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Varsity Tutors acquires Veritas Prep to expand into live online classes

Varsity Tutors, the online learning platform that launched in 2007, has today announced the acquisition of Veritas Prep.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but, according to the press release, the Veritas Prep team will remain at its Calabasas, CA office and that the product will continue on as a separate brand.
Veritas Prep launched in 2002 with a suite of test prep courses. Over the years, Veritas built out its online live classes as well as a business around admissions consulting. As Varsity Tutors focuses on geographical and product expansion, the Veritas Prep acquisition allows the company to get into live online courses (alongside one-to-one tutoring).
“Over the course of its 17 years, Veritas has built up a lot of expertise in how to deliver exceptional live online classes,” said Varsity Tutors founder and CEO Chuck Cohn. “We looked at a lot of companies out there, and we saw huge potential to really accelerate our own product development cycle by buying that expertise.”
Varsity Tutors originally launched with a platform that connected students with tutors for IRL study sessions and lessons. Over time, that product has transformed to offer fully on-demand digital lessons with tutors via live video chat, complete with whiteboard functionality, doc editing and other tools. Students can also access free online content (sans instructor) through Varsity Tutors’ Learning Tools.
Cohn says that the Live Learning platform can connect a student with a tutor and begin a session in as few as 20 seconds, and that more than 75 percent of new customers are opting for online/mobile tutoring instead of in-person.
Beyond expanding the product, Varsity Tutors is also looking to expand the number of subjects it offers to customers. Right now, the company offers more than 1000 different subjects (including traditional learning) with more than 250 subjects available for instant tutoring on the Live Learning platform.
Varsity Tutors has raised a total of $107 million from investors like Learn Capital, CZI, and TCV. This marks the company’s second acquisition, with Varsity Tutors buying First Tutors in the UK in 2018 to kickstart geographic expansion.
The 600-employee company has more than 40,000 tutors on the platform and has provided more than 4 million hours of live one-on-one instruction/tutoring since launch.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article said that Varsity Tutors launched in 2011. The article has been updated for accuracy.

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Adtech veteran Marcus Startzel becomes CEO at Whitebox

Marcus Startzel is moving from adtech to e-commerce: He’s becoming the new CEO at Whitebox.
One of his first tasks, apparently, will be raising a Series A.
Startzel was previously an executive at AppNexus, which he joined after the acquisition of MediaGlu, where he was CEO. (He departed AppNexus after it was bought by AT&T.) He’s also had senior roles at Millennial Media and Advertising.com.
Whitebox, meanwhile, was founded in 2013 by previous CEO Rob Wray. The company helps businesses manage some of the most challenging parts of e-commerce — for example, it handles warehousing and fulfillment, while also creating and optimizing listings on Amazon, eBay and the seller’s own website.
Startzel said he was attracted to the company because it taps into broader trends around the growth of e-commerce, and because of the opportunity provided by all of Whitebox’s data around “finding the best way to get the product to the consumer.” He also said he was impressed by the recent hiring of Chief Operating Officer Rob Hahn and Chief Data Officer Andrew Bignell, both from Amazon.

Former Millennial Media Exec Marcus Startzel Is The New CEO At Ad Attribution Startup MediaGlu

And while this may seem like a big change from his previous roles, Startzel said he’s still drawing on his leadership experience, and on his approach of “just understanding the market from a customer lens, just being customer focused when you’re a brand.”
“I’m excited to sell products, not just advertise them,” he added.
Wray, meanwhile, will remain at Whitebox as its chief product officer.
“We started Whitebox because brands were getting crushed by the enormous complexity of selling online,” he said in a statement. “Brands need a unified approach to e-commerce to scale while lowering costs. We are thrilled to have Marcus join and apply his knowledge and experience.”

