Another Flex Space Marketplace Launches an Online Platform

As companies continue to puzzle over how to return to offices, and to what degree they can compel workers in a tight labor market, there have been a number of developments in flex space marketplaces.

A new one is called TROT, which announced its online platform that will premier in the New York City market. The company said that “building owners can list available office spaces” while people in search for flexible office space “can easily browse a broad selection of locations, building classes and amenities to find a short-term space that works best for them.”

“TROT allows businesses to find and book flexible office space that suits their evolving needs, building a relationship with owners,” CEO David Menaged said in prepared remarks. “Our technology-driven approach offers owners and businesses a trusted marketplace that unifies the way flex space will be marketed, managed and booked.”

The company, not to be confused with the workplace commuter bus service of a similar name, was founded in 2020 during the pandemic. With allusions to Airbnb and Uber or Lyft, TROT is trying to fill a matchmaking role between those who own office space and others who need it.

It isn’t the only company trying to do this. Industrious, a flex space operator that counts CBRE as an investor, announced some global expansions in May, giving it a broad reach and backing of a major CRE powerhouse. The company claims presence in more than 120 locations in 50 markets across the U.S. and a client base ranging in size from startups to Fortune 500s.

Then there’s Upflex, which last month announced a $30 million Series-A fundraising round led by WeWork and including Newmark, Cushman & Wakefield, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, and others. It originally started as a coworking aggregator in 2018 but turned its sites to becoming a common platform that can interconnect different suppliers and provide a single way for users to manage their bookings. In 2020, Colliers launched its online platform for access to thousands of on-demand workspaces across 70 countries, using technology from Upflex.

TROT may find the competition difficult. The company site reads, “Browse hundreds of listings direct from building owners to find spaces that fit a range of budgets, building classes, and team sizes.” But click the “get started” button and what fills the display is “42 workspaces found in 13 buildings. The number of listings is far smaller than what the company seems to claim and that may not be enough for it to establish itself in a highly competitive market.

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MATTA births online travel marketplace

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) and its technology partner, Fusionex Group, has launched a new AI-powered 24/7 B2C travel marketplace and platform called MATTA Online.

Officiating the launch ceremony on Wednesday, minister of tourism, arts and culture Malaysia, Nancy Shukri, shared: “This platform will serve the best needs of travellers – both Malaysians and foreigners alike – and will give tourism players, especially MATTA members a clear and distinct advantage in the online travel space.”

For a start, MATTA Online offers more than 300 domestic packages

MATTA president, Tan Kok Liang, explained that the intention behind developing the online platform was to support small and medium travel agents and tour operators in terms of marketing. He believed it will help to improve business opportunities, generate revenue and boost travel trade profitability.

“MATTA Online also provides an alternative for consumers to buy from a licensed platform to eliminate scammers, Internet fraud and unlicensed travel agents,” he added.

The platform will enable MATTA members to target a global consumer audience, and will serve SMEs as well as protect consumers by providing a safe, regulated and trusted environment to shop for travel packages. Tan opined that the platform will eventually help eliminate scammers, internet fraudsters and unlicensed travel agents that operate through various social media and unregulated platforms.

The packages on the platform are managed by members themselves, while MATTA acts as facilitator. Currently, there are over 300 domestic packages on the platform belonging to more than 150 travel agents and tour operators registered on the platform.

As the number of merchants on the platform grow, so will the number of packages being sold on the platform. By end of 2022, Tan expects the number of packages to reach 3,000.

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MATTA launches online travel marketplace

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) launched a new artificial intelligence-powered online travel marketplace called MATTA Online for tourism providers and tourists.

MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang said this pioneering effort is to support small and medium enterprise (SME) travel agents in terms of marketing and connecting with both local and international consumers who are looking for great travel deals..

“In line with the government’s initiative to boost the digital economy, MATTA Online is set to improve business opportunities, increase occupancy, bolster revenue generation and boost travel trade profitability.

“This platform also offers an alternative for consumers to purchase from a licensed platform to prevent scammers, Internet fraud and unlicensed travel agents while providing a safe, regulated and trusted environment to shop for travel packages.”

A collaboration between MATTA and its technology partner Fusionex, MATTA Online aims to reach up to 16.29 million Malaysians as well as target a global consumer audience.

“To date, we have more than 300 unique packages and over 150 travel agents and tour operators registered with the platform.

“Products are being uploaded by merchants daily and we expect to hit our growth target of

300 agents on board with more than 3,000 packages on sale by the end of the year,” added Tan.

