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.
Media conglomerate Disney has taken a big step to embracing the new digital world of video, announcing the acquisition of YouTube network Maker Studios for $500 million, along with a potential $450 million in performance-based earn outs. The acquisition, which was first reported by Re/Code, represents the largest acquisition of a YouTube multichannel network, and could spell more consolidation in the space.
“Short-form online video is growing at an astonishing pace and with Maker Studios, Disney will now be at the center of this dynamic industry with an unmatched combination of advanced technology and programming expertise and capabilities,” said Disney CEO Robert Iger in the acquisition release.
Maker will remain headquartered in Culver City, Calif., and will report to Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo, the companies say.
Maker was originally founded by a team of individual YouTube creators who hoped to leverage each other’s separate audiences and skill sets to increase the number of views and subscribers of each. Think of it as a sort of “whole being greater than the sum of its parts” strategy.
But over time it’s evolved into a much bigger business than those original founders could have possibly predicted. It represents thousands of creators who have hundreds of millions of subscribers and together have 5.5 billion video views per month.
Maker has also raised a ton of money along the way. It’s raised $66 million over three rounds of funding, with investors that include Canal+, Astro, SingTel Innov8, Lakestar, Northgate Capital, Time Warner Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Maker executive chairman Ynon Kreiz, Downey Ventures, Elisabeth Murdoch, FUEL: M+C, Daher Capital, and producer Jon Landau.
The acquisition comes at a premium over its most recent valuation of around $300 million, when it raised $26 million from Canal+, Singtel, and others to go after the international market.
Maker isn’t the only multichannel network to exist on YouTube, but it’s certainly one of the biggest. And being acquired by Disney could have a big impact on the industry, as other major media conglomerates or TV networks stake out their own place in the YouTube ecosystem.
That said, there are still questions to be answered about the acquisition. For instance: the vast majority of Maker’s views and revenues come from YouTube — how does it begin to move beyond the online video giant as its main distribution platform and establish its own set of mobile and connected TV apps?
It’s starting to get more serious about that, and has taken steps to improve its presence on new platforms outside of YouTube. Last summer it acquired Blip, which gave it another distribution platform, as well as a tech team with experience connecting to multiple different mobile and TV ecosystems.
Having the backing of Disney and all of its media marketing power, as well as its tech prowess, could help make Maker even bigger — or at least more profitable.
The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of Disney’s fiscal year.
Update: Anthony just spoke with Kevin Mayer, Disney’s executive vice president of corporate development, who offered a little more context around the deal. He said that Disney tends to be “pretty proactive” when it comes to strategic acquisitions, and in this case it was searching for a deal that could help the company “take that big step on YouTube.”
Disney has more than 70 channels on YouTube already, but it mostly treats the video supersite as a promotional channel, Mayer said, so it could doing a lot more to both repackage existing content for YouTube and create programs that are entirely new. He added that Maker was the right partner for this shift, not just because of the size of its audience, but also the quality of its executive team. (There are also some connections on that side, with Maker’s Chief Audience Officer Chris M. Williams previously serving as vice president and general manager of Disney Online Originals.)
As for why Maker will be reporting to Disney’s CFO, Mayer said that structure will create “the best chance for each and every one of our business units to build a better presence on YouTube.”
Is Yahoo working on its own online document creation and collaboration software? That’s the question which immediately comes to mind upon hearing news that the company has now picked up a Bangalore-based startup called Bookpad, makers of Docspad, a service aimed at developers looking to add document viewing, annotations and editing features within their own applications.
What… Read More
Best Doctors, which offers second opinions and reviews from medical experts around the world, has scooped up the Chicago-based population management company Rise Health for an undisclosed sum.
Rise Health studies large groups of patients and helps payers and providers determine how to treat them all, from the healthiest to the sickest. With Rise Health’s people and technology on board, Best Doctors hopes to be able to predict which sick patients might be best served by its expert opinions.
This might dramatically increase the number of medical reviews Best Doctors arranges every year.
