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Month: June 2015

Confirmed: Passion Capital Invests £2M In “Full-Stack” Bank Startup Mondo

A few months ago we reported that U.K. banking startup Mondo — whose founders include GoCardless co-founder Tom Blomfield — had raised its first funding round, which our sources pegged to be in the “millions”. And just last month we called out London-based VC Passion Capital as the investor, which today Mondo is confirming. “Passion Capital have invested £2 million, and we’ll be looking to raise around £15-20 million before our full launch — this will be dictated by the Bank of England’s regulatory capital requirements,” Blomfield tells TechCrunch. The reference to the Bank of England’s regulatory requirements reflects Mondo’s ambitions to secure a full U.K. banking license. This, amongst other things, will enable it to lend out customers’ deposits, in the form of “transparent” overdrafts, for example, forming the basis of its business model. The startup is to launch a limited beta, utilising Mastercard, in the next 3-4 weeks, says Blomfield, but doesn’t expect to cross the full regulatory hurdle and offer a full current account until first half of 2016. “Assuming the regulatory process goes well,” he adds. To that end, along with other U.K. bank upstarts, including Starling (for which Blomfield and co. have history) and Atom Bank (which just secured its banking license), Mondo is aiming to be a digital bank with no physical locations. This should enable it to significantly reduce the overheads normally associated with running a bank. “Our big advantage...

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Amazon Takes Prime Now Outside U.S., Opens One-Hour Delivery In London

Amazon has expanded its one-hour delivery service for Prime members to parts of central London. An update to the Prime Now app notes the services is now “available in selected London postcodes”. This is the first foray for Prime Now outside the U.S., some six months after the service first launched — which is a rather more speedy international expansion schedule than Amazon’s usual playbook. Prime Now’s London coverage area appears to be limited to zone 1 — or parts of zone 1 — at this stage. Postcodes I tried from further afield (zone 2 and zone 3) were not yet supported; but a postcode in London’s Southwark (zone 1) returned an affirmative that Amazon can ship a selection of products there in an hour. An in-app note on coverage adds: “We’re branching out as fast as we can”. Londoners can check amazon.co.uk/primenow to see if it delivers to their postcode yet. Amazon launched the one-hour delivery offering in Manhattan last December. It’s since expanded to cover Dallas, Baltimore and Miami. Prime Now remains limited to Prime members, as another incentive to drive sign up of Amazon’s annual membership offering, and a way for the ecommerce giant to compete with local delivery startups which are also aggressively targeting urban centers like London. Amazon is also playing in the takeaway food delivery space — so building out a one-hour delivery infrastructure paves the way for further expansion there. Amazon says Prime Now delivery is available on “thousands” of...

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Baidu To Invest $3.2 Billion Developing Online-To-Offline Services In China

China’s Baidu, the company best known for its dominant search engine, said today that it will invest more than $3 billion in its offline-to-online businesses over the next three years. The company, which is going through something of a transition after recently posting its slowest revenue since 2008, is putting 20 billion RMB (that’s just over $3.2 billion) in a range of different services including Nuomi, a platform that matches merchants with customers which it bought from once-red-hot Chinese social network Renren last year. Nuomi started out as a group buying site, but it’s fair to say that the service has grown beyond that description today. Baidu claimed it has over 650,000 stores from across 330 cities in China. The firm said Nuomi processes close to 2 billion RMB (approximately $320 million) per month, and it is aiming to make it operational in all cities in China before the end of 2015. In addition to aggressive expansion plans — Baidu projected that Nuomi will become the second highest grossing group sales app before the year is out — Nuomi is launching a new “membership plus” service that gives merchants a range of new tools to super charge their business and relationships with customers via Nuomi. One part of that is an integration between Nuomi’s membership system and merchant’s point of sale systems which allows users to pay for goods using a virtual card inside the app. Other integrations...

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Tudor Heritage Black Bay One Reference 7923/001

For the first time in history, the house of Rolex/Tudor is presenting a new and unique timepiece at Only Watch 2015. Going into the Tudor Vaults and taking from one of the brand’s most coveted vintage models, the new Heritage Black Bay One Reference 7923/001 is inspired by the incredibly rare Tudor Reference 7923. Bringing back all the attributes of the highly sought after vintage model, the Black Bay features a black bezel, glossy black dial and gilt printing, matched with gold baton hands and red accents for depth rating. For more information, head over to Phillips Watches to see how to get your hands on this single piece. Article source:...

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Pigalle’s Stéphane Ashpool Talks Basketball, Humble Beginnings and the Red Light District That Gave His Brand Its Name

“Ten years ago, no one was happy to pass through Pigalle.” explains Stéphane Ashpool of the Parisian district that gave his burgeoning streetwear brand its name, “It was always known as the red light district. There was nothing fancy, nothing that cool – but it was a diverse community, and that’s what has inspired me.” Ashpool is talking to Dazed and Confused on the launch of Pigalle’s latest basketball-inspired collaboration with American sportswear giant Nike, “I started playing basketball at the age of 16, everyone was into soccer. They had one basketball hoop on the recreation yard and I thought, ‘OK, I’m not going to run after a ball with 100 kids, I’m going to get my own ball and play on my terms” adds the native Parisian from his brand’s headquarters just a stone’s throw from the basketball court he helped convert from a car-park in 2009. Ashpool goes on to tell Dazed how the brand’s eponymous location is not simply a name, but something that has served to inspire him and his staff in the growth of Pigalle, and how basketball remains central to that ethos. Check out the full interview over on Dazed Confused’s website and check out Pigalle and Nike’s latest collaboration here. Article source:...

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