Odds and Ends 

Axonius, a cybersecurity asset management startup, raises $20M in Series B

Cybersecurity asset management startup Axonius has raised $20 million in its second round of funding this year. Venture capital firm OpenView led the Series B, joining existing investors in bringing $37 million to date following the startup’s $13 million Series A in February. The security startup, founded in 2017, helps companies keep track of their enterprise assets, such as how many clouds, computers and devices are on their network. The logic goes that if you know what you have — including devices plugged into your network by employees or guests…

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Japans mobile payments app PayPay reaches 10 million users

Paytm, India’s biggest mobile payments firm, now has 10 million customers in Japan, the company said as it pushes to expand its reach in international markets. Paytm entered Japan last October after forming a joint venture with SoftBank and Yahoo Japan called PayPay. In addition to 10 million users, PayPay is now supported by 1 million merchant partners and local stores in Japan, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, founder and CEO of Paytm said Thursday. The mobile payments app has clocked more than 100 million transactions to date in the nation, he claimed.…

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Headlines 

Prime Day: activists plan protests in US cities and a boycott of e-commerce giant

Immigrants and workers say Amazon should cut ties with federal deportation agencies and provide better work conditions Activists, immigrants and Amazon employees are planning actions against the e-commerce giant on its annual Prime Day, to protest against its labor practices and its involvement with US authorities deportation efforts. The protests on Monday are set to take place in at least seven US cities, and will coincide with the yearly sale that made the company more than $4bn in 2018. Activists say Amazon should not be profiting off the yearly sale…

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Amazon Spark, the retailers two-year-old Instagram competitor, has shut down

Amazon’s two-year-old Instagram competitor, Amazon Spark, is no more. Hoping to capitalize on the social shopping trend and tap into the power of online influencers, Amazon in 2017 launched its own take on Instagram with a shoppable feed of stories and photos aimed at Prime members. The experiment known as Amazon Spark has now come to an end. However, the learnings from Spark and Amazon’s discovery tool Interesting Finds are being blended into a new social-inspired product, #FoundItOnAmazon. Amazon Spark had been a fairly bland service, if truth be told.…

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Headlines 

Shoppers get drunk, go online, and spend money on Amazon

So many Amazon packages.Image: Peter Steffen/picture alliance via Getty Images Amazon is already more than dominant in the online shopping space, but add a shot or three of tequila and that Amazon Prime free two-day shipping looks even more appealing. Tech and business newsletter The Hustle surveyed more than 2,000 alcohol-drinking adults about their online shopping behavior after imbibing and found that on average, shoppers spent more than $400 per year on items bought while intoxicated. If you apply that number beyond the respondents to include America’s legal alcohol-drinkers, you…

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FTC brings its first case against fake paid reviews on Amazon

The Federal Trade Commission announced on Tuesday evening that it has brought its first case against using fake reviews to sell products online. The Commission said it will settle with defendant Cure Encapsulations Inc., a New York City-based company, and owner Naftula Jacobwitz, who it accused of making false claims about a weight loss supplement and paying a third-party website to post fake reviews on Amazon. Fake reviews are a constant nuisance for Amazon shoppers, despite algorithms designed to safeguard its review system, and the company has hit back with…

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Lazada, Alibabas Southeast Asia e-commerce business, gets a new CEO

Alibaba has reshuffled the leadership at Lazada, its e-commerce firm in Southeast Asia, after CEO Lucy Peng — an original Alibaba co-founder — stepped down to be replaced by Lazada executive president Pierre Poignant after just nine months in the role. Alibaba owns more than 90 percent of Lazada but it has been involved in the business since April 2016 when it bought 51 percent of Lazada for $1 billion from Rocket Internet. It invested a further $1 billion last year to increase its equity to around 83 percent and earlier this year…

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Payment service Toss becomes Koreas newest unicorn after raising $80M

