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Indian e-commerce deals site CashKaro gets $10 million Series B led by Korea Investment Partners

CashKaro co-founders Rohan and Swati Bhargava

CashKaro co-founders Rohan and Swati Bhargava

CashKaro, one of the leading cashback and coupon sites in India, will expand its range of services for e-commerce after raising $ 10 million in Series B funding, the New Delhi-based startup announced today. The round was led by Korea Investment Partners, with participation from returning investor Kalaari Capital.

TechCrunch last covered CashKaro five years ago when it raised a $ 3.8 million Series A. The latest round brings the company’s total funding so far to $ 15 million.

Over the past five years, the company has introduced new products, including a price comparison service, and EarnKaro, a social commerce cashback app that launched about 18 months ago. Part of the Series B will be used to expand EarnKaro, which has about one million registered users. It allows social commerce sellers, or people who use social media platform and messaging apps like WhatsApp to sell items, make extra cash by creating affiliate links to major e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart. The launch of EarnKaro also allowed CashKaro to reach into smaller cities and rural areas, where shoppers often prefer to order from people whose recommendations they trust (i.e. “micro-influencers”) instead of e-commerce sites.

Founded in 2013 by husband-and-wife team Swati and Rohan Bhargava, CashKaro currently claims about five million users and has partnerships with more than 1,500 e-commerce sites, including some of the biggest players in India, like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra and Ajio. The company monetizes by charging brands a commission for transactions made through CashKaro links. The commissions are also how CashKaro is able to give cash back to shoppers, which can be deposited into their bank accounts or redeemed as gift vouchers for Flipkart and Amazon. CashKaro’s founders says it currently processes more than one million monthly transactions.

CashKaro competes for the attention of online shoppers with a bevy of other coupon and cashback services in India. Some of its rivals include CouponDunia, GrabOn and GoPaisa.

“We are the only VC-funded cashback site in India. While capital itself is not the differentiator, it is what we have been able to do with that capital which sets us apart,” Bhargava told TechCrunch, adding that CashKaro’s cashback rates are among the highest in the market.

“Given that we now drive close to a half a billion dollars in GMV through CashKaro and EarnKaro to our partner sites, we are able to get higher commission rates from partner sites, which in turn helps us pass the most benefit to our members.”

While COVID-19 has affected e-commerce businesses around the world because of sudden changes in consumer habits, the situation in India was particularly complicated in April and May because there were containment zones throughout the country, and in some zones, deliveries of non-essential items was not allowed until May.

“COVID-19 caught us by surprise and Indian e-commerce was neither prepared to handle the surge in demand, nor did we expect so many supply side and delivery issues,” said Bhargava. “Given CashKaro works with all e-commerce sites, we saw these trends as well.”

Since June, however, sales have started to recover and is seeing growth as people continue to stay home and shop online.

“Our business is growing month on month and, in fact, the pandemic spurred our expansion into new digital categories, like education, gaming and online video streaming, which have seen exponential growth,” Bhargava added. Sales of electronics, home and kitchen items, personal care and beauty have also increased over the past few months.

At the same time, the economic impact of the pandemic has prompted more people to seek cashback offers and other money-saving deals.

“We are seeing that saving consciousness has gone up amongst online shoppers and people are finding services like CashKaro and EarnKaro more useful than ever before,” Bhargava said. “On the client side, our partners, such as Amazon, Myntra and Ajio, are also working with us more closely because they are seeing that our performance marketing model is the perfect way to scale while keeping profitability in mind amidst these tough times.”

The new round of capital will be used for CashKaro’s goal of doubling its registered member base over the next 12 months from the current 5 million. Bhargava told TechCrunch that it will expand cashback offers into categories like credit cards and education, and launch new marketing campaigns focused around events like upcoming festivals and the Indian Premier League season, which starts this weekend.

The company is also “chasing aggressive growth for EarnKaro and reaching out to more influencers, resellers, housewives and students who are our primary target market for this product,” she added. Finally, part of the Series B will be used for hiring, including leadership positions.

