When Retro Computers turned to Indiegogo for crowdfunding, it promised $100-level funders a handheld gaming device called the Vega+. With promises from the company that the device would come equipped with more than 1,000 games, the console quickly gained a following, and more than 3,600 people pledged $100 each to receive one.
But when the time came for those backers to receive the handheld devices, Retro Computers wasn’t able to deliver. Legal battles and production issues caused hiccups. The promised September 2016 delivery came and went. Users began getting upset — more and more publicly.
Finally, after unwanted media attention and, just this month, a lawsuit, Indiegogo intervened. The crowdfunding platform announced on June 6 that it was siccing debt collectors on Retro Computers in an effort to reimburse its donors.
Crowdfunding’s popularity is not all hype. It can yield benefits beyond financial backing, helping your company build a loyal customer base and establish credibility before you’ve even launched. But you can’t just set up a Kickstarter page and watch the money roll in. The right strategy is essential to reap the rewards.
Pebble shows how it can and should be done. One of Kickstarter’s most successful campaigns of all time, the company raised more than $20 million from 78,000 backers — exceeding its goal by 4,068 percent. Pebble turned that consumer confidence into more than 2 million sales of its smartwatch and was ultimately bought out by Fitbit.
But when it comes to crowdfunding, there’s more to consider than whether your project will meet its fundraising goals. Even a successful campaign without serious forethought and planning can encounter challenges that will sink a business before it gets off the ground.
Coolest Cooler, on the other hand, might be one of the most disastrous campaigns in Kickstarter history. The company raised $13 million, but it wasn’t prepared to operate in the wake of such success. Coolest Cooler couldn’t fulfill rewards for its 62,642 backers.
Remember: It’s not just about hitting the goal. Even in successfully funded projects, 9 percent fail to deliver on promises to backers. That’s a hard hurdle to overcome in the beginning stages of any new business.
Campaign mistakes to avoid
It’s easy to think of crowdfunding as easy money, but campaigns should be hard work if you’re doing them correctly. If you want to start your project on the right foot, avoid these common mistakes:
1. Kicking off without leads in place. Crowdfunding campaigns have short time lines. What’s more, campaigns rely on a momentum of interest. You’re going to have difficulty hitting your goal if you don’t have leads in place ready to back your campaign on day one. Not gathering enough leads before launching is the problem partially to blame for nearly every failed project.
Set up a landing page ahead of time describing your product and promoting your upcoming project. Include a contest in which people can enter their email address for a chance to win your product. This will give you a list of already interested folks to reach out to the day you launch your campaign.
2. Ignoring Facebook for potential conversions. Platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have large audiences, but if you rely solely on the backers already there, you probably won’t hit your goal.
So, look elsewhere. Facebook advertising is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach a highly targeted group of people that is likely to convert.
Consider the PEEjamas Kickstarter campaign, which my company mounted. That project hit its $14,000 goal early on, but my company wanted to see how far we could go. Funding increased from around $26,000 when we started the ads, to $227,469 by the time the campaign closed. I highly recommend working with a team of Facebook Ads specialists who can make the most of your ad budget.
3. Failing to consider scale. You might have a goal in mind, but what happens if you exceed it? Is your business model scalable? Are you going to be able to fulfill rewards? Don’t be Retro Computer or Coolest Cooler.
Make sure the price of each of your rewards is sufficient, whether you hit your goal exactly or raise more than you anticipate. Have a plan in place for shipping and fulfillment. Examine your profit margins closely as you set your funding goal, and determine product pricing. Consider factors such as minimum order quantities, manufacturing costs, marketing costs, platform fees, shipping costs and more.
One last thing to consider: Kickstarter and Indiegogo both have a 5 percent use fee and a 3 percent to 5 percent processing fee. Factor this into the goal you initially set.
Platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have broadened the horizons of startups and consumers alike, but getting the most value out of crowdfunding requires forethought and planning. There are plenty of Cinderella stories out there but also just as many cautionary tales. Avoid their mistakes to make the most of your fundraising endeavor.
If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.
Running a creative business is tough—especially when you’re running on empty.
I currently manage my own production studio and nonprofit, and I can tell you from experience. As entrepreneurs, our to-do lists are endless, the risks of our decisions are usually high, and we often forgo our own care out of work guilt or shame.
As part of my journey to design a sustainable lifestyle for myself, I have spent the last year cultivating a more stable relationship to my work. This has meant pausing projects that need more space, letting go of clients that do not see my value and giving myself time—time to experiment, time to fail and time to critically think.
Exercising that restraint has been hard. I sometimes want to over-work, I usually want to launch a project when I’m not ready, and I often rip myself to shreds when I make a mistake. But daily rituals and routines that reaffirm my goals and address my own doubts have become life-giving, and that’s where these illustrators come in. Today, I’ve rounded up 10 artists on Instagram that have transformed my day-to-day consumption of social media. I hope they bring you a little inspiration, too.
Creating a website is one of the most important things you’ll do when getting your business up and running. It can help you market your offerings, communicate with customers and complete sales. So you need to be very intentional about how you create it and then constantly work to improve it going forward. Here are some tips from members of the online small business community to help you create the best possible website for your business.
Every business’s website looks different, but there are some components that should be included in just about every one. To ensure that your website is well poised to help you appeal to customers and meet your goals, check out this Search Engine Journal post by Corey Morris.
