Archive for the ‘jp morgan chase’ tag
With the rapid speed in which technology advances nowadays, computers go obsolete quick.
That’s the mission behind Tech Warehouse, a social good program that donates refurbished computers to schools and nonprofit organizations. Since the launch of the program in April, Good360 has donated 628 computers to 186 nonprofits across the United States.
One of these organizations is the ToonSeum, a Pittsburgh museum that focuses on, well, cartoons.
It’s led by executive director Joe Wos, an cartoonist-turned-museum curator who’s been a part of the ToonSeum since its inception at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh in 2007. Five years later, the ToonSeum now sits at its own location in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.
“If it relates to cartoon art, we’ll feature it,” Wos said of the museum’s scope, which includes comics and animation as well as editorial cartoons, and, more recently, video game art.
Joe Wos, however, isn’t a museum guy. His specialty is performance cartooning, an art form that is one part drawing, three parts story telling.
And it was Wos’s years as a performance cartoonist that led directly to the creation of the ToonSeum. After a stint working at the Charles M. Shultz Museum, Wos realized just how compatible cartoons and museums could be. “I knew not just the next step in who I was but also the next the next big move for museums in the United States,” he said.
While the ToonSeum does the art thing well, it’s also a popular social spot. Home to a variety of special programs, one of the museum’s most popular events is Geek TV Night, a monthly meetup for adults that features geek favorites like Battlestar Galactica and Twin Peaks. The ToonSeum is also home to Illustration Ale, a craft beer with labels designed by local cartoonists.
But, as wide as its range of programs is, the ToonSeum is still a relatively small institution, which is why charities like Good360 are so important to it.
“Good360 has been very good to us. Because of it, we’ve been able to donate super hero toys to kids in the community and tote bags to the local food bank,” Wos said. “Good360 is there when we need it.”
One of Good360′s most significant donations to the ToonSeum was a bit more high-tech than toys and tote bags: A single Dell Latitude D630 laptop computer.
Computers are becoming a key tool for any organization, but for the ToonSeum, they’re indispensable. That’s because, like other museums, the ToonSeum needs computers to help catalog its vast collection, which consists of over three thousand pieces, including comics and illustrations.
“When you think about three thousand pieces of art, there’s so much information to document, everything from who the artist was, what the piece is, the year it was made — it’s just a lot of information,” Wos said. “Having a dedicated computer makes a big difference.”
This is especially important, Wos said, because the museum’s collection is actually stored in an off-site climate controlled facility. “Being able to move that computer back and forth is a lot easier than moving the whole collection,” he said.
The alternative, Wos, says, would probably require abilities far more specialized than those that he or his staff possesses. “Tt would take Superman to lift the collection and the Flash to move it quickly,” he said.
But the ToonSeum doesn’t need super heroes because, now, it has a computer.
Photo: The ToonSeum.
Filed under: VentureBeat
Steunaankopen door de begeleidende banken hebben ervoor gezorgd dat de koers van het aandeel Facebook vrijdag niet onder de introductieprijs is gezakt. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley en JP Morgan Chase zouden allemaal hebben bijgesprongen, zo melden Amerikaanse media.
It’s something of a universal truth: standing in line sucks. The folks at GoPago know it and apparently so do the people at JPMorgan Chase, because the financial firm has just pumped an undisclosed amount of money into the Mountain View company in exchange for some of GoPago’s Series A Preferred Stock.
I don’t blame you if you haven’t heard of GoPago (more on that later), but think of it as a purchasing accelerator. Rather than have to wait in line while some putz agonizes over the exact mustard-to-mayonnaise ratio on his sandwich, GoPago users can store their credit card’s payment information in the GoPago smartphone app and place their orders remotely.
One quick pickup later and GoPago has saved another soul from the hell that is other people (…in a line). In a way, it’s similar to some single-service ordering apps (Chipotle comes to mind, for better or worse), but GoPago’s big draw is that it’s meant to work with a whole host of businesses instead of just one. Businesses can also offer special deals and discounts to loyal customers, something that Chase seems particularly interested in.
One of the big issues that Sarah Lacy brought up in her chat with founder Leo Rocco last year was that of reach. GoPago seems like a great way for the decisive and tech-savvy to skirt long lines, and the list of supported venues runs the gamut from coffee shops to steakhouses to pool halls. It sounds great, but it’s hard to get too excited about a service that only works in Mountain View and Las Vegas.
