Payments firm Stripe, valued at $95 billion, takes its first step towards a stock market debut by hiring a law firm, sources say

Stripe Co-founder and CEO Patrick Collison
Stripe Co-founder and CEO Patrick Collison.

  • Stripe is inching towards a stock market debut, sources told Reuters.
  • The payments company has tapped a law firm to help prepare it for a listing, the sources said.
  • Stripe is the most valuable private company in Silicon Valley, valued at $95 billion.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Digital payments processor Stripe has taken its first major step toward a stock market debut by hiring a law firm to help with preparations, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

The most valuable private company in Silicon Valley, valued at $95 billion, has sat out this year’s red-hot market for initial public offerings (IPOs), using private tender offers to allow some of its existing investors and employees to cash out their holdings.

Remaining private has enabled Stripe to keep financial details such as revenue and profitability under wraps. Yet this has also deprived it of using its shares as a publicly traded currency to help finance acquisitions and to incentivize employees.

Stripe has tapped Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP as a legal adviser on its early-stage listing preparations, the sources told Reuters. There has been no decision on the timing of the stock market debut, and the next step would be the hiring of investment banks later this year, the sources added. The listing would be unlikely to happen this year, two of the sources told Reuters.

Stripe is considering going public through a direct listing, rather than a traditional IPO, because it does not need to raise money, said two of the sources, cautioning that those plans could change.

The sources requested anonymity because the deliberations are confidential. Stripe and Cleary Gottlieb declined to comment to Reuters.

Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison formed the company in 2010. Stripe processes hundreds of billions of dollars in transactions every year for millions of businesses worldwide. Its list of clients includes Alphabet’s Google, Uber, Amazon.com, and Zoom Video Communications. Early investors include Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Google’s venture capital arm.

Stripe’s breakneck growth could result in it challenging Chinese technology giants Ant Group and ByteDance, whose valuations are close to $200 billion, for the title of world’s most valuable startup by the time it goes public.

John Collison told Bloomberg Television in an interview last month that Stripe, which has headquarters in both Dublin and San Francisco, may go public one day but that there were no current plans for a listing.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Curbside pickup became one of Target’s most valuable weapons to compete with Amazon during the pandemic, and it shows no signs of slowing down

Target curbside delivery
  • Target reported strong first-quarter earnings on Wednesday.
  • Its same-day services – including curbside delivery, store pickup, and its delivery service Shipt – grew by 90%.
  • Experts say these delivery options give Target a competitive edge over Amazon and keep its stores relevant.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Target’s curbside and pickup delivery options have become a key part of its business model.

The big-box chain reported blockbuster first-quarter earnings Wednesday despite coming up against strong comparatives from the year before. Sales at stores open at least a year across both its online and in-store business were up 23% year-on-year.

But the standout component in its earnings was its same-day services – including curbside delivery, store pickup, and delivery through its service Shipt – which are all fulfilled by stores. These grew by more than 90%, led by a 123% boost in curbside delivery specifically, it said.

These services enable Target to leverage its store network and put brick-and-mortar front and center of its business model, giving it a competitive advantage over online-centric Amazon. According to the earnings release, 95% of all sales in the first quarter were fulfilled by its stores.

“Stores continued to be the linchpin of Target’s online capability, once again validating management’s strategic decision to position them at the center of its online flywheel, ” Moody’s vice president Charlie O’Shea wrote in a note emailed to Insider on Wednesday.

The company’s physical footprint “is a major strategic advantage,” Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, said in a note to clients on Wednesday. “Using existing real estate to drive online helps Target’s profitability and improves efficiency for shoppers – which is one of the reasons Target has high satisfaction ratings for its online business,” he said.

In a call with investors Wednesday, CEO Brian Cornell said that its same-day services also have “better economics” than traditional online delivery options as there are no shipping costs.

These services will be a “big part” Target’s capital investment over the next few years, he said. “We expect those services to be very sticky over time.”

The US has been slower than other parts of the world to move into curbside and buy-online-pick-up-in-store delivery options. According to estimates from Insider Intelligence, “click-and-collect” sales more than doubled in 2020 in the US and are expected to grow at this rate through 2024.

