Operator, the Chinese startup that is betting Chinese citizens will want to buy American products on its shopping app, raised $15 million in a round of venture funding. According to a report, the Series B round of venture funding gives the startup a pre-money valuation of $100 million. GGV Capital, which specializes in U.S.-China startups, led the round, and its partner, Hans Tung, will become a board observer.
Alphabet’s investment arm has jumped on the Airbnb bandwagon, joining a round expected to net out at $850 million. That would put the homesharing platform’s valuation at around $30 billion, according to sources close to the deal quoted by The Wall Street Journal.
Geostellar, the nation’s original online solar energy platform, today announced the launch of Solar Family, a program that recruits and trains independent Solar Professionals across the country to offer solar energy in their communities. Geostellar, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, is a smart “upstart using cheaper sales tactics” to steal market share from high-cost competitors. Hugh Bromley of Bloomberg New Energy Finance is quoted as saying: “Home solar companies with a high-cost business model could face a ‘death spiral’ of rising costs and lower sales as growth slows.”
Beginning today, select [Singapore-based] Grab customers can use the Grab app to book a ride in a nuTonomy SDV through a special “robo-car” fleet icon. All rides are free-of-charge and customers may travel within the one-north business district as well as to adjacent neighbourhoods.
Yesterday, Macy’s and beGlammed, an on-demand beauty service, announced a partnership that will let the department store’s customers schedule in-home visits from more than 1,200 stylists in 22 markets around the U.S.
Shawn Outler, senior vice president, leased businesses at Macy’s, called beauty “a core signature business” for the retailer and “a platform for profitable growth” in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
A comprehensive critique of LODE. It assumes, however, that the 30 percent cut for marketplaces, which we’ve argued is unsustainable, is a permanent feature of the economy going forward. Instead, marketplaces will take a utility role in the long run, more like VISA and at similar rates. Or, they will add value, in the form of health care coverage, savings programs, group buying and other services that make marketplace shares more attractive. And, yet, they can and will fall to lower shares of the total economy from today’s 30 percent while doing those things. Today, marketplaces optimize for price and ignore the price paid by labor for flexibility. Eventually, the marketplace will be serving the workers as much as the “customer” the worker delivers services to for a fee.
Most of the cheery people are pitching their services — whether it’s doing laundry or, as Taskrabbit advertised ahead of Fashion Week this month, being your Instagram husband — in the $20 to $30 range. But the company, which describes itself as “revolutionizing everyday work,” takes a 30 percent cut.
Not all revolutions are for the better.
Now UPS and SAP are opening up the project to multiple companies who will act as co-innovators in the early stages. These initial customers will act as beta testers of a sort, helping SAP to test, validate and improve the new system as necessary – while being the first to benefit from the reduced inventories, shorter, more cost-effective prototype and production runs, fast delivery, and 3D printing capabilities the program offers.
When Kevin Nading needed to hire nine skilled craftsmen with at least five years of experience for Caterpillar Inc.’s factory here in the Midwest, it took him six months to find them. He has paid recruiters finder’s fees of as much as $15,000 for experienced workers with the right mix of skills. He’s even had to pay relocation costs.
Doctor On Demand, the leading on-demand video medicine provider, today announced that Jennifer Nuckles has joined the company as Chief Marketing Officer. Formerly Chief Marketing Officer at Zynga, Nuckles has 20 years of extensive experience driving customer growth and engagement with products — from consumer goods, to enterprise channels, to social games, to eCommerce platforms.
In the latest discussion of just what makes a great online marketplace, Michael Ting, Hyperwallet’s senior vice president of digital markets, weighed in on the need for services in a well-constructed marketplace. Specifically, Ting highlighted the need for what he and Karen Webster agreed remains a “critical component” of a marketplace: integrated support. Support mechanisms that can assist contract workers (or gig workers, as they may be colloquially known) when they encounter problems with technology or have trouble getting paid in a timely manner are among those platform components that often don’t get the attention they deserve. Typically, it’s not until a marketplace desperately needs a support mechanism that it realizes its absence.