That should all change now that JPMorgan Chase has bought into the concept. Chase customers will be given the ability to create their own GoPago storefronts later this year, which hopefully means we’ll start seeing GoPago-powered businesses appear in more than just two states. In an interview with JP Morgan Chase’s Jack Stephenson, Reuters reports the bank will begin a GoPago trial run in San Francisco in April, with another trial in Dallas to follow shortly. How about some East Coast love, guys?
In the mean time, feel free to download the app from the iOS, Android, or BlackBerry app stores in anticipation. Don’t worry Windows Phone fans, GoPago hasn’t forgotten about you — a WP app is currently in the works.
Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. I was recharging the batteries.
In-between sitting by the fire, walking the dog, going to the movies, etc., I got to thinking about Social Media.
It’s gotten so … big.
There are something like 800M folks on Facebook. Walk away from your Twitter account to grab lunch, and there are 1,500 unseen tweets waiting in queue. Social Media has even been given outsized (if controversial) credit for powering the Arab Spring.
Crazy, right? And when you are a marketer? — Unwieldy.
Big brands are managing an overwhelming number of social media accounts, with an average of 178 accounts per company, according to a recent study. (Altimeter surveyed 144 enterprise-class corporations, with 1,000 employees or more, including Applebee’s, Avaya, Caterpillar, Hallmark, JP Morgan Chase, Newell Rubbermaid, and Western Union.)
Companies launched social media with little planning, and without standardized processes, according to Altimeter Group analyst Jeremiah Owyang. Companies that don’t get control are at risk of abandoned accounts, inconsistent experience for customers, and untrained employees creating a crisis…
“Like a disease, social media proliferation will leave companies crippled — unless they develop a strategy to manage now,” the Altimeter Group said in a report. “Beyond coordination challenges, unchecked accounts and disparate customer interactions expose brands to a host of legal, compliance and fragmented brand-perception risks.”
I wrote about this very issue two years ago. I don’t bring that up to remind you of my prescience (you should be well aware of that by now – heh), but as a signal that this situation is getting worse. Here’s an excerpt from that ancient post:
In the end such companies will have hundreds – maybe thousands – of “stray” Social Media sites/accounts. Inconsistent. Abandoned. Off-kilter. Hardly any of these independent Social Media efforts do a good job of boosting the master brand, yet all of them are still clearly affiliated: dragging down the brand, calling out the lack of strategy.
This is not a call for control for controlling’s sake; it’s a call for planning for brand’s sake.
So, given that it’s the New Year and folks are prediction-happy, here’s a prophesy for 2012…
This will be the year that brands wake up to the need for a sound strategy for Social Media. And this will mean tighter corporate controls. This is the year that “engagement” will start to become boring.
There will be many who shake their fists as The Man buckles down (and buttons up) on this stuff. But never fear, the genie is out of the bottle. The days when the last resort of an aggrieved consumer was the Better Business Bureau or a letter-writing campaign are long gone. Social Media is inextricably woven into the larger mediasphere: monitored by brands and mainstream media for smoke signals that will never again be ignored.
Meanwhile, hey, even if the brand marketers start self-policing (i.e., become boring), we can still chat at unprecedented scale with each other. That part’s fun too.
Palantir Technologies has raised $70 million in Series F funding, we’ve confirmed with the company. This brings Palantir’s total funding to nearly $200 million. While the company declined to reveal the valuation in the round, we’ve learned from sources that it is around $2.5 billion. Two unnamed New York-based hedge funds anchored the round, and multiple early investors and university endowments participated in the round.
Founded in 2004 by former PayPal employees and Stanford computer scientists, Palantir offers a high-powered data analysis platform. Palantir Government and Palantir Finance both integrate, visualize, and analyze information in these sectors. The company analyzes a variety of data including structured, unstructured, relational, temporal, and geospatial content. The virtue of Palantir is that it accepts huge databases and allows users to slice and dice this information.
Palantir says its platform works at any scale while also promising security and civil liberties protections. Clearly this makes it ideal for governments and financial institutions, who need to analyze large amounts of classified, secure data.
