, Side supports more than 1,500 partner agents across California, Texas and Florida.

The startup plans to spend its new capital on “significant hiring” and toward an expansion outside of California, Texas and Florida — the three markets in which it currently operates. It also plans to boost its 300-plus headcount by another 200 employees. 

Source: TechCrunch

ironSource is going public via a SPAC and its numbers are pretty good

Israel’s ironSource, an app-monetization startup, is going public via a SPAC.

But before you tune out to avoid reading about yet another blank-check company taking a private company public, you’ll want to pay attention to this one.

For starters, this is the second SPAC-led debut from an Israeli company in recent weeks worth more than $10 billion. And secondly, ironSource is actually a pretty darn interesting company from a financial perspective.

The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. Read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.

The company follows eToro in announcing its combination with a public entity designed to help startups get over the private-public divide. And valued at just over $11 billion by the deal, it will best eToro’s valuation by several hundred million. Combined, both companies will bring more than $20 billion in liquidity to their founders, backers, ecosystems, employees and SPAC teams associated with their impending debuts.

This morning, let’s rewind through TechCrunch’s ironSource coverage during its life as a private company and then examine its financial results. At the end, we’ll ask ourselves whether its new valuation makes any damn sense.

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time to strap in and get to work. Let’s get to it!

ironSource’s past, performance and future

TechCrunch has covered ironSource for years, including a piece on its 2014-era $85 million investment. At the time, we noted that the company “support[s] about 5 million installs per day and [has] more than 50,000 applications using [its] SDK.”

In 2019, ironSource raised more than $400 million at a valuation of more than $1 billion, though details were fuzzy at the time. TechCrunch wrote about the company last month when it announced its second acquisition of the year; ironSource bought Soomla —  app monetization tracking — and Luna Labs — video ad tooling — toward the end of its path to a public debut.

PitchBook data indicates that the company was worth an estimated $1.56 billion when it closed its 2019-era round. That ironSource intends to go public with a valuation of $11.1 billion means that it is shooting for a commanding increase in value in just a few short years.

Is the company worth the new number? Let’s find out, starting with a look at its revenue growth over time:

First, observe the company’s historical performance in 2020 compared to 2019; posting 83% revenue growth from a nine-figure base is impressive. ironSource only expects to grow a hair over 37% in 2021, however, though it doesn’t anticipate further revenue growth deceleration in percentage terms the following year.

The chart on the right is useful as well. Note how the company’s 2019 saw strong growth from its Q1 to its Q4. But also note its flat summer, in which sequential growth came to a near-halt. Comparing that lackluster middle period with the rapid growth ironSource posted in every quarter of 2020 is stark. Sure, the pandemic boosted screen time for all of us, but my gosh, did ironSource have a great year on the back of the pandemic.

Source: TechCrunch

US privacy, consumer, competition and civil rights groups urge ban on ‘surveillance advertising’

Ahead of another big tech vs Congress ‘grab your popcorn’ grilling session, scheduled for March 25 — when US lawmakers will once again question the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter on the unlovely topic of misinformation — a coalition of organizations across the privacy, antitrust, consumer protection and civil rights spaces has called for a ban on “surveillance advertising”, further amplifying the argument that “big tech’s toxic business model is undermining democracy”.

The close to 40-strong coalition behind this latest call to ban ‘creepy ads’ which rely on the mass tracking and profiling of web users in order to target them with behavioral ads includes the American Economic Liberties Project, the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Center for Humane Technology, Epic.org, Fair Vote, Media Matters for America, the Tech Transparency Project and The Real Facebook Oversight Board, to name a few.

As leaders across a broad range of issues and industries, we are united in our concern for the safety of our communities and the health of democracy,” they write in the open letter. “Social media giants are eroding our consensus reality and threatening public safety in service of a toxic, extractive business model. That’s why we’re joining forces in an effort to ban surveillance advertising.”