When you create marketing content for your business, you can choose to keep it on your own website or send it to another location. There are pros and cons to both, so it’s important to carefully consider the options. Julie Joyce elaborates in this Marketing Land post.
Blogging or content creation is a great way to keep your website fresh. But you need to create a schedule that works for your business. In this Content Champion post, Loz James discusses how often you should blog as a business owner. And BizSugar members shared their thoughts here.
Typography is an important component of any website or branding design. So it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the latest trends in typography to improve the look of your website. Lana Miro shares some current design inspiration for your consideration in this DIY Marketers post.
Whether it’s through your website or any other process for your business, efficiency is paramount. If you can get more done with less, then your business can grow faster than ever before. See more in this GetResponse post by Ada Durzynska.
If you have a blog on your website, there are several tried and true tactics you can use to improve it. But if you’ve already got the basics down, you could possibly benefit from the more unique tips in this Basic Blog Tips post by Janice Wald.
Getting people to click over to your website isn’t enough to make it a success. The ultimate goal is to get visitors to actually stay and convert them into customers. So you need to work on improving your bounce and conversion rates. Susan Solovic includes more information in this post.
Your website can be a great way for you to build some buzz before a product launch. In fact, there are several ways you can start marketing your business before you even have a product to offer. Here are some suggestions from Martin Zwilling of Startup Professionals Musings. Then you can see commentary from members of the BizSugar community here.
Once you post content to your website, you need to find different ways to get the word out and encourage potential customers to interact with it. Social media should be at the top of your list for doing just that. In this Social Media HQ post, Chris Zilles offers some social media methods that you can use to effectively get the word out about your content.
If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.
Video has become the calling card of today’s digital business ecosystem. And for many small businesses, the DIY route is the way to go because of the cost. Introbrand has created a service which fills a particular niche in this segment. It allows you to make intros, outros and logo animations for your videos.
While the buzz that Amazon will take the plunge into banking seems to get louder each year, it’s important to first understand Amazon’s existing strategy in financial services — what Amazon has launched and built, where the company is investing, and what recent products tell us about Amazon’s future ambitions.
Based on our findings, it’s hard to claim that Amazon is building the next-generation bank. But it’s clear that the company remains very focused on building financial services products that support its core strategic goal: increasing participation in the Amazon ecosystem.
As a result, the company has built and launched tools that aim to:
Increase the number of merchants on Amazon, and enable each merchant to sell more
Increase the number of customers on Amazon, and enable each customer to spend more
Continue to reduce any buying/selling friction
In parallel, Amazon has made several fintech investments, mostly focused on international markets (India and Mexico, among others) where partners can help serve Amazon’s core strategic goal.
In aggregate, these product development and investment decisions reveal that Amazon isn’t building a traditional bank that serves everyone. Instead, Amazon has taken the core components of a modern banking experience and tweaked them to suit Amazon customers (both merchants and consumers).
In a sense, Amazon is building a bank for itself — and that may be an even more compelling development than the company launching a deposit-holding bank.
This report is a collection of everything we know about Amazon’s foray into banking, financial services, and fintech. We will be updating this brief on an ongoing basis as more relevant data, investments, news, and products are released.
Product strategy: Amazon takes on financial services
Amazon is notorious for spreading its bets before going all-in on a new product, and the financial services space is no exception. Through trial and error, the company has set up key financial pillars across payments, cash deposits, and lending. As we’ll dive into below, all are related to Amazon’s broader growth and product strategies.
Amazon has aggressively invested in payments infrastructure and services over the last few years. That’s unsurprising, given that the payments experience is so close to Amazon’s core e-commerce business. Making payments more cash efficient for Amazon and frictionless for customers is a key priority.
Today, Amazon Pay has evolved to include a digital wallet for customers and a payments network for both online and brick-and-mortar merchants. While Amazon Pay is the company’s latest iteration on payments, Amazon experimented with payments functionality for over a decade. Below is a timeline of some of the major Amazon Pay milestones:
Amazon’s first known payments product — Pay with Amazon — launched in 2007. That same year, the company acquired TextPayMe, a peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile service that was relaunched as Amazon Webpay in 2011.
Webpay failed to gain user traction and was shut down in 2014, unlike up-start Venmo (now a part of rival payments processor PayPal). It’s likely that Amazon was too early to P2P payments.
In 2007, the company also invested in Bill Me Later (fka I4 Commerce). Bill Me Later was one of the earliest fintech payment platforms on the market and gave big retailers the ability to offer flexible financing programs. Although Bill Me Later was quickly scooped up by PayPal in 2008, Amazon has remained focused on reducing payment friction for customers.
Over the last few years, Amazon has used a variety of techniques to strengthen its payments experience, including launching digital wallets through Amazon Pay, acquiring tech talent of failed mobile payments startup GoPago, and building a variety of tech in-house.
Today’s iteration is Amazon Pay, a digital wallet for customers and a payments network for both online and brick-and-mortar merchants and shoppers.
In addition to serving Amazon’s core customers, payments is an attractive revenue line when thinking about the scope of the payments market. Swipe fees alone are a $90B-a-year business for banks, card networks like Visa, and payment processors like Stripe.
Amazon is finding ways to attract merchants to the Amazon Pay network beyond its experimentation with swipe fees. The company announced it would pass on the special card savings Amazon gets from card networks (because of the volume of purchases they can guarantee) to retailers that adopt Amazon Pay. Leveraging scale and competing on fees is a classic customer acquisition strategy in Amazon’s playbook.
