The Green Sheet Online Edition
December 14, 2015 • Issue 15:12:01
- Food on the fly just got easier with the mobile app from Silicon Valley-based startup AirGrub, which allows travelers to preorder and pickup food from airport restaurants in San Francisco, New York and Boston. Since launching in July 2015, AirGrub has doubled its orders and reduced wait times for on-the-go travelers accustomed to ordering in advance at restaurants outside of airports.
- Proving that you're never too old to draw in coloring books, Barnes & Noble Booksellers Inc. tapped into a trend now popular with adults by inviting patrons to participate in an All-American Art Unwind event at its 647 stores on Nov. 14, 2015. The bookseller provided the crayons, pencils, markers and coloring books, and then created a mosaic from works submitted via social networks to encourage walk-in traffic at local bookstores.
- As tiny apartment spaces become more mainstream – especially in large cities – home furnishings retailers are beginning to think small. To test the theory that people will respond to features designed for tight living quarters, global retailer IKEA invited families to dwell in a concept flat in Sweden. It equipped the unit with movable walls, sliding power sockets and other amenities that could be reconfigured to satisfy occupant needs. Swedish families occupied the flat in two-week increments.
Align Commerce ends funding round
Align Commerce Corp. closed a $12.5 million Series A funding round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Also participating in the round were SVB Ventures; Recruit Venture Partners; and existing Align Commerce investors Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group Inc. and FS Venture Capital LLC. In addition, KPCB stated its General Partner Randy Komisar will bring to Align Commerce's Board of Directors his experience as founding Director of TiVo Inc. and former Senior Counsel for Apple Inc.
Applied Merchant Systems expands
Applied Merchant Systems reported it expanded its senior credit facility in conjunction with Goldman Sachs Specialty Lending Group and Business Development Corp. of America. It also said it acquired a strategic ISO with over 10,000 merchant accounts contributing over $2.2 billion in annual processing volume. "We have a robust acquisition pipeline, and we now have the capital necessary to take us to the next level," said Jonathan Severn, AMS CEO.
Attorneys general endorse chip and PIN
Attorneys general from the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington and the District of Columbia are urging credit card issuers to move to full chip and PIN technology in the United States as soon as possible.
In a letter addressed to the heads of Visa Inc., MasterCard Worldwide, American Express Co., Discover Financial Services, Citigroup Inc., and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the attorneys general said doing so would be in the best interest of consumers and local businesses, which, without the added protection PINs provide, are at risk of increased financial and reputational damage should they experience a breach.
Blackstone invests in NCR
NCR Corp. entered into an agreement with The Blackstone Group LP and affiliates of Blackstone that will invest $820 million in NCR in the form of perpetual convertible preferred shares. NCR expects its relationship with Blackstone to accelerate its ongoing strategic transformation into an integrated software and services company. NCR will use the Blackstone investment to help fund a repurchase through a self-tender of up to $1 billion of its common stock.
FIME launches NFC testing portal
FIME launched TrustApp, a secure online testing portal for near field communication (NFC) applications, to enable a quicker and more cost effective validation of NFC application security. "As TrustApp is online, it allows stakeholders to perform on-demand precertification security testing throughout the development process, 24/7 and wherever they are," said Christian Damour, FIME Head of Product and Services Marketing, Security.
FS-ISAC issues security guide
The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center released a leading practices guide for financial services entities working to improve operational continuity and reduce risks associated with destructive cyber attacks. FS-ISAC President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Nelson said, "This important initiative highlights the financial sector's proactive approach to dealing with new risks and emerging threats in order to best protect their enterprises and customers' assets."
LG seeks piece of mobile payments pie
Korea-based smartphone manufacturer LG Electronics Inc. is entering the crowded mobile payments arena. The company broke the news in a Nov. 18, 2015, update to its Facebook page. The solution, dubbed LG Pay, is expected to launch in December. LG will join a field populated by established competitors Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay through an alliance with Korean card brands Shinhan Card Co. Ltd. and KB Kookmin Card Co. Ltd.
Following Samsung Pay's lead, LG Pay will launch initially in Korea. Some observers have said it will likely follow Samsung to the United States, as well, since it has trademarked the product name in both countries.
