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Showing posts from November, 2019

Nigeria To License More Payment Providers

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari image: Chatham House on Flickr Nigeria's central bank plans to license more payment providers to operate in its jurisdiction in an effort to improve the financial-inclusion rate of its citizens to 80% by the end of next year from about 60% currently, the country's Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said in a statement on Friday. “The provision of licenses to several players will help support innovation and competition as all parties work to increase their customer base,” he said in a speech delivered in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. “Nigerians in underserved locations will have access to cost effective payment services, cash-in and cash-out facilities, and savings products.” Emefiele said. Such measures come as Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and biggest economy , sees a push in digital banking services thanks to the rise of some relatively new payments services and new solutions from already existing banks alike.

Deliveroo Loses CFO, Poaches Airbnb Executive

image: Deliveroo Raif Jacobs, the chief financial officer of U.K. food delivery startup Deliveroo, has left the company after just a year on the job, adding to a substantial number of executive departures at Deliveroo. Jacobs left the company early October, around the same time frame the U.K.'s competition watchdog launched an investigation into a big Amazon investment in Deliveroo. The investment in concern was a $575 million investment led by Amazon, with participation from Greenoaks, T. Rowe Price, and Fidelity. The funding process got paused by regulators in July, with a formal investigation launched several months later. The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stipulated that Amazon's large investment may lead to a future merger with  Deliveroo, and said it was considering whether such a situation may "result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services." A deadline of

Wag CEO Hilary Schneider Departs

Hilary Schneider image: Wag Wag, a Softbank-backed on-demand dog walking startup, has announced  a departure of its current CEO, Hilary Schneider, who took on the role just last year, as at the time of a $300 million investment from the Softbank Vision Fund. Schneider is stepping down effective November 29, to be replaced by Garrett Smallwood, who is being promoted from a VP position. Smallwood is joining Wag's board as part of his transition to the CEO role. Schneider's departure represents the third time Wag is going through a CEO change since its founding in 2015. Schneider, who has been Wag's CEO for just short of two years, replaced co-founder Joshua Viner when she took on the role. Smallwood is now replacing her, as she heads on to a CEO role at photography company Shutterfly . Prior to Wag, Schneider served as CEO at LifeLock, an identity theft protection company acquired by Symantec for $2.3 billion in March 2017. The CEO change at Wag comes on t

Uber Loses London Operating License, Again

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi image: World Economic Forum / Faruk Pinjo via CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license Uber has lost its license to operate in the city of London, marking the second time in just over two years that such situation is occurring. The London license cease, announced on Monday, was due to Uber's app not being “fit and proper” in regards to passenger safety, London's transportation regulator said. The decision to not renew the license comes at the end of a two-month probationary extension period that was added to a prior 15-month running license. Uber was required by Transport for London (TfL), London's transportation regulator, to address issues regarding checks on drivers, insurance and safety, but seems to have not satisfied TfL, which said it had identified “pattern of failures” in regards to those requirements. The transportation regulator cited a case where a change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other dr

Darktrace Could Be Heading For An IPO

Darktrace co-CEO Nicole Eagan Photo by Seb Daly/Collision via Sportsfile Darktrace, a U.K. cybersecurity startup that was valued at $1.65 billion after raising funding last year , could be looking towards a public offering, indicated by a closeness to naming a chief financial officer, Bloomberg reports . Companies looking to go public typically appoint a CFO, usually of high-profile, to take on the role of spearheading the company's finances in preparation for a voyage on the public markets. Also, with $231 million  in funding and a high valuation to go along, Darktrace seems like a company that's ready to hit the public markets, especially if it's found stability in its business model. In an interview, Darktrace co-founder and co-CEO Poppy Gustafsson said the company added about 400 employees in the past year, and expects to keep growing at a similar rate. However, she also noted that Darktrace hasn't made a firm decision regarding debuting on the public ma

Airbnb Reportedly Lost $100 Million In Q2

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Global Forum According to a report from The Information , Airbnb lost about $100 million in the second quarter of this year, compared to a profit of $10 million it made in the same period last year. The Information reports the loss is driven by increased marketing and administrative expenses, an indication that the company is dedicating more resources to its growth ahead of a planned IPO next year. A previous report from The Information  had said Airbnb lost $306 million in the first quarter of this year, attributable in part to higher sales and marketing spend. The losses recorded by Airbnb this year are in contrast to an upheld status as one of the few profitable private tech companies out there. Airbnb is known to have been profitable for two years running  before reports of losses sprang up this year. While losses due to higher investments and bets on growth could pay off in the long-term, it may muddle Airbnb&#

