Vertical market networks, effective startup names, Libra, Carbon, and Sidewalk Labs

The next service marketplace wave: Vertical market networks

B2B service marketplaces (think translation as a service) are an extraordinarily lucrative startup category. But despite the incredible potential of these platforms to generate outsized returns, many fail. Why?

Ivan Smolnikov, the CEO and founder of translation service startup Smartcat, investigates why certain marketplaces seem to grow while others stall. His conclusion is that unlocking value for both sides of the marketplace is much more challenging than it appears, and the most successful, next-generation marketplaces are going to come from highly networked, efficient platforms for complex projects targeting specific verticals.

Smolnikov then gives a step-by-step guide to optimizing marketplace growth.

One reason is that several service providers must often work together to complete a single job for a buyer, requiring a complex workflow from end to end. As a result, it’s difficult for marketplaces to not only mediate service delivery but also make it significantly more efficient [...]  read more

Extreme Networks to acquire rival Aerohive for $272m

Software-driven networking company Extreme Networks has announced that it will acquire Wi-Fi router maker Aerohive Networks for $272m.

The two companies have entered into a definitive agreement where Extreme Networks will purchase all of Aerohive’s outstanding shares of common stock at a price of $4.45 per share in cash.

By acquiring Aerohive, Extreme Networks will add critical cloud management and edge capabilities to its existing portfolio of end-to-end, edge to cloud networking solutions. Aerohive will also bring its strong subscription-based business to the table which will help expand Extreme’s subscription-recurring revenue by 30 percent.

President and CEO of Extreme Networks, Ed Meyercord explained how the acquisition will boost its current offerings in a statement, saying:

“The acquisition of Aerohive establishes our leadership in cloud, AI, and ML, adding a proven and mature cloud services platform and subscription service model for Extreme’s customers and [...]  read more

Wayfair Employees Are Walking Out. Here’s Why

A group of workers at the ecommerce company Wayfair staged a walkout in Boston Wednesday afternoon, to protest the company’s sale of furniture to a government contractor that manages detention centers amid an ongoing humanitarian crisis at the southern border.

The walkout is taking place in Copley Square, near Wayfair’s headquarters. The sale that sparked the protest was discovered by employees last week: an order for $200,000 worth of beds and other furniture reportedly placed by government contractor BCFS for a new detention center in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Wayfair also sold furniture to a second BCFS facility in Tornillo, Texas, according to The Washington Post. It was closed in January after a government watchdog raised safety concerns, including a lack of adequate staff background checks.

Around 550 Wayfair employees signed onto a letter that was sent to executives Friday, asking the company to halt all current and future business with BCFS, as well as other contractors [...]  read more

Vizio’s Dolby Atmos soundbar surround system hits the UK at £599.99

After teasing its entry for some months now, Vizio, the US audio and TV giant, has finally brought its first Dolby Atmos product to the UK market.

The Vizio 36in 5.1.2 Soundbar System with Dolby Atmos (SB36512), to give the set its full name, offers an Atmos-enabled soundbar, alongside a wireless subwoofer and two rear satellite speakers.

Measuring up at 36-inches for the bar, with the set in its entirety priced at £599.99, it packs in three drivers for left, right and centre channels, along with two upward-firing speakers to give the sense of enveloping height that Dolby Atmos’s object-based audio is lauded for.

Here’s what we thought of it

With the soundbar system already on sale in the US, we’ve had the pleasure of playing with the kit already earlier this year. We found it to be a dependable soundbar for the price, if a little bit picky with its sweet spot.

“The Vizio Soundbar SB36512-F6 ticks all the right boxes in terms of features – offering both Chomecast casting and Dolby Atmos at a [...]  read more

TransferWise’s new debit card for the US fires the starting gun on a new war for travelers

International money transfer service TransferWise, has made a significant incursion into the US market today, launching a MasterCard debit card alongside a multicurrency account. Mirroring the card it has already launched in the UK and Europe last year, the card will work in over 40 currencies without balance limits, and conversion fees will be competitive with current exchange rates. A similar card aimed at businesses will follow the consumer launch.

Co-founder Taavet Hinrikus told me that the card effectively makes the average person able to act like a millionaire when they are traveling. “Alternative ‘travel’ cards are four times more expensive for every dollar spent and are only available to the top 10% of people who pass credit checks and also pay hundreds of dollars per year,” he said.

He believes this card will democratize the whole market. That means it’s likely that US tourists in Europe or elsewhere will be hugely attracted to this card because they will be charged [...]  read more