And while the company is famously secretive about reporting customer growth and business metrics, it reported that Amazon Pay had 33M customers in 170 countries in 2016. Payments made with Amazon Pay spiked following service expansion to new geographies — France, Italy, and Spain — and to new verticals, including government payments, travel, insurance, entertainment, and charitable donations.
However, the company has had some missteps with Amazon Pay. Its most famous failure was Amazon Local Register. With the talent acquired from GoPago, Amazon launched Amazon Local Register, a card reader for SMBs in August 2014. At the time, the company charged competitive rates (a full percentage point less than Square). Each reader cost $10, and it seemed like a formidable rival to PayPal and Square’s readers.
But in October 2015, the company announced it would be shut down. Despite charging lower fees, the company failed to gain enough traction with merchants who feared giving Amazon detailed data on their overall business operations.
Eventually, Amazon launched a “Pay with Amazon” button for mobile, and created a team with the goal of expanding payments across the web and on apps.
To lead this team, Amazon hired ex-PayPal employee Patrick Gauthier. In reference to failed payments projects, Gauthier said:
Amazon Go: Amazon’s secret payments weapon?
Developing product remains an area of strength for Amazon, especially as it iterates on its in-house biometrics payments technology piloted within its Amazon Go grocery store.
The “Just Walk Out” technology uses computer vision, sensor fusion, and advanced machine learning to enable a frictionless payments experience, and is based on technology that the company has patented in the past.
“Just Walk Out” is available through the Amazon App. It grants access to the store and allows customers to grab-and-go without needing to physically check out to pay for products.
Amazon is still only in beta with this technology, but it has plans to launch 6 more stores with this capability in 2018. While the company typically does not make its proprietary technology available commercially, it would not be surprising if Amazon looks to integrate this tech into its Whole Foods stores in the future.
The Amazon Cash program bridges the gap between online commerce, using debit or credit cards as payment, and offline commerce that relies on “cash on delivery” options like cash and gift cards.
Amazon Cash launched in April 2017 to allow customers to deposit cash, without a fee, to a digital account by showing a bar code (either printed physically or digitally) at a partner brick-and-mortar retailer such as CVS, 7-11, and others.
Amazon Cash fits neatly into Amazon’s strategy of appealing to underbanked and unbanked populations — customers do not need a bank account or a phone to open an account, only access to the internet and a printer.
In the US, there are estimated to be 33.5M US households defined as unbanked or underbanked, according to the FDIC’s most recent survey. Prior to Amazon Cash, this was an unaddressed customer base for the online retailer.
Since Amazon Cash’s launch, Amazon has made a few key product developments, demonstrated in the timeline below:
In May 2018, Amazon Cash extended its partnership with Coinstar to allow customers to deposit spare change at Coinstar kiosks and cash out digitally with the Amazon Cash app, instead of in cash or physical gift cards.
The location of kiosks — typically in grocery stores — is a newer cornerstone of Amazon’s business following the acquisition of Whole Foods. They are also found in high traffic areas that Amazon competes with, including rival retailers such as Walmart. This partnership helps Amazon encourage customers to spend more on Amazon.com, and fits Amazon’s core strategic goals of strengthening the Amazon ecosystem and increasing participation.
Coinstar has nearly 20,000 kiosk locations across mass merchants and select financial institutions. The goal is to enable 5,000 kiosks with the new service by year end, and, if successful, Amazon could look to roll out services to more kiosks down the road.
Amazon Allowance: A kid-friendly solution
In addition to targeting the unbanked and underbanked, Amazon is looking to leverage the Amazon Cash feature to tap into the next generation of consumers.
In mid-2015, the company added Amazon Allowance, which is now under the Amazon Cash umbrella. With parental consent, kids can set up their own Amazon accounts and make purchases using their Amazon Allowance. Parents can allocate recurring funds to their child’s account and get the added control of overseeing what their kids purchase.
More recently, Amazon has invested in improving kids’ access to the platform.
In December 2017, Amazon’s Alexa Fund participated in a $16M Series A to Greenlight Financial, an alternative debit card issuer aimed at young consumers. With the card, parents can manage spending limits and allocate funds for their children through a mobile app. In March 2018, Greenlight Financial announced crossing 100,000 customers, growing its customer base 300% since the investment.
Greenlight Financial’s core business is complementary with Amazon’s internal initiative of growing Amazon Cash customers by increasing penetration of younger shoppers.
While no plans have been announced, Amazon Cash could look to integrate Greenlight Financial’s card into the allowance product to expand to locations where kids can use their Amazon Allowance (and ideally include the growing number of offline brick-and-mortar retailers that accept Amazon Cash as payment).
Amazon hasn’t announced how many customers are using Amazon Cash, but it’s clear the market opportunity is large. As mentioned earlier, the FDIC estimated that 33.5M households remain underbanked or unbanked in the US.
The international opportunity is large too — for example, 190 million citizens in India are unbanked and just 37% of adults have a bank account in Mexico. Amazon Cash could be an enabler for customer acquisition in markets that have high unbanked populations and entrenched local competitors, supporting Amazon’s goal of increasing the number of customers that transact on the Amazon platform.
Amazon is no stranger to looking outside their existing channels for growth opportunities.