MasterCard identifies first Start Path group
MasterCard Worldwide released its first global Start Path class list. Launched in 2014, MasterCard Start Path is a global effort supporting innovative early stage startups developing next-generation commerce solutions. Initial participants were selected from more than 200 applicants. The new solutions focus on using big data and mobile and cloud-based applications to build digital relationships, empower consumers and simplify complicated tasks. Participants gain mentoring from MasterCard, access to the company's commercial partners and the opportunity to integrate with MasterCard solutions.
NACHA unveils ISO resource center
NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association launched a comprehensive resource center on its website, www.nacha.org that features programs, automated clearing house (ACH) integration tools and educational resources to better inform the U.S. payments industry on the ISO 20022 standard. "The Resource Center is an important component to understanding the ISO 20022 standard's implications for the payments industry," said George Throckmorton, Managing Director of Network Development for NACHA.
NAB helps those in need
For the third consecutive year, North American Bancard helped Forgotten Harvest provide Thanksgiving dinner for those in need in the Detroit metropolitan area. This year, the company provided certificates for turkeys or hams to the nonprofit organization. "Donations from companies and organizations like North American Bancard enable us to provide holiday meals for people who might otherwise not have them," said Ellen Busch, Administrative Coordinator at Forgotten Harvest.
Optimal Payments rebrands
Optimal Payments revealed its new brand identity and company name, Paysafe Group PLC. The company said its new logo includes a spark to symbolize "the meeting point of payments." The company's updated visual identity presents a fresh and modern design, and its newly designed website is fully responsive to accurately present its full portfolio of products and services for today's consumers and businesses, Paysafe noted.
Payscout recognized by local business journals
Payscout Inc. placed first on the San Fernando Valley Business Journal's 2015 list of fastest-growing privately held companies. The distinction follows the Los Angeles Business Journal's naming Payscout No.2 on the list of fastest-growing companies headquartered in Los Angeles County. In August 2015, Payscout was also recognized for its exponential growth with a 434 rank on Inc. magazine's list of 500 fastest-growing private companies.
Shop.Co pilots consumer buy button
Shop.Co launched its public beta version of its personal buy button. Unlike first-generation buy buttons being tested on several social media sites and e-commerce platforms, Shop.Co's buy button belongs to the consumer. It gives consumers a universal cart for comparison-shopping and for purchasing across multiple retail sites at once. The company also raised $2 million in seed funding from an angel investor consortium.
Square debuts on NYSE
On Nov. 19, 2015, Square Inc. debuted on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "SQ," trading at $11.20 per share before closing the day at $13.07 and raising about $243 million. Square initially set its IPO price at $11 to $13, but institutional investors bargained for $9 per share as the valuation of the company slipped from $6 billion in recent months to $2.9 billion before the opening bell.
Square joined the ranks of recent "unicorn" IPOs, defined as technology-based companies valued at $1 billion or more by public or private market investors. Square, like others in this category, has yet to turn a profit. During the first nine months of 2015, Square posted $131.5 million in losses, up from $117 million over the same period in 2014. For further details on Square's IPO, see "Square after the IPO" at www.greensheet.com/breakingnews.php?flag=breaking_news&id=1631.
Trustwave offers new SMB security tools
Trustwave Holdings Inc. released more than a dozen new integrated security tools designed to protect small- and midsize businesses (SMBs) from cyber crime, data loss and security risks. With over 71 percent of cyber attacks occurring at businesses with fewer than 100 employees, the new Trustwave SMB Security Toolkit includes 13 integrated tools that range from basic protections such as antivirus solutions to advanced malware detection and monitoring.
UNT College provides retailer advice
According to the University of North Texas, big names in the retail industry are turning to its Global Digital Retailing Research Center for thought leadership regarding industry changes. Retailers that have relied on the center include Pier 1 Imports Inc., Sally Beauty Holdings Inc. and Edgecase Inc., among others. An arm of the UNT College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism, the center is "blazing a trail for digital retail workforce development," said Garrett Eastham, Chief Product Officer and co-founder of Edgecase.
Zoogle teams with Bitdefender
Zoogle Media LLC and security and antivirus provider Bitdefender teamed up to develop Zoogle Media Endpoint, a solution aimed at startups and SMBs that may not have dedicated information technology resources on site. Zoogle Media Endpoint repels hack attempts, keeping SMBs Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliant and safe from data breaches and insidious malware designed to infiltrate their systems, the companies said.