Carbon Names Ellen Kullman As CEO

Ellen Kullman Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Global Forum 3D printing unicorn Carbon has announced  the appointment of Ellen Kullman, of DuPont fame, as its new CEO, with current CEO Joseph DeSimone transitioning to the role of Executive Chairman. Kullman who has been a board member at Carbon since 2016 will remain as one as she serves as CEO. Carbon touts the leadership change as one that has been "worked on to prepare the company for its next chapter", which we speculate is an IPO. As CEO, Kullman will lead the development and execution of short- and long-term strategies, a Carbon press release said, while DeSimone transitions to a role that doesn't entail much day-to-day management. As Executive Chairman, DeSimone will focus on growing adoption of the 3D printing company's Digital Manufacturing Platform, and pushing the company's vision to existing and prospective customers, partners and the general public. DeSimone, who was previously a profe

PayPal Scoops Up Honey For $4 Billion

Honey co-founders Ryan Hudson (left) and George Ruan (right). image: Honey PayPal has announced it has agreed to acquire Honey Science Corporation, an LA-based tech company behind a popular eponymous deals and coupons discovery tool, for roughly $4 billion. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to conventional closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. It represents PayPal's biggest acquisition since inception, and a likely mouth-watering win for Honey's shareholders, given the company only raised a relatively paltry $49 million in total funding. After the acquisition, Honey will retain its headquarters in Los Angeles, where its co-founders George Ruan and Ryan Hudson will continue to lead its team but as part of PayPal's global consumer product and technology organization. The two co-founders will report to PayPal SVP John Kunze while maintaining their positions. Honey was founded in 2012, and has grown to b

DoorDash Said To Be Considering Direct Listing

DoorDash co-founder and CEO Tony Xu Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch According to a Bloomberg report , DoorDash, which is fresh off $100 million in funding , is considering a direct stock listing for its planned debut on the public markets instead of taking the traditional IPO route. A direct listing entails a heads-on debut on the public markets rather than taking the conventional route of issuing new shares and raising capital from investors in order to do so. The direct listing route hasn't been around for long, just pioneered by music streaming service Spotify last year. Shortly after, Slack became the second major tech company to take that route, having directly debuted on the public markets just a few months ago. According to Bloomberg, DoorDash has held talks with investment bank Goldman Sachs about a direct listing. Such idea doesn't seem far-fetched, given DoorDash has already raised billions in funding. The San Francisco-based company may not

Squarespace Said To Be In Talks For $400 Million Debt Funding

Squarespace founder & CEO Anthony Casalena image: Collin Hughes for Squarespace According to a Bloomberg report , Squarespace is in talks with banks to take on as much as $400 million in debt financing that would help prepare the way for an initial public offering. Bloomberg reports the company is seeking to arrange the debt facility ahead of an IPO that could happen in 2021 or later. Its report also notes that Squarespace, unlike several other high-profile unicorns, is cash-flow positive. Securing a credit facility from Wall Street banks often comes before a public offering. In such a case, companies typically return favors to banks that make significant lending commitments by offering roles on their IPOs, which in turn leads to substantial fees for the banks. Squarespace, a do-it-yourself (DIY) website service, has raised nearly $300 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data . Last valued at $1.7 billion , the New York-based company is known be only back

Gett Closes Shop In NYC

Gett founder and CEO Shahar Waiser Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for TechCrunch Gett, a Volkswagen-backed Israeli ride-hailing company, has announced an already effective closure of its New York rideshare business, Juno . As part of the closure, Gett is transferring its corporate clients in the U.S. to Lyft's ride-hailing network, thanks to a strategic partnership between both companies. Corporate customers in the U.S. will still be able to book rides on Gett's app, but will be matched with drivers on Lyft instead of Juno from now on. Gett says Juno's closure reinforces its strategy to "build a profitable company focused on the corporate transportation sector". The Tel-Aviv based company also partly blames Juno's closure on recently enacted NYC regulations in the ride-hailing sector, or to quote the company; "the enactment of misguided regulations in New York City earlier this year". Gett shutting down a business it acquired for