Meanwhile, Fusionex Group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Ivan Teh said the collaboration supports MATTA’s efforts to help the tourism industry recuperate, rebuild and become more resilient through cutting-edge digital technology.

“This synergy will enable MATTA to further drive innovation in Malaysia’s travel and tourism space by empowering local travel agents and tourism operators to meet customer demand, expand market reach, amplify business opportunities and improve revenue generation.”

In conjunction with the launch of the MATTA Online, consumers could redeem up to RM300 in travel vouchers when purchasing domestic packages on the platform as part of the Tourism Recovery Plan 2.0 initiative by the Government.

Tourism, Arts and Culture minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, who officiated the launch ceremony, said that she was impressed with the partnership between MATTA and Fusionex.

“I believe that such collaboration enables tourism players to reach out to a greater demographic of consumers and shall provide a major contribution to the economics of the tourism industry.

“MATTA Online will provide tourism players, especially MATTA members, a clear and distinct advantage in the online travel space.

“It will also put the control of the Malaysian tourism industry back in the hands of Malaysians.”

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Introducing Visual Bounty: A New Online Marketplace for Stock Art and Creative Images – World News Report

At its core, the company offers different price points and various licensing options to meet the needs of all users.

SAINT PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, June 21, 2022 / — Visual Bounty is pleased to announce the launch of its brand-new online marketplace for stock art and creative images.

Visual Bounty is an online marketplace fully geared to become a premier online platform for unique stock art images. The website is highly diverse and hosts a wide variety of images that can be used for an array of purposes, including wall art, stock images, commercial use, and much more. While there are many images that are available for free download under the creative commons license or the standard non-commercial license, Visual Bounty also features four tiers of priced art works. With each passing tier, the available work is more exclusive and higher in quality.

“Here, at Visual Bounty, our mission is to elevate the stock art market and turn it into a truly unique and diverse experience for the buyers,” says a spokesperson for Visual Bounty. “Stock images are usually limited to business-related content with smiling employees and picturesque offices, however, while we do offer free stock art, our platform also features the kind of exclusive photos that can be used as high-end artwork, and can be displayed in premium, luxury settings. If the art is needed for commercial use or reproduction, we also offer very simple and comprehensive commercial licenses. Finding such a wide range of stock art at one platform is something that is unique to Visual Bounty.”

With most of the images on Visual Bounty being highly vibrant and lively abstract works, the pricing for tier one images remains under 1 USD. While these images can be used as backgrounds and visual effects in commercial banners and other business graphics, they are also highly suitable for wall art and accent pieces when it comes to interior design. For Visual Bounty’s second, third and fourth tiers, the price range for each tier goes up respectively, with the quality and the exclusivity of the art also increasing.

In addition to digital downloads, Visual Bounty also offers custom on-demand prints of each and every artwork that is currently available on the website. Customers can order high quality giclee prints in varying sizes to suit their particular needs. The prints are available on a variety of high-quality archival art papers, meaning the artwork can last a long time without environmental damage or fading. This service is particularly useful for interior designers or homeowners who are in the middle of renovation and want premium art for their living space in an affordable price range.

More details about Visual Bounty, along with their entire collection of stock art, can be seen on their official website at

About Visual Bounty

Visual Bounty is a collection of creative images in a wide array of stiles that are free or affordably priced. All images on the platform are available with a Creative Commons license, a standard non-commercial license, or even a simple comprehensive commercial license.

Margaret Penney
Visual Bounty
+1 (727) 280-6144

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Swoop raises US$9.4 million to help more SMEs secure funding


Co-founders of Swoop, Andrea Reynolds and Ciaran Burke. Source: supplied.

Swoop, a global online funding platform for SMEs and advisors, has raised $9.4 million in Series A funding with the aim of further expanding into the Australian and global markets. 

The raise was led by venture capital group Velocity, Arab Bank Ventures, IAG and Californian WeHo Ventures. Swoop has offices in the UK, Ireland, Canada and Australia, and is also focusing on expanding in the US. The platform is forecasting an increase in revenue of 450% globally, and will expand its team from 60 to 80 by the end of winter.   

Head of commercial operations Australia Scott Weddle tells SmartCompany that for the Australian arm this will mean more hands on deck, growing their team of eight by 15% by the end of August.  

“We’re still going through a growth phase,” Weddle said.