The coalition is keen to point out that less toxic non-tracking alternatives (like contextual ads) exist, while arguing that greater transparency and oversight of adtech infrastructure could help clean up a range of linked problems, from junk content and rising conspiracism to ad fraud and denuded digital innovation.

“There is no silver bullet to remedy this crisis – and the members of this coalition will continue to pursue a range of different policy approaches, from comprehensive privacy legislation to reforming our antitrust laws and liability standards,” they write. “But here’s one thing we all agree on: It’s time to ban surveillance advertising.”

“Big Tech platforms amplify hate, illegal activities, and conspiracism — and feed users increasingly extreme content — because that’s what generates the most engagement and profit,” they warn.

“Their own algorithmic tools have boosted everything from white supremacist groups and Holocaust denialism to COVID-19 hoaxes, counterfeit opioids and fake cancer cures. Echo chambers, radicalization, and viral lies are features of these platforms, not bugs — central to the business model.”

The coalition also warns over surveillance advertising’s impact on the traditional news business, noting that shrinking revenues for professional journalism is raining more harm down upon the (genuine) information ecosystem democracies need to thrive.

The potshots are well rehearsed at this point although it’s an oversimplification to blame the demise of traditional news on tech giants so much as ‘giant tech’: aka the industrial disruption wrought by the Internet making so much information freely available. But dominance of the programmatic adtech pipeline by a couple of platform giants clearly doesn’t help. (Australia’s recent legislative answer to this problem is still too new to assess for impacts but there’s a risk its news media bargaining code will merely benefit big media and big tech while doing nothing about the harms of either industry profiting off of outrage.)

“Facebook and Google’s monopoly power and data harvesting practices have given them an unfair advantage, allowing them to dominate the digital advertising market, siphoning up revenue that once kept local newspapers afloat. So while Big Tech CEOs get richer, journalists get laid off,” the coalition warns, adding: “Big Tech will continue to stoke discrimination, division, and delusion — even if it fuels targeted violence or lays the groundwork for an insurrection — so long as it’s in their financial interest.”

Among a laundry list of harms the coalition is linking to the dominant ad-based online business models of tech giants Facebook and Google is the funding of what they describe as “insidious misinformation sites that promote medical hoaxes, conspiracy theories, extremist content, and foreign propaganda”.

“Banning surveillance advertising would restore transparency and accountability to digital ad placements, and substantially defund junk sites that serve as critical infrastructure in the disinformation pipeline,” they argue, adding: “These sites produce an endless drumbeat of made-to-go-viral conspiracy theories that are then boosted by bad-faith social media influencers and the platforms’ engagement-hungry algorithms — a toxic feedback loop fueled and financed by surveillance advertising.”

Other harms they point to are the risks posed to public health by platforms’ amplification of junk/bogus content such as COVID-19 conspiracy theories and vaccine misinformation; the risk of discrimination through unfairly selective and/or biased ad targeting, such as job ads that illegally exclude women or ethnic minorities; and the perverse economic incentives for ad platforms to amplify extremist/outrageous content in order to boost user engagement with content and ads, thereby fuelling societal division and driving partisanship as a byproduct of the fact platforms benefit financially from more content being spread.

The coalition also argues that the surveillance advertising system is “rigging the game against small businesses” because it embeds platform monopolies — which is a neat counterpoint to tech giants’ defensive claim that creepy ads somehow level the playing field for SMEs vs larger brands.

“While Facebook and Google portray themselves as lifelines for small businesses, the truth is they’re simply charging monopoly rents for access to the digital economy,” they write, arguing that the duopoly’s “surveillance-driven stranglehold over the ad market leaves the little guys with no leverage or choice” — opening them up to exploitation by big tech.

The current market structure — with Facebook and Google controlling close to 60% of the US ad market — is thus stifling innovation and competition, they further assert.

“Instead of being a boon for online publishers, surveillance advertising disproportionately benefits Big Tech platforms,” they go on, noting that Facebook made $84.2BN in 2020 ad revenue and Google made $134.8BN off advertising “while the surveillance ad industry ran rife with allegations of fraud”.