The company could continue to expand the Amazon Cash program to other partners with high foot traffic (for example malls, colleges, grocers, etc.) or other geographies with highly underbanked populations. Amazon could also leverage Whole Foods to launch more Coinstar kiosks, expanding the reach of the Coinstar partnership in a unique way.
Jeff Bezos has been more forward about Amazon’s desire to build out its lending arm than other financial service offerings.
In his 2016 annual letter to shareholders, Bezos outlined Amazon’s goal of expanding Amazon Lending: by continuing to work with partner banks to manage the bulk of the credit, the retailer can mitigate credit risk and calm investor nerves.
Today, Amazon’s has expanded lending to US, UK, Japan, and India and and to US consumers in the form of partner cards.
Amazon SMB Lending
Amazon Lending initially launched in 2011 to help small businesses finance and sell more goods on Amazon. In March 2018, CNBC reported that Amazon Lending had partnered with Bank of America Merrill Lynch to issue the loans on an invitation-only basis that could range between $1,000 to $750,000.
From launch in 2011 to June 2017, Amazon reported it issued $3B across 20,000 business in the US, Japan, and the UK. The bulk of growth in the last year has been to businesses in the US, where the company originated $1B in loans in 2017 alone.
Amazon remains focused on growing market share outside of the US. The company is also exploring opportunities to expand alternative lending into India and Mexico through partnerships with local banks, similar to the partnership with Bank of America.
Amazon Consumer Lending
Amazon offers Amazon Prime cards to help serve two broader corporate goals: grow Prime customers and increase marketplace sales. To attract card customers, Amazon has been adding perks exclusive to Prime members. Cardholders are likely to spend more on Amazon than non-cardholders, which also benefits Amazon’s marketplace (and boosts customer loyalty).
On the consumer side, Amazon has been iterating with partner cards for Prime and non-Prime customers which include:
Amazon Prime Store Card – Launched in 2015 with partner Synchrony Bank, it was Amazon’s first card exclusively for Prime customers, offering unlimited 5% cash back on Amazon purchases.
Amazon Store Card – Offers some of the benefits as the Prime Store Card but for non-Prime customers. It does not offer the 5% cash back perk.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card – Launched in 2017 with Visa, this card gives Prime members 5% cash back at Amazon & Whole Foods, 2% cash back at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores, and 1% cash back on everything else.
Amazon Visa Credit Card – Partner card with Visa for non-Prime customers that offers 3% cash back on Amazon purchases, 2% cash back at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores, and 1% cash back on everything else.
Amazon Reload – A reloadable digital debit card available only to Prime members that offers 2% cash back on Amazon purchases. The card links directly to consumers’ checking accounts and can be reloaded on a recurring or one-time basis.
Amazon is also frequently featured as a destination to spend credit card points including Chase Freedom, Discover Cash Match, and Blue Cash for Amex.
In May, Amazon extended the 5% cash back reward to purchases at Whole Foods on the Prime Rewards Visa Card. This is one example of how Amazon is adding perks and exclusive benefits for Prime customers, making the cards more competitive and attractive to customers in-store.
More broadly, Amazon’s Visa cards suggest they are pushing beyond limited-use store cards and driving to become more of an everyday card.
AMAZON’S NEXT FINANCIAL PILLAR?
While Amazon is making moves across the payments, cash, and lending spaces, it could also look to further expand across the financial services ecosystem.
In March, news leaked that Amazon was in talks with banks including JPMorgan and Capital One to build a product similar to a checking account.
The existing services above show that Amazon is pushing into checking, primarily through Amazon Cash. It has also patented methods for linking bank account information and for prepaid cards as early as 2004. As seen below, these offer supporting insights into what a bank account issued by Amazon could look like.
Though no further developments have been announced, the news sparked fresh debates around whether the e-commerce giant would finally get into banking.
Amazon has not formally launched an insurance business but has shown nascent interest across markets and insurance products.
The earliest reported foray was in April 2016 with Amazon Protect, a white-label service in the UK that provides accidental and theft insurance on consumer goods ranging from headphones to kitchen appliances. Claims are underwritten through a partnership with The Warranty Group’s London General Insurance Company. The program has since expanded to other EU countries including Spain, Italy, Germany, and France.
In June 2018, the Warranty Group, which underwrites Amazon Protect in the UK and abroad, was purchased by Assurant for a rumored $2.5B. The acquisition could make it easier to expand the service to new markets that are under Assurant’s umbrella of lifestyle protection products.
Meanwhile, Amazon made an early insurance push in India by leading a $12M investment in Acko in May 2018. Acko offers traditional car and bike insurance policies, but is increasingly focused on “internet economy” deals, which primarily consist of e-commerce, travel, and ride hailing-focused products such as an in-trip insurance program with Ola. On its new investor, CEO Varun Dua says:
Market strategy outside the US
According to Morgan Stanley Research, Amazon’s long-term top line is 2-3X more exposed to emerging markets than rival Alibaba’s. Amazon is aggressively entering emerging markets to expand, but also to pilot and take a deeper role in developing new financial services products.
These markets are attractive because of rapid mobile internet adoption, a lack of legacy infrastructure, and a growing number of the population entering into the middle class. Two of the most notable markets where this is taking place today are India and Mexico.
Growing India is core to Amazon’s broader market strategy and the company has verbally committed to investing $7B in the country (up from a $5B commitment it laid out in 2016).
