Advertising company Sharethrough announced today that it’s moving into Europe with the acquisition of a London-based company called VAN.
The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Sharethrough’s head of communications Thomas Channick told me via email that the VAN team will form “the core” of European operations, although the company plans to double the… Read More
Square is on a mission to diversify, and it’s turning to the red-hot food delivery industry to do so.
The payments company run by CEO Jack Dorsey plans to announce this week that it has acquired San Francisco-based Caviar, according to a person familiar with the deal. Caviar runs a service that lets consumers order meals to be delivered to their homes or offices from restaurants that don’t normally offer delivery.
Caviar will receive only Square stock in the transaction, this person said. The New York Times reported on Friday that the deal, which was first reported by TechCrunch, will be valued at $90 million.
A Square spokesman and Caviar CEO Jason Wang declined to comment.
A move into delivery by most payments processing companies would be a head-scratcher. But it could make sense for a company in Square’s position. It has been furiously expanding the menu of services it offers over the last few months as it attempts to add new revenue streams that would help justify its $5 billion valuation.
Among the new products are a merchant cash advance program called Square Capital, a customer survey product called Square Feedback and a food pickup app called Square Order, which replaced the failed Square Wallet. The question remains whether Square is betting on the right new products and services or grasping at straws. In the world of food delivery, Caviar faces fierce competition from companies such as DoorDash with similar propositions as well as traditional delivery companies such as GrubHub.
With Caviar on board, Square could in theory offer the delivery service to restaurants and cafes that already run on its payments system, in a package deal or a la carte. It’s not clear what percentage of its customer base are restaurants and cafes. The company could also give restaurants and cafes that already work with Caviar a discount to start processing payments through Square.
On the consumer side, Caviar could eventually be integrated into Square Order, so customers could browse pickup and delivery options in their area from the same app. (Caviar hasn’t yet released its own app, which it has been able to get away with since about 50 percent of orders come from businesses for office meals.)
In the interim, Caviar gives Square an immediate delivery presence in around 10 U.S. cities. Its restaurant customers include big-city staples such as Momofuku in Manhattan and Nick’s Crispy Tacos in San Francisco.
The company charges customers $9.99 per delivery, though it recently told Re/code it would soon be dropping the fee to $4.99. Caviar takes anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent of the bill as its cut from the restaurant. It has 70 employees, not including the independent contractors it pays $15 per order to pick up and deliver the food. Wang recently told Re/code that the company turned a profit three months after launch, but has since slipped into the red as it spends cash to accelerate growth.
It has raised $15 million in funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger Global. Perhaps its best-known competitor, DoorDash, recently announced a $17 million investment led by Sequoia Capital.
Additional reporting by Liz Gannes.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. — It is not uncommon for a veteran player to ease his way into the Spring Training routine. Nick Swisher took that approach in the early days of camp this year, but the Indians first baseman was back on the field Sunday afternoon.
For his Cactus League debut, Swisher was slotted into the second spot of the lineup for the Indians, providing an early look into how he might be used this season. Swisher said he was thrilled to be back in the order as Cleveland begins its quest to build on last summer’s run to the postseason.
“It was nice to get out there, man,” Swisher said, “just to be out there with the guys and playing. We’re super early in Spring Training now, but just to be able to get out there, get a few hacks, it felt good.”
Swisher went 0-for-3 in his three plate appearances for the Tribe, but he did strike the first blow within a three-run outburst in the fifth inning. With one out and runners on the corners, Swisher chopped into a fielder’s choice, but Yan Gomes scored from third base to put Cleveland on the board.
Cleveland played its first three games of the spring without Swisher, who asked manager Terry Francona to keep him off the field for a handful of contests to start the preseason. Swisher took that approach due to feeling that he pushed things too hard too early in the schedule last year, when he joined the Indians after signing a four-year, $56-million contract.
Swisher felt that too much was made this past week over the fact that he took the first few games off.
“In February? It’s not a big deal,” Swisher said. “I just said, ‘Hey, man, let’s give myself a week to get into Spring Training and then start playing some games.’ I don’t know, man. I think you guys are looking way too into it. Go to some other clubs and see how they do it.”
In 146 games for Cleveland last season, the 33-year-old Swisher hit .246 with 22 home runs, 27 doubles and 63 RBIs. At various points throughout the year, Swisher dealt with a left shoulder issue, which had its roots in Spring Training.
London-based Spider.io has been acquired by Google, the company’s DoubleClick advertising blog announced today (via Re/Code). Spider.io is a startup that specialized in weeding out fraudulent clicks around online ads. The three-year old company has tech that will help Google identify bad behavior around their content in video and display ads on the web, to help them get a more accurate picture of what is and isn’t succeeding.
From Google’s official blogpost on the deal:
Advertising helps fund the digital world we love today — inspiring videos, informative websites, entertaining apps and services that connect us with friends around the world. But this vibrant ecosystem only flourishes if marketers can buy media online with the confidence that their ads are reaching real people, that results they see are based on actual interest. To grow the pie for everyone, we need to take head on the issue of online fraud.