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Elliott Management letter puts eBay on notice to improve stock performance, sell StubHub

Elliott Management, a NYC investment firm known for its activist streak, released a letter today sent to eBay’s management. The letter put the company on notice that the stock needs to do better, much better. And it outlined a five-step plan, including selling StubHub, it believes can get eBay there.
Elliott is making this request as managers of funds owning more than 4 percent of eBay’s stock. It believes that with some tweaks, the company stock, which sits at $33.71 this morning (up over eight percent) could be worth substantially more. In fact, the company believes if eBay follows its advice it could increase the stock price to $55-$63 per share.

Elliott, which doesn’t tend to be subtle in its assessments of a company’s performance, didn’t pull any punches in its statement regarding the letter to eBay. “Despite its remarkable history as one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, eBay as a public-company investment has underperformed both its peers and the market for a prolonged period of time.”
While the letter took great pains to compliment the company, pointing out that it has successfully morphed from an auction marketplace for used goods to a full-fledged e-commerce marketplace in its own right, it was clear that it believed eBay is grossly underperforming.
The firm dug into the issues, as it sees them, in the letter itself. “Over the past five years, eBay’s total return has been more than 100% lower than peers and ~35% to ~65% lower than the technology indices. Moreover, eBay has declined 20% over the past year alone relative to a roughly flat equity market,” Elliott wrote in the letter.
It went on, “Most disappointing, however, is that this significant underperformance has occurred despite strong end-market performance. As the broader internet universe has flourished, especially e-commerce peers, eBay’s stock has floundered.”
The company didn’t just complain though. It outlined a five-step plan to improve the stock. For starters, it wants eBay to look carefully at moving StubHub and eBay’s classified properties and concentrate more fully on the core marketplace, which it believes is the true gem here.
Along those same lines, the company wants eBay to revitalize that marketplace, which it believes has been mishandled badly. “eBay’s Marketplace is a strategically valuable asset that has weathered prolonged, self-inflicted misexecution. Management should turn its singular attention to growing and strengthening Marketplace,” Elliott wrote in the letter.
It also believes the company could improve its operational efficiency. “Today eBay suffers from an inefficient organizational structure, wasteful spend and a misallocation of resources,” Elliott wrote. Next, it wants more capital returned to stockholders and, finally, it needs a management review and greater oversight.
eBay did not respond to an email request for comment on this proposal. If that changes, we will update the article.

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Dosh raises $40M on $300M valuation as its cashback app passes $50M doled out to shoppers

