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July 10, 2014

Sponsor: Glenbrook's Data in Payments Workshop - July 23, 2014

GP Logo Horizontal is sponsored this week by Glenbrook's Data in Payments Workshop.

Everyone is saying that "data's where the money is." Big data, small data, transaction data - we all know intuitively that this is important.

But what is payment data, really? How detailed is it? And, most important, who has access to it - and the ability to use it - at what point in the purchase value chain?

Glenbrook's Data in Payments Workshop takes apart these questions, and provides you with a comprehensive understanding of where the value of payments data is, and why it is important.

The next session of this workshop led by Glenbrook's Russ Jones will be held July 23, 2014 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

For details on the agenda and registration, see this workshop page.

Week-long sponsorships of the daily email distribution and RSS feed are available. For more information about how your company can become a sponsor, please contact:

Headline News from - July 10, 2014

On the Web:

  • Learnings from the Bitcoin Workshop - (George Peabody) - "We are certainly intrigued by the capabilities of math-based currencies, but think it’s unrealistic to believe that they might quickly overtake incumbent payment systems that already work well for common use cases. We’re far more focused on identifying payments use cases that still exhibit significant points of friction that might be neatly lubricated by the application of MBC technology."
  • "State of Bitcoin Q2 2014 Report Reveals Expanding Bitcoin Economy - CoinDesk - "This State of Bitcoin Q2 report focuses on data and events in the second quarter of 2014 through to the present day."
  • U.S. Companies Step Up Business Conducted in Yuan - Wall St. Journal - "The yuan is making inroads with U.S. firms now because it is becoming more cost-efficient to pay in the currency. American importers can often negotiate better prices with Chinese suppliers if they agree to use yuan to make a purchase."
  • Safaricom opens M-Pesa to its rivals - Mobile World Live - "Other operators are being granted access for the first time to the all-powerful network of agents that underpin the dominance of mobile money service M-Pesa, according to Business Daily."
  • Button Wants To Bring Loyalty Rewards To The On-Demand Economy - TechCrunch - "With that funding, the team hopes to bring new cloud-based tools to mobile app makers that reward users for engaging in apps that they’re already using."
  • How Prepared is Restaurant Industry for end of Swipe & Sign? - Hospitality Technology - "EMV preparedness is on restaurants’ radar, with 70% of those surveyed agreeing that it is important to have a well-defined roadmap for EMV preparedness. When asked about their organization’s current approach to preparing, however, just 26% report having some form of road-map in place; likely due to the lack of a standard."
  • If you don’t have a bank account, how do you manage your money? - Boston Globe (Evan Horowitz) - "The most basic thing to keep in mind is that while these alternative financial services are regulated, they are not subject to the same regulations as banks are."
  • How ACH works: A developer perspective - Part 1 - Zenpayroll Engineering Blog - "I remember when we first started building ZenPayroll, we spent a many weeks struggling to understand how the ACH system works and learning how we can write software to tap into it."
  • How ACH works: A developer perspective - Part 2 - Zenpayroll Engineering Blog - "About 95% of the time, things go exactly as planned. This post will explain the other 5% cases (called ACH returns) and how they are handled."
  • How ACH works: A developer perspective - Part 3 - Zenpayroll Engineering Blog - "Parts 1, 2, and 3 of this series should give a pretty good overview of the ACH protocol at a high level, although for the sake of clarity, much has been simplified in these posts. There are tons more details and nuances that make ACH payments a very interesting problem."
  • Google Ventures launches $100 mln fund to invest in Europe - Reuters PE Hub - "We believe Europe’s startup scene has enormous potential. We’ve seen compelling new companies emerge from places like London, Paris, Berlin, the Nordic region and beyond—SoundCloud, Spotify, Supercell and many others."
  • IBM Wants to Invent the Chips of the Future, Not Make Them - New York Times Bits Blog (Steve Lohr) - "IBM’s research agenda is a recognition that the end of the silicon era of computing, using complementary metal-oxide semiconductor technology, or CMOS, is finally on the horizon."
  • Marc Andreesen and Jim Barksdale on How to Make Money - HBR Idealist - "The tech luminaries on bundling and unbundling in the digital age."

On the Wires:

Updates from Glenbrook:

Note: Headline News is compiled by Glenbrook Partners. Throughout the day, as we spot interesting developments, this post is updated. Do you have news to share? Tell us here:!

