Connect with us

Uncategorized

Jet co-founder Nate Faust is building a more sustainable e-commerce experience with Olive

Published

on

Nate Faust has spent years in the e-commerce business — he was a vice president at Quidsi (which ran Diapers.com and Soap.com), co-founder and COO at Jet (acquired by Walmart for $3.3 billion) and then a vice president at Walmart.

Over time, he said it slowly dawned on him that it’s “crazy” that 25 years after the industry started, it’s still relying on “single-use, one-way packaging.” That’s annoying for consumers to deal with and has a real environmental impact, but Faust said, “If any single retailer were to try to tackle this problem right now on their own, they would run up into a huge cost increase to pay for this more expensive packaging and this two-way shipping.”

So he’s looking to change that with his new startup Olive, which consolidates a shopper’s purchases into a single weekly delivery in a reusable package.

Olive works with hundreds of different apparel brands and retailers, including Adidas, Anthropologie, Everlane, Hugo Boss, Outdoor Voices and Saks Fifth Avenue. After consumers sign up, they can install the Olive iOS app and/or Chrome browser extension, then Faust said, “You shop on the directly on the retailer and brand sites you normally would, and Olive assists you in that checkout process and automatically enters your Olive details.”

Olive chrome extension

Image Credits: Olive

The products are sent to an Olive consolidation facility, where they’re held for you and combined into a weekly shipment. Because the retailers are still shipping products out like normal, all that packaging is still being used — but at least the consumer doesn’t have to dispose of it. And Faust said that eventually, Olive could work more closely with retailers to reduce or eliminate it.

Until then, he said the real environmental impact comes from “the consolidation of deliveries into fewer last mile stops” — the startup estimates that doubling the number of items in a delivery reduces the per-item carbon footprint by 30%.

The weekly shipments are delivered by regular mail carriers in most parts of the United States, and by local couriers in dense urban areas. They arrive in reusable shippers made from recyclable materials, and you can return any products by just selecting them in the Olive app, then putting them back in the shipper and flipping the label over.

In fact, Faust argued that the convenience of the return process (no labels to print out, no visits to the local FedEx or UPS store) should make Olive appealing to shoppers who aren’t drawn in by the environmental impact.

“In order to have the largest environmental impact, the selling point can’t be the environmental impact,” he said.

Olive delivery is available at no extra cost to the consumer, who just pays whatever they normally would for shipping.

Faust acknowledged that Olive runs counter to the “arm’s race” between Amazon and other e-commerce services working to deliver purchases as quickly as possible. But he said that the startup’s consumer surveys found that shoppers were willing to wait a little longer in order to get the other benefits.

Plus, Olive is starting with apparel because “there’s not that same expectation of speed” that you get in other categories, and because the items cost enough that the delivery economics still work out, even if you only order one product in a week.

Continue Reading
Comments

Uncategorized

Donald Trump is one of 15,000 Gab users whose account just got hacked

Published

on

Promotional image for social media site Gab says

Enlarge (credit: Gab.com)

The founder of the far-right social media platform Gab said that the private account of former President Donald Trump was among the data stolen and publicly released by hackers who recently breached the site.

In a statement on Sunday, founder Andrew Torba used a transphobic slur to refer to Emma Best, the co-founder of Distributed Denial of Secrets. The statement confirmed claims the WikiLeaks-style group made on Monday that it obtained 70GB of passwords, private posts, and more from Gab and was making them available to select researchers and journalists. The data, Best said, was provided by an unidentified hacker who breached Gab by exploiting a SQL-injection vulnerability in its code.

“My account and Trump’s account were compromised, of course as Trump is about to go on stage and speak,” Torba wrote on Sunday as Trump was about to speak at the CPAC conference in Florida. “The entire company is all hands investigating what happened and working to trace and patch the problem.”

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Kaltura files to go public on the back of accelerating revenue growth, rising losses

Published

on

Kaltura, a software company focused on providing video technology to other concerns, has filed to go public.

The Kaltura S-1 filing only partially surprised. TechCrunch previously covered the company as part of our ongoing $100 million ARR series focusing on private companies that have reached material scale. (TechCrunch has also covered its product life to a moderate degree.)