“And we recently launched the Swoop for Advisors product in May. Expansion is just starting to take off, and we’ll be creating more jobs and expanding the team. We’re looking to rapidly grow in Australia.”

Swoop acts like a marketplace allowing SMEs to gain access to a range of funding options across loans, equities, grants, foreign exchange and other business transactions, partnering with a range of banks including ANZ, NAB, Westpac, Liberty, Suncorp, Judo Bank and Pepper Money.  

It has also partnered with more than 90 fintech lenders, and has relationships with VC funds, family officers, private investors and crowdfunders.

Its new product, Swoop for Advisors, is an advisor portal for accountants and advisors, helping them find funding for their SME clients.

In addition, Swoop also assists businesses with finding and applying for grants to increase their chances of obtaining funding.  

“It’s a tricky market at the moment. There’s a lot of different information, so what we’re trying to do is uncomplicate the market and give SMEs the right information. We have experts who really understand commercial funding to help small businesses expand,” Weddle said. 

Since launching last year, Swoop has also been helping SMEs navigate business financing during COVID-19, including with the federal SME recovery loan scheme. For businesses that could not get access to funding, Swoop worked closely with them on a roadmap to recovery. 

“It was not always about funding, but actually being there for them and helping them make the best of a bad situation or minimize the impact of a bad situation,” Weddle said. 

And while there has been some criticism about the SME recovery loan scheme, Weddle says the scheme was designed to help businesses that were previously successful and the client had to be able to afford the loan to begin with. 

“The bank can’t lend if there is no guarantee it will be repaid,” he noted.

“From a credit point of view, banks never want defaults even if the government guarantees a loan.” 

Since opening office in Australia in March 2021, Swoop has helped Australian SMEs secure over $100 million in equity, debt and grants funding. 

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Knowband Launches Marketplace Integration Module For Your On…

(MENAFN– Market Press Release) June 15, 2022 6:01 am – Knowband has come up with feature-rich Marketplace Connector Modules to allow the store admin to bridge the gap between their eCommerce Store and online Marketplaces.

They offer Marketplace Integrators for various Giant Marketplaces including Etsy, eBay, Google Shopping, and so on. Knowband aims to become a one-stop solution for connecting these renowned online Marketplaces with eCommerce stores. Using the Marketplace API Integration Plugins by Knowband, store owners can access their own online shop as well as the connected marketplace from a single backend panel. Through these integrations, store owners can save both the time and effort in managing the stores individually. With these connector modules, the store admin can list and manage the inventories, shipping services, orders, and more, all in one integrated platform. Store Owners who use a multi-channel approach will gain a competitive advantage. Marketplace integration extensions are a smart way to get started selling things on well-known marketplaces.

Knowband’s Marketplace Integrators are compatible with the e-commerce platforms PrestaShop, OpenCart, Magento2, and WooCommerce. Online stores based on various e-commerce platforms can be integrated with popular online marketplaces with the help of these marketplace connectors. The functional benefit of these modules offers viability of operations from a single platform, making it all hassle-free.

PrestaShop, OpenCart, Magento2, and WooCommerce are the market leaders, accounting for 75% of all e-commerce businesses that use various CMSs. This is one of the reasons why these extensions are so popular.

Benefits of Knowband’s Marketplace Integration modules:

Seamless Integration:
The Marketplace Integration Plugins save store owners time by allowing them to quickly list products and sync them in real-time. There are plugins for each platform, including PrestaShop, Magento2, WooCoomerce, and OpenCart.

Inventory Control: Provides an easy-to-use interface for the store admin to manage and update inventory. Product uploads may be done quickly and in quantity using the plugins.

Product Management:
By simply executing the cron, the e-products variations can be synchronized with the Marketplaces.

Order Management: 
The Marketplace orders can be synced with the e-commerce store and can be monitored and managed from a single location.

Error Listing:
The admin can view and rectify the error that occurred while uploading products to the marketplace.

Shipping Templates: 
The admin can update the shipping options available to the Marketplaces’ customers. Store owners can create an unlimited number of shipping templates using this module.

Final Words:
Multi-channeling an e-commerce store’s items is one technique to reach out to a bigger, more targeted audience. With the rise in popularity of multi-vendor marketplaces, an increasing number of companies are putting their items on already-established marketplaces. The integration plugins are a one-stop-shop for seamlessly integrating e-commerce sites with other multi-vendor platforms. To know in detail about these modules or have any doubt, feel free to contact us at


Legal Disclaimer: MENAFN provides the information “as is” without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.