Airbnb Seals Nine-Year Olympics Sponsorship Deal

Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia image: Airbnb The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced  it has sealed an agreement with Airbnb that entails the online accommodation marketplace joining The Olympic Partner Programme (TOP), the highest level of sponsorship offered by the Olympic Committee. Under the program, Airbnb will be a sponsor for the Olympic Games, with a contract that runs for a nine-year period. According to The Financial Times , Airbnb's sponsorship deal is valued at $500 million. As a global partner, Airbnb will be a sponsor for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the Olympic Games Paris 2024, the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026 and the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028. The partnership also covers Paralympic Games from 2020 through 2028. Such partnership, centered mainly on marketing and brand awareness, is conventionally bound to bring in more business for Airbnb. Airbnb said the partnership will generat

Microsoft Hires Former U.S. AG To Probe AnyVision

Microsoft President Brad Smith image: Microsoft Microsoft has said it has hired Eric Holder, a famed lawyer who served as the Attorney General of the U.S. from 2009 to 2015, to investigate if AnyVision, an Israeli AI company it invested in, violated Microsoft's ethics regarding use of facial recognition technology. Quoting a Microsoft spokesperson, Holder's team of former federal prosecutors "will move quickly, reviewing documents and conducting on the ground interviews with AnyVision employees and others to ensure a full and thorough investigation." NBC News earlier reported Holder's hire. The news outlet previously reported that facial recognition technology developed by AnyVision had powered a secret military surveillance project for the Israel army that monitored Palestinians in the West Bank . According to NBC News, the project was so successful that AnyVision won Israel's top defense prize in 2018 for preventing "hundreds of terror a

Magic Leap Said To Be Raising More Funding

Magic Leap founder and CEO Rony Abovitz Photograph by Kevin Moloney/Fortune Brainstorm Tech Magic Leap, a Florida-based augmented reality startup that's already garnered some $2.6 billion in funding, is raising even more funding according to a report from Variety . A spokesperson for the company further confirmed Variety's report, stating that Magic Leap "is in the midst of a significant financing round". “We have already closed a major portion of this round, some as equity and some as convertible debt that will become equity when the round is complete. The participants in this round include existing investors, new investors, and strategic partners.” The spokesperson said. Initial signs of Magic Leap seeking more funding surfaced in August, when the company assigned all of its patents to JPMorgan Chase as collateral. Reports of the transfer recently surfaced on Hacker News , a popular technology-focused social news website/forum, where several commenters

Freshworks Raises $150 Million At A $3.5 Billion Valuation

image: Freshworks Freshworks, a San Mateo, California-based company that makes a host of customer support software, has announced  $150 million in Series H funding led by Alphabet's CapitalG, Sequoia Capital and Accel. The funding values Freshworks at $3.5 billion, up from $1.5 billion when it raised funding July last year. Notably, Accel, Sequoia, and CapitalG, the participants in this new funding, were the only investors in the previous round, entailing a double down on a previous bet on Freshworks. The new funding brings the total raised by Freshworks to $400 million. The company says it'll make use of the investment to further global expansion and accelerate investments in its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform. Freshworks was founded in 2010, formerly known as Freshdesk, and has grown to employ more than 2,500 currently. The San Mateo-based company has, as of late, embarked on what can be termed an expansion spree, having opened a second U.S. office last month,

Tencent Said To Purchase 10% Stake In Policybazaar

Tencent CEO Pony Ma Photograph by Vivek Prakash/Fortune According to a Bloomberg report , Tencent has purchased a 10% stake in Policybazaar, an Indian online insurance aggregator that notably raised funding from the Softbank Vision Fund last year. According to Bloomberg, Tencent paid $150 million for the 10% stake, valuing the company at $1.5 billion. Tencent didn't actually make a direct investment into the company, but purchased half of a stake held by famed tech investor Tiger Global, according to Bloomberg. This entails Tiger Global, a New York-based investment firm that has backed and reaped profits from several high-profile tech companies, is the one on the receiving end of the transaction and not Policybazaar itself. Tiger Global seems to have reaped good profits on its Policybazaar bet, having been known to have invested less than $100 million altogether in the company. Selling just half of its stake for $150 million indicates a healthy profit on its investment

