Stripe partners with Salesforce; invests for high scale as enterprise customers quickly adapt to digital economy

Online payments is a big chunk of the fintech market and some renown companies are currently ruling the roster. While most of us are aware of big shot companies such as Adyen and PayPal, the San-Francisco-based Fintech Stripe seems to be doing much better than its more famous competitors. Stripes has bagged the top spot in the Forrester Wave report on Global Merchant Payments Providers, Q3 2020. In addition, it has also announced a new partnership with Salesforce. 

Stripe scores highest in Forrester’s new report

Forrester is one of the leading analyst firms, which recently released its Forrester Wave report on Global Merchant Payments Providers, Q3 2020. As per the report, Stripe is the best performing fintech in two categories, namely, strategy and current product offering. Stripe was closely followed by Adyen, which is also in the same ballpark in the ‘Leaders’ segment wherein classified companies exhibit a strong strategy along with notable current offerings. 

“Many of our enterprise customers are huge category leaders—each one is a global giant processing more than a billion dollars annually—and they’re going all in on Stripe to move quickly at immense scale,” comments Mike Clayville, Chief Revenue Officer at Stripe. 

Partnership with Salesforce

Ever since the pandemic, people are being wary of dealing in cash and have turned to contactless and online payment options. This in turn leads to a huge increase in online transactions, which need to be rapidly processed. To help retailers adapt to this newfound digital spending surge, Stripe has forged a new partnership with the CRM software company Salesforce. 

The partnership was announced alongside the launch of Digital 360, a new platform aiming at binding marketing, commerce and digital experience products for “driving digital transformation in the enterprise.” There’s a part of this new platform called the Salesforce Commerce Cloud, which offers Commerce Cloud Payments that will be powered by Stripe to enable brands launch commerce experiences with integrated payments capabilities. 

“Our partnership with Salesforce will enable enterprise businesses to quickly bring new online products and services to market with best-in-class payments capabilities already built-in to support their customers and boost their revenue. As the world’s leading CRM provider, Salesforce can bring Stripe’s payments capabilities to a huge audience of fast growing, ambitious enterprise businesses, whilst deepening relationships with their users,” Eileen O’Mara, Stripe’s Revenue and Growth Lead for EMEA, tells Silicon Canals. 

Talking about Stripe’s future plans with respect to the European market, O’Mara says, Europe is a very important market for Stripe and we have experienced rapid growth here in the past few years supporting users of all sizes.”

“Over the last 12 months in particular, we’ve seen a lot of Europe’s major heritage brands move to Stripe –  from supermarket chains like Waitrose, to financial services giants like AJ Bell. Now more than ever businesses across Europe are reliant on the internet to drive growth, and we are well placed to help them as they adapt,” she adds. 

Focus on large enterprises

As large enterprises are acclimatising to the new digital economy, Stripe seems to be accelerating its march into the enterprise segment this year. According to the company, enterprises such as Atlassian, Maersk and Mindbody have turned to Stripe recently to help power adaptation in the form of optimising their core business, entering new markets, and creating new revenue streams.

In addition to Stripe’s aggressive push towards big businesses, the company is also investing heavily to further enable high-scale operations and securely move hundreds of billions of dollars a year for the world’s largest and most complex companies. 

“In recent months, all around the world, we have seen a massive acceleration in the growth of the online economy – which means enterprise businesses are also having to accelerate their plans to adapt. Changes that may previously have taken large enterprises years to implement are now being enacted in weeks. We want all companies to be able to seize the wide range of growth opportunities that exist online,” says O’Mara. 

The recent appointments of Dhivya Suryadevara as Chief Financial Officer (from General Motors) and Mike Clayville as Chief Revenue Officer (from Amazon Web Services), upgrades to Stripe’s invoicing and subscription capabilities, and the launch of Stripe’s global direct acquiring platform are among the foundations Stripe has put in place to enable further scale over the coming years. 

Additionally, considering its new partnership with Salesforce, fresh hires rollout of new upgrades and launches, we asked O’Mara if the company is planning for an IPO. However, she confirms that currently there are no plans for Stripe’s IPO, at least not in the near future. 

Image Credits: Stripe

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Milan-based MotorK offers digital & SaaS-based solutions to the automotive industry; raises €10M in equity and debt

MotorK, an Italian company that offers various digital products to the automotive industry, has secured €10M in equity and debt to accelerate its growth in the post-COVID low touch economy. The round was led by Real Web while Illimity, the high-tech bank specialised in SME credit, is the sole provider for the debt facility. Existing investors Zobito and 83North also contributed to the round.