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Online marketplace OnBuy appoints new chief technology officer

Fast-growing e-commerce firm OnBuy has appointed experienced telecommunications and electronics executive Julian Browne as its new chief technology officer.

The Dorset company – the UK’s fourth-largest online marketplace – said Mr Browne would drive new technological plans it is set to reveal, and will be “full of significant improvements and new integrations”.

Mr Browne joins the Bournemouth-based firm after serving as CTO for consumer services start-up Comparison Technologies. He has also previously been head of engineering at energy smart home device manufacturer Hive and chief architect at O2.

OnBuy said Mr Browne had proven expertise in implementing digital and cultural transformations and would help bring its new tech campaign forward “at pace”.

Founder and chief executive Cas Paton said: “We are really excited to welcome Julian to the executive team at such a pivotal time for OnBuy.

“We have mega plans for the platform in the upcoming months and Julian’s vast experience, expertise, and true visionary mindset, combined with our ambition, will lead and further solidify our commitment to creating the best choice marketplace for retailers and customers alike.”

Mr Browne added “I feel I’ve joined OnBuy at a significant and exciting point in its journey, as it breaks free of its start-up roots to become a truly major player in the marketplace sector. I’m looking forward to helping scale the business to even greater heights.”

In March OnBuy was ranked among the fastest-growing companies in Europe by The Financial Times, with a 479% increase in revenue growth between 2017 and 2020 – rising from £394,000 to £2.2m.

The firm offers a platform for thousands of online retailers to sell a range of 36 million products.

With the announcement of its new base in Bournemouth town centre at the start of the year, OnBuy said it was looking to double its workforce by filling more than 100 roles, while it also has plans to open a base in Manchester.

Last year it recruited more than 80 new staff members, grew the number of sellers on its website by more than 50% to more than 11,000, and secured £35m of investment during a series A funding round.

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How focusing on user experience will help your online marketplace thrive

Article by Marketplacer APAC head of solutions engineering, Luke Hilton.

Wondering whether 2022 should be the year your organisation starts riding the online marketplace wave? Or perhaps you’ve already made a foray into the space but found the going a little rockier than anticipated?

Online marketplaces have ridden a wave of popularity recently, with eCommerce businesses of all sizes understanding the benefits that can accrue from selling not just their own wares but those of dozens, even hundreds of third-party vendors as well.

Research shows that online marketplaces boost order values and increase customer loyalty and trust. The model allows retailers to expand into new ranges and categories without outlaying large capital sums in the process. Revenue increases of 30 to 50% are not unusual, making the business case for going down this route a seriously compelling one. 

Making a mess of it

But establishing an online marketplace that boosts your brand and sends your sales soaring isn’t as straightforward as simply integrating your eCommerce platform with the online ordering systems of your newfound partners and hoping for the best. 

In fact, doing so can be a recipe for trouble. We’ve observed companies fail to realise the full potential of their online marketplace investments because they’ve failed to pay attention. To the user experience element of the exercise, that is.

Typically, they’ll have neglected to disclose that they’re now running a marketplace model. Consequently, the average buyer won’t realise that the batch of items they’re adding to their cart won’t be arriving together from one central warehouse.

Confusion and consternation can ensue when said items start turning up in dribs and drabs. Cue a surge in calls and emails to the contact centre, all of which must be answered promptly if the business is to avoid an uptick in negative online reviews. 

And then there’s the potentially fraught issue of returns. This can become a flashpoint if a retailer’s third-party sellers have policies that differ significantly from its own. If these differences aren’t made clear from the outset, contact centre agents and bricks-and-mortar sales assistants may be in for some unpleasant showdowns with customers who thought they’d be able to pop in for a refund or exchange.

Selling smartly

At Marketplacer, we know there isn’t always a second chance for retailers that let shoppers down on the customer experience front. That’s why we like to work closely with our customers from the get-go, to ensure they don’t need one. 

Once an online marketplace project gets the go-ahead, the first step should be to map out the process changes that are required and the change management activities that should accompany them.

This allows a company to see potential breakpoints and issues and help retailers mitigate them before they complicate the process by bringing third-party sellers and products on board.

Introducing the latter to your site necessitates a series of decisions: how you’ll advise customers and prospects that your site is a marketplace; whether you explicitly flag every item that’s supplied by a partner; and how you’ll alter your delivery and returns policies, to name a few.

There are no right or wrong answers – it’s up to your business to determine what shape its marketplace will take – but the choices you make will determine the work that needs to be done.