When it comes to reaching would-be customers today, one of the biggest investments that brands and retailers will make is in advertising, to the tune of nearly $630 billion globally. Now, a startup called Dosh, which offers cash back on purchases, is announcing that it has raised $40 million to take on the advertising industry, with the pitch that its app provides a more targeted and guaranteed way of getting consumers to bite.
The funding — $20 million in equity and $20 million in venture debt — is led by Goodwater Capital and Western Technology Investment. Previous investor PayPal, along with new investors BAM Capital and Anthem Venture Partners, also participated. Sources close to the company confirm that the funding was done on approximately a $300 million valuation. It has raised $96 million in total, including both equity and debt.
“Instead of taking all in equity we decided to split because of the strength of the company at the moment,” said Ryan Wuerch, Dosh’s founder and CEO, in an interview, who said the funding would be used for hiring, business development and technology investment. “We want to be opportunistic.”
It was only nine months ago that Dosh last raised dosh; $44 million on a $241 million valuation. In the interim, the startup has been on a roll — at one point, in the holiday spending period, hitting No. 1 among U.S. shopping apps and clocking in some $50 million in cash back to its users, doubling those returns since last April. It now has 3 million card-linked subscribers and more than 150,000 retailers and brands signed up to its platform.
Up to now, Dosh’s business model has been to forge deals with retailers and brands — partners include Nike, Toms, Gap, Walgreens, Walmart, Jack in the Box and more — and payment card providers like Visa and Mastercard. When a user links up a card, and she or he buys something from the retailers and brands connected with Dosh, the user gets money back. That money can in turn be paid into your bank account, your PayPal account, toward further purchases or to charity. Dosh itself makes money by taking a cut on each transaction, although it does not provide details of its percentage.
Going forward, the idea will be to continue to expand its business along the same lines by building more technology into the platform to make the offers you are getting more targeted to what you might be most likely to buy, and to use the same tech to increase rewards to entice you to buy things that you may be less likely to naturally buy.
The company’s viewpoint is that a direct cash reward is a much stronger driver for retail intent than advertising can ever be, and because of how Dosh links up with card providers, it’s much easier to see how an offer is linked to an actual purchase.
“When you think about advertising over the years, at first all you had was radio and TV and print with little attribution,” Wuerch said. “Now digital gives you clicks and impressions, but true attribution is when you get to the consummation of the purchase, which is what we are able to show. The tech that we built and continue to build enables us to understand consumers.”
Given the billions that are spent on advertising today, even moving the needle a little to get more retailers working with Dosh on more deals could prove very lucrative to the company… and its investors.
“Dosh’s mission is to put billions of dollars of wasted advertising spend directly into consumers’ pockets,” said Chi-Hua Chien, co-founder and managing partner at Goodwater Capital, which is leading its investment in Dosh. “They are the clear leader in the rapidly growing card-linked offers market and we are confident this latest round of funding will accelerate their achievement of that mission.” (And to be clear, there are many others in the same space of offering cash back on purchases, such as Drop and Ebates.)
Offers are specific to people on the platform. As Wuerch explained it, he and I might both get offers for Sam’s Club cash back, but because he visited the store three days ago and is a very regular visitor, whereas I never go there, we may have very different cashback offers on the table.
Loyalty programs have become a strong driver for how people purchase goods and services. Amazon Prime is perhaps the strongest example of how that is being played out in e-commerce: To keep people using Amazon, under one umbrella, Amazon is offering users free and fast shipping on a range of items, plus access to services that ordinary customers will not get, all for a single monthly fee.
Dosh is taking a very different approach, in that it has “no plans” said Wuerch to sell items directly on its app, instead focusing on leading consumers to physical (or online) retail experiences.
“Our goal is to drive consumers into stores, and we have found that the cash stimulus really does create a change in consumer behavior,” he said.
Today, Dosh is only in the U.S., and Wuerch said that international expansion is likely to come in 2020. Whether that will come by way of organic growth or acquisition remains to be seen. In the U.K., for example, Quidco provides a similar cashback experience to users.

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Dosh raises $40M on $300M valuation as its cash back app passes $50M doled out to shoppers