ACI reports higher retail fraud attempts
According to new benchmark data from ACI Worldwide Inc., retailers and consumers should brace for higher levels of fraud online and across all channels during the 2015 holiday season. The report data is based on hundreds of millions of transactions from large global retailers and aids in forecasting consumer behavioral shifts and potential areas of increased vulnerability.
GlobalPlatform paper on mobile standardization
GlobalPlatform published a free, downloadable white paper on mobile standardization. The paper highlights how standardized GlobalPlatform technologies support the implementation and deployment of mobile identity solutions, while meeting the advanced security requirements of a range of markets, including government-to-citizen, government-to-government, healthcare, financial, commercial and consumer.
HookLogic studies mobile buying
More shoppers visited retail sites over the 2015 Thanksgiving weekend than ever before, according to HookLogic Inc. The company reported e-commerce traffic and conversions rose 2.7 times and 4.2 times, respectively, and Black Friday traffic and conversions were up 4.5 times and 6.2 times, respectively, compared with the October 2015 daily average. "We're excited for our brand advertisers and retail partners this holiday season as they see massive online and mobile sales lifts," said HookLogic CEO Jonathan Opdyke.
Mercator researches mass pay
Mercator Advisory Group's research note The Emergence of Mass Pay Solutions analyzes a new payment segment known as mass pay in the business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplace. Mass pay solutions are driven by the need to pay multiple individuals simply, in multiple currencies, without having access to their financial account details. The report studies the benefits for businesses, the addressable market, the growing need and U.S. providers of mass pay solutions.
RemoteDepositCapture.com conducts mRDC study
The findings of RemoteDepositCapture.com's second annual mRDC Industry Study suggest that mobile remote deposit capture (mRDC), despite original fears to the contrary, is a "homerun." When asked to rank various payment types in terms of risk the 322 banks and credit unions participating in the study placed mobile deposits just after debit and credit cards. Ninety-two percent of financial institutions surveyed indicated they felt the benefits of mRDC outweigh the costs and risks.
New Norton report on cybersecurity
Symantec Corp. released the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, which sheds light on online crime and its effect on consumers. The report found that globally 62 percent of consumers believe it's more likely their credit card information will be stolen; only 38 percent said they think it's more likely they will lose credit card information from their wallets. Additionally, 47 percent reported they have been affected by cybercrime.
RSR identifies omnichannel benchmark
According to Retail Systems Research's latest benchmark of retailer supply chain execution and fulfillment strategies, supply chain entities are bending from the pressure of customers' buy-anywhere-get-anywhere shopping behaviors. Supply chains are struggling to get inventory to the point of demand, which is identified as the single most important prerequisite for profitable omnichannel order fulfillment.
EVO integrates with Menusifu
EVO Payments International and Menusifu Inc. partnered to provide integrated payment processing for Menusifu's full-service and specialty restaurant merchants. The partnership will allow the merchants utilizing Menusifu's desktop and tablet POS solutions to take advantage of EVO's card processing solutions – including streamlined boarding and activation; secure Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) processing; and lower fees for American Express Co.'s OptBlue acceptance.
FIME, Amadis team on EMV testing
FIME and software development and consulting firm Amadis formed a partnership focused on maintaining and strengthening FIME's position at the forefront of the payment terminal testing solutions and services market. Amadis has already supported FIME in the development and validation of its cloud-based kernel testing service. FIME has also used Amadis' implementation experience, contact and contactless terminal kernels and acquirer host simulators to test services prior to product launches.
Fit Pay, ConnecteDevice outfit Pebble Time
Fit Pay Inc. and ConnecteDevice Ltd. developed a smart strap for the Pebble Time family of smart watches. The new smart strap, called Pagaré, enables Pebble Time users to transact secure, contactless payments at millions of retail locations, the companies said. "Pagaré for Pebble is the first execution of our vision to bring secure, frictionless payments to wearable devices," said Michael Orlando, co-founder and CEO of Fit Pay.