Blackstone Snags Majority Stake In MagicLab

Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd. Herd is assuming the CEO role at MagicLab as part of this acquisition Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Private equity juggernaut Blackstone has announced  it's acquiring a majority stake in MagicLab, a company that's behind several popular online dating services including Badoo and Bumble . Blackstone's acquisition values MagicLab, which traces its roots to the launch of Badoo in 2006, at around $3 billion. Under the terms of the acquisition, Andrey Andreev, a Russian entrepreneur who launched and has led the company for more than a decade, will be selling his stake and stepping down, to be replaced by Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder and CEO of Bumble. MagicLab is a prosperous but somewhat low-key company that has been behind some globally recognised online brands. Focused on the online dating sector, MagicLab is behind some of the best-known brands in that scene, including Badoo, a dating service with more than

CloudKitchens Said To Have Raised $400 Million From Saudi Fund

Travis Kalanick Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED According to a report from the Wall Street Journal , Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has invested $400 million into CloudKitchens, a food startup led by Travis Kalanick, who is better known as a co-founder and former CEO of ride-hailing giant Uber. According to the Wall Street Journal, CloudKitchens completed an investment agreement with Saudi Arabia's wealth fund in January, and actually notched a deal that valued it at around $5 billion. Kalanick, who is widely known for leading Uber from the ground up but amid series of controversies that later led to his ouster, assumed a leadership role at CloudKitchens after acquiring a controlling stake for a reported $150 million early last year. As the aforementioned statement suggests, he didn't actually launch CloudKitchens from the ground up, but took a majority stake in the company shortly after his ouster from Uber. CloudKitchens is an operator of so-called ghost k

Mobileye and NIO Partner On Self-Driving Technology

Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua image: Intel Intel's Mobileye has announced a collaboration with Chinese electric car maker NIO on self-driving technology. The collaboration entails the development of a self-driving system by NIO on the foundation of Mobileye's own self-driving kit, with plans to mass-deploy the system beginning in China. The partnership also involves the purchase of specially configured NIO vehicles by Mobileye, marking NIO as the first large-scale automaker to have signed on to supply vehicles to the Intel-owned company. With such deal implying a potential increase in vehicle sales, NIO, whose stock has fallen more than 70% since it went public, shot up 38% during trading on news of its Intel partnership. As part of their planned partnership, Mobileye will provide NIO with the design of a self-driving system built on the  Mobileye AV Series , a custom kit comprised of a custom chip, hardware, and mapping and safety software developed by Mobileye. NIO wi

Rakuten Takes Subsequent Hit On Lyft Stake

Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani image: Seng YAM/PriceMinister on Flickr Rakuten, the largest shareholder in Lyft, has said it expects to record a $947 million loss on its stake in the ride-hailing company in the latest quarter. This is atop an earlier 24.8 billion yen ($227 million) write-down by the company on its Lyft stake, driven by a tumble of the ride-hailing company's stock price from an all-time high of $88.60 to currently [as of writing] around $41. Lyft is locked in a cash-burning price war with its larger rival Uber in the U.S., a situation that has led to high spend to retain customers which has in turn led to substantial losses. In the third quarter of this year, Lyft booked $956 million in revenue, up 63% year-over-year, but with losses of $463.5 million, of which $241.6 million was due to stock-based compensation and $86.6 million due to changes to liabilities for insurance. On the whole, Lyft spent $1.4 billion in the third quarter of this year, more than t

Germany To Raise EV Subsidies; Reuters

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses attendees at a Volkswagen event that marked the beginning of mass production of its ID.3 electric vehicle image: Volkswagen According to an official document seen and reported on by Reuters , the German government is planning to boost by 50% the subsidies available to buyers of electric cars over five subsequent years starting 2020. According to Reuters [citing the document], subsidies for plug-in hybrids in Germany will increase from 3,000 to 4,500 euros, and a further 5,000 euros for vehicles costing more than 40,000 euros. The German government has set a target of having 10 million electric cars on its roads by 2030 and seems to be making steps in that direction. Not surprisingly, Reuters' report happens to have been published on the same day Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel attended an event that marked the start of mass-production of Volkswagen's  ID.3 electric vehicle. Merkel wasn't just present at

Keyssa Poaches Apple Veteran

Keyssa's custom solid state connector image: Keyssa Keyssa, a Campbell, California-based startup that's working on technology intended to enable high-speed wireless data transfer between devices, has announced it has hired Rubén Caballero, a 14-year running Apple veteran, to serve as 'Chief Wireless Strategist'. Caballero is joining Keyssa after a nearly 15-year stint at Apple, where he headed wireless efforts, including leading designs for the first iPhone and iPad as well as the Apple Watch. At Apple, Caballero was one of the founding leaders of the iPhone hardware team, and served as a VP of engineering for 14 years. During his tenure, he founded, built and oversaw Apple's Wireless Design & Technology Group, a team of more than 1,000 engineers in 26 countries working on all of Apple's products and disciplines including antenna design, wireless validation, field engineering, radio frequency (RF) architecture, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC

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Alert: Nikola Founder Trevor Milton Indicted On Fraud Charges

The founder of embattled electric car startup Nikola Corp. has been formally indicted on fraud charges by the US Justice Department months after resigning from the company. Trevor Milton by name, he's been accused of securities and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud and mislead investors. Milton is accused of misleading investors by making false statements regarding Nikola's products and capabilities. Notably, most of the investors allegedly misled were on the retail side. The DOJ alleges that Milton made false claims regarding "nearly all aspects" of Nikola's business. Milton founded Nikola in 2014 and led it through a public listing via a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) last year. The DOJ threw an apparent jab at SPACs in his indictment, asserting that he made 'many' of his false and misleading claims  during a period where he would not have been allowed to do so under rules that govern traditional IPOs were he

Earnings: AMD Doubles Revenue, Triples Profit

In this earnings season, companies all over are dropping their latest quarterly results and we're here equally reporting on them. We've touched on social media companies Snap Inc and Twitter , electric carmaker Tesla , and iPhone maker Apple . Now, the next is chipmaker AMD Inc . AMD has dropped its earnings for the second quarter of 2021, showing strong prospects as revenue doubled year-over-year and net income more than tripled.   Details AMD posted $3.9bn in revenue in Q2, up 99% year-over-year and 12% from the preceding quarter. For the same period, the company's net income was $710mn , up 352% year-over-year and 28% from the preceding quarter. Doubling its revenue and nearly quadrupling net income indicates AMD has a strong yet fast-growing business. It's bound to grow even more as the company is set to complete its acquisition of rival chipmaker Xilinx . AMD makes money selling high-performance chipsets used in computers, consoles, data centers, and the likes

Antitrust: Amazon Fined $900M By EU For Privacy Violations

Tech behemoth Amazon is for the nth time in the crosshairs of the European Union (EU). The latest saga in that arena is that Amazon has been fined a record-breaking amount for alleged privacy violations, according to an SEC filing from the company. Amazon has been fined the sum of €746 million ($888mn) by the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) for not complying with data privacy laws. It's the largest fine imposed under Europe's data protection law.  The fine originates from the CNPD accusing Amazon of processing customers' personal data in violation of the EU's famous-cum-infamous General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws.  In June, it was reported ( WSJ )  that the Luxembourg data protection agency had sanctioned Amazon's privacy practices and proposed a fine topping $425mn to the EU's other two-dozen or so national data protection authorities. Now, it appears that the final fine is much larger than that.  Before now, the bigges

Deal: Qualtrics Buys CX Startup Clarabridge For $1.1B

Months after getting spun out of SAP into a separate public company, Qualtrics , a major provider of online survey software, has made a major acquisition. It's agreed to buy Clarabridge , a startup that does similar work to Qualtrics in the field fondly referred to as "customer experience (CX)". Qualtrics will pay $1.1bn all with shares to buy Clarabridge. The acquisition is a major strategic play for the company, pairing Qualtrics' customer survey business with Clarabridge's similar business of measuring customer sentiment from various sources like social media posts and customer support calls. Basically, Qualtrics is in the business of weighing customer surveys directly and Clarabridge in the business of doing so indirectly . Pairing both businesses represents a major strategic play for Qualtrics. In an investor presentation, Qualtrics said that Clarabridge has $100mn in annual revenue, implying an 11x multiple that it's paying to buy the company. That&#

Deal: Amgen Buys Biotech Startup Teneobio In $2.5B Deal

It appears that this Covid era has led to a boom for companies that work on  antibodies , which are protective proteins produced by the human immune system to tackle foreign substances, usually viruses. Antibodies are very useful in the research and treatment of viruses such as Covid. There are companies that specialize in antibodies and one of them, BioLegend , was recently bought for a whopping $5.3bn . Now, another such company, Teneobio , is getting bought for a big amount. Teneobio has agreed to be acquired by Amgen , an American biotech giant. Amgen is paying $900mn upfront for the company, then an additional $1.6bn in cash contingent on the company hitting certain milestones. It sums up to a $2.5bn deal . Teneobio is a clinical-stage biotech startup working on antibodies aimed at treating cancer, autoimmunity, and other infectious diseases. As it's still in the clinical trial stage with no viable product yet, it appears that Amgen is betting big on Teneobio's trials b