Aims to strengthen international team

The latest funding will allow the company to fast-track the release of new digital and technological tools that consolidates the wide marketing suite range of products and services already available to dealerships and manufacturers. A part of the funding will also help MotorK to strengthen the international team. 

The Milano-based startup recently announced senior hires, including the appointment of the Chief Growth Officer, the Chief Product Officer, and the Country Manager for the Spanish market.

Automotive sales and marketing technology

Founded in 2010 by three serial entrepreneurs – Fabio Gurgone, Marco De Michele, and Marco Marlia, MotorK develops and sells digital solutions and SaaS cloud products to automotive companies in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Currently, the company works with over 1,500 dealerships and 90% of the car manufacturers operating in the European market. 

MotorK has already developed and built a wide range of products for the automotive industry. 

  • DriveK –  A car marketplace in Europe and is addressed to the B2C market. 
  • DealerK – A SaaS platform for car dealers to bolster digitisation processes and improve sales. 
  • Internet Motors – A digital automotive event network in EMEA.

As a part of its 10th-anniversary celebrations, MotorK will reveal its flagship products, WebSparK; an automotive digital experience platform built to maximise lead generation, and LeadSparK; an integrated tool designed to manage leads and CRM activities.

Last year, in January, MotorK closed a €30M loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support the company’s R&D activities and business growth. The funding from the EIB comes one and a half years after the company’s first round of Series A private equity investment worth $ 10M (nearly €8.59M) from 83North and Zobito.

Main image credits: MotorK

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Can I file a digital copyright registration before incorporating my startup?

I've been working on a project for the past 2ish years and am about to publish our landing page in order to gauge consumer interest. Is it possible to file a copyright registration for the site, just in case someone finds our site and copies our service, business model, and our marketing like almost verbatim, before actually incorporating the company? And I know some of you might suggest that I shouldn't worry about this yet, but this is an idea that has come a long long way, and it would really suck to have it copied by someone with more resources available and a faster time to market. Any and all ideas are appreciated ^__^

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

World Summit AI goes digital but will return to Amsterdam in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all walks of our lives. From work to education and commute to shopping, almost everything is impacted. Some countries are getting back on track, and The Netherlands is one of them, although there’s some time before we return to the new normal. During this period, most events that were supposed to happen have shifted online and the renown World Summit AI is one of them.

World Summit AI

The World Summit AI event brings together a global AI ecosystem of enterprise, big tech, startups, investors and Science. Also, some of the brightest brains in AI as speakers are present every year to answer and tackle some of the most burning AI issues and set the global AI agenda. However, as 2020 turned uncertain, the organisers at InspiredMinds decided to make World Summit AI a digital experience. 

While it might sound easy, the digital transformation of one of the most significant global events wasn’t easy. In a conversation with Silicon Canals, InspiredMinds’ CEO, Founder and Board member, Sarah Porter, lets us in on some of the challenges they faced in their journey of taking the World Summit AI (WSAI) online. Furthermore, we also delved deeper to know about key trends that will take centre stage in the event’s next edition, and what Amsterdam means to WSAI. 

Digital transformation can be ‘challenging’

The decision and process of taking one of the most significant events online is no easy feat. This year, WSAI was all set to happen in Montreal, Canada, but just two weeks prior, the decision to switch the event to digital was made. 

“As a leader, I felt sick. We spent a year preparing for a physical event, but the surge in cases globally was evident. While there were no cases at that moment in Quebec and very few in Canada, a pattern was clearly forming. With a high ratio of international attendees,  I decided to switch the event online,” notes Porter. “InspiredMinds teams worked tirelessly with our speakers to create a digital platform. We made pre-recordings to eliminate the risk associated with live production. We made the event available on demand for 60 days, and our delegates loved this. Our community supported us, and it went quite well.”

WSAI has since then run over 20 digital events. These events span from a COVID series webinars for their medical community, to a two-day online event in May. In part, InsipredMinds was learning as a team on how to execute a digital event since its Q3 summit would be conducted virtually as well. The firm wanted to be well versed in what could go wrong and what their customers wanted by Q3. 

