Xerox secures US$24 billion financing for proposed HP takeover – Hardware- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Xerox Holdings said on Monday it has secured US$24 billion in financing for its US$33.5 billion takeover offer for HP, a deal that the personal computer maker is opposing.
HP rejected the US$22 per share offer in November saying it “significantly” undervalued the company, following which the printer maker took the offer directly to HP’s shareholders.
Xerox has engaged in “constructive dialogue” with many of HP’s largest shareholders, the company’s chief executive officer, John Visentin, said in a letter addressed to HP’s board on Monday.
“My offer stands to meet with you in person, with or without your advisors, to begin negotiating this transaction,” Visentin said.
Activist investor Carl Icahn, who has a 4.2 percent stake in HP and a 10.9 percent stake in Xerox, in December urged HP shareholders who agreed with a merger with Xerox to reach out to the PC maker’s directors for immediate action.
HP had said it was open to exploring a bid for Xerox, stating that it recognises the potential benefits of consolidation.
Shares of HP were up nearly two percent in trading before the bell. The company did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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Payments giant Stripe debuts a credit card in its latest step into the financing fray – gpgmail


Last week, when the popular payments startup Stripe made some waves with its first move into money lending through the launch of Stripe Capital, we reported that the company was also soon going to be launching a credit card. Now, that news is official. Today, the company is doubling down on financing with the launch of corporate cards for business customers.

Announced officially today to coincide with the company’s developer event Stripe Sessions, the Stripe Corporate Card — as the product is officially called — is a Visa that will be open to businesses that are incorporated in the US, although they can operate elsewhere.

Notably, users are expected to pay their balance in full each month, so for now there is no interest rate, or fee, to use the card, with Stripe making its money by way of the interchange fee that comes with every transaction using the card.

“We’re not freezing cards based on late or no payments,” Cristina Cordova, the business lead overseeing the launch, said in an interview. “A pretty common reason for non-payment is that a person switched bank accounts and forgot to update the information. But we think we’ll have fewer problems because we have banking information for accepting revenue, by way of our payments business.”

The move is another major step ahead for Stripe as it continues to diversify its business and bring on more financial products to become a one-stop shop for e-commerce and other companies for all the transactions they might need to make in the course of their lives. It is a little ironic that it’s taken years for credit cards to get added into the mix, considering Stripe’s earliest homepages and marketing efforts were built around the design of a credit card (a reference to taking payments online, not issuing credit, of course).

In any case, the list of products now offered by Stripe is long — longer, you might say, than it takes to incorporate a Stripe service into a developer workflow. In addition to its API-based flagship payments product — which is available as a direct service or, via Stripe Connect, for third parties via marketplaces and other platforms — it offers billing and invoicing, in-person payment services (via Terminal), business analytics, fraud prevention on transactions (Radar), company incorporation (Atlas), and a range of content around business strategy.

Some of these Stripe products are free to use, and some come at a price: the main point for offering them together is to build more engagement and loyalty from customers to keep them from migrating to other services. In that regard, credit cards are a cornerstone of how businesses operate, to handle day-to-day expenses in a more accountable way, and this is an area that is already well-served by others, including startups like Brex but also a plethora of challenger and traditional banks. So as much as anything else, this is a clear move to help stave off competition.

At the same time, it underscores how Stripe is leveraging the huge amount of data that it has amassed about its users and payments on the platform: it’s not just about enabling single services, but about using the byproducts of those services — data — to put fuel into new products.

Today, to underscore its global ambitions in that regard, Stripe is adding some expansions to several of its existing products. For example, it will now allow businesses to make payouts in local currencies in 45 countries (an important detail, for example, for marketplaces and network-based companies like ridesharing businesses).

The credit card product will follow a model similar to that of Stripe Capital. As with the lending product, there is a single bank issuing the credit and the card. Amber Feng, head of financial infrastructure for Stripe, confirmed to me that it is actually the same bank that’s providing the cash behind Stripe Capital. Stripe is still declining to name the bank itself, but hints that we may hear more about it soon, which leads me to wonder what news might be coming next.