South Korea has got its third unicorn startup after Viva Republica, the company beyond popular payment app Toss, announced it has raised an $80 million round at a valuation of $1.2 billion. This new round is led by U.S. firms Kleiner Perkins and Ribbit Capital, both of which cut their first checks for Korea with this deal. Others participating include existing investors Altos Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Goodwater Capital, KTB Network, Novel, PayPal and Qualcomm Ventures. The deal comes just six months after Viva Republica raised $40 million to accelerate growth, and it takes…

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Headlines 

Why Prada Can Charge $1,700 for Bananas on Your Shirt

return of its early-2000s saddle bag line by asking style bloggers from around the world to post snaps of the satchel on Instagram at the same time. In September, Versace showed a “tribute” collection with updated versions of founder Gianni’s most memorable looks, closing the show with a reunion of 1990s models including Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and former French first lady Carla Bruni. Prada also isn’t the only brand doing ugly anymore. From crystal-studded platform Crocs and clunky sneakers at Kering’s Balenciaga to thigh-high Ugg boots at Y/Project to…

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Headlines 

George Soros Prepares to Trade Cryptocurrencies

The family office is said to have recently approved trading Soros called the digital assets a ‘bubble’ in January George Soros called cryptocurrencies a bubble in January. Now his $26 billion family office is planning to trade digital assets. Adam Fisher, who oversees macro investing at New York-based Soros Fund Management, got internal approval to trade virtual coins in the last few months, though he has yet to make a wager, according to people familiar with the matter. A spokesman declined to comment. Soros, Read more: Crypto Hedge-Fund Bubble Begins…

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Headlines 

Alibaba Singles’ Day Posts Record 168 Billion Yuan in Sales

Jack Ma is using it as a testing ground for his plans to revamp China’s $4 trillion traditional retail sector with technology, an experiment that could help the behemoth gain an edge in China’s saturated market. “The work that’s been done in the integration of offline and online, not just in terms of the technology integration, but the data and efficiencies for brands and the consumer through personalization has been enormous,” Alibaba President Mike Evans said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “We see the impact of it in our…

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Headlines 

Alibaba Singles’ Day Sales Hit $8.6 Billion in First Hour

Jack Ma is using this year’s event as a testing ground for his plans to revamp China’s $4 trillion traditional retail sector with technology, an experiment that could help the behemoth gain an edge in China’s saturated retail market. “The work that’s been done in the integration of offline and online, not just in terms of the technology integration, but the data and efficiencies for brands and the consumer through personalization has been enormous,” Alibaba President Mike Evans said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “We see the impact of…

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Odds and Ends 

Apple removes VPN apps from the App Store in China

The Chinese governments crackdown on the internet continues with the news that Apple has removed all major VPN apps, which help internet users overcome the countrys censorship system, from the App Store in China. The move was first noted by ExpressVPN, a provider based outside of China,which said in a blog post all major VPN apps including its own had been purged from Apples China-based store. The company shared a note from Apple (below) explaining that its app was removed because it includes content that is illegal in China. The…

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Cross-border payment startup InstaRem eyes IPO in 2020 after closing $13M Series B

Cross-border payment startupInstaRem has raised $13 million in new financing as it looks to expand its business, which is rooted in Asia, into Europe and North America ahead of an eventual public listing as soon as 2020. The Singapore-based startup said the raise was led by ChinasGSR Ventures, an early investor in Didi among others, withparticipation from Japan/Netherlands SBI-FMO Emerging Asia Financial Sector Fund. Existing backersVertexVentures, Fullerton Financial Holdings, and Global Founders Capital also joined the round. Instarem previously closed a $5 million Series A in March 2016. InstaRem operates…

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Deal-finding browser tool Honey now tracks Amazon price drops, offers hotel savings

Since its launch several years ago, the deal-finding browser add-on Honey has grown its install base to 4.4 million users on Chrome, in addition to its smaller presence on Firefox and Safari. Initially conceived as an easier way to find savings by tracking sales and retailers promo codes, the company is now expanding its selection of online shopping tools to include an Amazon price drop tracker called DropList, along with other new tools for finding travel deals. With its heavy focus on finding coupon codes, Honey has been missing out…

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