Reading List - Week of July 18
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It's been quite the week in the world of eCommerce and technology. Indigo launched a social platform app for book lovers to share recommendations and chat with a community about the books their digging. InkBox, a temporary tattoo company has successfully raised a $1 Million dollar seed round with the help of actress Alison Sweeney and survivor host, Jeff Probst. Amazon is dipping their toes into the world of business banking student loans with a little help from Wells Fargo.
Innovative eCommerce brand Warby Parker is testing out the world of SnapChat with an offer their hoping snapchatters can't refuse. One of the biggest stories of the week is the estimated $1 billion dolllar aquisition of The Dollar Shave Club by Unilever. And lastly robots are now being used to make small deliveries in suburban areas of the U.K.
Indigo Works With Toronto-Based Kinetic Cafe To Create Social Platform For Book Lovers
Looking for an iOS app where you can talk to other bookworms and share recommendations about the books you’ve read? Then you need to download the Indigo App, Reco.
It’s the very first app Indigo has developed since launching their Kobo eReaders and it’s getting avid readers very excited.
“As a lifelong booklover, nothing brings me more joy than sharing a book I love with my friends. Reco is a platform for everyone to share the joy of reading and nothing beats getting a recommendation from someone whose opinion I trust,” said Heather Reisman, the co-founder of Reco and Indigo’s CEO, in a statement.
The app was developed in partnership with Toronoto-based innovation lab, Kinetic Cafe, and is going to be available to readers worldwide.
One of the main areas in which Reco differs from other book recommendation services is that recommendations for a book will be offered through a real community rather than computer generated suggestions.
Since it’s a social based community, the app allows users the ability to post recommendations to the platform as well as to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, text and email.
To read more about the app go to BetaKit
Inkbox’s Short Term Tattoos Raise $1 Million From Alison Sweeny, Jeff Probst and More
One year ago, Tyler and Brandon Handley first debuted their company, Inkbox–which makes temporary two-week tattoos– on Kickstarter, and successfully raised almost $300,000 for their innovative body art product. Fast forward to today where this week it was announced they raised a $1 million seed round from a very interesting list of angels.
TV host of Survivor, Jeff Probst is an inkbox investor. As is Alison Sweeney, host of The Biggest Loser and known for her recurring role as Sammy on Days of our Lives. Both have stated that they were attracted to the creative capabilities surrounding InkBox.
While this is Probst first investment in a tech startup, it isn’t for Sweeney. Alison believes that the product, and concept behind it, is strong. Sweeney also stated that after speaking with Tyler about his vision for the company, she was excited to join the team, and be part of the movement.
To learn more about the product and vision for the company, read the full article at TechCrunch
Amazon Tiptoes Into Banking Business Through Student Loans
Source: Wall Street Journal
The online giant and Wells Fargo, the San Francisco lender and largest U.S bank by market value, have entered into a partnership. The big bank’s student-lending arm will offer Amazon Prime Student members, interest-rate discounts. The discount will be available for both students who want loans to attend college and those who need help to refinance current loans.
In an increasingly convoluted and competitive market, it’s the latest attempt by private student lenders to stand out. Currently, many offer discounts to graduates that set up recurring payments to automatically pay back their debt, or for loan refinancing by grads who are part of professional associations.
Wells Fargo states they will shave a half a percentage point off the interest rate on student loans and it extends to members of Amazon’s Prime Student. The subscription-based service costs $49 a year, half the price of Amazon Prime, and offers free two-day shipping in addition to unlimited movie streaming and other perks.
Read more about the partnership between the two behemoths at The Wall Street Journal
Warby Parker Is Offering Snapchat-Exclusive Sunglasses
eCommerce brand masters, Warby Parker, have created a pair of sunglasses exclusive to their Snapchat followers.
Warby Parker is sharing a unique URL with their snapchat followers where, for a limited time, they’ll be able to purchase their heading turning Haskell glasses in Crystal, with silver mirrored lenses for $95. If a customer wishes to purchase a pair they'll need to create a Snapchat profile and and follow Warby Parker, username warbyparker, on Snapchat.
Warby Parker is a great example of how brands are testing out ways to introduce themselves through traditional means of marketing and commerce.
For more on the story, read the full article at TechCrunch
Unilever Buys Dollar Shave Club for $1 Billion
On Tuesday evening Unilever announced their acquisition of The Dollar Shave Club. While no financial terms were disclosed, sources closes to Fortune stated that Unilever UK is paying The Dollar Shave Club $1 billion in cash for the company based in Santa Monica, California. The same source states that it was Unilever who originally approached the subscription-based eCommerce business about the acquisition.
Founder and CEO, Michael Dubin, of The Dollar Shave Club, will remain in his current role and will continue to run the company and will operate as an independent entity. It is said that the acquisition will help with expansion and and will tremendously help with distribution in existing markets.
To read more about the Unilever and Dollar Shave Club acquisition go to Fortune
Robot Deliveries Have Already Begun In Europe And The U.K.
Source: Fast Company
Starship Technologies, launched by a few of the co-founders of Skype, is beginning live trials of a six-wheeled delivery robot, having already undergone technical trials, and will now be delivering packages to real customers in cities across the U.K, Germany, and Switzerland. Deliveries will include various food and parcels for partner companies Hermes and Pronto.
To receive a Starship delivery, you order using an app, and tell the service a time when you’ll be home. The robot is then sent out to deliver the package to your door. The robots can carry food items, small to medium sized packages, and have a range of a few miles that human operators monitor.
To start, the bots will not run in dense cities, only quiet suburban areas, despite the fact they’ve been tested over 5,000 miles and have successfully navigated their way around pedestrians, traffic and other hazards.
For the whole store about the bots, head on over to Fast Company