When it comes to reaching would-be customers today, one of the biggest investments that brands and retailers will make is in advertising, to the tune of nearly $630 billion globally. Now, a startup called Dosh, which offers cash back on purchases, is announcing that it has raised $40 million to take on the advertising industry, with the pitch that its app provides a more targeted and guaranteed way of getting consumers to bite.
The funding — $20 million in equity and $20 million in venture debt — is led by Goodwater Capital and Western Technology Investment. Previous investors PayPal, BAM Capital and Anthem Venture Partners also participated. Sources close to the company confirm that the funding was done on approximately a $300 million valuation. It’s raised $96 million in total, including both equity and debt.
“Instead of taking all in equity we decided to split because of the strength of the company at the moment,” said Ryan Wuerch, Dosh’s founder and CEO, in an interview, who said the funding would be used for hiring, business development and technology investment. “We want to be opportunistic.”
It was only nine months ago that Dosh last raised dosh, $44 million on a $241 million valuation. In the interim, the startup has been on a roll — at one point, in the holiday spending period, hitting number-one among US shopping apps and clocking in some $50 million in cash back to its users, doubling those returns since last April. It now has 3 million card-linked subscribers and more than 150,000 retailers and brands signed up to its platform.
Up to now, Dosh’s business model has been to forge deals with retailers and brands — partners include Nike, Toms, Gap, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, Jack In The Box, and more — and payment card providers like Visa and MasterCard. When a user links up a card, and she or he buys something from the retailers and brands that have connected with Dosh, the user gets money back. That money can in turn be paid into your bank account, your PayPal account, towards further purchases, or to charity. Dosh itself makes money by taking a cut on each transaction, although it does not provide details of its percentage.
Going forward, the idea will be to continue to expand its business along the same lines by building more technology into the platform to make the offers you are getting more targeted to what you might be most likely to buy, and to use the same tech to increase rewards to entice you to buy things that you may be less likely to naturally buy.
The company’s viewpoint is that a direct cash reward is a much stronger driver for retail intent than advertising can ever be, and because of how Dosh links up with card providers, it’s much easier to see how an offer is linked to an actual purchase.
“When you think about advertising over the years, at first all you had was radio and TV and print with little attribution,” Wuerch said. “Now digital gives you clicks and impressions, but true attribution is when you get to the consummation of the purchase, which is what we are able to show. The tech that we built and continue to build enables us to understand consumers.”
Given the billions that are spent on advertising today, even moving the needle a little to get more retailers working with Dosh on more deals could prove very lucrative to the company… and its investors.
“Dosh’s mission is to put billions of dollars of wasted advertising spend directly into consumers’ pockets,” said Chi-Hua Chien, co-founder and managing partner at Goodwater Capital leading its investment in Dosh. “They are the clear leader in the rapidly growing card-linked offers market and we are confident this latest round of funding will accelerate their achievement of that mission.” (And to be clear there are many others in the same space of offering cash back on purchases, such as Drop and Ebates.)
Offers are specific to people on the platform. Wuerch explained it, he and I might both get offers for Sam’s Club cash back, but because he visited the store three days ago and is a very regular visitor, whereas I never go there, we may have very different cashback offers on the table.
Loyalty programs have become a strong driver for how people purchase goods and services. Amazon Prime is perhaps the strongest example of how that is being played out in e-commerce: to keep people using Amazon, under one umbrella, Amazon is offering users free and fast shipping on a range of items, plus access to services that ordinary customers will not get, all for a single monthly fee.
Dosh is taking a very different approach, in that it has “no plans” said Wuerch to ever move into e-commerce, instead focusing specifically on physical retail experiences.
“Our goal is to drive consumers into stores, and we have found that the cash stimulus really does create a change in consumer behavior,” he said.
Today, Dosh is only in the US, and Wuerch said that international expansion is likely to come in 2020. Whether that will come by way of organic growth or acquisition remains to be seen. In the UK, for example, Quidco provides a similar cash back experience to users.

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The iPhone is reportedly going OLED-only in 2020

Apple could drop LCDs from the iPhone line next year, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. That interesting — if not altogether surprising — revelation is buried in a piece about a Japan supplier’s struggles in the wake of disappointing iPhone XR sales.
The news, which comes courtesy of people familiar with the matter, makes sense, as prices for the display technology should drop, making it more attainable for more people. Whether Apple is giving up on the budget take on its flagship remains to be seen, but the XR appears not to have gotten the reception the company was banking on.
Apple has downplayed any disappointment, noting that the cheaper handset (starting at $250 less than the XS) has been the “most popular iPhone” since going on sale in October. But handset sales are ebbing across the board — a phenomenon that’s hardly specific to Apple.
Besides, moving to a higher-end technology across the board is just part of the inevitable march of progress, though the company is still expected to release an LCD-sporting successor to the XR later this year. A number of competitors, meanwhile, will be dipping their toes into the foldable display waters in 2019, though that technology isn’t expected to go fully mainstream any time soon.
2020 will also reportedly be the year Apple makes the move to a 5G iPhone.