For Korea Investment Partners, one of the largest South Korean venture capital firms, CashKaro represents a chance to tap into India’s fast-growing e-commerce market. In a statement, managing partner Hudson Kyung-sik Ho said, “We believe this is a highly scalable opportunity and both Swati and Rohan have set it on a truly exciting growth trajectory. CashKaro and EarnKaro together have shown exceptional unit metrics and we are really excited to be a part of India’s affiliate story.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Skyrora launches its small demonstration rocket from mobile launch site in Iceland

Launch startup Skyrora had a successful test launch of its Skylark Micro rocket from Iceland on Sunday, with the rocket achieving its highest-ever altitude at a height of 26.86 km (just under 17 miles). The four meter (13 foot) sub-orbital rocket took off from a mobile launch site at Iceland’s Langanes Peninsula that was set up in just a few days prior to the flight.

Skylark Micro is a vehicle that Skyrora is using to prepare the way for its eventual orbital small payload launch vehicle Skyrora XL, which it hopes to begin flying sometime in 2023. The purpose of this launch in Iceland, aside from demonstrating the flexibility of the company’s mobile launching model, was to test the electronics and communications on board the Skylark Micro, which will eventually be used for the company’s larger operational launch craft, as well.

Skyrora flew a similar rocket earlier this year, with a launch from a small island off the coast of Scotland in June. That rocket only climbed to around 6 km (3.7 miles), however, making this its highest flight attempt by a wide margin. This attempt also included a recover attempt for both stages of the two-stage Skylark Micro rocket, which separated and deployed parachutes to return to an ocean splashdown, but the startup says they haven’t been able to find either stage yet, though the search continues.

The ability to stand up and launch from another site so quickly is another key demonstration of this test. That could be a significant advantage — one that’s being pursued by a number of small payload launch startups. It’s a key capability that government and military customers are looking for in responsive launch services providers, though of course it’ll need to scale up significantly to support larger vehicles like the planned Skyrora XL rocket this company hopes to eventually field.

Startups – TechCrunch

Valence, the site dedicated to increasing economic opportunity for the Black community, raises $5.25 million

Valence, the Los Angeles-based online community dedicated to increasing economic opportunity for the Black community, has raised $ 5.25 million in financing as it looks to continue to expand its network for Black professionals in all fields.

The timing for the investment is critical as the country reckons with the implications and effects of systemic racism. In no field is the under-representation of Black professionals more deeply felt than the tech industry, where lack of diversity can have profound implications on products and services that are becoming increasingly central to large swaths of the economy.

Problems with under-representation and underlying issues of systemic racism manifest in facial recognition technologies, social networking applications and decision-making software for lending and credit that are aspects of how American society functions.

It’s with an eye toward technology and entrepreneurship that Valence raised its most recent round, according to a letter sent to the company’s users by new chief executive officer Guy Primus.

“Now that we have the capital that we were seeking, we will be doing three things. First we will improve the current product. We are very proud of what we have built thus far, but we know there are a few issues. We will continue to address those issues and will accelerate work to enhance technical performance on the platform,” Primus wrote. “Second, we will be expanding the team. We expect the team to more than triple in the coming months so that we can better serve you. Finally, we’ll be adding features and expanding our services. We will be delivering additional tools that facilitate even more meaningful connections and will expand Valence’s scope to include the professional growth and development of our members.”

A lot of that product development will go toward building tools that can help with professional development and career growth.

We’re being very targeted in how we can drive economic opportunity and wealth creation in the black community,” said Valence co-founder and Upfront Ventures general partner Kobie Fuller.  

Already, Valence has brought on some of the top names in Silicon Valley as participants in a program to promote entrepreneurship and career development.

Valence currently has 10,000 people signed up for the platform and is growing at about 20% per month, according to Primus. The goal is to serve educational advice and tools to Valence users while at the same time making that group of career-minded Black professionals available to companies that would want to hire them.

Primus said that Valence will be selling its database and access to companies that would want to find prospective hires on the platform in a per-seat licensing model that would be accessible to headhunters and human resources departments.