The company’s IPO documentation details a business that did more than merely accelerate its growth in 2020, and more specifically, during the COVID-19 era. Seeing a company that powers video tooling do well when much of the world has transitioned to remote work and education is not a bolt from the blue. What is notable, however, is that the company’s revenue growth has accelerated yearly since at least 2018 and its final quarter of 2020 placed the company at a new growth rate maximum.

Public investors, hungry for growth, may find such a progression compelling.

Kaltura also has an interesting profitability profile: As its GAAP net losses scaled in the last year, its adjusted profitability improved. Depending on your stance regarding adjusted metrics, Kaltura’s bottom line will either irk or delight you.

This afternoon, let’s rip into the company’s S-1 and yank out what we need to know. It is IPO season, with SPACs galore and other private companies taking more traditional routes to the public markets, including Coupang announcing a price range for its traditional debut today and Coinbase’s impending direct listing.

For now we’ll focus on Kaltura. Let’s get into it.

Inside Kaltura’s IPO filing

When TechCrunch last covered Kaltura’s financial results, we noted that the company founded in 2006 had raised just north of $166 million, crossed the $100 million ARR mark, and was, per its own reporting, “profitable on an EBITDA.” Kaltura also told TechCrunch that it had margins in the 60% range and was growing at around 25% year over year. That was just over a year ago.

Do those figures hold up? In the Q1 2020 period Kaltura recorded $25.9 million in revenue, software margins of around 78% and blended gross margins of 59.8%. And the company had grown 16.6% from the year-ago quarter. In Kaltura’s defense, the company’s growth accelerated to 24% in the year, so its self-reported numbers were mostly fair. Better than, I think, most numbers we get from private companies.

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

Square’s bank arm launches as fintech aims ‘to operate more nimbly’

Published

on

Known for its innovations in the payments sector, Square is now officially a bank.

Nearly one year after receiving conditional approval, Square said Monday afternoon that its industrial bank, Square Financial Services, has begun operationsSquare Financial Services completed the charter approval process with the FDIC and Utah Department of Financial Institutions, meaning its ready for business.

The bank, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, will offer business loan and deposit products, starting with underwriting, and originating business loans for Square Capital’s existing lending product.

Historically, Square has been known for its card reader and point-of-sale payment system, used largely by small businesses – but it has also begun facilitating credit for the entrepreneurs and smalls businesses who use its products in recent years.

Moving forward, Square said its bank will be the “primary provider of financing for Square sellers across the U.S.”

In a statement, Square CFO and executive chairman for Square Financial Services, Amrita Ahuja said that bringing banking capability in house will allow the fintech to “operate more nimbly.”

Square Financial Services will continue to sell loans to third-party investors and limit balance sheet exposure. The company said it does not expect the bank to have a material impact on its consolidated balance sheet, total net revenue, gross profit, or adjusted EBITDA in 2021.

Opening the bank “deepens Square’s unique ability to expand access to loans and banking tools to underserved populations,” the company said.

Lewis Goodwin had been tapped to serve as the bank’s CEO, and Brandon Soto its CFO. With today’s announcement, Square also announced the following new appointments:

  • Sharad Bhasker, Chief Risk Officer
  • Samantha Ku, Chief Operating Officer
  • Homam Maalouf, Chief Credit Officer
  • David Grodsky, Chief Compliance Officer
  • Jessica Jiang, Capital Markets and Investor Relations Lead

The trend of fintechs becoming bank continues. In February, TechCrunch reported on the fact that Brex had applied for a bank charter.

The fast-growing company, which sells a credit card tailored for startups with Emigrant Bank currently acting as the issuer, said that it had submitted an application with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions (UDFI) to establish Brex Bank.

A number of fintech companies, or those with fintech services, have spun up products typically offered by banks, including deposit and chequings accounts as well as credit offerings. Often, these are designed to provide capital to customers who might not be able to get funding on favorable terms from traditional banking institutions, but who might qualify for business-building loans from a provider who knows their company, like Square, inside and out.

Continue Reading

Trending