July 09, 2014

Affirm Introduces Split Pay - Enabling Installment Payments for eCommerce

Affirm 70x70Affirm, a new consumer finance service, has announced its new Split Pay service that lets online merchants offer installment payments to consumers at the point of sale. Using Split Pay, online shoppers can make a purchase and pay across multiple months with simple, clear financing fees the Affirm says are a fraction of credit card interest rates.

Consumers want and need an easy-to-use alternative to credit cards when they’re shopping online, especially underserved populations like Millennials, enthusiasts, and the vast population of debit card users,” said Affirm Founder Max Levchin.

“Consumer financing has been available to the largest online and many brick and mortar merchants for years. We’re now bringing this powerful financing to all online merchants, large and small.”

Affirm says there is zero risk for the eTailer as it pays its merchants in full at the time of settlement and their customers enjoy payments stretched out in monthly installments. Affirm says its Split Pay is consumer-friendly by providing clear terms and a fixed set of payments and consumers "are never hit with surprises or large fees as they often are with revolving credit."

Affirm says it "uses the power of big data to make better, faster financing decisions about shoppers at the point of purchase. The only information a first time user provides is top-of-mind facts such as their name, mobile phone number, and birthday. And once approved, there is no user name or password to remember for future use."

Affirm was started in 2012 by Levchin, co-founder of PayPal, Nathan Gettings, co-founder of Palantir, and Jeff Kaditz, formerly Chief Data Officer of ngmoco.

Synchrony Financial Invests in Mobile Payment Startup LoopPay

Synchrony 140pxSynchrony Financial has announced a strategic investment in LoopPay, a mobile payments platform company. Synchrony Financial expects LoopPay to provide special features and benefits for its cardholders and retail partners.

These types of investments demonstrate our commitment to innovation and growth in the emerging payments space,” said Margaret Keane, president and CEO of Synchrony Financial. “We are continuously exploring technologies to help our partners grow, while looking for additional options to deliver greater convenience and utility for our cardholders.

LoopPay technology enables existing point-of-sale infrastructure to accept contactless payments through mobile devices at the vast majority of retail merchants. Synchrony Financial views LoopPay as an opportunity to close this gap for its retail partners and their customers while offering an enhanced consumer experience and additio

The terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Headline News from - July 9, 2014

On the Web:

  • Braintree's Reverse Takeover Of PayPal Begins - ReadWrite (Owen Thomas) - "The most interesting aspect of, compared to previous versions, is that it has support for PayPal built in, and makes it trivially easy for developers to add PayPal as a payment method."
  • Braintree SDK – faster integration, drop-in UI, and Pay with PayPal - Braintree Payments Blog - "Today, we’re releasing the Braintree SDK, the new foundation for accepting payments with Braintree. It enables slick buying experiences, offers customizable drop-in UI features across platforms, and for the first time enables Pay with PayPal."
  • The Global Bitcoin Opportunity: Why Index is Backing Xapo - Index Ventures Blog (Mike Volpi) - "We’re excited to back Wences and his team as they continue to build on their global dominance in the Bitcoin vault market. In the months to come, we’ll see a lot of innovation in Bitcoin storage and transactions from Xapo, and we’re thrilled to support the development of the Bitcoin universe."
  • The Next Big Thing You Missed: Startup’s Plan to Remake Banks and Replace Credit Cards Just Might Work - Wired - "After raising $45 million in venture funding, Affirm recently launched a new service called Split Pay, which lets customers pay for online purchases in installments, instead of upfront."
  • Copay (beta), An Open Source Multisig Wallet - BitPay Blog - "BitPay is pleased to announce Copay, an open source, multi-signature wallet. Copay was born out of our own need to securely store Bitcoins and we felt it needed to be shared. We believe that multi-signature technology will play an important role in helping people secure their bitcoins against loss or theft."
  • Mobile E-Commerce Hits All-Time High: New Custora E-Commerce Pulse Report - Custora Blog - "In the past four years, the mobile e-commerce market grew 19-fold: From $2.2 billion in 2010 to $42.8 billion in 2013. This represents 1875% growth over these four years, and 111% 4-year CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate)."
  • New approaches to anomaly detection - O'Reilly Radar (Ellen Friedman) - "Windowing and sparse coding, a simplified form of deep learning, provide a way to deal with complex repetitive patterns when you need to build a model to accurately predict them."
  • Bitcoin Foundation Hires Firm to Lobby Congress on Cryptocurrencies - CoinDesk - "The Bitcoin Foundation is stepping up its US lobbying efforts by hiring Washington, DC-based firm Thorsen French Advocacy."
  • How One Law Firm is Helping Bitcoin Startups Find Success - CoinDesk - "Perkins Coie currently represents between 40-50 bitcoin companies, a number driven by the firm’s relatively long experience and network of contacts in Silicon Valley."
  • Signals from Foo Camp 2014 - O'Reilly Radar (Mac Slocum) - "Foo Camp, our annual gathering in Sebastopol, Calif., brings together people we know and admire, and those we’d like to know better."
  • PunchClock: Fun With iBeacons - Panic Blog - "With this new technology in-hand, it wasn’t too long before I put together a brand new office In/Out tracker called PunchClock. It uses a combination of a geo-fence and iBeacon tracking..."