The new investment round was led by GGV Capital, the international investment firm whose investments include Slack, Peloton, Wish and StockX. Hans Tung, the managing director who invested in those marquee deals, will be joining the company’s board of directors.

Other investors in the round include Upfront Ventures, along with Maveron, the SoftBank Opportunity Fund and Silicon Valley Bank.


Startups – TechCrunch

The Mom Project raises $25M for its job site aimed at working mothers

Women have long had the short end of the stick when it comes to employment, regularly finding themselves struggling to break through the glass ceiling for promotions and on average getting paid less than their male counterparts. That situation often gets compounded when the woman in question is a parent, balancing the needs of professional and home life and more.

But we’re seeing a gradual shift among companies to “do better” on inclusion, and that’s opening the door to new opportunities. To underscore that, The Mom Project — a Chicago startup that focuses on connecting women, including parents, with jobs from organizations specifically open to employing people who meet that profile — is announcing a $ 25 million round of funding to expand its business.

The funding comes on the heels of some significant traction for The Mom Project . Since we first profiled the company in December 2018 (when it had raised a round of $ 8 million led by Initialized Capital) it has grown to 275,000 users (up from 75,000), and doubled the number of organizations posting jobs on the platform to 2,000, including several major tech companies and other brands like Facebook, Nike, Uber, Apple, Google and Twitter. The company has also made an acquisition of a startup called Werk to add analytics tools to for its business customers.

The Series B round of funding brings the total raised by the startup to $ 36 million. It is being led by 7CG — a VC that has backed the likes of Jio (the Indian juggernaut raising like crazy right now), Cheddar (the media platform acquired by Altice) and fintech Acorns — with participation also from Citi, Synchrony, SVB and High Alpha, as well as previous investors Initialized Capital, Grotech Ventures, OCA, Aspect Ventures, Wintrust Financial, Irish Angels and Engage VC.

The Mom Project is built around a two-sided platform and both of those sides will be getting a boost with this funding.

On one side, the startup works with businesses to post job listings that specifically target women and those returning to work who might need more flexible terms in their employment engagements, as well as analyse its overall HR strategies around those efforts.

On the other side, it provides a platform to women who fit that basic profile — the average age of its users is between 28 and 44, its CEO and founder Allison Robinson (pictured above with her child) said — providing them both with job listings and other support.

The plan will be to enhance both aspects of the business: more tools for enterprises to better engage The Mom Project’s community, as well as manage the recruitment and employment of people better; and more tools for Mom users, including building out an interactive community (and forums) to better “address the pain points of family and career,” Robinson said.

While there are a lot of job boards online — indeed recruitment dot-coms were some of the first successful businesses in the earliest days of the World Wide Web, meaning there are giant legacy players out there — The Mom Project is a strong example of how that model has been evolving.

Specifically, we’re seeing a flourishing of startups, and sites, focused on identifying and cultivating job opportunities for specific segments of the market, be it specific types of jobs like engineers (such as Triplebyte), or a specific demographic (like The Mom Project, or RippleMatch or Handshake), or both (as is the case of another hopeful disrupting the job market, Andela) — in ways that more general job boards like those on LinkedIn or Indeed either don’t highlight as well or simply cannot address.

These are not only connecting with specific talent groups, but speaking to the needs of businesses that are trying to make more of an effort to boost their workforce diversity as part of larger inclusion policies: they are also struggling, in their case. to find effective ways to target specific kinds of candidates.

Image Credits: The Mom Project

As we noted when we previously profiled The Mom Project, it was started when Robinson herself struggled to return to work after having a child — her previous career had her working as an executive at Pampers — and it’s a problem that she is far from alone in having identified (and I can confirm that emphatically). The company’s focus not only on addressing that but executing on it well are essentially the two reasons The Mom Project has grown.

Needless to say, recent events have had a huge impact on how all those general employment trends, and the recruitment industry, have been going.

We’ve seen unprecedented job losses, hiring freezes, a push for remote working all suddenly become the norm. All of that has had a mixed impact on The Mom Project.