Walmart, Best Buy, and Macy’s are among other major retailers to be coming in on this opportunity.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Facebook wanted its $130 million ‘Supreme Court’ to solve its policy enforcement problems. The board’s decision to punt on Trump’s ban shows how the initiative has backfired.

mark zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Facebook formed its “supreme court” to help it navigate tricky content moderation decisions.
  • It turned to the group in the case of Trump’s suspension, but the board rejected part of its request.
  • That leaves Facebook on its own when it comes to creating and enforcing rules.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Facebook’s “Supreme Court” sent a strong message to the company on Wednesday: Do your own work.

It was likely a far cry from what the social media giant expected when it announced the blueprint for such a review board in 2018 amid mounting pressure to strengthen its moderation of content online.

As Facebook put it, the company “should not make so many important decisions about free expression and safety on our own” given its size, which “comes with a great deal of responsibility.”

Its solution was to equip a group of people outside of Facebook with the power to reverse or uphold Facebook’s decisions that users appealed. The board stood up in October, and members included people like Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former Prime Minister of Denmark, among other legal scholars and experts.

On Wednesday, the board announced its decision on a high-profile case involving the January suspension of former President Donald Trump. And instead of making the decision for Facebook, as the company asked it to do, the board punted the case back to Facebook.

The incident shows how Facebook’s creation, intended to assuage the public’s concern that the platform wasn’t policing content well enough, has backfired. The company finds itself right back to where it started: tasked with solving its own problems.

It’s on Facebook to solve its long-standing content moderation dilemmas

Facebook’s Oversight Board may have launched recently, but the reason for its inception stretches far back.

Facebook, like other tech platforms, has historically taken a hands-off approach in judging if content should be taken down on its site, which is used by about two billion people worldwide. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said, the company does not want to be “the arbiter of truth.”

But that approach has gotten Facebook into hot water in the past, and within the past year – as a divisive presidential election loomed amid a devastating health crisis – online platforms including Facebook began taking unprecedented action to flag or remove posts that it found to be misleading, false, or dangerous.

One such action was in January when Facebook said it would remove all content that referenced the “Stop the Steal” campaign, which had been peddling the unfounded claims that the election was stolen from Trump. Many of the extremists who breached the Capitol building were supporters of it.

But a more monumental move was Facebook suspending Trump indefinitely on January 7, just after his supporters stormed the US Capitol to interfere with the 2020 presidential election certification.

Thousands of extremists breached the federal building, leading to five people dying, including a US Capitol officer, with countless others injured. Since the violent siege, 453 people have been charged.

Read more: Trump’s Facebook ban is just ‘a Band-Aid on a bullet wound,’ critics say – but no one can agree on the best way to wipe out the disinformation contagion

Trump’s suspension added fuel to the fire for Republicans who believe that tech platforms are hell-bent on silencing conservative voices, though research shows right-wing content flourishes online. And a report from a group of NYU researchers found that claims of anti-conservative bias are not only false, but are a form of disinformation.

“The contention that social media as an industry censors conservatives is now, as we speak, becoming part of an even broader disinformation campaign from the right, that conservatives are being silenced all across American society,” Paul Barrett, the study’s lead researcher and the deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, told The Verge.

That contentious crackdown is why the case was appealed to the Oversight Board. The group was tasked with deciding if Facebook was right in blocking Trump’s account; it upheld that part of the company’s action. But Facebook also asked the board to decide how long Trump should stay suspended, a request that the “supreme court” rejected, and it criticized the company for even asking.

Because according to the Oversight Board, Facebook’s crackdown on Trump may have been warranted but the indefinite suspension was still a “vague, standardless penalty,” given that its normal penalties include permanent account shutdowns, post removals, and “a time-bound period of suspension.”

“We’re not here to invent new rules for Facebook,” Thorning-Schmidt told Axios on Thursday, adding that it was “lazy” of Facebook to make the board decide the suspension’s duration.

The board instructed Facebook to review its response and come back with a decision in six months.

The events of this week show that Facebook may truly be on its own when combatting the monster that is creating – and enforcing – appropriate content moderation policies.

