London-based SumUp maintains $ 8.5B valuation with $ 624M debt-equity round – Technewscity

To get a summary of Technewscity’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 15.00 PDT, subscribe here.

Hey folks! Me again. As I am of course it had you on the edge of your seat, I’m glad to report that the team was not complete dissatisfied with my initial work (this is here if you missed it) and so they have agreed to let me take a trip again. In other uplifting news, it’s almost the end of the week. And if you stare outside on the same New York skyline as I am, the weather is beautiful. Get that vitamin D in whenever you can.

Anywho, if you are does not NYC on its way and happens to be within spitting distance of Menlo Park today, so grab a ticket to the Technewscity Summer Party. I checked and there are only a few left – the festivities start at. 18.00 PT. Also, don’t forget to mark your calendar for the upcoming TC Sessions: Robotics event, which will feature guests such as Amazon’s VP of Global Robotics and Director of Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute. It will not be one to miss. – Kyle

Technewscity Top 3

  • Put it in a pipe and smoke it: Connie reported early this morning that Juul, the e-cigarette maker that started at Stanford, would be served a “marketing denial order” from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), preventing the company from selling its products to the US FDA. later today ordered Juul will remove all its products from sale, which marks the culmination of the agency’s 2-year study of whether Juul’s products are harmful to children. Juul has the option of pursuing an appeal through the FDA, challenging the decision in court, or filing a revised application for its products.
  • Cloud kitchens disappear: Annie writes that Kune Food, a promising Kenya-based startup that rents out kitchens to prepare ready-made meals at an affordable price, will shut down operations and lay off its around 90-person workforce. Referring to the “economic downturn and tightening investment markets,” CEO Robin Reecht said the company failed to raise the necessary financing and struggled to scale its business model, which relied on selling meals to individual and business customers at $ 3 per person. .
  • To sum it up: Do you remember SumUp? A decade ago, the company created waves by transforming basic smartphones into card payment terminals. Now, Ingrid reports that the startup has raised $ 624 million to a valuation of $ 8.5 billion, reflecting its sustained growth. SumUp estimates that more than 4 million small and medium-sized businesses use their platform. The new money will be used for acquisitions, more hires and product development.

Startups and VC

During the pandemic, companies with digital products did well. It’s no surprise. With people and workers stuck at home, digital became the only way to collaborate, stay up to date and find a little escape. One digital sub-segment that enjoyed particular growth was e-learning. Keep in mind that Udemy raised tens of thousands of millions in 2020. But the tide seems to be reversing. MasterClass, the platform that sells subscriptions to celebrity-led classes, cut 20% of its team – about 120 people – to “get to sustainability faster.” As Natasha points out that it is the latest edtech startup to scale back after Eruditus, upgrading the startup of Section4, Unacademy and Vedantu. Meanwhile, Duolingo and Coursera have seen their stock values ​​fall.

Micromobility doesn’t look that hot these days either, unfortunately. Shortly after Lime left South Korea and Bird had laid off 23% of its staff, e-scooter startup Superpedestrian announced it would reduce its staff by 35 employees. Voi followed suit with layoffs at its headquarters, letting go of 35 full-time employees. Rebecca notes that the industry’s economy has always been tricky, but it certainly does not help that investors are becoming more and more vigilant towards startups with high costs and long paths to profitability.

In brighter news:

  • Hardwood restart: Tim writes about a fascinating startup, Vibrant Planet, that is developing what it calls an “operating system for forest restoration.” How on earth does it work (pun intended)? Well, Vibrant Planet’s software, aimed at land administrators, can prioritize targets such as fire risk by using a combination of satellite imagery and AI tools. It can also run analyzes to determine how different landscape treatments will affect these goals, and reveal the real-time effects. Pretty nice.
  • Get your steps in – and your slalom: A Fitbit-like tracker for skiing? It’s different – and it piqued my interest, I must say, as a lover of snow sports. Haje‘s piece on Carv describes the startup’s ski tracking post for ski boots, which measures and analyzes the technique and sends the data to an app where a virtual coach can provide feedback. Carv, which came to venture capital using Kickstarter, claims that their product can be retrofitted to any boot.
  • Keep Austin weird – and underground: With a tunnel or two under his belt, Elon Musk’s The Boring Company plans to build a corridor under Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas in Austin. Mother is the word of purpose, but as Rebecca suggests maybe Musk wants a secret way to get into his giant factory. Presumably, he will not have to deal with the traffic problems plaguing The Boring Company’s Las Vegas project.
  • Lightning in a bottle: Fusion could deliver an almost unlimited amount of power with minimal waste, which is why countless startups – not to mention governments – are pursuing it. Zap Energy is among these – fresh from a successful test of its prototype fusion reactor, the company has raised $ 160 million in a Series C round. Zap’s approach involves sending a plasma stream through a vacuum chamber and then electrifying it, strikingly similar to what happens in a thunderstorm. Tim reports.
  • Drone-compliance-as-a-service: Drone Compliance-as-a-Service: Obtaining the necessary permission from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones can be a challenge for small businesses – much smaller local governments. Airspace Link, which this week raised $ 23 million in new support, promises to make it easier by tracking ground-based infrastructure such as radar coverage, notable other flights and assets in a given area, Devin writes. By using Airspace’s platform, customers can show the FAA that they have built the necessary security infrastructure for drone operations – or else the sales pitch goes.