The last mile

After participating in scores of successful implementations, our team knows two things for sure. First, where customer experience is concerned, it doesn’t pay to take shortcuts, and second, focusing obsessively on the last mile of the customer journey is a super-smart move. 

Advise customers that a multi-item order may mean multiple deliveries rather than one big parcel, clearly communicate delivery time frames and supply accurate tracking codes, and let them know exactly who they should contact if they have questions and complaints, and you’ll have sidestepped the pitfalls that typically see rookie marketplace operators come unstuck.

Succeeding together

Establishing an online marketplace is a strategic move. It has the potential to supercharge your sales and profits, provided you ensure customer experience remains front and centre. Teaming up with expert partners that understand the complexities of the model and the implementation process will see your business well placed to make the most of its investment in this game-changing technology. 

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Music That Inspires, Innovates, and Impacts: David Glow Releases A New Hip-Hop, R&B, And Rock Music Album. – World News Report

David Glow

David Glow

This new album is a consortium of music that delivers the message of truth and positivity through lyrical depth and musical harmony.

PLAINFIELD, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES, June 17, 2022 / — David Glow is a new up-and-coming artist who produces music that comes straight from the heart and ventures to inspire listeners through the message of happiness. The artist sees music as the vehicle of truth, using symphonies as the mode of message deliverance.

This versatile performer uses several musical genres which include Pop, R&B, Rock, Afrobeat, and Dance music that all come together to produce music in a way never done before. Glow’s music is making airwaves around the world, because it has both simplicity and novelty both of which help audiences relate to the message while singing along with it.

Glow’s new album is a testament to the music that is original, not imitative nor untrue. The musician’s musical inspirations are Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Burna Boy, Davido, Seal, Lil Wayne, and Justin Bieber. As a firm Christian believer Glow believes that his songs come to him as revelations and his job is to simply deliver the message. The end goal of the message is to inspire people, create awareness, and leave a positive impact.

The eclectic artist’s first EP ‘I Believe’ Vol. 1 was released on May 21, 2022, through a collaborative effort. Glow worked with five producers on this album – Eric “eQ” Morgenstern, Chris Adams (CA), Ananda Dhar-James, Kevin Cho, and Craig J. Snider. The singer’s mastering engineer is Howie Weinberg – a fifteen times Grammy Award winner. For video production, the aspiring songwriter works with the following companies: Mex Films, Nigeria; 1000 Birds, USA; and Lorenzo Films, USA.

Stream the inspiring artist’s music on YouTube as well as Spotify on the following link here Follow the artist’s official social media page on Instagram for updates on newer music. For interviews, reviews, and/or collaborations reach out through this email



After decades of hiding his musical talent, David Glow has finally realized that his true mission is to spread positivity and happiness through the gift that is given to him by God. The aspiring star wishes the world to hear the voice of a little boy whose mom sang in the Presbyterian Church Choir in a small town called Limbe in Cameroon & Umuenyere Alayi, Abia State, Nigeria. The boy who had been writing and singing since the tender age of thirteen but has only now started doing it professionally.

Glow, now married to Helen Okorie with three children, was born in Limbe, Cameroon, West Africa. As a young child, the singer has grown up listening to Bob Marley, Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti, James Brown, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, and many more talented artists of the 80s who have also found a way to influence his music instrumentally.

The musician is a strong believer in education and has thus acquired a myriad of different degrees including a BSc in Information System (Johns Hopkins University) and an MSc in Public Health (Creighton University). Glow believes that music is a sure way of connecting with people and thus hopes to collaborate with other artists, using his label, David Glow Entertainment, Inc. as a way of helping them.









+1 800-983-1362

If I Ever – David Glow

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Fiverr Launches Creative Consulting Business for Enterprise Clients

  • Togetherr allows marketers to hire a team from a pool of more than 1,110 top creatives.
  • Part of Fiverr, the platform will allow marketers to bypass agencies.
  • Togetherr’s freelancers are vetted and many have won awards or worked with big brands.

Online freelancer marketplace Fiverr is on Thursday launching a new platform, which will allow marketers to assemble a team of top freelance creatives to work on projects like brand strategy or new product launches. 

Named Togetherr, the platform is aimed at enterprise clients, as well as agencies, who need on-demand, project-based skillsets, with projects starting from $50,000.

Unlike on Fiverr, where anyone can sign up for a freelancer account and bid on projects, only vetted freelancers will appear on Togetherr. Many have won plaudits, like Cannes Lions and CLIO awards, and some have worked on campaigns for clients like Google, IKEA, and Nike. 