Read the original article on Business Insider

SpaceX’s Starlink website can now be read in French as the satellite internet network expands worldwide

Elon Musk
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

  • SpaceX has translated the Starlink website into French as more people across the world sign up to the service.
  • Starlink isn’t live in France yet, but over 300 million people speak French around the world.
  • The website also allows customers to pay in euros, instead of dollars.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

SpaceX’s Starlink website now also has a French version, as more people from across the world place orders for its satellite internet service.

The website also gives customers the option to pay in euros, rather than dollars.

Starlink isn’t available yet in France, but given that more than 300 million people across the world speak French and it’s the second most widely spoken native language, it’s no surprise that SpaceX have made it an option on its website to attract more customers.

Screenshot of Starlink website in French
Screenshot of Starlink website in French

If someone in France wants to sign up for Starlink, they put their address in the box and the next page will tell them when they can expect the service to be available in their area. Currently, it says Starlink will arrive in France between mid to late 2021, but subscribers can pay a €99 deposit to secure the service – around $120.

Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and areas of the US where Starlink isn’t live yet also provide the option of preordering the internet service in exchange for a deposit.

Musk tweeted in February the cost of Starlink is “meant to be the same price in all countries. Only difference should be taxes & shipping.”

Read more: I tried Starlink, Elon Musk’s satellite-internet project, for 3 weeks after moving to rural Vermont. It’s a game changer.

SpaceX said Tuesday it has gained more than 500,000 orders and deposits from customers around the world, indicating the pace at which demand for the space-based internet is growing.

Since Starlink’s “Better Than Nothing Beta” test launched in October, the service has amassed more than 10,000 beta testers globally and has blasted over 1,350 satellites into orbit. The company’s goal is to have up to 42,000 satellites in orbit by mid-2027.

The most recent Starlink launch was on Tuesday when SpaceX sent 60 satellites into orbit via its reusable Falcon 9 rocket.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Pentagon’s explanation about why an unknown Florida company took over a giant slice of its internet leaves a key question unanswered

pentagon US washington DC
  • A Florida company that took over a Pentagon-owned slice of the internet only stood up in September.
  • The company also doesn’t have experience in working with government contracts.
  • The Pentagon has responded to the news, but has not answered why it chose such a new firm.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Pentagon has responded to how a mysterious Florida company was able to take over a large chunk of government-owned internet.

In a statement on Friday, Brett Goldstein, the chief of the Pentagon’s defense digital service, said federal officials are working to “assess, evaluate and prevent unauthorized use of DoD IP address space” and hopes to “identify potential vulnerabilities” in its fight to curb cyberattacks of US networks, according to the Associated Press.

However, it hasn’t explained why it entrusted that work to a firm – identified as Global Resource Systems LLC, which is based in Florida and incorporated in Delaware – that appears to have just launched in September and that lacks experience working with government contracts, the AP reported.

About three minutes before former President Donald Trump’s term ended on January 20, the company posted on a global platform that it had taken over a massive section of unused internet that was owned by the Department of Defense, which had chosen Global Resource Systems LLC to manage its address space.

It now controls about 175 million IP addresses, or roughly 1/25 of the world’s internet space, per the AP.

“That is the biggest thing in the history of the internet,” as one expert told the AP. It’s also more than large internet companies like AT&T, Comcast, and China Telecom controls.

Read more: Cybersecurity execs from Visa, Netflix, Uber, and more share their underrated security tips, from vetting supply chains to ‘devaluing data’

As the outlet notes, the company doesn’t have a presence online, and per public records does not have a business license in Plantation, Florida, where it is based. The company filed paperwork in October, per Florida state records, detailing its incorporation in Delaware.

Reporters with the AP and The Washington Post visited the physical addresses listed under the company but were turned away without being given information.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Dominating First Page Rankings On Google

Dominating First Page Rankings On Google written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Chris Dreyer

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Chris Dreyer. Chris is the CEO of Rankings.io which is an SEO agency that helps elite personal injury law firms dominate first page rankings. 

Key Takeaway:

Search engine optimization is a tough industry especially for a lot of small business owners. And how do you keep up with Google’s constantly changing algorithm? There’s no magic, but there are steps you can take to soar to the top of a search engine results page. In this episode, Chris Dreyer and I dive deep into his experience running an SEO agency and how he’s managed to help small businesses within his industry dominate first page rankings on Google.