First Data partners with NCR
First Data Corp. and NCR entered into a strategic commercial agreement. First Data will become a preferred provider of cyber-security and payment processing solutions to NCR customers in the grocery, petroleum and convenience store industries. NCR will be a preferred provider of ATM hardware and services to First Data's client base of more than 4,000 financial institutions. The two companies said they will also co-develop integrated commerce solutions for U.S. merchants.
Heartland, Pinnacle enable petroleum vertical
Heartland Payment Systems Inc. and The Pinnacle Corp. reported they launched the first integrated, EMV compliant POS system for petroleum retailers. Heartland and Pinnacle's Palm POS system, designed for the convenience petroleum industry, uses a touch screen and provides petroleum retailers the highest level of protection against card-present data fraud, the companies said.
Mercury partners with UniteU
Mercury Payment Systems LLC, a Vantiv Inc. company and provider of payment technology and services for SMBs, partnered with omnichannel platform provider UniteU Technologies Inc. The partners said their joint solution brings seamless in-store and online payments and multichannel gift card integration to retailers. The partnership leverages Mercury's services in-store and online with UniteU's integrated commerce platform.
Western Union provides new service through WeChat
The Western Union Co. and WeChat, a social communication platform owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd., agreed to give U.S. WeChat users the ability to send money cross-border to 200 countries and territories via the company's WU Connect platform. The agreement marks WeChat the first social communication application to provide a technology platform to support person-to-person cross-border money transfer capabilities, the companies stated.
FIS acquires SunGard
Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) reported it closed its acquisition of SunGard Financial Systems, positioning FIS to offer a unique range of enterprise banking and capital markets capabilities to empower the financial industry worldwide. With complementary technology solutions and services encompassing retail and institutional (or wholesale) banking, payments, risk management, asset solutions and insurance, the combined companies now have more than 55,000 employees and $9.3 billion in revenue on a pro-forma basis, according to FIS.
Verifone to assume InterCard AG
Verifone Inc. signed an agreement to acquire InterCard AG, a payment-as-a-service provider in Germany. "This announcement reaffirms our commitment to meeting the needs of our retail clients who are increasingly seeking new services and assistance as they grow across Europe," said June Felix, President at Verifone Europe "The acquisition of InterCard will provide retailers with access to a fuller suite of payment acceptance services across the continent."
Anchel, Snider new Virtual Piggy leaders
Virtual Piggy Inc. named Käthe Anchel its CEO and Martha McGeary Snider as Chairman of its board. Anchel joins with more than 15 years of diversified leadership experience across product, design and strategy organizations. Snider has served as the Board of Advisors Chair for Virtual Piggy since 2012. Her role in the company is inspired by her desire to empower the younger generation to become financially literate and socially active global change-makers.
Cascian leaves, Sammon joins PAR
Ron Casciano will retire from his position as President and CEO of PAR Technology Corp. effective Jan. 1, 2016. Karen Sammon was also appointed the company's new CEO, President and board member effective on the same date. Sammon is President of ParTech Inc., PAR's largest subsidiary, which serves the restaurant, retail and food safety industries. PAR also elected Dr. Donald H. Foley to serve as a new PAR board director.
Jones appointed to Qualpay board
Jim Jones, most recently the Chairman and CEO of AccountNow Inc., joined Qualpay Inc.'s board as Executive Chairman. "We are very excited to have an individual with Jim's experience, knowledge and industry respect joining our board," said Craig Gass, Qualpay CEO. "Jim's very successful career is a testament to his knowledge and expertise, which will prove invaluable in helping Qualpay continue its rapid growth."
Heartland promotes Sebes, hires Grunzweig
Heartland promoted Christopher Sebes to Executive Vice President, appointing him to head Heartland Commerce, a business group formed in February 2015 to help Heartland strengthen its position in the hospitality and retail POS markets. Additionally, Jeremy Grunzweig joined the company in the newly formed role of Senior Vice President for the retail division of Heartland Commerce.
Zumwalt signs on with Emergent
Emergent Payments hired Rossini Zumwalt to fortify its expertise in global payments, fraud prevention, compliance and risk management of digital payments in emerging markets. Rossini joins Emergent from Symantec, where she set the strategy and direction for the global payment and risk teams to enable growth of the company's B2C, business-to-business and enterprise commerce business units.
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