In some ways, it plays into what the startup has been building all along. Currently some two-thirds of all jobs posted and that people are looking for on The Mom Project are focused on fixed-term work, rather than permanent positions, and so as companies slow down their normal recruiting, it leaves a space for the kind of work that people who need more flexible schedules may be able to do. That’s at the same time that the companies themselves may be reducing headcount overall for all kinds of work, however.

Another big theme has been a redoubled effort to improve inclusiveness when it comes to racial diversity. That too has direct relevance to the female workforce, Robinson noted.

“Sixty percent of the job losses in the pandemic have been women, and the statistics have been even worse for women of color,” she said. “It’s like a canary in the coal mine.”

While The Mom Project doesn’t have any tools today to surface candidates that meet more diverse profiles on that front, Robinson said that they are considering it and how to approach that in a way that works.

Meanwhile, The Mom Project is also trying to do more to speak to the other side of its marketplace and the struggles they are having.

It’s launched a $ 500,000 fund, distributing grants specifically to small businesses that are its customers (that is, hiring via The Mom Project) the are finding it especially tough right now. (And indeed, many have pointed to the especially hard hit SMBs are taking at the moment.)

All of this is to say that there remains a huge market opportunity here and there is an argument to be made that companies good at identifying clever ways of targeting a gap, and executing on that well, are strong candidates for identifying and filling other gaps in the future — one reason why investors are knocking.

“There is a material disconnect between senior female talent and executive roles at major corporations, not for lack of interest, however the difficulty to institutionalize in large enterprise. The Mom Project’s platform enables corporates to source, onboard and manage variable labor at the highest skill level, a function historically that has been offline and manual for FTEs and even more so difficult for flexible employees,” said Jack Leeney, founding partner at 7GC, in an emailed interview.

“In our diligence, the value add to senior HR managers of an analytic platform that enables the oversight of a variable work force was the single most important factor to integrating The Mom Project initially and at scale. There is no other growth company, digital-first HR company or large-scale talent agency that is addressing the female exec population with an enterprise grade digital solution.”

Startups – TechCrunch

8 Best Payment Methods For Your Ecommerce Site

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best payment processor for most people is definitely Square.

In order to operate a fully functional ecommerce website, you need to be able to accept payments from your customers.

There is no way around this. Your entire business revolves around getting paid.

That’s why you starting selling online in the first place, right? To make money.

But there are tons of different options for accepting payments online. Whether you have an existing ecommerce platform or if you’re starting an ecommerce site from scratch, your payment gateway needs to be a priority.

You need to have options in place that will be appealing to all of your customers.

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That’s because everyone has different preferences. So you should consider adding multiple payment methods to your ecommerce site.

I realize that not all of these options will be equal in terms of the cost that you’re paying to implement them on your site. But in the long run, those fractions of a percentage won’t make that much of a difference when you weigh them against the revenue from your sales.

You won’t think twice about it once your conversion rates start skyrocketing.

For those of you who are ready to take your ecommerce platform to the next level, I’ve narrowed down the best payment methods for a fast and secure checkout process in 2020. These are the top options for you to consider.

1. Square

Ability to get paid fast
Fraud prevention
Straightforward pricing
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Square is commonly associated with its POS systems for in-person payments. But it also has ecommerce options for your website.

This is a great choice for those of you who have physical retail locations and plan to start selling online, especially if you already have a Square POS system. It’s also a great option if you’re planning to open retail locations in addition to your ecommerce shop.

Square is priced competitively compared to the other methods on our list.

There is no monthly fee for adding the Square payment gateway to your website. They charge you 2.9% + $ 0.30 per transaction, just like Stripe and PayPal.

Integrating Square to your ecommerce platform is easy. Some of their ecommerce partners include:

  • Wix
  • WooCommerce
  • GoCentral Online Store
  • Ecwid
  • 3DCart
  • OpenCart
  • Magento
  • Miva
  • Drupal Commerce
  • X-Cart
  • Zen Cart
  • ShipStation
  • Mercato
  • Unbound Commerce
  • WordPress
  • nopCommerce
  • WP EasyCart
  • Sociavore

So if you’re currently using one of these platforms for your ecommerce shop, adding Square will be a breeze. Click here to learn more at Square.