The campaign being kicked off is by no means the first call for a ban on behavioral advertising but given how many signatories are backing this one it’s a sign of the scale of the momentum building against a data-harvesting business model that has shaped the modern era and allowed a couple of startups to metamorphosize into society- and democracy-denting giants.

That looks important as US lawmakers are now paying close attention to big tech impacts — and have a number of big tech antitrust cases actively on the table. Although it was European privacy regulators that were among the first to sound the alarm over microtargeting’s abusive impacts and risks for democratic societies.

Back in 2018, in the wake of the Facebook data misuse and voter targeting scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, the UK’s ICO called for an ethical pause on the use of online ad tools for political campaigning — penning a report entitled Democracy Disrupted? Personal information and political influence.

It’s no small irony that the self-same regulator has so far declined to take any action against the adtech industry’s unlawful use of people’s data — despite warning in 2019 that behavioral advertising is out of control.

The ICO’s ongoing inaction seems likely to have fed into the UK government’s decision that a dedicated unit is required to oversee big tech.

In recent years the UK has singled out the online ad space for antitrust concern — saying it will establish a pro-competition regulator to tackle big tech’s dominance, following a market study of the digital advertising sector carried out in 2019 by its Competition and Markets Authority which reported substantial concerns over the power of the adtech duopoly.

Last month, meanwhile, the European Union’s lead data protection supervisor urged not a pause but a ban on targeted advertising based on tracking internet users’ digital activity — calling on regional lawmakers’ to incorporate the lever into a major reform of digital services rules which is intended to boost operators’ accountability, among other goals.

The European Commission’s proposal had avoided going so far. But negotiations over the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act are ongoing.

Last year the European Parliament also backed a tougher stance on creepy ads. Again, though, the Commission’s framework for tackling online political ads does not suggest anything so radical — with EU lawmakers pushing for greater transparency instead.

It remains to be seen what US lawmakers will do but with US civil society organizations joining forces to amplify an anti-ad-targeting message there’s rising pressure to clean up the toxic adtech in its own backyard.

Commenting in a statement on the coalition’s website, Zephyr Teachout, an associate professor of law at Fordham Law School, said: “Facebook and Google possess enormous monopoly power, combined with the surveillance regimes of authoritarian states and the addiction business model of cigarettes. Congress has broad authority to regulate their business models and should use it to ban them from engaging in surveillance advertising.”

“Surveillance advertising has robbed newspapers, magazines, and independent writers of their livelihoods and commoditized their work — and all we got in return were a couple of abusive monopolists,” added David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of Ruby on Rails, in another supporting statement. “That’s not a good bargain for society. By banning this practice, we will return the unique value of writing, audio, and video to the people who make it rather than those who aggregate it.”

With US policymakers paying increasingly close attention to adtech, it’s interesting to see Google is accelerating its efforts to replace support for individual-level tracking with what it’s branded as a ‘privacy-safe’ alternative (FLoC).

Yet the tech it’s proposed via its Privacy Sandbox will still enable groups (cohorts) of web users to be targeted by advertisers, with ongoing risks for discrimination, the targeting of vulnerable groups of people and societal-scale manipulation — so lawmakers will need to pay close attention to the detail of the ‘Privacy Sandbox’ rather than Google’s branding.

“This is, in a word, bad for privacy,” warned the EFF, writing about the proposal back in 2019. “A flock name would essentially be a behavioral credit score: a tattoo on your digital forehead that gives a succinct summary of who you are, what you like, where you go, what you buy, and with whom you associate.”

“FLoC is the opposite of privacy-preserving technology,” it added. “Today, trackers follow you around the web, skulking in the digital shadows in order to guess at what kind of person you might be. In Google’s future, they will sit back, relax, and let your browser do the work for them.”