The platform, wholly owned by Fiverr but operating from a different website,, was launched in collaboration with Amir Guy, who will oversee it as general manager. Guy comes with 25 years of

advertising industry

experience, between agencies such as Grey, Wunderman Thompson, and Young & Rubicam.

Togetherr has spent the last few months vetting and onboarding more than 1,100 creatives and 30 micro-agencies, who will serve as the pool of advertising experts that marketers can tap into. 

Guy is banking on two trends he sees in the industry: agile, disruptive tech firms increasing their share of advertising spend, and the fact that most big companies already don’t trust their entire advertising business to agencies exclusively. 

“They’re not even capable of conceiving working with agencies,” said Guy of tech firms. Meanwhile, “let’s say you’re Nike’s agency of record – you know that 50, 60% of the projects are not done with you, because they don’t trust you to do it. You are too slow, too convoluted,” he added.

Togetherr uses AI to build a high-performing creative team

Once clients answer a few questions to define the scope of their marketing project, Togetherr’s AI algorithm will create three “dream teams” of creatives, whose skills and experiences should match the client’s requirements. The algorithm will ensure that members of each team of creatives relate to each other in some way, for example by having previously worked together in the same company or on the same project. It does this by scanning publicly available information such as LinkedIn and award sites. This will help with stronger team cohesion, a common concern among clients hiring freelancers, Guy said. 

The inspiration to start Togetherr came from Guy’s own experiences as an advertising executive. Throughout the years, Guy said he saw clients getting more frustrated with their agencies’ slow pace, while agencies themselves hemorrhaged creatives, who had grown disillusioned with agency life due to the industry’s increasingly “toxic” work environment. 

Brands started to open in-house agencies, while top talent set up shop on their own, and work became more project-based.

Guy then realized that when clients needed outside talent for a project, they would mostly stick to a roster of creatives they already knew, while creatives themselves would often freelance on projects at their old agencies. This is where he realized that Togetherr could help brands access better creatives and creatives access more projects.

“People sometimes [ask], are you a disruptive product? And I say, no, the disruption is already happening,” said Guy, who added that the pandemic only served to accelerate the talent exodus from agencies and clients’ willingness to hire freelancers irrespective of location.

Agencies need a “wake up call”

Fiverr is not the first company that is attempting to automate the creative process in marketing and advertising. Startups like BeenThereDoneThat also aim to reduce marketers’ reliance on agencies by pooling together easily accessible top talent.

But Togetherr isn’t necessarily intent on killing advertising agencies, said Guy. Instead, he sees the platform as an extra tool that agencies can also use to complete projects for clients. “I want to make brands happy so they can access creatives directly and want to make agencies happy so they can have agility and on-demand capability using Togetherr,” he added.

While agencies have consolidated throughout the years, boutique agencies and even solo operations have sprouted. That has left the market fragmented, and, according to Guy, ripe for disruption. 

“I don’t think agencies will disappear,” he said. “I think big brands will always need the agencies to accompany them on a longer run and to serve as the keeper of the brands or strategies. [Togetherr] is a wake up call because the industry does need a reboot.” 

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Sites Listing 20 Million Social Security Numbers for Sale Taken Down

  • 20 million social security numbers were listed for sale on an online marketplace, authorities said.
  • US agencies took down the network, which had made $19 million over several years, per the DOJ.
  • The illegal network had servers in several countries and used bitcoin for payment, the DOJ said.

An online marketplace that listed more than 20 million Social Security numbers for sale and made $19 million in revenue has been taken down by US authorities, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

For years, the SSNDOB Marketplace sold personal information of people in the US — including names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers — and would advertise its services on dark web forums, the DOJ said in a statement.

US Attorney Roger Handberg and agents from the FBI and the IRS criminal investigation office took the network down through an international operation conducted alongside authorities from Cyprus and Latvia, per the statement.

The marketplace had operated under several domain names, which authorities also seized on Tuesday, it added.

The administrators of the sites ran servers in different countries to protect their anonymity and avoid the law, and would make their customers purchase the information through

digital payment

methods such as bitcoin, the DOJ said. No mention was made in the statement of whether the sites’ operators were apprehended in the operation.

They would also provide customer support to their customers, the statement said, though it didn’t provide further details.

