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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Deliveroo fattens its market presence by opening to restaurants that do deliveries

Restaurant food delivery startup Deliveroo is taking the next logical step to expand its business by opening up to restaurants that have their own delivery fleets — thereby also expanding the food choices it can offer its couch-loving users.

Next month the company will launch the new service, called Marketplace+, in seven of its markets — onboarding restaurants that do their own food deliveries to its platform, and offering them the ability to tap into Deliveroo’s network of riders to extend their delivery services and support faster delivery times if they choose (it says restaurants will be able to “choose for themselves how best to offer delivery” but the impact on, for example, existing delivery fleet staff employed by larger food chains remains to be seen).

Commenting on the launch in a statement, Deliveroo CEO and co-founder Will Shu said: “Today we are unveiling the next big step in our plan to offer customers an even greater choice of restaurants, at a greater range of prices while continually improving service. That’s why we introduced delivery-only kitchens, bringing new, exciting restaurants to new areas. It’s why we invested in new restaurant brands to boost innovation, and it’s why today we are giving restaurants with their own fleets of riders the chance to be on our platform and to use our rider network whenever they need it.

“This is a major development for the company that will mean thousands of new restaurants delivering new orders to new customers and it’s part of our mission to become the definitive food company.”

The Marketplace+ service is being rolled out globally across all Devliveroo’s markets this year, but will launch first in July in Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Australia, Hong Kong and the UK and Ireland.

The company says it’s expecting Marketplace+ to bring more than 5,000 additional restaurants into its UK app by the end of the year — which would be a 50% increased on the 10,000 current available.

The move will also expand where it’s able to offer a service in the market, saying it will add 50 new towns and cities in the UK by the end of the year.

It also expects that, within a year, it will be able to reach an additional 6 million UK customers. (It says it’s already profitable in the whole of the UK market, and notes that its core service achieved growth of 650% globally in 2017.)

Explaining why it’s able to onboard thousands more restaurants via the expansion to its marketplace, Deliveroo says this is as a consequence of building up what it dubs “its own extensive delivery network of 35,000 riders worldwide and 15,000 riders in the UK”.

Albeit, none of those riders are considered employees by the company.

Rather, like many gig economy platforms, Deliveroo classes the riders who deliver its product as self-employed contractors. And this type of classification is under increasing legal pressure in European markets such as the UK — where the government is currently reviewing employment law to take account of tech-fueled shifts in work.

Just today the UK’s supreme court backed a rights challenge by a ‘self-employed’ plumber who had solely worked for six years for Pimlico Plumbers — supporting an earlier employment tribunal decision that he is entitled to workers rights.

Uber has also faced a similar tribunal decision related to its classification of drivers as self-employed, and is continuing to appeal.

So while Deliveroo is loudly touting business growth and expansion, as it prepares to plug thousands more restaurants into its platform, another aspect of gig economy businesses which is also set to fatten substantially — yet which none of these companies are shouting loudly about — are the associated costs of doing this kind of business once all the ‘self-employed’ people who actually deliver the product are judged to be workers.

Then these platform businesses will be picking up the bill for all those service delivering workers’ rights.

And in the UK at least the courts have been setting clear direction on that front — and feeding the government’s review of employment law.

Source: TechCrunch

Inside Amazon's Painstaking Pursuit to Teach Alexa French

Amazon tries to translate its homegrown voice assistant into a global success.
Source: Wired

How Pro-Eating Disorder Posts Evade Filters on Social Media

A new study shows how sites like Instagram and Pinterest struggle to moderate pro-ED content—or even keep recommendation algorithms from surfacing it.
Source: Wired

The Potential Pitfalls of Sucking Carbon From the Atmosphere

A new method makes negative emissions more of a reality than ever before.
Source: Wired

Truecaller makes first acquisition to build out payment and financial services in India

Sweden’s Truecaller started out life as a service that screens calls and messages to weed out spammers. In recent times the company has switched its focus to India, its largest market based on users, adding services that include payments to make it more useful. Now Truecaller is putting even more weight behind its India push after it announced its first acquisition, mobile payment service Chillr.

The vision is to go deeper into mobile payments and associated services to turn Truecaller into a utility that goes beyond just handling messages and calls, particularly payments — a space that WhatsApp is preparing to enter in India.

Truecaller doesn’t have WhatsApp -like scale — few companies can match 200 million active users in Indua, but it did recently disclose that it has 100 million daily active users worldwide, while India is its largest country with 150 million registered users.