2. Stripe

Built for developers
API and UI toolkit
Wide range of payment options
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Stripe is one of the top payment methods on the market today because it’s so versatile.

It’s a great choice for ecommerce shops, subscription services, or on-demand marketplaces. So for those of you who operate a business with multiple processes and services, this is definitely something that you should take into consideration.

Another top feature of Stripe is the ability for you to set up recurring payments from your customers.

It supports payments online, as well as in-person. So if you currently have a brick and mortar store, you can add a Stripe POS system in addition to the gateway on your ecommerce site. This way you can remain consistent across both marketplaces.

Studies show that brands using Stripe have increased revenue by 6.7% after implementing the payment gateway. With Stripe, you’ll have 81% fewer outages and 24% less operating costs compared to competing payment methods.

Another reason why I love Stripe is because you’ll have the option to customize your checkout process with the Stripe UI toolkit.

Stripe accepts all major credit cards and debit cards from all countries, including:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • JCB (Japan)
  • UnionPay (China)

You can also integrate some alternative payment options into your Stripe payment gateway. Some of these we’ll discuss in greater detail as we continue through this guide.

  • ACH transfers
  • American Express Checkout
  • Masterpass
  • Visa Checkout
  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Microsoft Pay

It’s great for those of you who are using your ecommerce platform to drive sales from mobile users.

Stripe’s standard pricing is simple. As a merchant, it will cost you 2.9% + $ 0.30 for every card charge. There will be an additional 1% charge for international cards.

For ACH transfers, your cost is 0.8% of the transaction with a $ 5 maximum fee.

Additionally, Stripe offers customized pricing options for those of you who have a unique business model or have large volume payments. You’ll get discounts for volume and multi-product rates, as well as some country-specific rates if you’re targeting an international market.

Stripe has exceptional tech support and customer service. You can reach representatives 24/7 via phone, live chat, or email. Overall, it’s definitely one of the top payment methods for you to use on your ecommerce site.

3. PayPal

Trusted well-known brand
Online or in-person payments
Extremely easy to set up
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PayPal is a name that I’m sure most of you are already familiar with. The company has a reputation that speaks for itself when it comes to ease of use, reliability, and security.

This is why you should consider adding PayPal to your website.

According to Statista, there are 277 million active PayPal users across the world in 2019. That number is up from 237 million from the beginning of 2018.

Simply put, there are tons of users, and they are continuing to grow.

For those of you who don’t have a well-established name brand yet, the PayPal button can help put your customers at ease. They know that PayPal has their back for security.

Plus, people might have a PayPal balance that they want to use for spending, as opposed to charging a credit card or debit card.

PayPal is the most commonly used digital wallet in the world. Here’s something else for you to consider.

Websites with PayPal checkout options convert at an 82% higher rate than sites without PayPal.

With PayPal for ecommerce you can accept:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • PayPal Credit

Any ecommerce sale in the US will cost you 2.9% + $ 0.30 per transaction. International sales are a bit more expensive, with 4.4% per transaction, plus a fixed amount depending on the country the purchase came from.

4. Apple Pay

Trusted well-known brand
Online or in-person payments
Extremely easy to set up
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Apple controls over 54% of the mobile vendor market share in the United States. So it’s safe to say there are more than a fair share of people in America walking around with iPhones in their pockets.

Apple Pay is the digital wallet for iOS users.

Once people set it up on their devices, they can pay for items with just one click. This is great news for your ecommerce shop. You no longer have to worry about people being turned off by filling out long form fields with their credit card numbers and billing addresses.

All of that information is safely stored in Apple Pay.

For users who are shopping on your mobile site or mobile app, they can finalize the payment just by using a fingerprint or facial recognition. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

In addition to your ecommerce site, mobile site, and mobile app, Apple Pay can also be accepted in-person at brick and mortar stores.

One of the top highlights of this payment gateway is the fact that Apple doesn’t charge any additional fees to merchants for accepting Apple Pay.