Rise Health also sells patient engagement systems to healthcare providers. The company’s 40 employees will stay in Chicago and Baltimore, the companies say.
Boston-based Best Doctors, which was founded by Harvard doctors in 1989 and now has 650 employees, contracts with large employers to provide expert physician opinions to employees. The experts are chosen by their peers as among the best in a particular treatment area. Most of these doctors are located outside the U.S.
Many of Best Doctors’ customers are Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies that operate all over the world, like Pepsico. Best Doctors makes it easier for these large companies to send executives and their families to far-flung places around the world with some guarantee of good healthcare. Those employees can get access to physicians nearby or can consult with Best Doctors physicians from virtually anywhere.
Best Doctors also designs, implements, and administers health plans for individuals and families. The company says it now has 30 million members worldwide.
“Best Doctors is well-positioned to take advantage of changes that have taken place due to the Affordable Care Act,” says the company’s COO John Varvaris, in a note to VentureBeat. “We are always examining the best ways to optimize our capital structure and believe we’re in a very unique position within the industry.”
Best Doctors has raised a total of $65.5 million in venture funding from Brown Brothers Harriman and Nippon Life Insurance Company of Japan.
Varvaris says the company grew 18.6 percent from 2012 to 2013, and he expects a similar growth rate from last year to this year. The expert physician opinion service and the insurance business contribute roughly equal amounts to the company’s bottom line.
Best Doctors is one of five companies VentureBeat predicts will be the next five IPOs in the digital health space.
VMware has acquired CloudVolumes, a startup whose technology helps companies provide complex applications to their employees quickly and easily.
Word of the acquisition came in a blog post today by CloudVolumes senior vice president and chief product officer Harry Labana. Although Labana didn’t disclose terms of the deal, he said that VMware will announce more details on the implications of the deal during its VMworld conference next week.
The deal could help VMware better articulate the value of its software for desktop virtualization, which packages up the desktop experiences and legacy applications that employees use in such a way that everything can be run securely from devices other than corporate computers, even outside company offices. That can happen as a result of a desktop operating system like Windows running inside a virtual machine on a company server.
VMware pioneered virtualization technology — which enables multiple applications to run inside virtual machines on top of physical servers — more than a decade ago, and it still brings in much of the company’s revenue. But VMware has striven to sell additional types of enterprise software and expand its portfolio. The publicly traded company has made acquisitions in recent years to add offerings in the areas of storage and networking, as well as in desktop virtualization.
VMware ought to take such steps as open-source and Microsoft virtualization software continue to take hold, along with the rise of emerging technology for running multiple applications on physical servers like Docker.
Now VMware’s virtual desktop assets stand to get stronger as they can take advantage of potential cost savings as a result of CloudVolumes’ more efficient use of computing resources.
CloudVolumes’ architecture “significantly reduces the infrastructure overhead and simplifies application lifecycle management,” Labana wrote in today’s blog post.
In a sense, we should have seen this acquisition coming. CloudVolumes has been a VMware partner in the past, and VMware has played up the startup’s capabilities and said it complements VMware’s ThinApp software for virtualizing applications for end users.
CloudVolumes can also quickly grab more server capacity for applications when demand increases. It works for VMware’s widely used ESX hypervisor software for creating virtual machines, and supports Microsoft’s competing Hyper-V hypervisor. Support for public clouds like market-leading Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure were on the way, according to the company’s website.
Based in Santa Clara, Calif., CloudVolumes disclosed in July 2013 that it had raised $2.1 million in funding. Vish Mishra, a venture director at Clearstone Venture Partners, sits on the startup’s board.
Matthew Conover and Matthieu Suiche first started working on the CloudVolumes software in 2011.
VMware (NYSE: VMW) is the leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions that enable our more than 500,000 enterprise and mid-market customers to thrive in the Cloud Era by simplifying, automating and transforming the way … read more »
The Oakland Athletics acquired right-handed pitcher Deck McGuire from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations. McGuire, a former star for the Peninsula Pilots, Georgia Tech and Deep Run High, will be optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.
