Tag Archives: million

In France, Snap's Discover news feature gets 10 million monthly users

(Reuters) – Snap Inc, searching for ways to reinvigorate a slowing growth rate and increase advertising revenue for its Snapchat messaging app, said this week it has racked up 10 million users for its Discover news and video feature in France a year after launching there.

The figure, which has not previously been reported, is equivalent to about 15 percent of the country’s population.

Internationally, the Snapchat app has 173 million daily active users, the company said in August, while rival Instagram, owned by Facebook Inc, said this week it has 500 million daily users.

Snap’s partners in France such as Le Monde and Cosmopolitan, which supply video and news for the Discover feature, were getting “significant” revenue from ads, Nick Bell, Snap’s vice president of content, told Reuters, without giving an exact figure.

Snap, which generates revenue from advertisers, shares that revenue 50-50 with its publisher partners.

The company has yet to turn a profit since its messaging app launched in 2012. Since its initial public offering in March, its shares are down almost 18 percent, to around $ 14 per share.

France was the first international launch of Discover. It has also been released in Germany, the Middle East and North Africa, but the company is taking a slow, deliberate approach to expansion as it works at developing strong partnerships with publishers, said Bell.

Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; editing by Anna Driver and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tech

Federal judge rejects $12.25 million settlement in Lyft driver class action case

Lyft

(Reuters) – A federal judge on Thursday rejected a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit against ride-hailing company Lyft, saying the $ 12.25 million deal “short-changed” drivers.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said in a San Francisco court filing that the amount “does not fall within the range of reasonableness.”

The sticking point, Chhabria said, was that attorneys for the plaintiffs estimated the total potential claim for expense reimbursement for drivers at $ 64 million, and then negotiated the $ 12.25 million settlement based on that figure.

The $ 64 million estimate was based on driver data provided by Lyft from May 2012 through last June. Lyft later offered updated figures covering the period through February, which showed that drivers covered by the class-action lawsuit would have in fact been entitled to nearly twice that amount – about $ 126 million – according to court documents disclosed last month.

“The drivers were therefore short-changed by half on their reimbursement claim alone,” Chhabria wrote.

Lyft in January agreed to settle the class action, which was brought in 2013 by California drivers who contended they should be classified as employees and were therefore entitled to reimbursement for expenses, including gas and vehicle maintenance. The drivers, who are currently independent contractors instead of employees, pay those costs themselves.

The settlement did not reclassify the drivers as employees, a point that led the Teamsters union and five Lyft drivers to file formal objections to the deal.

Lyft is among several so-called on-demand technology companies fighting legal battles with workers who claim they are incorrectly classified as independent contractors. A determination that workers are employees would affect the profits and valuations of these startups.

Chhabria said on Thursday he would approve a settlement that does not classify drivers as employees. But the deal, he said, should be adjusted so it represents, at a minimum, roughly 17 percent of the maximum value of the reimbursement claim, or more than $ 21 million.

Attorneys can file a motion for a new proposed settlement no later than May.

“We are hopeful this settlement can be improved to meet the judge’s concerns” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney at law firm Lichten & Liss-Riordan representing the plaintiffs. “If not, we look forward to taking this case to trial as well.”

At a hearing last month, when Chhabria first took issue with the settlement amount, the judge said it would be risky for drivers to proceed with the case. A jury could ultimately rule that drivers are contractors and then they would get nothing.

Lyft voiced disappointment in the ruling: “We believe we reached a fair agreement with the plaintiffs and are currently evaluating our next steps,” a spokesman said.

Under the deal that Chhabria rejected, drivers would have received an average of $ 56 each after attorneys’ fees and other expenses, documents show.

Using the updated driver data that covers the period through February, drivers would have recouped an average of $ 835 each under a standard rate for mileage reimbursement set by the U.S. government, or about 15 times the settlement amount.

Most of the drivers have worked for Lyft part-time, and would have made less. More than 100,000 of the 150,602 drivers included in the settlement drove fewer than 60 hours during the four-year period covered by the settlement.

Lyft has 315,000 active drivers in more than 200 markets across the country.

(By Heather Somerville. Additional reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco.; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Dan Grebler)

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Inside sales companies have raised only $150 million this year and may soon face consolidation

Image Credit: RIngDNA

With seven transactions totaling $ 150 million, including the $ 90 million financing for new unicorn Anaplan, the first two months of 2016 have been quiet on the funding front for inside sales. The future will tell us if it is a reflection of the overall technology slowdown, or if we have reached an investment peak that precedes industry consolidation.

Inside Sales Landscape

A high-resolution version of the VB Profiles Inside Sales landscape is available here. (Disclosure: VB Profiles is a cooperative effort between VentureBeat and Spoke Intelligence.)

 

The $ 30 million funding from NewVoiceMedia is the largest financing from a pure-play Inside Sales Technology. This externally led round was smaller than the last one, which totaled $ 50 million. NewVoiceMedia scored a second big win with the addition of Moni Manor, former Five9 CTO, as chief product officer. With a total $ 140 million raised since inception, NewVoiceMedia has captured the market’s attention. Originally a Contact Center cloud software provider, NewVoiceMedia has expanded into the Inside Sales space by first repackaging its core technology and later by adding gamification capabilities.

Social Engagement received some attention with two small financings. Insightpool sits at the crossroads of Sales and Marketing, mining social networks to find influencers and prospects. Initially targeting the B2B market, it has been expanding its efforts to encompass B2C. Socedo is a pure-play sales company focused on lead generation on Twitter.

Although not an event of the previous month per se, I came to recognize the growing importance of coaching. You can expect it to become a dedicated category in the next iteration of my Inside Sales technology landscape.

Coaching importance grew because many of the inside sales roles are entry positions into the sales profession. It is also a way to address the high learning and growth expectations of younger generations. Inside Sales initial successes were fueled by email communication, which is text-based. As the market matured, companies have rediscovered the importance of engaging in-person with prospects. It hinges on good conversation skills that are best taught by coaching.

It is not a surprise that voice solution vendors have experienced strong customer demand for recording and coaching. RingDNA, for example, made it a central theme of its roadmap, introducing a Coaching module in its latest release. It departs from legacy recording offerings that target compliance by making sales behavior the focal point. We have also seen the emergence of pure-play providers such as ExecVision trying to innovate the market with a mobile application to make coaching on the go easier. Their vision is to make coaching pervasive in the organization by enabling anyone to listen to his/her calls and mark the important moments.

Nicolas De Kouchkovsky is the principal of CaCube Consulting. You can track his 340+ company Inside Sales Landscape on VBProfiles.com.

 


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