Uber’s announcement of its IPO pricing earlier today came with a $500 million belated Easter egg. The payments giant PayPal is making a half-billion-dollar investment in the company, paying $47 per share, which gives the company a valuation of $78.8 billion (in the middle of the range of Uber’s IPO pricing of $44-$50 per share). Neither Uber nor PayPal gave much detail about the $500 investment. Uber’s S-1 and a short statement on LinkedIn from PayPal’s CEO Dan Schulman both used the same wording, noting the deal would help the two work on “future commercial payment collaborations, including the development of Uber’s digital wallet.” So what’s actually going on here? The deal clearly gives Uber another significant piece of financial padding going into its public listing — and it needs it, with a loss of $1 billion in the last quarter alone — as well as a closer commitment from one of its existing payments … [Read more...] about PayPal makes a big marketplace play with its $500M investment in Uber
God makes things happen for a reason
At nighttime, ominous lightning flashes above erupting volcanoes light up the sky like a living nightmare. Now, scientists are closer to understanding volcanic lightning, which stems from both ash and ice, two new studies reveal.Unraveling the origin of volcanic lightning has been difficult. In thunderstorms, the culprits are colliding ice crystals, which generate enough of an electric charge to trigger lightning. But ash clouds are less predictable and harder to study than supercells (thunderstorms), so scientists are still trying to figure out what sets off volcanic lightning. For instance, it seems absurd to blame ice for lightning in a volcanic inferno.Two new studies reveal different reasons for lightning above erupting volcanoes. One cause is static electricity, from particles rubbing together in dense ash clouds near the ground. The other source of lightning happens near the stratosphere, high above the Earth's surface, where jockeying ice crystals unleash powerful jolts. … [Read more...] about What Causes Eerie Volcanic Lightning?
Facebook has agreed to buy leading instant messaging platform WhatsApp for a whopping $16 billion. The company made the surprise announcement in a blog post just minutes ago, detailing its reasoning for the deal as well as how it plans to go about the purchase. In short, Zuckerberg & co. are shelling out $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares to snap up WhatsApp’s technology and user base. The agreement also provides for an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing. To better explain the deal Facebook highlighted some of WhatsApp’s key metrics: It’s estimated that over 450 million people are using WhatsApp worldwide today of which 70% are active, adding another million users per day and quickly approaching the entire volume of carrier-based SMS worldwide. "WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The … [Read more...] about Facebook buys WhatsApp for $16 billion, suddenly Instagram’s $1b acquisition looks like a bargain
As payments companies continue to look to the long tail of global markets to expand their businesses, a startup that helps them do business in disparate economies is getting a strategic investment from one of payment world leaders. PayPal is leading a $50 million investment into PPRO, a London-based business that is focused on cross-border payments for merchants, specifically by offering the merchants a seamless way of accepting payments from customers using whatever the most popular payment form happens to be in a particular country. To date, the PPRO platform covers some 140 payment methods, and the plan will be to add more countries, and more payments, into the mix. The deal comes at the tail end of a wave of acquisitions from PayPal as it looks for new ways of expanding its business as growth tails off in its more established markets and established business lines. Between mid-May and now, it has acquired iZettle for $2.2 billion to expand its mobile point-of-sale … [Read more...] about PayPal leads $50M round for PPRO, a profitable cross-border payment specialist
Uber can’t seem to avoid headlines for the wrong reasons right now, as it gets slammed for its toxic work culture, its connections to a polarizing U.S. President, and its CEO’s attitude to Uber drivers. But despite all that, the transportation company — currently valued as high as $68 billion — continues to grow and has ambitions to expand its business into ever more areas. One of the latest, TechCrunch has learned, involves the app itself. Uber wants to turn it into a “content marketplace” — a feed of entertainment and other features with potentially dozens of third party content partners, designed to grow engagement in the Uber app itself — going beyond the basics of ordering rides and rating drivers. According to documents seen by TechCrunch, the marketplace will be based on a new version of Trip Experiences, a smaller feature first launched a year ago with a select group of partners. In … [Read more...] about Uber plans to turn its app into a ‘content marketplace’ during rides