McGuire is 6-9 with a 4.21 earned-run average in 20 starts between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo.
McGuire, 25, began the season with New Hampshire and was 3-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 starts before he was promoted to Buffalo, where he went 3-5 with a 5.56 ERA.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder was selected in the first round, 11th overall, by Toronto in the 2010 draft. His younger brother Wes, from Lenoir-Rhyne, currently pitches for the Pilots.
Coastal Plain League:
Wilson scored five runs in the seventh inning to overcome a two-run deficit and rally for an 8-6 win over the Peninsula Pilots before 3,103 at War Memorial Stadium.
Remarkably, the Tobs scored those five runs without the ball leaving the infield, capitalizing on defensive mistakes by Peninsula — including two of the Pilots’ three official errors. Richmond pitcher Ryan Cook, who yielded five runs, took the loss to fall to 0-2.
The Pilots (35-12, 14-5 in the season’s second half) got three hits from Old Dominion’s Conner Myers, two hits, two runs and RBI from Liberty’s Alex Close and two hits each from Purdue’s Kyle Johnson and ODU teammates PJ Higgins and Taylor Ostrich.
But the Tobs (23-22, 8-9) got three hits from Campbell’s Seth LaRue. They survived leaving 13 runners on base, while the Pilots stranded 10.
Jimmy Paredes had two hits and two RBI in his first game with Norfolk as the surging Tides (49-58) won their fifth game in a row, beating West Division-leading Columbus 5-2 before 10,802 in Ohio to start a trip.
The Tides scored five earned runs off rehabbing major-leaguer Justin Masterson in 6 2/3 innings. He yielded just four hits but walked six.
Michael Wright (2-9) pitched seven innings for the win, giving up seven hits but striking out six and walking none.
The Tides traveled with the momentum they have garnered at Harbor Park, where they are 15-2 in their last 17 games. They had played 14 consecutive home games before Friday.
Christian Walker’s sacrifice fly and Steve Clevenger’s RBI single gave the Tides a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Paredes, acquired Thursday by Baltimore from Kansas City, hit an RBI single in the seventh before Matt Carson slugged a two-run homer to make it 5-1.
The Richmond Flying Squirrels (64-42) got only one hit as their winning streak ended at six with a 2-0 loss to the Erie SeaWolves in Pennsylvania.
Winner Warwick Saupold (7-8) yielded only a Matt Duffy first-inning double to center in his six-inning stint, though he walked five and struck out just two. Ryan Robowski and Jose Valdez combined to finish the game with three hitless innings for the Detroit Tigers’ Double-A affiliate (51-55).
Kyle Crick took the loss despite striking out 11 in six innings. He gave up five hits, including Dixon Machado’s RBI single to left field with two out in the second.
The SeaWolves’ Steven Moya belted a home run off sidearming reliever Phil McCormick in the eighth inning.
Despite the defeat, the Squirrels still have set a franchise record with 33 road victories.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet will be on display Saturday night at Virginia Motor Speedway in the Middle Peninsula town of Jamaica.
A “Salute to the Fallen” Tribute Night will be held. Five races are scheduled, and all military (active or retired) will be admitted free with proper identification.
Facebook acquires virtual reality company Oculus VR for $2 billion (Part 1 of 5)
Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion
Facebook (FB) recently announced that it’s acquiring Oculus VR, the maker of a virtual reality headset, for a valuation of $2 billion. The amount will include $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock valued at a total of $1.6 billion. The agreement also provides for an additional $300 million earn-out in cash and stock based on the achievement of certain milestones. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter of 2014.
Facebook keeping its big acquisitions trend intact
Facebook, which competes with LinkedIn (LNKD) in the social media space, has done its third big acquisition in less than two years. Facebook first bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012, then it bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in February this year, and now it’s buying Oculus. Market Realist covered Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and then its impact on Twitter (TWTR). In that series, we discussed about WhatsApp and its prospects. The most notable thing note about WhatsApp was that its monthly active users had grown so fast in the first four years of the company’s existence that it comfortably beat Facebook, Google’s (GOOG) Gmail, Twitter, and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Skype combined monthly active users in their respective first four years of existence.