Source: TechCrunch

This Group Wants to ‘Ban Surveillance Advertising’

A new front is opening in the fight to reform Facebook and Google—right at the heart of their business model.
Source: Wired

Facebook says it disabled 1.3B fake accounts over a three-month period – CNET

The social network details its efforts to fight misinformation ahead of a congressional hearing later this week.
Source: CNET

Krispy Kreme is offering free doughnuts for the rest of 2021 to those who are vaccinated – CNET

Would you like a doughnut with that vaccine shot?
Source: CNET

5 Reasons you should attend TC Early Stage 2021 in April

We’re just days away from kicking off TC Early Stage 2021: Operations & Fundraising on April 1-2. Join us for two program-packed days dedicated to founders in the earliest stages of startup life (pre-seed through Series A). The event agenda features interactive presentations that cover a range of essential topics like fundraising, operations, growth, product-market fit, product management and more.

No pass? No problem. Click here and buy your pass today.

Everyone’s busy. We get it. But this virtual conference (VOD means you won’t miss a session) gives you schedule flexibility to take a condensed dive with experts wearing their been-there-done-that-kicked-butt t-shirts. No need to reinvent the wheel. Learn from the best.

Here — for your edification — are just five of the many reasons you should attend TC Early Stage on April 1-2.

1. Bootcamp your way to success

Building a successful startup involves a learning curve like no other. Mastering the many the core skills required to build strong and build smart takes dedication and perseverance.

Early Stage 2021 is an intensive, one-stop entrepreneurial shop where you learn from seasoned experts, founders and investors. You’ll learn from subject-matter experts, across the startup ecosystem, ready to help you avoid costly missteps.

Attendees say: “Early Stage 2020 provided a rich, bootcamp experience with premier founders, VCs and startup community experts. If you’re beginning to build a startup, it’s an efficient way to advance your knowledge across key startup topics.” — Katia Paramonova, founder and CEO of Centrly.

2. Build community and expand your network

Ever feel like you’re going it alone? At Early Stage 2021, you’ll tap into a global community of folks just like you — startup founders in the early, and often confusing, innings. Connect and join forces, share pain points, discover opportunities and celebrate successes. The virtual platform’s chat feature rocks for ad hoc meetups and CrunchMatch, our AI-powered networking platform, helps you find and schedule meetings with the people who can move your dream closer to reality.

Attendees say: “TechCrunch does this thing — and they did it amazingly well in a virtual event — of connecting total strangers to create a genuinely supportive community. — Jessica McLean, Director of Marketing and Communications, Infinite-Compute.

3. Special Breakout Sessions

Don’t miss our partner series of interactive breakouts and get answers to your burning questions. You’ll receive expert advice on topics ranging from the benefits of adopting OKRs and protecting your company’s intellectual property to achieving operational excellence from day one, everything you ever needed to know about mergers and acquisitions and accelerating the dev process through fast feedback.

4. Do you science?

Does using biology as technology to tackle the daunting challenges of human and planetary health give you a huge case of business goosebumps? Don’t miss Scientist Entrepreneurs — Scaling Breakout Engineering Biology Companies. This special presentation, brought to you by Mayfield, looks at scaling startups and touches on three areas that influence trajectory: fundraising, hiring and product design.

5. The TC Early Stage Pitch-Off

Day two features a thrilling pitch off. Tune in to watch as 10 global early-stage companies — chosen by the TechCrunch Editorial team — pitch to our panel of top VCs. All 10 competitors receive invaluable exposure, and the ultimate victor wins a feature story on TechCrunch.com, an annual Extra Crunch subscription and admission to TC Disrupt this September. Pro tip: Take notes — watching a pitch off is a great way to improve your own presentation skills.

So much to learn and so many reasons to go. Buy your pass and join your community at TC Early Stage 2021: Operations & Fundraising on April 1-2.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Early Stage 2021 – Operations & Fundraising? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

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Source: TechCrunch

TryNow raises $12M to bring try-before-you-buy, Amazon Wardrobe as a service to online retailers

Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe has been a key way for the e-commerce giant to expand its reach selling clothing and other apparel: giving shoppers an easy way to try on several items, return what they don’t want, and pay for what they keep has helped it cross the virtual chasm by bringing the online experience a little closer to what it’s like to shop for fashion in physical stores. Now, a startup that’s built “Prime Wardrobe as a service” to help smaller competitors offer its shoppers the same experience is announcing some funding to expand its business.