In addition to capital, several initiatives in India map to Amazon’s financial services strategy. This includes making equity investments in fintech and enabling SMEs by offering loans with partner banks, all of which ultimately drive more marketplace sales.
Amazon’s investments and M&A are concentrated in India
Amazon’s fintech investments and acquisitions are light compared to the company’s broader portfolio bets. Globally, Amazon has only participated in 8 fintech equity investments worth $138M and made 2 acquisitions.
Notably, 7 of these transactions have taken place in India, aligned with the company’s strategic desire to expand in the country, enable SMEs, and drive more marketplace sales.
Similar to its US strategy, Amazon is investing in enabling faster frictionless payments to help boost marketplace sales — always a key focus for the e-commerce giant.
Its first entry point in the market was in payments in October 2014. Getting more aggressive than in the US, Amazon acquired Emvantage Payments in Q1’16, which was quickly integrated into Amazon Pay and relaunched as a digital wallet in December 2016.
June 5, 2018 marked the 5th anniversary of Amazon’s e-marketplace in India. To celebrate, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos wrote a letter to customers offering a cashback of Rs 250 — to be paid into Amazon Pay wallets — for customers who shopped online for goods worth Rs 1,000. The move strategically pushes consumers towards Amazon Pay, which recently reported early losses of Rs 177 crore ($26.6M) on income of Rs 7.4 ($1.11M) crore for FY17
Some of that burn is the result of the fixed operating costs to set up the business, but is also money spent in promotional offers to acquire customers (CAC). Amazon has a firm belief that its customer’s life-time value (LTV) exceeds the CAC, which is why it continue to be competitive on price.
Amazon announced the would inject more capital in their Indian digital payment business, taking the total to nearly Rs 700 crore ($105M) since 2016. In addition to cash, the company is also launching new services and ramping up investments in startups.
In January 2018, Amazon Pay rolled out the Doorstep feature, a cash pickup service that allows customers to load money into their Amazon Pay digital payment wallet. The service allows users to top up their balances using cash for digital services including food delivery, bill payment, and mobile recharges.
In Q3’16, Amazon also invested in prepaid gift card services company Qwikcilver. The gift card system has since been integrated into Amazon Pay and can be used as a form of payment on Amazon’s India marketplace. In Q2’18, Qwikcilver partnered with Xiaomi’s Mi.com to offer electronic gift cards that redirect buyers to Amazon.
In May 2018, Amazon co-invested with Mastercard in an $8M Series B to ToneTag. ToneTag is a contactless payments hardware and software provider that can be integrated at both merchant (mobile, point of sale, card readers) and customer (mobile wallet, mobile banking apps) interaction points.
The ToneTag platform will be integrated into Amazon Pay, which will expand Amazon’s reach to ToneTag’s reported 50M consumers (including merchants, parking garages, and restaurants) and 25,000 Retail Pods (the company’s hardware product that merchants use to accept payments) in India. This partnership will also expand Amazon Pay in India to offline commerce, a milestone that took the company over a decade in the US.
One of Amazon’s first equity investments in 2018 was a $22M Series C-II investment in Capital Float, a platform that provides working capital finance to SMEs. Following the investment, the company reported it had 80,000 customers across 300 cities, issued $170M in loans, and disbursed 10,000 loans on a monthly basis.
The company has also expanded into point-of-sale financing for retailers, launched an online payments gateway for borrowers to repay loans, and started piloting alternative underwriting models.
This investment complements Amazon’s broader push to support SMEs. Last September, Amazon partnered with the Bank of Baroda to provide loans to thousands of Amazon’s e-sellers to help suppliers expand their operations and finance inventory during seasonal spikes.
In June 2018, Amazon launched a new lending experiment in India, a marketplace for lenders and sellers to obtain a competitive loan. Amazon has already onboarded 5 lenders to the platform including portfolio company Capital Float, Capital First, Bank of Baroda, Aditya Birla Finance, and Yes Bank.
Amazon’s latest investment in fintech was the $12M investment to aforementioned insurtech startup Acko.
The company has reportedly covered 10M Ola (ride-hailing) trips. The news also suggested the two may partner to roll out a product insurance program similar to Amazon Protect in the UK, although nothing has been confirmed.
Amazon has quickly learned from expanding financial services in India and is looking to apply what it’s learned to other developing markets, notably in Mexico.
Since March 2017, Amazon has launched Amazon Prime, Amazon Cash, and Amazon Cash debit cards in Mexico. All align with Amazon’s broader strategy of building a low friction payments service to attract customers online and then providing shoppers an alternative to credit and debit cards to build loyalty.
Amazon Cash launched in Mexico in October 2017. Similar to the US model, it allows customers to reload their accounts through deposits (up to 10,000 pesos) at convenience store chains such as 7-Eleven and other merchants pictured below.
In March 2018, the company launched a debit card with partner Grupo Financiero Banorte, a Mexican bank, called Amazon Recargable (Rechargeable). Like Amazon Cash, customers can deposit cash on the debit card at convenience stores across the country.
Amazon’s financial services push is significant for Mexico because many customers are unbanked. This may give customers access to a debit card for the first time. Mexico is largely a cash society and it is the preferred payment method for approximately 90% of all purchases. These hurdles mean Mexico is an untapped opportunity for either Amazon or Walmex (Walmart’s Mexico arm) to convert offline purchases to online commerce.