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Wynd raises $82 million for its store management service

French startup Wynd raised another $82 million (€72 million) from Natixis, Sofina and BNF Capital. The company started with a point-of-sale solution for restaurants and other brick-and-mortar stores. It now provides a one-stop-shop for all your digital needs when it comes to managing your offline and online sales.
The startup has raised $127 million in total (€112 million) from today’s new investors, as well as Sodexo, Orange and Alven.
Wynd provides a software-as-a-service platform for everything that can be powered by computers. The service manages your inventory, handles orders and payments and tells your staff what they’re supposed to do to prepare orders for your customers.
Everything is omnichannel, which means that an online sale and an offline sale are handled the same way in the system — there’s just a different parameter when it comes to delivery. Your inventory is unified across your e-commerce websites and stores. And Wynd can also replace your product information management service.
If you’re already using other services for some parts of your business, Wynd has an API and integrates with third-party services. For instance, you can connect Wynd with your ERP.
Wynd also lets you get detailed reports on your products and your staff. On this front, Wynd competes with Excel and good old static exports. Having dynamic dashboards can help you be more reactive and understand why a specific product is taking off, for example.
And now, big brands are using Wynd to manage their sales, such as Carrefour, Total, MK2 and Monceau Fleurs; 30 percent of the company’s revenue comes from other countries.

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Starbucks expands its delivery service to 6 more US cities, starting with San Francisco

Starbucks on Monday announced an expansion of its delivery service in partnership with Uber Eats, which is now headed to six other major U.S. cities, starting with San Francisco this week. It will then roll out to Boston, Chicago, L.A., New York and Washington, D.C., and is on track to reach one-quarter of U.S. company-operated stores in the weeks ahead, the company says.
Starbucks Delivers, as the service is called, first began as a pilot program in Miami this past fall after a successful launch in China, through a partnership with Alibaba and delivery service Ele.me. After bringing its China-based delivery operation to some 2,000 stores across 30 cities across the country by the end of 2018, Starbucks said it would expand its Uber Eats partnership to bring a similar delivery service to more than 2,000 U.S. stores this year.
Today, customers using Starbucks Delivers are able to place orders through the Uber Eats mobile app on iOS or Android. In the app, they can browse both hot and cold food and beverage items, and track their order’s progress as it arrives. Around 95 percent of the Starbucks menu is available through Uber Eats, and orders can be customized just as in the Starbucks app itself.
There’s a delivery fee of $2.49 per booking on these delivery orders.
Despite the increased cost, Starbucks claims it saw strong demand and repeat business throughout the day during its pilot. The company also believes the partnership is enabling the business to reach new customers who are on Uber Eats, but not necessarily venturing out to its stores, while also serving its existing customer base.
“We know we have untapped customer demand for Starbucks Delivers in the U.S. and starting today, we’re expanding our best-in-class experience to our customers both in and out of our stores,” said Roz Brewer, group president and chief operating officer for Starbucks, in a statement about the launch. “We’re building on key learnings from past delivery pilots and by integrating our ordering technology directly with Uber Eats, we’ve unlocked the ability to bring Starbucks to customers for those times when they’re not able to come to us.”
Starbucks now offers delivery in 11 of its global markets, including Miami and Tokyo. It also offers other delivery initiatives in India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, Colombia and Chile, as well as China.
The company says it will run other delivery pilots outside the U.S. this year. The first of those efforts is London, which has been chosen to be the first European city to test Starbucks Delivers via Uber Eats. London’s test will begin small with company-operated stores before scaling to licensees, says Starbucks.