5. Leaders Merchant Service

• 24/7 phone and live chat support
• Online credit card processing
• Low prices
• FREE mobile card reader
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Leaders Merchant Service is a California-based merchant hardware and software service. They provide companies and businesses with the tools they need to process payments online and in real life.

To that end, they offer a variety of very lucrative deals for anyone looking for payment processing help. If you open an account with them, you have your choice of receiving a free mobile card reader for a smartphone or tablet, or a free online processing software. That’s all just for opening an account.

When you open an account, you also get iAccess, which is a payment management tool online that helps you keep track of all your transactions. This will help keep everything recorded for if you ever need to refer back to a payment for disputes or returns.

Their security is top notch too, as they’re fully compliant with Payment Card Industry standards. There’s also “end-to-end secure socket layer encryption, address verification, and card verification value authentication,” according to their website. That way, you know that any card payment processed with Leaders is safe from bad actors.

You can request a quote online or by calling their number. They have a 98% approval rating so you can bet that Leaders will help you get your business payments up and running soon.

6.  ProMerchant

• Online credit and debit card processing
• Month-to-month contracts
• Shopping cart integration
• Virtual terminal
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Boston-based ProMerchant offers a host of great merchant processing solutions including a virtual terminal that comes with no up-front costs to you. That means there’s no up-front cost when you accept credit card payments via phone, email, text, or your website’s “buy now” button.

For ecommerce sites, ProMerchant leverages Authorize.net for actual payment gateway. This allows you to accept payments across a variety of different credit cards and payment options:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Discover
  • American Express
  • JCB
  • PayPal
  • Visa Checkout
  • Apple Pay
  • E-check

ProMerchant’s virtual terminal also allows you the flexibility of accepting transactions over phone, email, mail, and even text messages. That gives your customers even more opportunities to pay you.

When it comes to pricing, ProMerchant offers two plans: Interchange Plus Fixed Rate and Interchange Plus Flat MOnthly Fee.

The month-to-month plan is a great deal as you can cancel anytime. Plus, you don’t get a per-transaction percentage fee like you’d get with the fixed rate plan.

7. Payment Depot

• Accepts all major credit cards
• Small membership fee
• Low processing fee
• No cancellation fee
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Payment Depot touts themselves as the “Costco of credit card processing” for their membership fee-based pricing model as well as their low processing fees. How low are they? They can get as low as $ 0.05 a month for an unlimited membership.

While the membership fees might seem like a lot of money each month, you’ll actually be saving money when it comes to the processing fees—which can add up over time. And the processing fees they do have aren’t percentage-based. Rather it’s a fixed fee between $ 0.05 – $ 0.15 per transaction. This makes Payment Depot a highly lucrative option if you’re a larger business that sees a ton of business each month. You’ll get significantly more savings that a traditional interchange + pricing

However, if you’re a smaller business, you might end up paying a bit more for the monthly membership fee. Still, its cheapest option can still be pretty lucrative if you earn enough money.

If you go with an annual membership, Payment Depot offers a 90-day money-back guarantee. That means you can cancel within three-ish months and send your equipment back, and you’ll get a complete refund.

8. Google Pay

Easy to integrate
Compatible with Shopify
Extremely easy to set up
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Last, but certainly not least, on our list is another digital wallet offered by one of the most recognizable names in the world; Google.

Google Pay is made for ecommerce shops, mobile apps, and in-person checkouts.

Industry giants like Airbnb and StubHub have already added Google Pay to their checkout processes. After integrating the new Google Pay API to their site, StubHub saw a 600% increase in unique visitors buying with Google Pay.

Customers are slowly but surely starting to get more familiar with it.

Google Pay is very easy to integrate into your ecommerce platform. Just gain access to the API and add it your site. After you run some tests it will be good to go.

It’s also worth noting that Google Pay can be integrated with other payment methods that you might already be using on your site, like Shopify, as well as some of the other ones we’ve already covered on this list, like Stripe and Square.


Your ecommerce site is useless if you can’t get paid. It’s time for you to realize that all of your customers don’t have the same preferences.