To generate more sales, use shopper-generated content to customize emails

human-made puzzle pieces;  use shopper data to email campaigns

Image credit: alpha-spirit (opens in new window) / Getty Images

Consumer confidence is taking a hit during an economic downturn, and therefore e-commerce startups should now start looking for new ways to engage customers.

Cynthia Price, Litmus’ SVP for marketing, shares several ways companies can turn customer purchase data into content that enhances brand experiences – and makes users more likely to buy.

For example, the most viewed products on your site reflect the tastes and interests of your most active customers, which means that it is also useful information to display in outgoing emails.

“You can even break down this data in more detail by layering shopper data,” Price writes. “This strategy arouses interest, attracts more subscribers to your site and enhances the buying potential of their products.”

(Technewscity + is our membership program that helps founders and startup teams move forward. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

Are live events returning in full force, monkey cups being cursed? Spotify seems to think so. This week, the music giant has renewed its discovery feature in the app with a new Live Events feed, which promises to allow users to better discover nearby events and concerts. Event integration is not new to Spotify. Sarah notes that the company first introduced it back in 2015, but the upgrade signals the platform’s confidence that the worst pandemic is behind us.

Sarah also reports that Spotify is developing a “Community” feature that allows users to see what kind of music their friends are streaming in real time. This could also contribute to the company’s efforts with live events, perhaps by encouraging people to explore live performances by artists they were not previously familiar with.

Elsewhere, in case you were unaware, this week was Amazon’s re: MARS corporate conference that touched on different parts of its business. Frederic and Brian were on the ground in Las Vegas to report the latest, battling both risky Wi-Fi and scorching temperatures. (Bless them.) Re: MARS ‘highlights were perhaps a new Alexa feature that can mimic a voice given a short recording, an AI-powered coding assistant called CodeWhisperer, and a fully autonomous storage robot. No Robert Downey Jr. cameo this year, unfortunately.

In other news:

  • Write me a letter: Twitter has officially rolled out the feature “Notes” with long content that Sarah reported earlier in the week. Aisha writes that Notes, which is currently limited to a small group of writers in the US, Canada, Ghana and the UK, has the potential to change the way people use Twitter. But will Elon Musk approve it?
  • I’m not getting younger: In search of reliable ways to better engage with younger users, Meta-owned Instagram is testing a new set of features designed to confirm age when people say they are 18 years and older. Through a combination of artificial intelligence, video selfies, vouching from adult friends and ID cross-references, the idea is to keep young people away from material that can affect their mental health and expose them to inappropriate narratives.
  • Governance governors: The Oversight Board, the advisory group that reviews Facebook and Instagram’s decisions on content moderation, released its first annual report this week, Taylor writes. It received over 1 million appeals from Facebook and Instagram users in 2021 and issued only rulings and explanations on 20 cases. But reportedly, the board overturned parent company Meta’s original decision in over two-thirds of the cases – 70% – it reviewed.
  • No more spam: Tired of unwanted messages? Good news if you are an iPhone user. Ivan reports that when iOS 16 rolls out, users will be able to report spam messages with a new “Report Junk” link inside the Messages app. The feature will only be available from select providers, according to iOS 16 release notes, but there is no information on who can support it yet.
  • Inclusivity is the best policy: Just in time for Pride Month, Google now lets sellers add an “LGBTQ + -owned” label to their Maps and Search profiles, Aisha reports. The new label – available to U.S. salespeople with a verified company profile on Google – extends the “LGBTQ + friendly” and “transgender safespace” labels that are visible on company profiles across Search and Maps.