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Starbucks expands its delivery service to 6 more U.S. cities, starting with San Francisco

Starbucks on Monday announced an expansion of its delivery service in partnership with Uber Eats, which is now headed to six other major U.S. cities, starting with San Francisco this week. It will then roll out to Boston, Chicago, L.A., New York and Washington D.C., and is on track to reach one-quarter of U.S. company-operated stores in the weeks ahead, the company says.
Starbucks Delivers, as the service is called, first began as a pilot program in Miami this past fall after a successful launch in China, through a partnership with Alibaba and delivery service Ele.me. After bringing its China-based delivery operation to some 2,000 stores across 30 cities across the country by the end of 2018, Starbucks said it would expand its Uber Eats partnership to bring a similar delivery service to over 2,000 U.S. stores this year.
Today, customers using Starbucks Delivers are able to place orders through the Uber Eats mobile app on iOS or Android. In the app, they can browse both hot and cold food and beverage items, and track their order’s progress as it arrives. Around 95 percent of the Starbucks menu is available through Uber Eats, and orders can be customized just as in the Starbucks app itself.
There’s a delivery fee of $2.49 per booking on these delivery orders.
Despite the increased cost, Starbucks claims it saw strong demand and repeat business throughout the day during its pilot. The company also believes the partnership is enabling the business to reach new customers who are on Uber Eats, but not necessarily venturing out to its stores, while also serving its existing customer base.
“We know we have untapped customer demand for Starbucks Delivers in the U.S. and starting today, we’re expanding our best-in-class experience to our customers both in and out of our stores,” said Roz Brewer, group president and chief operating officer for Starbucks, in a statement about the launch. “We’re building on key learnings from past delivery pilots and by integrating our ordering technology directly with Uber Eats, we’ve unlocked the ability to bring Starbucks to customers for those times when they’re not able to come to us.”
Starbucks now offers delivery in eleven of its global markets, including Miami and Tokyo. It also offers other delivery initiatives in India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, Colombia and Chile, as well as China.
The company says it will run other delivery pilots outside the U.S. this year. The first of those efforts is London, which has been chosen to be the first European city to test Starbucks Delivers via Uber Eats. London’s test will begin small with company-operated stores before scaling to licensees, says Starbucks.

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Apple Pay is coming to Target, Taco Bell, Speedway and two other US chains

A little more retail momentum for Apple Pay: Apple has announced another clutch of U.S. retailers will soon support its eponymous mobile payment tech — most notably discount retailer Target.
Apple Pay is rolling out to Target stores now, according to Apple, which says it will be available in all 1,850 of its U.S. retail locations “in the coming weeks.”
Also signing up to Apple Pay are fast food chains Taco Bell and Jack in the Box; Speedway convenience stores; and Hy-Vee supermarkets in the Midwest.
“With the addition of these national retailers, 74 of the top 100 merchants in the US and 65 per cent of all retail locations across the country will support Apple Pay,” notes Apple in a press release.

Speedway customers can use Apple Pay at all of its approximately 3,000 locations across the Midwest, East Coast and Southeast from today, according to Apple, as well as at Hy-Vee stores’ more than 245 outlets in the Midwest.
It says the payment tech is also rolling out to more than 7,000 Taco Bell and 2,200 Jack in the Box locations “in the next few months.”
Back in the summer Apple announced it had signed up longtime holdout CVS, with the pharmacy introducing Apple Pay across its ~8,400 standalone locations last year.
Also signing up then: 7-Eleven, which Apple says has now launched support for Apple Pay in 95 percent of its U.S. convenience stores in 2018.
Last year retail giant Costco also completed the rollout of Apple Pay to its more than 500 U.S. warehouses.
While, in December, Apple Pay also finally launched in Germany — where Apple slated it would be accepted at a range of “supermarkets, boutiques, restaurants and hotels and many other places” at launch, albeit “cash only” remains a common demand from the country’s small businesses.
Update: In a blog post about the Apple Pay launch, Target confirmed that users of its Target REDcard credit or debit cards cannot use the store payment card with Apple Pay.
The retail giant also said it will soon support contactless mobile payment technologies on the Android smartphone platform, naming Google Pay and Samsung Pay specifically, as well as supporting contactless payment cards from Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover.
“Offering guests more ways to conveniently and quickly pay is just another way we’re making it easier than ever to shop Target,” said Target’s chief information officer, Mike McNamara, in a statement.