Antitrust: UK Probes Facebook's $1B Kustomer Acquisition

The UK's antitrust agency has launched a probe into Facebook's latest acquisition, that of chatbot platform Kustomer Inc , which Facebook agreed to buy last November for a reported $1bn. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday, the 30th of July, released a statement  indicating it had opened an inquiry into Facebook's purchase of Kustomer, regarding if it'll result in "a substantial lessening of competition" within the market Kustomer operates in. Such probes aren't out of the norm and are routine for big acquisitions. For Facebook, it speaks to the fact that antitrust agencies are watching the company's moves, especially regarding acquisitions. To note, two of Facebook Inc's biggest products outside the main Facebook platform, Instagram and WhatsApp , were acquisitions. In fact, it's primarily acquisitions that have propelled the company's growth. As with such probes, the UK will first seek comments from the public

Hollywood: Reese Witherspoon's Media Co. Sold In $900M Deal

A media company founded by superstar actress Reese Witherspoon has sold for a large amount to a company still in its infancy that hasn't even been named yet. That company is Hello Sunshine , a media company that produces content distributed across various platforms; movies, TV shows, podcasts, et al. Hello Sunshine has been sold to a newly-formed media venture t hat's backed by investment capital from Blackstone , the private equity giant.  The venture is led by ex Disney honchos Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs .  As it is, the Blackstone-funded venture is acquiring a majority stake in Hello Sunshine from a group of external investors while anchor shareholders like Witherspoon and her founding partners will roll over and retain their equity stakes in the newly-formed venture. Officially, the deal's financial terms weren't disclosed, but a report from The Wall Street Journal says it's a $900mn deal. According to the report, the Blackstone-funded venture will pay $500mn

Earnings: Shopify Beats Estimates, Reaches Major Milestone

In this season of earnings results and we at The Techee  reporting on them, we're here with a beat on Shopify , which has released its earnings statement for the second quarter (April-June) of this year. In Q2, Shopify beat revenue expectations from analysts and as well achieved a major financial milestone by crossing $1bn in quarterly revenue for the first time. Shopify had $1.1bn in revenue in the quarter, up 57% year-over-year. Net income for the same period was $897mn , most of which was due to a $778mn gain in equity investments, likely from Shopify's stake in Affirm , a major 'buy now, pay later' lender. As usual, most of Shopify's sales ( $785mn ) came from "Merchant Solutions", which groups additional services the company offers atop recurring subscriptions charged to online retailers. Sales from subscriptions came at $334mn in the quarter. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), representing the total worth of transactions made on the Shopify platform,

Alert: Square Buys Australia's Afterpay For $29B

It's a big day in the fintech world. There's been a major acquisition with a major American fintech company, Square , buying Australia's foremost fintech startup, Afterpay , a 'buy now, pay later' lender. Square has reached an agreement to buy Afterpay for a whopping $29bn , marking one of Australia's biggest buyouts. It's a big deal that a startup founded barely seven years ago is selling for $29bn.  Square will pay the $29bn all with shares. It means that shares of Afterpay, which are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange, will be exchanged for Square stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Afterpay is Australia's foremost 'buy now, pay later (BNPL)' lender in online retail. For the uninitiated, the 'buy now, pay later' business is a relatively young one providing alternatives to credit cards for consumers to shop online. It provides loans for consumers to shop online and then pay back in installments. Usually, credi

Markets: US SEC Takes Aim At Chinese IPOs

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a swipe at Chinese initial public offerings (IPOs) after regulatory hiccups in China have affected many Chinese stocks listed on US markets and American stockholders holding them. The SEC has issued new guidance on Chinese companies seeking to list shares in the US, requiring them to make certain disclosures to investors or otherwise refrain from listing in the US markets. First of all, usually, Chinese companies listing in the US don't actually sell shares of the operating companies but that of shell companies with contractual relationships with the operating companies. These shell shares, known as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) , are used to circumvent restrictions on foreign ownership of Chinese shares imposed by the country's government. Now, the SEC in a statement has made it clear that Chinese companies seeking to list in the US must provide clear descriptions of the shell operations involved in such listing