Pivot-happy ecommerce startup Fab has raised yet another round of cash. CEO Jason Goldberg announced in a blog post that the company has just closed $150 million in new funding. Participants include Tencent, Atomico, Andreessen Horowitz, Itochu Technology Ventures, and existing investors.
What’s more, he adds, it’s “just the first part of a larger Series D round” they expect to complete over the coming weeks.
This brings two-year-old Fab’s total VC funds to $310 million. No word whether it’s all stuffed into Brillo Pad poufs and weird plant holders lying around the office.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt urged North Korean leaders to open Internet access to its citizens, or doom them to a state of virtual isolation. Which, if we understand Mr. Schmidt correctly, he thinks will be far more insidious than the actual isolation North Koreans are currently experiencing. [AP]
North Korea’s official Twitter account only follows three, and only three, other accounts. One belongs to Jimmy Dushku, a 25-year-old investor who’s been to almost 60 Coldplay concerts and counts The Fast and the Furious as his favorite movie. What? [Mother Jones]
They’re not saying how they know, exactly, but U.S. officials are convinced that the cyberattacks on the consumer-facing websites of American banks are the work of the Iranian government. [NYT]
Soon you will buy prepaid iPhones at Walmart. Sounds like another season of The Wire is in order. [PRNewswire]
Not to put a timetable on anything, but Digg figures its content discovery app is about one percent done. Which is as fine a time as any to talk about monetization. [Digg]
Fear not, sweet children of Bentonville. The celebration of the American spirit known as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art isn’t closing on Friday. Walmart heir Alice Walton isn’t asking you not to shop on Thanksgiving in sympathy with striking workers. It’s just a cruel, cruel hoax.
Apple in Your Eye
We don’t tend to associate Walmart with either buzzy startup business models or high-end snacks. And yet GigaOm reports the ultimate superstore has launched Goodies, its very own subscription service, devoted to gourmet food samples. Think chocolate souffle and–seriously–kale chips.
You’ve always suspected stockroom staffers were a bit cavalier with the merch, and now, thanks to a couple of Walmart employees in Pikeville, Ky., you have video evidence.
“This is why you don’t buy an iPad from Walmart,” says the bespectacled dude who introduces this clip (found by The Next Web). We then see his colleagues hurling iPads across a rather large room. “I think the next one’s going to hit the floor,” he predicts, right before his buddy smashes one on the ground.
Yesterday Walmart announced that it is beginning to test same-day delivery, much to the chagrin of its former partner Amazon. But you know what you can now get delivered from Walmart, hopefully same-day? Brony-themed t-shirts!
According to Equestria Daily, the #1 news source for all things brony, Walmart has begun to sell women’s t-shirts with “I love Bronies” emblazoned on the front. The only trouble with this, as the Daily Dot points out, is that Walmart has used the image for the old vintage 1980’s My Little Pony cartoon instead of the modern day update, which most bronies far prefer.
Tap It To Me
Citing unnamed sources and an internal memo, Reuters reports that Walmart will stop selling Amazon.com’s Kindle line of tablets and e-readers. According to Reuters the memo said Walmart’s decision was in keeping with its general marketing strategy.
Target Corp. ceased selling Amazon devices last Spring, after deciding Amazon’s sales tactics were working against the retailer’s best interests.
The Internet Is All Around You
Before most consumers have gotten around to downloading a single mobile payments app onto their smartphone, a consortium of a big chain stores are preparing to push out yet another alternative. The Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart, Target, 7-Eleven, Best Buy, CVS, Sunoco, and more are in the early stages of developing a horribly-named payments network called Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which will let users pay with a tap of their phone.
Rather than go the Starbucks route and partner with Square or follow other national retailers (like Duane Reade, RadioShack, Banana Republic, etc.) into Google Wallet, the group is going rogue, arguing that Google and other telecom providers–AT&T and T-Mobile have a payments app called Isis; Verizon and Vodafone have one as well–don’t understand customers like they do. The retailers behind MCX point out that they have a combined $1 trillion in annual sales and “serve nearly every smartphone user in the U.S.”
People of Walmart
Mobile network providers can join the chorus of Walmart-hating small business owners and local holdouts. This week, the big box boogeyman announced a prepaid mobile hotspot that starts at the low-low price of $10.
So, a decade from now, it’s going to be all smartphone-enabled mobile wallets, right? Children being born right this minute will look at good old greenbacks the way today’s teenagers think of VHS cassettes. Well, Wal-Mart apparently isn’t so sure about that, because the big box behemoth has just launched an online “Pay with Cash” option specifically targeted to consumers who don’t have debit or credit cards. That’s a bigger market than you might assume.