Rumors: What will Amazon do next?
If there’s anything we’ve learned from Amazon, it’s never say never. After the news broke that Amazon was looking to offer a checking account-like product, mentions of Amazon and banking crossed over 600+ media mentions.
In that spirit, here are some of the rumors in the wild that are noteworthy:
Rumor:Amazon reportedly had discussions about offering home insurance
Why it’s interesting: This rumor is based on one anonymous source that reported Amazon had discussions about offering insurance in conjunction with its connected home devices. However, none of Amazon’s existing investments or products tie to home insurance, at least in the US. While the company has made insurtech investments in India (including Acko) and a partnership in the EU to offer Amazon Protect, acting as more than a distributor of existing home insurance products would seem unlikely.
Why it’s interesting: While Amazon has not made concrete plans, it has been making a series of strategic hires for lending with a focus on mortgage banking. The company hired a head of its newly-formed mortgage lending division. In addition, the firm has a number of home services businesses like Alexa, Prime streaming, and Amazon Fire Stick, and this could be its next move in owning the home.
Why it’s interesting: In the US, Amazon announced that it would be joining forces with JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway on new health insurance programs for their employees. No further updates have surfaced since. However, Amazon has been signaling that it is looking at healthcare seriously. Last summer, the company posted several internal job openings for a new stealth team called the “1492 squad,” relating to the use of medical records. Amazon also invested in cancer startup Grail, participating in the company’s $914M Series B in Q1’17, and hired a healthcare and life sciences director away from Box.
Rumor: Ripple is helping Amazon with cross border payments
Why it’s interesting: While cryptocurrencies saw a huge spike in interest in 2017, many of the world’s most prominent figures in financial services — including JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett — have outwardly cast it aside as mass speculation. Amazon is known to take unconventional approaches to solve customer pain points, so it would not be surprising if it were to explore applications of blockchain across financial services products.
Rumor: Amazon and PayPal are meeting with bank regulators to expand their financial services
Why it’s interesting: Amazon and some other FAMGA (Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple) members have been making headlines with rumors of moving deeper into financial services. Skeptics have punted back that the complexity of the regulatory landscape would inhibit them from entering the market. News that the firms are connecting with financial regulators suggests that regulations are not an inhibitor, but rather just an obstacle, and meeting with the OCC is one way to get the conversation going to overcome it.
Since this meeting, the OCC has been working on a fintech charter for tech firms, including Amazon, that is a centralized application which would give tech firms a limited (but universal) financial license versus having to go state by state for approval.
Why it’s interesting: This rumor was one of the earliest that suggested Amazon would buy a bank. Amazon has a decent amount of cash on its balance sheet and could use that cash to buy a small regional bank. Capital One, in particular, is already operating on AWS’ cloud and is looking to make further inroads into personal finance, so it could be a good combination.
Amazon’s strategy in financial services has been focused on supporting its core strategic goal: increasing participation (both from buyers and sellers) on its platform.
In practice, Amazon has relied much more heavily on internal product development than partnerships, M&A, or investments to broaden its financial services offerings. Relative to its FAMGA cousins (that have been much more active on the M&A and investment front), that’s a surprising strategic decision. But, what’s not surprising is to see Amazon methodically seed, invest, and nurture a product line with a long time horizon.
Zooming out a bit further, one can see the beginnings of what the Bank of Amazon could look like — a variety of key financial services products that support Amazon participants first and enable them to buy, sell, and transact much easier than any other platform.
And that potential Bank of Amazon should worry the traditional incumbents. If history provides a useful lesson, it’s that Amazon first builds core product pillars for itself, where it is the only and most important customer. This was the case with AWS, which was the result of overhauling its own internal capacity for cloud services that were later repurposed for external clients and third-parties. Only after years of building a product and iterating on features for itself does Amazon launch and expose a key product pillar to other customers.
If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.
The way to break any bad habit is to starting by paying attention to the times when your bad habit shows up. Try to notice every time you fall into the rut and repeat your bad habit. Ask your friends at work to pay attention and remind you when you’re apologizing for nothing.
As you become aware of the times and places where your bad habit typically emerges, prepare for those situations in advance. Prepare for someone to ask you, “Do you think you’ll have that report ready by Friday?” Practice a response that doesn’t involve an apology, like this one: “Friday sounds perfect — you’ll have the report then.”
Apologizing constantly is not the only bad habit that many people bring to work. Here are nine other habits that can kill your professional credibility:
1. Interrupting people, or not listening to them while they speak but bursting in at the first opportunity after they’ve spoken, in order to share your opinion. If you have this bad habit, practice consciously listening to your conversational partner and then asking them, “Would you like to say more about that?” before sharing your own thoughts.
2. Failing to use “Please” and “Thank you” in your interactions with your teammates, your manager, customers and vendors and everyone else you interact with at work.
3. Leaving details to the last minute so that you have to run around averting a crisis instead of planning ahead.
4. Being a suck-up to the boss, spying on your coworkers and reporting back to your manager or sharing one set of opinions with your teammates and a completely different set with your boss.
5. Using “uptalk” — speech that ends every sentence with an ascending inflection, like a question. Here’s what uptalk sounds like:
You: So, I have to finish this report by Friday? I have to get it to the VP so he can put the pricing plan together? That’s why I asked you to meet with me, so we can go over it before I present it to the VP? If we can just go through it quickly that will be great? I really appreciate your time?