TryNow — which provides technology to online retailers that use Shopify Plus to let their customers receive and try out apparel, return what they don’t want and pay only for what they keep — has raised $12 million, funding that it will be using to continue expanding its business.

The startup, based out of San Francisco, already works with around 50 up-and-coming online retailers doing between $10 million and $100 million in revenues, with Universal Standard, Roolee, Western Rise, and Solid & Striped among its customers. Founder and CEO Benjamin Davis said in an interview that it has seen business grow six-fold in the last year as more shopping has shifted online from brick-and-mortar due to the pandemic. TryNow claims that using its service can help brands grow average order value by 63%, conversion rates by 22% and return on ad spend by 76%.

Fashion has been a primary focus for “try before you buy” services online, but the the model is not limited to it.

“Apparel is a core category for us,” said Davis, but he also said he believes that the model can be applied to improve the unit economics of selling online to other categories, like cookware. “Prime Wardrobe has solidified the power of that model for fashion, but we believe it’s much larger. We think that any purchase that is discretionary should be tried before it is bought.”

The funding, a Series A, is coming from a very notable list of backers that speaks to the opportunity in this space. Investors in the round include Shine Capital, Craft Ventures, SciFi VC (the venture firm co-founded by Max Levchin, founder and CEO of buy-now-pay-later firm Affirm), Third Kind, and Plaid co-founders Zachary Perret and William Hockey.

As-a-service, at your service

TryNow sits as part of a bigger wave of commerce and finance services that have emerged over the years to provide technology to entrepreneurs where the commerce technology they are using is not the core of the business they are building.

The thinking goes: building payments or related features is complex and not something that a company not focused on payments would build itself (much like most businesses would not build their own accounting software, or the computers that they use). And as the biggest competitors — eg, Amazon — continue to grow and build their own technology in-house to keep their competitive edge, a demand for more tech-enabled tools only grows and becomes more sophisticated with the competitive threat. These in turn get delivered as a service, since smaller competitors will lack the funds and human capital to build these themselves.

Davis said that TryNow chose to work solely with Shopify (and specifically Shopify Plus, the version of the service with more features, designed for retailers with more than $1 million in revenues) and its platform for letting retailers build and operate e-commerce storefronts, because of how it has become such an integral player in that ecosystem.

He said that there has been demand from retailers using other platforms such as Big Commerce and Adobe’s Magento — as well as the platforms themselves. And it will look to expand to these over time, but for now, “we think Shopify is the most powerful, and growing the fastest, with the biggest opportunity at checkout,” said Davis. “It’s a multibillion opportunity.”

TryNow has whittled down its core functionality in the e-commerce space to a very specific role.

It doesn’t handle checkout — that’s Shopify; nor transactions — that’s payment companies, or indeed by-now-pay-later companies (like TryNow, another kind of tech helping people defray the payment part of procurement); nor returns — it integrates with Happy Returns, Loop Returns and Returnly; nor email-based communications and marketing with customers — that’s Klaviyo.

What TryNow provides are analytics to manage the risk around any deal, and technology to integrate and manage the payments and returns experience, so that procuring doesn’t trigger a payment, returning triggers a payment for what is kept, and I suppose not returning triggers a different kind of payment (plus flagging the customer for future try-now-pay-later attempts).

Within the wider space of e-commerce, apparel has had a particularly tricky ride among those trying to bring the experience into the online world.

It’s no surprise when you think about it: shopping for apparel is an inherently physical activity, involving trying things on, browsing around big stores with wide selections, and only paying for what you actually take away with you.

That has given rise to a lot of different startups, leaning on new innovations in computer vision and other areas of artificial intelligence, better cameras on phones, new manufacturing techniques and more to try to sew up the gap between what you do online and how you would shop in the brick-and-mortar world.