(Funding perhaps would make sense? The company has raised a whopping $785 million to date and has a valuation of $22.5 billion at the moment. Given that Stripe has made indications that a public listing is not on the cards soon, that might imply, with the launch of these new financing products, that more capital might be raised soon.)

Also similar to Stripe Capital, the underwriting of the card is based on Stripe data. That is to say, business users are verified and approved based on turnover (revenues) as measured by the Stripe payments platform itself; and in cases where applicants are “pre-revenue”, they can be evaluated based on other data sources. For example, if they have used Stripe Atlas to incorporate their businesses, the paperwork supplied for that is used by Stripe to vet the customer’s suitability for a credit card.  

Notably, the cards will be delivered in the spirit of instant gratification: if you are applying and get approved, you can download a virtual card within minutes to your Apple Wallet as you await the physical card to arrive in the post.

Stripe is big on data in its own business, and it’s bringing some of that into this product with spending controls that can be set by person and by category; real-time expense reporting by way of texts; rewards of 2% back on spending in the business’s most-used categories; and integration with financial software like Quickbooks and Expensify.


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Launching out of YC, Blair is aiming to reshape the financing of college tuition – gpgmail


It’s generally agreed that Higher Education in the United States has gradually become more and more unaffordable. Students are dependent on external financial resources for which many of them do not even qualify. Students that are able to secure a loan, often have to take on debts they can’t really afford. And if they don’t eventually land a job with enough income, they are saddled with debt for a very long time.

Much of the problem is that most student loan companies are not concerned with the overall financial well-being of their students, who often feel stuck, trying to repay a loan they cannot afford, without a backup organization that will help them figure it all out. We can see that in the figures. The student loan debt in the US has just reached $1.6 trillion dollars and more than quadrupled in the last 15 years.

With the student debt crisis getting out of hand, the topic has become a semi-permanent issue in the news.

Launching next week is a new startup under the Ycombinator accelerator called Blair which aims to address this seemingly intractable problem.

Blair finances college students through what’s called “Income Share Agreements” (ISA). Students receive funding for their tuition or costs of living and in turn pay back a percentage of their income for a fixed period of time after they graduate. Repayments adjust to individual income circumstances and by deferring payments in times of low income we protect the downside of the students.

It thus provides students with an alternative to debt which is tailored to their individual circumstances to ensure affordability. Blair’s underwriting process is based on the future potential of a student and not their credit score or co-signer, which could be a deal-breaker in traditional settings. Blair’s competitors are traditional student lenders: Sallie Mae, Sofi, Earnest, Wells Fargo, Citizen Bank, other banks. ISA companies include Vemo Education, Leif, Almapact, Lumni and Defynance.

In contrast to traditional student loan companies, Blair relies on being more aligned with the financial incentives of students, the idea being that it supports students in improving their employability by placing them in internships early, giving them access to industry mentors and coaching them individually on their career prospects.

The founders came up with the idea from personal experience. Constantin, one of the co-founders, is on an ISA himself, as are a lot of the company’s friends. They stumbled across the problem of student debt over and over again while studying in the US and noticed a stark difference between their friends in the US and their friends in Germany. The main reason is that 40% of the students at their alma maters in Germany use Income Share Agreements to finance their studies. They plan to use their experience from Europe and make ISAs more widespread in the US.

Students apply for funding on the website, and within minutes and get a personal quote shortly after. If they accept the quote, they receive their funding within a couple of days which they can use to pay for their tuition or cost of living. Once Blair issues the funding, it crafts a holistic career plan for each individual student and starts supporting them in landing the internships and jobs they want. This includes, for example, optimizing their application documents, preparing them for interviews or connecting them to mentors in their target industry. For context, they batch students together in funds and let external investors invest in the funds.

It receives a cut of the student repayments and carried interest if a student fund performs better than the target return. Additionally, it partners with companies that hire talent through the platform.

Blair has raised the first fund for 50 students and disbursed money for the first ten. The rest of the students will receive their money within the next weeks. After YC’s Demo Day the company will deploy a larger fund that will support 200 additional students.