“Identity theft can have a devastating impact on a victim’s long-term emotional and financial health,” said Darrel Waldon, the special agent in charge of the IRS’ criminal investigation field office in Washington, D.C., in the statement.

Those who believe they’ve fallen victim to identity theft are advised to visit the Federal Trade Commission’s one-stop website for help with such cases. Warning signs for identity theft include receiving bills for items you haven’t bought, debt collection calls for loans you didn’t open, and denials for loan applications, per US authorities.

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Stablecoins Could Be Key to B2B X-Border Payments

Today in B2B payments, XPO and Google Cloud speed up supply chain movement, while KredX and Tradewind team up on supply chain financing. Plus, Egyptian eCommerce shipping company ShipBlu is partnering with location technology company what3words.

XPO, Google Cloud Team to Create Faster Supply Chains

B2B freight transportation services company XPO Logistics and Google Cloud have partnered on a multi-year deal to “further innovate how goods move through supply chains,” according to a Monday (June 6) joint press release.

XPO will use Google Cloud’s expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and data analytics to build “faster, more efficient supply chains with greater visibility,” the announcement said. The company moved several key applications to Google Cloud that will allow the transportation services provider to access the scalability and availability of cloud computing.

Google Cloud’s data analytics, AI and ML tools help XPO share insights with its operators, including product managers, demand planners, route planners and data analysts.

TransferMate Founder Sees Stablecoins as B2B X-Border Payments Future

Today, about 98% of all cross-border business payments are managed through the SWIFT banking system, which enables the execution of payment transaction flows between financial institutions and banks worldwide.

But according to Terry Clune, founder and chairman of TransferMate, sticking to a decades-old cross-border payment system that is slow and subject to long delays is no longer an option for businesses looking for faster, cheaper and more convenient solutions to make international transactions.

It’s a challenge the B2B payments infrastructure firm is looking to solve, enabling organizations, financial institutions and businesses like the Haas Formula 1 racing team and Uber to transfer money internationally using a faster, more efficient and cost-effective application programming interface (API) solution than SWIFT.

Egyptian B2B eCommerce Shipper ShipBlu Partners With Location Tech Provider What3words

Egyptian eCommerce shipping company ShipBlu is partnering with what3words, a location technology company, to help ensure shipping accuracy and efficiency, the companies announced in a press release Sunday (June 5).

The partnership will see shoppers able to provide their what3words address at checkout. Per the release, this will cut out the need for phone calls asking for addresses or “nearby landmarks” to assess the accuracy of a shipment, allowing customers to do things faster and more efficiently.

ShipBlu will also be able to cut the total daily travel time for couriers and allow for cutting vehicle emissions and improving traffic in Egypt. The release said ShipBlu wants to become Egypt’s greenest logistics platform.

B2B Online Marketplace SAFQAT to Open in UAE

Online B2B marketplace SAFQAT is working to improve wholesale buying and will be launching its solution in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). SAFQAT will replace one-on-one interactions with a “one-to-many” model, which reinforces a connection between supplier and buyers. Its goal is to help suppliers reach caterers, supermarkets and grocery stores in a more streamlined manner, making business easier.

The company will also let members try products before they finalize an order, which the release claims is “mimicking the advantage of a conventional purchase process.”

Khaled AlShanqiti, CEO and co-founder of SAFQAT, said the company had seen issues in the supply chain management faced by buyers and suppliers. The food and beverage industry often sees volatility, with product costs often rising or becoming available at a sudden pace. SAFQAT wanted to be an antidote to that and offer “a quick, transparent, fully digitized buying and selling experience to ensure optimal supply-chain management in good and bad times.”

KredX, Tradewind Team on Supply Chain Financing

Indian supply chain finance platform KredX is working with Tradewind Finance to help provide financing for international business, exports and imports, the companies announced Friday (June 3).

KredX previously revealed its “in principle” approval by the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) in order to offer a platform for Indian companies to transact and raise financing for exports and imports.

This will help KredX extend its expertise in offering customers financing solutions. The Tradewind partnership will reportedly allow more “transparent, competitive, reliable” funding options for Indian corporates looking to work internationally. KredX will also help Tradewind with firmographics and business intelligence, per the release, strengthening lenders’ relationships with Indian exporters.



About: PYMNTS’ survey of 2,094 consumers for The Tailored Shopping Experience report, a collaboration with Elastic Path, shows where merchants are getting it right and where they need to up their game to deliver a customized shopping experience.