(And these startups are seeing their own opportunities and demand in the market: just last week, Snap Inc acquired Fit Analytics, one of the tech companies building better tools to improve how online shoppers can estimate what size they might need to buy of an item: the social media company’s interest is to use the technology to expand how it works with its advertisers and to build out a bigger shopping experience on Snapchat and beyond.)

Before try-now-pay-later, the basic idea of selling fashion online has been to assume it’s okay to skip all the physical aspects of buying apparel before paying.

“Give me a credit card, and I’ll charge you for what you are getting, and if you don’t like it, you can get a refund? We would never operate a brick-and-mortar store that way, charging people before going into fitting rooms,” said Davis. “It’s unnatural and restricts growth.” And high-ticket items can be even harder to sell in that environment, he added.

While companies like Le Tote, Stitch Fix, and Wantable have built out fashion businesses on the premise of try first, and then pay only for what you keep, there are fewer companies out there that have distilled this idea into a standalone, B2B service. (And indeed, the try-before-you-buy service can be a tricky one to manage as a viable business, with Le Tote, now in Chapter 11, and now-defund Lumoid pointing to some of the challenges.)

“Ben and the TryNow team are taking what they’ve learned from Affirm and Stitch Fix and launching the ultimate checkout option: try now, buy later. This translates into more order volume and more profit. We all want to try before we buy: it’s only a matter of time before TryNow’s checkout solution becomes the standard,” said Brian Murray, managing director at Craft Ventures, in a statement.

Still, there are others that compete more directly. BlackCart out of Canada, which raised funding earlier this year, also provides try-now-pay-later as a service for apparel and other goods, and it integrates with other storefront platforms beyond Shopify. (It seems to take a different approach to offsetting the risk for retailers, essentially making up-front payments for goods itself and then reconciling directly with the retails around returns.) And it seems like a no brainer that Amazon might try to offer Wardrobe as a service to more retailers, as it does with so many of its other features.

Along with the funding, TryNow is also announcing a couple of new executive appointments that speak to where it sees itself competing and sitting longer term. Jessica Baier, formerly of Stitch Fix, is now VP of growth strategy; and Jonathan Kayne, a former head of product partnerships for Affirm, is now TryNow’s VP of platform.

The investors in this round are a pretty interesting set of backers that also point to possible directions for the company.

Shine is a relatively new firm co-founded by Mo Koyfman and Josh Mohrer to focus on early stage investments, with Koyfman previously backing a lot of interesting e-commerce companies at Spark; Craft is another early stage firm co-founded by David Sacks and Bill Lee; SciFi VC is Max and Nellie Levchin’s venture fund (and Max has a long and impressive track record in e-commerce, most recently as the founder and CEO of another startup in the flexible payment space, buy-now-pay-later business Affirm).

Third Kind, meanwhile, has been a prolific backer of e-commerce tech as part of its bigger investment thesis. And while Plaid’s founders are investing here as financial backers, it’s notable that they are both providing financial features as a service to third party businesses: diversification for Plaid might one day come in the form of providing tools for specific verticals, which would likely take them into the realm of more flexible payment and procurement options.

“At Shine, we are attracted to businesses with simple yet powerful insights that can ultimately lead to massively scalable new platforms,” said Koyfman in a statement. “TryNow’s understanding that a lack of tactility restricts e-commerce growth has opened the opportunity to create and scale the Try Now Buy Later category. It is rare to find such a strong team attacking such a simple but big idea. We are delighted to partner with Benjamin and the entire TryNow team as they scale their elegant platform and help e-commerce brands close the conversion gap with brick and mortar retail.”

Source: TechCrunch

IRS stimulus check 3 tracker tool: How to use Get My Payment, what it does and doesn't tell you – CNET

Here’s how to use the government’s online tool to track your money. Plus, what it can tell you beyond the date your payment will be sent.
Source: CNET