Truecaller has raised over $90 million from investors to date, according to Crunchbase. TechCrunch reported in 2015 that it was in talks to raise $100 million at a valuation of around $1 billion, but a deal never happened. Truecaller has instead raised capital from Swedish investment firm Zenith. Chillr, which offer payment services between over 50 banks, had raised $7.5 million from the likes of Blume Ventures and Sequoia Capital.

Truecaller isn’t disclosing how much it has paid for the deal, but it said that Chillr’s entire team of 45 people will move over and the Chillr service will be phased out. In addition, Chillr CEO Sony Joy will become vice president of Truecaller Pay, running that India-based payment business which will inherit Chillr’s core features.

“We’ve acquired a company that is known for innovation and leading this space in terms of building a fantastic product,” Truecaller co-founder and CSO Nami Zarringhalam told TechCrunch in an interview.

Zarringhalam said the Truecaller team met with Chillr as part of an effort to reach out to partners to build out an ecosystem of third-party services, but quickly realized there was potential to come together.

“We realized we shared synergies in thought processes for caring for the customer and user experience,” he added, explaining that Joy and his Chillr team will “take over the vision of execution of Truecaller Pay.”

Truecaller added payments in India last year

Joy told TechCrunch that he envisages developing Truecaller Pay into one of India’s top three payment apps over the next two years.

Already, the service supports peer-to-peer payments following a partnership with ICICI Bank, but there are plans to layer on additional services from third parties. That could include integrations to provide services such as loans, financing, micro-insurance and more.

Joy pointed out that India’s banking push has seen many people in the country sign up for at least one account, so now the challenge is not necessarily getting banked but instead getting access to the right services. Thanks to gathering information through payments and other customer data, Truecaller could, with permission from users, share data with financial services companies to give users access to services that wouldn’t be able to access otherwise.

“Most citizens have a bank account (in each household), now being underserved is more to do with access to other services,” he explained.

Joy added that Truecaller is aiming to layer in value-added services over its SMS capabilities, digging into the fact that SMS remains a key communication and information channel in India. For example, helping users pay for items confirmed via SMS, or pay for an order which is tracked via SMS.

The development of the service in India has made it look from the outside that the company is splitting into two, a product localized for India and another for the rest of the world. However, Zarringhalam said that the company plans to replicate its approach — payments and more — in other markets.

“It could be based on acquisitions or partners, time will tell,” he said. “But our plan is to develop this for all markers where our market penetration is high and the market dynamics are right.”

Truecaller has raised over $90 million from investors to date, according to Crunchbase. TechCrunch reported in 2015 that it was in talks to raise $100 million at a valuation of around $1 billion, but a deal never happened. Truecaller has instead raised capital from Swedish investment firm Zenith.

Source: TechCrunch

Dixons Carphone discloses data breach affecting 5.9M payment cards, 105k of which were compromised

European electronics and telecoms retailer Dixons Carphone has revealed a hack of its systems in which the intruder/s attempted to compromise 5.9 million payment cards.

In a statement put out today it says a review of its systems and data unearthed the data breach. It also confirms it has informed the UK’s data watchdog the ICO, financial conduct regulator the FCA, and the police.

According to the company, the vast majority of the cards (5.8M) were protected by chip-and-PIN technology — and it says the data accessed in respect of these cards contains “neither pin codes, card verification values (CVV) nor any authentication data enabling cardholder identification or a purchase to be made”.

However around 105,000 of the accessed cards were non-EU issued, and lacked chip-and-PIN, and it says those cards have been compromised.

“As a precaution we immediately notified the relevant card companies via our payment provider about all these cards so that they could take the appropriate measures to protect customers. We have no evidence of any fraud on these cards as a result of this incident,” it writes.

In addition to payment cards, the intruders also accessed 1.2M records containing non-financial personal data — such as name, address or email address.

“We have no evidence that this information has left our systems or has resulted in any fraud at this stage. We are contacting those whose non-financial personal data was accessed to inform them, to apologise, and to give them advice on any protective steps they should take,” the company adds.

In a statement about the breach, Dixons Carphone chief executive, Alex Baldock, said: “We are extremely disappointed and sorry for any upset this may cause. The protection of our data has to be at the heart of our business, and we’ve fallen short here. We’ve taken action to close off this unauthorised access and though we have currently no evidence of fraud as a result of these incidents, we are taking this extremely seriously.