While the company’s technologies has been popular amongst government agencies (including the FBI), Palantir has revealed that 60 percent of its business actually comes from the commercial sector. In fact, the company closed a number of recent deals in the commercial space, including a deal with financial giant JP Morgan Chase.
Palantir told us last year that revenues have at least doubled every year for the last three years. And in the company’s last round last year (in which it raised $90 million), its valuation was pegged at $735 million; so clearly the company has taken a big jump in value in the past year.
Early investors include former PayPal CEO Peter Thiel (who is the Chairman of Palantir’s board as well), and the CIA’s venture arm In-Q-Tel.
We had originally reported on an SEC filing revealing some of this most recent round in May, and AllThingsD reported a few weeks ago of another SEC filing that showed additional fundraising. As the company confirmed to us today, this round has closed and Palantir now has another $75 million in its coffers.
Rearden Commerce purchased the company for at least $87 million in shares, according to documents filed with the SEC, but it is not yet known whether cash was involved. Rearden says it will use the rest of its funding for other acquisitions and debt repayment.
In a world where daily deals have become a noisier nuisance than metal music in a retirement home, HomeRun and its primary investor Foundation Capital have found a nice and perhaps timely exit in Rearden. Various deals companies have been backing out of the fray, such as Facebook, which ended its deals program late last month, and Yelp, which pulled back on its deals initiatives at the same time. Groupon’s IPO has also been on shaky grounds. Thus, finding a home soon rather than later may have been a good choice for the deals company.
The purchase may be more strategic, however. HomeRun can benefit from Rearden’s small business reach because of the latter company’s partnerships with American Express, Citi Bank, and JP Morgan Chase. The three banking heavyweights all invested in Rearden’s $133 million round. In turn, Rearden can use HomeRun’s OfferEngine.
HomeRun’s goal is not to just create one-off deals, but rather to foster relationships and create return customers. It created the OfferEngine to this end, which connects the right inventory and deals with the right audience. According to HomeRun’s website, over 180 million potential customers see deals powered by OfferEngine each month.
“I would describe Groupon as a sales and marketing machine and HomeRun as a product machine,” Charles Moldow, a partner at Foundation Capital, told VentureBeat. Foundation Capital is an investor in HomeRun.
Rearden will use OfferEngine in conjunction with its Deem product, which “connects buyers and sellers through a one-to-one, personalized marketplace.” The acquirer will also keep the deals portion of HomeRun active as well as its Phoenix call center. These will probably be used for offers projects spearheaded by Rearden’s partners American Express, Citi Bank, and JP Morgan.
The proof that Rearden will really benefit may be in HomeRun’s product pudding, however.
Moldow described Foundation Capital as having a “super majority” in HomeRun. The firm invested in HomeRun in 2009, while Groupon was putting its gears in motion, and was so excited about the company that it invested heavily. According to him, Foundation Capital had a strong relationship with HomeRun and was “actively involved more than normal,” in lining up the buyer, Rearden, and negotiating.
“We always try to make 10x on our investments,” said Moldow. “I would say to you in this investment we feel pretty good about where we ended up.”
Filed under: deals
The past few months have been a turbulent time for the financial services industry. With all that’s going on, I thought I’d give the confused, perplexed, and uninitiated a simple way to figure out who’s who in the industry.
Fundamentally, there are four types of firms in the industry. Those that:
1) Were banks, are still banks, but don’t want to be banks.
2) Weren’t banks, but now want to be banks.
3) Weren’t banks, don’t want to be banks, but tell the regulators that they are banks.
4) Aren’t banks, don’t want to be banks, but are told by regulators that they’re banks.
Firms in Category 1 include Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase who were banks (and still are), but through acquisitions of firms like Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch (not to mention Countrywide) clearly don’t want to be banks.
We used to know Category 2 firms as investment banking, brokerage, and credit card firms. Everybody from Goldman Sachs to American Express is applying to be a bank, so they too, can get in on the deposits gold rush of ’08.
Category 3 firms are sometimes called credit unions. While they tell consumers that they’re not banks, they tell the regulators that they are, so they can get some of that juicy TARP money.
Firms in the fourth category are sometimes known as P2P lenders. Maybe you’ve heard of Prosper and Lending Club. While they say they’re not banks, the regulators aren’t buying that for a New York second.