“Our underwriting model is unique since we have based it on data from concluded ISA funds in European countries,” says cofounder Mike Mahlkow.

“In the last two weeks, we received applications for funding totaling over 4 million dollars. Many of our students come from underprivileged backgrounds, often without any support network. Our goal is to build a human capital platform where individuals can access capital based on their future potential instead of their past and investors can participate in the upside potential of individuals in an ethical way” he adds.


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Vector’s launch business in peril after ‘major change in financing’ – gpgmail


Small satellite launch startup Vector has indefinitely shut down operations “in response a major change in financing,” the company confirmed. Co-founder and CEO Jim Cantrell has also been cut loose as part of the upset.

The news comes as a surprise to the space startup community, and apparently to its employees. The company lined up $70 million in funding late last year, and recently was announced as a qualified contestant in DARPA’s Launch Challenge. It even pulled in a multi-million dollar Air Force contract just last week.

That something must have gone awry with this latest funding is manifest. But just what, or who, is unclear. I’m contacting the venture firms in the round (Kodem, Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, Sequoia, Lightspeed and Shasta Ventures) and will update if anyone has any substantial comment.

The company offered the following statement, as well as confirming that Cantrell is out.

In response to a major change in financing, Vector has had to pause its operations. A core team is now evaluating options to complete the development of the company’s Vector R small launch vehicle while also supporting the Air Force and other government agencies on programs such as the recent ASLON-45 award.

I’ve asked for more details on the size of this “core team” and how many employees Vector will have to lay off as part of this “pause” in operations.

Vector has been working on an orbital launch vehicle, the Vector-R, with a 60 kilogram maximum payload — a small rocket for small satellites, for which there is plenty of demand. A heavier version that could lift 290 kg was also under development.

Plans were to demonstrate an orbital launch by the end of 2019, but as yet that has not occurred; a suborbital launch was also planned for sometime this summer, but that too is yet to happen.

Perhaps the launch delays were the cause of the funding problems, or perhaps the funding problems led to launch delays. I’ll update this story as soon as more details are available.


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India’s GoWork raises $53M in debt financing to expand its co-working spaces business – gpgmail


GoWork, a Gurgaon-based startup that runs a co-working spaces business in India, said on Tuesday it has raised $53 million in a debt round to scale its business in the country as competition in the market, including from recent entrant Oyo Rooms, intensifies.

The debt round for the two-year-old startup — not to be confused with an Indonesian startup with the same name that operates in the same space — was financed by a private fund managed by BlackRock’s Private Credit team and CLSA Capital Partners’ Special Situations Group, the startup said. Prior to today’s announcement, GoWork had raised an undisclosed amount from Nimitaya fund, a spokesperson told gpgmail.

Sudeep Singh, CEO of GoWork, said the startup will use the fresh capital, which will flow for the next two years, to expand its footprints in the country. GoWork plans to establish 50 centers across several major Indian cities by 2025, up from two it currently runs in Gurgaon.

In the immediate quarters, it plans to expand its accommodation capacity to 25,000 people, up from 12,000 currently. GoWork counts corporates such as Paytm Mall, CoverFox, and Impactify Consulting among its clients.

In addition to fast Wi-Fi, shuttle service, parking facility, cafe, and food court services it currently offers, the startup plans to include additional add-ons such as pet care facility and brewery in the coming months.

In a statement, Neeraj Seth, BlackRock’s Head of Asian Credit, said, “GoWork is taking the brick and mortar aspect of the co-working concept further, as well as consistent measures to enable young businesses to reach their highest potential. We look forward to GoWork offering optimal operational efficiency for all start-ups as well as corporates.”

India’s co-working space, still a relatively new business category locally, is worth $390 million — a fraction of the $30 billion office and commercial real estate business.

GoWork competes with a number of firms including hotel lodging startup Oyo, which last month entered the co-working spaces business with the launch of Oyo Workspaces. For the expansion, it acquired local player Innov8 for a sum of about $30 million to immediately establish presence in 10 cities in India with more than 20 centers. 91Springboard, Awfis, GoHive, and the global giant WeWork are also competing for a slice of the $390 million market.


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