Google isn’t revealing the terms of the deal, but the small London company is only seven strong, and this is a fairly specialized niche product so it’s unlikely to have been a huge exit. Still, the Spider.io team brings some impressive talent to Google’s ranks, including three PhDs and a an ex-Yahoo natural language processing and artificial intelligence expert.
Spider.io’s tech is designed specifically to detect attacks originating from PCs infected by malware. Often these hijacked computers are programmed by their attackers to place a high volume of ad requests, thus skewing the numbers and defrauding online advertisers out of millions of dollars. An FT article from last year revealed that one botnet last year managed to falsify billions of web-based ad clicks, sometimes accounting for as much as two-thirds of the sum total of visits to some websites.
Database giant Oracle announced it has agreed to acquire TOA Technologies, a provider of cloud-based solutions for field service management. Oracle said it intends to fold the technology into its service cloud offering.
TOA’s cloud-based software provides end-to-end service tracking for employees and contractors working out in the field and the company, which was founded in 2003, counts big name utilities and telcos as clients (E.ON, Telefónica, and Vodaphone to name a few).
Oracle said it plans to integrate TOA’s software with its Service Cloud offerings (Oracle RightNow for contact centre and policy automation), which may help extend the company’s reach into verticals that rely more heavily on mobile technicians, and create more cross-selling opportunities as it fills a field service software gap in its existing customer service and ERP portfolios.
“Delivering quality field service during the last mile of issue resolution is critical to achieving the highest levels of customer satisfaction. TOA’s solutions help companies streamline operations, gaining real-time scheduling capability that transforms how service is delivered,” said Yuval Brisker chief executive officer, TOA Technologies.
“Adding TOA’s solutions to Oracle Service Cloud will enable companies to accelerate their ability to deliver exceptional customer service,” Brisker said.
In prepared remarks David Vap, group vice president of Oracle Product Development said the acquisition will allow the company to offer a more comprehensive set of services that help unify the customer engagement process.
“Field Service is a critical aspect of customer service and by integrating TOA with Oracle Service Cloud, Oracle will uniquely offer enterprises the ability to coordinate face-to-face service interactions from the contact center to service scheduling and delivery. Further, by integrating TOA with Oracle’s ERP Cloud and ERP Applications, enterprises’ field service teams will have better information and can be operated more efficiently and at lower cost.”
Amazon has completed its $970 million acquisition of Twitch, the gameplay livestreaming company that it snatched away from Google.
The Seattle online commerce giant reported the closing of the deal today in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Amazon previously announced that it was buying Twitch, its largest-ever acquisition, on Aug. 25.
Twitch has more than 55 million monthly active users who watch video streams of people playing games. It also has an active base of people who broadcast their gameplay on PCs and the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One home consoles to the rest of the world on the Internet. It has become critical for game-event coverage, and it livestreamed our recent GamesBeat 2014 event.
This filing means that Google has lost its chance to grab Twitch away. Rumors surfaced earlier this year that Google was buying Twitch, but the search giant backed away and Amazon stepped in to do the deal.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where cu… read more »
Byliner, which aimed to find a new model for selling longform journalism online, crashed and burned this summer. Now the NYC-based digital publishing site Vook has acquired it.
Failed e-singles startup Byliner acquired by digital publisher Vook originally published by Gigaom, © copyright 2014.
Google today announced that it has acquired Zync Render, a service that makes it easier for movie studios to render their visual effects in the cloud. The technology was used to render effects in movies like Star Trek: Into Darkness and Looper, for example. Google will use the technology to make it easier for studios to use its Cloud Platform infrastructure to render their creations. Read More
Continuing on its acquisition roll this year, Intuit has added cloud payroll service PaySuite to its roster. Intuit added Check and Lettuce Apps in May. It also pulled in India startup Invitco this July.
The merger was jointly announced on both the Intuit and PaySuite blogs today as well as in a tweet sent out from Intuit Quickbooks UK:
Today we’re welcoming @PaySuite to the Intuit… Read More
The Daily Star newspaper reported that ‘Raanga Pravat’ is the fourth Boeing 777 to join Biman’s fleet as part of the Dhaka government’s 2008 deal for 10 new aircraft — four 777s, four 787s and two 737s — with the US-based company. In 2011, Biman added two Boeing 777s — named ‘Palki’ and ‘Arun Alo’ — to its fleet, with a third one, ‘Akash Pradip’, arriving in February of this year. Boeing is expected to deliver the two B-737s by late 2015 and four Dreamliner B-787s by 2020 to Biman. Hasina said that Biman has already made pre-delivery payments for the two 737s, but the prime minister conceded that raising funds for such transactions is not easy. “We have no problem giving sovereign guaranty [a guarantee by the government that all obligations will be satisfied when the primary obligor goes into default],” she said, “since the [government’s] foreign currency reserve now stands at $19 billion and the economy is on a strong footing.” With respect to the four 787 Dreamliners, Hasina said Boeing has been asked to speed up those deliveries by 2015-2016.