You need to give them as many options as possible to increase your conversion rates.

Digital wallets are growing in popularity. It’s easier for customers to use these alternative payment methods as opposed to manually typing out their payment information. By reducing friction in your checkout process, you’ll be able to drive more sales and reduce shopping cart abandonment rates.

That’s why you should consider adding these payment methods to your ecommerce site. The more options you have, the better it will be for you in the long run.

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Quick Sprout

[BlueNalu in The Fish Site] Blue Nalu set for 6-fold expansion

BlueNalu has signed a lease for an expansion to its administrative, R&D and manufacturing space with a new facility in San Diego that is more than 38,000 sq. feet – a six-fold increase over the current space.

Read more here.

The post [BlueNalu in The Fish Site] Blue Nalu set for 6-fold expansion appeared first on OurCrowd.


Where can I contact manufacturers? Is there an “Alibaba” type of site for North America?

I've been talking on Alibaba but we want to see what's available in Mexico and the United States. Should I just contact random companies that manufacture products like ours or is there an "Alibaba" type of site for North America? We want to see our options and do you guys prefer having local manufacturers or does it not matter to you?

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

Maria Ressa, founder of Filipino independent media site Rappler, found guilty in cyber libel trial

Veteran journalist Maria Ressa, the founder of Filipino independent news site Rappler, was found guilty on Monday of cyber libel charges by a Manila court. She faces up to six years in prison. Critics of the charges, which include prominent human rights and press freedom advocates, say charges filed against Ressa and Reynaldo Santos Jr, a former Rappler researcher and editor, demonstrate how the government is cracking down on media freedom and the independent press in the Philippines.

After Ressa was arrested in February 2019, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement that said Ressa’s treatment “appears to be the latest element in a pattern of intimidation of a media outlet that has fiercely guarded its independence and its right to conduct in-depth investigations and to criticize the authorities.”

Both Ressa and the journalists of Rappler, which was founded in 2012, have written critically about the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, conducting investigations into corruption charges.

Ressa and Santos were arrested in 2019 on cyber libel security charges related to an article published in 2012 that reported on the alleged ties between Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona, who was impeached in 2011, and wealthy businessmen including Wilfredo Keng.

Keng filed the cyber libel complaint against the two journalists in 2017. The five year gap between the article’s publication and Keng’s complaint was much longer than the one-year prescriptive period for ordinary libel in the Philippines’ penal code, and in order to charge Ressa and Santos, the Department of Justice extended that period to 12 years for cyber libel. Rappler’s legal counsel argued this could impact their constitutionally protected rights.

In today’s verdict, issued by Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa, Rappler was found to have no liability, but Ressa and Santos were both found guilty and ordered to pay 200,000 pesos (about $ 3,978 U.S. dollars) in moral damages and another 200,000 pesos fine in exemplary damages. They are entitled to post-conviction bail and an appeal the verdict.

In a statement after the verdict, Amal Clooney, the head of Ressa’s legal defense team, said, “This conviction is an affront to the rule of law, a stark warning to the press, and a blow to democracy in the Philippines. I hope the appeals court will set the record straight in the case.”

Ressa said, “Freedom of the press is the foundation of every single right you hvae as a Filipino citizen. If we can’t hold power to account, we can’t do anything. Are we going to lose freedom of the press? Will it be death by a thousand cuts, or are we going to hold the line so that we protect the rights that are enshrined in our constitution?”

Startups – TechCrunch

Website broker recommendations for real estate site with sizable traffic & profit in the US market?

A few years ago I created a real estate site and treated my 9-5 job as it's VC funding. It eventually generated more income than my 9-5 so I transitioned to it full-time even though it doesn't require full-time focus. I'm still interested in growing the site further, but I recently acquired a domain name (unrelated to real estate) that I'd like to build a new company around. Obviously, I could put the real estate site on auto-pilot, but I'm not sure that's the best move.

So my question is, can anyone recommend a website broker that has experience selling sites for $ 1M+?

submitted by /u/GondolaPoint
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