“The impact on WSAI, which usually runs in October, has been challenging. Our community traditionally uses such summits to network, for experience (in our festival style summits), for world-class content, and for conducting business face to face. Transferring this to a digital platform meant shifting focus firmly on a high level of production, high level of speakers and curated content that we are known for and facilitating the best networking experience possible,” says Porter.

Since networking and facilitating was a problematic and key scenario for the event, the team used a customised platform instead of uploading the content on YouTube. “We chose to invest in the very best platform and production teams by outsourcing parts to a specialist broadcasting team and a BAFTA TV director. Also curated the audience’s experiences,“ Porter adds. 

Ensuring engagement online

For all people working from home, it’s not easy to engage with content online. To tackle this, the WSAI team divided 12 stages of its event into 8 sessions in a series that spans three months. “We also saw a huge opportunity in the way online democratising access to our summits. It resulted in a notable increase in attendance globally, which is exactly what AI needs.”

5th anniversary of WSAI will be celebrated in Amsterdam

WSAI signed a two-year deal with the city of Amsterdam to host its event there. While this year the event is being conducted digitally, next year is the 5th anniversary of World Summit AI, and folks over at InspiredMinds say that they have something ‘huge’ for next year, which they’ll soon reveal. As aptly put by Porter, Amsterdam is home to a quiet, yet powerful tech scene. 

Porter remarks, “Amsterdam is regarded as the pan European epicentre of AI for both, the Dutch national strategy on AI and also for the European and global coalitions and government strategies, which are based in The Hague and the Amsterdam surrounding area. It is an incredibly sustainable city, which is a part of our ethos too. Overall, World Summit being a community built from within the ecosystem itself, there’s a lot of love for WSAI by the practitioners and business leaders who see Amsterdam as its home for next year.”

This article is produced in collaboration with StartupAmsterdam. Read more about our partnering opportunities

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Belgian collaborative financing platform Mozzeno aims to be a major player in digital credit; raises €3M

Are you planning to renovate your house? Or, need money to carry out a personal project? Or, do you need a vehicle to get to your new job? Here’s a startup that may help out. Belgium-based fintech startup Mozzeno is a digital collaborative financing platform that allows individuals to indirectly finance loans granted to other individuals or companies.

Raises capital

Launched in February 2017 by Frederic Dujeux and Xavier Laoureux, Mozzeno allows its users to indirectly finance loans granted to other individuals or companies.

The collaborative financing platform has raised €3M in a fresh round of funding from existing investors such as the W.IN.G fund, and Federal Insurance.

The raised capital will help Mozzeno strengthen its financial base and accelerate its development. The aim of the collaborative platform is to become a major player in credit to individuals and companies.

Speaking on the development, Xavier Laoureux, Mozzeno co-founder, said, “With 2000 loans for a total of €15M, Mozzeno is poised to become a major player in digital credit in Belgium. The recently raised funds give us the opportunity to present our innovative model to an even wider audience. In this way, our borrowers can now connect directly to their bank account from our platform and prove their income and expenses much more easily.”

Collaborative financing 

Mozzeno has been active since February 2017. According to the company, it is the first Belgian collaborative financing platform that allows individuals to indirectly finance projects of other individuals and professionals.

The company wants to use its model to return to the basics of the traditional banking system, where the savings of one were used exclusively to finance the projects of the other, without complicated intermediate steps.

Since its launch, Mozzeno has already granted more than 2,000 collaborative loans for nearly €15M. It also has a community of more than 6000 private investors, for whom Mozzeno has developed different lines. This is to offer a wide variety in the investments offered and thus optimise the user experience.

Image credit: Mozzeno

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Startups – Silicon Canals

[Hub Security in PR Newswire] Hub Security to provide INX Limited with Military-grade Cybersecurity for Digital Assets

Hub Security, the cyber security platform, is announcing the use of its military-grade VaultHSM to secure INX Limited’s crypto services.This news comes on the heels of INX Limited’s latest announcement of its initial public offering this week of up to 130 million INX Security Tokens (the “INX Tokens” or “Tokens”).

Read more here.

The post [Hub Security in PR Newswire] Hub Security to provide INX Limited with Military-grade Cybersecurity for Digital Assets appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

Despite a rough year for digital media, Blavity and The Shade Room are thriving

Last week at TechCrunch Disrupt, TechCrunch media and advertising reporter Anthony Ha sat down with Blavity CEO Morgan DeBaun and The Shade Room CEO Angelica Nwandu to chat about their respective media companies, 2020 in the media world and how they view a recent conversation inside of media to hire and retain more diverse workforces.