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StockX hits back at Nike over claims of counterfeit shoe sales

Online resale marketplace StockX is hitting back at Nike‘s claims that the site has been allowing sales of counterfeit versions of its sneakers.

StockX, in a response to Nike’s allegations, defended its anti-counterfeiting measures and said Nike itself had previously praised them, according to a draft of a court filing seen by CNBC. The response is set to be filed in U.S. District Court in New York City on Monday.

“In the past, Nike has sought to collaborate with StockX and has communicated confidence in the StockX authentication process,” the Detroit-based company said in the draft filing.

Nike and an attorney who has represented Nike in this case did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The legal battle between Nike and StockX started over non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which are unique digital assets that consumers can buy and sell. Nike sued StockX in February, saying the online marketplace’s NFTs of Nike shoes infringed on trademarks and could confuse customers. Nike, which had been preparing for its entry into the so-called metaverse for several months, started selling its own NFTs earlier this year, reaping huge sums.

StockX has argued it uses NFTs to authenticate products as it seeks to boost efficiency and cut costs for customers.

Nike, which has been beefing up its own online business, added to its lawsuit last month, saying in an amended complaint that it was able to purchase four pairs of counterfeit shoes from StockX that were verified as authentic. One of the pairs matched a StockX NFT, Nike claimed.

Nike said in its amended complaint that it obtained the dubious shoes through StockX from December through the beginning of February, just before it filed its initial lawsuit against the company. In its draft filing, StockX questioned why Nike waited until May to include its claims about the counterfeit sneakers.

“Nike’s recent allegations lack merit, demonstrate a lack of understanding of the modern marketplace, and display anticompetitive behavior that will stifle the secondary market and hurt consumers,” StockX CEO Scott Cutler said in a statement. “We look forward to defending our reputation and understanding why Nike, which once sought to collaborate in combatting counterfeits, now seeks to undermine StockX’s business model.”

StockX, which promises “Guaranteed Authenticity,” says it’s different from other resale sites because all the products on its marketplace are physically inspected and authenticated before being delivered to buyers. The company has been valued at $3.8 billion and has several authentication sites across the globe. It claims in its draft response that its authenticators have inspected more than 30 million products and prevented $60 million worth of counterfeit sneakers from getting to buyers.

StockX did, however, acknowledge the possibility that counterfeit products could slip past its vetting process. In its filing, the company noted its refund policy “for the rare case where a counterfeit product might find its way into a consumer’s hands.”

“This fact alone undercuts any allegation that StockX is knowingly or intentionally dealing in such goods,” the filing said.

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B2B Online Marketplace SAFQAT to Open in UAE

Online B2B marketplace SAFQAT is working to improve wholesale buying and will be launching its solution in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to a Saturday (June 4) press release.

Per the release, SAFQAT will replace one-on-one interactions with a “one-to-many” model, which reinforces a connection between supplier and buyers. Its goal is to help suppliers reach caterers, supermarkets and grocery stores in a more streamlined manner, making business easier.

The company will also let members try products before they finalize an order, which the release claims is “mimicking the advantage of a conventional purchase process.”

Khaled AlShanqiti, CEO and co-founder of SAFQAT, said the company had seen issues in the supply chain management faced by buyers and suppliers.

“In addition to competitive prices, buyers struggle with finding reliable and trusted suppliers, alternative options, and sourcing new products in the market,” he said. “As a result, we realised a genuine need for a platform to connect the F&B [food and beverage] businesses, and hence the idea for SAFQAT was born two years ago.”

He also said the food and beverage industry often sees volatility, with product costs often rising or becoming available at a sudden pace. SAFQAT wanted to be an antidote to that and offer “a quick, transparent, fully digitised buying and selling experience to ensure optimal supply-chain management in good and bad times.”

In other UAE-focused news, Pemo, a FinTech startup, recently debuted its all-in-one spend management platform.

See also: UAE-Based FinTech Pemo Debuts Spend Management Platform

PYMNTS wrote that the platform comes with invoice payment and expense management services, along with corporate cards for smaller businesses. Some features available for companies include digitized invoices, automated approval flows, one-click invoice payments and real-time cash flow monitoring.

Users will also be able to issue physical and virtual prepaid cards to their employees, which will be able to automatically categorize expenses, capture receipts and offer greater visibility.



About: PYMNTS’ survey of 2,094 consumers for The Tailored Shopping Experience report, a collaboration with Elastic Path, shows where merchants are getting it right and where they need to up their game to deliver a customized shopping experience.

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Gaining trust key to sustainability of online marketplace