Questions I Ask Chris Dreyer:

  • [0:55] What led you to where you are today, and what does your online and entrepreneurial journey look like?
  • [4:05] How do you build trust around SEO when there’s a real lack of trust in the industry?
  • [5:37] As an SEO firm, how important is your own SEO?
  • [6:50] What are the basics of good SEO for any business?
  • [8:02] When you mention landing pages, are you really talking about the importance of the entire structure of the landing pages as well?
  • [9:49] What would you do, if anything, differently because of the competitive nature of this business?
  • [18:48] Core web vitals are being talked about a lot this year — how are you responding or reacting to that?
  • [20:49] When it comes to your ads and organic mix, what’s your philosophy on the mixture of the two — notwithstanding the results they can produce, but sort of the necessary element of them?
  • [23:54] What’s your philosophy on reporting and communication with clients?

More About Chris Dreyer:

More About The Certified Marketing Manager Program Powered by Duct Tape Marketing

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by .Online.

.Online is one of the world’s most popular new domain extensions with over a million domain names already registered on it. With more and more businesses going online, finding great domain names can be a challenge. .Online allows you to get a brandable and meaningful domain name, and it’s as simple as www.[your brand name].online.

 

 

Chewy shares leap 13% after surprise swing to quarterly profit

Chewy Taco Cat Halloween Costume
  • Chewy shares climbed by 13% Wednesday following the fourth-quarter results from the pet-products seller.
  • The company swung to a profit of $0.05 a share, surprising analysts who had expected a loss of $0.10 a share.
  • Chewy’s first-quarter sales forecast of $2.11 billion to $2.13 billion was above Wall Street’s target.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Shares of Chewy jumped Wednesday after the online pet-products retailer unexpectedly swung to a fourth-quarter profit, bolstered by millions of more people last year who took on duties of caring for animals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company late Tuesday posted fourth-quarter earnings of $0.05 a share, compared with expectations for a loss of $0.10 a share in a survey of analysts by Refinitiv. A year earlier, Chewy posted a per-share loss of $0.15.

Sales of $2.04 billion beat Wall Street’s target of $1.96 billion as the company dealt with “surging volume”. Sales a year ago were $1.35 billion.

Chewy shares climbed by 13% to $90.95, a move that sets up the stock to trim its year-to-date loss to less than 1%. The stock price began to decelerate in early February but it’s more than doubled from about $36 over the past 12 months.

The company added 5.7 million net active customers in 2020, representing 42.7% annual growth. It also said it widened its product offerings to include gift cards, personalized items, and vet services. “Pet adoptions surged in 2020 as millions of homebound people and families sought out the comfort, companionship, and joy of pet parenthood” during the pandemic, the company said.

Chewy forecast first-quarter sales of $2.11 billion to $2.13 billion, higher than the average analyst forecast of $2.07 billion.

Wedbush analysts on Wednesday raised their price target to $100 from $90 and reiterated their outperform rating on Chewy following the company’s “solid earnings beat, above-consensus guidance, and a path to a 2021 beat and even higher long-term earnings power.”

Chewy’s cofounder and former chief executive, Ryan Cohen, is leading a turnaround effort at video game retailer and Reddit-community favorite GameStop.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was caught red-handed trolling Congress by tweeting a sarcastic poll during a Big Tech hearing

Jack Dorsey
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

  • Jack Dorsey was called out for tweeting during a congressional hearing about misinformation online.
  • The Twitter CEO tweeted a poll that appeared to mock the simple “yes or no” answers lawmakers demanded.
  • Rep. Kathleen Rice told Dorsey that his “multi-tasking skills are quite impressive.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Twitter boss Jack Dorsey on Thursday was busted tweeting a saracastic poll during a congressional hearing about misinformation on social media platforms.

Lawmakers grilled Dorsey, as well as Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, about their sites’ handling of vaccine misinformation, election fraud claims, and online extremism.

Congress asked the three CEOs to answer “yes or no” to a range of complicated, extensive questions. Lawmakers sometimes interrupted if the CEOs tried to give longer answers.