Blavity is a network of online publications focused on Black audiences across verticals like politics, travel and technology. To date, the company has raised $ 9.4 million, according to Crunchbase data.

The Shade Room is an Instagram-focused media company that publishes hourly updates on national news, celebrity updates and fashion. Focused on the Black perspective, The Shade Room has attracted more than 20 million followers on Instagram and comments on issues of importance during key national moments.

During her conversation with Ha, Nwandu said that during the Black Lives Matters protests, The Shade Room was akin to a Black CNN.

With both companies founded in 2014, both CEOs have kept their media startups alive during a particularly difficult period. In the last six years, many media brands have shuttered, sold, slimmed or slunk away to the ash heap of history.

Startups – TechCrunch

Church of Christ 1914 : Matching .com #domain avoided digital crucifixion The registrant of the domain was hit with a UDRP, that was filed by a church in the Philippines. The Complainant is Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ), Philippines, that  describes itself as an independent Christian church, founded in 1914, which maintains nearly 7,000 congregations and missions grouped into …

Morgan Beller, co-creator of the Libra digital currency, just joined the venture firm NFX

Morgan Beller, who is a co-creator of the proposed Libra digital currency, along with Facebook vice presidents David Marcus and Kevin Weil, has left the company to become a general partner with the venture firm NFX .

In a call yesterday, she said she first became acquainted with the San Francisco-based outfit five years ago when on a “tech trek” to Israel, she met its local partner, Gigi Levy-Weiss, and formed a friendship with him.

At the time, she was a young partner at Andreessen Horowitz, working on its deal team after graduating from Cornell as a statistics major.

A role working on corporate development and strategy at Medium would follow, then it was on to Facebook in 2017, where Beller began in corporate development and — intrigued by cryptocurrency tech — where she quickly began evangelizing to her bosses the importance of better understanding it.

As she half-jokingly explains it, “Crypto is a mental virus for which there is no cure. I was at a16z when they got infected with the crypto virus.” She eventually caught it herself, and by the time she joined Facebook, she says she “realized no one was thinking about that space full time, so I took it upon myself to [help the company] figure out its point of view.”

Indeed, a CNBC story about Beller last year reports that at one point, she was the sole person on a Facebook blockchain initiative —  meeting with those in the know, attending relevant events, and otherwise researching the technology. Bill Barhydt, the CEO of the digital wallet startup Abra, told the outlet of Beller:  “I give her a lot of credit for taking what seems like a very methodical, long-term approach to figuring this out.”

All that said, Beller notes that as a full-time investor with NFX, she will not be focused exclusively or even mainly on crypto. Her focus instead will be finding and helping to cultivate seed-stage startups that aim to grow so-called network effects businesses.

It’s the broad theme of NFX, a now 25-person outfit cofounded five years ago by serial entrepreneurs who have all seen their companies acquired, including Levy-Weiss (who cofounded the online travel site, and the social casino game publisher Playtika); Pete Flint (cofounder of the home buyers’ site Trulia); and James Currier (of the social network Tickle).

Certainly, she will keep busy at the firm, she suggests. As part of getting to know the partners and their thinking better, she introduced them to one company that they have since funded.

The pace has generally picked up, Flint tells us, saying that during the second quarter of this year and the third, NFX has twice broken its own investing records both because of “incredible founders who are reacting to this opportunity” and growing awareness about NFX, which last year closed its second fund with $ 275 million.

Last month, for example, NFX led a seed round for Warmly, a nine-month-old, San Francisco-based startup whose product tracks individuals in a customer’s CRM system, then sends out a notification when one of his or her contacts changes jobs. It also led a round recently for Jupiter, a year-old, San Francisco-based grocery delivery startup.

Naturally, Beller’s new partners are full of praise for her. Flint says the firm began looking for a fourth partner two years ago and that it has “spoken with dozens of exceptional people” since then, but it “always came back to Morgan.”

As for why the 27-year-old is ready to leap back into VC, Beller says that her work across Facebook and Medium and a16z “made me realize my favorite parts of projects is that zero-to-one phase and that with investing, it’s zero-to-one all day” with a team she wanted to be part of.

Further, she adds, while at Facebook, she was helping scout out deals for the venture firm Spark Capital, so she’s already well-acquainted with the types of founders to which she gravitates. “They’re are all weird in the right ways, and they’re all maniacally obsessed with winning.”