6. Making a point of staying later at the office than everyone else and arriving earlier in the morning than anyone else does. Effective employees get their work done during the work day. You will never become more credible by working longer hours to show the boss how dedicated you are.
Acknowledge yourself whenever you make it through a day without repeating your bad habit, and give yourself a break when you slip back into the habit. It takes time to train yourself out of a bad habit and into a new, better one.
Be sure and let Brenda know that you’re taking her feedback to heart and that you appreciate it. Tell her that you’re working on the over-apologizing thing and you are grateful for her support.
7. Forgetting to write down details and note appointments and commitments in your calendar.
8. Taking credit for your coworkers’ ideas and accomplishments.
10. Conducting loud, personal phone conversations in earshot of your teammates. Nobody wants to hear you arguing with your sweetheart or booking your spa treatments. Save those calls for a time when you’re outside the building, or use text instead of voice.
We don’t always know when we are irritating the people around us. Brenda did you a favor when she pointed out how your over-apologizing habit may be holding you back.
Now you have a project to dive into. Take Brenda’s coaching seriously and begin to notice when you’re tempted to apologize although there is nothing to apologize for — and you will overcome this small hurdle in no time!
If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.
While having a mentor can make a significant difference in your career, being one can also be a valuable experience—that comes with a lot of responsibility. A great mentor doesn’t just provide guidance and answers during career transitions or sticky situations; she also provides motivation and inspiration to help her mentee get to the next level and fulfill her potential.
Want to be a great mentor? Consider these five key skills.
“Listen first,” says Whitney Gonzales, marketing manager at Liingo Eyewear. “Think of yourself as a life coach. A good mentor always navigates the mentee to a solution or a next step; they don’t solve it for them. Help to remove roadblocks for your mentee, and alternatively, create bridges for them. Also understand that your mentee is not you, so they will want or need to carve their own professional path. You don’t need to be a perfect, shining example either. Your failures and hardships throughout life and your career are just as valuable to your mentee as are your successes. And realize, sometimes you are just there to listen.”
A good listening tip is to take notes during your mentoring sessions to stay actively engaged. If you can give your mentee some direction, make sure to follow up on that direction the next time you meet: “I remember you were going to ask for the promotion. How did that go?”
Deliver honest feedback.
“I love mentors that keep it real and give honest feedback, including pointed criticism,” says Coral Chung, co-founder of luxury handbag brand Senreve. “While it’s wonderful to get support and be cheered on, it’s also important to hear things that other people are not willing to say. In the early days of Senreve, some of my best mentors were also my harshest critics, but that was okay because it helped me improve, and it showed that they have high expectations from me. Ultimately, their early feedback allowed me to have a very successful launch and first year of the company.”
“A mentor’s job is to provide knowledge, inspiration, and feedback to help light way,” adds Demi Marchese, founder of 12th Tribe. “You have to be comfortable enough to be constructive and not be afraid of critiquing their work. Don’t beat around the bush. Understand who you are speaking to, their needs, their strengths and where they want to go.”
Motivate and inspire.
“The key for me personally is to influence and inspire the next generation to become strong, motivated, confident, and thoughtful leaders,” says Laurel Berman, founder and creative director of Black Halo. “If I’m able to accomplish that, I consider the mentorship a success.”
Adds Marchese, “Part of your role is inspiring your mentee to reach their fullest potential and challenging their comfort zone. Help them achieve the uncomfortable.”
Pro tip: A little goes a long way. Send an article when you see something relevant for your mentee—you’ll see how a small act can have a tremendous impact.
Establish mutual respect.
“The relationship should be based on mutual respect, trust and support,” says Maryann Bruce, former president of Evergreen Investments Services. “The partnership needs to foster acceptance and safety where both parties feel safe enough to communicate openly and take risks without the threat of being judged, ridiculed or condescended to.”
One of the biggest ways to show respect for someone is by valuing their time. When you mentor someone, the truth is, you may be in a position of power and your time may be in fact more valuable—but that’s irrelevant. To you, this may be a quick call, but to your mentee, this may be the most important meeting of the day—so treat it as such.
Be present and open.
“Show up, engage and participate,” says Berman. “They say that showing up is half the battle, but when you do show up, it’s crucial to be fully present, proactive and take initiative. Be prepared to share your experiences, both positive and negative.”
“Mentors should be open and honest with their mentees,” adds Melissa Musgrove, vice president, head of social media at Regions Financial Corporation. “Be willing to make time to offer advice, but also realize that no two career paths are the same, and the mentee’s decisions and career path are ultimately up to them. Oftentimes, mentors have just as much to learn as mentees. So look not only for what advice you can give, but also use it as an opportunity to learn from someone who has a different perspective and background.”
If everyone who read the articles and like it, that would be favorable to have your donations – Thank you.
Fletcher Prescott makes more than a full time income from his empire of monetized Facebook pages. And you can, too, with his Postblazer training.
In this easy visual training, Fletcher shows you:
How to get started in this FUN way of using what Facebook gives you;
How to avoid the number one biggest pitfall that can kill your chances of success; and
Not one but two ZERO-COST ways to monetize your Facebook pages
Postblazer Platinum – The Fletcher Prescott Masterclass
For the real action taker, Fletcher has laid out everything he knows about building up, managing, and profiting from an empire of Facebook pages.
The best part? This training is visual, easy to follow, and FUN!
