Microsoft Ventures, now known as M12, this week lead a $5 million Series A round of funding into Cerebri AI, doubling the company’s total funding to $10 million to date. Cerebri’s platform sits atop Microsoft Azure and represents potential future synergies in machine learning for Microsoft, an area the tech giant has shown significant interest in. In addition to announcing the round of funding, Cerebri launched Cerebri Values this week, a product which seeks to quantify a customer’s commitment to a brand or product.
In e-commerce news, Amazon announced its acquisition of PillPack, a small online pharmacy which supplies pre-sorted drugs for customers who take multiple medications each day. Amazon beat out competing bidder Walmart in the $1 billion acquisition, putting themselves in direct competition with drugstore chains, drug distributors and pharmacy benefit managers. Following the announcement, drugstore and medical wholesaler investors lost a total of around $19 billion in market cap on Thursday, and Walmart’s stock lost $3 billion in value, while Amazon’s value increased by 2% (about $5.2 billion).
Elsewhere in the world of online retail, PayPal has introduced a new checkout technology for e-commerce sites, which personalizes the payment method for each customer by dynamically displaying the most relevant one. Online retailers will now be able to include alternative payments options, including local wallets and country-specific selections, rather than have to list several different kinds of buttons on a payments page.
Finally, in digital marketing news this week, Twitter has launched their Ads Transparency Center that was originally announced in October of last year. The tool will allow anyone to search for a Twitter handle and view all the ad campaigns associated with that account in the past 7 days, without having to be logged into the platform.
New in display advertising business listings this week we have a $102K computer hardware resource website, with a clear focus and well-defined specialization leading to niche expertise, years of operational history with hundreds of informative articles, keyword rankings for c.30,000 keywords, and strong and steady traffic with over 1.5 million sessions in the past 12 months.
Featured in e-commerce listings this week we have a $341K dropship business in the footwear and apparel niche, with strong supplier relationships creating a competitive advantage, rapid revenue growth reaching c.362% YoY for the period 2016 to 2017, diversified product base with hundreds of profitable SKUs, high gross margin averaging c.21% over the last twelve months and low owner involvement. If you are interested in either of these businesses, please follow the links to request a prospectus.
In events news this week, the FE Team had a great time sponsoring the Boston E-Commerce Meetup where the expert panel discussed Platform Wars: Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce and more. Photos from the event will be posted on the Facebook page, so be sure to keep an eye out and tag yourself here! Next up, Founder Thomas Smale will be attending Affiliate Summit East in New York from July 29-31, so reply to this email to set up a meeting if you will be in the area.
Continue reading below for more on M12’s investment in Cerebri, Amazon’s acquisition of PillPack, and PayPal’s update to their payments page.
- Clear focus and well-defined specialization leading to niche expertise
- Years of operational history with hundreds of informative articles
- Keyword rankings for c.30,000 keywords
- Strong and steady traffic with over 1.5 million sessions in the past 12 months
Yearly net profit: $41,100
Asking price $102,000
- Strong supplier relationships creating a competitive advantage
- Rapid revenue growth, reaching c.362% YoY growth for the period 2016 to (e)2017
- Diversified product base with hundreds of profitable SKUs
- High gross margin averaging c.21% over the trailing 12 months
- Low owner involvement with much of the day-to-day outsourced to VAs
Yearly net profit: $191,000
Asking price $341,000
In The News…
Microsoft Ventures Leads Cerebri Series A
Microsoft Ventures has this week led a Series A round of investment in Cerebri.
Based in Austin, Texas, the SaaS startup uses machine learning and AI to track, analyze and and predict customer behavior. To date, it has raised a total of $10 million, with Microsoft Ventures, or M12, representing 50% of that investment. Microsoft has been interested in expanding their presence in AI and machine learning lately, meaning their participation in funding Cerebri fits with strategy previously demonstrated by the tech giant. Of the investment, Elliott Robinson, a partner at M12, commented that “Cerebri has created a product that is fundamentally changing how customer-facing sales and success professionals can analyze the customer journey.” Cerebri has also this week announced Cerebri Values, a platform which quantifies customer investment in a business and groups them by behavior rather than demographics. This works by Cerebri combining data around customer touchpoints and combining user data from a variety of sources.
Cerebri has shared that they have already collected more than two billion touchpoints across 12 million consumers.
Amazon Acquires PillPack
Amazon has this week acquired PillPack, an online subscription retailer which provides pre-packaged pills.
PillPack pre-sorts prescription drugs, taking users’ prescriptions and working with doctors to automatically manage refills. Amazon’s acquisition of the online pharmacy retailer represents a move into competition with drugstore chains, drug distributors and pharmacy benefit managers. The stock market reacted to Amazon’s potential to disrupt the entire drug supply chain space, selling off shares of potential future rivals, according to Reuters. Amazon’s shares rose 2%, in response. In total, drug store and medical wholesaler investors lost around $19 billion in stock losses on Thursday, with shares of CVS health down almost 8%, Walgreen Boots Alliance down 10%, and others like McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen falling to similarly significant degrees.
The acquisition comes just a week after news of a joint venture of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase named Atul Gawande CEO and tasked him with cutting healthcare costs.
PayPal Launches New Payment Technology
PayPal has released a new technology for merchants to include on their payments pages.
The new checkout technology will allow e-commerce sites to dynamically present the most relevant payment method to each individual customer. Rather than require merchants to include a variety of options on their checkout page, PayPal Checkouts’ “smart payment buttons” update depending on the user to display the corresponding set of options for each customer based on their geographical location. This will make it easier for retailers to include alternative payment methods, among them including local wallets, country-specific options, and of course PayPal, Venmo, and PayPal Credit. The platform will also adopt one-touch enablement, meaning users will not have to sign into PayPal for each new site on which they wish to make a purchase.
Merchants will not have to reintegrate their sites with PayPal, but rather make a small update to their existing integration.
To view the previous week’s newsletter, click here.
To view the following week’s newsletter, click here.