Oculus is a leader in immersive virtual reality technology
According to a press release from Facebook, 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. A blog post from Oculus shares the whole story of how Facebook’s intent to acquire Oculus developed. It reads, “A few months ago, Mark, Chris, and Cory from the Facebook team came down to visit our office, see the latest demos, and discuss how we could work together to bring our vision to millions of people. As we talked more, we discovered the two teams shared an even deeper vision of creating a new platform for interaction that allows billions of people to connect in a way never before possible.”
Browse this series on Market Realist:
Technology Reporter- Boston Business Journal
Payment technology provider Merchant Warehouse, based in Boston, announced Tuesday it acquired Opticard, a provider of gift and loyalty cards for organizations across the world.
The acquisition will allow Merchant Warehouse to work on offering mobile-based gift cards and loyalty cards and other digital opportunities for small and mid-sized retailers, according to a release.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Merchant Warehouse plans to offer customers easily accessible gift cards and loyalty cards through their mobile phones, Henry Helgeson, CEO of Merchant Warehouse.
“Bringing these capabilities to mobile devices ensures consumers never have to worry about leaving coupons, gift cards or even their loyalty cards at home; they’ll always be easily accessible and usable through their phones,” he said in a statement. “This has significant potential for merchants to generate greater revenue and more effectively compete with big-box stores. We’re looking forward to continued expansion and innovation of our payment technology capabilities and services for businesses to build greater customer loyalty.”
Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Opticard has completed more than 20 million transactions annually through its gift card and loyalty programs, and it serves about 20,000 merchants, according to a press release. Opticard’s 15 employees will remain in Scottsdale, according to a spokesperson.
Merchant Warehouse, founded in 1998, has more than 300 employees across its offices in Boston, Belfast, Ireland, and Scottsdale, Ariz.
Last year, Merchant Warehouse and Boston-based LevelUp co-sponsored a $1 million fund to support the creation of a white-labeled, customized mobile payment apps for businesses.
EPAM Systems, Inc.
), a global provider of customized software engineering and
technology services, recently signed a definitive agreement to
acquire NetSoft USA, Inc., a strategic technology and design firm
specializing in healthcare and insurance, for an undisclosed
Based in New York City, NetSoft USA empowers healthcare
organizations with customized, value-added software solutions.
Leading health plans in the U.S. seek NetSoft USA’s collaboration
on their medical management and claims systems. The company’s
forte lies in working with leaders in revolutionary fields such
as Health Information Exchanges (HIE), accountable care
organizations (ACO), healthcare analytics, tele-medicine,
personalized medicine and online self-service capabilities.
With healthcare dynamics undergoing a massive transformation, the
industry seems to be on the brink of a strategic shift in
operations. NetSoft USA’s technological and strategic expertise
in the field of healthcare insurance will add deep value to
EPAM’s ability to deliver complicated, mission-critical solutions
The acquisition is in tune with EPAM’s strategy of synchronizing
its operations with developments in healthcare. The combination
of EPAM’s scale and rich knowledge in customer-centric industries
with NetSoft USA’s valuable software skills is likely to generate
synergistic benefits. The acquisition is expected to create
distinctive opportunities for EPAM’s clientele and facilitate
complex business and software solutions.
EPAM primarily serves banking, business information, financial
services, media and hospitality industries. Over time, EPAM’s
strategy of rapid expansion within its verticals by capitalizing
on strong software engineering expertise has paid off. By
focusing on competencies in business as well as technological
domains, EPAM has established itself as a leader in crafting
complex information technology solutions. This acquisition will
further enable the company to fortify its position in the
healthcare insurance space.
EPAM currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other notable stocks
in the sector that hold a higher Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)
CommScope Holding Company, Inc.