How to build a brand new social media account from 0 followers to 1000s
How to turn a raving audience into customers the RIGHT way
How to automate their entire social growth
How to manage high-paying clients and potentially earn $1000s on the side
How to avoid the BIGGEST mistake 99% of social marketers make
And much more…
The Postblazer App – The Automation Secret
Postblazer is a full social media automation suite that gives you everything you need to schedule, grow, and profit with Facebook and Twitter all under one roof.
You can easily schedule entire months of branded, viral Facebook and Twitter content in just 1 hour with our drag and drop interface. That means you can sell 24/7 without even being online. It’s like having your own agency promoting your offers round the clock.
Postblazer isn’t just 1 software app, but 3 unique software apps rolled into a complete suite.
Unlike other automation softwares which bombard users with low-quality, poorly formatted posts, Postblazer has a few unique tricks up its sleeve, so you can blast past 10,000s of other automated posts and sell fast.
With our exclusive Find Viral Content and Image Editor features, you can provide a constant stream of BRANDED viral content, products, and promotions with a few clicks and never be left wondering what to post for maximum returns. Posts are high-quality and look human.
InboxBoss is the BEST automated copy creator designed SPECIFICALLY for email marketing.It combines TESTED and PROVEN email subject lines, copy and CTAs that maximize your open rates, engagement, clicks and profits. Choose from 8 categories and 17 sequences to create up to 75 unique emails for ANY product or service. The built-in editor makes it point & click simple to customize your message in seconds.
We paid TOP DOLLAR to get you unrestricted access to the very best emails created by the top copywriters in their fields. Each and every email inside InboxBoss has a proven track record of conversions …now you can sell YOUR offers using the ‘best of the best’. For each promotion or email series, you’ll simply have to answer a few questions that highlight the specifics of your offer. Your answers let the software CUSTOMIZE each email and laser target your audience for sky-high conversions every time.
The whole point of InboxBoss is to let you plug into profitable emails as fast as possible. Depending on your niche and offer … you WILL have to spend a few minutes filling out a profile and answering questions about your product. So to save you EVEN MORE TIME … we’ve hand-selected SEVEN if the most LUCRATIVE marketing niches …And PRE-FILLED the questions and answers FOR YOU …We’ve done ALL the heavy-lifting and research about your target market and the types of solutions consumers are asking for …
Use InboxBoss to create, customize and send AS MANY emails as you want. There are zero restrictions. Send 100 emails this week, 1000 next week, or even more.The unlimited customization options make it easy to ‘re-purpose’ winning emails and resend to unopens … to maximize conversions and profits from ALL your campaigns.
Nothing to install, login from ANY internet-enabled device. Want to craft and send a promo from your smartphone while you’re on the beach? Easy. InboxBoss gives you TRUE freedom to do business from ANYWHERE in the world. With HUNDREDS of billions emails being sent daily …Standing out in the inbox isn’t NEARLY as easy as it once was. YOU need an edge to maximize profits from your list. THIS is your edge.
If you are looking for a very high quality PLR bundle about wholeness and wellness then this is it. It provides excellent guidance for your customers to transform their lives using a holistic approach.
This PLR guide has never been seen before and addresses how the reader can achieve wholeness through holistic wellness. Inside this powerful guide there are 10 chapters and more than 20,000 words of awesome information.
This eBook is perfect for people that are new to the concept of holistic wellness and for those that have some knowledge about it but need more information and the necessary encouragement to take action. The author is an expert on the subject which will become apparent in the very first chapter.This is just what the market needs.The author discusses the importance of lifestyle and how it affects wholeness and wellness.
People are being pushed from all different angles because of the amount of different inputs that they are receiving. The author discusses the importance of lifestyle and how it affects wholeness and wellness. People are being pushed from all different angles because of the amount of different inputs that they are receiving. There are examples provided of these inputs and advice on what the reader should do when it comes to social inputs, work inputs, stress inputs, mental focus and financial inputs.
This is a very comprehensive chapter that sets the tone for the whole book with some excellent advice. The author recommends that the reader clean up their physical clutter as a first step. Then the reader needs to get real fresh air and they will learn how to do this. Getting in touch with nature as much as possible is next and finally there is advice about not going to extremes and achieving the power of balance.
One of the biggest problems you will face as trader is finding the right system for you and staying away from “gurus” out there that are scamming traders every day.
They will continue to promote unprofitable trading systems, but in the end you will only be left with less money in your account and a massive headache in dealing with getting your hard earned cash back.
Our simple solution that we have for you today will guarantee you never suffer at the hands of an evil guru again…
We do not promise or share any kind of false bank statements or unrealistic results…
Or tell you that you can make millions of dollars overnight.
The secret to this Trading System that makes it so unique is giving you information at your fingertips about this trading strategy that most other trading “gurus” fail to share!
Most people never find a strategy that works for them…
They try to come up with a system on their own and, because they do not have the proper knowledge, they are left with disappointment.
Most traders quit after so many cycles of this nonsense. Others linger on hoping to finally find something that works.
**But here is the cold hard truth: Most of these traders were doomed before they ever started trying to to trade. They were looking for the “right away” cure to trading and financial freedom which simply doesn’t exist..**
Sticking with a strategy and tweaking it is like going to the gym… Everyone knows it works, but no one wants to do it (because it’s hard and boring and there is no instant gratification). Find more…