On the Wires:

  • Michael Walsh Joins Warburg Pincus as Industry Advisor - Mr. Walsh commented, "The payments industry is dynamic and ever changing so now is the ideal time to collaborate with Warburg Pincus and identify the companies and entrepreneurs who are shaping the future of the industry. I look forward to partnering with the firm to build on its track record of investing in this critical area of TMT.”
  • Hasso Plattner Ventures increases iZettle Series C to 45M Euro ($61M) - "Hasso Plattner Ventures joins in investing in the Series C round of funding, which was led in May by London based growth investor Zouk Capital with participation from Dawn Capital and Intel Capital, and Series A and B investors Greylock Partners, Index Ventures, Northzone, Creandum and the Nordic financial services group SEB."
  • First Data Launches PayLucky™ Solutions - “First Data exists to help our clients grow their businesses and what the gaming industry needs to grow, and serve their customers better, is a dynamic one-stop-shop for the widest variety of payment options that include debit, credit, check, mobile, loyalty and prepaid processing” said Jonathon O’Connor, general manager, Online Gambling and Alternative Markets.
  • MasterCard and Silicon Valley Bank Continue Commitment to Startup Success with Commerce.Innovated. - “Our aim is to increase our client’s probability of success, help them navigate their growth, and connect with potential partners to achieve their ambitious goals. This program is a perfect example of that and we’re looking forward to meeting the new applicants,” said Reetika Grewal, head of Silicon Valley Bank’s payments strategy.
  • mopay Signs Global Carrier Billing Contract with Leading China Mobile Gaming Company Chukong Technologies - Ingo Lippert, mopay CEO, said, “Chukong is one of the top go-to partners for global developers who want to publish in the Asia-Pacific region. Our mopay team takes great pride in being the carrier billing partner of choice for one of Asia’s most innovative and successful mobile apps companies.”
  • Beepi Becomes First Peer-to-Peer Marketplace to Accept Bitcoin Payments for Cars - “Integrating with bitcoin is a natural extension of our promise to deliver the easiest way to purchase a car in the 21st century.”

Updates from Glenbrook:

Note: Headline News is compiled by Glenbrook Partners. Throughout the day, as we spot interesting developments, this post is updated. Do you have news to share? Tell us here:!

July 08, 2014

Headline News from - July 8, 2014

On the Web:

On the Wires:

  • Opus Global Announces Acquisition of Hiperos - "Hiperos is a recognized global leader in third party management connecting over 300,000 third parties to many of the world’s largest companies across a range of industry verticals including energy, financial services, food, real estate, pharmaceuticals, and technology. Hiperos provides rapidly deployable, highly flexible SaaS-based solutions for a broad range of information management, risk, compliance and performance needs for many of the world’s Global 2000 companies..."

Updates from Glenbrook:

Note: Headline News is compiled by Glenbrook Partners. Throughout the day, as we spot interesting developments, this post is updated. Do you have news to share? Tell us here:!

July 07, 2014

MCX – Now I Get It! - New on

PaymentsViews logo 140pxIn a new post titled "MCX – Now I Get It!", Glenbrook's Jay DeWitt shares some of his thoughts about MCX - the Merchant/Customer Exchange.
It dawned on me yesterday, MCX makes perfect sense if you think of it as enabling merchants to better exchange customer spending habits with manufacturers, consumer packaged good manufacturers (CPGs) and others to create more timely, relevant and compelling offers to those merchants’ customers!
Read the rest of Jay's comments and then share your own with him.

Headline News from - July 7, 2014

On the Web:

On the Wires:

Updates from Glenbrook:

Note: Headline News is compiled by Glenbrook Partners. Throughout the day, as we spot interesting developments, this post is updated. Do you have news to share? Tell us here:!


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