During the hearing, Dorsey took a jab at the tactic by tweeting a poll that was simply a question mark, asking Twitter users to vote “yes” or “no.”

Read more: Here are some of the potential future CEOs in big tech, and how much they’re currently paid

Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice picked up on Dorsey’s tweet and asked him: “Mr Dorsey, what is winning, yes or no, on your Twitter account poll?”

Dorsey said that “yes” was in the lead. Rice replied: “Hmm, your multitasking skills are quite impressive.”

At the time of publication, the poll has more than 97,000 votes.

While facing Congress, the 44-year-old was also liking tweets that pointed out lawmakers were mispronouncing Pichai’s name, as well as cutting off the CEOs mid-sentence.

Dorsey, who founded Twitter in 2006, confirmed to another Twitter user that he was barefoot in the hearing.

Dorsey also retweeted a Twitter user’s post that said: “It would be awesome if some Member engaged [Jack] in a substantive discussion on Twitter’s ‘protocols’ idea.” Dorsey tweeted about Twitter’s protocols idea before the hearing. He said the company had started working on a decentralized, open-source social media protocol called Bluesky, which could allow users to build their own media platform that is solely owned by them.

Social-media platforms have faced heavy scrutiny over the past year for the way they have policed misinformation during the pandemic, particularly during the presidential election and the Capitol riots. The five-hour long hearing on Thursday was the first time the tech CEOs had faced Congress since President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Twitter said March 1 that it would ban users who repeatedly post misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines on the platform. It also said tweets that contain misleading information would be labeled.

One month before the election, the company said it changed some features to prevent the spread of false political claims, including prompting users to post a comment about a tweet before retweeting it.

Lawmakers in Thursday’s hearing said the changes to the platform didn’t go far enough. They could still easily find anti-vaccine content on both Twitter and Facebook, Rep. Mike Doyle, chair of the House subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said, per CNN.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon is reportedly eyeing a $100 million investment in the Apollo Pharmacy chain, further expanding its healthcare plans

Amazon Pharmacy
Amazon considers $100 million investment in India’s pharmacy chain

  • Amazon is looking to invest nearly $100 million in Apollo Pharmacy, the Indian pharmacy chain, two people familiar with the plans told the Economic Times Wednesday.
  • Amazon’s plans to expand in India come after the launch of its own Amazon Pharmacy service in the US November 17, allowing people to buy prescription drugs through its website.
  • The potential investment would come amid competition in India from Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance, which recently bought a majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds.
  • Indian trader groups say online drugstores can contribute to medicine sales without proper verification.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon is reportedly considering a nearly $100 million investment in India’s pharmacy chain Apollo Pharmacy, close on the heels of its launch of an online pharmacy to deliver prescription drugs in the US.

The company is looking to face up to Reliance Industries Ltd and Tata Group in India’s fast-growing drug market, the Economic Times reported Wednesday, citing two people aware of the plans. 

Amazon already delivers medicines in India and the potential investment would come amid rising competition from Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance, which bought a majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds.

Both Amazon and Apollo Hospitals, which owns Apollo Pharmacy, declined to comment to Reuters.

The growth of e-pharmacies has left many Indian trader groups feeling threatened. They say online drugstores can contribute to medicine sales without proper verification and the entry of large players can cause unemployment in the sector.

Amazon’s plan to further expand in India comes after it launched its US Amazon Pharmacy service November 17, increasing its competition with drug retailers such as Walgreens, CVS Health and Walmart.

US customers can now buy drugs through Amazon’s main website.

Amazon Prime members would get benefits from the service including two-day delivery and big price cuts on generic and brand-name drugs, the company said.

Read more: Read the leaked talking points that Amazon Web Services employees are using to explain its recent massive cloud outage: ‘There is no compression algorithm for experience’

Since 2018, when the company bought a small drug-delivery startup called PillPack, industry watchers have been expecting Amazon to move into delivering drugs.

In June 2019, Amazon launched a brand of over-the-counter medication, and in August 2020, the company launched a health-monitoring wristband called Halo.

Business Insider reported in November that as the retail firm expands into healthcare, it would need to be careful not to scare consumers who may be concerned about their data privacy.

Read the original article on Business Insider