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News & Analysis

Your 90-second guide to the day in tech

- March 5, 2021 3 MIN READ
Jack Zhang, co-founder and CEO

Hello all. How nice to make it to Friday. It feels like it’s been a tough week on many fronts, especially on the eve of International Women’s Day on Monday

Don’t forget to tune in for the Startup Daily show on Ausbiz.com.au  every weekday, 2-2.45pm. Watch online, download the ausbiz app or via 7Plus.

 

Google gives up tracking

Google will stop tracking individual users browsing the web – an announcement that’s akin to the Pope declaring he’ll stop praying.

Having already moved to put an end to third-party cookies for targeted digital advertising by next year, Google’s director of product management for ads privacy and trust, David Temkin, declared in a blog post that “all of us to do more to protect privacy – and that means an end to not only third-party cookies, but also any technology used for tracking individual people as they browse the web”.

Tracking browsing, Temkin said, doesn’t meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, and perhaps belling the cat on Google’s decision, added that “nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment”.

The search giant plans to use APIs to prevent tracking on an individual level, but will still let advertisers target users on its platforms, such as YouTube, Gmail and search, provided they’re logged in.

 

Airwallex shops

Airwallex has gone shopping, gaining regulatory approval to acquire Hong Kong-based fintech UniCard Solutions.

The deal gives the Australian multi-currency payments platform the ability to launch various card payment products in Hong Kong, targeting local businesses in the Beijing-controlled special economic zone in the wake of high demand for Airwallex’s Visa virtual card in Australia.

Airwallex will continue to support UniCard’s prepaid card product, and also offer Hong Kong businesses new payment and collection solutions.

Jack Zhang, co-founder and CEO, said Airwallex aims to launch various card payment products that will support multi-currency, cross-border transactions in a safe, convenient and cost-effective way in the coming year. 

 “With the acquisition of UniCard, we hope to continue to innovate and empower businesses in Hong Kong and across Asia to grow without borders,” he said.

 

NTF WTF

Continuing this weeks overage of the digitally transmitted disease known as non-fungible token (NFT), Grimes is not the only one getting in on the NTF art lark.

Forbes reports that a group an anonymous guild of ‘art digitalists’ are trying to out Banksy Banksy – remember when he had a work shredded in its frame at an auction? –  so they bought an Bansky original and torched it in Brooklyn – but digitised it beforehand as an NFT, so now you can only own the theoretical digital work. It’s now the hottest thing in art and a work called Morons, taking the piss out of those clambering to buy it.

 

2nd-hand fashion unicorn

EU-based 2nd-hand fashion marketplace Vestiaire Collective has become a unicorn after raising €178 million (A$254m) in a round led by French luxury group Kering and Tiger Global Management. A bunch of existing investor, including magazine publisher Conde Nast, and the company’s CEO, Max Bittner, also tipped in.

Plans for the funds include adding 155 to the tech team and developing buy-back partnerships with brands. They’re also looking to become a B Corp venture and hit carbon neutrality by 2026

The ragtech (yes, we just made that up) startup’s online marketplace is like eBay for pre-owned luxury and fashion stuff, and has expanded into the US and Asia, where sales volumes jumped 250% over the past year, with up to 140,000 listings a year. It also authenticates some of the high-end stuff to save you from buying a Chinese knock-off.

 

Hopin’s hoppin’

Hopin founder and CEO Johnny Boufarhat has a serious health condition that means he can’t meet people, attend events, shows, and conferences was out of the question.

In January 2019, he sat at the kitchen table in my London apartment to write some code that became the MVP of Hopin—a virtual online platform to bring people to together and connect, by the end of the year he though “If we aren’t the fastest growing startup in the world next year, I shouldn’t be CEO”.

Hopin began 2020 with a team of six and plans to launch in September. Covid hit. They launched 12 months ago. By June a series A deliver US$40m. In November is was US$125m.

This week Hopin raised a US$400m series C, co-led by Andreessen Horowitz and General Catalyst, with IVP, valuing the business at $5.65B. More than 80,000 organisations now use Hopin. Read his incredible story here.

 

 

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Missed Thursday’s 90-second guide? Read it here.