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Apple Pay is coming to Target, Taco Bell, Speedway and two other U.S. chains

A little more retail momentum for Apple Pay: Apple has announced another clutch of U.S. retailers will soon support its eponymous mobile payment tech — most notably discount retailer Target.
Apple Pay is rolling out to Target stores now, according to Apple, which says it will be available in all 1,850 of its U.S. retail locations “in the coming weeks”.
Also signing up to Apple Pay are fast food chains Taco Bell and Jack in the Box; Speedway convenience stores; and Hy-Vee supermarkets in the midwest.
“With the addition of these national retailers, 74 of the top 100 merchants in the US and 65 per cent of all retail locations across the country will support Apple Pay,” notes Apple in a press release.

Speedway customers can use Apple Pay at all of its approximately 3,000 locations across the Midwest, East Coast and Southeast from today, according to Apple; and also at Hy-Vee stores’ more than 245 outlets in the Midwest.
It says the payment tech is also rolling out to more than 7,000 Taco Bell and 2,200 Jack in the Box locations “in the next few months”.
Back in the summer Apple announced it had signed up long time hold out CVS, with the pharmacy introducing Apple Pay across its ~8,400 stand-alone location last year.
Also signing up then: 7-Eleven, which Apple says now launched support for Apple Pay in 95 per cent of its U.S. convenience stores in 2018.
Last year retail giant Costco also completed the rollout of Apple Pay to its more than 500 U.S. warehouses.
While, in December, Apple Pay also finally launched in Germany — where Apple slated it would be accepted at a range of “supermarkets, boutiques, restaurants and hotels and many other places” at launch, albeit ‘cash only’ remains a common demand from the country’s small businesses.
Update: In a blog post about the Apple Pay launch, Target confirmed that users of its Target REDcard credit or debit cards can use the store payment card with Apple Pay.
The retail giant also said it will soon also support contactless mobile payment technologies on the Android smartphone platform, naming Google Pay and Samsung Pay specifically, as well as supporting contactless payment cards from Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover.
“Offering guests more ways to conveniently and quickly pay is just another way we’re making it easier than ever to shop Target,” said Target’s chief information officer, Mike McNamara, in a statement.

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Netflix’s ‘Roma’ nominated for 10 Oscars, including best picture and director

Netflix and Hulu will both have films in the running at the Academy Awards this year. Netflix changed its rules for theatrical releases to give “Roma” a better chance during awards season and it paid off today when the Alfonso Cuarón film was nominated for 10 Oscars, including best picture and best director. Netflix’s “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” directed by Ethan and Joel Coen, received three nominations.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced nominees this morning for the ceremony, which will take place on Feb. 24. “Roma,” Netflix’s first best picture nominee, is also in the running for best leading actress (Yalitza Aparcio), original screenplay (by Cuarón), cinematography, production design, foreign language film, sound editing, sound mixing, and best supporting actress (Marina De Tavira).
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” was nominated for best adapted screenplay (by the Coen brothers), original song, and costuming.
Hulu’s “Minding the Gap” is competing for best documentary feature, while Netflix’s “End Game” was nominated for best documentary short subject. Out of the three big streaming services, only Amazon didn’t get any nominations, but it also didn’t have any major film releases this year.
“Roma” will be up against “Black Panther,” “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Favourite,” “Green Book,” “A Star is Born,” and “Vice” for best picture.
The other films with the most nominations were “A Star is Born” and “Vice,” both with eight, “Black Panther” with seven, and “BlacKkKlansman” with six. “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Green Book” each received five nominations.
Netflix changed its theatrical release policy to allow theaters an exclusive release window for “Roma,” which won Golden Globes for best foreign language film and best director earlier this month. It had previously insisted that movies could only be released in theaters if they premiered on its streaming service at the same time. This meant few theaters were willing to carry Netflix films, hurting their chances for major nominations. After the rule change, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” was also given an exclusive theatrical run in some markets, as was “Bird Box.”
The entire list of Oscar nominees is here.

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