As for how she launches her career as a general partner in a pandemic, she notes that she loves walking and that she’ll happy cover 20 miles a day if given the opportunity.

“If anyone wants to safely walk with me,” she suggests that she’d love it.  Says Beller, “I’m not worried about San Francisco longer term. I don’t think there’s a replacement for in-person meetings.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Why hasn’t digital learning lived up to its promise?

The fall semester is off to a rocky start. When schools were forced to close in the spring, students (and parents) struggled. As the new school year begins, affluent families are building pandemic pods and inequities abound, while surveys suggest that college students want tuition discounts for online classes.

To avoid a catastrophic loss in revenue, colleges are bringing students back to campus. At UNC-Chapel Hill, those plans were quickly reversed when 130 students tested positive for the virus just a week into the new semester. As cases skyrocket, UNC will not be the only educational institution or school district to move online again.

What is it about digital learning that has schools so keen on reopening despite the health and reputational risks? Why hasn’t digital learning lived up to its promise?

If I were asked 20 years ago, as the founding CEO of Rosetta Stone, what digital learning would look like today, I would have imagined a very different future. Online learning was exploding. Teachers and faculty were experimenting with now commonplace consumer technologies like speech recognition and virtual reality to create immersive learning experiences.

Sadly, most of these innovations never took hold in our schools and colleges, and remote learners today are left with edtech that feels like it is still trapped in the 90s.

Ironically, the business of edtech and digital learning has been booming. Billions of dollars have been invested in tools and platforms that promise to improve the learning outcomes and lives of students. But for all the investments, headlines and flashy IPOs, edtech has little to show in terms of transformative outcomes.

The United States continues to lag behind many other advanced industrialized nations in math, science and reading literacy. Schools at all levels grapple with pervasive equity gaps. And research shows that heavily investing in education technology has, so far, yielded virtually no appreciable improvement in student achievement in these core subjects.

The challenge stems from the fact that rather than making learning better, the education technology field has, for the most part, focused on reaching more students. In our rush to scale, we have largely ignored tremendous pedagogical innovation that has occurred over the last twenty years.

No matter how high-tech a digital learning solution might be, it means nothing if it doesn’t also reflect recent and emerging changes in pedagogy. In 2010, a study at the University of North Texas compared how students retain information literacy skills in a face-to-face class, an online class and a blended class. The researchers found that there was no difference in outcomes between the three kinds of classes. This is because all three used the same materials and pedagogical approach.

But in a digital environment, far more is possible. We can now create video-game quality simulations to evaluate complex skills like creativity or problem-solving. Shy students can take the form of learning avatars in online laboratories — or explore career paths first-hand, through virtual reality. We know more than ever about attention span and engagement, or the connection between socio-emotional development and academic outcomes.

Researchers have, likewise, gained a deeper understanding of the ways students’ minds work. We know more than ever about how students reason, process information and solve problems. We know what kinds of scaffolding is required to develop and master these skills. Learning is best when it is built around doing, and when the context is practical, allowing students to try their hand at solving problems even as they’re still learning. It’s best when it is individualized, with progress based on a student’s personal aptitude and proficiency as they move toward mastering the material. And it’s best when it is enriched with peer-based discussion, practice and collaboration.

Astonishingly, few mass-market digital learning tools are built or adopted with these pedagogical advancements in mind. While Zoom is a fine tool for live conversations in small groups, it has few tools to facilitate the kind of engagement necessary for real learning. Coursera has raised millions for simply replicating the old-fashioned experience of a teacher lecturing at the front of a classroom. Quizlet is but a virtual collection of flashcards; it can assess the learning of certain facts, but it is hardly useful for the acquisition of skills. These types of common digital learning tools are increasingly great at making educators’ jobs easier. They are great at expanding access, allowing teachers and schools to reach more students than ever before. But scale, ease and access are not sufficient to help students learn and build skills.

The frustrations of educators and learners alike reflect the fact that education technology functions as a digital proxy for our oldest methods of teaching. Simply listening to a lecture is not effective in the real world, and yet that largely remains the default mode of education online. The impact of COVID-19 has only exacerbated these long-standing shortcomings. To create the digital learning experience students deserve — to finally fulfill the untapped promise and potential of educational technology — we must create tools that reflect not only advancements in technology, but in what we now understand about how the mind works and how students learn.

Startups – TechCrunch