“We are determined to put this right and are taking steps to do so; we promptly launched an investigation, engaged leading cyber security experts, added extra security measures to our systems and will be communicating directly with those affected. Cyber crime is a continual battle for business today and we are determined to tackle this fast-changing challenge.”

The company does not reveal when its systems were compromised; nor exactly when it discovered the intrusion; nor how long it took to launch an investigation — writing only that: “As part of a review of our systems and data, we have determined that there has been unauthorised access to certain data held by the company. We promptly launched an investigation, engaged leading cyber security experts and added extra security measures to our systems. We have taken action to close off this access and have no evidence it is continuing. We have no evidence to date of any fraudulent use of the data as result of these incidents.”

New European data protection rules are very strict in respect of data breaches, requiring that data controllers report any security incidents where personal data has been lost, stolen or otherwise accessed by unauthorized third parties to their data protection authority within 72 hours of them becoming aware of it. (Or even sooner if the breach is likely to result in a “high risk of adversely affecting individuals’ rights and freedoms”.)

And failure to promptly disclosure breaches can attract major fines under the GDPR data protection framework.

Yesterday the ICO issued a £250k penalty for a Yahoo data breach dating back to 2014 — though that was under the UK’s prior data protection regime which capped fines at a maximum of £500k. Whereas under GDPR fines can scale up to 4% of a company’s global annual turnover (or €20M, whichever is greater).

We’ve reached out to the ICO for comment on the Dixons Carphone breach and will update this story with any response.

Carphone Warehouse, a mobile division of Dixons Carphone, also suffered a major hack in 2015 — and the company was fined £400k by the ICO in January for that data breach which affected around 3M people.

The company’s stock dropped around 5% this morning after it reported the latest breach, before recovering slightly but still down around 3.5% at the time of writing.

Source: TechCrunch

Dutch payments company Adyen opens at €400/share, a pop of 67%, now valued at $15.5B

After raising €1.1 billion in its initial offering and pricing its shares at €240 each last night, Adyen, the Dutch payments company went public today with a bang. It opened for trading this morning on Amsterdam’s Euronext exchange at €400 a share, an impressive jump of 67 percent.

The share price is currently €450, giving it a market cap of €13.250 billion, or $15.6 billion at current exchange rates. It’s gone as high as €453.95 today. We’ll update this number periodically as the day goes on.

This all represents a big jump on Adyen’s valuation. In a statement last night announcing its initial offer price of €240 per share, Adyen said this implied a market capitalization of €7.1 billion, based on the current number of Shares outstanding.

The writing may have been on the wall for its strong performance this morning even then. Adyen said yesterday that the offering was “multiple times oversubscribed… with strong demand from institutional investors globally.” Adyen is selling between 12 percent and 13.4 percent of its issued and outstanding shares, the latter figure representing if the over-allotment option is exercised in full.

Adyen’s strong performance underscores both the strength for tech IPOs at the moment, as well as the strength of Adyen’s payment story specifically.

For the year ended December 31, 2017, Adyan generated net revenue of €218 million, a rise of 38 percent over the year before. Perhaps more importantly (when you compare it to other payment startups that have recently gone public, such as Square) it is profitable.

Adyen last year had an EBITDA of €99 million, giving it an EBITDA margin of 45.5 percent. Signs are pointing to more growth, too. The company counts fast-growing tech companies like Uber and Netflix among its customers, and earlier this year it picked up a key client in the form of eBay, which is swapping in Adyen instead of spun-out business PayPal as its primary payment provider.

Processed volumes on its platform were €108 billion in the period, compared to just €66 billion in 2016, up 63 percent.

In addition to established, large players like PayPal, and of course incumbent banks, Adyen competes with outsized startups that are still private, such as Stripe, to power payments and provide other infrastructure to conduct digital transactions.

Disruptive startups in the field — who win business with faster and more functional technology, as well as lower fees compared to banks — have been buoyed by a strong rise in e-commerce activity, where some or all of a transaction by a customer is made either online or by mobile.

Adyen has been one of the companies riding the wave by helping to reduce the friction between a company choosing to take payments online, and actually being able to do it. That typically can take multiple steps and agreements across numerous countries — Adyen’s pitch is that it essentially handles all of it in the backend as a service for its users.

