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Jack Dorsey’s Square just got a license to trade bitcoin
Twitter co-founder, Square CEO, and recent publisher of the children’s book, My First Bitcoin and the Legend of Satoshi Nakamoto (not a joke), Jack Dorsey, has the green light to start making Bitcoin the Internet’s native currency.
On Monday, his “point-of-sale” company, Square, received approval for a BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Services, clearing the company to let NY customers buy and sell Bitcoin through its Cash app.
Some things you should know about Square
Founded in 2009, the company best known for its square, card-swiping phone dongle continues to broaden its offerings.
In April it bought online store builder Weebly, and launched its Cash App in the UK the same month.
The company’s market cap sits at $26.35B, reaching a record high after its payment app was approved for bitcoin trading, and more than doubling in the past year.
Though, some worry that Square’s stock may be ‘overheated’
As Quartz reports, Bitcoin has proved itself to be a corporate magnet for new customers and investors, but it’s hard to say whether those parties will stick around as crypto’s volatility continues to put a damper on coin-mania.
In the meantime, the competition continues to heat up as Square faces off against its rival PayPal, which recently bought Square’s European counterpart iZettle.
Also, it is worth noting that Square has yet to turn a profit (a struggle Dorsey is all too familiar with from his Twitter days) with their losses widening to $24m, from $15m a year earlier.
Accepting Bitcoin book titles here
Brex, created by frustrated Y-Combinator alums, offers credit cards to early startups
Brex, a fintech startup that makes credit cards for startups, raised $50m in their Series B.
The company started out by offering hard-to-find credit to early startups (mostly Y-Combinator companies) -- but has grown to serve more than 1k clients.
Credit was stuck in the Cretaceous period
Credit cards are usually issued to businesses based on revenue. So, when Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi got into Y-Combinator’s accelerator program, they were shocked to discover that -- despite their $120k+ in funding -- a line of credit was hard to come by.
And, the Brazilian entrepreneurs learned that small business credit is pegged to personal credit -- making funding difficult for founders without established, American credit to lock down financing.
So Brex created a credit card that doesn’t require cash flow, a FICO score, or a deposit -- just an account with at least $100k. Oh, that’s all?
It’s them vs. the big guns (AKA banks)
Other companies offer loans (Lendio) or aggregate credit options (Nav), but Brex is one of few to offer actual credit cards -- other than banks.
“Our biggest competitors today are traditional banks,” CEO Dubrugas told The Hustle in an interview. “No one has our niche of focusing on early-stage startups and technology.”
To compete with big banks, Brex set aside some of its $50m (in case its startup partners crash and burn) -- but it’s optimistic that its low barrier to entry will help its platform reach $1.5B in spending in 2019.
Shrugging off data privacy concerns, Facebook adds video ads to Messenger
Yesterday, Facebook announced that it will add auto-play video advertisements into private Facebook Messenger conversations -- just a day after the company’s stock hit an all-time high of $199.58.
The move, which even the most polite users are calling “annoying,” shows that Facebook’s revenue strategy is still heavily ad-focused, and that Cambridge Analytica is merely a distant memory.
People thought advertisers would ditch Facebook…
In reality, advertisers started spending even more. In spite of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, advertising spending on Facebook increased 62% in the last quarter.
But to grow ad revenue (which hit $39.9B in 2017) even further, Facebook needed to find new advertising inventory -- so it turned to Messenger.
Ch-ch-changes are coming to Facebook
Just not the kinds of changes you expected. Facebook has blitzed Messenger users with static ads for the past 18 months -- now, it will add video ads. But the company doesn’t believe the ads will impact the user experience.
The manager of Messenger’s ad business confirmed that user experience remained a “top priority” -- telling Quartz it would introduce video ads “gradually and thoughtfully.”
While the move may be unpopular with the masses, it’s unlikely that it will cut into the business’ bottom line -- after all, the company’s revenue growth managed to accelerate despite a seemingly catastrophic campaign to #DeleteFacebook.
Costco signs on with coating company that makes produce last twice as long
New avocados are rolling out to Midwest Costco stores this week, and, guess what? They look exactly the same as any other avocado.
Only difference is, these ones come coated with a little protective shield to keep them fresh longer than the typical avocado’s current 30-second shelf life.
Santa Barbara-based startup, Apeel Sciences, has invented an edible casing that could reportedly double the life of these beautiful guacamole souls.
And the company’s not on an avocado-only diet
Apeel’s invisible, plant-based film can reinforce the skin of any fruit or vegetable, creating a protective shield that wards off the brown-slimies from your ’cado, or the fluffy mold from your strawbs.
Made from cellular material extracted from plants, the semipermeable film latches to the outside of the sustenance at hand, slowing the rate at which it loses water and carbon dioxide and absorbs oxygen.
Experts say this could be THE ONE
As The Washington Post reports, fresh fruit and veggies make up more than 40% of the roughly 63m tons of food waste in the US each year.
Apeel’s hope is to enable produce to travel farther and with less refrigeration, improving quality, selection, and carbon footprint.
“Already, we’re able to bring avocados to places that didn’t have access to top quality before ... it’s so rewarding to me personally,” said Apeel CEO James Rogers.
1. A quality, highly relevant, yet time-independent resource that can be used and reused until the end of time. 2. The single, coveted market report from which all marketing materials flow. 3. A blog your CEO wrote 3 years ago that you’re still promoting on your website.
Pro tip: When in doubt, compare your business pain point to dating.
deals deals deals
"Holy shnikes, this Volcom deal is so hot right now."
Don’t get us wrong, we love when business is boomin’.
But digging through a million folders and email threads to find an up-to-date proposal template is... a special kind of hell.
And, once you do hunt down that magical doc, you have to update all of the info fields by hand, or face the dreaded faux pas of sending a proposal with the wrong company name -- or, worse yet, last quarter’s pricing.