Turning to domestic aviation matters, Hasina said that Biman needs to improve customer service, in addition to buying more aircraft. “Able stewardship, skills development and sincerity of workers are needed first,” she said. Hasina also emphasized that the government is committed to help the airline’s overall service and profitability by upgrading security at airports, increasing intelligence agency efforts at these sites, and practicing more aggressive seizures of smuggled gold and other contraband at air hubs. But she asserted the company must take steps to become profitable on its own — for example, by purchasing their own cargo aircraft instead of chartering expensive foreign airlines for cargo shipments. “We are developing the infrastructure [for Biman]. But the service needs to be improved,” she said.
Aside from incurring losses, Biman is reputedly plagued with many problems, including poor customer service, delayed flights and schedule disruptions. Bangladesh Economic Review 2013 reported that since the Dhaka government converted the airline into a public limited company in 2007, Biman posted losses every year except fiscal 2007-08 and 2008-09. The airline reported its highest loss ever in fiscal 2011-12 of about $78 million and is again running in the red this year.
Without profitability, Biman cannot survive, Hasina warned. “And you all know very well what will happen if it’s shut down. Everyone will be out of work. We want you to work properly so that Biman can be a profitable organization,” she said at the induction ceremony.
Biman Bangladesh was formed in 1972, the year after Bangladesh became an independent nation following a deadly secession war with Pakistan in the prior year. According to PlaneSpotters.net, Biman’s current fleet comprises ten aircraft.
The delivery of the two new aircraft also coincided with the resignation of Biman’s chief executive officer. The Daily Star reported that Kevin Steele, the first foreign CEO and managing director of the company, quit after only a year after reportedly failing to turn around the airline. His resignation will be effective on April 17. But Khan Mosharraf Hossain, general manager for public relations at Biman, said in a statement that Steele is resigning on “medical grounds,” after having suffered tuberculosis and a mild heart attack. “Steele’s family urged him to give up the job for health reasons,” Hossain added.
Daily Star speculated that Steele quit after getting into arguments with senior members of Biman’s government-appointed board of directors. The Star reported that Steele and the board likely fought over a number of issues, including the appointment of general sales agents and the recent shutting down of the carrier’s DC-10 aircraft. Steele initially sought to reform Biman by commencing e-ticketing and improved timely departures, among other measures. But he could not put it back into the black. “I do not say all his [Steele's] decisions and initiatives were right, but he took several steps to improve Biman’s performance and take the carrier on the path of stability,” said Kazi Wahidul Alam, editor of The Bangladesh Monitor, an aviation and tourism periodical. “But his resignation may affect continuity of the initiatives taken to bring dynamism in Biman. It is unexpected.”
Alam added that “professional chief executives would be required to run the national carrier.”
MENLO PARK, Calif., March 25, 2014 — Facebook today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Oculus VR, Inc., the leader in immersive virtual reality technology, for a total of approximately $2 billion. This includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock (valued at $1.6 billion based on the average closing price of the 20 trading days preceding March 21, 2014 of $69.35 per share). The agreement also provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones.
Oculus is the leader in immersive virtual reality technology and has already built strong interest among developers, having received more than 75,000 orders for development kits for the company’s virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift. While the applications for virtual reality technology beyond gaming are in their nascent stages, several industries are already experimenting with the technology, and Facebook plans to extend Oculus’ existing advantage in gaming to new verticals, including communications, media and entertainment, education and other areas. Given these broad potential applications, virtual reality technology is a strong candidate to emerge as the next social and communications platform.
“Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,” said Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.”
“We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world,” said Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR. “We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”
Oculus will maintain its headquarters in Irvine, CA, and will continue development of the Oculus Rift, its ground-breaking virtual reality platform.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.
CHICAGO (March 22, 2014) - The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Saturday that the club has acquired midfielder Grant Ward on loan from Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Grant is a young, technically-gifted player,” said Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop. “I watched him play in England, and throughout our preseason training camp, Grant consistently proved that he has what it takes to do well in MLS. We look forward to him joining our squad once he has recovered from his injury.”
Born in Lewisham, England, Ward joined the Tottenham Academy in July 2011, where he made a combined 26 appearances and scored three times from 2011-12.
Ward made 20 total appearances for the Spurs U18s during the 2012-13 season, including three FA Youth Cup matches.
The 19-year-old joined the Fire for preseason training camp in 2014 and scored two goals in preseason play, one on Feb. 8 in a 2-0 win over D.C. United in Bradenton, Fla., (WATCH) and another in a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids in Tucson, Ariz. (WATCH).
Ward underwent surgery on March 11 to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal. Ward will remain in England to rehabilitate his foot before joining the Fire.
“Grant’s injury is an unfortunate one but we fully expect him to bounce back,” said Fire Technical Director Brian Bliss. “We saw the type of player Grant is while he was with us during preseason, and we’re here to support and do what we can to help him get back to full fitness so he can join us later this season.”
Name: Grant Ward
Weight: 160 lbs.
Born: Dec. 5, 1994
Hometown: Lewisham, England
Last Club: Tottenham Hotspur
Acquired: On loan, March 22, 2014