Adyen is not getting any share of the proceeds of this IPO, but it will be using its new position as a public company now to super-charge its growth by using it to leverage working with more and bigger customers.

“I’m very proud to be building this company with such a great team,” Pieter van der Does, Adyen’s co-founder, CO and president, said in a statement. “This listing will only help us to continue to do what we are doing now: helping our merchants grow and reshaping the payments industry.” (Van der Does co-founded Adyen with Arnout Schuijff, who is the company’s CTO; the two previously founded and sold a startup, Bibit, to Royal Bank of Scotland, where it became the basis of Worldpay.)

As we’ve pointed out before, there is still a long way to go before e-commerce is ubiquitous. Figures from the U.S. Census for the first quarter of 2018 show that e-commerce sales accounted for less than 10 percent of all sales in the U.S., and the U.S. is one of the more mature markets for digital transactions, meaning the opportunity for growth globally is strong.

Adyen’s own growth in that more general trend has been very strong. The company last confirmed its valuation publicly back in 2015, when it raised funding from Iconiq, the investment firm that manages funds from Mark Zuckerberg’s family and other high-net-worth tech leaders. Then, it was at a $2.3 billion valuation.

Adyen as a startup raised $266 million in outside funding, with other investors including Index Ventures (its largest shareholder with a 16.86 percent holding of the company going into this IPO), Felicis, Temasek and General Atlantic.

Source: TechCrunch

Sea seeks $400M raise to develop its e-commerce and payment businesses

Southeast Asia-based internet firm Sea is raising $400 million through the sale of notes in what would be its first fundraising activity since it went public via in an October 2017 IPO that raised over $1 billion.

The Singapore-based company, formerly known as Garena, said that the senior note offering will put toward general costs and business expansion. Long-time investor Tencent is expected to buy up $50 million of the notes on offer, and the offering itself could be extended by a further $60 million.

Sea’s IPO was a landmark for Southeast Asia, where startup exits are few and far between, but the company hasn’t exactly set Wall Street on fire since making its public bow. Its share price is $16.40 at the time of writing, having debuted at $15. It has risen thanks to gains over the past month following its most recent earnings but initially the company spent a lot of time priced under $15.

Sea share price, via Yahoo Finance

So what got investors excited? In short, signs of growth.

Revenue for Q1 jumped 81 percent year-on-year as its Shopee e-commerce service doubled its GMV and the firm’s AirPay payment unit quadrupled its transaction volume, but ultimately the business remains unprofitable. Losses jumped from $73 million to $216 million and Sea’s cost of revenue more than doubled, indicating that it is still chasing growth for its businesses.

While AirPay and Shopee, which competes with the likes of Alibaba-owned Lazada for the attention of Southeast Asia’s 600 million consumers, are growing, the same can’t be said of Sea’s main business. It rose to prominence selling games via its Garena service, with Tencent a particular ally here, but that business is seeing new user growth flatten and and revenue gains slow.

It makes sense that Sea is playing up its digital business since the big opportunity in Southeast Asia is e-commerce, as evidenced by Alibaba’s recent double-down on Lazada — which it first bought a majority stake in for $1 billion in 2016. Alibaba invested $1 billion more in 2017 and then a further $2 billion in March to increase its ownership. It also installed a number of its own executives in a bid to help Lazada grow its business and the overall e-commerce industry in Southeast Asia, too.

A much-cited report co-authored by Google forecasts that e-commerce in Southeast Asia will surpass $88 billion by 2025. That’s up from an estimated $10.9 billion in 2017.

Sea said previously that it expects Shopee to reach $8.2-$8.7 billion in GMV in 2018, a increase that’s potentially as high as 112 percent year-on-year. That’s up on its previous guidance of $7.5-$8 billion but, since it is GMV, it doesn’t translate to direct revenue for the company itself. Sea had previously boosted Shopee by allowing a high burn rate to fund merchant and buyer promotions. It only began to monetize the service last year.

Source: TechCrunch

Google under fire in defamation case after someone Googled themselves – CNET

Some of us like to search ourselves on Google. When Milorad Trkulja did so, he got a nasty surprise.
Source: CNET

Lenovo ThinkPad P52 adds VR, 400-nit display option to its 15-inch mobile workstations – CNET

An Nvidia Quadro P3200 GPU and 4K, 100 percent Adobe RGB-gamut display is ready for your VR worldbuilding.
Source: CNET